Ibis Kolkata Rajarhat is embracing this holy month of Ramadan by introducing their ‘Shan-e-Iftar’ menu, in the presence of Mizan Uddin, Hotel Manager, Ibis Kolkata Rajarhat, Nikhil Malhotra, Head of the sales and Executive Sous Chef Avishek Chakraborty.The city becomes a melting pot of flavours and communities during Ramadan. Keeping that in mind, the menu contains fresh fruits like watermelon, apples, bananas and dates with which every Muslim breaks their fast. There is mouth-watering ice lemon mint tea to satisfy everyone’s quench for thirst. Moving on to the succulent starters, they have a wide range of veg and non-veg items like mirch ke pakode, beguni, onion ke pa kode, Punjabi Murgh Tikka, tawa fish, gilafhi seekh kebab to name a few. Also Read – Pollution makes you more aggressiveThe main course contains the much eagerly awaited dish Haleem along with delicacies like Murgh Dum Biryani, Sabz Biryani, Kadhai murgh and assorted Indian breads to choose from. Desserts are the most important part of every meal. For people with a sweet tooth, ibis Kolkata Rajarhat is offering some lip smacking desserts like dates kulfi, sheer khurma,shahitukda. Speaking on this occasion Mizan Uddin, Hotel Manager, Ibis Kolkata Rajarhat, said, “Ramadan is a very special month for every Muslim around the world. It is that time of the year when people fast the whole day and break their fast after the sunset. Sitting with the family or friends and having an iftar is altogether is a very different feeling. We wanted to recreate this warm feeling at ibis Kolkata Rajarhat hence the hotel decided to come up with their special iftar menu where families and friends reconnect with their loved ones over delicious food.” Guests can enjoy this exquisite menu from June 1, 2019 till June 4, 2019. The Iftar menu will start from 5:00pm – 8:00pm, priced at Rs 599+ GST per person.
Srinagar: Displaying the true traditions of ‘Kashmiriyat’, a tourist guide sacrificed his own life to save five people, including two visitors from West Bengal, after their raft capsized in Lidder river flowing through the picturesque South Kashmir resort town of Pahalgham. Rouf Ahmed Dar, a registered professional rafter, cared little for his life and jumped into the river when the raft overturned near Mawoora after it was caught in a sudden gusty winds.The five people, three locals and a couple from West Bengal, were onboard the raft when the tragedy struck it Friday evening at the rafting point in Pahalgham, 96 kms south of Srinagar. Quoting eyewitness, officials said that Dar, who was escorting the couple as a tourist guide, had initially swam to safety. But on seeing the others getting drawn into the the water, wasted no time and jumped into the water again and managed to save them, they said. A search and rescue operation was launched immediately afterwards and teams of State Disaster Response Force were joined by the police and locals. The searches continued until late hours, but were abandoned due to darkness, they said. The body of the brave tourist guide was retrieved Saturday morning near Bhawani bridge and was handed over to his relatives after medico-legal formalities, they said. “It was actual demonstration of Kashmiriyat, which teaches love brotherhood and care, displayed by Dar, who successfully saved five people including two domestic tourists, in the true spirit of trademark Kashmiri hospitality,” said Deputy Commissioner (Anantnag) Khalid Jehangir. The two tourists — Manish Kumar Saraf and Sweta Saraf hailing from Nandan Nager, Kolkata — were taken to Srinagar. They said they have got a second life thanks to Dar, a senior police official said. State tourism in-charge and the advisor to Governor Satya Pal Malik Khursheed Ganai offered his condolences on loss of Dar’s life. “Without caring for his own life, Dar braved strong currents of river Lidder to save five people from drowning. It was an ultimate sacrifice one can offer.”
Pyongyang: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang on Thursday on a historic visit to burnish an uneasy alliance, with the two men each facing challenges of their own with US President Donald Trump. Xi is the first Chinese president to visit North Korea in 14 years, after relations between the Cold War era allies deteriorated over Pyongyang’s nuclear provocations and Beijing’s subsequent backing of UN sanctions. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London But as he embarked on a flurry of diplomacy last year, Kim ensured that Xi — the leader of his country’s key diplomatic supporter and main provider of trade and aid — was the first head of state he met. The North Korean has now visited his older ally four times in China and Pyongyang has been increasingly keen for Xi to reciprocate, while according to diplomats Beijing has been biding its time to see how nuclear talks between Kim and Trump play out. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador But Beijing’s own trade negotiations with Washington hit a wall last month and some analysts say Xi is now looking for leverage ahead of his meeting with Trump at next week’s G20 summit in Japan. “When both China & North Korea are confronted by US, they have a lot to discuss with each other,” Lijian Zhao, the deputy chief of mission of China’s embassy in Pakistan, wrote on Twitter. Kim met Xi at Pyongyang airport as he began a two-day state visit with his wife Peng Liyuan, Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other officials, according to Chinese state media. Portraits of the two leaders stood outside the terminal, pictures showed, and a 21-gun salute was fired. Chinese flags hung throughout the capital and hundreds of thousands of residents were lined up along the streets according to CCTV — standard procedure when a foreign leader visits the isolated North, whose authorities are adept at mounting spectacular displays. But in an unprecedented move, Xi was welcomed at the Kumsusan Palace, the mausoleum where the preserved bodies of the North’s founder Kim Il Sung and successor Kim Jong Il — the grandfather and father of the current leader — lie in state. Kim and Xi went on to hold formal talks, Xinhua reported. The Rodong Sinmun newspaper, the mouthpiece of the ruling party, devoted the top half of its front page to the visit, with a colour picture of Xi accompanying a profile. In an editorial, it said the trip at a time of “complex international relations” showed that the leadership in Beijing attached “high importance on the DPRK-China friendship”. “Our people are proud of having a trustworthy and close friend like the Chinese people,” it added. Xi’s visit will be largely symbolic, with no formal joint communique expected — as was the case with Kim’s April summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Vladivostok, Russia. Authorities have imposed tight restrictions on coverage. International journalists in Pyongyang were told they would not be able to cover it, while foreign media organisations initially invited to attend proved unable to secure visas. Sources said the Chinese media delegation accompanying Xi was also reduced in size from initial plans. The North wants to demonstrate to Trump that it has China’s support with nuclear negotiations at a standstill after Trump and Kim’s second summit broke up without a deal. In Hanoi in February the two men disagreed in February on what Pyongyang would be willing to give up in exchange for sanctions relief. For the North the visit “will serve to show the US that China has its back and to send a message to Washington it should stop its maximum pressure posture”, said Lim Eul-chul, professor of North Korean studies at Kyungnam University. Analysts say the trip is equally a chance for China to showcase its influence in the region and the talks process, at a time when it is at loggerheads with the US over trade. In clear assertion of Beijing’s role, Xi said in a rare opinion piece in the Rodong Sinmun that China would play an active part in “strengthening communication and coordination” between the North and “other relevant parties” to push forward negotiations. Beijing has fretted over being sidelined after the North Korean leader agreed to meet Trump last year, with the US leader going as far as declaring he had fallen “in love” with Kim. “Xi wants everyone to remain acutely aware that he can influence Kim, and that no comprehensive, durable deal with North Korea can occur without China’s assistance — and approval,” Scott Seaman, Asia director of the Eurasia Group consultancy, said in a research note. Beijing sees the North as a strategic buffer, keeping the 28,500 US troops in South Korea far from its borders, and Xi’s trip will include a visit to pay homage at Pyongyang’s Friendship Tower, a monument to the millions of Chinese troops who saved Kim Il Sung’s forces from defeat during the Korean War. But Zhao Tong, North Korea expert at the Carnegie Tsinghua Center think tank in Beijing, said Xi and Kim were unlikely to have substantive discussions on denuclearisation, because “China and North Korea do not have enough mutual trust”.
Southampton: Eager to keep the semi-final hopes alive, a desperate Bangladesh will have their work cut out when they take on a spirited Afghanistan in a do-or-die World Cup encounter here Monday. England’s defeat at the hands of Sri Lanka on Friday breathed air into Bangladesh’s hopes of securing a semifinal berth and the ‘Tigers’ will be keen on making the most of the situation starting with a win over the bottom-placed Afghanistan. The Mashrafe Mortaza-led side, which is currently placed at sixth spot with five points, has batted pretty well so far in the tournament. Also Read – Djokovic heaps praise on ‘very complete’ MedvedevAfter hunting down a target of 322 against West Indies in just 41.3 overs, Bangladesh fought admirably in a 382-run chase against Australia, finishing with an impressive 333/8. The promotion of Shakib Al Hasan up the order has been one of the highlights of the World Cup. The all-rounder is just 22 runs behind Australia’s David Warner, who is the tournament top scorer. The bowling, however, has been their undoing, as Bangladesh have conceded scores in excess of 320 in each of their last three completed games and the bowlers will have to step up to make life easier for their batsmen. Also Read – Mary Kom enters quarterfinals, Saweety Boora bows out of World C’shipsOn the other hand, Afghanistan, who are still in search of their maiden win in the tournament, will be drawing a lot of positive from their previous game against India. The Afghans fell agonisingly short of India’s target, losing by 11 runs on Saturday. But the team will take a lot of confidence from the fact that they restricted the famed Indian batting unit to 224 for 8. Given their experience of the conditions here, captain Gulbadin Naib will expect his spinners to weave their magic once again against an in-form Bangladesh batting line-up on Monday. The weather is expected to be warm. The dryness of the pitch is expected to bring spin into play, much like it did during the game between India and Afghanistan. The Afghan batsmen though, will have to focus on staying at the crease for longer periods to get the desired result. Against England, they played out 50 overs for the first time in the tournament. “We lost badly in the first half of the tournament, but we have played some good cricket in the second half and I am happy with the way the team has performed. This is tough cricket against high-ranking teams, and you have to fight your best,” Gulbadin Naib said after the loss to India. Squads: Afghanistan: Gulbadin Naib (captain), Aftab Alam, Hazratullah Zazai, Asghar Afghan, Rashid Khan, Mohammed Nabi, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Dawlat Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hamid Hassan, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Samiullah Shinwari, Rahmat Shah, Noor Ali Zadran, Ikram Alikhil. Bangladesh: Mashrafe Mortaza (captain), Shakib Al Hasan, Soumya Sarkar, Tamim Iqbal, Mohammad Saifuddin, Mosaddek Hossain, Mushfiqur Rahim, Mustafizur Rahman, Rubel Hossain, Sabbir Rahman, Abu Jayed, Liton Das, Mahmudullah, Mehidy Hasan, Mohammad Mithun. Match Starts at 3 pm
Kolkata: Calcutta University on Monday opted for the online entrance examination for all Post Graduation (PG) courses. “The way the admission process has been made online, Calcutta University will conduct the PG entrance examinations online likewise. The decision has been made for the sake of modernisation, transparency and saving time,” Vice Chancellor Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee said. She said that CU is the first university to introduce this modern way of conducting the entrance test. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess Durga Starting this year, the entrance for all the 66 department teaching PG courses in the 162-year-old University and other CU affiliated colleges will now be conducted online. The students will appear for the examinations in specific examination centres allotted by the university. Talking about the final examinations of PG examinations, the VC said for the next academic year, the university will also think about conducting the examinations away from the home centre. For instance, PG students studying in a particular college will have to write their exam in a different centre in order to maintain transparency. “Calcutta University is trying to strengthen the examination system by making it fair and following a path of discipline,” Chakravarti added.
New Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind on Thursday gave assent to a key legislation aimed at ushering in mega reforms in the medical education sector and replacing the nearly 63-year-old Indian Medical Council Act.The National Medical Commission (NMC) Bill, passed by both houses of Parliament, will be notified in the gazette soon, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan said. “Once notified, the rules will be framed and the NMC will be constituted for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions. All these will be done within six months,” he added. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The NMC will replace the scam-tainted Medical Council of India. The president dissolved the MCI in 2018 and a Board of Governors was appointed to perform its functions. Terming the NMC Act, a “progressive” legislation, Vardhan said it will ensure probity, quality education and bring down costs of medical education. It simplifies procedures and provides wider access to people for quality healthcare. Referring to protests against certain provisions of the NMC Bill, Vardhan said, “Medical students and residents doctors had some misunderstandings and misconceptions about some provisions of the bill. I have cleared their doubts.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe legislation provides for national entrance test NEET along with common counselling for MBBS, and a common final year MBBS exam, to be known as National Exit Test (NEXT), which will be applicable to all institutes including those of national importance like AIIMS. The NEXT results would be the base for admission to PG courses and to obtain license to practice. It would also act as a screening test for foreign medical graduates. “This provision will eliminate the need for students to approach multiple colleges and take part in multiple counselling processes for admission. This will save students and their families unnecessary physical and financial trauma,” Vardhan said.
Bhubaneswar: Followers of Mahatma Gandhi in Odisha have launched a signature campaign supporting Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s suggestion of incorporating the word “ahimsa” (non-violence) in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution. The campaign was launched at a function marking celebration of August Kranti Diwas here Friday. Noted freedom fighter and Padma Sri Bhabani Charan Patnaik was the first person to sign the campaign supporting the Chief Minister’s suggestions. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Apart from Bhabani Charan Patnaik, Odisha Congress president Niranjan Patnaik, many Odisha MPs, Minister, MLAs and others participated in the signature campaign which will continue till October 2. “We have decided to collect signature of at least one lakh people by October 2,” said Birupakshya Tripathy, the convener of the campaign. The issue relating to Chief Minister’s suggestion was also raised in the Assembly recently where members cutting across party lines supported it. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Patnaik had made such suggestion while attending the first meeting of National Committee for Commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, chaired by President Ram Nath Kovind at Rashtrapati Bhawan on May 2, 2018. Patnaik had suggested that the word “ahimsa” (non- violence) be added in the Preamble of the Indian constitution as the “greatest tribute” to Mahatma Gandhi, as the nation plans to celebrate his 150th birth anniversary. “I believe the greatest tribute India could pay Gandhiji on his 150th anniversary is to include the ‘uniquely’ Indian ideal of ahimsa, of non-violence, in the Preamble of India’s constitution,” Patnaik had said. This will ensure that future generations, not just Indians but people around the world, will be reminded of the profound truth of this principle, Patnaik had said.
New Delhi: The ED has summoned former finance minister P Chidambaram in connection with its money-laundering probe in an alleged aviation scam during the UPA dispensation, officials said on Monday. They said the senior Congress leader has been asked to depose on August 23 before the investigating officer of the case at an Enforcement Directorate office here to record his statement. The case pertains to losses suffered by Air India due to an alleged multi-crore aviation scam and irregularities in fixing air slots for international airlines. Former aviation minister Praful Patel was previously grilled by the ED and it is understood that the agency now wants to question Chidambaram on their leads in this case. The Congress leader is also being probed by ED in two separate money-laundering cases of Aircel-Maxis and INX Media.
FREDERICTON – New Brunswickers are getting another paid holiday.Premier Brian Gallant has announced that starting next year, New Brunswick will observe Family Day on the third Monday of February.He says the province joins eight other jurisdictions across Canada that observe the holiday.Gallant says the day highlights the importance of families, and provides a break during the long winter.Opposition critic Kirk MacDonald says it will take more than an extra paid holiday to get the Liberals re-elected.Green Leader David Coon says he’s worried that an extra paid holiday will be difficult for small business owners.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday told the leaders of Mexico and Canada that he will not pull out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, just hours after administration officials said he was considering a draft executive order to do just that.The White House made the surprise announcement in a read-out of calls between Trump, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.“President Trump agreed not to terminate NAFTA at this time and the leaders agreed to proceed swiftly, according to their required internal procedures, to enable the renegotiation of the NAFTA deal to the benefit of all three countries,” said the White House.Trump said he believes “the end result will make all three countries stronger and better.”The announcement came hours after administration officials said Trump was considering a draft executive order to withdraw the U.S. from the deal – though administration officials cautioned it was just one of a number of options being discussed by the president and his staff.Some saw the threat as posturing by Trump to gain leverage over Mexico and Canada as he tries to negotiate changes to the deal. Trump railed against the decades-old trade deal during his campaign, describing it as a “disaster.”Senior White House officials had spent recent days discussing steps that could be taken to start the process of renegotiating or withdrawing from NAFTA before the end of Trump’s first 100 days in office, according to a person familiar with the president’s thinking.But the person, along with an administration official, who both spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss internal deliberations, had said a number of options remained on the table, and stressed discussions are ongoing about the best way to proceed.White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer declined to comment on the order, which was first reported by Politico.“The president has made addressing the problems of NAFTA a priority throughout the campaign, and once the president makes a decision about how he wants to address that, we’ll let you know,” he said.The administration appeared to be divided Wednesday over how and when to proceed, as they balanced a newfound cautiousness with the desire to rack up accomplishments before Trump’s 100th day on the job.Some were gunning for Trump to sign a draft order this week, while others were weighing the complications surrounding withdrawing from or renegotiating the deal without Congress fully onboard. The debate played out in the press Wednesday as some outlets quoted officials insisting the signing was imminent, while other officials dismissed the reports as “just a rumour.”“My practice is to comment on things we’ve actually done or are doing as opposed to commenting on rumours,” Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross told reporters at an unrelated White House briefing Wednesday evening.Trump could withdraw from NAFTA – but he would have to give six months’ notice. And it is unclear what would happen next. The law Congress passed to enact the trade pact might remain in place, forcing Trump to wrangle with lawmakers and raising questions about the president’s authority to raise tariffs on Mexican and Canadian imports.The decision came days after the administration announced it would slap hefty tariffs on softwood lumber being imported from Canada. Trump has also been railing against changes in Canadian milk product pricing that he says are hurting the American dairy industry.Trump told The Associated Press in an interview last week that he planned to either renegotiate or terminate NAFTA, which he and other critics blame for wiping out U.S. manufacturing jobs because it allowed companies to move factories to Mexico to take advantage of low-wage labour.“I am very upset with NAFTA. I think NAFTA has been a catastrophic trade deal for the United States, trading agreement for the United States. It hurts us with Canada, and it hurts us with Mexico,” he said.Another senior White House official declined to comment on “rumours” of specific actions. But that official said NAFTA has been a top priority for the president since day one and said the administration has been working on it since taking office. That person also spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the administration’s thinking.The Trump administration last month submitted a vague set of guidelines to Congress for renegotiating NAFTA, disappointing those who were expecting Trump to demand a major overhaul.In an eight-page draft letter to Congress, acting U.S. Trade Representative Stephen Vaughn wrote that the administration intended to start talking with Mexico and Canada about making changes to the pact, which took effect in 1994.The letter spelled out few details and stuck with broad principles. But it appeared to keep much of the existing agreement in place, including private tribunals that allow companies to challenge national laws on the grounds that they inhibit trade – a provision that critics say allows companies to get around environmental and labour laws.Reports Wednesday of the possible move drew objections from some in Congress, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona.“Withdrawing from #NAFTA would be a disaster for #Arizona jobs & economy,” he tweeted. “@POTUS shouldn’t abandon this vital trade agreement.”
FREDERICTON – A nine-year-old New Brunswick girl was taken to hospital after consuming e-cigarette fluids from a brightly labelled “Unicorn Milk” bottle, her mother says.Lea L’Hoir is calling on Ottawa to swiftly enact a ban on child-friendly names on such products.The federal Liberals introduced a law last fall that would prohibit labels that appeal to children or which use fictional animals as an “endorsement,” and the law recently passed third reading before the Senate.“I can’t wait to see it voted in at the federal level,” L’Hoir said in an interview.L’Hoir says her daughter and several friends found the purple tube with a rainbow on it in a Fredericton playground on Monday.She says the image of a pink and purple unicorn led them to believe it was candy and they ingested a few drops.Her daughter was later taken to hospital suffering stomach pain, dizzy spells and soreness in her chest, before being released and sent home.L’Hoir says she suffered anxiety and a sleepless night due to her child’s illness and wants assurances a new federal law will prohibit the child-friendly labels and odours.The regulation before the Senate would also prohibit selling a vaping product that has “an appearance, shape or other sensory attribute or a function for which there are reasonable grounds to believe that it could make the product appealing to young persons.”The mother said she wishes the law had been in place sooner, and said she hopes Health Canada itself will screen products coming into vape shops and provide explicit lists on which products are prohibited.Trevor Bostick, the vendor who manufactures and sells the “Unicorn Milk” product at New Beginnings Vape in Fredericton, said he has pulled the product off his shelves and is also eager to see the new law in place.He says he felt devastated at the news a child had to go to the hospital for treatment.“It was a terrible feeling … It floored me and I was in shock for the whole day. I hardly slept last night,” he said.“I don’t want anybody to think it was marketing scheme for children. It’s a very hard market to tap into. There are so many people doing this, and we were just trying to make a more marketable thing.”“We’ll never make another label with a cartoon label on it.”Bostick said he’ll be glad to see a clear guideline for standards on how labels can be produced.“It’s something I wish we hadn’t released, to be honest with you.”A spokesman for Senator Chantal Petitclerc, the sponsor of Bill S-5 in the Senate, says the time period required for the bill’s passing is part of the normal process of reviewing legislation.Petitclerc said in an email that her “wish” is that the Senate will pass the bill this week, and that it will then be sent to the House of Commons.“It will become law when the House of Commons has … studied and approved the bill.”— By Michael Tutton in Halifax.Follow mtuttoncporg on Twitter.
TORONTO – An Egyptian man branded as a threat to Canada’s national security has failed in what could prove to be his final attempt at lifting the terrorist designation that has hung over him for the past 15 years.In a decision that upholds in glowing terms earlier court rulings, the Federal Court of Appeal rejected a concerted challenge from Mohamed Mahjoub to the government’s case against him.The unanimous decision leaves Mahjoub, 56, of Toronto, who has always denied terrorism ties or associating with known terrorists after coming to Canada, with little chance of now escaping a designation that has haunted him since 2000.“Terrorist organizations do not issue membership cards or keep membership lists,” the Federal Court of Appeal said in a lengthy decision that runs to 356 paragraphs.“(But) there are reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Mahjoub was a member of two terrorist organizations and that, by maintaining contact in Canada with other terrorists, he was a danger to the security of Canada.”Among other things, the Appeal Court noted the father of three once held a senior position at a farm in Sudan owned by al-Qaida mastermind Osama bin Laden. Part of the farm, according to security sources, was used for terrorist training in weapons and explosives. Mahjoub lied about his associates after coming to Canada, the court said.Mahjoub came to this country in December 1995 and claimed refugee status, which was granted within a year. However, in 2000, he was slapped with a national security certificate on the grounds that he had been a senior member of two Egyptian terror groups and was arrested pending deportation. Part of the intelligence against him was kept secret.Because he faces a risk of torture if returned to Egypt, he has remained in Canada, essentially in a state of limbo. He was released from detention in 2009 under strict conditions, eased substantially since then, and which were upheld earlier this month.Mahjoub’s appeal consolidated challenges to three Federal Court judgments: that the security-threat designation was reasonable, the process he faced had been fair, and violations of his solicitor-client privilege did not warrant throwing out the case against him.On all three issues, the Appeal Court sided with earlier rulings, going out of its way to praise how the lower court had imposed order on the “legal chaos” of a difficult case.“For the benefit of others who one day may have to decide a case as complex this and who seek guidance, the Federal Court’s seven sets of reasons — 1,021 pages and 2,160 paragraphs of tightly-written, crystal-clear reasons — are a model worthy of study and emulation, an example of the execution of the judicial craft at its finest,” the Appeal Court said. “Even-handedness, neutrality, logic and clinical analysis were on display throughout.”The Appeal Court rejected Mahjoub’s effort to argue the laws are unconstitutional given the government’s reliance, in part, on evidence hidden from him for security reasons. The appointment of so-called special advocates, given access to the information so it can be tested before a judge in closed court, provides sufficient safeguards, the court said.Mahjoub failed to show the lower court had made “palpable and overriding” mistakes in seeking to have the proceedings tossed on abuse-of-process grounds despite raising a “panoply of issues,” the Appeal Court said.Those assertions included not knowing all the evidence against him, that the security services had violated his right to stay silent or listened in on his calls with his lawyers, and that information against him was linked to torture or otherwise unreliable.In all cases, the appellate court sided with judges who ruled earlier against Mahjoub, despite finding his rights had at times indeed been breached or other problems with the proceedings.“True, occasionally mistakes and faults happened, and often remedies were needed to redress them,” the Appeal Court said. “But individually or collectively, there is no factual and legal basis upon which the Federal Court could have permanently stayed these proceedings.”Mahjoub’s lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.
SALABERRY-DE-VALLEYFIELD, Qc – A Quebec man who is accused of killing his partner and wounding a provincial police officer was arraigned on five charges on Thursday, including first-degree murder.Quebec provincial police said Alain Castonguay, 72, appeared by video conference at the courthouse in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Que., southwest of Montreal.Castonguay is charged in the slaying of his partner, Johanne Chayer, 65.He was also charged with four counts of attempted murder involving provincial police officers — including a 27-year-old officer who remains in serious but stable condition.The officer was shot as he responded to the call on Tuesday night.Castonguay’s defence lawyer said he didn’t know much yet about his client, who he’d met just before the hearing.“All I can say is, he was articulate enough to respond clearly to his lawyer,” Jacques Vinet said.“Clearly as you could see earlier, it’s a family tragedy, it’s really not easy.”As officers arrived at a home in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield on Tuesday at about 9:30 p.m., they were fired upon and one officer was hit.Police entered the home hours later and Chayer was found unconscious before being pronounced dead in hospital.Police had said the accused was also facing a weapons charge but the Crown said only five charges were laid.Crown prosecutor Helene Langis said the next step in the case will be to finish disclosing evidence to the defence.“We’re very early in the case, evidently,” she said.The case returns to court Oct. 30.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version wrongly said the suspect was facing six charges, he is actually facing five.
Canada’s drive to shut down all of its coal-fired power plants by 2030 could be undermined by provincial side-deals like the one currently being negotiated with Nova Scotia, critics say.“A 2030 date, overall for Canada, is achievable and ambitious — it strikes that sweet spot,” Erin Flanagan, federal program director at the Pembina Institute, said Tuesday.“We don’t want to see any policy slippage during the negotiations … We want to make sure that each of the provinces is held to the same standard and they are doing everything they can to facilitate that coal-to-clean process.”Flanagan, in Bonn, Germany, for the 2017 United Nations climate change talks, said federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is winning kudos for her high-profile bid to lobby other countries and states to commit to a 2030 deadline.But Flanagan said Canada has plenty of work to do before it reaches that target.Since the federal and provincial governments share responsibility for energy and the environment, the provinces have the option of implementing the new federal rule through so-called equivalency agreements, which are aimed at achieving equivalent environmental outcomes.Nova Scotia is pushing for an exemption that could see the province using coal-fired plants well beyond 2030. Last November, Ottawa and the province agreed to that idea in principle, with the federal government recognizing that Nova Scotia has already met Canada’s target of a 30-per-cent reduction in greenhouse emissions from 2005 levels.As well, Nova Scotia is on track to generate 40 per cent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020 — an ambitious goal set in 2010 when almost 90 per cent of its electricity was generated by fossil fuels.However, the province has previously projected that coal would continue to play some part in its energy mix until 2042. Premier Stephen McNeil has said the longer transition away from coal will help reduce the “sticker shock” for electricity consumers.While it’s true Nova Scotia has had great success in reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, Flanagan said she is concerned the exemption may prompt other provinces to backslide.“It might be tempting for a jurisdiction like Saskatchewan to say, ‘Hey, (Nova Scotia) is keeping their coal on the grid until 2040,” she said.“It’s quite important for us to ask questions about how they will be using this tool. It’s likely to have big-time implications.”Speaking in Manila on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called coal the “dirtiest of all fossil fuels,” adding that reducing its use was one of the greatest challenges to meeting climate change targets.The use of coal-fired generating plants in Alberta, Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia accounts for 10 per cent of Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Ontario has already shut down all of its coal-fired plants, and Alberta has committed to doing the same by 2030, though the plan in that province is to mainly use another fossil fuel: natural gas.Stephen Thomas, energy campaign co-ordinator with the Halifax-based Ecology Action Centre, said the equivalency deals are crucial.“It’s critical that we pay really close attention to what actually comes up,” he said. “It could be quite far from what is actually the intent of this 2030 phase out.”Environmental activist David Suzuki said Tuesday Canada is good at making commitments on behalf of the provinces, but bad at following through.As an example, he cited former Conservative environment minister Lucien Bouchard, who in 1988 told Suzuki that global warning was the most important issue facing the planet because it threatened human survival.“And what have we done since then?” Suzuki asked in an interview. “That’s the easy part: to make the commitment. The hard part is doing something.”Suzuki said McKenna is “saying the right things,” but her efforts to reduce coal use have no resonance in the United States, where President Donald Trump has made it a personal mission to revive the American coal industry.In a conference call from Bonn, McKenna said setting the 2030 deadline was difficult, though she said the rapidly shrinking cost of renewable energy will help the provinces meet the deadline.“I think everyone recognizes that leadership,” McKenna said Tuesday. “What’s great to see is that other countries are coming to us and saying ‘We appreciate what you’re doing and we want to understand how you did it.’”Green party Leader Elizabeth May said the issue has been complicated by Nova Scotia’s decision to approve the opening in March of the Donkin underground coal mine in Cape Breton.“It’s an appalling thing to approve,” she said from Bonn. “To allow a coal mine to open in this day and age is massively irresponsible.”None of the Donkin coal is being used to generate electricity in Nova Scotia, but the company that owns the mine, Cline Mining Corp. has said it is keen to have Nova Scotia Power Inc. as a customer.The province has three coal-fired power plants — two of them in Cape Breton, where coal mining is considered a tool of economic survival.“Each province poses its own challenges whenever the federal government is proposing a pan-Canadian framework,” May said, adding that she has raised the equivalency issue with Trudeau.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version misstated the timing of provincial approval for the Donkin mine.
VANCOUVER – Chiefs from 634 First Nations communities will elect a national chief to lead the Assembly of First Nations during their convention in Vancouver on Wednesday. Five candidates are vying for the top job:— Perry Bellegarde: The incumbent chief of the AFN is from the Little Black Bear First Nation in Treaty 4 territory in Saskatchewan. He says his close relationship with the federal government has secured billions of dollars in new funding for Indigenous issues over the last three budgets though he has been criticized by other candidates for being too cosy with the government.— Russ Diabo from Kahnawake, a Mohawk community south of Montreal, is a policy analyst who says Ottawa has acted unilaterally in efforts to come up with a new Indigenous legal framework and consults only chiefs when it seeks input from Indigenous communities.— Sheila North, grand chief of Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak, has said she wants to lead the Assembly of First Nations to push the federal government to act on all the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.— Miles Richardson of British Columbia is the former president of the Council of the Haida Nation and headed the B.C. Treaty Commission. He has called for the Assembly of First Nations to work toward establishing sustainable economies that would ensure self-sufficiency for all Indigenous nations.— Katherine Whitecloud, is a community leader and former grand chief of the Wipazoka Wakpa Dakota Nation in Manitoba. She also served as regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations and is calling on First Nations to assert their nationhood.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Russ Diabo’s last name.
WINNIPEG – New online maps let viewers zero in on how climate change will affect their part of Canada’s boreal forest.“It’s designed to give information that’s relevant to people where they live,” Danny Blair, co-director of the Prairie Climate Centre at the University of Winnipeg, said Monday.The centre released its climate atlas of Canada last spring. This week, they’ve added information that details how things are likely to change in the boreal forest, the vast ribbon of green that stretches across the northern reaches of most provinces and into the territories.“So much of climate change information just isn’t relevant to people,” Blair said. “It’s big scale, very long-term trends. It all seems rather vague and I’m not surprised that people turn away from it.”Blair and his colleagues divided the entire country into a grid of squares 10 kilometres per side. Using a combination of 12 international climate models, they made their best projection as to how each of those grid squares would be changed.The changes were calculated for high- and low-emissions futures. As well, they were projected out to the end of the century.Their method allows them to be quite specific.Edmonton, for example, currently averages three or four days every summer in which the temperature climbs above 30 C, Blair said. By the second half of the century, little more than 30 years from now, that is likely to increase to more than 20 such days.Similarly, Winnipeg is likely to go from 12 30-plus days to more than 50.“It’s really quite dramatic if we follow the trend that we’re on right now,” Blair said. “We’re going to see some really high temperatures.”At the same time, the prairies from Manitoba to Alberta are likely to be drying out. Blair has no hesitation in linking the larger, hotter forest wildfires of the last few summers at least partly to climate change.“If there’s one thing we’re quite certain about, it is that forest fires are getting worse under climate change and they’re going to get worse.”Insect infestations are also likely to grow. Huge swaths of boreal forest in much-loved areas such as Jasper National Park are already reddened by dead trees caused by the mountain pine beetle.As well, the forest is being squeezed.On the south, drought stress is making it tough on boreal staples such as aspen trees. But the soils of northern climes are too thin to allow trees to move northward, although some shrubs are already making the move.“Soils have a very, very long time of generation,” Blair said.The point of the maps, he said, was to give Canadians a plain-language tool they can use for themselves to understand what’s coming.Much of that climate change is already here. The UN-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggests the planet has little more than a decade to lower emissions to avoid further impacts.“It has real implications for agriculture, for human health, all aspects of our life that are affected by temperature,” Blair said.“It’s going to get a lot hotter — that’s coming one way or another. Hopefully, we’ll limit it by reducing our carbon content in the atmosphere.”— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
Stephanie Taylor, The Canadian Press REGINA — Lawyers are expected to pack a Regina courtroom today to argue the constitutionality of a federally imposed carbon tax.A panel of five judges is to listen to arguments from both the Saskatchewan and federal governments as well as from 16 interveners on both sides of the dispute.Saskatchewan opposes the federal government’s plan to force a carbon tax on the province and plans to argue it is unconstitutional because it’s not applied evenly in all jurisdictions.Ottawa says the constitution gives it the power to impose a carbon price because climate change and greenhouse gas emissions are national concerns.The two-day hearing is to open with Saskatchewan presenting its case followed by submissions from other carbon-tax opponents.The governments of New Brunswick, Ontario and Alberta’s Opposition United Conservative Party are among the presenters.On Thursday, Ottawa is to get its turn as well as interveners from the pro-carbon-tax side.“I would put this case on a short list of important federalism decisions that courts have grappled with,” said University of Alberta law professor Eric Adams.He said there are merits to both arguments.Where Saskatchewan will want to keep the court focused on the federal-provincial division of powers, Ottawa is likely to steer its argument towards the issue of climate change itself, Adams said.Saskatchewan Attorney General Don Morgan has said challenging the constitutionality of Ottawa’s carbon tax is the right thing to do for his province’s residents and its energy sector.Saskatchewan is one of four provinces without a carbon pricing plan that will be subject to Ottawa’s fuel charge starting in April.New Brunswick, Ontario and Manitoba are the others.The federal government’s carbon price starts at a minimum at $20 a tonne and rises $10 each year until 2022.
The Canadian Press LANGLEY, B.C. — Police say dozens of people were injured, some critically, when the second storey deck of a home in Langley, B.C., collapsed Friday evening during a wedding celebration.RCMP Cpl. Craig Van Herk said 911 calls started flooding in around 5:45 p.m. local time reporting multiple injuries at a home on 268th Street.Van Herk said police, the B.C. Ambulance Service and local firefighters all responded to the scene where they found 35 to 40 injured people ranging in age from children to the elderly.He said one person was transported by air ambulance to hospital in critical condition, while possibly two others, also critical, were taken to hospital in road ambulances. Van Herk added that nearly 20 people had suffered serious injuries, while 12 to 15 others were treated in hospital for minor injuries.Van Herk said there were more than 100 people at the party, however, it wasn’t immediately known how many were on the deck when it fell.He noted that it was a “fairly dynamic, complex situation” as first responders arrived to find so many injured people. He said investigators would return Saturday to try to determine the cause of the collapse.
VANCOUVER — A former Liberal environment minister is urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet to reject the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, arguing there is no economic basis for the project.David Anderson, who served 10 years in the cabinets of prime ministers Jean Chretien and Paul Martin, sent letters to six members of Trudeau’s cabinet this week asking them to dismiss the pipeline proposal.“There is no credible evidence to suggest that Asia is likely to be a reliable or a significant market for Alberta bitumen,” Anderson wrote in the letter dated June 11.Cabinet is expected to announce its decision on the expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline by Tuesday. Given that Trudeau’s government bought the pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion, it’s widely anticipated to give it the green light.Anderson holds a law degree and served eight of his 10 years in cabinet as the senior federal minister for British Columbia. While he was environment minister in 2002, Canada ratified the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change. He is now an honorary director of West Coast Environmental Law and has previously spoken out against the Trans Mountain project.His letter doesn’t focus on the climate and environmental impacts of the expansion. Instead, he took aim at the economic argument for the project, which he described as the “perceived need for a pipeline connection with tidewater in order to sell Alberta bitumen in Asian markets, where, so it is claimed, it would find new purchasers.”“With respect, you and other government ministers have yet to provide evidence in support of that hope,” he wrote.Anderson wrote that Asian refineries have better supply options than Alberta. Compared with conventional light and medium crude oil from Nigeria and the Middle East, Alberta bitumen is expensive to produce, hard to handle and provides no security of supply advantages, he said.Further, he said despite access to tidewater through unused pipeline capacity in the existing system and through American Gulf of Mexico ports, Alberta’s bitumen has not found or developed any significant offshore market in Asia or anywhere else.“Why? Because buyers are few and far between. That remains the situation today, and there is little to suggest it will change in the future. Building a new pipeline will not change the market.”Canada’s two major competitors are Venezuela and Mexico and they’ve faced the same low demand and low prices that have eroded the value of Alberta bitumen, he added.Anderson said in an interview that he sent the letter because he is a Liberal and felt the government needed to be reminded that it had not made a business case for the project. He said no one had responded.“You’d think the people who own the pipeline, the Canadian taxpayers, should be informed of what their asset is likely to bring in,” he said.Trans Mountain Corp. has said the expansion will inject $7.4 billion into Canada’s economy, boost federal and provincial tax coffers by $46.7 billion and increase revenues for producers by $73.5 billion over 20 years.Trevor Tombe, an associate economics professor at the University of Calgary, said it’s true that Alberta bitumen is more difficult to refine but that’s reflected in the cheaper price.Producers in Alberta are confident there will be demand and have made contractual commitments to ship through the expanded pipeline, he said. Further, he said all forecasts, including the National Energy Board’s assessment, predict increased oil production in the province.“The only question around the economics of the pipeline that matters is will there be barrels shipped in it, not where those barrels go. That will potentially even change from one year to the next,” he said, adding the United States and British Columbia are other possible markets.An often-cited argument for the expansion is that Alberta’s prices are lower because it can only currently access U.S. markets. But Tombe argued the issue isn’t that America is exercising market power, it’s that Alberta is using high-cost transportation options including rail and truck.“It is cheaper to ship by pipe than by rail. Full stop,” Tombe said.The largest single demand source for heavy crude remains the United States, but the fastest-growing market is Asia, said Kevin Birn, a North America crude oil market analyst at IHS Markit.People sometimes refer to Asia as code for China, but the continent is an immense market containing India, Japan, Korea and others and it’s looking for a variety of crude, both in terms of quality and geographic source, he said.Refineries can be reconfigured to process different oil types but it’s hard to justify doing so for Alberta crude if they can’t get it on a consistent basis, he added.“In the absence of having meaningful export capacity, there is no market for Canadian crude. But if there is meaningful export capacity, there is a market for Canadian crude.”— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A British Columbia man has pleaded guilty to one count of failing to provide the necessaries of life for the death by snake venom of a two-year-old girl.Alisia Adams with the BC Prosecution Service confirmed Henry Thomas made the plea in North Vancouver provincial court on Thursday.Thomas was charged earlier this year, more than five years after the death of two-year-old Aleka Gonzales.She died on May 19, 2014, and RCMP said in January that a test confirmed the girl had been poisoned by snake venom.Police said the girl was left in the care of Thomas the day before her death and he returned her to her mother in North Vancouver that day.The next morning the little girl was found dead.Police said an in-depth investigation was launched and in July 2015 officers searched the man’s home where snakes and related equipment were seized.The RCMP say further DNA work was done in the following years and tests confirmed that snake venom was the cause of the two-year-old’s death.A sentencing hearing for Thomas has been scheduled for Oct. 3.The Canadian Press