HIDCO to come up with glass portico at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre

first_imgKolkata: HIDCO has come up with a new glass portico to commemorate one year of Biswa Bangla Convention Centre (BBCC).It has also decided to usher in rationalization of prices in some halls in the BBCC while keeping rents of some other halls unchanged. However, the pre- function area that is the outward space adjacent to each halls that was charged earlier will now be given complimentary to the users. The operating cost as well as the management cost was reviewed by the board. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaAccording to the review carried out by the HIDCO board where the operating cost and management cost has been reviewed it has been found that the seven halls in BBCC along with the pre-function areas have been used 693 times since inception to April 2019. The most popular use was the 400 seater hall, three banquet zone (119 times) followed by the two 400 seater mini auditoriums (93 times, counting both, that is 51 for Hall 6 and 42 for Hall 7). Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersBBCC has emerged as an important destination in making Kolkata a preferred M.I.C.E destination. It is getting booking enquiries till 2022. The iconic structure of BBCC, which is a little more than a year old was inaugurated by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in October 2017. The shape is like a gem, a diamond, by using 20m projection for the upper gallery. The visual impact is unique and stunning, as if someone is holding aloft a gem in the sky with an outstretched hand. It has been conceived in such a way so that its towering height is visible from a long distance. BBCC has an art gallery at level 0 and exhibition spaces in level 0 and 1 and 4 where the main auditorium is located. The entrance at level two welcomes with a black-on-black granite pattern into a scenario of tungsten bulbed ceiling (modernity) and Bangla handicrafts (culture) on the walls and all around. A conch shell installation welcomes the visitor to the grand descending staircase.last_img read more

Civilians body found near gunfight site in Anantnag

first_imgSrinagar: A civilian’s body was found on Tuesday some distance away from Monday’s gunfight site in Anantnag district of Jammu and Kashmir. Police sources said the body of a tractor driver, Nasir Ahmad of Achabal area, was recovered from an orchard in Bidoora village near the gunfight site in which an Army major and a militant were killed. The body bore bullet marks, sources said. Investigation was on to ascertain the reasons behind the civilian’s death, sources said.last_img

US AbbVie to acquire Irish Botoxmaker Allergan for 63 bn

first_imgChicago: The specialty drug company AbbVie will spend $63 billion to acquire Allergan, the maker of Botox and other cosmetic treatments. The two pharmaceutical companies have little in common, save for a desire to reinvigorate growth that has sputtered. Shares of AbbVie are down 16 per cent over the past year and shares of Allergan are down 24 per cent. “This is a transformational transaction for both companies and achieves unique and complementary strategic objectives,” said AbbVie CEO and Chairman Richard Gonzalez in a prepared statement Tuesday. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep”The combination of AbbVie and Allergan increases our ability to continue to deliver on our mission to patients and shareholders.” The maker of the global blockbuster immune disorder treatment Humira will pay $120.30 in cash and a portion of AbbVie stock for each Allergan share. That amounts to $188.24 per share, or a 45 per cent premium to Allergan’s closing price Monday. AbbVie is facing the expiration of patent protection for Humira, which brought in a staggering $20 billion in sales last year. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsIndustry analysts had been anticipating a move by AbbVie to offset the introduction of generics to an extremely valuable pipeline for the company. “We are unsurprised by the timing and the target of the deal given (AbbVie’s) Humira patent cliff,” wrote Citi analyst Andrew Baum. Shares of Allergan Plc, based in Dublin, Ireland, soared 31.2 per cent in premarket trading Tuesday. AbbVie shareholders will own 83 per cent of the specialty drug company combination after the deal’s completion, while Allergan shareholders will have a 17 per cent stake. Gonzalez will remain chairman and CEO at AbbVie. Two members of Allergan’s board, including chairman and CEO Brent Saunders, will join AbbVie’s board once the deal closes.last_img read more

We must learn from mistakes made during first match Sunil Chhetri

first_imgAhmedabad: Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri Friday asked his team-mates to learn from mistakes they made during the previous match and try to rectify them in their must-win game against North Korea in the Intercontinental Cup here. Chhetri, who grabbed a brace in India’s 2-4 loss in the opening game against Tajikistan on July 7, said that the whole team was working hard to bounce back from the defeat and stressed on the importance of keeping calm. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together”We need to learn from all the mistakes in the Tajikistan game and try to rectify them as much as possible. Individually, as well as collectively, we are all working hard on that. The most important thing is to keep calm and put your head down and work,” he said. “No one else is going to help you, which means we have to pick ourselves up and give a good account of ourselves against DPR Korea to churn out a positive result,” Chhetri said at the match-eve press conference. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenHe said the team was “enjoying” the new style of play based on possession football introduced by head coach Igor Stimac. “The majority of our focus is on keeping the ball. There are a lot of movements and players asking for the ball. Of course, at times, we have to put safety first and we cannot be passing in defence all the time needlessly,” said the country’s most capped player. “Eventually, whether it works or not, only time will tell, but I can say that I am enjoying this style and all the players are enjoying as well. The more we are in sync with the coach, it is better for us and we will back him in all his plans for the team,” he added. Stimac had stated that the Intercontinental Cup was part of preparation for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers that begin in September. With the team having faced Curacao and Thailand previously at the King’s Cup and now playing Tajikistan, DPR Korea and Syria, Chhetri stated that playing such opposition will “make the team stronger”. “The level of opposition is really good. I don’t remember the last time we played five countries of this quality together. We might lose some and might win some but these are the games you want to target,” the captain said. “Unless you play these teams, you never know where you stand. We’ll certainly be stronger after these games and they are important if we want to go to the next level.” Chhetri also said these set of games is crucial for the coach to pick his set of first-choice players for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. “The two games in Thailand and three here have been really crucial. We are understanding what the coach wants from us exactly and this tournament is a progression where he is still looking for first 18-23 set of players,” he said.last_img read more

Hopes fade for 10 miners trapped underground at Pakistan colliery

first_imgQuetta (Pakistan): At least 10 miners are trapped more than a kilometre (nearly a mile) underground after a fire started by an electrical short circuit in a coal mine in southwestern Pakistan, officials said Monday. Rescue efforts were hampered by the fire spreading poisonous carbon monoxide gas inside the mine, some 35 kilometres (22 miles) east of Quetta, the capital of oil and mineral rich Balochistan province. Abdullah Shahwani, a top official for the industry in the province, said 11 miners were working Sunday around 4,000 feet (1,200 metres) underground when the accident happened. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping “Fire erupted due to a cable short circuit, causing the spread of poisonous monoxide gas,” Shahwani told AFP. One miner has been rescued but 10 remain trapped inside, he said. “Hopes of their survival are very slim as rescue workers have reached only 1,200 feet (360 metres) inside the mine,” Shahwani said, roughly 20 hours after the accident occurred. The spread of carbon monoxide was hampering the attempt to reach the miners, said rescuer Mohammad Shafqat, who spoke to AFP from the site. The coal mine is run by the state-owned Pakistan Mineral Development Corporation. Most coal mines in the impoverished province are notorious for poor safety standards and facilities, and similar deadly accidents have occurred in the past.last_img read more

Make in India Volkswagen to ramp up localisation to 92

first_imgChennai: German automobile-maker Volkswagen would take steps to ramp up its localisation-level to 92 per cent over the next two-three years under the India 2.0 initiative, a top official said Friday. The company announced India 2.0 project last year, along with Skoda Auto through planned investments of around Rs 8,000 crore to strengthen its operations in the country. CEO of Volkswagen Passenger Cars India Steffen Knapp said the company would increase the local products from the current 82 per cent to 92 per cent over the next two-three years. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsThe company has chalked out six strategic priorities in the domestic market to focus on — people, brand, network, corporate business, loyalty and digitalisation. “We announced Rs 8,000 crore investments a year ago. The investments are on the engineering development centre and expansion of capacity at the plant in Chakan near Pune”, he told reporters here. He said the company’s first product under India 2.0 was expected to hit the roads by 2020. Also Read – Coking coal shipments rise 15 pc to 29 MT at 12 state-run ports in Apr-Sep”Our organisation is on the right path, we are relentlessly executing our plan. We are putting in a lot of money,” he said. To a query, he said the new products rolled out in India would be under the company’s MQB (Modularer Querbaukasten or modular transversal toolkit) platform which would have localisation-levels of above 90 per cent. “We will look at increasing the parts sourcing and also increase local suppliers,” he said. The company has also set a target of more than doubling its marketshare from the current 1.4 per cent to 3 per cent in two-three years, he said. Knapp said the company was also looking at expanding retail touch points from the current 120 to 150. To a query, he said Volkswagen would come out with a sub-compact sports utility vehicle. On electric vehicles, he said infrastructure facilities were needed for such vehicles in the country. “Coming to the EV point, there is no offer in the market. It is purely aspirational and it is in the right direction. but you have to see the market environment. The infrastructure is not here,” he said.last_img read more

1 killed 14 injured in mishap near Mirik

first_imgDarjeeling: A 73-year-old woman died in a vehicle mishap near Mirik in the Darjeeling district on Friday, while 14 others have been injured.The accident occurred at Malidhura in the Thorbu tea estate in Mirik. An SUV was going to Siliguri from Nagari, Dhajey when it skidded off the road. Local residents came to the rescue of the victims. 73-year-old Dhanmati Rai died on the spot. The injured persons were rushed to Mirik Hospital. Out of the 14 injured, the condition of 4 is reported to be critical. They have been referred to Siliguri. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaMeanwhile, the body of missing tourist Gopal Narwani (24) of Bundi, Rajasthan was recovered from Haldibari area in Cooch Behar district. The body was identified by his brother Dipak Narwani. On July 10, one Aman Garg along with his two friends, all hailing from Rajasthan, were travelling from Bagdogra to Gangtok, when the car skidded off the road and fell into River Teesta near the Coronation Bridge. A search and rescue operation was launched by the NDRF and later joined in by an Indian Navy team, along with local rafters. Finally, the body of Garg was found kilometers downstream in Jalpaiguri district on July 13.last_img read more

ATM card fraud 2 Romanians convicted another accused on the run

first_imgKolkata: Two Romanian nationals have been awarded six months of simple imprisonment and a fine worth Rs 40,000. Another accused is still on the run and a look-out notice has been issued.According to the police, on April 10, Chief Manager of Punjab National Bank, Brabourne Road branch, lodged a complaint at Hare Street police station that a skimming device was fixed at their branch’s ATM kiosk to copy the card details of those who visited the facility. Officials of the Kolkata Police’s Bank Fraud section went to the ATM counter and found a skimming device fixed on the card slot. Also, a pinhole camera was found fixed above the keypad to capture the secret PIN of the customers. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaBoth the devices were seized and the CCTV footage of the ATM counter was scrutinised. A person was found attaching the skimming device to the card slot. From the CCTV footage of the Kolkata Traffic Police, investigators saw two foreign nationals roaming outside the ATM counter. Police personnel in plainclothes were deputed to keep strict vigil in and around the ATM counter as it was known that the culprits would be back to retrieve the skimming device and the camera. The same evening, one of the two foreigners was spotted and was arrested. During the interrogation, he said he was called Laurentiu Caius from Romania and confessed that he along with his accomplice, Adrian Lupu (also from Romania), came there and fixed the skimming device and camera to clone ATM card details. It was later found that there were more people connected with this racket and raids were conducted in New Delhi as well. Two more Romanians, identified as Robert George and Marianu Alin, were apprehended. Several skimming devices, camera modules, laptop and blank plastic cards were seized from them. Later, a look-out notice was issued in the name of Lupu but till date he is untraceable. Charge-sheet was filed at the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Bankshall Court against all the accused persons. On Friday, charges were framed against the three accused.last_img read more

Ukraine searches vessel over fuel delivery to Crimea

first_imgKIEV: Ukrainian prosecutors said they had searched a vessel in the Black Sea port of Kherson on Saturday as part of an investigation into a suspected illegal delivery of fuel to the Russian navy in annexed Crimea in 2015. Relations between Kiev and Moscow deteriorated after Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and its backing for pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian law stipulates that it is illegal to enter Crimean waters without the permission of the Ukrainian authorities. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe Ukraine prosecutors’ office said in a statement on Sunday that the ship, the Maria, had delivered fuel to the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Crimea in 2015 and was now being searched in relation to that delivery. “The prosecutors office… conducts a search in Kherson on the vessel Maria which is suspected of smuggling oil products,” the prosecutors office said in a statement.”In June 2015, the same vessel, but under the name Vilga, supplied fuel to the units of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol.” The prosecutors’ office gave no more details and did not say who owned the vessel. The office could not be reached for further comment. Last month, Ukraine seized a Russian tanker over its alleged involvement in Russia’s capture of three Ukrainian navy vessels last year. Russia seized the Ukrainian ships after opening fire on them and is still holding 24 Ukrainian sailors who were on board at the time, accusing them of illegally entering its territorial waters, a charge they deny.last_img read more

Treat all citizens whether rich or poor with dignity Bombay HC

first_imgMumbai: The State must treat all citizens, whether rich or poor, with dignity, the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday while pulling up the Maharashtra government for forcing nearly 15,000 families to stay in the chemical pollution-affected Mahul area of Mumbai.A bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre also referred to the Biblical story of Noah and his ark, saying, “When the floods came, Noah didn’t leave even a single animal behind, but took them all on his boat.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Similarly,you must take care of the interest of all your citizens, whether poor or rich,” it said. The bench was hearing an application filed by some residents affected by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC)’s demolition drive. The litigants said the civic body was refusing to compensate them towards rent for an alternative place of residence. Around 15,000 families, or 60,000 people, were affected when the BMC demolished all encroachments and illegal constructions along the Tansa water pipeline in the city last year. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIt decided to shift them to alternative accommodations in Mahul near suburban Chembur. However, the Mahul area, which is surrounded by three refineries and a chemical factory, was declared unfit for human habitation by the National Green Tribunal in 2015 and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay this year. These people refused to shift to Mahul and subsequently approached the high court. In April this year, another bench of HC said the state could not force citizens to live in a polluted area. It directed the state to pay Rs 15,000 towards monthly rent to those families which did not wish to stay in Mahul. Around 200 of the 15,000 affected families have shifted to Mahul so far. On Tuesday, the BMC claimed before the high court that it has not paid the rent amount to the petitioners since the HC order on the issue had been stayed by the Supreme Court. However, after verification of records, the court realised that while the state’s appeal was pending in the apex court, no stay was granted on the HC’s rent amount order. “You must treat all citizens, whether rich or poor, with dignity. You can manage five crore people in Kumbh mela but you are unable to accommodate 60,000 people in this case,” the bench said. It will hear the matter in detail next week.last_img read more

Iranian oil tanker pursued by US says it is going to Turkey

first_imgDubai: An Iranian-flagged oil tanker pursued by the US amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington changed its listed destination to a port in Turkey early Saturday after Greece said it wouldn’t risk its relations with America by aiding it. The crew of the Adrian Darya 1, formerly known as the Grace 1, updated its listed destination in its Automatic Identification System to Mersin, Turkey, a port city in the country’s south and home to an oil terminal. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US However, mariners can input any destination into the AIS, so Turkey may not be its true destination. Mersin is some 200 kilometers (125 miles) northwest of a refinery in Baniyas, Syria, where authorities alleged the Adrian Darya had been heading before being seized off Gibraltar in early July. Iranian state media and officials did not immediately acknowledge the new reported destination of the Adrian Darya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude oil worth some 130 million. Nor was there any immediate reaction from Turkey, whose President Recep Tayyip Erdogan deals directly with Tehran and Russia over Syria’s long war. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls The ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com showed the Adrian Darya’s position as just south of Sicily in the Mediterranean Sea. At current speeds, it estimated the Adrian Darya would reach Mersin in about a week. The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The tanker’s detention and later release by Gibraltar has fueled the growing tensions between Iran and the U.S. after President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago. In the time since, Iran lost billions of dollars in business deals allowed by the deal as the US re-imposed and created sanctions largely blocking Tehran from selling crude oil aboard, a crucial source of hard currency for the Islamic Republic. In US federal court documents, authorities allege the Adrian Grace’s true owner is Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The U.S. declared the Guard a foreign terror organization in April, the first time America named a military force of a nation as such, giving it the legal power to issue a warrant for the vessel’s seizure. However, that would require another nation to acknowledge the writ. The Adrian Darya had put its intended destination as Kalamata, Greece, even though the port did not have the infrastructure to offload oil from the tanker. The State Department then pressured Greece not to aid the vessel. Meanwhile, Iran continues to hold the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero, which it seized in a commando-style raid July 19 after the taking of the Adrian Darya. Analysts suggested the release of the Adrian Darya would see the Stena Impero let go, but that has yet to happen.last_img read more

FPIs withdraw Rs 3014 cr from capital markets in August so far

first_imgNew Delhi: Overseas investors have pulled out a net amount of Rs 3,014 crore from the Indian capital markets this month so far, but the trend may reverse following the removal of enhanced surcharge on FPIs, experts said.According to depositories data, foreign portfolio investors (FPI) withdrew a net amount of Rs 12,105.33 crore from equities, but pumped in Rs 9,090.61 crore into the debt segment during August 1-23.This has translated into a total net outflow of Rs 3,014.72 crore from the capital markets (both equity and debt). Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”Out of 15 trading sessions, foreign investors were net buyers in only two sessions. The sell off in equities continued due to a mix of factors including US Fed rate cut, US-China trade war and the post Budget tax hike on high income investors,” said Harsh Jain, co-founder and COO of Groww.The Centre on Friday announced a slew of measures to revive growth momentum, including rollback of enhanced super-rich tax on foreign and domestic equity investors imposed in the Budget. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostPrior to the announcement of enhanced super-rich tax in the Union Budget for 2019-20 in July, FPIs were net buyers for five consecutive months.FPIs had infused a net Rs 10,384.54 crore in June, Rs 9,031.15 crore in May, Rs 16,093 crore in April, Rs 45,981 crore in March and Rs 11,182 crore in February into the Indian capital markets.However, the position reversed in July, when FPIs turned net sellers to the tune of Rs 2,985.88 crore.Now, with the withdrawal of the enhanced surcharge on FPIs, confidence in the market is likely to be restored, analysts said. “One can now expect reversal of the FPI selling. The market is likely to look up from now on. However, sustained rally in the market will happen only when we have visibility on good earnings growth and reversal of the slowdown underway in the economy which requires more reforms.”The Finance Minister has announced that she will come back with more reforms soon. So, there is hope,” said V K Vijayakumar, chief investment strategist at Geojit Financial Services.last_img read more

On P Chidambarams bail plea Delhi high court seeks CBI status report

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday sought a status report from the Criminal Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea filed by former union minister P Chidambaram, who is currently in Tihar jail, for regular bail in INX Media case. The investigation agency has been asked to file the report within 7 days. Congress leader P Chidambaram’s lawyers have also withdrawn their second plea challenging his judicial custody. The court also sought to know why the bail application was filed late. ‘When the judicial custody was remanded on Thursday, why are they coming to court today,” the judge asked. To this, Sibal replied that it was a long weekend and he had filed the pleas yesterday on account of the holidays. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The leader is facing probe in cases registered by the CBI and the ED pertaining to alleged irregularities in the Foreign Investment Promotion Board clearance given to INX Media to the tune of Rs 305 crore in 2007 when he was the Union Finance Minister. Last month, he was arrested by the CBI after the Delhi High Court rejected his petition seeking anticipatory bail in the case. He was later sent to CBI custody for interrogation. The ED is also seeking his custodial interrogation related to money-laundering allegations.(Inputs from Hindustan times)last_img read more

Two winning tickets for Saturday nights 5 million Lotto 649 jackpot

first_imgTORONTO – There are two winning tickets for Saturday night’s $5 million Lotto 649 jackpot.Both were purchased in the Prairies, and each is worth $2.5 million.The draw’s guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in Ontario.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on May 23 will be approximately $5 million.last_img

Disgraced Don Meredith quits Senate rather than face expulsion vote

first_imgOTTAWA – Disgraced Sen. Don Meredith is resigning from the Senate rather than wait to see if his colleagues expel him for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl.The Senate was poised to vote as early as Wednesday on a Senate ethics committee report, which last week concluded that Meredith is unfit to serve as a senator and recommended that the upper house take the unprecedented step of expelling him.But in a statement today, Meredith says he recognizes that the Senate is more important than his “moral failings.”He says he’s decided to move forward with his life, with the full support of his wife and children, and expresses the hope that his absence from the chamber will allow senators to focus on their good work.His lawyer, Bill Trudell, confirms that Meredith has decided to resign, although he doesn’t specifically say so in the statement.The committee’s recommendation followed an explosive report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.last_img read more

Alberta to bring in legislation to protect students who join gaystraight clubs

first_imgEDMONTON – Alberta’s education minister says he will be introduce legislation to make it illegal to out students who join gay-straight alliances.On Twitter, David Eggen says the government believes all students deserve to feel safe and welcome at all schools.He says no student who belongs to a gay-straight alliance — intended to foster understanding and give LGBTQ students a haven from bullying — should be outed.His comments come as the issue creates a rift among leadership candidates for the new United Conservative Party.Former federal cabinet minister and leadership candidate Jason Kenney has said schools should tell parents in some circumstances when their child joins an alliance.Leadership rival Brian Jean has said gay-straight alliances should be left as a peer group for students.Under a law passed by the Progressive Conservatives in 2015, all schools must set up a gay-straight alliance if students ask for one.last_img read more

BC sets stage for 2018 referendum on electoral reform

first_imgVICTORIA – The stage is being set for a referendum to determine whether British Columbia will use a form of proportional representation to elect its provincial politicians in time for the next election in 2021.Under legislation introduced Wednesday, the referendum would be held next fall in a mail-in ballot. The proposal would need the support of 50 per cent, plus one, of those who vote in order to be successful.Premier John Horgan said the province’s current electoral system based on first past the post is unfair. He said he will actively campaign in favour of change.“I believe you shouldn’t get all of the power with less than 50 per cent of the votes,” Horgan told a news conference before the bill was introduced.He said in the past five B.C. elections, only one political party formed government after receiving more than 50 per cent of the votes. In the other elections, parties with less than 50 per cent of the popular vote were able to form government.In 2001, B.C.’s Liberals captured 57 per cent of the vote, but won 77 of 79 seats in the legislature.Last spring’s B.C. election saw the Liberals and NDP each receive slightly more than 40 per cent of the vote, but the New Democrats eventually formed a minority government with the support of the Greens who won three seats and took almost 17 per cent of the popular vote.Attorney General David Eby said the referendum must be held no later than Nov. 30, 2018, and if a new system is approved, the government will introduce legislation to implement it in time for the 2021 election.But if the current NDP-Green agreement to support the New Democrat minority collapses before the next planned election, the unscheduled election will be held under the current voting system, he said.Details of a public consultation process will be announced in the coming weeks and will result in a report that includes a recommendation of the questions to be put on the ballot, Eby said.The legislation is structured so a ballot with more than one question could be accommodated, he added.“We will promote active, healthy debate and discussion and provide information on our current voting system and systems of proportional representation to ensure British Columbians are able to make an informed decision,” Eby said.But the Opposition Liberals said they have serious concerns about how much power British Columbians will actually have in the public engagement process proposed by the New Democrats.“The bill sets up the mechanics for the NDP to set up a process which leads to something which really tears at the fabric of our democracy,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Liberal attorney general critic. “I’m gravely concerned this is changing the entire electoral process of our democracy and the ultimate decision will be made by an NDP cabinet behind closed doors.”Sonia Furstenau, the Green party’s spokeswoman for electoral reform, said recent polling suggests 65 per cent of British Columbians favour some form of proportional representation over the current system.“From what we’re hearing and the kind of engagement people want to be able to have in their electoral system, we’re feeling confident and we’re going to work really hard to engage with citizens and to ensure this is a positive process.”The Greens and NDP have supported a system of proportional representation that accounts for the number of seats each party gets in the legislature based on their percentage of the popular vote.Two previous referendums on proportional representation have failed in B.C.A second piece of legislation introduced by Eby on Wednesday would reduce the number of seats required for a party to get official status in the legislature from four to two. It also would change B.C.’s fixed election date to October from May.last_img read more

Right whale researchers meet in Halifax to sound alarm about species decline

first_imgHALIFAX – Their names were Glacier, Starboard and Peanut.The colourfully named mammals were among 15 North Atlantic right whales who died off the coast of Canada and the U.S. in recent months.To the community of researchers, rescuers and others gathered in Halifax for the North Atlantic Right Whale Consortium’s annual meeting, each of the 15 whales who died off the coast of Canada and the U.S. in recent months was mourned both as an individual loss as well as a dire blow to the endangered species’ survival.Tonya Wimmer of the Marine Animal Response Society became overwhelmed with emotion as she recalled recovering several bloated whale carcasses in Canada’s eastern waters this summer.“I’m going to take you through those animals, not only on the human side, but on the animal side, because they aren’t just numbers,” Tonya Wimmer told the hundreds of people gathered at St. Mary’s University. “I think it’s really important to see the context of who and what we were dealing with.”The spate of right whale deaths cast a shadow over Sunday’s gathering, which is normally closed to the media, but was opened up due to public interest.Presenters spoke with a renewed sense of urgency to protect the 450 right whales still alive as of 2016, according to the latest population estimate, which does not account for this year’s losses.Scott Kraus of the New England Aquarium in Boston said in an interview that the death toll since spring could be higher than the official count, and combined with dwindling birth rates, the species is at risk of extinction.“We’ve got to do something, because the trajectory of the decline is such that this population could be gone in two to three decades,” Kraus said.Many of the whale deaths have been attributed to vessel strikes and getting tangled in fishing gear.The Canadian government has taken steps to reduce the risk to right whales by bringing in measures including reducing the speed limit in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and shutting down a snow crab fishery.Federal Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc is set to meet with scientists, members of industry, Indigenous groups and other interested parties in Moncton, N.B., to discuss the right whale deaths.“These kinds of conservation crises only get solved when you have all the stakeholders involved, and that they’re all committed to finding solutions,” said Kraus. “It can’t be … feel-good solutions. It has to be real effective conservation efforts.”Kraus is particularly concerned about the escalating threat of entanglements, which he said have shot through the roof in recent years, overtaking ship strikes as the leading cause of death for right whales, in addition to causing other health issues.Many of the proposed solutions to this problem will require help from the fishing industry, Kraus said, such as switching to types of fishing gear that reduce the risk of entanglement or make it easier for a trapped whale to break free.Kraus said mysterious shifts in right whale migration patterns, such as an increased presence in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, have left scientists scratching their heads, but luckily, right whale researchers pool their resources by sharing information — such as name, age, gender and physical features — in a database so they can track changes in population.Mark Baumgartner, who works at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute on Cape Cod, said the number of deaths this year is a wake-up call that the survival of the whales can’t be achieved by a small group of experts, but must involve the broader public.“Every researcher that I’ve talked to has described this past summer as an utter disaster. It is really quite depressing to see,” he said. “One of the things that we want to have come out of this meeting is for people to have a sense of urgency … This is a problem we think can be solved if the public wants this to be solved.”The consortium has announced plans to form an international working group to address the right whale “mortality crisis.”last_img read more

Airport reopens in Bali for those wanting to flee active volcano

first_imgThe international airport in Bali, which was closed on Monday because of an active volcano, has been reopened to provide stranded Canadians and others a window to leave the island.The closure disrupted travel for tens of thousands of people, including at least 403 Canadians who had registered with Global Affairs Canada.An airport spokesman (Arie Ahsannurohim) said volcanic ash has drifted south and southeast, leaving clean space above the airport for planes to land and take off.The local airport authority had closed the facility because volcanic ash poses a deadly threat to aircraft and ash from Mount Agung had been moving south-southwest toward it.However, the volcano was still erupting and Indonesia’s president has urged anyone still within an exclusion zone extending up to 10 kilometres from the mountain to get out “for the sake of their safety.”Although 403 Canadians had registered with Global Affairs Canada, a spokeswoman said earlier in the week that since registration is voluntary, a greater number of Canadians may be in the region.last_img read more

Selected quotes on Trump tariffs from various sources

first_imgOTTAWA – Selected quotes on President Donald Trump’s announcement of new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports:“Due to the unique nature of our relationship with Canada and Mexico … we’re gonna hold off the tariff for those two countries.” Trump, announcing the tariffs at the White House.———“If we don’t make the deal on NAFTA, and if we terminate NAFTA … we’ll start all over again. Or we’ll just do it a different way. But we’ll terminate NAFTA, and that’ll be it. But I have a feeling we’re gonna make a deal on NAFTA… If we do there won’t be any tariffs on Canada, and there won’t be any tariffs on Mexico.” Trump said during the announcement.___“I conclude that Canada and Mexico present a special case. Given our shared commitment to supporting each other in addressing national security concerns, our shared commitment to addressing global excess capacity for producing steel, the physical proximity of our respective industrial bases, the robust economic integration between our countries, the export of steel articles produced in the United States to Canada and Mexico, and the close relation of the economic welfare of the United States to our national security … I have determined that the necessary and appropriate means to address the threat to the national security posed by imports of steel articles from Canada and Mexico is to continue ongoing discussions with these countries and to exempt steel articles imports from these countries from the tariff, at least at this time.” An excerpt from the formal presidential proclamation signed by Trump.———“We’re staunch allies in Norad in NATO and all along our 8,891-km peaceful and secure border. That Canada could pose any kind of security threat is inconceivable.” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland.———“Today is a step forward. There is more hard work to do. We are focused on getting a good result for Canadians. As we move forward we will be thorough, measured and effective.” Freeland.———“While it is important to recognize that we are still facing challenges, I am pleased that we got the decision we fought for — the one that protects workers and businesses in Ontario’s steel and aluminum industry. It speaks to the success of Ontario’s strategy of extensive outreach to U.S. leaders during this period of uncertainty.” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne.———“This isn’t a victory, it’s a threat. The U.S. is now holding tariffs over Canada’s head at the NAFTA table ahead of the next round, which uncoincidentally will take place in Washington.” Jerry Dias, national president of Unifor, Canada’s largest union in the private sector, with 315,000 members.———“Canada should be exempt from these tariffs, fully and without condition. We are a partner of the United States in NATO and NORAD and Canada’s steel and aluminum industries provide a critical source of supply for American businesses and for American defence needs. Far from being a problem for the U.S., we are their ally, their supplier and their customer.” Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.———last_img read more