Bill to amend POCSO Act with death penalty for child rape introduced

first_imgNew Delhi: A Bill entailing amendments to the POCSO Act by including death penalty for aggravated sexual assault on children, besides providing stringent punishments for other crimes against minors, was introduced in Rajya Sabha on Tuesday.Moving the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said: “The amendments I move today are ensuring that those who rape our children, especially cases of gang rape, will be met by death”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The proposed changes in the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act also provide for fines and imprisonment to curb child pornography. The minister observed that many cases have come to light which show how children have become more vulnerable with evolving technology and therefore, one of the biggest amendments to the Bill is the definition of child pornography. “Today, through this amendment we seek to define child pornography but we don’t limit it only to videos. The amendment through definition of child pornography expands it to visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a minor or a child which will include photographs, video, digital or photo generated images,” Irani said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KElaborating on the provisions of the Bill, she said, it proposes that under Section 15, a fine of Rs 5,000 is introduced on the first occasion with regards to punishment for storage of pornographic material involving a child. On the second occasion, a fine of Rs 10,000 is proposed for not reporting child pornographic material with an intention to share/transmit it, which can be extended to imprisonment if such material is transmitted, displayed, distributed or propagated, the minister informed. “If such material is used for commercial purposes, then this amendment proposes to extend a minimum punishment by imprisonment for not less than 3 years which may extend to 5 years with fine or with both,” Irani said. She highlighted that the amendments brought for the consideration of the House for the first time also elaborately seeks to penalise and punish those who persuade, induce, entice or coerce a child to be administered by a chemical substance so that the child attains early sexual maturity. Irani said the amendment with regards to injection of hormones and chemical substances was also necessitated by the fact that some cases came to light related to implanting of birth control into the upper arm of children. Depraved cases of the extent to which a human being can go to exploit a child have necessitated these amendments, she said. “Today the amendments proposed under POCSO make this particular (Bill), and in consonance with the Criminal Law Amendment 2018, make this very case for penal action for those who commit a rape (of) a child under the age of 18 to be punished for 20 years which may extend to imprisonment for life,” Irani said. The minister said she speaks for 39 per cent of India’s population with provisional data of the census saying that 47 crore of our citizens are aged upto 18 years. The minister expressed hope that the guidance emanating from a productive discussion in the House on the proposed amendments strengthen the government’s resolve to provide more legal and administrative protection to the country’s children, “who are not vote banks but the foundation of a New India”.last_img read more

Mamata declares rural Bengal open defecation free

first_imgKolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has declared rural West Bengal as open defecation free (ODF) and said that her government will now focus on solid waste management. Around 1.35 crore households in rural Bengal have been covered by the ‘Mission Nirmal Bangla’, which aimed at making all villages open defecation free (ODF) by October 2. “I’m happy to share with all of you that rural Bengal is now open defecation free. Government of India has confirmed our achievement which was our mission towards cleaner and greener environment and safe living,” Banerjee tweeted on Friday night. “Our next focus will be solid waste management,” she added.last_img read more

Visit 15 tourist destinations by 2022 Modi to citizens

first_imgNew Delhi: Emphasising that India has a huge potential in improving the tourism sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday appealed to the citizens to visit at least 15 tourist destinations in the country by 2022.Addressing the country from the ramparts of the Red Fort on the 73rd Independence Day, Modi said: “India has so much to offer. I know people travel abroad for holidays. But can we think of visiting at least 15 tourist destinations across India before 2022, when we mark 75 years of freedom?”Modi said that he was aware that there were many tourist destinations which do not have hotels or other infrastructures. “But visiting such places will boost tourism in these areas and automatically lead to better facilities,” he added.last_img read more

Motivational messages help diabetic patients

first_imgResearchers have found that a low-cost text messaging programme improves blood sugar control in patients with diabetes and coronary heart disease. “The effect in this study was not only statistically significant but also has the potential to be clinically relevant by reducing risk of diabetic complications and death,” said study researchers. It may provide a means to better address the burgeoning healthcare demand-capacity imbalance. For the study, the researchers enrolled 502 patients from 34 clinics in China and the patients were randomly assigned to the text messaging intervention or a control group for six months. The intervention group received six messages per week, at random times of the day, from an automated system set up by the researchers. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe messages were designed to provide information and motivation and help patients set goals and manage stress. The control group received two thank you text messages per month. At six months, blood glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) was significantly lower in the intervention group compared to the control group (6.7 per cent versus 7.2 per cent). On an average, HbA1c fell by 0.2 per cent in the intervention group and rose by 0.1 per cent in the control group – a difference of 0.3 per cent between groups. The change in fasting blood glucose was larger in the intervention, compared to control, group (-0.5 versus 0.1 mmol/L, respectively).last_img read more

Four killed 3 injured in fire at ONGC plant operations unaffected

first_imgMumbai: Four people were killed and three seriously injured when a fire broke out at an oil and gas processing plant of ONGC at Navi Mumbai township, a top official and the police said. Those killed include three personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which is responsible for the security of the Uran plant of Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC). The fourth was an employee of ONGC. Officials said the three injured are also CISF personnel. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Oil production was not impacted by the fire but ONGC diverted natural gas produced from fields in the Arabian Sea to a similar processing facility at Hazira in Gujarat. “A fire was reported at around 7.15 am this morning at stormwater drainage unit of the Uran plant possibly due to a gas leak. By 9.30 am the fire was brought under control. Unfortunately, we lost four precious lives in the accident,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said in New Delhi. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday He asserted that there was no crisis and things were under control. The Uran facility of ONGC receives and processes about 12.5 million tonnes per annum of crude oil and about 11.5 million standard cubic meters per day of natural gas and associated condensate from fields in the Arabian Sea. The facility extracts value-added products such as LPG, C2/C3, and naphtha before supplying crude oil to refineries and natural gas to downstream consumers. Uran plant handles nearly 48 per cent of ONGC’s total crude oil production and accounts for nearly 12 per cent of its gas sales. It produces nearly 42 per cent of ONGC’s total output of value-added products. Officials said almost half of the total revenue of the Uran plant comes from the sale of LPG. Following the blaze, thick smoke engulfed the area, the police said, adding that they appealed to people staying in villages in the plant’s vicinity not to panic, and assured things were under control. The victims died during a blast while they were trying to check gas leakage at the site, a senior CISF official said. The mishap took place around 6.47 am in the ONGC’s processing plant at Uran town, located around 50 km from here, a police official said. Four people were killed and three others injured in the mishap,” a senior police official said. The deceased included three CISF fire personnel Eranna Nayakka, Satish Prasad Kushwaha, and M K Paswan, who were trying to stop the gas leakage, and resident production superintendent C N Rao of the ONGC, CISF’s Deputy Inspector General (west zone) Nilima Singh said. The injured persons were admitted to a nearby hospital for treatment, she said. At least 22 fire brigade tenders, including those of the ONGC, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), Reliance Group, Navi Mumbai civic body and the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation at Taloja, were rushed to the spot. The ONGC on its Twitter handle said: “Fire broke out in stormwater drainage in Uran Plant early morning successfully doused within two hours by fire fighting team. #ONGCs robust crisis mitigation preparedness helped put off this major fire in a very short time.” Earlier, in another tweet, it said, “A fire broke out in stormwater drainage early morning today in Uran oil & gas processing plant. ONGC fire services & crisis management team immediately pressed into action. Fire is being contained. No impact on Oil processing. Gas diverted to Hazira Plant. The situation is being assessed.” The exact cause of the fire was yet to ascertained. According to Singh, a CISF fire station was informed in the morning about gas leakage near the LPG plant of ONGC. The CISF personnel and others then rushed to the site and detected leakage. “They managed to close the valve and were observing if there was any other leakage, but there was a blast and all the three CISF personnel along with ONGC DGM died,” she said, adding that the blast took place in the crude handling plant of the ONGC. The CISF fire team continued with fire fighting and managed to control the blaze. Three other CISF fire personnel also suffered burn injuries and were hospitalised, she said. “Because of the alertness and dedication of the CISF personnel, major damage to the entire plant and township was averted. The CISF personnel sacrificed their lives in the line of duty,” Singh said. Meanwhile, the police said there was nothing to worry and asked people staying near the plant to stay calm. “The situation is under control and we appeal to the villagers staying nearby not to panic,” a senior police official said. The state-owned ONGC is the largest crude oil and natural gas company in the country.last_img read more

No decision on Kanhaiya Kumars prosecution says CM

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal here on Friday said the Delhi government had not taken any decision on the prosecution sanction against former student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and others in the 2016 JNU sedition case. The final call would be taken by the Home Department without any political interference, he added.Kejriwal said the Delhi government’s Home Department would take the appropriate decision after taking into consideration all the information provided by the police to the court. “There will be no political interference nor any pressure from the AAP,” he said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”The Delhi government has not yet taken any decision. The authority concerned (in the Home Department) will take a final decision after studying all the available information. We will produce the decision before the court,” the Chief Minister said. Kejriwal refuted the reports claiming the Delhi government has rejected a request for sanction by the police to prosecute Kanhaiya Kumar and others. “I was told that no final decision has been taken as of now. The reports are just speculation,” Kejriwal said. Police had sought sanction from the Delhi government to prosecute Kumar and others in the sedition case. On January 14, police had filed a charge sheet in the court against Kumar and others, saying he was leading a procession and supported seditious slogans raised in the JNU campus during an event on February 9, 2016.last_img read more

DSP tenders written apology for misbehaviour with MLA

first_imgShillong: A Meghalaya Police officer has tendered a written apology to the Privileges Committee of the state Assembly for alleged misbehaviour with an MLA.Congress MLA Kimfa S Marbaniang had complained to the Privileges Committee that Deputy Superintendent of Police (Traffic) W M Momin had misbehaved with him and ordered him to remove tinted glass from his vehicle on August 7.Following summons from the committee the DSP had appeared in person before the committee on Thursday and was asked to submit a written apology for his alleged “misbehaviour” with the MLA. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Privileges Committee chairman Saleng Sangma said the committee on Friday has accepted the apology letter of Momin and the case has been closed.In his written apology, Momin said, “I am to inform you that there is no intention to hurt the sentiments of anybody during the discharge of my lawful duty but in the process if I have used words that may have affected Kimfa S Marbaniang, during my encounter with him on August 7, I hereby tender my apology to the House and the MLA in particular.last_img read more

Crown seeks new trial for accused killer who walked free due to

first_imgTORONTO – Prosecutors are seeking a new trial for an ex-soldier accused of murder who walked free because his case took too long to get to trial, saying the Ottawa man didn’t assert his rights early enough in the process.The Crown is appealing an Ontario judge’s decision to stay a first-degree murder charge against Adam Picard under new time limits established by the Supreme Court of Canada last summer.The appeal, which is scheduled to be heard in Toronto on Monday, also alleges Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett mischaracterized the nature of the delays and failed to consider the complexity of the case.Picard was arrested in December 2012 in the killing of 28-year-old Fouad Nayel, who went missing in June of that year and is believed to have died that same day.The charge against Picard was stayed in a surprise decision almost four years later, making it one of the first murder cases affected by the new rules laid out by Canada’s highest court.These state that cases heard in provincial court should go to trial within 18 months and those heard in Superior Court should do so within 30 months, once delays caused solely by the defence or by unpredictable events have been subtracted. If the time frame exceeds those limits, the Crown must demonstrate that the delay was reasonable.In documents filed ahead of the hearing, prosecutors argue Picard didn’t raise concerns about the delays until days before his trial was set to begin, even though the date had been chosen 18 months earlier.Picard “did not assert his right in a timely manner,” they say, noting applications under Charter rights typically must be filed at least 60 days before a pre-trial or trial.As a result, the Crown did not have the necessary time to properly address the matter, which left it at a disadvantage, they argue.“The Crown was forced to respond to the applicant’s factum in a matter of days without adequate notice, and without a complete application record,” they say.“Contrary to the obligations established in jurisprudence, the trial judge did not consider the impact of the prejudice to the Crown. In failing to do so she erred in law.”The prosecution also alleges that at least seven months of the delays were caused by the defence, rather than the two months acknowledged by the judge.Picard fired and replaced his lawyer after being denied bail, which prosecutors say stalled the proceedings.“The respondent’s failure to retain counsel to represent him in his defence held the matter at a standstill until he deigned to do that and pushed back all the relevant proceedings that followed,” they argue.“Once counsel was retained, the Crown was able and did move promptly to set a judicial pretrial and move the matter forward.”They allege the judge also failed to make allowances for the complexity of the case, which she deemed to be similar to other murder cases in that regard.Picard’s lawyers, meanwhile, say Parfett’s decision should be upheld. They argue prosecutors were unavailable for a long stretch of last year, causing up to eight months of delays.“But for this Crown delay, the net delay would have been between 26 and 33 months and this would be a very different case,” they say.last_img read more

Protesters opposing a right wing group clash with Quebec City police

first_imgMONTREAL – Tensions boiled over in Quebec City on Sunday, as police were pelted by beer bottles and smoke bombs set off in garbage cans in an ugly end to a weekend of pro and anti-immigrant rallies.The Quebec group La Meute, which is associated with the far right, called for a rally Sunday to protest the federal and provincial government’s handling of the border crossers, but ended up having its members pinned inside a garage while counter-protesters demonstrated outside.Once the counter-protesters turned violent, the Quebec City police declared the protest illegal. Clashes ensued and at least one protester was arrested as officers tried to block access to the building where some of the La Meute protesters had taken refuge.By 6 p.m. the counter-protesters had dispersed and the members of La Meute, many of them carrying flags featuring the group’s wolf-paw logo, emerged from the building to begin their protest.Television footage showed them marching in silence near Quebec City’s legislature.The protests in the Quebec capital were far more tense than a demonstration a day earlier in Vancouver where thousands of people peacefully demonstrated in an anti-racism rally in response to reports earlier in the week that an anti-Muslim protest was planned. That latter rally didn’t materialize.The rallies sprung up in the wake of last week’s deadly events in Charlottesville, Va. in which one person was killed and others injured when a vehicle plowed through a crowd of anti-racism protesters.The Quebec events were largely spurred by the unprecedented number of people walking across the border to seek asylum.Almost 6,800 people showed up at an unofficial crossing from the U.S. into Quebec since Canada Day to claim asylum. By comparison, only 2,920 claims were filed in Quebec in all of 2015.When asked Sunday if the unprecedented number of border crossers was stoking anti-immigrant sentiments in the country, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned “intolerant, racist demonstrations.” He said he stood with millions of Canadians “who reject the hateful, harmful, heinous ideologies” that have sprouted across the country.“The small minority, angry, frustrated group of racists don’t get to define who we are as a country, don’t get to tell others who we are and don’t get to change the nature of the open, accepting values that make us who we are,” Trudeau said in Montreal hours before the Quebec City demonstration.Federal authorities have said more than 3,800 people walked over the border into Quebec through the first two weeks of August, compared to the 2,996 who similarly crossed the border throughout all of July. Many are being housed in temporary shelters, including tents along the Quebec-New York border and inside Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, while officials handle the sudden surge in asylum claims.Haitian nationals form the bulk of recent arrivals, believed to be driven by a change in U.S. policy that many fear would result in mass deportations. Canada lifted the temporary restriction on deporting Haitians last year, set up in the wake of the 2010 earthquake, and many were sent back to the island nation, Trudeau said.Trudeau urged Canadians to maintain trust in the immigration system and the officials who he believed were managing the situation. He said none of those walking across the U.S. border would receive any special advantages in their quest to come to Canada, stressing to Canadians and would-be refugees alike that border hoppers must go through the usual security checks and immigration evaluations.Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard tweeted about the violence in the provincial capital Sunday, saying that people have the right to demonstrate peacefully with zero tolerance for violence.“We condemn violence and intimidation. We live in a democracy where respect must be the norm and not the exception.”last_img read more

691 Canadians who wanted out of hurricanestruck Caribbean are home minister

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says all Canadians who wanted help have had the chance to get out of the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean.She told reporters ahead of a federal cabinet meeting today in St. John’s, N.L., that 691 Canadians have now returned from widespread devastation in Turks and Caicos and St. Maarten. Bibeau said officials are now on the ground there assessing how Canada might help with humanitarian aid and rebuilding.Stranded travellers and opposition critics had lambasted an evacuation effort that many said was slower and less organized than American operations.Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters he understands the frustration over delays and communication problems but it was a complex situation.Garneau said the government mobilized right away but there were issues getting commercial flights cleared for take-off in those countries.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his cabinet are in St. John’s for two days of meetings expected to include North American Free Trade Agreement talks and reaction to hurricanes Irma and Jose.last_img read more

Omar Khadr visits with sister remain restricted but can use internet freely

first_imgEDMONTON – Former Guantanamo Bay detainee Omar Khadr has been denied unsupervised visits with his controversial older sister who has expressed support for al-Qaida.Justice June Ross ruled Friday that Khadr and his lawyer, Nathan Whitling, have offered nothing new to allay security concerns surrounding Zaynab Khadr, who is currently believed to be in Sudan.Zaynab Khadr, 37, has spoken in favour of al-Qaida and was investigated in Canada more than a decade ago for helping the terrorist network, but she was never charged.She is reportedly planning a trip to Canada, and the rules of Khadr’s bail allow him to meet with her but only in the presence of his bail supervisor or one of his lawyers.Whitling argued in Court of Queen’s Bench that the restriction is no longer necessary. He said Khadr, 30, is old enough and mature enough not to be swayed by anyone else.“The passage of time makes a big difference,” Whitling told Ross as Khadr sat behind him in the public gallery Friday. “The idea that someone’s sister will turn him into a different person is no longer a concern.”He noted that Zaynab “may have made some unfortunate media statements” but there is no evidence of wrongdoing.Bruce Hughson, a lawyer representing the federal government, told Ross that Khadr has provided no new evidence on Zaynab Khadr’s terrorism views that would justify changing the bail rules.Ross agreed. She said the restriction was put in place for a reason and Whitling needs to show evidence — besides the passage of time — to justify amending the order.“The defence has not provided relevant evidence to show a change of circumstances,” Ross said.Outside court, Whitling said that would require an affidavit from Zaynab Khadr who is out of the country.“It’s a possibility I suppose,” he said.Khadr is on bail while he appeals war crime convictions by a U.S. military commission. He declined to make any comment outside court.Whitling said his client was disappointed.“He does want to be able to contact his sister and he doesn’t see how he’ll be able to speak to his nieces and nephews without having some sort of supervisor present.”Toronto-born Khadr spent years in U.S. detention at Guantanamo Bay after he was caught when he was 15 and accused of tossing a grenade that killed special forces soldier Christopher Speer at a militant compound in Afghanistan in 2002.In 2010, Khadr pleaded guilty to multiple charges before the military commission, including to killing Speer, but has since said he can’t remember if he tossed the grenade.He has said he entered the plea to try to get out of Guantanamo, where he says he was mistreated, and into the Canadian justice system.He is now married and is moving to Red Deer, south of Edmonton, to begin earning a nursing degree.While awaiting his appeal hearing, Khadr has sought a loosening of a number of bail restrictions.Ross did allow a change to Khadr’s internet use. He had been restricted to personal internet devices and subject to checks.Whitling argued that the internet is available everywhere on multiple devices — at friends’ homes and in public places — and that there is no way for Khadr to avoid it.Ross agreed to expand Khadr’s internet use as long as he doesn’t use the web to seek out terrorist propaganda or organizations.Khadr also needs permission to travel outside Alberta. Whitling said Khadr has made multiple trips to Ontario to visit family without incident and should only have to notify authorities when travelling outside his home province.Ross denied that request. She said the current approach seems to be working fine without undue hardship to Khadr.His 15-year-old case ignited sharp and divisive debate among Canadians over terrorism, human rights and the rule of law this summer when it was revealed the federal government had settled a lawsuit filed by him for a reported $10.5 million.The payout followed a ruling by Canada’s Supreme Court in 2010 that Khadr’s charter rights were violated at Guantanamo and that Canadian officials contributed to that violation.last_img read more

Newcomers the North and Stephen Harper how federal politics mattered this week

first_imgOTTAWA – The Parliament Hill hoopla this week was all about horoscopes and Halloween costumes, with an undertone of Bill Morneau controversy for good measure.The new Governor General, former astronaut Julie Payette, made a notable debut on the federal scene on Wednesday with a speech to fellow scientists. Her mocking of climate change deniers, creationists, homeopathic medicine and horoscope believers prompted howls of protest from those who say a representative of the Queen should be seen, not heard — at least when it comes to opinions.And outrage spewed over the appearance of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the House of Commons dressed as Clark Kent, complete with a stretchy Superman costume under his shirt and tie. Detractors demanded the PM get back to business, and/or also do something about the hair that made him look too much like Conservative finance critic (and Morneau nemesis) Pierre Poilievre.Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer stuck closer to home in his get-up as Data from Star Trek — a hat tip to science-based evidence, his handlers say. The public reaction was . . . subdued.The week in politics was not just about indignation. Developments on immigration policy, the North and Stephen Harper will have lasting implications. Here are three ways federal politics touched us this week:MORE NEWCOMERSCanada will very gradually increase the number of immigrants it admits over the next three years.In recent history, Canada has admitted about 250,000 newcomers a year, rising to about 300,000 for the past two years. Now, the federal government aims to increase the level to 340,000 by 2020.Proponents of higher levels have long argued that Canada needs a constant influx of highly skilled immigrants to fuel prosperity for the next generation. And they were generally content with the increases and the long-term planning evident in the three-year horizon that they saw this week.But refugee advocates, who have found a strong ally in the Trudeau government in the past, were disappointed. The United Nations has repeatedly pointed out that the world is in the throes of a migrant crisis, and has lobbied wealthy countries like Canada to dramatically up their intake.However, this week’s numbers show Canada is aiming to take 43,000 refugees next year, up just 3,000 from this year. Of those, the government-assisted refugees that the UN had in mind will remain static at 7,500 people.THE NORTHEvery once in a while on a fairly regular basis, the premier of the Northwest Territories flies down to Ottawa and complains about being forgotten and neglected. This time, it was on a different scale.Bob McLeod’s trip this week aimed to raise the alarm, and show Ottawa that the North has tumbled into despair despite doing all the right things to become self-supporting.The culprit, he says, is the federal government’s decision a year ago to ban new oil and gas development in the Arctic because an oil spill would be disastrous for the region.In the name of environmental protection, McLeod argues, the ban killed off investment at a time when the Arctic is already fighting a losing battle to deal with the vast, spillover effects of environmental degradation from the south. Dwindling caribou herds, melting permafrost, erosion and forest fires are destroying a way of life.With 40 per cent of the territory’s economy depending on natural resources, the ban means “everything we have built is now in jeopardy,” McLeod said.So far, mainly silence from the federal government.HARPERFormer prime minister Stephen Harper has determinedly kept himself out of the public eye for two years now, only wading in occasionally to make a comment or two on government decisions. So last Friday night, when a note written by Harper-the-consultant to his business clients surfaced, every word was weighed heavily.The government, he wrote, was not taking Donald Trump’s threats to tear up NAFTA seriously enough. The Liberals should stop pushing their progressive agenda on labour, gender, Indigenous Peoples and environment. They should stop allying themselves with Mexico. And instead, they should figure out how to salvage what they can from the trade agreement that is central to Canada’s economic health.NAFTA-watchers have heard it all before. But because it was the former prime minister speaking this time, both the Liberals and the Conservatives were quickly on the defensive — the Liberals saying they were negotiating in Canada’s interests and would not capitulate, and the Conservatives insisting they were not trying to use Harper to disrupt a united front at the bargaining table.The next round of talks will take place in Mexico City later this month — presumably enough time for the Harper uproar to settle down.last_img read more

Two students arrested following threats to Vancouver Island schools

first_imgCOMOX, B.C. – Police say two students have been arrested following threats that forced the closure of three schools on Vancouver Island.Three high schools in the Comox Valley School District did not open Thursday following notification from police that one of the schools was not safe.RCMP say in a news release that police investigated and two students were arrested for uttering threats before being released to their parents.No details have been released about the students’ identities.Const. Rob Gardner says the force takes all threats seriously, and investigations take time to ensure the safety of everyone involved.All three of the schools were open again on Friday.last_img read more

Trudeaus Regina visit doesnt include Indigenous protest at legislature

first_imgREGINA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government continues to “engage deeply with leaders and communities” when he was asked whether he would visit an Indigenous protest on the Saskatchewan legislature grounds.Trudeau made a brief visit to Regina on Sunday, where he chatted with families of steelworkers during a Canada Day event.The Justice for Our Stolen Children camp was set up in February to protest racial injustice and the disproportionate number of First Nations children apprehended by child-welfare workers.Trudeau noted that Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who is the MP for Regina-Wascana, has visited the camp but that he himself was not planning to visit on Sunday.Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has backed calls for police to remove teepees that protesters have set up on the legislature grounds, which forced changes to Canada Day plans.Trudeau says he understands there are a significant number of provincial issues the protesters are concerned about, but that reconciliation requires all levels of government to step up and work together.“We look forward to working with all levels of government and with Indigenous Peoples on this,” Trudeau said.The camp was dismantled last month when the government ordered it taken down and police arrested Indigenous protesters, but it was set up again June 21 with more teepees.The Provincial Capital Commission said on Wednesday that it had to make alterations to its Canada Day festivities because the space where the camp is situated normally has a concert stage and beer gardens.Regina police have said there’s no need for them to step in at this point, because a meeting is scheduled for Monday between the protesters and five government ministers in the town of Fort Qu’Appelle, Sask.Moe said last week that it’s the government’s expectation that the teepees will be removed either before or after the meeting.last_img read more

Mother of girls shot at playground calls for community programs to stop

first_imgTORONTO – The mother of two young girls who were hit by stray bullets at a Toronto playground last month called Monday for better education and community support programs, not increased police presence, to curb gun violence in the city.Toronto must reduce the number of young people who turn to crime, Stacey King said at a meeting of the city’s board of health where ongoing research into community violence was being discussed.“Too many young kids are dying, too many young kids have access to guns,” King said. “We need to put a stop to this. When is this going to stop?”The June 14 shooting that sent King’s five and nine-year-old daughters to hospital was just one in a string of high-profile gun crimes this spring and summer that has led to increased calls for the municipal, provincial and federal governments to take action.Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders announced last week that 200 frontline officers will be added to the night shift over the course of the summer in an effort to deal with gun violence. Officers will not “saturate” certain neighbourhoods, but will be sent where they are needed, Saunders said.“It’s about being focused and strategic in our deployment,” he said. “This is not about turning communities upside down. That will never be the intention.”Toronto Mayor John Tory also recently announced that at least part of $15 million earmarked for efforts to curb gun violence would be going to community programs aimed at preventing youth from joining gangs.Police data shows gun violence has killed 27 people and injured 82 so far in 2018, compared with 17 deaths and 80 injuries at this time last year.“My kids are suffering from this,” King said. “My five-year-old got shot in the stomach … Do you want to know what she said to me that day? ‘Mommy am I going to die?’ For a five-year-old to know that, that is so wrong.”Officials need to look at the reasons why some youth pick up guns and others don’t, King told the 11 city councillors on the board of health.Children should be taught about issues that lie at the root of gun violence — including bullying and mental health — by Grade 3, King said.“We have to have more mentorship programs, we have to have more resources, we have to have more jobs for youth, we have to have more trades for them,” she said. “For (people) to say they want more cops … this is not going to put a stop to it. Having more cops is just going to cause more problems.”The board of health heard several submissions from support workers and concerned citizens as it considered a progress report on research into community violence.The research, begun in March, examines the extent to which people who live in the city are exposed to violence and how it affects their mental and physical health, a report by city staff said.The project will seek out “effective evidence-informed interventions” to mitigate community violence and its health effects. Research findings will be brought to the board of health by late 2019, staff said.— with files from Nicole Thompson.last_img read more

Police officer rescues little pig found hoofing down Torontoarea highway

first_imgVAUGHAN, Ont. – Police say the photo was “too cute not to share.”York regional police tweeted a photo Monday of an officer holding a young pig found wandering along a major highway north of Toronto late last Friday morning.They say the little piggy was spotted hoofing it down Highway 400 in Vaughan, Ont.Another photo shows the little pig peeking up from the floor in the back of a police cruiser.Const. Laura Nicolle says it’s not known where the pig came from.It is now in the care of an animal shelter.last_img read more

Calgary bobsled death inquiry recommends infrared technology safety audits

first_imgCALGARY — A judge who led an inquiry into a fatal after-hours bobsled run in 2016 says Canada Olympic Park should explore using infrared technology to help prevent similar tragedies.Provincial court Judge Margaret Keelaghan found the deaths of 17-year-old twins Evan and Jordan Caldwell were accidental and caused by blunt-force head and neck trauma.The Caldwell twins and six other young men climbed over a six foot fence at the park with plastic sleds and a plan to slide down the bobsled track.But the group didn’t know there was a barrier in place meant to divide the bobsled and luge tracks, as well as a chain strung across.Keelaghan noted park owner Winsport has already taken numerous steps to address security concerns, including improved signage, fencing and patrols.She’s recommending safety audits, posting details of penalties on no-trespassing signs, putting up more cameras and boosting training and education for staff and the public.She said Winsport should continue to look for technology to improve safety, “including the potential use of infrared technology at the top and down the track that might trip an alarm and alert security and/or activate lights.“These measures could act as a deterrent.”She thanked the boys’ parents for being in court for the inquiry in April and commended the “strength and grace” they displayed.“The young men involved in this incident were thrill-seeking youth whose ill-conceived risk-taking resulted in unspeakable tragedy,” Keelaghan wrote in her report, dated Sept. 24 and released Monday.“It is important, however, to remember that the two promising young men who passed away were bright, talented members of their community, loved by their family and their friends, who did not involve themselves with drugs or alcohol and how, before the incident occurred, had spent the evening at their church youth group.”  The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Richard Oland seemed happy to see his son Dennis hours before murder

first_imgSAINT JOHN, N.B. — On the day he was savagely beaten to death, multi-millionaire businessman Richard Oland was catching up on work in his Saint John office and appeared pleased when his only son, Dennis, popped in to discuss genealogy and the Oland family tree.Over seven years later, Dennis Oland is on trial for a second time for the bludgeoning death of his dad on that day in 2011, and prosecutors have told the court money was the motive.Maureen Adamson, Richard Oland’s executive assistant at the time of his death, was on the stand for day two of the Oland murder retrial on Thursday, recounting the daily routine of the office in uptown Saint John which included keeping track of money Dennis owed his father.She was the first to discover the body on the morning of July 7, 2011. Oland, 69, had been struck 45 times, mostly on the head, with a weapon that was never found.Adamson said Dennis was making interest-only payments of $1,666.67 per month on a loan of more than half a million dollars Richard Oland had extended when Dennis was in a tight financial spot due to divorce several years earlier.Under cross-examination by defence lawyer Michael Lacy, a new member of the Oland defence team, Adamson described what she knew about the relationship between father and son, saying she did not see signs of the strained and troubled relationship referred to by prosecutors.Adamson said Dennis Oland was not a frequent visitor to his father’s uptown Saint John office, but when he showed up late in the day of July 6, 2011 — the day of the murder — Richard Oland seemed happy to see him.“It was an animated hello, a ‘Hey Dennis’,” she said of Richard Oland’s greeting to the man subsequently accused of his murder.“He seemed happy to see him.”Adamson said both Olands were engrossed in research Dennis was spearheading into the family tree, stretching back to its roots in Great Britain. The Olands are one of the best known business families in the Maritimes, where they have been involved in brewing beer since the 19th century.Richard Oland was a former executive with Moosehead Breweries in Saint John, although he left the company in the early 1980s. Adamson said he was worth about $37 million.On the day of the murder, she left shortly after Dennis Oland’s arrival at around 5:30 p.m. From that point on, father and son were alone in the office.Dennis said he left a little after 6:30 p.m. and headed back to his home in Rothesay, on the outskirts of the city. He told police his father was fine when he left and he has steadfastly maintained he is innocent of the crime.Adamson said she thought the father and son got along well.“Aside from the normal grumblings most people have with family members … I thought they got along well,” Adamson said. “I did not see that stress I heard about later (during the first trial).”Dennis Oland, 50, was convicted in 2015 of the second-degree murder of his father after a lengthy jury trial. That conviction was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered.The second jury trial was declared a mistrial before it got started earlier this week. Justice Terrence Morrison of the New Brunswick Court of Queen’s Bench cited “improprieties” in the jury selection process. It turned out a Saint John police officer coordinating files for Crown prosecutors was accessing an internal police database to research jurors in violation of a directive from the Supreme Court of Canada.The Crown was not involved in the improper searches and immediately informed the defence and the judge. The trial is now being heard by Morrison alone.Chris Morris, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Vancouver businessman David Sidoo pleads not guilty in US college bribery case

first_imgThe Canadian Press BOSTON — Lawyers for a prominent Vancouver businessman say their client has pleaded not guilty in court in an alleged college admissions scam in the United States.The U.S. attorney office in Massachusetts says in a tweet that David Sidoo has been released by the federal court in Boston on a secured bond of US$1.5 million and his travel restricted to Canada and the United States.Sidoo was charged with conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud as part of a prosecution by United States authorities of an alleged college admissions scam involving dozens of accused people.An indictment released Tuesday alleged Sidoo paid $200,000 in total for someone to take an entrance exam on behalf of both his sons, and that he also paid an undisclosed amount for someone to fly to Vancouver and take a high school test.St. George’s School says a review of its records from 2012 indicates no school or provincial exams were written at the school by the student in question on or around the date referenced by the indictment.Sidoo, known for his philanthropic causes in British Columbia, was CEO of Advantage Lithium and is a former Canadian Football League player for the B.C. Lions and Saskatchewan Roughriders.At least nine athletic coaches and 33 parents, including Hollywood actresses Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, are among those who have been charged in an investigation dubbed Operation Varsity Blues.No students were charged. Authorities have said that in many cases the teenagers were not aware of what was going on.Advantage Lithium said Thursday that Sidoo has taken a leave of absence from his executive role as company president and that his responsibilities as CEO have been assumed by another executive on an interim basis.The law firm representing Sidoo says he “looks forward to fully contesting the charges in a well-respected court and not in the media.”“He will be returning to his home in Canada and asks people not to rush to judgment.”The U.S. Justice Department says Sidoo, 59, was arrested in San Jose, Calif., on March 8.An indictment alleges Sidoo paid $100,000 in 2011 to have an individual secretly take the Scholastic Assessment Test, or SAT, in place of his older son. It also asserts that Sidoo emailed copies of his son’s driver’s licence and student card for the purpose of creating a falsified identification card for the individual. The individual, whose name is redacted, flew from Tampa, Fla., to Vancouver to take the SAT on behalf of Sidoo’s son, the indictment alleges.The indictment says the test score was emailed to an administrator at Chapman University, a private California university, where Sidoo’s son was admitted and later enrolled.The indictment also alleges Sidoo agreed to pay another $100,000 in 2012 for someone to take the SAT in place of his younger son.It claims that in 2013 and 2014 the falsified SAT scores obtained on behalf of his younger son were sent to universities, including Yale and Georgetown, as part of his college applications. The score was also sent to the University of California-Berkeley, where the younger son was accepted and later enrolled, it says.Sidoo’s legal team has said the two sons have not been accused of any impropriety.If convicted of the charge, Sidoo must forfeit any property that is derived from proceeds traceable to the offence, the indictment says.last_img read more

Thieves make off with popular tourist attraction from Peggys Cove

first_imgPEGGY’S COVE, N.S. — One of the most-photographed Nova Scotians is missing.Shorty, a wide-eyed, five-foot-two wooden fisherman, was stolen from outside a tourist spot in Peggy’s Cove, N.S., earlier this week.Owner Peter Richardson, who announced the loss on Facebook, said Shorty arrived in August and proved to be very popular.Richardson owns several businesses in the tourist area, including Peggy’s Cove Lobsters. He bought Shorty for $1,000 to draw customers to his lobster-roll food truck.He says the folksy statue was photographed thousands of times.“I’d say one in five people stopped to take a picture with Shorty,” said Richardson, who also owns Peggy’s Cove Boat Tours.“If they were a couple, one would put their arm around him to take a photo.”He suspects it was stolen as a prank.“I hope one of the fraternities got him in one of their dorms. I went to university once and we did stuff like that,” he said.“We just hope that he’s having fun, that he’s OK, and that he’s coming back. We miss him dearly.”Richardson has offered a $200 reward.The Canadian Presslast_img read more