Boman Irani to play Farokh Engineer in 83

first_imgMumbai: Boman Irani has joined the ensemble cast of filmmaker Kabir Khan’s next “83”, which features Ranveer Singh as Indian cricket legend Kapil Dev. The film will chronicle India’s win under Kapil’s captainship, when the team defeated West Indies in the final to clinch their first-ever World Cup trophy in 1983. Irani will essay the role of former opening batsman and wicket-keeper, Farokh Engineer, who was one of the commentators at the 1983 World Cup. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “He was the only Indian commentator during the 1983 World Cup. His story, along with co-commentator Brian Johnston’s, runs parallel to the main narrative,” the actor said in a statement. The movie also features Pankaj Tripathi, Tahir Raj Bhasin, Saqib Saleem, Ammy Virk, Chirag Patil, Jiiva and Harrdy Sandhu. The team is currently filming in England and Irani joined them for the shoot on Sunday. “I will be shooting for a couple of days here, and then join the team in Mumbai. It’s a great honour to play this legendary character. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna “I went to Manchester during the World Cup this year and stayed with him for a few days. We even watched the India versus Pakistan match together. It was so surreal; like meeting your boyhood hero. I stayed at his house and we had some good laughs while trying to understand the man for the role,” he said. The movie also features Deepika Padukone as Kapil’s spouse Romi Dev. It marks Deepika and Ranveer’s first on-screen collaboration post their November 2018 wedding. ’83’is being co-produced by Madhu Mantena, Sajid Nadiadwala and Reliance Entertainment. The movie is slated to hit the screens on April 10, 2020.last_img read more

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Auto component industry may see singledigit growth in FY2021

first_imgMumbai: The auto component industry is projected to register a lower 5-7 per cent compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) over the fiscals 2020 and 2021 as against 12 per cent in the preceding two fiscals amid a slump in domestic vehicle sales, rating agency Crisil said on Tuesday. Besides, the industry’s topline growth is likely to recede to half in the next two fiscals, though tighter safety and emission norms for original equipment makers (OEMs) could give partial relief to the Rs 3.5 lakh crore industry, Crisil said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAn analysis of around 300 Crisil-rated component firms, which account for almost 40 percent of the industrys revenues, reveals that capex spend will be discretionary and could be around 15 percent lower at Rs 12,000 crore in fiscals 2020 and 2021, compared with the preceding two fiscals. The upcoming safety and emission norms will boost demand for components such as airbags, engine systems, exhaust management systems, and electronic and electrical parts, said Hetal Gandhi, director, Crisil Research. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”These new regulations alone are expected to account for 25-30 per cent of the incremental demand for automotive components in the next two fiscals. The growth in fiscal 2020 and 2021 would be even lower, but for the higher component intensity resulting from the regulatory changes, besides steady aftermarket sales and healthy exports,” she said. Production volume of OEMs is estimated to either degrow or log low single-digit growth at best in the next two years, Crisil note said, adding higher insurance costs, lower availability of finance and low growth in rural wages is affecting off-take in fiscal 2020. Vehicle demand is also expected to be impacted by the new safety norms for passenger vehicles and two-wheelers, applicable in fiscal 2020, and the Bharat Stage (BS) VI emission norms, which come into effect from April 1, 2020, as these will drive up vehicle prices across categories, it added. According to Crisil, these factors are affecting new vehicle sales and in turn causing an impact on the automotive component sector, as OEMs account for 65 percent of component demand. Nevertheless, the new safety and emission norms do offer a ray of hope to component manufacturers as these will increase the component content in vehicles, it added. “Most component firms have strengthened their balance sheets significantly in the past 3-4 years, and average gearing (debt/ net worth) stood at around 1 time in fiscal 2019, the lowest in a decade. That, coupled with lower capex spend, will limit the material impact on credit profiles,” said Aparna Kirubakaran, associate director, Crisil Ratings. However, credit profiles of firms with limited segmental and geographical diversification, or those highly dependent on single customer segments are likely to be vulnerable, more so if they have recently undertaken large debt-funded capex,” she added. According to Crisil, the aftermarket demand, which accounts for around 16 percent of sector revenue is expected to maintain the trend of 7-8 per cent growth.last_img read more

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Tax filings may increase 10 by Marchend Govt

first_imgNEW DELHI: The government is hoping for a 10 per cent jump in tax returns filed by the end of March as many individuals who did not make their annual filings by the August 31 deadline may do so by paying a penalty. Data released by the income tax department on Sunday showed that returns filed up to August had increased by 4 per cent to 5.65 crore but was largely limited to salaried individuals. Going forward, those who file their returns by December will have to pay a penalty of Rs 5,000 while a penalty of Rs 10,000 will be levied on those filing by March 31. In the coming months, several other categories have to file their annual returns. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalLast year, there was a 71 per cent jump in the number of returns filed up to August 31. The number of returns filed for financial year 2017-18 rose 26 per cent up to March 31 as the government managed to add nearly 1 crore new filers, taking the number to 6.84 crore. Officials said the surge last year was on account of demonetisation as well as the initial impact of goods and services tax, which was rolled out on July 1, 2017, prompting many to disclose their income which was suppressed earlier. Tax officials said the growth this year was achieved on the back of a steady rise over the last two-three years. Besides, they believe that the robustness of the Aadhaar system has also been proved during the current exercise as nearly 80 per cent of the over 3 crore returns that have been verified were done using the unique identification number as people opted to do away with sending returns by courier.last_img read more

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Some Nova Scotia deaths that have led to calls for public inquests

first_imgHALIFAX – Some Nova Scotia deaths that have led to calls for public inquests:Lionel Desmond, 33; Shanna Desmond, 31; Aaliyah, 10; Brenda Desmond, 52.Jan. 3, Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.Afghan veteran Lionel Desmond fatally shot his mother, wife, daughter and himself in a horrific murder-suicide that renewed debate over how Canada treats former military members with post-traumatic stress disorder. Desmond was diagnosed with PTSD and post-concussion disorder after a 2007 Afghanistan deployment. Last week, Desmond’s twin sisters, Chantel and Cassandra, joined a growing list of advocacy groups calling for an independent inquiry that would determine the facts of the case and provide a list of recommendations on how to avoid similar deaths. The medical examiner says he’s waiting to see the review before taking any further decisions.—Dorothy Stultz, 87.March 1, 2012, Bridgetown, N.S.Stultz died after a shove by a male resident at Mountain Lea Lodge, which led to a serious fall and later a blood clot. It was among a series of nine deaths over the past decade classified as “homicides” by the medical examiner. Stultz’s daughter, Debbie Stultz-Giffin, says the province’s internal study has failed to examine key elements of the case. Dr. Matthew Bowes, the medical examiner, says a judicial inquiry isn’t needed. “If a public system is reasonably diligent, I don’t think hard about a judicial inquiry. I only think hard about it if they (government) are completely ignorant or in denial about an issue,” he said. “Our health care system does have an awareness of falls of the elderly as an issue, whether accidental or homicidal I suppose.”—Jason (Libby) LeBlanc, 42.Cape Breton Correctional Facility, Jan. 31, 2016, Sydney, N.S.LeBlanc died from an opiate overdose 13 hours after being placed in a cell. An internal review concluded correctional officers failed to follow proper procedures in the strip search process and didn’t complete their rounds at standard intervals. LeBlanc’s father told The Canadian Press he had asked the medical examiner’s office for a fatality inquiry into their son’s death after the 42-year-old labourer became the sixth, non-natural prison cell death in the province since 2010 without a public inquiry.—Camille Strickland-Murphy, 22.July 28, 2015, Nova Institution for Women, Truro, N.S.Veronica Park, 38.April 24, 2015, in hospital while in custody at Nova Institution for Women.Strickland-Murphy committed suicide by suffocating herself with a plastic bag while serving a three-year sentence for attempted robbery of a pharmacy, according to a lawsuit. Park died of pneumonia, and also tested positive for an antibiotic-resistant strain of MRSA. She had sought medical help but wasn’t taken to hospital until she was found gasping in her cell, according to a lawsuit. The families of the women, both from Newfoundland, requested a fatality inquiry but didn’t get one, their lawyer says. The families say in a lawsuit the women didn’t receive appropriate or adequate medical care, but the federal prison service says such care was provided.—Clayton Cromwell, 23.Central Nova Scotia Correctional Facility, April 7, 2015, Halifax.Cromwell died of a methadone overdose, even though he wasn’t part of the prison’s methadone program. Devin Maxwell, his family’s lawyer, said he has been seeking full disclosure for almost two years on what precisely happened to the 23-year-old. He said he favours a public inquest because “the goal from the family’s point of view is to get an answer as to what happened … The mother wants to make sure this never happens again and a mandatory inquest would go a long way in both these areas.” In a lawsuit, the family asserts there was a lack of control over the potentially deadly drug. The province denies the assertion.—(The Canadian Press)last_img read more

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Family of indigenous Ontario woman who died in custody speaks out

first_imgThe family of a First Nations woman who died in police custody in Ontario says her death is part of larger widespread tensions between police and indigenous communities.Relatives of Debra Chrisjohn say they still have questions about what happened to the 39-year-old from the Oneida Nation of the Thames despite the fact that two police officers are now facing charges in her death.Ontario’s Special Investigations Unit announced Thursday that Const. Mark McKillop of the Ontario Provincial Police and London, Ont., police Const. Nicholas Doering are charged with one count each of criminal negligence causing death and failing to provide the necessaries of life.Both interacted with Chrisjohn at some point between her arrest on Sept. 7, 2016 and her death later that night.A lawyer representing Chrisjohn’s family says any future discussion of the officers’ conduct needs to focus on why they did not seek medical attention for Chrisjohn when it should have been apparent that she required help.She says Chrisjohn’s death is an example of what she calls the problematic relationship between police forces and indigenous communities across Canada.“What happened to Debra is not an isolated incident,” said Caitlyn Kasper with Toronto’s Aboriginal Legal Services. “It is very obvious that it isn’t these types of issues just in London or the Oneida First Nation. It’s a concern we hear about in Toronto, all across Ontario and all across Canada.”Robert Chrisjohn, Debra’s father, said the family has been devastated by his daughter’s death.“Why didn’t the police take her to the hospital sooner when they knew she was sick and needed help?” he asked in a public statement issued Friday. “The police arrested her and were responsible for making sure she was okay. This happens way too often in our community. This happens all the time. The police just don’t seem to care.”Details of Debra Chrisjohn’s final hours are still vague, though the SIU released some information in announcing the charges against McKillop and Doering.The SIU, which probes incidents involving police where someone is killed, injured or accused of sexual assault, said Doering was among those who responded to a call for a traffic obstruction on Sept. 7 in London.Police found Chrisjohn at the scene and arrested her, only to discover that she was wanted on an outstanding charge in nearby Elgin County. Kasper said that outstanding charge was for shoplifting.She and the SIU said Chrisjohn was transferred from the custody of London police to the provincial force to answer to the outstanding charge.At some point during that time Chrisjohn went into medical distress and was rushed to the St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital. She was pronounced dead there later that night.The SIU has declined to offer further comment on the case, since it is now before the courts.Both Kasper and the SIU declined to release the cause of death, but Kasper said police had enough information on hand to handle Chrisjohn’s case differently.She said Chrisjohn, who had a documented history of both substance abuse and mental illness, had interacted with London police officers just the day before her death.On that occasion, she said police did not arrest her but instead took her to hospital for treatment. She said the family feels officers should have responded the same way the following day, adding there were clear indications that Chrisjohn needed medical attention rather than time in police custody.Kasper said Chrisjohn’s relatives are pleased that officers are now facing charges, but said they’re bracing for a lengthy legal process.She said the ensuing case should focus on what she called the “foundational relationship” between police and indigenous people from coast to coast, saying current headlines are rife with examples of how the troubled dynamic plays out.She pointed to the need for a national inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, which has recently been mired in controversy among a spate of resignations from key staff members and even a commissioner.She also cited recent deaths of several indigenous people in Thunder Bay, Ont., who were all pulled from a local river after moving to the city from remote northern communities. Indigenous leaders have called upon the RCMP to take over a probe into those deaths, citing a lack of trust in either city or provincial authorities.last_img read more

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Andrew Scheer seeks to rally Conservatives in fall strategy session

first_imgOTTAWA – A selfie with a camel. Snapshots of cherub-cheeked children looking on in awe at some summertime marvel. Photo captions paying tribute to the support of his spouse.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s summer on social media? Nope: think Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer instead.Make no mistake, the Conservatives are hoping to beat Trudeau come the 2019 election, and if there’s one thing they’re conceding it’s that doing so requires being a little more like him.To a point, anyway.“I’m not going to try and get even flashier socks that he has to make an impression on social media,” Scheer joked in an interview.But what Scheer is aiming for when Parliament resumes in a couple weeks is to lay the groundwork to convince Canadians that he can provide an alternative.“I think at the end of the day if voters don’t see the substance and the merit of the policies you’re advocating, it won’t matter what you do on social media,” he said.Scheer’s spent the summer crossing the country as an introductory tour following his squeaker of a victory in the party’s leadership race last May.It was a way to gather fodder for the Conservative strategy machine that gears up in earnest in Winnipeg on Wednesday with a multi-day meeting of Conservative members of Parliament, senators and staff.The summer has provided no shortage of ingredients for Tories to chew on.A $10-million payout to Omar Khadr, the Canadian accused of killing a U.S. soldier and wounding another in a firefight in Afghanistan, but whose rights were found to be violated by Canada’s top courts, leading to the settlement.A surge of asylum seekers overwhelming resources at the Canada-U.S. border raising fears about the integrity of the Canadian immigration system.Then there was there was a decision by the Liberal finance minister to launch consultations on tax changes aimed at closing loopholes used by a growing number of small businesses, which the Liberals say create an unfair playing field.The backlash to that has been sustained, with companies bristling at being accused of cheating when what they say they’re trying to do is manage their own affairs. Liberals themselves are getting an earful and the issue is top of their own caucus meeting agenda this week.The Tories are hearing the same complaints, Scheer told a meeting of his shadow cabinet in Winnipeg Wednesday, and yet Trudeau refuses to back down.“While Justin Trudeau focuses on the issues that divide his own party and pit one Canadian against each other, we will be focused on improving the quality of life for all hardworking Canadians,” he said.While Scheer is the party boss, leading the charge on the finance front for the Tories will be critic Pierre Poilievre, named to the post last week when Scheer unveiled his shadow cabinet.The team is a mix of old faces and some newer ones, and of course Scheer has incorporated some of his rivals for the leadership bid, including Maxime Bernier to keep watch over the innovation file and Erin O’Toole on the foreign affairs front.The shadow cabinet will brief the rest of the Conservative team on their files beginning Thursday and there will be regional break-out sessions and also updates from local conservatives on the political landscape in the province.Winnipeg’s meeting is just the latest caucus gathering to happen far away from the power nexus of Parliament Hill; taking the Tories on the road instead of behind closed doors was a signature move for Ambrose as she sought to rebrand the party as one of openness and inclusion.Scheer’s work in that regard comes at a challenging time.Many Liberals say that as long as Donald Trump is the U.S. president, Canadians will want Trudeau in power. And Scheer has already found himself on the defensive over criticism that Canada’s conservatives risk hewing too closely to the extreme right backing Trump.Some of the more recent criticism stemmed from the way the Canadian conservative news outlet The Rebel framed its coverage of protests between white nationalists and counter-protesters in Virginia. Many felt it was overly sympathetic to the so-called “alt right.”Scheer cut ties with the Rebel after pressure, but the Liberals have tried to keep the issue alive, pointing out late last week that ads for the party were still appearing on Breitbart, an American conservative news site run by Trump adviser Steve Bannon.Scheer said he is sure the Liberals would like Canadian voters to associate the Conservative leader with Trump, but he points out that Canadians won’t be voting for a Trump in the next election.“They’ll be choosing between Andrew Scheer and Justin Trudeau, and a Liberal party that will have had a record then of raising taxes, of imposing a carbon tax, of attacking small business owners, of failing to manage the crisis at the border — and a Conservative party that will be offering a positive alternative.”last_img read more

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Tears sorrow as families speak of missing and murdered Indigenous women

first_imgWINNIPEG – Family members of missing and murdered Indigenous women sobbed, fought back tears and expressed anger Monday as they recounted what happened to their loved ones.They also recalled running up against what they said was indifference from police and people in general.“What was she to society — nothing?” Isabel Daniels asked the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women about her cousin, Nicole Daniels, who was found frozen to death in 2009.“Like the 1,200 other aboriginal women that are murdered and missing?”Nicole was 16 when she was found face down, with her clothes partially removed, behind a Winnipeg auto body shop on the morning of April 1, 2009. The night before, her family said the teen had gone out with an older man she had met on a telephone chat line.An autopsy found a high level of alcohol in her system and the police ruled out foul play. They attributed the removed clothing to paradoxical undressing — a misplaced feeling of warmth that can occur when people suffer from severe hypothermia.Her family told the inquiry hearing in Winnipeg they have no doubt Nicole Daniels was murdered.“She had bruises on her arms that we saw when she was in her casket, and she didn’t have those bruises before. She had bruises on her legs,” Nicole’s aunt, Joan Winning, told the hearing.Similar frustration came from Lorna Sinclair, whose sister, Myrna Letandre, was murdered in 2006. Letandre’s killer, Traigo Andretti, was her boyfriend and was only charged after Letandre’s remains were found in 2013 in a Winnipeg rooming house.Andretti was questioned at the time of Letandre’s disappearance but not charged — something that Sinclair said was wrong.“More needs to be done when our people go missing, when our women go missing. You have to investigate the people they were with,” she said.“On three different occasions, I say to you all, I went to that house … and Traigo had said to us that he wouldn’t let us in. He said, ‘No, she’s not here. She went to B.C., Calgary. I don’t know where she is.’”Andretti pleaded guilty in 2015 to second-degree murder. He had recently been given a life sentence for the murder of another Manitoba Indigenous woman, Jennifer McPherson, in 2013.McPherson’s murder was not the first for her family. Her mother, Betty Rourke, also lost a sister to violence in 1980. She fought back tears as she recalled memories of her sister as a young child.Many family members told the hearing the violence has affected them. Some are scared to go out alone. Some are mistrustful of men. Some are haunted by the feeling they might have done something to keep their loved ones safe.Monday’s hearing was the first of four days scheduled for Winnipeg, following earlier hearings in Smithers, B.C., and Whitehorse.The inquiry has faced complaints from some families about poor communication and delays. One commissioner and some staff members have resigned.Kevin Hart, a regional vice-chief with the Assembly of First Nations, alluded to the controversy in his opening remarks.“We know it hasn’t been an easy job for you … and I ask you from the bottom of my heart: please help the families and the survivors and the two-spirited because they need you more than ever right now.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misspelled Joan Winning’s first name.last_img read more

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Canada to admit 340000 immigrants a year by 2020 under new threeyear

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal government sought Wednesday to introduce more stability into Canada’s immigration system by introducing a plan that sets out a gradual rise in admissions over the next three years.By 2020, Canada will see an increase of 13 per cent in overall immigration numbers, with the vast majority coming under economic programs designed to address skills shortages and gaps in the labour market as the population ages and the birth rate declines.At 340,000 people, the increase by 2020 represents the highest intake since before the First World War, though it stops short of the 450,000 target suggested by the government’s economic advisory council in a report last year.Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen said the plan he unveiled Wednesday is the right mix for Canada, for now. The gradual increase over time was designed so the system could adjust, he said.“Bringing a newcomer to Canada is half of the job; we have to make sure people are being given the tools they need to succeed once they get here,” Hussen told a news conference in Toronto.“We have to make sure we have the absorptive capacity, we have to make sure that our partners on the ground with the settlement and integration processes that they engage in every day have the tools necessary so they can plan ahead, so they can adjust to the numbers.”The switch to a longer-term planning approach marks a major pivot for the federal government, which has for decades relied on setting only annual targets. The last time there was a multi-year approach was in the 1980s and it was shelved after a recession.Hussen’s predecessor, John McCallum, had suggested last year the government was contemplating a switch and consultations on the idea have been ongoing ever since.The Conference Board of Canada — among the groups advocating for a multi-year plan — welcomed the move.“Canada’s decision to increase immigration will help sustain long-term economic growth in light of its rapidly aging population and low birth rate,” senior vice president Craig Alexander said in a statement.“Introducing a multi-year levels plan will improve the ability of governments, employers, immigrant-serving organizations and other important stakeholders to successfully integrate newcomers into Canada’s economy and society.”The massive movement of refugees and migrants around the world had seen calls for the Liberals to not just increase economic immigration to Canada but also add more space for resettlement of refugees and displaced persons.Canada welcomed nearly 60,000 people in the refugee and protected persons program in 2016, thanks to the landmark Syrian refugee effort.But while slight increases are planned to that stream over the next three years, the final target is nowhere near as high, with a planned 48,700 people by 2020.Conservative Immigration critic Michelle Rempel said Canada’s immigration system as it stands is plagued with problems that if not addressed, will only be exacerbated by the increases overall.She pointed to major backlogs at the Immigration and Refugee Board overwhelmed by an influx of asylum seekers at the border, delays in processing live-in caregiver applications for permanent residency and thousands of unprocessed private sponsorship applications for refugees.“None of this is compassionate, safe or fair; all key elements needed to give the public faith in the integrity of our immigration system and maintain broad social license for it to operate,” Rempel said in a statement.Hussen said the increase levels would be matched with an increase in funding, but couldn’t say by how much on Wednesday.last_img read more

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The Wednesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Wednesday, Jan. 3———WOMEN CLAIM CANADIAN THEATRE FIGURE HARASSED THEM: A prominent figure in the Canadian theatre world has been forced to step down from the well-known company he co-founded amid separate lawsuits from four actresses who allege he exposed himself, groped them, and otherwise sexually humiliated them. The lawsuits naming Toronto-based Soulpepper Theatre Company and its founding artistic director Albert Schultz were filed this week by Patricia Fagan, Hannah Miller, Kristin Booth and Diana Bentley, who have all agreed to be named publicly. In her claim in Ontario Superior Court, Miller says Schultz, 54, harassed and sexually assaulted her when she was a performer with Soulpepper and as a member of Soulpepper’s academy. Miller is seeking $650,000 in general and punitive damages for “sexual battery, the intentional infliction of mental suffering (and) harassment of a sexual nature,” according to her claim, which has yet to be tested in court. The claim also seeks $800,000 from Soulpepper. Similarly, Fagan alleges in her lawsuit that Schultz assaulted her during a rehearsal of “Twelfth Night” in 2000, when he tried to show an actor what he wanted by “pushing his penis against her buttocks.” The women’s lawyer, Alexi Wood, said in a statement that Soulpepper did nothing to protect the actresses from Schultz, who is also an accomplished stage and screen actor.———TWO GUARDS CHARGED IN INMATE’S DEATH: Three years after a troubled Cape Breton man died after being hit repeatedly with pepper spray in prison, two correctional officers have been charged with manslaughter. RCMP had originally said foul play was not suspected in Matthew Hines’s death, but the charges come after Canada’s correctional investigator found prison staff used unnecessary force. Hines, who was serving a five-year sentence for crimes including robbery, died on May 26, 2015, at Dorchester Penitentiary in New Brunswick. Family members were originally told the 33-year-old died of a seizure, and said in a statement Wednesday they are relieved that his death has been thoroughly investigated. On Wednesday, two men, 48-year-old Alvida Ross and 31-year-old Mathieu Bourgoin, both of Dieppe, N.B., were charged with one count each of manslaughter and criminal negligence causing death. Ivan Zinger, Canada’s correctional investigator, said in a May 2017 report that the repeated use of pepper spray at very close range appears to have contributed to Hines’ rapid onset of medical complications.———FEWER JOBS DUE TO MINIMUM WAGE HIKE, BANK OF CANADA SAYS: The Bank of Canada estimates there will be about 60,000 fewer jobs by 2019 due to the increases in minimum wages across the country, but that labour income will be higher due to the increases. In examining the impact of the wage increases, the report estimated that the consumer price index could be boosted by about 0.1 percentage points on average and real gross domestic product could be cut by 0.1 per cent by early 2019. The number of jobs lost was based on a 0.3 per cent decline in the number of hours worked, while aggregate real wages were estimated to increase 0.7 per cent. The research paper by the staff at the central bank noted that if the average working hours declined following the increase in the minimum wage, the number of jobs lost would also be lower. The Bank of Canada estimated that about eight per cent of all employees work at minimum wage, a proportion that increases to 11 per cent if a threshold of five per cent above minimum wage is used. Ontario raised its minimum wage to $14 per hour on Jan. 1 from $11.60 and plans to increase it to $15 in 2019, while Alberta is expected to raise its minimum wage to $15 later this year.———TRAIN CONDUCTOR PLAYED BIG ROLE IN LAC-MEGANTIC TRAGEDY, TRIAL HEARS: Train conductor Thomas Harding played a significant role in the deaths of 47 people in the Lac-Megantic tragedy because he didn’t sufficiently apply the brakes after parking the oil-laden convoy, the Crown argued Wednesday. Harding applied only half the required level of brakes and didn’t test them to ensure they worked properly before leaving for the night, prosecutor Sacha Blais said in his closing arguments at the trial of Harding and his two co-accused. In the wee hours of July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying crude oil from the United States derailed in Lac-Megantic and exploded, killing the 47 and destroying part of the downtown core. Harding and former colleagues Richard Labrie and Jean Demaitre are each facing one count of criminal negligence causing the death of 47 people. They have all pleaded not guilty. The Crown wrapped up its closing arguments Wednesday and will be followed Thursday by lawyers for Labrie and Demaitre. Harding’s lawyer will get his turn Friday and Quebec Superior Court Justice Gaetan Dumas is expected to give his instructions to the jury Monday.———JOSHUA BOYLE CASE ADJOURNED UNTIL MONDAY: Joshua Boyle, the former Afghanistan hostage who now finds himself behind bars in Canada facing a battery of serious criminal charges, will have to wait at least a few more days to find out if he’ll be released on bail. A pro-forma court appearance Wednesday was over in a matter of minutes, with the 34-year-old Boyle appearing via video link from the Ottawa Carleton Detention Centre, clad in an orange jumpsuit. Boyle was arrested by Ottawa police late last month and made his first court appearance on New Year’s Day to face 15 charges, including eight counts of assault, two of sexual assault, two of unlawful confinement and one count of causing someone to “take a noxious thing, namely Trazodone,” an antidepressant. The charges relate to two victims, but a court order prohibits the publication of any details that might identify them or any witnesses. None of the charges have been proven in court. Boyle did little beyond confirm his identity for Justice Norman Boxall before the case was adjourned until Monday to set a date for a bail hearing. Court also heard that Lawrence Greenspon, one of Ottawa’s most high-profile criminal lawyers, has joined his defence team.———MANAFORT SUES MUELLER, U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT OVER RUSSIAN PROBE: U.S. President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman sued special counsel Robert Mueller and the Justice Department on Wednesday, saying prosecutors had overstepped their bounds by charging him for conduct that he says is unrelated to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The lawsuit by Paul Manafort, filed in federal court in Washington, is the most direct challenge to date to Mueller’s legal authority and the scope of his mandate as special counsel. It comes amid Republican allegations of partisan bias among members of Mueller’s team, which for months has been investigating whether the Trump campaign co-ordinated with Russia to influence the outcome of the U.S. election. Manafort was indicted in October on charges including money-laundering conspiracy, related to his lobbying work on behalf of a Russia-friendly Ukrainian political party. He has pleaded not guilty. He is one of four Trump associates — including former national security adviser Michael Flynn — to be charged so far in Mueller’s investigation.———TRUMP BLASTS FORMER ADVISER BANNON OVER BOOK: U.S. President Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on former top adviser Steve Bannon on Wednesday, responding to a new book that portrays Trump as an undisciplined man-child who didn’t actually want to win the White House and quotes Bannon as calling his son’s contact with a Russian lawyer “treasonous.” Hitting back via a formal White House statement rather than a more-typical Twitter volley, Trump insisted Bannon had little to do with his campaign. “When he was fired, he not only lost his job, he lost his mind,” Trump said. It was a blistering attack against the man who helped deliver the presidency to Trump. It was spurred by an unflattering new book by writer Michael Wolff that paints Trump as a leader who doesn’t understand the weight of the presidency and spends his evenings eating cheeseburgers in bed, watching television and talking on the phone to old friends. White House aides were blindsided when early excerpts from “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” were published online by New York magazine and other media outlets ahead of the Jan. 9 publication date. The release left Trump “furious” and “disgusted,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who complained that the book contained “outrageous” and “completely false claims against the president, his administration and his family.”———SECURITY ISSUE EXPOSED IN COMPUTERS WITH INTEL HARDWARE: Technology experts warn a “really, really serious” security vulnerability could affect the majority of computers made in the last decade, but a fix being rushed to users has a downside: it may slow down your machine. Tech news website the Register reported a glitch has been identified with Intel processing chips that could cause data to become vulnerable to hackers. While software developers have been covertly working since late last year to address the widespread issue, news of the problem began spreading beyond the development community late Tuesday. Intel’s stock dropped about four per cent on Wednesday while the company’s main competitor AMD saw its stock surge by more than five per cent. “This is a really, really serious problem,” said Vlado Keselj, a professor of computer science at Dalhousie University. “The good news is I think it’s really hard to exploit this vulnerability. But it could just be a matter of time before someone manages to do that.” In a statement released Wednesday, Intel attempted to downplay worries about the hardware issue, saying it believes hackers “do not have the potential to corrupt, modify or delete data.” The company also said a performance hit from a future software update “should not be significant and will be mitigated over time.”———FUNDRAISING DRIVER LAUNCHED FOR QUEBECER WHO LOST LIMBS: A young Quebec woman has had her arms and legs amputated after she spent four hours in freezing temperatures following an electric jolt that raced through her body. Samantha Mongeon says her younger sister Sabryna, 18, was driving a car early on Christmas morning when she lost control of the vehicle and collided with a hydroelectric pole in western Quebec. “The pole did not fall down but wires came down and fell on her vehicle,” Mongeon said. “She was afraid it would catch fire so she left the vehicle (and) it was at that moment that she received an electrical charge of 14,500 volts.” Mongeon said the jolt entered through her sister’s hands, coursed through her body and exited her two feet, adding “she immediately lost her left foot.” She remained conscious for four hours and painfully tried to get back into her car but wasn’t able to start it to get some heat, her sister said. Mongeon said a “Good Samaritan saw the vehicle, called 911 and stayed with her and warmed her in his arms” until help arrived. Mongeon said she started a fundraiser on the “Onedollargift” website so their mother can spend as much time as possible at her daughter’s side. Mongeon said the goal is to raise $50,000 so her sister can also get all the necessary care after she’s released from hospital. As of late Wednesday afternoon, more than $30,000 had been raised.last_img read more

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White House hints at tariff relief possibly temporary for Canada and Mexico

first_imgWASHINGTON – Canada will get at least some temporary relief allowing it to avoid the immediate impact of U.S. President Donald Trump’s controversial steel and aluminum tariffs, the White House suggested Wednesday.After days of drama and a last-minute diplomatic scramble, the White House is now hinting that the impending tariff announcement might have some form of national-security exception for the U.S.’s neighbours.“There are potential carve-outs for Canada and Mexico based on national security — and possibly other countries as well, based on that process,” spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said during her daily media briefing.“That would be a case-by-case and country-by-country basis.”But the drama isn’t over.There are some indications from the White House that the tariff threat might continue to be held over Canada and Mexico as a negotiating weapon, in an effort to prod them into a new NAFTA deal.The formal tariff announcement could come soon.Hawkish White House trade adviser Peter Navarro suggested any exemption would come with a catch. He told Fox Business Channel that, Thursday at 3:30 p.m. ET, surrounded by steel workers in the Oval Office, Trump would sign proclamations that impose tariffs that kick in within 15 to 30 days on most countries.He suggested tariffs could still hit Canada and Mexico later: ”The proclamation will have a clause that does not impose these tariffs immediately on Canada and Mexico. It’s gonna give us … the opportunity to negotiate a great (NAFTA) deal for this country. And if we get that, all’s good with Canada and Mexico.”That was followed by a Washington Post report late Wednesday that said one version of the still-unfinalized plan would see Canada and Mexico granted a 30-day exemption — to be renewed based on progress at the NAFTA bargaining table.But the details are being hotly debated within the White House.Both the substance and the timing of the announcement are in dispute: an initial version of the White House schedule for Thursday shows no tariff announcement like the one Navarro described.Some want a hardline approach where the tariffs apply to every country; some want the opposite, meaning full relief for Canada and other allies. Then there’s the third, middle-of-the-road approach others have suggested, and which Navarro appeared to hint at: offering short-term relief for Canada and Mexico, while continuing to use the tariff threat as NAFTA leverage.The internal pressure from within Washington to go back to the drawing board was illustrated Wednesday in a letter from 107 congressional Republicans, who expressed deep concern about the president’s plans.The Canadian government isn’t celebrating yet. It kept a low profile following the White House statement about a carve-out. Speaking earlier in the day, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wants to withhold judgment until the final details are out.“We know from experience that we need to wait and see what this president is actually going to do,” Trudeau said during a news conference just before the Sanders briefing.“There’s many discussions on this going on in the United States right now. We are going to make sure we’re doing everything we need to do to protect Canadian workers — and that means waiting to see what the president actually does.”Behind the scenes, a full-court, 11th-hour diplomatic press was underway Wednesday.It occurred in Ottawa, Washington, New York and even in Texas, where a number of Canadian officials were reaching out to their American peers — some of whom had already been pleading the Canadian case.The fact that Canada might be hit with tariffs had actually become a leading talking point for critics bashing the Trump plan. From Capitol Hill, to cable TV, to the Wall Street Journal editorial pages, numerous commentators ridiculed the idea of a supposed national-security tariff applied to Canada.A poll this week suggested the measures are unpopular.In the final diplomatic push, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with congressional leader Paul Ryan, and Canadian Ambassador David MacNaughton was to dine Wednesday with U.S. national security adviser H.R. McMaster.Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan chatted with Pentagon counterpart James Mattis, UN ambassador Marc-Andre Blanchard spoke with U.S. counterpart Nikki Haley, and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr raised the issue with Energy Secretary Rick Perry at a conference in Texas.Trudeau, meanwhile, spoke with the president this week.A source familiar with the last-minute scramble likened it to a high-stakes, reality-show contest, with a drama-courting U.S. president at the centre of the production: “(It’s a) last-episode-of-‘The-Apprentice’ kind of thing.”Canada is the No. 1 exporter of steel and aluminum into the U.S., which is looking to impose tariffs under a rarely used national-security provision in a 1962 law, which some critics have called either illegitimate or likely to spark copycat measures that threaten the international trading system.The biggest American business lobby is among those fighting the plan.”These new tariffs would directly harm American manufacturers, provoke widespread retaliation from our trading partners, and leave virtually untouched the true problem of Chinese steel and aluminum overcapacity,” U.S. Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue said Wednesday.”Alienating our strongest global allies amid high-stakes trade negotiations is not the path to long-term American leadership.”last_img read more

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