New Delhi: Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone will set up its first container terminal outside India in Myanmar at an estimated cost of $290 million (over Rs 2,000 crore). The company signed an agreement Thursday to develop and operate a container terminal at Yangon Port in Myanmar. Construction for phase one of the project will commence next month and will be completed by June 2021. It is a two-phase project. “Total project cost for both phases would be $275-290 million. The investment is in line with APSEZ strategy to have a footprint in Southeast Asia and expand the container terminal network,” Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) said in a statement. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsAlso, the terminal will be integrated with APSEZ ports/terminals along the east and south coast of India, unlocking synergies by offering multiple entry/exit points for shipping lines, APSEZ, the logistics arm of Adani Group, said. The BOT (build, operate, transfer)/ lease agreement is signed for 50 years and extendable twice for ten years each. “The terminal will have a capacity to handle 0.80 million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent unit) of containers… Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefThe estimated cost for implementing phase I of 0.5 million TEUs is between $220-230 million and phase II expansion to 0.8 million TEUs is expected to cost between $55 60 million,” it added. The terminal will have a quay length of 635 meters with capability to handle three vessels at a time. APSEZ said it would introduce its operating and technological expertise to Myanmar by using modern equipment to ensure efficient handling of containers, thereby reducing the average turnaround time of vessels. All requisite clearances/permissions for setting up the terminal have been received in the form of Myanmar Investment Commission (MIC) permit, it added. “We are proud to be the first Indian company to set up a container terminal outside India. With a good balance of EXIM trade and a ten per cent growth prospect, the project is an ideal investment for us. The terminal will generate meaningful employment for over 1,100 local people,” Karan Adani, CEO and Whole Time Director of APSEZ, said.
Kolkata: Plans of private sector steel major JSW Steel to scale up the capacity of its flagship integrated steel plant at Vijayanagar in Karnataka to 18 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) will be taken up only after 2020, an official said. The Vijayanagar plant currently has a 12 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) capacity. The company will first execute the expansion of its Dolvi unit in Maharashtra from five million tonnes to 10 million tonnes and stabilise the two newly acquired steel plants from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) by 2020, which will ramp up its installed capacity to 24-25 million tonnes from the existing 17 million tonnes, the official said. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsJSW Steel was also expecting the handover of Bhushan Power and Steel, which operates 3.5 million tonne steel plant in Odhisa. Bhushan Power and Steel is the second insolvent firm acquired by Sajjan Jindal-led JSW steel after Monnet Ispat and Energy Ltd last year. “With 5 million tonneS from Dolvi and takeover of Bhushan and Monnet, we expect our capacity to become 24-25 million tonnes by 2020. Then, the expansion of Vijayanagar will be taken up,” the official said. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefAmid a sharp decline in consolidated net profit for the March 2019 quarter, the company has planned a capex of Rs 15,700 crore for the current fiscal. “With the fresh approval of Rs 5,700 crore, we are now implementing a cumulative capex spend of Rs 48,715 crore (net of capex projects put on hold during the year) over FY18- FY21,” the company’s joint managing director and Group CFO Seshagiri Rao had told reporters recently. The new approval of Rs 5,700 crore investment was mainly to be utilised for downstream investment for about Rs 1,000 crore, Rs 2,200 crore towards cost-saving projects and Rs 2,000 crore for mining, Rao had said.
Gurugram: It was a matter of coincidence that at a time the law enforcement officials were trying to investigate the cause of four deaths that had occurred in flat S-299, a parcel was sent back mid-afternoon. Sent in the name of Aditi from Howrah, the parcel contain samples of organic soap that she was trying to develop for which she had also tied up with a company in Bengal.Even though the 22-year-old was pursuing BsC from Jamia University in New Delhi, her dream was not only restricted to her studies but rather she had set a big dreamt of being an innovator and an entrepreneur. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsAditi followed in the footsteps of her father and tried to chart her path in the field of chemistry and pharmaceuticals. A year-and-a-half back Aditi developed an organic soap, an idea that came in her mind during one of the projects that she had prepared for the college. During the time of the project, she had got in touch with the pharmaceutical company in Howrah. After getting good grades in the project she tried to explore the commercial viability of the developing such soap in the market of the national capital region. Excited about her venture, she had also asked her father Dr Prakash Singh who himself had done a PhD in Chemistry from Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi for financial assistance, sources Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderclaimed. Sources also claimed that Dr Singh had extended her support for the venture of the daughter who they also say was an apple of her eye. She had already developed a plan and the parcel she had received on Monday, a day after she died contained the parcels. Sources in the Gurugram police claim that her call records show that she was in constant touch with the company in Bengal about her project and the samples that were to be received. Aditi was in her final year of BSc at Jamia University Delhi. Sources in the police claim that she was the first one to be murdered on the night of June 30.
Jammu: Nearly 2.60 lakh pilgrims performed the ongoing Amarnath Yatra in the last 20 days as another batch of 4,158 Yatris left Jammu on Sunday for the cave shrine in Kashmir Valley.Since the Yatra commenced on July 1, 2,59,889 pilgrims have visited the shrine, officials of Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board (SASB) said. Another batch of 4,158 pilgrims left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in Jammu in two escorted convoys for the Valley on Sunday.”Of these, 2,139 Yatris are going to Baltal base camp while 2,019 are going to Pahalgam base camp,” police said. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DaySituated 3,888 metres above the sea level in south Kashmir Himalayas, the cave shrine houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva according to the devotees.The ice structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon. Pilgrims approach the cave shrine either through the longer 45 km-long Pahalgam route or the shorter 14 km-long Baltal route.Those using the Baltal route return to the base camp the same day after performing the Yatra. Helicopter services are available for the pilgrims at both the base camps. Also Read – Don’t use ‘lynching’ to defame India: BhagwatLocal Muslims are lending a helping hand to ensure that their Hindu brethren can perform the Yatra with ease and convenience to uphold the centuries old tradition of Kashmir, abode of saints and Sufis.So far, 24 pilgrims have died during the Yatra. While 22 of them died of natural causes, two passed away in accidents.The cave shrine was discovered in 1850 by a Muslim shepherd named Buta Malik . To reward the shepherd, a saint gave him a bag of charcoal that turned out to be gold, says the local folklore. Symbolically, the lore turned out to be true. The descendants of the shepherd have shared a portion of the offerings at the cave shrine for over 150 years.This year’s Amarnath Yatra will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival.
NEW DELHI: Delhi government will not change the name of the Signature Bridge and name it in the name of former CM Sheila Dikshit. CM Arvind Kejriwal urged the Delhi Congress to not “politicise” the issue as the Congress wrote a letter on Monday urging him to change the name of the signature bridge.”People know the bridge in the name of Signature Bridge. We do not want to change the name and I will request the Congress to not politicize the issue,” said CM Kejriwal. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe Delhi Congress on Monday wrote to chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, requesting the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government to name Signature Bridge after three-time former chief minister Sheila Dikshit, who died this month. In the letter, Delhi Congress spokesperson Jitender Kochar said the iconic Signature Bridge was Dikshit’s gift to the national capital and it should be renamed after her. He said during her 15-year tenure as CM, Dikshit had undertaken several development and infrastructure projects for the city. Her term, he said, was “exemplary in the context of the history of the city and the entire country”. “Signature Bridge is a big gift to the city by Dikshit. Its construction started during her tenure and the iconic design is her contribution to the project. It took a lot of time to build it but it is complete now. I appeal to you to rename the bridge after the former chief minister,” Kochar said in the letter.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro was joined by his Cuban counterpart Miguel Díaz-Canel Sunday as they issued a rallying cry for regional unity “to confront the onslaught of U.S. imperialism.” The pair were among the speakers at the closing ceremony of the 25th São Paolo Forum in Caracas, which coincided with celebrations marking the 65th anniversary of the birth of former Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, who died in 2013. São Paulo Forum secretary Mónica Valente said the best way to honour Chávez was “to continue his struggle for the sovereignty and inclusion of the peoples, to combat poverty and imperial forces.” Chávez’s successor, Maduro, stressed the importance of unity of Latin American and the Caribbean left forces “from the moral, spiritual, and political point of view. “We have to achieve the union of all progressive parties with a great project that manages to unify the popular forces,” he told attendees from more than 70 countries. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe Venezuelan president said that the country faces constant “imperialist calls for despair and division,” including an attempted coup by the U.S. and their “puppet” Juan Guaidó. He explained that Bolivarianism is “Venezuela’s autochthonous response to the crisis of the model of pro-imperialist domination that was imposed on the country.” The meeting took place amid a backdrop of escalating regional tensions. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has adopted an increasingly hostile stance towards regional left-wing governments, imposing punitive sanctions and threatening military intervention. Cuba has been subjected to an economic blockade by the U.S. that the United Nations estimates have cost the country’s economy $130 billion over nearly six decades. Also Read – Insider threat managementDíaz-Canel told the international delegates: “The U.S. imperialist counteroffensive and the oligarchy, alongside the hawks that have literally hijacked U.S. foreign policy towards Latin America and the Caribbean, are dangerously threatening the geographical space that CELAC [Community of Latin American and Caribbean States] declared a peace zone.” He highlighted the anti-democratic measures by Washington aimed at undermining regional governments. This, he said, included the “criminalization” of progressive governments and their leaders—in April, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton branded Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua the “troika of tyranny.” The São Paolo Forum was established in 1990 by then Brazilian President Luis Inácio “Lula” da Silva and leader of the Cuban Revolution, Fidel Castro. Starting with just 60 participants, the forum now includes more than 120 organisations from 25 countries in “permanent debate for peace and the unity of our peoples.” Organised under the slogan “Another world is possible,” it functions as a counterbalance to US domination of Latin America. IPA (The views expressed are strictly personal)
Kolkata: The state Mass Education and Library Department is determined to educate the remaining six lakh people out of their 50 lakh target in Bengal.”Our mass education department made a target in 2009 that 50 lakh people should be made literate. Till now, 44 lakh people are able to read and write,” said state Mass Education and Library minister Siddiqullah Chowdhury, on the sidelines of the International Literacy Day 2019 programme held at Rabindra Sadan on Sunday. State Legislative Assembly speaker Biman Banerjee, state Fire and Emergency Services minister Sujit Bose and state Minority Affairs and Madrasa Education minister Giasuddin Molla were present at the event as well. According to a 2011 census, nearly 26% of Indians are still illiterate. In Bengal, the figure is nearly 21%. “We are determined to eradicate illiteracy from our country and Bengal,” Chowdhury said. He reiterated that his Mass education department runs different types of institutions. “One of the institutions teaches specially-able children. For them, we are imparting education from 4th standard to 12th standard. As per the Educational Statistics report released by MHRD in 2018, the overall literacy rate in India is 69.1%.
MONTREAL – A judge has ruled the so-called ”marry out, get out” provisions of a membership law on the books of a Mohawk community near Montreal are unconstitutional.The sections, which Kahnawake authorities said were designed to preserve Mohawk culture, are discriminatory and violate the federal Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Quebec Superior Court Justice Thomas Davis wrote in a ruling.The case was heard in court last year over provisions commonly referred to as “marry out, get out,” which state anyone who marries a non-Indigenous person can no longer live on the reserve just south of Montreal.In his ruling, the judge said federal government actions over the years have disadvantaged the Mohawks because they had lands expropriated and for many years were discouraged from practising their own culture.But Davis noted that none of the chiefs who testified were able to provide objective evidence that mixed marriages have an impact on land use or erosion of Mohawk culture.“The evidence allows the court to draw the conclusion that sections of the KML (membership law) are largely, (if not solely) grounded in a stereotypical belief that non-native spouses will use the resources and land of the band in a way that is detrimental to it and that this will have a negative impact on the ability of the band to protect its culture and its land,” Davis wrote.“However, this belief is not supported by any empirical evidence.”A group of 16 plaintiffs banded together to challenge the membership policy they called discriminatory.Some left the community, while others remained. They told the court they were exposed to protests, threats and expulsion notices.“At first glance, I think we’re very happy this rule was deemed unconstitutional because it was quite problematic,” Genevieve Grey, one of the lawyers who represented the plaintiffs, said in an interview.The membership rule has existed for more than three decades and the council argued in court it was “theoretical” because no one has ever been removed by force from the territory.But Davis wrote it was clearly demonstrated that people’s lives had been affected and he ordered the council to pay seven complainants a total of $35,000 in moral damages.The judgment gives the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake a certain level of autonomy in dealing with the matter as well as the possibility of finding another measure to protect lands, language and culture — but one that respects the Charter.“The court notes that in many of its sections the KML recognizes the importance of commitment to language and culture by people applying to be members,” the judge wrote.“Perhaps going forward, the (Mohawk Council of Kahnawake) should consider placing more importance on that commitment than on the origins of one’s spouse.”In response to Monday’s ruling, the Mohawk council said in a statement its legal team is reviewing the judgment and will present its findings later this week.“Obviously we maintain the position that matters that are so integral to our identity have no business in outside courts,” said Grand Chief Joe Norton.“However, a decision on the case has been rendered. We are now taking the time to analyze the decision and will inform the community further in the coming days.”Grey said the plaintiffs recognize the matter remains a very emotional issue on all sides.“Our hope is that eventually things will change,” she said. “I think that right now everyone is stuck with their own perspective. With this judgment, we hope attitudes will change.”
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – The jury in an Alberta triple murder trial has heard that blood found on the accused killer’s boot was a match to the two-year-old victim.RCMP DNA expert Janice Lyons examined several blood samples relating to the deaths of little Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette and her father Terry Blanchette.Lyons says blood on one of Derek Saretzky’s boots was found to be Hailey’s, but no DNA could be retrieved from the firepit where the girl’s remains were found.Lyons says DNA from Terry Blanchette was found at both Blanchette’s home and in a white van owned by the Saretzky family.Saretzky is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.The third victim was senior Hanne Meketech, who was killed five days before the father and daughter.
HALIFAX – The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls is making “community visits” in Nova Scotia this week, as it seeks to put a crisis of confidence behind it.The inquiry’s director of health, Terrellyn Fearn, said officials begin three days in Halifax on Tuesday, before moving on to Membertou and Millbrook First Nations.“We’ve talked to family and survivors on what kind of process they would like, and this is the process they felt most comfortable with, and that’s what we implemented,” she said Monday.The visits are being held to prepare for nine community hearings starting this fall across the country, Fearn said.For weeks, the commission has faced questions from concerned family members who say they have lost faith in the process, which is expected to take at least two years and cost $53.8 million.In an open letter released last week, some family members called on the commission to start over from scratch, citing the resignation last month of one of the commissioners, Marilyn Poitras.Some Aboriginal leaders have argued the inquiry has not put families first, and fails to respect their voices.Fearn said Monday the inquiry is attempting to address concerns through these meetings.“It’s through these community visits that we’ll actually be able to meet families and survivors in person, answer their questions and start to build a relationship with them so they’ll feel comfortable enough to engage in the process,” said Fearn, herself a member of the Glooscap First Nation in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley.Journalists have been asked to stay away from the sessions, which are being held at undisclosed locations. Inquiry officials are meeting with families and survivors who want to register with the inquiry, or have questions.She said the inquiry has seen major growth in participation in the last month, and now has almost 500 registrants.“Our shift in this new direction is illustrated by the vast numbers of increasing participants,” she said.Families and survivors can speak to the inquiry’s health support staff to discuss their options and possibly begin telling their stories ahead of the hearing, she said. Legal counsel will also be available if participants wish.“I know there has been some concerns around the legalistic process of the hearings; this part of the community visit and our intake process is really focused around the family and the survivor. And they’re really the one in the lead.”Assembly of First Nations Chief Perry Bellegarde has acknowledged that First Nations leaders are divided on what to do about the troubled inquiry. Bellegarde is steering a middle course, saying the commission needs to focus all its energy on ensuring the stories of families are front and centre, adding it is critical it improves communications.Last month, commissioner Michele Audette told the AFN that there was a lack of communication at the beginning of the inquiry process, in part because the commissioners were told not to speak or go to events. But she said they “were too silent,” which was a mistake.She told reporters the inquiry has “been in crisis mode for quite a few weeks now.”Fearn said her own family has experience with the issues being explored by the inquiry, and she has a responsibility to them.“I know there’s a lot of good constructive criticisms out there … there’s also a lot of good things that are happening, and there’s a lot of support from families and survivors,” she said.“By the very nature of the work, within Canadian society we are going to be pulling up the roots, shaking the roots of the marginalization of Indigenous women. And whenever you pull up those roots from the ground, it unsettles the earth. And I think a lot of what we may be seeing now is some of that unsettling.”
Highlights from the news file for Friday, Jan. 5———JOBLESS RATE FALLS TO 40-YEAR-LOW: The unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in more than 40 years as Canada closed out a calendar year that saw it produce jobs at a pace not seen since 2002. Statistics Canada reported Friday that the unemployment rate dropped to 5.7 per cent in December, down from 5.9 per cent the month before, to reach its lowest mark since comparable data became available in 1976. Over the past 12 months, the economy added 422,500 jobs with the gains driven by 394,200 new full-time positions, the agency’s labour force survey said.———TIM HORTONS CALLS FRANCHISEES ‘RECKLESS’: Tim Hortons franchisees who planned to offset the Ontario government’s minimum wage hike by cutting paid breaks and forcing workers to cover some of the costs for dental and health benefits faced a roasting Friday. After days of public and government outrage stemming from policies introduced by Ron Joyce Jr. and Jeri Horton-Joyce, the coffee chain’s Canadian headquarters called such franchisees’ actions “reckless” and “completely unacceptable.” A statement from Tim Hortons on Friday said the cuts “do not reflect the values of our brand.”———SOULPEPPER SCANDAL SEEN AS INDUSTRY WAKE-UP CALL: Theatre companies say the scandal surrounding Soulpepper founding artistic director Albert Schultz is serving as a wake-up call for the industry. Companies say efforts to address issues around sexual harassment in the workplace were underway months before four actresses filed suits accusing Schultz of several forms of sexual misconduct, prompting his resignation. Diana Bentley, Hannah Miller, Patricia Fagan and Kristin Booth alleged in their statements of claim that Schultz groped them, exposed himself, pressed against them or otherwise behaved inappropriately. The allegations have not been proven in court.———ANOTHER ACTRESS ALLEGES ‘HARASSMENT’ AT SOULPEPPER: Another actress is claiming bullying and harassment when she worked for the Toronto Soulpepper Theatre Company, whose director resigned late Thursday. Playwright and author Ann-Marie MacDonald claims she experienced exploitation while working as an actress with the company in 2009. Her comments follow those of four other women who allege director Albert Schultz sexually harassed them, and that Soulpepper did nothing about it. Schultz denies the accusations.———TRUDEAU PUSHED TO MARK JAN. 29 MOSQUE SHOOTING: One of Canada’s most prominent Muslim groups is asking Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to designate the anniversary of the 2017 Quebec City mosque shooting as an official day of remembrance. The National Council of Canadian Muslims wants Trudeau to endorse Jan. 29 as a national day of remembrance and action on Islamophobia. In a letter to the prime minister released Friday, executive director Ihsaan Gardee says such a designation would help enhance public education about hate, bigotry and Islamophobia.———EAST COAST CLEANING UP AFTER STORM: Tens of thousands of people woke up in the dark Friday morning after a ferocious storm blasted through Atlantic Canada. But power is coming back as the day has gone on. By mid-afternoon, Nova Scotia Power was reporting just over 2,000 outages affecting almost 37,000 customers. Aside from widespread power outages, there’s general flooding of coastal roads, battering of sailboats and downing of trees.———NEW RULES TO PROHIBIT ASBESTOS PUBLISHED: The federal government has laid out a tough set of proposed new regulations to prohibit the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products that contain it, as well as the manufacture of products containing the cancer-causing mineral. The rules fulfil a Liberal promise made more than a year ago and complement proposals the government issued last spring. Asbestos is a carcinogen that has been condemned by the World Health Organization and is banned in about 50 countries around the world.———ANGUS URGES PM TO GET BEYAK OUT OF SENATE: Sen. Lynn Beyak — newly turfed from the Conservative caucus — is fundamentally unfit to represent the Canadian people, NDP MP Charlie Angus said Friday. He urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to use his influence to get her removed from the upper chamber once and for all. Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer kicked Beyak out of caucus after reports surfaced about letters of support she has posted on her personal Senate website — some of which he described as containing “offensive” and “unacceptable” expressions of racism against Indigenous Peoples.———VANCOUVER MAN FACES DRUG CHARGE IN JAPAN: A Vancouver-area resident is in custody in Japan, accused of smuggling nearly 10 kilograms of drugs into the country. A statement from Tokyo Customs says Daniel Whitmore was arrested at Narita Airport on Dec. 11 after arriving on a flight from Vancouver. The email statement says that 9,801 grams of methamphetamine was seized after being found in a guitar case and canisters of tea that allegedly belonged to Whitmore.———DOCTOR SUSPENDED AFTER BABY DEATHS: A Labrador obstetrician has been found guilty of professional misconduct and ordered to apologize and serve a three-month suspension after two babies died in 2014. The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Newfoundland and Labrador says Dr. Ikechukwu Madu failed to maintain professional standards. An adjudication panel found he failed to plan in July 2014 to induce birth at 38 to 39 weeks for a diabetic patient. She was admitted to hospital at 41 weeks, where an ultrasound revealed the baby had died in the womb. A month earlier, the college says a baby was stillborn after Madu failed to detect an abnormal fetal heart rate and speed up delivery.———
Trying to make sense of it all.As the country continues to try to grapple with what happened in Humboldt, Saskatchewan, 660 NEWS and its news partners across the country came together in conversation to examine the stories, reaction, fallout and impact of this devastating incident.Listen to this special report below.Audio Playerhttps://toronto.citynews.ca/wp-content/blogs.dir/sites/10/2018/04/09/humboldt-strong-final-podcast-amber.leblanc.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.photossaaa
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he does not remember any “negative interactions” during an event he attended 18 years ago in British Columbia — acknowledging for the first time allegations of sexual misconduct that recently resurfaced about him at the event.Trudeau told reporters in Regina on Sunday that he remembers attending the music festival in Creston, B.C., in the summer of 2000, but said he doesn’t recall anything going amiss.“I remember that day in Creston well, it was an Avalanche Foundation event to support avalanche safety. I had a good day that day. I don’t remember any negative interactions that day at all,” Trudeau said.This marks the first time Trudeau has offered direct comment on the 18-year-old allegation that has resurfaced in media reports in recent weeks. However, his answer is the same one that has been provided by his office in response to recent questions about the allegation.The alleged incident reportedly took place at a music festival where money was being raised for the Avalanche Foundation, a charity Trudeau became involved with after his brother Michel died in an avalanche in 1998.In the days that followed, an editorial appeared in the Creston Valley Advance alleging Trudeau had apologized to an unnamed female reporter at the newspaper after “groping” her at the event. It alleged he told the woman he would not have “been so forward” if he had known she was reporting for a national newspaper.The unsigned editorial resurfaced recently and has led to calls for the prime minister to address the allegations.He answered one question on the issue Sunday, but did not offer an opportunity for any follow-ups.The allegation is particularly problematic for Trudeau, who frequently proclaims himself a feminist and has generally taken a zero-tolerance approach to allegations of sexual misconduct within the Liberal party.Four MPs have resigned or been kicked out of the Liberal caucus over alleged sexual misconduct since Trudeau became party leader in 2013.Trudeau has acknowledged that he, like other political leaders, is struggling to figure out the best way to deal with allegations while still allowing due process for those accused.“I don’t have a rule book that’s been handed down to me from Wilfrid Laurier as leader of the Liberal party on how to handle these situations,” Trudeau said in January.The Canadian Press has made efforts to speak to the other person involved in the alleged 2000 incident in Creston, B.C., but those efforts have so far been unsuccessful.With files from Sam Maciag in Regina and Mia Rabson in Ottawa.Follow @ReporterTeresa on Twitter.
SANDRINGHAM, England — Queen Elizabeth II was cheered by onlookers when she and other senior royals arrived at a Christmas church service on the grounds of one of her country estates.The 92-year-old queen arrived by car Tuesday morning while younger royals walked from her grand country house in Sandringham to nearby St. Mary Magdalene Church.Prince Charles led the way, followed by his sons: Prince William and his wife Catherine and Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, who is expecting their first child in the spring.Many other members of the royal family were also in attendance. Britain’s royals usually exchange gifts on Christmas Eve and mark Christmas day with the church service and a traditional lunch.The queen’s pre-recorded annual message to Britain and the Commonwealth will be broadcast in the afternoon.The Associated Press
Camille Bains, The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — Researchers in British Columbia have designed a “robot” that helps reduce pain for premature babies by simulating skin-to-skin contact with a parent who may not be available during around-the-clock procedures in a neonatal intensive care unit.Lead inventor and occupational therapist Liisa Holsti said the Calmer device is a rectangular platform that replaces a mattress inside an incubator and is programmed with information on a parent’s heartbeat and breathing motion.The robotic part of Calmer is that the platform rises up and down to mimic breathing, and a heartbeat sound is audible through a microphone outside the device, said Holsti, adding a pad on top resembles a skin-like surface.The aim is to help babies cope with pain through touch instead of medication as much as possible while they’re exposed to multiple procedures, such as the drawing of blood, which can be done multiple times a day over several months.A randomized clinical trial involving 49 infants born prematurely between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy at BC Women’s Hospital and Health Centre concluded Calmer provides similar benefits to human touch in reducing pain when the babies had their blood drawn.The findings of the study, completed between October 2014 and February 2018, were published this week in the journal Pain Reports.A parent’s or caregiver’s touch is the most healing and the Calmer isn’t intended to replace that, said Holsti, the Canada research chair in neonatal health and development. She worked with four other researchers on the project that involved a prototype built by engineering students at the British Columbia Institute of Technology.“We purposely did not design it to look anything like a human being,” she said, adding her work since 1985 in neonatal intensive care units, where she taught parents how to support their babies at home after leaving the hospital, sparked an interest in assessing infant pain and trying to relieve it.“We have about 30,000 babies born prematurely in Canada alone every year so my hope would be that we would be helping all of those babies with Calmer.”Holsti said nurses often provide so-called hand hugging by placing their hands around an infant’s head, arms and legs in a curled position during blood collection, but the study suggests the device would save almost half a million dollars in staffing costs every year at just the neonatal intensive care unit where the study was done.Lauren Mathany, whose twin daughters Hazel and Isla were born 24 weeks into her pregnancy last April and weighed less than two pounds each, said that while the Calmer research had been completed by then, it would have been a reassuring tool for her and her spouse when they went home to sleep or take a shower after doing plenty of hang hugging and skin-to-skin touching.“The NICU is the most difficult place to be. It challenges you in every single way,” she said.Methany’s children spent over four months at the hospital and were medically fragile when they were bought home but are now thriving at almost a year old.Dr. Ran Goldman, who has been a pain researcher at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute for 20 years but wasn’t involved with the Calmer study, said the device shows promise because there’s a greater understanding that healing is delayed when pain is part of an infant’s treatment.Scientists in the late 1960s believed babies didn’t feel pain but there’s now an increasing understanding that they’re more sensitive to it than older children or adults because their pain-inhibiting mechanisms haven’t fully developed, said Goldman, who is also an emergency room physician at BC Children’s Hospital.“Research has shown that babies who suffered pain as neonates do keep this memory later on and respond differently when they get pain experiences later in life,” he said.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
The 10-bed regional hospital that serves the medical needs of 5,000 people on the remote west coast of Vancouver Island has been doing extra duty lately as an emergency shelter for the homeless and poorly housed, says the mayor of Tofino.Josie Osborne says she and her council were shocked to discover that Tofino General Hospital regularly provides beds and meals for people who arrive at the facility for treatment who would normally not require in-patient service.A delegation from Island Health, including the area’s medical health officer and a hospital doctor, appeared at Tofino council last month when the issue was discussed, she said.“I personally was unaware that people were staying overnight in the hospital sometimes because they simply didn’t have an adequate home to go back to,” said Osborne. “That’s deeply concerning.”Tofino General Hospital serves as a regional health facility for a vast region of eight communities, some of which are accessible only by boat or float plane. Osborne said due to the distances some people travel and the remoteness of their communities, the hospital sometimes admits people overnight who can’t make it home after treatment, although the homeless issue is a recent development.“But there are a few people who live in Tofino who present at the hospital and they’ve got both medical and social reasons why the hospital staff choose to admit them overnight,” said Osborne. “It is effectively acting as a temporary shelter for some people who don’t have a safe home or a healthy place to return to at night.”She said hospital staff now admit people on a regular basis overnight who have no other place to go.“It’s a clarion call, I think, to the entire community to say we have problems we have to talk about,” Osborne said. “They are difficult to talk about but we’ve got to resolve these.”She said she doesn’t believe the hospital is planning to close its doors to the homeless.“I don’t get the sense the hospital is upset,” Osborne said.Island Health spokeswoman Shannon Marshall said B.C. hospitals, including Tofino General, do not consider themselves emergency homeless shelters, but patients without housing are often admitted overnight to allow health officials to help make plans for their futures.Tofino regularly struggles with affordable housing shortages for local workers who serve the area’s thousands of tourists, but now the accommodation crisis is hitting the most vulnerable people the hardest, said Osborne.“With the exception of higher end market housing, it’s very difficult for people to find something affordable for their income range,” she said. “That goes from professionals down to tourism front-line workers to retirees who move to the community and want to spend their time here.”Tofino is in the planning stages of developing an affordable, multi-unit, rental housing project on municipal land, but a completion date has not been set, said Osborne. She said discovering the local hospital is serving as an emergency shelter heightens the need to address the housing shortfall in the community.“It just raises the level of awareness that there are gaps at all levels, especially when you hear about the gaps for our more vulnerable population.”The B.C. Housing Ministry said in a statement the situation in Tofino demonstrates how the housing crisis is affecting communities. The province has committed to building 114,000 new affordable homes over 10 years.Dirk Meissner, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The federal government is warning that a 15-day cap on inmate segregation could be dangerous.The government wants the Supreme Court to set aside the cap imposed by Ontario’s top court.Ottawa also wants last month’s ruling by the Ontario Court of Appeal — slated to take effect Friday — to be put on hold in the interim.In its request to appeal, the government says the Ontario court failed to account for the potential dangers of imposing a hard cap.It also says the Supreme Court needs to provide national guidance on the issue.The Canadian Civil Liberties Association argues solitary confinement can cause long-term trauma for inmates.The Canadian Press
CALGARY — A University of Calgary researcher says he’s hopeful a deal worth up to $1 billion between his drug company and a U.S. biotechnology firm could one day lead to autoimmune disease treatments that don’t make patients more vulnerable to infections or cancer.“It’s kind of a dream come true that I can play a role in this process and realize something that might perhaps help a lot of people,” said Pere Santamaria, founder of Parvus Therapeutics and a professor at the university’s Cumming School of Medicine.Parvus announced a working and licensing agreement Thursday with California-based Genentech to develop, manufacture and commercialize a class of drugs known as Navacims to potentially treat celiac, autoimmune liver and inflammatory bowel diseases.Parvus is to get an upfront payment from Genentech and further payments as certain milestones are reached. The companies are not disclosing precisely how the funds are to be broken down or over what time period. Parvus is also eligible to get royalty payments on sales that result from the deal.The immune system is meant to protect the body from bacteria, viruses and cancer. But in people with autoimmune diseases, the body’s own tissues are mistaken for harmful invaders and attacked.Current treatments work by suppressing the immune system as a whole, which makes patients less able to fight off infections and cancer.Navacims, discovered by Santamaria and his team in 2004, use nanoparticles to switch off autoimmune attacks in a way that doesn’t compromise the body’s overall disease-fighting abilities. Santamaria said the treatments have been tested extensively in mice with promising results. The deal with Genentech will go toward clinical trials in humans. Parvus will be responsible for initial small-scale tests. Genentech will take on subsequent studies in larger groups and, if successful, the regulatory work needed to bring the drug to market.The companies aren’t disclosing when the trials will be done, but Santamaria said time is of the essence.“It’ll take some time, but resources will be brought to bear so that this can be accelerated as fast as we can to get these drugs to patients in need.”Parvus teamed up with another drug firm, Novartis, in 2017 to develop Navacims as a potential treatment for Type 1 diabetes. Santamaria said bringing Navacims to market without the resources and know-how from larger partners would be inconceivable.“It’s been a tough, long haul with a lot of challenges and hurdles in many aspects.”University of Calgary president Ed McCauley said the big-ticket investment affirms how important it is to invest in fundamental research.“It’s incredible,” he said. “The discoveries we are making are actually being mobilized to help society.”Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press
BANFF, Alta. — The second grizzly bear in three weeks has died after being struck by a vehicle in Banff National Park.Resource conservation manager Bill Hunt says a female yearling was found severely injured Saturday on the road leading to the Sunshine Village ski resort.The animal was euthanized the next day.Hunt says 10 days earlier someone had reported bears by the interchange between the Sunshine road and the Trans-Canada Highway and blood was later seen on the pavement.On June 4, a male grizzly was hit by a semi-truck on Highway 93 South near the Trans-Canada Highway.Hunt is urging motorists passing through the park to obey the speed limit of 90 km/h and report any wildlife strikes to Parks Canada. The Canadian Press
Television presenter Lorraine Kelly has recorded a BBC Radio 4 charity appeal to raise vital funds for international development organisation, Sightsavers International.The three minute appeal will be aired this Sunday 30 March at 7.55am and 9.26pm, and repeated again on Thursday 3 April at 3.27pm. It will also be available on the BBC Radio 4 appeal website for a week after the first broadcast.Lorraine became an ambassador for Sightsavers after joining the charity in Kenya in 2011 to witness the organisations’ work on eliminating a blinding disease called trachoma.Trachoma starts off as a highly contagious bacterial infection, which left untreated makes the sufferers’ eyelashes turn inward so with every blink they’re scraping against the eye causing unbearable pain and eventually causes blindness.Lorraine says: “I’ve seen for myself how Sightsavers can prevent blindness when I visited Kenya. Trachoma is a terrible disease. You know how horrible it is to get an eyelash in your eye, but imagine that feeling a hundred times worse day after day. That’s what trachoma is like. But it can be treated with a straightforward operation that costs just £8. The look of joy on a patient’s face when they are free of pain and they can see clearly again is remarkable. Just £8 can change someone’s life.”Sightsavers is fighting to eliminate blinding trachoma by 2020 through a programme of surgeries, antibiotics, facial cleanliness and sanitation.Donations can be made directly to Sightsavers via www.sightsavers.org.uk or by sending a cheque payable to Sightsavers to FREEPOST BBC Radio 4 appeal.