Kolkata: Giving a clarion call to bring back transparency in the voting process, Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee proposed to hold elections in the Panchayats and civic bodies using ballot papers, replacing the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).She was addressing the largest rally till date to commemorate Martyrs’ Day, at Esplanade on Sunday afternoon. Police had gunned down 13 Youth Congress supporters who took part in a rally demanding “No ID card no vote” on July 21, 1993. Trinamool has been observing the day as Martyrs’ Day since the inception of the party on January 1, 1998. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”We will request the Election Commission to conduct elections in Panchayats, municipalities and corporations in ballot papers,” she said, adding: “BJP’s victory in 2019 Lok Sabha poll is a mystery and not history. USA and all the European countries have discarded EVMs and so our demand is justified. We will show the path.” It may be recalled that in the rallies before the general elections, Banerjee had repeatedly been vocal about the manipulation of EVMs. Many Opposition parties had echoed her voice but none had actually carried out any movement regarding the same. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayReferring to the cut money issue, she said: “BJP has misinterpreted what I had told my party men on the issue.” Coming down heavily on the saffron party, she raised the slogan ‘Return black money’ and instructed Trinamool workers to launch movements up to the block level, urging BJP to return black money. “I have evidence that BJP leaders had taken money for providing Ujala connections. Go back to your areas and launch movement urging BJP leaders to return the money which they had taken,” Banerjee said. She said Trinamool will organise rallies throughout the state, demanding that BJP should disclose the foreign funds which it had received before the general elections. “Indira Jaisingh’s residence was raided for receiving foreign funds worth Rs 90 lakh. But BJP has made law in such a way that it will not have to disclose the amount of foreign money it has received. Is it justified?” Banerjee questioned and added: “We have not received Rs 15 lakh in our accounts. We want BJP to return the black money it has received from different sources.” Referring to the deterioration of law and order situation in Bhatpara, she said: “This is the result of voting for BJP. There had not been any problem in Bhatpara in the past eight years. BJP is creating trouble everywhere. CPI(M)’s hoodlums who have joined BJP are now creating trouble in Khejuri and Keshpur.” Speaking about the “double standard” of BJP, the Trinamool supremo said: “In Uttar Pradesh Piyanka Gandhi and the Trinamool delegation led by Derek O’ Brien were not allowed to meet the family of the dalits who got killed a few days ago. In Assam, the Trinamool delegation which had gone to meet those whose names had been dropped from the NRC list, were not allowed to go out of the airport. However, a BJP delegation came from Delhi and met people in Bhatpara, flouting the prohibitory order under Section 144 CrPC.” Banerjee alleged that BJP is involved in horse trading in Bengal as well. “I was talking to one of our MLAS from North Bengal and he told me that BJP had proposed to give him Rs 2 crore and a petrol pump,” she said, adding: “People will shun them who will join BJP after taking money.” Cheering up the party workers assembled at the rally, she said: “There is nothing to worry. We have increased our vote percentage. Work seriously in your locality and build contacts with local people. Have faith in Trinamool and face any situation courageously and do not run away in case any trouble crops up.” “BJP will try out all means to scare us and harass us. But under no circumstance will we bow down to the party that has vitiated society,” she added. Meanwhile, she urged CPI(M) and Congress “not to take up self-destructive methods” and launch movement against BJP. “You do not have to support us. Put up a serious fight against the BJP,” she stated. Banerjee also announced the programmes which the party will undertake in the next few months.
Tokyo: Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth stormed into the second round of the Japan Open after beating Kento Nishimoto in straight games in the men’s singles event here on Tuesday. The unseeded Praneeth recorded a comfortable 21-17 21-13 win over the Japanese shuttler in just 42 minutes at the BWF World Tour Super 750 tournament. He will face Kanta Tsuneyama of Japan in the second round. In the mixed doubles event, Satwiksairak Rankreddy and Ashwini Ponnappa started their campaign on a winning note. The duo beat the German combine of Marvin Seidel and Linda Efler in straight games 21-14 31-19. However, it was a bad day in the office for the men’s doubles pair of Manu Attri and Sumeeth B Reddy, who crashed out with a 12-21 16-21 loss to Malaysia’s Goh Sze Fei and Nur Izzuddin. On Wednesday, top Indian shuttlers PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth will begin their campaign in the women’s and men’s singles respectively. Sindhu, who is seeded fifth, will face Yue Han, while Srikanth will take on compatriot H S Prannoy.
Seoul: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un supervised the launch of “a new type of tactical guided weapon” as a “solemn warning” to the South, state media said Friday, a day after the North fired two missiles into the sea. Kim personally organised and guided the firing of the “state-of-the-art weaponry system” on Thursday and was “gratified” with the outcome, KCNA said. It was Pyongyang’s first missile test since an impromptu June meeting between Kim and US President Donald Trump in the demilitarised zone between North and South Korea. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThat meeting produced an agreement to resume a working-level dialogue on denuclearisation with Washington but those talks have yet to begin. The North has previously warned that upcoming US-South Korea joint military exercises could affect the resumption of the talks. There are close to 30,000 US troops stationed in South Korea and their annual manoeuvres with South Korean soldiers have always infuriated Pyongyang. Japan’s defence minister called the launches “extremely regrettable” while Seoul’s National Security Office said it expressed “strong concern” and the US called for an end to such “provocations”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsKim accused the South of “double-dealing behaviour” by talking peace, but then “behind the scene, shipping ultra-modern offensive weapons and holding joint military exercises”, KCNA said. South Korea’s leaders “should not make a mistake of ignoring the warning from Pyongyang”, it added. Seoul’s Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the two missiles were launched just after dawn from Wonsan on the east coast. A military official in Seoul said one of the two weapons flew more than 430 kilometres (270 miles), while the other travelled 690 kilometres. Seoul’s National Security Office said the launches were of a “new type of short-range ballistic missiles”. The US said it wanted to continue talking with the North but called for a halt to such “provocations”. “We want to have diplomatic engagement with North Korea, and we continue to urge the North Koreans to resolve all the things that the president and Chairman Kim have talked about through diplomacy,” US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. “We urge no more provocations, and that all parties should abide by their obligations under (United Nations Security Council) resolutions,” she said. Japan’s defence minister stressed that the missiles had fallen short of his country’s exclusive economic zone. Pyongyang carried out similar short-range launches in May, which Trump dismissed at the time as “very standard stuff” that would have no impact on his relationship with Kim. Thursday’s launches came a day after US National Security Advisor John Bolton — an arch-hawk regularly vilified by North Korean state media — spoke with senior South Korean officials in Seoul.
Asuncion: Argentina star Lionel Messi was banned from playing for his national team for three months and fined 50,000 on Friday by CONMEBOL after he heavily criticized the South American football governing body during the Copa America. The 32-year-old Barcelona forward had accused CONMEBOL of “corruption” after he was sent off against Chile during the third-place play-off during the tournament in Brazil, which ended last month. Messi was angered by two incidents during the June-July Copa hosted by bitter rivals Brazil. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Argentina were denied two penalty claims in their 2-0 semi-final defeat to the hosts, after which Messi claimed Brazil were “managing a lot in CONMEBOL these days.” And when he was harshly dismissed in the next game, which Argentina went on to win 2-1, he couldn’t contain his anger. “Corruption and the referees are preventing people from enjoying the football and they’re ruining it a bit,” Messi said. He was given his marching orders after a first-half scuffle with Chile captain Gary Medel in which television pictures suggested he’d done little wrong. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later The CONMEBOL statement on its website didn’t specify why Messi was being punished but said it was related to articles 7.1 and 7.2 of its disciplinary regulations. One such clause refers to “offensive, insulting behavior or making defamatory protests of any kind.” Another clause mentions “breaching the decisions, directives or orders of the judicial bodies.” The ban means only that Messi will miss a handful of friendly matches as Argentina’s next competitive fixture is not until the South American qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar begin in March. However, he has already received a one-game ban from CONMEBOL for his red card against Chile meaning he’ll miss the first of those. Argentina have two friendlies lined up in the United States in September against Chile and Mexico and another in October away to Germany. Messi would miss all three of those but be free to play for his country again in November.
Porto Velhi (Brazil): Hundreds of new fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil, official data showed on Saturday, amid growing international pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro to put out the worst blazes in years. The fires in the world’s largest rainforest have triggered a global outcry and are dominating the G7 meeting in Biarritz in southern France. Official figures show 78,383 forest fires were recorded in Brazil so far this year, the highest number of any year since 2013, and experts say the clearing of land during the months-long dry season to make way for crops or grazing has accelerated the deforestation. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsMore than half of the fires are in the Amazon, and some 1,663 new fires were ignited between Thursday and Friday, according to the National Institute for Space Research. The new data came a day after Bolsonaro authorised the deployment of the military to fight the fires and crack down on criminal activities in the region. The blazes have stirred outrage globally, with thousands protesting in Brazil and Europe on Friday. The growing crisis threatens to torpedo a blockbuster trade deal between the European Union and South American countries, including Brazil, that took 20 years to negotiate. EU Council president Donald Tusk told reporters at the G7 on Saturday that it was hard to imagine European countries ratifying a trade pact with the Mercosur bloc as long as Brazil fails to curb the fires ravaging the Amazon, which is considered to be the “lungs of the planet” and crucial to keeping climate change in check. French President Emmanuel Macron, who has taken the lead in piling pressure on Bolsonaro over the fires, had earlier accused the far-right leader of lying to him about Brazil’s stance on climate change.
New Delhi: Hong Kong-based Transsion Holdings’ brand TECNO Mobile on Thursday launched two entry-level smartphones in ‘SPARK’ series — Spark Go and Spark 4 Air — in India. Spark Go is priced at Rs 5,499 for 2GB RAM + 16GB storage option. Spark 4 Air is priced at Rs 6,999 for 3GB RAM and 32GB storage option. The devices would be available at more than 35,000 offline retail stores across the country, the company said in a statement. “With TECNO SPARK, we are certain to address the pain points of our consumers related to video watching experience in the entry-level segment,” said Arijeet Talapatra, Chief Executive Officer, TRANSSION India. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year In terms of specifications, both devices runs on HiOS 5 based Android Pie and features 6.1-inch HD+ display with 19.5:9 aspect ratio and 85 per cent screen-to-body ratio. The device also comes with an AI read mode that automatically adjusts the screen brightness and colours. The dual-SIM ‘Spark Go’ is powered by MediaTek Helio A22, 2.0GHz Quad-Core processor paired with 2GB RAM. Spark Air 4 is also powered by same processor paired with 3GB RAM. Spark Go comes with 8MP AI rear camera paired with dual flash and Spark 4 Air houses a 13MP rear camera. Up front, both the devices features a 5MP AI selfie camera with a micro-slit front flash. Both the smartphones are fueled by a 3,000mAh battery.
VANCOUVER – A prosecutor says a man accused of bringing hundreds of Tamil migrants into Canada illegally in a dilapidated cargo ship nearly seven years ago has been found guilty.Crown counsel Charles Hough says a B.C. Supreme Court jury found Kunarobinson Christhurajah guilty Saturday of human smuggling 10 or more persons.It was a retrial for the Sri Lankan national over his involvement in the voyage of the MV Sun Sea that travelled from Thailand to British Columbia’s coast in 2010.The vessel, which was considered unseaworthy in the open ocean, crossed the Pacific without a formal crew, carrying 492 Sri Lankan Tamils who intended to claim refugee status.A previous trial heard Christhurajah was an asylum seeker and travelled on the Sun Sea with his wife, while Rajaratnam’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, brother-in-law and two cousins were on board.The trial which ended in January acquitted three other men who had been accused human smuggling in the case, but the jury at the time was left undecided on Christhurajah.Christhurajah served more than six years in jail before being granted bail in February.Hough wouldn’t comment further on the case and Christhurajah’s lawyer Casey Leggett also declined to comment.Justice Catherine Wedge did not schedule a sentencing hearing, and Hough says Christhurajah remains free on bail.
TORONTO – A look at the long legal odyssey of Canadian-born Omar Khadr:July 27, 2002: Khadr, 15, allegedly throws grenade that kills United States Sgt. 1st Class Christopher Speer during an American attack on a compound in Afghanistan. A badly wounded Khadr is taken prisoner.October 2002: Khadr is transferred to Guantanamo Bay.February 2003: Investigators from the RCMP and Canadian Security Intelligence Service interview Khadr at Guantanamo.Aug. 10, 2005: Federal Court judge says Canadian agencies, including CSIS, violated Khadr’s rights by giving information from interviews with him to U.S. investigators.Nov. 7, 2005: The U.S. military charges Khadr with conspiracy, attempted murder and aiding the enemy.March 17, 2008: Khadr alleges he was threatened with rape and violence by interrogators seeking a confession.May 23, 2008: The Supreme Court of Canada concludes Canadian officials illegally shared information about Khadr with the U.S.Aug. 14, 2009: The Federal Court of Appeal upholds a ruling requiring Ottawa to press for Khadr’s return from Guantanamo Bay.Jan. 29, 2010: The Supreme Court overturns court orders that the Canadian government should repatriate Khadr, despite agreeing his human rights were violated.Aug. 9, 2010: Khadr pleads not guilty to five war crimes charges, including murder. Judge Col. Patrick Parrish rules Khadr’s confessions admissible.Oct. 25, 2010: Khadr changes his plea to guilty on all five counts; gets opportunity to apply for a transfer to a Canadian prison after one more year at Gitmo.Oct. 31, 2010: Khadr is sentenced to 40 years in prison but pre-trial deal limits sentence to eight more years.April 2012: U.S. defence secretary signs off on Khadr’s transfer.Sept. 29, 2012: A U.S. military airplane brings Khadr to Canada. He is sent to Millhaven Institution near Kingston, Ont.April 28, 2013: Khadr’s lawyer says he plans to appeal his convictions.May 28, 2013: Khadr is transferred to the maximum security Edmonton Institution.Sept. 23, 2013: An Edmonton judge hears arguments on whether Khadr is serving a youth sentence and should be in a provincial jail.Oct. 18, 2013: Khadr is denied transfer to a provincial jail.Feb. 11, 2014: Khadr’s lawyer confirms his client’s move to medium-security Bowden Institution near Innisfail, Alta.July 8, 2014: Alberta’s Appeal Court allows Khadr to transfer to a provincial jail but his lawyers consent to a stay of the ruling.March 26, 2015: Khadr asks for bail pending his appeal in the U.S. of his war-crimes conviction.April 24, 2015: Alberta judge grants Khadr bail.May 14, 2015: The Supreme Court rejects government efforts to have Khadr ruled an adult offender and says he should be in a provincial jail.Aug. 19, 2015: Khadr is eligible for statutory release after serving two-thirds of his sentence as a youth.Sept. 11, 2015: Alberta judge eases some bail conditions: Khadr’s curfew is relaxed.Sept. 18, 2015: Judge allows him to visit his grandparents in Toronto if he travels with his lawyer. He can also get rid of his monitoring bracelet.March 2017: Khadr undergoes 19-hour operation in Edmonton on shoulder damaged during his capture in 2002.April 2017: Khadr’s official Canadian criminal record contains errors, such as referring to the military commission as “youth court,” The Canadian Press reports.July 4, 2017: Sources say the federal government will pay Khadr $10.5 million and apologize to settle his ongoing lawsuit against Ottawa.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Agriculture ministers signed a $3-billion partnership with Ottawa aimed at strengthening the industry and developing new markets as federal officials prepare for looming trade talks with the United States.Federal Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay said the Canadian Agricultural Partnership is intended to help the $100-billion sector come up with innovations to boost productivity, develop new trading partners and mitigate environmental issues.The five-year plan, which comes into effect on April 1, 2018, was rolled out Friday at the close of two days of meetings between MacAulay and his provincial and territorial counterparts in St. John’s, N.L.“The 14 ministers sitting down agreed that this is the best path forward,” MacAulay said at the closing news conference. “I don’t think anybody feels cheated out of anything.”He said the partnership is meant to help the sector continue to “innovate, grow and prosper and position Canada as a leader in the global economy.” There are six key components, including science and research, market development, environmental sustainability and risk management.A review will also be done on the risk management programs, with ministers slated to look at the findings at their meeting next July.MacAulay says he hopes it will ensure more equitable coverage for producers under AgriStability, which provides support for farmers experiencing crop failures or large losses.Saskatchewan Agriculture Minister Lyle Stewart said the new partnership replaces Growing Forward 2, but should maintain the same level of funding.The new agreement allows provinces and territories to trigger late participation, meaning producers could enter the program and get slightly lower payments even if they did not sign up by the deadline.“Saskatchewan does not support late participation in AgriStability as we believe it goes directly against the principle of proactive risk management and does not fix a problem producers have identified,” Stewart said. “We have no intention of triggering late participation under any circumstances in the province.”Nova Scotia Agriculture Minister Keith Colwell said he was pleased with the new deal, saying it was a “better framework than the last one.”The ministers reaffirmed their support for supply management, which limits the amount of imports into Canada without high tariffs, as Canadian officials gear up for trade talks on everything from wheat to dairy that are set to begin next month with the United States.Colwell said he was confident in the upcoming negotiations and that the ministers would be getting regular updates as talks proceed.“It looks positive so far, but it’s early in the negotiation stages,” he said in St. John’s. “I feel very confident in the federal negotiators.”Canadian farm incomes rose to $14.8 billion in 2016, while the total value of Canadian agriculture, agri-food and seafood exports exceeded $62 billion.– By Alison Auld in Halifax
WATERTON, Alta. – Parks Canada has reopened the townsite in Waterton Lakes National Park to the public, but advises that all other areas in the park remain closed.The powerful fire that shut down the park and forced everyone out almost two weeks ago has been held for several days and remains at about 380 square kilometres.Residents, business owners and lease holders were allowed to return to the town on Tuesday to clean up ash and debris.Parks Canada is urging visitors to come with basic supplies as not all businesses may be open.A trail that loops around the town site is open, as are some picnic and day-use areas, including at Cameron Falls, which is a focal point in the village.Camping at the in-town campsite is not yet permitted.Only the Entrance road, Chief Mountain Road and the streets within town are open.“All other roads and areas in the park remain closed for safety reasons,” Parks Canada said in an update Thursday. “Due to the high intensity of the fire, there are a large number of danger trees, rock falls and other hazards that remain throughout the park.”A cold front with cooler temperatures and limited precipitation is expected to remain in the area for another day or two. Temperatures are expected to return to the mid-teens on the weekend.The fire started in British Columbia, but it eventually tore through the park. Fire crews managed to stop it from spreading into town and also saved the iconic 1920s Prince of Wales Hotel standing high on a bluff over the town.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will sit down with U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday to seek common ground as uncertainty looms over the future of NAFTA.Trudeau and Trump are to meet at the White House as round four of talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement get underway a few kilometres away in Arlington, V.A.But Trump has repeatedly signalled he’s rather rip up the deal before renegotiating it, casting a pall over the talks.Trudeau told a summit for businesswomen in D.C. Tuesday night that he views his meeting with the president as a continuation of their efforts to find ways to mutually benefit both countries.“President Trump got elected on many of the same goals I got elected on of making sure that people who don’t feel like the success and growth of the economy has worked for them do better,” he said.“We don’t always have the same policy prescriptions to do that but in our desire to help the middle class and those working hard to join it we always find common ground.”Trudeau will head into his meeting with Trump after talks with the influential House of Representatives’ Ways and Means committee, one of two bodies of U.S. lawmakers helping negotiators put forward the U.S. positions on trade.Talks kick off Wednesday with a discussion of government procurement, already a thorny subject as U.S. negotiators suggested during the last round of talks in Ottawa they want to limit access to Canadians and Mexicans to U.S. projects.After that, discussions will move onto developing remedies for trade disputes and on Saturday, the discussions are expected to turn to agriculture.Trudeau said he sees room for modernizing the deal, but also to make it more progressive.“Putting progressive elements into trade deals – labour protections, environmental protections – actually helps us make the case for trade and reassure people that the benefits of trade will be distributed more fairly and not just to the small number of people who’ve always benefited from it in the past.”That Trudeau is in D.C. as NAFTA talks resume was something of a coincidence; the trip was originally planned in connection with the summit he attended Tuesday evening.Prior to delving into trade issues Wednesday, he’s also meeting with an organization that promotes women’s education.On Thursday, he’ll leave for Mexico, his first official visit to that country.
WINNIPEG – A sentencing hearing for a Winnipeg man who admitted he murdered a teenager and stuffed his body in a garbage bin will go ahead with all 96 victim impact statements.Justice Glenn Joyal has ruled all the submissions are admissible, but only 16 from family and close friends will be read aloud in court.Nicholas Bell-Wright, who was 22 when he was charged, was to face a sentencing hearing last week after pleading guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting of Cooper Nemeth in February 2016.But the judge delayed proceedings so he could decide what to do with the eight dozen impact statements.Bell-Wright’s hearing is to resume on Wednesday.Nemeth, who was 17, was shot in the head twice after a house party and his body was found nearly a week later after an extensive search.Investigators said at the time they believed the teen was killed somewhere else and his body moved to the garbage bin on private property — not far from where the party was held.Police also said they did not think there was any gang involvement, but that the killing was drug-related.Joyal opened court on Monday with discussions on the admissibility of all the statements. Last week, court had heard concerns that the number of submissions could have a disproportionate effect on the outcome of sentencing.The Crown had indicated it needed more time to go through all the submissions and Joyal asked that they be whittled down to prevent drawing out the hearings. However, the defence agreed to all the statements being considered.The minimum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.A memorial for Nemeth attracted hundreds of people. It was organized by the Bear Clan patrol, a group of volunteers who walk Winnipeg’s streets at night to promote safety and provide support to the inner city.(CJOB, The Canadian Press)
TORONTO – The resounding defeat of Ontario’s Liberals in this week’s provincial election saw the party that previously held a majority slip below the number of seats required for official party status in the legislature. Here’s a look at what that means.What happened?The broad collapse of Liberal support throughout the province meant the party claimed just seven seats. Current rules dictate that a party needs to have a minimum of eight elected members in order to qualify as an officially recognized party in the legislature.Is the eight-seat threshold a hard rule?No. The threshold for official party status has changed several times in the past and can do so again at the discretion of the government of the day. Premier-designate Doug Ford and his majority Progressive Conservative government could theoretically adjust the cutoff point and allow the Liberals to enjoy the numerous benefits of official party status.What are the benefits of official party status?Money, for a start. The legislative assembly’s internal economy board sets aside funds each year to be distributed among official parties. The Legislative Assembly Act states that official parties can use those funds for research, staff salaries and other purposes the party caucus determines. As things stand now, the Liberals will not have access to any such funds.But can they still operate as usual in the house?No. Without official status, the Liberal Members of Provincial Parliament must operate as independents, which means they lose many privileges they were accustomed to in the past. The assembly’s standing orders state independent MPPs will be excluded from debates where time is supposed to be divided evenly between recognized parties. In debates without such conditions, independents may contribute if the house speaker calls on them. Participation in question period is also heavily contingent on the speaker. Independent legislators can submit requests to ask a question, and the speaker will decide whether or not to recognize that member. The standing order specifies that the speaker must make sure independent members have the same level of opportunity to participate as members of official party caucuses other than party leaders. Independents are also not entitled to reply to ministerial statements, receive copies of government notices of motion or amendments to bills and other such documents.So what can independent members still do?Standing orders state that they can be appointed to standing committees, introduce private members’ bills, make comments or ask questions on other members’ speeches, put written questions on the order paper and raise points of order.
FREDERICTON – New Brunswick schools will no longer sell chocolate milk and juice, joining a continent-wide trend toward healthier school lunches.A new nutrition policy unveiled Wednesday requires foods of a higher nutritional value, which are lower in saturated fat, sugar and sodium for public schools.The government says it applies to all food and beverages offered in public schools — including breakfast and lunch programs, vending machines, canteens, snacks and fundraisers.Flavoured milk and juices will no longer be sold, served or offered.“It is important that we … teach them what a proper meal looks like,” Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Brian Kenny said in a statement.New Brunswick is among at least six provinces that have banned junk food from schools over the last 12 years, and a report released last summer said the measure is having a positive impact on student health.Philip Leonard, a health economist at the University of New Brunswick, found that students banned from making junk food purchases at school for five or more years were, on average, about two pounds lighter than students who did not face a ban.He said younger students showed the most positive results, but noted that probably stems from the fact that older students have more opportunity to leave the school grounds to get food from other sources.In 2005, New Brunswick became the first province to impose a junk food ban inside its schools.Prince Edward Island followed suit later that year. Nova Scotia and Quebec did the same in 2007, followed by British Columbia in 2008 and Ontario in 2011.Using World Health Organization standards, Statistics Canada says close to one third — 31.5 per cent — of Canadian children and youth were classified as overweight or obese between 2009 to 2011.One carton of chocolate milk includes about 40 per cent of the recommended daily allowance of sugar in a child’s diet, critics say.But Marlene Schwartz, director of the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, said last year banning chocolate milk might not be the best choice for every school.There are students who strongly prefer flavoured milk and who might have nutritional deficiencies, Schwartz said. It might make more sense to offer chocolate milk to such children ensure they get the calcium, vitamin D and potassium they need, she said.“You kind of have to know your student body,” Schwartz said. “Districts have to make an informed decision.”San Francisco’s school district recently banned chocolate milk, extending an earlier ban on soft drinks.In 2011, the Los Angeles Unified district banned chocolate milk, citing the same argument against extra sugar as San Francisco.But the largest district in California reversed course after a pilot study found offering chocolate milk again would increase milk consumption and reduce waste.It put chocolate milk back in all the district’s schools in 2017.
HALIFAX – Tens of thousand of people across the Maritimes are without power this morning after the region was lashed by strong winds and heavy rain.New Brunswick has been the hardest hit, with NB Power reporting more than 94,000 customers in the dark after 100 km/h winds swept across the province Saturday and into today.Wind warnings had been posted Saturday and Environment Canada said parts of the province could also expect 15 millimetres of rain.Nova Scotia, where wind and rain warnings was also posted, was hit with similar strength gusts overnight and into this morning along the Fundy coast and over northern sections of Cape Breton.Nova Scotia Power reported this morning that more than 18,000 of its customers were waiting to be reconnected.All of Prince Edward Island was under a wind warning Saturday and by this morning more than 3,000 Maritime Electric customers were without power.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — The former premier who sanctioned Newfoundland and Labrador’s controversial Muskrat Falls hydroelectric megaproject says she was ready to drop the project if she thought it would compromise the public’s trust in her government.The cost of the 824-megawatt dam has essentially doubled to more than $12.7 billion since Kathy Dunderdale’s government signed off on it in December 2012.Dunderdale is testifying this week at the inquiry looking into cost and schedule overruns that have plagued the project she once championed.The former premier spoke Tuesday about a moment after the project was sanctioned when she thought she might have to pull the plug, even if it cost her political career.She said she would only sanction Muskrat Falls with a $4.5-billion federal loan guarantee, but recalled a period of “stress” months later when she learned Nova Scotia’s Emera, a partner in the venture, had not met all conditions for the loan guarantee.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Canadian Forces is considering whether to start recruiting its elite special-forces soldiers straight off the street rather than forcing them to follow the traditional route of first spending several years in the military.The idea, which is still being debated, comes as Canada’s special-forces units are looking for people with different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and language skills, to operate more effectively around the world.Maj.-Gen. Peter Dawe, commander of the Canadian Special Operations Forces Command, says more diverse special forces would make it easier to make connections in different parts of world, understand the environment, interact with powerbrokers and figure out ways to respond to changing circumstances.At the same time, he said expectations within society are changing as young people look at different opportunities available to them, which requires the Forces to make it as attractive as possible to join.Canada currently has about 2,000 special-forces members, including 120 in Iraq and several smaller teams working in such countries as Belize, Jamaica, Niger and Malaysia.Yet while Australia and the U.S. have used “accelerated” recruiting for their special forces with success, Dawe acknowledges the need to strike a balance to ensure Canada’s elite soldiers are properly inculcated into the military’s structure and culture.The Canadian Press
Aviation experts are raising security and passenger safety concerns after a woman was left sleeping on a parked Air Canada aircraft with the lights turned off and crew gone.A friend recounted Tiffani Adams’s ordeal in a Facebook post, saying she fell asleep during a roughly 90 minute flight from Quebec City to Toronto and woke up a few hours after landing on an empty, dark plane.Adams eventually unbolted a door and was rescued by a baggage cart operator.Ross Aimer, CEO of Aero Consulting Experts and a former airline captain, says he’s never heard of such an incident in his roughly four decades of aviation service, and that multiple errors would have to be made to overlook a passenger during disembarking.He says while a cleaning, catering or flight crew would have discovered Adams in the morning had she not been so proactive, it’s possible someone with malicious intent could hide on a plane in this manner and attempt to hijack it.The airline has confirmed the incident happened, but did not immediately respond to a request for additional comment. — With files from The Associated Press Companies in this story: (TSX:AC)The Canadian Press
The PrairiesNear-normal temperatures are expected for fall and a milder-than-normal winter in westernmost parts of the region and colder temperatures are likely to the east.Scott said it’s hard to say exactly what will happen across the Prairies region because there have been so many wild weather fluctuations.It’s been a tough year for farmers with wet conditions around Edmonton and the north and dry weather through parts of the south-western grain belt, he said.“The trend into fall is for near normal precipitation so hopefully we can hold that and not having anything that’s too wet so that agricultural interests can get the harvest in this fall.” Atlantic CanadaScott said above normal-temperatures are expected for southern areas with near-normal temperatures elsewhere. The fall will include dry periods and wetter-than-normal conditions due to occasional storms. Near normal temperatures are expected across the region this winter.Warmer water on the east coast should dictate above normal temperatures on average for southern New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nova Scotia and most of Newfoundland.“As you move farther north — northern New Brunswick, Baie de Chaleur and then through Labrador — we think it will be closer to normal just as we get away from that warmer water influence and precipitation we do expect to average close to or above normal.” Northern CanadaMilder temperatures are expected across western regions of the North with near-normal temperatures elsewhere. Most areas will see near-normal precipitation totals, Scott said, but above normal precipitation is anticipated for western parts of Yukon. A similar pattern is expected this winter.“The main rationale there is because the waters are warmer, so where you get the winds coming off the water … because it’s warmer we expect overall the temperatures to be above normal in these regions,” he said.Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press Canadians can expect average temperatures this fall that will give way to a cold winter in central and eastern parts of the country, according to The Weather Network.The network is predicting Western Canada, including B.C., Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, along with parts of Atlantic Canada will have slightly warmer-than-normal temperatures for fall because of warmer oceans and wetter conditions along coastal areas.“We don’t think this fall has really wild departures from normal in store,” said The Weather Network’s chief meteorologist Chris Scott. He added that precipitation will also be right around the average in most parts of Canada.“It’s not going to rain all the time, it just means that when it rains, it really, truly will pour,” he said. Near-normal fall temperatures are expected in the Prairies, Ontario and Quebec.“When you look at the centre of the country, for the most part, we think this fall is going to be pretty much bang on normal for temperatures, maybe shading a bit cooler than normal towards the Hudson’s Bay lowlands, in northern Ontario, northern Manitoba and northwestern Quebec,” Scott said.A milder winter is expected in British Columbia and the western parts of the Prairies, he said, but it trends colder to the east all the way to Atlantic Canada.“The bottom line here is a fair amount of winter weather to go around. This looks like a pretty cold winter for much of the central and eastern parts of the country at this point given what we’re seeing in the oceans.” British ColumbiaScott said the network is forecasting slightly warmer than normal temperatures for fall. While fall will include stretches of dry weather, wet weather will overdeliver with above normal rainfall in coastal areas. Milder than normal temperatures are expected for the winter.“What is interesting is that the Northern Pacific, off the coast of B.C. and Alaska is very warm, it’s very toasty there, as is the Atlantic Ocean south of Atlantic Canada.” Scott broke down the winter forecast for each region in Canada: Ontario and QuebecThe network is predicting near-normal temperatures for the fall with extended periods of both mild and cold weather. A colder than normal winter is expected for most of the region.“This is not a winter that we get off the hook easily,” said Scott.The winter will have some similarities to some harsher winters and there could be a delayed start to consistent winter weather as was the case last year.
The Humane Society of the United States has chosen Uggie, the world famous, scene-stealing Jack Russell terrier from last year’s Academy Award-winning film “The Artist,” to be the spokesdog for its Pets of Valor Award.Uggie Pets of Valor AwardCredit/Copyright: Omar Von Muller via HSUSThe award celebrates the human-animal bond by honoring rescued or adopted dogs and cats who have exhibited an extraordinary sense of courage or resolve by heroically helping a person in need. Acclaimed for his portrayal of a loyal dog who courageously rescues his owner from a fire in “The Artist,” Uggie is uniquely qualified for his spokesdog duties and he will help announce the winner on June 2.“Uggie’s honored to have been chosen by The Humane Society of the United States to be spokesdog for The Pets of Valor Award, although he did hesitate at first when he heard that cats were to be included, but now he likes the idea of having an excuse to bark for them, instead of at them,” says Omar Von Muller, Uggie’s owner and trainer.Uggie has a best-selling autobiography (“Uggie – My Story”) to his credit, as well as the distinction of being the first dog to have his pawprints memorialized outside Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. But now the mega star pooch, who was adopted by Von Muller after his first family rejected him for being “too wild,” is using his fame to shine the light on his unsung fellow companion animal heroes and to encourage pet adoption.“It’s always gratifying when a star of Uggie’s magnitude takes time out of his busy schedule to give back. As spokesdog for The Humane Society of the United States’ Pets of Valor Award, Uggie proves he’s a hero both on and off screen by advocating for the adoption of his fellow companion animals,” says Beverly Kaskey, senior director of HSUS’ Hollywood Outreach.Uggie is calling on all humans to nominate dogs and cats who have committed heroic acts between Jan. 1, 2012 and March 31, 2013 to submit details of their actions to humanesociety.org/petsofvalor. Drawing on Uggie’s insider knowledge, HSUS’ companion animal experts will select five finalists, based on the significance and impact of the dog or cat’s valor, and the winner will be chosen by a public online vote that runs May 24-31, 2013.