BC to remain wild west of campaign finance without a new government

first_imgVANCOUVER – Without a change in government, British Columbia is likely to remain a “wild west” of campaign finance, where wealthy corporations and unions are free to donate unlimited amounts of money to curry favour with provincial politicians, experts say.Voters head to the polls in less than two weeks and the province’s lax political fundraising laws have become a dominant undercurrent in the election campaign.The province’s two main political parties are swapping accusations that the other is bought and beholden to deep-pocketed donors ahead of the May 9 vote. Corporate and union contributions are banned federally and in some provinces, while many jurisdictions restrict the amount donors can pledge.Max Cameron, a political scientist at the University of British Columbia, said Thursday that the incumbent B.C. Liberals have been in power for 16 years and have shown little interest in reforming political fundraising laws, despite mounting public pressure.“You need alternation in power. You need to have genuinely competitive elections where governments change,” Cameron said.“If the government is secure in office it’s unlikely to introduce changes to policies that it benefits from.”New Democrat Leader John Horgan has said the Liberal party’s funding by corporations is the largest in provincial history, and he accuses it of acting on behalf of its financial backers at the expense of average people.Liberal Leader Christy Clark has denounced the NDP and its support from big labour, noting that the United Steelworkers Union is paying the salaries of the New Democrats’ top campaign officials.The B.C. Greens have rejected all corporate and union donations as it bids to expand its lone seat in the legislature.Hamish Telford, a professor of political science at the University of the Fraser Valley, said B.C. has lagged behind other provinces because there has been no change in government since campaign-finance reform emerged as an issue in 2004. That was the year former prime minister Jean Chretien amended federal legislation.Whether the contributions buy influence is not the issue, Telford said.“The issue is perception.”The Liberals have said if they win the election they will set up a panel to look into campaign financing.The NDP promises to ban union and corporate donations the day after forming a government, but it has come under fire for continuing to accept money in the meantime. Horgan said it is necessary to play by the current rules to level the playing field for donations.But that argument undermines the New Democrats’ alleged commitment to getting big money out of politics, said Duff Conacher, co-founder of Democracy Watch.“If they win power based on those donations, then they have the conflict of interest already. It doesn’t disappear just because they change the system,” Conacher said.Ontario faced similar criticism around its open campaign-finance laws before the provincial government bowed to public pressure and introduced reforms about a year ago.Ontario’s about-face is one of the reasons B.C. has faced so much pressure, Conacher added.Robert MacDermid, an expert in campaign finance who teaches at York University in Toronto, said voter cynicism is one byproduct of a political system that favours access by the wealthy and well-connected.“I think people understand undue influence. They understand the perception that rich people get specialized access to ministers and premiers,” he said.Updating political fundraising laws is meaningless unless those reforms are accompanied by the resources needed to enforce them, MacDermid added.— Follow @gwomand on Twitterlast_img read more

Expert fears limits on NS inquiry into the Lionel Desmond killings

first_imgHALIFAX – A long-awaited public inquiry into the death of an Afghan war veteran who killed his family and himself in rural Nova Scotia last year could be derailed by jurisdictional squabbling, a leading expert on judicial probes says.The problem: the provincial inquiry is looking at issues that may go deep into federal jurisdiction.“There may be limits on what the province can look into,” said Ed Ratushny, a professor emeritus at the University of Ottawa’s law school.“It’s a question of constitutional law, as to what the boundaries are between the province and the federal government … It could be a significant barrier to fully exploring the issue.”Almost a year after Lionel Desmond fatally shot himself and his mother, wife and 10-year-old daughter in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S., the Nova Scotia government bowed to public pressure last month when it confirmed a judicial fatality inquiry would be held under the Fatality Investigations Act.The inquiry’s terms of reference — the legally binding rules that govern what the inquiry can do — are still being drafted by the provincial Justice Department. They were expected to be completed by the end of this month.Ratushny, author of the 2009 book “The Conduct of Public Inquiries,” said even if the inquiry is given a broad mandate, the judge’s work will be complicated by the fact that he or she will be investigating matters of federal jurisdiction.Family members have repeatedly complained that Desmond, who served two tours in Afghanistan in 2007 and was later diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, did not get the help he needed from the federal Defence Department or the federal Veterans Affairs Department.The issues have resonance well beyond the Desmond killings.More than 130 serving military personnel have taken their own lives since 2010, according to National Defence, including eight between January and August 2017. Officials have not been able to determine the number of suicides among veterans, but previous studies have suggested former service members are more at risk than those still in uniform.Veterans Affairs Minister Seamus O’Regan has pledged full co-operation with the provincial inquiry, but that might not be enough, Ratushny said.“If the province wanted to go into subject areas that are exclusively federal jurisdiction, the federal Justice Department will take issue with that and say, ‘You can’t do that,’” he said. “The (federal) minister can co-operate fully but he can’t change the Constitution of Canada in terms of jurisdiction.”Ratushny said the two levels of government could have avoided this problem by agreeing to conduct a joint inquiry. This kind of approach was used in 1993 when Justice Horace Krever investigated Canada’s worst public health tragedy, in which 1,200 people were infected with HIV and many thousands with hepatitis C through infected blood and blood products.And in 1982, the Newfoundland and Labrador government set up a joint commission with Ottawa to look into one of Canada’s worst marine disasters: the sinking of the Ocean Ranger offshore drilling rig, which claimed 84 lives.Peter Stoffer, a longtime veterans advocate and former Nova Scotia MP, said a joint inquiry should have been called in the Desmond case.“I’m hoping the federal government doesn’t hide behind any kind of jurisdiction to not provide information,” he said. “You have to be suspicious as to why the federal government wouldn’t call this inquiry because, maybe, they don’t want to know the truth.”Stoffer said the terms of reference should require the inquiry to look into what treatment Desmond received before he was medically released from the military in 2015.As well, the investigation should look at Desmond’s transition to civilian life, the assistance he received from Veterans Affairs and what interaction he had with the provincial health-care system, he said.Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey declined a request for an interview.Archie Kaiser, a law professor at Dalhousie University in Halifax, said the inquiry should also explore issues regarding gender-based family violence and mental-health issues.“Those kind of issues need to be explored thoroughly,” he said.”I hope that the (provincial) minister will try to ensure that we use this opportunity to effectively explore these complex and interrelated issues … That’s the real nexus here.”Kaiser said he wasn’t worried about jurisdictional snafus.“We live in a country that has shared responsibilities for so many different government responsibilities. We shouldn’t assume that kind of complexity is going to intrude on this inquiry doing its work.”He said if the terms of reference are too narrow, that could undermine the inquiry’s credibility.“This inquiry has the capacity to suggest areas of improvement in terms of preventing family violence and … responding to mental-health crises,” he said. “I’m guessing the minister … knows that the government’s reputation and his own reputation are at stake at moments like this.”Follow @NovaMac on Twitterlast_img read more

Tom Morello Joins Crosby Stills And Nash To Defeat Proposition 32

first_imgOn Wednesday, October 3, legendary supergroup Crosby, Stills and Nash (CSN) and activist/musician Tom Morello (Rage Against The Machine, The Nightwatchman) performed a special concert at Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE in Los Angeles for thousands of members of organized labor.The show was a benefit to help defeat Proposition 32 on the State of California’s November election ballot. CSN and Morello hoped to increase awareness of the deceptive measure designed to mislead voters and increase corporations’ power by gutting important campaign transparency laws.The event started with a reception from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m., and music began at 7 p.m. Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman opened the night and got the crowd revved up with a passionate acoustic set that included a moving cover of Bruce Springsteen’s “The Ghost of Tom Joad” and a rendition of the uncensored version of Woody Guthrie’s “This Land is Your Land,” where Stephen Stills, David Crosby and Graham Nash joined him onstage to sing along. He also pulled his mother on stage to help sing along with them for that final song of his set.Morello’s performance was followed by a brief anti-Prop 32 video, and then inspiring speeches by guest speakers, including acclaimed actor/producer/director Edward James Olmos, that advocated for Proposition 32’s defeat. The evening closed with a set from CSN that included classics such as “Wooden Ships,” “Southern Cross” and “Our House.” David Crosby dedicated their performance of “Guinnevere” to his wife, and Graham Nash spoke about the importance of supporting schools when he introduced the last song of the evening: “Teach Your Children.”Thousands of middle-class workers including nurses, firefighters, teachers, 911 operators and members of the League of Women Voters oppose Proposition 32. It promises to get money out of politics, but it actually floods California with money from out-of-state corporations, CEOs and Wall Street tycoons. The real purpose is to gut campaign finance rules to create an uneven playing field that benefits a few big money interests. It does this by allowing unlimited undisclosed corporate campaign spending while prohibiting labor unions from participating in the political process entirely.For additional information on the No on Proposition 32 campaign, click here.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

TAKE A BEHINDTHESCENES LOOK INSIDE THE NATIONAL ARTS CENTRE

first_imgWhat people may not know is that the NAC keeps the majority of its theatre props right on site. The treasure trove contains everything from the famous holed umbrellas featured in “Oliver Twist,” to clocks and radios from every time period. I got the chance to link up with Mike Calouri, the head of props at the NAC, to explore a unique space, with gadgets and gizmos a plenty. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment The curtain on Canada’s National Art Centre (NAC) was lifted exactly 50 years ago Sunday. A centre point for theatre, music and dance in the nation’s capital, it has attracted some of the worlds’ top artistic talent.To celebrate its anniversary, the NAC opened its doors to the public with a rare backstage view. CTV News’ Molly Thomas got an all-access pass to this cultural hub of history.We walk down memory lane with one of Canada’s prima ballerinas. Veronica Tennant danced in Southam Hall for a quarter of a century..@MollyThomasTV speaks with one of the prima ballerinas of the National Arts Centre, Veronica Tennant, who reflects on opening night back in 1969. Tune into @CTVNationalNews tonight for the full report. pic.twitter.com/jN28Fl0Hg2— CTV News (@CTVNews) June 2, 2019 Facebook Advertisement Take a look inside Canada’s National Arts Centre in Ottawa.center_img Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

AFN NC Bellegarde says Liberal budget investments for Indigenous peoples historic

first_img(Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde speaks during chiefs assembly in December 2015. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is pictured to the left of Bellegarde. APTN/File)APTN National NewsAn effusive Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said the Liberal government’s first budget unveiled Tuesday offered “historic” investments for First Nation people and communities.The Liberal budget committed $8.4 billion in new spending on infrastructure, education and housing over the next five years. A total of $3.3 billion, however, is only scheduled to flow in the last two years including $1.78 billion that is earmarkedThe federal budget contained commitments to spend $4.2 billion on education, children and training, $1.2 billion on social infrastructure for First Nation, Inuit and Northern communities, and $2.42 billion on green infrastructure, all targeted to Indigenous peoples, over the next five years.For Bellegarde, however, the total investments made Tuesday’s budget unveiling a “historic day” and he offered praise to the Liberal government for the dollars directed at First Nation communities and Indigenous organizations like the AFN.“That is a significant investment that is something that was say is a historic day for this budget,” said Bellegarde, in an interview with APTN National News anchor Cheryl McKenzie. “What I see reflected in this year’s budget is that it goes against maintaining the status quo and that, to me, is a very significant first step going forward.”Bellegarde said he was pleased to see the Liberal government put $96 million in the budget over the next five years for Aboriginal Representative Organizations, like the AFN. He said the money was vital to allowing First Nation leaders to truly work on par with the federal government to develop laws and policy.“In the last 10 years all Aboriginal organizations were gutted, were cut back,” said Bellegarde. “In order to be effective partners we have to have the capacity to make sure we have the proper policy analysis, proper legal analysis on things going forward so we can develop jointly the proper legislation and policy frameworks going forward.”Bellegarde also he was heartened by the Liberal budget’s commitment to begin talks on developing a new fiscal framework with First Nations.“The Minister of Finance has committed to working with First Nation people to work toward long-term sustainable, predictable funding, working on a new Crown-Canada First Nation relationship when it comes to finances, so we are going to hold them to that.”Bellegarde was also asked about initial criticism of the budget from Cindy Blackstock, the First Nation child advocate behind a successful human rights complaint against Ottawa over its underfunding of child welfare services.Blackstock told APTN the budget had failed First Nation children and family because it provided miniscule funding for the First Nation child welfare system despite facing a ruling on the issue from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal.Bellegarde said he needed to do an “analysis” of that budgeted dollar figure before he could make a determination on the issue.“We are not always going to get everything we want but it is a really positive start to closing that gap between the quality of life between First Nation people and non-First Nation people in Canada,” he said.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewslast_img read more

Cabinet to spend Rs 4500 crore to revive unserved underserved airports

first_imgNew Delhi: In a bid to boost regional air connectivity, the Cabinet Thursday approved a proposal to “revive and develop” a number of “un-served and under-served airports” across the country at a cost of Rs 4,500 crore.”Cabinet approves revival and development of un-served and under-served air strips of state governments, Airports Authority of India (AAI), civil enclaves, Central Public Sector Units (CPSU), helipads and water aerodromes,” a government statement read. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in JammuAccording to the statement, the government would spend Rs 4,500 crore on the entire exercise. “As an outcome, small cities/towns shall be connected on commencement of operation of flights to under-served/un-served airports,” the statement said. The government said the move will further boost economic development in these cities or towns as well as surrounding areas in terms of job creation and related infrastructure development. The regional connectivity scheme UDAN (Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik) seeks to connect unserved and under-served airports as well as make flying affordable. The revival of airports under UDAN is demand driven, depending on firm commitment from airlines and state governments for providing various concessions.last_img read more

Majda El Roumi to perform at Mawazine Festival

Rabat – Maroc Cultures Association has announced the participation of Lebanese soprano Majda El Roumi in the 14th edition of the Mawazine Rhytms of the World Festival. The diva will perform on Sunday May 31st, 2015 at Mohammed V Theater in Rabat.Majda El Roumi Baradhy, better known as Majida El Roumi, is one of the most successful singers of the Arab world, as well as a UN Goodwill Ambassador. This is the second time to see Majda El Roumi perform at Mawazine Festival after her first performance in 2010.Majda was born on December the 13th in 1957 in Lebanon. She is the daughter of Lebanese musician Halim El Roumi. As a child, she used to listen to the works of the great musicians of the Arab world such as Fairuz, Umm Kulthum, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Wadih Safi and Asmahan.In 1975, Majda released her first single “Am Behlamak” (I am dreaming of you, Lebanon), with collaboration with Lebanese poet Said Akl and musician Elias Rahbani.The 14 edition of Mawazine Festival which is scheduled to take place between May 29th and June 6th, 2015 in Rabat will also see the participation of Akon, Usher, American Pop Rock band Maroon 5, English Alternative rock band Placebo and Nigerian duo P-Square. read more

40000 Moroccan Jews visit Morocco Every Year Official

Taroudante – On Monday, Serge Berdugo, the Head of the Jewish Community Council in Morocco, addressed the commitment of the Jewish community to Morocco—their home of origins—and the preservation of their heritage in the Kingdom. He indicated that 40,000 Moroccan Jews living abroad visit the country every year.Berdugo, the Moroccan Ambassador-at-Large, delivered the speech in Casablanca at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, at the North American Conference of the Moroccan Jewish community. He stated that Judeo-Moroccan heritage dates back over 1,000 years, and that “the Jewish community is an integral part of the Moroccan identity. Its mission is, among others, to be loyal citizens participating in its development and to contribute to the strengthening of dialogue and peace.”The Moroccan Ambassador-at-Large also said that an important complex dedicated to young Jews will be inaugurated in Casablanca in the coming weeks to ensure “the sustainability of our community and our identity.” He added that currently, 25% of Moroccan Muslims attend Hebrew classes and Jewish religious education. According to Le360, the meeting at the Museum of Moroccan Judaism brought together a delegation of 60 Moroccan Jews who have settled in the United States and Canada. The conference was presided over by Anis Birou, Minister of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs, as well as Lahcen Haddad, Minister of Tourism.This month, a group of about 70 people, led by Louie Scheiner of New York, travelled to Morocco to visit the shrine of Sidi Bouissa Ossliman in the small village of Tagouroute, Taliouine, 200 kilometers away from Agadir.The video of the group of Jews wearing Moroccan garb went viral on social media networks.Edited by Katrina Bushko read more

UN project documents erosion on Africas coastlines hopes to foster action

Eleven hard-hitting national reports on coastal erosion, slated for discussion at the World Summit on Sustainable Development when it opens next month in Johannesburg, were just made public, marking the end of the fact-finding phase of the project, implemented by UNESCO and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The reports aim to kick-start “a new phase of action-research,” according to UNESCO, which highlighted some of the documents’ alarming findings. The seafront of Grand-Bassam, the colonial capital of Côte d’Ivoire, is “in danger of crumbling into the water,” while sections of the Nigerian coastline are disappearing at a rate of 20 to 30 metres each year. A number of the reports blame unsustainable development for the erosion. The report of Seychelles, which has 491 kilometres of coastline on its 455 square kilometres of territory, says “tourism is a primary cause of coastal erosion, mainly arising from attempts to cosmetically improve the beach and swimming areas, as well as the provision of marine facilities such as marinas and piers.” Although the Government has passed a wide range of laws to protect the environment, the report says “enforcement is often a major problem.” The Gambia report tells a similar tale, noting that “the beach fronts of most of the hotels have been washed away.” Patricio Bernal, Executive Secretary of UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission , voiced concern about this trend. “The pressure to attract investment for coastal tourist facilities that bring much-needed new jobs and revenue to developing countries, for example, often ends up with projects that do not meet minimum standards of coastal protection,” he said. “This is frustrating, since the scientific and technical knowledge to prevent it are available and good practices have been clearly defined.” read more

Barrick Gold chairman unveils plans for leaner more focused company

Barrick Gold chairman unveils plans for leaner more focused company by The Canadian Press Posted Feb 19, 2015 8:48 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email TORONTO – Barrick Gold chairman John Thornton is promising a leaner company with a disciplined focus on its best assets and a decentralized operating model that gives its mine operators more control.“When companies falter, it is usually because they’ve forgotten their original DNA — that is to say, what it is that made them distinctive and gave them their purpose and values and made them successful,” Thornton told analysts Thursday.“We believe the only way to recapture that is to consciously go back to the future and understand who we were, what made us distinctive, what gave us our purpose and our values and reinterpret that for the 21st century.”Barrick — which reported a US$2.85 billion fourth quarter loss after markets closed Wednesday — has struggled in recent years with weakness in the price of gold and problems developing its new mines.The company has written down the value of its operations, including its stalled Pascua-Lama project in South America, reduced its head office staff by nearly half, and eliminated layers of management between Toronto and Barrick’s mines.When it was announced in December 2013 that Thornton would take over as chairman of from Barrick founder Peter Munk, he suggested he would look at diversifying into other commodities.On Thursday, however, Thornton said Barrick would be focused on gold.“We have no plans to diversify into other metals and we have no plans to add to our existing copper position,” Thornton said.His comments followed Barrick’s announcement of a US$2.45 per share loss in its fourth quarter, compared with a loss of US$2.83 billion or US$2.61 per share in the same 2013 period when it had fewer shares.Revenue was US$2.51 billion, down from US$2.94 billion as the company sold fewer ounces of gold — 1.57 million versus 1.83 million — at an average realized price of US$1,204 per ounce compared with $1,272 in the 2013 fourth quarter.The most recent quarterly loss reflected the impact of US$2.8 billion in after-tax impairment charges primarily related to the Lumwana mine in Zambia and the Cerro Casale project in Chile. The year-earlier loss included asset impairments at Pascua-Lama, a development project on the Chile-Argentina border that has been stalled by environmental issues.The gold miner also said it plans to reduce its net debt by at least $3 billion this year and look to sell its Porgera joint venture in Papua New Guinea and Cowal mine in Australia. read more

Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices

Trump to request possible probe of China trade practices BEDMINSTER, N.J. – Even as he seeks Beijing’s help on North Korea, President Donald Trump plans to sign an executive order asking his trade office to consider investigating China for the alleged theft of American technology and intellectual property, an administration official said Saturday.That step is expected Monday but won’t come as a surprise to the Beijing government. There is no deadline for deciding if any investigation is necessary. Such an investigation easily could last a year.In a phone call Friday, Trump praised Chinese President Xi Jinping for backing the recent U.N. vote to impose tougher sanctions on North Korea, and the leaders reaffirmed their commitment to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. But Trump also told Xi about the move toward a possible inquiry into China’s trade practices, according to two U.S. officials familiar with that conversation. They were not authorized to publicly discuss the private call and spoke on condition of anonymity.Trump wants government officials to look at Chinese practices that force American companies to share their intellectual property in order to gain access to the world’s second largest economy. Many U.S. businesses must create joint ventures with Chinese companies and turn over valuable technology assets, a practice that Washington says stifles U.S. economic growth.Trump’s action amounts to a request that his trade representative determine whether an investigation is needed under the Trade Act of 1974. If an investigation begins, the U.S. government could seek remedies either through the World Trade Organization or outside of it.China’s foreign and commerce ministries did not immediately respond to faxed requests for comment Sunday.While Beijing has promised to open more industries to foreign companies, it also has issued new rules on electric car manufacturing, data security, internet censorship and other fields.Trump, who is on a working vacation at his New Jersey golf club, said Friday that he planned to be in Washington on Monday “for a very important meeting’” and “we’re going to have a pretty big press conference.” It was not immediately clear whether he was talking about trade was the subject.The administration official who confirmed that Trump would sign the order contended it was unrelated to the showdown with North Korea. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the order before Trump’s formal announcement.As the crisis has unfolded, Trump has alternated praising China for its help and chiding it for not ratcheting up pressure on its Asian neighbour.“I think China can do a lot more,” Trump told reporters Thursday. “And I think China will do a lot more.”Trump has escalated his harsh criticism of North Korea for days, tweeting Friday that the U.S. had military options “locked and loaded.” Xi, in his phone conversation with Trump, urged calm.“At present, relevant parties should exercise restraint and avoid words and actions that would escalate tensions on the Korean Peninsula,” Xi said, according to the statement provided by China’s government.Trump, in the past, has tied trade policy to national security. In April, he said he wouldn’t label China a currency manipulator, in return for help in dealing with North Korea. This past week, Trump said he could soften his views on trade if China stepped up its assistance, leading to speculation that the investigation could be a negotiating tactic.The forced sharing of intellectual property with Chinese firms has been a long-standing concern of the U.S. business community.A 2013 report by a commission co-chaired by Jon Huntsman, ambassador to China under President Barack Obama and Trump’s nominee to be Russian envoy, pegged the losses from US intellectual property theft at hundreds of billions of dollars annually that cost the U.S. economy millions of jobs.Trump has requested similar inquiries on trade, but the reports haven’t been delivered on deadline. Trump made addressing the U.S. trade deficit with China a centerpiece of his campaign last year and has suggested raising tariffs on goods from China.At the end of March, Trump asked the Commerce Department to prepare a report on the causes of the trade deficit, country by country and product by product, in 90 days. The report has yet to be released.Similarly, the president also asked for a review about whether steel and aluminum imports were jeopardizing national security. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had hoped to finish the review by June, but parts of it remain in the final stages of interagency review.___Boak reported from Baltimore. Associated Press writer Gillian Wong in Beijing contributed to this report.___Follow Boak on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JoshBoak and Lemire at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire FILE – In this July 8, 2017, file photo, U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and China’s President Xi Jinping arrive for a meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit in Hamburg, Germany. Trump is planning to sign an executive action asking the U.S. Trade Representative to consider investigating China for the theft of U.S. technology and intellectual property. He is taking the step even as he seeks China’s help with the ongoing crisis with North Korea. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP, File) by Josh Boak And Jonathan Lemire, The Associated Press Posted Aug 12, 2017 12:33 pm MDT Last Updated Aug 12, 2017 at 9:20 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Lesbian couple win legal battle after being denied IVF treatment that would

first_img“We are pleased that the CCG finally recognised this and agreed to review their policy so that other same-sex couples will not face an unfair disadvantage over heterosexual couples in the same situation.” A lesbian couple who wanted a baby were discriminated against over their sexuality after being denied access to funded IVF treatment which would have been given to same-sex partners.Laura Hineson and Rachel Morgan were told by their local NHS Clinical Commissioning Group they would have to spend £6,000 on six rounds of intrauterine insemination due to unexplained infertility.However, under Barnsley CCG’s policy, a heterosexual couple with similarly unexplained infertility would not need to undergo the same procedure before being granted access to IVF treatment.The couple enlisted law firm Leigh Day to look into claims of unlawful direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010 on the grounds of their sexuality.They argued there was a “clear inequality” in treatment between same-sex and heterosexual couples which impacted on their finances and the delay in conceiving.A review by Barnsley CCG found consultants were relying too heavily on the policy, rather than the individual circumstances of the case, and that changes had been made so there were no longer unfair advantages.In a statement, the couple said: “For us, this is about fighting for LGBT equality. We should have equal access to IVF treatment and a family, irrespective of the gender of the person we fall in love with.”  The couple ended up spending an extra £6,000 on treatmentCredit:Eve Hopkinson Rosa Curling, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, said: “It was clear to us that Laura and Rachel had faced direct discrimination due to their sexuality.center_img The couple ended up spending an extra £6,000 on treatment Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings.last_img read more

LETTER It is logical that the MCC is just stalling for

Sincerely,Mark Roopan Dear Editor,The Mayor and Councillors of the City of Georgetown have now agreed to postpone a vote on the fate of the metered parking system until later in the month, under the pretext that they wish to allow stakeholders and the wider public to read and comment on a report on metered parking, that found that Smart City Solutions (SCS) withheld vital information from the Council’s negotiating committee. Is this not called putting the cart before the horse? This is what the they should have done in the first place before signing the contract and rushing off to Mexico and Panama.The continued refusal by Smart City Solutions to provide proof of investment purportedly to the tune of US$10million, shows the continued disregard and disrespect they have, not only for the Fantastic Four whom they conned, the review committee and the Council, but indeed the citizens of Georgetown and Guyana.Don’t forget Ifa Kamau Cush, the man who helped engineer the controversial parking meter deal with the Council said and I quote “You’re not progressives. You are freeloaders; You lack the intestinal fortitude to control your own destiny. You all possess the mentality of slaves, indentured servants, incapable of generating wealth and building capacity.”Additionally, the methodology being used to sensitize the public of the contents of the report is most archaic and cumbersome, probably for some ulterior motive. Why does the Mayor expect persons to leave the comfort of their homes and offices where they could read the report in it’s entirety on their computers and smartphones, and comment on its contents online immediately and through social media if only the Council would put it up on their web page, Facebook page etc, and instead trek all the way down to Town Clerk and Treasurer’s offices and the National Library?But the suspension of the contract seems to indicate that it has more elasticity than a rubber band, where the Councillors could extend it as long and as many times as they like. This is at odds with what the Town Clerk had said to the Minister of Communities when he wrote him strongly suggesting that suspension of the parking meter contract with Smart City Solutions (SCS) would be impossible, after learning in the wake Cabinet’s decision, of their intention to ask the municipality to halt the deal for the next three months.The Town Clerk is said to have cautioned the Minister that if the contract is suspended, City Hall would have to pay for breach of contract and that Council could not accept the wide-ranging legal, financial and other fall-out. The Mayor and City Council has a 20 percent stake in the purported US$10 million project and SCS 80 percent.It is logical that the Council is just stalling for time, and citizens need to be wary that they have something sinister and ominous up their sleeves. The Council is not above the Courts of Guyana, they have to await its decision and stop wasting time having ill-advised reviews. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Related’Unholy insistence’ to continue with SCSI parking meter contract highly suspicious- JagdeoMarch 28, 2018In “Business”Letter: MAPM to resume protests if metered parking resumes under SCSDecember 5, 2017In “Letters”Mayor says Council open to scrutiny as probe into parking meter contract calledOctober 3, 2017In “latest news” read more

Scientists decode DNA of living fossil fish believed extinct for 70 million

first_imgSCIENTISTS HAVE DECODED the DNA of a celebrated “living fossil” fish, gaining new insights into how today’s mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds evolved from a fish ancestor.The African coelacanth (SEE-lah-kanth) is closely related to the fish lineage that started to move toward a major evolutionary transformation, living on land. And it hasn’t changed much from its ancestors of even 300 million years ago, researchers said.At one time, scientists thought coelacanths died out some 70 million years ago. But in a startling discovery in 1938, a South African fish trawler caught a living specimen. Its close resemblance to its ancient ancestors earned it the “living fossil” nickname.And in line with that, analysis shows its genes have been remarkably slow to change, an international team of researchers reported earlier this week in the journal Nature.Maybe that’s because the sea caves where the coelacanth lives provide such a stable environment, said Kerstin Lindblad-Toh, senior author of the paper and a gene expert at the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts.Two endangered speciesModern coelacanths make up two endangered species that live off the east coast of Africa and off Indonesia. They grow to more than five feet long and have fleshy fins.The coelacanth’s DNA code, called its genome, is slightly smaller than a human’s. Using it as a starting point, the researchers found evidence of changes in genes and in gene-controlling “switches” that evidently aided the move onto land. They involve such things as sense of smell, the immune system and limb development.Further study of the genome may give more insights into the transition to living on land, they said. Their analysis concluded that a different creature, the lungfish, is the closest living fish relative of animals with limbs, like mammals, but they said the lungfish genome is too big to decode.The water-to-land transition took tens of millions of years, with limbs developing in primarily aquatic animals as long as nearly 400 million years ago, by some accounts, and a true switchover to life on land by maybe 340 million years ago, said researcher Ted Daeschler.Daeschler, curator of vertebrate zoology at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia, who didn’t participate in the new work, said genome research provides a way to tackle some previously unanswerable questions in evolution.He emphasized that DNA is best used in combination with fossils.‘Great detective tool’“This is a great detective tool,” he said. “You might collect DNA evidence at a crime scene, but you can’t ignore the dead body…. With paleontology, we have the dead bodies.”Read: Bray Sea Life to display largest collection of seahorses in Ireland >last_img read more

Sparta Place commemorates the ANZACs

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram ANZAC Day was commemorated on Sparta Place in Brunswick Victoria, by an official party made up of Australian’s of Hellenic origins who gathered to pay homage to heroes of a bygone era and also to commemorate the Australians who served and died in Greece and in Papua New Guinea during WW2. The statue of King Leonidas was erected in Sparta Place in 2009, and it serves as a symbolic reminder that freedom should not be taken for granted and that those who made the ultimate sacrifice in support of freedom did not do so in vain.last_img read more

Stepping up to the plate for Easter

first_img Facebook Twitter: @NeosKosmos Instagram Whilst many of us enjoy the Easter celebration with copious amounts of Greek feasting foods, many disadvantaged Greek Australian families will go without at such a joyous celebration. The Greek Welfare Centre of Melbourne is thus currently calling upon the philotimo of the Greek community and Greek Australian businesses for the centre’s 2015 Easter food and toy appeal, which can change this reality for disadvantaged Greek Australian families. The annual appeal is run at Easter and Christmas, and is a service which provides much needed food and toys to around 300-350 families who struggle at these times. Families included in the appeal’s assistance comprise newly arrived migrants, expatriates, the elderly, single parent families and Greek families here on student visas who Edmond Kaferoglou, from the Greek Community Welfare Centre, says “are the most disadvantaged”.The appeal is one which sees Greeks from many different levels unite to help those in need. This year’s appeal will be made possible through the collective efforts of the Greek Orthodox Parishes, St John’s Greek Orthodox College, Oakleigh Grammar, the Greek Welfare Community and of course, you. Kaderglou further asserts that the Greek community “is very generous in its donations”; it is now time to see this altruistic Greek nature come further to life. Any non-perishable food items as well as toys, preferably new, are welcome to the appeal. For health and practical reasons, the collection is restricted to non-perishable items. These items may include: oil, pasta, rice, coffee, tea, sugar, biscuits, canned food (including vegetables, meats, hams etc.), sauces, flour, spices, snacks etc. Before purchasing or dropping off such items at the collection points, please check the use-by dates and that there are no ruptures to the packaging.Toys can also be donated. It is requested that toys are new, or at least as close to new as possible in their original packaging to ensure a pleasurable experience for the recipient children.Donations can be dropped off at any of the Greek Orthodox churches in Victoria, as well as at the Greek Welfare Centre at the Holy Monastery of ‘Axion Estin’ at 7 Hartington Street, Northcote. The last day for donations is Sunday April 5. It is at times of economic hardship that the Greek Australian community must be called upon to help those in need. Greek Easter is definitely one of these times. So now, we must adhere to the generous nature of the Greek culture, to unite, to pitch in and to work together to help bring happiness to those who need it. For more information, contact Edmond Kaderoglou at the Greek Welfare Centre on (03) 9486 6588.last_img read more

GSAT results are out

first_img Turks and Caicos, June 20th 2017 – Providenciales – The Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT) results are out and students have performed better. The Ministry of Education, Youth, Sports and Library Services officially made the announcement yesterday.The examinations, which were held on Wednesday 31st May and Thursday 1st June, now show an increase in the overall pass rate.  The pass rate in Mathematics increased by just under 8% and in English Language by almost 10% compared to 2016. However for Science, results showed a decrease in those passing the test, down 8.4% from 2016. There was also a decrease in the General Paper.The new Government in a press release emphasized their efforts to focus on Education, stating that the Ministry is undertaking strategies to provide continuous professional development for teachers and school staff; upgrading of the facilities in both primary and secondary schools; implementing a revised primary school curriculum with emphasis on facilitating learners who are STEM proficient and teaching English as a second language. The Ministry of Education will also be providing technological resources to promote learning in all public schools.Though there was an 80.45% success rate this year, of the 445 students who sat this year’s GSAT, still 87 children did not pass the examination, which serves as a mandatory pre-requisite to enter most high schools in the country.Story By: Kay-Marie Fletcher#MagneticMediaNews MOE report on schools physical preparation Related Items:#magneticmedianews, gsat, MOE Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Top performers for 2015 GSAT revealed by Ministry of Educationcenter_img NATIONAL GRADE SIX ACHIEVEMENT TEST (GSAT) Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Recommended for youlast_img read more

Vancouver woman killed by loose horse at Portland Meadows

first_imgA Vancouver woman was killed Thursday morning at Portland Meadows after being kicked by a loose horse.Horse trainer Charlynn Taketa, 62, was taking one of her two thoroughbred horses to a hot walker shortly after 7 a.m. when she was kicked in the head by another horse. She died about half an hour later, according to her husband, who was nearby when the accident occurred.“It was one of those freak accidents,” Charlynn’s husband, Jerry Taketa, said Thursday afternoon. “It happens every so often.”Jerry Taketa had just finished exercising the couple’s other horse when he returned to the barn. He found her on the ground and bleeding from the mouth. He said that paramedics from the track arrived soon after but were unable to do anything for her. “She died within 30 or 40 minutes” of being kicked, he said.Jerry Taketa doesn’t blame the horse for the accident. “Animals aren’t predictable, even if they’re friendly” he said.The two were married for 23 years. They met in Spokane in 1972, when Jerry jockeyed one of Charlynn’s horses to her first victory.Family friend Susan Scott of Vancouver said the accident is “more than awful.” Scott met the two when they owned three art galleries and a frame shop in Vancouver. Scott said the Taketas closed up shop in 2004 to get back into horse training.Portland Police and the Multnomah County Medical Examiner are looking into the incident, Portland Fire and Rescue spokesman Paul Corah said.last_img read more

Plastic in Snickers bar prompts Mars recall in 55 countries

first_imgMars Inc has recalled chocolate bars and other products in 55 countries, mainly in Europe, due to choking risk after a piece of plastic was found in a Snickers bar in Germany.All of the recalled products, which include Mars, Snickers and Milky Way bars, were manufactured at a Dutch factory in Veghel, a Mars spokeswoman said on Tuesday. They were sold in European countries including Germany, France and Britain, and in certain countries in Asia.The recall, in effect since Monday, follows a Jan. 8 complaint from a consumer in Germany, who found red plastic in a Snickers bar and sent it back to the company.”We cannot be sure that this plastic was only in that particular Snickers,” a spokeswoman from Mars Netherlands said. “We do not want any products on the market that may not meet our quality requirements, so we decided to take them all back.”It was not immediately clear how much the complex recall would cost the company, which is unlisted and therefore does not disclose detailed financial information. The spokeswoman declined to comment on financial implications of the recall, which is the first to affect the factory.Time delays between customer complaints and recalls are not uncommon since companies often receive notices, some fraudulent, about foreign objects in food, said Stephen Robb, a partner at Weightmans LLP in Leicester, who represents manufacturers and their insurers on product liability matters.Consumer product recalls can result in heavy reputational and financial hits, as Nestle learnt last year when it recalled its Maggi noodles from India after a package was found to have unsafe levels of lead.Cadbury’s 2006 recall of more than 1 million chocolate bars after a salmonella outbreak cost that company roughly 20 million pounds.Mars Netherlands said it was working closely with the Dutch food safety authority on the matter, according to a statement.The recall affected all Mars and Snickers products, Milky Way Minis and Miniatures as well as certain kinds of Celebrations confectionery boxes with best-before dates ranging from June 19, 2016 to Jan. 8, 2017. Those dates may not be the same in other countries, the spokeswoman said.Mars, based in Mount Olive, New Jersey, is one of the world’s biggest food companies, with 29 chocolate brands including M&M’s, Galaxy, Twix, Bounty and Maltesers. Aside from chocolate, Mars makes Wrigley gum, Uncle Ben’s Rice, Dolmio pasta sauce and Pedigree pet food.last_img read more

Sramik League leader among 2 killed in Sylhet clash

first_imgMap of SylhetTwo people, including a local Awami Sramik League leader, were shot to death and 20 others injured in a clash between two feuding groups at Baroikandi of Sylhet city on Tuesday, according to UNB.The deceased were identified as Masuk Ahmed, 50, vice-president of Sramik League’s Sadar upazila unit, and Babul Miah, 35, of the area.Locals said a clash took place between two groups of people of Baroikandi in South Surma over a trivial matter.As a sequel of the incident, the two groups again locked into a clash on Tuesday morning.A chase and counter-chase took place amid gunshots during the melee that left two people dead on the spot.Officer-in-charge of South Surma police station Khairul Fazal said the bodies were sent to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital for autopsy.last_img read more