London: Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei ran the fastest half-marathon ever by a woman on Sunday, winning the Great North Run in a time of one hour, four minutes and 28 seconds. Her time was 23 seconds quicker than the world record set in 2017 by fellow Kenyan Joyciline Jepkosgei but the course in the northeast of England is not eligible for records. Kosgei, who won this year’s London Marathon, led a Kenyan sweep of the top four places, with Magdalyne Masai second (1:07.36) and Linet Masai third (1:07:44). Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhMo Farah won the men’s elite race for a record sixth successive year as he warms up to defend his Chicago Marathon title next month. Four-time Olympic champion Farah, 36, was pushed hard by Tamirat Tola, but proved too strong in the final mile for the Ethiopian, finishing the 13.1-mile course in 59min 7sec and winning by six seconds. Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands was third (59:55). Farah, a two-time Olympic champion in both the 5,000m and 10,000m, is aiming to establish himself among the world’s elite marathon runners. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHe claimed his first marathon title last year when he won in Chicago in a time of 2:05.11 — a European record. “I’ve really enjoyed it but the past couple of years has been in the middle of marathon preparation. It was good to test myself,” Farah said after his victory on Sunday. “Things are looking good and I’m happy with the win. Tokyo (2020 Olympics) is definitely on the cards — as an athlete you always want to represent your country. “You just have to take it one year at a time. Hopefully, come Tokyo time, we will be in the mix.”
Lucknow: The Samajwadi Party (SP) has moved an application seeking the disqualification of Shivpal Singh Yadav from the Uttar Pradesh assembly under the anti-defection law. Shivpal Yadav, the estranged uncle of SP president Akhilesh Yadav, was elected from the Jaswantnagar assembly constituency in the 2017 state elections. He floated a new party Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) and had contested the recent Lok Sabha elections on its symbol. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The application from the leader of the SP in the assembly, Ram Govind Chaudhary, has been received and a letter seeking Shivpal Yadav’s reply has been issued, sources in the assembly said. Speaker Hriday Narain Dixit will take a decision on the matter after receiving Shivpal Yadav’s reply, they said. Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party (Lohia) spokesman C P Rai said before contesting the Lok Sabha elections, Shivpal Yadav had informed the speaker about his new party and he will say the same in the reply. Shivpal Yadav had contested the 2019 Lok Sabha polls from the Firozabad seat.
MONTREAL – Cranes crowd the Montreal skyline these days as a strong economy and political stability are fuelling a construction frenzy throughout the downtown core and beyond.Although tame by Toronto and Vancouver standards, developers in Canada’s second-largest city are investing billions of dollars in new condominium and office complexes, along with retrofitting older buildings.“Since 1976, this is one of the greatest times,” Mayor Denis Coderre said, referring to the year when the election of the separatist Parti Quebecois prompted an exodus of residents and businesses.“There is right now 150 cranes representing $25 billion of investment in Montreal,” he said at the official launch of the second phase of the YUL twin tower and townhouse project that is sponsored by Chinese investors.Project developer Kheng Ly of Brivia Group Real Estate, who has partnered with China’s Tianco Group, said relatively low condo prices and the lack of a foreign buyers tax make Montreal an attractive place to invest.Ly, who arrived in Canada 29 years ago, said the downtown landscape has changed significantly in the past five years. The recent addition of direct flights between China and Montreal have attracted Asian investors who comprise 35 to 40 per cent of condo owners at the project’s first phase, he said.Further evidence of the city’s construction boom can be seen along a short stretch to the Bell Centre where towers surrounding the home of the Habs are a symbol of the change that has been sweeping over the city.A 55-storey glass building that will carry the famed Montreal Canadiens red and white logo has been launched after two previous towers featuring special access to the hockey complex were quickly sold out.The project is part of a large development of residential and office buildings planned by Cadillac Fairview and its partner Canderel for Quad Windsor, an area near the historic rail station.The association with one of sports’ most storied franchises is modelled after Toronto’s Maple Leaf Square and similar approaches in Los Angeles, Dallas and Edmonton.Montreal trails Toronto and Vancouver in condominium developments partly because of the city’s historic preference for rentals.“So there’s a bit of catch up,” said Brian Salpeter, Cadillac Fairview senior vice-president of development, Eastern Canada.Low interest rates, higher disposable income and municipal incentives have made home ownership more affordable and fuelled purchases, said Raphael Fischler, a professor at the McGill University School of Urban Planning.Since many of the large residential projects are built on empty lots or in old industrial locations, there is little immediate impact on affordable housing. However, he said it has caused an upward pressure on rents.Daniel Peritz of Canderel said outsiders are finally seeing the city’s potential.“It’s very nice because for so many years we didn’t have that situation. We have it now and the rest of the country is recognizing it,” he said.Royal LePage realtor Amy Assaad said that the last couple of years have been particularly strong.Demand is hottest for condos priced between $300,000 and $400,000 along with high-end units, she said.Assaad said she’s seeing more foreign buyers from Europe, China and the Middle East. In addition to good pricing, they are attracted to the city’s great university system, strong transit network and a sense of security.“Everything is on our side right now,” she said in an interview.However, Prof. Fischler said there is a concern that too many condos are being built, increasing the inventory of unsold units.“People entering the market to build now have to be careful,” he said.In addition to downtown, other thriving areas are Griffintown in the city’s old industrial area near the Lachine Canal and pockets of neighbourhoods that are undergoing gentrification.For developers like Quebec pension fund manager Ivanhoe Cambridge’s real estate subsidiary, the current environment is the strongest it has seen in a quarter century.Office vacancy rates have been declining as spaces are filled at the highest level in five years and net rental prices are on an upswing, said Bernard Poliquin, senior vice-president office in Quebec.Ivanhoe is officially opening its 27-floor downtown office tower next month, which will house Manulife and Ernst & Young.“Others like me who have been in the market for 20 to 30 years are saying the same thing: We haven’t lived this in our careers.”
MONTREAL – Martine Ouellet is facing more stiff opposition as Bloc Quebecois members get ready to vote on her leadership.Some of those who want Ouellet to quit sent an email to party members Thursday asking them to not support her in the vote, which takes place Friday and Saturday.They say her departure is crucial if the Bloc is to emerge from its ongoing crisis.The party has been in disarray since late February when seven of its 10 MPs quit over Ouellet’s leadership style.Of the three who are left, only two still back her.Ouellet has been described by some as controlling and uncompromising and many of her detractors accuse her of focusing too sharply on Quebec independence instead of defending the province’s interests on the federal scene.In mid-May, the Bloc’s youth wing also withdrew its support of Ouellet, who is also sitting as an Independent member in the Quebec legislature after stepping away from the Parti Quebecois caucus.The result of the vote will be made public Sunday, and Ouellet has said she believes getting the support of 50 per cent plus one will give her the legitimacy to stay on.That doesn’t make sense to Mathieu Bonsaint, president of the Bloc riding association in Portneuf-Jacques-Cartier.“Who can believe the party will have settled the crisis with a score of about 51 per cent? Bonsaint said at a news conference in Montreal on Thursday.“Who can really believe the party will survive and be reunified?”Party members will also be voting on whether the Bloc should focus on promoting Quebec independence on a daily basis.
MONTREAL – Insults flew between candidates on the Quebec campaign trail on Sunday as verbal sparring between Francois Legault and Philippe Couillard overshadowed announcements on health care, culture and environmental protection.Couillard accused the Coalition Avenir Quebec’s leader of having creating a financial plan based “hypothesis” rather than fact, while Legault shot back by comparing Couillard to Santa Claus and said his policies resembled those of left-wing party Quebec solidaire.The exchange began with Couillard, who criticized Legault’s financial plan, which promises to boost health and education spending without raising taxes beyond the level of inflation.“When there are commitments that literally disappear from the financial framework, that are massively underestimated, we’re beyond hypothesis, we are in error,” Couillard said in Trois-Rivieres, halfway between Montreal and Quebec City.Almost 200 kilometres away in Lac-Megantic, Legault criticised his Liberal party rival’s “ridiculous” number of big budget promises.“When we look at all the expenses that have been announced in the last six months, they’re getting closer to Quebec solidaire, and they’re not doing much to put money back in Quebecers pockets,” said Legault, who said his rival’s spending earned him the moniker “Santa Claus Couillard.”One of Quebec solidaire’s co-spokespeople, however, reacted with humour to Legault’s claim that the Liberal party’s policies resemble those of her party.“Our ideas are so popular, it’s normal they’re trying to copy us!” Manon Masse wrote on social media.While their verbal exchanges drew attention, the leaders also unrolled a series of promises in the area of health, culture and consumer protection.Parti Quebecois Leader Jean-Francois Lisee promised to tackle high gas prices through his planned Quebec consumer protection office, which he said would look into price fixing by “gas cartels.”“Every Tuesday or Wednesday, something wrong happens in the gas stations in the Montreal area,” he said, referring to predictable early-week price hikes.“This situation just begs for an inquiry, so that’s why it’s going to be the first (file),” he said.Couillard, for his part, pledged to help the province’s 1.5 million caregivers by creating a tax credit of up to $2,400 per year to help them renovate their homes to accomodate an elderly person.Couillard also promised to implement a governmental action plan to help caregivers which would include the development of different respite services for patients.He estimated his promises will cost $60 million, $40 million of which would be for the credit.Legault, meanwhile, promised to increase funding to libraries and offer two cultural outings a year to elementary and high-school aged children.Quebec solidaire focused on environment and agriculture, promising to redirect funds from a trust to pay down public debt to instead be used to tackle climate change and finance green infrastructure.Speaking in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Masse also unrolled an agricultural plan that would boost subsidies to organic producers, support local supplies, and review rules governing pesticide use.— With files from Vicky Fragasso-Marquis in Lac-Megantic, Julien Arsenault in Trois-Rivieres and Melanie Marquis in Quebec City.
VANCOUVER — Anxious staff at a unique garden in downtown Vancouver hope three remaining ornamental koi will soon be safe from a river otter that has taken up residence in the park and eaten 10 of the valuable fish.Crews are working to lower the level of the twisting pond in the Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden and spokeswoman Debbie Cheung says it’s hoped the water level will be low enough to net and remove the fish by Wednesday.One of the specially bred koi was taken to the Vancouver Aquarium for safe keeping after being netted over the weekend and Cheung says two others have been spotted while the search continues for the third.Efforts to humanely trap and relocate the slippery otter have been unsuccessful and Cheung says there has been no sign of the animal for at least three days. She says they’ll continue to lower the water level in the pond to remove the fish because there’s no way to tell if the otter is still nearby after it crossed several busy streets to reach the garden more than 10 days ago.“We’re scratching our heads,” Cheung says. “The otter hasn’t eaten anything, any of our koi, since Sunday,” The drama has captured imaginations, spawning several social media hashtags and even the formation of hypothetical teams rooting for the success of either the otter or the koi.If the otter returns and is caught, there are plans to relocate it to the Fraser Valley.The Canadian Press
TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the $9.3 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 jackpot.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket holder in British Columbia.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Jan. 16 will be approximately $12 million.The Canadian Press
The Canadian Press BRAMPTON, Ont. — The father of an 11-year-old girl found dead after being the subject of an Amber Alert is heading back to a Toronto suburb to face charges in her death.Peel Regional Police Const. Danny Marttini says Roopesh Rajkumar was arrested by provincial police more than an hour away from Brampton, Ont., where his daughter’s body was found in his home.Riya Rajkumar was the subject of a brief Amber Alert late Thursday night, but found dead shortly afterwards.Marttini says Riya’s mother came to police with concerns about her daughter’s well-being based on comments allegedly made by Rajkumar, her former boyfriend.Police have previously said Rajkumar was spending time with Riya to celebrate her birthday when she was killed.Marttini says it’s too soon to know exactly when Rajkumar, 41, may be charged or what counts he will be facing.
MONTREAL — The NDP is proposing a package of measures to combat climate change, ranging from subsidies for the purchase of electric vehicles to easier access to employment insurance for workers in industries threatened by the move away from fossil fuels.In a campaign atmosphere with rousing music and loud applause from supporters, New Democrat Leader Jagmeet Singh unveiled his plan Friday in Montreal, alongside his Quebec lieutenant Alexandre Boulerice.To encourage the purchase of electric vehicles, the NDP would maintain the $5,000 subsidy announced in the last federal budget and, in addition, waive the federal sales tax on the vehicles for working families.The incentives would eventually reach $15,000, but only for the purchase of zero-emission vehicles made in Canada. The plan also calls for all federal vehicles, including Canada Post delivery trucks, to be electric by 2025.In the area of public transit, the NDP wants to encourage electric power and even “pave the way for free public transit.”In order to reduce the carbon footprint created by housing, the NDP plan would give homeowners access to low-interest loans to encourage energy savings through better insulation, windows, heat pumps and other renewable technologies.The goal is to retrofit all housing in Canada by 2050 — and half of it by 2030.The plan is aimed at helping limit the global increase in temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The party proposes declaring a “climate emergency” and adopting legislation obliging the government to achieve greenhouse gas reduction targets.The NDP also wants to set up an independent Climate Accountability Office to measure progress.Questioned about the cost of the plan, Singh said, “We can’t afford not to act. We can’t afford not to actually respond to this big question, this massive question of our generation.”He added that an NDP government would “ask the richest people to contribute their fair share,” something he said previous Conservative and Liberal governments have not had the courage to do.“We are going to close offshore tax havens and CEO stock option loopholes that have allowed billions of dollars to go offshore and not be taxed,” he said.For the less wealthy, the NDP is proposing that, before being laid off, a worker in an industry affected by the energy transition would have the option of receiving employment-insurance-based training to enter a new sector.“We must defend the workers, never give them the idea that we are abandoning them,” Singh said. The party predicts 300,000 jobs would be created in the transition to greener energy.Lia Levesque, The Canadian Press
The federal government has passed legislation that bans whale and dolphin captivity in Canada.The bill will phase out the practice of keeping captive whales, dolphins and porpoises, but grandfathers in those that are already being held at two facilities in the country.Marineland in Niagara Falls, Ont., and the Vancouver Aquarium in B.C. are the only two places that currently keep captive cetaceans.The bill bans the capture of wild cetaceans, captive breeding and the import and export of those animals, with limited exceptions.It allows for the rehabilitation and rescues of cetaceans.The bill was first introduced in the Senate in 2015 and eventually made its way into the House of Commons, where it had its third and final reading today.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The House of Commons health committee says it is “deeply disturbed” by ongoing reports of coerced or forced sterilization of women in Canada and is calling for an arms-length advisory panel to investigate the scope of the problem.The committee has sent a letter to Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan detailing what it heard from witnesses this spring.In the letter, committee chair and Liberal MP Bill Casey writes that the committee heard the forced or coerced sterilization of Indigenous women in Canada continues to this day, but that the full extent of it remains unknown.He says the committee agrees with witnesses that urgent action must be taken today to address harms that have been caused by this practice and to prevent it from happening in the future.It is recommending the government invite national Indigenous women’s organizations to participate in all federal, provincial and territorial meetings aimed at addressing coerced or forced sterilization of Indigenous women.The committee also suggests Ottawa work with the provinces, territories, health care providers and Indigenous organizations to establish a pan-Canadian data collection system through the Canadian Institute for Health Information to monitor sterilization procedures across the country.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — High log prices and dwindling timber supply are driving the crisis in British Columbia’s forestry industry that has devastated communities and kneecapped the provincial economy, observers say.Companies have announced shutdowns or curtailments in more than two dozen mills in the province, putting hundreds out of work and slashing economic growth predictions. Advocates are calling for urgent government action to stem the bleeding.“Something needs to change immediately or these small communities that don’t have other employers are going to wither and die,” said Marty Gibbons, president of United Steelworkers Local 1-417, based in Kamloops, B.C.The local represents hundreds of forestry workers who have lost jobs in Interior communities including Merritt, Clearwater, Vavenby and Clinton.The largest driving factor is the province’s complex stumpage system that results in high fees, he said.“These are private businesses. If they can’t turn a profit, there’s no reason for them to run. Right now, it’s not the markets that are the issue. It’s the cost of the logs,” he said.Stumpage is a fee businesses pay when they harvest timber from Crown land. The B.C. government calculates stumpage annually, so the system is less responsive than in Alberta, where monthly adjustments are made, Gibbons said.The Forests Ministry said stumpage fees are based on market demand and the current rates reflect the scarcity of timber supply that has resulted from the mountain pine beetle outbreak and been exacerbated by several severe fire seasons.Intervention in the stumpage system would weaken the legal case in the appeals of the duties imposed by the United States on softwood lumber from Canada, the ministry said in a statement.“It is well-known that any interference in B.C.’s market-based timber pricing system would lead to an increase in softwood lumber duties levied by the U.S.,” it said.Most of B.C.’s forest land is publicly owned, so companies have long-term tenure rights and the government charges them stumpage to harvest trees. In contrast, most land in the U.S. is private and companies face costs associated with replanting.“That’s what the stumpage fee is all about,” explained Ken Peacock, chief economist of the Business Council of B.C. “It tries to equate, if it was privately owned, what the cost would be to operate and manage and reforest the land.”Peacock said the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C. He also blamed the mountain pine beetle and record-breaking 2017 and 2018 fire seasons for decimating supply.The policies of Premier John Horgan’s government are also breeding uncertainty, Peacock argued.The government is developing a caribou habitat protection plan that the industry expects will further restrict access to northern timber, he said, and it’s promised to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples without explaining how companies are meant to fulfil its requirement of “free, prior and informed consent” from First Nations.The NDP government has also introduced Bill 22, which would control tenure transfers. Currently, a company that is scaling back or shutting down a mill can transfer its tenure to one that is operating, but the government wants oversight over these transfers to protect the “public interest,” a term not defined in the legislation, Peacock said.“The picture here in B.C. is we are a very high cost jurisdiction. It’s actually less costly to operate in Alberta and companies can make a profit milling lumber and producing two-by-fours in Alberta.”On top of all that, market conditions in North America are softening, he noted.Forestry is the no. 1 engine that drives B.C.’s economy with nearly $15 billion in annual exports, representing one-third of the province’s international merchandise exports and the largest segment by far, said Peacock.The Business Council of B.C. just trimmed its 2019 economic forecast in part because of the forestry downturn, from 2.2 to 2 per cent growth, he said. The B.C. government also just cut its forecast to 1.7 per cent, citing mill closures in part.The Forests Ministry said the challenges the province is facing have been in the making for many years and the previous Liberal government ignored them and failed to help the sector and communities adapt.“We have laid out a process … to bring together industry, First Nations, labour and communities to address the challenges and build a sustainable sector to protect jobs.”Opposition Liberal forestry critic John Rustad has blamed the current government’s policies for “killing the industry” and resulting in more layoffs and closures.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.Laura Kane, The Canadian Press
Comedian Eddie Izzard has completed an astonishing 27 marathons in 27 days across South Africa for Sport Relief.Eddie Izzard Completes Marathon ChallengeExhausted but ecstatic, he ran over 700 miles and raised more than £1.6 million to help people living incredibly tough lives in the UK and around the world.On Sunday 20th March he completed an amazing two marathons in just 11 hours and five minutes to reach the end in Pretoria.“This has been a long project but with the help of ‘Team 27’ I did it. Thank you so much to everyone who donated,” Eddie said.“I always knew I’d be back. When I didn’t make it in 2012 I knew I’d be back. I can’t stand upright, I have a huge blister and I’m exhausted. But I’m delighted.”In 2012, Eddie attempted the same challenge but had to stop due to health concerns. This year Eddie has battled heat exhaustion, dehydration and sunstroke to complete his mammoth feat.He started his epic challenge on Tuesday 23rd February in Myezo, the birthplace of Nelson Mandela, with a route which traced the story of Mandela’s life. It took in the university he attended and Robben Island where he was imprisoned for 18 out of his 27-year-prison sentence.Along the way Eddie visited communities, organisations and families that have all been helped by the work of Comic Relief. And he was followed by BBC Three who documented his journey.He then finished at the Union Building in Pretoria, where Mandela was sworn in and gave his first speech as President.Along his South African journey, on day five, Eddie was forced to take a rest day due to ill health – but amazingly he picked up the time to complete the full challenge with a double whammy on the final day.He ran in heat temperatures of up to 42°C and managed to complete one of his marathons in just 5 hours and 34 minutes – despite the conditions.On Friday 18th March he received a surprise phone call from the International Space Station as astronaut Tim Peake rang to wish him good luck.
After Louie is an upcoming feature-length narrative film by lifelong activist and artist, Vincent Gagliostro who has been sited by New York Magazine as one of the six most influential players in the gay community during the 80s and 90s AIDS crisis.The film, starring Alan Cumming, is currently crowdfunding through a Kickstarter, through June 2nd. After Louie explores the contradictions of modern gay life and history through Sam (ALAN CUMMING), a man desperate to understand how he and his community got to where they are today. Co-written by NYC writer and actor, Anthony Johnston, the project is currently immersed in a crowd-funding campaign with Kickstarter where it offers rewards including script consultations, film premiere tickets, artwork by Alan Cumming and more.Also featured in the film are Justin Vivian Bond (Shortbus, Kiki and Herb: Live at the Knitting Factory), Zachary Booth (Damages), David Drake (The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me), and NYC icon, Joey Arias.Many important figure-heads in the NYC artistic community are speaking up for this film, including author and playwright, Larry Kramer who says “this movie needs to be made,” and Towleroad who poses the question, “is ‘After Louie’ the next great gay film?” Pulitzer Prize-Winning author Michael Cunningham said:“Vincent Gagliostro is not only enourmously gifted, he’s also been a radical, fearless and compassionate voice for decades, speaking for countless people whose stories would otherwise go undeard.”After Louie explores the contradictions of modern gay life and history through Sam (ALAN CUMMING), a man desperate to understand how he and his community got to where they are today.As an AIDS activist and member of ACT UP in the 1980s and 90s, Sam witnessed the deaths of too many friends and lovers. Battle-wounded and struggling with survivor’s guilt, Sam now resents the complacency of his former comrades and derides what he sees as the younger generation’s indifference to the politics of sex, and of death.An unexpected intimacy with a much younger man, Braeden (ZACHARY BOOTH), challenges Sam’s understanding of contemporary gay life. Through this unconventional romance, he is forced to deal with the trauma that so informs his past, their present, and an unknown future.“My film After Louie is a portrait of what happened to us — the generation who endured the AIDS epidemic, a generation whose shared history continues to haunt us,” said Vincent Wm. Gagliostro. “In confronting the end of a traumatic era and provoking a conversation between generations, I dare us to dream of a new and vibrant future, again.“After Louie will be a testament to the joys of the fully lived life and the inseparability of art and living.”To find out more, or pledge to the Kickstarter campaign, click here.
This week, actor and animal advocate Pamela Anderson – accompanied by rescued dog Zorro – hand-delivered a 179,000-name petition to the High Commission of Mauritius in London that urges the country to implement a spay-and-neuter programme to tackle its stray-dog problem.PAMELA ANDERSON TAKES PLEAS OF THOUSANDS TO PARADISE ISLAND HIGH COMMISSIONThe petition follows video footage released in November by International Animal Rescue and PETA which reveals that workers from the government-funded Mauritius Society for Animal Welfare (MSAW) hunt down, catch, and cruelly kill a large number of dogs with painful hit-or-miss lethal injections. The shocking eyewitness account shows that as many as 20 dogs are killed in full view of one another and that they try desperately to escape by climbing the kennel gates and walls.“How can people enjoy a vacation on your ‘Paradise Island’ while knowing that such horrors are taking place near their hotels?” pleads Anderson. “Dogs are very loving and sensitive beings. We owe it to them to find a compassionate solution to the overpopulation crisis in Mauritius.”The long-time PETA supporter joins Tom Hardy, Krysten Ritter, Mickey Rourke, and Sia in teaming up with PETA or its international affiliates to raise awareness of dogs in need.
Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment ‘Black Panther’ – Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures Advertisement Twitter Filmmaker Ryan Coogler’s superhero pic is shattering records in its box-office debut.Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Panther has already become the highest-grossing title in history at 33 AMC Theaters across the country, according to the mega exhibitor.Put another way, Black Panther earned more at those cinemas on Thursday evening and Friday — along with advance ticket sales for other times during the weekend — than any other movie has in an entire weekend. AMC didn’t provide a list of the 33 theaters, nor a precise dollar amount for those cinemas, but noted that there were a record 83 showings on Friday at the AMC Southlake 24 in Atlanta. Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With:
By Danielle Rochette APTN National News MONTREAL–A grassroots group mailed eviction notices to about 40 people living in Kahnawake as part of a campaign to drive out mixed-couples from homes in the community.Jeremiah Johnson, one of the spokespeople for the group, said it was the will of the people to enforce the Kahnawake membership law which states that non-Indigenous people are not permitted to live within the territory of Kahnawake.Johnson said they should leave the territory by May 1, 2015.Johnson’s group also held a rally in the community Tuesday in support of the evictions.Kahnawake’s membership law was enacted in 1981 and put a moratorium on mixed marriages. It can be boiled down to the slogan, “if you marry out, you stay out.”Kahnawake’s council supports Johnson’s group.“People have the right to demonstrate,” said Grand Chief Michael Ahrihron Delisle Jr.The band council has also been holding forums to open up dialogue and discussions on the issue that has caused divisions within Kahnawake.Cheryl Diabo, a spokesperson for Skawatsi:rak (one family) group, said the membership law is breaking up families in Kahnawake and causing an extreme amount of anxiety and turmoil. She said she hoped alternative solutions such as residency permit options could be included as amendments to the law.This past August, a Mohawk teacher and mother of two was forced by Johnson’s group to stop building a new house in Kahnawake because her partner wasn’t Mohawk.In 2010, the membership burst to the surface when the band council moved to evict thirty non-Indigenous people living in the community.Kahnawake sits just south of Montreal.email@example.com
APTN National NewsA Manitoba street gang is speaking out against the attack on Rinelle Harper.APTN National News spoke to a member of the Manitoba Warriors Thursday who disputed claims one of the alleged attackers is a member of the gang.“The Manitoba Warriors is not affiliated in any way with Justin Hudson. Nobody in (MW) even knows him,” said the unnamed gang member.
Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsIndigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett laughed when Bobby Cameron, the Assembly of First Nations regional Chief for Saskatchewan, said he’d like to see the minister put the promised $2.6 billion for education inside the hand-made basket he had just gifted her on stage.It was Feb. 23 at a conference of First Nation education directors held in a ballroom at the Delta Hotel in downtown Ottawa. Bennett had just given a speech about education that didn’t mention the multi-billion dollar promise the Liberals made in the opening weeks of the last federal election.After the speech, Cameron gave Bennett the gift of the basket.“If you just open that up, don’t be afraid to put a $2.6 billion investment in there,” said Cameron.The room burst into laughter and clapping.But Bennett knew something that day that Cameron and the rest of the room didn’t. The $2.6 billion promise was in trouble because it was built on money that didn’t exist.The Liberals built their promise, which Prime Minister Justin Trudeau unveiled on the campaign trail last August, on the belief the Conservatives left $1.7 billion on the books for First Nation education. The Trudeau government planned to only invest $900 million in new money for education, topping off the promise with former prime minister Stephen Harper’s left-overs.APTN asked Bennett after her Feb. 23 speech if the education money still existed. Bennett said she knew the answer, but wasn’t sure if she could say it publicly. Her communications director Carolyn Campbell then intervened with a promise Bennett’s office would provide the answer later that day, but then failed to follow through on her word.Then, last Thursday, an anonymous government official leaked word to the Globe and Mail that the money wasn’t there. The next day Bennett, now allowed to speak on the issue, stood in the House of Commons and claimed the Conservatives had “removed” the money for First Nations education from the books.Technically, that wasn’t true. The money was there, but the Conservatives had “reprofiled” it, meaning it had been spread out over 15 years in the fiscal framework. The fiscal framework is basically a Finance department spreadsheet with the government’s projected revenues, expenditures and debt payments mapped-out into the future.Plus, there was never $1.7 billion for First Nation education in the fiscal framework. The previous Conservative government only ever claimed it set aside $1.25 billion, which was part of a pot of money linked to passage of the 2014 First Nation Control of First Nation Education Act which died on the Order Paper after First Nation chiefs turned against it.Now, with less than a week to go before the release of the next federal budget, it appears the Liberal government is trying to prepare the groundwork for the possibility it won’t be able to meet its $2.6 billion education promise, said NDP critic Charlie Angus.“A week before the budget the Liberals throw up this trial balloon suddenly the money they thought was there based on a broken Conservative promise isn’t there,” said Angus. “That tells me there is a political play underway, either they are going to renege on the full commitment they made to First Nation education or they are going to say we have to take it out of other priorities for First Nation communities like water and infrastructure.”A Finance department spokesperson said in an email there was only $241 million in the fiscal framework for First Nation education over the next three years. This means the Liberals have about $1.1 billion in their hand as a starting point for their promise to First Nation students. The government needs to find about $1.5 billion to meet the $2.6 billion promise.For Cameron, the chief who gifted Bennett the basket, it’s important for the Liberals to come through with the promised money.“The number, it signifies what we have been advocating and lobbying for, for many, many years,” said Cameron, who is also chief of the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations (FSIN), in an interview Monday. “It is absolutely imperative and crucial that this funding increase and commitment happens.”All will be revealed on March 22, next Tuesday, when the Liberal government unveils its first federal budget.There are high expectation from Indigenous groups and communities for this budget. Those expectations have been stoked by the Liberals themselves.Every cabinet minister’s mandate letter from Trudeau states there is no relationship more important to the government than the relationship with Indigenous peoples.Trudeau has promised to lift the two per cent cap on yearly program funding along with creating new fiscal relationship with First Nations. He has also promised clean water for every First Nation community within four years. Bennett, along with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, have also stated the government plans to revamp the child welfare system on reserves.Finance Minister Bill Morneau has even claimed he plans to wear moccasins on budget day—as it is the tradition for finance ministers to wear new shoes on the day the new spending plan is released—signaling this federal budget will be geared toward the needs of Indigenous peoples and communities.Morneau’s office refused to comment Tuesday on whether the minister would be wearing moccasins on budget day.“We aren’t commenting on anything related to the budget, including the pre-budget photo ops,” said Daniel Lauzon, a spokesperson for Morneau’s office.Sources connected to First Nation organizations say they have been told that the Liberal budget would focus on education, child welfare and water and wastewater infrastructure.“Quite a bit is riding on this budget,” said AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, in a recent interview with APTN‘s political program Nation to Nation. “I am hopeful and optimistic that those investments should be there…The messages coming back is they get it.”The lists of asks is long.In their pre-budget submissions, the AFN said it wanted to see $464 million in new money for First Nation education this year, $119 million a year, plus a 3 per cent escalator, for on-reserve child welfare, $15.4 million over four years for Indigenous languages, $201 million over four years for First Nation policing, $555 million a year over the next four years for housing, and $155 million in new money annually for water and waste water infrastructure.The AFN is also looking for $200 million over four years for First Nations organizations.Inuit organizations are also hoping the next federal budget meets some of the pressing needs facing their communities.Natan Obed, president of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami (ITK), said his organizations saw its budget slashed by 50 per cent since 2011.“We expect there will be some new funds that will get us back to the place where we can be respectful partners at the table,” said Obed.Obed said Inuit communities also face serious infrastructure needs, including the need for new money for social housing, ports, upgrading airports and connections between north and south.“We hope there will be some funding for infrastructure,” he said. “It would be a step toward sustainability in our communities.”Obed said he hoped the next federal budget would also solidify the Liberal government’s stated intentions—which emerged during the climate change meetings in Vancouver and in a continental climate change agreement with the U.S.—on moving Arctic communities off diesel power generation to cleaner sources of energy.“We hope to see some funding for that next step beyond diesel in our communities,” he said.The president of ITK said he’d also like to see the next federal budget put some much needed money toward a strategy to combat suicide—which is an issue that has also caused much suffering in many northern First Nation communities.“We have been talking about mental health and suicide prevention,” said Obed. “It would be wonderful to see a closing the gap on health inequities in this budget.”The Metis National Council also has high hopes for next week’s federal budget.“We want recognition of the Metis Nation, for our populace,” said David Chartrand, vice-president of the Metis National Council. “We pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes, so this is not like a hand-out for us.”Chartrand said he is looking for Trudeau to follow through in the budget on his promise to invest $25 million over four years for a Metis economic development strategy.He is also watching for the Liberals to put new money into the Aboriginal Employment and Training Strategy programs. Chartrand said the Metis expect about $50 million from the program earmarked in the next federal budget.“It is a wise investment to put toward Metis people,” said Chartrand. “These investments are not only a benefit to us directly, but they are a benefit to the provinces and Canada as a whole…It is a wise investment for the government. It is a win for Canada as a whole.”firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
By Paul Barnsley and Kathleen MartensAPTN InvestigatesSIOUX LOOKOUT, Ont.– For the second time this month a call has come to review the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA).In early May, Chief Bill Erasmus, the Assembly of First Nations executive member who is responsible for the residential schools portfolio, called for a review of the $4 billion out-of-court settlement that allowed the federal government and several churches to escape having to defend themselves against a handful of class-action lawsuits related to human rights violations and criminal acts committed against children who were students at the schools.Erasmus said there is widespread criticism amongst the survivors about the way some of the defendants in the original class actions – the federal government and the Catholic Church – have conducted themselves as the settlement agreement has been administered.Then, on May 17, Garnet Angeconeb, a respected long-time advocate for survivors of residential schools, sent a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, and several opposition politicians. APTN Investigates obtained a copy of that letter.Angeconeb added his voice to the call for a review of the settlement agreement. He wants an independent review that is court supervised and free of government influence.From Lac Seul First Nation in northwestern Ontario, Angeconeb is a member of the Order of Canada. He is also one of the founders of the Sioux Lookout Anti-Racism Committee.During a phone interview, he said that other survivors have told him repeatedly throughout the pre- and post-settlement process that they felt their needs always came last in what became an extremely complex, legalistic, and bureaucratic process.Told that many survivors have said they came to see the system as designed by lawyers and bureaucrats for lawyers and bureaucrats, he replied, “Bingo!”While the survivor of sexual abuse at Pelican Falls Residential School, near Sioux Lookout, acknowledged that a lot of work has been done to address the wrongs of the Indian residential schools, he says the work of healing and true reconciliation is far from over.“There is meaningful dialogue happening within the country’s chambers of political and spiritual decision makers about reconciliation,” he wrote, “but those discussions cannot leave behind the healing support that many survivors still require. That requirement needs to be measured by way of an independent evaluation – a review – of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.Angeconeb told the prime minister that many survivors feel the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) set up under the IRSSA has not brought closure – and in many cases it hasn’t even brought justice.“At a recent gathering of survivors, one person questioned and rightfully so, ‘How can I begin to talk about reconciliation when I am not healing?’” he wrote. “Unresolved historic trauma carries with it many heavy complexities. For many, the pain eats away at the very core of their daily existence. The pain must stop. We must learn from the past.”He told Trudeau a “review of the IRSSA must be conducted to measure the successes and shortcomings and the impacts the agreement had directly on the survivors.”He was careful to say that the purpose of the review he proposes is not to re-negotiate the agreement. He just wants the agreement to be fully implemented.“As the life span of the IRSSA is soon to expire, the parties have started to wind down their operations. The courts should lay out a strict deadline for the review to be completed and a final report presented to them so they can determine whether or not all elements of the IRSSA have been appropriately completed, including any funds still owed by the churches,” he wrote.Angeconeb believes the scope of the review should include the government, the churches, the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat, which oversees the IAP and Crawford Class Action Services, the Waterloo, Ont. based company that has administered the settlement agreement on behalf of the nine courts that have supervised the implementation of the out-of-court settlement that brought several class action lawsuits against Canada and the churches to a close.He also urged the prime minister to ensure the final report of the review be made public.“In particular, the findings must be made available to the survivors,” he wrote.A number of complaints have been made against lawyers who represented survivors in the IAP, where the former students related their experiences to adjudicators who then determined what compensation they should receive for the serious physical and/or sexual abuse they say they were subjected to in the schools.Calgary lawyer David Blott, who represented close to 6,000 survivors in the IAP, was disbarred after an investigation revealed he did not adequately represent his clients. It was found that Blott clients were improperly prepared for meetings with adjudicators, were provided with high-interest loans made against their eventual settlement payments – even though that practice was expressly forbidden by the settlement agreement and by federal law – and were in some cases denied compensation because their written testimony, that was changed by people working with or for Blott, did not match up to their oral testimony during the adjudication meeting.Many former Blott clients have joined a class-action lawsuit to recover money lost through Blott’s actions. But that lawsuit is presently stalled as federal government lawyers resist disclosing certain information to lawyers acting for the former Blott clients.Daniel Ish, the now-retired former chief IAP adjudicator, told APTN Investigates in 2011 it was not his job to advocate for the survivors. In fact, he added that there was no one to advocate for survivors within the IAP process.Survivors who lost out because of Blott’s actions were advised to hire a lawyer and sue civilly to recover the money. The IAP Secretariat did not take any action to review completed files and make corrections once it was proven that many survivors had not received the compensation they deserved because of what a judge called Blott’s wrongful acts.There have been a number of other investigations into IAP lawyers. When allegations surfaced that Vancouver lawyer Stephen Bronstein employed Ivan Johnny, a convicted murderer, to sign up IAP clients, his practice was reviewed.Johnny was barred from further participating in the IAP and had his parole revoked, after claimants said he threatened them with bodily harm and allegedly stole compensation money.Hearings to review complaints made against Kenora lawyer Douglas Keshen will start up in early June.Additionally, the companies some lawyers used to recruit clients, called form fillers because of the complex, legalistic forms survivors were required to fill out to qualify for the IAP, were also accused of exploiting the former students.When Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Perry Schulman ordered eight form-filling companies and six law firms to make “solemn declarations” to the court describing how they worked together, sources say the declarations were made.But almost two years after the deadline imposed by Justice Schulman, those declarations have not surfaced in the court file, meaning the public and media – and any interested survivors – are not able to see what was disclosed.Winnipeg lawyer Ken Carroll was investigated by Crawford after reports that a form filler he was affiliated with accompanied survivors to a bank, stood by while they deposited their cheques and then demanded payment for his services, which should have been included in the legal fees charged by Carroll.Angeconeb told the prime minister this all leaves the survivors with serious doubts as to whether justice has been done under the settlement agreement.“To further illustrate the need and significance of a review, survivors who are presently involved with complaints over some lawyers’ alleged actions of misconduct are legitimately asking – ‘What happens to those of us who are dealing with alleged unethical lawyers within Law Societies in terms of restitution – who will continue to monitor these kinds of unfinished business?” he wrote. “With or without a review process, the courts or the court monitors should reach out to all Law Societies and ask them to provide a list of all allegations made against lawyers that they are aware of. A status report should be available which would highlight the cases and provide the timing for resolution for each case. The IAP Secretariat should be made aware of these cases, if necessary, to ensure adjustments are made to the IAP process for the survivors. Will survivors be guaranteed restitution from wherever and whomever? Those survivors who have lodged complaints against lawyers feel re-victimized and they question, who is looking after their concerns: the government, the Adjudication Secretariat, the Law Societies?”There have been other incidents that have survivors questioning if they received the full benefit of the settlement agreement.Such as the role of Crawford, retained by the court to act as the court’s monitor of the process and investigate complaints. The money to pay Crawford comes out of the settlement agreement administration budget. Crawford was ordered by BC Supreme Court Justice Brenda Brown to repay to the federal government close to a million dollars for “questionable costs” incurred during the investigation of Stephen Bronstein.And, a federal government official admitted there was miscommunication with government lawyers that allowed the Catholic Church to escape paying close to $25-million that it had committed in the settlement agreement to raise to pay for healing programs for survivors.Ron Kidd, a gay-rights activist who lives in Vancouver, took it upon himself to read the IRSSA and check to see if the church had met its commitments.“When I twice wrote the [Indigenous Affairs] ministry in 2007 asking if the churches had actually paid their share, I did not receive a reply. I asked [Hedy Fry] my member of Parliament, a former cabinet minister, to ask the ministry if they had paid, but it did not reply to her either,” he said.For several years Kidd was unable to get an answer to his inquiries.“In late 2013, the ministry responded to a follow-up on my member of parliament’s 2007 enquiry if the [church] had met their obligations by not answering the question. In early 2014 it wrote me that the [church] had not met their financial obligations. It was its first public admission of its continuous failure over a seven year period.”Kidd then approached Globe and Mail reporter Gloria Galloway, who discovered that the government error had allowed the church to escape its obligation to raise the $25 million.“When the Globe and Mail published its article about the financial obligations in early 2015, I learned that the Roman Catholic Church had fundraised less than $1 million of its fundraising obligation,” he told APTN Investigates.On May 5, 2016, Charlie Angus, the NDP-MP for Timmins-James Bay, submitted a written question to the government related to this matter. The government is required to provide Opposition MPs with a response to such questions within 45 sitting days of Parliament. So it will take at least until the fall for the information to come out.Question Q-2052 asks the Trudeau government the following questions:“With respect to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement: with regard to the monitoring and reporting by the government of financial commitments of the Catholic Church, how much of the $29-million in cash donations owed was given to the survivors, how much of the $25-million dollars that was supposed to be fundraised, was fundraised, and of that money how much was donated to the survivors, what was the line-by-line account for the $25-million of in kind donations, how much of the total compensation owed was not distributed to survivors, as it was considered an expense, legal cost, or administrative fee of the Church, did government lawyers negotiate with other churches in order to waive their legal obligations, and, if so, when did these negotiations occur?”In January of this year, a Saskatchewan court ruling confirmed that Canada was on the hook for another $25-million.Canada had sued Merchant Law Group (MLG) of Regina, seeking to regain the $25-million it had committed to pay the law firm for its unpaid legal work on one of the class-action lawsuits that pressured the federal government to sign the settlement agreement.Lawyer Tony Merchant became a familiar figure at survivors’ gatherings across the country in the late ’90s and early 2000s as he signed up as many as 8,000 clients for the lawsuit.When the IRSSA was finalized, lawyers who had worked on the understanding that they receive nothing until a class action settlement was secured, sat down with the government to seek payment for those efforts.But Merchant’s billings raised the suspicions of Frank Iacobucci, a retired Supreme Court of Canada justice who had been retained to be the federal representative in the negotiation of the IRSSA.Canada signed the IRSSA with a clause that allowed it to require proof from Merchant that showed it had indeed done at least $25 million worth of work on the file.After Merchant’s database was disclosed, Justice Canada lawyers filed suit, alleging that the firm had committed “fraud, fraudulent misrepresentation and deceit” during the negotiation of IRSSA.But Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Brian A. Barrington-Foote cited an earlier case where another Saskatchewan judge had decided years earlier that Merchant was entitled to at least $25 million for its efforts leading up to the IRSSA being signed.Barrington-Foote, on Jan. 20, struck out Canada’s statement of claim, ruling it was an abuse of process because the matter had already been argued and decided in the earlier case.The judge ruled that Canada should not have entered into the IRSSA if it was so concerned about the legitimacy of Merchant’s billings.“Canada nonetheless chose to make that bargain. It did so in order to conclude the settlement despite its serious concerns as to the ‘accuracy and veracity’ of Merchant’s representations,” he wrote.The allegations made by Canada may or may not be true. Survivors may never know for sure because this case has been thrown out of court. But they still wonder if the law firm didn’t profit unduly from their suffering.Shortly before we learned of Angeconeb’s call for an independent review of the IRSSA, APTN Investigates learned that the secretariat is currently engaged in an internal review in several locations across the country.“As part of the wind down and completion of the program, [the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat] is undertaking a final report which will document the history of the process, the extent to which the IAP met its objectives, and the impact that the IAP has had on the lives of residential school survivors,” a government document states.Angeconeb was asked if he trusts the government to review itself. He insists allowing the IAP Secretariat to assess its own performance is not going to be enough to satisfy survivors.“Well, I’m not sure if I’d allow Colonel Sanders to babysit my chickens,” he said. “I think that’s why, in terms of the review itself, the courts really need to look at it, the agreement being so legalistic. I think it should be the courts that should order the review along with the terms of reference to ensure neutrality because right now we’re going to go into that Colonel Sanders scenario. Already there’s a lot of mistrust with this.”APTN Investigates asked Dan Shapiro, who succeeded Dan Ish as chief IAP adjudicator, for his reaction to Angeconeb’s letter. He responded in a written, emailed statement.“Many of the issues that [Angeconeb] raises in his letter are beyond the mandate of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP),” he wrote. “As chief adjudicator in the IAP, I know that it is impossible to design a perfect system that will satisfy all claimants.”He said more than 34,000 claims of abuse have been dealt with.“As in any adjudicative system, not all claims meet the criteria of the IAP. Hence some claims are dismissed. However, the vast majority of these cases are resolved in favour of former students on terms that are supported by all participants. More than $3 billion in compensation has been paid out to former students. We expect to complete the lion’s share of hearings in the IAP this spring,” he added.The secretariat is not alone in administering the IRSSA and oversight has been provided all the way through the process, he wrote.“It’s important to remember that the IAP was developed and approved by all parties to the 2007 Indian Residential Schools Settlement, including the Assembly of First Nations, counsel for former students and the Government of Canada. The Settlement Agreement, of which the IAP is a part, was the product of extensive negotiations brokered by retired Supreme Court of Canada Justice Frank Iacobucci.”He said the IRSSA has been supervised by several judges as well.“Finally, it’s important to remember that the IAP is a court supervised process. As chief adjudicator, I report at regular intervals to the nine supervising judges, who are also actively engaged in ensuring that the IAP delivers the benefits to former students that it was intended to do. In addition to the extraordinary checks and balances built in to this adjudication process, the courts retain the ultimate authority to provide redress in the event that they are of the view that an injustice may have occurred in individual cases,” he wrote.Angeconeb believes there was one thing that complicated all that oversight.“It was very political,” he said. “A lot went wrong. But the thing is, we could have learned from those mistakes as other processes are on the horizon such as the inquiry into missing and murdered women. The 60s scoop issue is just on the horizon as well. So I think there’s a bit of a coverup going on here.He said there are still too many unanswered questions to accept that all of the oversight mentioned by the chief adjudicator guaranteed a flawless and completely fair process.“There remain a million unanswered questions. What’s going on? Is there a coverup going on? In this case the voice of the weakened, in the case the voice of survivors has to be listened to,” he said. “The word I’m hearing is 25 years ago when the disclosures started coming out, we were victims. Twenty-five years later, now we are re-victimized. It’s a very common quote around here.”After many years where politicians, lawyers and bureaucrats were in charge, he believes there’s one thing that should have been done all along and it’s not too late to do it.“I think the courts, as their last ‘do good,’ should look at a process where they actually develop terms of reference and even appoint those that would be very instrumental in providing a review with key stakeholders like survivors on board,” he said.