New Delhi: The country’s national biometric ID Aadhaar can now be quoted for cash transactions of more than Rs 50,000 and all other purposes where traditionally income tax PAN number was a must, according to a top official. Banks and other institutions will make backend upgrades to allow acceptance of Aadhaar in all places where quoting PAN is now mandatory, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey said Saturday.This follows the Budget allowing interchangeability of PAN and Aadhaar for ease of compliance of taxpayers. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu”Today you have 22 crore PAN cards which are linked to Aadhaar. You have more than 120 crore people who have Aadhaar. Then supposing somebody wants PAN, he has to first use Aadhaar, generate PAN and then start using it. With Aadhaar the advantage would be he now does not have to generate PAN. So this is a great convenience,” he said. Asked if Aadhaar can be used for deposit or withdrawal of cash worth more than Rs 50,000 from bank accounts in place of PAN, Pandey said, “There also you can use Aadhaar”.
Tehran: Iran’s Revolutionary Guards denied on Thursday that they had impeded a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, the force’s Sepah news agency said. “There has been no confrontation in the last 24 hours with any foreign vessels, including British ones,” the Revolutionary Guards said in a statement. Britain said Thursday three Iranian boats had attempted to “impede the passage” of a British oil tanker in Gulf waters, forcing UK warship HMS Montrose to intervene. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingThe Guards’ statement said that if they were ordered to seize foreign vessels they would do so “immediately, decisively and speedily.” The incident follows the detention of an Iranian oil tanker by Britain on July 4 off the coast of Gibraltar, a tiny British overseas territory on Spain’s southern tip. The 330 metre (1,000 feet) Grace 1 tanker, capable of carrying two million barrels of oil, was halted by police and customs in Gibraltar with the aid of a detachment of British Royal Marines. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangIran condemned the detention as an “illegal interception,” but Gibraltar officials said that the cargo was believed to be destined for Syria, which is subject to European sanctions. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Britain on Wednesday of the “consequences” of what he described as “a foolish act”. “I point out to the British that you initiated insecurity (on the seas) and you shall grasp the consequences of it later on,” Rouhani said in comments to the cabinet broadcast by state TV. On Monday Iran’s defence minister had vowed to respond to Britain’s move. Calling the tanker seizure an act of maritime piracy, Brigadier-General Amir Hatami said it “will not be tolerated by us and will not go without a response.” The secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, a key advisory and arbitration body, warned that if Britain failed to release the tanker Iran would be forced to take tit-for-tat action. “If Britain does not release the Iranian oil tanker, the relevant authorities will be duty-bound to take reciprocal action and seize a British oil tanker,” said council secretary Mohsen Rezai. The incident follows a spike in Iranian-US tensions in recent weeks, with Washington blaming Tehran for multiple attacks on tanker ships, and the Islamic republic shooting down an American surveillance drone. It also comes as Europe mulls how to respond to Tehran breaching the uranium enrichment limit it agreed to under a landmark 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by the United States.
Young woman molested in Park Street one arrested
Kolkata: A young woman was allegedly molested on Thursday at Park Street while she was walking along the road. A person blocked her way and pulled her hand. She somehow managed to free herself from the clutches of the accused and called the police control room.After getting the distress call, police rushed to the spot within a few minutes and apprehended the accused. According to sources, the victim was walking along Mirza Ghalib Street on Thursday afternoon. All of a sudden, a man resembling a beggar blocked her way. When she tried to pass him by, he allegedly grabbed her hand and molested her. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersHowever, she somehow managed to free herself and screamed for help. Sensing danger, the accused person fled from the spot. Meanwhile, the woman called up the police control room and narrated the incident. Immediately, Officers in-Charge (OC) of Shakespeare Sarani and Park Street police station were informed and asked to act quickly. Upon receiving the information, both the OCs along with a few other police personnel rushed to the spot and found the woman waiting. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter police reached the spot, the woman told the officers that the accused person had fled along Mirza Ghalib Street. Wasting no time, police along with the woman started searching for the accused. After walking a few metres, the woman saw the accused and informed the police personnel. Immediately, he was detained. Later, the accused person, identified as Md Sadish, was arrested after the woman lodged a complaint. This is the third case in a month where police have acted promptly after receiving a distress call. In all the cases, the accused persons were arrested and necessary actions were taken. Sources have informed that Sadish is a footpath-dweller and used to live on the footpath of Mirza Ghalib Street.
New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP and senior Trinamool leader Manas Bhunia raised the pension-related issue of retired Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) teachers who are not getting pensions ‘inspite of repeated appeals’.Bhunia said, attacking the government that on one side it has announced a pension scheme for shopkeepers or businessmen, but on the other side around 1,400 retired KV teachers are not getting pensions, which is their fundamental right. The centre is not addressing this issue. “1,400 teachers and staff of Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, who joined before January 1, 1986, are not getting a pension… Many of them are suffering from life-threatening diseases, poverty, neuralgia etc. in spite of their dedicated service,” he mentioned. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!KVS follows the CCS pay rules of 1972 and CPF rules of 1962. The Government of India vides their memo number 4187P ICI dated May 1, 1987, had given a cutoff date of September 30, 1987, to the employees for exercising their options in case they desired to continue to be governed by the CPF scheme. In case no such option was exercised by the deadline, all the employees were deemed to have come to CPF scheme of GoI. It was also made clear that no extension for exercising option for continuing in the CPF scheme will be admissible as per the Government rules from October 1, 1987. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedHe further alleged that the employees were completely in the dark about this. No one had submitted an option before the deadline. All employees were deemed to be covered in the CPF pension scheme. Bhunia further claimed that apart from the apex court, courts of Madras, Jodhpur, Delhi and Central Administrative Tribunals gave the order for grant of pension to some teachers who came to them for justice. While teachers who won their cases are getting pension, the others are not.
New Delhi: The Rajya Sabha on Wednesday bid farewell to five of its members from Tamil Nadu who have completed six years of their term, with one of them, V. Maitreyan, breaking down while giving his farewell speech. The five retiring on July 24 are Maitreyan, D. Raja, K.R. Arjunan, R. Lakshmanan and T. Rathinavel. While Raja is from the CPI, all others are from AIADMK. House Chairman M. Venkaiah Naidu appreciated the contributions of the exiting members in law-making process and public service. Senior leaders noted that they will miss the presence of the five, especially Raja. There were lighter moments too. During his farewell speech, Maitreyan broke down. “After a long stint of 14 and a half years, this marks my sunset years.”
New Delhi: Delhi Power Minister Satyendar Jain inaugurated a ‘digital seva kendra’ of BSES in Paschim Vihar on Saturday to provide seamless and hassle-free services to consumers. In a statement, power distribution company BSES said the state-of-the-art digital service centre has been set up in the lines of Passport Seva Kendras. It will offer “quick, convenient and hassle-free single-window services” to consumers, the discom said. It stated that consumer can apply for a host of services such as new connection, and load, name and category change at the centre. The service centre, the seventh such facility run by BSES, will cater to over five lakh customers across Punjabi Bagh, Nangloi and Mundka.
New Delhi: Delhi witnessed traffic snarls on major thoroughfares on Tuesday morning due to the movement of kanwariyas. According to a senior traffic police officer, roads near Kalindi Kunj and the highway to Gurgaon were the most affected. The traffic movement will become normal by the afternoon, they said. Earlier on Sunday, the Delhi Traffic Police issued an advisory to ensure smooth movement of ‘kanwariyas’ on the pilgrimage route. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder According to the advisory, due to heavy pedestrian movement of Kanwarias on Monday and Tuesday, all motorists and public are asked to avoid Road number 13A and Agra Canal Road leading towards Noida. Kanwariyas are devotees of Lord Shiva. They visit Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri in Uttarakhand and Sultanganj in Bihar to fetch holy waters of the Ganges during the auspicious Hindu month of Shravan.This year, the kanwar yatra began on July 17.
London: The month-long suspension of the British parliament ordered by Prime Minister Boris Johnson in an apparent bid to stop MPs blocking his Brexit strategy will begin late Monday, his spokesman said. “Parliament will be prorogued at close of business today,” the spokesman said, using the parliamentary term for the suspension. He added it would take place regardless of the outcome of a government-led vote on holding a snap election next month. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USJohnson last month asked Queen Elizabeth II to close the Houses of Parliament until October 14, claiming it was needed to allow him to introduce a new domestic agenda. But the suspension’s timing and longer than unusual duration sparked uproar across the political spectrum, with critics calling it a “constitutional outrage” and a coup. Lawmakers opposed to a no-deal Brexit said it was clearly aimed at hobbling their efforts to prevent such a scenario, while it also prompted several so far unsuccessful court challenges. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHowever, the move appeared to backfire on Johnson by galvanising opposition MPs and Conservative rebels into passing legislation forcing him to seek a Brexit delay next month if he has not reached a deal with the EU. That law is expected to receive royal assent on Monday. Johnson responded to the Tory rebellion by kicking 21 MPs out of the party — including Winston Churchill’s grandson — and barring them from standing as Conservatives in the next election. The hardline response prompted a fresh revolt, with several ministers — including Works and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd — quitting the government and the party.
TORONTO – An intransigent property owner whose improvements to his rural land caused years of flooding to the adjacent lot must pay his distressed neighbour a hefty award, Ontario’s top court ruled Monday.In upholding the $390,000 award against Graziano Biadi, the Court of Appeal said the amount was reasonable given his years of misconduct at the expense of neighbour, Matthew Weenen.“The record clearly shows (Biadi) to be a bully who, for over a decade, repeatedly took steps designed to increase the value of his property knowing the harm these steps were causing to the respondent’s property and to the respondent personally,” the Appeal Court said in its ruling.Court records show Biadi bought his property just north of Ajax, Ont., in 2001. Starting in 2002, Biadi began adding fill to raise the property’s elevation to allow it to be used for farming. Ultimately, he dumped thousands of truckloads of material on the property.The problem, however, was that the changes resulted in severe flooding to Weenen’s property next door, and set off an ugly dispute between the neighbours.Evidence was also that Biadi improperly dug a drainage ditch that only made matters worse. He obstructed and failed to maintain a culvert under his driveway despite being told it was blocked and was increasing the flooding.“On two occasions, the appellant was caught on camera deliberately blocking the culvert,” the Appeal Court found.In November 2015, Superior Court Justice David Salmers ruled in favour of Weenen, who had sued for damages. Weenen alleged negligence and nuisance.In his decision, Salmers found Biadi’s conduct had “greatly increased the amount and speed of surface water” draining across the Weenen lands, resulting in extensive flooding. He also ruled Biadi was not credible as a witness.“He was often evasive,” Salmers said. “Often his testimony just did not make sense.”Ultimately, the trial judge awarded Weenen $250,000 in general damages related to the loss of use and enjoyment of his lands, including his frequently flooded workshop, and $15,000 for water damage to his chicken coop.Salmers also awarded Weenen another $125,000 in punitive damages given Biadi’s “egregious” behaviour that had caused his neighbour severe stress and stress-related problems.“It is very hard to imagine how difficult it has been for Mr. Weenen to live in these conditions for such a long time,” Salmers wrote. “For days on end, every year, he has seen this flooding on his lands, he has been unable to do anything about it, and he has known that his lands and sometimes some buildings were unusable as a result.”Biadi, who did not dispute the judge’s liability finding, appealed the amount of damages as excessive.The Appeal Court found no reason to interfere, saying the award of general damages was supported by the evidence, and that punitive damages were “clearly warranted.”“The amount of $125,000 for deterrence purposes is entirely reasonable,” the Appeal Court said.The court also awarded Weenen $50,000 in legal costs.
TORONTO – A national advocacy group is pushing for the government to repeal immigration criteria that it calls discriminatory toward people with disabilities.The Council of Canadians with Disabilities is calling for the repeal of a provision that bars immigrants with disabilities from settling in Canada on grounds that they could place too much demand on the country’s medical system. The group contends the practice is discriminatory and based on outdated, stereotypical ideas around disability.The council wants the government to drop the requirement from the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make sure disabled people are included in crafting a new, more inclusive procedure.The council will be among several groups speaking this week before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration.The committee is studying the country’s current criteria for the medical admissibility of prospective newcomers and will be holding sessions this week to hear views on the issue.Council First Vice-Chair John Rae says disability rights advocates don’t often get a seat at the table at the inception of a new policy, and the result often is that changes must be made later to address their uniquely complex needs.He hopes hearing a disabled perspective on medical inadmissibility criteria will help the committee shape new rules that are more in line with Canadian values.“In addition to being discriminatory in effect and impact, it is very demeaning because it assumes that persons with disabilities are inherently a burden on society,” Rae said of the current system. “We reject that idea.”The council plans to focus its feedback on a provision of the Act that explicitly singles out disabled applicants and places limits on their prospects of Canadian residency.Section 38-1C states that a person can’t be admitted to Canada if they have a health condition that “might reasonably be expected to cause excessive demand on health or social services.”Rae said that provision is based on an antiquated way of thinking of disability, which assumes that the condition a person has is directly responsible for any issues they may encounter.He said modern approaches to disability focus on a social model, which states difficulties disabled people contend with are more directly related to societal barriers caused by everything from inaccessible physical environments to non-inclusive legislation.He said Canada’s current laws also run counter to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Disabilities, which the government has signed on to.Article 18 affirms disabled people’s right to “liberty of movement, to freedom to choose their residence and to a nationality, on an equal basis with others,” principles Rae said the current system openly violates.Felipe Montoya, whose family ran afoul of the present rules in 2016, said change is long overdue.The York University professor originally from Costa Rica had to temporarily leave Canada when the government found that his 14-year-old son was not eligible for permanent residency because he has Down syndrome and might place an extra burden on the health system.Lawyers have previously said that in such cases, a finding of inadmissibility is often applied to the entire family.The ruling was ultimately overturned after a ministerial intervention, but Montoya said the current Act is unjust and risks shortchanging the country on both ethical and economic grounds.“It reduces the whole family to something one member is considered to lack,” he said. “It doesn’t at any point consider what the disabled person contributes, nor does it consider what the whole family contributes in taxes, in productivity, what they bring to the country.”Montoya is also planning to appear before the committee, which is studying medical inadmissibility criteria at the behest of provincial and territorial immigration ministers.The committee held its first set of hearings on the issue on Oct. 24 and has three more sessions scheduled.The federal government said it was reviewing the law and said every applicant has a chance to “demonstrate their ability and willingness to mitigate any cost impact on social services in Canada.”“No specific health condition results in an automatic rejection of an applicant,” said an emailed response from the government.At the previous meeting of the standing committee, Liberal MP Marwan Tabbara said the policy was in place to “maintain a balance between welcoming new members into society and protecting our publicly funded health care and social services.”Rae said he hopes Section 38-1C of the Act will ultimately be scrapped and called on the committee to ensure disabled groups have a say in any new law created to take its place.“We believe we need to be more involved in the design, development and implementation of any program that affects us,” he said. “Not at the end of the road when the decisions are almost finalized, but at the beginning when there’s still time to positively impact upon what is being developed.”—Follow @mich_mcq on Twitter.
The Canadian government has issued a safety and security warning for travellers visiting Playa del Carmen in Mexico.The advisory notes that the United States issued an alert on Wednesday warning American citizens that information had been received about a security threat in the coastal resort town.U.S. government employees are currently not allowed to travel to the area until further notice.The warning comes in the wake of an explosion last month on a tourist ferry in Playa del Carmen, which injured more than 20 people.Another explosive device was found on a ferry last week, but did not detonate.The Canadian notice, which comes as many are preparing for spring break vacations, warns travellers “to exercise a high degree of caution in Playa del Carmen” and avoid taking tourist ferries.Some cruise lines have cancelled excursions for customers that involved ferries in the area.———On the web: https://travel.gc.ca/destinations/mexico
BUFFALO, N.Y. – Authorities say a 77-year-old man has been arrested for trying to smuggle marijuana across the Canada-U.S. border in hockey bags in the trunk of his car.Federal prosecutors said Friday that Nerio Frank Fogazzi, of Canada, was arrested May 21 as he tried to enter the United States at the Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, New York to Fort Erie, Ontario.They say Fogazzi told a Customs officer he was coming to the United States to shop but he could not say where.Authorities say the officer inspected Fogazzi’s trunk and found 104 pounds (47 kilos) of marijuana inside two hockey bags and the spare tire cavity.Fogazzi was arrested on charges including importing marijuana from Canada into the United States.Information on an attorney for Fogazzi was not immediately available.
HALIFAX – A provincial court judge in Nova Scotia has been appointed to preside over the fatality inquiry into the deaths of Afghanistan war veteran Lionel Desmond and his family.The Nova Scotia judiciary issued a statement Thursday saying Warren K. Zimmer was appointed to the post by Judge Pamela Williams, chief judge of the provincial court.The provincial government promised an inquiry last December, almost a year after Desmond fatally shot himself and his mother, wife and 10-year-old daughter in rural home in Upper Big Tracadie, N.S.The 33-year-old soldier had been diagnosed with PTSD after two harrowing tours in Afghanistan in 2007.When the inquiry’s terms of reference were released in May, provincial Justice Minister Mark Furey said the Nova Scotia government hoped to learn the circumstances of the deaths and how they could be prevented in the future.Among other things, the inquiry will examine whether Desmond had access to appropriate mental health services, and whether his family had access to domestic violence intervention services.Zimmer will also consider whether health care and social services providers who interacted with Desmond were trained to recognize occupational stress injuries or domestic violence, and also whether Desmond should have been able to keep or obtain a licence enabling him to purchase a firearm.In addition, the final report is to consider if there were any restrictions in the flow of Veteran Affairs or Defence Department records to provincial health personnel.The rare probe will be the first in the province in over a decade.Zimmer was called to the Nova Scotia bar in 1978. He worked as a Crown prosecutor until 1983 when he entered private practice, specializing in criminal law. He was appointed to the bench in 2011.As well, the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service has appointed Allen Murray as the inquiry’s prosecutor.Murray, the chief Crown attorney in Antigonish, spent four years as a staff lawyer with Nova Scotia Legal Aid in Antigonish before joining the prosecution service in 2001.The start date for the inquiry has not been announced, but a spokeswoman for the judiciary confirmed hearings will start later this year. They will be held in Guysborough in eastern Nova Scotia, near the community where the deaths occurred.The push for an inquiry began with family members, after they expressed dissatisfaction with internal reviews.They have long said the veteran did not get the help he needed from Defence Department or Veterans Affairs.Some of them have also said they are anxious to learn what Desmond experienced overseas and how his increasingly debilitating mental illnesses were treated.However, a leading expert on public inquiries has said it remains uncertain whether the inquiry will be able to compel federal officials to testify at the hearings.Ed Ratushny, a University of Ottawa law professor, has said the inquiry may be unable to examine why Afghan veterans have been taking their own lives and, on rare occasions, the lives of others.More than 130 serving military personnel have taken their own lives since 2010, according to the Defence Department. 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.
Ontario’s premier is criticizing the federal government over cannabis a day before recreational pot becomes legal, saying police aren’t equipped to reliably screen for drug-impaired driving.Doug Ford said Health Canada has only approved one device to conduct roadside tests for cannabis and it may not give accurate results in the cold.In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ford said the federal government must give officers the tools they need to identify drug-impaired drivers.During a separate speech to the Ontario Provincial Police Association, Ford went further, saying the federal Liberals passed a law to legalize recreational cannabis and left the provinces to clean up “the mess.”“It was three years ago Justin Trudeau campaigned on legalizing cannabis. Three years later, the federal government still cannot give our police a single reliable piece of equipment to test for drug-impaired driving,” the premier said in his speech on Tuesday.“This is deeply concerning. And make no mistake, by rushing legal cannabis out of the door before ensuring police have the tools they need, the Trudeau Liberals are putting people at risk.”Trudeau, meanwhile, said legalization was necessary to protecting communities.“The current situation, the current prohibition on marijuana has not worked to protect our kids and to keep profits out of the pockets of organized crime,” he said.“By controlling it, by legalizing it, we’re going to make it more difficult for young people to access and we’re going to ensure that criminal organizations and street gangs don’t make millions, billions of dollars of profit every year.”Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has defended the approval of the Drager DrugTest 5000 roadside device that tests saliva for the presence of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The Canadian Society of Forensic Science examined the machine and the public had an opportunity to give feedback, she said.She has also noted that it’s not the only tool available to law enforcement officers — they can also use standard field sobriety tests — and has said additional testing devices could be approved in the future.Meanwhile, the head of the country’s police chiefs has said forces across Canada are fully prepared for marijuana legalization.Vancouver Chief Const. Adam Palmer, president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police, said Monday that officers have been policing drug-impaired drivers and illicit grow-ops for years.He said there are 13,000 officers trained in standard field sobriety testing in Canada and that number is expected to rise to 20,000 in the next several years. In addition, there are 833 certified drug recognition experts and 500 more are expected to be trained in the coming years.“I’m here to tell Canadians that the police are ready,” he said.
KATOWICE, Poland — After two weeks of bruising negotiations, officials from almost 200 countries agreed Saturday on universal, transparent rules that will govern efforts to cut emissions and curb global warming. Fierce disagreements on two other climate issues were kicked down the road for a year to help bridge a chasm of opinions on the best solutions.The deal agreed upon at U.N. climate talks in Poland enables countries to put into action the principles in the 2015 Paris climate accord.But to the frustration of environmental activists and some countries who were urging more ambitious climate goals, negotiators delayed decisions on two key issues until next year in an effort to get a deal on them.“Through this package, you have made a thousand little steps forward together,” said Michal Kurtyka, a senior Polish official chairing the talks.He said while each individual country would likely find some parts of the agreement it didn’t like, efforts had been made to balance the interests of all parties.“We will all have to give in order to gain,” he said. “We will all have to be courageous to look into the future and make yet another step for the sake of humanity.”The talks in Poland took place against a backdrop of growing concern among scientists that global warming on Earth is proceeding faster than governments are responding to it. Last month, a study found that global warming will worsen disasters such as the deadly California wildfires and the powerful hurricanes that have hit the United States this year.And a recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, concluded that while it’s possible to cap global warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century compared to pre-industrial times, this would require a dramatic overhaul of the global economy, including a shift away from fossil fuels.Alarmed by efforts to include this in the final text of the meeting, the oil-exporting nations of the U.S., Russia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait blocked an endorsement of the IPCC report mid-way through this month’s talks in the Polish city of Katowice. That prompted an uproar from vulnerable countries like small island nations and environmental groups.The final text at the U.N. talks omits a previous reference to specific reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and merely welcomes the “timely completion” of the IPCC report, not its conclusions.Last-minute snags forced negotiators in Katowice to go into extra time, after Friday’s scheduled end of the conference had passed without a deal.One major sticking point was how to create a functioning market in carbon credits. Economists believe that an international trading system could be an effective way to drive down greenhouse gas emissions and raise large amounts of money for measures to curb global warming.But Brazil wanted to keep the piles of carbon credits it had amassed under an old system that developed countries say wasn’t credible or transparent.Among those that pushed back hardest was the United States, despite President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris climate accord and promote the use of coal.“Overall, the U.S. role here has been somewhat schizophrenic — pushing coal and dissing science on the one hand, but also working hard in the room for strong transparency rules,” said Elliot Diringer of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a Washington think-tank .When it came to closing potential loopholes that could allow countries to dodge their commitments to cut emissions, “the U.S. pushed harder than nearly anyone else for transparency rules that put all countries under the same system, and it’s largely succeeded.”“Transparency is vital to U.S. interests,” added Nathaniel Keohane, a climate policy expert at the Environmental Defence Fund. He noted that breakthrough in the 2015 Paris talks happened only after the U.S. and China agreed on a common framework for transparency.“In Katowice, the U.S. negotiators have played a central role in the talks, helping to broker an outcome that is true to the Paris vision of a common transparency framework for all countries that also provides flexibility for those that need it,” said Keohane, calling the agreement “a vital step forward in realizing the promise of the Paris accord.”Among the key achievements in Katowice was an agreement on how countries should report their greenhouses gas emissions and the efforts they’re taking to reduce them. Poor countries also secured assurances on getting financial support to help them cut emissions, adapt to inevitable changes such as sea level rises and pay for damages that have already happened.“The majority of the rulebook for the Paris Agreement has been created, which is something to be thankful for,” said Mohamed Adow, a climate policy expert at Christian Aid. “But the fact countries had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the finish line shows that some nations have not woken up to the urgent call of the IPCC report” on the dire consequences of global warming.But a central feature of the Paris Agreement — the idea that countries will ratchet up their efforts to fight global warming over time — still needs to be proved effective, he said.“To bend the emissions curve, we now need all countries to deliver these revised plans at the special U.N. Secretary General summit in 2019. It’s vital that they do so,” Adow said.In the end, a decision on the mechanics of an emissions trading system was postponed to next year’s meeting. Countries also agreed to consider the issue of raising ambitions at a U.N. summit in New York next September.Speaking hours before the final gavel, Canada’s Environment Minister Catherine McKenna suggested there was no alternative to such meetings if countries want to tackle global problems, especially at a time when multilateral diplomacy is under pressure from nationalism.“The world has changed, the political landscape has changed,” she told The Associated Press. “Still you’re seeing here that we’re able to make progress, we’re able to discuss the issues, we’re able to come to solutions.”___Read more stories on climate issues by The Associated Press at https://www.apnews.com/ClimateFrank Jordans, The Associated Press
MONTREAL — When Erica Fagan and her fiance started looking for a new apartment in their St-Henri neighbourhood, they thought they had reasonable criteria: they wanted a two-bedroom place where they could bring their own appliances and their cat, Odin.But when she started looking, the 31-year-old found there was almost nothing in her price range of $1,200-a-month, much less a two-bedroom that accepted animals. Affordable apartments that were posted online were scooped up almost immediately, leading to her to constantly scour Kijiji, Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.“I would say within the hour of some places going up they’d get so many replies (the owner) couldn’t answer any more,” Fagan said in a phone interview.“Someone we know is a homeowner in St-Henri, and her neighbour said that within an hour of putting up her duplex for rent, she got about 300 responses.”Fagan’s story has become a common one this year in Montreal, where the lowest vacancy rate in decades has led to a mad scramble to find housing and, according to housing advocates, is threatening the city’s reputation for affordable rent.Fagan and her fiance managed to find a new apartment meeting their criteria, but it meant leaving St-Henri for nearby Cote-des-Neiges, where they’ve settled in to the top unit of a fourplex.“We’re happy, we love the area and it has everything we need, but we’re a little sad we were priced out (of St-Henri),” she said.Francis Cortellino, an economist for the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, says the city’s vacancy rate last year dropped to 1.9 per cent, the lowest it has been since the early 2000s.Cortellino attributes the tight rental market to the arrival of a large number of non-permanent residents in the city, namely temporary workers, international students and refugees. He said the vacancy rate declined despite a record-high 10,000 rental housing starts last year.The fact that some millenials are delaying home ownership and the imminent retirement of baby boomers who downsize into apartments are other factors that could continue to affect demand and price, he said.But Patricia Viannay, a community organizer with Montreal housing advocacy group POPIR, identifies other reasons. She said the organization has seen a rise in cases of so-called “renovictions,” when landlords use major renovations as a way to get around the province’s rules on evictions and rent increases.“They’re creating the housing shortage by not renting their apartments,” because they would rather wait to be able to hike the price substantially after a period of sitting empty or rent them on Airbnb.Viannay’s group knows firsthand the effects of gentrification. After 50 years on Notre-Dame Street in St-Henri, POPIR is currently moving its offices after their building’s new owner raised the rent beyond what it could afford.As renters like Fagan compete for housing, Rebecca Bain sits alone in her apartment in a sixplex, surrounded by five empty units that were once affordable rentals.The sound of banging and sawing echoes through the walls of her small, bright apartment as construction workers in the adjacent units rip out almost-new counters and strip the walls and floors bare.The 53-year-old musician says the other apartments are vacant not in spite of the housing shortage, but because of it.Bain’s cheerful St-Henri apartment is filled with plants, family photos and nods to her love of medieval music and of cats. When she moved in two years ago, she considered herself lucky to have a found a clean, renovated apartment within her price range.However, last fall her building and three others were bought by a developer, who wants to convert the building into luxury apartments and raise the rent far beyond the $755 she pays each month.While her neighbours acquiesced to the new landlord’s request to move out, Bain is staying put. She says she knows her rights as a tenant and is willing to fight for them, but she’s sad about the loss of the other affordable apartments and the effects on her fellow tenants, some of whom are elderly or have children.“Since when did having an affordable, clean decent home become a luxury?” she said.Montreal’s city councillor responsible for housing, Robert Beaudry, says the city is aware of the pressure being put on housing and has no intention of letting the city become like Toronto or Vancouver, where average rents last year were more than $1,300 compared with Montreal’s $796.In recent months, the city has moved to limit short-term rentals such as those offered on Airbnb, rolled out a plan to help renovate aging buildings and promised to create 12,000 new social and affordable housing units by 2021.This summer, the city also plans to table a bylaw that will require developers to include more social, affordable and family housing in their buildings.“Montreal is a mixed city, on a human scale, where all kinds of people can live,” Beaudry said.Viannay said that while the current administration has expressed more willingness to tackle the problem, it remains to be seen whether they’ll follow through.She says there’s a desperate need for social housing, and it can’t some soon enough in a city where almost 100,000 people are estimated to be renting beyond their means.And that’s a situation that will only get worse due to the current housing crunch, where families are finding themselves crammed into too-small dwellings or forced to uproot altogether.“By forcing people to leave their neighbourhoods, there is all this social fabric that disappears,” she says.Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The Canada Border Services Agency will soon force all border-security officers working with detained migrants to wear defensive gear, drawing widespread concern over a perceived “criminalization” of asylum-seekers.The mandatory equipment includes batons, pepper spray and bulletproof vests.The national policy was adopted internally last year after CBSA began moving what it deems “higher-risk immigration detainees” from provincial jails, where they were being held for security purposes, into one of the agency’s three immigration holding centres.Information obtained under access-to-information law shows the agency decided all officers working in these centres must be outfitted in protective and defensive equipment to ensure a common operational approach.But the changes have sparked concern this will create an environment in immigration detention centres akin to jail conditions and create a perception that all detained migrants in Canada are “criminals” worthy of punishment.A group of doctors, lawyers, legal scholars and human-rights organizations have called on Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale to cancel the policy — calls they say have been ignored.Teresa Wright, The Canadian Press
Camille Bains, The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — A national research group recommends health-care providers offer injectable medical-grade heroin or another prescription drug to severely addicted patients if treatment with oral medication has not worked to reduce cravings for people who could die from toxic street drugs.Dr. Nadia Fairbairn, an addiction specialist at St. Paul’s Hospital, said a guideline published Monday in the Canadian Medical Association Journal outlines best practices for innovative treatment that has been lacking during an overdose crisis that claimed 4,460 lives in Canada last year.“I think we really are going to need to think about how history’s going to look back on this era where we’re losing so many Canadians to a totally preventable cause like opioid fatalities,” said Fairbairn, the lead investigator for the Canadian Research Initiative on Substance Misuse, a research consortium.Key recommendations in the guideline include the use of the injectable opioids diacetylmorphine, or pharmaceutical-grade heroin, and hydromorphone for patients who shoot up illicit opioids and have not responded to the most effective oral treatments — methadone and buprenorphine.The Crosstown Clinic in Vancouver is the only facility in North America that provides diacetylmorphine, which is imported from Switzerland, as well as hydromorphone, another safer substitute for heroin recommended by the initiative, which consists of 32 members including Canadian health-care practitioners, opioid users and their families.The Vancouver-based Study to Assess Longer-term Opioid Medication Effectiveness, published in 2016 in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry, found injectable hydromorphone and diacetylmorphine are equally effective at treating severely addicted heroin users who don’t respond to oral therapy. It included 202 patients.An earlier study, the North American Opiate Mediation Initiative, which took place in Vancouver and Montreal between 2005 and 2008, suggested diacetylmorphine is an effective treatment for chronic heroin users when methadone does not work.The recommendations are a blueprint for health-care practitioners on screening patients who would benefit from injecting the two injectable opioids under medical supervision, said Fairbairn, who is also a research scientist at the BC Centre on Substance Use.Hydromorphone is also provided at a limited number of other clinics in British Columbia, some of which provide pills that users crush before injecting.Dr. Scott MacDonald, the lead physician at the Crosstown Clinic, said the heroin substitute is available at about 10 clinics across Canada for chronic injection-drug users.He said 125 patients are currently registered to inject diacetylmorphine at Crosstown, and 25 people are given hydromorphone.The rigorous program requires patients to inject at the facility under medical supervision three times a day at an annual taxpayer-funded cost of about $27,000 per patient, MacDonald said.Overall societal costs would be higher if chronic drug users continued committing crimes to get their fix, raising policing levels and using health-care resources from overdosing or getting infections from used needles, he said.“If we’re able to show that a new treatment is both more effective and more cost-effective it should be expanded. That should be an easy decision for health-care decision-makers, just looking solely at the evidence.”MacDonald said diacetylmorphine should be domestically produced to reduce reliance on Switzerland’s supply and he believes that could happen sometime next year.“The bulk of the raw materials for methadone and diacetylmorphine is currently produced in the United Kingdom. It’s just an agricultural product and there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be produced on an agricultural scale in Canada,” he said.Health Canada said drug manufacturers that wish to market a drug are required to file a submission for the department’s scientific review and approval.“Health Canada has had discussions with companies expressing a possible interest in seeking market authorization for diacetylmorphine in Canada but to date, no submission has been received for review,” it said in a statement.Along with its recommendations, the research initiative published an operational guideline on how health-care practitioners could set up clinics to provide the injectable therapy that is most prevalent in British Columbia.Online training is currently provided in the province through the BC Centre on Substance Use and is available to physicians across the country. The centre says that while Health Canada permits both doctors and nurse practitioners to prescribe the recommended injectable opioids, training requirements are determined by each province.“Aspiring prescribers are therefore advised to work with local health authorities,” the centre said in a statement.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 23, 2019.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
Vanity Fair Presents Campaign Hollywood 2013
D.J. Night with L’Oréal Paris – Tuesday, February 19 – Actress and L’Oréal Paris spokesperson, Freida Pinto, will join Vanity Fair and L’Oréal Paris to host a chic party at the newly reopened Teddy’s restaurant at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel featuring an exclusive performance by D.J. AcE. This invitation-only event will benefit 10 × 10, a campaign that supports the education of girls around the world through film and social media advocacy. Barneys New York Dinner to Toast Silver Linings Playbook – Wednesday, February 20 – Vanity Fair and Barneys New York will host a private dinner at the Chateau Marmont to toast the cast of the Academy Award–nominated film Silver Linings Playbook in support of The Glenholme School, a center of Devereux and a therapeutic school for students with special needs. Chrysler Brand Toast to Les Misérables – Wednesday, February 20 – Vanity Fair and the Chrysler brand will host a private cocktail party at Eveleigh restaurant to toast the cast of the Academy Award–nominated film Les Misérables in support of The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education. Vanity Fair vice president and publisher Edward J. Menicheschi has announced the slate of events for the 14th installment of Campaign Hollywood, the magazine’s annual, week-long celebration leading up to the Academy Awards.Co-sponsored by Vanity Fair advertisers including the Chrysler brand and L’Oréal Paris, Campaign Hollywood reflects the glamour, art, and excitement of Oscar Week in Hollywood, while spotlighting brands and charities in a way that only Vanity Fair can. This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the magazine.The Chrysler brand has returned as the automotive sponsor of Campaign Hollywood 2013 for the third year. By partnering with Vanity Fair, Chrysler will allow the magazine’s V.I.P. guests to arrive in luxury throughout Campaign Hollywood week in the sophisticated and smart 2013 Chrysler 300, as well as experience the latest 2013 Fiat 500. In addition, Chrysler will host a private cocktail party at Eveleigh restaurant to toast the cast of the Academy Award–nominated film, Les Misérables, in support of The Los Angeles Fund for Public Education on Wednesday, February 20.L’Oréal is once again the exclusive beauty sponsor of Campaign Hollywood. L’Oréal Paris, Lancôme, and Clarisonic brands will be represented at select events throughout the week by way of product displays, sampling, and touch-up stations. The beauty brand also will host D.J. Night with actress Freida Pinto, featuring a special performance by D.J. AcE to support 10 × 10, a campaign that supports the education of girls around the world through film and social media advocacy.In celebration of Campaign Hollywood, Vanity Fair will host dedicated Campaign Hollywood displays throughout the week at Hollywood and Highland and Westfield Century City. Consumers will have the opportunity to interact with a branded Campaign Hollywood Chrysler Varvatos 2013 Luxury Edition display at Hollywood and Highland and a 2013 Fiat 500c display at Westfield Century City. Select Campaign Hollywood partners will be distributing product giveaways and prizes throughout the week. In addition, consumers will be encouraged to strike a pose in front of the vehicle displays and upload via Instagram, for a chance to win curated prizes from Vanity Fair and select partners. As an added bonus, Monday through Saturday afternoons, a makeup artist will be on-site at Hollywood and Highland to provide red carpet touch-up looks by L’Oréal Paris. Additionally, shoppers will have the opportunity to have their photo taken in the Vanity Fair Oscar night party photo booth which will be displayed in Barneys New York, Beverly Hills throughout the week.“This year, Vanity Fair is celebrating its 100th anniversary, so it’s particularly fitting that we’re leading off with our favorite time of year—Oscar week,” Menicheschi said. “We have a blue-chip lineup of sponsors each with their own unique connection to Hollywood, and we’re thrilled to be able to raise a glass to the dreamers and the doers who make this one of the most remarkable places on earth.”The Campaign Hollywood 2013 schedule of events is as follows: “Vanities” Calendar Celebration with Juicy Couture – Monday, February 18 – Vanity Fair and Juicy Couture, along with Vanity Fair senior west coast editor Krista Smith and The Newsroom actress and former “Vanities” subject Olivia Munn, will kick off Campaign Hollywood week by hosting the “Vanities” Calendar Celebration in support of the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, a member of Feeding America, at the Chateau Marmont. This invitation-only reception will feature a mix of past “Vanities” subjects, celebrities, and industry insiders, with music by D.J. Ms. Nix. Beauty Luncheon with Lancôme and Clarisonic – Thursday, February 21 – Vanity Fair will join Lancôme and Clarisonic for a day of pampering hosted by Vanity Fair beauty director SunHee Grinnell at the Argyle Salon & Spa at Sunset Tower Hotel. Hollywood’s top makeup artists will be treated to Clarisonic facials, Lancôme makeup touch-ups, spa treatments, and a light lunch at this intimate, invitation-only event to benefit 10 × 10, a campaign that supports the education of girls around the world through film and social media advocacy. “Una Notte Verde” with Fiat – Thursday, February 21 – Vanity Fair and Fiat, along with Academy Award–winning composer Hans Zimmer and Academy Award–winning director Ron Howard, will host “Una Notte Verde,” a cocktail party at Cecconi’s West Hollywood to benefit The United Nations’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Green Jobs Programme. This invitation-only reception will feature celebrity guests, industry insiders, and supporters of the ILO, the U.N. agency, which sets international standards and promotes and protects fundamental rights at work.
Paul Rudd Surprises Kids At AntMan Screening
A group of lucky kids in NYC got the surprise of their lives this week when a real life superhero joined them at a charity film screening.Kids from Big Brothers Big Sisters NYC and SAY – the Stuttering Association for the Young – had gathered to watch a special screening of the new blockbuster Ant-Man when the film’s star, Paul Rudd, joined them.“It was the first time I could have a screening for kids for one of the movies I’ve done,” Rudd told the NY Daily News. “I know a lot of these kids for years, so it was really fun to stand up there while they were sitting there with their three-D glasses.”Rudd has supported SAY for a number of years.To read more about his visit to the screening, click here.