Kolkata: A Class IX student, who was a learner at a swimming club, drowned at the College Square pool on Sunday. He had gone into the pool area meant for the seniors, by crossing the demarcation line that was made by the club.According to police sources, 17-year-old Mohammad Shahbaaz had come to the swimming club and started practicing at 8 am. Initially he swam in the designated pool for the beginners, but after a few minutes dived into the section having deep water meant for those who are adept in swimming. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHis act went unnoticed and when he was spotted struggling in the water, it was too late. The trainers dived into the pool and fished him out of the water. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Shahbaaz, a resident of Entally, had joined as a member of The Calcutta University Institute College Square (Vidyasagar Udyan) swimming section barely a week ago. The Kolkata Municipal Corporation has subsequently ordered a shutdown of all the swimming pools at College Square for an indefinite period. A case of unnatural death has been registered with the Amherst Street police station. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe club with which Shahbaaz was associated, refused to comment on the incident and shut the door on the face of our correspondent. The guardians who had accompanied their wards for swimming at the pool alleged negligence on the part of the trainers. “The trainers often leave the swimmers on their own in the pool. They should keep an eye whether wanybody is encroaching the boundary and going to the deeper pool,” a guardian said. “Shahbaaz was wearing all the safety guards like red cap and swimming costume earmarked for the beginners. Knowingly or unknowingly, he had crossed the line meant and failed to cope with the water level,” said Laltu Patra, assistant secretary of another club that conducts swimming sessions at the College Square pool. The incident is a grim reminder of the death of ace swimmer Kajal Dutta in August 2017, amid allegations that he had got stuck in a platform built underwater by one of the swimming clubs without obtaining permission from KMC. The pool was subsequently shut down and KMC drained out the water of the entire pool and demolished all such constructions. Swimming activities had resumed from April 2, last year.
Beijing/Singapore: Leaders from China, Bangladesh, Iran and Singapore condoled on Wednesday the demise of former external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj and recalled her important role in cementing India’s relations with the world. Swaraj passed away in New Delhi on Tuesday night after suffering a cardiac arrest. She was 67. In her tribute, Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina said her country had lost a “good friend”. “She (Swaraj) was a good friend of Bangladesh. With her death, Bangladesh has lost a good friend. Bangladesh will recall her contributions in taking the relationship between the two countries to a new height,” Hasina was quoted as saying by bdnews24. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif recalled his “fruitful” discussions with Swaraj. “My deepest condolences to the government and the people of India on the passing of former External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. I had many fruitful and useful discussions with her while she held office, and am saddened by her sudden passing. May she forever rest in peace,” he tweeted. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said Swaraj had made important contributions to the development of China-India relations. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Madam Sushma Swaraj is a senior Indian politician. China deeply mourns for the passing of Madam Sushma Swaraj and expresses sincere condolences to her family,” Hua said in a written response. UN General Assembly President Maria Fernanda Espinosa also expressed condolences at the demise of Swaraj. “Saddened by the news of the passing of Sushma Swaraj, an extraordinary woman & leader who devoted her life to public service. I had the honour of meeting her in my visits to India, & will always remember her fondly,” Espinosa tweeted. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed sorrow at the demise of Swaraj, saying that her efforts to achieve regional policy objectives made a lasting impression among the Lankan public. “I have always known Mrs Swaraj as a true friend of Sri Lanka, a neighbour and a relative of Sri Lanka who held a pleasing personality,” Wickremesinghe said. Singapore Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan remembered Swaraj’s “warm friendship” and said that she represented India on the world stage and fought tirelessly for Indian citizens. “Sushma Swaraj was a wonderful lady, always full of life, as she represented India on the world stage and fought tirelessly for her citizens,” wrote the Singapore minister. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa referred to Swaraj as his “dear sister” and said she always called him ‘My Brother’. “She is not with us anymore. Rest In Peace ‘my dear sister’. India and Bahrain will miss you,” he tweeted. Calling her “Behinji”, former Afghanistan president Hamid Karzai expressed his grief over the loss of a “tall leader” and “people’s person”. “Deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Behinji Sushma Swaraj. A tall leader and a great orator and people’s person. My profound condolences to the people of India and her family and friends,” he tweeted. Paying tributes to Swaraj, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Twitter, “We express our sincere condolences to the people of India on the passing away of the former FM of this friendly country Sushma Swaraj.” The French Ambassador to India Alexandre Ziegler said she was one of India’s most respected leaders who showed remarkable dedication to serving her fellow citizens and took the Indo-French relationship to new heights. Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka visited Swaraj’s residence and paid his last respects. Condoling the death of his former Indian counterpart, Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani said Swaraj led her country with “distinction and determination”. “I’m saddened to hear of the untimely demise of Sushma Swaraj, Senior BJP leader & former Foreign Minister of India. My deepest condolences to the people & government of India on the loss of a distinguished public figure who represented her country w/distinction & determination,” he tweeted.
New Delhi: A 70-year-old woman was killed by her son and minor grandson over a property dispute in northeast Delhi’s Jyoti Nagar area. Police claimed that they have apprehended the accused in the case.According to the investigators, the deceased was strangled. On September 4 at about 3.20 pm, a PCR call was received at Jyoti Nagar police station regarding the incident. “On receipt of the call, it was found that one old lady was lying on the bed. She was dead,” police said adding that her body was sent to the hospital for postmortem. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDeputy Commissioner of Police (north-east) Atul Thakur said that the deceased had four sons. She was having a dispute with her elder son. The other sons suspected the role of their elder brother in committing the murder of their mother. “During the investigation, it has been revealed that accused and his minor son committed the murder of his mother yesterday when no one was in the house. Deceased had injury marks on her neck,” said DCP Thakur. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsHe further stated that the accused is having a pending civil case of the property against his mother. Deceased had disconnected the electricity connection of the accused’s living area and wanted to get vacated the portion from her elder son . Thereafter, accused, who worked as a mason, and his minor son killed the woman. A case under section 302 (punishment for murder) of the Indian Penal Code has been registered and further investigation is underway. This type of incident was not the first time reported in the city. Recently a 27-year-old gym trainer was arrested for killing his father in Dwarka district. Police said that during interrogation, accused claimed that his father was very abusive.
MONTREAL – Red carpets, dancing crowds, bonfires and street celebrations are some of the ways Montreal’s Belz orthodox Jewish community have marked a rare visit by their spiritual leader over the past several days.The visit began with a welcome ceremony on Tuesday and ended Saturday night when a large crowd attended a midnight procession last night to honour Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach, who is visiting the city for the first time in two decades.Over the past week, the rabbi has been given a rock star-like greeting as large crowds have gathered to catch a glimpse of the long-serving spiritual leader, who has led the community since 1966.“It’s historic, it’s very emotional, it’s the time we’ve been waiting for, for so long,” community member Chezky Reiss said.He said the 70-year-old leader is in poor health and rarely travels outside of Israel.Reiss said thousands of out-of-towners have come for the events, which included bonfires and festive meals on Wednesday and Thursday to mark the Jewish holiday of Lag B’Omer, which commemorates the the revelation of the kabbalah, the core text of Jewish mysticism.The ultra-orthodox Belz community, a Hasidic group that traces its roots to Eastern Europe, counts between 2,000 and 3,000 members in Montreal.Rabbi Yissachar Dov Rokeach has been credited with overseeing the sect’s post-Holocaust rebuilding, which has led to the establishment of communities in Canada, Europe and the United States.In the past, tensions have flared between the Hasidic community and some of their non-Jewish neighbours in the city’s Outremont borough.In March a handful of citizens drew criticism for donning yellow badges on their clothing at a borough council meeting to protest the Jewish community’s use of school buses.The citizens said they were protesting the vehicles blocking the street, while others told them the badges evoked the Holocaust, when European Jews were forced to wear yellow stars.In November 2016, citizens voted against allowing Hasidic Jews to open more synagogues on a main street in Outremont, sparking accusations of anti-Semitism.This time, Reiss said the organizers made efforts to minimize traffic disruptions and noise in order to avoid a repeat of past tensions.He said the community sent out letters and started a Twitter account to share photos and inform residents of what was happening.They also hosted most of the festivities in a giant tent erected outside the residential zone.While Reiss said he received “a few nasty letters,” he said non-Jewish community members have been supportive, and many have even joined the crowds straining to see the rabbi.“The majority of tension is people who don’t understand what’s happening,” he said.Reiss said the rabbi is expected to keep a lower profile for the remainder of his visit, which ends Tuesday.
GATINEAU, Que. – Lise Veillette and her husband Jean-Pierre Subercaze lost one car and a few of their belongings before finally deciding Monday to leave their home near the Gatineau River.Flood waters on their street were rising relentlessly and the military was stepping up sandbagging operations in the community.But in typical Canadian fashion, Veillette sounded optimistic as she was brought to shore in an aluminum fishing boat with just a few belongings stuffed into two suitcases, a large grey cooler, a backpack and a couple of black briefcases.“At least you get to know your neighbours,” she said as she stepped out of the boat at the crest of what is now her submerged road, aided by neighbours and people who spontaneously showed up to help out.Veillette and Subercaze live in an upper apartment on a street about 100 metres away from the normal shoreline, she said.Watching water slowly seep into the apartment below hers since the previous Tuesday, Veillette said she was horrified, but decided to stay put, expecting the flood to recede.But the water kept coming, and coming. And by Monday, after being told by local authorities that the electricity was being shut off, she and Subercaze had had enough.“No water, and no electricity? No, we can’t do that,” Veillette said.“So we decided to leave.”Local residents had set up a makeshift ferry system, using boats and trucks to get supplies to those who chose to stay in their homes, and to help others leave.Higher up the road, dozens of Canadian Forces personnel aided local residents and volunteers as they continued to fill sandbags at a frantic pace, loading them onto tractors and high-riser trucks for delivery to the desperate homeowners in the flood zone.As a cold drizzle turned to wet snow, even small children were lending a hand. Using garden utensil shovels, three toddlers painstakingly moved back and forth from a sandpile to a bag held by their mother, Manon.“They saw everyone here and asked me ‘can I help’,” she said.The Canadian Red Cross set up a relief fund for flood victims in Quebec, with the provincial government contributing $500,000. About 1,650 soldiers were expected to be battling floodwaters across the region by late Monday, helping crews in some of the communities across the province that are under states of emergency.Water levels across Quebec were expected to peak by Wednesday.
OTTAWA – Former cabinet minister Vic Toews says ethics commissioner Mary Dawson made findings that are “inaccurate and inconsistent with the evidence” in ruling that he violated conflict-of-interest provisions.In an application filed Wednesday with the Federal Court of Canada to have Dawson’s April ruling thrown out, Toews also says he was unable to properly respond to the accusations because witnesses were barred from speaking to him.Dawson’s office has yet to file a response with the court.Toews served in the cabinet of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government in various portfolios from February 2006 to July 2013.Dawson ruled that Toews, now a Manitoba judge, violated the Conflict of Interest Act in matters involving two First Nations after he left politics, but before he was appointed to the bench in 2014.In the first case, she said Toews broke the rules by providing consulting services to Norway House Cree Nation despite having direct and significant dealings with the First Nation during his final year in office. While senior regional minister for Manitoba in 2012, he met twice with Norway House Cree representatives on possible changes to a flood agreement and a tax law.The commissioner found Toews did the consulting work just months after resigning as minister, flouting a two-year cooling-off period.Dawson said Toews breached another provision of the act by giving strategic advice to counsel for the Peguis First Nation about potential settlement of litigation over the transfer of military land, even though he was involved with the same file as a minister.She noted former ministers are prohibited indefinitely from “switching sides” on an issue.Soon after her ruling, the Canadian Judicial Council received a complaint about Toews’ actions and launched its own review of his conduct. In the most serious cases, the council may hold a full inquiry and even recommend removal of a judge.In his filing with the Federal Court, Toews says his two meetings with the Norway House Cree were “brief and limited in nature” and therefore he did not have direct and significant dealings with the First Nation during his last year in office.Concerning the second matter, Toews says he did not provide “advice, direction or consultation” to the Peguis First Nation or its counsel regarding settlement of the litigation. Rather, he “merely provided strategic planning regarding potential development of the land at issue,” should the legal proceedings be settled and the First Nation assume control of the land.Toews acknowledges he was provided with copies of documents on which the commissioner relied as well as transcripts of interviews with certain witnesses.However, Toews says all witnesses were bound by a “confidentiality requirement” that prevented them from speaking to him or his lawyer. Toews argues the prohibition amounted to a denial of procedural fairness and natural justice, and compromised his efforts to respond to the accusations.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
TORONTO – Calling opioids an “ongoing concern” in all parts of the province, Ontario’s provincial police said Friday it would equip all front-line officers with naloxone kits to protect them from potential exposure to fentanyl.Each officer will be issued a kit with two doses of naloxone nasal spray while on duty, while members of selected specialized units — such as drug enforcement and community street crime units — will carry a personal kit all the time, Ontario Provincial Police said.The OPP is not the first police force in the province to issue naloxone to front-line officers — Peterborough, Barrie, and Durham Region officers are among those already equipped with the opioid antidote that can reverse an overdose for approximately 20 minutes to one hour, depending on the strength of the opioid.The primary purpose of the naloxone is for use if an officer is exposed. However, if there is a life-threatening situation and emergency medical services are not immediately available, officers will be trained to use it on members of the public, the OPP said.“We take the health and safety of our members and our communities very seriously,” OPP Commissioner Vince Hawkes said in a statement.“With the increased prevalence of fentanyl, fentanyl analogues and synthetic opioid powders on our streets, there is a very real danger of exposure and these steps are being taken to ensure the safety of those we serve and our officers,” Hawkes said.Community Safety and Correctional Services Minister Marie-France Lalonde said the opioid crisis is a “growing threat” in Ontario.“Equipping OPP officers with naloxone kits will give vulnerable people timely access to this life-saving drug,” she said. “When someone is overdosing, minutes can make the difference between life and death. This initiative will save lives.”Health Canada testing has determined fentanyl was present in 114 OPP seizures in 2016 from the mainly rural communities it serves, “demonstrating it is an emerging and ongoing concern in all parts of Ontario,” the OPP said.Test results for 2017 are not yet available, but it said the number of seizures of containing suspected fentanyl appears to be similar to 2016 levels.The OPP said it is also making the use of personal protective equipment mandatory while conducting suspected drug searches, seizures and sampling to help ensure the safety of officers.Front-line officers will be required to wear protective equipment including a respiratory mask, safety glasses or goggles, nitrile gloves and long sleeve shirt or jacket, it said.Rob Jamieson, president of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, said officers are seeing more fentanyl in various forms so the chance of exposure is increased.“Having additional personal protective equipment and naloxone on hand could very well save the life of one of our members, or a member of the public,” Jamieson said.Acting Staff Sgt. Peter Leon said OPP officers will receive training on the use of naloxone, the protective equipment and new procedures on how to handle suspected controlled substances over the summer.
OTTAWA – Respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples, paying taxes and filling out the census are listed as mandatory obligations of Canadian citizenship in a draft version of a new study guide for the citizenship exam.The working copy obtained by The Canadian Press suggests the federal government has completely overhauled the book used by prospective Canadians to prepare for the test.The current “Discover Canada” guide dates back to 2011 when the previous Conservative government did its own overhaul designed to provide more information on Canadian values and history.Some of the Conservatives’ insertions attracted controversy, including increased detail about the War of 1812 and a warning that certain “barbaric cultural practices,” such as honour killings and female genital mutilation, are crimes in Canada.Getting rid of both those elements was what former Liberal Immigration Minister John McCallum had in mind when he said early in 2016 that the book was up for a rewrite. But although work has been underway for over a year, there’s no date set for publication of a final version.In the draft version, the reference to barbaric cultural practices is gone, as is the inclusion of getting a job as one of the responsibilities of citizenship.Instead, the proposed new guide breaks down the responsibilities of citizenship into two categories: voluntary and mandatory.Voluntary responsibilities are listed as respecting the human rights of others, understanding official bilingualism and participating in the political process.Obeying the law, serving on a jury, paying taxes, filling out the census and respecting treaties with Indigenous Peoples are mandatory.“Today, Canadians, for example, can own their own homes and buy land thanks to treaties that the government negotiated,” the draft version says. “Every Canadian has responsibilities under those treaties as well. They are agreements of honour.”The draft guide delves extensively into the history and present-day lives of Indigenous Peoples, including multiple references to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report on residential schools and a lengthy section on what happened at those schools. The current guide contains a single paragraph.The draft also devotes substantive sections to sad chapters of Canadian history when the Chinese, South Asians, Jews and disabled Canadians were discriminated against, references that were absent or exceptionally limited previously.The new version also documents the evolution of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender groups, as well as other sexual minorities. Bureaucrats had sought to include similar themes in the 2011 book but were overruled by then-immigration minister Jason Kenney, with their efforts reduced to a single line on gay marriage.There’s also an entirely new section called “Quality of Life in Canada” that delves into the education system — including a pitch for people to save money for their children’s schooling — the history of medicare, descriptions of family life, leisure time, effects of the environment on Canadian arts and culture and even a paragraph seeking to explain Canadian humour.Canadians like to make fun of themselves, the book notes.“Humour and satire about the experience of Indigenous, racialized, refugee and immigration peoples and their experiences is growing in popularity,” the section says.The rewrite is part of a much broader renewal of citizenship laws and process that is underway. In June, legislation passed that changed the age for those who need to pass the knowledge test for citizenship, among other things.Briefing notes obtained separately from the draft copy show nearly every government department is being consulted for input into the guide. But the team inside the Immigration Department didn’t just look there.They were also taking cues from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, sharing copies of his remarks for themes to incorporate.One of Trudeau’s often repeated mantras — “Canada has learned how to be strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them” — appears to be paraphrased directly in the opening section of the book: Canadians have learned how to be strong because of our differences.”The briefing notes say the guide is to be released to mark Canada’s 150th birthday but elsewhere note that production time is at least four months once a final version has been approved.A spokesperson for the Immigration Department stressed the importance of the consultations that have gone into the new guide.“While this may take more time, this broader approach will result in a final product that better reflects Canada’s diversity and Indigenous history, as recommended by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission,” Lindsay Wemp said in an email.
TORONTO – Serina Manek has been living in Leslieville for seven years, and has watched it go from a rough-around-the-edges area in Toronto’s east end, to one of the city’s most desirable neighbourhoods.The demand for Leslieville was always building, she says, but when the condos started going up, the boom of young families started to have an effect on the neighbourhood dynamic, and ultimately, the schools.“It was starting to burst at the seams with just the young families coming in at first,” said Manek, who has a five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter. “But with the addition of the condos, things are becoming unmanageable. It’s too much.”Toronto public schools in condo-heavy neighbourhoods are starting to feel the squeeze of a dense population. The Toronto District School Board has been warning new home buyers in certain neighbourhoods that not all children will be accommodated in their home school.TDSB spokesman Ryan Bird says the board has placed signs on the street level warning potential home buyers that a spot in a home school isn’t guaranteed, and similar warnings are also included in the home buyer’s agreement. Bird says the most recent statistics show that there are 110 new developments in Toronto with those warnings.Leslieville is one of them, and Manek says that she doesn’t know if her daughter will be able to go to the same school as her brother when she starts kindergarten.“It’s unsettling to walk around the neighbourhood and see that sign, and for that to be your form of communication,” said Manek. “I guess the frustration is the communication, but I don’t know where that communication would come from.”Sitting in a buzzing Leslieville park — one that Manek notes used to be empty a few years ago — she says that she doesn’t see the population boom as sustainable.Her friend, Holly Andruchuk, will be sending her son to his first year of kindergarten in the upcoming school year, but says that the implications of her crowded nearby school just keep piling up.Their school, Morse Street Junior Public School, is nestled on a small street just off of Leslieville’s main thoroughfare. In 2010, it was home to around 200 students, according to the TDSB. This year, it’s grown more than double that with over 500 students. Bird says the dramatic increase is due to changing demographics in the region, as well as the addition of French immersion at the school.Andruchuk says that the high number of students means that her son will be in a classroom with as many as 27 other students, and that is one of five kindergarten classes this year. And his classroom will be on the second floor, which she says is unusual for a kindergarten student.“Our teacher on orientation night actually said that, because we’re on the second floor, our kids don’t go outside as often,” said Andruchuk. “Because in winter time, trying to dress four- and five-year-olds (and then get them down the stairs) is a challenge on its own.”However, Andruchuk is optimistic that her son’s education won’t suffer. She believes that the community will have to step up to support their children in a way that a stressed school system might not be able to. Her friend Manek, however, is not so sure. She thinks that ultimately, some parents will give up on the Leslieville area and move on further away.Whether a community culture can save Leslieville or not, the problem isn’t isolated to the one Toronto neighbourhood. Bird says that the housing development warnings are sprawled in locations all across the city.Next door in Mississauga, Ont., the Peel District School Board uses the same warning messages to prospective buyers in the crowded city centre area, where more families are living in condos than originally expected.“The numbers would bear out a trend that families are seeking a more affordable form of apartment condominiums,” said Randy Wright, a planning controller with the PDSB, who says that finding land for new schools for the incoming families is proving to be a difficult task.And across the country in Vancouver, the city’s public school board says it can’t always guarantee that students will be able to go to their home school, and may have to be bussed out to further schools.In the meantime, Andruchuk and Manek are gearing up for the upcoming school year, and plan to volunteer in the school system as much as possible.“I will always put my kids’ education first,” said Manek.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version had an incorrect name for Morse Street Junior Public School
OTTAWA – Victims of childhood sexual abuse often suffer great distress over the fact video or pictures of the crimes are circulating in cyberspace — adding to the pain they already experience, says a new report.The existence of images that may still be possessed by the abuser or publicly available for others to see has “an enormously negative impact” on victims, says the report by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection, a national charity that fights child exploitation.“The impact can persist into adulthood and may significantly reduce the ability of survivors to cope with day-to-day stressors, maintain healthy relationships, and reach their full potential.”The report draws on the experiences of 150 child sex-abuse victims from Canada, the United States and several European countries who filled out an extensive survey to help researchers better understand what they’re facing as adults.Almost 70 per cent of those who took part worried about being recognized by someone because of the recording of their child sexual abuse. One in every five reported being identified by a person who had seen their abuse imagery.“It’s not something that will ever go away. Being the adult I am now, my photos are still out there, as long as the internet exists my photos will always be out there,” one respondent told the researchers. “Sites will be taken down but new ones are somehow being put back up. … There is no way I can finally be done with this abuse.”The report recommends considering global adoption of a centre-developed tool known as Project Arachnid, an automatic web crawler that detects images and videos based on digital fingerprints of illegal content. The tool has already identified tens of thousands of online images of child sexual abuse.When such material is identified, a notice is sent to the hosting internet provider to request immediate removal.“We need other countries to be aware of it, that this is available,” said Lianna McDonald, the child protection centre’s executive director.The researchers found almost half of the respondents were victims of organized sexual abuse, assaulted by multiple offenders. In such scenarios, the main offenders were often parents or extended family members.Many victims did not tell anyone about the abuse until they were an adult. Very few first told someone at school, a place where children spend much of their time. Many said no one ever asked them directly if they had been abused.As a result, the report recommends improving education and training on child sexual abuse among professionals, such as teachers and doctors, to help them recognize signs and respond appropriately.The centre’s report also recommends:— Strengthening co-ordination and communication between organizations that deal with victims of child abuse and online exploitation, including schools, child welfare, hotlines, therapists, police, industry, child-serving organizations and advocacy centres;— Developing comprehensive remedies to recognize the rights and needs of victims whose abuse was recorded, such as knowledgeable therapists, means of financial compensation and opportunities to have their voices heard within the criminal justice system.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
A Canadian woman who is searching for her missing son in Peru says that authorities in the country are considering the possibility that her son was abducted.Alisa Clamen, a Montreal resident, said her son Jesse Galganov, 22, left for a backpacking trip through South America and Southeast Asia last month. She last heard from him on Sept. 28, when he said that he would be out of communication for only a few days while he embarked on a multi-day trek near the Peruvian city of Huaraz.Clamen flew to Peru last week after deciding that something was seriously wrong. After not hearing from her son for nearly a month, she has posted a $10,000 USD award for any information that leads to her son being found.She said she has been corresponding with Peruvian authorities since her arrival, who she said have been working flat out to try to locate her son.“All of (the information) is leading to the conclusion that Jesse, somehow, was abducted,” said Clamen.“It is really the only plausible theory at this point, because nobody really disappears into thin air.”She said that Galganov’s last known location was a backpackers hostel called Kame House in Huaraz. She added the investigation officially became a criminal one when the owner of the hostel first said that Galganov had been to the hostel, and then changed his story to say that he hadn’t when asked by police.Investigators know that Galganov made it to Kame House because a friend received a Snapchat message of Galganov at the hostel.Clamen says that obtaining Galganov’s information from his iPhone, as well as his Kindle e-reader device will be critical in the investigation. However, she said that Apple, T-Mobile (Galganov’s service provider), and Amazon haven’t been co-operating with the investigation.“All these people are offering their help, and yet I have Apple, Amazon, and T-Mobile who are not only not offering their help, they’re impeding us,” said Clamen.“I’m incredulous, I just cannot believe that these companies are not being co-operative, when the life a 22-year-old man is at stake.”So far, Clamen says that she has received an enormous amount of support from the Canadian embassy in Peru, from Peruvian authorities, and from friends back home who are scouring their social media for any information that could be gleaned from communications with Galganov.Clamen added that she is hoping the U.S. Embassy and FBI could get involved to pressure Apple, T-Mobile and Amazon into releasing data from Galganov’s devices.“I can’t sit and break down and cry and just be a mother that is lost,” said Clamen, speaking from a hotel room in Huaraz as authorities updated her on the investigation.“Sometimes I feel like that, like I have to collapse, but I just can’t do that, because I need to find my son.”For that reason, she says there’s no point in regretting her son’s trip, because it won’t help with the task at hand. She said Galganov, who had just been accepted to medical school, could not have planned this trip more meticulously.Clamen said she knew and researched every detail of the trip with him, right down to the weight of each item in his backpack.“I can’t let regret consume me, because it’ll break me.”
BRANTFORD, Ont. – Residents of a southwestern Ontario city are being allowed back into their homes as the risk of flooding from a swollen river recedes.Officials in Brantford, Ont., say an evacuation order affecting nearly 5,000 residents was lifted Thursday evening after water levels on the Grand River went down.The city had declared a state of emergency on Wednesday and ordered residents in neighbourhoods near the river to leave their homes.Officials say residents still need to be extremely cautious around all bodies of water and warned that banks near rivers and creeks were very slippery.The city also says the Ministry of Transportation has approved the reopening of several bridges and roads that had been off limits during the flooding.Torrential rains and mild temperatures earlier in the week had pushed the Grand River to breach its banks in communities as far as 100 kilometres away.In Orangeville, Ont., police continued to search for a three-year-old boy who went missing after his mother’s van plunged into the water around 1 a.m. Wednesday.The woman was able to drag her son from the van, but lost her grip, and the boy was swept downstream, provincial police said.“It’s been more than 24 hours, the water is extremely cold there’s a very slim change he’d be alive,” said Const. Paul Nancekivell. “Our goal right now is to find (his body) and get some closure and peace to the family.”Officials have cautioned the public not to go near the river, saying they do not want to see any more tragedy caused by flooding.
OTTAWA – The federal government says it has cancelled plans to issue a controversial clam fishing licence to a First Nations company with ties to the Liberal party and several sitting Liberal MPs — including the former fisheries minister.A news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the process to issue a fourth licence to harvest arctic surf clam off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia was cancelled in early July, and that it won’t be issued this year at all.That multimillion-dollar licence was supposed to go to the Five Nations Clam Co., a company court documents suggest did not initially meet key eligibility requirements spelled out in the government’s tender process.The deal, which would have ended a 19-year monopoly on the Arctic clam fishery held by Clearwater Seafoods, was supposed to offer 25 per cent of the catch to local Indigenous communities as a way of promoting reconciliation and economic growth.On Feb. 21, Fisheries Minister Dominic LeBlanc announced the deal had been awarded to Five Nations, which he said was composed of “First Nations from Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick.”In fact, the company only had two Indigenous partners at the time: the Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick and the Nutashkuan Innu in Quebec.“The current process to issue a fourth arctic surf clam licence was cancelled in early July, and the reasons subsequently shared with the proponent,” Fisheries and Oceans said Friday in a news release. “A new arctic surf clam licence will not be issued in 2018.”Instead, a new process will begin next year in order to issue a licence that would be valid in 2020, with an “independent third party” evaluating the bids, the department says.The remaining 25 per cent of this year’s total allowable catch “may be made available” to the existing licence holder, the release says. “This would allow for the economic benefits to remain in coastal communities while Fisheries and Oceans Canada continues to work to broaden access to this fishery.”The new process, it continues, “will once again focus on confirming and validating the specific direct and significant benefits that will flow to Indigenous communities, as well as the proponents’ readiness to implement their submissions.”Conservative fisheries critic Todd Doherty was very pleased with the decision, describing the original process as seriously flawed.“This is great news,” Doherty said. “It’s what we said all along should happen.”In its original proposal, Five Nations admitted it was not officially registered in Nova Scotia until Dec. 13, 2017, records show — well past the Nov. 22 deadline to submit proposals. The company was not registered in New Brunswick until Feb. 28 of this year.Five Nations is partnered with Premium Seafoods, a non-Indigenous Nova Scotia company whose president is Edgar Samson, the brother of Liberal MP Darrell Samson. A newly added Indigenous partner, NunatuKavut, is headed by former Liberal MP Todd Russell.In the spring, Doherty requested the ethics commissioner to investigate because those Liberal ties. Doherty has also drawn ties between the deal and LeBlanc himself: The Five Nations proposal said it would be headed up by Gilles Theriault, who is cousin to the former minister’s wife.LeBlanc was shuffled out of the Fisheries portfolio late last month and now serves as intergovernmental affairs minister. He was replaced at Fisheries by Vancouver MP Jonathan Wilkinson.Doherty called the timing of the decision “suspicious,” considering the fact LeBlanc was shuffled just weeks later.The Miawpukek Band in Newfoundland, which had submitted its own proposal during the original process, launched a court challenge alleging LeBlanc breached his duty of fairness in awarding the licence to Five Nations. The office of conflict of interest and ethics commissioner Mario Dion has also been looking into the issue.
NAPANEE, Ont. – A minor weapon charge against notorious killer and serial rapist Paul Bernardo was withdrawn on Friday almost two weeks before an expected parole hearing at which the dangerous offender will plead for release having spent more than 25 years behind bars, most in solitary confinement.The prosecution said there was no reasonable prospect of convicting Bernardo of having a “shank” in his maximum-security cell — a five-centimetre deck screw attached to a ballpoint pen his lawyer suggested was planted either by other inmates or guards.“As you know, he’s reviled not by just people out of jail but by people in jail,” Fergus (Chip) O’Connor said outside court. “He had no knowledge of it being there. There were many opportunities for many other people to have placed it there.”Dressed in a blue T-shirt, Bernardo watched the short Ontario court proceedings via video link. He showed little outward emotion and politely answered brief questions as O’Connor began making what will likely be his parole pitch.His client, he said, has been of good behaviour in “very hard conditions of confinement” and has the support of his “loving parents,” who visit him regularly. Bernardo, O’Connor said, has made a “determined effort not to make up for what he’s done — for that can never be done — but to improve himself.”Also known as the “Scarborough rapist,” the now 54-year-old Bernardo was convicted in 1995 of the first-degree murders of two teen girls and numerous sexual assaults. He was labelled a dangerous offender and was not eligible for parole until he had served 25 years since his arrest in southern Ontario in early 1993.Despite becoming eligible for day parole in February, he has never been out, spending almost all his time in protective custody or solitary confinement at an institution in Bath, Ont.Self-described activist Linda Beaudoin, of Mississauga, Ont., arrived at the courthouse hoping the prisoner would be there to see the placards she had attached to her car. Bernardo, she said, should not be in protective custody.“Why should we protect these child rapists and child killers? Why?” Beaudoin said. “There’s no protection for victims. None. So we need to deter future criminals from doing these sorts of things.”O’Connor said Bernardo has been paying for his “horrific” crimes, and the parole board will have to look at what has happened since his client’s arrest in early 1993.“Their decision will be not how much he should suffer, but does he present a risk,” O’Connor said. “The rule of law must prevail. The issue is not just desserts, the issue is risk.”Bernardo’s sadistic sex crimes, some of which he videotaped, sparked widespread terror and revulsion.He kidnapped, tortured and killed Leslie Mahaffy, 14, of Burlington, Ont., in June 1991 at his home in Port Dalhousie, Ont., before dismembering her body, encasing her remains in cement and discarding them in a nearby lake. He tortured and killed Kristen French, 15, of St. Catharines, Ont., in April 1992 after keeping her captive for three days.Bernardo’s then-wife, Karla Homolka, was complicit. In return for testifying against him, she served 12 years until 2005 after pleading guilty to manslaughter in what critics branded as a “deal with the devil.” Homolka is now a mother herself, and last year it was revealed she had been volunteering at a Montreal-area elementary school, prompting it to revise its policies.Bernardo, who admitted to raping 14 other women, was later convicted of manslaughter in the December 1990 death of Homolka’s younger sister, Tammy. The 15-year-old girl died after the pair drugged her and sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious. Homolka would later say she wanted to give Tammy’s virginity to Bernardo for Christmas.Despite the terrible crimes, O’Connor said Bernardo was realistic about his prospects of gaining parole after his hearing on Oct. 17. Bernardo takes responsibility and has worked on his self-improvement and his self-awareness, the lawyer said.“He’s as horrified as you and I are at what he did. The fact is he has over the 25 years experienced personal growth, he has at times seemed to blame others, burdened down by his own guilt,” O’Connor said outside court. “I expect that he will take full responsibility, express remorse, and he appears to be sincere in that.”
OTTAWA — Liberals are defending Justin Trudeau’s threatened libel suit against Andrew Scheer, arguing that the Conservative leader’s editing or deleting online statements proves he knows he’s gone too far in criticizing the prime minister’s handling of the SNC-Lavalin affair.“The leader of the Opposition pretends that he will not back down and he tries to make a show out of it,” Government House leader Bardish Chagger told the House of Commons on Monday. “We know that is false because while he is saying that, he has already been editing online statements or erasing them entirely.”Scheer revealed Sunday that he’d received a letter from Trudeau’s lawyer, Julian Porter, serving notice of a possible libel suit over a statement issued on March 29, in which the Conservative leader accused Trudeau of leading a campaign to politically interfere with the criminal prosecution of Montreal engineering giant SNC-Lavalin and directing his former attorney general, Jody Wilson-Raybould, to break the law.The notice is not an actual lawsuit, just a threat that one might come — a standard first step in a defamation claim. In the Commons on Monday, Scheer repeatedly taunted the Liberals to bring it on.“Canadians are looking forward to the prime minister finally appearing under oath and testifying in a setting that he, himself, cannot control,” Scheer said, repeatedly asking the government to set a date for legal proceedings to begin.Scheer denied having edited or deleted any posts on Twitter.“No, I have not deleted tweets because I stand by everything I said in those statements,” he said.But Chagger pointed to a tweet Scheer posted on March 31, the same day he received Porter’s letter. Originally, it referred to Trudeau telling “lies” about not knowing about a conversation the clerk of the Privy Council, Michael Wernick, had with Wilson-Raybould on Dec. 19. The tweet was later deleted and a new one posted, she said, to replace the word “lies” with “falsehoods.”Wilson-Raybould surreptitiously recorded that conversation with Wernick to bolster her contention that the top public servant had issued “veiled threats” that her job as justice minister and attorney general was at risk if she didn’t agree to intervene to stop the prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya. Wernick’s lawyer said the clerk never relayed that conversation to Trudeau because everyone went on holiday the next day. When they returned in the new year, the lawyer said, they got consumed with planning a cabinet shuffle, in which Wilson-Raybould was moved to Veterans Affairs.Chagger pointed to another tweet Scheer posted on Feb. 11, in which he asserted there is “potentially criminality at play in the Prime Minister’s Office.” That tweet was deleted, she said.And she brought up a tweet Scheer deleted back in December after Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains served notice of a potential libel suit over the Conservative leader’s assertion that the minister was under RCMP investigation related to a land deal in Brampton.“It is important that Canadians always know that we will not stand idly by while the Conservatives intentionally mislead Canadians,” Chagger said, adding that the Conservatives and their leader “have a history of making untrue and defamatory statements just for political gains.”In 2008, then Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper launched a libel suit against the Liberal party over allegations that he had known about an alleged attempt by Conservatives to bribe independent MP Chuck Cadman in exchange for his support in a key confidence vote in 2005.The lawsuit made it difficult for then Liberal leader Stephane Dion to raise the issue during the 2008 election campaign. A few months after the election, which returned Harper’s Conservatives to power with a minority in Parliament, Harper settled the matter out of court with Dion’s successor Michael Ignatieff.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says if he is elected prime minister in the fall, he’ll want to make sure the CBC is telling enough Canadian stories.In an interview with The Canadian Press this week, Scheer said he’d like to scrutinize the national public broadcaster to see that it is “focusing on Canadian stories.”“It’s appropriate to look and say — when the CBC was first introduced decades ago, there wasn’t the ability to get content on smartphones, there wasn’t the ability to get hundreds and hundreds of channels on TV through satellites,” Scheer said.“We have a situation now where we have a much different model when it comes to news and media and content creation — and it’s time that we look at how the CBC fits into all of that.”Scheer also pointed to an increased focus on international stories and, in particular, American politics across all CBC platforms in recent years.“When we look and see how much coverage is devoted on CBC to U.S. politics, the inner workings of U.S. politics, making sure that it’s focused on the things that are going on here in Canada — I think that’s something that many Canadians have said we should ensure that it’s focused on the core mandate of being concentrated on Canada.”A CBC spokesperson defended the international focus, saying the corporation is focused on covering news wherever it happens, to help Canadians understand the implications of important events.“Whether it’s Brexit or the Middle East, U.S. politics, pipeline debates or flooding in local communities, Canadians trust CBC/Radio-Canada to keep them informed,” Kerry Kelly, the Crown corporation’s senior manager of public relations, said in a statement.When asked if he would reduce government funding to the CBC, Scheer did not directly answer, saying that he has only ever promoted the idea of ensuring the broadcaster is doing the work it is mandated to do.But he did question whether the CBC’s foray into soliciting advertising revenues has created a “distorting effect” on the media market — with a publicly funded broadcaster competing against struggling private news companies for dwindling advertising dollars.“We have to make sure the CBC’s impact in that is not creating an undue hurdle against those private-sector entities that are trying to stay afloat and now have to compete with a government-subsidized entity that is also going out into the market to sell ads to get viewership.”According to its 2017-18 annual report, the CBC generated $318.4 million in total advertising revenues across all of its media and languages that year, with $42.6 million of it coming from digital advertising. This is in addition to over $1.2 billion in funding it received in the same year from the federal government.The Trudeau government has pledged an additional $150 million to the CBC every year through to 2021 as part of a major boost to cultural spending rolled out shortly after the 2015 election.The corporation acknowledged in its annual report that digital ad revenues are growing, but said this growth is “not significant enough to offset the decline observed in TV advertising.” It also pointed to increased competition from “large global players” — presumably companies with streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon — that are not subject to the same regulations as Canadian media companies and that do not contribute financially to the Canadian media ecosystem as the biggest threat to the Canadian media market.“These companies are not simply distributors of content; they are major investors in and creators of content, substantially increasing production budgets,” the annual report says.“They have access to combined potential markets 100 times greater than that of Canada and can use economies of scale to monetize their programming and infrastructure investments. They have access to massive amounts of data, allowing them to effectively develop and curate content for their audiences. All of this makes it harder for domestic regulated companies to compete.”Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — The federal government is asking the Supreme Court for an urgent stay of a ruling that declared administrative segregation unconstitutional. The practice allows authorities to isolate inmates who pose a safety risk to themselves or others.However, it is due to become illegal on Tuesday.An Ontario judge struck down the law on the practice in December 2017 because of a lack of meaningful oversight.The judge put his ruling on hold for one year to give the government time to fix the broken system.The Court of Appeal recently extended the stay until next week but warned there would be no more extensions.The Canadian Press
Tony Hawk and Jason Lee invite you to the 9th Annual Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Stand Up For Skateparks benefit.This exclusive action-sports charity event returns to the Beverly Hills landmark Green Acres Estate on Sunday, October 7, 2012. Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater HD Presents Stand Up For Skateparks is a family-centric action-sports carnival that includes games, activities, food, giveaways, a live musical performance by an A-list band, and a Vert demo with Tony and a who’s-who of the skate and BMX worlds on Tony’s personal ramp.Among this year’s expected guests are Andre Agassi, Ron Burkle, Chantal and Stephen J. Cloobeck, Jamie Lee Curtis, Patrick Dempsey, Jon Favreau, Etty and Perry Farrell, Leeza Gibbons, Robin and Danny Greenspun, Ben Harper, Mat Hoffman, Bobby Kotick, Chuck Liddell, Howie Mandel, Sal Masekela, Lance Mountain, Christian Slater, Mark Wahlberg, Lori and Bill Walton, and Shaun White.Stand Up For Skateparks sells out every year—don’t miss your opportunity to share this terrific day with your family and friends, and to help support the Tony Hawk Foundation’s work to bring free public skateparks to at-risk youth across America!Past attendees include: Andre Agassi, Jamie Lee Curtis, Mia Hamm, Brian Austin Green, Mark Wahlberg, Kat Von D, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Jon Favreau, Patrick Dempsey, Howie Mandel, Bill Walton, Ben Harper, Russell Simmons, Leeza Gibbons, David Blaine, Arsenio Hall, Erik Estrada, Tommy Lee, David Spade, Shaun White, Rancid, Benicio del Toro, Sal Masekela, Kathy Ireland, Holly Madison, Chuck Liddell, Lisa Kudrow, Trent Reznor, Blink 182, Pamela Anderson, Pennywise, Perry Farrell, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera, Ed Helms, and more.Find out more here.
Sharon Stone will attend this year’s An Evening With A View event for A Better LA.The theme this year is “An Evening with a View,” where A Better LA will celebrate their tenth anniversary, the richness and diversity of the city, as well as ABLA’s successful gang prevention and intervention, community development and empowerment efforts.As part of the evening’s agenda, A Better LA will offer participants insight into Los Angeles’ inner city culture, through a short documentary on ABLA’s partners and work. They will also honor the hardworking individuals who risk their lives every day to effect positive change in the communities they serve, as well as the strides that ABLA has taken as an organization, to help reduce gang violence and save lives.“An Evening With a View” will feature a live auction hosted by Sharon Stone, a tribute to Pete Carroll, a silent art auction, and a tasting menu curated by Chef Joaquim Splichal of the Patina Restaurant Group featuring Josiah Citrin (Melisse), Celestino Drago (Drago Centro), Giacomino Drago (Il Pastaio), Ian Gresik (Drago Centro), Megan Logan (Nick + Stef’s Steakhouse), Walter Manzke, Monica May (Nickel Diner), Kris Morningstar (Ray’s & Stark Bar), Charles Olalia (Patina), John Sedlar (Rivera), and Yojisan Sushi.A Better LA, founded by NFL coach Pete Carroll, is a nonprofit organization that supports market- and community-based solutions to restore peace, save lives, and give individuals living in inner city LA the resources and tools they need in order to thrive. A Better LA works with trusted partners to bridge racial divides, create safer environments for children and families, rebuild communities, and empower individuals to create a better future for themselves. By partnering with community-based organizations, A Better LA enables sustainable transformation to take root from within, offering all Angelenos reason to hope for a better tomorrow.WHEN: Thursday, May 2, 2013 WHERE: AT&T Center – Penthouse 1150 South OliveDowntown Los Angeles, CA 90015Find out more here.
The campaign to free Greenpeace protesters jailed in Russia is intensifying, with celebrities stepping up to call for action.The 30 protesters were arrested in international waters almost two months ago during a Greenpeace protest at an Arctic oil rig.On Friday Greenpeace published on Twitter a message from Madonna in which the singer called for the public to make themselves heard, writing “Let’s bring these people home!”Madonna’s message of support for the Arctic 30Credit/Copyright: GreenpeaceAlso on Friday, actress Marion Cotillard joined a group of environmental activists in Paris to cage themselves in protest against the arrests in Russia.Marion Cotillard joins demonstration for release of the Arctic 30Credit/Copyright: AFP via TwitterOn Thursday Sir Paul McCartney published an impassioned open letter to Vladimir Putin on his website. Beginning the letter “Dear Vladimir”, McCartney underlined the positive intent of the protesters, and closed with a reference to his Beatles past:“Forty-five years ago I wrote a song about Russia for the White Album, back when it wasn’t fashionable for English people to say nice things about your country. That song had one of my favourite Beatles lines in it: “Been away so long I hardly knew the place, gee it’s good to be back home.“Could you make that come true for the Greenpeace prisoners?”The arrests have been widely criticized. All 30 people aboard the Greenpeace icebreaker were initially charged with piracy, but the charges were latter reduced to hooliganism. Under Russian law, the penalty for those found guilty could be up to seven years in jail.On October 10th, Edward Norton described the situation as “a scandal” on Twitter, and on October 5th, Jude Law and Vivienne Westwood joined protests in London.At the arctic30support website, hundres of further celebrities – including Ewan McGregor, Flea, Juliette Lewis and Daryl Hannah – have been leaving messages of support. Visit the site to find out how you can get involved.Copyright ©2013Look to the Stars