New Delhi: Shares of ICICI Bank on Monday jumped nearly 5 per cent after the company reported a standalone net profit of Rs 1,908 crore for the first quarter ended June 30. The scrip gained 4.62 per cent to Rs 434.70 on the BSE. At the NSE, shares went up by 4.71 per cent to Rs 435.35. The bank had posted a net loss of Rs 120 crore in the same quarter a year ago. Total income on standalone basis in the reported quarter rose to Rs 21,405.50 crore from Rs 18,574.17 crore a year earlier, the bank had said in a regulatory filing on Saturday. The lender witnessed an improvement in asset quality as gross non-performing assets (NPAs) fell to 6.49 per cent of the gross advances by the end of June 2019, from 8.81 per cent a year ago. Net NPAs were 1.77 per cent, down from 4.19 per cent a year ago.
New Delhi: Mahatma Gandhi’s values and ideals can be found relevant in any period of human existence and he taught us that our actions should aim at enhancing the dignity and destiny of other human beings, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Friday.Kovind made the remarks at the World Youth Conference on Kindness organised by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development (MGIEP). “We could place Gandhiji in a time machine and transport him to any period of human existence and we would find him to be relevant. This is also true of the times we live in. Gandhiji remains extremely relevant to our present day concerns such as need for peace and tolerance, terrorism and climate change. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”The strife and violence that we see in the world today is often based in deep-rooted prejudices. These make us see the world through the binary of ‘us versus them’,” he said. Kovind said,”Following Gandhiji’s footsteps, we must let ourselves and our children interact and engage with those whom we tend to define as ‘them’. Greater interaction is the best way to develop a sensitive understanding, which can help us overcome our prejudices.” The conference with the theme ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam: Gandhi for the Contemporary World: Celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’ witnessed the participation of approximately 1,000 youth representing over 27 countries including from Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Europe. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Few weeks from now on October 2, we will celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of our father of nation. His values are very relevant for us, Gandhi was born in India but belonged to entire humanity. “He taught us that our actions should ultimately aim at enhancing the dignity and destiny of other human beings,” Kovind said. “For me, he was the ‘experimental Gandhi’, defying class and race boundaries. A ‘creative Gandhi’, who transformed salt into a powerful symbol of a mass movement. “And the ‘determined Gandhi’, who with his frail body walked through the villages of India with a lamp of truth amid the all-pervading darkness of violence that marked our independence,” he said. The first World Youth Conference on Kindness is being organised by the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Human Resource Development with the aim to impart critical competencies in global youth to inspire, empower and enable them to transform themselves and build long-lasting peace in their communities.
OTTAWA – Federal civil servants will be reimbursed for hiring tax accountants to sort through their pay problems and departments will be allowed to re-hire laid-off payroll employees, the federal government said Thursday as it tried to bail out its sinking Phoenix pay system.A high-powered cabinet committee is also being created to fix the pay process, although a statement from the Prime Minister’s Office didn’t provide a deadline for achieving that goal.In announcing the measures, the government acknowledged it will have to forgo $140 million dollars it expected to save over the next two years from implementing the new electronic payroll system — and that it could take that long to finally resolve all of the pay issues.A cabinet working group, led by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, will work to bring Phoenix to a so-called “steady state,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement.The group includes Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Treasury Board President Scott Brison, Ottawa-area MP and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr, who is also currently the acting minister of Public Services and Procurement.“This working group will bolster the actions we have already taken and ensure that we fulfil our commitment to the public service to fix the issues that have impacted employees,” Trudeau said in his statement.As tens of thousands of improperly paid civil servants face a tax filing deadline this weekend, they are being assured that any costs they incur as a result of pay issues will be covered.“Employees who encountered Phoenix pay issues may seek up to $200 in reimbursement for tax advisory services in relation to their 2016 or 2017 income taxes,” the Treasury Board Secretariat said.That amount could go higher if government workers can provide receipts for tax services in excess of $200, a government source said.The government began sending income tax slips to its over 290,000 employees across 98 federal organizations in the last month.But as many as 50,000 of those tax slips had to be reissued for 2016 because of Phoenix-related problems.The pay problems began shortly after the new system was launched nearly 15 months ago, initially affecting 82,000 civil servants who were either underpaid, overpaid or not paid at all — in some cases for months.But as of April 5, the department overseeing the pay system said pay transactions still needing to be processed stagnated at 284,000 from the previous month, with no end in sight to the problems.Trudeau has acknowledged the hardship faced by many civil servants, but, until recently, has accused the previous Conservative government of setting the pay modernization program up to fail by cutting corners on training and eliminating payroll system jobs.The Conservatives have fired back, saying the Liberal government could have delayed bringing Phoenix online when problems were initially detected.“The Liberals launched Phoenix knowing that it wasn’t ready and now it’s going to cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars to fix their mistakes,” said Kelly McCauley, the Conservative deputy critic for Public Services and Procurement.“It’s been over a year and the prime minister’s only solution is a ministerial discussion group. Employees who are on the verge of losing their homes, being forced to postpone their educations, or going into debt because they are not being paid properly cannot wait two more years.”Unions representing federal workers applauded Thursday’s announcements, but remained skeptical of an early solution to the debacle.“It demonstrates the prime minister is finally taking this seriously,” said Debi Daviau, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents about 50,000 scientists and other professionals employed by Ottawa.Daviau said she hoped departments would use the reallocated $140 million to hire not only pay system advisers, but also the IT professionals needed to back up government pay and other computerized systems.Under the government’s plan, money that had originally been earmarked as savings from Phoenix will be diverted to departments. Officials in those departments can use the funds to cover pay system-related costs, which could include hiring more staff.But the government may have a hard time finding qualified payroll system employees to hire, should departments decide to go that route, said Robyn Benson, national president of the Public Service Alliance of Canada.Last summer, when the problems with Phoenix were escalating, the government issued a call to retired and laid-off pay system employees to come back to work temporarily at the federal pay centre in Miramichi, N.B., or at one of five satellite offices set up across the country.Some returned to their old jobs, but many had already found other employment or decided to not go back.“I’m not so sure that there’s many more that are going to come back,” said Benson.— Follow @tpedwell on Twitter
TORONTO – At age 80, Ada Garrison finds herself at a new beginning.A host of new friends, activities and challenges abound since a health scare prompted her to move into a retirement home in downtown Toronto.Six months ago she had been living alone in a two-bedroom apartment. Her 54-year-old daughter and grandson were in the unit below but she saw them rarely, as was the case with her two sons, one of whom lives in New York.“I felt isolated,” Garrison admits of that time. “My kids were real busy and I could hear them; that was lovely, but the social time with them was skimpy.”Meanwhile, her own circle of friends was dwindling.“About half of them have died and that’s another reason that I felt blue. I was trying to make some younger friends, but people are swamped with work and there’s not a lot of leisure time.”The sociable grandmother moved to a retirement home where she now finds herself “cheek by jowl” with other seniors in an atmosphere she likens to living in a college dormitory. She takes classes and goes on group outings.Her new daily imperative: make new friends and live life to the fullest.Garrison is part of a growing group of single senior Canadian women who are redefining what it means to age alone. Their ranks are swelling, according to the latest tranche of data from the 2016 census, released Wednesday by Statistics Canada.The number of elderly Canadians is soaring — a 19.4 per cent increase among those 85 and older between 2011 and 2016. Since people are living longer and women tend to outlive men, females have long had to cope with standing alone as they grew old.Among Canadians aged 85 and older, there were nearly two women for every man in 2016, Statistics Canada found last year. For centenarians, whose ranks grew at a staggering rate of 41.3 per cent, the ratio was was five to one.Some are widowed or divorced; others never married. Many have children, but they live far away amid housing and employment pressures. Some liken becoming a single senior to reinventing themselves entirely.“There is a lot of reinvention because you’ve got another 30 to 35 years of life and why do what you’ve done before?” says 68-year-old Adina Lebo, who never married and lives alone in Toronto but finds support from a tight circle of female friends.“Some of my friends started little businesses, like dog walking, or they took their mum’s cookie recipe and started making cookies and selling them at the local bakery and local fairs. Other people have gone into business with Airbnb and turned their home into a revenue-producing (business).”Leslie Brodbeck, 71, says she found “a new confidence” after her husband died suddenly of brain cancer in 2008.“I went to the bank, for instance … and negotiated a bridge loan all by myself. I had never done anything like that in my life,” says Brodbeck, who lives in London, Ont. “I want to be a person that’s vibrant and involved, not someone who sits at home and knits.”And while it’s long been true that the people who approach 100 are mostly women, men are starting to close the gender gap, says Nora Spinks, chief executive officer of The Vanier Institute of the Family.In 2001, there were 2.3 women for every man in the 85-and-over group, Statistics Canada said Wednesday. In 2016, that ratio was down to 1.87.Spinks credits better illness detection, medical treatment and preventative care with pushing male life expectancy to increase at a slightly higher rate than that of women.But older women still live longer, and many are alone.Spinks says it’s not surprising many seniors describe feeling a newfound freedom, since it often follows a lifetime of sequential caregiving.“First you look after your kids, then you look after your parents, then you look after your spouse, then you look after your friends,” she says.“You’re taking care of others from the time you’re in your 20s — maybe late 20s, early 30s — right through to your 60s, and then all of a sudden, you get to focus on you. And for a lot of women that’s very liberating.”It’s something Bev Farrell sees everyday in her work at Third Age Outreach, a geriatric service out of St. Joseph’s Health Care in London, Ont.As a “therapeutic recreation specialist,” she helps older adults find meaningful activities such as exercise, crafts or card games.She recalls helping a widow who was foundering after a decade spent caring for her ailing husband.“She had to give herself permission to have fun, because she felt a little guilty at first.”Lebo, chair of the Toronto chapter of the Canadian Association of Retired Persons, says one of the biggest concerns of members is the fear they will outlive their savings.Health care, housing, transit and social supports are all big concerns, but she has struggled to find steady employment since being losing her job five years ago. She finds support from older single women who share her struggles and can offer a helping hand when needed.“We’re basically looking after ourselves and helping each other,” says Lebo, who also looks after her 96-year-old mother.“I have friends who’ve said, ‘Adina, we’ll be calling you to assist us on medical things that require a second person and please call us,’ so that’s an unwritten bond.”Meanwhile, older seniors like her mother are at greater risk of spending more time alone, says Lebo, especially when illness is involved and it becomes impossible to leave the house or entertain visitors.Brodbeck’s advice, meanwhile, is the same as that she gives her children: plan ahead while you can and celebrate every stage of life.“Look to the future, don’t dwell on the past, but live every day. Because you never know what’s around the corner and that’s what my husband’s death taught me.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version inverted the ratios of women to men in 2001 and 2016.
CHARLOTTTOWN, – Police in P.E.I. are warning people about fake prescription drugs containing “extremely dangerous” fentanyl.The RCMP in the district surrounding Charlottetown say they recently seized three types of pills containing fentanyl that were stamped as Oxycontin, Percocet and Xanax.But they say they are fakes and contain the dangerous opiate.Police say two milligrams of pure fentanyl — which is the size of about two grains of salt — is enough to kill the average adult.They say it is odourless and tasteless and can be hard to detect.Police say abstinence “is always the best choice,” but suggest those who do use illicit drugs have a sober friend who can call for help.“Fentanyl is a fast-acting opiate that is estimated to be 100 times more potent than morphine and 20 to 50 times more toxic than heroin. It has legitimate clinical uses for treating chronic pain, but is extremely dangerous when consumed illicitly,” the RCMP said in a release.“Perhaps even more dangerous is the fact that fentanyl can be added to other drugs without the user’s knowledge.”
MONTREAL – The first of three safe injection sites for Montreal drug users opened its doors Monday, with one official estimating it will handle between 120 and 240 injections a day.The site will be open 12 hours a day, CACTUS Montreal spokesman Louis Letellier de St-Just said in an interview.“It’s been a long journey,” he said, referring to a Supreme Court ruling from 2011.“The (court) said that addiction was a disease and safe injection sites were health services and they were needed where the needs are.”Letellier de St-Just said the second Montreal site will open in the coming days, while the third should be up and running in the fall.He pointed out that a mobile unit also began operating Monday and will travel around the city to areas where needs are most pressing.Letellier de St-Just noted there are between 4,000 and 5,000 drug injection users in Montreal.“The most important thing is that they will be now welcome and they will have access to a safe injecting place,” he said.On its website, CACTUS Montreal describes itself as a community organization for the prevention of blood-borne and sexually transmitted infections.It said it works “with injecting and inhaling drug users, sex workers, and trans people.”In February, Health Canada authorized the three supervised injection locations in Montreal, adding to existing sites in Vancouver.Three supervised sites were also recently approved in Toronto.Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott has said Canadian and international evidence demonstrates that supervised injection sites save lives without increasing drug use or crime in the surrounding area.She said the safe injection sites are part of the government’s approach to combating the current overdose epidemic.The Ontario government announced in January it is committed to funding the three supervised injection sites in Toronto and one in Ottawa.Toronto city council has already approved the supervised injection sites, which are estimated to cost $1.6 million a year to operate.
EDMONTON – Caucus members from Alberta’s two conservative parties got together for the first time Monday, but one Progressive Conservative bowed out before the joint meeting even took place.Richard Starke, legislature member for Vermilion-Lloydminster, said he has not been happy with policy direction under PC Leader Jason Kenney and has no faith that will change under the new United Conservative Party.Members of the Opposition Wildrose party and the Progressive Conservatives voted in a landslide on the weekend to join forces ahead of the next election set for 2019. The new party must still be registered with Elections Alberta.“The tone and the direction and the statements of the (PC) party are not consistent with what I believe to progressive conservatism,” Starke said in an interview.“It’s demonstrating a hardness in its attitude towards a number of issues, and a level of partisanship that I don’t think is constructive, and I don’t think is helpful for the people of Alberta.”He cited Kenney’s comments earlier this year on gay-straight alliances in schools. Gay straight alliances are student-organized support networks to help LGBTQ students feel welcome.Kenney had said that schools should inform parents if their children join an alliance as long as it doesn’t put the child at risk. Critics said that would effectively out a child and could put them at harm of family estrangement or worse.“As far as I’m concerned (the GSA legislation) is there to protect vulnerable students and to be ambiguous as to whether schools would be informing parents is a fundamental problem,” said Starke.He said he was also concerned that Kenney did not attend Pride events last month. Starke went in his place.Starke, a two-term member of the legislature, ran and lost against Kenney for the PC party leadership on a platform of social progressivism.He said he has concerns with Kenney’s management style and focused on a promise Kenney made after his leadership win in March.Kenney promised the PC executive to strike a committee that would advise the bargaining team that ultimately brokered a merger with the Opposition Wildrose led by Brian Jean, Starke said.“I wanted to be on that committee and I was told I would be on that committee. That committee never met and was never constituted.”That underscored a lack of interest in competing viewpoints, suggested Starke, who added he will stay on to sit in the legislature as the lone PC member.Elections Alberta said he will be allowed to do so unless the PC party officially deregisters. The PC brand is to be legally subsumed by the new party and member Mike Ellis said Starke’s status isn’t clear.Kenney’s team declined comment.On Monday afternoon, 22 members of the Wildrose and the seven remaining Tories held a joint meeting near the legislature and selected Wildrose house leader Nathan Cooper as interim leader until a permanent one is selected Oct. 28.Other positions and critic portfolios are to be set in the days to come, Cooper said.Asked about Starke’s decision, Cooper noted that policies are not set, but will be hashed out and voted on by the membership.“I hope he will think about that in the days to come.”Jean, Kenney and conservative strategist Doug Schweitzer have already indicated they will run in the leadership race.Jean made it official at an announcement Monday in Airdrie, Alta., and said he would hold a news conference on Tuesday to announce details of his plan “to create a new Alberta Advantage.”
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A court appearance for a man accused in the death of a Newfoundland woman took a dramatic turn as members of the deceased’s family gave voice to their grief.Steve Bragg of Mount Pearl was in court to face a second-degree murder charge in the death of 36-year-old Victoria Head, whose body was found near a walking trail in St. John’s, N.L., on Nov. 11.According to media reports, Darlene Dinn, Head’s sister-in-law, broke down in tears and hurled obscenities after the charge was read, yelling at Bragg as he was brought back into custody.“I hope you see her every time you close your eyes,” she reportedly said.Outside court, Dinn told reporters that the holiday season has made the loss of her sister-in-law even more painful.“I feel like I’m empty. Christmas is two days away, and it was her favourite time of the year,” Dinn said, overwhelmed with emotion.“I’m broken. The family is broken. There is nothing anybody can do to bring her back. It’s huge, it’s so huge that we have someone (charged) but it still can’t bring her back. That’s all we want, is to have her home, to hug her.”Victoria Head’s oldest brother, Billy Jo, told reporters that he laid eyes on Bragg for the first time on Saturday, and while he feels bad for Bragg’s family, he hopes justice is served.“I want (Bragg) to suffer like my sister suffered,” he told reporters. “So many secrets, hopefully it all comes out.”The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary says Head and Bragg were known to each other.Bragg is due to return to court on Jan. 11.—(VOCM)
TORONTO – The cold snap gripping much of Canada is even keeping the polar bear dippers out of the water.The Toronto Polar Bear Club has cancelled its New Year’s Day polar bear dip for the first time in 13 years.The club says participant safety and ice conditions at Toronto’s Sunnyside Beach led to the decision to cancel.The club says it’s looking into running the event on a later date, but is encouraging anyone doing their own “mini polar bear dip” on New Year’s Day to post video to Facebook or Twitter.For alternatives to a dip, it suggests jumping in a snowbank or making snow angels while wearing a bathing suit.“If we can’t be together tomorrow, let’s be together in spirit!” the club said Sunday in tweets and a Facebook posting.
OTTAWA – The Canadian whistleblower at the centre of an international scandal that allegedly helped the Trump campaign capitalize politically from private Facebook information got his start in politics with the Liberal Party of Canada.But several senior Liberal officials from that time, about a decade ago, insist they have almost no recollection of then-teenager Christopher Wylie — if any at all.The New York Times and The Observer of London have reported U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign hired a data-analytics company that harvested private information from the Facebook profiles of more than 50 million users.Cambridge Analytica, the company named by Wylie as being behind the massive leak, exploited private social media activity to help allow the Trump campaign to better target voters by profiling their behaviour and personalities ahead of the U.S. election, according to the reports. The firm connected with Trump’s political adviser Steve Bannon, whom Wylie also met, the reports said.Wylie, a 28-year-old from British Columbia, is the data scientist who spoke out about controversy. He’s also the man who helped found Cambridge Analytica.“I do feel responsible for it and it’s something that I regret,” Wylie said in a video interview posted on The Observer’s web page.“It was a grossly unethical experiment because you are playing with an entire country, the psychology of an entire country, without their consent or awareness.”The reports provided many details about whistleblower who in 2007 or 2008 landed his first political gig with the federal Liberals.At age 17, he worked in the office of Canada’s opposition leader, who at that time was then-Liberal leader Stephane Dion, said one of the reports. When he was 18 years old, the newspaper said he learned all about data while working for officials on former U.S. president Barack Obama’s campaign team, and later introduced one director to the Liberals.A senior source with the Liberal Party said Sunday that Wylie last worked for the party less than a decade ago, before Justin Trudeau became leader, and was also previously involved in its youth commission. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to publicly discuss staffing details.However, former Liberal officials from that time said they either hadn’t heard of Wylie — or they barely remembered him.“I vaguely recall him,” wrote one former senior official in an email Sunday. “I think that he was a summer intern.”Another former senior Liberal, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he asked former colleagues Sunday and some people remembered Wylie. They say he was “pretty junior” and worked in the data strategy and communications space.One former party official, however, said while they didn’t know Wylie well, they remembered him as a “big advocate of microtargetting.”One of the newspaper reports said Wylie came up with the idea behind Cambridge Analytica at age 24.The article also said Wylie was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia as a teen and left school at 16 years old without any qualifications. After working for the Liberals and Obama’s campaign, the report said he taught himself to code at age 19 and later studied law at the London School of Economics.The reports also said Cambridge Analytica played a major role in the referendum that led to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.Another article published May 2017 by The Guardian quoted a source that connected Wylie to a web analytics company in Victoria, B.C., called AggregateIQ. The firm has come under scrutiny in Britain for its possible role in helping the Leave campaign win the Brexit referendum.Asked about Wylie, Canada’s Liberal Party said in a statement Sunday that protecting the information of Canadians it engages with is a “foremost priority.”The party said it has a clear, stringent policy that protects individuals’ private information. It also said its agreements with campaign partners also include strict requirements.The party insists it doesn’t sell information under any circumstances.A spokeswoman for Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould said Sunday that social-media platforms have a responsibility to help ensure citizens and the democratic processes are protected from “threats like foreign interference, data breaches, hate speech, and misinformation.”“While some social-media platforms have begun to take initial steps to address these issues, it’s clear that much more needs to be done,” Jordan Owens wrote in an email.Owens said the government would work with social-media firms to ensure they respect and help preserve the integrity of Canada’s democracy.Facebook said in a weekend blog post that claims the harvesting of user information was a data breach are “completely false.”The statement said University of Cambridge psychology professor Aleksandr Kogan accessed the information after he requested it from users who gave their consent when they chose to sign up for his Facebook app.“People knowingly gave their information, no systems were infiltrated, and no passwords or sensitive pieces of information were stolen or hacked,” said the post by Paul Grewal, Facebook’s vice-president and deputy general counsel.Follow @AndyBlatchford
VANCOUVER – With its turquoise glacial lakes and proximity to Metro Vancouver, it was only a matter of time before Joffre Lakes provincial park became a social media darling.But once the secret was out, it was out in a big way.The main trail of the once tranquil natural paradise now hosts a procession line of hikers, whose cars overflow from the designated parking lot and line dozens of metres of highway.Local politicians and conservationists say the park, like many ecological destinations before it, could be in danger of being “loved to death.”It’s prompting them to push for new ways — including a proposed hiking reservation system — to balance ecological protection with the benefits of tourism and encouraging people to get outside.“The word is out that this is the best place in the world,” said Jack Crompton, chairman of the Squamish-Lillouet Regional District.Crompton grew up in the area and has witnessed its quick transformation first hand. The first time he hiked up to Joffre Lakes, he camped there for four days and saw no one.Last year, the park attracted 120,000 visitors, he said, adding information travels fast.“Five to seven years ago, very few people knew about Joffre Lakes. A couple of cover photos and some social media has meant that it has become a major destination for tourists.”Both the regional district and village of Pemberton are calling for increased management of the region’s backcountry destinations through resolutions at the Union of B.C. Municipalities, an annual gathering of municipal politicians from across the province.In addition to Joffre Lakes, the regional district also named Strawberry Point recreation area along Lillouet Lake and Porteau Cove between Vancouver and Squamish as areas of concern.While both the local governments are calling for provincial park management funding to match the money that goes into marketing, the regional district is also asking the province to create more recreation destinations so that visitors can be spread over a larger area. Pemberton is asking the province to investigate a trail booking and reservation system fee structure.Pemberton Mayor Mike Richman said one of the big concerns is that people aren’t educated about safety, including obeying fire bans and keeping campsites clean.He pointed to Keyhole Falls as a casualty, which had to be shut down last year for the season because food and garbage attracted too many bears.Richman said the municipality doesn’t want to discourage adventure or backcountry tourism.“We welcome it, we thrive on it, it’s a big part of our local economy,” he said.Instead, it wants to see the province invest more in managing the parks, now that marketing has proven successful.Provincial data shows day use of its parks has increased to 21.5 million in 2017 from 17.5 million in 2009. It’s more acute in the south coast region, which includes Metro Vancouver. In 2017, there were 8.3 million day-visits to parks on the south coast, compared with 6.6 million in 2009.“Balancing increased visitation with our conservation mandate is a delicate balance,” BC Parks said in a statement.The province committed to create 1,900 more campsites in the 2018-19 budget. So far, 431 new campsites are open to the public this year.More visitors than ever are coming to parks during the period between the high and low times of the tourism seasons, when parks are on reduced service levels or even closed, it said.BC Parks has taken measures to address the over-capacity issues in the Sea-to-Sky corridor north of Vancouver, including developing and redesigning parking lots, campgrounds and trails and employing the reservation system for popular campgrounds, it said.It introduced a year-round reservation system at Garibaldi provincial park and has hired new full-time senior park rangers to carry out backcountry patrols. It also added an auxiliary ranger at Joffre for summer patrols.BC Parks will be developing a long-term strategic plan to manage public use of parks in the corridor, it said.The problem isn’t specific to British Columbia.An international study published in the journal Science in May looked at 50,000 protected areas worldwide. It found one-third of the area is under intense pressure from activities like road building, logging and urbanization.While most of the degradation was in Asia, Europe and Africa, it’s also occurring in Canada.One of the study’s authors, Oscar Venter, associate professor of forestry at the University of Northern British Columbia, said at the time that Banff and Jasper are examples of iconic parks in Canada where a high number of visitors pose a challenge to maintaining healthy populations of some endangered species.Tori Ball, terrestrial campaigner for the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society, said places like Joffre Lakes show that parks systems in Canada are underfunded. The organization is advocating for the creation of new recreation areas and trail upgrades so that traffic can be spread out.“The overcrowding of that park, part of it has to do with there not being similar examples (nearby),” she said.But staffing also needs to increase, so that parks can be monitored and people can be educated not to leave garbage or food out, to pick up after their dogs and to be prepared for interactions with wildlife, she said.“It’s definitely not unique to B.C. I think it’s something other park systems are struggling with. That’s why it’s an opportunity for B.C. to be a leader.”
SAINT JOHN, N.B. — The activities of police officers at the Richard Oland murder scene will be under close scrutiny as his son’s retrial moves into its second week, resuming Tuesday.Dennis Oland’s defence lawyers describe the conduct of the murder investigation by the Saint John Police Force as “inadequate” and they have made it clear police activities will be a focal point of the defence strategy.Failure to properly preserve the crime scene and a rush to judgement in deciding Dennis Oland, a financial planner, was the one and only suspect in the killing are among the chief issues.“In this case, an issue will be the manner in which the Saint John police force handled the investigation of the homicide and their conduct in performing that crucial police function,” defence lawyer Alan Gold told the court last week.“Dennis was the last known person to see Richard Oland alive but to the police, that word ‘known’ evaporated very quickly.”Within hours of Richard Oland’s body being discovered on July 7, 2011, Dennis was identified by police as their prime suspect.Already two police officers have told the court about the numerous officers who visited the murder scene. About 20 police officers made their way to Oland’s uptown Saint John office on the day his beaten body was discovered on the floor by his desk.Gold suggested during cross examination of Const. Duane Squires it was like a sightseeing tour. In addition to the steady stream of police officers, there were also paramedics, the coroner and funeral home workers who assisted with removal of the body.The defence is raising questions about objects that may have been moved at the crime scene, the lack of attention paid to a possible back door escape route and the failure to protect the scene from contamination.Gold named a number of the officers who visited the bloody scene that day, noting their various ranks. They included Deputy Chief Glen McCloskey, whose attendance at the crime scene raised questions during Oland’s first trial.Another officer said McCloskey suggested he not tell the court about McCloskey’s visits to the murder scene.This was supposed to be the subject of a hearing before the New Brunswick Police Commission, but McCloskey retired before it could be held. The commission only investigates officers on active duty.In the coming days, there will be questions about police use of a bathroom at the crime scene before it was forensically tested.Squires said he was relatively new to police work and homicide investigations in 2011. He said he would do things differently today in terms of protecting such a scene.Oland, 50, was charged in 2013 with the second-degree murder of his father, a multi-millionaire businessman and member of the prominent Maritime beer-brewing family. Oland was found guilty after a 2015 jury trial, but the conviction was set aside on appeal and a new trial ordered.Even before testimony began at the retrial, the conduct of the Saint John police was called into question after it was learned an officer accessed an internal police database to search the background of prospective jurors. This was in violation of a 2012 directive from the Supreme Court of Canada and resulted in a mistrial and dismissal of the jury.The Oland trial now is being heard before judge alone.The New Brunswick Police Commission says it will investigate police involvement in the mistrial, but not until the current trial is over.Chris Morris, The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — Brian Sanderson’s white beard and jolly demeanor landed him in Santa’s bright-red suit in Winnipeg malls, seniors centres, toy catalogues and as the mythical Christmas figure in more than half a dozen movies.So when Sanderson, Winnipeg’s most well-known Santa’s helper, died in October at the age of 77, a group of people — his own special elves — stepped up to make sure the Christmas magic he displayed all year would continue.“He just had such a kind heart and literally a twinkle in his eye that is pushing us forward,” said Shelly Anthis.Anthis, a casting director who met Sanderson through his movie roles, started a toy drive in memory of Santa Brian. Along with help from others and the support of Sanderson’s family, she has been collecting gifts to hand out to children and teenagers at shelters and family centres over the holiday season.“There (are) a lot of teens and youth there that could use some of that magic and we just want to make sure that they have gifts, too,” she said.Christmas was always extremely busy for Sanderson and his partner of 11 years, Lillian Harrison, also known as Mrs. Claus. But Sanderson played the role of Santa all year long for 26 years.It started when he agreed to be in Christmas photos taken at a Winnipeg mall. The first year he wore a fake beard, Harrison said, and a child pulled it down. Sanderson didn’t want to break that special illusion again, so he grew his own beard out.“In his younger years, Santa was magic … and he just wanted to bring that magic to other people,” Harrison said.Sanderson carried candy canes with him all year long in case he ran into children who recognized him as Santa. One year, two young girls came to the door and asked him why he forgot them at Christmas, so he went inside and found a couple of dolls from his personal toy stash to hand over.“His Santa persona was not just at Christmas. It was something he loved and lived 24-7, 365 days,” said Sanderson’s daughter Kathy Bailey in an email.“But as my daughter said to us when he passed and (Facebook) tributes and comments started rolling in: ‘I never thought of Gramps as a celebrity. To me he was just Gramps.’”Bailey said her father was a well-prepared Santa. He would study catalogues and flyers to make sure he knew what the latest toys were and would never commit to high-priced gifts.“He would say he wasn’t sure if the elves had enough parts for those toys, and if it was a cellphone, he asked the child how they would pay the bill,” she said.“He felt that Santa shouldn’t promise something parents may not be able to afford or didn’t want their child to have. This way they could make that decision themselves.”Once word of the toy drive spread, people from across Manitoba and around the world reached out to help. It shows the impact that sharing the Christmas spirit all year can have on the larger community, Anthis said. She expects her group will be handing out hundreds of gifts in the week before Christmas to children who may otherwise not get any.This year Sanderson’s Santa isn’t around to pass out wrapped presents, but Harrison’s Mrs. Claus will be there.“I am so glad they are doing that in his memory because I can see him looking down and I know he’s smiling,” she said. Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA – Hundreds of sandwiches and chicken are being pulled from shelves over fears of listeria.On Tuesday, Health Canada issued recall notices for Deli Chef and Quality Foods sandwiches along with Gordon Choice chicken products.The sandwiches are distributed to hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and grocery stores.The recalled chicken include several products featuring diced white and dark meat chicken.Open Gallery12 itemsIf you have any of the affected products you’re asked to throw them out or return them to where they were purchased.MORE DETAILSDeli Chef recallsQuality Fast Foods recallsGordon Choice recalls
Young people must stand alongside older generations in honouring those who made wartime sacrifices for Britain, The Duke of Cambridge has said.Prince William Talks To School children from WatfordCredit/Copyright: DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.orgSpeaking at a gala dinner in London to mark the 10th anniversary of the charity SkillForce, The Duke of Cambridge said Remembrance “must never become the preserve or responsibility of one generation”.He added: “I was privileged to be able to visit the poppy installation at the Tower of London in its early days.“Even then, before it was as famous as it is now, the people observing the poppies came from every generation.“The young there were just as moved as the old. Their grief and thanksgiving for the sacrifice of previous generations was just as real.”He was speaking three days after joining The Queen to lay wreaths of poppies at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall to commemorate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.Since 2009, The Duke has been Patron of SkillForce, which matches former servicemen and women with youngsters – often from troubled backgrounds – to offer them encouragement and inspiration.He attended the function at the Imperial War Museum to celebrate the launch earlier this year of the organisation’s Junior Prince’s Award, a programme to help primary-age children prepare for the step up to secondary school through character-building projects and activities.The Duke of Cambridge met youngsters who were taking part in the scheme and was shown their First World War Remembrance projects.“It was clear that they, like those children who gather at the Tower of London or at Remembrance Day parades, are grasping something that will instil hopefulness and commitment about a better future in themselves and in their generation,” he said. “This is no small achievement.”“Only by pointing to all that Remembrance means can we have any chance of making our society a better place and giving these young people hope, which is the fuel for all the work they will need to do to fulfil their potential.”Source:DukeAndDuchessOfCambridge.org
More than 600 guests donned their best and boldest looks in support of children battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases at the 13th annual St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital FedEx/St. Jude Angels and Stars Gala held at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami on Saturday, May 16.Gala co-founder Daisy Fuentes and patient StephanThe Gala was founded by Daisy Fuentes.This year, the event raised nearly half-a-million dollars in support of the children of St. Jude.Chilean-born television icon Don Francisco was recognized for his worldwide commitment to giving back to others. Don Francisco is the host of “Sábado Gigante,” Univision’s longest-running program that will end its successful on-air stretch of more than 53 years this coming September.“I feel very honored to have been recognized by this prestigious hospital,” said Don Francisco. “I was well aware of the amazing work that they do but even more impressive is the fact that St. Jude freely shares their breakthroughs. This means doctors and scientists around the world can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.”Guests enjoyed an evening that included a special testimony by a St. Jude family, live and silent auctions, and a performance by one the most famous groups of Cuban reggaton in today’s music industry, Gente D’ Zona. The evening also featured additional live performances by Latin crossover R&B star Frankie J., and the man known as the “DJ of the Stars,” DJ Africa.Celebrity presenters for the evening included Alberto Sardiñas, Enrique Santos, Gaby Espino, Ismael Cala, Lili Estefan, Rashel Diaz, and FannyLu.In the past, the gala has honored some of the most recognized and celebrated artists in Latin music and entertainment for their humanitarian work, such as Romero Britto, Juanes, Emilio and Gloria Estefan, Luis Fonsi, Juan Luis Guerra, Tommy and Thalia Mottola, Chef Adrianne Calvo and Coach Don Shula.This year’s gala sponsors included: FedEx Express, Sammy Sosa, Carnival, Visa, Zoological Wildlife Foundation, International Dermatology Research, Neutrogena, Fortune, Univision, Andreas and Kalkidan Kaiafas, Hola America, Ministerio de Fomento, YEZZ, The Al-Rashid Family, American Tower Corporation, Arven Financial, Arteasans Beverages, LLC., Powerful Yogurt, Leon Medical Centers, DDB Latina, Byblos Group, Ernst & Young, The Tamer Family, Bacardi, Nuage Designs, Casa Diris, Nassab A. Ahmadieh Graphic Design & Photography, People en Español, Amor 107.5 FM, Mix 98.3 FM, Radio Mambí 710 AM, Univision America 1140 AM, and The Dream Team Agency.
On Monday, October 12, 2015, tennis stars Andre Agassi, Stefanie Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Andy Roddick will headline Mylan World TeamTennis (WTT) Smash Hits at Caesars Palace, a charity night of tennis co-hosted by longtime friends Sir Elton John and Billie Jean King.“It is always such a great pleasure to co-host this wonderful event with my dear friend Billie Jean King,” said Sir Elton John. “I’m so pleased that we will be teaming up with Aid for AIDS of Nevada to raise awareness about the continuing challenges of the HIV/AIDS epidemic both locally and nationally and to raise urgently needed dollars for community-based HIV prevention, education, treatment, and care services. I urge all tennis fans and concerned citizens in the Las Vegas area to support this event and bring their families for a wonderful evening of tennis for a great cause.”“It is great to have Mylan WTT Smash Hits back in the U.S. and even better that we are making our first trip to Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the world,” said Billie Jean King. “Smash Hits is one of my favorite and most meaningful events of the year and we are looking forward to a successful and entertaining night this October at Caesars Palace.”Tennis action is set for 7 p.m. PT. The pre-match VIP Reception and Auction will kick off at 5:30 p.m. Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. PT on July 23rd. For information on tickets – including group sales and VIP ticket packages – click here or call (212) 586-3444 x111.Captained by King and John, the players will form two teams and play a Mylan WTT match featuring singles and doubles action. The music legend is expected to participate in a celebrity doubles match to open the event. Additional participants will be announced in the upcoming weeks. The overall series is tied 11-11 between Team Elton and Team Billie Jean. Team Billie Jean won the 2014 event in London with a 22-16 victory.This will be the 13th Smash Hits appearance for Agassi. The 8-time Grand Slam singles champion and former world No. 1 is well-known for his philanthropy, which includes starting the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy in Las Vegas. Agassi was inducted into The International Tennis Hall of Fame in 2011.This is the third Smash Hits appearance for Graf, a fellow Hall of Famer. Graf has long been considered one of the greatest players in tennis history, winning 107 singles titles, 22 Grand Slam singles championships, and an Olympic gold medal before retiring in 1999. Graf and her husband Andre Agassi have two children, daughter Jaz and son Jaden. Graf is very active with her charity Children for Tomorrow, a non-profit foundation with the aim of supporting children and families who have become victims of war, persecution and organized violence.Navratilova, a 59-time Grand Slam champion in singles, doubles and mixed doubles, was one of the participants in the first Smash Hits event in 1993 and will be making her 11th appearance. During her storied career, the Hall of Famer won 18 Grand Slam singles titles, 31 Grand Slam women’s doubles and 10 Grand Slam mixed doubles titles. Navratilova holds 167 singles titles, more than any other player, male or female and 177 doubles titles.Roddick returns to Smash Hits for an 11th time. The popular American standout won 30 singles titles on the ATP World Tour, including the 2003 US Open, and was ranked in the top 10 for nine consecutive years. Along with Venus Williams, Roddick is part of the WTT Ownership Group. He also founded the Andy Roddick Foundation which works to expand opportunities for young people to learn, thrive and succeed.
Advertisement “Development is a real priority for us going forward, as it is for D360 who thinks similarly,” says Ron Goetz, principal of Partners in Motion. “Their creative and financial involvement at an early stage really does make it easier for us as producers to get on with the business of making great shows.”About Distribution360Distribution360, a marblemedia company, is a rapidly growing leader in international distribution and global rights management, representing a robust catalogue of kids and factual programming and digital media content from award-winning production companies around the world. Learn more distribution360.com.About Partners in MotionSince its creation in 1993, Partners In Motion has grown and matured into a multi-dimensional, multi-purpose entertainment entity engaged in the development, production and distribution of comprehensive, award-winning media programming and is a favored supplier for networks including Discovery International, History Television, A&E Biography, The Travel Channel, HBO and TLC. Learn more at partnersinmotion.com. Facebook Login/Register With: Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement TORONTO, CANADA (July 26, 2016) – Distribution360, a marblemedia company, is pleased to announce a new partnership with Emmy Award-winning Vancouver production company Partners in Motion. The deal will see the two companies co-develop a slate of new factual content and Distribution360 take on the international distribution of the full Partners in Motion catalogue in all territories. “Strong, collaborative partnerships with producers are part of our DNA at D360,” says Diane Rankin, SVP, International. “We were immediately excited by the Partners in Motion development slate and look forward to working with them to bring their new productions to market, alongside their strong catalogue of factual series like Crime Stories and Edge of War.”Earlier this year, Partners in Motion principal Ron Goetz took sole leadership at the company’s helm with new direction and priorities including a focus on new and original titles.
Advertisement “The only thing that would happen is I would destroy. Which leads to nothing.”It is a strange mix of confidence and fatalism.“I’m telling you, I know. As a matter of fact, if there was somebody writing a story about that night, I would not be mentioned.”I’d mention you, I tell him. This seems to have no effect.“I could do better than all of them. Which is possible. I’m not saying I’m better than them. I’m saying that on any night, I could do material that’s super strong and I’d probably be better than Rock’s material for the Oscars. But it leads to nothing.”Over the next four hours, Macdonald barely budges from his seat in the two-bedroom condo he recently bought in a planned community not far from the airport. But he does talk – about his first book, a kind of memoir that is overdue and torturing him, his various TV ideas, his various TV failures, his dashed dream of hosting a late-night talk show, Rodney Dangerfield, gambling, religion, Russian literature, his son, why he was “Saturday Night Live’s” best “Weekend Update” anchor ever, why he’s a terrible actor, his obsessive tweeting and his belief that nothing is more important professionally than being the greatest stand-up comic of his time. Five more times, he will get up to grab another Klondike. And then, around 2:37 a.m., he’ll stand up, lift up his shirt to rub his stomach and say, “Maybe I shouldn’t have had all six of those.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Norm Macdonald has just unwrapped his first Klondike bar when he mentions the Chris Rock show. Turns out he has a chance to appear at a surprise gig at the nearby Comedy Store that also includes Louis C.K. and Dave Chappelle.Wouldn’t performing in L.A. with the hottest comedians on Earth two nights before Rock’s much-anticipated #OscarsSoWhite hosting spot be good for his career?Macdonald, 56, shakes his head. His mouth is full of chocolate crust and ice cream, and he chews as he talks. He’s in his favorite chair, sneakers kicked off, ESPN on with the sound down. Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement Facebook Advertisement
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Production of The X-Files, one of the most notable TV series ever shot in British Columbia, will resume in Vancouver next spring, according to series creator Chris Carter.The series’ return comes after a revival run of six new episodes produced in B.C. last year, which aired in early 2016.While there has been speculation that The X-Files would continue following its recent rebirth, Carter offered a timetable in an interview with The Globe and Mail this week. Login/Register With: “I imagine we would be up there shooting in the spring of 2017,” said Carter, who will, this week, be in Vancouver to receive an Industry Builder Award from the Vancouver International Film Festival for his efforts to ensure that production on the recent round of episodes was environmentally sustainable.He said he expects to do “a small expansion” on the number of episodes in this latest continuation of the milestone show.His comments came after he confirmed that talks are well-advanced with key players in the series, which pitted FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) against paranormal creatures and conspiracies.“They are constructive negotiations so I can’t imagine [The X-Files] wouldn’t come back,” Carter said. Advertisement Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Twitter