Haridwar: The annual kanwar fair is set to begin Wednesday and security has been tightened on routes to be used by Shiva devotees to collect sacred waters of the Ganga river from Har ki Pauri and other ghats here. Around 10,000 police and para-military personnel, including bomb disposal and anti- terrorist squads have been deployed along the routes besides installation of CCTV and drone cameras on chosen locations in the fair area to maintain a tight vigil, IG (law and order) Ashok Kumar said. Police personnel in plain clothes have also been deployed at sensitive spots to keep an eye on suspicious activity, he said. An estimated three crore Kanwariyas are likely to descend on Haridwar during the Kanwar mela this year which will conclude on July 12. The city has been divided into 12 super zones, 31 zones and 133 sectors for crowd management. Addressing sectoral magistrates and police officials in Rishikesh, Kumar asked them to use the social media platforms fully to keep kanwariyas informed about the arrangements and the route plans and avoid last minute confusion. With the iconic Lakshman Jhula in Rishikesh closed recently due to safety reasons, the route plan for kanwar yatra has had to be slightly changed. Kanwariyas on foot will be sent to Neelkanth Mahadev temple via Ram Jhula and Mauni Baba cave. On their way back, they will be sent to Rishikesh barrage road, IG Garhwal range Ajay Rautela told reporters.
Gurugram: There has been an acute shortage of rabies vaccine at the Gurugram civil hospital for the past two months. Private hospitals and pharmacies in the city are also reporting the same.In a city where the cases of dog and monkey bites are increasing by the day, the shortage of vaccine is only resulting in more trouble and hassles. Officials at the Civil hospital’s are already referring the patient to Delhi as that they did not have the required stock as the state headquarter had not sent it. Also Read – Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bans single use plasticAccording to hospital authorities, they have been trying to purchase the vaccine from the market but there is a shortage in the market, as well. Senior hospital officials said the state bought a stock of 10,000 injections, last week, but the district got only 1,000 injections, out of which only 200 were allotted to the civil hospital. The doctors have been instructed to use the injections judiciously and only for the poorest patients. On average, nearly 100 patients visit the civil hospital for treatment related to dog bites. Officials said that patients were currently being asked to get vaccines from the market. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”We are not getting the desired supply. The reason is not known. As government hospitals do not have stock, more people are buying it from pharmacies or private hospitals,” said Rajesh Goyal of Gurugram Chemists’ Association. A spokesperson of a prominent private hospital in Gurugram said had sufficient stock but another leading private hospital, on the condition of anonymity, said it was facing a shortage too. Several pharmacies in the city reported non-availability of the vaccine, adding that the supply could not keep up with the demand. “I sold 12 doses of the vaccine to a man, after which my stock has not been refilled,” said a prominent pharmacist at Gurugram’s Vyaapar Kendra market. We have been facing shorateg of the vaccines but we hoe that the stock will be replinished soon. We have informed about the government and have been assured that the required invesntory will be delivered soon,” said a senior doctor rom the government hospital Gurugram
Kolkata: Sixteen popular singers from across the country have come on board to dish out Bengali songs with influences from genres ranging from Baul, Bihu to new-age pop, in a new music series that will be streamed on YouTube from Friday afternoon. Artistes including Papon, Shaan, Sona Mohapatra, Anupam Roy, Javed Ali, Ash King, Akriti Kakar, Shalmoli Kholgade and Nikhita Gandhi will belt out the songs in the show — ‘Oriplast Originals’. With Bengali classical and contemporary music in the foreground, the renditions will derive inspiration from folk music of Assam, Odisha, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, the producers of the show said in a statement Tuesday. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers It will be the first such Bengali show recorded in a live studio format, to be streamed on YouTube, and featuring so many big names, the statement said. Composers such as Arko Pravo Mukherjee, Subhadeep Mitra and Anupam Roy are also part of the initiative. On the first day of the show on Friday, ‘Aajo Cholechhi’, a Bengali song with Himachali folk references, sung by Papon and Shalmali Kholgade will be streamed. “It feels great to be associated with Bengal’s biggest music collaboration and to share the platform with artistes from across the country,” Papon said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The renditions by other artistes will be streamed on July 23, 26, 30 and August 2, 6, 9, 11, 13, concluding on August 15, the statement said. Shaan will belt out ‘Baundule’ which will be streamed on July 30, while Akriti Kakar and Assamese singer Dikshu Sarma will render ‘Rongila Re Mon’, a Bengali contemporary romantic song infused with Assamese folk, on August 9. “‘Baundule’ is such a beautiful composition and I am glad Arko (composer Arko Pravo Mukherjee) assigned this song to me,” Shaan said. “The free-flowing folk Reggae vibe and the lyrics got stuck in my heart. Arko and I have collaborated for the first time and the experience was grand,” he said. While Ash King will sing ‘Ami Sudhu Tomar’ on August 11, Anupam Roy’s rendition ‘Agomonir Gaan’, a Bengali contemporary track infused with folk, will be streamed on the last day of the project on August 15. “We are hopeful that the second version of the show with popular singers will be streamed in 2020,” a producer said.
Muzaffarnagar (UP): Several Dalits has staged a protest after some sanitation workers were allegedly not allowed to drink water from a temple in Uttar Pradesh’s Shamli district, police said on Sunday. The workers were cleaning a drain outside the temple in Thana Bhawan town on Saturday. The priest refused to allow them to take water from a handpump inside the temple and closed the door, an officer said. Several people belonging to the Valmiki caste staged a protest and demanded registration of an FIR against the priest.
Gurugram: With the arrival of monsoon, the number of patients suffering from gastrointestinal diseases such as diarrhoea, typhoid and hepatitis has witnessed a sudden spurt. According to doctors, there has been a 30 per cent increase in the number of patients in July. The doctors said such diseases increase during the monsoon because of warm and humid conditions in which harmful pathogen multiply fast in food. Avoiding eating food cooked in open and drinking only filtered water or boiled water can prevent catching infections. Experts also recommended having a healthy diet to boost immunity as frequent changes in temperature can make the body susceptible to infections. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe increase in the number of diarrhoea cases had prompted the district health department to again inform the citizens to refrain from consuming street food and unclean water. Taking into cognizance of the rise in a number of diarrhoea cases, a major programme on the preventive measures is slated to be launched from July onward when the monsoon starts. In order to cover a wider range of citizens, the public health officials also plan to rope in the services of Anganwadi workers. Medical experts highlight over 30 per cent of the diarrhoea cases in the city were due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. Judging by past trends, there were a large number of minors and infants who were affected by the disease.
Kolkata: West Bengal government has sent a circular to all district administrations for a fixed menu for midday meals in state-run schools, an official said on Saturday. The move for the fixed menu comes days after a school in Hooghly district was found offering only boiled rice and salt to the students. The School Education department in the circular sent to all district administrations told them to strictly maintain the menu and also gave a chart which specified on which date which type of food will be served, the official said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Fish or egg should be served in the midday meal twice in a week. Soyabean and vegetables should be served on the other days, the circular said. It said rice, dal, potato and vegetable curry would be served on Monday, rice, dal, egg or fish curry on Tuesday, rice, dal, mixed vegetable on Wednesday. It said rice, fish or egg curry, vegetables will be served on Thursday, rice dal, potato curry on Friday and rice dal, soyabean and potato curry on Saturday. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway All officials, in-charge of midday meals have been asked to instruct all local level officers, Education Supervisors to visit schools from August 24 to August 31 to monitor the midday meal is provided in a proper manner to the students. After the school in Hooghly district was found serving only boiled rice and salt in a school in Hooghly district, Education minister Partha Chatterjee had said that the state government will do everything to ensure children get the proper kind of midday meal and there will be “zero tolerance” to any attempt to deprive children of their prescribed midday meal menu.
Indigenous people have been warning for decades about the violations we have suffered everywhere in Brazil. Predatory action by agri-business loggers, miners and ranchers, who have a powerful lobby in the National Congress with over 200 deputies under their influence in addition to large-scale projects such as hydroelectric dams are threats that have been deepening terribly under the anti-indigenous Jair Bolsonaro government, which normalises, incites and empowers violence against the environment and against us, indigenous people and our territories. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe correlation between deforestation and fire is intrinsic. The ten municipalities in the Amazon region that are most affected by the fire represent 37 per cent of the total and 43 per cent of deforestation detected in July. The records are higher in the states of Acre, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Rondônia and Roraima, where there is a significant population of our people. It is also in this region that a large number of the last uncontacted people from Brazil live, as reported by the COIAB or Coordination of Indigenous Organisations of the Brazilian Amazon. Also Read – Insider threat managementWe know that indigenous territories are the most preserved in the world. In the Brazilian Amazon, communities protect 27 per cent of the forest; reserves provide 5.2 billion tonnes of water per day. They are real barriers against the advance of logging and greed of Brazilian agri-business. In Brazil, contrary to what is said, with the dismantling of the Funai (Brazil’s national foundation for indigenous people) and the environmental policies and enforcement, through the demoralisation and dismantling of IBAMA and ICMBio (both are administrative arms of the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment), INPE (research unit of the Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation) and the attempted criminalisation and recurring lies against civil society organisations, they abandoned us to our own fate, and we are forced to guard our territories at our own risk. We are putting our bodies and our lives at the service of maintaining our territories. Furthermore, we will soon be in Europe to report to the world, the violations that indigenous people in Brazil have suffered since the beginning of the Bolsonaro government, as well as our forests, forests and rivers. We are a country of important biodiversity worldwide, with aquifers that account for much of the world’s freshwater. Faced with the worsening scenario, unfortunately, we are being pushed into a war that has no end date and we need the solidarity of national and international public opinion, the support of the Brazilian institutions and also cooperation of international courts to ensure justice and protection to the indigenous people of Brazil, as we have recently experienced with the assassination of Chief Emirá Wajãpi, in Amapá. The lives of indigenous people depend on this fight. But it is not only our lives. The lives of future generations and our survival as a species depend on this collective effort to generate new models of development. We have no plan B, so this fight is urgent. DOWN TO EARTH (Sônia Guajajara is a Brazilian environmental and indigenous activist and politician. This statement of hers has been translated from Portuguese to English by Survival International and republished with her permission. The views expressed are strictly personal)
New Delhi: People left off the NRC are not “stateless” and will continue to enjoy all the rights as before till they exhaust all the remedies available under the law, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said on Sunday.It said exclusion from the NRC has no implication on the rights of an individual resident in Assam and that they will not be deprived of any rights or entitlements which they have enjoyed before. The MEA’s comments came in the wake of commentaries in sections of the foreign media about certain aspects of the final NRC which it said are “incorrect”. Out of 3.3 crore applicants, over 19 lakh people were excluded from the final NRC published on Saturday. Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday expressed shock over the exclusion of one lakh Gorkha people from the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. P6
New Delhi: Club Factory, the leading e commerce platform, has surpassed Snapdeal to become the third largest shopping app (in terms of MAU) in India since June 2019 after retaining first rank in Google Play Shopping App category, according to data analytics platform App Annie. The strategy to focus on local SMEs has been a big growth driver for Club Factory’s recent success and has further strengthened its position to become the leading marketplace for local sellers in India and offer best price to the users. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAccording to Vincent Lou, Founder and CEO, Club Factory, “After witnessing a rapid growth and success in India, we are now looking forward to an era of FAC (Flipkart, Amazon, Club Factory) to be the future of India e-commerce market. Our goal is to facilitate a fair marketplace where both the sellers and buyers are benefitted. We are further empowering local SME’s in India with our zero commission strategy and are also making significant investment in the ecosystem to meet higher consumer demands. Our new warehouse in Mumbai is opened recently to meet the increased user demands for faster product delivery.”
KAPUSKASING, Ont. – Paul Edwards sits alone at a bare table and washes down scrambled eggs with coffee in the large auditorium of the civic centre in Kapuskasing, Ont., while in a small motel room on the nearby TransCanada Highway, his wife Lottie is hooked up to a dialysis machine.The couple and their two grown children have been away from their First Nations community in Fort Albany on James Bay for almost two months now — since unusually deep frost caused the sanitary sewers to freeze and back up.“I haven’t heard anybody talking about us. I don’t see anything in the newspapers or on TV,” Edwards says glumly. “It’s just like we’re forgotten people.”Edwards, 54, and his ailing 50-year-old wife arrived in this northern Ontario town along with 29 other evacuees on Feb. 26. The Comfort Inn is their third home away from home since arriving. So far, only five of the group have managed to go back to their community.When the rest can make the 320-kilometre flight north remains uncertain.“It’s very stressful,” Edwards says, his eyes misting. “Two months in a motel with a dying person? It’s frustrating. There’s not enough room in there.”In his office upstairs from the auditorium, Mayor Alan Spacek says hosting Indigenous people from remote communities in their time of need has become part of Kapuskasing’s fabric.“We have a very strong working relationship with the Indigenous community,” Spacek said.Each year, for example, the largely blue-collar town of about 8,300 takes in 500 evacuees escaping spring flooding from Kashechewan. They are expected to start arriving in the next week or so.While the arrivals are expected to stay for a short while — 60 days is considered short term — one evacuation ended up lasting three years.“They’re in a difficult situation,” says Guylain Baril, chief administrative officer for Kapuskasing. “We try to offer the best possible support and service and care within the guidelines.”Ottawa lays out the guidelines and foots the bill for dealing with the evacuees, but the town itself has set up a permanent team to co-ordinate the relocation and housing effort for some of the most vulnerable people in the province.The undertaking involves subcontracting various services — such as catering three meals a day in the auditorium, making sure people have transportation, enrolling children in schools where appropriate, and ensuring the arrivals have access to medical care in a town already chronically short of doctors.While the influx provides economic fuel for a town that relies heavily on forestry and mining, Baril says the situation puts strain on services and facilities. One of the biggest challenges is keeping evacuees productively occupied.“You can imagine that for 60 days in a hotel room, you get really, really bored and their anxiety levels climb,” Baril says. “I would like to think we’re not making things worse for them.”At a storefront centre in the town’s core, evacuees co-ordinator Guylaine Ouellette keeps a flip chart with activities such as swimming, movies or bowling. In a storage room, she shows the new strollers and other purchased items that help make life a little easier for the displaced.Still, it’s impossible to escape the reality of the far-from-ideal situation the evacuees are in. Whatever its problems, Edwards misses home fiercely. And despite the helping hand, he says, Kapuskasing still feels alien, even resentful of their presence.“We’re First Nations. This is our land. But …” Edwards says, his voice trailing off.People, he says, don’t always seem to understand how the everyday — such as a large transport truck or a train — can still spark wide-eyed wonder in those who may be away from their reserves for the first time.Over at the co-ordination centre, Baril ponders the gulf.“To sit here and to claim there is no cultural divide would be a lie,” Baril says. “It’s two different cultures mixing together and it’s never going to change.”At the same time, he says, both the citizens of Kapuskasing and the Indigenous visitors have learned from each other over the past 12 years and the divide has narrowed.“We’ve come a long way,” Baril says.
EDMONTON – Police in Edmonton have issued Canada-wide warrants for two women allegedly involved in a national auto-theft ring targeting luxury vehicles.Police say the ring originated in Ontario and involves dealerships across the country.It was uncovered following a report in March of two high-end cars being stolen from an Edmonton dealership.Investigators say thieves used stolen or fraudulent identification to apply online to buy the cars and came from out of province to pick them up.Since then, three stolen luxury cars and one truck have been recovered in Saskatoon and another high-end vehicle was found in Edmonton.Police say the total estimated value of the five is about $525,000.Gene Nikota, 45, faces several charges, including fraud and possession of stolen property.Kimberly Barlow, 38, and Jennifer Callihoo, 33, are wanted for a total of 40 auto and identity-theft offences.
WINNIPEG – The Manitoba government plans to poll residents about their marijuana consumption and what kind of rules they would like to see when recreational pot is legalized next year.The provincial liquor and gaming authority is looking for a company to do 15-minute surveys of at least 1,200 Manitobans in the coming months as it prepares for the new law.“We don’t have a great understanding about cannabis as a substance and how people use it,” said Kristianne Dechant, the authority’s communications and research manager.“And this is really unlike with liquor and gambling — which are two products that we currently regulate — where we have a great understanding about the gaps in people’s knowledge.”Dechant said the aim is to develop ways to advise people about safe levels of consumption — whether the cannabis be eaten, smoked or otherwise ingested.“I think Manitobans are really looking to the province to define what responsible use could look like and to provide information about how, if they choose to use it, they could minimize the harm.”Survey results will help shape a “regulatory framework for cannabis that meets public expectations for safety and consumer protection,” says the authority’s request for proposals issued Tuesday.The sample must include a reasonable representation across the province, including people between 18 and 24, “as this demographic is notoriously hard to reach, yet of particular interest with respect to cannabis knowledge and choices.”The federal government is setting a minimum age of 18 for pot use, but many of the details are being left to the provinces, including how and where cannabis will be sold when the law takes effect next July.Manitoba has yet to determine where pot will be available at the retail level and whether the liquor and gaming authority, or some other agency, will regulate it.Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government asked Ottawa last December to delay its plan for legalization.Premier Brian Pallister said there were many details still to be worked out, including who would pay for increased police resources. He also said a big awareness campaign was needed to convince people of the dangers of driving while using cannabis.
VANCOUVER – Canada’s international trade minister is urging calm in the wake of renewed threats from Donald Trump to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement.Francois-Philippe Champagne says it is important not to react to every remark and comment made about the trade deal.Champagne says there is nothing worrisome about what he described as a push to modernize NAFTA, which has happened several times since the deal came into effect in the 1990s.A second round of talks is scheduled to begin at the end of the week between Canada, the United States and Mexico.Champagne was in Vancouver for a luncheon hosted by the B.C. Chamber of Commerce.He also lauded the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement between Canada and the European Union, which will slash more than 98 per cent of transatlantic tariffs when it comes into effect on Sept. 22.
OTTAWA – Newly freed Hassan Diab, who spent more than three years locked up in France on suspicion of murder, is calling for changes to Canada’s “lousy” extradition law.The Ottawa sociology professor’s supporters rallied around him Wednesday, urging the federal government to hold a public inquiry into the case and to reform the Extradition Act to ensure individual rights are respected.Diab, 64, expressed relief at being back in Canada with his wife Rania and their young children.“Justice has finally prevailed,” he told a news conference hosted by Amnesty International Canada. “Miracles can happen.”Diab is settling back into life at home. But he said his main mission will be seeking changes to the extradition law, as well as assisting people who have experienced miscarriages of justice.A spokeswoman for Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould did not immediately respond to a request for comment.French authorities suspected Diab was involved in the 1980 bombing of a Paris synagogue that killed four people and injured dozens of others, an accusation he has always denied.The RCMP arrested Diab, a Canadian of Lebanese descent, in November 2008 in response to a request by France.In June 2011, Ontario Superior Court Justice Robert Maranger committed Diab for extradition despite acknowledging the case against him was weak.The following year, then-justice minister Rob Nicholson signed an extradition order surrendering Diab to France.The Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the decisions of the lower court and the minister, and the Supreme Court of Canada declined to review the matter.Diab’s supporters have long argued he was in Beirut when the attack took place, not Paris, and that his fingerprints, palm prints, physical description and age did not match those of the suspect identified in 1980.In November 2014, Diab was sent to France, where he was held in solitary confinement up to 22 hours a day.“In those dark moments, at night, you are alone, you don’t know what’s going on,” he said, calling it a form of torture.Several French judges ordered his conditional release on various occasions over the years, but each time the order was overturned by the courts.Last week, judges dismissed the allegations against Diab and ordered his immediate release.In many respects what Diab has gone through “is the very definition of the word Kafkaesque,” said Alex Neve, secretary general of Amnesty Canada.Diab’s lawyer, Donald Bayne, said Canada never should have extradited his client given that France did not have a case fit to go to trial. “We turned him over for a foreign investigation, not a foreign trial.”Bayne said he would like to see a “reasoned evaluation of the deficiencies” of the extradition law with the aim of making improvements so that “injustices like this don’t happen on our watch.”He cautioned that the case against Diab is not fully closed due to a pending appeal in France. “It’s not over, but we’d like to hope and believe it really is over.”There has been no discussion of suing Canada over Diab’s case, Bayne added.For his part, Diab insisted he does not want financial compensation from the Canadian government, just changes to ensure no one else goes through what he has endured.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
TORONTO – Toronto police have charged the frontman of the rock band Hedley with three sexual offences involving two women.Police say Jacob Hoggard, 34, was arrested Monday and is scheduled to appear in a Toronto courtroom on Thursday. He is charged with one count of sexual interference and two counts of sexual assault causing bodily harm.The Criminal Code says sexual interference involves the touching for a sexual purpose, directly or indirectly, of a person under the age of 16 with a part of the body or with an object.Police allege the offences happened on three dates in 2016 after a man met with two women on separate occasions. Toronto police would not provide any additional comment on the case or the charges.Hoggard’s lawyer declined comment in an email.“Other than statements I may make in court, I do not anticipate making any public comment on this matter,” wrote Ian Smith.In a news release, police said they are concerned there may be other complainants.Hoggard, who is from Vancouver, has previously denied ever engaging in non-consensual sexual behaviour, but has said he behaved in a way that objectifies women.The Vancouver-based band played its last show before an “indefinite hiatus” in Kelowna, B.C., on March 24.The two-time Juno winning band had been dropped by its management team, blacklisted by scores of radio stations and abandoned by musicians booked as tour openers.Ahead of the Kelowna show, fans were handing out flyers in support of the band.Online accusations began surfacing earlier this year suggesting inappropriate encounters with young fans.A 24-year-old Ottawa fan of the band alleged to the CBC in February that she was sexually assaulted after chatting with Hoggard on the dating app Tinder and agreeing to meet him at a hotel in Toronto.The CBC published another report weeks later of a Toronto woman who alleged Hoggard tried to force her to do things without her consent during a sexual encounter in 2016.Hoggard also faced allegations including groping and making inappropriate sexual remarks to a Calgary radio host seven years ago.In announcing he would be putting his career on hold in February, Hoggard said he would make real changes in his life, seek guidance from his family and learn from the “amazing women in my life.”“The way I’ve treated women was reckless and dismissive of their feelings. I understand the significant harm that is caused not only to the women I interacted with, but to all women who are degraded by this type of behaviour,” he wrote in a statement posted to his Twitter account Feb. 28.“I have been careless and indifferent and I have no excuse. For this I am truly sorry.”Hedley withdrew itself from consideration for the Juno Awards earlier this year in Vancouver and backed out of performing on the telecast.
Poison centres across Canada and the childhood injury-prevention charity Parachute will mount a social media awareness campaign beginning Wednesday about the detrimental effects of cannabis on children and how to prevent inadvertent exposure, using the hashtag #PotCanPoisonKids.Here are some safety tips for parents and other adults to ensure children are not accidentally exposed to the drug:— Store all cannabis products as you would medications and other potentially toxic products — locked up and out of reach in child-resistant containers. Clearly label cannabis edibles and store them in their original packaging.— Never consume cannabis in any form in front of children, either for medical or recreational purposes. Not only can seeing the products create temptation, but using them may impair your ability to provide a safe environment. Always put marijuana products back into the child-resistant packaging and in a locked and out-of-reach location immediately after use.— Grandparents, other family members, neighbours, friends and babysitters can be sources of cannabis exposure. Ask anyone whose home your children spend time in if they use cannabis. If so, make sure he or she stores it safely and does not use the drug in front of your children or while caring for them.— Keep the number of your local poison control centre near the phone. If your child eats cannabis unintentionally, contact your provincial poison centre. If your province or territory does not have a poison control centre, call 911.
OTTAWA – Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz wants Canadians to get used to the idea of three per cent interest rates as the new normal, now that the era of rock-bottom borrowing costs is gradually fading away.Poloz raised the benchmark rate last week for the fifth time in just over a year to 1.75 per cent — its highest level in about a decade.He sent signals that future hikes could arrive sooner than previously expected, in large part due to the economy’s resilience and the removal of some business uncertainty following the recent agreement on an updated North American trade pact.Testifying before MPs on Tuesday in Ottawa, Poloz said many adults are used to the lower rates and are too young to remember the much-higher rates of the 1980s, when they climbed into the teens.Poloz says the current rate is still too stimulative for the improved economy and he’s reiterating his warning that it will rise to what the bank considers its neutral range of between 2.5 and 3.5 per cent.He says the pace of future rate increases is still unknown, but he adds the bank will carefully analyze how well the hikes are absorbed — particularly for the many households that have piled on considerable debt in the low-rate environment.“We sought to put more emphasis on the notion that someday we’re going to be back at neutral — and that neutral is 2.5 to 3.5 per cent — so that people would begin to digest that as an approaching fact,” Poloz told the House of Commons finance committee.“It shouldn’t be a hard thing for people to service their debt at those kinds of interest rates. But if people have overextended themselves, given the low interest rates, then we’ve got a transition issue. That’s why we’re putting so much emphasis on that and analyzing it so carefully, and choosing our pace as we gather the data.”
EDMONTON – An Edmonton judge has denied former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr’s request for relaxed bail conditions and a Canadian passport.Justice June Ross said there’s no evidence of hardship or that the conditions are needlessly onerous.She said nothing has really changed since the last time Khadr asked for changes to his bail conditions and the restrictions he faces are reasonable.Ross said her decision is not etched in stone and conditions could change in the future.Khadr’s lawyer had argued that it wasn’t fair that his client’s life remains restricted by a stalled U.S. court process with no end in sight.Khadr, 32, has been on bail since May 2015 pending appeal of his conviction by a U.S. military commission on alleged war crimes.The appeal in the U.S. has stalled and Khadr has no idea of how long his bail conditions will last.Khadr wanted to be able to travel to Toronto without the approval of his bail supervisor to visit his family more easily and to make court appearances related to a civil lawsuit he faces.He also wanted unsupervised conversations with his sister and a Canadian passport so that he could make a pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Kevin Matechuk of Colonsay, Sask., wasn’t prepared for the emotions that hit him when he visited the site of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.His son, Layne, who is 19 now, had been in a coma and was learning to talk and walk again due to a severe brain injury. Matechuk’s wife, Shelley, was too afraid to travel.While in the area for his job as a manager at an agricultural company, he stopped at the site north of Tisdale, Sask., with another Broncos parent.“The emotion, it put me down on my knees and I couldn’t even go back to work. I just had to go home to hug Layne. I had to hold him after. It was very, very emotional.”Saturday marks the first anniversary of the April 6 crash that killed 16 people and injured 13 on the junior hockey team’s bus. The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game when the bus hit a semi-truck after its driver blew a stop sign at a rural intersection.Dr. Kristi Wright, president of the Psychology Association of Saskatchewan, said she wouldn’t be surprised if many of the people affected by the crash — family members, friends and first responders — are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder.“Death in itself is an awful event,” she said in an interview. “For people who have struggled with mental health, this can make it worse.”Joanne Ginter, a senior psychologist with Sundancer Psychological Services in Calgary, said the anniversary is significant for people.“It marks (that) you’ve gone through the first of everything — the first holidays, the first birthday,” she said. “It’s a time that people come together and kind of start marking off moving forward.”The attention the crash received around the world, along with overwhelming public support, is likely to have been positive for the victims’ families, she said.“The amount of outpouring of love that came for that whole tragedy — it’s my guess that allowed those people to heal.” Some of the surviving players say they have developed their own support system.“I text my buddies. We just keep in touch and we’re there for each other,” said Ryan Straschnitzki, 19, who was paralyzed from the waist down.Straschnitzki, who is from of Airdrie, Alta., keeps himself busy with therapy and has a goal of playing in the Olympics on Canada’s sledge hockey team.But he has his bad days too.“It definitely comes out in times of frustration, but for the most part I like to keep it in me,” he said.Tyler Smith of Leduc, Alta., recovered from his injuries enough to be able to return to the Broncos last fall.After a month back on the ice, Smith decided to go home. The 20-year-old said his brief comeback was a good thing.“I think, in the grand scheme of things, it’ll give me the closure that I need. I proved to myself I can play again.“And then it’s just the fact I can say that I tried. And I think that’ll help me in the long run.”— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
SECHELT, B.C. — The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre says three people have been taken to hospital after a float plane crashed in the water near Sechelt, B.C.The centre says several rescue crews were dispatched to assist after the crash on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast.RCMP Const. Karen Whitby says a tugboat was near the crash scene, dropped its load and was able to rescue the three aboard the plane. The centre says the float plane has sunk.British Columbia Emergency Health Services says it received a call form the centre at 12:48 p.m. regarding the crash and staged three paramedic ground units in Sechelt.In a separate incident on Friday, rescue crews found four people dead and five injured after a float plane crashed on a remote island on B.C.’s central coast. The Canadian Press