Pride Flagraising and Events Expand Across Nova Scotia

first_imgPride recognition events have expanded provincewide to include Yarmouth, Halifax, Port Hawkesbury and Sydney. The provincial government’s LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) Network organized the events. “We take it to heart that Pride will be celebrated in more communities than ever before,” said Maddi MacDonald, co-chair of the LGBTI Network. A flag-raising ceremony was held at Province House in Halifax today, June 26, with government employees, community members, allies, volunteers and supporters in attendance. “We’re here to celebrate the diversity of the province’s employees, and all Nova Scotians,” said Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard, on behalf of Public Service Commission Minister Labi Kousoulis. “The province is committed to improving diversity and inclusion, including across sexual orientation, sex, gender identity and gender expression.” Additional Pride ceremonies are taking place today at provincial buildings in Yarmouth, Port Hawkesbury and Sydney. Community partners in Sydney include the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission, Pride Cape Breton and the Ally Centre of Cape Breton. The LGBTI Network is a group of public servants from diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and sexes, as well as their allies and advocates, who seek to make the public service a positive and inclusive environment for all. The flag-raising also provides a beginning to a summer of Pride events. This year’s celebration of culture and diversity runs from July 16 to 26. For more information visit http://halifaxpride.com .last_img read more

Prix pour lesprit communautaire

first_img Cole Harbour, Municipalité régionale d’Halifax La Première Nation Glooscap, comté de Kings North Mountain, comté de Kings Prospect, Municipalité régionale d’Halifax « J’étais ravi d’apprendre qu’il y avait cette année de nombreuses candidatures de partout en Nouvelle-Écosse, a indiqué le lieutenant-gouverneur Arthur J. LeBlanc. Le grand nombre de candidatures reçues témoigne de la très grande fierté que les Néo-Écossais ressentent à l’endroit de leurs villes et villages. Je remercie toutes les collectivités qui ont présenté une candidature et j’attends le plaisir de remettre les prix dans les prochaines semaines. » Le prix rend hommage à l’énergie, la force et la diversité des dynamiques collectivités de la province. Jusqu’à quatre collectivités sont mises à l’honneur chaque année. Les lauréats sont choisis par un comité de sélection, selon les candidatures qui répondent le mieux aux critères du prix. Ryan Rutledge et Marisa DeMarco ont mis en nomination les 160 entreprises, 30 organismes sans but lucratif et 11 écoles publiques qui servent la collectivité de Cole Harbour. « À Cole Harbour, notre but est d’appuyer les résidents pour qu’ils réussissent à atteindre leur plein potentiel, souligne M. Rutledge, et surtout de trouver des solutions originales qui permettront à nos jeunes de rester dans la collectivité et de devenir des chefs de file et des contributeurs. » Jordan Smith a présenté la candidature de la Première Nation Glooscap pour mettre à l’honneur son esprit communautaire, ses gestes de bonne volonté et son soutien à la collectivité. « Les réussites appartiennent à chaque membre de cette collectivité dynamique, de dire M. Smith. Glooscap est remplie de gens optimistes, prêts à travailler dur pour offrir un meilleur avenir aux prochaines générations. » Sheila Munro a présenté une candidature en collaboration avec certains organismes de North Mountain, qui regroupe cinq collectivités rurales indépendantes près de la baie de Fundy. « Les collectivités rurales se soutiennent les unes les autres au moyen d’activités sociales et en faisant affaire avec les commerces et les entrepreneurs locaux, souligne Mme Munro. L’intérêt actuel en Nouvelle-Écosse autour de la consommation de produits locaux est né dans les réseaux communautaires ruraux. La communication dans les collectivités rurales alimente le développement communautaire. » Shirley Jollimore a présenté la candidature de Prospect, mettant ainsi en lumière la diversité, de même que la mobilisation et le rapprochement communautaires de plusieurs collectivités dans la région. Bien que la distance les sépare, les résidents sont tous fiers de leur chez-eux, de leurs voisins et des entreprises locales. « Nos résidents sont fiers de leur collectivité et cela s’exprime de centaines de manières, a dit Mme Jollimore. Même si chaque collectivité se définit en fonction d’aspects uniques à elle, toutes ces collectivités font front commun pour offrir du soutien, échanger des idées et offrir bénévolement des ressources quand il est possible de le faire. » Les collectivités choisies pour recevoir le Prix du lieutenant-gouverneur pour l’esprit communautaire seront honorées lors de célébrations communautaires qui auront lieu prochainement. Le lieutenant-gouverneur assistera aux festivités pour présenter une œuvre originale façonnée par Nova Scotian Crystal et comportant une gravure qui représente l’histoire de chaque collectivité. Pour plus d’information, consultez : http://communityspiritaward.ca . Le site contient des renseignements en français. Quatre collectivités néo-écossaises ont remporté le Prix pour l’esprit communautaire du lieutenant-gouverneur remis cette année, et ce, pour leur esprit communautaire et leur sens civique. Les collectivités lauréates de 2018 sont :last_img read more

Irans Zarif sanctioned after declining meet with US Prez Trump

first_imgTehran: 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.last_img read more

Skewed perception of criminality

first_imgThe 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)last_img read more

Absolute jerks Paralyzed players parents deal with phoney fundraiser

first_imgCALGARY – 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 Twitterlast_img read more

Duke Of Cambridge Stars In WildAid PSAs Throughout China

first_imgAs The Duke of Cambridge tours China this week — the first such visit by a senior member of the British Royal Family since the 1980s — WildAid and its partners are spreading the word for elephants and rhinos with public service announcements starring His Royal Highness across the country.Video: WildAid and the Duke of Cambridge (Prince William) Give 40-Story Shout Out to ElephantsIn 2013, The Duke was joined by WildAid ambassadors Yao Ming and David Beckham to film two PSAs (“Whole World” and “Fatherhood”) urging people around the world never to buy rhino horn, ivory or shark fin.A new message running on the world’s largest video screen, seen by millions of people each day on the façade of Citi Tower on the Bund in Shanghai. This 40-story video screen is a prominent display on the city’s iconic waterfront.Central China Television (CCTV), one of WildAid’s key media partners in China, is donating primetime placement for two WildAid-produced PSAs featuring The Duke. These ads will be shown a total of 150 times during the week of the royal visit. The Duke is also actively supporting efforts to reduce the wildlife trade as Patron of the Royal Foundation’s United for Wildlife.The Duke has also lent his support along with several other WildAid ambassadors to the Ivory Free campaign with partners the African Wildlife Foundation and Save the Elephants. Over 100 billboards have been placed at airports in Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu. All told, they’re spreading the word on ivory and rhino horn to hundreds of millions of people this week.The Duke’s conservation message adds an important voice as more consumers in China have become aware of the wildlife poaching and illegal trade while momentum builds for stronger actions. In two reports published Tuesday, WildAid found a significant improvement in awareness on how rhino horn and ivory are obtained as well as how the market for such products is devastating elephant and rhino populations while supporting criminal networks in Africa and Asia. The surveys also found that 95 percent of respondents supported an ivory ban, while an equal percentage favored stricter punishments for rhino horn trade offenders.Over the past 18 months, WildAid has seen an increasing commitment by the Chinese government to restrict the ivory market — most recently with last week’s announcement of a one-year ban on imports of African ivory carvings. A ban on the China’s domestic ivory market is what’s truly needed to save Africa’s elephants, and we’re very hopeful this can be achieved.On Monday, The Duke met with President Xi Jinping in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, where they discussed wildlife issues, according to the BBC. On Wednesday, His Royal Highness is scheduled to travel to China’s Yunnan province, home to an estimated 250 Asian elephants. There he will visit an elephant sanctuary and give a speech at a regional conservation conference.Source:WildAidlast_img read more

Moroccan AntiTerror Chief Promises Doubled Efforts to Fight Radicalization of Diaspora

Rabat – The head of the Moroccan anti-terrorism bureau has stated that the kingdom will double its efforts to fight radicalization among Moroccans living abroad.The statement comes after the recent attacks in Spain, which were suspected to have been carried out by a terrorist cell consisting of young men of Moroccan descent.In an interview with the Associated Press published by the Washington Post, Abdelhak El Khiam, the director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), said that he was personally struck to see young men of Moroccan descent involved in the attacks. “Really I was frightened by what we saw happen in Barcelona. They were all youths of Moroccan origin, their parents were Moroccan,” he said Tuesday in the BCIJ headquarters in Sale, near the capital Rabat.However, he made it clear that these youth “had no connection to Morocco other than their origin and their family.”Cross-border cooperationEl Khiam stressed on the importance of cross-border cooperation to fight radicalization among Moroccan immigrant communities, pointing to the fact that European countries are not the only ones under threat from the radicalization of diaspora communities.He cited the example of a Moroccan immigrant who was arrested in the aftermath of the attacks in Barcelona. Having been radicalized in Catalonia, the individual had come back to Morocco with the aim of staging terrorist attacks in the kingdom, El Khiam noted.While Morocco is keeping an eye on extremist Moroccan elements abroad, local security services remain alert to track fighters in foreign extremist groups like the so-called Islamic State group (ISIS) who are now returning to Morocco. Totaling 1,664 according to the BCIJ, Moroccan recruits make up a sizable number among foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq.Security services have already arrested 85 recruits who came back to the country, including 14 women.El Khiam emphasized that uprooting terrorism and radical ideology cannot be achieved by security measures alone. For this reason, Morocco has sought to tackle the sources of radicalism by launching programs to eradicate poverty and to train imams with the aim of spreading a moderate discourse to counter extremist messages.In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils in Spain, Morocco reiterated its commitment to fight terrorism, and King Mohammed VI gave instructions to the government to increase security coordination with Spain.In late August, a high Spanish security delegation headed by the Minister of Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido visited Morocco to meet with local security officials and discuss ways to strengthen mutual cooperation.The visit was once again a further indication of Spain’s recognition of Morocco’s role as a key security partner. read more

Could US uncertainty mean more foreign student cash for Canada

by Andy Blatchford, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 3, 2017 7:21 am MDT Last Updated Feb 3, 2017 at 8:20 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Could U.S. uncertainty mean more foreign student cash for Canada? OTTAWA – The head of Canada’s biggest university organization says there’s growing evidence that post-U.S. election uncertainty could help boost an important source of cash for the economy: international students.The number of U.S. students applying to Canada for next fall has soared — and the extra attention could bring significant benefits to the Canadian economy, Universities Canada president Paul Davidson said in an interview Thursday.The overall economic impact from foreign students — including their much-higher tuition fees — was estimated at $11.4 billion in 2014, said a study prepared last summer for the federal government.That research also found that the combination of tuition, housing and discretionary spending by international students was greater than Canadian exports of softwood lumber, financial services or wheat. They contributed roughly as much to the economy as exports of automotive parts, said the July report for Global Affairs Canada.“So, this isn’t just nice for our economy, it’s an important part of our economy,” said Davidson, whose organization represents 97 institutions.“Our economy needs young, bright people with global connections and there’s lots of capacity in the Canadian university system to absorb these students.”So far, U.S. applications to McMaster University for next fall have climbed 35 per cent, while the University of Toronto has seen a spike of almost 82 per cent — to 1,425 from 784 at this time last year.Davidson said Canadian universities have also seen more interest this year from countries like India and Mexico, where many of their students have historically applied to study in the U.S. The University of Toronto, for example, said applications from India are so far up 45 per cent.He believes the concerns since the U.S. election have helped encourage more American and overseas students to consider Canada.The potential economic bump from an increase in foreign students comes amid considerable uncertainty within the academic community across North America.Davidson said an executive order signed this week by Trump to ban entry for 90 days of citizens from seven majority-Muslim countries has had an immediate, profound effect on international students and academics who are unable to access or even to return to the U.S., where they are based.“We don’t want to be seen as taking advantage of the situation, but the number of U.S. students applying to study in Canada for next fall is surging.”The opportunities for Canada reach beyond student enrolment, he added.The unknowns of the Trump administration and in the post-Brexit United Kingdom have also led to “serious inquiries” from “Nobel-calibre” researchers who are considering moving to Canada, he said.“This isn’t going to happen overnight, but the phones started ringing in mid-November and they haven’t stopped ringing,” said Davidson, who added the interest from academics is likely due in part to years of efforts promoting Canadian universities abroad.He expects a number of exploratory spring visits to Canadian campuses by prominent international researchers, some of whom may also participate in guest lectures and conferences. Boosting the level of research talent could also help lure more foreign direct investment to Canada, he said.A spokeswoman for McMaster said Thursday that the 35 per cent increase in applications from the U.S. this year will likely fluctuate before the final tally is released after April 1.The number, however, has been a bit of a surprise.“It’s interesting because McMaster doesn’t do any recruiting in the United States and traditionally does not have a great number of American students,” Michelle Donovan wrote in an email.Ted Sargent, vice-president international for the University of Toronto, said this year’s spike in interest from Americans is likely due to a combination of factors: the institution’s high North American rankings for quality of education, graduate employability and its big efforts in recent years to recruit in the U.S.U.S. students looking to Canada may also be prioritizing a place that’s welcoming, diverse and inclusive, Sargent said.“So, I do think they all play together.”While the economy could benefit from an increase in foreign students, not everyone agrees that they should pay more than Canadians.The Canadian Federation of Students opposes universities charging higher tuition fees for international students for the same education. Federation spokeswoman Emily Niles said foreigners pay, on average, 3.7 times more per year, often resulting in huge debt loads.In 2015-16, international students paid an average of $21,932 in tuition fees for undergraduate studies, an increase of 30 per cent from five years earlier, according to Statistics Canada.— with files from Jordan PressFollow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter read more

Investment in renewable energy dips globally as prices fall

Investment in renewable energy dips globally as prices fall by Frank Jordans, The Associated Press Posted Apr 6, 2017 10:16 am MDT Last Updated Apr 6, 2017 at 11:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email BERLIN – Global investments in renewable energy fell by almost a quarter in 2016 amid a drop in prices and lower spending in some markets, according to a U.N.-backed report published Thursday.Overall investments reached $241.6 billion last year, down from $312.2 billion in 2015, said the United Nations Environment Program.But investors got more bang for their buck: renewable energy capacity grew increased by 138.5 gigawatts, 8 per cent more than the 127.5 gigawatts added the year before.That’s because installing solar, wind and other systems for generating renewable energy became cheaper last year.China invested $78.3 billion, about a third less than the previous year — the first drop in over a decade.U.S. investment dipped by 10 per cent, to $46.4 billion, as developers paced their projects to take advantage of tax credits. Japan’s investment more than halved to $14.4 billion last year.In Europe, spending on renewables increased slightly to $59.8 billion, driven by big wind power projects in Britain and Germany.India saw the completion of a massive solar project in Tamil Nadu state in 2016. It will be the world’s biggest until China finishes expanding the Longyangxia Dam photovoltaic complex later this year.Many countries see renewable energy as an essential part of international efforts to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to global warming.Investment in power generated from fossil fuels was roughly half that of renewables last year, according to the report , which is based on data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance.The proportion of electricity coming from renewable sources, not including large hydropower plants, rose from 10.3 per cent to 11.3 per cent in 2016.The European electricity industry association EURELECTRIC announced Tuesday its 3,500 members won’t invest in new coal-fired power plants after 2020.___Follow Frank Jordans on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/wirereporter read more

UN experts voice concern over situation of religious minorities in Iran

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, and the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, called on the authorities to “ease the current climate of fear in which many churches operate, especially protestant evangelical houses of worship.” Mr. Shaheed welcomed the acquittal and subsequent release from prison earlier this month of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, who spent three years in prison for charges that, in his view, do not qualify as offences in Iran’s current Penal Code. He said that while the Iranian judiciary is to be commended for its decision to release Mr. Nadarkhani, “questions remain as to why he spent three years in prison apparently for practicing his religion,” a right guaranteed in Iran’s Constitution and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which the country ratified in 1975. Born to Muslim parents, Mr. Nadarkhani converted to Christianity at the age of 19 and became a member of a Protestant church in Rasht, according to a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). Mr. Nadarkhani was arrested in October 2009 on charges of apostasy. In September 2010, he was found guilty and sentenced to death on charges of apostasy and evangelism, following a trial in which the guarantees of due process of law had not been properly applied, according to Mr. Shaheed. The sentence was upheld by the Supreme Court, with the caveat that unless the accused renounced Christianity, he would be executed by hanging. In early September 2012, Iranian judicial authorities reduced Mr. Nadarkhani’s charge to ‘evangelizing Muslims,’ and his sentence to three years, which he was credited with having already served. Based on his own interviews and reports from various non-governmental organizations, Mr. Shaheed estimates that over 300 Christians have been arbitrarily arrested and detained throughout the country since June 2010, and that at least 41 individuals were detained for periods ranging from one month to over a year, sometimes without official charges. “Scores of other Christians appear to remain in detention for freely practicing their religion,” said the expert, noting that “churches continue to report undue pressure to report membership, in what appears to be an effort to pressure and sometimes even detain converts, despite articles 13, 14, and 26 of the Iranian Constitution which protect the rights of Christians and others.” Mr. Bielefeldt pointed out that Iran possesses the basic legal framework to guarantee Christians, as a group, the right to freedom of religion, and should ensure that this right is granted in practice. “The right to conversion in this context is an inseparable part of freedom of religion or belief as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights,” he noted. Mr. Bielefeldt also called for the protection of other religious minorities such as the Baha’is, Yarsanis, Dervishes and other religions, faiths or beliefs not recognized by the Iranian Constitution. Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. read more

Ban calls on private sectors in US China sector to help achieve

“US and Chinese companies can and must ensure that business activity is sustainable and responsible – that it upholds the highest standards of business ethics,” Mr. Ban said at the Hong Kong-US Business Council Dialogue in New York.“I am convinced that principles and profits can go hand-in-hand. Business success requires delivering long-term value – not just financially, but also socially, environmentally and ethically.”Mr. Ban underlined that Governments alone cannot tackle global development challenges but instead need partnerships with the private sector to make a significant impact. He added that the contribution from the private sector will be even more vital to mobilize the resources, technology and innovation required to achieve as the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approaches and the post-2015 agenda is set in place.“Today, our challenge remains clear and urgent: cut greenhouse gas emissions; increase efficiency, rely more on clean energy and provide sustainable energy for all; and reach a global legal climate agreement by 2015,” Mr. Ban said.He commended US and Chinese companies that have committed to the principles set by the UN Global Compact, and urged them to ensure that they “uphold responsible practices in their strategies, in their supply chains, and in the communities where they operate. Their presence can make a tremendous difference.”Each company that signs on with the UN Global Compact agrees to embrace, support and enact, within their sphere of influence, a set of 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.Mr. Ban pointed to China’s strong presence in Africa as “an enormous opportunity for growth on the continent,” and called on investors to use their collective influence to help spread commitment for sustainable change.In particular, he said tackling climate change must be a priority for the private sector, and encouraged US and Chinese companies to engage in the Caring for Climate initiative for business, through which companies can put forward innovations on energy efficiency, renewable energy and finance.“There should be no more denial, no more deferring action, no more avoiding the tough decisions, no more hoping that a technological silver bullet will save us,” Mr. Ban said. “The private sector will have a central role to play in unlocking clean energy investments.” read more

Sharp increase in money migrants send home lifts millions out of poverty

A dramatic up tic in the amount of money migrants send home to their families in developing countries is helping to lift millions out of poverty, according to a new report out today from the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The first-ever study, Sending Money Home: Contributing to the SDGs, One Family at a Time, highlights the role these funds – more than $445 billion in 2016 ¬– play in helping development countries attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). “About 40 per cent of remittances – $200 billion – are sent to rural areas where the majority of poor people live,” said Pedro de Vasconcelos, manager of IFAD’s Financing Facility for Remittances and lead author of the report, which notes that over the past decade, remittances have risen by 51 per cent – far greater than the 28 per cent increase in migration from these countries. “This money is spent on food, health care, better educational opportunities and improved housing and sanitation. Remittances are therefore critical to help developing countries achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” underscored Mr. de Vasconcelos. Sending Money Home covers a 10-year trend in migration and remittance flows from 2007-2016. While the report shows that there have been increases in sending patterns most regions of the world, the sharp rise over the past decade is in large part due to Asia which has witnessed an 87 per cent increase in remittances.It is not about the money being sent home, it is about the impact on people’s lives IFAD chief Gilbert Houngbo Despite the decade-long trend, IFAD President Gilbert F. Houngbo noted the impact of remittances must first be viewed one family at a time. “It is not about the money being sent home, it is about the impact on people’s lives. The small amounts of $200 or $300 that each migrant sends home make up about 60 per cent of the family’s household income, and this makes an enormous difference in their lives and the communities in which they live,” said Mr. Houngbo. VIDEO: Speaking to UN News, IFAD chief Gilbert F. Houngbo says that remittances sent by migrant workers are a “win-win solution” as they benefit both host countries and the workers’ countries of origin. Credit: UN News Currently, about 200 million migrant workers support some 800 million family members globally. This year, and expected one-in-seven people globally will be involved in either sending or receiving more than $450 billion in remittances, according to the report. Migration flows and remittances are having large-scale impacts on the global economy and political landscape. Total migrant earnings are estimated at $3 trillion annually, approximately 85 per cent of which remains in the host countries. The money sent home averages less than one per cent of their host’s GDP. Taken together, these individual remittances account for more than three times the combined official development assistance (ODA) from all sources, and more than the total foreign direct investment to almost every low- and middle-income country. Transaction costs to send remittances currently exceed $30 billion annually, with fees particularly high to the poorest countries and remote rural areas. The report makes several recommendations for improving public policies and outlines proposals for partnerships with the private sector to reduce costs and create opportunities for migrants and their families to use their money more productively. “As populations in developed countries continue to age, the demand for migrant labour is expected to keep growing in the coming years,” pointed out Mr. de Vasconcelos. “However, remittances can help the families of migrants build a more secure future, making migration for young people more of a choice than a necessity,” he added. read more

Syria UN relief officials condemn targeting of civilians infrastructure as airstrikes hit

“The UN condemns attacks directed against civilians and civilian infrastructure. The humanitarian community reminds all parties to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law to protect civilians and to spare no effort to prevent civilian casualties,” said a joint statement issued by Ali Al-Za’tari, the Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, and Ramesh Rajasingham, the acting Regional Humanitarian Coordinator. These unconfirmed accounts come on the heels of an increasing number of reported civilian casualties due to intensified military operations, including airstrikes. In recent months, regular airstrikes and shelling in the city have reportedly resulted in scores of civilian casualties, including women and children, the statement said. An estimated 75,000 people have been displaced from Raqqa city, but 18,000 to 25,000 civilians who remain trapped risk being killed by ISIL snipers or mines if they try to flee, or being used as human shields or killed in indiscriminate airstrikes if they remain. read more

Upcoming elections will signal Liberias irreversible course towards democracy President Sirleaf tells

As she recalled that 11 years ago, in September of 2006, she had addressed the Assembly as the newly elected President of Liberia and the first woman to be democratically elected as head of State on the African continent, Ms. Johnson Sirleaf said the coming elections, which will mark the end of her time in office, will pave the way for the next generations of Liberians to lead the country in to the future. “The [legislative and presidential polls] will mark the first time in 73 years that political power will be handed over peacefully, and democratically, from one elected leader to another,” she said, adding: Democracy is on the march in Liberia and, I believe, on an irreversible path forward on the African continent.” She said she had assumed office after 25 years of development reversal which was further compounded by a 15-year civil war. “We have made great progress and laid the foundation for the next democratic government. We have reshaped the Armed Forces of Liberia and the Liberia National Police, professionalized our customs and immigration services and small Liberian Coast Guard.” Further, previously dysfunctional public institutions now have the capacity to respond to the needs of our citizens through decentralized county service centers with ownership by strong local governments. “And from the tragedy of the health crisis, we are strengthening our healthcare systems, prioritizing prevention and delivering capacity at the community level,” said Ms. Johnson Sirleaf, underscoring that Liberia has enjoyed the benefit of multilateralism through full support provided by the UN, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). “Liberia’s transformation was powered by a world community that made a shared commitment to deliver peace to a country, and a subregion, beset by civil conflict and cross border destabilization,” she said, noting that the UN and its partner nations were of “one mind,” and from that global unity, a new Liberian democratic state was born. “Liberia is a post conflict success story. It is your post conflict success story,” stated Ms. Johnson Sirleaf, urging the UN and its Member States to continue to lead, to spread the values of democracy, human rights, and good governance while strengthening solidarity for economic transformation and social resilience. Such leadership should extend to full implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as well as on UN reform, including of the Security Council. Full statement available here read more

Michael Vick a Free Agent to Meet With Jets

Michael Vick is looking for an NFL team, and the New York Jets could be the place. At the least, he plans to visit there today to see if there is a match.Geno Smith, the rookie from West Virginia, was good enough to help the Jets win eight games last season, but not enough to be declared the team’s starter. This is where Vick comes in. The team could sign Vick and allow him to compete with Smith for the starting position. It helps that Vick, 34 in June, worked four years with former Philadelphia Eagle offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, who serves in the same role with the Jets.This, of course, makes former starter Mark Sanchez the likely quarterback out. Reports indicate that he would receive a $2-million roster bonus on March 25 if he’s still on the team. The Jets almost assuredly would cut Sanchez, who has a $13.1 million cap charge, if they signed Vick in the coming days. Or they could ask Sanchez to take a big pay cut–the least likely scenario.Vick has been linked to the Oakland Raiders and Buffalo Bills, two teams that also are not set at quarterback. He was injured and lost his job to Nick Foles in Philly last season. Vick was professional in how he dealt with losing his position, leading teams to believe he could be a strong mentor for the young Smith. read more

Bucks remain in the fast lane swim past Hoosiers

The Ohio State men’s swimming and diving team opened up its dual meet against conference rival Indiana with a sweep of first through third place in the 200 medley relay.            That performance turned out to be a resounding statement for the rest of the competition. The No. 12 Buckeyes dominated the No. 20 Hoosiers from start to finish, winning by a score of 224-74 to improve to 6-0 on the season.            For the second week in a row, senior Joel Elber and sophomore Andrew Elliott each scored a pair of individual victories. Additionally, senior Stefan Sigrist and junior Elliott Keefer also had two wins. The team had this meet on their mind ever since their close loss to the Hoosiers in Bloomington, Ind., last season, Elber said.            “It was a close meet last year so we’ve been looking forward to this meet for a year,” he said. “There’s always tension [against Indiana] and it’s always a bit personal. There’s a lot of emotion involved.”            Elber capped off a brilliant first half of the meet for the Buckeyes by winning the 50 free in 20.52, leaving the score 105-26 at intermission.            “I’m always happy with a win. I concentrate on winning. Times will come,” Elber said.  “I’m right where I should be [in terms of times]; there are always technical things I can work on though.”            Coach Bill Wadley was focused more on the task at hand as opposed to any rivalry that might exist between the two teams.            “The objective every meet is the same,” Wadley said. “Obviously IU is a Big Ten school and they’re very good and very well-coached. Today we happened to have a good meet.”            The Buckeyes won every event for the second meet in a row and took first, second and third place in nine of the races. Elber, one of 14 seniors who had never previously beaten Indiana in a dual meet, was extremely proud of the team’s performance.            “This is one of our tune-ups for Big Ten’s and the first top 20 team we’ve faced this year,” said Elber. “We rose to the occasion and avenged what we did last year.”            Wadley was satisfied with the entire team’s performance, but acknowledged that there were some standout individual accomplishments.            “Keefer was outstanding, Elliott has been consistent the whole year, it seems you can count on him every time,” Wadley said. “Stefan steps up every time he races; when you got four guys getting two wins apiece every meet, that’s special.”            The Buckeyes’ impressive victory should give them a confidence boost when they take to the pool again in two weeks and welcome Penn State, Michigan and Northwestern to Columbus.  Wadley said two weeks of practice will put the Buckeyes in great shape and in a position to win.            “Hopefully two weeks from now we’re even faster.” read more

Experts warn of another largescale cyberattack

(AFP) Another large-scale, stealthy cyberattack is underway on a scale that could dwarf last week’s assault on computers worldwide, a global cybersecurity firm told AFP on Wednesday.The new attack targets the same vulnerabilities the WannaCry ransomware worm exploited but, rather than freeze files, uses the hundreds of thousands of computers believed to have been infected to mine virtual currency.Following the detection of the WannaCry attack on Friday, researchers at Proofpoint discovered a new attack linked to WannaCry called Adylkuzz, said Nicolas Godier, a researcher at the computer security firm.“It uses the hacking tools recently disclosed by the NSA and which have since been fixed by Microsoft in a more stealthy manner and for a different purpose,” he said.Instead of completely disabling an infected computer by encrypting data and seeking a ransom payment, Adylkuzz uses the machines it infects to “mine” in a background task a virtual currency, Monero, and transfer the money created to the authors of the virus.Virtual currencies such as Monero and Bitcoin use the computers of volunteers to record transactions. They are said to “mine” for the currency and are occasionally rewarded with a piece of it.Proofpoint said in a blog that symptoms of the attack include loss of access to shared Windows resources and degradation of PC and server performance, effects which some users may not notice immediately.“As it is silent and doesn’t trouble the user, the Adylkuzz attack is much more profitable for the cyber criminals. It transforms the infected users into unwitting financial supporters of their attackers,” said Godier.Proofpoint said it has detected infected machines that have transferred several thousand dollars worth of Monero to the creators of the virus.The firm believes Adylkuzz has been on the loose since at least May 2, and perhaps even since April 24, but due to its stealthy nature was not immediately detected.“We don’t know how big it is” but “it’s much bigger than WannaCry”, Proofpoint’s vice president for email products, Robert Holmes, told AFP.A US official on Tuesday put the number of computers infected by WannaCry at over 300,000. “We have seen that before — malwares mining cryptocurrency — but not this scale,” said Holmes. The WannaCry attack has sparked havoc in computer systems worldwide.Britain’s National Health Service, US package delivery giant FedEx, Spanish telecoms giant Telefonica and Germany’s Deutsche Bahn rail network were among those hit.While the rate of new infections has slowed, researchers at cybersecurity firm Check Point said the malware continues to spread rapidly.And another expert added that despite a quick breakthrough that WannaCry to be slowed down, researchers don’t fully understand it.“The problem is that we’re still not certain about the origin of the infections” as contrary to many previous attacks it wasn’t via emails which deceive users into installing the virus, said the expert on condition of anonymity.More attacks could be soon be underway as the hacker group TheShadowBrokers that leaked the vulnerabilities used by WannaCry and Adylkuzz has threatened to publish more.It said in a post it would begin providing information monthly by subscription in June, saying that in addition to Windows 10 vulnerabilities it would include “compromised network data from Russian, Chinese, Iranian, or North Korean nukes and missile programs”. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedHuge cyber-attacks reported worldwideMay 12, 2017In “latest news”Global manhunt for WannaCry creatorsMay 15, 2017In “World”Beware of “Wanna Cry” ransomware attack says Guyana cyber-security response teamMay 13, 2017In “Business” read more

Commemorative stamp to be launched in honour of Dr Cheddi Jagan

As Guyana prepares to celebrate the birth centenary of founding leader and former President Dr Cheddi Jagan, the Guyana Post Office Corporation has announced plans to launch a commemorative stamp in his honour.Late President Dr Cheddi B. JaganPublic Telecommunications Minister Catherine Hughes, who holds responsibility and oversight for the GPOC, said that the stamp is being produced and designed by the Inter-Governmental Philatelic Corporation which is headquartered in the US.This company, according to the minister, has a long standing relationship with the GPOC and has produced many stamps over the past years.The University of Guyana, which was co-founded by Dr Jagan, will also be hosting a series of academic activities in honour of the late Guyanese premier and President in March.Meanwhile, the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C), which was founded by the late President, will be hosting several activities throughout 2018 to mark his 100th birth anniversary.Cheddi Bharat Jagan was born March 22, 1918, at Plantation Port Mourant, British Guiana.He was a politician and union activist, who in 1953, became the first popularly-elected Prime Minister of British Guiana (now Guyana).He headed the country’s Government again from 1957 to 1964 and from 1992 to 1997. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)RelatedCJRC ‘disappointed’ that Dr Jagan’s Commemorative Stamps not deliveredMarch 21, 2018In “latest news”MOTP scraps Dr Jagan’s commemorative stamps in exchange for national symbolsMarch 24, 2018In “latest news”Dr Cheddi Jagan commemorative stamp finally launchedMay 2, 2018In “latest news” read more

Gold geothermal energy underground carbon storage and more up for debate at

first_imgThe revival of Victoria’s gold sector, coupled with emerging opportunities in other base metals, mineral sands, geothermal energy, and some of Australia’s most likely locations for underground carbon storage, will all be on the agenda at the 2009 Paydirt Resources Victoria Conference. Since 2008, Victoria’s minerals industry has been bolstered by a variety of legislative and incentive-driven advances – most notably the passage in February of the 2009 Resource Industries Legislation Amendment Act, which from next year will begin to reduce regulatory burdens on mining and exploration ventures across the State. Victoria’s Department of Primary Industries has gone on the front foot in attracting greater mineral exploration through its ‘Rediscover Victoria’ initiative, which has committed an initial A$5 million to support drilling programs and other exploration work in new or previously unexplored parts of the State.At Melbourne’s Hilton on the Park from August 17 – 19, the Paydirt Conference – which follows on from a highly successful inaugural event at the same location last year – will be officially opened by Victoria’s Minister for Energy and Resources, the Honourable Peter Batchelor, shortly after 9 AM on Monday August 17.More than 300 delegates are expected to attend over the three-day conference, including a broad variety of mining and exploration executives, bankers and brokers, industry analysts, engineers, geologists, mining services and equipment suppliers, and heritage and community relations specialists.Despite the recent scaling back of Lihir Gold’s Ballarat mine, gold production continues to flourish at Victoria’s two largest operating gold mines in Stawell and Fosterville near Bendigo – and the State Government is confidently predicting that production this year will easily outstrip the 6 t of gold produced in Victoria in 2008.High on the agenda at next week’s Conference will be the key role that Victoria has to play in the growing demand for geosequestration, or deep underground storage, of greenhouse gases, which has developed into an important plank of the Australian Government’s long-term carbon reduction strategy.Among the key speakers will be Peter Cook, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies (CO2CRC), one of the world’s leading carbon capture and storage (CCS) research organisations, which only last week was boosted by a A$20 million grant from the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Program.CO2CRC now has three CCS demonstration projects in operation, including the widely watched Otway project in southwest Victoria, where carbon dioxide has been successfully injected and stored 2 km underground. Also presenting at the Paydirt Conference will be Charlie Speirs, Director of the newly formed State Government body, Clean Coal Victoria, which has been handed the complex challenge of engineering lower-emissions uses for Latrobe Valley’s huge brown coal reserves – source of 90% of Victoria’s power generation.Major industry bodies that will provide presentations during the first two days of the Conference include GeoScience Victoria, the Australian Geothermal Energy Association, and the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association.On the third day of the Conference – August 19 – a technical forum offers delegates the opportunity to access the latest world class geoscientific data and information from GeoScience Victoria, including new seismic data from its ‘Gold Undercover’ project and new regional 3D models from the Rediscover Victoria initiative.last_img read more