Kolkata: The Bengal unit of National Investigation Agency (NIA) has nabbed a Jaamat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) terrorist from Madhya Pradesh. The terrorist, identified as Jahirul Shaikh, was wanted in the Khagragarh blast case. He has been brought to Kolkata in transit remand on Tuesday.According to sources, since the Khagragarh blast Shaikh had been absconding. He is a resident of Thanarpara area in Nadia and had obtained training from Simuliah madrasa in Burdwan, where several other terrorists used to take shelter. Following his training, Shaikh was given the responsibility of recruiting young men and women and training them. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaIn 2014 October, a blast took place in a house at Khagragarh in Burdwan. During investigation it came to the light that several terrorists used to prepare Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and other high intensity explosives inside the house. During investigation, several JMB terrorists including some top level leaders of the banned organisation were arrested. NIA had also seized a Tata Nano which Shaikh used to drive. Following seizure of the car, NIA officials conducted a raid at Shaikh’s house in Nadia and seized liquid explosive material in huge quantities. Since the last five years, NIA has conducted raids in multiple locations across the country in search of him. However, Shaikh had managed to elude them so far. A few days ago NIA got information about Shaikh hiding in Madhya Pradesh. Based on the information, a raid was conducted and he was arrested. He is being interrogated about his plan and whereabouts of his associates. NIA is also trying to know whether he has any plan to execute during Independence Day.
New Delhi: After a rap from market regulator Sebi, Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL) has re-filed shareholding pattern of the company for last six quarters, listing its majority owner Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) as a ‘promoter’. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) had asked HPCL to re-file shareholding pattern to stock exchanges by August 13, 2019 for all quarters since Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC) acquired government’s entire stake in the refiner in January 2018. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalHPCL has re-filed with the stock exchanges shareholding pattern of last six quarters beginning March 2018, the company said in a regulatory filing. In the revised shareholding, under the ‘statement showing the shareholding pattern of the Promoter and Promoter Group’, it listed ONGC as a promoter with 77.88 crore shares or 51.11 per cent stake just below President of India with ‘zero’ shares. ONGC in January last year bought the government’s entire 51.11 per cent stake in HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore but continued to be mentioned under “public shareholder” in the filings by the oil marketing company. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostPresident of India, in six shareholding pattern filings of HPCL made since then, remained as “promoter” without any stake in the company. All these have now been rectified to mention ONGC as a promoter below President of India. Sebi had in an August 6 letter asked HPCL to re-file “the shareholding pattern to the stock exchanges revising the status of ONGC as ‘promoter’.” “Further, as informed by HPCL vide its email dated June 27, 2019, Government of India has also advised HPCL that ‘President of India’ will continue to be the promoter of HPCL and ONGC to be added as a Promoter below ‘President of India. “However, HPCL has not abided by the aforesaid direction to revise the status of ONGC as ‘promoter’ till now,” the regulator had said. The regulator said its response to the informal guidance request was “clear and self-explanatory”. “Hence any further request for clarification on the issue does not arise,” it said. “Accordingly, you are once again advised to re-file the shareholding pattern to the stock exchanges for all quarters since the acquisition of shares by ONGC, while revising the status of ONGC as a ‘promoter’ by August 13, 2019, failing which appropriate action will be initiated as per SEBI Act.” After the stern message, HPCL fell in line and replied back saying it “intends to rectify the shareholding pattern and classification of promoters by the stipulated date as per the direction from SEBI.” It subsequently filed a revised shareholding pattern. While HPCL dragged its feet in tagging ONGC as its promoter for unspecified reasons, IT company Mindtree recognised Larsen and Toubro as its promoter within a day after the engineering giant acquired a majority stake. Last month, an HPCL spokesperson had stated that the company needed “clarifications /details” from “multiple agencies/ authorities to ensure compliance to various stipulations applicable to listed companies including Companies Act, SEBI Regulations, etc” before doing so. “As soon as all the clarifications/details are received from concerned agencies /authorities, necessary amendments as required will be made in the regulatory filings after following due process. Till such time, the status quo is being maintained in the regulatory filings,” the spokesperson had said. According to the Sebi’s rules, the entity that owns the controlling stake should be listed as a promoter even if it was not the original promoter of the company. When Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) had bought the government’s stake in fuel retailer IBP Co Ltd, it was listed as the latter’s promoter in every instance after the deal. The same was the case when IOC acquired a majority stake in Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd (CPCL). Since acquiring a majority stake in HPCL, ONGC has only been able to appoint one director to that firm’s board. HPCL head Mukesh K Surana continues with the title of Chairman and Managing Director despite corporate governance structure mandate only one chairman in a group and subsidiaries being headed by managing directors or CEOs.
New Delhi: Right-wing outfit Hindu Sena on Saturday blackened the signage for Babar Road in Bengali market here demanding that it be renamed after a “great Indian personality”. “We demand that the government rename the road, which is after a foreign invader, to some great Indian personality. “Hence, we have blackened the road signage erected by the NDMC,” said Hindu Sena president Vishnu Gupta. Officials of the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC), which is responsible for the upkeep of the road, were not immediately available for comment on the issue.
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Tuesday said the Modi government will not tolerate any breach of India’s territory and is ready to deal with any such acts strongly. Shah also asserted that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir has been peaceful ever since the special status given to the state under 370 was abrogated on August 5 and added that not a single bullet has been fired nor anyone has died since then. “There will be no compromise on India’s security. We will not tolerate even an inch of breach of our territory. We will deal with it strongly. We will not allow any drop of blood of our soldiers go in vain,” he said addressing an event of the All India Management Association here. Coming down heavily on the previous Congress regime for not adopting a comprehensive national security policy, the home minister said the country’s strategic policy was overshadowed by the foreign policy. “After the surgical strike and air strike, the perception of the world has changed and India’s strength has been recognised globally,” he added.
New Delhi: Realty firm Ajnara group on Tuesday said it will invest over Rs 300 crore to develop a housing project in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. The company will construct 450 units in this 5.6 acre housing project at Raj Nagar Extension, Ghaziabad. Total saleable area in this project would be 7.85 lakh sq ft residential and 1.25 lakh sq ft commercial. As housing market is facing multi-year slowdown, there has been a limited launch of new project ahead of festival season as developers are focusing on selling their unsold inventories. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal “With all the government clearance in place, we are coming up with a new project – ‘Ajnara Fragrance’ with an investment of more than Rs 300 crores,” Ajnara India CMD Ashok Gupta said in a statement. The company will meet project cost through internal accruals, he added. Ajnara’s Pramod Gupta said the basic selling price has been fixed at around Rs 2800-3,350 per sq ft. In about three decades, Ajnara has delivered 64 projects comprising over 25,000 units across Noida, Greater Noida and Ghaziabad. It aims to deliver around 4,000 units in FY 2019-20,” Gupta said.
REGINA – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is calling on the Prime Minister to get tough with British Columbia over its opposition to the Trans Mountain oil pipeline expansion.Moe says Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government should withhold sending federal infrastructure money to B.C.He says it has been a month since Trudeau met with B.C. Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley in Ottawa and the federal government has not introduced legislation to help get the project built.Moe made the remarks on his Facebook page Tuesday and later expanded on them at the legislature in Regina.The $7.4-billion Trans Mountain project would triple the flow of heavy oil from Alberta to Burnaby, B.C.Kinder Morgan, the company behind the pipeline, has warned it will pull the plug by May 31 if hurdles to the project remain.Moe says time is running out and Ottawa should take action.“The Prime Minister has spent the last two weeks announcing nearly $200 million in funding to Toyota, Rio Tinto, and Alcoa in Quebec and Ontario, while only paying lip service for the last year and a half to Trans Mountain, on which tens of thousands of western Canadian energy sector jobs depend,” he wrote on Facebook.“The Prime Minister can act now and make use of tools available to his government, like withholding of infrastructure funding to British Columbia to get this pipeline built.”At the legislature, Moe says Saskatchewan will be putting forward proposals to reform Canada’s equalization payment system.He says Saskatchewan needs to get its agriculture, energy and other products to market if its economy is to continue to grow.Moe says without better market access Saskatchewan may not be able to continue contributing to equalization. He notes the province contributed $580 million to the program that benefits have-not provinces last year.“I think it is time for us to look at this formula of equalization to ensure that provinces such as Saskatchewan can continue to be contributors, ” he said.Moe declined to give examples of the changes Saskatchewan will seek to the federal equalization program, but says his government will discuss them with other provinces in the months ahead.Speaking in Calgary, Trudeau says his government is looking at legislative, legal and financial avenues to get the federally-approved Trans Mountain project moving.But Trudeau says he won’t negotiate in public.(Companies in this story: TSX:KML)
If you’re a bug nerd, the federal government needs your help.Natural Resources Canada is looking for so-called citizen scientists to help in its battle against spruce budworm, a moth that has devastated forests in parts of Eastern Canada.The program, spearheaded by the Canadian Forest Services, is entering its third summer and now has more than 400 members of the public counting bugs in six provinces and Maine, U.S. The endeavour is part of a collaboration with various ministries, businesses and universities.“The idea is to use people to help us form an early warning system to know where the moths are,” said Chris MacQuarrie, a research scientist with Natural Resources Canada. After an outbreak, the moths’ larvae devour spruce and fir trees.The science is pretty simple, MacQuarrie said. After signing up on www.Budwormtracker.ca, a trap will arrive in the mail to be hung from black and white spruce trees, and their favourite conifer, the balsam fir.A pheromone — a sex hormone — inside the small green bin lures in unsuspecting male moths.“It’s a little thing you hang that makes it smell like a female moth,” explained MacQuarrie.“We only get the males. It turns out female moths are really hard to catch, but males are much easier and they fly right into the trap.”Citizen scientists then count the dead moths every week and upload that information on an app. The bugs are also sent to the department’s main research laboratory in Fredericton, N.B.The results are already paying off just two years in.“The data are showing us that moths are dispersing to many more places than we previously thought, but when they arrive they don’t always kick off an outbreak,” MacQuarrie said.“This tells us we still have a lot to understand about the biology of the insect.”Currently, there are outbreaks in New Brunswick and parts of Quebec, which usually come about every 30 years, he said. Previous outbreaks in those provinces were so massive that they were captured on radar.The weekly data collection has also added a real-time component previously unavailable to researchers.“For me to do that as a scientist, I’d have to take a summer student and stick them in the woods somewhere to empty a trap for every week and that’s expensive and time consuming and probably not great for the student,” MacQuarrie said.He also said the growing network of bug enthusiasts has allowed rapid responses to calls to collect moths in a “mass-dispersal event,” like what happened in Campbellton, N.B. last summer, when millions of moths emerged from their caterpillar state and descended on the area, covering trees, roads, cars and people.First, like Batman’s bat signal, “the program activated the budworm tracker network” to scramble citizen scientists to collect moths, he said.“Having a large group of people on the ground willing to help makes it easier to collect a bunch of data quickly so we can better understand what the insect was doing,” MacQuarrie said.“Previously to have collected a large number of insects from a bunch of places would have meant we’d need to send crews roaming about the province looking for bugs. Now we have ‘boots on the ground’ that we can call on when we need to.”MacQuarrie hopes to get more interest in the program in Ontario, which only has 34 members, mainly in Sault Ste. Marie, where one of the Natural Resources laboratories is located.“This year we’re trying to expand it a little more into the northwest and northeast,” he said, adding that it isn’t as great a concern in the south.But they also want more in Ontario because they’re waiting for the big one — the massive outbreak that occurs every 30 years — because it’s overdue.
The man suspected to be behind the ‘Canada Creep’ Twitter account is arrested again for child pornography charges.Jeffrey Robert Williamson, 42, was arrested Friday and later charged with possession of child pornography and accessing child pornography. Calgary Police Service says the new charges stem from evidence officers seized at Williamson’s house earlier this week.On Thursday, CPS arrested and charged with three counts of voyeurism and publication of voyeuristic recordings, after being notified about the Twitter account that posted photos and videos of women who appeared to be unknowingly filmed.The images focused on women’s breasts, buttocks and up women’s skirts and a much of the footage and pictures were taken in downtown Calgary.Officers are going through multiple terabytes of data taken from computers, hard drives and other devices tied to the Canada Creep account.Police say Williamson was filming women for at least five years, without their knowledge. He’s schedule to appear in court for the new charges on Monday.
QUEBEC – Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard has contacted several of his counterparts to discuss his constitutional initiative and says he wants to raise the topic at the Council of the Federation meeting in Edmonton.“I’m quite happy about the public and private reaction of my colleagues,” Couillard said in a recent interview with The Canadian Press. “All of them see very positively the desire from Quebec to explain its point of view and also to participate in an even stronger way in the Canadian federation.“I’m not expecting any conversation in Edmonton about a constitutional conference. I’m going to be there to maybe explain the document to my colleagues but also show them how we can work even closer together.”Couillard said the premiers’ meeting will actually focus on topics that “are much more important in the daily lives of Canadians and Quebecers,” including security issues, the legalization of cannabis, softwood lumber and free trade with the United States.The document outlining Couillard’s thinking about Quebec’s place within Canada was released six weeks ago and is entitled, “Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadians.”He has said the goal of his government’s proposal is to “start a dialogue” about Quebec’s place in the country, which he hopes will lead to the eventual reopening of constitutional negotiations and to Quebec finally signing the 1982 Constitution.While Couillard eventually wants to secure recognition of his province’s distinctiveness in the Constitution, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been adamant he will not reopen the highest law of the land.Moreover, the Quebec premier’s initiative did not exactly get a ringing endorsement from his counterparts.Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall recently put his own constitutional demand on the table: fixing the equalization program he says takes $500 million a year out of his province while providing $11 billion annually to Quebec.Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne adopted a more conciliatory tone at the time, but nevertheless appeared to indicate that reopening the Constitution is not among Ontarians’ priorities.On the cannabis front, meanwhile, Couillard said he has certain concerns about the federal government’s plan to legalize the drug for adults, as of next July 1.“There are a significant number of medical reports that show young people, late teens up to young adult age, can have detrimental effects from significant consumption of cannabis, in terms of mental health,” he said.“I’m quite concerned but I also tell myself, ‘Be realistic.’ Young people will still use it even if the legal age is 21.”Couillard said he understands each province will not have an identical approach to cannabis but added, “we cannot have vastly different frameworks, particularly for provinces that are neighbours.”The Council of the Federation will meet on Tuesday and Wednesday.On Monday, the premiers are to convene with Indigenous leaders, but that meeting is up in the air.Three of the five First Nations groups announced Friday they will boycott the meeting because they believe they should be part of the full Council of the Federation.
SAINT-JEROME, Que. – A Superior Court justice ordered a medical evaluation on Wednesday of the suspect who fled authorities last week with his six-year-old boy and who was later charged in the slaying of the child’s mother.The 41-year-old man has been in an Ottawa hospital since Saturday after what police alleged was a suicide attempt.Justice Martin Castonguay put off the man’s scheduled court appearance until next Wednesday and said he expected a detailed medical report ready by that time.Quebec police issued an Amber Alert for the boy after they discovered the body of the child’s mother last Thursday night in Saint-Eustache, Que.The suspect was arrested Friday by Ontario provincial police and his son was located in a stolen vehicle in eastern Ontario.The car belonged to a 71-year-old man named Yvon Lacasse who had been missing since it was stolen Thursday night in Lachute, Que.Sgt. Claude Denis of Quebec’s provincial police said officers found a body Wednesday in Arundel, Que. they believe is that of Lacasse.“All signs point to it possibly belonging to Mr. Lacasse,” Denis said. “But there will be an autopsy and the body’s identification has to be done to the satisfaction of the coroner.”Quebec police had for days been retracing the journey made by the suspect for in order to find the missing 71-year-old.Defence lawyer Pierre Gauthier said he needed an order from the Superior Court for the Ontario hospital to perform an evaluation on his client to determine if he was fit to appear.Gauthier said he didn’t have much information on the condition of his client, who had reportedly been in a coma since the suicide attempt.“I don’t know much,” Gauthier told reporters outside the courtroom in Saint-Jerome, Que., regarding the suspect’s health. “I’d like to know, I need to know, and I will. But for the moment I have no information.”He added his client would be in court next Wednesday if his health permitted.Crown prosecutor Aryanne Guerin said she was told the suspect has started to move his hands and feet and has opened his eyes.The suspect was charged on Monday with one count of second-degree murder, but has been unable to appear in court due to his hospitalization.
Highlights from the news file for Wednesday, Sept. 20———LIBERALS SEIZE ON TORY’S ‘BARBIE’ TWEET: The Liberals have their sights set on Conservative Gerry Ritz after the Saskatchewan MP described Environment Minister Catherine McKenna as a “climate Barbie” on Twitter. In response to an article Tuesday about countries falling short of their climate change commitments, Ritz tweeted, “Has anyone told our climate Barbie” — a reference to McKenna. Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr used the daily question period to demand Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer condemn Ritz’s comments and force him to apologize in the House of Commons. Scheer, for his part, ignored Carr and a barrage of Liberal catcalls to instead press the government on its controversial small business tax proposals.———STOP ATTACKING WEALTHY, LIBERAL MP WARNS: Not everyone is on board with the way Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been going after the rich as he defends his Liberal government’s controversial tax proposals — and that includes some members of his own caucus. The prime minister has been sounding defiant as he makes the case for eliminating tax provisions used by a growing number of small businesses, saying the system should not allow wealthy Canadians to pay lower taxes than the middle class. Montreal MP Nicola Di Iorio said his fellow Liberals would do well to remember that they campaigned for everyone, not just the vote-rich middle class.———FUNERAL FOR FALLEN MOUNTIE DRAWS LARGE CROWD: Hundreds of RCMP officers in red serge with hats in hand filed into a New Brunswick church to pay tribute to a fallen Mountie killed last week when he stopped to help stranded motorists change a flat tire. The regimental funeral for Const. Frank Deschenes of the Nova Scotia RCMP filled St. Bernard’s Catholic Church in Moncton, which seats 800. A large crowd also gathered along the tree-lined street outside to pay their respects to the young officer.———SOHI TO DISCUSS INFRASTRUCTURE WITH PROVINCES: The federal infrastructure minister wants to talk about how to better manage the flow of construction cash from Ottawa to cities when he sits down this week with his provincial and territorial counterparts. Infrastructure money historically falls short of budget projections because the federal government doesn’t dole out cash until after construction begins or ends on a project. Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi says how funds are delivered will be a key issue during face-to-face meetings Thursday in the national capital.———ALBERTA CANDIDATE WANTS ‘NO BODY, NO PAROLE’ LAW: A would-be politician in Alberta wants Canada to adopt a “no body, no parole” law. Dane Lloyd is vying for the federal Conservative nomination in Sturgeon River-Parkland, the seat left vacant when the party’s interim leader Rona Ambrose left politics this summer. Lloyd says the law would be similar to one in Australia that forces killers to reveal the location of their victims’ bodies if they want a chance at parole.———CROWN WANTS UP TO 15 YEARS FOR MAN WHO STRANGLED WIFE: A man who strangled his wife and buried her body in cement in the basement of their home told his sentencing hearing that he let “fear overwhelm his sense of right.” Allan Shyback, 40, was found guilty of manslaughter last spring in the 2012 death of his wife Lisa Mitchell in the couple’s Calgary home. Crown prosecutor Jayme Williams recommended Shyback serve 10 years for manslaughter and an additional three to five years for concealing her body in the home they shared with their children.———DROP DEMAND FOR VICE MATERIALS, RCMP URGED: A Canadian news outlet at the centre of a closely watched media-freedom case is calling on the RCMP to drop its demand for a journalist’s background materials used for stories on a suspected terrorist, in light of reports that the man is in fact long dead. In a letter to federal prosecutors this week, lawyers for Vice Media say they would abandon their attempt to fight the demand at the Supreme Court of Canada if the RCMP were to drop its production order, which two courts have upheld. The materials in question relate to stories about a Calgary man whom Canadian authorities have charged in absentia with various terrorism-related offences.———WILDFIRE ALERTS LIFTED IN B.C.: For the first time in nearly three months, all wildfire evacuation orders and alerts have been lifted in British Columbia as the province begins to recover from its worst wildfire season on record. The Cariboo Regional District and Thompson-Nicola Regional District say final alerts affecting southern Interior properties have been rescinded. The alerts were lifted as the BC Wildfire Service reported a 1,900-square kilometre blaze that broke out near Ashcroft on July 6 and burned almost 100 kilometres northward is 85 per cent contained.———QUEBEC AMBER ALERT SUSPECT REMAINS IN HOSPITAL: A Superior Court justice has ordered a medical evaluation of a suspect arrested last week after an Amber Alert was issued in Quebec for his six-year-old son. The 41-year-old man was later charged in the slaying of the child’s mother. He has been in an Ottawa hospital since Saturday after what police alleged was a suicide attempt. Justice Martin Castonguay put off the man’s scheduled court appearance until next Wednesday and said he expected a detailed medical report ready by that time.———WIARTON WILLIE DIES AT 13: Wiarton Willie, who drew crowds to Wiarton, Ont., each February for Groundhog Day festivities, died on Friday. According to a news release from the Town of South Bruce Peninsula, the albino groundhog was 13. If Willie saw his shadow, legend held that winter conditions would prevail for another six weeks, whereas failure to do so would mean a quick end to the cold season. A memorial service and procession will be held for the meteorological marmot on Sept. 30.———
VANCOUVER – A B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit accuses the federal government of maliciously supplying false information about terrorist-related activity to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to secure lucrative military contracts for Canada’s defence industry.Perienne de Jaray’s lawsuit claims her life, reputation, fortune and future were critically damaged by the actions of Canadian government officials in an investigation that resulted in criminal charges, which were later dismissed.Her statement of claim filed in August says federal officials acted deliberately and maliciously in order to make an example of de Jaray because of pressure coming from the U.S. State Department to crack down on terrorist activity and create more prosecutions related to illegal exports.A court in the United States granted the British Columbia woman’s application to dismiss a similar legal action in the United States before she filed the lawsuit in Canada.A statement issued by de Jaray through her lawyer says she and her family suffered years of fear and anxiety over accusations that were baseless.The Canadian government has not filed a response to the civil claim.The lawsuit names the Attorney General of Canada as the defendant. The Justice Department referred requests for comment to the Canada Border Services Agency, which said it is reviewing the lawsuit and it would be inappropriate to comment at this time.None of the allegations contained in the statement of claim have been proven in court.De Jaray is a former co-owner and executive of Apex USA, once a multimillion-dollar subsidiary of electronics maker Apex Canada, which her father founded.She has alleged she suffered years of baseless investigation on both sides of the border after the Canadian government told the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 2009 that it had intercepted a shipment of illegal, weapons-grade electronics from Apex — a claim later revealed to be false.All criminal charges against de Jaray and her father were stayed in 2011. The charges were eventually dismissed.De Jaray’s written statement says there has been no repercussions for the federal government over her treatment, the loss of her home in the United States, or the loss of confidence to pursue her career.“I have been left for dead,” she says.“I suffer from debilitating flashbacks and severe emotional trauma that I have and will continue to spend years in an arduous attempt to manage.”The statement of claim argues the federal government is liable for damages for violating her charter rights, malicious prosecution and infliction of nervous shock.
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — New security screenings for all passengers on U.S.-bound flights began on Thursday, with airlines worldwide questioning flyers about their trip and their luggage in the latest Trump administration decision affecting global travel.However, confusion still remains about the new regulations, which come at the end of a 120-day period following the United States lifting a ban on laptops in airplane cabins affecting 10 Mideast cities. The new regulations cover all the 2,100 flights from around the world entering the U.S. on any given day.Some airlines said they had received permission to delay implementing the new rules until January.At Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest for international travel, long-haul carrier Emirates began questioning passengers about their luggage, liquids they were carrying and where they were coming from. Passengers also had to have their carry-on bags searched, along with their electronics.Emirates declined to discuss the new procedures in detail on Thursday. On Wednesday, it said it would conduct “passenger pre-screening interviews” for those travelling on U.S.-bound flights in concert with other checks on electronics.Elsewhere, things did not appear to be going so smoothly. In China, an official in the Xiamen Airlines press office, who would only give his surname as Qiu, said that the airlines received a “demand” about the new U.S. regulations and planned “to take some security measures, including security safety interviews from today on.”“We’re not going to interview all passengers, but focus on those with a certain degree of risk when checking the passengers’ documents on the ground,” he said, without elaborating.An official with the Eastern Airlines publicity department said that she saw media reports about security safety interviews but didn’t have immediate details on what her company was doing. An official at the Beijing Airport press centre would only say: “We always strictly follow relevant regulations of the Civil Aviation Administration when conducting security checks.” Both officials spoke on condition of anonymity under regulations.South Korea’s Transport Ministry said that the United States agreed to delay implementing the new screening for the country’s two biggest carriers, Korean Air Lines Co. and Asiana Airlines Inc., until next year on condition they deploy staff at boarding gates to monitor travellers.Royal Jordanian, based in Amman, also has said it would introduce the new procedures in mid-January.Other airlines with U.S.-bound flights at Seoul’s Incheon International Airport brought in as many as seven extra staff Thursday to question passengers under the new rules but there were no major delays, airport spokesman Lee Jung-hoon said.Singapore Airlines passengers may be required to “undergo enhanced security measures” including inspection of personal electronic devices “as well as security questioning during check-in and boarding,” the carrier said on its website.Other carriers who announced the new regulations on Wednesday included Air France, Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd., the airlines of Germany’s Lufthansa Group and EgyptAir.U.S. carriers also will be affected by the new rules. Delta Air Lines said it was telling passengers travelling to the U.S. to arrive at the airport at least three hours before their flight and allow extra time to get through security. United declined to comment, while American did not immediately respond to a request for comment.In March, U.S. officials introduced the laptop ban in the cabins of some Mideast airlines over concerns Islamic State fighters and other extremists could hide bombs inside of them. The ban was lifted after those airlines began using devices like CT scanners to examine electronics before passengers boarded planes heading to the U.S. Some also increasingly swab passengers’ hands to check for explosive residue.The laptop ban as well as travel bans affecting predominantly Muslim countries have hurt Mideast airlines. Emirates, the region’s biggest, said it slashed 20 per cent of its flights to the U.S. in the wake of the restrictions.___Associated Press writers Yu Bing in Beijing, Kelvin Chan in Hong Kong, Anna Johnson in Phoenix and Youkyung Lee in Seoul contributed to this report.
OTTAWA – It might well be Jagmeet Singh’s secret weapon: a seemingly bottomless well of positive energy that draws fans and followers like bees to a honeypot. Thing is, the new NDP leader doesn’t always remember to tap it.Enter Singh’s other secret weapon: his younger brother, Gurratan.“He’s always like, ‘Jagmeet, are you digging into that positivity?’” Singh said this week during an interview, Gurratan at his side, at NDP headquarters in Ottawa.“‘Make sure you dig into that energy that makes you, you.’”Gurratan Singh can speak truth to power, an important resource for someone who is gradually transitioning out of Ontario provincial politics and into the hard-knock world of Parliament Hill, where the elder Singh has his sights set on becoming Canada’s next prime minister.In his first weeks on the job with the NDP, Singh has had his brother at his elbow — even though he’s not on the NDP’s payroll — at everything from scrums on Parliament Hill to the weekend Ottawa rally where he kicked off a national get-to-know-me tour last week.He knows Gurratan — a lawyer who shares his older brother’s penchant for colourful turbans and custom-tailored suits — won’t hold back in assessments of how he’s doing.“He will not hesitate to call me out if I don’t do well on something,” Singh said.“If I give a speech and people are like ‘That was OK, that was OK’, I’ll be like ‘Gurratan, tell me the truth.’ And he’ll be like ‘It was horrible, man. You did a really bad job.’”Staying focused on his natural positive energy is some of the best political advice he’s ever received, Singh added —advice that the party he now leads would do well to follow as it seeks to turn the page on the disappointments of the Tom Mulcair era in favour of a younger, more energized future.There’s no question Singh brings to the NDP an entirely new, and decidedly younger, perspective, as well as that infectious energy, which is precisely what the party needs right now, said NDP national director Robert Fox.“He is a different personality, has a different profile than Tom did and there are a lot of people who are interested to come and work with us … under Jagmeet’s leadership to elect more New Democrats,” Fox said.“There are a lot of seasoned veterans that are also excited about the prospects and that has nothing to do with Tom. We’ve been in a situation where … we had a leader who we knew would not be the leader up to the next election.”The party is also hoping Singh can help attract fundraising to help pay off the party’s $5.5-million debtload, and also bring with him the organizational prowess his team demonstrated during his successful leadership campaign.“We very much look forward to … raising more money to do some of the things we’ve been planning to do for some time, as well as some of the new, innovative ideas that Jagmeet brings to the table,” Fox said.Of course, all that bright-side stuff can be a little blinding to certain political realities.Gurratan comes in handy there, too.“Sometimes, I might be too light-hearted or too optimistic where I am missing there’s something we realistically need to do right now,” he said. “Gurratan will point that out and say ‘Listen, OK, you can be optimistic, but we need to make sure we deal with this problem right now.’”That candour is a comfort to the new NDP leader.“It is having the support of someone (who’s) going to be real with me … at the same time, having the comfort of someone I get along with, one of my best friends,” he said. “Maybe my best friend.”“That’s cute,” Gurratan said, grabbing Jagmeet’s arm.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitter
WASHINGTON, United States of America – Members of the Trump administration have dropped several hints in recent days that withdrawing from NAFTA is not in their current plans — and the latest such example came Thursday.A congressional gathering heard Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin express some optimism about getting a deal. He based that on what he said were weekly meetings with U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer.”I’m cautiously hopeful that … (he) will be renegotiating this deal,” Mnuchin told the House of Representatives’ budget committee.”It is a major priority of ours to renegotiate the deal.”He refused to even discuss the possibility of U.S. withdrawal from NAFTA when asked to do so. Republican lawmaker Darin LaHood pressed Mnuchin to analyze the possible consequences of withdrawal, something the Illinois congressman said would be a mistake.”I would hate to see us shoot ourselves in the foot by withdrawing from NAFTA,” LaHood said.”I look at those negotiations, and where we’re headed, that causes me a lot of concern.”Again, Mnuchin reaffirmed his view that cancellation is not imminent: ”I don’t want to go through the consequences — because, again, that’s not our first priority. Our priority is to renegotiate the deal,” said the treasury secretary.It’s the third such hint from a prominent member of the administration in recent days.In a public meeting this week, Lighthizer said progress is being made in the renegotiation. He described the anxiety about a U.S. withdrawal as something in the past tense.”There was a lot of anxiety at one point as to whether we would be in a position where we would have to withdraw in order to get a good agreement,” Lighthizer said, with President Donald Trump looking on.”I think we’re making progress on NAFTA … I think we’re making real headway — in particular with respect to the Mexicans.”Lighthizer has stated his view that negotiations have been harder with Canada. His relations with Canadian counterpart Chrystia Freeland have been bumpier, although a spokesman for the minister described their meeting Wednesday as “cordial and constructive.”And in a closing news conference at the last round, Lighthizer described his Canadian and Mexican counterparts as friends.Another Trump cabinet member also expressed optimism about NAFTA a few days ago. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said he expects a NAFTA deal by year’s end.Extending the talks into 2018 would have some drawbacks: Both Scotiabank and the Bank of Canada say uncertainty over the investment situation would shave about one-fifth of one per cent from Canada’s economy by next year.This week also provided examples of the uncertainty in Canada-U.S. trade.The U.S. opened an investigation into possible punitive duties on certain types of Canadian pipes — following similar moves on lumber, paper, and a thwarted effort to slap duties on Bombardier airplanes.In addition, Trump made cryptic comments about an import tax — later played down by the White House. He also appeared to nod in agreement during a meeting as a Democrat called for Buy American provisions to be added to a major infrastructure bill.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Freeland did not meet Lighthizer during her most recent visit to Washington.
MONTREAL – An unaffordable price tag kept Melanie Laxson out of the dentist’s chair until the pain became unbearable.With no access to insurance, the 38-year-old says there’s no way she could afford the full cost of a dentist.Canadians spend about $12 billion per year on dental services, but six million people annually avoid dentists because of costs, said a 2014 report by the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.According to the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, some 25 million Canadians, representing 80 per cent of working families, have coverage under extended health insurance which covers dental and prescription drugs, hospital and medical expenses not covered by provincial government plans.Yet insurance typically doesn’t cover the entire dental bill, often leaving patients with large out-of-pocket expenses.Experts say some patients make dental visits a little more affordable by spreading out the frequency of visits, contacting dentists in lower-cost neighbourhoods, discussing alternative treatment plans with the dentist and negotiating lower prices.Laxson turned to a teaching clinic operated by McGill University’s Faculty of Dentistry in Montreal.As she waited for the first of several procedures to extract teeth and get fitted with dentures, Laxson said the clinic gives people with limited means the ability to get the care they need to relieve persistent pain.“When your teeth hurt, it really hurts,” she said.Dr. John Drummond, a Montreal dentist who also teaches at the university, says patients can save about 30 per cent depending on the procedure.However, the tradeoff for lower fees is more time in the dentist’s chair, as dentist-supervised students take longer to perform procedures than trained professionals.He said access to care is an increasing challenge as the cost of dentistry rises while wages remain stable.“There is definitely a section in the middle that doesn’t get to the dentist,” he said in a clinic room with the latest dental equipment.Drummond believes most dentists charge a little above or below the provincial fee guide that lists recommended prices for thousands of procedures.Patients can check by contacting a dentist and comparing the fee associated with a procedure’s specific code with the suggested provincial fee guide.Provinces make fee guides available at public libraries, while some have abbreviated lists on the dental board’s website. Patients can also call the provincial board itself.Pricing differentials are often dictated by the dentists costs to run an office, including rent.But dental groups warn that it’s difficult to shop for a dentist based on fees because most people have difficulty making sense of costs among the thousands of codes in provincial fee guides.The Ontario Dental Association says dentistry isn’t a commodity so treatments should be patient-specific and the result of an exam and diagnosis.“Because dental health varies between people, there really is no average treatment that applies to everyone across the board,” said association president Dr. LouAnn Visconti.The incoming president of the Canadian Dental Association says dentists have no obligation to respect provincial fee guides.Dr. Mitch Taillon of Saskatchewan says cost is a factor for some patients but feeling comfortable with the dentist, technology, convenient hours and location are usually more important.“In my experience cost is one of the factors, it’s not the biggest one,” he said in an interview.Dr. Barry Dolman, president of the Quebec Order of Dentists, said most dentists are willing to help patients with limited means and no insurance to find affordable treatment options.“I think most professionals on a one-by-one basis do have a heart to be able to moderate fees,” he said.But many dentists are reluctant to negotiate.Dr. Drummond says he sometimes works out deals with a patient in need, but he won’t haggle.“I don’t like offering discounted dentistry because then the patients who are paying the normal price are getting short-changed, so I have my fees very up front as being the same for everybody.”Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.
Five stories in the news for Monday, June 4———GROUP CALLS FOR HEP C TESTING OF ALL BABY BOOMERSNew guidelines recommend that all Canadians born between 1945 and 1975 — baby-boomers — be tested for the potentially liver-destroying virus hepatitis C. The Canadian Association for the Study of the Liver published its new guidelines in today’s edition of the Canadian Medical Association Journal. It says more than 250,000 Canadians are believed to be infected with hep C, but 40 to 70 per cent don’t know it because they aren’t showing any symptoms yet.———CANADA URGED TO TARGET ZERO PLASTICS BY 2025Dozens of environmental groups are urging Canada to set a much higher bar for recycling plastics at home. They want Ottawa to set national targets for how much Canadians should recycle. The aim is to boost the recycling rate to 85 per cent by 2025 — it’s now about 11 per cent. An estimated 10-million tonnes of plastic pollution ends up in the oceans each year. Prime Minister Trudeau has said he hopes this week’s G7 leaders’ summit in Quebec will include the signing of an anti-plastics charter.———CANADA QUIZZED U.S. ON TRAVEL BAN: DOCUMENTSNot only were Canadian officials scrambling to limit problems for travellers, they were simply trying to grasp what was going on when the Trump administration issued an order last year banning people from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. Internal notes from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security reveal the Canadian government fired off a list of 16 questions in the hope of figuring out the order’s impact on everything from refugee claims to biometric tracking.———LAST WEEK OF CAMPAIGNING IN ONTARIOWith just days to go before Ontario votes, two of the three main party leaders are hitting the campaign trail hard. Kathleen Wynne, who has conceded that her Liberals have little chance of forming the next government, plans a Toronto media blitz this morning. NDP Leader Andrea Horwath will be on the stump across southwestern Ontario, while PC Leader Doug Ford will be making a single announcement in Toronto. Ontarians go to the polls on Thursday,———PROPOSED EDMONTON RAVE BAN COMPARED WITH “FOOTLOOSE”Critics of a city report in Edmonton that recommends banning raves are comparing the idea to the plot of a popular 1980s movie. The report argues electronic music parties are linked with “widespread consumption of drugs” and “drug-facilitated sexual assaults” that tie up emergency services. Some people have responded on social media, suggesting the move would be similar to the storyline of “Footloose,” where a teenager battles a small town ban on dancing and rock music.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals.— Protesters opposed to the Kinder Morgan pipeline rally at MP’s offices across Canada.— Independent Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry continues in Halifax in disability rights case.— Four of Bertrand Charest’s sex-assault victims hold a news conference in Montreal.— Parliamentary Secretary Veterans Affairs makes an announcement regarding improved mental health services for military families.— Sentencing decision in Winnipeg for teenage girl who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the beating death.— Singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell to receive honorary degree from the University of Saskatchewan.— Pre-trial hearing in Victoria for former Olympic rower Harold Backer, facing fraud charges linked to an investment deal.———
OTTAWA – Rural communities and a federal MP are raising concerns about the impact a potential work stoppage at Canada Post could have on Ontario’s municipal elections.The Crown corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers extended their contract negotiations beyond an early-Wednesday deadline for a strike or lockout, providing some hope that new deals can be struck without a service disruption.But in the absence of agreements, small communities that rely on mail-in ballots for the Oct. 22 vote said they were looking for alternative ways for constituents to exercise their civic duty.The Municipality of Dysart et al, in Ontario’s cottage country north of Toronto, said it could be heavily impacted by a postal strike.“Election staff are working on a contingency plan in the event of a postal strike,” the regional community said in a tweet.Just to the west, Brock Township has informed voters not to mail their ballots until there’s confirmation a strike or lockout will be avoided.“We are encouraging people to just hold onto their (election) kit until there’s some direction, one way or the other, from Canada Post,” Tom Gettinby, the township’s clerk and chief administrative officer, told The Canadian Press.There were about 10,000 eligible voters in Brock at the time of the last municipal election in 2014. Of those, roughly 4,400 cast ballots, Gettinby said.And while the township is encouraging local voters to drop off their completed ballots to municipal offices in the event of job action at Canada Post, many eligible electors are part-time residents who live and work in Toronto for much of the year.“What we don’t want to see happen is they put the ballot in the mail and then all of a sudden there’s a disruption in the postal service, and their ballot is in some warehouse in Toronto,” said Gettinby.Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant, who represents the rural Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke riding northwest of Ottawa, said she has heard from several isolated municipalities worried about how a Canada Post shutdown will affect their mail-in votes.“A Canada Post strike during the Ontario municipal elections will result in Canadians being deprived of their say in the election,” Gallant wrote on her website.“Online voting was not an option due to absence of internet coverage in these rural areas.”A postal disruption would impact each community differently, depending on how much they rely on mail services, said the Association of Municipalities of Ontario.“Municipalities use mail services for election-related materials to different degrees, so the impact of a postal disruption would vary across Ontario,” AMO president Jamie McGarvey said in an email.“Municipal clerks understand the importance of ensuring smooth elections. They work hard to plan for municipal elections and anticipate solutions when needed.”The Canadian Union of Postal Workers, or CUPW, said Monday it would not issue a 72-hour notice of job action but warned there could be job action if there was no progress in the talks. Key issues revolve around wages and working conditions.A CUPW spokesman said the union was waiting for comprehensive counter proposals to the wide-ranging offers it presented to Canada Post on Sept. 14. In the meantime, negotiators were still meeting at an undisclosed hotel in Ottawa, said Kevin Matthews.A collective agreement affecting the agency’s 42,000 urban postal workers expired in January. Rural and suburban carriers saw their agreement lapse in December 2017. CUPW is hoping to merge the two contracts in the current round of bargaining.There was a risk of a work disruption at Canada Post in 2016, but it was avoided when both sides agreed to carve out a contentious pay-equity dispute and put it in the hands of an arbitrator, who issued a ruling on the issue last week.The last time the agency locked out its unionized employees was in 2011. The federal government, however, quickly put an end to the lockout through legislation that a court later ruled was illegal.
OTTAWA — The $60-billion effort to build new warships for the navy has hit another snag, this time in the form of a legal challenge by one of three companies involved in the high-stakes competition to design the vessels.The federal government announced last month that U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin beat out two rivals in the long and extremely sensitive competition to design replacements for the navy’s frigates and destroyers.Lockheed’s design was based on a new class of frigates for the British navy. The company is now negotiating a final contract with the government and Halifax-based Irving Shipbuilding, which will build the ships.But one of the other two companies, Alion Science and Technology, is now asking the Federal Court to quash the government’s decision, saying Lockheed’s design did not meet the government’s stated requirements and should have been disqualified.Industry insiders had long warned that Lockheed’s selection as the top bidder combined with several changes to the competition after it was launched — including a number of deadline extensions — would spark lawsuits.While the government, Irving and Lockheed Martin are declining to comment, federal officials have previously defended the way the competition was run and expressed confidence about defending the decision in court.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A former federal Conservative cabinet minister from Alberta is back in the political game, hoping to take down the Liberal minister in charge of the nation’s energy industry, in the heart of the country’s oil patch.Tim Uppal, who served as a minister of state in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet for almost four years, is nominated to run again in Edmonton Mill Woods, a riding Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi nabbed from him in 2015 by just 92 votes.With the issues facing Alberta’s economy, including a lack of pipeline capacity and low oil prices, Uppal said he felt drawn to jump back in.“I’ve started to get excited about politics again,” said Uppal, 44. “There’s just a lot that needs to be done and I want to be part of that.”Alberta isn’t exactly the biggest battleground in this fall’s federal election — the Conservatives already have 29 of the 34 seats and it’s really only the five seats they don’t hold that are in play. The possibility exists for the Conservatives to wipe out the Liberals and NDP there completely. The possibility also exists that Maxime Bernier’s new People’s Party of Canada will play spoiler in some of those seats, taking enough votes from the Tories to help the Liberals or NDP survive.Almost one-fifth of the new members signed up by Bernier’s party thus far are in Alberta. Although support for the party is still generally pretty small nationally, there are some Tories who privately predict Bernier is likely to do best in Alberta.The Liberals want to hang on to some Alberta seats, even in the face of oil industry economic doom and gloom. Just before Christmas they dispatched Sohi with a $1.6 billion aid package.Uppal said one might expect $1.6 billion would always be welcome. Instead, he said, people saw it as desperation from the Liberals trying to save Sohi, Edmonton Centre MP Randy Boissonnault and Calgary Centre MP Kent Hehr.The Liberals won two seats in Calgary in 2015, their first in that city since 1968, but both Hehr and Calgary Skyview MP Darshan Kang have since faced harassment allegations. Hehr lost his job in cabinet over his behaviour, for which he apologized a year ago, but he has been nominated to run for the Liberals again this fall. Kang left the Liberal caucus and allegations against him were later substantiated by a House of Commons investigation. He remains an independent and hasn’t decided yet whether he will be on the ballot come October.A senior Conservative told The Canadian Press on background last summer, before Bernier split from the Tories to form his new party, that Calgary Centre was the only Alberta seat the party was not expecting to take easily. He said the demographics have changed somewhat since the days the Tories slid to easy victories there and it may be the hardest seat to flip come October. It is one of just two seats in Alberta where the Conservatives haven’t yet nominated a candidate.The other is Edmonton Strathcona, which is wide open after lone New Democrat Linda Duncan decided not to seek re-election.The Liberals see that seat as a potential pick up. Although they finished third there in 2015, the lack of an incumbent and the belief the NDP is weaker than in 2015, gives the party hope it can capture some of the NDP’s vote. Liberal spokesman Braeden Caley said that riding was the first without a Liberal MP to hit all the party’s required fundraising and membership targets.He also said more than 10,000 new Liberals have registered with the party in Alberta in the last two years. Elections Canada data show the Conservatives consistently raise two or even three times as much money as the Liberals in Alberta, but in Edmonton, the Liberals raised more than the Tories in both the second and third quarter of 2018.Sohi said Friday the party has confirmed he will be acclaimed as the Liberal candidate, having met the voter engagement and fundraising requirements to avoid a possible nomination challenge.“It is a real honour to serve the constituents of Edmonton Mill Woods and Alberta and to work with Justin Trudeau and our Liberal team to grow our economy and strengthen our middle class,” he said in a written statement.But Sohi was handed a tough challenge as the minister in charge of the energy industry, at a time when that industry is facing significant challenges, the government’s Trans Mountain pipeline endeavour is on the rocks, and the inability to get oil to markets led to a price crash last fall.One Liberal went so far as to suggest that if the cabinet shuffle had come after the Federal Court of Appeal overturned cabinet approval for the pipeline, Sohi may never have been moved to natural resources at all.Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press