Anaheim: Actor Tom Holland has finally addressed the controversial decision to remove Spider-Man from the Marvel Cinematic Universe following a tussle between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. Despite the rift between Disney and Sony, Holland recently made an appearance at Disney’s ultimate fan event D23 Expo here to promote his Pixar movie Onward. He addressed the issue before leaving the stage. “Listen, it’s been a crazy week, but I want you to know, I am grateful from the bottom of my heart,” said the Spider-Man: Far From Home star, leading to a rapturous applause. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaHe ended his brief remark by quoting Tony Stark’s iconic line from Endgame – “And I love you 3,000”, signalling that he values his bond with the Marvel superheroes. Holland’s remarks come days after negotiations fell through between Disney, which owns Marvel, and Sony Pictures. The two studios have been sharing the brand Spider-Man across a plethora of films since 2015. As part of the previous agreement, Marvel had also been acting as producer of 2017 and 2019 standalone Sony Spider-Man movies. However, Disney and Sony broke the deal as they are “unable” to reach new terms for funding of future movies. Holland was introduced as Spider-Man in Captain America: Civil War in 2016. Iron Man’s popularity was used to bring back the Spider-Man franchise. Holland got his first solo movie with Homecoming – which took the superhero back to school. He came back as the superhero with his second solo movie Far From Home this year.
Vladivostok: In a major breakthrough in Indo-Russian defence ties, India will start manufacturing spare parts and components for the Russian military equipment under transfer of technology and set up joint ventures, as the two strategic partners tried to transform their existing buyer-seller relationship into one of collaboration. This was agreed during wide-ranging talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin here in the Far East Russian port city as they pledged to elevate India-Russia partnership to new heights of cooperation. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalClose cooperation between Russia and India in military and military-technical areas is a key pillar of bilateral and especially privileged strategic partnership, the two leaders said. According to a joint statement, the two countries expressed their commitment to upgrading their defence cooperation, including by fostering joint development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, improve the after-sales service system. Both countries agreed to take forward ongoing engagement to encourage joint manufacturing in India of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for maintenance of Russian origin Arms and defence equipment under the Make-in-India programme through transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostBriefing reporters on the Modi-Putin talks, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said the agreement for manufacturing spare parts for the Russian military equipment was in tune with Prime Minister Modi’s wish to transform the Indo-Russia defence relationship from one of buyer-seller to a collaborative one. The two sides agreed to foster cooperation with the goal of keeping joint production in India of spare parts, components and other products on track. This is aimed at ensuring the maintenance of the Russian-made armaments and military equipment under the Make in India programme by transferring technologies and setting up joint ventures, the official Tass news agency reported. In the joint statement, the two sides recognised the need for an institutional arrangement for reciprocal provision of logistic support and services for the Armed Forces. It was agreed to prepare a framework for cooperation on reciprocal logistics support, it said. During their joint address to the media, President Putin said Russia has been a reliable partner to India in the field of defence for the last five decades. Putin and Modi earlier in the day visited the Zvezda ship-building facility in Vladivostok. Meanwhile, a senior Russian defence official said India has ordered from Russia a total of $14.5 billion worth of weapons and other military equipment. “Last year and today saw the emergence of a tremendous portfolio of contracts in contrast to all previous years, $14.5 billion. This is an impressive figure, it’s a real breakthrough,” the chief of the federal service for military-technical cooperation, Dmitry Shugayev, said on Wednesday. “Military cooperation between Russia and India is the most important element of privileged strategic interaction,” he was quoted as saying by the official Tass news agency. Shugayev noted that last year, although India was under pressure, mostly from the US, major contracts were concluded for the supply of S-400 missile systems, frigates of project 11356, and a large batch of ammunition for the Air Force, the Navy and the ground forces. “Currently we proceed with talks on the supply and licensed production of the portable air defence system Igla-S for India. We won a one-billion-dollar bidding contest,” Shugayev was quoted as saying by the report.
YORKTON, Sask. – A report on the death of a search-and-rescue technician in a parachute training accident says the investigation is focusing on human factors, including training and emergency procedures.Master Cpl. Alfred Barr, who was a member of 435 Transport and Rescue Squadron at 17 Wing in Winnipeg, died in March while on a training mission in Saskatchewan.The investigator’s flight safety report says the parachute did not open normally and Barr quickly went into a tight clockwise descending spiral.The report says Barr could be seen making movements similar to those used to untwist parachute lines before he hit the ground.It further says examination of the parachute did not reveal any evidence of equipment failure.The flight safety report details the circumstances and facts of the accident, but does not provide information on what caused it.That is still under investigation.Barr, originally from Lethbridge, Alta., joined the military in 2009, and graduated from the search-and-rescue training course last June.Col. Andy Cook, commander of 17 Wing, said in March that Barr, 31, died while honing the skills SAR Techs use to find and save people in dangerous situations, sometimes under extreme conditions. Cook said the military will use any lessons learned to improve training to prevent similar deaths.On his Facebook page, Barr acknowledged being part of a rescue mission that saved a family of four adrift overnight in Hudson Bay last summer.
TORONTO – A Toronto police officer who gunned down a troubled teen on an empty streetcar four years ago says the judge overseeing his trial was wrong to exclude evidence meant to suggest the 18-year-old was trying to commit “suicide by cop.”Const. James Forcillo is appealing his conviction and sentence in the 2013 shooting of Sammy Yatim, an incident that set off a wave of public outrage and protests.The officer was found guilty last year of attempted murder but was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree murder. He was sentenced to six years behind bars, a year more than the mandatory minimum.Recently filed documents show Forcillo plans to argue Superior Court Justice Edward Then was wrong to exclude cellphone and expert evidence about the possibility of “suicide by cop,” where a person behaves threateningly in order to trigger a lethal response from law enforcement.His lawyers also say Then was wrong to deny an application for a mistrial once the evidence was deemed inadmissible, since that prevented the defence from countering the narrative put forward by prosecutors.Since the Crown painted Yatim as a young man in crisis, Forcillo’s lawyers intended to argue the crisis was such that it could not be de-escalated, they say in the documents.“The evidence was meant to show that, objectively, the deceased’s mental state was such that he was intent in provoking a lethal confrontation with police to bring about his own death,” they say.Forcillo’s lawyers also say Then erred in instructing jurors to view the two volleys of bullets fired by Forcillo as separate incidents, and to consider the charge of attempted murder.They argue that opened the door for a compromise verdict, where jurors find someone guilty of a lesser charge rather than convicting of a more serious one or acquitting them entirely.“As a matter of common sense, the suggestion that an accused can be legally justified in killing someone but criminally liable for attempting to kill that same person within the span of less than 10 seconds in unfathomable,” they said in the documents.“In this situation the trial judge ought to have either quashed the attempted murder count or directed the jury that if they acquitted the appellant of second-degree murder in relation to the entire transaction, they were required to similarly acquit him of attempted murder.”Forcillo fired two volleys at Yatim, who held a small knife and was exposing himself. Court heard the first round of shots was the one that killed him.The second-degree murder charge against the officer related to the first three shots fired, while the attempted murder charge pertained to the second volley.Forcillo is asking the appeal court, which is set to hear his case this fall, to substitute a not-guilty verdict or order a new trial.The officer, who is currently on bail pending the appeal, is also seeking a declaration that the mandatory minimum sentence for attempted murder is unconstitutional, and wants to be granted a suspended sentence. Barring that, he wants his sentence reduced to the minimum five years.In the documents, his lawyers say the minimum sentence is “grossly disproportionate” and Forcillo’s “moral blameworthiness in the unique circumstances of this case is at the lowest end of the spectrum.”The Crown has not yet filed its arguments.
TORONTO – A Toronto-area woman arrested last month in an alleged golf club attack at a Canadian Tire store in east Toronto is now facing multiple terror-related charges.Rehab Dughmosh, 32, was charged Tuesday with 13 offences in connection with the June 3 attack, including attempted murder on at least three people for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.Some of the other charges relate to carrying several weapons, such as a knife and a bow, for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.She is also charged with leaving Canada for the purpose of committing a crime, an incident that is alleged to have taken place in April of last year.The new charges were laid by the RCMP as Dughmosh appeared in a Toronto court.Dughmosh was previously charged with multiple offences, including assault with a weapon and uttering death threats.Police allege she swung the golf club at store employees and a customer and threatened them.They say she then pulled a large knife from under her clothes but store staff pried it out of her hands and restrained her.Media reports said Dughmosh pledged her allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group during a previous court appearance.
BANFF, Alta. – A persistent wildfire has closed a big stretch of the highway that runs through British Columbia’s Kootenay National Park.The park says Highway 93 is closed from Castle Junction on the Trans-Canada Highway to the town of Radium Hot Springs some 100 kilometres south.Earlier, Parks Canada had warned that wildfire smoke was affecting visibility on the winding scenic highway.The Verdant Creek wildfire burning just west of the Alberta-B.C. boundary has shuttered Mount Assiniboine Provincial Park and closed parts of Banff and Kootenay national parks.The wildfire has more than doubled in size over the past week and now covers more than 11,000 hectares.The blaze has also closed the Sunshine Village resort in Banff to visitors as firefighters use it as a base to battle the flames in the backcountry.
MONTREAL – While former U.S. president Bill Clinton and his family may be looking to sightsee, explore and chill on their upcoming Quebec vacation, security experts say there will be nothing relaxing for those in charge of keeping them safe.Security consultant Chris Mathers, who is a former RCMP officer, says preparation for VIP visits begins at least a few weeks in advance.“Suffice it to say there are advanced teams from the Secret Service that will come to the location, they’ll liaise with the RCMP and local teams in order to go through the protocols they go through to ensure sufficient security for the diplomat,” he said.Best-selling author Louise Penny confirmed earlier this week that Clinton and his family would spend a few days in North Hatley in the Eastern Townships region.The group, which includes ex-secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Clintons’ daughter Chelsea and her two children, will reportedly stay at the renowned Manoir Hovey, which includes an upscale inn and cottages set among English gardens, acres of woods and prime lakeshore.They are reportedly arriving on Sunday.RCMP Const. Erique Gasse would not confirm the Clintons’ visit but said that, in general, the Mounties are in charge of security when former presidents visit Canada.“Even if they have their personal guards with them, we offer some more layers (of security) around that person,” he said.Gasse said the RCMP works in partnership with provincial and local police forces and the dignitary’s private security team to provide traffic control and other safety measures.Several experts said the level of security for a visiting ex-president would be based on a risk analysis that takes into account who the travellers are, where they’re going, who they’re visiting and where they’re staying.Retired RCMP officer Larry Busch, who worked in VIP security, said hotel employees would need to be cleared, emergency services personnel alerted and restaurants and other venues checked.“Wherever they’re going, all of those venues have to be investigated and secured, as well as the motorcade routes,” he said in a phone interview.Nevertheless, he said a 750-person town like North Hatley could pose less of a challenge.“Small-town people don’t get as excited about international people coming to visit them,” he said. “They’re not going to mob them.”Ty Watts, who has been involved in providing security for Bill Clinton’s speaking engagements, said the former president was easy to work with.“The only issues we had were the days he worked were so long he exhausted himself to the point of collapse at the end of the day,” said Watts, who spent 32 years with the RCMP prior to working with Clinton’s team while in private practice.“If he’s coming to vacation, he’s probably done some of those and just needs to get away from it and go for a walk in the woods.”A big part of the challenge, he said, is to strike a balance between protecting VIPs and allowing them to enjoy their getaways as normally as possible.“That’s what the guys are trained to do,” he said. “Give them as much space as you possibly can. Keep the scene safe and secure but allow them to live as human beings.”Neither Mathers nor Busch would speculate on the size of the Clinton security team, but both agreed presidents get far more security than former Canadian prime ministers.While ex-presidents are given lifetime Secret Service protection, Mathers said that as far as he knows, former Canadian prime ministers don’t get security escorts.“But if there was a threat, the RCMP would provide adequate security,” he said, adding he’s never heard of any incidents of violence against a former prime minister.Busch said the RCMP “keeps an eye on” former prime ministers and governor generals even if they aren’t assigned a security team.“The RCMP certainly knows all the addresses and the personnel in previous prime ministers’ residences, their domestic help, children, schools, places of employment, things like that,” he said.“So I wouldn’t say all of a sudden it drops down to zero.”
VANCOUVER – The discovery of rare fossilized remains in Canada’s Arctic has allowed experts to piece together an evolutionary tree for the descendant of North American bears.A report published in the journal Scientific Reports this week says the skeletons from 3 1/2 million years ago reveal a bear that likely hibernated for long periods with a diet so full of berries that it had cavities.Xiaoming Wang, a specialist in fossilized carnivores at the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles, said they were puzzled by the cavities on the chewing surface of one set of teeth. The damage was similar to what a child would experience after sucking on lollipops for hours on end over many days, he said.“That allowed us to further infer this particular Canadian bear probably ate a fair amount of a sugar-rich diet and fairly frequently,” Wang said in a telephone interview Tuesday.The Arctic bears would have had to endure six months of dark winters and that assumption, coupled with the cavities, led researchers to infer the ancient bears were preparing to hibernate when they bulked up on the berries.The remains of two bears were found on Ellesmere Island. The younger bear had the cavities, Wang said.The species, named Protarctos abstrusus, was smaller than the average black bear and had a flattened forehead.Before the discovery in Northern Canada only pieces of the same bear species had been found in Idaho and China, so experts believed it was related to the black bear. But Wang said the bear is now believed to be the grandfather of most bear species.“They probably all inherited from their ancestors a habit of being able to winter in harsh environment in such a way they can minimize the burning of their fat and energy in the spring to survive the harsh winter.”The remains were found in the so-called Beaver Pond fossil site in the High Arctic, an area that he said has evidence of Eurasian and North American plant and animal life deposited before the Bering Land Bridge disappeared many thousands of years ago.Natalia Rybczynski, a research associate at the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa, has worked at the site several times and said the preservation is incredible, partly due to the ice and a layer of peat where the bones have been found.“Even though it’s millions of years old, if I brought you to the site and I showed you, for example, pieces of tree, wood, leaves from the site, they’re not petrified, they look like they just came out of the forest.”Many other fossils have been found besides the bear skeletons, including ancient varieties of beaver, a three-toed horse, a giant camel, a frog and a fish.“A lot of the mammals that we see there are actually more closely related to animals from China than North American forms,” said Rybczynski.The Arctic was much warmer millions of years ago, with temperatures around 20 Celsius, she said.The researchers also have a list of over 100 plants that were found at the site, including four berry bushes — blueberries, raspberries, crowberries and lingonberries — that may have contributed to the bear’s trouble with their teeth, said Rybczynski.“This gives us the source of the sugar that we can blame the cavities on. You can only get the cavities if you’re eating sugar and we actually have evidence that there would have been fruits there.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said the Bering Land Bridge disappeared millions of years ago.
Ontario’s chief coroner is setting up a panel of experts that will look at dozens of residential fires in Indigenous communities that have killed nearly 60 people in just over a decade.Dr. Dirk Huyer says the panel — called the chief coroner’s table — will include coroners, forensic pathologists, fire investigators and members of Ontario’s Indigenous communities.“We know there is a disproportionate number of fire deaths occurring in Indigenous communities relative to non-Indigenous communities and we really want to understand what we can about it,” Huyer said in an interview.“This (table) is really drilling down deeply into each of the deaths … to look for systemic issues, trends or patterns.”Huyer said 58 people died in 34 house fires in Indigenous communities between 2007 and 2016 — numbers for 2017 are not yet available.The rate of fire-related deaths in Indigenous communities is more than 10 times higher than in the rest of the country, according to the federal government’s First Nations Fire Protection Strategy for 2010-2015.Huyer’s fact-finding mission follows repeated requests for a coroner’s inquest into fire safety from the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, which represents nearly 50 nations in northern Ontario.One of them, Pikangikum First Nation, lost nine people, including a five-month-old infant, in a house fire in March 2016.“It’s devastating, it’s worrisome to know that our communities are so vulnerable,” Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler said.In the wake of the Pikangikum fire, the Nishnawbe Aski Nation established a fire safety campaign that, in part, promotes the use of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.“Many of our homes still rely on wood stoves for heat, so we (also) want to ensure the stoves don’t pose a danger,” Fiddler said. “If we need to replace chimneys we’ll replace chimneys.”Unlike an inquest, the chief coroner’s table will not necessarily produce a report or make formal recommendations, Huyer said. But the table can be launched more quickly, and will have more leeway to investigate the broad issue of fires in Indigenous communities, he added.The panel has until February 2019 to complete its work.Nishnawbe Aski Nation leaders are still hoping for a full inquest but they will co-operate with Huyer’s panel, Fiddler added.Matthew Miller, president of the Ontario Native Fire Fighters Society, said he is “completely in support” of Huyer’s plan.“I believe that it has the ability to assist us to getting First Nation fire protection to adequate levels,” said Miller, who is also fire chief for the Six Nations of the Grand River community near Brantford, Ont.“It is very important to gather First Nation fire-related data as it will assist in identifying possible solutions with a more focused lens on the identified issues which are killing our First Nation people,” he added.Miller recalled a house fire in December 2017, in which a three-year-old boy died.“I cannot adequately put into words the impact that this tragic fire had on our community,” he said. “We have had numerous close calls in recent years with successful rescues but unfortunately we cannot save everyone.”
BROOKLYN, New York (CITYNEWS) – Ten years ago, Apple CEO Steve Jobs pulled an ultra-thin laptop out of a manila envelope on stage, introducing us to one of the thinnest laptops the world had ever seen. Not only was it incredibly thin, but the MacBook Air was also a laptop full of firsts. It was the first Apple laptop to ditch the CD/DVD drive. It was the first laptop in Apple’s line-up to remove some of the commonly-used ports. It was also the first laptop to sport a multi-touch trackpad.Over the next few years, Apple continued to modestly improve on the original design, but then the updates stopped. Sure, there were slight incremental spec bumps but no major design overhaul since 2010, making the MacBook Air line feel stale and dated. On Friday, that will change. The new MacBook Air has been updated with a number of new features, previously only seen on Apple’s high-end laptops.Here’s a look at the top 5 reasons why you may want to consider revisiting the MacBook Air. Apple Macbook Air (PHOTO: Mike Yawney) 1 – Retina DisplayIf you placed an older model MacBook Air next to the 2018 model, your jaw will drop at the difference in the screen. Gone are the thick silver bezels surrounding the out-dated display. They are now 50 per cent thinner, giving the laptop an elegant look, much like the modern MacBook Pro.The screen itself has gone from low-resolution to a high-resolution Retina display, boasting four times as many pixels as a high definition television. The human eye can’t distinguish individual pixels. Text is crisp, with makes it easier to read, and the colours are much more vibrant. This is a feature fans have been asking for for years. It’s a huge leap forward and finally makes the MacBook Air feel modern again. Apple Macbook Air (PHOTO: Mike Yawney) 2 – Touch IDThis is another feature borrowed from not only the MacBook Pro lineup. Touch ID places a small laser-cut sapphire crystal on the top right corner of the keyboard, which doubles as the power button. Sensors inside can detect your fingerprint, allowing you to unlock your MacBook Air without typing in a password. It also lets you make secure credit card purchases through the App Store and online via Apple Pay. Just make sure your finger is clean! Apple Macbook Air (PHOTO: Mike Yawney) 5 – Environmentally-FriendlyI find this one of the most intriguing features of the latest MacBook Air. It happens to be the greenest Mac ever. The enclosure is made from an aluminum alloy, created with 100 per cent recycled aluminum from Apple products. Apple says the recycled shavings were re-engineered at an atomic level to ensure strength and durability, and to give it the same look and feel of traditional Apple MacBooks. It claims no new materials were mined from the earth for the MacBook Air’s outer case, which is pretty cool when you think about it.On top of the five features mentioned, I love the fact that Apple is making it easy to choose between the two new models. Traditionally you have to decide between processors, screen size and storage. This time there are only two models available and the ONLY difference is the storage. You choose between a128GB or 256GB SSD. Everything else remains the same.Yes, Apple has finally breathed new life into the MacBook Air. This is the update many have been clamouring for. Unfortunately, new features bring with it a new price point. A higher price point. While the MacBook Air is still the most affordable MacBook, the minimum price has gone up by $300. It now starts at $1499 CDN. This makes it slightly less affordable for students, who have always loved the value the MacBook Air has offered. As of right now, Apple seems to be keeping the more modest 2017 model available at the lower price point. We’ll see if that option disappears in the near future.-Follow Mike Yawney on Twitter 3- Force Touch TrackpadThe MacBook Air may have been the first MacBook with a multi-touch trackpad, but sadly the trackpad hasn’t been updated since. Apple is now making it 20 per cent larger and adding Force Touch. Instead of the traditional “diving board” mechanism, the new Force Touch trackpad is pressure sensitive and can be used in a number of different ways.If you are doodling in a drawing program, you just have to press down harder and the line you are drawing will become darker. If you Force click an address in an email or website, it will open up Maps to show you the location. The firmer you press the trackpad while using iMovie or Quicktime, the faster the video will rewind or fast forward. There are many uses, you just have to learn what they are and remind yourself to use them.4 – All-Day Battery LifeThe MacBook Air has always been known for its long battery life, and the latest model is no different. Apple claims it will give you 12 hours of use on a single charge with 30 hours of standby. After using the latest MacBook Air for almost a week now, I can say I never once ran into a situation where I had to find an outlet and top up the power.It’s important to note, the popular MagSafe 2 port used for charging has been removed. Apple appears to be shying away from the adaptor, which clicked into place using strong magnets. Now the MacBook Air is charged via a USB-C cable. Some may be disappointed by the removal of MagSafe, but it appears this is a trend for all MacBooks moving forward. Apple Macbook Air (PHOTO: Mike Yawney)
The Canadian Press OTTAWA — An overhaul of the Canada Food Guide is set to be released soon, a highly anticipated makeover that will do away with the rainbow visual many Canadians associate with the dietary guide commonly used in hospitals and daycares.One of the major changes expected in the new Food Guide is a focus on plant-based sources of proteins — a move that has sparked concern among industry players including the Dairy Farmers of Canada.In a document put out for consultation, Health Canada noted a majority of Canadians do not eat enough vegetables, fruits and whole grains, and many also drink beverages high in sugars.It also said what is needed is a shift towards a high proportion of plant-based foods generally.The documents said the change could help Canadians eat more fibre-rich foods, eat less red meat, and replace foods that contain mostly saturated fat with foods that contain mostly unsaturated fat.Hasan Hutchinson, director general of nutritional policy and promotion at Health Canada, says it is exciting to get to the stage where the department can show Canadians and stakeholders the revamped guide.
TORONTO — An Ontario judge will review psychiatric reports before handing down a sentence for a woman who draped herself in an ISIL banner and attacked Canadian Tire staff with a golf club and a butcher knife.Ontario Superior Court Justice Maureen Forestell says she will examine assessments already conducted on Rehab Dughmosh and decide whether any additional ones are required. A sentencing hearing will be held at a later date.Dughmosh was convicted last week of several terror charges in connection with the June 2017 attack at a Canadian Tire in an east Toronto mall.She was also found guilty on another charge related to a failed attempt to join ISIL in Syria.An agreed statement of facts read in court last week — the only evidence presented in the case — said Dughmosh began contemplating an attack in Toronto about a year after her return from that trip.The document says she built an arsenal of makeshift weapons but her estranged husband confiscated them at the last minute and she was forced to change her plans.Dughmosh, who represented herself and participated only minimally in her trial, underwent psychiatric assessments that found her fit to stand trial and responsible for her actions.The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG — It’s budget day in Manitoba, and many political observers are watching to see whether there will be a long-promised tax cut that would lead to an early election.The Progressive Conservative government vowed in the last election campaign to cut the provincial sales tax to seven per cent from eight per cent before the end of its first term.The next election is slated for Oct. 6, 2020, but Premier Brian Pallister has not ruled out calling an earlier vote.Opposition Leader Wab Kinew says if the sales tax cut comes today, an election will very likely be called early.Liberal Leader Dougald Lamont has said he expects an election could come as early as this spring.The governing Tories continue to lead in opinion polls and fundraising, but Kinew says his party will be ready if an election is called in the coming weeks or months.“We’ve gamed out a few different scenarios, including a snap election … so we will be prepared to run an election very soon,” Kinew said.Finance Minister Scott Fielding would not reveal whether the tax cut will occur in this budget or a later one, when asked by reporters at an event Tuesday.“We’re absolutely committed to reducing the (sales tax) in our first term of office. So you’re going to see us move on that … by the end of our first term of office,” he said.When asked when that term will end and an election will be called, Fielding replied, “That’s above my pay grade.”The sales tax cut was one of two major promises in the Tory election campaign of 2016. They have also vowed to tackle a string of deficits started by the former NDP government and to balance the budget by 2024.The Tories have kept a tight lid on spending and chipped away at the deficit by freezing public-sector wages, limiting growth in health funding, raising public-housing rental rates and more.The opposition parties have denounced the moves and anticipate more tough medicine with the deficit still hovering around the $500-million mark.“We’re seeing the impact of this government’s … cuts in the cancellations of surgeries, in the nurses who are working overtime, and in the increasing wait times at emergency rooms,” Kinew said.Steve Lambert, The Canadian Press
PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — The B.C. prosecution service says it does not have enough evidence to pursue charges of criminal contempt against 14 people who were arrested in January when RCMP enforced an interim court injunction at a pipeline blockade on the Wet’suwet’en First Nation’s traditional territory.The prosecution service says in a statement submitted to the B.C. Supreme Court in Prince George that the cases were referred to it for potential prosecution of criminal contempt on Feb. 4.After a review, it says it is not satisfied there is enough evidence for a substantial likelihood of conviction.It says those charges are separate from Criminal Code charges arising from the same events and it has approved a charge of assaulting a police officer with a weapon against one of the 14 individuals arrested.Police made the arrests on Jan. 7 as they enforced an injunction obtained by Coastal GasLink, which is building a natural gas pipeline from northeastern B.C. to Kitimat.The company says it has signed agreements with all 20 elected First Nation governments along the pipeline path, but some members of the Wet’suwet’en have said it has no jurisdiction without the consent of its hereditary chiefs.In the statement, Crown counsel Trevor Shaw says the decision not to pursue the charges relates to whether information was available on the injunction.“One element of criminal contempt relates to knowledge (whether direct, inferred or otherwise) of the terms of the injunction,” he said. “After a review of the evidence at this point, the BCPS is not satisfied that there is the necessary evidentiary basis for a substantial likelihood of conviction.”The injunction originally included a term requiring that a copy of the order be posted on the company’s website, as well as near a bridge where the pipeline opponents and members of the First Nation had established a gate on the logging road that Coastal GasLink needs to access for its project.But the prosecution service says the required posting at the bridge was deleted by order of the court on Jan. 4.The events on Jan. 7 were also dynamic and did not include various steps or actions relating to notice that might have arisen in a different context, the statement said.The Canadian Press
NANAIMO, B.C. — A tiny therapeutic horse on Vancouver Island faces extensive surgery and a long recovery after it was attacked by dogs.The horse’s owner, Eileen Stevens, says the 76-centimetre tall animal was attacked in its hobby farm corral on Monday when two pit bulls broke out of a well-fenced, neighbouring property in the rural suburb of Cassidy, south of Nanaimo.The horse, named Hali Berry, suffered a completely severed left ear and deep bite wounds to its back legs.Stevens says she used her walker and her brother used a broom to beat the attackers back, but the dogs worked as a team when one of them held the humans at bay while the other one continued biting.Hali Berry was rushed to equine veterinarian Colin Scruton, who says the animal will need round-the-clock care and surgery to create a new ear canal.Stevens says the dogs’ devastated owner has given the canines up to be euthanized and is paying all vet bills for the horse’s care. (CTV)This report from the Canadian Press was first published Sept. 19. 2019The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Indigenous people are spending fewer nights in homeless shelters than non-Indigenous users, a finding from federal researchers who warn in internal documents that the result points to more problematic — or even insidious — issues in the country’s housing system.The study found that no matter the community, Indigenous people were over-represented in emergency shelters, making up about 30 per cent of users despite only being about five per cent of the national population.They stayed more often, but for fewer nights — almost five fewer nights per year, on average — which federal researchers say isn’t “necessarily a positive outcome.”Underlying that concern was that Indigenous users were less likely to stop using shelters because they had found more stable places to live, with almost one-third instead leaving for “whereabouts unknown,” officials write in the documents obtained by The Canadian Press under the Access to Information Act.Indigenous experts who reviewed the findings say that the figures may underestimate the scope of the housing problem, and point to a growing need for more on-reserve housing and concerns about racism in the private housing market.Researchers with Employment and Social Development Canada concluded something similar, writing in a presentation about the study that the results suggest Indigenous people “experience barriers in finding stable housing.”The study has been in the works for months and is not yet public. It’s the first time nationwide shelter data has been used to delve deep into the issue of Indigenous homelessness.The review looked at shelter data from 46 communities in Canada in 2016, capturing almost 133,000 shelter users, including an estimated 41,100 Indigenous people.Some communities were dropped from regional breakdowns because of incomplete data, including Canada’s largest city, Toronto. The numbers also don’t capture those who are couch surfing —bouncing between other people’s homes, which Indigenous experts suggest is common — or living outside.“Prior to this document, I think they were drastically under-estimating Indigenous homelessness, but I think even the document itself underestimates Indigenous homelessness,” said Jesse Thistle, a professor of Metis studies at York University in Toronto.Two-thirds of Indigenous shelter-users were there because of evictions or emergencies — a higher rate than the two-fifths of non-Indigenous shelter-users. Indigenous shelter-users were also more than twice as likely to be in shelters because of substance abuse or financial issues.The situation was most acute for Indigenous women, who were more than 15 times more likely than their non-Indigenous counterparts to use shelters. The corresponding figure for Indigenous men was 10 times more likely.Inuit, too, were also found be more likely to use shelters than First Nations, Metis and non-status Aboriginals.Indigenous women in shelters with children often spend their days shuttling among schools, medical appointments, and meetings to land social assistance and housing — all the while worrying they’ll be reported to child-welfare advocates, said Pamela Beebe, an Indigenous cultural education and protocol specialist at the University of Calgary who has also worked in Indigenous women’s shelters.On top of that, finding a place to rent can be difficult, she said.“There are a lot of small towns where it’s really hard to find housing if you are Indigenous because of stereotypes that exist,” said Beebe, from the Kanai First Nation in southern Alberta.“They’re not coming out and saying, ‘You’re Native and I don’t want to rent to you’ — well, one guy did,” she said, recalling her own experiences, “but most of them don’t. They’ll say something like, ‘you people.’ “Without permanent places to live, Indigenous women may bounce between shelters, or go back to abusive situations they were originally fleeing, she said.ESDC had no comment about how the findings would be used in policy development.Thistle, a Metis-Cree whose memoir “From the Ashes” details his own life on the streets, said the federal government should, as a first step, rethink how it funds shelters — aside from improving housing on reserves.“A big chunk of the pie really needs to represent the population of homeless people on the ground,” Thistle said.“So if 40 per cent of people are homeless Indigenous in the shelter system, 40 per cent of those dollars should go to Indigenous shelters that are doing the work in different cities. And if there are no Indigenous shelters in those cities that are getting dollars, then one needs to be started there.”Shelters that focus on Indigenous users have taught people their languages and traditions, which help forge connections to community and identity. The lack of those connections can be a unique factor in Indigenous homelessness, he said.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2019.Jordan Press, The Canadian Press
Montblanc has announced that the 12th annual performance of THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY will be held in New York City on Monday, November 12, 2012.An annual benefit event produced by the 24 Hour Company and Freestyle Picture Company for Urban Arts Partnership, THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY attracts some of entertainment’s biggest names as they join forces to participate in an extreme rite of theater: writing, directing, and performing 6 original short plays, all in just 24 hours.Urban Arts Partnership advances the intellectual, social and artistic development of underserved public school students through arts-integrated education programs to close the achievement gap. Through a dynamic range of programs including playwriting, theater, media, music, dance, spoken word, photography and the visual arts, Urban Arts Partnership empowers youth to develop the creative and analytic impulses that will serve them as students, professionals and responsible citizens. The 24 Hour Plays in the Schools runs throughout the academic year.This year’s company members, include (schedule permitting}: Actors: Amber Tamblyn (127 Hours, House M.D), America Ferrera (Emmy and Golden Globe Award Winner for Ugly Betty, End of Watch), Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker, Gangster Squad), Billy Crudup (Tony Award Winner for The Coast of Utopia, Almost Famous), Brooke Shields (The Addams Family on Broadway, Lipstick Jungle), Brooklyn Decker (What to Expect When You’re Expecting, Battleship), Carla Gugino (Political Animals, Mr. Popper’s Penguins), David Cross (Arrested Development), Diane Neal (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, NCIS), Emmanuelle Chriqui (Entourage, The Mentalist), Fisher Stevens (Damages, Lost), Gabourey Sidibe (Academy Award Nominee for Precious, The Big C), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock, The Campaign), Kathy Najimy (King of the Hill, Numb3rs), Leslie Bibb (Iron Man Series, GCB), Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire, Boardwalk Empire), Michelle Trachtenberg (Gossip Girl, Weeds), Rachel Dratch (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock), Rosie Perez (Won’t Back Down, Close Up Space on Broadway), Sam Rockwell (Seven Psychopaths, Conviction), Seth Green (Family Guy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), and Zosia Mamet (Girls, Mad Men). Writers: Adam Bock (The Receptionist, The Drunken City), Jonathan Marc Sherman (Things We Want, Knickerbocker), Rachel Axler (Emmy Award Winner for The Daily Show, New Girl), and Theresa Rebeck (Seminar, Creator of Smash). Directors: Derek Cianfrance (The Place Beyond the Pines, Blue Valentine), Ari Edelson (The New Group, Dorset Theater Festival), Andy Fickman (You Again, Parental Guidance), Josie Rourke (Artistic Director of Donmar Warehouse), Leigh Silverman (Chinglish, Well), and Thomas Kail (Tony Award Nominee for In the Heights, Magic/Bird). Talent subject to change.The continued success of THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY has allowed Urban Arts programs to address the ever-growing need to engage students from the poorest schools in New York City and Los Angeles in their education, empowering them to gain fluency in English; excel on the standardized tests required to graduate; and acquire the tools and confidence to grow in artistry, academics, and leadership.Rosie Perez, actress and Urban Arts Partnership Artistic Board Chair, explains, “I haven’t missed a single show, not only because there is no experience quite like it but more importantly because since its inception this event has helped grow Urban Arts Partnership into the organization it is today.”Philip Courtney, Executive Director of Urban Arts Partnership adds, “The 24 Hour Plays on Broadway is no rubber chicken dinner. It’s one of NYC’s most innovative events where an entire community of artists, professionals and philanthropists come together to create a once in a lifetime experience in order to help New York City’s most underserved youth. Montblanc’s steadfast support over the past 7 years has enabled us to provide more opportunities for young people to excel artistically, academically and follow their dreams.”The creative process for THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY will begin at 10PM on Sunday, November 11th – the night before the show – when a group of six writers, six directors, 24 actors, two musical guests, and a production staff gather at the American Airlines Theatre. After each of the cast members share a costume, prop, their special skills and stage desires— each writer is tasked with composing a ten-minute play by 7 AM the following morning, when the directors return to read and select their piece. The casts will meet for the first time at 9 AM and, over the next 12 hours the plays are rehearsed and produced for a live presentation. At 8:00 PM, ink barely dry, the six new plays – interspersed with six musical acts – will be performed for a live audience.“The 12th annual production of The 24-Hour Plays is a testament to the remarkable success and resounding impact of our partnership with Urban Arts,” said Jan-Patrick Schmitz, President and CEO of Montblanc North America. “Providing inspiration and supporting Arts Education for thousands of young people is a critical component of Montblanc’s DNA and brand heritage. We are dedicated to this program and proud of the contributions we have made during the last several years to enhance the classroom experience for students in our communities.” Continuing its commitment to fostering emerging talent, Montblanc held its 3rd annual Young Writer’s Program on October 15th, where Urban Arts’ playwriting alumni had the opportunity to compete for a chance to write on Broadway. In a 24 hour period, seven students penned short plays that were performed by actors from the HBO family before an audience of industry professionals and a panel of judges. The winning playwright, Maynor Alas, will create one of the six short pieces for THE 24 HOUR PLAYS ON BROADWAY. The MONTBLANC YOUNG WRITER’S PROGRAM is at the heart of Montblanc’s philosophy of helping others. The official hashtag for the event is #24HrPlayNY.Source:PR Newswire
Stylist and designer Rachel Zoe has joined Save the Children as Artist Ambassador.Video: First Moments: Mothers Reflect on Love at First Sight for their Newborn Babies – Full VersionIn her new role, Zoe will raise awareness, mobilize funds and advocate for Save the Children’s humanitarian response work in the United States and around the globe.“We’re delighted that Rachel is sharing the same contagious energy and passion she brings to fashion to helping children affected by natural disasters and conflict,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “Besides rallying supporters to do more, Rachel will work with Save the Children to help communities prepare to meet children’s needs when another crisis like Superstorm Sandy hits.”“Save the Children has been helping children in need for nearly a hundred years, and I am extremely honored to be involved in their ongoing efforts and their commitment to disaster relief.” said Zoe, mother of two-year-old son, Skyler.Protecting Those Most Vulnerable During a Crisis: Moms and NewbornsThe announcement comes just before Mother’s Day and is part of Save the Children week-long effort to raise awareness about the inextricable link between the health and well-being of mothers and their newborns, and the silent global crisis of newborn deaths.The first global analysis of newborn day-of-death data in the State of the World’s Mothers report, released by Save the Children today, estimates that more than 1 million babies die the day they are born every year. Babies born in areas of conflict or natural disaster have a greater chance of not surviving their first day of life. The report also states that four underutilized health measures such as resuscitation devices to help babies breathe and injectable antibiotics to treat infections, costing between 13 cents and $6 each, could save one million newborns a year.Rachel Zoe Joins Other Celebrities to Speak Up for Moms EverywhereTo celebrate the day a baby is born, Save the Children debuted a video featuring celebrity moms — Rachel Zoe, Jennifer Garner, Jennifer Connelly and Alyson Hannigan — as well as everyday moms rejoicing in the magical first moments with their babies and wishing the same for all moms.Recalling her own pregnancy and son’s birth in Save the Children’s First Moments video, Zoe said, “The process of any human being pushing another human being out of their body is a frightening thought. Let’s be serious. But it’s also the most extraordinary, incredible, beautiful thing that’s ever happened [to me].”Zoe added, “It’s unfathomable that [newborn deaths] still exists today. We have to really unite and do everything we can to make this better.”
The Weinstein Company (TWC) and eBay, the world’s largest online marketplace and a leading platform for charitable giving, have teamed up this holiday season to offer VIP experiences and one-of-a-kind items for the 27 days following the Thanksgiving release of TWC’s highly anticipated film, Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.The packages, including meet & greets, curated experiences, original signed memorabilia and more, will be auctioned through eBay’s Giving Works platform with 100 percent of the proceeds going to support the legacy work of Nelson Mandela at the Nelson Mandela Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting its Founder’s work in the promotion of social justice and democracy.Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom – starring Idris Elba and Naomie Harris – is based on Nelson Mandela’s biography of the same name and chronicles the life journey of South Africa’s first democratically elected president, from his childhood in a rural village through his inauguration. In recognition of the 27 years that Mandela spent imprisoned prior to his political ascendance, the donated items will be auctioned over the course of the 27 days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.“We are thrilled to partner with eBay Giving Works to support the Nelson Mandela Foundation’s excellent work in preserving the memory of one of the world’s most iconic and inspirational figures, surrounding the release of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” said Lance Still, EVP Promotions & Integrated Marketing for The Weinstein Company.The partnership kicks off on November 29th with the first wave of auction items, which range from an American Idol Season 13 finale experience package provided by Ryan Seacrest and an AMG driving school experience provided by Mercedes-Benz, to exclusive Kadir Nelson artwork and a style consultation package provided by Marie Claire magazine. The second wave of auctions begins on December 7th, offering items such as a curated trip to South Africa provided by South African Airways Vacations and South African Airways, an Indianapolis 500 NASCAR experience provided by Chip Ganassi Racing, a Project Runway behind-the-scenes experience, and an original first edition signed copy of Nelson Mandela’s book. On December 15th, the final wave will introduce items including a signed Magic Johnson basketball and jersey, a Le Creuset premium cookware package, a consultation with renowned fitness and nutrition expert and best-selling author, Harley Pasternak, and more, which will bring the bidding to a close on Christmas Day.For more about the auction series, please visit: www.ebay.com/mandelalongwalktofreedom.
To celebrate Earth Day 2014, Jack Johnson’s Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation will match up to $25,000 in donations to “green” classroom projects on DonorsChoose.org, an online charity that makes it easy to support public school students in need.Projects qualifying for this offer focus on reducing waste and single-use plastics in schools and communities across the country.The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation was founded by Jack and Kim Johnson to support environmental, art, and music education worldwide.Leading up to Earth Day on April 22, the Foundation aims to leverage community support for classroom projects, and to encourage environmental stewardship through youth activities focused on recycling, waste reduction, and creative “upcycling” and plastic-free initiatives.The Johnson Ohana Charitable Foundation will fund 50% of qualifying waste reduction and plastic-free projects, but only if people like you help contribute the rest. Starting April 1, every donation made to these classrooms will have double the impact! Learn more and view selected classroom projects at www.donorschoose.org/EarthDay2014.Source:JackJohnsonMusic.com