Ranbirs fan treats him like God

first_imgMumbai: It was a thrilling moment for a die-hard fan of Ranbir Kapoor who got to meet him and hand over gifts to his favourite actor. But it made many netizens frown as the young fan treated the Ae Dil Hai Mushkil actor like a God by touching his feet. In a video that has gone viral online, a man who describes himself as a “die-hard fan of Ranbir Kapoor. I can do anything for him. He is my life, my world, my everything” on Instagram, is seen touching Ranbir’s feet. This led many netizens troll the actor, who didn’t stop the fan from doing so. Here’s what some of them commented on the post on Instagram: “I don’t understand why people are crazy about film stars. They are just human beings like us. Why some people treat them like Gods?” “Why fan has to touch his feet and sit down instead of sitting on chair. Fans make celebrities. This is not expected from Ranbir.”last_img read more

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Noida admin penalises 17 private schools for charging excessive fees

first_imgNoida (UP): The district authorities have imposed a penalty of Rs 8.30 lakh on 17 private schools for charging excessive fees from students, officials said Saturday.The maximum penalty of Rs 1 lakh was imposed on Jagran Public School, Noida, the Gautam Buddh Nagar administration said in a statement. Rs 75,000 penalty was imposed on eight schools: CLM Public School, Gagan Public School, Greater Heights Public School, Dharm Public School (all four in Greater Noida), Grads International School, Shri Ravi Shankar Vidya Mandir, Karl Huber (all three in Noida) and SD Public School in Bhangel, it said. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in Denmark”Altogether a penalty of Rs 8.30 lakh was imposed on 17 schools following a decision of the District Fees Regulatory Committee under provisions of the Uttar Pradesh Fees Regulation Act for Self Financed Schools 2018,” it said. Vishwa Bharti Public School in Noida have been asked to pay a penalty of Rs 50,000, while Ramagya Public School Rs 20,000, the administration said. Six schools Rockwood, G D Goenka, Modern Public School, Acent International, APJ International and Ryan International were penalised Rs 10,000 each, it added. Amid complaints of excessive fees in private schools by thousands of parents and guardians of children, the Uttar Pradesh government had in September 2018 asked all districts to set up a fees regulatory committee to take cognisance of such matters.last_img read more

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My social media accounts not hacked Zaira Wasim

first_imgMumbai: Actress Zaira Wasim on Monday shot down rumours that her social media accounts were hacked when she announced her decision to quit the world of showbiz. “This to clarify that none of my social media accounts were or are hacked and are being handled by me personally. Kindly refrain from believing or sharing claims that state otherwise! Thanks,” Zaira posted on Twitter. The post came a day after the “Dangal” and “Secret Superstar” actress said she had decided to say goodbye to her film career as she felt her relationship with her religion was threatened. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography Her announcement was received with mixed reactions by the industry. Veteran actor Anupam Kher, who was in Delhi on Monday for a film promotion event, said he felt “sad” when he read Zaira’s post. “I think it’s a tragedy that a 16-17 year old girl has to take a decision like that. I do respect her sentiments and I respect that it is her individual choice. But as a person, I feel sad that a 16-17 year old girl has to take a decision like this in her flourishing career. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot “On one side, we are talking about women empowerment… Personally, I feel she shouldn’t have done this, but she is an independent girl and our country gives everyone a fundamental right to choose what they want to choose. But the fact that she has gone all out to say that I am doing this for religion, there’s a certain amount of tilt which has gone into it. But she is most welcome to take her decision. I felt sad when I read it. I felt she had to take that decision, and it was not her decision.” In Mumbai, the team of “Jabariya Jodi” was also asked to comment on Zaira’s decision. Actor Sidharth Malhotra said: “Firstly, I only read the headline and did not read the details, so I do not know. Secondly, it is her decision to quit acting and I have no say on that. I think you should ask her why she did that.”last_img read more

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File tax returns if you have foreign trips steep electricity bills

first_imgNew Delhi: The government has made income tax return filing mandatory for high spenders even if their taxable income is below the threshold exemption limit of Rs 5 lakh. Those mandated to file returns include people spending more than Rs 2 lakh on a foreign trip or depositing Rs 1 crore in a year in a bank account or paying electricity bill of more than Rs 1 lakh in a year. “Currently, a person other than a company or a firm is required to furnish the return of income only if his total income exceeds the maximum amount not chargeable to tax, subject to certain exceptions. Therefore, a person entering into certain high-value transactions is not necessarily required to furnish his return of income,” the Budget documents said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepIt proposed to amend section 139 of the Income Tax Act to ensure that persons who enter into certain high-value transactions have to furnish their return of income. So, any person who has in the previous year “deposited an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding Rs one crore in one or more current account maintained with a banking company or a co-operative bank; or has incurred expenditure of an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding Rs two lakh for himself or any other person for travel to a foreign country; or has incurred expenditure of an amount or aggregate of the amounts exceeding Rs one lakh towards consumption of electricity” will have to file a tax return. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsAlso, any person claiming the benefits of tax exemption from long term capital gains under various provisions under section 54 of the Income Tax Act will have to file a tax return. “Further, currently, a person claiming rollover benefit of exemption from capital gains tax on investment in specified assets like house, bonds etc, is not required to furnish a return of income, if, after claim of such rollover benefits, his total income is not more than the maximum amount not chargeable to tax. “In order to make furnishing of return compulsory for such persons, it is proposed to amend the sixth proviso to section 139 of the Act to provide that a person who is claiming such rollover benefits on investment in a house or a bond or other assets, shall necessarily be required to furnish a return, if, before claim of the rollover benefits, his total income is more than the maximum amount not chargeable to tax,” it said. These amendments will take effect from April 1, 2020, and will, accordingly apply in relation to the assessment year 2020-21 and subsequent assessment years. To discourage cash transactions and move towards a less-cash economy, the Budget also proposed to insert a new section 194N in the Income Tax Act to provide for levy of TDS at the rate of 2 per cent on cash payments in excess of Rs 1 crore in aggregate made during the year by a banking company or cooperative bank or post office to any person from an account maintained by the recipient. “It is proposed to exempt payment made to certain recipients, such as the Government, banking company, cooperative society engaged in carrying on the business of banking, post office, banking correspondents and white label ATM operators, who are involved in the handling of substantial amounts of cash as a part of their business operation, from the application of this provision,” the Budget documents said. It is proposed to empower the Central government to exempt other recipients, through a notification in the official Gazette in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India. This amendment will take effect from September 1, 2019.last_img read more

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Delhi reels under sultry weather heavy rains likely today

first_imgNew Delhi: The national capital reeled under sultry weather on Wednesday with rains playing truant for most part of the day.The city, however, received rainfall at isolated places towards the evening, leading to a marginal drop in the mercury. The weatherman has predicted heavy to very heavy rain in some parts of Delhi on Thursday and Friday, which will reduce the rain deficit in the national capital. Vice president meteorology and climate change, Skymet Weather, Mahesh Palawat, said rains are expected to intensify on Thursday night as the axis of monsoon trough is moving towards the north and moisture-laden winds are rushing in from the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDelhi has recorded 156.5 mm rains from July 1 to July 24, which is almost equal to the 30-year average of 156.4 mm, officials said. Overall, it has received 167.7 mm precipitation against the long-term average of 221.9 mm since June 1, when the monsoon season starts, a deficiency of 24 per cent, according to India Meteorological Department data. The Safdarjung observatory, which provides official figures for the city, recorded 50.2 mm rainfall, the heaviest in the monsoon season this year, on July 22. The weather station at Palam gauged 61 mm precipitation on July 18. On Wednesday, the city recorded a high of 37.8 degrees Celsius and a low of 29.2 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels oscillated between 56 and 88 per cent. On Thursday, the maximum and minimum temperatures are likely to hover around 33 and 25 degrees Celsius.last_img read more

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Shashi launches programmes for welfare of pregnant women malnourished children

first_imgKolkata: In a bid to reduce malnutrition among children, the minister of state for Women and Child Development Shashi Panja launched community based programmes on Friday, to be conducted for the welfare of pregnant women.Based on different issues related to pregnant women, these events will be conducted on the fourth Friday of every month. Spreading awareness among pregnant women about breastfeeding and other issues, Supusti Dibas will be conducted every month with their husband and mother in-law as invitee members at Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) centres. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaMeanwhile Annaparasan Dibas, ensuring complementary feeding in children between the age group of six and nine months, will be conducted quarterly. “Supsuti Dibas and Annaparasan Dibas will provide a big platform to the functionaries of the centre and the parents/community, in which activities are organised in a bigger form of advocacy, awareness generation for their involvement as well as for establishing partnership for optimum development of children,” said Panja on the sidelines of a programme on the theme of ‘Optimal and Exclusive Breastfeeding’ held at Aikatan Community Hall in Bagbazar Street. She informed that ‘Pushti’ (a blend of ground wheat, groundnut, Bengal gram and sugar) a readymade meal for breakfast, will be distributed free of cost among girls (between the age group of 11 and 14 years) from the ICDS centres. The malnourished children will be allowed to carry this ready-to-eat food home.last_img read more

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HC raps TPDDL for providing electricity to coaching centres without fire safety

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Delhi high court Monday pulled up the Tata Power Delhi Distribution Ltd (TPPDL) for providing electricity to coaching centres in Mukherjee Nagar here without fire safety clearances.A bench of Chief Justice D N Patel and Justice C Hari Shankar said that discoms and its officers were “turning a blind eye” to the huge electricity consumption by such institutions and were “doing nothing”. “Have you taken any action against any coaching centre in the last five years? People are (moving) so slowly. The approach of your officers is –’my children are not studying there’. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”All these centres have so many air conditioning units. Any increase in load would lead to sparking or short circuit, resulting in a fire, like it happened in Surat. All coaching centres without permission of municipal corporation or fire clearance, their electricity should be cut forthwith,” the court said. The bench said the persons running these centres were not poor and were carrying out a “purely business/ commercial activity”. The court was hearing two PILs against the illegal running of coaching centres in Mukherjee Nagar in north Delhi and a plea raising concerns about lack of fire safety measures in schools in the national capital. On the issue of fire safety in schools in the city, Delhi government additional standing counsel Gautam Narayan told the court that there were around 5,495 schools in the national capital of which 3,008 were under the jurisdiction of the Directorate of Education.last_img read more

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JK parties will fight attempt to abrogate special status of state

first_imgSrinagar, Aug 4 (PTI) Regional parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday unanimously resolved to fight any attempt to abrogate the constitutional provisions that guarantee it special status or any move to trifurcate the state.National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, reading out a resolution adopted at the meeting, said the parties have decided to send delegations to meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and leaders of political parties to apprise them about the consequences of any attempt to abrogate Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcating the state. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The meeting was also attended Mehbooba Mufti (PDP), Omar Abdullah (NC), Taj Mohiuddin (Congress), Muzaffar Beig (PDP), Sajad Lone and Imran Ansari (Peoples Conference), Shah Faesal (J&K Peoples Movement) and M Y Tarigami (CPI-M). The parties appealed to India and Pakistan not to take any steps that will escalate tension in the region, Abdullah said. He also appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace. The meeting, which was scheduled to be held at residence of PDP president Mufti, was held at Farooq Abdullah’s residence due to his ill health. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KKashmir remained on edge on Sunday as authorities stepped up security deployment at vital installations and sensitive areas amid heightened terror threat and flare up of hostilities with Pakistan along the Line of Control (LoC). After the Jammu and Kashmir administration curtailed the Amarnath Yatra and asked pilgrims and tourists to leave the valley at the earliest on Friday, anxious residents continue to throng markets to stock on essentials and serpentine queues have been visible outside shops and fuel stations.last_img read more

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Shikha Talsania in Coolie No 1

first_imgMumbai: Veere Di Wedding actor Shikha Talsania has joined the cast of upcoming film Coolie No 1, which stars Varun Dhawan and Sara Ali Khan. “Being a part of a David Dhawan film is on every actor’s bucket list and I am no different! And to top that with an opportunity to collaborate with such fantastic actors and people – Varun and Sara – I said yes without batting an eyelid,” Shikha said. “After Veere Di Wedding, the audience will see me in a totally new lens and that’s what makes it more exciting than it already is,” she added. Varun will be stepping into the shoes of veteran Govinda, who featured in the 1995 film, which was directed by his father David Dhawan. David is on board to helm the remake as well. Sara will be filling in for Karisma Kapoor from the original. Produced by Vashu Bhagnani, Jackky Bhagnani and Deepshikha Deshmukh, the film will release on May 1 next year.last_img read more

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Horseriding on Digha beach to be banned soon

first_imgKolkata: Digha Sankarpur Development Authority (DSDA) has decided to ban horse-riding on Digha sea beach. Those who used to ply their horses on the beach have been asked to withdraw the animals from there.Horse-riding has been one of the most common joyrides for tourists, especially children, in Digha. The decision has been taken after the DSDA found that the area is being polluted by the animals. There have also been instances where people were injured after being hit by moving horses. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe battery-driven toy cars which are also used as joyrides for the children will also be banned, as many of the car owners are allegedly charging exorbitant fares and hoodwinking the tourists. The district administration and police on Saturday conducted a campaign along the beach in Digha, urging the horse owners to stop plying the animals on the beach. They have also been given a deadline for the same. The decision was taken after the local administrations received various complaints against the horses on the beach, which often remains crowded with tourists. There were complaints against the battery-driven car owners as well. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayMeanwhile, Abir Dhadra (5) went missing from Jagannath Ghat in Digha on Saturday morning. The family of the missing boy has lodged a missing diary at Digha police station. The boy’s father said Abir was playing with his sisters in the sea beach. His parents had gone into the sea to take bath and when they came back, they found that Abir had gone missing. The victim’s family members had come to Digha from Jalangipara in Hooghly district a few days ago. A probe has been initiated in this regard. Police are investigating to ascertain if the victim had gone into the sea or if he has been abducted from the beach.last_img read more

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Such a great person Funeral being held for assistant coach with Broncos

first_imgSTRASBOURG, Sask. – Mark Cross was a ferocious competitor when he played hockey, but the assistant coach for the Humboldt Broncos had a calming presence on his players, teammates and friends.“Mark was an incredibly hard worker. He was extremely bright. He was one of the most caring kids you would ever meet,” said Broncos president Kevin Garinger, who has known Cross since he was a boy.“You can’t say enough about Mark Cross as a person.”Cross, who was 27, was one of 16 people who died on April 6 when the junior hockey team’s bus and a semi-truck collided at a rural Saskatchewan intersection.His funeral — the last of many memorials in the last 10 days — was held Saturday at the recreation centre in his hometown of Strasbourg, Sask.He grew up in Strasbourg, where his parents, Brad and Marilyn Cross, were teachers at the school and Garinger was the principal. Garinger’s sons were friends with Mark Cross.Lucas Frison, who has known Cross since they were three years old, said Cross had many friends.“He was really easy to get along with and had a great personality that made a lot of people laugh,” he said. “Mark had a calming presence on people, which really showed his leadership ability.“He was a leader on the ice when he was a hockey player, a leader as a coach and a leader as a friend.”Frison, who was to deliver the eulogy at the funeral, said Cross was the best man at his wedding and helped calm his nerves.“He helped give me the confidence I needed that day and everything worked out beautifully.”Cross left Strasbourg in his teens to play for the Estevan Bruins of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League before attending York University in Toronto.He played as a forward on the York Lions men’s hockey team from 2011 until 2016 when he graduated with a degree in kinesiology and health science.“Mark was an exceptional young man, an assistant captain during his time at York and the team MVP in his fifth and final season,” said Russ Herrington, who was one of Cross’s assistant coaches. “He was a ferocious competitor who had a vibrant approach to life.“There was no one in the room who commanded more respect than Mark.”Cross returned to Saskatchewan after university, with his longtime girlfriend Molly Schnell, and worked for a season as an assistant coach with a midget team near Regina.He joined the Broncos for the 2017-18 season.“In talking with the boys, they just had the utmost respect for Mark and cared for him,” said Garinger. “They just loved him as a coach. He was very knowledgeable.”He said Darcy Haugan, head coach of the Broncos who was also killed in the crash, thought the world of Cross.“The reason he was so good at his job was because he was such a great person,” said Garinger.— By Colette Derworiz in Edmontonlast_img read more

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Muskox gets out of enclosure at Winnipeg zoo but cant make great

first_imgWINNIPEG – Winnipeg’s Assiniboine Park Zoo is investigating how a muskox got out of its enclosure.It happened Friday when a 200 lb. male muskox escaped its holding area, though it didn’t get out of a secondary containment area.“What we do know is that after the fact, the gate was partially open and we have not been able to identify mechanical failure at this point,” said zoo spokesman Gary Lunsford.The zoo said no one was at risk during the incident. Staff sedated and relocated the animal quickly.This isn’t the first time an animal at the zoo has ended up somewhere it wasn’t supposed to be.In 2014, just days after the Journey to Churchill exhibit opened, some grey wolves tunneled into the polar bear pen.No animals were hurt and the wolves were moved out of the exhibit before any visitors arrived.“We initiated an emergency response, and the emergency response team was on site within minutes and sedated the animal directly after,” said Lunsford.Zoo officials said the muskox broke one of its horns off while it was recovering from sedation. They said the animal is doing well under veterinary care.The group that accredits the Assiniboine Park Zoo said it is aware of the incident with the muskox.“It is a testament to the zoo’s dedicated staff and emergency protocols which enabled the facility to respond to the situation quickly without harm,” said Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums.“As per CAZA’s standards on emergency protocol, the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be submitting formal documentation to CAZA’s national office outlining the details of the matter and what steps are being taken to ensure the incident is not repeated.”Muskox are Arctic mammals that roam the tundra in search of roots, mosses and lichen.There are five in the zoo’s Journey to Churchill exhibit.(CTV Winnipeg)last_img read more

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Former homeless man donates 10K to Ontario shelter that supported him

first_imgAn Ontario man who was homeless for years has donated $10,000 to a shelter that supported him after receiving compensation from a residential school settlement.The act of kindness has triggered a slew of donations for Shelter House in Thunder Bay, Ont., which had to close an outreach program on April 1 after it ran out of funds for the operation.That program, known as Street Outreach Services, or SOS, involved two staffers driving around and checking on the city’s homeless, intoxicated and others at risk on the streets, and taking them to hospitals, detox facilities and shelters, said Alexandra Calderon, a development officer at Shelter House.A van used to run the program was operated 12 hours a day from 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. and helped alleviate the strain on the city’s emergency services, she said.A few weeks ago, a First Nations man who had used the shelter and the outreach program extensively walked into Calderon’s office and said he wanted to give back, she recalled.“My first reaction was ‘I’m sure you need this money more and you should take it and keep it for yourself,’” Calderon said. “He said, ‘No, no, I want to make sure my friends are safe and the SOS is out there so that if they need help, or a ride, they can get one.’”Both Calderon and the man, who wishes to remain anonymous, then broke into tears.“He was so proud to do it,” Calderon said. “It’s such a moving donation because it comes from somebody who has nothing.”Calderon said the man, who now has his own apartment, was at the shelter in early April during a news conference where David Paul Achneepineskum, the CEO of Matawa First Nation, pledged $10,000 per year for the next five years to the organization on behalf of the First Nation.At that time, Achneepineskum called on others to step up.Inspired by that call, the man made his donation after he received compensation from a class action suit against the federal government involving Canada’s notorious residential school system.Calderon said the shelter is a “low-barrier” facility, meaning it will accept those who are under the influence, which isn’t the case in many shelters throughout the country.“Just because somebody is intoxicated, doesn’t mean they deserve to be incarcerated,” she said.“We’ll pick them up and bring them to where they need to go, whether it’s to a friend’s house or whether it’s back to the shelter or to the hospital. But we need money to get the program going to be able to do that.”The shelter has raised $75,000, but needs $125,000 in order to get the outreach program running again.“This comes at a particularly good time for Thunder Bay,” Calderon said of the man’s donation. “He wants to make sure, as do we, that no one else is going to be out on the riverbanks alone.”In the past month, two First Nation teenagers were pulled from local waterways, prompting area chiefs to call for the RCMP to investigate. The chiefs slammed the Thunder Bay Police for what they called an ongoing indifference of indigenous people.last_img read more

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New David Suzuki Foundation CEO ready to seek legal right to healthy

first_imgVANCOUVER – A former official with an international humanitarian group is the new chief executive officer of the David Suzuki Foundation.Stephen Cornish says he is honoured to play a part in what he calls an iconic Canadian organization that raises awareness about pollution and climate change.Cornish served as the executive director of Doctors Without Borders Canada for five years.A news release from the foundation says during that time, Cornish increased fundraising activities by 76 per cent, boosted staff by 40 per cent and improved public recognition of the group, which provides independent, international medical relief.The foundation says Cornish’s immediate priorities in his new job include strengthening the campaign for the legal right to a healthy environment in Canada, deepening relationships with Indigenous Peoples and protecting biodiversity.Foundation chairman Peter Ladner says Cornish brings a global perspective to local problems.“The impacts of climate change, biodiversity loss and toxic pollution are among the most serious issues facing our planet,” Cornish says in the news release.“The decisions we make to address these challenges today will have a direct impact on our ability to survive and thrive into the foreseeable future,” he says.Cornish succeeds Peter Robinson, who served as the Suzuki Foundation’s chief executive officer for nearly a decade, and Andrea Seale, who served as acting CEO since June.last_img read more

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Im running for the leadership Patrick Brown on fighting to reclaim his

first_imgTORONTO – The former leader of Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives, who resigned amid sexual misconduct allegations last month, is running to reclaim the party’s top job. Here is what Patrick Brown had to say Friday after entering the leadership contest triggered by his own departure.___“I’ve been touched by the amount of support around the province — candidates, caucus members, party volunteers saying ‘what happened to you wasn’t right, if it happened to you it can happen to anyone.’ We can’t loose the project we’ve been working on. It’s far too important. The People’s Guarantee (party platform) was that important, about getting Ontario back on track.This isn’t about me. This isn’t about the PC party. This is about making sure that on June 7 the Progressive Conservative party is successful. We’re not going to settle for an Ontario that’s a have-not province. We’re not going to settle for an Ontario that’s not doing everything it can.And let me say, what I’ve gone through in the last three weeks I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. It has been absolutely horrific. It was like getting hit by a truck and getting hit by a truck all over again. But what I can tell you is in that period I found strength. I found strength by the support of my family and friends, from the party faithful around the province that reached out to me, saying ‘we know what you’re about,’ and I talked about that story in National Post.When this all happened, I didn’t know who was behind it, I just knew the stories were fictitious. Then I went to my local hospital for a pre-planned surgery and everyone in the waiting room shook my hand and said ‘we believe in you.’ I realized that people back home wanted me to fight for myself and fight for what I’ve been working on my entire life, which was public service to make our province and our community and our country stronger.Back home they gave me the strength to carry on in this project and that’s what I started today. I filed my papers to be a candidate in our leadership. I’m going to make sure that with the support of our party faithful we’re going to get back on track to this important project of defeating Kathleen Wynne on June 7.The support we’ve been getting across the province has just been so encouraging. The amount of candidates, the amount of party volunteers, riding presidents who have reached out — frankly it changed my opinion. This is not what I was thinking about. The support of the party membership has really inspired me.I think my name has been cleared and now it’s about getting Ontario back on track.I think every other leadership candidate I know, certainly the main ones, have been calling every day trying to reach out for my support. I think the reason they have is they know that frankly there is a groundswell of support in the membership for the project I have been working on to get this province back on track.I’m running for the leadership.”last_img read more

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Del Mastro electionrelated convictions stand after top court denies leave

first_imgTORONTO – A former parliamentary secretary who used to speak for then-prime minister Stephen Harper against election-fraud allegations levelled at the Conservatives lost his bid Thursday to have the country’s highest court weigh in on his own convictions for electoral fraud.The decision by the Supreme Court of Canada not to hear his appeal means that Dean Del Mastro, initially convicted in 2014 for offences committed a decade ago, has reached the end of the road in his efforts at exoneration.“It seems like a modest word at times like these, but I’m obviously terribly disappointed,” the former Conservative MP from Peterborough, Ont., told The Canadian Press. “I had hoped to be able to fight for a just outcome through the courts, but it’s not to be.”Del Mastro said he now planned to sue Elections Canada for what he called the “negligent” investigation that led to his convictions. He said he would be seeking unspecified damages.“We’ll go after them and call into question aspects of this investigation which were negligent, which led to an outcome which is not just,” Del Mastro said. “My campaign followed all the rules.”Ontario court Judge Lisa Cameron convicted Del Mastro, 47, of three electoral offences related to his 2008 re-election campaign: overspending, failing to report a $21,000 contribution he made to his own campaign and knowingly filing a false report.Cameron handed him a one-month jail term along with four months house arrest and 18 months probation for what she called his “cheating and lying” in his “affront” to democracy. The judge also ordered him to pay $10,000 in restitution.“He was prepared not only to break the rules but to be deceitful about it,” Cameron said at the time.Del Mastro, once a staunch and vocal defender of Conservative policies, appealed but lost at the Superior Court and Appeal Court levels.In April 2016, Superior Court Justice Bryan Shaughnessy upheld both the convictions and sentence — while setting aside the restitution order. In September, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the convictions.“The offences were serious and struck at the heart of the democratic electoral process,” the court said.Del Mastro, granted bail at various points while his appeals wound through the courts, won’t now have to go back to jail despite his latest legal setback. He had already been granted statutory release after serving 20 days in jail.However, he will now have to serve the four-month conditional sentence from his 83-hectare farm in Bailieboro, south of Peterborough, although he said he would be allowed to travel to his energy-development work a couple of times a week.“I guess it’s more like farm arrest in this case,” Del Mastro said. “I wanted to start immediately, so I have.”After his conviction, which also precluded his running for Parliament for five years, the disgraced politician resigned the Peterborough seat he had won three times.Del Mastro, who has steadfastly maintained his innocence, remained defiant on Thursday, insisting the voters were short-changed by what happened to him and refused to rule out another run for political office at some point.“If I can’t get justice and a just outcome from the courts, then maybe I should seek it from the voters,” Del Mastro said. “The most fundamental right of citizenship is people’s democratic franchise, and that’s what was crushed and taken away and that’s why the Supreme Court should have heard the case.”Del Mastro’s elections agent, accountant Richard McCarthy, 68, was given a two-month conditional sentence plus one year of probation for his role.last_img read more

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Trudeau chats with Fort Hills workers blames Harper for lack of pipelines

first_imgPrime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a visit to the oilsands on Friday, just a day after getting heckled and booed in Vancouver and Victoria for his approval of the TransMountain pipeline expansion. The project that has the neighbouring provinces of Alberta and B.C., at odds will see the pipeline’s capacity nearly triple from 300,000 barrels per day to 890,000 barrels per day giving Alberta heavy oil access to much needed foreign markets.“Our government has been unequivocal, this pipeline is in the national interest and will get built. We had a regulatory process that went through, an examination, an engagement with partners, and it was determined that this Kinder Morgan Pipeline expansion is in the national interest and that’s why it’s going to get built,” said Trudeau.He also didn’t take long to slam the Harper-era Conservatives by saying that through ten-years in power while Harper may have “topped up” the oilsands, his government wasn’t able to get a pipeline to tidewater approved because no one trusted them to protect the environment.Trudeau used that as an opportunity to once again tout his plan that links the environment and the economy.“Canadians are united on that, everyone wants to see their grandkids with both a protected natural world around them and good jobs and successful communities,” said Trudeau. “That’s something, we can and will work on together regardless of the fact that there’s still a choice to be made between either the economy or the environment, the only way to do this responsibly is to do this together.”Trudeau’s visit to Suncor’s Fort Hills site brought him to the most recently completed mega-project in the region, as when it hits full-production (within a month) it will produce 194,000 barrels of oil per day through its open pit mining operation.The Prime Minister, who gets more than his fair share of heat in this region spent 30-minutes in a lunch room with dozens of Fort Hills workers, answering questions off the cuff especially about the carbon tax and pipelines. Photo: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (middle) climbs the stairs into the cockpit of a Komatsu 780E heavy haul at Suncor’s Fort Hills oilsands site on Friday, Apr. 4, 2018. Bradley Karp / REPORTER His tour of the facility was led by Suncor CEO Steve Williams, who in February told the Financial Post that due to regulatory changes by the Trudeau government, his company would likely cut back on investments in Canada. The two were all smiles as Williams and Suncor staffers guided Trudeau around a Komatsu 780E heavy hauler, the Prime Minister even took a seat at the helm.“We’ve talked about market access, we’ve talked about market pressures which are the sum of taxation, royalties, the confidence in the regulatory process and I’m greatly encouraged by the conversation we’ve had today and I think it sort of speaks for itself,” said Williams. “The prime Minister has taken the trouble to come here and spend some time with us and understand our challenges better so I think we’re going to get some help.”Williams went on to acknowledge how the environment for oilsands producers has changed in the last few years, from the price cut in 2014, taxation and regulatory overhauls along with the United-States going from their biggest customer to their biggest competitor, expediting the need for a pipeline to tidewater for foreign market access.While producers in the oilsands need that market access through pipeline, the province next door (British-Columbia) continues to throw up roadblocks. When Trudeau was asked head on what he’s doing about it, and how he’ll ensure the pipeline actually gets built, this was his response: “I’m continuing to engage regularly with British Columbia, there are a number of court cases going on that the Federal Government is monitoring closely, but as I said many times we have a regulatory process that was open, responsible, fair, heard from everyone, we made a decision around the fact that this pipeline is absolutely in the national interest, the federal government has the responsibility and ability to move forward on projects of the national interest, that’s exactly what we’re going to do, we’re going to get this pipeline built.”Trudeau’s visit to the region wrapped up with meetings with other oil executives as well as meeting with local First Nations and Metis leaders.last_img read more

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High Indigenous prison rate unacceptable Supreme Court chief justice

first_imgOTTAWA – The over-representation of Indigenous people in prison is “unacceptable” and reveals a serious problem, says Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner.“That’s a terrible situation, I must say,” Wagner told a rare news conference Friday. “I mean, the rate is too high.”In 2015-16, Indigenous people represented almost one-quarter of the total federal offender population.In addition, a lower percentage of Indigenous offenders have benefited from gradual release from custody than non-Indigenous ones.The Liberal government has singled out the difficult relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the justice system as a priority for ministers, and various parliamentary committees have been busy studying the challenges and potential solutions.Wagner said that while he’ll leave the politics to others, the high court is making its voice heard on issues of Indigenous justice.He pointed to a decision this month in which the court said the federal prison service had failed to ensure its psychological assessment tools were fair to Indigenous inmates.The Supreme Court has a role to play in the national reconciliation with First Nations, Wagner added.“It’s going to be a long process. It has to be done. It has to be done the right way. And it involves many stakeholders,” he said.“And we are committed to do it, within our own jurisdiction.”The chief justice spoke to the media after being recently reminded that his predecessor, Beverley McLachlin, gave news conferences at the beginning and end of her tenure as top judge.Wagner said he is trying to make the Supreme Court more open and accessible to Canadians. In recent years the court has embraced social media and it has begun issuing plain-language summaries of its decisions.The Supreme Court’s nine justices plan to visit Winnipeg next year for meetings and community events, and Wagner mused that he would love to see the court hold hearings outside of Ottawa “from time to time.”“I think it would be a wonderful thing for the court and the public. How we bring the court closer to Canadians is something I think about a lot,” he said.“Canadians should know that the courts are there for them when they need them. The public also has a right to know how our courts work.”Ignorance breeds many biases, he said, and the more people who know about the judicial system “the more they will keep faith in the system, and that’s very important.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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Ill never forgive you Victim impact statements at hearing for Calgary killer

first_imgCALGARY – Loved ones of a Calgary woman who was raped and murdered in 2015 say they’ll never forgive her killer and the brutal nature of the crime has caused lasting harm.Curtis Healy was found guilty of first-degree murder Friday in the death of Dawns Baptiste, a 31-year-old mother of four. He received an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.The tall, lanky 29-year-old stood silently with his hands clasped in front while the sentence was read.Baptiste’s brother, Alex, spoke directly to Healy in his victim impact statement.“You took away my little sister. You took away a mother that had future goals,” he said. “I’ll never forgive you for this. You took away my niece and my nephews’ mother. My mother’s without a daughter, a beautiful daughter.”Alex Baptiste said outside court that Healy didn’t look at him as he spoke.“He had no sign of remorse or anything. I don’t know how a person like that can live with themselves.”Queen’s Bench Justice Charlene Anderson called Healy’s crime “reprehensible and beyond comprehension” and “senseless, vicious and brutal.”“You showed absolutely no remorse or regret for what you did to her,” she said.“She was loved and important to her friends and her family and her children, and your actions have robbed them forever of her love and support.”Some relatives described getting sick, having to switch jobs and seeing relationships break down as a result of the ordeal that began 3 1/2 years ago.A few described being afraid to ride on light-rail transit or suffering anxiety when passing by the northeast Calgary station Healy and Baptiste stopped at the night he killed her.After Baptiste told Healy to leave her alone, he stomped her head, hit her with a bottle, dragged her into a back yard, raped her and struck her with a large rock. She was found a day later in the snow, facedown with her lower body exposed.Cousin Louise Baptiste said she lost weight, fell into a depression, nearly had to quit her master’s degree and had to switch to a job where she didn’t have to take the C-Train.She said the sentence won’t bring her cousin back.“Dawns had a very kind heart. She was quiet, but she was always laughing every time she was with her kids.”Her children are now between the ages of five and 13. The youngest was just a baby when Baptiste was killed.Defence lawyer Shamsher Kothari said his client was surprised and shocked at the conviction and that there are numerous grounds on which to appeal.He said those include a warrant that was not executed for a material witness, cognitive issues Healy had during the police interview in which he confessed and the fact that some jurors went for drinks at a hotel restaurant with TVs on and other patrons present while they were to have been sequestered.“All of those issues combined obviously have to be taken to the Court of Appeal at some point.”Cousin Verlyn Baptiste said the murder will always haunt her family, but they must pick up the pieces.“He got what he deserved. He showed no mercy for her, so why should we show mercy for him?” she said after the sentencing.“We can begin to heal now, but his pain is only beginning.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled the first name of defence lawyer Shamsher Kothari.last_img read more

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Disturbing school bullying videos are a teachable moment advocates say

first_imgAdvocates say shocking new videos showing extreme bullying offer parents and educators an opportunity to teach young witnesses the importance of bystander intervention.“Targeting behavioural change from the bully is not as effective as targeting the bystander to make a culture shift,” said Gordana Skrba of the Ontario Federation for Cerebral Palsy.A video posted Nov. 8 shows a 14-year-old Nova Scotia boy with cerebral palsy lying down in a stream as a girl steps on his back. About 20 students watch, some filming on their phones.This week, news emerged about two videotaped incidents at St. Michael’s College School in Toronto. Police sources say members of the basketball team bullied one student and soaked him with water, while a group of boys held down another student and allegedly sexually assaulted him with a broom handle.As these incidents are investigated, students, parents and teachers are grappling with difficult questions of how they could happen — and what young witnesses should do.Debra Pepler, a York University psychology professor and bullying expert, said bullies often thrive off the power imbalance of an audience — but bystanders can also be instrumental in stopping the incidents.Pepler co-authored a 2001 study on peer intervention that found more than half of bullying incidents stop within 10 seconds after a bystander steps in.There are bystanders to about 85 per cent of bullying incidents, Pepler said, but three-quarters of the time they are “paying positive attention” to the bully — and victims can sense the power imbalance.Children who are noticeably different are targeted more frequently — whether for a disability, sexual or gender identity, race, nationality or socioeconomic status, she said.“Where you find power differentials, that’s where you find people who are more at risk of being bullied,” Pepler said.“It’s really up to the adults to create a safe school context where everyone feels included as if they belong and are valued.”Talking about intervention is a challenging task, especially because there is no clear research on what methods are most effective. Pepler’s work has shown “pro-social” intervention is about as effective as “aggressive” intervention towards the bully.Many children and youth don’t know how to intervene, even if they sense that what’s happening is wrong, she said.Having discussions around the dinner table, watching films that address the issues, or talking about possible scenarios can help young people think about what to do about bullying, she said.It’s also important to make sure kids understand they have safe options other than getting directly involved, like talking to a friend or adult, she said.Pepler said if a young person speaks up alone, it’s usually someone with a higher social status, as a common fear is that whoever challenges the bully could become the next victim.“We as adults play a very significant role in helping children understand not only how to avoid using their power negatively, but how it feels like to use it positively,” Pepler said.When a school implements a bullying prevention plan, Pepler said, the intervention rate goes up for both teachers and peers.Advocacy group People First Nova Scotia visits junior high school classes to talk about the importance of respecting people with disabilities and how to speak up when witnessing abuse and discrimination.  Cindy Carruthers of People First said students and teachers often thank the group for giving them the words to stand up to a bully, either in the school yard or at home.“We often say to the kids, if you hear older brothers and sisters or your parents using language they shouldn’t use, educate them,” Carruthers said.She said parents should also be educated about these issues, and she often senses her group’s anti-bullying themes haven’t been discussed with kids at home before.“Kids don’t just make this stuff up. You have to learn to be a bully,” said Carruthers.Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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