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  • High Court agrees to hear PIL for population control in India

    first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday agreed to hear a PIL seeking directions to the Centre to implement measures to control the country’s rising population on the ground that it was the root cause behind rise in crimes, pollution and dearth of resources and jobs.The petition was mentioned before a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice Brijesh Sethi which allowed it to be listed for hearing on Wednesday. The plea by BJP leader Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay, who is also a lawyer, has sought implementation of the recommendations for population control made by the National Commission to Review the Working of the Constitution (NCRWC) headed by Justice Venkatchaliah. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC”The NCRWC, after making immense efforts for two years and elaborate discussion, had suggested addition of Article 47A in the Constitution and formulation of Population Control Law. “Till now the Constitution has been amended 125 times, hundreds of new laws have been enacted, but population control law, utterly required for country, is not made, though it will curtail more than 50 per cent problems of India,” the petition said. It also sought an order from the court declaring that the Centre “may set two-child norm, as a criteria for government jobs, aids and subsidies, and, may withdraw statutory rights viz. right to vote, right to contest, right to property, right to free shelter, right to free legal aid”, for not complying with it. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsThe plea claims that the population of India has “marched ahead” of China, as about 20 per cent the population does not have Aadhaar and therefore, is not accounted for, and there are also crores of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis living illegally in the country. Upadhyay, in his plea, has also claimed that “population explosion is also the root cause of corruption”, apart from being a contributory factor behind heinous crimes like rapes, domestic violence, etc. He has also claimed that without population control, campaigns like clean India and save the girl child would not succeed.last_img read more

  • Youths molest 19yearold in Balurghat

    first_imgBALURGHAT: A 19-year-old homemaker was allegedly molested by some youths here on Wednesday night. The incident took place in Balurghat’s Bhatpara Colony area.According to a source, it was decided that the matter will be resolved in kangaroo court in presence of accused youths and the woman’s family members. It has been alleged that the victim’s family members were rampantly thrashed by the youths there while the hearing was going on. Two persons suffered serious injuries and were admitted to Balurghat hospital. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaPolice have received two separate complaints but no one has been arrested so far. A police source said the victim recently went to her maternal uncle’s house. On Wednesday evening, while she along with her husband and cousin was going to a local fair, the youths allegedly molested her. While protesting the incident, the victim’s husband and cousin received threats from the accused. They had attacked the woman’s family members in kangaroo court. The victim’s maternal uncle and a neighbour were admitted to hospital and three motorbikes vandalised. Deputy Superintendent of Police (Headquarter), Dhiman Mitra, said: “If anyone is found guilty, he will be punished.”last_img read more

  • Man held for creating fake profile of Kolkata mayor

    first_imgKolkata:One person has been arrested from Nadia district of West Bengal for allegedly opening a fake account in the name of Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim on social media and posting objectionable comments, police said on Sunday. Tarun Kumar Ghosh (40), a resident of Buichara Para in Nabadwip was apprehended on Saturday night from his residence for creating a fake profile of Hakim and spreading false information, a senior police officer said. When produced at a city court on Sunday, Ghosh was sent to police custody till June 22, he added.last_img

  • Apples iCloud services suffer major outage

    first_imgSan Francisco: As part of what looks like an app-meltdown phase after Google and Facebook apps, Apple’s iCloud services suffered a major outage that troubled users, especially in the US, signing into their accounts. The outage on Thursday evening affected almost all of Apple’s iCloud and other services, but while other services were back up and running earlier, iCloud’s Calendars, Contacts and Reminders remained affected for a longer time, 9To5Mac website reported. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app As soon as Apple users began encountering issues signing into their accounts, they took to Twitter and collectively shared their own outage experiences. “@AppleSupport Is iCloud down or something? I am absolutely freaking out, changing my email passwords, trying to log in on every device. I see no sign of being compromised on my end,” a user wrote on Twitter. “iCloud is down in case you haven’t lost your mind trying to enter your password already,” another person tweeted. Also Read – New Instagram tool to help users spot phishing emails On its support page, the iPhone-maker has enlisted all of the services that suffered the melt-down and has mentioned “Resolved Issue” next to the services that have been restored that covers iCloud account sign-in, Calendar, Contacts, Mail and Backup. However, Apple Support did not address the issue on Twitter via its official handle, leaving the users confused. “@AppleSupport can you confirm if iCloud is down ? my phone will send emails but isn’t receiving and I get a can’t load mail message every time I try and log on through my PC,” a tweet read. According to the report, a user who was trying to get her iPhone fixed at an Apple Store was told that the outage had broken loose across the US, but details on how many regions were actually affected remain unknown as of now. Other Appler services like Apple Pay, Find My Friends and Find My Phone were also affected by the outage. Apple’s services suffered outage just one day after millions of users worldwide, including in India experienced issues with Facebook and its family of apps including WhatsApp and photo-sharing platform Instagram. Earlier last week, Google’s Calendar refused to work for over nearly three hours for users around the world.last_img read more

  • Assam flood death toll rises to 27

    first_imgGuwahati: The flood situation in Assam remained grim on Wednesday with 29 districts marooned by the deluge, which has so far claimed 27 lives and affected 57 lakh people, officials said.According to the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) bulletin, the Brahmaputra and its tributaries are flowing above the danger mark in various places in the state, including in Guwahati. It said the flood waters have receded from Hailakandi district but still 57.51 lakh people remain affected. Four deaths were reported from Morigaon, two each from Sonitpur andUdalguri districts, while one each from Kamrup (Metro) and Nagaon districts, mounting the toll to 27, the ASDMA said.A rhino died in the Kaziranga National Park, it said.last_img

  • Priyankas arrest disturbing arbitrary application of power shows BJP govts insecurity Rahul

    first_imgNew Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi Friday alleged that Priyanka Gandhi Vadra was “illegally arrested” when she was going to meet victims of the Sonbhadra clash and hit out at the BJP government in Uttar Pradesh, saying this “arbitrary application of power” reveals its increasing insecurity. Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh East Priyanka Gandhi was Friday stopped from proceeding towards Sonbhadra district to meet those injured in the clash that claimed 10 lives, and taken to a guesthouse by authorities after she staged a sit-in. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day The Congress claimed that Priyanka Gandhi had been taken into police custody. “The illegal arrest of Priyanka in Sonbhadra, UP, is disturbing. This arbitrary application of power, to prevent her from meeting families of the 10 Adivasi farmers brutally gunned down for refusing to vacate their own land, reveals the BJP Govt’s increasing insecurity in UP,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet. Other senior Congress leaders also criticised the Uttar Pradesh government over the incident and described the action as “crushing of democracy”. Also Read – Don’t use ‘lynching’ to defame India: Bhagwat Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh West Jyotiraditya Scindia hit out at the Yogi Adityanath government for stopping Priyanka Gandhi from proceeding to Sonbhadra, saying the action was “open disrespect” of democracy. “Meeting families of victims and expressing condolences is the responsibility of public representatives. The government has attempted to crush democracy which is highly condemnable,” he said in a tweet in Hindi. Congress’ chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala also lashed out at the government over the incident, saying the BJP dispensation has made Uttar Pradesh “apraadh pradesh” (crime state). “By arresting Priyanka Gandhi, keeping her in Chunar (guesthouse), will the UP government be able to cover up the killing of 10 people of a tribal family in Sonbhadra?” he asked in a tweet in Hindi. On Wednesday, a village head and his supporters allegedly opened fire on a rival group in a land dispute in Sonbhadra killing 10 people, including three women, and leaving several injured.last_img read more

  • Hakim inaugurates upgraded solid waste management system in Asansol

    first_imgKolkata: State Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim inaugurated upgraded solid waste management system in areas under Asansol Durgapur Development Authority (ADDA), on Friday afternoon.Inaugurating the project at Rabindra Bhavan, Hakim said because of high price of land, finding a trenching ground where the civic bodies can dispose of garbage has become difficult. The problem could not be solved by installing compactors either. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe only way to address the issue is segregation of garbage at source. There should be separate bins in the households for dry waste and wet waste. There should also be drives to make people aware of the new process. “No project can be successful if the people’s participation is poor. Whenever a new project is announced, the state government launches drives to create awareness among the people and see their participation, as the projects have been taken up for their benefit,” Hakim said. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayCheering up Trinamool Congress workers, he said both Babul Supriyo and S S Ahluwalia have won the 2019 Lok Sabha election by “scientific rigging.” “In 2014, BJP had won the Asansol seat. Modi had come here and talked about depositing Rs 15 lakh in the account of every person and ‘acche din’. In 2019, he did not mention the old issues and talked about Phulwama and war with Pakistan. People will one day understand the misinformation which BJP propagates,” he said. Hakim also urged TMC workers to stand by the people and launch movement against the fascism of the BJP government.last_img read more

  • Two arms suppliers arrested in Delhi with 23 pistols 50 cartridges

    first_imgNew Delhi: Two men have been arrested here with 23 pistols and 50 cartridges which were meant to be supplied to criminals in Delhi-NCR, police said on Tuesday. Acting on a tip-off, Akshay Adhawade (23) and Chandpasha Seikh (28), both residents of Pune, were arrested from near Shanti Van bus stop on August 24, they said. Adhawade and Seikh had come from Pune to deliver illegal firearms to criminals in the national capital. On checking, 23 sophisticated pistols and 50 live cartridges were found in their bags, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell) P S Kushwah said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder Adhawade was arrested in 2017 by the Pune Police in an attempt to murder case. He and his friend Sunny tried to kill one Mukesh to establish their dominance in the area, the officer said. During his stint in jail, Adhawade befriended some local gangsters. He came in contact with arm manufacturers of Madhya Pradesh through one Sandeep Pawar and started procuring illegal arms from them, the DCP said. Initially, he used to supply illegal arms to criminals in Pune. Later, he developed relations with criminals of NCR and started supplying illegal arms to them for a better price, Kushwah said.last_img read more

  • Modi govt committed to timely completion of Kartarpur corridor Amit Shah

    first_imgNew Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday said the Modi government is committed to completing the Kartarpur Sahib corridor within the stipulated time. The assurance of the home minister came a day after India and Pakistan held a meeting of the technical committee at the Zero Point in Gurdaspur in Punjab on the opening of the Kartarpur corridor, amid fresh tensions between the two countries after Jammu and Kashmir’s special status was scrapped. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Extending greetings, to “especially my sisters and brothers of Sikh community” on the auspicious occasion of ‘Parkash Purab of Guru Granth Sahib ji’, Shah hoped that the light of holy Guru Granth Sahib would continue to guide everyone and provide the strength to serve the nation better. “I also reiterate the commitment of Modi govt to complete the work on Kartarpur Sahib Corridor within the time frame,” he tweeted. The home minister said the teachings of the Guru Granth Sahib enshrine the message of universal brotherhood, peace and righteous way of life. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev. Pakistan and India are still discussing the modalities regarding opening of the corridor at Narowal, some 125-km from Lahore, on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak in November. Over the past few months many rounds of meetings have been held on the Kartarpur corridor during which the experts from the two sides have discussed its alignment, coordinates and other engineering aspects of the proposed crossing points. In July, delegations of the two countries had held a meeting on the Pakistani side of the Attari-Wagah border to discuss the modalities of the Kartarpur corridor. The corridor will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947. Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib, while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India.last_img read more

  • Women vie for Red Road Carnivals national recognition

    first_imgKolkata: Twenty-five women who running puja committees have come under one umbrella to appeal to PrimeMinister Narendra Modi for giving national status to the Red Road Carnival in Kolkata where community puja organisers parade with the Durga idols and their entourage while a sea of people, including foreigners turn up to witness the event. “We have already been able to bring in 25 puja committees managed by women under one umbrella. The main purpose is to provide a platform for the women to showcase their skills in various activities. One of our primary duty will be to urge the Prime Minister to give national status to the Red Road Carnival. The committee will work not only during Puja but through out the year,” said Minister of state for Health Chandrima Bhattacharjee, who is the president of Hindustan Club Durga Puja Committee in Gariahat. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBhattacharjee on Monday held a meeting with 25 puja committees run by women in the city and announced that the organisation named ‘Banglar Dugga’ will work to ensure that women associated with Durga puja like women priests, artisans or dhakis get their due recognition. “We will organize different fairs across the state so that the women get a platform to showcase their skill and creativity in various fields. They will also be felicitated for their excellence in these fields. This is just the beginning and we will bring in more and more women run puja committees across the state under this apolitical forum,” Bhattacharjee said. The committee for Banglar Dugga is expected to be constituted in the next meeting where more puja committees will join. Bhattacharjee also lashed out at the BJP (without naming the party). “The lotus which is the symbol of a particular party is an integral part of Durga Puja. The party is politicising the use of the flower. We believe that puja should be observed following rituals and there should be no politics,” she said.last_img read more

  • Death of missing boy in Rankin Inlet now considered a homicide RCMP

    first_imgRANKIN INLET, Nunavut – Nunavut RCMP say the death of a missing boy has been ruled a homicide.The 11-year-old boy, who police initially said was 12, had been missing for five days.Searchers located his remains July 8 in an industrial area in Rankin Inlet.RCMP say the autopsy is complete and his death is now considered a homicide.Investigators are still waiting to positively identify the victim so his name is not being released.They’re asking anyone who may have information to call the Rankin Inlet RCMP or Crime Stoppers.last_img

  • Canadian military aircraft have not flown in Syria for weeks commander

    first_imgOTTAWA – Canadian military aircraft involved in the fight against Islamic State militants have not flown over Syria for the past few weeks, though a senior officer denied any links Friday to Russian threats.Tensions erupted last month after Moscow warned that it would track allied aircraft operating west of the Euphrates river in Syria as potential targets in retaliation for the U.S. shooting down a Syrian government jet.National Defence refused at the time to say whether there was any concern for the Canadian military surveillance or refuelling planes flying over Syria and Iraq as part of the U.S.-led anti-ISIL coalition.In an interview with The Canadian Press on Friday, Brig.-Gen. Daniel MacIsaac said the planes have been operating exclusively in Iraq for several weeks — though he insisted it was not because of Russia.“We are busy and contributing very well in Iraq right now,” said MacIsaac, who took over as commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq in February. “Right now, our (aircraft) have ample work to do in Iraq.”Canadian aircraft have not been targeted by Russian or Syrian air defences, he added.Defence officials would not say when Canadian aircraft last flew over Syria, citing operational security. But they did reveal that earlier this year the planes flew dozens of missions over the war-ravaged country, where ISIL is under pressure from U.S. and local forces.The war against ISIL has entered a new phase since Iraqi officials announced earlier this month government forces had finally liberated the city of Mosul after nine bloody months of fighting.The victory has been bittersweet — it represented a major blow to the extremist group but tens of thousands of civilians are believed dead.While some might believe the worst is over, ISIL, or Daesh, continues to hold large swaths of territory, MacIsaac noted.“Let me say right off the bat: The job in Iraq is not done. The job in Iraq is not done,” he said.Canadian forces have been specifically focused on mapping one part of Iraq and identifying potential targets for coalition operations, MacIsaac said, though he declined to say where.“There are still large concentrations of Daesh forces,” he said, estimating the number of fighters in both Iraq and Syria at between 10,000 and 20,000. “We are very busy.”MacIsaac’s command includes surveillance and refuelling aircraft as well as a transport plane and an intelligence unit in Kuwait, plus a helicopter detachment and a military hospital in northern Iraq.Canada also has about 200 special forces troops in northern Iraq, some of whom have been operating inside Mosul and along the border with Syria, but they fall under a different commander.The Liberal government recently extended Canada’s mission against ISIL until March 2019, while giving the military more flexibility to decide on its own what it needs to accomplish its objectives.Exactly what form the mission will take over the next two years remains almost as uncertain as what will happen in Iraq in coming months.There are fears that ISIL is poised to go underground and resort to traditional terror tactics such as suicide bombings, which will require different training from what Canada and its allies have already provided.MacIsaac said he was unable to comment on reports that two Canadian women had been found in a tunnel under Mosul and detained by Iraqi forces for alleged links to ISIL.Canadian diplomats have been working to verify the report, though a senior government official cast doubt Thursday on whether it was true.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.last_img read more

  • Homeschooler religious groups cautiously optimistic about Quebec school bill

    first_imgMONTREAL – A Quebec education bill that gives the province greater powers to enforce compulsory school attendance is getting a passing grade from the communities it most affects.Representatives from Quebec’s Orthodox Jewish Community and a home-schooling parents’ association say they’re cautiously optimistic about Bill 144, which grants Quebec’s Education Department new powers to inspect private homes or unlicensed schools to ensure children are receiving a proper education.The bill, which was adopted by Quebec’s legislature last week, is partly a response to concerns over unlicensed religious schools, which have faced questions in the past about whether they’re following the provincial curriculum.Under the new regulations, officials can enter the institutions to verify that children who attend them are also getting a conventional education.They levy fines against those who don’t co-operate and track down children who don’t appear to be enrolled in a school program.But the bill also requires the government to create a set of standards for home-schooling, prepare a guide for parents and create an advisory panel on home-schooling that includes parents.Quebec’s education minister said the bill gives the province the ability to enforce the province’s education laws while allowing for some individual choice.“We now have a model that, yes, is flexible, but a model that is realistic and that will work,” said Sebastien Proulx.Abraham Ekstein, a member of a Jewish home-schooling association, believes the law does a good job of balancing children’s rights to education and the rights of parents and communities to transmit their culture.“The challenge will be making sure it’s applied in the same spirit in which it was drafted: in a way that respects differences and accommodates the rights and concerns of all individuals,” he said in a phone interview.In recent years, authorities have staged raids at ultra-Orthodox Jewish schools in Montreal that had no permit from the Education Department to operate.As a solution, some parents in the Hasidic community have taken steps to “regularize” their children’s education by registering as home-schoolers with various local school boards, Ekstein said.He says the system has worked extremely well, estimating there are now close to 1,000 Orthodox home-school students affiliated with Montreal school boards.Noemi Berlus, the president of a Quebec association for home-based education, says she’s “cautiously optimistic” about the bill, which she sees as a chance to “reset the relationship” between home-schooling parents and the province.She said many parents avoid registering their children with the province because of the difficulty working with certain school boards, whose members disapprove of non-standard forms of schooling.As a result, it’s hard for parents to get access to resources, and even harder to get credit for a student’s out-of-class learning, she said.Many home-schooled kids, therefore, skip the high-school diploma altogether and apply directly to universities, who she says are generally much more willing to accept alternative proof of academic achievement, such as SAT scores and online courses.Berlus, a mother of two, says parents choose to educate their children at home for many reasons, ranging from frustration at educational budget cuts to scheduling problems to disagreements with the lecture-based format of conventional schooling.She was introduced to home-schooling when her oldest son, who is gifted, became bored and depressed by the unchallenging classroom atmosphere.After orginally setting him a strict curriculum, she now allows 11-year-old Leo to spend his days doing what he wants, which is often science experiments and computer games.“I don’t do homework, I just learn from what I do,” was how Leo Berlus-Roy explained it in a phone interview.Berlus said Leo is now organizing a multi-player role-playing game that includes reading a 90-page book, creating a story board and adapting that story to his characters — skills she says go beyond the school curriculum set out for children his age.While she worries about some aspects of the new framework, her hope is it will lead to a dialogue with the government that helps to meet the needs of home-schooling parents as well as acknowledging what many of them are doing right.“I think home-schoolers have been innovative, trying and experimenting and getting their children turned onto learning, and there’s a lot to learn from them,” she said.“Instead of a confrontational approach between the traditonal system and home-schoolers, I feel we would all benefit if we work together.”last_img read more

  • Woman behind Stefanie Rengel murder granted unescorted absences from prison

    first_imgKITCHENER, Ont. – A young woman who sexually blackmailed her boyfriend into killing a 14-year-old girl nearly a decade ago was so consumed with jealousy at the time that she asked him to kill at least two others she perceived as rivals, she told a parole hearing Wednesday.Melissa Todorovic gave new insights into what led her to orchestrate the killing of Stefanie Rengel as she asked a Parole Board of Canada panel to grant her three unescorted three-day absences from prison — a request the panel granted, saying the 25-year-old had made progress in handling her emotions.The details from Todorovic came as the parole board panel questioned her on the motivations behind Rengel’s killing.Intense jealousy and rage, as well as a desire to exert power over her partner, dominated Todorovic’s relationship with David Bagshaw, who carried out the killing at her command, Todorovic said.“It was a game that we would play continuously,” Todorovic said during the hearing at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener, Ont., where she is held. “I liked to see how much he would do for me.”Those feelings also played a role in an earlier relationship that ended abruptly after Todorovic told that boyfriend she wanted a girl he was talking to killed, she said.“My thinking at the time was that if (the girls) were out of the picture, I could be happy with my boyfriend,” she said.Todorovic had previously maintained that while she had pushed Bagshaw to kill Rengel, she didn’t believe he would actually do it.The two-member parole board panel authorized Todorovic’s absences to a halfway house, saying the woman had since worked to manage her jealousy, anger and manipulation, but stressed she still needed to work on her self-esteem and other issues.“While there’s still lots of work for you to do on yourself, you are moving in the right direction,” Lynne VanDaylen said.Todorovic was 15 when Bagshaw stabbed Rengel six times and left her to die in a snowbank outside her house on New Year’s Day, 2008.The two girls had never met but Todorovic grew intensely jealous of Rengel, who had briefly dated Bagshaw two years earlier. She also believed the younger girl was spreading rumours about her.Todorovic was convicted in 2009 for masterminding Rengel’s murder and was sentenced as an adult to life in prison with no chance of parole for seven years — the maximum adult sentence for someone her age.She later sought to have a new trial ordered on appeal, arguing that self-incriminating statements she made to police should not have been admitted as evidence at her trial. But the appeal court upheld her conviction and sentence.Todorovic told the parole board Wednesday that she didn’t feel she had done anything wrong until the moment she was arrested.“When I saw it on the news, I felt guilt then but I didn’t really understand the impact,” she said.Now, she said, “I feel like I’m a monster for telling someone to kill somebody.”Her parole officer noted Todorovic initially showed a lack of insight and empathy but made “significant gains” after her appeal was denied.Through various programs, counselling and medication, Todorovic said she has learned to get her emotions under control and to ask for support.Her newfound skills were put to the test when she received a letter from Bagshaw, who is also serving an adult life sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree murder, she said.“I was caught off guard, I didn’t expect to hear from him ever again,” she said. Though she felt angry and frustrated, Todorovic said she stayed calm and talked to her parole officer and her parents, who were present at Wednesday’s hearing.Asked whether she still had feelings for her accomplice, Todorovic said: “I don’t want anything to do with him now.” Nor is she looking for another relationship at the moment, she said.During her unescorted absences, Todorovic plans to continue her therapy sessions, which she said she can no longer access in prison because she is not considered to have a severe mental illness. She also plans to work with an employment counsellor to see what options she could have once released.Her parole officer, Angie Strome, said the absences will also help ease Todorovic’s anxiety at reintegrating society, noting the young woman has “grown up in prison.”last_img read more

  • Past sexual partner of Nova Scotia officer testifies at Garnier murder trial

    first_imgHALIFAX – A man who briefly dated Nova Scotia police officer Catherine Campbell was called to testify Friday about her prior sexual activity, as the defence closed its case at Christopher Garnier’s high-profile murder trial.The Crown alleges Garnier punched and strangled the 36-year-old Truro, N.S., constable inside an apartment after they met for the first time at a Halifax bar. The Crown also alleges Garnier used a compost bin to dispose of her body near Halifax’s Macdonald Bridge, where it was found five days later.In his opening statement earlier this week, defence lawyer Joel Pink told the 14-member jury that Campbell died accidentally during “rough sex” that she initiated in the early hours of Sept. 11, 2015.Garnier, 30, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and interfering with a dead body.Earlier this week, Garnier took the stand in his own defence, telling the jury that during sex play, Campbell encouraged him to choke and slap her.Before the witness took the stand Friday, Justice Joshua Arnold instructed jury members that they may decide to use the witness’s evidence to determine whether Campbell had an interest in rough sex.The man, who’s name is protected by a publication ban, told the jury he had sex with Campbell on two occasions, and at one point, he put his hand on her throat.When he was asked by Pink to describe for the jury how he did that, he opened his hand and placed it around the front of his own neck.Under cross-examination by Crown attorney Christine Driscoll, the man conceded that he did not put pressure on Campbell’s neck, and he agreed when Driscoll said his hand was on her throat in a “caressing fashion.”He agreed that she never asked to be choked.“She did not ask for domination? She did not ask for erotic asphyxiation? She did not ask for anything that you would think of as rough sex?” Driscoll asked.“No,” the man replied.The witness testified that Campbell wanted to practice wrestling with him following their second sexual encounter, and that they were partially clothed at the time.Pink pointed to a statement the man gave police after Campbell’s disappearance, in which he told them he had bruises after having sex with Campbell.But on the stand, the witness clarified his statement, saying he was bruised during the wrestling after they had sex.“It wasn’t during the sexual act,” said the man, the defence’s final witness.The man said he knew Campbell before their sexual encounters, and he said both were sober at the time. He said the last time he saw Campbell in person was roughly two weeks before her death.The man said they exchanged text messages and Campbell invited him over to her place on the evening of Sept. 10, 2015, hours before she met Garnier at the Halifax Alehouse. The witness said he did not meet Campbell that night.Arnold had earlier explained to the jury that the circumstances in which evidence of a person’s prior sexual conduct is admissible at a criminal trial is restricted to reduce the danger of prejudice and to protect their constitutional rights.“That’s because past experience has taught us that to this day, some still believe that a woman who has engaged in sexual activity with others is more likely to consent to sexual activity and is less worthy of belief. These assumptions are wrong and unfair,” said Arnold.“The evidence of (the witness) will be admitted for limited purpose. Depending on the testimony of (the witness), you may be permitted to use this evidence in determining whether you believe Ms. Campbell had an interest in rough sex.”Arnold told the jury they should not let the evidence of the witness influence their decision on any other issues in the trial.“In fact, I must warn you that you are prohibited by law from considering this evidence for any other purpose other than the one I have explained,” he said. “This is because this evidence may be very prejudicial if it is used for purposes other than those that I have described.”The Crown said it would not submit rebuttal evidence, which means the jury has heard all the evidence in the case.The trial resumes Monday, when the Crown and defence are expected to make closing arguments.Follow (at)AlyThomson on Twitter.last_img read more

  • More cases of influenza B detected this flu season health officials

    first_imgVANCOUVER – More Canadians are coughing, sniffling and sneezing though what health officials say is a flu season with higher than normal activity.The flu season began in December and the Public Health Agency of Canada says more than 15,500 cases of laboratory-confirmed influenza had been reported by Jan. 6.The agency says there have been 54 flu-related deaths, 162 people have been admitted to intensive care units and the number of hospitalizations is “considerably elevated” over the same period in the last two flu seasons.Dr. Perry Kendall, British Columbia’s provincial health officer, says the national number of flu cases is slightly above average, but what’s unusual is the strain people are contracting.Kendall says flu season generally begins with influenza A and ends with influenza B, but this year, the strains are being detected in fairly equal numbers early in the season.He says that could mean younger people, who are more susceptible to catching the B strain, may get sick earlier, but it’s difficult to predict what the rest of the flu season will look like.“Rather than them getting ill in February or March, they’ve been getting ill in December and January,” he said.Anyone who hasn’t already had a flu shot should get one, Kendall added.He also noted that it’s not yet clear how effective this year’s vaccine has been, particularly with the A strain.The strain, known as H3N2, mutates, making it difficult to match what’s in the vaccine to the virus circulating in the community, Kendall said.“Sometimes the guess is very good and sometimes it’s not. And sometimes the virus mutates in a way you can’t predict,” he said.Anyone who does catch the flu should take a sick day, Kendall said.“Basically, protect other people,” he said. “If you become ill yourself, rest, stay home, stay hydrated, take symptomatic treatment for aches and pains and cough and try not to spread your virus to other people.”last_img read more

  • Quebec restaurant ordered to reinstate waitress fired for allegedly not smiling

    first_imgMONTREAL – A waitress dismissed for allegedly having a bad attitude and not smiling enough has been awarded $30,000 and must be given her job back, Quebec’s labour tribunal ruled.Caroline Daunais had been working at the Coco Frutti restaurant in Victoriaville, Que, for about six months when she was fired in April 2016, according to a decision released Jan. 29.Daunais filed a complaint to the tribunal, claiming she was fired after asking for back pay owed to her.In the official notice of her firing, the restaurant owner stated Daunais had disrespected her colleague by waiting on one of her tables.The owner told the tribunal, however, that Daunais was also let go “because of her bad attitude and for not smiling enough.”The restaurant owner added “everyone had problems with her” and with regards to back pay, the owner said she was the only person out of 35 employees who had complained.She was eventually given all the money owed to her, the judgement reads.Tribunal judge Christian Drolet didn’t recognize the restaurant’s excuse as serious, finding instead they used it as a pretext to terminate the only employee who asked for back pay — notably the day before she was fired.He added the plaintiff made reasonable efforts to minimize the damage by looking for another job.“There is no reason to conclude that a comparable job was available or that she unreasonably withheld an offer of employment that she should reasonably have accepted,” he wrote.Drolet ordered Coco Frutti to reinstate her, pay her $28,240 in lost wages, and about $2,000 in interest.last_img read more

  • Girl hanged herself Manitoba judge wants more secure places for atrisk youth

    first_imgWINNIPEG – A Manitoba judge is suggesting services for high-risk youth be reviewed following the death of an Indigenous teenage girl who hanged herself after spending most of her life in government care.Provincial court Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta said in an inquest report released Wednesday that federal law forbids incarceration for child-welfare purposes, but there must be ways to prevent high-risk children in care from continually running away and facing grave danger.“It is difficult to make a detailed recommendation but equally tough to ignore the opportunity this inquest offers to draw attention to the need for adequate safe and secure foster placement options for high-risk youth in crisis,” Hewitt-Michta wrote in her 72-page report.Hewitt-Michta examined the 2013 death of a 16-year-old chronic runaway, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban. The girl was seized from her family at birth, ran away from foster homes and group homes and was exploited by gangs to work in the sex trade.The judge’s report said that a year before her suicide, the girl had been placed in a Winnipeg facility that specializes in treating sexually exploited youth, but she continued to end up on the streets. A child and family services agency placed her in a private rural facility well away from Winnipeg, hoping the distant location would dissuade her from running away.The girl’s situation improved for a few months, but she fought with other girls at the facility and disappeared while visiting family members. She was found again being exploited in the sex trade and was sent to another home run by the same private company — Specialized Foster Homes — in Brandon.After being arrested for theft from a drug store, she was placed in the youth section of the Brandon jail and hanged herself with a bed sheet.“She died in a correctional facility, but the evidence suggests she was more likely to have died on the streets while on the lam from (the facility),” Hewitt-Michta wrote.The question of how to keep children in care from running away was also highlighted following the 2014 death of Tina Fontaine, a 15-year-old Indigenous girl whose body was found in a Winnipeg river.The trial of her accused killer, Raymond Cormier, heard that Tina would frequently leave hotels and a youth shelter where she had been placed by child-welfare officials. She walked away a final time from a hotel room after rejecting pleas from a social worker to stay.Cormier was found not guilty of second-degree murder.Manitoba Families Minister Scott Fielding was not available for an interview Wednesday. His office issued a statement which did not address the issue of runaways.“Our government is in the midst of a child-welfare reform that centres around support for prevention and early intervention, greater integration of services at a regional level and modernized legislation,” the statement read.“We believe better assessments and earlier planning will result in less children in care and shorter duration in care.”The inquest report made a number of other findings in the 16-year-old’s suicide.It said the private company that last took care of her lacked expertise in helping girls who had been exploited and was not able to prevent the teen from using drugs and alcohol while in its care.The report also said the girl was at the Brandon jail for eight days, but a worker from the child services agency in charge of her didn’t visit or provide information to the jail about her mental-health challenges.last_img read more

  • The first of 16 Funeral for playbyplay announcer of Humboldt Broncos

    first_imgA broadcaster in his first year as a play-by-play announcer for the Humboldt Broncos will be the first of 16 victims of last Friday’s bus crash to be laid to rest.The funeral for Tyler Bieber, 29, will be held Thursday at the Elgar Petersen Arena where the Broncos played their home games.Bieber worked for radio station CHBO and was with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team as it headed to playoff game in Nipawin when bus collided with a semi-trailer at a rural intersection north of Tisdale.Of the 29 people on board 16 have died, including Bieber, who also coached high school football and basketball.Thirteen were injured and the truck driver wasn’t hurt.Team president Kevin Garinger said this is a time when everyone needs to pull together.“You can’t undo anything. We need to immediately work toward supporting each other,” he said.“People are hurting and that’s what we need to direct our energy toward.”Two other funerals are scheduled for Friday.Jacob Leicht, a left-winger, will have his service in Humboldt. Adam Herold, who would have turned 17 on Thursday, will have his funeral in his hometown of Montmartre.Funeral details for the rest of the victims will be posted here as they become available.Players on the Broncos were from communities across Saskatchewan, Alberta and Manitoba.Related contentTrainer for Humboldt Broncos dies after crash; death toll now at 16Cherry pays further tribute to Humboldt Broncos, calls for fundraising supportTTC employees to participate in Jersey Day for Humboldtlast_img read more

  • Indigenous underemployment persists but OECD report points to positive changes

    first_imgWINNIPEG – When Kevin Chief finished his university degree, he wasn’t sure how to land his first real job.The vice-president of the Business Council of Manitoba and former NDP cabinet minister, who grew up in Winnipeg’s North End neighbourhood, saw the barriers many of his Indigenous friends faced.Chief’s basketball skills got him through university, but he didn’t have connections that could get him hired. When he walked through the doors of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, everything changed.The centre connected Chief to an employment counsellor, prepared him for interviews and helped him build a resume.“I wasn’t going to do very good in a job interview because I hadn’t done any,” Chief said.Most importantly, Chief said he finally had the confidence to pursue his dreams.A new report looking at employment and skills outcomes in Canada by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development shows Indigenous people still face numerous barriers. But that changes when there are Indigenous-led programs like the one that opened doors for Chief.The report found Indigenous people are more likely to be in lower paying jobs such as teaching, retail or social work. While more than 25 per cent of the Indigenous labour force work in sales and service occupations, they are significantly under-represented in management, business and finance.Across Canada, the unemployment rate of Indigenous people is well above non-Indigenous people. The report said gaps in labour market participation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is particularly high in Nunavut, Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.Contributing factors include lower graduation rates, less access to skills training, as well as insecure childcare and housing. But even when Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have the same level of education, the report said they do not experience the same success.Marileen Bartlett, executive director of the Centre for Aboriginal Human Resources Development, said investing in Indigenous people is investing in the future.An estimated 350,000 Indigenous youth will turn 15 between 2016 and 2026 — something the OECD called an unprecedented opportunity to fill crucial labour shortages in Canada.The Manitoba employment centre has grown and changed a lot since it began in 1974 depending on what the job market and their clients need, Bartlett said. Sometimes a client needs a bit more education and training. Other times, they may have a good job opportunity but can’t get childcare. Many clients need both.“We are always looking out at the workforce to see where we can get our people decent jobs and a living wage,” she said.“If we want to have that Indigenous middle class, we have to help people to continue to move up the ladder in their education and training so they continue to have better opportunities for themselves.”The report highlighted the Manitoba centre and three other Indigenous-run centres across Canada, stressing the importance of having staff who are Indigenous.“This is critical in building trust with potential Indigenous job seekers, who often seek life skills coaching and counselling as well as other pre-employment supports to ensure that they can remain in employment once they have successfully found a job,” the report said.The OECD made eight recommendations for the federal government including providing more autonomy to Indigenous communities to manage their labour market and supporting targeted work-experience programs.Ottawa is currently developing a new Indigenous skills and employment training program for next April which it has promised will get more than $400 million per year to close employment gaps between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people.Josh Bueckert, a federal government spokesman, said it is consistent with the OECD recommendations and was developed with Indigenous partners.Bartlett said she is optimistic about the government’s new program, especially since it will allow the Manitoba centre to work with younger children. It also appears to remove some red tape.She also hopes it will expand the centre’s flexibility to build partnerships with the local business community.It’s been a long time since Chief first walked through the centre’s doors, but now he connects some of Manitoba’s top employers with the organization that helped him start his career.“If you have the youngest and fastest growing demographic, there is no question we should have the fastest growing middle class here,” he said.“You need good public policy. You need good programs and services and you need really good partnerships with the private sector.”last_img read more