Practising yoga can boost muscle strength and balance in older adults as well as improve mental wellbeing, a study has found. Researchers at the University of Edinburgh in the UK reviewed 22 studies that had investigated the effects of yoga on physical and mental wellbeing in older adults. The yoga programmes varied in length from one month to seven months, and duration of sessions ranged from 30 to 90 minutes. Statistical analysis combined the results of the studies to see the effects of yoga compared with no activity, and compared to other activities such as walking and chair aerobics. Also Read – Pollution makes you more aggressive”A large proportion of older adults are inactive, and do not meet the balance and muscle strengthening recommendations set by government and international health organisations,” said researchers from University of Edinburgh. “Based on this study, we can conclude that yoga has great potential to improve important physical and psychological outcomes in older adults. Yoga is a gentle activity that can be modified to suit those with age-related conditions and diseases,” they added. The researchers found that people who practiced yoga had improved balance, flexibility, leg strength, depression, sleep quality, vitality and perceived mental and physical health – compared with no activity.
New Delhi: Taapsee Pannu says she feels secured as an actor in the film industry today but still has miles to go in order achieve her dream of becoming the quintessential Bollywood star. The 31-year-old actor says acting always keeps her on her toes and she absolutely welcomes it because she does not want to feel too relaxed. “I’m very secure as an actor, but not as a star. I don’t know where will I be sent back to if a couple of my films fail at the box office. But I think that is fine because it keeps me on my toes to find something new. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography “If I start feeling too secure and comfortable, I might just relax, and then keep doing what I’m good at, knowing that it will work. So I think I’m fine with it not being that comfortable. That’s the joy of this profession, it keeps you on your toes,” Taapsee told PTI in an interview. Becoming a star is a work in progress, says the actor, who wants that in future audiences should be able to identify a film just by her name and she has been working towards it by delivering critically-praised performances in films such as “Mulk”, “Manmarziyaan”, “Badla” and her latest “Game Over”. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot “I don’t identify myself being the star still because I feel the definition of being a star is that people just blindly trust you and spend money at the box office for you. Audiences do that for the Khans (Shah Rukh, Salman and Aamir), they just go and watch their films blindly. “So I’m waiting for the day that happens for me where I consider myself to be a star. Before that, I’m just an actor who is trying to make interesting films. I hope that one fine day people will identify my choices to be worth their time and money.” Taapsee says she will continue to experiment with different roles as she is trying to build a “niche for myself”. “I think people, in the industry and even outside, now believe that I can pull off good performances. So that way, I’m a little secure because that is not in the question.” Besides many critically-acclaimed turns, Taapsee has also starred in commercial hits like “Judwaa 2” and more recently “Badla”. The actor says box office numbers do matter to her as that is the only way she can gauge the mood of the audiences regarding her performance in a film. “It is just show business. If my film makes money, more films will be made, and more people will trust me with their money. And that’s how we work. So it needs to make money. “I can be happy about the critics and thankful to them that they have validated me time and again, but eventually everything comes down to the amount of money the film collects at the box office. That’s what eventual success and failure is all about,” Taapsee says. “Game Over”, a psychological thriller, released countrywide on Friday.
Beijing: The Chinese military has tested an unmanned transport plane that successfully delivered cargo at a designated area, making it a future prospect for airdropping cargo through parachutes in real battle conditions, official media here reported on Monday. Jointly held by the National Defence University of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and the state-owned China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation, the aerial delivery exercise took place recently in Zhangye, Northwest China’s Gansu Province, China Central Television (CCTV) reported. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonThe exercise featured an unmanned single-engine biplane, the designation of which was not revealed, as it carried a cargo of military supplies and successfully airdropped it into a target zone, according to the CCTV report. This is the first time China has conducted a parachuted aerial delivery of cargo weighing more than 500 kilograms on a flight distance of more than 500 kms with an unmanned transport aircraft, CCTV quoted Li Ruixing, the president of the PLA National Defence University’s joint logistics academy as saying. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador”We explored a new model of military cargo delivery in joint combat as well as in strategic and tactical logistics support,” Li said. Since transport planes usually do not need to make intense and complicated manoeuvres like fighter jets, even heavier cargo delivery missions could become unmanned if this technology becomes mature, a Chinese military expert told the Global Times. Airdrops often take place within the range of hostile anti-aircraft fire, so being unmanned lowers risk to life, the expert said. The exercise also means that the Chinese military now has the first large unmanned equipment in its logistics arsenal, the CCTV report said, noting that the mission was carried out on a plateau with a complicated terrain. “The exercise met our expected objective. It is very significant for our unmanned logistics chain in future warfare,” said Bi Guangyuan, executive director of the exercise, CCTV reported. Chinese military analysts predicted that more unmanned transport aircraft could join the army’s logistics arsenal for long-range and heavy delivery in the future, state-run Global Times reported.
New Delhi: It was a hot morning in Delhi on Tuesday with the minimum temperature settling at 30 degrees Celsius, two notches above the normal. The weatherman has forecast cloudy sky with light rain or drizzle later in the day, which is likely to bring some relief form the heat. The humidity in the morning was recorded at 50 per cent. The maximum temperature is likely to settle at 40 degrees Celsius, a meteorological department official said. The maximum and minimum temperature on Monday were recorded at 41.6 and 30.6 degrees Celsius respectively.
New Delhi: Some parts of the national capital got a drizzle on Thursday morning but it did not bring the mercury level down. According to the India Meteorological Department (IMD), rainfall of 2.4 mm was registered in the Ridge area. Thursday is expected to be cloudy and there are prediction of light rains across the city. The monsoon, already delayed, is expected to reach Delhi around Sunday. However, the maximum temperature on Thursday is expected to be 39.4 degrees Celsius, three notches above the season’s average. The minimum temperature is likely remain over 31.2 degrees Celsius, three notches higher. Relative humidity at 8.30 a.m. was 63 per cent. On Wednesday too, the mercury levels touched 39.4 degrees Celsius.
Tokyo: A suspected arson attack on an animation production company in Japan killed 24 people and injured dozens more on Thursday, with flames gutting the building in the city of Kyoto. Police said the fierce blaze appeared to have been started deliberately but there was no immediate information on a possible motive. The toll continued to climb hours after the fire began, with fire department officials saying bodies were being discovered as they searched the ravaged building. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in Xinjiang A fire department official told AFP that at least 11 more people had been found “in cardio-respiratory arrest,” a term used in Japan to signify a victim’s death before it is officially certified. The discoveries, on the building’s second floor and a stairwell leading to the roof, raised the toll to at least 24 dead. Officials said 35 people had also been injured in the fire, 10 of whom were in serious condition, and local media said around 70 people were believed to have been in the building when the fire started. Also Read – Want to bring back US forces engaged in endless wars: Trump Footage of the blaze showed thick white smoke pouring from the windows of the three-storey building. Its facade was charred black on much of one side where the flames had shot out of the windows. The fire department said it began receiving calls around 10:35 am (0135 GMT) about the fire at the studio belonging to Kyoto Animation. “Callers reported having heard a loud explosion from the first floor of Kyoto Animation and seeing smoke,” a fire department spokesman said. Police said they were still investigating the cause of the fire but it was a suspected arson attack. “A man threw a liquid and set fire to it,” a Kyoto prefectural police spokesman told AFP. Public broadcaster NHK reported that a man had been detained in connection with the blaze and was later taken to hospital for treatment. It reported that the suspect had poured a gasoline-like substance around the building and said “drop dead” as he set fire to it. “I heard two loud bangs, they sounded like explosions,” a man told NHK. “The fire was raging hard. I saw red flames flaring.” A woman living nearby told Kyodo news agency she had seen at least one injured person outside the building. “A person with singed hair was lying down and there were bloody footprints,” the 59-year-old told the local news outlet. There was no immediate statement from the studio, which produced several well-known television anime series, including “The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya” and “K-ON!” “We are in the process of learning what happened,” said a woman who answered the phone at the firm’s headquarters in Uji City in the Kyoto region. “We cannot tell you anything more,” she added. The blaze prompted an outpouring of support from those in Japan’s anime industry, one of the country’s best known cultural exports. “No, I don’t know what I should be thinking now,” tweeted Yutaka Yamamoto, an animation director who once worked at Kyoto Animation. “Why, why, why?” Japan has a famously low crime rate, with violent crime very rare. Arson is considered a serious crime and people convicted of deliberately setting fires in a country where many people still live in wooden houses can face the death penalty. A man convicted of setting a fire that killed 16 people in Osaka in 2008 is currently on death row.
New Delhi: Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Wednesday said the government intends to make India a hub of domestic and international arbitration by bringing in changes in law for faster resolution of commercial disputes . Prasad was speaking after moving the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Bill Act, 2019 that seeks to make changes in the existing law of 1996. The minister said the amendment bill has been prepared on the basis of recommendations of a high-powered committee, which held consultations with all stakeholders. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsThis Bill was cleared by Lok Sabha in August 2018 but could not be passed by Rajya Sabha. The bill lapsed following the dissolution of the 16th Lok Sabha. The minister also moved the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019. Initiating the debate on the two Bills together, Prasad said the changes in law are for establishing Arbitration Council of India headed by retired judges. The minister said after the amendments are approved, one can straight away go for arbitration and there would be no need to go to courts for initiating the process. Also Read – Coking coal shipments rise 15 pc to 29 MT at 12 state-run ports in Apr-SepPrasad said a provision has been made for timeframe. Six months would be for claim and defence from the date the arbitrator receives the notice of appointment. Arbitration must be completed in 12 months. “The two legislations are order of the day to take India forward,” the minister said. The amendment bill will facilitate in achieving the goal of improving, institutional arbitration by establishing an independent body to lay down standards, make arbitration process more friendly and cost-effective, and ensure timely disposal of cases. It provides for setting up of an independent body — Arbitration Council of India (ACI) — to frame arbitral institution and accredit arbitrators by laying down norms. The ACI would be mandated to frame rules on how institutions would be graded, norms to be followed, monitoring of quality and performance, and would also encourage training of arbitrators.
Kolkata: Trinamool MP Nusrat Jahan says so-called “cow vigilantes” have turned Lord Ram’s name into a murder cry and has appreciated members of civil society groups speaking up for human life.”There are numerous incidents of citizens being attacked by so-called ‘cow vigilantes’ over rumours of eating beef or cow-smuggling, etc. The government’s selective silence and inaction hit us hard. Lynch mobs have actually turned Lord Ram’s name into a murder cry,” Jahan said in a tweet. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to the actress-turned MP, mob lynching criminals “are nothing but enemies of our country and are terrorists”. In an open letter, Jahan has urged fellow citizens to raise their voice as “hate crimes and mob-lynchings are on a steep rise in our country”. She mentioned that the period 2014-19 has recorded the most number of hate crimes against Muslims, Dalits and other minorities. “2019 by now has witnessed more than 11 hate crimes and 4 deaths. They are all minorities and suppressed,” she wrote. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayExpressing astonishment about the silence of the government, Jahan said: “The Hon’ble Supreme Court last year on July 17 has called on the government to come up with a law to tackle these horrendous acts of mobocracy. But the government is silent”. “As a young MP, representing new age secular India, I request this Government and all lawmakers to frame a law to stop such assaults on democracy by mob-lynchers,” she added. Jahan ended the letter with the poet Muhammad Iqbal’s lines Mazhab nahi sikhata aapas mein bair rakhna (Religion does not teach us to bear ill-will among ourselves). With agency inputs
Tehran: Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was hit with US sanctions after turning down an invitation to meet President Donald Trump, officials in the Islamic republic said on Sunday. The New Yorker magazine reported on Friday that Senator Rand Paul met Zarif in the US on July 15 and had Trump’s blessing when he extended an invitation to the Iranian minister to go to the White House. Officials in Iran confirmed the report on Sunday, heaping scorn on the Trump administration for claiming to want dialogue with Iran while slapping sanctions on its top diplomat. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”For a government to constantly claim (to favour) negotiations and afterwards sanction the foreign minister… if this is not ridiculous, then what is it?” said foreign ministry spokesman Ali Rabiei. “In a meeting with a senator, he (Zarif) is invited to come to a meeting and then he is sanctioned,” Rabiei said in remarks aired on state television. “We believe that these sanctions show that the politicians of the White House have to some extent made a personal issue of affairs,” he said, describing such behaviour as “childish”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOn Wednesday the United States imposed sanctions against Zarif, effectively slamming the door on Iran’s top diplomat. Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said the invitation and sanctions amounted to a failure of US diplomacy. “Imposing sanctions on the honourable foreign minister of Iran after the refusal of Trump’s proposal for face-to-face talks with him showed the ‘maximum pressure’ train has stopped at the ‘failure station’,” he said in a statement quoted by ISNA news agency. Tensions between arch-enemies Iran and the United States have soared this year after Washington stepped up its campaign of “maximum pressure” against the Islamic republic.
The suspected involvement of the Unnao rape accused MLA in the Rai Bareili car-truck collision only reminds us of all those law-makers who have criminal records – some with crimes likes murders, rapes, extortions, etc., which are anti-social, and some with crimes like corruption, frauds, money-laundering, terrorism, etc., which are both anti-social and anti-national, and yet others with simple offences like rioting which could also be politically motivated. Along with political defections, it is also an indicator of how money and muscle, and criminalisation of politics have usurped our democracy. However, in the backdrop of society having a skewed perception of the crime by the law-makers, questions arise whether they would ever redeem the sagging criminal justice system. Under such circumstances, the Yuva Scheme, a humble social experiment of Delhi Police to prevent crime by juvenile delinquents, is a silver lining. Also Read – A special kind of bondPeople indifferently watch all the big-time criminals, including politicians and businessmen, managing to circumvent the law. They treat it as fait accompli when thousands of crores of people’s wealth is swindled and nation is defrauded in the anti-national crime of corruption; but feel satisfied when a petty thief is clobbered to death, or a bully is killed in an encounter, sidestepping the rule of law, without ever thinking that reforming the deviants and bringing them back into the mainstream is one of the crucial aspects of the criminal justice system. Thus, the Yuva Scheme is a commendable effort to wean vulnerable juveniles from entering the world of crime. Also Read – Insider threat managementConceptualised in 2011 by the then LG of Delhi, Tejender Khanna, along with his OSD Shantonu Sen, the Commissioner of Police Niraj Kumar, and his humble-looking Joint Commissioner Amulya Patnaik, to lessen the proclivity of crime in JJ Clusters, and launched in 2012, Yuva Scheme is an innovation of sorts. While police officers were to enlist the vulnerable youngsters, education department was to plan their vocational training. All credit to Amulya Patnaik, who was already well-known for his association with Pratidhi scheme for children and women who are victims of crime, and also for his impeccable integrity. After becoming the Commissioner of Police in 2017, he expanded Yuva further by integrating it with Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, and shaping it into a tie-up between Delhi Police and National Skill Development Corporation, for which he got the blessings of the new LG Anil Baijal and Home Ministry. Police began imparting job-linked skill training to youth in 22 police stations. In two years time, Yuva enrolled 9000 youngsters identified from school dropouts, juvenile offenders, victims of crime, wards of undertrials, and those vulnerable for crime from poor families for training in fields like computer operators, mobile phone repair technicians, sales associates, food and beverages, beauty and wellness course etc. And over 4000 have even been helped in getting placements. It is good to know that at least this scheme has the support of Anil Baijal, since, as the marksman of BJP in Delhi, he has only been working as the tormenter of AAP government, putting hurdles in every positive people-oriented initiative of theirs, for two obvious reasons. Firstly, to protect the high-profile accused in the cases registered by AAP government – Mukhesh Ambani and some Congress big-wigs in the corruption and fraud case in the Rs 50,000 crore KG gas basin matter; the corruption cases against Sheila Dikshit in the CWC and other matters. Further, to sabotage the efforts of Kejriwal’s government to really stop corruption in Delhi. Secondly, Congress and BJP have been unable to digest the fact that AAP won 67 of the 70 Assembly seats leaving only 3 for BJP and none for Congress. In the first matter, ACB was taken away by the Central government and was placed under the LG. However, unlike Tejender Khanna who encouraged anti-corruption drives, Baijal has done precious little. As a result, the cases against Mukhesh Ambani, Sheila Dikshit and others have gone into hibernation and corruption has become rampant. Then, with Centre and LG exercising a stranglehold on the bureaucracy, AAP is left agape about all their plans and initiatives and efforts to keep up their promises for the welfare of the people of Delhi. It even required a dharna at Raj Bhavan by the CM and his colleagues to get the approval of the LG for the schemes of door-delivery of rations, etc., and installing CCTVs in the city for women security. Yet, in spite of the suffocating circumstances, they have done exceptional work in the fields of power, water, transport, health, education, etc. It is with doggedness that they morphed the government-run schools to high standards of infrastructure and teaching, in order to help those from the weaker sections and slums and those vulnerable to crime. Thus, in all, the work of the state government of AAP and that of the Commissioner of Police are commendable initiatives that need emulation across the country to wean the susceptible youngsters from the world of crime, although these are only small measures. The larger issue of criminal justice system is, however, in the hands of the law-makers. Since they, along with the influential and powerful, are the beneficiaries, will they ever bring about the required improvements? The happenings in the country only speak otherwise. For example, while the car-truck collision incident in Rai Bareili in which the teenage Unnao gang-rape victim and her lawyer were seriously injured, and two of her relatives died are shocking, the circumstances are suspicious. As per the allegations levelled, the prime accused in raping her, the BJP MLA Kuldeep Sengar, who is in jail, has access to mobiles, and her security men keep him informed about her whereabouts. Further, the MLA was threatening them and the police were also pressuring her to withdraw the rape complaint. Two weeks before this incident, the victim even wrote to the CJI about the threats she was receiving. Now, the number plate of the truck was found smeared with grease. Earlier, when the teenager’s father had gone to the police to complain against the BJP MLA’s alleged rape of his daughter, he was assaulted so badly in police custody that he died. The lone witness to this ghastly crime was also found dead subsequently, raising very serious questions about law enforcers protecting criminal politicians. And now, with one of the two aunts to whom the victim had first narrated about her rape in the house of the MLA, a crucial witness dead, the trial of the rape case will suffer grievously. If the victim herself does not recover from her critical condition, the MLA will most probably walk free. The Supreme Court has even transferred the pending trial Unnao rape and other cases to Delhi. With this action of the SC, and with the public uproar, BJP that has been dragging its feet all this while with scant respect for law has now reluctantly expelled the MLA from their party. Such a state of affairs is also evident from the hundreds of encounters, rapes, communal violence, cow-vigilante lynching cases, etc., in which the police and legal machinery are being misused. In the Hashimpur encounter case in which 40 Muslims were massacred, the state police and the local courts tried to hush up the matter, and it was the Delhi High Court that convicted the accused after Supreme Court’s intervention. All such incidents only establish that the safeguards provided to protect the life and liberty of an individual are jettisoned. Influential people can take the law into their hands as in the recent massacre of Dond tribe cultivators, killing of an SHO, etc. UP is no exception. But, a crime is a crime, whether it is murder, rape, extortion, etc., which is anti-social, or whether it is corruption, fraud, etc., in government and business deals, and even in engineering political defections, etc., which is both anti-social and anti-national. One who violates the law is a criminal, whether he is a common man or a law-maker. Yet, it is because of the skewed attitude of the society that Pragya Thakur, a terror accused is an MP. Yediyurappa involved in corruption case is a CM, Pappu Yadav, involved in murders, can contest and win while in jail, Jagan Mohan Reddy with 21 serious cases against him can become the CM, so is Mayavathi and others. Yogi, with several charges of communal violence, can become CM and can drop all the charges against him. The list is unending. It is paradoxical. Even if a petty criminal case is pending against any citizen, they are not eligible to become a government servant. But, in politics, even those criminals facing serious anti-social and anti-national crimes can become honourable law-makers. Under these circumstances, there appears to be no redemption for the criminal justice system for effective and impartial delivery of justice. It is time people came out of their dementia to revisit their skewed perception of crime and ensure that those facing serious charges are rejected outright in elections. Further, those who defect parties, obviously based on inducement of power and pelf, and commit an anti-national crime of corruption, should be socially boycotted in their constituencies. In addition, demand for prompt and effective delivery of justice, prevention and detection of every kind of crime should grow. Meanwhile, police, on their part, should follow the Yuva example across the country at least to prevent normal crime and reform the youngsters. (Dr. N Dilip Kumar, IPS (retd) is a former Member of Public Grievances Commission, Delhi. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Bhubaneswar: After a brief dry spell, Odisha is likely to receive a fresh bout of rainfall from Sunday, with another low pressure taking shape over Bay of Bengal. A fresh low pressure area, likely to form over northwest Bay of Bengal by around Monday, may trigger rainfall of varied intensity in different parts of Odisha, an official of the Meteorological Centre here said on Saturday. Districts such as Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Angul, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Khurda, Nayagarh and Kendrapara are likely to receive heavy rainfall on Sunday, he said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ While light to moderate rain or thundershower is likely to lash most areas in Odisha, heavy rain may occur in some places in the districts of Sundargarh, Keonjhar, Deogarh, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Jajpur and Bhadrak from Monday morning, the MeT centre said in a bulletin. Similarly, heavy rainfall may pound some places in Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Nuapada, Bolangir, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts on Tuesday and Wednesday, it said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The MeT centre has cautioned that sea condition may be rough to very rough under the impact of the low pressure and advised fishermen not to venture into the sea along and off the Odisha coast on Sunday and Monday. A deep depression which traversed the Odisha-West Bengal coast recently had wreaked havoc in around nine districts in south and west Odisha, triggering a flood-like situation in many areas. The torrential rains claimed at least four human lives — one each in the districts of Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput and Malkangiri — besides affecting around 1.77 lakh people in 1,035 villages in the nine districts, an official said. Normalcy has returned to these districts after water receded from the submerged areas. Following the torrential rains, the quantum of rainfall deficit in Odisha, which had mounted to 26 per cent last month, has now dropped to nine per cent, a MeT official said, adding the overall rainfall deficit may further get reduced after the fresh downpour. Barring some districts such as Balasore, Angul and Deogarh, other districts in the state have recorded normal rainfall this monsoon so far, he said.
New Delhi: Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday denied that there was any shortage of medicines and essential commodities in Jammu and Kashmir and said communication curbs helped save many lives there.Mailk also said no life has been lost in Jammu and Kashmir due to any violence in the last 10 days after the abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two Union Territories.”If blockade of communication helps saves lives, what is the harm?” he told reporters when asked to comment on how long the restrictions will continue. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsMalik said that in the past, whenever there was a crisis in Kashmir, at least 50 people used to die in the first week itself.”Our attitude that there should be no loss of human life. ’10 din telephone nahi honge, nahi honge, lekin hum bahut jaldi sab wapas kar denge. (If there is no phone connection for 10 days, so be it. But, we will restore everything soon),” he said.Malik said there has been no shortage of medicines and essential commodities anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir and enough stocks were available for the people to buy. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”In fact, we delivered meat, vegetables and eggs to people’s doorsteps on Eid,” he said.The Governor was in the national capital to pay his last respect to former Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, who passed away on Saturday at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here.Fondly remembering Jaitley, Malik said it was the departed leader who had insisted him to take up the responsibility as the Jammu and Kashmir Governor last year. “I was advised by Arun Jaitley to take up the responsibility as Governor. He told me that it will be historic. He also told me that his in-laws are from Jammu,” he said.
London: Brazil’s Diego Matos was given a life ban from professional tennis and fined 125,000 after being found guilty of match-fixing on Monday. An anti-corruption hearing found Matos contrived the outcome of 10 matches played in 2018 at ITF level tournaments in Brazil, Sri Lanka, Ecuador, Portugal and Spain. The 31-year-old was also found guilty of not cooperating with a Tennis Integrity Unit investigation as he refused to comply fully with requests to provide his mobile phone for forensic examination and failed to supply financial records. Matos has been ordered to repay 12,000 he received from tournaments in Ecuador. He had been provisionally suspended from tennis since December 2018. He is currently ranked 373 in doubles, with a highest singles ranking of 580 in April 2012.
CALGARY – Tom and Michelle Straschnitzki have seen the best in people over the last three weeks as their son has worked to recover after being paralyzed in a crash between his hockey team’s bus and a transport truck.On Monday, they also saw the worst.Tom Straschnitzki said he woke up early and was alerted on Twitter that someone using Ryan’s name had set up a fake account and was seeking money for a GoFundMe campaign.It had Ryan’s picture, as well as a photo of the Humboldt Broncos Saskatchewan junior hockey team.“I phoned him and said, ‘Is this your Twitter account?’ And he freaked out and went, ‘No, it’s not. Everyone is going to think this is fake. My teammates are going to hate me thinking I’m trying to get money,’” Tom Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.“It took a long time to calm him down. I said, ‘We’ll take care of it. I kind of warned you this stuff can happen.’”Straschnitzki alerted a couple of friends who contacted GoFundMe which shut down the campaign. Tweets from the fake account, which had over 1,700 followers, were deleted and the name was changed at least twice by mid-afternoon.Straschnitzki tweeted a message to the person responsible for his son’s fake account and suggested that he “should meet me at the hospital today. This way he will be closer to emergency.”He’s most worried about the impact on Ryan.“Ryan wears everything on his sleeve. He’s kind of a little too trusting but now he knows this could happen,” he said.“But if you look at the odds out of the millions that are supporting Ryan, that’s just one.”Michelle Straschnitzki had hoped it wouldn’t happen, but said too often people try to take advantage of a tragedy.“It reminds you that there are absolute jerks out there,” she said. “In the world that we live in, it’s not surprising. It’s disheartening, but it’s not surprising.”A spokeswoman for GoFundMe said no funds were raised by the campaign, and the campaign organizer has also been banned from using the GoFundMe platform in the future.“We have a dedicated team that works around the clock to monitor campaigns set up to support the families and victims of the Humboldt Broncos tragedy, and they are continuing to review all campaigns,” Rachel Hollis wrote in an email.Hollis added it is not permitted to mislead, defraud, or deceive any user on a GoFundMe campaign. If it happens, she said GoFundMe takes swift action which can include removing the campaign, banning the user,and refunding donors.Ryan, 19, continues to undergo treatment and rehabilitation.The collision April 6 in rural Saskatchewan is still being investigated. RCMP have only said the transport truck was in the intersection when the crash occurred.The Broncos were on their way to a playoff game when 16 people were killed and 13 were injured.— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter
WASHINGTON – The formal process in renegotiating the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement could begin any day. The U.S. administration says it will soon serve notice that it will enter discussions with Canada and Mexico, following a 90-day consultation period.It’s now poised to happen, with Monday’s long-awaited swearing-in of Robert Lighthizer, Donald Trump’s trade czar.In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of key issues at stake:—Dairy: A prime sensitive spot when Canada negotiates trade deals. In Canada’s sheltered dairy industry, imports get slapped with a 270 per cent duty beyond a fixed quota. Canada faced intense pressure to pry open the system in recent negotiations. Canada accepted more European dairy on its grocery shelves, in a deal with the EU. It would have allowed another 3.25 per cent under the ill-fated Trans-Pacific Partnership. Dairy farmers were upset. The Harper government softened the blow with a multbillion-dollar compensation package. This time, with TPP dead, the U.S. could seek a more dramatic opening. U.S. policy-makers have two concerns: First, with Canada’s supply management controls, in general; and more specifically with rules related to milk-protein products.—Auto parts: Among the top U.S. priorities. It involves rules of origin — and how much local content is required to avoid tariffs. It’s clear the White House wants more car parts sourced at home, and fewer from Asia. What’s not clear is the details: will it insist on a specific quota for American parts, or be content with more production in North America, generally? How will it tinker with the rules — by simply raising the threshold for avoiding a tariff, currently 62.5 per cent, or by also insisting on a stricter formula for calculating that percentage? Will the policy lead to higher car prices? Will changes really shift production from Asia, or will companies simply pay more in duties and add it to the sticker price? The details matter here.—Consumer rights: The U.S. government wants to help Canadian shoppers — specifically, to help them buy more things from the U.S., through lower duties. It’s a standard priority of American administrations, and could wind up on the negotiating table. Canada has one of the most punitive duty systems in the world, taxing imported online purchases above $20, a pittance compared to the $800 limit Americans enjoy. But Canadian retailers say a change in this system would be of one-sided benefit to American retailers, resulting in shuttered bricks-and-mortar stores in Canada.—Buy American: Canada wants freer trade in public projects, specifically infrastructure. Some American lawmakers want to go the other way: they want more barriers to foreign bids, and would do away with the exemptions currently enjoyed by Canada and Mexico in NAFTA. Trump is a big booster of Biy American rules, generally, but hasn’t revealed his intended direction here. The U.S. has its own compaints about Canada. The U.S. bemoans the fact that some provincial entities have regulations that undermine U.S. suppliers, like Hydro-Quebec with wind energy. It also complains that U.S. software companies get shut out of public contracts, because of concerns about Canadians’ privacy.—Labour mobility: Canada wants changes here. So does industry. Businesses hate the current professional visa section in NAFTA. It allows easy visas for a list of jobs — but that list reflects the economy of 1993. It barely references digital jobs. Companies complain about unnecessary paperwork and hassles in sending employees to a branch across the border. Another problem involves spouses — one spouse gets a visa but the other can’t work across the border. One potential challenge in addressing this issue: it could quickly get dragged into the broader, heated and very political U.S. debate on immigration.—Softwood: Will there be peace in our time on softwood lumber? Perhaps. This was the first thing mentioned the day after Trump’s election, when the ambassador to the U.S. was asked what he’d like to see in a new NAFTA. Lumber has been the source of recurring spats: Once a decade, the U.S. imposes tariffs over what it views as illegal product-dumping from wood off public land; it winds up in tribunals; Canada tends to win most cases, and that leads to a temporary deal, with restrictions on Canadian wood, before the deal expires and the skirmishes resume. Canada isn’t the only party that wants a softwood deal in NAFTA; Trump’s point man on the negotiation, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, has also alluded to it as an ideal addition to the agreement.—Liquor: Canada’s liquor boards are a repeated source of complaint in the U.S. government’s annual report on trade barriers. It laments the high taxes and tight controls on what gets sold in Canadian stores. The U.S. is especially miffed at B.C. and Ontario for keeping imported wines off grocery shelves. It’s even launched a trade action over the issue.—Digital services: TPP allowed freer movement of data between countries. It would have restricted the right of any country to insist upon local storage facilities for digital information. Critics called this worrisome, for reasons of protecting personal information. Supporters called the change liberating — meaning it would become easier for someone to start a business from anywhere in the world.—Pharmaceuticals: The U.S. has tougher patent rules on drugs — which can delay the introduction of generics, increasing prices. One U.S. drug company, Eli Lilly, recently sued Canada at a NAFTA panel over court decisions that struck down patents. It lost. But many U.S. lawmakers, funded by big pharma, want changes in Canada. Another potential issue involves cutting-edge biologics drugs. It was a heated issue in TPP. Canada wasn’t involved in that tussle, but would be this time if the U.S. pushes a harder line: the U.S. allows 12 years of patent-like protections for data on these products, while Canada is closer to the international norm at eight years.—Telecommunications and broadcasting: Canada fought for cultural industries to be exempted from its U.S. trade deals — meaning books, recordings, broadcasts are not subject to free trade. Culture was a significant irritant in original negotiations; it hasn’t come up in recent complaints from the U.S. administration. One thing the U.S. could seek is greater access to telecommunications, like cell-phone services, according to a draft list of priorities recently sent to Congress.—Snapbacks: A controversial item on the draft document sent to U.S. Congress, a tariff snapback means a country could reinstate duties on a certain product if increased imports hurt its producers. Other countries will resist fiercely if U.S. negotiators seek this addition.—Dispute settlement mechanism: This was a make-or-break issue for Canada in the original Canada-U.S. trade deal. Rather than allowing American judges to preside over cases involving trade actions by American companies, Canada insisted upon a third-party mechanism. That demand almost sank the original trade agreement in 1987. The Mulroney government threatened to cut off negotiations over this issue. In the end, the mechanism was created. It was later incorporated into NAFTA. Many Americans still resent it. A key reason: Softwood lumber, and U.S. losses in Chapter 19 cases. The commerce secretary, Ross, says it’s unfair that an international panel, which might include one American and two Canadians, should interpret America’s domestic trade-remedy laws. Numerous members of Congress agree. Eliminating Chapter 19 is listed as a priority in the administration’s draft notice to Congress.
Five stories in the news for Wednesday, May 24———TRUDEAU HEADS TO EUROPE FOR NATO, G7 SUMMITSPrime Minister Justin Trudeau leaves today for Brussels for the NATO leaders’ summit, the first such meeting since Donald Trump became U.S. President. Trudeau will then jet to Italy, for this year’s G7 gathering and to meet with Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni and the Pope. Officials and experts expect the fight against terrorism to be a major topic at both summits.———CENTRAL BANK TO MAKE ITS LATEST RATE DECISIONThe Bank of Canada is expected to stick with its benchmark interest rate today even though the economy is off to a stronger-than-expected start in 2017. Analysts widely predict governor Stephen Poloz will keep the rate locked at its very low level of 0.5 per cent as uncertainty continues to swirl around the U.S. policy agenda on trade and taxation.———COURT SET TO OK RCMP CLASS-ACTION DEALThe settlement in a class-action lawsuit over sexually harassed Mounties is expected to get the green light later today. The approval will pave the way for millions of dollars to start flowing to the women involved. One key part of the agreement is that the victims can make a claim for compensation without the RCMP knowing who they are. The class-action received certification in January.———B.C. ELECTION OUTCOME MURKY, TWO WEEKS LATERThe final count in B.C.’s inconclusive election will be known today, but a possible judicial recount means the actual outcome might not be known for weeks. The latest count in the hotly-contested Courtenay-Comox riding showed a 101-vote lead for New Democrat Ronna-Rae Leonard over Liberal Jim Benninger. At stake is a one-seat Liberal majority if Benninger wins. But if Leonard wins, there could be a Liberal or NDP minority government with the support of the Green party in the 87-seat legislature.———CANADIAN BAND PLAYS IN MANCHESTER AFTER ATTACKCanadian indie rock band Broken Social Scene has played the first show of their European tour in Manchester — a day after a suicide bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in the British city killed 22 people. The Toronto band headlined at Albert Hall, a little more than two kilometres south of the Manchester Arena. Broken Social Scene shared a message on social media before the show saying: “Tonight, we play for the hearts of Manchester.”———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard continues his economic mission to Israel.— Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and UN officials will make an announcement in New York about peacekeeping.— BMO Financial Group will release its second-quarter results.— Statistics Canada will release farm income data for 2016.— The Pearson Peace Medal will be presented to Lloyd Axworthy in Ottawa by Gov. Gen. David Johnston.
MONTREAL – In a story published June 9 about fraud cases against former SNC-Lavalin executives, The Canadian Press reported that Yanai Elbaz was a former executive of McGill University. In fact, Elbaz was a former executive of the McGill University Health Centre. McGill University and the McGill University Health Centre are two separate entities.
TORONTO – Peter Mansbridge ended his run as CBC’s main anchor Saturday saying he wasn’t a “fan of long goodbyes”, but was a “fan of long thank yous.”“I thank the people that I work with,” Mansbridge said as he wrapped up CBC’s coverage of Canada 150 celebrations in Ottawa on Saturday.“I have been extremely lucky over all this time to have worked in this place,” he said. “It has been just a fabulous experience.”Earlier in the day Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dropped by where Mansbridge was broadcasting in Ottawa and paid tribute to the veteran anchor.“Thank you for being a steady hand and a steady voice for us always through the years, we’re going to miss you,” Trudeau told Mansbridge.Mansbridge anchored CBC’s “The National” for the final time Friday, saying it has been “quite the ride.”“Thanks for watching all these years, it’s been quite the ride for me, but always a privilege to be a part of bringing the national story home to you from wherever that story may be,” said Mansbridge at the end of the hour-long show. “I can only hope you found it worthwhile, too. Goodbye.”Mansbridge, 68, said in an interview this week that he didn’t intend to make a big fuss of his last appearance on the flagship newscast as anchor.Mansbridge revealed his retirement plans last year. The CBC has not yet indicated how it will replace him.The network ran a tribute to Mansbridge’s 50-year career in a segment broadcast on Thursday’s “The National” and has been paying tribute to him in some of its other programs during the past week.Mansbridge has anchored the newscast since his predecessor Knowlton Nash stepped down in 1988.
SASKATOON – A proposed class action lawsuit against Canada’s attorney general, the Saskatchewan government, the province’s health regions and doctors who allegedly coerced Indigenous women to undergo sterilization has been filed in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench.The statement of claim was filed about three months after the Saskatoon Health Region released the findings of a six-month external review into Indigenous women who had tubal ligation.A judge needs to sign off on the statement of claim before it moves forward as a class action suit.The lawsuit, if certified, would seek damages for each plaintiff.Two women are currently listed as plaintiffs but more women in Saskatchewan could be included if the lawsuit is approved.The statement of claim states the women’s charter rights, including their right to life, liberty and security and their right to receive health care free of discrimination, were breached.Other damages listed include future cost of care, punitive or exemplary damages, and general damages for “lost opportunity,” among others.After the report was released, federal Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said it was an indication of racism in a health-care system that remains biased against Aboriginal women.The report was researched and compiled by Yvonne Boyer, a lawyer and a Canada Research Chair at Manitoba’s Brandon University, and Dr. Judith Bartlett, a physician and researcher.The report suggested some Indigenous women from Saskatoon and the surrounding area were coerced into having their Fallopian tubes clamped or severed after giving birth in hospital.Most of the women who were interviewed for the report either did not recall consenting to the procedure, or did so because they were exhausted and too overwhelmed to fight any longer, the researchers found.In response to the findings, the Saskatoon Health Region said it deeply regrets what happened, acknowledging it failed to treat the women with the respect, compassion and support they deserve.(CTV Saskatoon)
OTTAWA – Justin Trudeau has opened the door to federal intervention to challenge Quebec’s new law on religious neutrality, widely seen as targeting Muslim women who wear face veils.Immediately after Quebec passed Bill 62 last week, the prime minister was hesitant to come out strongly against the legislation. He said the responsibility to challenge the law lay with citizens, not the federal government.But he was considerably more forceful Wednesday, scoffing at the Quebec government’s attempts to clear up confusion about how the law will be applied and disclosing that the federal government is exploring its options for protecting the rights of women who cover their faces.“I will always stand up for individual rights and I will always stand up for the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and we are looking very carefully at what tools we have and what steps we have to make sure we make this situation better for everyone,” Trudeau said.Among the federal government’s options: it could wait for an individual to challenge the constitutionality of the law and then intervene in the court case or it could pre-empt a lengthy legal battle by referring the law to the Supreme Court for advice on its constitutionality.The federal government could also help finance a court challenge through the court challenges program, which the Trudeau government reinstated to help fund individuals or groups who initiate cases involving charter rights and freedoms. However, decisions on which cases to fund are made by an independent third party, not the government.In response to Trudeau’s stepped-up criticism, Quebec Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee said the province has the right to legislate on matters within its jurisdiction.“Mr. Trudeau has the right to not share our opinion,” she told reporters in Quebec City. “And he has the right to have an opinion on the law. But I am not going to get into a debate in the media about that.“But I am really confident that the law is constitutional and I am convinced that it would withstand any legal challenge.”If the law were to be struck down as unconstitutional, Vallee said the provincial government has not yet considered whether it would use the so-called notwithstanding clause to override the charter of rights and keep the law intact.“We’re not there yet,” she said.“The notwithstanding clause is not part of the debate because there is no legal challenge so far.”Bill 62 requires anyone providing or receiving provincial and municipal public services in Quebec to uncover their faces.Last week, Vallee said the law would oblige people riding a bus or the subway to do so with their faces uncovered for the entire journey.On Tuesday, however, she backtracked, saying only those whose fare requires a card with photo ID will need to uncover their faces before riding public transit — and that they can put the veil back on once they’ve been identified.Asked Wednesday about Vallee’s clarifications, Trudeau replied: “You call those clarifications?”“I think we’re seeing there are still a lot of things to clarify in this bill, including how it will be applied,” he said. “We will do our homework here in Ottawa. As I’ve said several times, I don’t think a government should be telling a woman what to wear or not wear.”NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he’s been clear from the outset that he’s opposed to the law and suggested Trudeau’s position “has been evolving.”However, he did not offer any support for federal intervention in the matter.“That’s something that’s going to be decided by the people of Quebec … if they want to question this law. There are tools that exist. There’s a strong charter of rights and freedoms that exist in Quebec and that will be a decision made by the people of Quebec if they want to challenge this legislation.”Even within Liberal ranks, opinion is split on whether the federal government should intervene.Montreal MP Alexandra Mendes called on the Trudeau government last week to challenge the law.But her fellow Montreal MP, Nicola Di Iorio, said Wednesday he believes the federal government should butt out and give “all the deference, all the latitude” to Quebec’s national assembly.Earlier this week Social Development Minister Yves Duclos and Transport Minister Marc Garneau also said the federal government shouldn’t get involved.“It’s not up to the federal government to tell Quebec how to do things,” said Duclos.