Amaravati(AP): The Andhra Pradesh government transferred as many as 32 IAS officers and gave postings to seven others, in a bureaucratic reshuffle. The transfer orders were issued Friday midnight. Three senior IAS officers including a Special Chief Secretary, who served in the previous Chief Minister’s Office, have not been given any postings yet, though they were transferred out three weeks ago. Two junior IAS officers of 2015 batch, V Vinod Kumar and C M Saikanth Varma, got elevated to the rank of Joint Collector and posted as Project Officers of Integrated Tribal Development Agencies at Parvathipuram and Seethampet respectively. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana Chief Secretary L V Subrahmanyam issued a government order notifying the transfers and postings. Budithi Rajsekhar (1992 batch) has been moved out yet again after the government issued orders earlier transferring him from the Agriculture Department but subsequently cancelling them. He has now been made Principal Secretary of School Education. B Udayalaxmi (1993) has been posted as Principal Secretary, Labour and Employment. Finance Secretary Muddada Ravichandra (1996) has been posted as Secretary, Social Welfare, while incumbent Mukesh Kumar Meena (1998) has been shifted to the Tribal Welfare Department. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah Joint Collectors of eight districts have been replaced while three major cities got new Municipal Commissioners in the rejig. K V N Chakradhara Babu (2011) has been posted as Joint Managing Director of Transmission Corporation of Andhra Pradesh Limited. S Nagalakshmi (2012) will be the new Managing Director of AP Eastern Power Distribution Company Limited at Visakhapatnam, in a post that has been lying vacant. A Mallikarjuna (2012) has been given the crucial post of CEO of Aarogya Sri, the flagship health insurance scheme of the government. M Hari Narayanan (2011) has been brought in as Executive Director of AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation, while V Prasanna Venkatesh (2012) has been posted as Commissioner of Vijayawada Municipal Corporation. Srijana Gummalla (2013) has been posted as Commissioner of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation. Additional Director General of Police-rank IPS officer Madireddy Pratap (1991), who is currently Director General of Special Protection Force, has been transferred and posted as Vice-chairman and Managing Director of AP State Warehousing Corporation.
Monthly Archive: October 2019
New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday panned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address, alleging that he resorted to “old evading tactics” to hoodwink the common people as if he was still in election mode and failed to address the real issues.Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury claimed that his party scored a “great victory” as the Prime Minister, who was previously “reluctant” to quote any Congress leader, was “compelled” to repeat Jawaharlal Nehru’s words at the fag end of his speech. “Prime Minister in his own reply has disappointed the people of our country by not taking up issues concerning the people, right from agriculture to industry to unemployment and last but not the least Bihar’s encephalitis situation where hundreds of children have lost their lives,” Chowdhury told reporters. “He resorted to old evading tactics to hoodwink the common people, as if he was still in election mode. We expected that he would rise above partisan issues and would be conciliatory in taking all along,” he said. This is the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and the Prime Minister could have been statesman-like so that it sets the tone for a constructive and fruitful atmosphere in Parliament in coming days, but that was absent, he said. “We also noted that Prime Minister was drawn into our incisive argument, and had to quote Jawahar Lal Nehru ji at the fag end of his speech. I think, that is a great victory for us!” Chowdhury said. Taking a swipe at the Congress, Prime Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said the party never recognised efforts of anyone but only the members from the Gandhi-Nehru family. Replying to the Motion of Thanks to the President’s address in Lok Sabha, Modi said the Congress never spoke about the good work of former prime ministers Atal Bihari Vajpayee and PV Narasimha Rao. “There are some people who feel only a few names contributed to the national progress. They only want to hear those few names and ignore the others…,” Modi said.
Washington: The trade war that Donald Trump has initiated with China by imposing massive tariffs on the Chinese products has upset one of his core support bases, the influential church community, that fears the US President’s import duties would increase the cost of the Bible in America. The US and China have been locked in a bruising trade war since Trump imposed heavy tariffs on imported steel and aluminium items from China in March last year, a move that sparked fears of a global trade war. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: London Trump has already imposed 25 per cent tariffs on USD 250 billion in Chinese imports and China has retaliated with tariffs on US goods. In response, China imposed tit-for-tat tariffs on billions of dollars worth of American imports. The church community is up in arm against President Trump as his import duties on Chinese products will increase in the United States the cost of the holy Bible, which is significantly imported from China. According to Congressman Josh Harder, more than half of the Bibles produced in the world originate from China. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador “The recently proposed tariffs on an additional USD 300 billion in Chinese goods, including printed materials, could have significant negative effects on our religious groups, churches, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organisations,” Harder said. “More than half of the Bibles printed in the world originate in China due to the unique paper and technologies required,” he said. Unless the Bibles are excluded from the tariffs, churches, religious schools and other organisations would be forced to pay more for the scripture, he said. “I don’t think the president planned to add an extra tax on Bibles, but that’s the practical effect these tariffs would have, and that would make connecting with scripture more difficult for our Christian communities,” Harder said. “We need all of these trade wars to end, but in the meantime, we can’t allow our congregations to become collateral damage,” he added, after he wrote a letter to Trump. The Congressman urged the President to exempt the Bibles printed in China from import duty. In the letter dated June 25, the Congressman from California expressed his concern regarding tariffs on printed books which would amount to a “Bible tax”. If printed books, including the Bibles, are not removed from the list of products that could be impacted by tariffs, consumers and religious groups will be forced to pay higher prices for their Bibles, Harder said. “While I do not believe this was an intended policy aim, the outcome would be harmful to our religious communities who rely on these sacred texts. I respectfully request that you reconsider the proposed tariffs for books and Bibles,” the Congressman said. Christian publishers and Bibles societies in the US depend on the capacity and expertise of printers in China to help supply the 20 million Bibles bought each year by Americans, said Stan Jantz, president of the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association. “A Bible tax would mean fewer Bibles at much higher prices would be available to people who depend on the Bible for their daily spiritual nourishment,” Jantz said. A 25 percent tariff imposed on Bibles would cause a hardship for many publishers, Jantz said. “There will be significant damage to Bible accessibility if Bibles and books are not excluded from the tariffs. Some believe such a tariff would place a practical limitation on religious freedom. For sure we know that competitive options for printing Bibles outside of China are limited, especially if the current average price of a Bible is to be maintained,” he said. According to Mark Schoenwald, president of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, the Trump administration was unaware of the potential negative impact these proposed tariffs would have on the publishing industry generally, and that it never intended to impose a “Bible Tax” on consumers and religious organisations. HarperCollins owns Thomas Nelson and Zondervan, two of the largest Bible producers in the United States. “If printed books, including the Bibles are not removed from the fourth list of products from China to be subject to tariffs and the tariffs go into effect, publishers will reduce investment in their businesses, consumers and religious organisations will face higher prices, and churches, schools, ministries, and nonprofit organisations will have fewer resources to educate others and connect them with the Holy Bible,” Schoenwald said in a statement. One of the most critical issues facing the book publishing industry is the strong possibility that a tariff of up to 25 per cent will be placed on goods imported from China, including books and the Bibles. As such Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA) has expressed its concerns to the United States Trade Representative (USTR). Books and the Bibles should be exempted from the Chinese tariff, he argued in a testimony before the USTR this week. Schoenwald and ECPA board member Paul Hendrickson, general manager of Hendrickson Publishers also gave testimonies. The ECPA said a large number of Bibles well over 50 per cent – were printed in China. While there are some domestic Bible options available, the US printers comparable to China on price and quality do not have the capacity to meet the current demand. The same can be said for four-colour books printed in China.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has done well to push India’s campaign against Pak-instigated terror in Kashmir and elsewhere to a new level internationally by bilaterally telling President Xi Jinping of China at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan that India could not engage Pakistan in talks unless that country took ‘concrete action’ against terrorism. China is a founder of SCO and President Xi has on more than one occasion described Pakistan as its ‘all weather friend’—China reportedly did not want Indian Prime Minister to raise the issue of terror at the summit. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn a swift move, however, India’s Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale addressed a news conference announcing to the world how Prime Minister Modi had taken up the issue of Pak-sponsored terror with the Chinese President and conveyed India’s firm stand against resumption of talks with Pakistan since that country still needed to create an atmosphere free of terrorism. At his subsequent address at the summit, where Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan was also present, Modi unambiguously called for concerted action to hold accountable countries that were sponsoring, aiding and funding terrorism. Also Read – Insider threat managementWithout naming Pakistan he was able to shame that country for resorting to state-sponsored terrorism. He urged those who were putting up with the menace because of some political consideration to ‘come out of their narrow purview’. Also, by giving a clarion call to all nations to come together to combat terrorism he further pushed Pakistan towards isolation in the world community. The Bishkek summit has also proved to be a milestone in the matter of recognition of India under Modi as an important global player in the economic development of the world. In his bilateral meetings with the Chinese President as well as President Putin of Russia, mutual economic cooperation was given a big impetus. After the recent Chinese climbdown on the issue of UN declaring Maulana Masood Azhar of Jaish-e-Mohammad as an international terrorist – India had pressed for it – and the earlier face-off between India and China at Doklam, President Xi, it seems, would be reluctant to take the Modi regime for granted on security issues and would also not push India to the other side in the ‘trade war’ that seemed to be developing between China and the US. At the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Modi and President Xi, it was acknowledged that there was a ‘new momentum’ in Indo-China relations as both sides emphasised the need for preparing for the second informal summit between the two leaders in India next October. A statement from China’s Foreign Ministry quoted President Xi as saying that the two countries should strengthen confidence-building measures for stability in the border areas and ‘jointly safeguard free trade and multilateralism’. Modi’s meeting with President Putin enlarged the ambit of India-Russia relations with Putin inviting Prime Minister Modi to be the chief guest at the Eastern Economic Forum to be held in Vladivostok in early September. With Indo-US relations having touched a new high of friendship during the first tenure of Modi as Prime Minister, it is possible that India could play a balancing role of injecting sanity in US-Russia-China triangle of relationships – both on economic and security issues. It is gratifying to note that Prime Minister Modi, with his image of being upfront about policy enunciation and committed to building bilateral and multilateral relations entirely on the principle of mutual benefit in both economic and security matters, is making India a global player in promoting world peace and development. The SCO Summit has carried India forward in as much as the Bishkek Declaration echoed and endorsed India’s stand on an important issue like Afghanistan—it clearly called for an inclusive peace process that was led by ‘Afghans themselves’. On the prime threat of terror, that India faces much more severely than all other nations, there is a need for us to mentor the world at large to make it aware that the new global terror arising out of Pakistan is an entirely different kind of danger. Its geopolitical dimension would keep on growing unless an effective counter to it arose from within the Muslim world itself. Terrorism by definition is the resort to ‘covert violence for a perceived political cause’ and is propelled by a ‘commitment’ to the ’cause’ which in turn will be determined by ‘motivation’. The world has witnessed terror movements motivated by ‘ideology’ (Maoism), ethnic identity (India’s North East) or insurgency for national freedom. The new global terror of which Pakistan is becoming a fulcrum is rooted in faith-based motivation fostered through the call for Jihad. Islamic extremists have already created a history of covert offensives across the world – 9/11 in US attributed to Osama bin Laden of Al Qaeda, 26/11 Mumbai attack organised by Lashkar-e-Toiba of Maulana Hafiz Sayeed, Pulwama attack on CRPF in Kashmir owned up by Jaish-e-Mohammad of Maulana Masood Azhar and Easter Mass bombings at and around Colombo carried out by ISIS affiliates. Jihad is strong enough as the motivation that enabled the masterminds to produce suicide bombers and ‘lone wolves’. Laden, Hafiz Sayeed and Masood Azhar were all based in Pakistan and even the National Tawheed Jamaat of Sri Lanka involved in Colombo blasts has links with South India as well as Pakistan. Perpetrators in all these cases enjoyed the patronage of Pak ISI. Pakistan is now clearly the global hub of the new terror which is a development of mounting concern for India. There is little likelihood of Prime Minister Imran Khan doing any better than the previous regimes in putting down the advocates of Jihad entrenched in his country. He himself is a staunch practitioner of faith, is inclined to side with the Islamic radicals in the ‘war on terror’ that the US had launched against them and is an advocate of the Pak army – notwithstanding the collusion that exists between the army and the Islamic extremists. He has been parroting the line scripted for him by the Pak army-ISI combine on the issue of resumption of India-Pakistan talks. At Bishkek, he reiterated the need for dialogue on Kashmir in the interest of peace in the region but did not speak against violence in the name of Jihad prescribed by the likes of Hafiz Sayeed, Masood Azhar and Syed Salahuddin on the Kashmir front. He has not talked of action against these leaders of Islamic militancy – all that he could do was to tamely say that any act of terrorism originating from Pak soil would only harm the interests of Pakistan. It is a matter of deep concern for India that it is in the tenure of the Imran Khan regime that Pak agencies are exploiting the entire spectrum of militants – from the Islamic radicals of Al Qaeda and ISIS brands to the extremists of LeT and Jaish to queer the pitch for India. Pakistan continues to rely on its friends in the Muslim world as also in the US-led West, besides the ‘all weather friend’ China, for bailing it out of the serious financial trouble that it faces at present internally and helping it to mitigate the loss of image that it has suffered in the international community for providing safe havens to terrorists on its soil. Islamic extremists are confronting ‘Godless’ regimes, the Christian world of US-led West and the idolatrous people of Hindu or Buddhist persuasion. Fundamentalist Islam embraces the entire life of a Muslim – personal, social and political – and this makes it easy for the Ulema and the communally driven elite to influence the Muslim masses for their own brand of politics and vested interests. Faith-based terror will never be effectively countered unless the leadership in the Muslim world openly disowns Jihad as an instrument of politics in today’s world. Tinted views on Islamic militancy that considered some extremists to be better than others will not help. Prime Minister Modi’s call at Bishkek for a concerted move by all nations to oppose this new terror carrying the stamp of Islam has not come a day too soon. India has the historical grasp of how the country’s Independence became coterminous with a partition that was forced in the name of religion and also a ringside view of the rise of fundamentalism and extremism in the Muslim world around it. Intelligence sharing with the democratic world outside on matters of national security has its importance. However, this needs to be backed up by an ongoing exchange of analytical information originating from credible forums on the trends and expanse of faith-based terror witnessed in the Islamic world. All this is happening primarily because of the political nexus between the Ulema and the communal elite that was enjoying power in Pakistan and many other parts of that world. The Indian scene illustrates how the communal divide and tension resulting from it was used by many sections of the community leadership to instigate and justify faith-based militancy that would provide the run-up to terrorism in the name of Islam. Indian Mujahideen, an offshoot of the indigenous Jamaat-e-Islami, linking up with Islamic radicals of Al Qaeda’s umbrella was a noted example of this drift. It is hoped that the new Home Minister of India will find a way of strengthening the study and monitoring of the threat of radicalisation and establishing informal links to liaise with Homeland Security of US and other equivalent agencies of other friendly democratic nations in this regard. (The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are strictly personal)
Kolkata: Trinamool Congress MLA of Dinhata in Cooch Behar Udayan Guha’s car was allegedly ransacked by miscreants owing allegiance to BJP on Sunday morning.The incident happened when Guha was going for some party-related work. Pieces of bricks were pelted indiscriminately while his car was travelling through Nayarhat area. According to sources, the TMC leader was bound for Rashmanta area for attending a party programme, when pieces of bricks were hurled at his vehicle by some miscreants and the front window of his vehicle was badly damaged as a result. Guha somehow managed to elude the attack and took shelter at the nearby Dinhata police station. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers”This is a conspiracy on the part of BJP to kill me. They are desperate to thwart our attempts of uniting people against their constant attempts to create disturbance in the district and other parts of the state,” Guha said. State Urban Development minister Firhad Hakim condemned the heckling of Guha and reiterated that law will take its own course regarding the incident. “One of their (BJP) MPs have won in Cooch Behar and they are trying to create disturbance. Our party believes in democracy and so we would never take law into our own hands,” he added. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaTrinamool Congress leader Subrata Bakshi will go to Cooch Behar and speak with Guha to take stock of the situation in this connection. Meanwhile, BJP MP from Cooch Behar Nisith Pramanik denied BJP’s involvement in the incident and termed it as an instance of infighting within TMC. It may be mentioned that TMC had lost the Cooch Behar seat to Pramanik in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections, by a margin of over 50,000 votes. The performance of the party in entire North Bengal has been far below expectations and party supremo Mamata Banerjee has brought in changes to the leadership in a number of districts in North Bengal. TMC district president of Cooch Behar Rabindranath Ghosh was also removed by Banerjee and Binay Krishna Barman was reinstated in his place. A number of TMC leaders and supporters in the district had expressed their grievances against Ghosh, prompting the leadership to take the strong stand.
New Delhi: The Economic Offences Wing of Delhi Police has started investigation in the case of cheating allegedly done by private real estate company. Police said that two directors of the company were named as suspects in the case.According to police the case was registered on July 1 under sections 406/420/120-B IPC on the complaint of Manu Bali and Girish Rehani. There are allegations of cheating against the company. “The alleged PIQ is at the Crossing Republic, Ghaziabad and the amount involved in this case is of Rs. three crores,” police said. In another case, EOW is investigating a fraud case where complainant alleged that he was duped on the pretext of a good return on investment. The complainant told police that he met with the suspect in the seminar. Later the suspect introduces him to another person in Rohini. The suspect told him about a company who gives a good return on investment. The complainant said that his wife and some other known persons invested Rs 2,05,30,000. The suspect in the case told the complainant that return on their investment would be transferred in their account daily but it was irregular and after that, the company even stopped making returns in respect of their investment.
New Delhi: Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) said Tuesday its board later this week will consider raising up to $700 million through foreign currency bonds. The bonds may be issued in various tranches, it said. A meeting of the company’s board of directors will be held on July 12 to consider raising funds by way of issuance of dollar-denominated foreign currency bonds which may be issued in one or more tranches overseas, APSEZ is in a regulatory filing to the BSE. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepIt said these “may be listed in any one or more stock exchanges overseas, for refinancing of existing notes due on July 2020 in accordance with applicable law and other permissible end-uses as per the Reserve Bank of India guidelines”. It also added that the total amount should “not exceed $700 million on a private placement basis or otherwise, to any persons, entities, corporate bodies, companies, banks, financial institutions and any other categories of eligible investors permitted to invest in the bonds under applicable laws”. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsLast month, APSEZ had announced plans to raise $750 million to fund its capital expenditure requirement and also to retire some of its debt. “The finance committee of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd has approved the issuance of fixed-rate senior unsecured notes aggregating to $750 million and has approved the pricing, tenure and other terms of the notes,” it had said in a regulatory filing. The company had said it intends to use the proceeds primarily for capital expenditure, including on-lending to subsidiaries for purposes, and the remainder for repaying existing indebtedness.
Kollam (Kerala): A POCSO court here on Wednesday awarded three life sentences, besides 26 years of rigorous imprisonment, to a 25-year-old man, who brutally raped and murdered his seven-year-old niece on September 27, 2017.The convict, who will have to undergo the sentences separately, has also been asked to pay a fine of Rs 3.20 lakh to the family of the victim. The judgment was delivered by Kollam additional sessions judge E Baiju, who is in charge of the POCSO (protection of children from sexual offences) court here. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The court had, on Tuesday, convicted Rajesh for various offences — murder, rape, unnatural sex, abduction and showing disrespect to a dead body. The prosecution case was that the convict had strangled his niece and raped her after taking her to a rubber plantation at Kulathupuzha, where he had abandoned the body. The convict used to live with the victim and her family at Anchal here. On the day of the incident, the girl was on her way to a tuition centre along with her grandmother when Rajesh assured them that he would drop her at her destination. However, he took the girl to the rubber plantation, about 16 km away, in an autorickshaw and committed the crime. Police had launched a hunt for the victim on the basis of a missing complaint from her mother. Rajesh was subsequently nabbed from a forest at Kulathupuzha, where he was hiding. The girl’s relatives werepresent in the court on Wednesday.
North Sound (Antigua): Wriddhiman Saha will begin his reintegration after a major shoulder injury with his first first-class game in 18 months when India A take on West Indies A in an unofficial Test starting on Wednesday. Wriddhiman and Hanuma Vihari the two Test specialists who have been included in the A squad to prepare for the two-Test series starting late August. Wriddhiman, who is only three months shy of his 35th birthday, is returning after a career-threatening injury that many believe has been completely mismanaged at the National Cricket Academy. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhIt will not be out of place to label his comeback ‘Wriddhiman 3.0’ with the keeper-batsman beginning everything from the scratch, something that is not easy in the mid 30s. Having stayed under Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s shadow for the better part, Wriddhiman was finding his mojo in a injury-ridden career but the injury during the last IPL was a massive blow. With Rishabh Pant proving his credentials with centuries in England and Australia, it’s again that phase in his career where he could be seen wearing the orange or green bib and rushing with the towel and energy drink during breaks. The teamman that he is, Wriddhiman will do it without batting an eyelid but the question that crops up is what exactly will be left for him post West Indies tour, when India play twin series against South Africa and Bangladesh at home.
NEW DELHI: Maruti Suzuki India Limited Chairman R C Bhargava said on Tuesday the company had not renewed the contracts of 3,000 temporary employees, as the automaker battled rising inventory amid a slowdown in demand. Safety norms and higher taxes have “added substantially” to the cost of cars, affecting their affordability, Bhargava told shareholders at the company’s annual general meeting. With India’s auto sales declining for the ninth straight month in July, more automotive manufacturers are laying off workers and temporarily halting production to keep costs in check. The company is on track to meet the country’s new emission norms, adding that the company will move towards manufacturing compressed natural gas (CNG) and hybrid cars. Maruti plans to increase CNG vehicles by 50 percent this year, Bhargava added.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – From early childhood, Gemma Hickey rebelled against wearing dresses and never felt female.It was a misfit sensation of not belonging that Hickey wants to spare other kids — starting with their birth certificates.Hickey describes as a “big victory” what happened Friday in a St. John’s courtroom that could go a long way to ease stigmas and increase acceptance for those who linger between genders.Hickey’s legal challenge of the province’s Vital Statistics Act, which allows birth certificates only to have male or female sex designations, was delayed at provincial Supreme Court in St. John’s while the province enshrines another option.Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal government said Thursday it will bring in legislation this fall allowing for a change of sex designation to non-binary.Hickey hopes other provinces will follow suit — only the Northwest Territories now allows gender-neutral birth certificates.“It’s a proud day for Newfoundland and Labrador,” Hickey told reporters. “We weren’t the first place in Canada to do it, but second is pretty good and I feel very happy today. I feel very validated.”Hickey was also celebrating the debut of the documentary “Just be Gemma” airing Saturday on local CBC television (Newfoundland and Labrador). It will be available for viewing online as part of CBC’s “Absolutely” documentary series.Produced by Nine Island Communications, it traces Hickey’s physical transition from female to non-binary — neither male nor female — beginning in 2015. The journey starts with testosterone shots before surgery to remove the breasts Hickey says never felt right.Hickey recalls never identifying as female, and recounts being sexually assaulted for the first time at the age of five by an older boy who lived on their street. Years later, a priest who had taken special interest in Hickey, buying presents and offering visits at his home, became an abuser.Hickey describes falling asleep one night on his couch, and awakening with him “on top of me.”“I just thought: ‘Oh my God.’ He had a cross around his neck and it would hit my face. That’s what I remember, is just the cross hitting my chin.”Hickey took that trauma and, as an adult, formed the Pathways Foundation to support survivors of clergy sexual abuse. In 2015, Hickey walked 930 kilometres across Newfoundland raising funds for the group.Hickey talks in the documentary about wanting to be called “they” rather than he or she.“It’s pretty amazing to see life from both sides, so why do I have to pick one?”It’s an awkward transition for Hickey’s mother, Lynda Hayward. She still refers at times in the film to her “daughter” but accompanies Hickey to Ontario for plastic surgery and is often seen offering support and love.Hickey’s father, too, tells Gemma: “I love you, honey,” just before Hickey has plastic surgery to remove breast tissue and create a more masculine chest. There’s a swimming scene months later at an outdoor pond.“I felt free, like I was flying,” Hickey says of the feel of water on a bare chest.Hickey’s maternal grandmother inspired the documentary’s title.“I may not want to be a girl or a boy,” Hickey recalls telling her.“Just be Gemma,” was the grandmother’s response. “That’s all any of us wants.”Under the province’s proposed changes to the Vital Statistics Act, sex information will still be collected at birth, but people 12 and older will be able to choose an ‘X’ on their birth certificate. Children aged 12 to 15 will still require a parent to apply on their behalf, with the child’s consent required.The government also said it will remove the requirement for a statement from a medical professional prior to a sex-designation change for those 16 and older. Hickey said that change is particularly important because such a prerequisite “pathologizes” gender identity.“People can decide for themselves how they choose to identify.”Those changes would short-circuit the legal fight with Hickey, who argues the Vital Statistics Act contravenes the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Hickey does not identify as solely male or female and was believed to be the first person in Canada to apply for a non-binary birth certificate.“Our rights are never given to us, so we have to fight for them,” said Hickey, who turns 41 on Oct. 1.“It’s a big victory for myself and other non-binary Canadians — particularly young people out there who are struggling with their own identity and don’t feel that they have a place.“We’re carving out that place and we’re doing that today.”Watching from the public gallery was Hickey supporter Stacey Piercey, who hopes other provinces will act soon.“It’s necessary. There’s so many gender variances and identities. It’s important to accept these kids and love these kids and make them part of our community.”Ontario’s minister of government and consumer services, Tracy MacCharles, has said gender-neutral birth certificates could be issued in Ontario as early as next year.In B.C., Kori Doty, a parent who identifies as transgender and prefers the pronoun they, refused to provide the sex of their child Searyl to the government when the baby was born in November.On Aug. 31, the federal government began allowing gender-neutral passports, the latest step in Ottawa’s plan to eventually allow individuals to identify their sex as ‘X’ — that is, unspecified — on government-issued documents.The move stems from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s pledge to better reflect gender diversity across the country.Follow @suebailey on Twitter.
TOLEDO, Ohio – Researchers have fresh evidence that invasive grass carp are swimming and spawning near the mouth of a river that flows into Lake Erie.Their next step is figuring out how to stop it from gaining a foothold and devouring wetland plants along the shoreline and underwater vegetation in the lake that shelters native fish.Grass carp are one of four Asian carp species threatening the Great Lakes, but they’re not as worrisome as the bighead and silver carp, which could devastate fish populations in the lakes.While environmental groups and scientists have put much of their attention on preventing the bighead and silver carp from reaching the lakes, the grass carp already have been found in Lakes Erie, Michigan and Ontario.A look at the efforts to stop the grass carp:___WHAT ARE GRASS CARP?Brought to the U.S. more than 50 years ago to control weed growth, they’re still sold to pond owners. Some states now require that they be sterilized before being released. But recent surveys have found grass carp eggs in Great Lakes waterways. Some made their way into the lakes via rivers, while others were dumped into the waterways. The fish feed on aquatic plants, eating up to 90 pounds a day and damaging areas used by spawning fish and migrating birds. What is not known is how many are in the lakes and where they’ve spread.___HOW BIG OF A THREAT?It’s believed there are still only a small number of grass carp in the lakes. But a report released by U.S. and Canadian researchers warned this year that if effective steps aren’t taken, it’s likely that the invasive fish will be established in lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan and Ontario within 10 years.___WHERE ARE THEY BEING FOUND?The biggest concern is in Lake Erie where grass carp have been found in tributary rivers and along the shoreline. Researchers have been closely watching the Sandusky River, between Cleveland and Toledo, since the discovery of grass carp eggs in 2015. More eggs were found this summer along with eight adults that were netted during a two-day search.___WHAT HAVE RESEACHERS LEARNED?It appears the grass carp spawn after heavy rains or when there’s high water on the Sandusky River, said Rich Carter, who oversees fish management and research for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The fish also seem to like long rivers. All of that is important to know, he said, to help find a potential way to control their populations.___WHAT’S BEING DONE?Plans are being developed to make a more intensive effort to capture and remove the carp from the Sandusky River, where more than 100 have been found since 2012, Carter said. There’s also ongoing work to follow grass carp that have been tagged to determine where they spawn and where they can be found, said Mark Gaikowski, a research director with the U.S. Geological Survey.
OTTAWA – After a five-year battle with the Canada Revenue Agency, the parliamentary budget office is finally being promised the data needed to evaluate the amount of revenue Ottawa loses each year due to offshore tax havens and other tax avoidance schemes.The budget office has been demanding the data since December 2017 and has even threatened court action to get it. But, until now, the agency has refused to provide it, citing confidentiality of tax records.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that a deal has finally been struck between the agency and the budget officer.“An agreement has been concluded with the parliamentary budget officer and will provide this data in a way that will ensure the protection of personal information of Canadians by the end of the month,” he told the House of Commons.Jean-Denis Frechette, the parliamentary budget officer, had given the agency until Feb. 28 to turn over the data before pursuing other options.He welcomed the news of a deal Monday, but reserved the option of going to court if the data that’s handed over turns out to be less than advertised.“So, yes, that would be something that could be considered, depending on the outcome of Feb. 28,” Frechette said in an interview.He said he has no problem with Trudeau’s caveat that the handover of information will be done in a manner that will protect the personal information of taxpayers, noting that his office has always said it wants “anonymized” data only.If his office gets all the information it has been seeking, Frechette guessed it might take six to 10 months to crunch the numbers and come up with an estimated “tax gap” — the difference between the amount of tax revenue that should have been collected in a year and what was actually collected. But the time frame will depend on the quality of information the Canada Revenue Agency provides.“If they send me … paper version of all their files in boxes, of course it will take a long time,” he said. “It’s difficult for me to guess.”The Conference Board of Canada has estimated that tax evasion and tax avoidance cost the federal treasury anywhere between $8.9 billion and $47.8 billion annually.The Trudeau government has been under pressure to allow the budget officer to do a more precise, independent estimate of the tax gap, particularly in the wake of the so-called Paradise Papers — a second major leak detailing how hundreds of billions of dollars from around the world are sheltered in offshore tax havens, at the expense of numerous countries’ treasuries.A number of other countries, including the United Kingdom and the United States, have long provided estimates of their tax gaps but Canada has refused to follow suit, until now.Until the size of the Canadian problem is known, Frechette said it’s impossible to know how to fix it.The Trudeau government has earmarked almost $1 billion over two years to crack down on offshore tax evasion.But while political attention has focused on the suspected billions lost to tax havens, Frechette said there are other factors at play, including Canadians involved in the underground economy who do not report their income and those who make honest errors in interpreting complicated tax rules.The Canada Revenue Agency has recently estimated that about $4.5 billion in GST revenue and about $8.8 billion in personal income tax revenue has gone uncollected annually. There has been no comprehensive estimate of the revenue lost from taxes on all sources, including corporations and trusts that are most likely to benefit from offshore tax shelters.
Saskatchewan on Wednesday tabled legislation outlining its plans for the sale of cannabis once the federal government legalizes marijuana later this year. Here’s a look at provincial and territorial plans to date:— British Columbia has set the age of consumption at 19. Retail sales to be allowed through public and private stores, but retail licences won’t be approved without the support of local governments. Retailers will not be permitted to sell weed in stores that sell liquor or tobacco. People to be allowed to smoke pot in public places where tobacco smoking and vaping are permitted. It will be banned in vehicles and in areas frequented by children, including beaches, parks and playgrounds. Adults will be allowed to grow up to four plants per household, but landlords and condo councils can restrict or prohibit cultivation and smoking on their properties.— Alberta plans to control the online sale of pot, but will leave over-the-counter sales to private operators, who will be subject to extensive background checks. Minimum age of consumption to be 18. Private pot stores will have to be physically separate from stores selling alcohol, tobacco or pharmaceuticals. Pot stores will not be allowed to sell anything but cannabis and cannabis-related products. Province expects to issue 250 licences in the first year. Stores will have to be 100 metres away from schools and health-care facilities.— Saskatchewan is proposing a minimum age of 19 and is banning consumption in public places. Sales to be handled by the private sector with about 60 retail permits awarded to private operators in as many as 40 municipalities and First Nations communities. The Saskatchewan Liquor and Gaming Authority is to regulate cannabis sales and municipalities will have the option to ban sales.— Manitoba plans to set its legal age at 19, a year later than the legal age for drinking alcohol. Government legislation proposes a ban on people growing cannabis at home for recreational purposes. The Liquor and Gaming Authority of Manitoba would regulate the sale of cannabis and municipal governments would have the option to ban sales by referendum.— Ontario intends to sell the drug in up to 150 stores run by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario to people 19 and older. Consumption in public spaces or workplaces to be banned.— Quebec has tabled a bill whereby all pot would be sold through the provincially run liquor board, although there is flexibility for exceptions. Quebec also plans to control sales online. It would be illegal to cultivate pot for personal or commercial use, unless authorized, and possession in a home is to be limited to 150 grams and to 30 grams on a person. There is to be a zero-tolerance policy for driving under the influence of any drug.— New Brunswick is setting the minimum age at 19 and plans to require users to lock away their marijuana when it’s in their home. The province says people would be able to buy cannabis at a subsidiary of the province’s liquor commission.— Prince Edward Island has set its legal age at 19, and says it will sell marijuana at stand-alone outlets run separately by its liquor commission. P.E.I. plans to allow online sales and restrict marijuana use to private residences.— Nova Scotia says marijuana is to be sold alongside alcohol in nine provincial liquor commission stores, as well as through online sales, to anyone who is at least 19. The province accepts federal rules setting a personal possession limit of up to 30 grams and a personal cultivation limit of up to four plants per household. It plans to establish provincial penalties for youth possession of up to five grams.— Newfoundland and Labrador to allow sales in private stores. Legal age set at 19. The Crown-owned liquor corporation is to oversee distribution to private retailers. Consumption to be restricted to private residences.— Yukon has set its minimum age at 19. Its legislation on legal marijuana would allow the public possession of up to 30 grams of dried cannabis or its equivalent, and personal cultivation of up to four plants per household. Consumption would be limited to privately owned residences and adjoining properties, as long as the owners permit it.— The Northwest Territories has tabled legislation that proposes the minimum age of consumption at 19. The NWT Liquor Commission will be responsible for distribution and sales at existing liquor stores. Residents will be able to mail-order cannabis to allow access to marijuana in communities that do not have a liquor store. The government will be able to fine stores that don’t post signs about the health risks of pot. Communities will be able to hold a plebiscite on whether to restrict or ban sales. A maximum of four plants per household — no matter how many adults live there — and smoking is to be permitted in public where cigarettes are allowed, including trails and parks unless they are being used for public events.— Nunavut completed initial stakeholder consultations last summer and was holding a public survey to help guide the development of policy and legislative options.
VANCOUVER – It was a night of positivity and resilience at the Juno Awards as the stars of Canadian music focused on celebrating the upsides of life.Host Michael Buble set the tone early on Sunday night by announcing his wife’s third pregnancy — but other performers were quick to grab the tide of optimism during their own stage moments.“I just hope that we can all rise above negativity in our lives and just do what we believe in,” said Arcade Fire’s Win Butler as he accepted the band’s album award for “Everything Now.”“Speak your truth and don’t be afraid to just do whatever the hell you want.”Gord Downie’s brothers Mike and Patrick echoed an unbounded sense of resolve as they accepted a posthumous award for the singer, who died last October of brain cancer.“If we’ve learned anything from Gord it was the value of taking care of each other,” said Patrick.“This is Gord’s award. It’s artist of the year, but he was our man of a lifetime. I’d like to believe we’re all better artists and people because of him. We love you Gord and we’re all taking good care of each other.”An acoustic tribute to Downie was led by Sarah Harmer and Dallas Green, alongside Barenaked Ladies keyboardist Kevin Hearn, who performed “Bobcaygeon” as archival clips of the Tragically Hip frontman played behind them.It was Buble whose seemingly effortless charm kept the show on an upbeat track.Without fully addressing why he stepped aside from his Juno hosting duties last year, he acknowledged this was a comeback of sorts. He pulled out of the 2017 Junos after his son was diagnosed with cancer.Buble told the audience that after being “gone for a while” he wondered if he might have lost “whatever it is” that built his name.“But honestly after standing here for 40 seconds, I realize that I’m even better than I was before,” he added.Buble later joined Diana Krall for a charming duet of the Nat King Cole classic “L-O-V-E.”Daniel Caesar grabbed R&B/soul recording for his album “Freudian” while Jessie Reyez scored breakthrough artist. She offered an emotional acceptance speech reflecting on her sudden rise to fame.“It means so much to get this love out at home,” she said.Both performers reappeared later to duet on Reyez’s song “Figures.”There were a number of pseudo surprises throughout the show.The rappers behind the Canadian hit “Northern Touch” took it upon themselves to improvise a version of the song they were once denied performing on the Junos telecast 20 years ago.The Northern Touch All-Stars announced Tory Lanez as the winner of this year’s rap award, but when he wasn’t around to accept it, rapper Kardinal Offishall jumped in to ask the audience a question.“Don’t you all wish we had some more hip hop in here tonight?” he said.“I know this is going to mess up the Junos a little bit — but I don’t care. Do you want to do ‘Northern Touch’ right now?The group — which also includes rappers Red1, Misfit, Checkmate, Thrust and Choclair — then launched into a full version of “Northern Touch,” which appeared on the Rascalz 1998 album “Cash Crop.”Junos president Allan Reid acknowledged the moment was partly staged. He said the Junos organizers approached the rap group earlier in the afternoon with the idea.One of the night’s other big surprises wouldn’t have shocked gossip magazine readers.Recent tabloid speculation that Buble’s wife is pregnant became an official announcement on the show as the singer revealed actress Luisana Lopilato is expecting their third child.He told the audience it was the second time her pregnancy has been linked to the Junos. Five years ago when he hosted in Regina, she was expecting their first child.“Oops you did it again!” Buble said as the audience cheered the revelation.Grimes and Buffy St. Marie introduced pop artist Lights with an impassioned speech for gender equality led by the Indigenous folk singer.“It’s time for change, it’s time for women to be recognized for our accomplishments and our value to this industry,” St. Marie said with powerful delivery.“We need to build a foundation upon which we can support an environment that actually encourages success for women… because it’s not here yet.”Barenaked Ladies and former bandmate Steven Page were inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame.After singing a brief tune as they accepted their award, the band closed the broadcast by launching into some of their old hits, starting with “One Week.” It was the first time they’d performed with Page since he went solo nearly a decade ago.The group wasn’t alone on stage for long, as it evolved into an all-star tribute, with guests who spanned the music genres and fit comfortably with the band’s offbeat sense of humour.Jann Arden, Jim Cuddy and Nunavut band The Jerry Cans danced alongside members of the Northern Touch All-Stars as they all performed a sing-along to “If I Had $1,000,000,” which finished with balloons and fake million-dollar bills falling from the rafters.Page then pulled from one of the song’s most famous lines about Kraft Dinner to pose a question that’s lingered for years:“Come on, 30 years now, Kraft. Isn’t it time for a sponsorship?—Listen to a playlist of 2018 Juno Award nominees on Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2siaaUiFollow @dfriend on Twitter
OTTAWA – Suspended Vice-Admiral Mark Norman will be shuffled out of his position as the military’s second-in-command on Thursday, as the criminal case against him works its way through the court system.The move comes 18 months after Norman was relieved of his duties as vice chief of defence staff for allegedly leaking government secrets to a Quebec shipyard, for which he faces one charge of breach of trust.The veteran naval officer has denied any wrongdoing and has said he plans to fight the charge in court.Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance had appointed several other senior officers to fill in on a temporary basis until the case could go through the judicial process.He has also shouldered some of the position’s responsibilities himself.But the Defence Department has confirmed that Vance has tapped army commander Lt.-Gen. Paul Wynnyk to take over as the Forces’ new vice chief, effective July 16.“Command and control, as well as leadership, are critical as the Canadian Armed Forces continue to deploy on operations and implement the defence policy,” DND spokesman Daniel Le Bouthillier said in an email.“The chief of defence staff is grateful for those who have stepped up to fill the gap, but at this juncture … the Canadian Armed Forces require a full-time vice chief of defence staff going forward.”The military just this week began to deploy troops to the UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.Norman will be moved to a supernumerary position within the defence chief’s office, Le Bouthillier added, where he will continue to serve as a member of the Forces until the court case plays out.It is believed Norman was informed of the shuffle ahead of time, as he and Vance have been in constant contact by email and the occasional phone call and letter since January 2017, though it’s unclear whether he agreed to it.The move is likely to spark anger from Norman’s supporters, including many former military members and even some politicians who have contributed thousands of dollars to help pay for his legal defence.The case against Norman revolves around the newly elected Liberal government’s decision in November 2015 to reconsider a $700-million contract the Harper Conservatives had awarded to Quebec-based Davie Shipbuilding.The contract was to convert a civilian vessel, the MV Asterix, into a temporary navy resupply ship that would be leased for five years, with another five-year option, until permanent replacements could be built in Vancouver.While the plan to revisit the contract was supposed to remain secret, court documents released last year show the RCMP suspected Norman was upset with the decision and worried the government would cancel the project.He was commander of the navy at the time and, according to the documents, allegedly worked with Davie to try to pressure the government to stick with the project.None of the allegations against Norman have been tested in court.The Liberals ultimately decided to proceed with the project and the MV Asterix is now being used by the navy.Norman was officially charged on March 9, at which point Vance issued a statement saying he needed to “consider the impact and implications” of the criminal charge against the military’s second-in-command.“This is a complex matter, separate from the judicial process,” Vance said at the time. “I need time to weigh these factors carefully and deliberately.”– Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
“We’re still not there yet. We’re still living in a society that is more concerned with protecting [the accused] than believing their victims.”Sullivan is thankful for “gifts” like the #MeToo movement that continue to push the fight forward. “I really do believe that history will tell the story of these women as heroes, as freedom defenders, as women fighting for the rights to be heard against a government that wants to remove these women from the public sphere, that wants to deny them rights over their bodies, and wants to not hear them and wants to discredit them.”She calls the protesters that disrupted the confirmation vote Saturday as “leaders of the movement” adding that sexual violence is a never-ending problem.“Sexual violence is an every-day reality for women around the globe and we will not accept it as our reality,” she said. “We never did and we never will.”WATCH: Women galvanized by Kavanaugh vote Small victories in a hard fightIn the era of #MeToo and Time’s Up movements, more cases of sexual violence are coming forward and charges are being laid in both old and new cases, “small victories” according to Sullivan.Should women take these small victories or only accept bigger success stories? Sullivan doesn’t see much of a choice.“Unfortunately we only get the small victories so we do need to take them so we can move forward,” she said, admitting some small victories are overshadowed by the fact that still not everyone will be believed.RELATED ARTICLES:Tricky time for GOP female senators facing Kavanaugh voteThe Calgary Herald won’t back down after controversial editorialTrudeau, cabinet should denounce mocking of Blasey Ford: advocates“What concerns me is that…we are more likely to listen to white women than women of colour. We are more likely to listen to straight women than queer or trans women. We need to listen better and do better within our own communities and fight for everyone’s right to live free of sexual violence.”She said if women acknowledged their own privilege(s) and support all victims, people will be believed “if the worst happens” and someone is attacked.“We need to do better always and everywhere–there’s so much work to be done!” she said.“Let’s take the small victories because we need to feel like we’re making progress. This is a very, very hard fight and a very heavy fight just to be heard, just to be believed, just to live free of sexual violence.” CALGARY (660 NEWS) – After weeks of drama and a fierce partisan fight, Judge Brett Kavanaugh has been sworn in as Supreme Court Justice, possibly re-shaping the U.S. high court for decades to come.Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell says the battle over Kavanaugh’s confirmation turned their base on fire, disappointing news to a University of Calgary women’s studies professor.Doctor Rebecca Sullivan said that it was upsetting to watch American leaders ignore the stories of women who were speaking their truth as they cast their vote to confirm Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.“I felt so much rage and sadness watching the nation’s leaders ignore the voices of women being forced to relive their trauma…in the desperate hope–in the vain hope as it turned out–that maybe this time they’ll be listened to and they’ll be believed,” said Sullivan.She added it’s upsetting that politicians voted to confirm Kavanaugh even after hearing the horrific testimonies.WATCH: Senate confirms Kavanaugh to U.S. Supreme court
SURREY (660 NEWS) – When you put your child in their car seat in BC, you need to leave the car door open to be able to do it. But it turns out you may be found at fault if another vehicle hits your door.Kirsten Chalmers, a mother of three in Surrey, was found 100 per cent at fault, after a van’s mirror hit her open door.Kirsten and her mom were in the parking lot of a shopping centre, making sure her kids — aged 10 months, two, and five — were buckled in.“I had already put my 10-month-old into her car seat — she’s in one of those bucket seats that you just move into the car. I was buckling in my oldest daughter on the passenger side. It was my mom who was on the driver’s side, buckling in my son.”That’s when the van parked next to them backed out.The van’s mirror hit her car’s open door, but she never thought she would be found at fault.“In the Motor Vehicle Act, it states something along the lines of ‘the car door being opened for a period of time to get a passenger in and out.’ What is considered a safe period of time? Well in my opinion, whatever time it takes to properly buckle a child in.”The other driver is not seeking damages, which means Kirsten’s premiums won’t be affected. But she still wants answers.“I still feel like I’m deserving of some type of explanation. If you’re going to tell me that I can’t open my door to put my child in and that I’ll be found at fault for that, what if she had requested damages?”In an emailed statement to our partners in Vancouver, ICBC says the door was “opened further” into the moving van, which is why Kirsten was found at fault.According to the Motor Vehicle Act, a person must not open the door of a motor vehicle on the side available to moving traffic unless and until it is reasonably safe to do so.In this case, the vehicle door was partially open but then the door was opened further into the side of the moving vehicle. The responsibility for the impact lies with the door opener.Kirsten claims she never stated to ICBC that her mother further opened the door. “I think I would have been more accepting of a 50-50 type thing. But to just be told ‘You’re 100 per cent at fault’… I was blown away.”She says a manager told her it was “more of a he said, she said thing.”“That [the other driver is] actually claiming that… my car door was not open when she started backing out and that my mom actually would have had to come between the moving vehicle and my parked vehicle and opened the door with a two-year-old in her arms while she was already in the process of backing out. I’m not sure who would ever do that, especially not with a child.”She says it’s impossible for a parent to buckle their children without opening the door. “It’s not always a very quick procedure to get them into the car.”What should parents do in this situation?Kirsten wants to know what should be done to ensure this doesn’t happen to her — or another parent — again.“Are you recommending that if I’m in the process of buckling my kids and I hear a car start that I should actually stop what I’m doing, move out of the way, close the door, and let that person back out? I would like to know what I should do in the future.”In ICBC’s statement, the insurer says:Parking lots are very busy places. The key tip is to be aware of the vehicles around you when parking or returning to your parked vehicle and continue to watch for other drivers as you and your passengers enter and exit the vehicle. Don’t leave doors open longer than necessary and check before opening any door further. If an incident occurs, try to find an independent witness if possible.“This is crazy. This defies common sense,” said Kris Sims with the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a longtime critic of ICBC’s monopoly on car insurance.She thinks many cases like Kirsten’s go under the radar. While Sims admits she’s no expert on ICBC cases, she believes many come down to “he said, she said” situations.“Unless you get witnesses. Say, there’s a collision… say it’s in an intersection or something. Then you still need to usually get witnesses for things like that.”Sims argues if there was insurance competition, Kirsten could move to another insurer if she was unhappy with how she is treated.“I’m going to go up the street, I’m going to go online, I’m going to shop around because as a consumer… In British Columbia, you can’t do it. The only recourse is to make an issue of it.”
The Canadian Press BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko are looking to lean on other like-minded leaders to press Russia to de-escalate aggression and avoid “provocative acts.”The two leaders, who spoke by phone today ahead of the G20 leaders’ summit, discussed Russia’s actions in the Strait of Kerch on Monday that resulted in the seizure of three Ukrainian naval vessels near Crimea.A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office also says Trudeau communicated Canada’s “steadfast support” for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity during the call.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says she has also spoken to her Ukrainian counterpart, and has been in close contact with other G7 countries on the issue.She says Ukraine is expected to be raised at a NATO foreign-ministers’ summit in Brussels next week.U.S. President Donald Trump also announced today he was cancelling a planned meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, citing Russia’s seizure of the Ukrainian vessels as a source of tension in a relationship.
OTTAWA — Attorney general David Lametti says he will resist any attempts to pressure him on the SNC-Lavalin criminal prosecution.Lametti is now in the hot seat in the controversial court case that has rocked the Liberal government, resulting in the resignations of two cabinet ministers, the prime minister’s most trusted adviser and the country’s top civil servant.The director of public prosecutions decided last fall not to negotiate a deferred-prosecution agreement with SNC-Lavalin, which is facing charges of bribery, and former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould says she was inappropriately pressured by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his senior staff to overrule that decision.On his way into question period Thursday, where the SNC saga is dominating the House of Commons again, Lametti said when he puts on his attorney-general hat, nobody will direct him to do anything.He said he wouldn’t comment on the details of the case, but said he did receive routine briefings on the file when he became the minister.Sources tell both the Toronto Star newspaper and CBC News that Wilson-Raybould made ensuring Lametti didn’t offer a remediation agreement to SNC-Lavalin a condition to Trudeau before she stepped down from cabinet in February.The Canadian Press