Kolkata: State Education minister Partha Chatterjee made it clear on Thursday that the state government is working on gainful utilisation of surplus teachers in a number of schools in the state. He also announced that school uniforms for students will be procured through a transparent tender process.”We have found out that in a number of schools there are few students but teachers are in a surplus. This cannot be accepted. Teachers will have to go to those schools where there is a dearth,” Chatterjee said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe minister chaired a review meeting with the District Inspectors (DI) and School Inspectors (SI) along with other officials in the district level and took stock of the various government schemes and their implementation and stumbled upon irregularities associated with various government schemes at the school level. School Education secretary Manish Jain pulled up some DIs and SIs for placing demand of more uniforms or shoes than was actually required in the schools of the district. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed our officials to ensure that the various schemes reach the beneficiaries properly. We organise meetings from time to time to take stock. Wherever we will find irregularities, strong action will be taken,” he added. According to sources who attended the meeting, Nadia’s DI has requisitioned for 79,000 bags and shoes for Class V. But it has been found that the total student strength in the class is 62,000. In West Midnapore, the department had dispatched 84,000 bags for class V but the student strength is 65,000. DI Howrah also faced questions from the Education secretary for demanding 84,000 bags against a student strength of 63,000 in class V. DI Jalpaiguri could not answer to a query on why a school in Nagrakata has been lying closed.
New Delhi: There is no proposal to hike rail fare even as price of diesel has gone up as a result of increase in excise duty and cess, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal said in the Rajya Sabha on Friday. “At present, there is no proposal to change fares because of diesel price increase,” he said. Goyal also said that consumption of diesel by the Railways has been coming down over the years as it was moving to electric traction and there is a plan for 100 per cent electrification by 2022. During the Question Hour, Congress leader B.K. Hariprasad wanted a reply from the Railway Minister on whether fluctuation in petroleum products would have its impact on passenger and freight fares. While presenting the Budget earlier this month, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman proposed to increase excise duty and cess each on petrol and diesel by Re 1 per litre. The Railways is the third largest consumer of diesel in the country but it has been fast moving to green energy in a big way to reduce carbon footprint and protect the environment. Goyal had earlier said that the public transporter consumes about 1.27 per cent of the total electricity consumption of the country and three per cent of diesel for its energy needs.
Australian star Markella Kavenagh is the first actor to join the cast of Amazon’s much-awaited ‘Lord of the Rings’ series. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actor, who has featured in shows such as ‘Romper Stomper’, ‘The Cry’ and ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’, will portray the role of Tyra. Further details of her character are yet to be revealed. The streamer had recently announced that ‘Jurrasic World: Fallen Kingdom’ helmer JA Bayona will be directing the first two episodes of the show. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainHe will also serve as executive producer alongside partner Belen Atienza. Bryan Cogman, who worked as a writer and co-executive producer on ‘Game of Thrones’, also boarded the project as a series consultant. He is helping out the writing team of Patrick McKay and JD Payne, who were announced as series developers last year. Amazon has made a multi-season production commitment to the TV series. It will produce the show in cooperation with the Estate of J R R Tolkien, publishing house HarperCollins, and New Line Cinema, a division of Warner Bros. However, the series will not be a retelling of Peter Jackson’s Oscar-winning trilogy. It will explore story set before the events in the first LOTR novel, ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’.
New Delhi: Top Congress leaders on Saturday condoled the death of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, with the party saying it was deeply saddened to hear about his demise.Jaitley, 66, who died in AIIMS at 12.07 pm was undergoing treatment at the hospital for a few weeks. He was admitted there on August 9. “We are deeply saddened to hear the passing of Shri Arun Jaitley. Our condolences to his family. Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this time of grief,” the Congress said. “I am sorry to hear about Arun Jaitley’s passing. My condolences to his family and friends. May he rest in peace,” Congress’ former president Rahul Gandhi tweeted. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The party’s chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “Saddened to know about the demise of Shri Arun Jaitley. My deepest condolences to his family. An astute parliamentarian, he’ll always be remembered. May his soul Rest in Peace.” Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel said, “Extremely saddened to learn about the demise of Arun ji. In him the nation has a lost an articulate leader and an excellent human being.” Noted lawyer and former union minister Kapil Sibal said he has lost an old friend and a dear colleague in Jaitley. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Very sorry to learn that Arun Jaitley is no more . An old friend and a dear colleague will be remembered for his seminal contributions to the polity and as FM of India . As Leader of Opposition he was without match . He always stood steadfastly for his friends and for his party,” he said. Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said, “Deeply saddened to know of untimely demise of former Union minister and senior BJP leader, Sh Arun Jaitley. My heartfelt condolences to his family members. May God give them strength. May his soul rest in peace.” Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said Jaitley’s death is a great loss for the country. “Deeply saddened by the tragic passing of my friend Delhi Univ senior Arun Jaitley. We first met when he was at DUSU and I was President of St Stephen’s College Union. Despite political differences we enjoyed a healthy mutual respect and debated his Budget often in LS. A great loss for India,” he tweeted.
Coimbatore: High security alert continued in the district for the third day on Sunday, with places of worship especially churches being brought under heightened vigil in the wake of intelligence inputs on infiltration of LeT terrorists into Tamil Nadu. Three people taken into custody here on Saturday on suspicion of being in touch with a man detained in Kerala for alleged links with terrorists were released after questioning, police said. The trio was let off on the condition that it should appear before the police whenever required, they said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Tight security measures including intensified vehicle and baggage checks continued across the city, where a high alert has been sounded since Friday following information that terrorists have entered the state and were heading here. The entire state is on alert with sensitive installations in places of large congregation coming under police vigil. Since the terrorists entered the country by sea from Sri Lanka, police suspected they may carry out attacks on places of worship, particularly churches, where a large number of faithful gather on Sunday.
New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday paid last respects to Lieutenant Colonel Gaurav Solanki, an Indian peacekeeper who drowned while kayaking in the Democratic Republic of Congo.Kejriwal participated in the last rites of the Army officer and spoke to his family members. “Late Lieutenant Colonel Gaurav Solanki, who was posted with the India contingent in the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo, was supposed to return in a few days,” he tweeted. “I participated in his last rites and paid my respects to him. May god give his family the strength to bear this loss,” he added. The Army officer went to Lake Kivu on September 8 for kayaking but did not return.
Slightly better than expected Canadian unemployment numbers don’t tell the whole story. There are pros and cons which come along with them.Express Employment Professionals CEO Robert Funk said a lot of temporary workers seemed to find full time work.“The part time workers fell, and the full time workers increased, so, that’s the encouraging news,” he said.The discouraging news is that the labour participation rate went down, approaching a ten-year low.“Which means there are still a lot of people sitting on the sidelines who have not decided to go back to work and of course, that’s be a challenge through the last five or ten years,” explained Funk, adding there are a couple reasons for that.“We’re seeing more people who have increased government benefits feel it’s just as economically viable for them to stay off the job force,” he said.The other reason is a skills gap.Funk explained it’s not high skilled work either. The need is for more semi-skilled workers such as refrigeration operators and welders which may only take a couple years of education.Those jobs are paying very well right now, as much as $60,000 right out of school.The hardest people to employ are those with four year arts degrees.
OTTAWA – Quebec businesswomen Isabelle Hudon has been named Canada’s new ambassador to France.She replaces former Conservative MP Lawrence Cannon, who announced in June he would be leaving the post this month.Hudon had been executive chair of Sun Life Financial Quebec and senior vice-president, client solutions, for Sun Life Financial Canada.From 2004 to 2008, Hudon was president and chief executive officer of the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal and then served as president of Marketel until joining Sun Life Financial.Cannon, a former Conservative foreign affairs minister, was named ambassador by then-prime minister Stephen Harper in 2012.His term was to have expired last spring, but was quietly extended.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada-France relations are based on strong cultural ties and a commitment to shared goals.“Canada and France are true partners and true friends, much of which can be attributed to what we share — a common language, a common history and a common set of values,” she said in a statement.Cannon marked his departure with a tweet: “Ending my mandate … inspired by all the encounters I made, honoured to have served my country as ambassador. Thank you @CanEmbFrance.”
VANCOUVER – Canadian crooner Michael Buble says he feels privileged to be hosting the 2018 Juno Awards, a music industry gala he describes as “my happy place.”The British Columbia native had been tapped to lead the music awards show last year before he bowed out when his eldest son, Noah, was diagnosed with cancer.“It’s been a rough year, for not just me. I’m sure it’s been a rough year for a lot of people,” Buble said, speaking at a Junos event in Vancouver on Tuesday.“The fact is, in troubled times we get to have one night to really, really celebrate Canadian music and all of these beautiful things. I thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to handle that again.”The 47th annual Juno Awards will be staged at Rogers Arena in Vancouver on March 25, 2018.Buble, who was born in Burnaby, B.C., announced earlier this month he was getting back to work next year, with events booked in Dublin and London in July 2018.He and his wife, Argentine actress Luisana Lopilato, had said last year they would put their careers on hold while their son received treatment for an unspecified form of cancer.Buble said in February that Noah, now four, was progressing well and that doctors were “very optimistic” about his future, as he described his son’s courage as an inspiration.Buble is a 12-time Juno award winner and hosted the gala in Regina in 2013.This is the fourth time the event has been held in Vancouver.The city’s mayor, Gregor Robertson, thanked the Junos team for bringing the week-long celebration of Canadian music back to Vancouver.Robertson, who was also mayor when the Junos were last in Vancouver in 2009, said he thinks the city can do “a lot better” this time.“We were a little distracted by a big, giant thing we were taking on in 2010, which some of you might remember: The Olympics and Paralympics,” he said. “But we are really excited to have the Junos back.”The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which runs the Junos, announced earlier this year it is reinstating the comedy album of the year category after a 33-year hiatus.Singer Bryan Adams and comedian Russell Peters stepped in to host the 2017 Junos in Ottawa after Buble cancelled.The event became controversial after Peters made comments during his opening monologue that were criticized as sexualizing women.Peters opened the show by referencing young girls in the audience as a “felony waiting to happen,” and described federal Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, who was handing out an award, as “hot.”Allan Reid, head of the Junos, apologized for the remarks, which he described as off script.— Follow @gwomand on TwitterNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the awards would be held on March 24.
YORKTON, Sask. – Police had to restrain a man after he burst into a Saskatchewan courtroom and demanded closure from a former RCMP officer accused of assaulting him and two other males when they were boys.The outburst happened Thursday in a Yorkton courtroom when Alan John Davidson pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual assault, while a third count was stayed.The pleas ended a trial that had begun this week for Davidson, who was charged after three people reported to police in 2014 that they had been assaulted while they were living in or visiting Yorkton between 1987 and 1991.Davidson, who is 62 and now faces a sentencing hearing, was stationed in Regina, Coronach, Lloydminster, North Battleford and Yorkton between 1981 to 1996.The alleged victim of the third assault had become upset by the defence lawyer’s cross-examination and found it difficult to continue his testimony.He entered the courtroom following word of the plea deal.Davidson is also to be sentenced in British Columbia where he was found guilty by a B.C. Supreme Court judge last month of indecently assaulting five boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s.He was found not guilty of two other charges of indecent assault involving two other complainants.During his trial in Kamloops in September, the complainants testified that the assaults included sexual touching and oral sex.Court heard Davidson was in his 20s and coached hockey, basketball and baseball at the time of the offences and served as an auxiliary Mountie before later becoming an RCMP officer in Saskatchewan.The former officer was arrested in March 2014 in Calgary where he was living and working for Alberta’s sheriff services.Davidson, who also served at RCMP detachments in Alberta, retired from the force in August 1996.(CJGX, The Canadian Press)
TORONTO – There’s a reason you don’t often see a pay-what-you-can grocery store, say marketing experts intrigued by a Toronto venture billed as the first of its kind.But chef Jagger Gordon says it’s an experiment he’s eager to try with his Pay It Forward Grocery Store, which opened Saturday with many of the typical staples you might find in a conventional supermarket.The difference is that visitors are encouraged to take just what they need, and only pay what they can, even if that’s no money at all.Gordon doesn’t expect to make a profit from this project, which includes a bakery and cafe and is the latest endeavour from his zero-waste and food security campaign, dubbed Feed It Forward.He says the goal is to feed the hungry with food that he’s “rescued” from food terminals, supermarkets and bakeries that would otherwise go to waste.“It’s a simple procedure of taking those trucks that are destined for landfills and hijacking them and giving them to people in need,” says Gordon, who last year helmed a pay-what-you-can restaurant that made soup and sandwiches from discarded produce that might have a bruise or blemish.“There’s more of a demand for food that is needed by Canadians than people know.”You’d be hard pressed to find critics of such a worthy mission.The sliding scale concept, however, is more often applied to arts events like theatre, dance or museums, notes marketing professor Claire Tsai of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business.And generally speaking, it’s not something she expects would translate well to shopping for fruits and vegetables.“When people think about groceries, people want to save money,” Tsai says.“It’s not the same as going out to eat. Going out to eat is a time for us to enjoy ourselves — people are more generous in buying alcohol, buying drinks. When you are in this mindset of shopping for groceries, people look for savings.”The charitable aspect in this case could affect that, she allows, as would peer pressure to do your part if the neighbourhood is tight-knit.But the pay-what-you-can-model is a tricky one to get right, she says, noting it often fails to offset costs. Tsai points to the pay-what-you-can days at New York museums, which she describes as free-for-alls for many tourists.“You need a relationship with the buyer and seller. You cannot have everyone who just wants to come and get a freebie … and at least a group of high-income people who are willing to support this cost.”There will undoubtedly be some who take advantage of the system, adds marketing expert Brent McKenzie at the University of Guelph. But he suggests this venture is buffered by a uniquely altruistic spirit. Public perceptions certainly play a role, too.“They’ve had studies, too, like in an office setting, where people pay for coffee or snacks and things,” McKenzie notes.“When it was a specific price and you had to put your money in, they actually found they made more money when they just said, ‘Put in what you think you can today.’”Gordon certainly has faith in people with means to cover those who don’t. He says his eight-month run with a pay-what-you-can restaurant “balanced out” in the end.There are limitations to Feed It Forward, however.He notes visitors can only take one day’s worth of food for a family, or choose a bi-weekly box of pre-packaged food and recipes. And checking out involves providing your name, contact information and details on what was taken.Gordon adds that costs are relatively low since food is donated and labour is volunteered.He expects to cover overhead through fundraisers, online donations and revenue from his catering business, Jagger Gordon Catering. He says he’s also in the process of registering the project as a charity, and pursuing corporate backers and sponsorships.Still, suggesting pay-what-you-can risks turning some potential benefactors off, says food industry expert Robert Carter, noting the fear of paying too much, or too little, can lead some uncertain shoppers to go elsewhere.“I could see that being a bit of a challenge,” says the NPD Group executive. “It’s such a different mindset for consumers.”Nevertheless, he pointed to millennials as a socially conscious generation that is changing the way consumers assess value and spend money.“If you look at the younger cohort today, rather, the millennial cohort, we know that they’re very much motivated by cause-based situations,” says Carter.“If they know this is going to help the community, (they’re more likely to say), ‘Then I should be spending my money here instead of going to a corporate store.”
The Canadian Press MONTREAL — A man on trial for second-degree murder was suffering from depression that affected his ability to make decisions on the day he smothered his ailing wife with a pillow, a jury has heard.But Michel Cadotte, 57, was not psychotic and knew right from wrong, psychiatrist Louis Morissette testified on behalf of the defence.Cadotte told the jury Monday that he suffocated his wife, Jocelyne Lizotte, because he wanted to end her suffering. Lizotte, 60, was living in a long-term care centre with late-stage Alzheimer’s disease.Under cross-examination Tuesday, Cadotte acknowledged that he was aware of what he was doing and the consequences of his actions.A year before the killing, Cadotte had sought a medically assisted death for Lizotte but was told she didn’t qualify because she was not at the end of her life and could not consent.The couple had been married 19 years at the time of her death on Feb. 20, 2017.
Indigenous women in Vancouver say the release of a report calling the disappearance and murder of Indigenous women and girls a “genocide” marks the end of a painful process but justice will require action.Sharon McIvor says she has been part of the fight for the rights of Indigenous women for more than 40 years and she didn’t believe she would live to see the day that the report would be released.But she says it will only have teeth if the federal government enacts laws to protect Indigenous women, including amending the Indian Act to give women equal status to men.Others spoke at a news conference of the difficulty in participating in the inquiry process.Lorelei Williams says despite working to deal with trauma she has experienced, she almost couldn’t get out of bed on the day she was to testify.Her aunt Belinda Williams has been missing for more than 40 years and the DNA of her cousin Tanya Holyk was found on serial killer Robert Pickton’s farm.The report from the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls contains more than 200 recommendations.The Canadian Press
FORT NELSON, B.C. — RCMP in northeastern British Columbia confirm they are investigating a double homicide involving two young travellers: one from Australia, the other from the United States.Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says in a news release that Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia and Chynna Deese, a U.S. woman, were found dead along the Alaska Highway near Liard Hot Springs, south of the B.C.-Yukon boundary.Investigators are not saying how the pair died.An older blue minivan with Alberta plates was found at the scene.Police want to speak with anyone who may have seen the minivan or spoken with the couple between Sunday afternoon and 8 a.m. the next day.Investigators are also appealing for dashcam video from anyone who may have been travelling along the Alaska Highway, also known as Highway 97, last weekend.The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The great white sharks move torpedo-like through East Coast waters, cruelly efficient hunters with multiple rows of serrated teeth devouring seals and other prey.But the “fascinating” creatures are themselves being closely watched by international teams of scientists who are attempting to document their apparent renaissance in the northwest Atlantic.“We are seeing signs the conservation measures we’re taking are giving the animals a chance and enabling a comeback,” says Frederick Whoriskey, a marine biologist and ecologist at Dalhousie University.“But we don’t have the numbers (of their abundance) yet.”At her lab in Halifax’s Bedford Institute of Oceanography, Heather Bowlby, research lead at the federal Canadian Atlantic Shark Research Laboratory, is attempting to remedy that.She’s preparing an expedition for early August to build on the scant knowledge of these elusive creatures’ lives in Atlantic Canadian waters.Her three-person team will pull alongside the animals and rapidly attach a tag that records information, a potentially dangerous task given their immense power.The work is worth the effort, she says.“As a top predator, if the population can increase it suggests the ecosystem is healthy enough to support them, which is very important.”The biologist says there’s been “a definite increase in sightings” since fishing rules of the past decade protected animals caught on long lines and in weirs.Records go back over a century — complete with annotations such as an 1873 entry from a St. Pierre Bank, N.L., fisherman remarking, “teeth in dory.”However, the federal Fisheries Department’s partnership with American researcher Gregory Skomal, of the Massachusetts division of marine fisheries, and the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, will provide more reliable information.Skomal’s group is preparing a population estimate in his area, where there’s evidence of what scientists refer to as a “hot spot” of sharks at various stages of life feasting on abundant seals off Cape Cod.“It seems to be their first stop on the highway on the drive from Florida to Canada, where you can find a pretty good meal,” Skomal explains in a telephone interview from his office.His team’s survey tags an animal and then returns to that area to see how many others are spotted or captured, before recapturing one of the original sharks from the prior visits.“We have to come up with that number for Cape Cod and then we can take a hard look at what proportion of our animals move into Canadian waters,” the American researcher explains.Skomal says so far his team has identified and tagged roughly 20 great whites — out of about 170 tagged in the area — that are prone to northward journeys over the five year study in his zone.In anticipation of their arrival off Nova Scotia, Bowlby’s team has access to arrays of acoustic stations listening for their “ping” over this summer and fall.She tagged one great white herself last year off the Nova Scotia coast, nicknamed “North.”The data gathered on the sharks’ trips, the depths they went to and surrounding water temperatures may give Bowlby data on their preferred habitat.So far, she’s noting the sharks are appearing to search along the coasts for prey and are in both deep and shallow water, and often near the surface.Still, one of the questions bothering some experts is why great whites are seldom detected by acoustic arrays near Sable Island, where thousands of seals make their home.Whoriskey’s “speculation” is the grey seals are forming social units that can fight off one of their deadliest enemies.Meanwhile, a non-profit group that’s made some great white sharks into household names in Nova Scotia has applied for a permit to conduct a return visit off Cape Breton from Sept. 13 to Oct. 4.Last fall, teams from the Ocearch research vessel MV Ocearch caught and tagged satellite transmitters of seven great whites off Lunenburg and Halifax.The animals are given Twitter names such as “Hal” and thousands of people follow them on the organization’s online global shark tracker, effectively becoming cheerleaders for great whites’ apparent comeback.Bob Hueter, Ocearch’s chief science adviser and a shark biologist at Florida’s Mote Marine Laboratory, says his group’s research is showing the wide range of the great white sharks from southern Florida to the Cabot Strait.“A good proportion we’ve tagged since 2012 have gone to Atlantic Canada waters and have spent time in Nova Scotia,” he said in a telephone interview.He says his group’s goal is to have fully tagged 60 sharks of various sizes and ages from Florida to Nova Scotia and to track their movements and habitats.For Bowlby, the end game is greater knowledge on habitat, feeding habits and even shark nursing grounds — though so far none have been found — leading to better informed policy decisions.For example, if the sharks are once again consuming seals in large numbers, this data can affect policy decisions on permitting a cull of the massive herds.In addition, there is the curiosity — even awe — over how one of the ocean’s great animals behave in their lifetimes.“They’re beautiful, they’re fascinating, they’re graceful, they’re powerful. They’re amazing animals,” the scientist says.— Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.Michael Tutton, The Canadian Press
BURNABY (NEWS 1130) – NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh was officially nominated to run for a seat in October’s federal election Friday night.When NEWS 1130 spoke with him afterward, the newly-nominated candidate for Burnaby-South answered questions about the challenges the party is facing when it comes to slating candidates and fundraising.There are 338 seats to fill in the federal election. So far, the NDP has fewer than 180 people running, which is the lowest number of the major parties. New Democrats raised less money than the Green Party last quarter, while the Liberals and Conservatives raked in donations in record numbers.NEWS 1130: How do you explain the fact that the NDP has far fewer candidates nominated than the other parties?Jagmeet Singh: We want to change the status quo. Right now the status quo is we see women are not represented in politics, they’re far underrepresented based on population. We don’t see very many marginalized people in politics, people from the LGBTQ community, from other racialized communities. We don’t think that should be the way things are. And so, to change that it’s going to take a lot of work.We have a really thorough process where we try to recruit people that are not actually represented in politics. Often the most qualified women don’t see themselves reflected, so they don’t think that they’re good candidates. It takes a lot of work to get them to be candidates, to recruit them, to encourage them. Same thing for a lot of other minority communities. So, we take a lot of effort. The results have shown. We’ve got 51 per cent of our candidates, more than half our candidates, are women. We’ve got lots of folks who are Indigenous, we’ve got lots of racialized people. It takes a lot of work to try and do things differently – that’s why it’s taken us longer.Also, we’ve got a nomination process. We can’t actually appoint people. Where the other parties have the ability to directly nominate someone and make them the candidate, we actually have to go through a democratic process at the riding level. Those are two of the things that set us apart. I’m proud of those differences and it means it’s going to take us a little bit longer.When will the nomination process for New Democrats be complete?We’re going to have 338 candidates for people to vote for come election time, really confident about that.What do you have to say to party members who have been venting their frustration over the apparent lag in choosing candidates?We’ve got a process where we want to make sure everyone follows the same rules and most importantly that they believe in the values that we have. We’ve got lots of candidates ready to go. It’s just a matter of our process taking a little bit longer and it’s for a good cause. It’s to make sure that we’ve got the best and that we’ve got people that really follow and believe in our values.So, the ultimate goal for the NDP is to have 50 per cent women run in the upcoming federal election?Absolutely, we want 50 per cent or more women. That’s very important for me personally. If we don’t put in the effort now: How are we going to get the results? We’ve seen historically women aren’t represented in politics. We can’t just hope that things will be different, it’s going to take work. And for us, that means making sure we do everything possible to nominate as many women as possible so that we can get women elected into Parliament. Without taking the effort it’s not going to change. And that’s why we’re doing things differently. I’ve made this a priority for me and the results are showing.Another area where the NDP is facing criticism is fundraising. Why is the NDP doing so poorly compared to other parties?I can give you one example. The Liberals and Conservatives are where multi-billionaires think they have the best shot. So SNC-Lavalin, the company that’s under a lot of scrutiny in the scandal, donated illegally to both Liberals and Conservatives and they were fined for doing so. Most recently, Axor was also fined. They also donated thousands and thousands of dollars to both the Liberals and the Conservatives. They went through their company and their CEO basically got staff to donate illegally and reimbursed them through the company. Basically, billionaire companies like these, they believe that the Liberals and Conservatives have got their back. And that’s the history.Both parties have consistently chosen to make life easier for multi-billionaires and harder for everyone else. And we’re not the same thing. We actually are a people’s party. We’re for working class, everyday, middle-class families. That’s who we represent and so it’s harder for us to get the funds. These status quo parties have different access. We don’t have the same. It means we’re actually fueled by and funded by people, everyday people. That’s what makes us different and I’m proud of that.So far this election looks like a two horse race between the Liberals and the Conservatives. What does the NDP need to do to change this?It is a two horse race. It’s between the Liberals and Conservative parties of the status quo, parties that have long supported multi-billionaires; parties that have got a long track record of putting the needs of multi-billionaires ahead of people – and us, the working-class party, the party of middle-class Canadians.So it is a two horse race. You can choose the status quo parties: the ones that have continued to put Canada into the position it’s in right now; the ones that have chosen to let Telecom companies rip off Canadians; the ones who have chosen to make it hard to find a home; the ones that have chosen to cut funding into healthcare. Or, they can choose New Democrats, the party that believes in expanding our healthcare. We want to bring in medication coverage for all. Whenever we’ve seen increases in services for Canadians it’s been when New Democrats have been in a position of power.If you vote for a New Democrat, you get someone who’s going to fight for you, on your side. Who’s going to expand the services that you and your family need. That’s what I’m committed to show folks. That’s what I’m confident, during the campaign, people will see.With files from the Canadian Press
The British Academy of Film and Television Arts Los Angeles (BAFTA Los Angeles) announced today that it will host its Inaugural BAFTA LA Celebrity Golf Classic on November 3rd at Oakmont Country Club in Glendale to raise funds for its education and outreach programs. Registration is now open. The 18-hole tournament will begin at 11 a.m. on Oakmont’s championship golf course, a classic Southern California-style course featuring a challenging layout and undulating greens. An Awards Dinner will follow in the country club’s exceptional dining room. Proceeds from the star-studded event benefit BAFTA Los Angeles Inner City Mentoring, Education & Outreach Programs, BAFTA LA Scholarships, and the BAFTA LA Student Film Awards.“The BAFTA LA membership is very proud of the education and outreach programs we have committed ourselves to over the years. Proceeds from this tournament will help us reach more students in the inner city and beyond in very meaningful ways,” explained Nigel Lythgoe, Chairman of the BAFTA LA Golf Tournament Committee.Celebrity guests scheduled to golf in the tournament include Rob Brydon (this year’s host of the Britannia Awards), Jamie Bamber, Jonathan Banks, Gregory Harrison, Andrew Howard, Michael Ironside, Greg Itzin, Vinnie Jones, Nigel Lythgoe, Joe Mantegna, Joel Murray, Timothy Omundson, Ron Perlman, Ray Romano, Patrick Warburton and others. Celebrity golfers are subject to change.Teams for the Monday tournament will be comprised of a five-person group, and play will consist of a Shotgun Start with team prizes awarded to the top finishers. Registrations are being accepted as a foursome and a celebrity golfer will be paired with each group to make up the five-person team. Registration fees for BAFTA members are $5,000 per foursome. A buffet Awards Dinner will be served after the tournament. The tournament is limited to 25 foursomes.Find out more here.
The 2015 South-South Awards, the world’s foremost global development event, will feature some of the most celebrated Hollywood actors, including Oscar winners Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas and Forest Whitaker, who will be lending their voices to honor the achievements of the global South and celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the United Nations and its adoption of the new universal development framework known as the Post-2015 Development Agenda.Film legend and Co-founder of the internationally renowned Tribeca Film Festival, Robert De Niro, will kick off the awards ceremony with a special video message. UN Messenger of Peace, Michael Douglas, will honor the UN as its turns 70 with a personal message, while actor and producer Forest Whitaker is set to present the Humanitarian Achievement Award to philanthropist William “Bill” F. Austin, founder of Starkey Hearing Foundation, at the gala event, set to take place for a live global audience on September 26th at the iconic Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York City.“The gift of hearing can change a life in an instant, and helps empower people to learn, get jobs and connect to their families and communities in ways they never thought possible. I have partnered with Starkey Hearing Foundation in the field, and seeing someone hear for the first time is an incredible experience that I will never forget. Bill Austin is committed to changing the world one person at a time, and I am excited to honor his efforts at the 2015 South-South Awards,” said Mr. Whitaker.Paul Shaffer, who is to be honored with the Cultural Achievement Award, will bring his sparkle and inimitable spirit as the musical director from the Late Show with David Letterman, while the electrifying percussionist Sheila E. will be performing with her father, Pete Escovedo, to light up the stage with rhythm and soul, joining dynamic performers from the global South.The South-South Steering Committee for Sustainable Development, key host of the prestigious red-carpet gala, is excited to welcome A-list celebrities, heads of State and Government, top UN officials, international business executives, civil society leaders, philanthropists and academics under one roof in 2015, the year of global action on sustainable development. “We have brought in some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry, including Ray Chew, music producer for ‘Dancing with the Stars’ and eight-time Emmy nominee, John Macs, who are among the most respected and creative minds in the field, to help raise the relevance of the Awards,” said Art Arellanes, the Executive Producer of the 2015 South-South Awards.Now in its fifth year, the South-South Awards honors distinguished countries, individuals and organizations that embody transformative sustainable development worldwide; particularly in the areas of poverty reduction, education advancement and humanitarian impact. It is a celebration of multilateral partnerships concerned with uplifting the world’s most vulnerable populations.
Long-standing UNICEF UK Ambassadors Jemima Khan, Robbie Williams and James Nesbitt led the fantastical turn out for Unicef UK’s annual Halloween Ball on Thursday, 13th October, raising more than half a million pounds to help Unicef protect Syria’s children in danger.High-profile personalities from the worlds of TV, entertainment and fashion including Gillian Anderson, Erin O’Connor, Amber Le Bon, Cel Spellman and Princess Beatrice arrived at London’s One Embankment for the magical Malice in Wonderland themed party. Guests were treated to dazzling performances by 2016 MOBO Award nominee Laura Mvula and music legend and Unicef UK Ambassador, Robbie Williams.Long-standing Unicef UK Ambassador Jemima Khan said, “Tonight’s Halloween Ball was about coming together to support Unicef’s vitally important work to keep Syrian children safe and warm. The conflict in Syria is the largest humanitarian crisis since World War 2. The shocking images we’ve seen of children suffering inside Syria and those making terrifying journeys across Europe in search of safety are utterly heart-breaking. With freezing temperatures coming and no way of keeping warm these children will struggle to survive. Unicef is on the ground right now providing life-saving humanitarian aid, including warm blankets, but their work remains desperately underfunded.”The money raised at the Halloween Ball will help Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation, provide blankets, life-saving food, clean water, health care and psychosocial support to children whose lives have been devastated by the conflict.Unicef UK Executive Director, Mike Penrose said, “Over eight million children have been affected by the conflict in Syria. So many have lost their school, their home, their friends, even their family. After five years of war, the situation for Syrian children has never been more critical. Unicef is one of the few humanitarian organisations working to protect children in Syria and across the region, as well as for refugee children in Europe, but we cannot do it alone. The funds raised at events like Halloween Ball are vital in ensuring we continue to reach the millions of children in desperate need.”You can help keep Syria’s children safe and warm this winter. Please visit www.unicef.org.uk/halloweenball to donate.
Martin Bell, veteran BBC reporter and UNICEF UK ambassador, visited Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley where he witnessed first-hand the situation for Syrian children trying to rebuild their lives.MARTIN BELL MEETS REFUGEE CHILDREN Martin, who last reported from Lebanon in 1973 just before civil war broke out, saw how children have paid the heaviest price in this six-year war. Today, one in four people in the country is a refugee, the highest proportion per capita in the world.Inside Syria, suffering hit rock bottom last year in a drastic escalation of violence. With grave violations against children at their highest level on record, 2016 was the worst year for children in Syria. At least 652 children were killed – a 20 per cent increase from 2015.“Millions of Syrian children have known nothing but war, death and destruction their entire lives,” said Martin. “As the war drags on, negative coping mechanisms are on the rise and families are taking extreme measures just to survive, often pushing children into early marriage and child labour.”Martin made the journey to Lebanon with Unicef, the world’s leading children’s organisation and one of the agencies operating both in Syria and its neighbouring countries.During his visit to the Bekaa Valley, he witnessed how Unicef is supporting families that have fled Syria, providing them with safe drinking water, child protection services, education and healthcare. Many of the people he met fled Aleppo and Raqqa because of indiscriminant shelling and violence which tore families apart.Syrian families face many challenges in Lebanon; some are not able to send their children to school, refugees have not officially allowed to work (making them dependent on international aid), and children are being pushed into the workforce far too young, often in low paying and hazardous jobs or by begging.“One boy I met described how he fled from Raqqa six months ago with his mother and five brothers and sisters. His father had been taken away, murdered,” recalled Martin. “Right now, the world is facing an unprecedented refugee crisis and we must do more to protect the extraordinary number of children who have been torn from their homes by violent conflict,” he added.Ensuring all Syrian children have access to the education and protection they so rightly deserve is the first step on the journey to recovery and rebuilding childhood. After six years of war, nearly 6 million children now depend on humanitarian assistance, a twelve-fold increase from 2012. Millions of children have been displaced, some up to seven times. Over 2.3 million children are now living as refugees in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt and Iraq.On behalf of the children of Syria, Unicef is appealing to all parties to the conflict, those who have influence over them, the international community and anyone who cares about children for an immediate political solution to end the conflict in Syria and sustainable support for vulnerable children, regardless of their status.