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Amazon Web Service looks to give startups in social sectors a boost

By on October 18, 2019

first_imgKolkata: Amazon Web Services (AWS), a division of Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, will help start-ups in the social sector like education, healthcare, agriculture, e-governance and MSME by providing them with learning content and promotional credits.State Finance minister Amit Mitra said that this was the result of the MoU signed between WEBEL and AWS in Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS). He said that Amazon should also look at setting up a logistics hub in the state like Flipkart, which is both labour-intensive and IT-driven and also has the potential to generate high employment. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaMitra said that the state government is also leveraging AWS for issuance of birth and death certificates while using block-chain technology for the public distribution system (PDS). Rahul Sharma, president-public sector (India) of Amazon Internet Services Private Limited, said that the initiative is a part of AWS’ global programme, which focuses on providing learning content, learning paths as well as promotional credit to start-ups working in these sectors. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayHe told reporters that AWS will provide USD one lakh promotional credit to identified start-ups and help them to grow their businesses in the MSME vertical in the state. The programme would also help the start-ups get access to the AWS platform and subsequently connect to the various government departments, he said. Sharma added that the idea is to make an intervention in these social sectors, with the help of Amazon technology.last_img read more

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Hotel corridor turns into 22yard strip for Pant Kuldeep

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first_imgPort of Spain: After a washed out ODI in Guyana, both India and West Indies were looking to have a productive training session at the Queen’s Park Oval, the venue of the second match of the three-game rubber to be played on Sunday. However, rain gods had other plans on Saturday as they didn’t allow the teams to get a glimpse of the conditions which would be on offer for the second ODI. The Men in Blue were forced to train indoors with many even using the hotel corridor for practise. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant posted a video on his Instagram account where he along with Kuldeep Yadav can be seen playing cricket in the hotel corridor ahead of second ODI. Kuldeep is seen bowling his left-arm spin in the hotel corridor and Pant, with his gloves on, keeps the turning ball. Pant shared this video saying, “Where? When? What? Who? …No sorry …I only know the “Why”. Earlier, the Board of Control for Cricket in India also posted a photo of Rohit Sharma under an umbrella with a bat in his hand. “Just been that kind of a day. The Hitman finding some space for fun as he rushed indoors for practice in Trinidad,” read the caption of the photo. Having already won the T20I series, India will look to continue their dominance in the remaining two ODIs against the Jason Holder-led side.last_img read more

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Kerala flood victim dials Didi Ke Bolo helpline gets help

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first_imgKolkata: ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ helpline number launched by Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee once again turned rescuer for those who were trapped in Kerala floods.Bapan Das, a resident of Katwa in East Burdwan, was stuck in a house along with 14 others in the floods at Kizhur in Kerala. Das called up the toll free number and shared his ordeal. The caller informed that he was trapped in Kizhur along with others. He said there was no electricity or transportation. The caller requested for immediate assistance and food supplies. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaHe also mentioned that all the means of transport were suspended due to heavy rains. The matter was immediately raised with the disaster management officials of the state government, who contacted their counterparts in the Kerala government. During the call, all the relevant information was collected and it were passed to the disaster management department along with the phone number and location of the victim. Prodded by the Bengal government, the rescue team in Kerala started searching operation. Due to heavy rainfall and bad weather they found it difficult to trace their location. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAfter a prolonged search operation, the rescue team finally spotted the location. Disaster management department in Kerala confirmed that the victims have been rescued and are safe in a hotel in Karwar. They have been given food and water. The victim will soon be brought back to the city after the situation improves. In a similar incident, some residents who were trapped in the Karnataka flood were rescued by the Karnataka government after they contacted Didi Ke Bolo toll-free number. The helpline number got a call from a person in South 24- Parganas, who claimed that some members of his family were stuck in their residence at Kaida township, near Karwa city due to floods. The caller mentioned that his sister and brother-in- law were in Karnataka and were hit by the floods. State government took up the matter with Karnataka government and informed the whereabouts of the family, as per description provided by the caller. The victims were finally rescued.last_img read more

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Alibaba Group plans fully owned ecomm venture in India this fiscal

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first_imgNew Delhi: Alibaba Group is planning to launch first fully owned e-commerce business this fiscal in India through its subsidiary UCWeb, a senior company official said on Thursday. UCWeb Global Business Vice President Huaiyuan Yang said that the company’s planned foray in e-commerce space will not have an adverse impact on Paytm, in which Alibaba owns 30.15 per cent stake. Alibaba Group own 3 per cent stake in Snapdeal. “We have Alibaba’s e-commerce gene in us. We are actually trying to start innovative business model related to e-commerce. We are going to launch a new e-commerce product in India this year,” Yang said on the sidelines of Alibaba Philanthropy forum. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalUCWeb’s UC Browser has been available in India since 2009. It claims to have registered 1.1 billion user downloads worldwide (excluding China) with half of its global installs from India. It also claims to have 130 million monthly active users in the country. When asked about probable impact of UCWeb’s foray into e-commerce on Paytm’s business, Yang said, “E-commerce is very vast business. There are various part of e-commerce business and several products. UC will choose section according to our business. We will partner with the right players and we will not compete with them (Paytm)”. UCWeb also have plans to start the sale of movie tickets online, he said.last_img read more

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Ahead of state polls Modi launches 3 more metro lines in Mumbai

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first_imgMumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday said we will not achieve the aim of doubling the economy to USD 5 trillion if our cities do not have 21st century infrastructure.This will involve creating systems to address the concerns on mobility, connectivity, productivity, sustainability and safety, Modi told a public gathering in the city where he launched three more metro lines, taking the number of planned metro corridors to 14 extending 337 km. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’It can be noted that the prime minister has set a target of doubling the economy to USD 5 trillion by FY25, and there are frequent episodes exposing the inabilities of the cities to cope with various challenges. “When the country is moving to achieve the USD 5 trillion economy aim, we will have to create cities in sync with the 21st century world,” Modi said. In the comments that come amid falling growth rates that has slowed to a six-year low in the June quarter, Modi said his government will be spending Rs 100 lakh crore on infrastructure alone over the next five years. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KHe said during his first stint, the government had cleared 600 km of metro lines and 400 km of the existing 675 km lines got operationalised between 2014 and now. He said, Mumbai’s metro network, which currently is a paltry 11 km, will go up to 325 km by FY24. These metro lines will create 10,000 jobs for engineers and 40,000 for skilled/unskilled people, he claimed. Stating that change in infrastructure is slowly becoming visible in Mumbai and elsewhere, Modi said a few years ago, nobody would have imagined that mega projects touching the city including the bullet train, trans harbour link and a new airport are shaping up.The visit comes weeks ahead before Maharashtra goes to polls soon. Mumbai, which has among the densest cities in the world, sends as many as 38 of the 288 members to the Assembly. Modi remotely laid the foundation stones for three metro lines which will add 42 km to the overall 337-km plan.last_img read more

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Woman paramour held for murder of husband

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first_imgNew Delhi: Delhi Police on Tuesday said that they have arrested a woman who with his paramour killed her husband in Samaypur Badli area of Outer North district. The investigating agency said that the accused strangled the person with nylon rope.According to police, on September 9 at 7:09 AM a PCR call was received in which caller told them that someone had killed his brother. A team was sent to the spot which was near a temple in Badli village. Body of the man was found lying on the first floor of the house. The deceased was later identified as Sonu (24) who lived with his family in Samaypur Badli. “There were strangulation marks on the neck of the deceased. A case under section 302 (murder) of IPC was registered,” said police officer. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDeputy Commissioner of Police (Outer-North) Gaurav Sharma, elaborating more about the case, said that during investigation it was found that the deceased had gone for sleeping in the room with his wife and minor daughter in the night. ” The probe further revealed that the wife of the deceased was having an extramarital affair with a local boy and accused identified as Sagar alias Balwa. Both were planning to run away with each other,” added DCP Outer North. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAdding further, DCP Gaurav said that on the intervening night of September 8 and 9 at about 2.30 am Sagar alias Balwa came to the house of the deceased on the first floor from roof side and with the help of wife of deceased strangulated him with a nylon rope. During the investigation, both the accused were arrested and they have confessed their crime. Accused Sagar (26) is the native of village Badli.”A nylon rope used for strangulation haze been recovered. There intimacy and relation have established through CDR’s. Further investigation is going on,” DCP Outer North.last_img read more

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Govt likely to sell stake in BPCL to overseas oil firm

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first_imgNew Delhi: India is considering a plan to sell the nation’s second-largest state refiner and fuel retailer to a global oil company as it explores options to give up its controlling stake in Bharat Petroleum Corp, people with knowledge of the matter said. The government is keen to lure multinational companies in the domestic fuel retailing to boost competition and shake up a sector that’s long been dominated by state-run firms, the people said, asking not to be identified as the plan is not public. The Business Standard newspaper reported on Sept. 2 government’s plan to sell a majority stake in the company. It holds 53.3 per cent in BPCL. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalPrime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has set a record target of raising 1.05 trillion rupees ($14.8 billion) in the current fiscal year from sale of state firms. The government’s budget gap goal of 3.3 per cent of GDP is at risk due to sluggish revenue collections on the back a growth slowdown, limiting the government’s ability to spend on infrastructure and welfare programs. Offloading its holding in Bharat Petroleum can help meet more than 40 per cent of the aim based on the closing price on September 12. Finance ministry spokesman Rajesh Malhotra could not be immediately reached for a comment. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostShares of Bharat Petroleum gained as much as 7.1 per cent, touching day’s high of 411.55 rupees in Mumbai. That compares with a 0.5 per cent gain in the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index. The talks are at an early stage and it’s unclear how long it will take to finalize a decision and what option the government will choose, the people added. A move to privatize BPCL will parliament’s approval. Saudi Aramco is targeting refining deals in India, while Russia’s Rosneft PJSC has already invested in oil refining and fuel marketing. Others such as Total SA, Shell and BP Plc are also expanding into fuel retailing in India. The International Energy Agency expects energy demand to more than double by 2040. An earlier attempt to sell state refiners Hindustan Petroleum Corp to a single investor and Bharat Petroleum to the public was stalled by a Supreme Court order in 2003 following protests by labor and political groups. Bharat Petroleum was previously Burmah Shell, which in 1970s was nationalized by an act of parliament. Burmah Shell, set up in the 1920s, was an alliance between Royal Dutch Shell and Burmah Oil Co and Asiatic Petroleum (India).last_img read more

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Driver arrested after Alberta Mountie killed in offduty cycling collision

By on October 17, 2019

first_imgEDSON, Alta. – RCMP say a cyclist who was killed in a collision in western Alberta was an off-duty officer with the Edson detachment.Mounties say they responded to a call Wednesday night near Edson where a cyclist had been struck by a vehicle.They say the cyclist, who has been identified as Const. Austin MacDougall, was pronounced dead at the scene.“It was approximately 9:00 p.m. on Range Road 181 west of Edson,” said Sgt. Barry LaRocque, an RCMP spokesman.Justin Lyle Jensen, 35, of Yellowhead County has been charged with impaired driving causing death and refusing to comply with the demand of a peace officer.The town of Edson issued a statement Thursday saying flags at all public facilities will be lowered to half-mast to mark the loss.“Const. MacDougall was very involved in the community and the town of Edson sends condolences to his family and to the RCMP detachment at this time,” the statement read.“You know in a small town, the RCMP is a part of your community. They come to your events, they show up at things. It kind of hits the community hard,” Mayor Greg Pasychny said in an interview with The Canadian Press.“My understanding is that he (MacDougall) was a very happy gentleman. Everybody liked him. He was just one of those guys, you know. This is tragic for something like this to happen.”last_img read more

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Security screening at Toronto police HQ violates rights complainant says

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first_imgTORONTO – Searching people who enter Toronto police headquarters to participate in disciplinary tribunals violates their constitutional rights, a complainant and his lawyer argue in calling for such hearings to be held elsewhere.The assertion is in a motion filed this week with the police tribunal adjudicator in which complainant Waseem Khan calls for a change of venue in light of the recently implemented security measures.“Police headquarters is not the appropriate place to have a public hearing and keep police accountable because of the hostile environment for civilians, particularly public complainants,” Khan says in his filings.Khan, 33, is one of two complainants in a misconduct case against Toronto police Sgt. Eduardo Miranda, who is accused of using excessive force in January by deploying his stun gun six times on a handcuffed man lying on the ground.Khan was video recording the takedown when officers on scene ordered him to stop, threatened to seize his cellphone, and suggested he could get AIDS from the suspect. Broadcast of the video caused an uproar and prompted the police service to apologize.Police spokesman Mark Pugash said the motion had just been received and it would be inappropriate to comment.Disciplinary tribunals for Toronto officers have long been held at police headquarters, which until recently had no special security at the entrance. In June, however, Chief Mark Saunders implemented measures that require visitors to go through metal detectors and have their belongings searched.The official police view is that the searches are not “involuntary” because the public has a choice about entering the building.At Miranda’s first appearance in late September, Khan’s lawyer Selwyn Pieters was also searched, a process he said he found uncomfortable and demeaning. In a letter to the prosecutor in the case, Pieters said he had no quarrel with the increased security.“However, as it relates to an administrative tribunal hearing where my client is a public complainant with standing, he, his lawyers, the media and any other observer must be able to attend with the minimal intrusiveness of their person and belongings.”In response to the letter, procedures were changed to allow lawyers with valid credentials to bypass the screening but Pieters says that’s not enough. No other administrative tribunal in the province subjects participants to such security measures, he said.The motion, expected to come before Insp. Richard Hegedus, the hearing officer presiding over Miranda’s case, formally requests that the hearing be moved to another building — such as a hotel — to get away from the security measures.“It would not result in unfairness or an undue hardship to the Toronto police service to move the tribunal,” Pieters says in the motion.Court filings unrelated to the current application make the case for the screening measures by including reference to security incidents at Toronto police buildings. In 2015, for example, a man attacked a female officer with a sledgehammer at a detachment, and, more recently, a knife-wielding man threatened to kill officers at headquarters.Insp. Stephen Irwin, who is responsible for national security investigations in the Toronto area, calls the current screening protocol reasonable.“Firearms, metal knives, explosive devices and other obvious weapons are less likely to make it into the interior of the building, thus enhancing the safety of those legitimately working and visiting the premise,” Irwin says in a court filing.last_img read more

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Police search for man accused of assaulting abducting woman in NS

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first_imgNEW GLASGOW, N.S. – Police appealed for the public’s help Monday in finding a man accused of assaulting and kidnapping a woman in a New Glasgow, N.S., parking lot.The woman was in her Dodge Durango outside a Giant Tiger store at about 8:45 p.m. Saturday when a man assaulted her and then abducted her in a vehicle with New Brunswick plates, New Glasgow Regional Police said.Const. Ken Macdonald said the woman did not know the man, described as white, clean shaven, in his mid-30s to mid-40s and wearing a baseball cap.“It is a small community and something of this magnitude is very concerning for the general public, but the investigation is proceeding and hopefully we’ll get some answers very quickly,” he said.“We’re hoping that someone out there has some information that can assist us. That is very crucial to the investigation.”Police say the man drove to another location in the Blue Mountain neighbourhood in Pictou County and then fled in a four-door sedan that was parked there. Macdonald said the RCMP is also investigating an assault at the second location, which is in the national force’s jurisdiction, linked to the incident.He wasn’t able to say whether there was surveillance video that may have captured the alleged attack.The woman was taken to the Aberdeen hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, but Macdonald did not have any information on her condition or the nature of her injuries.RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Clarke said the woman was thought to be in good condition and was in her vehicle when the alleged assault occurred.Police were asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them or Crime Stoppers.last_img read more

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Family of 19yearold Good Samaritan shot and killed in Hamilton sue paramedics

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first_imgHAMILTON – The family of Yosif Al-Hasnawi, the 19-year-old Good Samaritan who police say was killed while trying to stop an altercation, is suing Hamilton’s paramedics and alleging they failed to properly treat the teen.Al-Hasnawi — described by police as a brave young man who was trying to do the right thing — was shot and killed last month after he tried to help an older man who was being accosted by two men outside his mosque.The two men have since been charged in connection with the death, and a criminal investigation into paramedics’ handling of the incident was launched last month and is being carried out by a neighbouring police force.Witnesses to the interaction criticized paramedics at the scene, saying that they took too long to treat and transport Al-Hasnawi and instead accused him of acting like his wounds were worse than they were.Al-Hasnawi’s father and two brothers have now launched a civil lawsuit, claiming that their tight-knit family is suffering from mental distress over the loss of the teen and that they suffered extreme emotional and mental distress as they watched Al-Hasnawi suffer while emergency crews allegedly failed to act.In addition to paramedics, the lawsuit names Hamilton police, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and the two men charged in the shooting.A statement of claim provided by the family’s lawyer alleges that paramedics and police were negligent and incompetent when they failed to administer first aid or promptly transfer him to hospital.“The fact that the plaintiffs witnessed the condition of their brother-son in a critically ill situation with no assistance from the defendant ambulance crew members or the police was devastating,” read the statement of claim.The family is seeking $10 million in compensation for their personal and economic losses, as well as compensation for funeral and legal expenses.“The deceased also worked part-time to assist his father, the plaintiff Majed and his minor plaintiff brothers, Mahdi and Ahmed. The deceased intended to … assist his father and brothers towards attaining a comfortable standard of living,” read the statement of claim, which also noted the Al-Hasnawi was studying medicine at Brock University.“The untimely and tragic death of the deceased at the age of nineteen deprived his father and minor plaintiff brothers of his care, companionship, and guidance and also prevented him contributing to and elevating the standard of living of his (father and brothers).”Hamilton spokeswoman Allison Jones said the city has received notice of the lawsuit from the family and is preparing a statement of defence.last_img read more

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Budget watchdog calls out Liberals for lack of details in budget plans

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first_imgOTTAWA – Parliament’s spending watchdog urged the federal government to come clean Thursday on billions of dollars’ worth of expenditure outlined in last month’s budget that includes little or no explanation — be it on infrastructure, programs for Canadians or the military.The Liberal government’s third budget, tabled late last month, showed billions in planned infrastructure spending was being shifted to future years. The document also showed declines in program spending totalling about $16 billion over six years, thereby reducing the government’s bottom line.The Liberals provided the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer with information to explain why the government believed annual spending would drop by an average of $2.7 billion — but only on the condition that Jean-Denis Frechette’s office not release the details.The PBO received no explanation for why the spending information for some departments and Crown corporations couldn’t be shared with taxpayers — a condition that stands at odds with other work the Liberals have done to help parliamentarians keep better account of government spending.“Those improvements are there, but in certain areas they are still hesitant to provide more detailed information. What I don’t understand is why,” said Mostafa Askari, the deputy parliamentary budget officer.“When I look at that information (about the $16 billion), there’s nothing there that should be confidential.”Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s department said some of the information was still subject to government approval, or contained other details not yet approved for public release. A spokesman for the department insisted the budget included a “clear explanation” for budget changes and “unprecedented detail” about spending as part of ongoing efforts to improve transparency.Thursday’s report casts a critical eye on the budget just days before MPs return to the House of Commons after a two-week break and in the midst of a push to complete funding deals with provinces and territories for $33-billion worth of infrastructure money.The Liberals have repeatedly been forced to defend the slower-than-expected pace of that spending.The distribution of infrastructure funds is often delayed, since dollars don’t flow to projects until cities and provinces submit expense receipts, creating a lag between when work takes place and when federal money gets spent.Frechette asked the Liberals for a revised plan on how the federal government will spend $186.7 billion in infrastructure money over the next 12 years, since the budget indicated that about one-quarter of planned spending between 2016 and 2019 was being moved to future years. As a result, spending drops now, but goes up later, Askari said.That plan doesn’t yet exist, but the government plans to provide more information beyond what was in last month’s budget, the PBO noted. Frechette called the budget details an incomplete account of $91.1 billion in existing spending.Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the majority of approved projects are underway and the government is finalizing plans to provide more details about spending across multiple departments.“We’re hopeful that will deal with some of the concerns that the parliamentary budget office has identified,” Sohi said Thursday from Fredericton, N.B., where he signed a deal to provide the province with more than $673 million over 10 years.Conservative infrastructure critic Michael Chong said the PBO report shows the Liberals are not living up to their promise to fix roads and bridges and reduce congestion in urban centres. He said the government’s plans lacked details.“Not only is there a lack of detail, the plans keep changing,” said Chong, who described how spending projections have changed multiple times.NDP infrastructure critic Brigitte Sansoucy said the Liberals must explain how they plan to avoid further spending delays: “People across the country expect to have a full and up-to-date account of the government’s $186.7-billion investment plan.”Askari said the budget also doesn’t provide details on a 20-year spending pledge for the military. Last year, the government promised to spend $62 billion more over the next two decades for a major expansion of the Canadian Armed Forces, with much of the money only flowing after next year’s federal election.— Follow @jpress on Twitterlast_img read more

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Ontario on unsustainable fiscal track new report finds

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first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government has missed an opportunity to create a competitive recreational marijuana market with its plans to restrict sales to provincially run stores, according to a new analysis from a think-tank.The analysis by the C.D. Howe Institute, to be released Wednesday, faults the province for its refusal to allow the private sector involvement in pot retailing.“More competition between businesses would constrain operating costs and keep prices low,” the institute says in its report. “Lower prices in the legal market would make it more likely to be competitive with the existing black market.”The report also faults the province for its plans — once the federal government actually legalizes recreational cannabis likely this summer — to severely restrict the number of outlets that will be selling pot. The province has said 40 stores will be in place initially, with a total of 150 by 2020.The result, the institute says, will be inconvenient access for many people leading them to stay with the black market.“Recreational consumers are highly unlikely to switch their dollars to the regulated market if there isn’t easy access,” the report states. “This means that there will be significant opportunity for the black market to continue operating in all the areas without enough legal stores to meet market demand or that are convenient to access.”The report notes that Alberta, for example, is making privately run stores responsible for marijuana retailing although even a mixed model of licensed establishments operating alongside government retail stores could deliver better market coverage faster than the province could on its own.Additionally, the study proposes changing the way alcohol is taxed to applying taxes to the level of alcohol content rather than on volume.Overall, the report by Benjamin Dachis — called “Fiscal Soundness and Economic Growth: An Economic Program for Ontario” — argues that the province is on an “unsustainable” fiscal course.It takes aim at government spending that is out of line with its ability to raise revenues, saying the government should adopt a long-term fiscal policy that requires surpluses, not just balanced budgets.Among its various ideas, the study argues for keeping health-care costs under control by limiting payments to family doctors, making free drug programs for those under 24 and seniors income-tested rather than universal, and slowing increases in the minimum wage.The general minimum wage in Ontario jumped to $14 an hour this year from $11.60, and is set to rise to $15 per hour on Jan. 1, 2019. Some have argued the increase will hurt small businesses and lead to job losses.The study also calls for scrapping rent controls and transfer taxes as a way to curb dramatic increases in housing costs.“The government’s policies have focused mostly on curtailing the demand of housing,” the report states. “In contrast, the actions so far for boosting housing supply have been largely limited to minor rebates on some types of development charges and taxes for multi-residential units.”Ontario voters are expected to go to the polls June 7.last_img read more

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BC government issues first recreational pot shop licence in Kimberley

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first_imgKIMBERLEY, B.C. – A pot shop in Kimberley, B.C., has received the first private licence to sell recreational marijuana from the British Columbia government, two weeks after the drug became legal across the country.Tamarack Cannabis Boutique can legally begin selling non-medical marijuana Thursday but it will be up to the company to decide when to open for business.The Ministry of the Attorney General says in a statement that additional retail store licences will be issued as applicants proceed through the process.It says the process requires security screening and financial integrity checks, support from the local government or First Nation and a store inspection.The first government-operated BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops was the only legal brick-and-mortar shop in the province to buy recreational cannabis when it was legalized on Oct. 17.The managers of two illicit pot shops that were raided by RCMP in Port Alberni the same day have criticized the province for not processing applications more quickly, saying they had both applied for provincial licences and were awaiting approval.B.C. cabinet ministers have defended the province’s slow pace in approving marijuana stores, saying the Liquor Distribution Branch is working with local governments to open additional stores.last_img read more

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Auditor general takes aim at Liberals fighterjet plan with new probe

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first_imgOTTAWA — Six years after the Harper government blew up its own plans to buy F-35 stealth fighters without a competition, auditor general Michael Ferguson is about to release a new report on Canada’s tumultuous attempts to buy new fighter jets.This time, the focus is expected to be on the long-term implications of the Trudeau government’s handling of the file, which includes adopting several stopgaps while taking its time on a competition to buy new planes for the Canadian Forces.Ferguson is expected to report specifically on the financial and technological costs of flying Canada’s venerable CF-18s — plus a handful of second-hand Australian jets — into the early 2030s, at which point the aircraft will be nearly 50 years old.The auditor general is also expected to train a spotlight on the air force’s problems recruiting and retaining fighter pilots.Ferguson’s report follows years of criticism of the Liberals’ decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s, which first started flying in the 1980s and were supposed to be retired by 2020.The Liberals, who plan to invest more than $1 billion to extend the lives of the CF-18s and buy 25 used Australian fighters, insist they are taking an appropriate amount of time finding replacements.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Some BC fish farms to close or move in bid to help

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first_imgThe Canadian Press VICTORIA — All 17 fish farms in British Columbia’s Broughton Archipelago will either be closed or moved in an effort to create a migration path for wild salmon.The agreement between First Nations, the federal and provincial governments, and fish farm companies Marine Harvest Canada and Cermaq Canada was announced today.Concerns have been raised since the farms were established in the area that salmon in net pens cause harm to the environment and pass on disease to migrating wild salmon.Part of the agreement also mean the creation of a First Nations monitoring and inspection program to oversee the farms that move out of the archipelago.The plan includes the implementation of new technologies to address risks on the farms, such as sea lice, and steps to restore wild salmon habitat in the Broughton Archipelago, a collection of islands off northeastern Vancouver Island.last_img read more

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A big byelection in BC that could have an impact on Alberta

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first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS) – There is a provincial race in BC that could be important for Albertans.There will be a byelection in Nanaimo on Wednesday that could threaten the NDP and Green alliance in that province.This is all about the balance of power. With such a slight lead in the number of seats for the NDP and Green party, just this one riding could result in a vote of non-confidence meaning British Columbians could be heading back to the polls for a provincial election.John Ackermann is with our sister station in BC and is a keen observer of politics.He noted the BC Liberals have not been nearly as antagonistic against projects like the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion.“The NDP mind you are even softening their stance on things like liquefied natural gas. But if you remember back when Christy Clark was the premier, she was never against the pipeline. She wanted what she wanted to call ‘getting to yes’ on it.”The BC Liberals have held this riding in particular for only four years going back to the 1970s, yet have been leading in recent polls.“The NDP is running a person there as well,” he recounted. “The Greens, who are their alliance partners in the government, are also running a candidate. So there is a bit of controversy over possible vote-splitting there.”Yet Green Party Leader Andrew Weaver is discounting many of those worries.It’s remarkable that @bcndp have audacity 2 b fear mongering vote split narrative. An NDP win by no means ensures @bcgrens will continue to prop them up. In fact, an election could b sooner than residents of Nanaimo think #bcpoli Its hubris to think NDP have our continued support— Andrew Weaver (@AJWVictoriaBC) January 27, 2019Ackermann interjected this wouldn’t be uncommon for a minority government in BC to only last a year and a half.last_img read more

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Canadian students urged to study in China despite Kovrig Spavor arrests

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first_imgOTTAWA — Eight days after Chinese authorities imprisoned Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, a senior Canadian foreign ministry official urged Canadian students to apply for a program to study in China.Sarah Taylor, the director-general of the north-Asia bureau at Global Affairs Canada, made the pitch for the 45-year-old Canada-China Scholarship Exchange Program during a Dec. 18 event at the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.“My department is proud to support the CCSEP and is eager to see a broader representation of Canadians from across the country, at the university and college level,” Taylor said in prepared remarks released under Canada’s access-to-information law.The government continues to promote the lucrative exchange program, which has a final application deadline of next Friday, even though it has elevated its travel advisory to China with a warning that Canadians are at “risk of arbitrary enforcement of local laws.”David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, said Taylor’s remarks might have been well-intended but Canada simply can’t continue to conduct business as usual with China.“It sends the message to the Chinese that, no matter what we say, we want the relationship to continue as if nothing had happened. I simply can’t see us holding such an event with any other country if they were holding two of our citizens hostage,” said Mulroney, who served as Canadian ambassador to China from 2009 and 2012.Adam Austen, a spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, said Canada continues to call for the release of Kovrig and Spavor after their arbitrary detentions, but the exchange program is good for relations.“These exchanges provide international academic experience to both Canadian and Chinese students and researchers — and foster co-operation between our two countries,” he said.Kovrig and Spavor were detained nine days after the RCMP arrested Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou in Vancouver on Dec. 1 at the request of the United States, which is seeking her extradition on fraud charges.Nine days later, China detained former diplomat Kovrig and entrepreneur Spavor on allegations that they were endangering the country’s national security. China denies the arrests are retaliation for Meng’s detention.Kovrig and Spavor have not been formally charged, have been denied access to a lawyer or family members, and are being granted only monthly access by Canadian diplomats. Meng has since been released on bail and is living in a Vancouver mansion.There was little mention of the diplomatic dust-up at the Dec. 18 event at the Chinese Embassy, which was attended by a several dozen people, including leading Canadian academics and business leaders, as well as past students in the program.“We are currently accepting applications from Canadians wishing to study, research or pursue language-training in China during the 2019-2020 academic year. I encourage you to share this opportunity with your respective networks so they can apply before the deadline on March 1, 2019,” Taylor said.Taylor said that strong “people-to-people connections have been the bedrock of our dynamic bilateral relationship” and that both countries view “education co-operation” as a strategic priority.“And that priority is easy to see. China is Canada’s most important source of international students with more than 140,000 Chinese students on campuses of Canadian institutions,” she said, adding that Chinese nationals account for more than one-quarter of Canada’s international student population.Canada’s continued engagement with China on the education exchange is indicative of its “national myopia” in relation to the People’s Republic, said Mulroney.“If any other country had detained Canadians in a similar manner, all government-sponsored exchanges would immediately be put on hold,” said Mulroney.“It’s not our fault that China has made it riskier for scholars to work there, nor should we be so eager to contribute to the fiction that it’s business as usual,” he added. “To get our future engagement of China right, we’re going to have to change things, and see the relationship in entirely new ways. That’s really hard to do, but it’s absolutely necessary.”Mike Blanchfield, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Country music has a woman problem

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first_imgIn today’s Big Story podcast, when you think of the great women of country music, names like Shania, Loretta, and Dolly probably come to mind. But turn on any country music radio station today, and you’ll no doubt notice men getting way more airtime than women. A new report by Dr. Jada Watson (done in consultation with WOMAN Nashville) finds that from the start of the millennium to the year 2018, representation of women on country radio dropped roughly 20 per cent. Why is this? And what impact is it having on female artists? On the industry as a whole?Country music fan Sarah Boesveld guest hosts this week of The Big Story. She spoke with Dr. Watson about how deep this issue runs, what’s being done, and what more can be done to close the gender gap.Guest: Dr. Jada Watson, SongData ProjectGuest host: Sarah BoesveldAudio Playerhttps://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/chtbl.com/track/G9G45/rogers-aod.leanstream.co/rogers/thebigstory_dai/tbs_07292019_dai.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google and Spotify.You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.ca.last_img read more

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Defence lawyer awaiting information from Crown in RCMP secrets case

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first_imgOTTAWA — A lawyer for an RCMP employee charged with breaching the official-secrets law says he is still awaiting details of the allegations from the Crown.Heading into a hearing today, defence lawyer Ian Carter says he has only an initial synopsis of the case against Cameron Jay Ortis.Carter says once he has fuller disclosure in the matter, he will review the material and be in a position to set a bail hearing.Ortis, 47, is accused of violating three sections of the Security of Information Act as well as two Criminal Code provisions, including breach of trust, for allegedly trying to disclose classified information to an unspecified foreign entity or terrorist group.The charge sheet lists a total of seven counts against Ortis under the various provisions, dating from as early as Jan. 1, 2015, through to Sept. 12 of this year, when he was arrested.RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki says the allegations, if proven true, are extremely unsettling, given that Ortis had access to intelligence from domestic and international allies.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 20, 2019.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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