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Meghalaya tribal lineage bill turns heat on children of mixed marriages

first_imgThe Meghalaya State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has asked the State police’s cybercrime cell to take action against people who target children of mixed marriages in the wake of a lineage bill that seeks to prevent Khasi tribal women from marrying men of non-Khasi communities.“I have written to the cell’s special superintendent of police pointing out that certain individuals and or groups have resorted to defaming minors of mixed marriages. The commission has taken exception to hate messages and trolling of such children,” MSCPCR chairperson Meena Kharkongor told The Hindu from State capital Shillong on August 2.The commission, which had taken cognisance of such cases, asked the police to ensure punitive steps taken act as a deterrent for others.The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) had on July 25 approved a social custom bill, which if approved by the State Governor, will strip a Khasi-woman of her Scheduled Tribe status and associated privileges if she marries a non-Khasi man. The bill also seeks to mark the children of such women as non-Khasis and thus ineligible for land and other rights.The three principal tribes of Meghalaya — Khasi, Garo and Jaintia — are matrilineal. But local governance follows a patriarchal system, and men calling the shots politically have often objected to women marrying outside the tribe, specifically non-tribal people, allegedly letting them gain control of land and other resources by default.KHADC Chief Executive Member H.S. Shylla justified the approval of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) (Second Amendment) Bill, 2018 that was passed a day after notification on July 31.“We have seen a silent invasion (of non-tribal people) because of mixed marriages and inadequate laws to protect the indigenous people from the immigration crisis that poses a danger to the minority Khasi community,” Mr. Shylla said. He, however, said he was not against any woman choosing who to love or marry.The amendment bill would also apply to a Khasi woman who marries a man from any other tribe besides non-tribal communities.Mr. Shylla also batted for the codification of Khasi customary laws for better implementation of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District (Khasi Social Custom of Lineage) Act of 1997.Controversial billLegal experts in Meghalaya capital Shillong said the amendment bill approved by KHADC might not stand if challenged in the court. They also referred to a Supreme Court judgement in March this year, which said choosing a life partner, is a fundamental right and consent of family, community or clan is not necessary for marriage between two adults.Women activists have panned it as an unconstitutional move aimed at keeping the mind and body of a woman in chains. “Our men have allowed outsiders to loot and encroach upon our lands. Now they are talking about safeguarding their women by stopping them from marrying a non-tribal,” said Jaynie N. Sangma, an activist based in the State’s Garo hills.“These so-called tribal protectors who have destroyed forests and the land through corrupt practices are now targeting women as if their marriage to non-tribals will make the tribals extinct,” said Agnes Kharshiing of Civil Society Women’s Organisation.Theilin Phanbuh, chairperson of the Meghalaya State Commission for Women said the panel would study the amendment bill before issuing a statement.The KHADC, however, said it could also bring Khasi men within the ambit of the bill to prevent them from marrying non-Khasi women.last_img read more

India Rejects U.K. Proposal on DNA Tests For Illegal Migrants

first_imgIndia rejected a proposal by the U.K. to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of illegal migrants living there citing “privacy issues”.Although a Memorandum of Understanding on return of illegal migrants was initialled after due approval of the Union Cabinet in January by Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju, India refused to sign the final pact during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to U.K. in April.Read it at The Hindu Related Itemslast_img

National Register of Citizens: Kolkata-born carpenter jailed in Assam

first_imgA Kolkata-born carpenter, based in Assam, is the first victim of the National Register of Citizens in south Bengal. Ashgar Ali, 50, born in the Park Circus area of central Kolkata, has been incarcerated in a west Assam detention centre for an anomaly in his father’s name. Family members in Kolkata furnished various papers on June 2 to establish that Mr. Ali was born in Kolkata.For nearly two years Mr. Ashgar Ali alias Sheikh Ashgar has been jailed in Goalpara detention centre, following an anomaly in his father’s name.Unusual surname“Our father’s name is Sk Moral. But since Moral is an unusual surname and he was often questioned if he is actually a morol (village head), he changed his name to Md Jarif. Hence, some of the papers identify him as Sk Morol, while some as Md Jarif,” explained Arshad Ali, his younger brother. While Mr. Jarif filed an affidavit in a Judicial Magistrate court in the city in December 2015, declaring that he is a Kolkata-born Indian national, his son was detained in Guwahati on July 14, 2017 for the difference in his father’s name.“Ashgar Ali’s son is in Class VIII and wife is suffering from acute arthritis…they are in a terrible situation. The problem occurred as the family is entirely uneducated,” said Zishan Ali, a close relative of Mr. Ashgar Ali, from Guwahati.Three years“We hear that that according to the Court order, if his foreign nationality cannot be established in three years, he will be released. But for one’s father’s mistake, is it reasonable to detain a person for three years?” asks Mr. Zishan Ali. Mr. Ashgar Ali, who has working in Assam for over two decades now, has been jailed in the Goalpara detention centre in west Assam. But it is “actually Goalpara district jail,” said Mr. Zishan Ali.Mr. Ashgar Ali’s parents and other family members live in abject poverty in a Park Circus slum in central Kolkata. His two brothers work as tailors, while the 83-year-old father suffers from a stomach tumour. The mother, Jubeda Begum, is frail and losing sight in both eyes. She cried incessantly while talking about his son. The family is worried about the fresh NRC in Bengal. “We have done everything that is possible to rectify the arbitrary name change of our father. But could you tell us what else we should do to ensure that the entire family does not go to jail like our brother, if NRC is indeed started in Bengal?” asked Afrin Begum, one of Mr. Ashgar Ali’s four sisters.last_img read more

Kapil Dev, Sourav Ganguly attend charity event in bizarre pants

first_imgCricket commentator Harsha Bhogle on Tuesday tweeted photos of former Indian captain Kapil Dev in a pair of bizarre pants. In another tweet photo, another former Indian captain, apparently Sourav Ganguly, is seen wearing similar trousers.Bhogle clarified in another tweet that these trousers were part of the team uniform at an event for former England all rounder Ian Botham’s charity foundation.bet you never saw kapil dev in these trousers! at the botham charity day pic.twitter.com/LbqjBVeNhRHarsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 22, 2014here goes!! pic.twitter.com/2KpPJ9guGpHarsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) July 22, 2014last_img read more

Anil Kumble to double up as bowling coach in West Indies

first_imgNewly-appointed head coach of the Indian cricket team, Anil Kumble has not chosen to have any high profile coaches to assist him in the support staff. (‘Honoured’ Anil Kumble ready for ‘big responsibility’)The duo of Sanjay Bangar and Abhay Sharma, who served as batting and fielding coaches respectively in Zimbabwe, will continue in their roles for the four-Test tour to West Indies. No separate bowling coach has been appointed for the tour as India’s all time highest Test wicket-taker, Kumble doubles up to guide the bowling troupe.His expertise will come in more than handy for the spinners in the team, leggie Amit Mishra and team’s lead spinner R Ashwin in being better bowlers. “This is the arrangement we would have for the West Indies tour. For the long home season ahead, a decision will be taken later,” confirmed a BCCI source. (Kumble Funfacts)Kumble’s support staff can also be read as a high vote of confidence for gritty Test player of his time. Bangar is the only survivor of the support staff team that worked under team director Ravi Shastri. Bangar also served as the head coach in Zimbabwe where India sent a fringe team under MS Dhoni’s leadership. (BCCI has complete faith in Kumble: Anurag Thakur)With Kumble given coaching assignment for a year and the support staff an extension for a single tour, the new BCCI dispensation for now is walking cautiously in identifying the right support staff to aid Team India in being world beaters.advertisementlast_img read more

Show a little more respect for Sebastian Vettel: Lewis Hamilton

first_imgFormula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has defended Sebastian Vettel after the Ferrari driver’s title hopes effectively ended in Japan at the weekend.”I feel the media need to show a little more respect for Sebastian,” Hamilton wrote at the end of an Instagram story from a fashion show in Tokyo.The Briton stands on the brink of securing his fifth championship after winning six of the past seven races for Mercedes to lead his German rival by 67 points with four races remaining.Vettel tangled with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen at Suzuka while trying to pass for third place, a collision that left him fighting back from 19th to sixth after starting eighth on the grid.Both Ferrari and Vettel have been criticised for glaring strategy errors, such as selecting the wrong tyres in final qualifying in Japan, and a string of mistakes made on track in the heat of battle. Italy’s Autosprint magazine carried a cover this week showing Vettel and the headline ‘Cavallino Mancante’ (Missing Horse) – a play on Ferrari’s familiar ‘Cavallino Rampante’ prancing stallion.It described Ferrari as lost, lacklustre and victims of too many mistakes of their own making.The Gazzetta dello Sport had also criticised Vettel as a driver “who learns nothing from mistakes”.”You simply cannot imagine how hard it is to do what we do at our level, for any athlete at the top of their game that is,” said Hamilton.”It is to be expected that being humans we will make mistakes but it is how we get through them that counts.”advertisementVettel won the first two races in Australia and Bahrain and appeared to have the faster car for much of the first half of the season.READ – Sebastian Vettel says collision with Max Verstappen proved costlyHe made a big error in Germany, sliding into the barriers while leading on a slippery track, to put Hamilton back in front in July and the Mercedes driver has not looked back as Ferrari’s season unravelled.The death of president Sergio Marchionne in July also came as a huge blow to the Italian team, who have not won a championship for a decade.Others have pinpointed the lack of leaders with backgrounds in racing rather than sponsorship, senior management or marketing.Since Hockenheim, Hamilton has taken 168 points from a maximum 175 available while Vettel, who won his four world championships with Red Bull, has managed only 93.READ – Lewis Hamilton opens up 67-point championship lead with Suzuka winThe Briton will become only the third driver to win five titles or more if he scores eight points more than Vettel in Texas next week.”As was the case last year, in September and October Ferrari seems to have gone off the rails,” commented Ross Brawn, Formula One’s managing director for motorsport and a former Mercedes team boss as well as ex-Ferrari technical director.”Having experienced many crises myself during my time with Ferrari, what I know is that this is the time to come together, stay united and look ahead, without resorting to recrimination and playing the blame game.”last_img read more

Delo Buys 307 Pct Stake in Global Ports Investment

first_imgzoom Transportation Investments Holding Limited (TIHL) has reached a deal to sell its 30.75 pct stake in Global Ports Investments PLC to Management Company Delo, a holding company of Delo Group, Russia’s transportation and logistics major.“We did not hesitate a second when taking the decision to enter the transaction. We highly rate the potential of our cooperation with Global Ports, will use our extensive experience in the transportation industry and will apply maximum efforts to support the company’s development in its markets of presence,” Sergey Shishkarev, the President and the owner of Delo Group, commented. “We are delighted to welcome Delo as our potential strategic shareholder. Delo has an impressive track record in the Russian port industry and operates in the Black Sea Basin where Global Ports is not currently represented,” CEO of Global Ports Management LLC, Mikhail Loganov, said.The closing of the transaction remains subject to various conditions, including antitrust clearances. The sale is expected to complete in April 2018. Once completed, the group will be co-owned by Delo, Maersk Group’s port terminal company APM Terminals and Russia’s N-Trans.Global Ports Investments operates five marine container terminals in Russia, two marine container terminals in Finland and two inland terminals in the St. Petersburg region.Delo specializes in consolidating assets in the container and grain segments and provides tugboat and bunkering services in the port of Novorossiysk in the Black Sea Basin.last_img read more

La NouvelleÉcosse célèbre linscription de GrandPré comme site du patrimoine mondial

first_imgAprès cinq ans de travail ardu par tous les ordres de gouvernement et les membres de la communauté, le paysage historique et culturel de Grand-Pré est devenu le plus récent site du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO de la Nouvelle-Écosse, aujourd’hui 29 juin. « Grand-Pré occupe depuis longtemps une place spéciale dans le cœur des Acadiens et des communautés agricoles de la province, a dit Ramona Jennex, ministre de l’Éducation, au nom de Leonard Preyra, ministre des Communautés, de la Culture et du Patrimoine. Maintenant, grâce à cette prestigieuse reconnaissance et à la protection qu’elle offre, tous les Néo-Écossais et les gens de partout au monde seront en mesure d’apprécier la riche culture et le patrimoine de cette région pendant des années à venir. » L’annonce a été faite dans le cadre de la rencontre du Comité du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO à Saint-Pétersbourg, en Russie. « Les Acadiens sont fiers de leur identité culturelle, a dit David Wilson, ministre des Affaires acadiennes. La désignation de l’UNESCO permet au monde entier de célébrer le riche patrimoine culturel des Acadiens en Nouvelle-Écosse. » La désignation attire l’attention du monde entier sur la valeur agricole des terres endiguées et sur l’importance symbolique du paysage pour les Acadiens à l’échelle mondiale. « Le gouvernement du Canada se réjouit que le paysage de Grand Pré devienne site du patrimoine mondial de l’UNESCO, a expliqué Peter Kent, ministre canadien de l’Environnement et ministre responsable de Parcs Canada. Cette désignation reconnue à l’échelle de la planète établit que le paysage de Grand Pré est un lieu culturel ayant une valeur universelle exceptionnelle. Elle attirera non seulement les Néo-Écossais, les Acadiens et d’autres Canadiens et Canadiennes, mais également les visiteurs étrangers à la recherche d’expériences uniques. » La désignation de site du patrimoine mondial offre une excellente occasion d’attirer un plus grand nombre de visiteurs dans la province. Cette reconnaissance fait de la province une véritable destination de renommée internationale. Grand-Pré est maintenant le troisième site du patrimoine mondial en Nouvelle-Écosse. Lunenburg a été inscrit à la liste en 1995, et les falaises fossilifères de Joggins en 2008. De plus, l’UNESCO a reconnu deux réserves de la biosphère en Nouvelle-Écosse au cours de la dernière décennie. La réserve du Sud-Ouest de la Nouvelle-Écosse a été reconnue en 2011 et celle des lacs Bras d’Or en 2011. Nomination Grand-Pré, qui est formé de représentants provinciaux, fédéraux et municipaux et d’autres partenaires, a travaillé fort pour préparer le dossier de candidature soumis à l’UNESCO en février 2011. « Il s’agit d’un énorme accomplissement symbolique pour le peuple acadien, dont les ancêtres ont persévéré dans l’adversité et ont pris part à la réconciliation qui a mené à ce jour historique, a dit Gerald Boudreau, coprésident du comité consultatif Nomination Grand-Pré. Grand-Pré se joint à certains des sites les plus remarquables du monde entier, y compris le Serengeti, les pyramides d’Égypte et la Grande Barrière de corail. « La désignation de l’UNESCO confirme ce que nous savons depuis toujours, a dit Peter Herbin, coprésident du comité consultatif Nomination Grand-Pré. Le paysage de Grand-Pré est un trésor international de valeur universelle exceptionnelle. » Depuis 2008-2009, le gouvernement provincial a contribué les sommes suivantes au projet : 105 000 $ de l’ancien ministère du Développement économique et rural, 83 000 $ de l’ancien ministère du Tourisme, de la Culture et du Patrimoine, et 42 000 $ des Affaires acadiennes en vertu de l’Entente Canada – Nouvelle-Écosse relative aux services en français. Maintenant que la désignation de l’UNESCO a été accordée, le gouvernement provincial respectera son engagement à verser un investissement de 2,5 millions de dollars pour la création d’un comité d’intendance responsable de la protection du site. Les membres du comité seront annoncés bientôt. Des renseignements supplémentaires sur le site du patrimoine mondial de Grand-Pré se trouvent au http://landscapeofgrandpre.ca/fr/ .last_img read more

RPF soon to launch Lautate Bachpan drive for tracing missing children

first_imgNew Delhi: In a bid to trace missing children, soon the Railway Protection Force (RPF) will start a drive named “Lautate Bachpan”.During the initiative, the security forces will conduct raids across different trains to break the nexus of kidnapping and human trafficking of children. According to RPF official, it will be a 15-day drive which will be starting soon. The main focus is to search and rescue the missing or abandoned children from railway stations and trains. The initiative will help in combating human trafficking nexus. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarSenior Divisional Security Commissioner (Coordination) Dr AN Jha said during an awareness and experience sharing programme on International Missing Children’s Day, it was felt that a special drive with the help of NGOs should be launched. ‘Lautate Bachpan’ is a special drive for safety of kids,” added Jha. RPF will make an all round-effort to reunite kids with their parents. According to RPF officials, traffickers lured poor children on some pretext and trafficked them. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance”In some cases, children leave their homes after being scolded or beaten by their parents,” said official adding that they will also conduct surprise inspections across trains. On the occasion of International Missing Children’s Day, RPF team of Delhi division organised an awareness and experience sharing programme at New Delhi Railway station on Saturday. Security Commissioner (East) Priyanka Sharma hosted the event. Children who were reunited with their parents by RPF were present at the event. In one such case, a 15-year-old girl left her house due to family problems later she was rescued by the security forces and reunited with her family. Her father said, “After that incident, he is focussing on his daughter’s education.” SC Jain, Divisional Railway Manager, Delhi said that passengers should report about such children who seem to have run away from home or lost at railway stations. “Passengers should inform RPF official/railway official at the railway station or inform at security helpline number 182. This noble act would help in re-uniting such children to their parents /guardians,” said SC Jain. Child rescue and help centre also inaugurated in the premises of RPF post at New Delhi railway station. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has rescued 1,012 children from various railway stations in the four months of 2019.last_img read more

Quebec City dumps 46 million litres of raw sewage into St Lawrence

first_imgQUEBEC – Quebec City dumped about 46 million litres of raw sewage into the St. Lawrence River over 12 hours in order to do scheduled maintenance work on a pumping station, the city said Friday.A spokesperson for the city said everything went as planned.The city said earlier this week that neglecting to do the repairs could lead to equipment breakdowns and more serious environmental problems down the line.“Failure to carry out this maintenace work could lead to major breaks in the equipment,” the city wrote in a press release.The riverbanks were to be inspected following the work.Quebec City treats about 137 billion liters of wastewater annually.Montreal’s administration was widely criticized in 2015 for dumping 4.9 billion litres of raw sewage into the river.An original estimate of eight billion litres was downgraded after the city finished its sewer repair work three days early.last_img read more

Five things about what Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun was running from in Saudi

first_imgOTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Friday that Canada would accept 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed Alqunun as a refugee after she fled Saudi Arabia for Thailand and launched a Twitter campaign to win her freedom from a barricaded airport hotel room. Alqunun said she feared for her life if she were forced to return to Saudi Arabia. Her father and brother travelled to Bangkok to retrieve her. Alqunun’s ordeal helped shine a light on the plight of women in Saudi Arabia, including its controversial “guardianship” laws, which subject women to the control of men.Here are five things about what Alqunun was running from:1. Male stamp requiredIt can be a father, husband, brother or even a son, but under Saudi law, women need a male guardian’s approval to conduct a variety of tasks to function. This includes applying for a passport, travelling outside the country, studying abroad, getting married or even getting out of prison. “This is a systematic discrimination and abuse of women’s rights. It is something that doesn’t really belong in these modern times,” said Phil Robertson, the deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division.2. Running can get you killedLike Alqunun, some Saudi women have tried to flee, but for many the result has been tragic. In one high-profile case, Dina Ali Lasloom was stopped while trying to flee Saudi Arabia in 2017. She was forced to return and according to activists, she was never heard from again. Robertson said that with the arrival of Alqunun’s father and brother in Bangkok this week, there were fears of a repeat “and that the Saudi Embassy could exercise influence or resources to cause problems.”3. Reforms are slowSaudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman made international headlines last year when he lifted a ban on women driving. King Salman also issued a decree that required all branches of government to stop requesting that a male guardian’s authorization be required to receive government services. It called on them to review their regulations and prepare a list of things that would require a man’s permission. While Amnesty International noted that the decree might improve women’s lives, it hadn’t been implemented by the end of the year.4. Fighting from the inside can be futileFive prominent female activists who have campaigned against guardianship wound up in Saudi prisons last year. Loujain al-Hathloul, Iman al-Nafjan and Aziza al-Yousef were arrested in a first sweep. That was followed by the arrest of Nassima al-Sada and Samar Badawi. She is the sister of Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger whose wife lives in Quebec. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes from a whip for writing a blog post deemed offensive to Saudi leadership.5. Female foreign criticism not welcomeIn August, Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland took to Twitter to say she was “very alarmed” to learn of Samar Badawi’s imprisonment, noting she was Raif’s sister. “Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.” Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman responded by expelling Canada’s ambassador and withdrawing his own envoy. The Saudis also sold Canadian investments and recalled their students from universities in Canada, including an unknown number of women.Sources: Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the Associated PressMike Blanchfield, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Allowing municipalities to opt out of pot shops helps black market experts

first_imgAs municipalities across Ontario weigh whether to allow cannabis retail stores in their neighbourhoods, experts and consumer choice advocates warn that having large swaths of the province opt out of brick-and-mortar pot shops could fuel the black market.Recreational cannabis can currently only be bought online in Ontario, and municipalities have until Jan. 22 to decide if they want to host private cannabis stores, which are set to open next spring.Under the rules laid out by the Progressive Conservative government, municipalities that opt out can change their minds down the line, but once they sign on, they can’t back out.In recent weeks, several municipalities — both rural communities and major urban centres such as Mississauga, west of Toronto — have chosen to reject cannabis retail stores, saying they want more control over the number and location of the shops before they consider opting in. Some have also said they want more time for public consultations.This, combined with the government’s recent announcement that it will only issue 25 retail licences by April — after initially saying it would not put a cap on the number — could embolden illegal pot sellers and allow them to thrive, experts and consumer groups said.“Unfortunately, it’s turned out to be just a comedy of errors,” said Anindya Sen, an economics professor at the University of Waterloo who specializes in the cannabis industry. “When you take (those things) together, it’s possible that despite being legalized, Ontario might become one of the biggest black markets in the world.”While the internet remains an option, Sen said delivery hiccups and limited selection at the province’s online cannabis store also undermine efforts to lure consumers away from illegal avenues.That sentiment was echoed by David Clement, manager of North American affairs for the Consumer Choice Center.“Community opt-outs and limited storefronts is a toxic combination which pretty much guarantees that the black market will thrive,” he said. “Capping retail outlets and having entire communities opt out makes the legal market in Ontario far less accessible.”The Ontario government has said it was capping licences in response to a national cannabis supply shortage, which it said can only be tackled by the federal government.“Ontario intends to transition to an open allocation system as soon as supply permits,” Jesse Robichaud, a spokesman for Attorney General Caroline Mulroney, said in an email.Robichaud further said that municipalities that have not opted out will have 15 days to provide written submissions to the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, the provincial agency overseeing retail cannabis stores, on any proposed storefront location. He would not say whether the province was open to giving municipalities more control over the site selection.The province has pledged $40 million over two years to help local governments with the costs of legalization, with each municipality receiving at least $10,000. A first payment will be issued this year on a per household basis, but a second payment doled out after the January deadline will go only to those that opt in, Robichaud said.As of Wednesday, roughly 30 of Ontario’s 444 municipalities had formally notified the AGCO of their decision, with at least 10 opting out, according to the agency’s website.In the Town of Erin, south of Orangeville, councillors voted on Dec. 5 to keep cannabis stores out of their community, largely over the site selection issue, said Mayor Al Alls.“Basically, we feel there’s just too many unanswered questions at this stage of the game and that we weren’t comfortable with proceeding with allowing it to be retailed in our community,” Alls said.Alls said he would reconsider if the municipality was given more control over the locations, but stressed council has not discussed that possibility and would need to be on board.The mayor also suggested a pot shop might not be successful in a small community anyway, noting people might be reluctant to be seen going in and out of a store. “It’s going to take civilization a while to accept the fact that my Joe Blow minister down the street goes in to get a joint every day,” he said.People are more likely to choose to grow it themselves, “especially in the country,” he said.Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie wrote a letter to Premier Doug Ford outlining the city’s concerns earlier this month, a day after councillors voted to hold off on hosting pot shops for the time being, but hasn’t heard back.She said that while the city isn’t opposed in principle, officials felt they did not have enough time to prepare for the shift to an open market model from the government-run system proposed by the previous Liberals regime. Municipalities should be allowed to increase the setback beyond the 150-metre minimum laid out by the province, and should receive funding even if they opt out because they still bear the costs of public education and enforcement, she said.Asked whether she feared the black market would flourish in the absence of pot shops, Crombie said every municipality has to do what’s right for its residents.“Cannabis is available online…so there is availability to residents,” she said. “And certainly there’s always the option of purchasing cannabis at a retail store outside of your own municipality, taking a trip into the city of Toronto.”At least one other municipality on the outskirts of Toronto has also opted out, prompting Toronto’s mayor to raise concerns about the pressure that will put on the city’s cannabis market.John Tory has also asked the province to give the city more control over where the stores are placed, saying he doesn’t want to see a cluster of them near the highway just to accommodate consumers from neighbouring communities without pot shops.“I think it is reasonable for us, given that there may be more pressure on the Toronto market, for us to say that we should have a hand in determining that there aren’t clusters of pot shops all together in one place or that they aren’t located near schools or community centres,” he said this week. “I’m more concerned with that at the moment than the absolute number but there’s no question that the number of pot shops will affect the continued existence or not of a black market we’re trying to eradicate.”Though she acknowledges there are many outstanding questions on how the retail model will roll out, Pauline Rochefort, the mayor of East Ferris in northeastern Ontario, said councillors wanted to get in on the ground floor.The community near North Bay chose to opt in, in part to ensure its own residents — which have a high rate of entrepreneurship — have the chance to participate in the cannabis market, she said.Rochefort said there has been no public outcry over the prospect of retail cannabis stores, but it’s unclear whether the community of roughly 5,000 can keep an outlet in business.“While we did not have…all the information, we felt comfortable that things were in good hands,” she said.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Taylor councillors vote in favour of receiving compensation for meetings outside the

first_imgAt an open public meeting about the proposed bylaw, a number of District residents came to give their thoughts on the proposed pay raise for councillors, with mayoral candidate Laura Prosko, council candidate Sherry Davies, and Jennifer Simpson speaking out against it.Council candidate Michelle Turnbull and residents Matt Edgar and Rick Banack spoke in favour of councillors accepting meeting fees, saying that many council members have increased the hours they have spent in performing civic duties.Mayor Rob Fraser clarified that he had worked approximately 1,600 hours performing mayoral duties in the past 14 months, which works out to an average of 28.5 hours per week.Councillors voted in favour of passing McPhail’s recommendation, albeit with an amendment removing the proposed increase in the mayor’s base salary by $4,600 to $28,000 per year.Councillors did vote in favour of being able to claim meeting fees for attending pre-approved meetings outside of the District.All members of council will be eligible to claim $100 for a meeting(s) lasting up to four hours, $200 for a meeting(s) between four and seven hours, and $300 for a meeting(s) running longer than 7 hours, in addition to their base salary. TAYLOR, B.C. – Taylor councillors have voted in favour of a recommendation from Financial Services Director Michael McPhail that District councillors receive renumeration for attending meetings outside of the District, but excluded also increasing the mayor’s base salary beyond the rate of inflation.At Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, councillors discussed McPhail’s third report on the subject since the issue of mayor and council getting compensation for attending meetings outside of the District was brought up at the beginning of September.Council had deferred making a decision on the topic on two occasions, saying that more information about which meetings councillors would be able to claim meeting fees, and whether a graduated scale of renumeration should be developed depending on the length of a meeting instead of a flat meeting fee. The meeting fees will be applicable for all meetings councillors attend on or after January 1st, 2019.Council members, including the mayor, will see a Cost of Living Allowance increase in 2019, with future COLA increases to be determined based on inflation during yearly budget discussions.last_img read more

Teary Hervé Renard Proud of Atlas Lions Angry at Referee

Rabat – “We need to congratulate the players, they were fantastic!” said a very emotional and proud Hervé Renard to beIN Sport after the remarkable performance of the national team against Portugal, despite its defeat (1-0).The Atlas Lions tried everything, but failed to score against Portugal and their football star Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored in the 4th minute of the match.However, the Moroccan team dominated the ball with 63 percent possession against 37 percent for Portugal. Moroccan striker Nordin Amrabat, who suffered a head injury during the Iran-Morocco game, was called the man of the game, and he well deserved it for his fabulous attacking skills, showing great determination to make history again.The Atlas Lions prevented the Portuguese team from scoring another goal with pressure, great defense, and strength.After the confrontation, with tears in his eyes, the coach of the national team did not hold back his opinion on the referee.“You have to look at number 3 (Pepe) in slow motion, I think everything is said.” Renard was referring to the hand of the Portuguese central defender, which was not called out by Referee Geiger or his assistants. According to Renard, Pepe’s move deserved a penalty in favor of Morocco in the 85th minute.Moreover, in a press conference, Hervé Renard expressed his pride in coaching the Moroccan team.“We are a team that plays football, we demonstrated it again.”He also wanted to thank the million Moroccans who supported the Atlas Lions during the competition, making it feel like Benatia and his teammates “were playing at Casablanca.”Despite their elimination from the World Cup competition, Renard’s Lions will face their last opponent Spain, on June 25. read more

Drought hits Panama Canal shipping highlights climate fears

GATXDAN, Panama — An intense drought related to this year’s El Nino phenomenon has precipitously lowered the level of Panama’s Gatun Lake, forcing the country’s Canal Authority to impose draft limits this week on ships moving through the waterway’s recently expanded locks.The restrictions on how deep the vessels can reach below the surface means large ships, primarily from the United States and China, must pass through with less cargo, which translates into lower revenue for the voyages. The driest period in memory for the canal basin is also hitting small indigenous villages that depend on tourism along the tributaries of the inter-oceanic passage.The economic hit to canal operators stands to be minor — an estimated $15 million this year, compared with the $2.5 billion in revenue generated in 2018. But the drought and the resulting restrictions highlight the difficulties Panama faces in satisfying increased demand for fresh water to feed the canal while irrigating fields and keeping the taps flowing in the capital as climate change threatens more extreme weather events.“This year I do not think there will be problems with drinking water … due to the resources we have,” Steve Paton, who heads the long-term climate monitoring program at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, said, referring to an accumulation of rainfall from the last rainy season.“As for the future, it is difficult to forecast,” Paton continued. “But we are observing in the canal area that climatic events are becoming increasingly extreme. … The biggest droughts and the eight or nine largest storms have occurred in the last 20 years, in the same way that 2014 to 2016 were the driest years in the canal’s history.”El Nino is a recurring phenomenon in which warm ocean temperatures in the Pacific lead to drier than usual conditions in some areas and wetter in others.Carlos Vargas, vice-president of environment and water for the Canal Authority, said recently that Gatun — one of the largest artificial lakes in the world, with an area of 168 square miles (436 square kilometres) — was 4.6 feet (1.4 metres) below normal levels for this time of year. It has dropped more than a half foot (0.2 metres) since early April. A smaller lake that also supplies the waterway, Alajuela, was 7.2 feet (2.2 metres) below usual.“These low levels in the Panama Canal are the product of four or five months of almost zero precipitation,” Vargas told The Associated Press. “It really has been the driest dry season we’ve had in the history of the canal. The flow of rivers to the lake is down 60%.”That forced the Canal Authority to notify customers in early April that the maximum freshwater draft of 44 feet (13.41 metres) for Neopanamax vessels would be a foot less beginning at the end of the month. It marks the fourth reduction in drafts imposed during the current dry season, which runs from January through April. When water levels are optimal, maximum draft for those ships is about 50 feet (15.2 metres).The limits affect only the Cocoli and Agua Clara Locks, a multibillion-dollar project inaugurated in 2016 to accommodate the larger Neopanamax ships. On average, 7 1/2 vessels move through those locks daily day, though there have been days with as many as 12 crossings.The canal charges shipping companies based on a vessel’s capacity and also a percentage of the cargo it carries, so lighter ships mean less profit for everyone.The Canal Authority has had to deal with extreme weather patterns in the past. A severe dry season also associated with El Nino in 2015-2016 affected the crossing of cargo in the old locks and cost $40 million in revenue.The canal and most Panamanians rely on rains over a watershed of nearly 1,300 square miles (more than 3,000 square kilometres) — covered with forests, rivers and lakes — that generates 95% of the water consumed by Panama City and Colon, whose metro areas combined are home to nearly half the country’s population of just over 4 million.Panama has one of the highest levels of annual rainfall among tropical countries. Last year marked one of the highest amounts of rainfall on record for the basin, which experts say has helped cushion the ravages of the current drought.“Gatun and Alajuela lakes have been below optimum levels, but on the other hand it could have been much worse,” Paton said.The canal is promoting short-term drought measures such as suspending generation of hydroelectric power at Gatun as well as water recycling via tubs in the new locks that cut water use by 60%.“This has helped us alleviate the effect for the moment,” Vargas said. “In the medium term, we will continue with reforestation programs in the basin” that have already resulted in more than 17,000 acres (7,000 hectares) of plantings.Paton forecast that the canal has enough water to last at least 18 years, although if extreme climate patterns persist, water could reach precariously low levels within 15 years.The Canal Authority says it needs more water reserves to cushion the impact of extreme events. Canal administrator Jorge Luis Quijano has said that before considering another set of locks, an additional source on the scale of Gatun or Alajuela would be necessary. The lakes fill when it rains heavily, but there is no place to store that surplus during the dry season.During a recent boat tour of Gatun, numerous tree trunks flooded more than a century ago when the lake was created were dried out and exposed to the sun.Water supply for citizens so far has not been affected by the drought, but small indigenous communities scattered along the Gatun’s tributaries have been hit.Telvinia Tascón, an artisan in San Antonio Wounaan on the Gatun River, said tourists typically visit every day to buy handicrafts, but lately the outboard motorboats are having trouble navigating the depleted channels and the logs and mud at the docks.Relief for them — and canal operators — could come by late May or mid-June, when torrential rains from the wet season fill the lakes.“This is the strongest drought we can recall,” Tascón said. “For me it’s sad. This never happened to us.”Juan Zamorano And Arnulfo Franco, The Associated Press read more

UN aims to help Iraq improve housing for its poor

Under a memorandum signed in Baghdad, the UN will “collaborate in the implementation of the Iraq’s national housing policy, especially in implementing the pro-poor aspects of the policy, including informal settlement upgrading, special housing programmes for the poor and vulnerable, improving access to land and housing finance, and enacting revised housing construction norms and standards to reflect current affordability levels.”UN-Habitat also announced the publication of its new study, Urban Baghdad: Impact of Conflict on Daily Life, which calls on the Government to collaborate with Iraqi NGOs, civil society, the UN and international partners to develop new urban policies for improving everyday life in Baghdad. The report, developed jointly by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN-Habitat and the UN mission in Iraq (UNAMI), highlights the displacement and fragmentation of the city caused by conflict, as well as poor access to basic services for internally displaced persons, host communities and those returning from displacement, the agency said. According to the agency, violence has left more than a tenth of Baghdad’s population of about seven million displaced, many within the city, living in “unacceptable conditions with limited access to basic services or income. Approximately 48,000 families live in 136 camps dotted around the city.The report was launched during the visit of the UN-Habitat Executive Director, Joan Clos, to Iraq, accompanied by the Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Christine McNab. Dr. Clos noted that 70 per cent of Iraqis live in cities. “That number is growing, particularly in the five past years due to internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have migrated in large numbers to cities like Baghdad. Embracing new urban planning can be a future solution to improve daily life for Iraqi citizens. Well-planned and managed cities are centres of economic growth and job creation,” he said.Ms. McNab said: “Baghdad’s current housing situation reflects not only the growing pains of cities globally, but also the extraordinary additional stresses experienced in cities throughout Iraq resulting from years of conflict, sanctions and displacement. This now represents one of the Government of Iraq’s most immediate challenges.” 2 June 2011The United Nations well help the Iraqi Government to improve housing for the poor under an agreement announced today by the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT). read more

Senior UN official discusses democratic transitions in Tunisia and Egypt

B. Lynn Pascoe, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, told officials in Tunis today that the UN and the international community are watching the country’s transition with great interest.“Tunisia is the vanguard of democratic transition in North Africa and the Middle East and thus it is in all of our interest to help it succeed,” he said.Acknowledging that the transition will take time and require patience from the population, Mr. Pascoe voiced confidence that Tunisians will be able to conduct credible elections that are scheduled for October.He added that the UN had made available some of its best electoral experts to assist Tunisia in the staging of the polls.In Egypt, where he met with Government officials, political party leaders, youth representatives, candidates for upcoming elections and UN staff, Mr. Pascoe expressed confidence that the transition process will move forward in that country as well.The Under-Secretary-General confirmed that the UN has offered Egypt technical and logistical assistance to help carry out elections later this year.But he also emphasized that Egypt’s democratic transition is a nationally-owned and led process.“This is very much an Egyptian operation. It is up to them to figure out how far they want to go and how fast. We are willing to help and assist as much as it’s appreciated and wanted.”Mr. Pascoe heads the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA), whose tasks include overseeing the provision of UN electoral assistance. At least 100 countries have received such help in the past two decades. 19 July 2011The top United Nations political official today wrapped up a four-day visit to Tunisia and Egypt, where he discussed the two North African countries’ democratic transitions just months after they underwent revolutions that toppled long-standing regimes. read more

Shopify shares slip after Adobe Systems buys ecommerce rival Magento

TORONTO — Shopify shares slipped by more than six per cent in today after its rival Magento Commerce was bought by Adobe Systems.The e-commerce company’s stock fell by as much as 6.47 per cent to $177 in Toronto in morning trading, a day after the U.S. software giant announced the acquisition.Adobe, best known for its Photoshop picture editing software, on Monday said it has signed a US$1.68-billion agreement to buy Magento.Magento’s platform helps companies set up online stores and manage orders. Its customers include Canon, Helly Hansen and Paul Smith.Adobe says the acquisition will enable e-commerce to be seamlessly integrated into its own platform.Shopify shares on the New York Stock Exchange were also down by more than four per cent today at US$138.38. read more

We must remain vigilant Ban urges as Biological Weapons Convention turns 40

The world must continue to remain vigilant against the threat of biological weapons despite the progress made by the international community in preventing their spread, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. In a message marking the 40th anniversary of the entry into force of the UN Biological Weapons Convention, the Secretary-General noted that “the norm against the use and possession of biological weapons remains strong, and no country identifies itself as possessing biological weapons.” However, he added, Member States need to remain aware of the looming threat that such devastating armaments pose to humanity and continue to enforce efforts to eliminate their availability. “The Ebola outbreak in West Africa demonstrates the damage which diseases can inflict, damage which could increase massively were such diseases deliberately misused as weapons,” said Mr. Ban. “On the other hand,” he continued, “the outbreak also demonstrates the commitment of the international community to respond to such threats, whether natural or deliberate. It also shows the vital role of science in creating better defences.” The Biological Weapons Convention opened for signature in 1972 and entered into force in 1975. It prohibits the development, production, acquisition, transfer, retention, stockpiling and use of biological and toxin weapons and is a key element, along with the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the Chemical Weapons Convention, in the international community’s efforts to address the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was also the first multilateral disarmament treaty banning an entire category of weapons. It currently has 173 States parties. Mr. Ban called on the 23 governments that have not yet joined the Convention to do so “without delay,” adding that in its anniversary year, and with the Eighth Review Conference around the corner in 2016, “all countries should reaffirm their unequivocal rejection of the use of disease as a weapon.” “We must remain vigilant. The Eighth Review Conference in 2016 is an opportunity to consolidate progress and consider how to adapt this landmark Convention to the challenges posed by advances in science and technology as well as potential risks posed by terrorists and other non-State actors,” the Secretary-General affirmed. “I encourage States Parties to think creatively about how to build confidence in compliance with the Convention.” read more

Griffey In His Prime Was The Second Coming Of Willie Mays

One hundred percent of public ballots have Ken Griffey Jr. going into the Baseball Hall of Fame, which should surprise exactly no one. The only suspense Junior’s election year was ever going to see was the question of how close he comes to unanimity, and whether or not the Baseball Writers’ Association of America conscripts an ordained bishop and a team of surveyors to find and consecrate center field at the site of the old Kingdome.It’s been a while since a position player of Griffey’s caliber went into Hall of Fame Day so certain of induction — Rickey Henderson in 2009 was probably the last — and a lot of the ink that’s been spilled over Griffey focuses on the more ethereal qualities that made him the face of a generation (a generation starving for Hall of Fame consideration, I might add): his style; his athleticism; that grin; that effortless, fluid, magisterial swing.If hall voters could vote in a GIF, I swear to God this thing would have a plaque by the second ballot.Statistically, though, Griffey isn’t talked about in exactly the same way as most players. His artistry was so unimpeachable, his heights so dizzying, and his fall so precipitous, it seemed, that talking about the full measure of his career in the persnickety, CPA-hued style of the modern baseball apparatus not only feels like stapling together two completely different players — The Kid and a mere, fallible mortal — but also carries a certain inevitable, Nearer, My God, to Thee sadness about the career he might have had.This is a mistake. The mystique of Ken Griffey Jr. doesn’t diminish any when held up to the lamp. If anything, panning reality out of myth only seems to grow the myth.Consider: If we break down Griffey’s skills1Adjusted for park effects. relative to the major league average — giving excess weight to his best wins above replacement seasons, to better capture what he was like in his prime — and look for players with similar profiles in their best years,2Generating similarity scores by summing the squared differences of any two players’ percentile ranks in five skill categories — contact rate, isolated power, walk rate, running ability (which includes speed score and baserunning runs) and defensive WAR — and weighting the differences according to each category’s influence on overall WAR. the prime version of Griffey was the closest thing the majors have ever seen to the great Willie Mays. Mays had a slightly better eye at the plate, made more contact and was a better runner. Otherwise, peak Griffey was the spitting image of the Say Hey Kid’s best years: a profanely powerful hitter and elite defensive outfielder with great speed and patience, and solid contact skills.(Griffey’s second-most similar prime-to-prime player was his former Mariners teammate Alex Rodriguez — no slouch in his best years, either.) But let’s say we give in and run the same exercise without giving extra weight to the most thrilling years of Griffey’s career. In that case, we find Roger Maris, whose single-season home-run record Griffey flirted with in 1994 before labor strife brought the season to an abrupt halt. This is a telling comparison. Over their respective careers, Mays and Maris boasted nearly identical marks in power, contact and plate patience, but they differed greatly in the most dynamic areas of the game: speed and defense.Likewise, late-career Griffey retained much of his familiar hitting profile, but he became unrecognizable in the field and on the basepaths. After stealing 167 bases in the first 11 years of his career, Griffey swiped only 17 over his final 11 seasons. He also joined the likes of Adam Dunn and Manny Ramirez as one of baseball’s least valuable fielders over his final major-league decade, an outcome that seemed unthinkable when Junior was pulling fly balls off the wall at a dead sprint and doing his “I got it” routine across the Great Lakes. The effect is so extreme that if we invert the prime-weighting scheme from above, instead giving excess weight to a player’s worst seasons, Griffey suddenly profiles like a lumbering slugger in the mold of Kevin Mitchell or Prince Fielder — a far cry from the sprightliness of his ’90s heyday.But here’s the thing: While Kevin Mitchell and Prince Fielder were and are, uh, hefty, they’re also pretty good players. Among non-pitchers since 19133The earliest season, continuous from 2015, for which FanGraphs tracks strikeout rate for batters. with 3,000 or more career trips to the plate, each ranks in the top third in WAR on a per-plate appearance basis. His skills may have been undermined by constant injuries, an ill-fated contract and geriatric napping, but even in winter, one of Griffey’s closest comps was a 31-year-old six-time All-Star.There are many faces to Griffey’s stardom. He might have been baseball’s last truly mainstream superstar, which takes on even more meaning in a sport with an ever-dwindling base of African-American players. The iconography of Griffey — the fun-loving, video game-endorsing, steroid-free natural athlete — always meant his case for the Hall rested on more than mere numbers. But as we all celebrate Griffey’s career this week, it’s worth remembering that Griffey’s numbers are no mere thing, and his statistical legacy isn’t so fragile as to topple over at the first gust of scrutiny. Even during his worst days, Griffey remained an All-Star-caliber player; during his best, he really was the second coming of Willie Mays.Read More: Mike Piazza Was More Than A Big BatBaseball’s Hall Of Fame Is Stuck In The ’60s read more