Los Angeles: It seems like the end of “Game of Thrones” has hit Kit Harington really hard as the actor has checked into a rehabilitation centre to receive treatment for stress, exhaustion and alcohol use. According to PageSix, the 32-year-old checked into a luxury health retreat in Connecticut weeks before the finale aired on May 19. He played Jon Snow across eight seasons on the HBO’s epic fantasy show. Harington has been doing cognitive behavioral therapy, meditating, and practising other psychological exercises to better cope with stress related to the “Game of Thrones” ending. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’ Rose Leslie, the actor’s wife and former co-star, is “extremely supportive” of Harington. “The end of ‘GoT’ really hit Kit hard… He realized, ‘This is it, this is the end’. It was something they had all worked so hard on for so many years. He had a moment of, what next? “He’s in the clinic predominantly for stress and exhaustion and also alcohol. His wife Rose is being extremely supportive. Everyone close to him really wanted him to get some rest. Right now, he just needs peace and quiet,” a source close to the actor told the outlet. Also Read – ‘Always looking for that one great love’ Harington’s representative said that the actor has “decided to utilise this break in his schedule as an opportunity to spend some time at a wellness retreat to work on some personal issues”. The actor had previously admitted that he had to resort to therapy to deal with his character’s death in the show, which he said was his “darkest time”. “It wasn’t a very good time in my life. I felt I had to feel that I was the most fortunate person in the world, when actually, I felt very vulnerable. I had a shaky time in my life around there – like I think a lot of people do in their 20s,” the actor told Variety recently. “That was a time when I started therapy, and started talking to people. I had felt very unsafe, and I wasn’t talking to anyone. I had to feel very grateful for what I have, but I felt incredibly concerned about whether I could even f***ing act,” he added.
New Delhi: Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath Thursday called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi and discussed issues pertaining to his state. The meeting at the prime minister’s residence lasted about half an hour during which Nath wished Modi for assuming office for the second term, a statement from the Madhya Pradesh government said. Nath, a senior Congress leader, also discussed in detail about various issues pending with the central government for approval and release of funds to the state government, it said. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist He urged Modi to intervene in the matter and get the pending issues cleared and fund released at the earliest, it said. Modi assured Nath that he will instruct the ministries concerned to clear various pending issues and disburse the funds as early as possible. He further assured him of all possible help in future too, the statement added. The Prime Minister’s Office later posted a photograph of the two on its Twitter handle. Nath was sworn in as the chief minister of Madhya Pradesh in December 2018.
NEW DELHI: The sweltering summer heat in Delhi pushed its peak power demand to an all time high of 7,409 MW on Tuesday afternoon, officials said. The power discoms had earlier predicted that the demand will cross 7,400 MW this summer in Delhi. The website of the State Load Dispatch Centre (SLDC) showed the peak power demand of 7,409 MW at 3.35 pm. The peak demand reached 7,241 MW on Monday. Last year, it was 7,016 MW on July 10.The BSES discoms — BRPL and BYPL met the all-time high peak power demands of 3,159 MW and 1,686 MW in their respective areas, said its spokesperson. “Cooling load is the main reason behind increase in Delhi’s power demand. In fact, according to estimates, almost 50 percent of Delhi’s power demand in summers is due to the cooling load comprising air-conditioners, coolers and fans,” the spokesperson said. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsThe Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited registered 2,074 MW of peak demand as Delhi hit highest ever level of 7,409 MW, said a TPDDL spokesperson. “This summer, the peak demand in Delhi is increasing with each passing day. We are expecting the Delhi peak demand to touch 7,500 MW and TPDDL’s to cross 2,250 MW in the coming days,” said TPDDL CEO Sanjay Banga. The peak demand registered 250 per cent growth by crossing 7,400 MW, as compared to 2,879 MW in 2002. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe BSES spokesperson said the phenomenon load growth in Delhi has been possible on the back of an advanced distribution network and massive reduction in aggregate technical and commercial losses. Delhi’s peak power demand is more than the power demand of Mumbai and Chennai put together, and thrice than that of Kolkata, said the discom spokesperson. The discoms have made adequate arrangements including long term power purchase agreements to meet the rising demand, he said. “We have made adequate arrangements of up to 2,500 MW, along with contingency planning, through long-term tie-ups and power banking arrangements, and upgraded network to ensure regular supply,” Banga said. Arrangements have been firmed up by BSES discoms to source adequate electricity to meet the power demand of over 42 lakhs consumers, said the BSES spokesperson. These arrangements include long term purchases and banking agreements with other states including Himachal, UP, J&K, Meghalaya, Manipur and Sikkim, he added.
Kolkata: The disciplinary committee of Trinamool Congress will take the final call regarding Sabyasachi Dutta- the Mayor of Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation (BMC), said state Municipal Affairs minister Firhad Hakim on Sunday. Dutta has been under the party’s scanner for his anti-party statements.Hakim held a meeting with the councillors of BMC at Trinamool Bhavan. “I conducted the meeting as an observer. The councillors have given their opinion on the issue. I will submit the report to our party chief. It is the responsibility of everyone to maintain discipline of the party while he/she is with the party. If somebody does not toe the party line then the disciplinary committee will take its stand and our supremo will take the final decision in this regard,” Hakim told reporters after the meeting. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersHe added that he has taken stock of the work of BMC from the councillors in the meeting. Highly placed sources in the party who attended the meeting said that Deputy Mayor Tapas Chatterjee has been given some additional responsibilities regarding the affairs of BMC. The Mayor-in-Councils’ meeting scheduled on Monday is also likely to be conducted under the leadership of Chatterjee. It may be mentioned that the meeting with the councillors of BMC was convened on Saturday but no Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujainvitation was extended to Dutta, who had led the workers of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited on Friday to Bidyut Bhavan, demanding hike in their salary. He held state Power minister Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay responsible for failing to increase salaries of the employees and threatened that there will be no power supply if this situation continues. Trinamool Congress took a strong exception to the speech and hurriedly called a meeting of the councillors of BMC. For quite some time, a rumour has been doing the rounds that Dutta would join the saffron brigade. It had gathered momentum when Mukul Roy had visited Dutta’s house before the general election. However, Dutta had then dismissed the rumour of him joining BJP. It has been learnt that some councillors had alleged Dutta hobnobbing with BJP. Proving that their allegation is not without basis, Mukul Roy told newsmen on Sunday: “Because of Sabyasachi it was a smooth sailing for BJP.” It may be recalled that Trinamool Supremo Mamata Banerjee had become annoyed with Dutta because of the poor performance of the party in the New Town Rajarhat Assembly segment. In 2014, Kakoli Ghosh Dastidar had taken a lead of over 73,000 votes from the segment, which has fallen drastically in 2019. Dutta said he had gone to attend the meeting being the president of the union of the West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited and he had not done anything that went against the interests of the party.
Amritsar: Pakistan on Sunday agreed in principle to allow visa-free, year-long travel to the Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara for Indian passport holders and Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card holders.Throughout the year, 5000 pilgrims will be allowed to visit Kartarpur Sahib Gurudwara per day. The pilgrims will be allowed to travel as individuals or in groups and also on foot, Home Ministry’s Joint Secretary (internal security) S.C.L. Das told reporters at Attari near here. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayPakistan agreed to maintain a channel of communication towards the finalisation of the agreement on the modalities of the cross-border Kartarpur Sahib Corridor, assuring that “no anti-India activity would be allowed”. Das led the Indian delegation for the second bilateral meeting at Wagha in Pakistan for finalising the modalities for the Kartarpur Sahib corridor, a gateway for pilgrims to visit Kartarpur Sahib in Pakistan. The Indian delegation comprised representatives from the Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Government of Punjab and the National Highway Authorities of India (NHAI). The Kartarpur Sahib corridor links India’s Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district with Kartarpur Sahib gurdwara in Pakistan’s Punjab province. The corridor is set to be completed by October 31 and could strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries. During the talks, Pakistan highlighted the infrastructural constraints on their side and conveyed that they may be able to accommodate many of the Indian proposals in a phased manner.With agency inputs
New Delhi: Back in the days, heroes, who are generally considered as main part of our films, were mostly seen beating the villain or romancing the actresses or flaunting their machismo on screen. With time, our male artistes have tried their best to change the typical image by coming out of their comfort zone and taking up the versatile roles.To be in the race for the top position, new-age actors like Ranveer Singh, Ayushmann Khurrana, Vicky Kaushal, Kartik Aaryan and Rajkummar Rao, are giving a tough fight to senior stars including the superstar Khans – Shah Rukh, Aamir and Salman – not only in terms of versatility, but also establishing themselves as bankable heroes. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaSo let’s have a look at what male artistes from Hindi cinema have “new” in store to offer their fans.RANVEER SINGHRanveer Singh has been surprising his fans since his Bollywood debut film “Band Baaja Baaraat” in 2010. Be it his role of a conman in “Ladies vs Ricky Bahl” or fearless Maratha leader in “Bajirao-Mastaani” or the ruthless Alauddin Khilji in “Padmaavat” or the street rapper in “Gully Boy” or the maverick cop in “Simmba”, Ranveer has always given a stellar performance. Now, he is set to take his acting game to the next level, playing cricket superstar Kapil Dev. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod KhannaHe will be seen playing the iconic cricketer Kapil in the Kabir Khan directorial “83”. For him, it’s one of his most challenging roles till now.Talking about his preparations for the film, Ranveer said: “I feel prepared and less anxious than I was when I started. This is the longest I have prepared for any role.””Playing a living legend poses a unique set of challenges, and your approach to the preparation for that character has to be all the more intensive. And it has been. But at the same time, it has been very rewarding and fulfilling.” Ranveer will also be seen in Karan Johar’s multi-starrer period drama “Takht” in which he will share screen space with Alia Bhatt, Vicky Kaushal, Janhvi Kapoor, Anil Kapoor and Bhumi Pednekar.VICKY KAUSHALAfter working as an assistant on Anurag Kashyap’s film “Gangs of Wasseypur”, Vicky made his Bollywood debut with “Luv Shuv Tey Chicken Khurana” in 2012. It was, however, his 2015 film “Masaan” that brought the actor in the spotlight.Later, the 31-year-old received phenomenal success with his roles in “Raazi”, “Sanju” and “Manmarziyaan” and “Uri: The Surgical Strike”, which made it to the Rs 100 crore club.Vicky will next be seen in Shoojit Sircar’s “Udham Singh” and in a horror comedy “Bhoot part One: The Haunted Ship” He will also essay the role of Sam Manekshaw, the first Field Marshal of India, in Meghna Gulzar’s new movie.According to the film expert Vinod Mirani, Vicky is one of the most demanding actors in the industry.”Vicky has totally proved his mettle with ‘Uri…’. Look at the business his film has done at box office. He has that energy which attracts the audience to the cinema halls,” Mirani added.AYUSHMANN KHURRANAAyushmann Khurrana is on a roll. He gave two blockbusters, “Badhaai Ho” and “Andhadhun”, in 2018 and emerged as one of the most successful actors of last year. Recently, he came out with “Article 15” which also performed quite well at the box office.As far as the second half of 2019 is concerned, he has an excited slate of movies aligned. He will be seen in “Dream Girl” and “Bala”.Ayushmann is also currently shooting along with megastar Amitabh Bachchan for Shoojit Sircar’s “Gulabo Sitabo”, which will release in 2020.On his success, Ayushmann shared that it depends upon the films’ choices.”It’s the age of talent, and talent will get recognition. I am glad I am born in this era but, at the same time, my success will totally depend on the choices I make. I am glad that my choices are working and there is a certain validation I have got over the past two years,” Ayushmann told IANS.KARTIK AARYANKartik shot to fame in “Pyaar Ka Punchnama”, especially with his highlight monologue in the film. It was “Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety” which added star power to his name, as the film crossed the Rs 100-crore mark at the box-office. His latest release “Lukka Chuppi” also garnered rave reviews from the audience.Now he will be seen opposite Ananya Pandey and Bhumi Pednekar in “Pati Patni Aur Woh”, which is an adaptation of B.R. Chopra’s 1978 film with the same title. He has also wrapped up shooting for “Love Aaj Kal 2”, in which he will play Sara Ali Khan’s love interest.RAJKUMMAR RAOWith a filmography boasting of titles like “Shahid”, “Newton”, “Trapped”, “Shaitan”, “Kai Po Che!” and “Queen”, actor Rajkummar Rao has carved a niche for himself in Hindi filmdom. In his ninth year in Bollywood, he has once again proved his mettle with “Ek Ladki Ko Dekha Toh Aisa Laga” and just released “Judgementall Hai Kya”.He also has two more films “Made in China” and “Roohi Azfa” in pipeline, which will release later this year.VARUN DHAWANHe did not have a good start this year as his film “Kalank” failed to impress the audience, but he is all set to make a strong return next year with his dancing avatar in “Street Dancer 3D”.Young male actors, no doubt, are ruling the hearts of people, but one can’t forget the senior actors. Actors like Akshay Kumar, Saif Ali Khan and John Abraham are trying their best to maintain their charm amongst the audience.After “Kesari”, Akshay is coming up with a space film “Mission Mangal”. It will release on Independence day. His comedy film “Housefull 4” and “Good News” are also releasing this year. And 2020 seems to be great for Akshay’s fans as he will be seen donning different avatars for different films.He will be seen in action cop avatar in “Sooryvanshi”. While “Laxmmi Bomb” is a comic-horror. And he recently announced his new project “Bachchan Pandey”, which will release on Christmas next year.Bollywood’s poster hero of nationalism, John Abraham, is coming up with “Batla House”. It will clash with Akshay’s “Mission Mangal” at box office. His “Pagalpanti” will also release later this year.Actor Saif Ali Khan has also two major films coming up this year. In “Laal Kaptaan”, he will be seen as naga sadhu, while “Jawaani Jaaneman” is a romantic comedy.Talking about the Khans, only Salman has film aligned in the second half of 2019. After his patriotic acting stint in “Bharat”, Salman will bring back “Dabangg” franchise on big screen with the third part on December 20.Unfortunately, Shah Rukh and Aamir have no films in 2019. They were last seen in “Zero” and “Thugs of Hindostan” respectively. Both of these films turned out to be dud at box office.
Mumbai: Akshay Kumar and John Abraham’s Independence Day war at the box-office has begun. Bollywood’s poster boys of nationalism, Akshay and John, have released Mission Mangal and Batla House respectively on August 15 this year, and initial reports suggest both films have seen a good opening at the box-office on day one. Mission Mangal, which is based on Indian Space Research Organisation’s successful mission to Mars, has raked in over Rs 29 crore upon opening on Thursday, while Batla House has minted over Rs 14 crore. However, Mission Mangal has the advantage of a bigger screen count. While the Akshay Kumar-starrer opened in over 3,000 screens nationwide, John’s Batla House released across 2750 screens. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaDirected by Nikkhil Advani, Batla House is about the alleged police encounter that took place in Delhi in the wake of the serial blasts of 2008. Film trade analyst Taran Adarsh took to Twitter and announced the box office numbers of both the films. “Batla House fares well on Day 1, although the numbers are affected due to the clash… Gathered momentum post noon onwards… Independence Day holiday gave its biz additional push… Will need to score from Friday-Sunday… Thursday Rs 14.59 cr. India business,” Taran tweeted. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod KhannaTaran also compared the opening day collection of Akshay’s latest space drama to his past films, which were released around Independence Day. According to the numbers, Mission Mangal has emerged out to be Akshay’s highest Independence Day opener. “2016: Rustom Rs 14.11 cr [Friday; working day] 2017: Toilet Ek Prem Katha Rs 13.10 cr [Friday; working day] 2018: Gold Rs 25.25 cr [Wednesday; holiday] 2019: Mission Mangal Rs 29.16 cr [Thursday; holiday] India business,” Taran added. Akshay is happy with the responses but he does not give heed to box office numbers. Responding to one of his fan’s tweet, Akshay said: “The motive behind making the film (is) to inspire more kids and develop an interest in science. This is real success for me, not the box office numbers.” Last year, Akshay’s Gold and John’s Satyamev Jayate released clashing on the Independence Day weekend.
Ghaziabad: Following the death of five labourers at a sewer in Sihani gate area of Ghaziabad, the Ghaziabad Municipal Corporation (GMC) has decided to only use machines and skilled sanitation workers for sewer cleaning.The tragic sewer death incident which took place on August 22 in Nandgram area under Sihani police station jurisdiction of Ghaziabad highlighted that those labourers who died in the incident were construction labourers and were not skilled for sanitation related works. The labourers were also not provided with safety gears and other equipments needed to enter into the sewer. Police have already registered two separate FIRs against the private firm engaged for the construction work at sewer line. Taking congnigance into the matter, the GMC will now use machineries for sewer cleaning. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The tragic incident highlighted sheer negligence as the workers were not trained for sanitation related works also they were not provided with safety equipments. The GMC will use suction machines for such cleaning operations. A proper inspection will be done of the site while the work will be undertaken in the supervision of an expert or official,” said a senior GMC official. The officer further said that skilled labour will only be tasked for the work. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”At the time of cleaning a sewer, there comes a requirement for blocking the water supply inside the sewer which can only be done manually. We will make sure that such a work will be carried out by skilled and trained sanitation workers,” the officer added. Meanwhile, the GMC will also outsource the maintenance and operation of its 1,930 km long sewer network to a Chennai Based private agency. The company, VA Tech Wabag Limited, will also be responsible for operating sewage treatment plants under GMC. GMC officials said that they will also focus on curbing discharge of untreated sewage into rivers.
New Delhi: A Delhi court on Wednesday extended by five days the ED custody of Ratul Puri, nephew of Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath, in a money laundering case related to AgustaWestland chopper scam.Special judge Arvind Kumar allowed the Enforcement Directorate to quiz Puri till September 16 after the agency said that fresh evidence was recovered during the ongoing probe and his further custodial interrogation was required in the ongoing probe. In its plea seeking eight more days of Puri’s custody, ED told the court that during interrogation, he was non-cooperative and evasive and was required to be confronted with the incriminating e-mails and documents which were allegedly recovered from the house of one of the suspects recently in the case. ED’s plea was opposed by Puri’s counsel Vijay Agarwal, who alleged that the agency was playing to the gallery.
KELOWNA, B.C. – A gymnastics coach who secretly filmed his young athletes using the toilet has received a two-year sentence for making and possessing child pornography.Angelo Despotas, 48, betrayed the trust of the students he was supposed to be teaching, guiding and inspiring, provincial court Judge Jim Threlfall told a sentencing hearing in Kelowna, B.C.“The damage done to the victims is incalculable,” Threlfall said.“Many of the victims had trained with him for years.”Despotas earlier pleaded guilty to the charges and received two consecutive sentences, of 14 months for making child pornography and 10 months for possessing it.Before he was sentenced, Despotas turned to face the courtroom gallery, where many of his former students were sitting, to apologize for his actions.“The crimes I committed were a gross intrusion and violation of personal privacy,” he said Monday. “My actions were inexcusable. I wish to express sincere regret and apologize to all those I’ve hurt and embarrassed.”Many spectators wept as one of his young victims read a victim impact statement that described the profound distress she experienced since learning she’d been filmed for sexual purposes by a man she considered a mentor.“He was looking to exploit me in ways I could not imagine,” said the victim, who has given up gymnastics. “Because of him, that whole part of my life feels dirty and uncomfortable.”In another impact statement, a parent said her daughter, a once-promising gymnast, had attempted suicide.“In her mind, her whole life was over,” the parent said.Another parent told Despotas: “The pain you caused is more than a video. It’s a betrayal (with) nightmares, tears, and long days of sadness. … You left your scar on our family.”Court heard Despotas, a short, slight man, was a highly regarded gymnastics coach with 20 years’ experience when he moved to Kelowna in 2002. Students came from as far away as Mexico and Germany to train under him.But he came to police attention after the breakup of a child pornography ring in Ontario in 2012. Some of the files were eventually traced to Despotas, and Kelowna police began investigating him in 2015.They found videos he’d made using a small camera placed in a trash bin 1.5 metres from a toilet in a female washroom at a gymnastics facility. The video shows the genitalia of girls as young as 12.Police also found 2,040 images of child pornography, not involving his students, on a laptop he owned. Threlfall said the images were “beyond disturbing.” (Kelowna Daily Courier)
Lottery winners in Quebec are getting a new way to practice saying ‘No’ when asked for money.Loto-Quebec began offering virtual reality technology Wednesday to winners who might have trouble knowing what to do or say when faced with exuberant family members excited by their windfall, siblings offering unsolicited investment tips, or friends hinting that they’d like to join them on a big trip.Lotto spokesman Brian LeCompte says it involves wearing a headset that immerses the user in various scenarios they will likely face at a house party or in the workplace.“One of the situations that they’re put in is they’re at a party at someone’s house with friends and family and the mother pops into the frame and says ‘Congratulations!’ and then goes on to talk about how she’s always dreamed about having a condo in Florida,” says LeCompte.“They’re all just little situations where the person is speaking to you. It’s virtual reality so you feel like you’re in the shoes of the person who won. And it just prepares them for what might be coming once they walk out the door with their cheque.”The eight-minute experience is meant to compliment existing counselling services, available to the roughly 1,500 people a year who win prizes of $25,000 or more.Winners are advised to seek out help from professionals, to identify their true needs, to learn to say no, and to think things through before making any decisions.Winners are then contacted one month and six months after their initial meeting at the prize claim office, with the vast majority reporting “a very positive post-win experience,” says LeCompte.Still, stories abound of people who fritter away big jackpots within years of winning, their lives upended by extravagant splurges, lawsuits, addictions and opportunists.LeCompte says the impact of a big win can vary greatly from person to person and his agency doesn’t keep statistics on how winners fare overall.But the provincial agency notes that a big windfall does bring big changes in a person’s life — they are immediately confronted with important emotional and financial decisions.The agency says virtual reality can provide meaningful support to winners, believing the technology “sensitizes them better than any other tool.”LeCompte says the first candidate is a man who scored a $500,000 prize on a mobile game, who was to pick up his prize Wednesday afternoon.There’s no obligation to use the headset, adds LeCompte, and winners of lesser amounts can request VR if they feel they need it.He says their Montreal and Quebec City offices have a dozen headsets, and that the project cost $100,000 for work that included casting and shooting the VR footage.The project is a partnership with Fondation Jasmin Roy, a group that hopes to one day use virtual reality to combat bullying and discrimination in the workplace.“We’re kind of the test for the others and they’ll be able to gain knowledge on what we’ve been through and the adjustments we had to make along the way,” says LeCompte.
CAP-CHAT, Que. – Quebec provincial police say a house fire that caused the death of a woman and her two young twins in the province’s Gaspe region was likely caused by a cooking fire.They say the investigation isn’t complete but all the evidence suggests the fire was accidental.A police spokesperson said the smoke detector in the building wasn’t working.Julie Lemieux, 37, and her one-year-old children were pronounced dead in hospital after the fire broke out in their home in Cap-Chat early Sunday morning.A dozen neighbours were also briefly evacuated.Cap-Chat is a small town located almost 500 kilometres northeast of Quebec City.
Five stories in the news for Thursday, Sept. 20———FREELAND NOT CLOCK-WATCHING ON NAFTAChrystia Freeland and her U.S. trade counterpart are back at the NAFTA negotiating table today as time marches on towards a congressional deadline for a three-way deal before the end of the month. But the foreign affairs minister insists she’s not watching the clock. Rather, she says Canada’s negotiating team is focused on finding a compromise that meets the needs of all three countries as they work to modernize an agreement that governs $2-billion worth of trade every day. It’s been 13 months since the effort began — a time frame Freeland says is “absolutely normal,” given the complex and multifaceted nature of North American trade.———MCKENNA ‘NO QUITTER’ ON CLIMATE CHANGECanada’s environment minister said she’s no “quitter” despite calls Wednesday from David Suzuki for her to resign and a G7 meeting that didn’t shift her American counterpart’s firm opposition to the Paris climate agreement. Catherine McKenna started off the three-day Halifax gathering by telling a personal story of encountering young people in the Arctic who are worried local hunters are falling through the ice due to rising temperatures. The minister also spoke of translating the targets of the Paris climate agreement into action and said countries need to firm up rules around how the carbon emission targets will be enforceable. But by day’s end, she’d faced calls from Canada’s most prominent environmentalist to leave her job due to the prime minister’s support of the fossil fuel industry.———SEARCH ENDS FOR MISSING FISHERMEN OFF P.E.I.A search off Prince Edward Island’s north shore has ended without finding any trace of two fishermen who disappeared after their boat capsized in heavy seas and rain. Maj. Mark Gough of Maritime Forces Atlantic says the 12-metre fishing boat, the Kyla Anne, got into trouble at about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. One man on board managed to swim ashore and call for help, prompting a sea, air and ground search. Gough says the search was ended Wednesday evening after more than 33 hours of searching by four vessels and three aircraft. He says the incident has been handed over to the RCMP as a missing persons case.———FEDS SEEK DOPE ON POT’S ‘CRYPTOMARKET’The federal government insists pot legalization will help the country snuff out crime — but internally it’s wondering what will become of the fuzzy world of illegal online weed transactions. The federal Public Safety Department is seeking outside help to learn more about the prominence of Canadian weed on the so-called “dark web.” A new tendering notice posted by the department says Ottawa is looking to commission a study that will estimate Canadians’ online cannabis transactions.———ALBERTA TO RETURN REHABILITATED BEARS TO THE WILDAlberta Environment says two black bear cubs being rehabilitated will be returned to the wild by mid-October despite concerns that it is too early. The Cochrane Ecological Institute, a non-profit wildlife facility, took in two cubs after the province lifted a ban in the spring that had been in place since 2010. The new policy allows wildlife staff to work with private facilities on the rehabilitation of cubs that are less than a year old. It recommends the cubs be released back into the wild by Oct. 15.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— New Brunswick party leaders take part in a 90-minute debate at St. Thomas University in Fredericton.— Quebec’s political leaders take part in their third and final televised debate in Montreal.— Officials in Oxford, N.S., hold an information session on the Oxford sinkhole.— Governor General Julie Payette begins a two-day official visit to Newfoundland and Labrador.— The University of B.C. unveils a 13-metre long elasmosaurus skeleton — an ancient (late Cretaceous) marine reptile with a neck so long and heavy it would barely have been able to raise its head above water.
TORONTO – Toronto’s municipal election campaign, marked by unprecedented provincial interference, ends Monday when voters get to pass judgment on the incumbent mayor’s record of the past four years and decide who leads a city that accounts for upwards of 10 per cent of Canada economic output for the next four years.Consistently ranked among the world’s most livable places, the city of about 2.8 million people is nevertheless grappling with such seemingly intractable issues as housing affordability, homelessness, gridlock and overcrowded transit, and an uptick in gun violence.If there’s no shortage of big issues to tackle, nor is there a lack of candidates willing to offer their ideas as to how best to fix them. In all, 34 competitors are vying to thwart Mayor John Tory as he seeks a second term, although polls suggest his only real, if long-shot challenger, is Jennifer Keesmaat, once the city’s chief planner.Kim Wright, a municipal affairs expert and vice-president with Hill+Knowlton Strategies Canada, says not much separates the two policy-wise despite some of their campaign rhetoric.“There hasn’t been one particular issue that has caught fire,” Wright said. “That’s because the policy differential between Jen Keesmaat and John Tory is really not that far apart.”Another 242 candidates are duking it out for a sharply reduced 25-member council — down from the 47 seats they would have contested had not rookie Premier Doug Ford abruptly blown up that notion mid-way through the campaign.In 2014, when Tory beat off a challenge from Ford, slightly more than 54 per cent of the roughly 1.6 million eligible voters cast ballots. That was up from the barely half who voted in 2010 in the election that thrust Ford’s younger brother Rob into the mayor’s office and the city into the international public eye due to his drug use and other antics before cancer derailed his re-election bid.Tory, 64, who came to office promising to restore a measure of sanity and dignity to the office after the tumult of the Rob Ford tenure, casts himself as a steady, pragmatic politician who builds consensus and gets things done.“Bland works,” Wright said. “That is certainly something that Mayor Tory takes on.”As achievements, Tory cites billions of dollars upper governments have committed to improve transit in a city where gridlock-induced road rage has become all too common.The former corporate executive and married father of four also brags that 3,700 new affordable housing units have been built under his watch. He is pledging to build 40,000 more over the next 12 years. But in a city where the average price of a single-family detached home has powered far north of $1 million and a one-bedroom rents for close to $2,000 a month, Tory has failed on the file, Keesmaat says.“Too many young people are leaving Toronto and young families are holding off on having kids because they can’t afford a place to call home,” Keesmaat said during the campaign. “The problem has only gotten worse in the last four years and Mr. Tory has either ignored, or refused to use, the tools available to build high-quality rental housing.”Keesmaat, 48, a married mother of two, casts herself as the bold, dynamic and innovative leader running against a weak incumbent. She is promising a 100,000 new affordable housing units over the next 10 years by freeing up city land for development — an ambitious plan Tory and others criticize as unrealistic.Both candidates do agree on holding the line on property taxes. Tory says he’s shown he can steer the city in a fiscally responsible manner. Keesmaat, too, says keeping taxes down is an important part of affordability. But she has also said she would slap a surtax on houses worth at least $4 million.Tory, who styles himself as a national leader in a push for a ban on handguns, is promising to hire 400 new police officers as a way to curb the gun violence that has taken more than 30 lives this year. Keesmaat also supports a handgun ban, but wants to see more community policing and, as Tory has done, is promising more supports for disadvantaged youth.What remains key and will be unknown until Tuesday, Wright says, is who will end up on council and where the balance of power will reside. That, she says, will likely come down to a few hotly contested ward races.
Four stories in the news for Thursday, Oct. 25———ROTATING CANADA POST STRIKES CONTINUECanada Post employees will continue rotating walkouts today in Calgary, Kelowna, B.C., and Sherbrooke, Que. But the strike has ended in the Greater Toronto Area after two days of work stoppage by 9,000 postal workers forced the closure of the Crown corporation’s biggest sorting plants. The Canadian Union of Postal Workers announced Calgary and Sherbrooke are the latest target cities in its push for better contracts. Calgary workers walked off the job Wednesday at 6 p.m. local time to join members already walking picket lines in Kelowna. Sherbrooke members began strike at 4 a.m. ET today.———NEW POT LAWS COULD PROMPT MORE DEPORTATIONSThe federal government is warning newcomers that stiffer impaired driving and cannabis-related penalties could lead to their removal from Canada. The measures are part of the sweeping package of changes taking place as Canada becomes the first G7 country to legalize recreational cannabis use. On Dec. 18, new impaired driving penalties take effect, and the maximum penalties for most of these offences will increase to 10 years from five. It means they will fall under the definition of serious crimes for immigration determination purposes.———MAN WHO KILLED PARENTS, TWO OTHERS GETS PAROLEA British Columbia man who murdered four people as a teenager and left his two-month-old niece in a room with her dead mother has been granted full parole. James Ruscitti is serving a life sentence for the 1996 execution-style slayings of his adoptive parents, his brother’s 17-year-old girlfriend and a boarder who lived in their home near 100 Mile House, in central B.C. The Parole Board of Canada says he considered a moderate risk to reoffend, but the positive aspects of his life include a full-time job as an electrician and plans to live with his girlfriend and her daughter in their townhouse on Vancouver Island.———NEW CHARGES IN ALBERTA MODEL KIDNAPPING CASEA South Carolina man accused of kidnapping and sexually assaulting an Alberta woman who was lured to the United States with the promise of a modelling job is facing new charges relating to the case. No trial date has been set for Fred Russell Urey, who has been in custody since his arrest in May 2017. Urey was originally charged with kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct, but a spokeswoman for the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit court in Greenville, S.C., says the Grand Jury has approved four additional charges of criminal sexual conduct as well — one for each day the woman being held.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be holding a bilateral meeting today with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.— Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will release its quarterly Housing Market Assessment, a comprehensive report that identifies the level of stability in the housing markets of Canadian cities.— Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer and Alberta UCP leader Jason Kenney will participate in an energy policy gathering in Calgary.
OTTAWA — Fifteen-year-old Aiden Anderson wants potential voters to remember his name because one day he will be prime minister.The Ontario teen wanted to know what it’s like to be the Canadian prime minister and this week he got a taste. Anderson was born with a rare heart defect and says he’s had four open heart surgeries, many ambulance rides and hospital visits.He made a wish through Make-A-Wish Canada to step into Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s shoes.Anderson spent the day attending press conferences and touring Parliament buildings. Yesterday he had an RCMP escort, took part in a special-forces exercise and toured Rideau Hall.Anderson says he’s always been fascinated by politics, especially after the election of U.S. President Donald Trump.He says he’s meeting Trudeau today and plans to talk about how Canada can help countries in Africa and the Middle East.“I really want to know if there’s anything more our government is going to do to help them because they are like us, they are good people and they deserve to live a long and happy life,” he says.The Canadian Press
A Quebecer who pleaded guilty in Australia to smuggling cocaine aboard a luxury cruise ship has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison.Andre Tamine, 65, was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Kate Traill in New South Wales District Court. Felicita Benedikovics, a spokeswoman for the court, confirmed the sentence of eight years, five months to The Canadian Press.The man was one of three Quebecers convicted in a crime made famous by the online exploits of his two co-accused. Isabelle Lagace and Melina Roberge widely shared photographs of their travels on Instagram before their arrest when the MS Sea Princess docked in Sydney in August 2016.Earlier reports said Australian authorities using sniffer dogs found more than 90 kilograms of cocaine worth an estimated $30.5 million in the trio’s suitcases.Tamine, the third passenger arrested that day, pleaded guilty last February to importing a controlled substance — cocaine — in commercial quantities. Under Australian law, the crime could have resulted in a life sentence.His sentence will run until January 2025, but he will be eligible to request parole in March 2022. Lagace was sentenced to 7-1/2 years in November 2017 while Roberge was sentenced to eight years last April.Roberge told the court she initially refused to take part when her unnamed “sugar daddy” asked her to carry drugs on the cruise. But she later agreed when told she could enjoy a free vacation while helping the group.In a letter to the court, Roberge wrote that she had been motivated by a desire to “take photos of myself in exotic locations for ‘likes’ and attention, and hurt so many people in the process.” Lagace told the court she took part to settle a debt in Canada.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — When a British Columbia woman experiencing fever, headaches and weight loss for two months finally went to her doctor, a blood test revealed she’d contracted a contagious disease from a dog she’d rescued in Mexico.Dr. Elani Galanis, an epidemiologist and public health physician at the BC Centre for Disease Control, said the case was surprising because the previously healthy middle-aged patient didn’t seem to be a candidate for the transmission of brucellosis, which medical literature suggests can afflict people with weakened immune systems, or the very young and elderly.“Up until this adult woman became infected and tested positive we felt like the risk to humans, although possible, was very, very low,” said Galanis, who wrote about the anonymous woman in a recent issue of the BC Medical Journal.The woman worked for an animal-rescue organization that transported dogs to Canada from Mexico and the United States, often driving there to pick up the animals, Galanis said.On one occasion, she was bringing back a pregnant dog from Mexico and likely came into contact with the animal’s pregnancy fluids as it spontaneously aborted two stillborn puppies, Galanis said, adding the dog later tested positive for the bacterium brucella canis and the woman was diagnosed after seeking medical treatment last December.“Given the story in other places, like the rest of North America, this hasn’t been seen much before,” Galanis said of transmission of the disease to humans. “We’re just starting to see it so I do believe it’s a true emergence of a new problem.”“For us, the priority will be to ensure that physicians are aware that this is possible, that they ask the question about contact with animals, particularly imported dogs.”Rob Ashburner, a veterinarian and spokesman for the B.C. branch of the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, said efforts to have stricter regulations on the importation of dogs involving multiple federal agencies have so far been fruitless.“The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association has spent a lot of time trying to get the federal government to put some rules in place where animals imported from other countries should be tested for a bunch of communicable diseases, brucellosis being one of them,” he said. “Dogs from the warmer climates have all sorts of parasites that we don’t have here and they bring them in and affect our population as well.”Plenty of dogs are available for adoption in Canada, Ashburner said, adding rescued animals can be traumatized after long trips and bring with them behavioural problems people may not expect.The Canadian Food Inspection Agency establishes requirements for animals such as dogs coming into the country.It said dogs that are less than eight months old are inspected by its veterinarians at borders and older dogs are inspected by Canada Border Service Agency officers, who also review the animals’ certificates, such as those listing any vaccinations.“If the CBSA officer has any concerns, such as the animal showing signs of illness or incomplete/incorrect paperwork, they call a CFIA veterinarian for examination,” the agency said in an email.Ashburner said examinations at the border are not comprehensive and current regulations, requiring just a rabies vaccination, have been in place for decades, long before an increase in the number of pets and rescue-dogs being brought to Canada, sometimes with certificates that are bogus.“In reality, just from personal experience, there are times when what the paperwork says is not true,” he said, adding while more dogs are being brought to Canada, there are no national statistics on how many are coming in.The Public Health Agency of Canada said it acknowledges the global movement of animals, including dogs, can facilitate the spread of diseases that can be passed on to people.“Educating breeders, importers, rescue organizations and Canadians on both the risks and mitigation measures is important to manage this issue,” it said in an email.However, the agency did not respond to questions about whether it plans to consider any policy changes involving potential transmission of diseases to humans.Emilia Gordon, a veterinarian and senior manger of animal health with the British Columbia branch of the SPCA, said various groups in the province are trying to create standards of practice for rescued animals.“This is really an important issue for Canada,” she said. “I’ve personally seen a number of significant diseases in animals that were rescued from shelters in other countries.”“We are increasingly seeing surrender requests for animals who were rescued from other countries and we’ve actually had to set an entire set of protocols and procedures in place to do risk assessments on these animals as they come in,” she said, adding up to five imported animals a week are being brought in to shelters around the province.The United States, Mexico and south and central America were the major source countries about five years ago but that changed in the last year, with more dogs coming in from elsewhere in the world, including Asia and Morocco, Gordon said.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter. Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
UNICEF staff at the Commonwealth Games Athlete’s Village were treated to a very special visit from Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry today.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry Visit UNICEF At Commonwealth GamesCredit/Copyright: John Young / UNICEFUNICEF UK’s Executive Director David Bull said, “We are delighted to welcome Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry to join UNICEF in the athlete’s village today and are grateful to them for drawing attention to the life-saving work UNICEF is doing with children all across the Commonwealth.”During their visit, Their Royal Highnesses were accompanied by Chieftain of the athletes’ village and UNICEF UK Ambassador Sir Chris Hoy and treated to a live performance of Let The Games Begin by East40 – Glasgow children’s 2014 anthem for UNICEF – performed by school children from the east end of Glasgow.East40 singer Jamie Leigh Smith, 16, spoke to Their Royal Highnesses after the performance. She said: “They seemed to really enjoy it, and most importantly, it will mean more people understand that UNICEF is trying to help children across the Commonwealth, including here in Scotland. I hope more people will download the song because every time they do, 76p goes to UNICEF.”The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry then joined the children in playing three traditional games enjoyed by young people from different countries across the Commonwealth.Throughout the Glasgow 2014 Games, UNICEF has been leading sessions for athletes and the public to join in these traditional activities, drawing attention to the Put Children First appeal which aims to reach every child in Scotland and around the Commonwealth.For the full story and more photos, visit the UNICEF Blog.Source:UNICEF UK
Lady Antebellum launched 7FOR7 last week, a week-long campaign where the band travels across the country to surprise and fulfill seven wishes for seven fans in seven days.The special endeavor preceded the release of their fifth studio album 747 available in stores now.The campaign started last Monday, when Lady A popped up in Miami, FL on their way to New York City and surprised South Miami Elementary Expressive Arts Center teacher Vivian Gonzales. The trio snuck into the music teacher’s classroom and surprised her with an instrument donation for the school with the help of friends at Little Kids Rock. Lady A also invited Gonzales and her husband on an all-expense paid vacation to New York City to attend the group’s album release show at Gramercy Theatre. Gonzales was nominated by her husband who describes her as a “a great wife, an amazing mom and a phenomenal music teacher” who “spends her days, nights and weekends coming up with lessons to engage every student she has in the world of music, and change their lives forever.”The following day, during their appearance on Today, Lady Antebellum surprised nursing student Katharine Laventis, who lost both her parents at a young age and is now paying her own way through school. Laventis, who was in the crowd under the pretense that she and a friend had won free tickets to the taping, was recognized and pulled up on stage by the band during their on-air interview. The trio then completely shocked Laventis with their announcement that they would be setting up a scholarship with American International College to help offset the cost of her tuition.On Wednesday, Lady Antebellum stuck around the city to surprise 9-year-old New Jersey native Kate Koval during her trip into Manhattan today. Koval was taken in by her grandparents as a baby after her parents died, and then adopted by her aunt after the death of her grandmother. Shortly after she moved in, she and her aunt lost their home in Superstorm Sandy. Koval’s aunt, who nominated her for the surprise, took her niece on a visit to the American Girl Store in NYC where she was told she’d be given her own special doll. Much to her surprise, the trio walked out with the doll in hand to present to Koval, in addition to announcing that they will be providing a year’s worth of groceries with the help of Crock-Pot Slow Cookers.For the fourth day, Lady Antebellum hopped on over to Fort Meade, Maryland to surprise Carrie Warfel, an army wife and mother of four who tirelessly takes great care of everyone around her. Warfel was nominated by her sister, but everyone on the army base says she is a true hero who selflessly puts everyone else’s needs before her own, including a family whose daughter has cancer. Lady Antebellum snuck onto the military base where Warfel’s husband is stationed to throw her a surprise party and treated her to an indulgent day at the spa. On top of that, the trio shocked her even more with a trip for two to the 2015 ACM Awards and a Polaris for her husband.On day five, Lady Antebellum took their 7FOR7 project back home today with a stop in Nashville, TN to surprise nurse and single mother, Kelly Blackburn. Blackburn diligently works 12-hour night shifts without complaining in order to provide for her young daughter and give her the best life possible. Lady Antebellum recognized Blackburn’s sacrifice and decided to surprise her with a fun lunch in downtown Nashville with all of her friends, including the trio themselves. On top of that, they gifted her with an assortment of amazing experiences: VIP tickets to Lady A’s New Year’s Eve show including a luxurious hotel stay, a CMA Mega Prize Pack for this year’s CMA Awards, tickets to the 2015 CMA Music Festival, one-year admission passes to the Nashville Zoo plus several other local attractions to enjoy with her daughter, and much more.Lady Antebellum spent day six of their 7FOR7 project in Perry, GA surprising newly engaged Alexis Wonais, who was nominated by her fiance Jordan, who wanted to do something special for her. While the couple was having lunch in downtown Perry, the band came in singing an acapella version of “I Run To You” and invited them to be VIP guests at their show that night at the Georgia National Fair. On top of that, the trio announced they would be covering the bride-to-be’s wedding gown and bridesmaid dresses, in addition to a 5-night honeymoon at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya in Mexico.And finally, on day seven, Lady Antebellum made a wish come true in Music City today for 22-year-old Shelby Parker, a journalism major at CSU Bakersfield with aspirations to become an entertainment journalist in Nashville. The group surprised Parker by taking her to Country Weekly and securing her a mentorship with the reputable magazine’s Editor-in-Chief so that she could begin to pursue her dream career. They also granted her a red-carpet interview, complete with brand new laptop and camera, for the premiere of the new movie “Best Of Me,” for which the trio wrote and recorded the track “I Did With You.”