Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal surprised everyone with his move on public transport. Making transport free for women in the Capital would not particularly sound absurd given the safety issues that Delhi is well-versed with. However, drawing a connection between free travel and safety might seem a bit odd to many. What does a free ticket of buses or metro have to do with women’s safety? As criticism arose following Kejriwal’s announcement, experts posed a variety of arguments. Concerns revolved around ‘affordability’, ‘sustainability’, ‘poll plank’, et al, while opposition strictly pronounced it as a desperate bid to garner votes given AAP’s thrashing in the recent Lok Sabha polls. Strangely, arguments never elaborated on transportation hurdles for women at large which has been a rather less-discussed persistent issue. Opinions poured in on how cutting fares would be more feasible an option than waiving fares for women or more reserved coaches in metro and women-exclusive buses would be a better alternative. Some opinions went to the extent of mentioning gender discrimination as well. There is not an iota of doubt that those would be feasible but even those would have hiccups in implementation. For instance, cutting fares irrespective of gender would drastically increase the influx of commuters resulting in a greater footfall which the infrastructure may not support. Did experts analyse their opinions to this depth before audaciously countering Kejriwal’s proposal? Logistically, women commuters make up only a fraction of their male counterparts. Data shows that the total women commuters in the metro make up around 30 per cent. So the footfall to be anticipated upon implementation of Kejriwal’s ‘free transport for women’ proposal would not be much – only making a superficial difference in the size of commuters. This makes the move a feasible one without much downside to it. On the contrary, the upside is an increase in women commuters. The move will urge women to utilise buses and metro for commute against taking cabs which only congest the city besides polluting it. Free transport empowers women to traverse across the capital free of cost while promoting public transport as a means of transportation. The impact will be on both sections of women, those who can afford cabs and those who cannot even afford metro. While it allows the latter to take the metro and buses to travel without any kind of financial burden, it lets the former prefer public transport over personal transport or cabs. A win-win situation, therefore, is what the move brings to the table despite criticism. Also Read – Securing nutritionThe opposition decried a cynical approach by AAP to woo voters ahead of Delhi elections in few months arising from apprehensions of losing ground. Development promises are different than development moves and the argument of poll plank would come in during campaigning and manifesto, not in governance. What Kejriwal government envisages from this proposal is to encourage the use of public transport and increase the participation of women in the city workforce besides attempting to make public transport safer. On the macro level, these objectives would yield tremendously. And, with the state-of-the-art metro network that city boasts, and addition of more buses to the DTC fleet besides 1,000 electric buses, such a proposal also sits in compliance with eco-friendly measures to decongest Delhi. The proposal is yet to be finalised with modalities of the scheme being worked out before it is presented for consideration before the Delhi government. The draft would be subject to scrutiny and that is desirable since, like NEP, it deserves public feedback before being sanctioned. And, public feedback overpowers opposition chants and expert critiques as evident in the Lok Sabha polls itself. It is not a surprise that hiking metro fares decreased the footfall in metro with the students suffering the most in the daily commute. Waiving the fare off for women will allow the footfall to be controlled while supporting the influx of women students and professionals, who otherwise rely on cabs and personal vehicles for travelling. The draft proposal would be a topic for more discussion but the move, overall, is definitely a positive one aiming at securing transportation for women besides empowering them to commute by public transport. As far as affordability and sustainability are concerned, the influx of electric buses is crucial to the argument. Electric buses, Also Read – The exemplary neighbouronce inducted would augur well for the city owing to zero emissions. It would then be ideal to reduce fares for men, making it affordable. Fiscal measures like fare reduction or waivers largely help in implementing eco-friendly outcomes like increased usage of public transport to curb vehicular emissions that are detrimental to Delhi’s air as evident from the perpetually poor air quality. It would hardly be any surprise if more such decisions make their way in the Capital’s governance in future.
San Francisco: Apple is expected to bring bigger batteries bundled along with its upcoming 2019 iPhone offerings, the media has reported. In 2019, Apple’s iPhone XR is expected to feature a 3,110mAh battery which is bigger than the 2,942mAh battery that the company added in iPhone XR launched in 2018, web portal The Elec reported on Tuesday. The upcoming iPhone XR 2 is also being speculated as coming with Apple’s A13 processor made with a second generation 7nm process that would increase the battery performance, thus offering a longer battery life as compared to the iPhone XR. Also Read – Spotify rolls out Siri support, new Apple TV app In addition, the media reports also suggested that China’s Ameperx Technology Ltd has already kickstarted the mass production of the new battery pack. Meanwhile, the iPhone-maker is planning to upgrade the camera resolution and set-up in its 2019 line-up. While the front camera would be upgraded from 7MP to 12MP, a triple-camera setup would be implemented in the 6.5-inch and 5.8-inch OLED iPhones, along with a new super-wide 12MP lens, according to Ming-Chi Kuo, noted Apple expert and predictor. The Cupertino-based company is expected to officially announce new iPhones most likely at a September event, the report added.
Kolkata: As many as 40 children reportedly fell ill after consuming mid -day meal food in Jhargram on Tuesday. Many of the victims are undergoing treatment at a nearby hospital. The incident created panic among local residents.The incident took place at Loghata area of Jhargram. It was learnt that the children consumed food at an Anganwadi centre. Around 40 children fell ill after having the food. They were immediately taken to the Jhargram district hospital. Many children were released from the hospital after primary treatment but some of them are still undergoing treatment at the hospital. It was learnt that they complained of nausea and vomiting. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaThe reason of their illness is yet to be confirmed. The ICDS workers can be interrogated in this connection. A detailed probe has been initiated in this regard. It is suspected that the incident took place due to food poisoning. The actual cause will only be confirmed after a probe is conducted. Local residents also demanded a probe to find out who was accountable for negligence in the incident.Such incidents were earlier reported from others districts as well as the quality of food served in schools under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme continues to remain poor. Some children fell ill after having mid-day food in Howrah’s Uluberia. Cases, in which poor quality meals were cooked in unhygienic conditions and inadequate and poor quality of infrastructure, are being regularly reported from various parts of the country raising concern over the health of schoolchildren.
Bengaluru: Days after 13 Congress-JD(S) MLAs submitted their resignation from the Assembly pushing the Karnataka coalition on the brink of collapse, Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar Tuesday rejected letters of eight such legislators for not being in order and asked them to send letters as per the correct format.”I have to make a conscious decision. Every step I take will become history, so I can’t be committing a mistake. Future generations should not look at me like an accused,” Kumar said. Follow LIVE UPDATES Here Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu The Speaker also asked five MLAs whose resignations are in order to meet him personally on Friday and Monday. Meanwhile, his office is also examining the letter of suspended Congress MLA Roshan Baig who submitted his resignation earlier in the day. Congress party supporters climb atop police barricades during a protest near the Indian parliament in New Delhi. (AP) Questioned on whether the Congress legal cell had written to him that the resignations should not be accepted, Kumar said he has not seen the letter yet. “I left the office on Saturday. I came only today. Whichever cell has written, I have to go through it now,” he told journalists at the Vidhana Soudha. “Whether I will decide it today or in the next two hours, doing it two years later, these are all irrelevant questions to me. I have to respond to the sentiments of the people.” Also Read – Shashi Tharoor writes to PM Modi: Don’t let your ‘mann ki baat’ become ‘maun ki baat’Congress leaders protest ‘BJP conspiracy’ in front of the Gandhi statue between Vidhana Soudha and Vikasa Soudha in Bangalore. Express Photo/Darshan Devaiah The Speaker’s decision asking dissident MLAs to resend their resignations is likely to give some much-needed breathing time to the coalition parties as BJP looks to gain momentum over the spate of resignations. The resignations have left the coalition with 103 MLAs in the reduced house while the BJP has 105 MLAs and the support of two independents who withdrew support to the coalition on Monday. The rebel MLAs — along with two independent MLAs — are said to be camping somewhere in Maharashtra and have most likely switched their loyalty to the BJP.(With inputs from Indian Express)
San Francisco: Revenue from Apple App Store and Google Play reached $39.7 billion during the first half of this year – up 15.4% from the $34.4 billion consumers spent across both stores in the first half of last year, according to a new report from mobile app intelligence firm Sensor Tower. While consumers spent an estimated $25.5 billion globally on Apple’s App Store in first half of 2019, Google Play’s estimated gross revenue was $14.2 billion for the half, research showed. “Tinder was highest grossing non-game app in 1H19, generating $497 million in spending across both stores. This was about 32% more than users spent in app during first half of 2018,” Randy Nelson, Head of Mobile Insights, Sensor Tower, said. Tinder was followed by Netflix, Tencent Video, iQIYI and YouTube respectively in top five non-game apps. “Netflix was the second highest earning non-game app for Q1 and Q2 with estimated consumer spend of close to $399 million globally. It had been No. 1 for in-app revenue in 1H18, but has since declined following Netflix’s decision to remove subscriptions from iOS version of the app,” Nelson added.
New Delhi: With the Indian ODI team struggling to find a solid hand in the middle-order, former skipper Sourav Ganguly has once again made it clear that the five wise men of Indian cricket need to give Test deputy Ajinkya Rahane a go. Taking to Twitter, Ganguly wrote that it was important for the selectors — led by MSK Prasad — to pick same players across format and give them a long run just as has been the case with great teams over the years. He also went on to add that the selectors shouldn’t try to please everyone. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”Time has come for Indian selectors to pick same players in all formats of the game for rhythm and confidence… too few are playing in all formats… great teams had consistent players… it’s not about making all happy but picking the best for the country and be consistent..@bcci There are many in the squad who can play all formats ..surprised not to see shubman gill ..Rahane in the one day squad..” This is not the first time that Ganguly has backed Rahane to be a part of the ODI team. Last year he had said the same during India’s tour of England. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”I have no doubt that India needs Rahane in the middle-order in both Tests and ODIs. Being dropped after doing well in the shorter-format could have hurt his confidence. Rahane seems like someone who is a big confidence player and this is where Kohli’s role becomes important. “He needs to put his arms around Rahane’s shoulder and give him that boost. “In the past generation, most of the top players played both formats for India — Tests and ODIs. If after so many years, the team management still hasn’t been able to show him that confidence and faith, then that needs to be worked on immediately,” he had said.
New Delhi: A court here on Saturday granted interim protection from arrest till July 29 to Madhya Pradesh Chief Minster Kamal Nath’s nephew Ratul Puri in connection with a money laundering case related to AgustaWestland VVIP chopper scam. However, the court directed him to join the probe at 5 pm Saturday at the Enforcement Directorate office after the agency made a request in this regard. The court will next hear the matter on Monday, July 29. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Puri said two BJP lawmakers joined the ruling Congress party in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago and now the ED wants to arrest him since his uncle is the Chief Minster of the state. Puri approached the court seeking anticipatory bail in the case. Special judge Inderjeet Singh granted interim relief from arrest till July 29 to Puri, Nath’s nephew and the Chairman of Hindustan Powerprojects Pvt Ltd, after he approached the court, saying he was anticipating arrest in the case. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Puri said he was cooperating in the probe and there was no need of his arrest. Puri recently appeared before the ED for questioning in the case pertaining to the now scrapped Rs 3,600-crore chopper deal. While seeking relief for Puri, senior advocate A M Singhvi told the court that his client was not running away. “You (ED) can take my passport. No evidence of obstruction of evidence. I (Puri) am appearing before the ED as and when called for. I appeared 22 times and suddenly you want to arrest me. I am a law-abiding citizen. While I was there yesterday, I got to know they have reached my home and harassing my family members,” the counsel told the court. He also alleged political vendetta in the case. “Two BJP lawmakers joined Congress in Madhya Pradesh a few days ago. And suddenly you (ED) want to arrest Madhya Pradesh CM’s nephew. This shows clear political vendetta,” he told the court. The ED sought time to argue on the matter and opposed the interim protection from arrest. Advocate Vijay Aggarwal, also appearing for Puri, however, said that the ED was opposing interim protection since it wants to arrest “my client as soon as I go out”.
Mumbai: National award-winning actress Kalki Koechlin, who is playing a pivotal role in the upcoming show “Sacred Games 2” has bagged the project through an audition process. Despite having a successful career in the film industry, she says that she has no problem with auditioning to prove her acting capability. While the phone call for the audition of the Netflix TV series came as a surprise for her, recalling the incident, Kalki told IANS here, “I watched the show and after a month I got an audition call for the show. Of course, I never thought that I will become part of the show when I watched the first season. I was surprised and excited when I got called.” Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka She went on sharing, “Auditioning for a role is quite refreshing for me because the director should know if I am able to pull off the character that I am offered. They might have seen my work so far but if I am offered something very different from what I have done in the past, they should audition me. I do not mind auditioning at all.” “I may not have audition many times for Bollywood projects but I keep auditioning for international projects and that process keeps it real for me, keep me grounded,” added the actress. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna In “Sacred Games 2”, she is playing a girl ‘Batya’ coming from a conflicting background. Her father is a Jewish French and mother is a Palestinian, who abandoned her as a teenager. The character transformed from a drug addict rebellious angry girl to a follower of ‘Guruji’ played by Pankaj Tripathi. The initial outlook of the character has similarities of her earlier work. “I know, there might be a little element here and there from ‘Dev D’, ‘Shaitaan’ but you know just because you play a gangster in one film, does not mean that all of them are the same. So my character in ‘Sacred Games 2’ is very different from the rest of the reference that I mentioned,” she smiled. What was the new element that interested her towards Batya? “My audition scene was the intriguing point for me to get drawn towards the character Batya. In that scene, where she is interacting with Sartaj for the first time, though she is calm and has Zen-like energy, something is simmering underneath and I loved that elements that is conflicting it wasn’t in your face rebel but something hidden,” said Kalki. Directed by Neeraj Ghawyan and Anurag Kashyap, Sacred Games 2, featuring Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Saif Ali Khan, Sobhita Dhulipala, Ranvir Shorey, Surveen Chawla, Geetanjali Thapa among others – premiering on Netflix on August 15.
Jammu: Continuing his outreach programme, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval on Saturday visited Anantnag in south Kashmir and interacted with cattle traders and locals ahead of Eid. Camping here since August 6, a day after the Centre revoked the provisions of Article 370, which gave special autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, Doval had on Friday toured the sensitive downtown Srinagar and interacted with locals and security personnel. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details According to officials, the NSA stopped at a cattle market set up in Anantnag– a hotbed of terrorist activities. In a video circulated on social media, Doval can be heard enquiring about the price, weight and diet of the cattle–mostly sheep on sale at the market. A young trader, after informing Doval that he brought his cattle from Drass area of Kargil, asks him: “Do you know where Drass is?”. Before Doval can reply, Deputy Commissioner of Anantnag Khalid Janagir tells the trader that the man he is talking to is the NSA. A smiling Doval pats the man, shakes his hand and leaves. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday On Friday, the NSA, accompanied by his aides and senior police officers, visited the Eidgah locality and stopped at various places to interact with locals. He later talked to police and Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel and thanked them for their wonderful work in maintaining law and order. Earlier on Wednesday, the NSA was seen eating food with locals on a footpath with shuttered shops in the background. He is reaching out to the local population in the Valley as a confidence building measure.
New Delhi: Rookie batter Shafali Verma, all of 15, on Thursday became one of the youngest to be picked in the Indian women’s cricket team, her arrival coinciding with the departure of the long-serving Mithali Raj from the T20 scene. Verma, whose ability with the bat has impressed many, including Mithali, has been selected in the Indian team for the first three games of the upcoming five-match T20 International series against South Africa. Mithali will continue to lead the team in the three-match ODI series, which will follow the five T20 Internationals, where Harmanpreet Kaur will captain. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhA little over five feet tall, Shafali was chosen following her good performances in the Women’s T20 challenge earlier and at the age-group level this year. The diminutive Haryana-girl played under Mithali for Team Velocity in the women’s T20 challenge which was held during the IPL earlier this year. The youngster has a strike rate of 150-plus in the under-19 and under-23 category domestic events. Besides effectively wielding the willow, she also bowls off-breaks. England’s illustrious cricketer Danielle Wyatt has also praised the talented Verma, calling her a “superstar” in the making.
EDMONTON – Alberta officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli that has sickened 34 people, including 11 who were hospitalized and one person who likely died from the bacteria.Alberta Health Services says 21 of the lab-confirmed cases are linked to Mama Nita’s Binalot restaurant in Edmonton late last month.Officials say they aren’t sure of the source of the 13 other cases.Dr. Chris Sikora, medical officer of health, says the outbreak is extremely complex and Alberta is working with federal agencies on the investigation.Officials say E. coli O157:H7 infections are generally caused when a person eats food or drinks water that is contaminated with human or animal feces, or through direct contact with a person who is sick or with animals that carry the bacteria.Symptom can include bloody diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and kidney failure.
HALIFAX – (NSElxn-Tories)The widow of a man who died days after languishing in the hallway of a Halifax ER laid blame on the Liberal government Friday for what she says is a crisis in the health care system.Kim D’Arcy appeared with Tory Leader Jamie Baillie at a campaign stop where she criticized Premier Stephen McNeil for hospital overcrowding.Her 68-year-old husband, Jack Webb, spent six hours in an emergency room hallway on Jan. 28 before dying several days later at the Halifax Infirmary.D’Arcy said no one should spend their final days like her husband did, with hospital staff overwhelmed by the number of patients in their care when he was brought in.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Twitter)According to Twitter, the top topics during the Nova Scotia election have been seniors’ care and nursing homes, along with the economy and the provincial budget.The social media platform also says tuition fees are in the top three of tweeted topics during the election campaign.It says the top topic of conversation in the final days leading into Tuesday’s election has been labour and unions.It says 88 per cent of tweets on the election have come from Nova Scotia residents, while Ontarians have sent eight per cent of the comments, demonstrating the Twitter conversation has drifted beyond the province.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Siblings)The leader of Nova Scotia’s NDP is calling Tory Leader Jamie Baillie and Liberal Leader Stephen McNeil “siblings.”Gary Burrill says the views of the two leaders are so similar, it’s hard to tell them apart.Burrill’s party has distinguished itself in the election by making the most costly promises for adding resources to the health, education and social welfare systems.However, both of his opponents have criticized the party’s plan to add close to $1 billion in debt over four years as being fiscally irresponsible.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-Health)Both the New Democrats and Tories are continuing to raise the health care issue with just three days left until the May 30 vote in Nova Scotia.A group of physicians in Cape Breton were expected to hold a news conference in Sydney on Friday to express concern over news that six doctors are planning to leave the island.The departing doctors’ specialties include ophthalmology, radiology, psychiatry and family medicine.The Tories and NDP have been pressing Premier Stephen McNeil to concede there is a health care crisis in the province, but McNeil says his party is the only one with a realistic plan to remedy the situation.(The Canadian Press)—(NSElxn-NDP)Nova Scotia’s NDP is committing to implement all the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission if it wins government.Gary Burrill says he would as premier fulfil the commission’s call to increasing indigenous representation in the health care field and increase cultural education.He also says the party will work towards the provincial adoption of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.He says the party would introduce an Environmental Bill of Rights that will give indigenous people living in Nova Scotia a greater say in decisions that impact their environment.(The Canadian Press)
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Derek Saretzky was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 75 years for killing a father, daughter and senior in 2015. Federal legislation allows a judge to order a multiple murderer to serve more than the usual 25 years before being eligible to ask for parole.Here are some other cases where the provision has been used:February 2017: Douglas Garland is sentenced to life in prison without parole for 75 years for killing Alvin and Kathy Liknes and their five-year-old grandson Nathan O’Brien. Court heard how Garland attacked the three victims in their home, then took them to his farm near Calgary, where he killed and dismembered them, burning their remains. Garland held a petty grudge against Alvin Liknes over a business deal they had.June 2016: A homeless man who brutally beat three other transient men to death in separate attacks is sent to prison for life with no chance of parole for 75 years. John Ostamas pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder for the April 2015 killings that prompted police to warn Winnipeg’s homeless population to be careful.April 2015: Christopher Husbands is sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 30 years after a jury convicted him of gunning down two men in a crowded food court in Toronto’s Eaton Centre in June 2012. Last month, the Ontario Court of Appeal granted Husbands a new trial ruling the jury was not properly selected.October 2014: Mountie killer Justin Bourque hears from a judge in Moncton, N.B., that he will have to serve at least 75 years of his life sentence before he can request parole. Bourque shot and killed three RCMP officers and wounded two others in June 2014. He pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree murder and two counts of attempted murder.September 2013: A judge in Edmonton sentences an armoured-car guard to life in prison with no chance at parole for 40 years for killing three of his colleagues during a robbery in a mall at the University of Alberta in June 2012. A fourth guard was badly hurt, but survived. Travis Baumgartner pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and attempted murder.
OTTAWA – New Brunswick and P.E.I. have signed child-care funding agreements with Ottawa, one year after the four Atlantic provinces demanded the Liberal government provide extra cash to cover what they said were their unique regional needs.After signing a funding deal Tuesday with the Island government, Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos travelled to New Brunswick with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday to finalize a second deal, the third since negotiations began earlier this year.“Since the beginning of our mandate, supporting Canadian families has been one of our government’s top priorities,” Trudeau told a news conference at a child-care centre in Moncton, where he was flanked by New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant and a gaggle of provincial and federal cabinet ministers.“Not all children are lucky enough to have a healthy environment in which to grow and that has to change.”Trudeau said the federal government would invest $30 million over three years on early learning and child-care in New Brunswick, and he said the province would kick in another $41 million.The decision to sign deals comes just over a year after the premiers of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. asked Trudeau for extra child-care cash to cover the higher costs of covering rural populations.The letter to Trudeau was the second effort by the four provinces to secure extra money to address challenges in their region with accessibility to regulated child care — a key Liberal requirement to access funding.Federal officials reviewing the request told Duclos in October 2016 that the four provinces provided no evidence that they have higher costs compared with other provinces and territories. A briefing note at the time suggested the existing federal offer would be more than enough to cover each province’s costs.The Canadian Press obtained copies of the letters and briefing note under the Access to Information Act.The federal government is offering each province a base of $2 million in annual funding, topped off with extra cash calculated on a per-capita basis. That means roughly $3.5 million a year for P.E.I., and about $145 million annually for Ontario, the first province to sign on.“Over the last couple weeks, we have worked with provinces and territories to ensure available funding goes to the programs they feel are the most important,” said Duclos spokeswoman Emilie Gauduchon-Campbell.P.E.I. plans to spend its money on creating more spaces for children whose parents work seasonally or non-standard hours, as well as Acadian and French-speaking communities, and provide professional development courses for early childhood educators.A spokeswoman for Doug Currie, P.E.I.’s child-care minister, said the province was pleased with the funding in its agreement, believing it would address the concerns raised in the letters.The New Brunswick government says the new money will be used to create more child-care spaces, including 200 more spaces for infants and toddlers.The new funding will also be used to transform at least 300 child-care providers into designated New Brunswick Early Learning Centres, which will provide more spaces, have lower fees and implement inclusion policies for francophone minority communities.Trudeau said the centres will reduce the cost of services for almost 10,000 children, with priority given to low- and middle-income families.A spokeswoman for Nova Scotia’s education department said the province believes federal cash will be instrumental in helping it support its child-care goals.Newfoundland and Labrador appeared content with their funding. Spokeswoman Vanessa Colman-Sadd said the province would be happy to receive about $7.5 million annually once their agreement is signed.The federal government plans to spend $1.2 billion on child care over the next three years under the three-year funding agreements it is seeking with provinces.The money is part of the $7.5 billion the Liberals promised to spend on child care over 11 years, beginning with $500 million this year and increasing to $870 million annually by 2026 in order to pay for spaces — or improvements — in provinces and territories.That also includes funding for Indigenous child-care both on and off-reserve.
CALGARY – The company behind the proposed Trans Mountain pipeline expansion has dropped a request that the National Energy Board allow it to conduct some construction activity on the multi-billion dollar project.Last week, lawyers representing Kinder Morgan Canada subsidiary Trans Mountain asked the board for permission to install mats to deter fish spawning after the board told it last month to stop doing so.The lawyers said if the request was not granted, construction on the $7.4-billion project could be delayed by a year.Lawyer Terri-Lee Oleniuk at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt has now written to the NEB saying the window for “safely and effectively” installing the mats has passed and the company is withdrawing the request.The board told the company to stop installing the deterrent mats because they’re considered construction activity, and the company does not yet have all conditions approved for pipeline construction.Oleniuk says in a letter issued Friday that Trans Mountain intends to remove the existing mats and notes that doing so while the fish are spawning could constitute serious harm under the Fisheries Act.First Nations, environmentalists and the B.C. government have expressed opposition to the project, which would nearly triple the capacity of the pipeline running from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., saying the expansion could have serious implications for the environment.
MONTREAL – A Montreal-born woman involved in the legal challenge against Quebec’s Bill 62 says she lives in constant fear when she leaves home wearing her niqab.‘I am always scared because I don’t know what will happen when I go out,” Marie-Michelle Lacoste told a news conference Tuesday.Lacoste, who converted to Islam in 2003, filed the challenge in Quebec Superior Court on Tuesday along with the National Council of Canadian Muslims and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.The recently adopted Bill 62 prohibits students from covering their face in class.It also forces people whose fare requires a card with photo ID to uncover their face before riding public transit, although they can put the veil back on once they’ve been identified.Court documents say Lacoste began wearing the face veil in 2011 “out of a sincerely held belief that this was an appropriate and authentic expression of her religious convictions.”Lacoste said she is worried about how Quebecers will react to the law, adding she was already being bullied, insulted and threatened before it passed.“The message the government sends to the citizens is that if they already have negative thoughts about Muslim women wearing the niqab, the law tells them it’s OK to think this way, (that) you are right to harass them, to threaten them, to insult them,” said Lacoste, who uses the name Warda Naili.The court challenge states that the face-veil law “gravely infringes” the religious and equality rights of certain Muslim women in the province.The court challenge takes direct aim at the section of the law that forces public sector employees and private citizens to have their face uncovered when giving or receiving public services.“This requirement directly infringes the freedom of religion of individuals, such as Muslim women, who cover their faces as a religious practice,” it said.Ihsaan Gardee, executive-director of the National Council of Canadian Muslims, told the news conference the law is clearly aimed at Muslim women who wear a face veil.“Our legal challenge targets the heart of what this law really is: a discriminatory, unconstitutional and unnecessary piece of legislation that excludes and stigmatizes an already marginalized and vulnerable minority of women and, by extension, the larger Quebec Muslim community,” he said.In Quebec City, Premier Philippe Couillard briefly commented on the challenge, saying, “we deliberately wrote a bill that respects the charters and we’re very comfortable with that.”Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee, who spearheaded the legislation, said much the same thing.“It is a law that is respectful of the rights and freedoms that are guaranteed by the charters,” she said.Vallee has previously said the face-veil ban was instituted in order to ensure proper communication, identification and security during the exchange of public services.The law has been panned across the country by federal and provincial politicians, who see it as targeting a small minority of Muslim women — essentially the only citizens who regularly wear face veils in public.Vallee has said the legislation doesn’t target any religious group and says most Quebecers agree with the principle behind the bill.Montrealer Fatima Ahmad, who has been wearing a niqab since she was given it as a gift more than a year ago, says in an affidavit included in the court document that her life has become significantly more difficult since Bill 62 became law.Ahmad, 21, said she is concerned it will affect her ability to continue going to university, visit the library, see the doctor and take public transit.The second-year McGill University student now avoids taking public transit for fear of being turned away or being asked to remove her niqab.In an interview Tuesday, Ahmad said she’s also had to deal with various comments ever since she began wearing it and has faced 20 or 30 incidents over the past year.“I wasn’t too concerned because I felt it was normal that people would not be familiar with what I wear so I was expecting it a bit,” she told The Canadian Press.“A lot of people threatened me, somebody also tried to take my niqab off (and) most people just curse at me from a distance.”They tell me many things like: ‘This is Canada, go back to your country, learn how to dress properly. This is not Halloween.’”A judge is expected to hear a request next Wednesday for the law to be suspended temporarily.
If a group of First Nations get their wish, Calgary will be renamed Wichispa Oyade — Stoney Nakoda terms that roughly translate to mean elbow town.The Stoney Nakoda have applied to have a long list of well-known places across southern Alberta changed to reflect traditional names given by their people.Their application letter to the Alberta government also includes Canmore, the Bow River, Mount Allan and dozens of other sites that they consider to be part of their territory.“The Stoney Nakoda people are the original occupants of the land and place names should be changed to their traditional Stoney Nakoda names in order to allow the culture and history of these lands to become more known and respected,” reads the letter.The First Nations argue that the English or Cree names many of these places have fail to reflect their specific Indigenous history.“This lack of recognition contributes to an increasing threat that Stoney Nakoda heritage will be overrun.”The Stoney Nations, descendants of the Sioux, include three bands with the largest reserve located west of Calgary.They have been suing the province and the federal government over their aboriginal and treaty rights, including land and resources, in a complex case that was originally filed in 2003.The claim covers a big part of southern Alberta and the eastern slopes of the Rocky Mountains.Douglas Rae, a lawyer for the First Nations, said the name change application is not part of the lawsuit, but an attempt by the bands to prove their ties to the land.“The Stoneys are asserting their rights, and good evidence of these claims is to formally ask for recognition of the Stoney Nakoda names,” Rae said.Some of the proposed name changes are fairly literal translations.Elder Wallace Ear said the word for Bow River is Ijathibe Wapta, a place where people made bows out of saskatoon saplings.They are also suggesting Mini Thni Wapta as an alternative, which means cold river, a description that won’t surprise anyone who has ever tipped a canoe in the Bow.The proposal for Canmore — Chuwapchipchiyan Kude Bi — has no direct connection to its existing moniker. The town was named Canmore in the 1880s by a railway official after an ancient king of Scotland.Elder Frank Powderface said the Stoney name reflects a hunter who fooled himself by shooting at what he thought was a wolf in the willows, but there was no animal, only willows.Alberta’s Geographical Names Program has never before dealt with such an extensive list of requested changes.Ron Kelland, program co-ordinator, said the application will be evaluated in a process that will include public consultations. Researchers will look at old maps and historical documents.“We are in the early stages of looking at it and we are very much looking forward to engaging the Stoney Nakoda on these names,” he said.Final decisions on naming natural geographical features are made by the Alberta Historical Resources Foundation and the government.Changing community names is up to the province, but requests that involve First Nations must be presented to Ottawa.Kelland said it’s possible for a natural location to have both an official and a traditional name.In 1984, the province changed the name of Mount Laurie west of Calgary to also include its Stoney Nakoda traditional name Iyamnathka, which means flat-surfaced rock or mountain.
CALGARY – Lawyers say just because parents convicted in the meningitis death of their toddler are taking their case to the Supreme Court that doesn’t mean they will get the privilege of a long deliberation.Lisa Silver, law professor at the University of Calgary, said the couple can automatically appeal to Canada’s top court because the three-member Alberta Court of Appeal wasn’t unanimous in a recent decision upholding the conviction.David Stephan and his wife, Collet, were found guilty last year of failing to provide the necessaries of life in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death.The trial in Lethbridge, Alta., heard the Stephans treated the 19-month-old boy with garlic, onion and horseradish rather than taking him to a doctor. They eventually called 911 but the little boy died in hospital.An appeal for failing to provide the necessaries is serious enough to warrant the attention of Canada’s top judges, Silver said.“Remember this is a death of a child.”But just because someone is granted a hearing before the Supreme Court, doesn’t mean the issue will be given a full airing, she said.“They can dismiss it from the bench,” she said. “You’ve got a right to do it because there’s a dissent … You argue it and then the court says, ‘Thank you very much’ and they go in the back and they come back out and they go, ‘Goodbye.’”David Stephan has indicated he and his wife will ask the Supreme Court to overturn their convictions.“We are attempting to remove a very concerning precedent that has been further substantiated by two out of the three Appeal Court judges.” Stephan wrote on his Facebook page recently.David Stephan was sentenced to four months in jail and his wife was ordered to spend three months under house arrest. The Crown plans to appeal the sentences as being too lenient.Silver believes the upcoming appeal of the sentence may be a factor in trying to have the conviction overturned.“I feel like they’re appealing because they’re sort of putting off that sentence appeal which I feel may be an issue,” she said. “I feel that the sentence was light.”Longtime Calgary defence lawyer Balfour Der says the Stephan case has similarities to a criminal negligence case that went before the Supreme Court in 1989. The case called Tutton and Tutton involved a wife who said she had a vision that told her to remove her diabetic child from insulin.“It could have been precedent-setting except one of the judges of the seven who heard it became ill and retired and the court split 3-3,” said Der. “It was quite a debate as to whether it’s … looking at it through her eyes or an objective test looking at it through an impartial adviser.”Tim Caulfield, research director at the University of Alberta’s Health Law and Science Policy Group, said David Stephan is using the Supreme Court appeal as a continued platform for his beliefs.“This has clearly become a crusade for the Stephans. His recent online rants have raised the idea that evidence was falsified, that there was an elaborate coverup, and that the judicial system was under political pressure to convict,” Caulfield said.“The existence of a dissent, which was specifically about the nature of the jury charge, does not, in anyway, confirm the conspiratorial thinking of Stephan.“Regardless, that is how it will likely play with the supporters of the Stephans. And all of this will help position Stephan as a martyr.”— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
VANCOUVER – A British Columbia judge is expected to release his verdict on Dec. 20 in the case of a retired RCMP inspector charged with sexually assaulting a civilian employee in the workplace.Fifty-two-year-old Tim Shields, who was a high-profile spokesman for the RCMP in B.C., has pleaded not guilty to one count of sexual assault.The provincial court trial heard the assault was alleged to have occurred in 2009 in a ground-floor washroom of the force’s British Columbia headquarters.The complainant, who cannot be identified because of a publication ban, testified that Shields led her to a unisex washroom before kissing and groping her.Shields told the trial the woman enthusiastically participated in sex acts and then accused him of sexual assault.He was charged in May 2016, five months after he retired following a suspension in the middle of a code of conduct investigation.