Kolkata: In a bid to expedite completion of projects, the State Public Works Department (PWD) has formed a special monitoring committee that will keep a close eye on their progress. State Principal Secretary Arnab Roy has issued a directive on completing all ongoing projects by September as it has been found that some PWD projects have not been completed within the stipulated time. Roy has warned that failure to complete projects within the given deadline would be “viewed seriously”. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaSources in the department said a five-member special monitoring committee has been constituted to fast track projects under their execution. The committee is headed by assistant chief engineer, Anjan Kumar Saha, the other members are namely joint secretary Amit Kumar Biswas, assistant chief engineer Debasish Roy and executive engineers Muztaba Kamal and Amitabha Chakraborty. A notification has been issued by the PWD. “The committee will not only inspect all the ongoing projects but will issue necessary advice to the concerned officers to expedite work as well as ensure quality. The members of the committee may even seek necessary clarifications from engineers whenever they feel necessary,” said a PWD official. The committee will submit reports on the progress of various projects to the department periodically. The engineer-in-chief and ex-officio secretary of the PWD will supervise the functioning of the committee and intervene as and when needed. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has always stressed on timely completion of projects.
London: Singer Michelle Visage has revealed that she battled an eating disorder for two decades. In her book ‘Michelle Visage: The Diva Rules’, the ‘True love’ hitmaker opened about the disorder and how she dealt with it, reports mirror.co.uk. “Dinnertime suddenly involved about two trips to the loo. I couldn’t handle puking – bulimia in the traditional way wasn’t for me. I thought that by taking laxatives the calories would be flushed out.” “I was relying on my body for happiness. Your body is not your happiness. Even if you lose those last pounds, all the things in life that suck will suck after you do.”
Guwahati: Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a member of the ruling alliance in Assam, on Saturday expressed dissastisfaction over the final NRC in the state and said there is scope for its review in the Supreme Court, which supervised the updation process.The number of exclusions appear to be “ridiculuously small”, AGP president ang state Agriculture Minister Atul Bora said. The National Register of Citizens, which validates the Indian citizens of Assam, has been updated on the basis of Assam Accord’s clause of detecting, deleting and deporting foreigners but very few suspected illegal immigrants have been left out, he told newsmen here. “We (AGP) are not at all happy about it (the exclusions). The figure of 19,06,657 exclusions in the final NRC is too less and we just cannot accept it … There is scope for its review in the Supreme Court,” the AGP leader said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Bora said, “The people of Assam had hoped for a free and fair NRC but it now seems that the very existence of the Assamese will be further threatened”. Several central and state leaders had over time asserted in Parliament and various state Assemblies that the number of foreigners in Assam could range from 30000 to 50000. he claimed adding “Against this backdrop it is difficult to accept the figures published in the final NRC.” The AGP was formed by All Assam Students Union which had spearheaded the six-year long Assam agitation from 1979 to drive out illegal foreigners from the state. AASU was a signatory to the Assam Accord. AASU too has expressed unhappiness over the final NRC and has said it will appeal to the Supreme Court to remove all the faults and descrepancies in final NRC. “We were involved in the whole process since the beginning. The signing of the Assam Accord was possible only after 855 people were martyred”, he added. AGP will hold discussions and chalk out its future course of action regarding a review of the NRC in Supreme Court, he added.
New Delhi: Ice cream lover Aarti Laxman Rastogi decided that not all indulgences need to be sinful and, in March 2018, she started Artinci to provide ice creams with premium, all-natural ingredients.Running a business has its own challenges and she also had to go through hardship till she joined the WhatsApp Business app.”I have a hearing disability. WhatsApp has become a great communication enabler for me. I text my way through the planning and execution of any business day. It helps give and receive instructions in writing too, and leaves no room for misinterpretation,” said Rastogi who now has a 14-member team with five outlets in Bengaluru, and two more coming soon. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this yearIn addition to connecting Rastogi with customers, WhatsApp Business app helped the company launch a limited edition ice creams made with jaggery. “We sold out half of this batch through WhatsApp exclusively,” she added.Several such success stories are being written via WhatsApp in India. Many Indian entrepreneurs have built something from scratch and are seeing it thrive and expand with support from the Facebook-owned app which has 400 million users in the country. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in IndiaIn a recent survey of Indian small businesses on WhatsApp, 77 per cent said that it helps them connect with customers – including in other cities – while 62 per cent said WhatsApp helps them increase sales and is essential for running their businesses.According to Abhijit Bose, India Head, WhatsApp, small and micro-enterprises are providing the majority of jobs in the country and driving economic growth.”We’re excited to play a role in helping to match the enormous talent and ambition of Indian entrepreneurs with the opportunity of a very strong domestic consumer base – and to make it easier to tap a vibrant global market,” Bose told IANS. Poonam Bir Kasturi has made home composting a habit for thousands of people globally with Daily Dump, India’s first home composter for urban spaces, which she designed in 2006.Daily Dump offers pioneering solutions for decentralized waste management. Its range of composters, segregation products, books, services and awareness material enable people’s change in behaviour to harm the environment less.The company has a dedicated WhatsApp Business number for customers to connect for any queries, support, information and other details, and also use WhatsApp Business groups to connect as a team internally and with partners in different parts of the country.”We have many customers who reach out on our helpline with photos and we give them live demos on what to correct,” said Kasturi.According to Will Cathcart, Global Head of WhatsApp, India is producing a new generation of small businesses and micro enterprises that are shaking up markets, growing economies and boosting jobs.”We’re excited to see what more people are doing with WhatsApp, particularly in India, to grow their business and support their local communities,” he said during his India visit in July this year.Amid the comic book craze, TBS Planet is working to bring Indian superheroes into the spotlight.”When I started TBS Planet in July 2016 with comic book ‘Ved,’ it was a hobby,” said founder Rajeev Tamhankar.”Soon, we got contracts from Balaji Motion Pictures and Ajay Devgn FFilms to create comics for their movies ‘A Flying Jatt’ and ‘Shivaay,’ respectively. That’s when I quit my job and started this venture full-time”.Jabalpur-based TBS Planet which develops comics in six languages – Hindi, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla, Marathi, and English – is on WhatsApp Business app.”Since almost everyone uses WhatsApp, it helped us scale distribution quickly. No one needed to download a new app to read our comics,” said Tamhankar.Since they started using the WhatsApp Business app, the company has seen high growth rates, up to 40 per cent month over month. TBS Planet has approximately 14,000 subscribers – some from as far away as Dubai and the US.Many Indian entrepreneurs, said Cathcart who launched “Gateway to a Billion Opportunities” — a collection of impactful user stories from across India”, have built something from scratch and are seeing it thrive and expand with support from WhatsApp.When WhatsApp Pay becomes a reality soon in India, these small and micro-businesses will thrive more as peer-to-peer (P2P) payments will be done within WhatsApp, keeping transactions simple and secure.
Jerusalem: Israelis voted on Tuesday in their country’s second general election in five months, a contest that is being widely seen as a referendum on incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s leadership. Netanyahu, 69, called the snap election after failing to form a governing coalition with a viable majority after April’s vote. About 6.3 million eligible Israeli voters started voting Tuesday morning in the unprecedented repeat polls. Polling booths opened at 7 AM and voters can cast their votes till 10 PM to elect the 22nd Knesset (Israeli parliament) necessitated by the inability of Netanyahu to cobble a coalition of 61 members in a house of 120 following the April 9 elections. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USVoting for Israel Defence Forces (IDF) soldiers began Saturday evening at bases around the country, and Israeli diplomats abroad have also already cast their ballots. In the short period that has passed since the April 9 elections, the number of eligible voters has grown by almost 1 per cent,” the CEO of the Central Elections Committee, Orli Adas, said. The election is being seen as the toughest political challenge for Netanyahu, something akin to a referendum on the continuity of his more than ten years of uninterrupted leadership at the helm of affairs. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe polls pit Netanyahu, the leader of the right-wing Likud party and Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, against his toughest opponent in years – former military chief Benjamin “Benny” Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party. Netanyahu voted alongside his wife in Jerusalem. Gantz while casting his vote called on the country to reject corruption and “extremism”. “We want new hope. We are voting today for change,” Gantz said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin in a video message on Tuesday morning vowed to “do everything I can to get an elected government in Israel as soon as possible and to avoid another election campaign”. Rivlin said that if the Knesset fails to form a government, or if the proposed government is rejected, he would task someone else with the role. “The second option is to inform the Knesset speaker that there is no possibility of forming a government, and there is no escaping a third election campaign,” Rivlin said. In the event that both scenarios don’t work, the President said he would seek tasking someone who has the support of a majority of 61 lawmakers with the role. The final opinion polls put Likud party neck and neck with its main challenger, the centrist Blue and White party. Smaller parties could therefore have a big say in the final outcome.
WINNIPEG – The acrimony, distrust and eventual open warfare that crippled the Manitoba New Democrats and almost toppled former premier Greg Selinger is being laid out for the first time by an insider.Gord Mackintosh, who was a cabinet minister the entire time the NDP was in power between 1999 and 2016, details the behind-the-scenes arguments that led to a revolt by other cabinet ministers in 2014 and to a convention at which Selinger hung on to his position as party leader by 33 votes.Mackintosh’s new book “Stories Best Left Untold” comes out May 23 and covers his youth in Fort Frances, Ont., his time as a lawyer advising Elijah Harper on opposing the Meech Lake accord and his service in a variety of cabinet portfolios such as justice, conservation and family services.The book reveals cabinet discussions about Selinger’s controversial move to raise the provincial sales tax and the ensuing effort to dump him to revive the party’s sagging poll numbers.Selinger had promised in the 2011 election campaign not to raise the sales tax, but the government was in a cash crunch and needed money, Mackintosh writes. Weeks before the 2013 budget, cabinet ministers had options they thought would be more palatable to the public: income tax increases on high-earners or a series of smaller tax and levy increases that would, combined, raise as much money.Selinger didn’t listen to warnings the public would be angry at the broken promise and a major public relations campaign would be needed to sell the increase, Mackintosh writes.“Greg was blind to what several of us learned in our first month in office — communications planning and a fine-tuned press release and remarks are good ideas. This wasn’t leadership as I’d come to know it.”The public anger was immediate and lasting. NDP poll numbers plummeted. By the summer of 2014, some in the NDP caucus were telling Selinger to resign so that a new leader would have a shot in the next election.Mackintosh says Selinger should have resigned “for the good of the party,” especially once the revolt broke out in the open toward the end of 2014.“‘For the good of the party’ is an age-old exit ramp.”But five rebel cabinet ministers who tried publicly to force Selinger out did not work to get enough support from fellow caucus members before making their move, Mackintosh writes. A news conference in which they criticized Selinger just gave the Opposition Progressive Conservatives fodder for campaign ads, he suggests.The Tories would win the 2016 election with a modern-day record majority. The NDP were reduced to 14 seats as the official Opposition. Selinger announced on election night he would step down.Selinger, who continues to sit in the legislature, declined an interview request Tuesday. Theresa Oswald, who challenged Selinger for the leadership but did not seek re-election last year, was not immediately available.Mackintosh effusively praises former premier Gary Doer, who led the New Democrats until 2009 and enjoyed continuous high poll numbers. Doer was able to keep a team together, listen to those around him and “bring people in,” Mackintosh writes — a sharp contrast to Selinger.“Like everyone, Greg has shortcomings but one was an apparent belief he bested other members. That’s a problem when it comes to political smarts where advice can help avoid calamity.”Mackintosh, 61, didn’t run for re-election. He teaches political science part-time and spends more time with his family.Talking over a cup of tea in his north-end Winnipeg neighbourhood, he doesn’t seem to miss anything.“People keep saying, ‘Gord, you have to get back into politics,’ but it’s not in my in-basket right now.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version used wrong information provided by the publisher that indicated the book was coming out May 11
The federal government is trying to calm some fears about the security of Canada Day celebrations, after reports say ISIS has named our country and the United States as potential targets, following the Manchester bombing late last month.In an email statement, the public safety minister’s office says it doesn’t comment on specific threats but adds the government is unwavering in its commitment to protect Canadians and will continue to take appropriate action to counter terrorist threats.Recently RCMP Superintendent Mike O’Beirne also didn’t directly answer when asked about any known threats for Canada Day. “Our assessment is continuous, both domestically and internationally and I can tell you constantly in contact with our partners in that regard.”He adds officers are preparing for all possible security scenarios. “We’ve been monitoring all the external, internal pressures and we flex our contingency plans in regards to that.”There are reports the threat was not made about Canada Day celebrations specifically, but it urges Muslims to avoid public gatherings and threatened to use “explosives, vehicles, [and] beheadings to kill crusaders.” However, police in Ottawa and Mounties have said there will be heightened security measures and it will be all hands on deck for the celebration in the nation’s capital, which is expecting a crowd of about half a million people.The public safety minister’s office stresses police will be involved in celebrations across the country and it’s urging Canadians to be vigilant, and stay up to date with the latest security requirements.The terror threat in Canada remains at medium.
As wildfires continue to roar across British Columbia, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said her government will help when and where it can.The premier made the comments at her Stampede pancake breakfast Monday morning.Having gone through a huge fire disaster last year with Fort McMurray, Notley said everyone understands how traumatic forest fires can be for communities.“That’s why we reached out to B.C. and offered them what we have,” she said.Alberta has already sent about 100 firefighters and 60 emergency support staff to help with co-ordination.Notley said the government will keep in touch in case more help is needed.“We’re very open to working very closely with our neighbours in B.C. because we’re all part of the same country,” she said, adding Alberta has a lot of expertise to offer.
If you’re heading down to the Calgary Stampede Saturday, you might catch a glimpse of the prime minister. Justin Trudeau will be in Calgary to meet with Mayor Naheed Nenshi and make several stops around the city. He will get his fill of pancakes at the Parkdale Community Stampede Breakfast with Veterans Affairs Minister Kent Hehr at about 9:15 a.m. Then he is off to the grounds where Trudeau and Hehr will make an appearance at the Indian Village.Trudueau will finish up his Calgary tour by taking in the rodeo at Stampede later in the afternoon.
EDMONTON – Alberta conservative leadership candidate Jason Kenney is being offered help to set up a meeting with students who are in gay-straight alliances at school.The offer comes after Kenney said this week he wasn’t invited, and then was too busy, to attend Calgary Pride activities — even after singer k.d. lang said she’d give him free concert tickets if he’d sit down and discuss LGBTQ rights with her.Kris Wells with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies in Edmonton and Barbara Silva of the group Support our Students say they can make a meeting happen between Kenney and students.“If he genuinely wants to meet with LGBTQ youth and learn from them and not politicize them, we’ll do our best to make that happen,” said Wells, who works with students setting up gay-straight alliances in schools.The social networks are meant to foster understanding, to help gay kids feel less isolated and to reduce bullying and harassment.Silva’s group advocates for education equality and emphasizes the importance of the alliances.“We would bend over backwards to make that dialogue happen in a safe environment,” she said Thursday.“There’s something very concerning about somebody who wants to lead a province who doesn’t want to meet with its most marginalized members.”A spokesman for Kenney declined comment.Kenney, a Conservative cabinet minister under former prime minister Stephen Harper, is one of four candidates running for the leadership of Alberta’s new United Conservative Party. It was formed last month when the Progressive Conservative party and the Opposition Wildrose merged.Kenney said shortly after winning the PC leadership last spring that parents should be notified if their children join a gay-straight alliance as long as it doesn’t put a child in harm’s way.Kenney has not offered suggestions on how teachers could determine ahead of time whether parents would react positively or not.Wells and Silva said if parents were automatically brought into the picture, students would lose control of a critical decision on an emotionally charged issue. The alliances would no longer provide safe spaces and would wither and die.“It’s a roundabout way of killing the program,” said Silva. “Kids are not going to join something if they think they’re going to be outed.”The Progressive Conservative party under then-premier Jim Prentice passed a bill in 2015 mandating gay-straight alliances if students wished to set them up. There had been public outcry over earlier legislation that allowed schools to effectively segregate gay youth by allowing the alliances only off school grounds.Gordon Dirks, education minister at the time, said hearing face to face from gay youth helped him champion the revised legislation.“Some of those moments were very moving moments as you heard students telling their stories of being bullied, discriminated against, feeling suicidal, even attempting (it),” Dirks said at the time.“When that happens and you have those kinds of intimate, frank conversations with students, it goes from your head to your heart.”This week, organizers of Calgary Pride rejected a bid by the United Conservative Party to join other political parties and march in the Sept. 3 Pride parade, because the party did not have a policy clearly articulating support for the gay community.That changed late Wednesday night. The new party’s interim board passed a resolution affirming support for LGBTQ rights and promising to promote and embrace LGBTQ in the party.Interim leader Nathan Cooper and three candidates in the leadership race have said they plan to attend the event anyway as spectators. Calgary Pride did not return a request for comment.
SYDNEY, N.S. – A purported Cape Breton beer bandit named Terry whose alleged exploits became famous in a Facebook post last week has inspired a namesake song that has itself now gone viral.It started last week when a Facebook account with the user name Ronnie Talbot posted in the Cape Breton Rant Room about someone — identified by a Tim Hortons worker as ‘Terry from the Pier’ — who allegedly stole beer from his truck while he was inside the coffee shop.“Does anyone know a guy named Terry from the Pier? He’s got a stupid … haircut if that helps,” the Sept. 25 post said.“Him and another young fella stole a 24 out of the bed of my truck while I was taking a piss in Tim’s. I was on my way out when I saw them jump into a green Pontiac Bonneville… So help me Jesus Terry if I find you you’re (expletive).”The authenticity of the post has not been verified, but it has nevertheless been widely shared and garnered hundreds of colourful comments — and even prompted a crowdfunding effort to replace the “24 of Keith’s” that had raised $340 more than its $60 goal by Thursday afternoon.Now, Cape Breton band Pretty Archie has put their own spin on the alleged beer burglary.In video posted to Facebook that amassed 89,000 views in 19 hours, two members of the group are shown singing a folk-style song in a hotel room called “Terry stole the beer,” using the original post as the basis for the tune’s lyrics.“Well gather ’round all you b’ys and let me tell you this. I pulled into a Timmy’s, got out to take a piss. The Bonneville’s closing door was all that I could hear. I saw the stupid haircut: Terry stole my beer,” the band sings in a video that was culminating thousands of views an hour on Thursday.The band finishes the song with a true Cape Breton plea: “Terry b’y, do the right thing. Give the beer back,” lead singer Brian Cathcart declares.One Facebook commenter noted that people from Cape Breton “take beer theft very seriously.”— By Aly Thomson in Halifax
Eastern Massachusetts and most of Rhode Island were bracing for as much as 18 inches of snow, with snow falling at a rate of 3 inches per hour possible. The National Weather Service warned of wind gusts hitting near 70 mph.The Eversource electric utility said more than 5,500 homes and businesses were without power at midmorning Thursday in Provincetown, Massachusetts, on the outermost tip of Cape Cod, which was being lashed with hurricane-force wind gusts.Connecticut Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said more than 100 warming centers have been opened in 34 towns across the state. Connecticut has 634 state plow trucks and 250 contractors working to clear the highways.The massive storm began two days ago in the Gulf of Mexico, first hitting the Florida Panhandle. It has prompted thousands of canceled flights, shuttered schools and businesses and sparked fears of coastal flooding and power outages.Wind gusts strong enough to cause downed trees and power lines were predicted in places where the National Weather Service has issued blizzard warnings. They include the Delmarva Peninsula, which includes parts of Delaware, Virginia and Maryland; coastal New Jersey; eastern Long Island, New York; and coastal eastern New England.More than two-thirds of flights in and out airports in the New York City area and Boston were canceled. The airline-tracking site FlightAware reported more than 3,200 canceled flights within, into, or out of the United States on Thursday morning.The situation @LGAairport right now, all flights #Cancelled or #Delayed pic.twitter.com/TQxSXRpzpB— Simon Druker (@Simon_Druker) January 4, 2018The storm shut down much of eastern Virginia, but some people were taking it in stride.Mark Schoenenberger, 45, a NASA engineer who lives in Norfolk, Virginia, put on his cross country skis so he could make a half hour trip to the bagel shop for some breakfast for his family.“It’s like ’Yay, I get to go out,” he said.The only concern he seemed to have was telecommuting while his kids were home from school. But “it’s just noise,” he said.In Norfolk, Virginia, Jonathan Rogers and his brother, Jason Mitchell, got stuck in the snow at least twice while driving home Thursday morning after working the overnight shift at a local hospital.“I was not staying,” said Rogers, 30, a floor technician. “I said the storm is not going to bother me.”The storm will then be followed by a wave of bracing cold.“We think there are going to be scattered records broken for low temperatures,” said Peterson, adding how the weather service expects 28 major cities across New England, eastern New York and the mid-Atlantic states will have record low temperatures by dawn on Sunday. A man shields himself from gusty winds as snow falls on him at the Cheesequake Service Station along the Garden State Parkway during a snowstorm, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in South Amboy, N.J. The New Jersey Shore, which has been experiencing deep cold weather to start the new year, is under a winter storm advisory. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) HARTFORD, Conn. — A massive winter storm swept from the Carolinas to Maine on Thursday, dumping snow along the coast and bringing strong winds that will usher in possible record-breaking cold.Up to 18 inches of snow was expected in eastern New England. Blizzard warnings and states of emergency were in effect, schools and government offices closed for the day, thousands of flights were canceled and motorists were warned to be careful as conditions worsened. Shelters were open as officials worried about power outages leaving people without any heat.People who take to the roads are in for an “ugly, long commute” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said.North Carolina authorities said two people died during the storm when their pickup truck ran off a snow-covered road and overturned into a creek Wednesday night in Moore County, which wasn’t expected to get any snow. The North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to 700 collisions and 300 other calls for service during the storm.In New Jersey, Orlando Igmat’s car got stuck in a snowbank along the Garden State Parkway in Tinton Falls on Thursday morning as he drove to work at Verizon. He had to wait a half hour for a tow truck to pull him out.Related articles:Schools, businesses shuttered as Atlantic Canada braces for powerful storm‘My feet hurt’: Winter snowstorm blasts coastal SouthWinter storm scatters sleet, ice and misery around the South“I just skidded on the road and then stopped me here so I can’t move right now anymore,” he said. “I didn’t expect it (the storm) was going to be a heavy one. That’s why I went to work today. I’m going to stay in a hotel tonight.”Ankle deep snow and wind gusts approaching 50 mph (80 kph) covered Maryland’s Ocean City Boardwalk, which was under a blizzard warning Thursday. Commuters travel on the southbound side of the New Jersey Turnpike during a snowstorm, Thursday, Jan. 4, 2018, in Woodbridge, N.J. The New Jersey Shore, which has been experiencing deep cold weather to start the new year, is under a winter storm advisory. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez) State and local officials urged residents to prepare for possible power losses and stay home so crews can clear streets and roads of what could be as much as foot or more of snow in some places. There were concerns in Boston and elsewhere that if roads aren’t properly cleared, they could freeze into cement-like icy messes by Friday, given the expected low temperatures. In other areas, plummeting temperatures already have caused water mains to burst.The storm has resulted in thousands of canceled flights at major airports such as Boston’s Logan International Airport and New York’s LaGuardia Airport and disrupted the schedules at regional airports.Amtrak planned to operate a modified schedule between New York and Boston on Thursday. Northeast Regional Service between Washington, D.C., and Newport News/Norfolk, Virginia, was canceled for Thursday.The coastal Southeast got a rare blast of snow and ice on Wednesday. Schools were shut down just months after hurricane threats. In Charleston, South Carolina, the weather service reported 5 inches of snow, enough for Chris Monoc’s sons, ages 4 and 2, to go sledding outside their home.“They probably will be teenagers the next time something like this happens, and that’s kind of sad,” Monoc said. “But we’ll enjoy it while it’s here.”Schools, businesses shut down as Atlantic Canada braces for stormAn Environment Canada meteorologist says a powerful winter storm that’s closing in on Atlantic Canada could unleash several different kinds of weather throughout the region.Ian Hubbard says New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and parts of Newfoundland and Labrador could see heavy rain, ice, snow, blizzards, strong winds and storm surges.He says the storm should move in this morning, with the worst of the wind, rain and snow being felt later this evening.Nova Scotia could see up to 50 millimetres of rain, possibly causing localized flooding.All of New Brunswick is under a winter storm warning and the central and northern parts of the province could see roughly 40 centimetres of snow, along with wind gusts of up to 90 kilometres an hour in some areas.PEI is also expected to be hit by fierce winds and up to 25 centimetres of snow before it changes to rain in the evening. That could knock out power in many areas.School boards in Nova Scotia and on the Island cancelled classes even before the system arrived. Some businesses also closed for the day and dozens of flights at Halifax Stanfield International Airport were cancelled. __Collins reported from Glastonbury, Connecticut. Associated Press writers Ben Finley in Norfolk, Virginia, Martha Waggoner in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Julio Cortez in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, contributed to this report.
REDWATER, Alta. – An Alberta school superintendent says the death of a teenage girl in a collision between a school bus and a semi truck north of Edmonton has devastated the small community.Police and paramedics responded to the crash that happened around 8 a.m. Wednesday in Thorhild County near Redwater.“EMS pronounced one teenage female deceased at the scene,” said Kirsten Goruk, a spokeswoman for Alberta Health Services in Edmonton.Fourteen patients were assessed by paramedics and no one else was transported to hospital, she said.Police said the preliminary investigation has determined the school bus had just turned southbound on to a road when it was rear-ended by the semi.The bus was carrying 13 students on the way to Thorhild Central School. The driver declined to comment when reached by phone.“This is an immeasurable loss and tragedy for our entire community,” Aspen View Public Schools Superintendent Mark Francis told The Canadian Press. “Thorhild is that small Alberta town where everyone knows everyone so a tragedy like this impacts the entire community.“We have a grieving mom and dad and family, grieving neighbours and community, and grieving staff and students — this is a tragedy that impacts our community to its soul.”The girl’s name has not been released, but Francis said she was a well-loved student.“A whole school grieves for her,” he said.About 300 students from kindergarten to Grade 12 attend the school.Francis said counselling is being offered to staff and students, including the other students who were on the bus at the time of the collision.Police said they continue to investigate the crash.“It was foggy, very foggy conditions reported this morning during the time of the collision and even for a couple hours after,” Cpl. Ronald Bumbry of the RCMP said Wednesday afternoon. “We look at all contributing factors … definitely weather may have played a factor in this one.”No charges have been laid in the collision, he said.— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton
OTTAWA – Conservative Party Leader Andrew Scheer has removed Quebec MP Maxime Bernier from his role as the party’s innovation critic.A senior Conservative source tells The Canadian Press that Scheer made the decision after finding out Monday that Bernier had posted to his personal website a chapter on supply management that is part of his forthcoming book.The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Bernier “made a commitment to the leader and to caucus that he would no longer promote his book, and he misled the leader and the caucus.”Bernier posted the chapter on June 5, but Scheer was not made aware of it until Monday.Scheer said in a statement Tuesday night that science critic Matt Jeneroux would assume Bernier’s duties as innovation critic on an interim basis.In a tweet late Tuesday, Bernier said the chapter is “the same that was publicly available for weeks” on his publisher’s website, before he decided to postpone the book indefinitely.“There is nothing new, I did not ‘publish’ it,” he said.The spat introduces a new fracture in an already tenuous relationship between the party leader and the man he beat out for the job a year ago.Bernier first released the chapter in April, as a marketing tool for his book, “Doing Politics Differently: My Vision For Canada” which was supposed to be published in the fall. The chapter on supply management blamed the dairy lobby in Quebec for electing Scheer and called them fake Conservatives who only joined the party to vote against Bernier because he was advocating to get rid of supply management.On April 18, after a tense caucus meeting in which other Conservative MPs accused Bernier of stabbing Scheer in the back and causing division within the party, Bernier announced he would postpone the publication indefinitely.But on June 5, amid U.S. President Donald Trump’s latest attacks on Canada’s supply management system, Bernier quietly added the chapter to his personal website, where it can be downloaded.In April 2017, during the party leadership campaign, Bernier penned an open letter to Trump in The Globe and Mail, thanking him for raising the issue of supply management and agreeing with him that “this protectionist system is unfair for the farmers in Wisconsin and other states, who cannot make a better living by selling their products to their Canadian neighbours.”Bernier left the House of Commons before a vote Monday on an NDP motion condemning attacks by Trump and his officials on Canada, his tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum and expressing support for supply management and Canada’s agriculture industries.The motion passed unanimously as all parties rallied behind Trudeau to support Canadian industries like steel and dairy against Trump’s accusations of unfair trading practices.The issue of supply management could hurt the Conservatives in Quebec in the next election for the same reason it hurt Bernier in the leadership race if dairy farmers feel the Conservatives won’t support it.The Conservatives have jumped on Trudeau in recent days for allegedly offering concessions to the U.S. on dairy as part of negotiations for a new North American Free Trade Agreement. Trudeau met with dairy farmers in Ottawa Tuesday to reassure them of his support for the industry.The Liberals have been doing everything to sow the seeds of discontent in the party over Bernier’s position on supply management, taunting the Conservatives in question period about it regularly in recent weeks.The dairy industry is on edge thanks to direct and repeated attacks by Trump, who set his sights on supply management during the U.S. presidential election and hasn’t let up.Trump says Canada imposes 270 per cent tariffs on U.S. milk and calls it unfair. However, the U.S. exports more milk to Canada than Canada does to the United States and Canadian critics say the U.S. dairy farmers are suffering because they are producing too much milk, creating a glut in the market that is depressing prices.Supply management is a pricing control system where quotas are set to regulate production of products like milk, eggs and poultry.
NEW YORK — Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau says Canada takes seriously comments made by U.S. President Donald Trump about withdrawing from the North American Free Trade Agreement.But Morneau told a gathering in New York today he had no insight into when that might happen.And the finance minister said he has a “high level of confidence” that the new pact negotiated to replace NAFTA will be ratified by all three countries involved.Morneau made the comments at an event co-hosted by Politico and the Canadian consulate in New York.He said it’s clear U.S. lawmakers are in the first stages of negotiations toward ratifying the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, known as USMCA.On Saturday, Trump told reporters he planned to give formal notice of his intentions to withdraw from NAFTA, which would give American lawmakers six months to approve the USMCA or have no free-trade pact with Canada and Mexico.“We take everything seriously,” Morneau said when asked whether he took the president’s comments at face value.“While we’ll have to watch and ensure we get through this next stage, we have a high level of confidence that’s achievable.”The Canadian Press
The Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team has been chosen as the 2018 Canadian Press Newsmaker of the Year. Here is a list of past newsmakers as chosen in an annual poll of newsrooms across the country:2017: Gord Downie, musician2016: Gord Downie, musician2015: Justin Trudeau, politician2014: Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, slain soldiers2013: Rob Ford, politician2012: Luka Rocco Magnotta, killer2011: Jack Layton, politician2010: Russell Williams, sex killer2009: Stephen Harper, politician2008: Stephen Harper, politician2007: The Mounties2006: The Canadian Soldier2005: John Gomery, Quebec judge2004: Paul Martin, politician2003: Paul Martin, politician2002: Jean Chretien, politician2001: Stockwell Day, politician2000: Pierre Trudeau, politician1999: Pierre Trudeau, politician (named Canadian Newsmaker of the 20th Century)1998: Jean Chretien, politician1997: Sheldon Kennedy, hockey player1996: Donovan Bailey, sprinter1995: Lucien Bouchard, politician1994: Jacques Parizeau, politician1993: Kim Campbell, politician1992: The Constitution1991: Brian Mulroney, politician1990: Elijah Harper, politician1989: Michael Wilson, politician1988: Ben Johnson, sprinter1987: Rick Hansen, cross-country wheelchair athlete1986: Rick Hansen, cross-country wheelchair athlete1985: Steve Fonyo, cross-country runner1984: Brian Mulroney, politician1983: Brian Mulroney, politician1982: Wayne Gretzky, hockey player1981: Terry Fox, cross-country runner1980: Terry Fox, cross-country runner1979: Joe Clark, politician1978: Pierre Trudeau, politician1977: Rene Levesque, politician1976: Rene Levesque, politician1975: Pierre Trudeau, politician1974: Pierre Trudeau, politician1973: Pierre Trudeau, politician1972: Pierre Trudeau, politician1971: Pierre Trudeau, politician1970: Pierre Trudeau, politician1969: Pierre Trudeau, politician1968: Pierre Trudeau, politician1967: Lester Pearson, politician1966: John Diefenbaker, politician1965: Lucien Rivard, drug smuggler1964: Lester Pearson, politician1963: Lester Pearson, politician1962: Real Caouette, politician1961: James Coyne, Bank of Canada governor1960: John Diefenbaker, politician1959: John Diefenbaker, Joey Smallwood; politicians1958: John Diefenbaker, politician1957: John Diefenbaker, politician1956: Lester Pearson, diplomat1955: Lester Pearson, diplomat1954: Marilyn Bell, marathon swimmer1953: Lester Pearson, diplomat1952: Lester Pearson, diplomat1951: Lester Pearson, diplomat1950: Lester Pearson, diplomat1949: Louis St. Laurent, politician1948: Mackenzie King, politician1947: Barbara Ann Scott, figure skater1946: Igor Gouzenko, Soviet embassy cipher clerkThe Canadian Press
TORONTO — Here’s a look at reaction to serial killer Bruce McArthur pleading guilty to eight counts of first-degree murder:___“Bruce McArthur has pled guilty, and that’s closure. I’m not considering it a win. It’s the right outcome … it was sparing the community, sparing the family members, of potentially seeing graphic evidence tendered in court.” — Det. David Dickinson, Toronto homicide squad___“It was a terrible case.” — Justice John McMahon, following McArthur’s guilty plea___“These losses have forever changed the lives of families, friends, loved ones and have left our communities shaken and aggrieved. The fact that it remained unknown and unseen for so many years is its own inconceivable tragedy.” — The 519, a community organization serving Toronto’s LGBTQ communities____“It’s actually quite relieving, I think, because we have an answer now. He’s pled guilty and I think that puts the community and the family at rest to say that we have closure now, finally.” — Haran Vijayanathan, executive director at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention___“Throughout this case, I have said our city deserves two things: justice and answers. I know that the public continues to have many questions related to this case, and so do I.” — Toronto Mayor John Tory.____ The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The federal government should consider dropping retaliatory tariffs against the United States, Ontario’s economic development minister said Monday, as he and his Quebec counterpart pressed Ottawa for action on American levies on steel and aluminum.The tariffs were imposed last year by the U.S., and the American commerce secretary has said they were designed to address the world’s overproduction and overcapacity of steel. The federal Liberals were criticized last fall for signing a new North American trade pact, which includes the U.S., without securing any guarantees from Washington that it would lift the levies.Ottawa has applied retaliatory tariffs on $16.6-billion worth of U.S. imports of steel, aluminum and other products, and has announced a financial aid package for industries caught in the crossfire, including up to $2 billion in new funding and support for workers in steel, aluminum and manufacturing sectors.The tariffs are hurting industries and workers in both Canada and the U.S., said Ontario Economic Development Minister Todd Smith. If Ottawa dropped its countermeasure tariffs, it could lead the U.S. to drop theirs, he said.“This is one thing that government can control,” he said. “We can control punitive tariffs. These tariffs are unsustainable on both sides of the border.”Premier Doug Ford has suggested to the federal government that Canada’s tariffs should be dropped first, Smith said, though he admitted there is no indication doing so would lead the U.S. to in turn remove its tariffs.“But clearly something has to be done,” Smith said. “These tariffs have been in place since June of last year and there’s been no movement on this.”Smith and Quebec Economy and Innovation Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon sent a letter Monday to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau, calling on Ottawa to secure the permanent removal of all tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.Morneau has met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has discussed the tariffs over the phone with U.S. President Donald Trump.Canada has rejected the premise of the American duties — that its metals exports pose a national-security threat to the U.S. — and has been fighting for the removal of the tariffs.The Canadian Press
NEW WESTMINSTER, B.C. — A British Columbia school board believes it is one of the first in the country to provide free feminine hygiene products in washrooms.Members of the New Westminster school board debated and unanimously passed a motion Tuesday night.Starting in September, tampons and pads will be available in women’s and universal washrooms in elementary, middle and high schools in New Westminster.Douglas College Prof. Selina Tribe proposed the motion, calling it an issue of equality because access to tampons and pads “is as essential as toilet paper for a normal bodily function that affects half the population.”She says most schools have dispensers for menstrual products, but charge for the items.The cost of installing the free dispensers is estimated at $10,000, while district staff say stocking them will cost about $7000 annually.Tribe expects the overall cost will amount to less than $1 per student by the second year of the program.New Westminster School Board chairman Mark Gifford says the issue received little attention until it was brought to trustees.“I think that’s a little bit of a reflection of some of the stigma that can be around having conversations about periods and menstruation and it was a common sense step for the board to take,” he says.The school board is expected to call for a provincewide roll out, but Education Minister Rob Fleming first wants to see how the program develops in New Westminster.“I’m sure that they’re getting some inquiries from other districts right now, about how they managed to create that program and how they’re administering it,” says Fleming.Tribe believes free and readily available pads and tampons could dramatically improve the school experience for some students.“We know that girls, if they can’t manage their periods properly, they will remove themselves from activities, from extracurricular or athletic activities, also social activities, and in the worst case, they will actually miss school if they cannot manage their period,” she says. (News1130)The Canadian Press
TORONTO – A group of Hudson’s Bay Company shareholders, including executive chairman Richard Baker, is proposing to take the retailer private.The group, which holds a 57 per cent stake in the company, is offering $9.45 per share in cash for the company.HBC shares closed at $6.37 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.Privatization bid for the HBC offering $9.45 per share (closed Friday at $6.37). Will also include sale of European holdings worth $1.5 billion.— mike eppel (@eppman) June 10, 2019In addition to Baker, the shareholder group includes Rhone Capital LLC, WeWork Property Advisors, Hanover Investments (Luxembourg) SA and Abrams Capital Management LP.The group said the privatization is conditional on an agreement HBC announced today to sell its remaining stake in its German real estate joint venture and divest its related retail joint venture for $1.5 billion.HBC said its board has formed a special committee of independent directors to review the proposal.