Two Canadian Opera Company Performers Seriously Assaulted In Possible Hate CrimeTwo Canadian Opera Company Performers Seriously Assaulted In Possible Hate Crime

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Violent elements of the Canadian Opera Company’s ongoing production of Louis Riel appear to have spilled over into the real world, as sources involved with the opera report that an attack on their cast members took place during the early morning hours of May 1 in downtown Toronto.This morning, cast member James Westman recounted the details on Facebook. In a possible homophobia-motivated hate crime, two male dance performers from the Louis Riel production were violently attacked. The injuries sustained led to one victim’s withdrawal from the following Louis Riel performance, the other will allegedly require surgery to his clavicle. Of note also that both men appear to be of Indigenous heritage. James Westman did not respond to our request for further comment. Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more


first_imgToday is National Canadian Film Day. The movies might surprise you!Bell Media’s premium English and French-language Pay TV networks, The Movie Network, The Movie Network Encore (TMN Encore), Super Écran, and Cinépop, are once again proud to support National Canadian Film Day today, Wednesday, April 18 with a specially curated lineup of Canadian films that celebrate this year’s theme: female filmmakers. Bell Media is a proud sponsor of National Canadian Film Day, now in its fifth year.The Movie Network’s main lineup is anchored by four titles from leading Canadian female filmmakers: Anne Marie Fleming’s animated feature Window Horses, about a young Canadian poet invited to perform at a poetry festival in Iran (6 p.m. ET); Stella Meghie’s Canadian Screen Award-nominated directorial debut, Jean of the Joneses (7:30 p.m. ET); Aisling Walsh’s Maudie starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke, and winner of seven 2018 Canadian Screen Awards including Best Motion Picture, Best Direction, Lead Actress and Lead Supporting Actor (9 p.m. ET); and April Mullen’s Below Her Mouth, a bold, uninhibited drama that begins with a passionate weekend-long affair between two women (11 p.m. ET). Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment On TMN Encore, subscribers can enjoy a day-long Canadian movie marathon from celebrated female directors and screenwriters such as Deepa Mehta,Sarah Polley, Tara Johns, and Shannon Masters. Featured films include: Away from Her (6 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET), the acclaimed 2006 adaptation of Alice Munro’s short story, starring Julie Christie and Gordon Pinsent; Empire of Dirt (7:20 p.m. ET), following three generations of First Nations women as they struggle to deal with the demons of their past; and Bollywood/Hollywood (10:50 p.m. ET), the award-winning 2002 film about an East Indian man looking for his family’s approval to marry a non-East Indian woman.The full broadcast schedule for The Movie Network (and its suite of multiplex channels) and The Movie Network Encore for April 18 is below:TMN 1:6 p.m. ET – Window Horses7:30 p.m. ET – Jean of the Joneses9 p.m. ET – Maudie11 p.m. ET – Below Her MouthTMN 2:6:15 p.m. ET – The Steps8 p.m. ET – Don’t Talk to Irene9:25 p.m. ET – Sleeping Giant11 p.m. ET – 1:54TMN 3:5:40 p.m. ET – Mean Dreams7:30 p.m. ET – River9 p.m. ET – Goon: Last of the Enforcers10:45 p.m. ET – Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2TMN Encore:6 a.m. ET – Away From Her7:50 a.m. ET – Empire of Dirt9:40 a.m. ET – Sophie11:25 a.m. ET – The Year Dolly Parton Was My Mom1 p.m. ET – The Animal Project2:35 p.m. ET – Breakfast with Scot4:15 p.m. ET – I Put a Hit on You5:35 p.m. ET – Autrui7:20 p.m. ET – Empire of Dirt9 p.m. ET – Away From Her10:50 p.m. ET – Bollywood/Hollywood Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Rattenbury said Riverview is popular because of its private location, versatility — offering green spaces as well as older buildings with pre-built sets — ample onsite parking and proximity to Mundy and Minnekhada parks as well as the urban City Centre.And though BC Housing doesn’t name what TV or movies have been shot there, productions such as Deadpool 2 — starring Vancouver-raised Ryan Reynolds — have clear images of the East and West Lawn buildings, Crease Clinic and surrounding areas.Rattenbury said Riverview can see up to five companies on site per day, either prepping, cleaning up or actively filming; all are monitored by BC Housing film liaison officers 24/7 to ensure safety and security protocols are met. “It’s something that we take quite seriously,” she told the committee, chaired by Coun. Craig Hodge. “We don’t want to see tire tracks or trees lost.”As well, companies also have strict guidelines for filming at Riverview, she said: Producers must provide a synopsis and a copy of the film script to BC Housing for review; filming that negatively depicts mental health or religion — or sex or nude scenes — is banned.As well, movie companies are require to have $5 million in commercial general liability insurance per occurrence, and there is a no visitors rule.Still, despite the tough measures, Riverview is fully booked into next year.“We are at a maximum film capacity at Riverview,” said Sheryl Peters, BC Housing’s director of land development. “We can’t physically take them any more.”Rattenbury estimated each team spends up to $250,000 daily on filming days in B.C. on such goods and services as hotels and restaurants, and equipment rentals.According to 20th Century Fox, more than 3,700 cast, crew and extras were hired for Deadpool 2 and, in its 80 days of filming, accounted for $2 million in construction supplies, $2 million in transportation and car rentals, $1.4 million on catering and craft services, $1.4 million on accommodation, $900,000 on wardrobe and dry cleaning, and $500,000 in gasoline.“Coquitlam is lucky to be the home of one of the busiest and most-sought after film locations in Canada: Riverview,” said David Munro, the city’s manager of economic development. “Coquitlam not only benefits from the jobs and economic impact generated by productions at Riverview but also from the spin-off productions that occur in other areas of the community. Having a core film sector asset such as Riverview helps market Coquitlam as a destination for filming.“Deadpool — aka Ryan Reynolds — at Riverview with Canada’s minister of national defence Harjit Singh Sajjan, during the filming of the blockbuster last August. (TWITTER @HARJITSAJJAN)Meanwhile, Andrea Aleck, chief officer for special projects for KFN Enterprises, a branch of the Kwikwetlem First Nation (KFN) which has a land claim on the Riverview lands, said its new heritage certificate program for people working at Riverview will train up to 200 participants by the end of July.“We are getting queries from other First Nations who want to run the program, too,” Peters said. “It’s a success.”Aleck said KFN is currently putting its artistic stamp around Riverview with public realm elements (i.e., street lamps, crosswalks, electrical boxes) with First Nations designs.As well, Squamish First Nation artist Jody Broomfield — the creator of the Coquitlam salmon public art for the city’s 125th year — is creating blue heron artwork in the Valleyview gym; KFN says Riverview was once the nesting area for the birds.By Janis Cleugh / Tri-City News  A still from Deadpool 2, with East Lawn at Riverview burning in the background. The building was used in the movie as an orphanage for troubled mutant youth. (Photograph By 20TH CENTURY FOX)center_img Twitter Login/Register With: Riverview Hospital may have a history steeped in mental health and recovery but it’s future as a filming site isn’t dimming anytime soon.Yesterday (Wednesday), an official from BC Housing, which manages the 244-acre grounds in Coquitlam, told the city’s Riverview Lands Advisory Committee it handled 200 contracts from movie producers in the last fiscal year — up from 40 in 2004.As a result, it’s the most popular filming location in Canada outside of a studio, said Brenda Rattenbury, the agency’s senior manager of film and special events. Advertisementlast_img read more

Indian Affairs reviewing controversial loan programIndian Affairs reviewing controversial loan program

first_imgAPTN National NewsOTTAWA–A controversial Indian Affairs economic development program accused of knee-capping Aboriginal banks is being reviewed by a Quebec consultant, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan said.The news comes on the heels of an announcement by a Manitoba credit union that it was pulling out of the $15.5 million loan-loss reserve pilot program because it just wasn’t working.Duncan said Wednesday during question period that the loan guarantee program for on-reserve businesses was under review, but he also defended his department’s decision to shut-out Aboriginal lending banks, known as Aboriginal Financial Institutions (AFIs).“The loan loss reserve pilot program was created to address to address a gap in larger-scale commercial lending. This was an area in which (AFIs) were generally not in,” said Duncan, in a response to a question from NDP Aboriginal affairs critic Jean Crowder.Duncan said that the preliminary results of the review would be used in the “renewal” of the program.Michelle Yao, a spokeswoman for Duncan, said Thursday morning that management consulting firm Auguste Solutions and Associates Inc., based in Chelsea, Que., was reviewing the program.An Indian Affairs department spokeswoman said the consulting firm was also reviewing another program that deals with major resources and energy development.Manitoba-based Assiniboine Credit Union president Al Morin told APTN National News that the loan-loss reserve program was outdated and ineffectual. Morin said part of the program’s problem was the exclusion of AFIs, which have decades of experience giving loans to on-reserve businesses.Alan Park, Chief Executive Officer of TWCC, has said the department was putting Aboriginal lenders in jeopardy by giving mainstream lenders a “golden-brick road” into the on-reserve lending sector through the program.TWCC has also launched a federal court challenge against the department over the program arguing Indian Affairs did not consult before picking seven mainstream banks and credit unions to participate in the program.last_img read more

Police fed information to stoned Crown witness to build murder case againstPolice fed information to stoned Crown witness to build murder case against

first_img(Wendy Scott alleges in an affidavit she was stoned during interrogations where police fed her evidence to build a murder case against Connie Oakes. Facebook photo)By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsA star witness for an Alberta Crown prosecutor says she was fed evidence by police while stoned during “coercive” interrogations to build a murder case against a Cree woman, according to court documents filed with the Court of Appeal of Alberta.The mentally “frail” witness also says police interrogated her for six months longer than was disclosed during the murder trial of Connie Oakes, 49, who is now serving a 14 year sentence in the Edmonton Institution for Women, according to appeal documents filed by Oakes’ lawyer.A Medicine Hat, Alta., jury found Oakes guilty in April 2014 of second-degree murder in the killing of a local man named Casey Armstrong who was found dead in the bathtub of his blood-splattered bathroom.Oakes, who is from Nekaneet First Nation in Saskatchewan, insists she’s innocent. Oakes says she was nowhere near Armstrong’s trailer during the May 2011 long-weekend when the 48 year-old man was killed by a knife plunged through the throat.With no murder weapon, DNA evidence or fingerprints, Andrea Dolan, a Crown prosecutor in Medicine Hat, built her murder case against Oakes on the testimony of Wendy Scott, 29, a self-described small-time crack dealer. Scott pleaded guilty to the killing in a separate case and later testified she saw Oakes kill Armstrong.Now Scott has a lawyer and is trying to have her own guilty plea struck down, according to the appeal documents. She is also recanting the testimony used by the Crown to convince a jury that Oakes murdered the father of two children, according to appeal documents filed Dec. 12 in Calgary.Oakes’ Edmonton lawyer Aleksandra Simic is seeking to have the appeal court hear the case based on “fresh evidence” with the aim of having the murder conviction quashed and Oakes acquitted. The fresh evidence is based on two sealed affidavits, according to the appeal filing.One affidavit is from Scott and the other is from Kim Pate, the executive director of the Elizabeth Fry Society. Pate’s affidavit is based on a discussion with Scott during which she allegedly recanted her testimony placing Oakes at the scene of the murder.In her affidavit Scott “provides an explanation of why she implicated Ms. Oakes in the homicide,” according to a summary of the sworn document contained in the appeal filing. Scott alleges in the affidavit she was shown crime scene photographs and provided evidence during allegedly coercive police interrogations that occurred on a weekly basis for six months. She alleges in the affidavit police provided the details of the case before she was sat down for “eventual recorded interviews.”Scott alleges in her affidavit she wasn’t taking prescribed medication during those interrogations, but “was under the influence of drug contraband.”The appeal filing alleges those six months of interrogations were also not disclosed during Oakes’ trial.“At trial, it appeared to be common ground that Ms. Scott…participated in police interviews and/or provided statements on Dec. 6, 2011, (and) Jan. 5, 7 and 10, 2012,” according to the filing. “Ms. Scott now swears that she participated in weekly interviews and meetings with police between the periods of June 2011 to December 2011.”In a previous interview with APTN National News, Medicine Hat police Sgt. Brent Secondiak said investigators believed Scott was telling the truth based on the level of details she provided about the murder.“She knew details about this that no one else could have known unless they were there or where told by the person who did it,” said Secondiak, who took over the investigation after it had stalled for several months.Scott also swears in her affidavit that she suffers from mental illness and has a “demonstrated IQ of 50.” According to Statistics Canada’s “health state descriptions” an IQ score ranging from 50 to 69 indicates “mild retardation.”In a previous interview with APTN, Dolan, the Crown prosecutor, said Scott’s child-like testimony made her believable to the jury.“Almost child-like, her evidence was…Children and people who present in that cognitive manner often exude a credibility that many adults don’t,” said Dolan.Oakes’ appeal filing interprets Scott’s mental state in a different light.“The proposed evidence is relevant and bears upon decisive issues of potential outstanding disclosure, which could have impacted trial fairness, conduct of  trial and impeachment of chief Crown witness…as well as the reliability and credibility of important evidence…relied upon (by) the Crown to identify Mr. Armstrong’s killers and marshalled in support of Ms. Oakes’ guilt,” said the filing. “Ms. Scott’s recantation is not only significant from a potential impeachment value, given that this is the sole evidence which implicated the applicant, but also tackles the very reliability of a frail witness both in terms of mental health difficulties and limited cognitive abilities who admits to not only having failed to avail herself of prescribed medication, but also admits to illicit drug use in the course of her interactions with police.”Connie OakesThe appeal filing states that Oakes’ Edmonton trial lawyer Daryl Royer learned Scott recanted her testimony at some point between the jury’s finding of guilt in April and Oakes’ sentencing on June 5 of this year.“Subsequent to sentencing of Ms. Oakes, Ms. Scott engaged counsel to assist her in striking her own guilty plea and has provided an affidavit indicating, among other things, her now belief that Ms. Oakes was never present at the crime scene and that her evidence, both self-incriminating and that which served to implicated Ms. Oakes in the homicide…was the product of coercive police tactics,” said the filing.There were problems with Scott’s story throughout Oakes’ trial.Royer, the defense lawyer during the trial, counted 55 inconsistencies in Scott’s testimony, including whether Armstrong was dead before or after he was placed in the bathtub where he was later found by a friend. It also emerged that Scott accused three other people of the murder before naming Oakes.There were also problems with a knife submitted by the Crown as evidence against Oakes. The kitchen knife, which Scott initially claimed was Oakes’ favorite, came back negative for any trace of blood despite two forensic examinations.Secondiak admitted to APTN police couldn’t prove the knife was used in the murder despite the fact it was entered as evidence at trial.There was also the issue of a large, bloody boot-print found in Armstrong’s bathroom. Medicine Hat police were never able to trace the source of the print.Oakes has two sons, including one who is battling read more

Nunavut journalist becomes only person banned from all five Nunavut prisonsNunavut journalist becomes only person banned from all five Nunavut prisons

first_imgKent DriscollAPTN NewsNunavut’s Baffin Correctional Centre (BCC) is infamous.The Auditor General of Canada said the facility puts the safety of staff and inmates at risk.Most people want to get out of BCC, not in.But one man who advocates for prisoners got kicked out of jail – and he’s taking Nunavut justice to court to get back

Algonquin Nation declares state of emergency due to overhunting in Quebec wildlifeAlgonquin Nation declares state of emergency due to overhunting in Quebec wildlife

first_imgThe chief of Barriere Lake says the moose population is down in a wildlife reserve area where Algonquins have hunted for generations. File photo.Lindsay RichardsonAPTN NewsAn elder once told Barrier Lake Chief Casey Ratt that, years ago, the area around their community once had a flourishing moose population – as many as 30 could be spotted during a 45 minute lakeside commute to a neighboring community.Today, Ratt says you’re lucky to even see one.“I haven’t seen a moose, and I’m on the road every day,” he explained.Just ahead of the fall hunt, the Algonquin Nation is raising the alarm about the dwindling moose population in the La Verendrye Wildlife Reserve – an area of 12,500 km² – and demanding the Quebec government enforce an immediate moratorium on sports hunting pending further study.For generations, the Algonquin have hunted on the reserve’s grounds, relying on moose meat for sustenance.“We take what we need only,” Ratt explained. In order to feed his community and others on the territory – less than 500 people total – a cull of about 20-25 moose is needed every year.But in 2019, sports hunters – according to the Societe des Etablissements de Plein Air du Quebec (SEPAQ) website – took out at least 97 moose in four weeks.The previous year, Ratt says, they killed 116.“This is where I have a big problem,” he added. “We need to start closing the park. We need to have a moratorium in order to have a healthy moose population.”Citing a “deep concern” for the fauna in the reserve, the Algonquin Nation made an appeal last week to Pierre Dufour, Quebec’s Minister of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks, to close La Verendrye Park temporarily – a few years, if need be — so a conservation and management plan can be properly formulated and enforced.During a meeting with council members, Dufour reportedly conceded that SEPAQ does not have a strategy for maintaining a healthy moose population in the park. Ratt says data hasn’t been properly collected since 1994.“[SEPAQ] asks the hunters ‘did you see a moose in this area?’ And of course, they’ll say yes. They’ll ask the hunters how many days they’ve seen moose – but it could be the same moose,” he explained. “So it’s not very accurate, the way they’ve collected [data] on the moose population.”According to the SEPAQ website, “Moose hunting is limited by quota in the reserve and is subject to random draw.” They also issue permits for hunting partridge, bears, and goose.As a result, hundreds of hunting tags are granted each season; if yields are unsatisfactory, sport hunters are permitted to also shoot cows and calves, according to Ratt.“If there isn’t any success in previous years, they open [the hunt] to the bull, to the cow, and to the calf. That’s their management practice. And we’re saying we can’t have that – we won’t accept it,” he said.That said, the Algonquin Nation says the moose population is equally affected by factors like deforestation, diseases, parasites, and climate change.“We are therefore united to take all the necessary measures to face this state of emergency, for the best of our Nation, and for all citizens,” Kitcisakik Chief Regis Penosway said in a statement.If the Quebec government response is unsatisfactory, they say they’re ready to assume their responsibility as “protectors of the territory,” according to the statement, based on the inherent rights and jurisdictions outlined in Article 29 of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).SEPAQ could not be reached for comment before read more

Fuelled by gasoline prices annual inflation accelerates to 21 per centFuelled by gasoline prices annual inflation accelerates to 21 per cent

first_imgOTTAWA – The country’s annual inflation rate accelerated to 2.1 per cent last month to reach its highest mark in nearly a year and signal that the stronger economy has started pushing up consumer prices.Statistics Canada said Thursday that its inflation reading for November came in hotter than the 1.4 per cent number for October, boosted by higher costs for gasoline and air transportation, compared with a year earlier.The result means the annual pace of inflation, which had slowed to a two-year low of one per cent in June, has now climbed above the Bank of Canada’s ideal target of two per cent. The central bank scrutinizes inflation data ahead of its interest-rate decisions — the next one is scheduled for Jan. 17.Economists said the inflation reading reinforced their expectations that Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz will resume raising rates over the coming months.Some also noted the robust economy showed further progress in a separate Statistics Canada report Thursday on retail trade. It said retail sales in October expanded by a healthy 1.5 per cent, thanks in large part to a boost in new car sales.“With economic momentum appearing to hold up into the fourth quarter … the case for the Bank of Canada to follow the Federal Reserve in hiking interest rates is building — don’t be surprised if it comes sooner rather than later,” TD senior economist James Marple wrote in a research note to clients.“Inflation suddenly doesn’t feel so soft in Canada.”Inflation had remained below two per cent for almost all of 2017 and the rate hadn’t been as high as 2.1 per cent since last January.The report showed that pump prices delivered a major lift to last month’s overall inflation number after rising 19.6 per cent compared with the year before.But the data also contained signs the price pressure was a little more broad-based. Excluding gasoline, November’s inflation rate was 1.5 per cent, an increase from 1.3 per cent in October.Two of the Bank of Canada’s three preferred measures of core inflation, designed to look through the noise of more-volatile items like gasoline, strengthened last month.CPI-trim rose to 1.8 per cent from 1.5 per cent and CPI-median reached 1.9 per cent compared to 1.7 per cent in October, while CPI-common cooled to 1.5 per cent from 1.6 per cent.By region, annual inflation was higher in every province last month with Manitoba, at 3.2 per cent, and Saskatchewan, at 3.7 per cent, seeing the biggest changes.The retail sales numbers for October showed greater growth in every province, with higher numbers in Ontario, Quebec and B.C. accounting for the bulk of the increase, the agency said.The report showed that retail e-commerce sales increased 19.4 per cent in October, compared to a year earlier. However, it accounted for just 2.6 per cent of overall retail sales.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

First Nations file lawsuit over Husky oil spill into North Saskatchewan RiverFirst Nations file lawsuit over Husky oil spill into North Saskatchewan River

first_imgPRINCE ALBERT, Sask. – Two First Nations in Saskatchewan have filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against an energy company responsible for an oil spill that fouled the drinking water supply of thousands of people two years ago.The James Smith Cree Nation and the Cumberland House Cree Nation are seeking reparations from Husky Energy for the spill in July 2016 that polluted the North Saskatchewan River.They cite damage caused by the spill and allege Husky hasn’t been willing to work with them to make things right.The James Smith Cree Nation alleges in a prepared statement of facts that Husky was advised to take remediation steps after about 40 per cent of roughly 250,000 litres of oil mixture leaked into the river.The statement obtained by Prince Albert radio station CKBI claims Husky “failed or refused to perform remediation steps to mitigate, limit or remove the adverse impact” of the spill.None of the allegations by either First Nation has been proven in court.The spill forced the cities of Prince Albert, North Battleford and Melfort to shut off their water intakes for almost two months. Wildlife was also harmed.James Smith’s statement of facts alleges Husky repeatedly failed to provide the community with updates regarding the cleanup, didn’t provide updated technical data such as studies or reports or any other information related to the oil spill.The statement of facts also alleges Calgary-based Husky failed to inform the community as to when the company would be on reserve land to obtain samples, perform remediation or undertake other activities related to the spill response.The band is asking for damages to make up for its members’ lost ability to hunt, fish, trap, gather and otherwise enjoy the river.It also seeks an order requiring Husky to cover the costs of remediating the water, riverbanks and vegetation.The band, based about 60 kilometres east of Prince Albert, wants out-of-pocket expenses accrued during the oil spill cleanup period covered as well.It is asking for punitive damages, legal costs and interest on any compensation.The Cumberland House Cree Nation, located about 300 kilometres east of Prince Albert, has also filed legal paperwork against Husky Energy.Many of the allegations in its statement of facts mirror those submitted by the James Smith band.The Cumberland House Cree are also seeking a judge’s order requiring Husky Energy to “immediately and fully, and at their own expense, remove or remediate oil in the water, soil, vegetation, and debris on the reserve lands.”Husky has said that more than 90 per cent of the oil was recovered.The company concluded that the spill which originated near Maidstone, Sask., was caused when ground underneath a submerged section of pipe shifted.(CKBI, The Canadian Press)(Companies in the story: TSX:HSE)last_img read more

Argentines seek soup kitchens barter markets amid crisisArgentines seek soup kitchens barter markets amid crisis

first_imgBUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Men wait outside the metal-grill door of a soup kitchen in a slum, hoping to get a small serving of beef and mashed potatoes. At a barter market on the capital’s outskirts, a woman tries to persuade another to exchange for her granddaughters’ tiny shoes.Argentines are struggling in crisis in what was once one of the world’s most prosperous nations. Consumer prices are soaring, unemployment is high and the Argentine peso has plunged, bringing back haunting memories of the country’s economic meltdown in 2001 that pushed millions into poverty.A growing number of people arrive at the “Happy Kids” soup kitchen in the Villa 1-11-14 shantytown, where servers try to stretch out steaming pots of stew because many more than expected are lining up for food.“The city government gives us money for 440 rations a day, but we’re being forced to prepare smaller portions so that we can cover 600 rations,” said Cintia Garcia, who runs the soup kitchen.A series of events battered the economy.First, a severe drought damaged crop yields in the world’s third-largest exporter of soybean and corn. The situation worsened beginning in the first quarter of 2018 as world oil prices increased and then interest rate rises in the United States led investors to pull dollars out of Argentina.That caused jitters among Argentines, who have stashed away dollars as a cushion since the 2001 economic implosion, and a rush to buy scarcer dollars pushed the peso’s value down. Despite several interest rate hikes by the Argentine Central Bank, the peso has lost more than half its value in less than a year.President Mauricio Macri had to seek a $50 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund. Last week, he announced a series of austerity measures, including new taxes on exports and the elimination of several government ministries. He said he would allocate more economic aid and strengthen food plans for poor Argentines.With unemployment around 9 per cent and consumer prices surging, some Argentines are again turning to barter clubs, which first emerged during the collapse nearly two decades ago.The tumbling peso has pushed up prices for fuel and, in turn, transportation costs. That has affected food prices in a country where most grains and other goods are transported in trucks. Inflation is expected to reach an annual rate of more than 40 per cent this year, the Central Bank says.“To make doughnuts a month ago, I used to spend 150 pesos (almost $4) for oil and seven bags of flour. Now it’s more than 400 pesos,” complained Gladys Jimenez.Jimenez, who is from Paraguay, is one of those who rely on the “Happy Kids” soup kitchen in Villa 1-11-14, a slum crowded with tens of thousands of Argentines and immigrants from neighbouring countries.The price of beef has also increased in one of the world’s top meat-consuming countries. Nicol Alcocer, a teenager who attends an educational workshop where the food is distributed in the slum, said that previously she would eat roast every Saturday. “Now it’s every four months,” she said.The rapid fall in the peso brings frequent boosts in the prices charged by vendors, leading to anger. Some slum dwellers recalled that when the peso recently fell to 40 to the dollar, they lined up at small local stores but the owners refused to sell to them.“I told my husband: ‘Let’s go buy.’ People were all riled up seeing that businesses were closed,” said Martina Bilbao. “I remember the looting of 2001 … and I think it’s going to happen again.”The crisis 17 years ago was so bad that one of every five Argentines was out of work and more than half of the population fell into poverty. The peso, which had been tied to the dollar, lost about 75 per cent of its value.Banks froze deposits and barricaded behind sheet metal as thousands of protesters unsuccessfully tried to withdraw savings. More than 20 people died in protests and looting that swept Argentina in December 2001 as Latin America’s third-largest economy unraveled and eventually defaulted on a debt of more than $100 billion.The current economic woes are far from that collapse. But analysts say that poverty, which affects about a third of the population, will rise this year, and the economy will take a dive.Those forecasts are far from the promises of Macri. The conservative president took office in 2015 vowing that he would revive Argentina’s weak economy and end poverty.Although his market-friendly reforms were initially praised by international investors, who said they laid the groundwork for growth, they also brought pain to the country’s poor and stoked labour unrest.Since taking office, he has laid off thousands of state workers and cut energy subsidies, sending utility bills and bus fares soaring. Macri also dropped the previous government’s foreign exchange controls, ushering in the sharp devaluation of the peso.Many of Argentina’s poor live in slums known as “misery villages,” where they often lack access to transportation, running water or sewage. Argentina’s northern regions have chronically high rates of child malnutrition, even though the country remains a top global grain supplier.On a recent day, dozens of women gathered at a barter market in the outskirts of Buenos Aires to trade everything from pants and cosmetics to toys, bags of rice and cooking oil.“We’ve gone back to the same as before. We’ve gone back to bartering,” said Lucia de Leon, who had a table where she offered to trade canned food and used shoes.last_img read more

Rising scruples in European countries over Saudi arms salesRising scruples in European countries over Saudi arms sales

first_imgBERLIN – The killing of writer Jamal Khashoggi has prompted soul-searching in some European countries about their sale of arms to Saudi Arabia, long one of the biggest buyers of sophisticated Western weaponry.While the United States ranks first among Saudi’s arms suppliers, Europe, too, has been selling billions of dollars’ worth of weapons to the kingdom for decades.Appeals have mounted in recent days calling for such deals to be halted: On Sunday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that arms exports to Saudi Arabia “can’t take place in the situation we’re currently in,” citing Khashoggi’s death. But despite the outrage, no European country has yet taken concrete action to change how business is done.Spain’s prime minister said Wednesday his government would fulfil past arms sales contracts with Saudi Arabia despite his “dismay” over the “terrible murder” of Khashoggi earlier this month in the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul.Pedro Sanchez told lawmakers that protecting jobs in southern Spain was central to his decision last month to go ahead with a controversial bomb shipment to Saudi Arabia.In London, British Prime Minister Theresa May also rebuffed a call from opposition lawmakers to end weapons sales to the Arab kingdom, telling Parliament on Wednesday that “the procedures we follow are among the strictest in the world.”Spain, Germany, Italy and Switzerland each accounted for about two per cent of Saudi Arabia’s arms imports between 2013 and 2017, according to figures compiled by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, or SIPRI.France accounted for about 4 per cent, while Britain took a 23 per cent share of the business — behind the United States with 61 per cent.Merkel’s economy minister, Peter Altmaier, called Monday for a common European Union position on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, telling a public broadcaster that “only if all European countries agree would this make an impression on the government in Riyadh.”Even if Germany were to stop the exports, “it will have no positive consequences … if at the same time other countries fill this gap,” he said.Slovakia’s Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it was willing to discuss the German proposal. In neighbouring Czech Republic, Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said he also supported a discussion as he summoned the Saudi ambassador to Prague to tell him “any attacks on journalists are unacceptable.”But Britain’s foreign secretary highlighted the difficulty in agreeing on a common EU stance on Saudi arms exports when he pointed out last month that “With countries like Saudi Arabia, countries like China, the way you make the most progress is by talking to them in private.”“If you talk about these things publicly you lose the access, they say ‘we don’t want to deal with you’ and you put yourself in a position where you have no influence over what’s happening,” Jeremy Hunt told Sky News.Should Western nations halt their sales, one country that might step in is Russia.Russian and Saudi officials discussed possible arms sales including S-400 air defence systems during a landmark visit by King Salman last October, but no contract was signed.Saudi Arabia also has expressed interest in setting up production of Russian Kornet-EM anti-tank missiles, TOS-1A rocket launchers and AGS-30 automatic grenade launchers and the latest version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle in their country. It is unclear if any of those deals are nearing implementation.Russia’s cautious stance on Khashoggi’s murder could be changing that, experts say.Kirill Semenyov, a Middle East expert on the Foreign Affairs Council which advises the Kremlin, said the Saudis would be looking for alternatives like Russia if one of their key partners were to pull out of the deals.“If the U.S. or Britain were to renege on the contracts to supply fighter jets or other weapons like tanks, it would be a serious blow, that would push Saudi Arabia to buy arms from Russia like T-90 tanks or Su-35 planes,” he said.A sizeable Russian business delegation on Tuesday descended on an investment conference in Riyadh to show that Moscow is unfazed by the accusations against the royal family.Kirill Dmitriev, chairman of the state-owned Russian Direct Investment Fund, told state-owned Rossiya 24 channel that “Saudi partners are appreciative of our balanced position.” ”We continue to co-operate with Saudi Arabia’s investment fund and other partners,” he added.Dmitriev likened the investigation into Khashoggi’s killing to recent accusations levelled against Russia over the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain and cyber-attacks around the world.“There’s a lot of speculation and unverified information around,” he said.French government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Wednesday that Paris will agree to sanctions against Saudi Arabia only if it’s proven they are to blame in the journalist’s killing.“As long as these facts are not corroborated by our intelligence services, we will withhold our response,” Griveaux said. “But once the light is made, that these facts are corroborated by our services, and in the event that Saudi Arabia’s responsibility is proven, then we will draw the consequences and we will take sanctions. And I will tell you something, it would not be just about weapons.”Diederik Cops, a researcher at the Flemish Peace Institute in Belgium, suggested that the European focus on military goods would have been more appropriate years ago in reaction to the Yemen conflict, where Saudi relies heavily on foreign arms and equipment. It may have taken the Khashoggi killing to force a change, he said.“Most governments are threatening with arms and questioning arms exports because they know that is the most strong … political pressure instrument they can use at this moment toward the Saudis,” he said.But, he added, it’s hard to tell if a global initiative on prohibiting arms exports to Saudi Arabia will take hold because of geopolitical and economic factors.Rights groups have long called unethical the multibillion-dollar U.S. and European arms sales to Saudi Arabia, for decades one of the world’s largest buyers of weapons. They point to the growing number of civilian casualties in Yemen’s ongoing civil war, in which the Saudis lead a mostly Arab coalition against Iranian-supported Shiite rebels known as the Houthis.Calls for the deals to be suspended have often surfaced in the wake of airstrikes by the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led coalition fighting against the Iranian-supported Shiite rebels in Yemen. The airstrikes have killed hundreds of Yemeni civilians, including women and children, since the commencement of the war in 2015.After an August airstrike hit a bus carrying Yemeni children on their way to school in the country’s north, killing more than 40, Human Rights Watch said the incident highlighted the “callous indifference of the Western powers enthusiastically arming the Saudi-led coalition.”On Wednesday, Spanish activists protested outside Parliament holding bomb-shaped signs reading “Decisions that kill.”Haizam Amirah Fernandez, an expert at Madrid-based think-tank Elcano Royal Institute, said Saudi Arabia’s current leadership “is aware that it has taken bold steps in the past three plus years with an absolute impunity” because the White House is its biggest backer.“Everybody else, including the Europeans, look at Washington to see what signals come out of the White House regarding support to the Saudi monarchy. And the signal so far has been of an unshakable support with timid criticism toward Saudi Arabia,” said Amirah Fernandez.___Parra contributed from Madrid. Mark Carlson in Brussels, Samuel Petrequin, Jill Lawless in London, Colleen Barry in Milan, David Rising in Berlin, Karel Janicek in Prague and Nataliya Vasilyeva and Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, and Hamza Hendawi in Cairo contributed to this report.last_img read more

Apples 4Q change in iPhone sales disclosure jar investorsApples 4Q change in iPhone sales disclosure jar investors

first_imgSAN FRANCISCO – Apple’s faithful customers aren’t snapping up iPhones quite as enthusiastically as anticipated heading into the crucial holiday shopping season.But the latest models costing $1,000 and more are popular enough to keep propelling profits ever higher for the world’s most prosperous company.The mixed bag emerged in the quarterly results Apple released Thursday amid jitters about how the company and the rest of the technology industry will fare in the face of myriad threats to growth. Those include increased government regulation, the escalating U.S. trade war with China and the spectre of rising interest rates crimping economic growth.Apple’s performance for the July-through-September period and its revenue outlook for holiday season evidently weren’t enough to ease investors’ concerns.The Cupertino, California, company rattled Wall Street even more by unexpectedly announcing that it will no longer disclose the number of iPhones it sells each quarter, beginning with the current period ending in December.“This is a bit of a gut punch for everyone used to more transparency,” said Wedbush Securities analyst Daniel Ives.Apple’s stock almost 7 per cent to $207.67 in extended trading after all the news came out.Other major smartphone makers don’t reveal their quarterly shipments of their devices either, but Apple has broken down its iPhone numbers ever since the phone’s debut 11 years ago. The abrupt change in policy raised suspicions that management might be trying to mask a downturn in the popularity of the product that generates most of Apple’s profits.The change apparently was triggered by Apple’s frustration with investors’ fixation on its iPhone sales while glossing over other key areas, such as the robust growth in its services division that collects commissions on app sales and handles subscriptions to its music-streaming service.“The number of (iPhone) units sold during any quarter has not been necessarily representative of the underlying strength of our business,” Luca Maestri, Apple’s chief financial officer, told analysts in a conference call.Although there may be some logic to the rationale for the long term, “this is going to be a difficult pill to swallow in the short term,” Ives said. “It’s like suddenly telling people (in the U.S.) that they have to start driving on the left side of the road.”Apple CEO Tim Cook also sought to reassure analysts during the conference call with an explanation that indicated the company expects to keep making more money even if iPhone sales should falter.“This is a little bit like if you go to the market and you push your cart up to the cashier and she says or he says, ‘How many units do you have in there?’” Cook said. “It doesn’t matter a lot how many units there are in there in terms of the overall value of what’s in the cart.”Analysts had expected Apple to sell 78 million iPhones during the holiday season, but now the company isn’t going to reveal whether it hit the target or not.Apple earned $14.1 billion, a 32 per cent increase from the same time last year during the past quarter. Earnings per share came in at $2.91, topping the average estimate of $2.79 among analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research.Revenue for the period climbed 20 per cent from last year to $62.9 billion.Apple sold 46.9 million iPhones in the past quarter, slightly below analyst estimates.The company Apple released its latest iPhones, models selling from $1,000 to $1,500, at the tail end of the quarter, and those appeared to get off to a strong start. Apple fetched an average of $793 per iPhone in the quarter, up 28 per cent from the same time last year.Thanks to last year’s release of the first iPhone to cost $1,000 , the average price has increased by at least 11 per cent in each of the past four quarters. If Apple follows that trend in the current quarter, the average iPhone price should rise above $800 for the first time in a show of people’s love affair with the device.But now everyone will be left to guess whether Apple clears that financial hurdle during the holiday season._____Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights ( using data from Zacks Investment Research.last_img read more

Former tennis star Boris Becker drops immunity claimFormer tennis star Boris Becker drops immunity claim

first_imgLONDON — Retired German tennis star Boris Becker has dropped his claim to have diplomatic immunity from bankruptcy proceedings in Britain.The three-time Wimbledon champion had been claiming that his unpaid role as a sports attache for Central African Republic gave him immunity from bankruptcy rulings.His lawyers argued in June that his work on sporting, cultural and humanitarian affairs meant he was covered by a 1961 convention on diplomatic relations. That assertion was abandoned Monday.Becker was declared bankrupt in June 2017. He is selling some of his memorabilia including Wimbledon trophies to try to lower his debts.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Fort St John RCMP seek public assistance in identifying debit card theftFort St John RCMP seek public assistance in identifying debit card theft

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Fort St. John RCMP are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect that allegedly used a stolen debit card.On September 8, 2018, at 7:50 am, a stolen debit card was used at the Safeway Gas Bar.The alleged suspect is seen inside the store paying for diesel fuel and a phone charger. The suspect is wearing a dark hoodie.The Fort St. John RCMP continue to investigate and are asking anyone who has information in this matter to contact police. If you have information about this incident or can assist in identifying the suspect, you are asked to contact the Fort St. John RCMP at 250-787-8100. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – As a result of information received from the public the Fort St. John RCMP were able to eliminate the individual seen in the photos from the January 25 release.The RCMP were able to determine that due to an error in the time stamp on the video that was provided to Police, the wrong person was considered as a person of interest.Original release:last_img read more

In the Woods Animal Rescue hosts upcoming Meet and GreetIn the Woods Animal Rescue hosts upcoming Meet and Greet

first_imgDAWSON CREEK, B.C. –  A ‘Meet and Greet’ Adoption Event and Fundraiser for In the Woods Animal Rescue will be taking place Saturday, April 6, 2019.The Adoption Event will be held at the old Aspol Motors Building on 102nd Ave in Dawson Creek between 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Rescue volunteers will be bringing 20 dogs and puppies as well as 8 cats that are all in need of a forever home. Pictures of the rescue animals attending the event can be seen on the rescue’s FB Page.There will be a silent auction available for bidding upon and the Rescue welcomes donations of dog/cat food and cat litter. Danika Rita Photography will also be on site taking pet portraits, you are welcome to bring along your own pet for a picture. Butcher Block hotdog cart will be serving hotdogs and other refreshments by donation.In the Woods is a non-profit volunteer rescue operated by Sheryl Woods located justoutside of Nampa (Marie Reine) AB. In the Woods has been in operation for six years and during that time, 3500 dogs and over 500 cats have been rehomed.The rescue’s existence depends on volunteer hours and private donations. The rescue is typically filled to capacity with 80+ dogs/puppies and 100+ cats/kittens. The rescue always appreciates any and all help they receive.A link to the meet and greet FB Group; CLICK HEREA link to the In the Woods Animal Rescue; CLICK HERElast_img read more

Pak forms team to probe Hazarganj attack as Hazaras continue sitin forPak forms team to probe Hazarganj attack as Hazaras continue sitin for

first_imgKarachi: A team comprising senior counter-terror officials have been formed to investigate an ISIS suicide attack targeting Hazara Shias in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, even as the community continued their sit-in for a third day on Sunday demanding better security measures. An ISIS bomber blew himself in Hazarganj fruits and vegetable market in provincial capital Quetta Friday morning, killing 21 people and injuring 60 others, mostly Hazaras. The ISIS Saturday released a photograph of the attacker along with his name and said the attack targeted Shia Muslims. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Abdul Razzaq Cheema said that a team of Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD) officials had visited the site of the attack to collect evidence, DawnNewsTV reported. The body parts of the suspected attacker have been sent to the Punjab Forensic Science Agency for DNA testing, he said, adding that the test reports would be handed over to Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal. The official did not specify when the test reports would be issued. Meanwhile, the Hazara community members are continuing a sit-in on the main Western Bypass road in Quetta to protest against what they term as the persistent failure of law enforcement agencies to provide them security. The sit-in started soon after the suicide blast ripped through the market on Friday. Women and children are among those who have been staging the sit-in. The protesters demand an effective security plan to ensure the protection of the Hazara Shia community. Chief Minister Khan visited the families of the victims Saturday and said that his government is taking responsible steps to root out terrorist activities from the province. He also requested the protesters to end their sit-in. Despite reassurances, the protesters refused to call off their sit-in until all their demands were met, including the arrests of those involved in the attack, steps for protection of the community, and implementation of NAP without discrimination. Hazaras make up a significant minority group in Pakistan and most of them live in Quetta.last_img read more

Terror groups may be recruiting more women to wage jihad StudyTerror groups may be recruiting more women to wage jihad Study

first_imgWashington: Terror groups may be increasingly recruiting women, data from the first large-scale research project evaluating the characteristics of women involved in jihadism-inspired terrorism has found, days after Sri Lanka witnessed the country’s worst terror attack. A woman was part of the nine suicide bombers in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday and intelligence officials say more women posing as devotees were planning to carry our terror attacks on Buddhist temples in the island nation. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: ReportA study published on Monday by the North Carolina State University in the US found significant differences between men and women in both their backgrounds and their roles within terrorist groups. For the study, researchers drew on data from the Western Jihadism Project, based at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, which collects data on terrorists associated with Al-Qaeda-inspired organisations. The researchers conducted comparative analyses of 272 women and 266 men, who were matched to control for variables such as ethnicity, nation of residence and age at radicalisation. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protestsThere were significant differences in background for men and women. For example, only 2 per cent of women had a criminal background before radicalisation, compared to 19 per cent of men. While about 14 per cent of men had no profession in the six months preceding their affiliation with a terrorist group, almost 42 per cent of women were unemployed during the same timeframe, the study found. “The data also suggests that terrorist organisations may be increasingly recruiting women,” says Sarah Desmarais, an associate professor of psychology at North Carolina State and co-author of the paper. “For example, 34 per cent of the women in our sample were born after 1990, while only 15 per cent of men were born after 1990. Since we were able to control for age at radicalisation, this suggests an increase in women’s involvement in terrorist groups,” she said. The research also highlighted different roles for women in terrorist action. “Women were less likely than men to be involved in planning or carrying out terrorist attacks,” Christine Brugh, lead author of a paper on the work and a Ph.D. student at North Carolina State University. “Only 52 per cent of the women were involved in plots, compared to 76 per cent of men,” Brugh said. “In many ways, the roles of the women in these terrorist groups are consistent with traditional gender norms,” Desmarais said. “The women were more likely to play behind-the-scenes roles aimed at supporting the organisation,” Brugh said.last_img read more

Cricket betting racket busted in Kolkata 4 arrestedCricket betting racket busted in Kolkata 4 arrested

first_imgKolkata: The Kolkata Police Thursday claimed to have busted a cricket-betting racket in the city by arresting four people and seizing over Rs 1 crore from them. Acting on a tip-off, a team of Detective Department officers conducted raids at 12 places in the city, a senior officer said. The money was seized from four places under Burrabazar Police Station and Posta Police Station area, he said, adding that four people have been arrested so far. “Raids are still being conducted at different places under Bowbazar, Jorabagan, Burrabazar and Posta Police Station areas,” he said.last_img read more

Gurugram doctor beaten up by mobGurugram doctor beaten up by mob

first_imgGurugram: A paediatrician was thrashed by unidentified men near Ardee City on Friday night. An FIR has been filed and police said they are conducting raids to nab the accused. Dr Nurul, originally from Uttarakhand and living near Wazirabad village in Sector 52, filed the complaint and mentioned he came to Ardee City to buy milk in the evening for iftar.”I work as a paediatrician with a private hospital and at present preparing for DM-Cardiology exam. I was returning after buying milk for Iftar in my Baleno car. Suddenly, two men came in a white Fortuner and started abusing me without any reason. When I told them that they are on the wrong side of the road, they called 8-9 more men who brutally thrashed me with sticks. I tried calling police but due to injuries, I fell unconscious on the roadside. Later, the police reached on spot and rushed me to the Civil Hospital,” Nurul told the police. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe 30-year-old doctor has received multiple injuries on his head, eyes, face and legs. “They thrashed me brutally and I could not understand the reason. I heard two of them saying that I am a Muslim and they should leave otherwise riots will take place. They fled after leaving me on the roadside. I don’t know any of them. I want strict action against the accused,” Nurul said. As per the complaint, an FIR has been registered against unknown accused under sections 147 (rioting), 149 (unlawful assembly), 323 (causing hurt) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of IPC at Sector 53 police station. No arrests have been made in the case so far. “We have registered the case and begun the investigation. Soon those people who were involved in the act will be arrested,” said an official from Gurugram police.last_img read more