President gives assent to triple talaq bill

first_imgNew Delhi: President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the triple talaq bill passed by Parliament, turning it into a law which makes the practice of instant divorce among Muslims a punishable offence, a government notification said. The gazette notification, published Wednesday, says the president has given assent to the bill passed by Parliament. The Act will replace an ordinance promulgated on February 21 this year to the same effect. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The new law The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Act, 2019 makes talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband void and illegal. It makes it illegal to pronounce talaq three times in spoken, written or through SMS or WhatsApp or any other electronic chat in one sitting. “Any pronouncement of talaq by a Muslim husband upon his wife, by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever, shall be void and illegal,” the law says. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Any Muslim husband who pronounces the illegal form of talaq upon his wife shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years, and shall also be liable to fine, it says. The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha with 99 votes in favour and 84 against, as the ruling NDA, which lacks majority in the upper house, was helped by the absence of some members of the opposition Congress, SP and BSP as well as six members of Telangana Rashtra Samithi and two MPs of YSR-Congress. The triple talaq bill could not make it through the upper house earlier this year during the first term of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, although it was passed by Lok Sabha. The bill was again passed by Lok Sabha last week amid a walkout by several opposition parties including the Congress and the Trinamool Congress. The opposition parties had said in its current form, the proposed law could be misused to harass Muslims and wanted it to be reviewed by a parliamentary committee. Criminalising the offence, the bill gives a police officer powers to arrest the offender without requiring a warrant, they had said. To check misuse of cognisable nature of the offence, the bill makes declaration of talaq-e-biddat only if the complaint is filed by the aggrieved woman or any of her relation by blood or marriage, the Act says. A magistrate can grant bail only after hearing the aggrieved woman, it says. The aggrieved woman is entitled to demand a maintenance for her and her dependent children under the Act. Opposing the bill, Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad had said a law should not be made to “finish one particular religion” and claimed that the “cat has come out of the bag”. He said the government should not target one section by framing an “unconstitutional” law but instead provide 33 per cent reservation to women in legislatures for their empowerment, the way Congress government had brought in reservation for women in panchayats, corporations and local bodies.last_img read more

Any discussion on Kashmir will only be with Pakistan bilaterally Jaishankar

first_imgBangkok: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday made it clear to his American counterpart Mike Pompeo that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally, days after US President Donald Trump offered to mediate on the Kashmir issue. Jaishankar is in the Thailand capital to attend a number of conferences, including the ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting, the 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, the 26th ASEAN Regional Forum and the 10th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “Held wide ranging discussions with @SecPompeo on regional issues,” Jaishankar tweeted. “Have conveyed to American counterpart @SecPompeo this morning in clear terms that any discussion on Kashmir, if at all warranted, will only be with Pakistan and only bilaterally,” he tweeted. He met US Secretary of State Pompeo on the sidelines of the second day of 9th East Asia Summit Foreign Ministers meet in Bangkok. This was the first official meeting between the two top officials after President Trump’s controversial comments on him mediating between India and Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.last_img read more

PM inaugurates BHELinstalled hydroelectric project in Bhutan

first_imgNew Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the BHEL-installed 4×180 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project at Thimpu, Bhutan in the presence of the Prime Minister of Bhutan, Dr Lotay Tshering. Notably, with the commissioning of the last 180 MW unit, BHEL has achieved yet another milestone overseas by successfully commissioning the 4×180 MW Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project in Bhutan. With this, BHEL has demonstrated its high quality engineering and project management skills and a firm commitment to undertake challenging jobs as part of its responsibility towards relation building with neighbouring countries. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe Mangdechhu Hydroelectric Project Authority (MHPA) officials have appreciated the efforts put in by BHEL for effective and efficient completion of the project. BHEL has executed the electro-mechanical package for the project which includes design, manufacture, supply, transportation, storage, erection, testing & commissioning of generating units and associated auxiliaries including Pelton Turbines, Generators, Governors, MIV, etc. along with Balance of Plant items i.e. Bus Duct, DC System, EOT Cranes etc. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe equipment has been supplied from BHEL’s manufacturing units at Bhopal, Bengaluru, Rudrapur, Hyderabad, Jhansi and Mumbai, while erection and commissioning on site was carried out by the company’s Power Sector – Eastern Region, Kolkata. The run-of-the-river hydroelectric plant constructed on Mangdechhu river in Bhutan has a gross head of 692 meter, with four numbers Pelton Turbines generating 720 MW from the project. The project has been executed under difficult terrain conditions with limited road connectivity as well as frequent disruptions during monsoons. BHEL has accomplished major milestones with the successful execution of the project. This Pelton turbine is the highest rating vertical turbine, designed, manufactured and supplied by BHEL outside India. The state-of-the-art Valmet DNA-based plant controls have also been deployed by BHEL for the first time for a Hydro Power project outside India. BHEL has already executed major projects like Chhukha, Kurichu and Tala in Bhutan till date and with commissioning of the 4×180 MW Mangdechhu project, its total contribution has gone upto 90 per cent of the installed capacity in Bhutan. BHEL is presently executing export orders for 6×200 MW Punatsangchhu-I and 6X170 MW Punatsangchhu-II hydro power projects, which once commissioned, would take its share to 93 per cent of the total power generation capacity of Bhutan.last_img read more

Australian minister may meet Gautam Adani in India

first_imgKolkata: A senior Australian minister is likely to meet Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani during his trip to India beginning Monday. The meeting is expected to discuss Adani’s Rs 10,000 crore Carmichael coal project where Australian authorities will try to persuade the Indian investor to begin construction at the earliest. The 10 MTPA coal mine project in Queensland drew protests from environmentalists who are claiming that it will cut into the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. “Australia’s Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matthew Canavan will be meeting Adani during his three-day visit in India visit that begins on August 26,” an Australian diplomat said. He said the coal project had received all approvals of the state and Central government and now it is up to the Adanis.last_img read more

No festive joy for homeless Bowbazar residents

first_imgKolkata: At a time when the city of joy is about to soak in the festive mood of Vishwakarma Puja on Wednesday, the homeless residents of Bowbazar, whose houses were damaged due to East-West metro construction work, have no scope to celabrate the puja.”We will not celebrate Vishwakarma puja this year. Our snacks shop at B B Ganguly Street is closed since September 1,” said Rimpa Das, a resident of 252 Bowbazar, who is now staying at a hotel. Rimpa’s family includes her father, mother and sister. Her parents run Namita snacks shop, also known as Boudi’s Kochori, is famous among the locals. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”In a bid to celebrate any puja, we require money. We don’t have money to buy idols and other things required at the time of performing rituals. Our snacks shop is the only source of income. We sell Singhara, jelabi and tea,” said Rimpa, with tears in her eyes. On being asked whether any friend or relative has invited her for Vishwakarma Puja, Rimpa said: “I have received an invitation from a friend. But I am not sure whether I will go or not because my father is not going.” Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”There is no scope for us to organise Vishwakarma Puja this year. More than two weeks ago our jewellery manufacturing unit was closed. Our business is running at 100 % loss,” said Buddhadeb Dhar, who runs a jewellery manufacturing unit at 95 B B Ganguly Street. He reiterated that 18 gold ornament showrooms located on the road facing the tram line are now open. However, most of the gold ornament manufacturing units inside the lanes and bylanes of Syakra Para Lane, Durga Pithuri Lane and Gour De Lane are still closed. While the KMRCL has identified 35 buildings in Bowbazar which are beyond repair, 20 similiar buildings in dilapidated condition will soon be razed to the ground. According to senior civic officials, the buildings are more than 100 years old and have not been repaired for the past 50 years or more. The jewellery industry in Bowbazar stares at an uncertain future. The All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) would prepare a list of the artisans who have been hit and will submit it to KMRCL seeking for some compensation. “The jewellery shops are located on the main stretch of Bipin Behari Ganguly Street but the workshops of the karigars associated with the making of the jewellery as per orders of these shops in and around Durga Pituri Lane, Syakra Para Lane , Gour Dey. Lane that have been affected About 350 such karigars working in 85 workshops located in this area are now at a complete loss as they have been asked not to go and work in the workshops,” said Bablu De, working president of Swarna Silpa Bachao Committee.last_img read more

Siblings charged in sweeping immigration probe on Prince Edward Island

first_imgAfter a sweeping immigration probe, two Charlottetown hoteliers have been charged with helping set up fake addresses for Chinese immigrants who entered Prince Edward Island under a business program that has been criticized for lax oversight.Siblings Ping Zhong and Yi Zhong allegedly counselled business immigrants seeking permanent residency to provide residential addresses in P.E.I. though they didn’t really live there, as required under the province’s immigration system.The Canada Border Services Agency says 566 immigrants used the same addresses between 2008 and 2015 — the siblings’ Sherwood Motel and Ping Zhong’s Charlottetown home. Nearly all were granted permanent residency.Seven cases were chosen for prosecution, said Colin Murchison, a CBSA director of investigations in an interview Tuesday.The CBSA charged Ping Zhong, 60, with three counts of aiding and abetting misrepresentation under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, and five counts against her 58-year-old brother.“That doesn’t mean that we wouldn’t ever lay other charges depending on what new evidence presents itself,” Murchison said in a telephone interview.Nine thick files of search warrants contain investigators’ descriptions of how they monitored the immigrants being picked up at the Charlottetown airport.One officer said she observed the would-be business immigrants from China spending about 10 minutes at the motel during a three-day visit to the Island capital.In some cases, they quickly were shuttled to the five-star Delta hotel to spend their nights on the Island, she wrote.She states: “I have reasonable grounds to believe that … the visit to the Sherwood Motel was to make arrangements for the forwarding of correspondence and cards that will be sent by Citizenship and Immigration Canada to the motel while they (the immigrants) return to China.”Ping Zhong, reached on her cellular telephone, declined comment, saying she had hired a defence lawyer. A receptionist at the hotel said Yi Zhong was travelling and unavailable for comment.The search warrant says that Ping Zhong came to the Island and became a permanent resident in 1991, and a citizen in 1995, while her brother Yi Zhong entered Canada in 2007 under the P.E.I. provincial nominee program, and has not obtained citizenship yet.Despite the alleged irregularities being noted by federal agents, the search warrants says 99 per cent of the people listing the hotel as their residency “were approved permanent residents under the PEI provincial nominee (PNP) program.”The provincial nominee program has already come under public scrutiny for a poor record of retaining immigrants on the Island, while the province has been reaping millions of dollars in forfeited deposits from the immigrants for failing to comply with conditions of the program.Under the program, applicants provide the Island government with a $200,000 deposit, and commit to invest $150,000 and manage a firm that incurs at least $75,000 in operating costs.They also commit to live on the Island while running the business, though they’re permitted to be out of the country for as much as half of the year while they operate the business.After the deal is signed, the province nominates the investor to the federal Immigration Department as a permanent resident.The province recently confirmed that two thirds of the PNP businesses in 2016-17, a total of 177 people, didn’t receive a refund for the business portion of their deposit, with the majority simply never opening a business.A spokesman for the province’s Office of Immigration wasn’t immediately available for comment.However, Chris Palmer, the minister of Economic Development, said in the legislature that only 17 of the people claiming to stay at the hotel were planning to reside in the province.“Those 583 were not applications to P.E.I. and we would have no knowledge of those coming to P.E.I. It was an address they used for an application going to a different province,” he said in the legislature.Murchison said there is the possibility of administrative actions, like the revocation of permanent residency status, being taken if CBSA’s regulatory branch determines there were breaches of the rules by the immigrants involved.Richard Kurland, an immigration lawyer who frequently comments on immigration policy, said the criminal case is being watched nationally and is raising alarm bells.Similar prosecutions in other provinces resulted in hundreds of administrative cases being opened, he said.“Even though seven criminal charges may be laid, administratively hundreds of cases can be opened to see about revoking (immigration) status,” he said in a telephone interview.“It’s very unpleasant for the families, very unpleasant for the province. It’s something that shouldn’t have happened,” he said.“It seems the province may have been a little lax in drilling down for the truth regarding the content of provincial nominee program applications,” he said.Kurland has argued that the federal immigration minister should have acted to reduce the quotas being permitted under the provincial nominee program until there was evidence the province had more vigorous enforcement of its own rules.The case will be prosecuted by a federal lawyer in Charlottetown provincial court; the maximum sentence is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment of five years. There is no minimum sentence.Arraignment of the Zhongs is set for June 11.– Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.last_img read more

WADA president wants Montreal to become global antidoping research hub

first_imgMONTREAL – The president of the World Anti-Doping Agency says he’d like to see Montreal become a global hub for anti-doping research as the organization looks to expand its scope in the wake of the Russian doping scandal.Craig Reedie said Friday he would support an anti-doping research chair at one of Montreal’s four universities, as well as the establishment of a high-level think tank on clean sport that would bring together researchers, academics and policy analysts.In particular, he said the agency is hoping to capitalize on the city’s expertise in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence to explore how it can be used in anti-drug labs.“As part of that relationship, more research could be conducted on doping methods and on individual substances that are, or could be, used by athletes to gain an illegal advantage,” he said in a speech to the Montreal Council on Foreign Relations.“We would also like to see more research carried out on the use of artificial intelligence to help cross-reference data and doping patterns.”Reedie said that process had already begun, referring to Thursday’s announcement that WADA and the Quebec government-linked research fund would each contribute $200,000 a year for the next five years toward anti-doping scientific research.Reedie acknowledged that recent events such as the Russian doping scandal exposed the true extent of institutionalized doping and highlighted the need for WADA to continue expanding its mandate to target the larger doping network.He said the agency continues to work with schools, pharmaceutical companies, law enforcement and researchers, and has already changed its rules to better recognize that doping generally involves a larger network that goes far beyond the athlete.Reedie said WADA is also seeking protection from lawsuits brought against it by those it exposes, including through a private member’s bill that was presented in Quebec’s legislature by a Liberal party member earlier this month.The agency announced last fall it would be keeping its headquarters in Montreal until at least 2031, after earlier suggesting it was considering a move from Quebec’s biggest city.But six months after November’s announcement, Reedie said a final agreement is still not in place.He said officials are still ironing out minor details and he expects the deal to be finalized within weeks.last_img read more

Canadian man charged by US authorities in alleged human smuggling

first_imgREGINA – A Canadian man has been charged in the United States with harbouring and transporting an alien in connection with a human smuggling investigation.Victor Omoruyi made his first court appearance Wednesday in Grand Forks, N.D.Omoruyi’s lawyer, identified by court records as David Dusek, declined to comment.Court documents signed by border agents say Omoruyi was arrested April 14 after an SUV was stopped south of the North Dakota-Saskatchewan border.The documents say Omoruyi entered the U.S. that afternoon and told border officers he was going to meet friends and shop in Minot N.D. He said he planned to return to Canada the next day.They say authorities started watching him because they allege he was identified “as a human smuggler that has previously provided transportation … for individuals who have then entered into Canada illegally.”The affidavit details how border agents followed Omoruyi for several hours.At one point, five adults and four children left a hotel and got into Omoruyi’s vehicle, the documents say.The SUV stopped for gas before heading north toward the border, at which point a U.S. border agent called the RCMP.The documents say photos of Omoruyi, his vehicle and his passengers were captured by border patrol surveillance cameras in an area of open farm fields near the border.“Omoruyi was clearly seen stopping his vehicle, exiting from the driver’s seat and opening rear doors. All other occupants then exited the vehicle. Omoruyi appeared to help the children exit the vehicle. Once all of the passengers were out of the vehicle, Omoruyi got back into the driver’s seat and departed the same way he arrived,” according to the affidavit.The documents say an RCMP officer saw the nine passengers walk north, through an open field, to Canada and make it to a vehicle waiting to pick them up.Authorities say the SUV then met with a sedan before officers stopped the SUV and arrested Omoruyi, along with another Canadian and a Nigerian citizen.The Canadian is identified as a woman named Tosin Johnson, who was born in Nigeria. The Nigerian citizen is a man named Success Okundia. They have both been charged by U.S. authorities with illegal entry.The documents say that in an interview with U.S. authorities, Omoruyi denied driving anyone from Minot.None of the allegations has been proven in court.Last week, Omoruyi’s wife, Michelle, was charged with human smuggling and conspiracy to commit human smuggling.RCMP said that a woman was stopped April 14 on the Canadian side of the border between the North Portal and Northgate crossings, the legal entry points into Saskatchewan from North Dakota. Police said nine people from West Africa were in her vehicle.They were processed by the Canada Border Services Agency and have been released into Canada. All nine have made refugee claims.last_img read more

Young childs leg severed after being struck by farming equipment police

first_imgCLEMENTSVALE, N.S. – RCMP say a seven-year-old girl has died of injuries she suffered when her leg was severed by a farm tractor that struck her as she played in a hay field in rural Nova Scotia.Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said in a release Thursday night that the girl succumbed to her injuries earlier in the evening.RCMP Sgt. Terry Miller said the child was alone in the field that was being mowed when the accident happened at around 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Clementsvale area.Miller said the tractor operator was aware of the presence of the child and was planning to stop the machinery when he came around.But Miller said when the operator turned around and stopped the tractor, he couldn’t see the child anywhere and thought she had returned to the house.Instead, he said, it appears the young girl hid in the deep, metre-high grass.“The operator had mowed over an area and as he was coming back he was travelling in the swath he had just mowed,” Miller said. “The mower was off to the side and he saw a child laying directly in front of him.“He immediately stopped the tractor and got out and ran to the child…you can imagine it was horrific.”Miller said the girl was visiting her grandparents, whose property is next to the field.He said the tractor operator is “devastated” by the heartbreaking accident.Paramedics arrived on the scene in less than 30 minutes, Miller said, and police arrived shortly after.“Her leg was severed in the accident,” he said.The child was taken to the Annapolis Royal Collaborative Clinic, a 24-hour clinic with emergency care, where she was stabilized.She was then transported to a causeway that spans the Annapolis River, which is blocked off and used as a landing pad in emergencies, police said. The girl was airlifted to the IWK children’s hospital in Halifax.Police are continuing to investigate the incident, but Miller said there is no suspicion of criminal activity and charges will likely not be laid.RCMP Cpl. Dione Canning said traffic investigators were on the scene Thursday to investigate the accident.Miller said it drives home just how dangerous farming can be.The Canadian Agricultural Injury Reporting service said in a 2013 news release that an average of 13 children die every year as a result of agricultural incidents in Canada, with more suffering from injuries.Two years ago, three children in central Alberta died after they were playing on a truck loaded with canola at a rural property east of Rocky Mountain House when they were buried by the seed.last_img read more

Missing Ontario woman killed for role in love triangle court hears

first_imgTORONTO – A Toronto woman who vanished five years ago was murdered — and her remains burned — for being the odd woman out in a love triangle, court heard Monday.Crown attorney Jill Cameron laid out the prosecution’s first-degree murder case against Dellen Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Mark Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., in the death of 23-year-old Laura Babcock, whose body has not been found.Cameron walked the jury through some of the evidence the prosecution will call, including text messages between Millard and his girlfriend.“First I’m going to hurt her, then I’ll make her leave. I will remove her from our lives,” Millard allegedly texted his girlfriend at the time, Christina Noudga.The Crown alleges Millard bought an incinerator shortly before Babcock went missing in the summer of 2012 and used it in late July to burn Babcock’s remains.“I expect you’ll hear Miss Babcock told Miss Noudga she was still sleeping with Mr. Millard — and Miss Noudga was very upset about this,” Cameron told the jury.Millard and Smich have pleaded not guilty to the charges. The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.Babcock was allegedly murdered at Millard’s home on July 3 or 4, 2012, then her remains burned a few weeks later in a large incinerator, named “The Eliminator,” at his farm near Waterloo, Ont., court heard.The Crown said Millard spent thousands of dollars on a commercial incinerator — after a failed attempt to build a homemade one — that was delivered the day after Babcock’s last known communication with anyone.Cameron showed the jury a video of Smich rapping.“The b—h started off all skin and bone, now the b—h lay on some ashy stone,” Smich sings in the video. “Last time I saw her she was outside the home. If you go swimming you can find her phone.”Cameron said those words were written on Babcock’s iPad, which was being used by Smich, on July 23, 2012, the night the Crown says the pair put her body into an incinerator.The Crown also showed a photograph of Smich in front of the incinerator and there was another photo of the device’s door open and flames shooting out.Clayton Babcock, the missing woman’s father, was first to testify, saying he hadn’t heard from his daughter since speaking with her briefly on the phone on June 30, 2012.That same day, he said, Laura dropped off her dog, Lacey, and some money, saying she was going on a trip with a man.He said in the months leading up to her disappearance his daughter struggled with mental health issues and was seeing a psychiatrist. She would tell friends she was diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.She wasn’t thrilled with her father’s house rules, which included a midnight curfew on weeknights, and she spent time living at friends’ places in the months before her disappearance, court heard.“We still have Lacey and in a weird way, it’s helped us make it through the years,” Clayton Babcock said.“Every time I see the dog I think of her and of better times.”Millard, who is representing himself, grilled Clayton Babcock about not telling the truth about life at home, and hitting his daughter, which the father denied.The judge admonished Millard at one point for his repetitive questioning.Shawn Lerner, Babcock’s ex, was next to testify, telling court about Babcock’s final days before vanishing. He had loaned her an iPad the week before she disappeared, to help with her search for an apartment.By June, Babcock had become transient after a falling out with her family, court heard. She surfed from couch to couch with her dog before finally leaving the pet with her parents a few days before going missing.Lerner said he searched for Babcock, talking to many of her friends and her family.Her last eight phone calls were to Millard, Lerner told court, after reviewing her cell phone bill with her family. Lerner said he confronted Millard with the information a few weeks later at a coffee shop in Mississauga, Ont.Millard said Babcock was addicted to drugs and she was calling him about that, Lerner said.“He seemed to imply that she’s gone and that she got mixed up with the wrong type of people,” Lerner told court.Lerner told court he asked Millard if the two were sexually involved, which he said Millard vehemently denied.Lerner said he hasn’t heard from Babcock since a text from her on July 1, 2012. He filed a missing persons report with police two weeks after that text.last_img read more

Doctor says Canadianled heart valve surgery details will blow peoples minds

first_imgVANCOUVER – A Vancouver cardiologist has presented details of a revolutionary heart valve surgery to thousands of doctors from around the world and says the minimally invasive procedure will “blow people’s minds.”Dr. David Wood led a study involving 411 patients who underwent an operation called 3M transcatheter aortic valve replacement for treating aortic heart valve disease, at 13 centres across North America, 11 of them in Canada.“It’s going to change, we think, not just North American, but global practice,” Wood said Monday before presenting the study at the annual Transcatheter Cardiovascular Therapeutics conference in Denver, where 15,000 attendees had enrolled.Instead of invasive open heart surgery, which requires general anesthetic, slicing of the sternum, or breastbone, and long hospital stays and recovery time, patients were awake for the 45-minute procedure and walking within a few hours. Eighty per of them went home the next day.“You had no breathing tube, no catheter in your bladder, you could return to work the next day, you could be driving the next day. These are things that I think the average person can’t believe are feasible in 2017,” said Wood, who practises at Vancouver General Hospital and St. Paul’s Hospital in the same city.The aortic valve is the most important of four heart valves and leads from the heart to the body, supplying blood to the head, lungs and muscles. It wears out and narrows with age.The median age of patients in the study was 84, and their symptoms include chest pain and shortness of breath.“Once you start getting symptoms, 50 per cent of people are going to be dead within a year so it’s absolutely imperative that you fix that valve,” Wood said.The new innovation builds on a technique pioneered by Wood’s colleague Dr. John Webb in 2005, which still required general anesthetic and a week-long hospital stay.“By doing less, actually the patients did better,” he said of their work done at the Centre for Heart Valve Innovation involving St. Paul’s, VGH and the University of British Columbia.“It’s truly been a revolution,” he said, adding the latest procedure means quality of life for patients and cost savings for the health-care system, aspects his team are looking into quantifying.Sister Theresa Stickley had the “miracle” surgery in 2013 at age 83 when she lived in Squamish, B.C., and became increasingly exhausted and had difficulty breathing.“The doctor told me I was very close to death and had a couple of months only to live,” Stickley said of the surgery that meant she didn’t have to have her “whole chest bone sawed through.”“I was walking right after the surgery,” she said from the Monastery of the Angels in Los Angeles, where the American-Canadian citizen moved last year.Max Morton, 79, was the first person to have the procedure as an emergency-room patient at Vancouver General Hospital. He’d already had open heart surgery a decade earlier.“Within 24 hours I thought, well, this is nice. It was such an amazing experience being awake for the whole thing,” he said from his home in Richmond, B.C., adding he went fishing five days later.“The only reason Max is alive is because we’d been doing the study and we were able to use that technique for Max. That’s why he’s such an amazing story. No one had ever done it before like that.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.last_img read more

Hometown friends celebrate selection of Willie ORee to Hockey Hall of Fame

first_imgFREDERICTON – A packed Fredericton diner erupted in joyous cheers Tuesday as a prominent son of New Brunswick — Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League — was named to the Hockey Hall of Fame.Friends of O’Ree packed The Cabin restaurant, where they chanted his name after the selection was announced. The 82-year-old was inducted in the builder’s category.“I was pacing in the house for four hours, waiting for the call. I am so happy and feel so fantastic,” O’Ree said from his home in San Diego.O’Ree, who is originally from Fredericton, joined the NHL in 1958 and remains active with the league as its diversity ambassador and active supporter of the Hockey is for Everyone program.His best friend, Junior Doherty, travelled to Fredericton from his New Jersey home to be part of the celebration. He said O’Ree’s selection is well deserved.“He has spent so much time trying to make sure that youth knew how important education was and how important it was to set goals and to try to achieve them,” Doherty said.He and O’Ree have been friends since childhood and still spend a lot of time together, including annual fishing trips to New Brunswick.Doherty’s eyes filled with tears as he spoke of calling O’Ree on Monday night from Willie O’Ree Place — a rink named in his honour — to wish his friend good luck.“I said, ‘You have no idea how nice it is to see this place.’ When we went there for the very first time, we went there together to see the rink, and it was in the evening and the lights were on and we were pretty choked up that day,” he said.O’Ree was the first black player in the NHL, but he will be the third inducted into the Hall of Fame, joining Edmonton Oilers goalie Grant Fuhr and Canadian women’s national team captain Angela James.O’Ree’s first game with the Boston Bruins ended with a 3-0 win over the Canadiens in Montreal on Jan. 18, 1958. But he didn’t realize the significance of the match until reading a newspaper the next day, which confirmed he had broken the NHL’s colour barrier.“It was a nice feeling. I just happened to be playing and just happened to be black,” he said.Following his stint within the Bruins, O’Ree played in other leagues for teams in Ottawa, Los Angeles and San Diego, all the while keeping the secret that an injury had left him blind in his right eye.Sixty years later, there are now about two dozen black players on NHL rosters.“This honour would not be possible if I had not rejoined the league in 1996,” O’Ree said. “I was given a second wind to give back to the game.”Mike Eagles, who played sixteen seasons in the NHL and is now the athletic director at St. Thomas University in Fredericton, said O’Ree is the perfect choice as diversity ambassador.“That’s Willie … That’s him as a person and it’s a perfect fit for him to be in that role and do the great job that he does,” Eagles said.David Sansom, who was one of the people who put together the 76-page submission to the Hockey Hall of Fame, said many people assumed O’Ree was already a member.“It’s been 21 years of giving back, and he has given tens of thousands of children a dream, and a dream they can believe in. For that, we can be eternally grateful,” he said.last_img read more

Cannabis spending grew 12 per cent in Q2 to 57 billion annualized

first_imgOTTAWA – Statistics Canada says Canadian spending on cannabis increased 1.2 per cent to $5.7 billion on an annualized basis in the second quarter.Nearly 85 per cent of purchases were illegal, down from 98 per cent in mid-2014 as consumption for medical use has increased.About 4.9 million Canadians between 15 and 64 years old spent the equivalent of about $1,200 per cannabis consumer.The growth follows a 1.4 per cent increase in spending in the first quarter, rising at an average rate of one per cent quarterly since the beginning of 2015.The average combined medical and non-medical price for cannabis was $6.74 per gram in the second quarter, with cannabis for medical use fetching a slightly higher price.Prices of both substances have fallen by 10.6 per cent since the first quarter of 2016.The agency says household spending on marijuana has increased 72 per cent since the first quarter of 2001, when the federal government passed legislation legalizing the use of cannabis for medical purposes.Cannabis consumption for medical use has more than tripled since the second quarter of 2016.Spending on illegal cannabis is expected to decrease substantially once use of the drug is legalized on Oct. 17.Statistics Canada says $784 million was spent on medical marijuana in the quarter, including $52 million of personal production.Cannabis spending has surpassed the $5.3 billion spent on spirits last year.Canadians spent $22.5 billion on alcohol overall, including $9.1 billion on beer, $7.2 billion on wine and $900 million on cider. They also consumed $16 billion of tobacco.last_img read more

New video series takes consumers to the farm

first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS) – A new web series called Real Farm Lives has been launched aimed at showing consumers what goes on down on the farm.A survey from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity shows 93 per cent of Canadians have little to no knowledge of where their food comes from. The series looks at the daily routines of three farm families from across the country.Madison Englot, who farms with her dad, mom and two brothers near Montmartre, Saskatchewan felt this was an excellent opportunity to contribute to the industry.The Universty of Saskatchewan student says this will help clear up misconceptions about how food is produced and show consumers who they are as farm families.“I really think us as farmers need to stand up and really promote who we are as people, we’re part of this industry and eating the same food we are producing,” said Englot.Chris Renwick farms with his family close to Wheatley in southern Ontario. The Renwicks have been working the land there for nearly 200 hundred years.He is hoping viewers will come away with an understanding that farmers are producing safe and nutritious food.“People understand why we are doing things and how we are doing things and hopefully that will help build more trust and build better relationships between rural and urban people,” said Renwick.CropLife Canada is the organization that put it all together.President and CEO Pierre Petelle points to the survey from the Canadian Centre for Food Integrity.“That was the genesis of it to try and reach average Canadians through average farm families and have an opportunity to share their story.”He said it was completely unscripted and it was incredible just to watch the excitement and pride that the farm family displayed while doing their regular routines.“It’s really about creating that connection between non-farm families and farm families and showing them that they really aren’t that much different than themselves and the trials and tribulations that go into producing the food that we enjoy,” said Petelle.To see the web series click here.last_img read more

PM Liberals vote against public inquiry into SNCLavalin affair

first_imgWilson-Raybould showed up for the weekly Liberal caucus meeting today but wouldn’t say if she will provide any explanations to her fellow MPs.“I’m going to attend caucus, as I always do. We’ll see how the conversations go.”She says she is still getting legal advice ahead of her much-anticipated testimony, which is expected to take place on Monday.WATCH – ‘I respect the committee process’: former attorney general Wilson-Raybould “I want to be able to ensure that I am confident in what I can and can’t say.”Wilson-Raybould adds she can’t say why she decided to resign as minister last week. OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Trudeau government has shot down opposition efforts to launch a public inquiry into the SNC-Lavalin affair with the Prime Minister and the Liberals suggesting there’s no need for an inquiry into the scandal.Following the vote, the person at the centre of this, Jody Wilson-Raybould, said she abstained from voting because the motion was about her. The Vancouver-Granville MP took advantage of the moment to speak about the solicitor-client privilege which is preventing her from speaking out.“Canadians want to know the truth and want transparency, privilege and confidentiality are not mine to waive and I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth,” she added.Former Justice Minister @Puglaas makes a point of order after the vote saying she abstained from voting since the motion is about her. She however notes that privilege and confidentiality are not hers to waive and “I hope that I have the opportunity to speak my truth” #cdnpoli— Cormac Mac Sweeney (@cmaconthehill) February 20, 2019Wilson-Raybould will be testifying about the SNC-Lavalin affair at a justice committee early next week but Trudeau won’t say if he will be waiving solicitor-client privilege before her appearance so she can speak freely during her testimony.“Quite frankly, we are getting advice from the current Attorney General and she’s getting advice from her counsel on what can be talked about that’s not covered by privilege,” Trudeau added.The NDP has said nothing short of an independent inquiry into the controversy will satisfy the Canadian people.The opposition raised multiple points of order claiming Trudeau was in a conflict of interest in voting on the NDP motion because he is the client in this situation.WATCH – Important there is an “airing” of facts in SNC-Lavalin case: Justin Trudeaulast_img read more

Antivaccine campaign very concerning says Ontarios health minister

first_imgTORONTO — Ontario’s health minister says a large ad campaign urging Toronto residents to be wary of vaccinations is “very concerning.”Christine Elliott openly disagreed with the messaging promoted by Vaccination Choice Canada, a group that urges people to get educated about the risks of immunizations.The organization launched a massive ad campaign across Toronto last Thursday, with four messages set to rotate over more than 50 digital billboards for two weeks.The ads, set to broadcast in prominent locations around the city, include messages such as “educate before you vaccinate,” “what are the risks?” and “how many is too many?”Elliott says there’s a lot of public misinformation about vaccinations, adding the government will continue to urge people to be vaccinated against a variety of conditions.A spokesman for the group behind the campaign says the campaign is meant to encourage parents to educate themselves on vaccines, but Public Health Toronto described the blitz as based around “half-truths.” The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Popularity of audio technology is a factor in decline of braille experts

first_imgVANCOUVER — Experts say fewer people with poor eyesight are learning to read braille in North America, partly because audio books and voice technology are supplanting the written word.Jen Goulden, past president of Braille Literacy Canada, said other factors have also had an impact on the use of braille in this country.In the early 20th century, she said visually impaired children were educated at residential schools for the blind because all the resources were consolidated in one place. But the teaching of braille fell behind as an “unintended consequence” of putting visually impaired and sighted children together, said Goulden.The use of large print for students with low vision has also been a factor, she said, because they are only left with audio as their vision decreases and they haven’t learned braille.Teaching braille and learning to read large print was not always done together because audio was cheaper and easier to provide, she added.  Goulden said there has also been a drop in the number of braille teachers and she expressed her frustration at a double-standard in education for children who are blind because they aren’t given a chance to learn braille.“I can’t really fathom why it’s OK to do that to a blind child when we would never think of doing that to a sighted child,” she said.Statistics on the use of braille aren’t available from Canadian organizations.Christopher S. Danielsen, of the Baltimore-based National Federation of the Blind, said its research suggests about 58 per cent of blind students in the United States were using braille in the early 1960s as their primary reading medium, which has dropped to about 10 per cent today.Still, Danielsen said braille is not in danger of being lost.“Most blind people have some vision. Most of us are not totally blind but braille tends to be more efficient than reading print,” he added.Danielsen said a person can get information but not literacy from listening.“We routinely see blind people who are obviously very intelligent, very well-educated, but they don’t have braille skills because they stopped reading print at some point … and learned primarily by listening,” he said.“These are folks who will have graduate level degrees and yet have very atrocious spelling and punctuation just because they haven’t read, they haven’t actually read. They may have a good vocabulary when they speak but they don’t even necessarily have the ability to translate that into writing.”Mary Ellen Gabias, president of Canadian Federation of the Blind, said voice technologies also have limitations.“If you’ve ever used Siri to dictate a voice message to somebody or a text message to somebody, you know you can have some pretty humorous misrepresentation of what you were trying to say,” Gabias said.Learning braille helps with understanding as well, she said.“If I’m listening to an audio book for fun or pleasure, I will often turn it up to double speed. With speech compression these days you can do that without the book sounding like Donald Duck, but if I really want to know and understand and study things, I want them in braille.”Jennifer Dunnam, manager of braille programs at the National Federation of the Blind, said access to braille is better now because it can be used with electronic tools.“We have refreshable braille displays, which can be connected either by cable or by Bluetooth, and they present what is on the screen of the phone or a computer,” she said.Goulden said technology also makes it easier and cheaper to create braille.“We tend to believe that the biggest issue with braille is not that it is no longer valuable … but there is still a lot of stigma around it and people think that braille is slow to read,” she said. “I can tell you that I can read faster than I can listen.”Hina Alam, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Threats abuse move from online to real world McKenna now requires security

first_imgOTTAWA — Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she was recently walking outside a movie theatre with her children when a car slowly pulled to a stop beside them.The driver rolled down his window and then he let fly.“F*** you, Climate Barbie,” he shouted, as she tried to back away from his car and get her kids away from him.Much has been written about the online abuse and threatening behaviour politicians — especially female politicians — and others in the public eye face every day. But McKenna says as the heat around climate change continues to grow, that abuse is going from anonymous online vitriol to terrifying in-person verbal assaults.The incident at the movie theatre is just one of several times her kids have been with her when someone in public began to yell at her. She has been called the C-word, a traitor, an enemy and a “communist piece of garbage.” Her family’s safety has been threatened more than once. Some people have wished she and her children will get fatal diseases. She has received sexualized messages so hateful they could be enough to make even the hardest of hearts skip a beat.“Tick Tock, Barbie B****,” one read.“You’re a stain on this country and I hope you rot in hell,” said another.The threats have become real enough that McKenna sometimes now requires a security detail, a level of protection even cabinet ministers don’t usually get.“There are places, yes, that I have to have security now and I don’t think that’s a great situation,” she said. “I’m someone who is trying to do my job, live my life, and talk and engage with people, and it makes it harder. I’m not going to let this stop me but I wish it would stop.”McKenna would not elaborate on the security needs, so as not to reveal when she has less protection. She said the online abuse in particular has been going on since she was elected, but that in recent months it has gotten much worse in person.“The challenges, the increases of this, is worrying for everyone,” she said.McKenna is not alone in fearing for her safety. Tzeporah Berman, international program co-ordinator for Stand.Earth, said earlier this summer that she has received death threats and was physically assaulted in the Edmonton airport by a man angry about her campaign to close down the oil sands.Catherine Abreu, the executive director of Climate Action Network, Canada, said the issue is a constant source of frustration and fear for environmentalists.“We talk about it every single day,” said Abreu. “There are many people in my community who feel they are under threat.”Abreu and Berman both point to politicians as stoking the fires. Abreu said U.S. President Donald Trump’s rhetorical attacks have emboldened people who now feel it is perfectly acceptable to insult, abuse and threaten people they disagree with.Berman said the threats and attacks against her worsened after Alberta Premier Jason Kenney launched his “war room,” a $30-million project to discredit people he says are using foreign funding to undermine Canada’s energy sector. Berman and others are being named by the Alberta government and called enemies for opposing the oil industry.“Since @jkenney announced his $30 million warroom to attack environmental advocates & this poster of me was held up at his press conference I have had death threats, misogynist & sexual attacks on social media,” she tweeted in June. “This is what that kind of fear mongering & hate does.”An attached image shows a sheet of paper with a photo of her speaking into a bullhorn in front of a banner reading “NO TARSANDS PIPELINE.” Below the photo are the words “Tzeporah Berman: Enemy of the oilsands.” Kenney didn’t hold it up but a supporter introducing him at a pro-oilsands news conference in June did.A spokeswoman for Alberta Energy Minister Sonya Savage said “in no way does our government condone any form of abuse, verbal or otherwise, towards private citizens or elected officials.”Samantha Peck said the “Fight Back Strategy” is in development but the war room itself has not yet been established and hasn’t issued any publications naming any specific individuals.The United Conservative Party has named at least one individual in a fundraising pitch to supporters.Emma Jackson, who works from Climate Justice Edmonton, shared the letter on Aug. 30, which named her as a “radical anti-oil and gas activist.”Berman’s tweet was itself met with a torrent of abuse, many of which called her a liar or said she deserved everything she got. A handful of people said while they disagreed vehemently with Berman’s activities, the threats and abuse were not acceptable. They, too, were then attacked.McKenna said she doesn’t call this sort of thing out often because she fears giving abusers attention. In 2017, she did stop to call foul when Conservative MP Gerry Ritz referred to her on Twitter as “Climate Barbie.”The insult was coined by the right-wing website, The Rebel, shortly after McKenna was named environment minister and has been used in hundreds, if not thousands, of insults hurled her direction.Ritz, a former agriculture minister who has since resigned from Parliament, deleted his tweet and apologized for the slur when it was met with outrage.McKenna said the fact that climate-change deniers have now verbally attacked Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish climate activist, proves just how low some will go to discredit their opponents.People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier was among them, accusing Thunberg in a tweet of being mentally unstable. He later said he wasn’t trying to insult her, just show that she was a pawn being used by adults to put an unassailable face on their lies that climate change is a human-caused emergency.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

News media advocacy group criticizes Canada Post flyer distribution plans

first_imgOTTAWA — An advocacy group representing print and digital news media in Canada is criticizing Canada Post plans to expand its commercial flyer distribution service.News Media Canada says Canada Post’s move to distribute packaged commercial flyers would “seriously harm” a primary revenue source for most newspapers. The Canada Post strategy relies on an “unfair advantage,” namely the ability to access mail boxes in apartments and condos, the advocacy group says.The group is asking the government to restrict Canada Post from using a tool given to them by the government to directly compete with local newspapers.Newspapers have traditionally been the main delivery source for flyers that advertise products for local businesses, and the practice is a major revenue source for many media outlets.News Media Canada is arguing the move by the Crown corporation runs counter to the recent direction the government has taken in providing support for news media.“At a time when our industry is knee-deep in transition, this deliberate undercutting of one of newspapers’ foundational revenue pillars by a federal Crown Corporation is very troubling,” said John Hinds, head of News Media Canada.The Liberal government has promised almost $600 million in tax credits and incentives for some media organizations over the next five years.Outlets that meet certain qualifications will receive a 25 per cent tax credit on salaries for some newsroom employees, while media organizations will also be able to apply for charity-like status.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Youre out A list of federal election candidates forced to step down

first_imgOTTAWA — A list of candidates forced to step down, or resigned since the start of the campaign on Sept. 11, which doesn’t include, for instance, the Liberal decision to oust candidate Hassan Guillet (Saint Leonard—Saint-Michel) in late August over alleged anti-Semitic social-media posts.LiberalNone since the start of the election campaign.ConservativeSept. 12: Cameron Ogilvie (Winnipeg North) over incendiary comments in social-media posts.NDPSept. 11: Dock Currie (Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo) over online comments. Olivier Mathieu (LaSalle—Emard—Verdun) over domestic abuse allegations.GreenSept. 12: Erik Schomann (Simcoe North) over a social-media post that talked about sending pig meat to Muslims.People’s PartySept. 12: Brian Misera (Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam). Misera linked his dismissal to a series of social-media videos critical of leader Maxime Bernier for not doing enough to distance the party from racist candidates. The party says it was because he was acting as his own financial agent, in violation of election rules.The Canadian Presslast_img read more