BJP leaders’ language reflects dictatorial attitude: Ambedkar

first_imgVanchit Bahujan Aghadi (VBA) chief Prakash Ambedkar has alleged that the language being used by BJP leaders during the election campaigns shows their “dictatorial” attitude which doesn’t suit democracy.He also charged the BJP government with being involved in “corrupt practices”, but said its way of grabbing money is different from the previous Congress and NCP-led dispensations.Addressing an election rally in Aurangabad district on Monday, he appealed to the Muslim community to support secular forces and start a “new chapter of friendship with the VBA”.He said BJP leaders are claiming that they will win around 240 Assembly seats of the total 288. “They think they will never go out of power, but they should remember that it is the voters who decide the government, not the political parties.” “The language being used by BJP leaders in their campaign is of dictatorship and doesn’t suit democracy,” the Dalit leader said.Hitting out at the BJP government, Mr. Ambedkar alleged that it is following the “same corrupt practices of the previous government”. “The only difference is its way of grabbing money.” He claimed several projects undertaken for expanding the road network serve as a medium of grabbing money for the government. The rates which the sub-contractors get for making roads are quite less, compared to what the head contractors are getting, he said.Mr. Ambedkar said the welfare schemes which the BJP government is trying to implement were available during the tenure of previous dispensations too.last_img read more

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Inquirer 7 top UAAP 80 women’s volleyball players: Week 4

first_imgRead Next Every week, INQUIRER Sports will be ranking the seven best performers in the UAAP Season 80 women’s volleyball tournament. The author will base the rankings on the players’ team standings, statistics, and the intangibles that don’t appear on the stat sheets.ADVERTISEMENT Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university PLAY LIST 01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City That said, here are the best performers in Week 4.1. Eli Soyud (Adamson University, opposite hitter)Eli Soyud. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: N/AShe once delivered a highlight play/taunt for De La Salle back in the championship round of Season 77, but Eli Soyud is now the one shooting arrows on her former team.Soyud gained notoriety for De La Salle when she blocked Alyssa Valdez then promptly pointing at the three-time UAAP MVP in the 2015 finals, and she furthered her narrative when she helped Adamson University score its first win against the Lady Spikers since Season 70.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding AFP official booed out of forum Google honors food scientist, banana ketchup inventor and war hero Maria Orosa Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC 5. Cherry Rondina (University of Santo Tomas, outside hitter)Cherry Rondina. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: No. 3Weeks on list: 4 She’s the girl that made Santiago this week’s “what if?” player. Despite the fact that UST slipped to their third loss in five games, Rondina was still an unstoppable homing missile for the Golden Tigresses.Rondina had 25 points in their loss against Santiago’s Lady Bulldogs, but if the season ended at this point UST’s pocket rocket has NU’s power tower beat for the scoring title. Santiago is at second place with 111 total points while Rondina is at the top with 117. 6. Jules Samonte (Ateneo de Manila University, opposite hitter)Jules Samonte. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: N/AAteneo has put its 0-2 start and is now riding a four-game winning streak to take a share of the second seed with La Salle. LATEST STORIES MOST READcenter_img Weeks on list: 4Santiago’s finally relinquished her control of the top spot she held for two straight weeks.And she’s also this week’s “what if?” player.Santiago had 19 points against UST losing the personal duel against Cherry Rondina, who had 25 points in a match that the Lady Bulldogs still finished with the upper hand.4. Bernadeth Pons (Far Eastern University, outside hitter)Bernadeth Pons. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: N/AWeeks on list: 2Bernadeth Pons is back and she got on her return journey with a masterful performance against University of the East. Far Eastern University’s skipper has long established herself as a potent scorer and excellent defender tallying a line of 21 points and 24 digs, eight more than what libero Ria Duremdes had. And Pons is also instrumental in leading FEU to the third seed in the standings with a 3-2 record as she has, so far, become the fifth-best scorer in the tournament with a total of 87 points.  LOOK: Iya Villania meets ‘Jumanji: The Next Level’ cast in Mexico Families in US enclave in north Mexico hold sad Thanksgiving Pussycat Dolls set for reunion tour after 10-year hiatus Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH In her first meeting against the Lady Spikers, Soyud unloaded 18 points on the same bunch of people she helped to the Season 78 championship.Soyud scored four points for the Lady Falcons during their 9-1 run in the fourth set that gave them a 17-10 lead in a display that reeked of motivation and pent-up emotion.2. Jasmine Nabor (National University, setter)Jasmine Nabor. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: No. 2Weeks on list: 3This is the first time that Jasmine Nabor appeared before her star teammate Jaja Santiago, but bear with this a little because it has to do with the matchups.NU played just one game this week and it was against University of Santo Tomas, which also played just once this week, and Nabor showed a master class of playmaking against her counterpart Alina Bicar.Nabor tallied 32 of the Lady Bulldogs’ 33 excellent sets while Bicar had 18 of the Golden Tigresses’ 22.3. Jaja Santiago (National University, middle blocker)Jaja Santiago. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: No. 1 View comments And the Lady Eagles got half of their winning streak this week with Jules Samonte taking center stage for the two-time champions.Samonte averaged 14.5 points in Ateneo’s pair of victories this week against University of the Philippines and Adamson. 7. Celine Domingo (Far Eastern University, middle blocker)Celine Domingo. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netLast week: N/ARounding out this list is another prodigal kid. Celine Domingo once donned the ref-and-white of UE but on Saturday, the now Lady Tamaraw left the Lady Warriors looking black-and-blue.In her first game against UE, Domingo unloaded 19 points in a statement game where she said that she’s “happy to be at FEU.” GALLERY: Gilas Pilipinas defends home court vs Japan It was the week when the prodigal kids faced their former teams, and promptly wreaking havoc on the hopes of their once teammates.Eli Soyud crushed La Salle while Celine Domingo became a thorn on the side of University of the East.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutThe Lady Spikers have lost two in three games, the first time since they forfeited 13 games in Season 70.And oh, National University is still undefeated.last_img read more

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PBA to press charges against ‘Spider Man’ after Game 5 stunt

first_imgEthel Booba twits Mocha over 2 toilets in one cubicle at SEA Games venue PBA commissioner Willie Marcial —DENISON DALUPANGMANILA, Philippines—PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial said on Friday that the league will file charges against the court intruder dressed up as Spider-Man during Game 5 of the PBA Philippine Cup finals between Magnolia and San Miguel.The still unidentified offender entered the court with about three minutes left in the game and collided with five-time MVP June Mar Fajardo with 3:06 remaining.ADVERTISEMENT “I will talk to Araneta about this and I will also call NCRPO chief general Eleazar if we can add more police officers because this is the first time that this happened,” said Marcial. Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. “I also asked June Mar if he can still play and he told me that he can still play that it hurt just a little.”Marcial also asked the man for an explanation behind the stunt and he trespasser said that he was merely spreading a message.READ: ‘Spider Man’ says no intention to hurt, PBA stunt only meant to spread message of love“I asked him why he did that and he told me ‘sir it’s election period,’ so I told him that he hurt June Mar with what he did,” said Marcial. “He just told me ‘sir, the mask blurred my vision so I couldn’t see well, but I still sent him to jail.”Marcial added that he will talk to Araneta’s security and NCRPO Chief Major General Guillermo Eleazar on beefing up measures in future games. The NCRPO delegates four uniformed personnel to sit courtside during PBA games.ADVERTISEMENT Cayetano: Senate, Drilon to be blamed for SEA Games mess Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games PLAY LIST 00:59Sports venues to be ready in time for SEA Games01:27Filipino athletes get grand send-off ahead of SEA Games00:50Trending Articles02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss ‘Spider Man’ says no intention to hurt, PBA stunt only meant to spread message of love Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next LATEST STORIEScenter_img Hontiveros presses for security audit of national power grid Philippine Arena Interchange inaugurated View comments Security officials of Smart Araneta Coliseum then apprehended the intruder and brought him to the back area of the venue.READ: ‘Spider Man‘ storms court during PBA Finals, hits June Mar FajardoFEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsMarcial, who approached the intruder afterward, said the league is talking to police officers from the Quezon City Police District 7 and that if charges are filed, the intruder will be released on Tuesday since Monday is a non-working holiday to make way for the midterm elections.“That person is already in the police precinct, and I’m asking our legal department on what charges can be filed against him because we will file charges,” said Marcial in Filipino. Panelo: Duterte ‘angry’ with SEA Games hosting hassles MOST READ SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. DA eyes importing ‘galunggong’ anewlast_img read more

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ICC World Twenty20: Let down by team mates, Virat Kohli’s golden run ends

first_imgAs the full toss left Andre Russell’s blade and settled deep into the stands, dropping a deathly silence across the Wankhede Stadium, Virat Kohli stood dazed, gazing at the trajectory of the ball and perhaps wondering what else he could have done.For the umpteenth time in the World Twenty20, the 27-year-old had papered over the cracks in India’s top order, his unbeaten 89 accounting for almost half of his country’s 192 in the semi-final against West Indies. (Also read: Virat Kohli heroics in vain as West Indies crush India to enter final)In between the 11 boundaries and single six that flowed from his bat, the supreme athlete ran himself ragged, regularly converting singles into twos and occasionally two into threes.Kohli the bowler also resurfaced when it mattered.The evening dew had effectively defanged the Indian spinners, while their pacers bled boundaries, leaving Mahendra Singh Dhoni in an unenviable position. (Also read: Ajinkya Rahane, bowlers attract criticism after India lose in semi-final)The India captain, as is his wont, sprang a surprise by tossing the ball to Kohli and the part-time dibbly-dobbler struck immediately, dismissing the dangerous Johnson Charles (52) with his first delivery and ending a 97-run partnership.Kohli was in the thick of things again in the 18th over, collaborating with Ravindra Jadeja to almost send back West Indies hero Lendl Simmons.Jadeja took a running catch but as momentum was taking him over the ropes, he lobbed the ball inside for Kohli to grab. TV replays, however, confirmed Jadeja’s foot had touched the boundary and it was declared a six.advertisementSimmons and Russell set alight a hot and humid night with batting pyrotechnics that left the 2012 champions needing only eight runs off the last over.Once again, Dhoni handed the ball to Kohli, hoping the golden arm of the man who could do no wrong would pull off a miracle. It was not to be.Kohli conceded a single off the first delivery and followed it up with a dot ball to raise Indian hopes of an improbable victory.Russell hit the following ball for four, though, and deposited the next over deep mid-wicket and into the stands to break 1.2 billion Indian hearts.As Russell and Simmons were mobbed by their team mates, Kohli stood alone with his thoughts.India’s Test captain finished the World Twenty20 with 273 runs from five innings with a staggering 136-plus average and a strike rate of almost 147.Only Bangladesh opener Tamim Iqbal (295) scored more and he had the advantage of playing extra matches in the qualifying stage of the tournament.His prodigious scoring means Kohli will remain in the mix for the player-of-the-tournament award but for a proud team man, it would probably mean very little.last_img read more

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Atlanta United equals MLS record in win

first_imgMLS Atlanta United equals MLS record in win Ben Valentine @bvalentine14 09:59 14/9/2017 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Atlanta United celebrate Brett Davis MLS Atlanta United v New England New England Atlanta United The expansion side delivered a 7-0 thrashing of the nine-men New England Revolution, equaling the league mark for biggest victory It’s been a memorable debut season so far for MLS expansion side Atlanta United and now the club has also hit a historic mark. A hat trick from Josef Martinez along with goals from Anton Walkes, Hector Villalba, Yamil Asad and Kevin Kratz saw Atlanta easily dispatch the nine-man New England Revolution on Wednesday evening by a lopsided 7-0 scoreline.That margin of victory tied an MLS record, set three times in the past. The LA Galaxy beat the Dallas Burn 8-1 in 1998, the Chicago Fire delivered a 7-0 win over the Kansas City Wizards in 2001 and last season saw the New York Red Bulls hand New York City FC an identical 7-0 defeat. Article continues below Editors’ Picks ‘I’m getting better’ – Can Man Utd flop Fred save his Old Trafford career? Why Barcelona god Messi will never be worshipped in the same way in Argentina Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Atlanta also became the first expansion team ever to score seven goals in a game..@ATLUTD first expansion team to score 7 goals in one game, one shy of #MLS record— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) September 14, 2017It was a fast start for Atlanta as Martinez found the back of the net in just the second minute to give the hosts an early lead. Things got worse for the Revolution in the 16th minute when Xavier Kouassi was sent off with a straight red card after VAR was used.Martinez would make it 2-0 on a spot kick in the 31st minute after a handball in the area. Then eight minutes later, Antonio Delamea was sent off for a handball denial of a goal scoring opportunity, reducing the Revolution to nine men. Martinez buried the subsequent penalty to complete his hat trick.Walkes made it 4-0 before the half and after the break, Kratz hit a perfect free kick to make it 5-0. Asad would make it 6-0 three minutes later and then Villalba would get Atlanta its place in the record books with a goal in the 90th minute.Perfectly placed. #ATLvNE pic.twitter.com/smTkxNkQQB— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 14, 2017It also proved to a historically impotent night for the short-handed Revolution, who became the first team in MLS history to go an entire game without registering a single shot..@NERevolution are first team in #MLS history to have 0 total shots in a game— MLS Communications (@MLS_PR) September 14, 2017The win moves Atlanta up to fifth in the Eastern Conference on 42 points, while the Revolution remain eighth on 35, six back of the final playoff spot.last_img read more

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Altidore gives epic speech at MLS Cup rally

first_imgMLS ‘I’ve been partying since Saturday’ – Jozy Altidore gives epic speech at Toronto FC’s MLS Cup rally Rudi Schuller Last updated 1 year ago 12:26 12/12/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Michael Bradley Jozy Altidore Toronto FC Dan Hamilton MLS Toronto Toronto v Seattle Sounders The MLS Cup MVP celebrated the Reds’ title triumph and his set his sights on a repeat during a parade through Toronto on Monday TORONTO — The City of Toronto is reveling in MLS Cup championship fever, and Jozy Altidore is loving every moment of it.After thousands of fans packed streets in the city’s downtown core to watch the Toronto FC’s victory parade Monday, a jubilant Altidore took to the stage to address the crowd at Nathan Phillips Square. His impromptu speech at the end of the rally targeted the Montreal Impact, TFC’s main rival, and he later professed his love for Canada’s biggest metropolis.”Before we go guys, let’s spare a moment for our rivals,” Altidore said. “They’re second best again. And we have the treble. 401 Derby champs. Toronto FC, baby. Best team ever!” Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player The 28-year-old soaked in the crowd’s cheers before continuing, turning his focus to the relationship between TFC and its fans. “I just want to let you guys know that I’ve been partying since Saturday, and baby I’m TFC till I die!” While Altidore’s unplanned speech got the headlines, another prominent member of TFC addressed the team’s well-publicized motivation for redemption after losing the 2016 MLS Cup.”I’mma let you finish…But @JozyAltidore just gave one of the best championship speeches of all-time!” #MLScup pic.twitter.com/1C8Wlp7BNK— TSN (@TSN_Sports) December 11, 2017″This has been our dream, our obsession, for the last year,” captain Michael Bradley said. “And to be able to take care of everything that we wanted, to be able to lift that trophy in this city, in front of our fans — to be able to give everybody a day like this, this is why every single one of us are here.”Bradley also reminded the crowd that while a championship is fun, there’s precedent in Toronto sports history for continued success.”Somebody reminded me yesterday and they referenced the Blue Jays in ’92 and ’93,” Bradley said. “They won, but then they won again the next year. So we’re gonna enjoy this for little bit longer and then we’re gonna dust ourselves off and make sure we get back to work so that we can be lifting that trophy again next year.”last_img read more

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Another Michigan Player Has Elected Not To Play In The Peach Bowl

first_imgHead coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines leads his team onto the field before the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans.ANN ARBOR, MI – OCTOBER 17: Head coach Jim Harbaugh of the Michigan Wolverines leads his team onto the field before the college football game against the Michigan State Spartans at Michigan Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)Michigan starting right tackle Juwann Bushell-Beatty has elected not to play in the Peach Bowl on Saturday, it was revealed this morning.A fifth-year senior, Bushell-Beatty missed the Ohio State game with an injury suffered the previous week against Indiana. He is the fourth Michigan draft-eligible player who will not play in the bowl game.The other three are linebacker Devin Bush, defensive end Rashan Gary and running back Karan Higdon.In Bushell-Beatty’s place, Andrew Stueber and Jalen Mayfield are seeing additional work, per the Detroit Free Press’ Nick Baumgardner. Stueber started in place of Bushell-Beatty against Ohio State.No RT Juwann Bushell-Beatty this week. He elected not to play in the Peach Bowl, per UM spokesman.Andrew Stueber/Jalen Mayfield here working at tackle.— Nick Baumgardner (@nickbaumgardner) December 26, 2018Bushell-Beatty was an honorable mention All-Big Ten pick this season. He took over as a starter on the offensive line in 2016, replacing Grant Newsome.Michigan and Florida will kick off at noon ET on Saturday from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.The game will be broadcast on ESPN.last_img read more

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St. Catherine State of Emergency Extended for Another Three Months

first_img This follows approval of the Emergency Powers (No. 2) (Continuance) (No.3) Resolution, 2018, during Wednesday’s (September 19) sitting of the House. The security measure, which was slated to end on October 2, will remain in place until January 2019. Story Highlights All 47 members who were present voted in favour of the extension. Sixteen members were absent. The House of Representatives has extended the State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Police Division for another three months. The House of Representatives has extended the State of Public Emergency in the St. Catherine North Police Division for another three months.This follows approval of the Emergency Powers (No. 2) (Continuance) (No.3) Resolution, 2018, during Wednesday’s (September 19) sitting of the House. The security measure, which was slated to end on October 2, will remain in place until January 2019.All 47 members who were present voted in favour of the extension. Sixteen members were absent.Addressing the House, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, said the enhanced security measures in the St. Catherine North Police Division have resulted in a 68 per cent reduction in murders and shootings.“Since the intervention, that is for the period March 18 to September 2, the division has recorded 27 murders and 22 shootings… when compared to the equivalent period of time, prior to the state of emergency,” he noted.“82 murders and 72 shootings were recorded over a period of 168 days prior to the state of emergency, so that would be from the first of January 2018 to the calling of the state of emergency,” he added.The Prime Minister said the request for a further extension was based on the recommendation of the security forces.“This is deemed to be necessary to satisfy the short- to medium-term objectives of the special measure. Importantly, it will reinforce the pillars of transformation that will be seen as part of the long-term results of these actions,” he noted.He said the security forces are moving to transform their operations to a more “investigation-based strategy”.“We are gathering greater intelligence; we are building greater networks of cooperation in the communities and, ultimately, it is this better policing that will lead to the sustainable reduction in crime,” he noted.The Prime Minister assured that the state of emergency is not a long-term solution.“I know that we cannot rely on this forever. There comes a time when the expenditure to have an elevated level of police presence yields little result. What we don’t want, however, is for the criminals to ever get in their minds that the Government will not use extraordinary powers to address the threat that they pose,” he said.Meanwhile, Mr. Holness indicated that the security forces are amenable to making changes to the hours of operation for businesses in the area.He informed that Minister of National Security, Hon. Dr. Horace Chang, will provide an update in this regard.last_img read more

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First Feature Project Partnership Renewed

first_imgFilm and Creative Industries Nova Scotia and Telefilm Canada are working together to support emerging filmmakers with the First Feature Project. “We continue to support the careers of emerging filmmakers in Nova Scotia because we believe that they are important to the success of the creative economy,” said Economic and Rural Development and Tourism Minister Michel Samson. “This innovative collaboration has delivered strong results over the last three years and has established itself as an important program for Nova Scotia’s creative talent and our vibrant industry.” Established in 2011, the project provides support to a producer-director-writer team to produce their first feature film. To date, the First Feature Project has funded three feature films, Roaming, Bunker 6 and Lure. In 2013, local producer Chris Turner was selected. His psychological thriller Lure was shot locally in February. “The First Feature Project was an incredible learning experience,” said Mr. Turner. “Having the opportunity to both write and produce a feature film will bring my career to a whole new level. It could not have happened without the support of Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia, Telefilm Canada and our talented cast and crew who worked so hard to bring Lure from script to screen.” The selected team will receive $120,000 in funding from the Canada Feature Film Fund and Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia. To qualify, the applicant must have produced at least two professional short films, one of which has been screened at a major Canadian or international film festival. “Throughout the past three years the calibre of films produced through the project has showcased the high level of talent we have here in Nova Scotia,” said Linda Wood, director, Business and Legal Affairs at Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia. “We look forward to receiving more creative proposals from our local filmmakers and working with the selected team.” “We’re thrilled to be able to partner once again with Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia,” said Anne Frank, interim regional feature film executive, Atlantic Region, Telefilm Canada. “Telefilm has been in the talent development business for more than 40 years, supporting dynamic companies and creators from across the country. “But to do this we rely on partners who share our passion for discovering new and emerging talent to create the next cinematic gems.” Project guidelines can be found at http://film.ns.ca/content/first_feature_project. The deadline to apply is June 23. Film and Creative Industries Nova Scotia is the lead development agency for the creative industries in the province. Providing a variety of loan and investment programs and services, the agency works to support the growth and development of Nova Scotia’s creative enterprises.last_img read more

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The Video and Text Of Mélanie Jolys Speech Outlining Our Cultural Future

first_img Twitter SpeechFrom Canadian HeritageSeptember 28, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement IntroductionLadies and gentlemenMesdames et messieursThank you for being here in person or joining us live.I want to begin by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Peoples.History of our systemLet me start with a question. Two questions, actually.Why has culture always mattered to Canadians?Why should it matter now?The answers to these questions are, fundamentally, about who we are and who we want to be.We are a small, diverse population spread over a large land mass.We are all bound by reconciliation. Indigenous Peoples lived on this land for thousands of years before the arrival of settlers and the founding of Canada.We are a country rooted in our linguistic duality. English and French are at the heart of who we are. We celebrate the fact that eight million Francophones have a vibrant culture all the while surrounded by millions of English-language speakers.We are a democracy. We believe in and promote gender and racial equality, and human rights. We promote these values to the world.We are a culturally diverse country that welcomes immigrants. We are a country that looks like the world.All of these strengths make our culture—and our identity—dynamic.They make us unique.And we’ve spent the last 80 years developing cultural policies that preserve these strengths.A good part of this work has been done in the shadow of the largest English-language content producer in the world—the United States.Canada has long understood the need to promote Canadian culture. To build identity, pride and a shared sense of values.From the very first national cultural institutions founded in our country, the government’s goal was to create a space for Canadian voices.This goal was top-of-mind when Parliament adopted Canada’s first Radio Broadcasting Act in 1932—and launched CBC/Radio-Canada four years later.We knew then, as we do now, that Canadians need access to a system of broadcasting from Canadian sources.Other federal institutions and laws followed. The National Film Board. Telefilm. The Canada Council for the Arts. The CRTC. The Official Languages Act. The Multiculturalism Act. The Museums Act.Our policies have evolved over time to reflect shifting Canadian identities and values: our commitment, enshrined in legislation, to official languages, and to pluralism. And more recently, our commitment to responding to the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.The digital shiftToday, we find ourselves in another shift.We listen to radio, watch TV, go to the movies. We visit museums, read books and magazines.More and more, we have the opportunity to do these online.When it comes to content, Canadians want choice.But we know that access and affordability of Internet and wireless are real issues for many.Broadband coverage is uneven across the country.We pay some of the highest rates in the world.Our government won’t increase the cost of these services to Canadians by imposing a new tax.We’ve lowered taxes for the middle class, and we will continue to do that.However, we will make sure our creative industries succeed and make the content that we love—by using all of the tools we have.When Canadians are asked to give great Canadian content, it’s amazing how many talk about the books, shows, movies and songs they loved as kids: Passe-Partout. Mr. Dressup. Takuginai. The Log Driver’s Waltz. Anne of Green Gables, or, as I knew it as a child, Anne…la maison aux pignons verts.For me, this speaks to how important it is for our children to see and hear stories that reflect back who we are as they are growing up.And it’s no different now than it was on the floor of the House of Commons in 1932 when the government of the day adopted the first Radio Broadcasting Act.Strength and disruption in our creative industriesThe arts and culture sector provides jobs for more than 630,000 Canadians.It’s a $54.6-billion-dollar industry.And there are thousands more working in new fields. Like the 20,000 Canadians designing and composing for video games.These are the jobs of tomorrow.And not just in big cities: Northern Ontario hosted 28 full-length productions in 2016. Shows such as CTV’s Cardinal, Hallmark’s Flower Shop Mysteries and CraveTV’s Letterkenny employed 1,530 people.Our industries are doing well—not just well, great.Two Sundays ago, Montréal writer Louise Penny took over the #1 spot on the New York Times best seller list for her book Glass Houses;At the same time, young Canadian poet Rupi Kaur was #13 – remarkably, it was her 34th consecutive week on the best seller list;The same night, Margaret Atwood, Lorne Michaels and director Jean-Marc Vallée were each feted at the Emmy Awards. A few days earlier it was announced that Donald Sutherland would be receiving an honorary Oscar.These are incredible, internationally recognized accomplishments.Still, I know there is anxiety here at home.For creative industries that were born digital or have made the shift, the change has brought expansion, new jobs and new markets: we are leading in gaming, post-production and animation.In others—like media and broadcasting—the transition is more disruptive.Today, Facebook, Netflix, Spotify and YouTube reach Canadians directly—outside of our traditional regulated system.That content is predominantly English, mostly developed outside of Canada. So this disruption plays out differently in our French- and English-language markets.It is also experienced differently in urban and rural areas of the country where broadband isn’t as readily available.We must take these realities into account.And we must act.If we’re complacent, this new wave of information can drown out our own content—our French-language TV and films; our Indigenous music; our multicultural programming.This worries me. It worries our creators. And it worries Canadians.Because we care about Canadian content. We are fiercely proud of our stories and our talent.We will continue to champion the Internet as a progressive force and an open space without barriers.As a government, we stand by the principle of net neutrality.At the same time, we are fierce advocates of the importance of cultural diversity. We are champions for our creative industries.We must find a new way—a Canadian way—to support our content creators, to ensure they can compete, and to create a space for them in markets and platforms at home and around the world.Our vision for a Creative CanadaToday, I am announcing our Government’s vision for a Creative Canada.Creative Canada sets the policy direction for our programs, legislation and Portfolio agencies for the coming years.And it includes new initiatives and new funding to get us there.In our vision, Canada is a world leader in the quality of its creative industries, with creators empowered to make great content that stands out at home and around the world; and,That Canada is a pioneer in ensuring there is a space online for a diversity of voices at home and abroad, including Canadian content in French and English, multicultural and Indigenous expression.This is our vision.It is ambitious. It should be.Creative Canada will focus our efforts on three things:We will invest in our creators and their stories.We will promote the discovery and distribution of Canadian content at home and abroad.And we will strengthen public broadcasting and support local news.I’ll talk about each one of these.First…Pillar 1: Invest in Canadian creators, cultural entrepreneurs and their storiesThe talent and imagination of our creators is at the heart of our approach.From the first days of our government, we made a historic investment of $1.9 billion in new funds in the arts and culture.But there is more to do.Our new approach will help creators develop new ideas, take risks and make content that stands out.Increase funding to the Canada Media Fund (CMF)It begins with addressing deep anxieties I’ve heard across the sector, especially about funding for independent production.Writers, producers and directors have serious concerns about whether there will be a domestic market for their work, especially in the face of declining private-sector cable and satellite subscription revenues that contribute to the CMF.We are turning that around.Today, I’m announcing that, starting in 2018, the Government will increase the federal contribution to maintain the level of funding in the Canada Media Fund to counter these declines.Last year, the CMF supported 28,000 industry jobs in projects like Kim’s Convenience, Orphan Black, 19-2, Unité 9 and Mohawk Girls.With this new funding, we’re investing in jobs for our writers, showrunners, producers, directors, actors and crews.So whether your job depends on building a set, catering for the crew or standing in front of the camera, we want to make sure you know we believe in the strength of our production sector and its importance to our communities.This increase in funding will allow us to see what the next few years bring in the industry, and to work together to develop a model that will be viable for the CMF over the long term.Support skills, development, innovation and collaborationGreat productions rely on great stories, and the talent and time needed to develop them.Creators and producers across the country told me we need to do more to support great stories at their roots.I heard repeatedly how hard it is to get seed money to get a script or a pitch off the ground.That’s why we will also work with the CMF and explore what more might be done to enhance early-stage development such as scriptwriting.In music, we’ll help artists and entrepreneurs develop the skills they need to promote their music at home and connect with fans in new markets.Through the Canada Book Fund, we’ll continue to support print and digital production and will experiment with innovative approaches to marketing and promoting Canadian books.And we’ll cut the red tape no one likes: we will improve the administration of the film and TV production tax credits by CAVCO. We will work with Telefilm to explore ways to streamline the application process.In all of our programs, we will continue to make sure that they support work that reflects Canada in all its diversity, including Indigenous-led production, work in both of our official languages, and work that represents our multicultural fabric.And we will work with our Portfolio organizations and other partners to achieve greater gender parity in our creative industries.Support for the next generation of cultural spaces: Creative HubsIn the tech sector, entrepreneurs benefit from a start-up culture to nurture new ideas.They have incubators where they can grow their businesses.We need these same networks to grow our creative industries: collaborative spaces where creative entrepreneurs can access tools, training, equipment and mentorship.This year, we announced $300 million in new funding to the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund.Today, we’re setting aside part of this investment for new creative hubs to incubate the next generation of creative start-ups.Places like 312 Main in Vancouver’s downtown eastside, la SAT in Montréal, or cSPACE King Edward in Calgary.Our strongest start-ups also need capital to innovate and scale up.That’s why creative industries can now access our government’s $1.26-billion Strategic Innovation Fund.We want more Canadian creative entrepreneurs to be inspired by the international success of Cirque du Soleil, DHX or Robert Lepage—and to have the support to get there.Copyright Act – Focus on creatorsInvesting in creators also means ensuring they are fairly compensated and can protect and make the most of their intellectual property.We will soon launch a parliamentary review of the Copyright Act and I will work hard to ensure that review is focused on creators.Similarly, we will reform the Copyright Board to ensure that we support cultural content, pay our artists faster and reduce costs for all parties.Together, all of these initiatives will support creators as they turn great ideas into great content.Our message to them will be clear: take risks, put forward bold and unique material, and we will help you succeed.Pillar 2: Promote discovery and distribution at home and globallyOnce we’ve got great content, our next challenge is to make sure it finds its audience in Canada and around the world.There are three main parts to the challenge of distribution:How do we structure our own domestic market?How do we deal with foreign services that come into our domestic market?How do we make sure our domestic content reaches the international market?Domestic market: BroadcastingLet’s start with the question of the domestic market.The way we access content today is increasingly open, mobile and individual.Let me be clear: a strong domestic market is vital. It’s a launch pad for homegrown talent and a precondition for global success.It remains a core responsibility of all the players in the system to support our domestic market. That will not change.But our laws and regulations need to work in an online environment.That’s why, after nearly 30 years, it’s time to review the Broadcasting Act.We will announce more details of the review of the Broadcasting Act and Telecommunications Act later this fall.Together, these two Acts will continue to form the backbone of our communications system.There is no question that the CRTC has a critical role to play in this transition.That’s why, today, Minister Bains and I have sent a letter to Ian Scott, the new Chair of the CRTC, to set out the issues we see as important for the regulator in fulfilling its mandate.That’s also why, today, we are invoking our power to request the CRTC to report back to the government on how they see the system evolving.We are asking them to look at how new models will support the creation and distribution of Canadian entertainment and information programming, in both official languages.We look forward to receiving the CRTC’s report to inform our legislative review.New Players, New PartnersOn the second question of foreign platforms in our market: What is their role? What obligations do they have to Canadians?Our goal is clear: as a government, we have a responsibility to continue to protect and promote our stories and our culture.We want to make sure these platforms work for Canadians and that they understand the importance of being a partner to support Canadian content.As many of these platforms become content producers themselves, it becomes even more important to ensure that there is a diversity of voices—Canadian voices—on their platforms.I’ve already started meeting with these companies to establish ties and bring them to the table.We want them to participate in our goals to support the creation and discovery of Canadian content that showcases our talent, our cultures and our stories.I’m pushing for commitments that benefit our industries.Today, I am announcing the first of these agreements on behalf of the Government of Canada and Netflix.Under this agreement, Netflix will create Netflix Canada – a permanent film and television production presence here in Canada, the first time that the company has done so outside the United States.And building on the strong track record of investing in Canadian producers and content with shows like Anneand Alias Grace with the CBC, Travellers with Showcase, and Frontier with Discovery, they have agreed to invest a minimum of $500 million in original productions in Canada, in both official languages, over the next five years.The Francophone market has great potential for growth, and Quebec has a unique and talented creative community. That is why Netflix is committed to investing $25 million in a market development strategy for French-language content and production—both within Quebec and in Francophone communities across Canada.Netflix will also work to promote Canadian films and programs on its platform so that they are discovered by Canadian audiences and millions of viewers around the world.These partnerships will allow our creators and producers to make top-shelf, high-quality content that competes with the best in the world.This is what is possible, this is what we expect, and this is the type of commitment we will work to achieve with other platforms, as well.So that our creators and industries remain strong, valued and, ultimately, Canadian.Export StrategyThirdly, how can we make sure our content gets to other markets?More than ever, creative entrepreneurs must look to global markets to be competitive, generate revenue and jobs, and grow.In our first budget, we hit the ground running, investing a one-time $35 million over two years to establish our cultural presence internationally and promote our creative industries abroad.One of the first things we did was put boots on the ground.We now have cultural trade experts working in missions around the world to help our industries reach key markets.We have invested in Canada’s presence in major trade fairs and events: the places where relationships are built and deals are made.This summer, Canada was the official partner country at Gamescom in Cologne, Germany.In 2020, we will be the country of honour at the Frankfurt Book Fair. It will have a major impact for our book industry and other creative sectors.This work must continue and grow.How will we do this?We will launch the first federal cultural trade mission in Canada’s history. We’ll support taking our best creators and companies to major foreign markets to make deals and build business-to-business relationships.We will expand and modernize our international co-production treaties to grow production budgets and attract new financing partners.And we will establish a Creative Industries Council, co-chaired with the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.To grow the sector, the different industries need to talk to one another. This group of experts drawn from across the creative industries will work on concrete strategies to open up new markets and coordinate Canada’s international presence and brand.Today, as part of our Creative Canada vision, we are announcing a new investment of $125 million over five years to support Canada’s first Creative Export Strategy. And we will work to enrich this investment as we continue to open up new markets and opportunities for Canada’s creative entrepreneurs.Cultural Diversity: Leadership on the World StageWe’ve been leading an international conversation on how we can ensure that a free and open Internet supports a diversity of voices and national content.I’ve said we believe the Internet is a progressive force, but all players—governments, Internet companies, civil society—have a role to play to give this meaning.It means that in a world of algorithms, there is a value—a public interest—in bursting the filter bubbles that exist.It’s why we want to see diverse Canadian content easily discoverable on all platforms available in Canada.We’ve been working at UNESCO, the G7, the World Economic Forum, and even in Silicon Valley itself to raise the importance of this issue.And we will work with our Canadian experts, including Waterloo’s Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), and with the Digital Global Policy Incubator at Stanford University, to organize an international forum to engage governments, civil society and global Internet companies in discussion of these issues.We will also work to safeguard the right of states to put in place measures to protect and promote their domestic industries to support the global diversity of cultural expressions.Let me be clear: culture is a priority in our NAFTA negotiations.And it’s why we are committed as a government to maintaining the flexibility for Canadian culture in NAFTA by exempting our cultural industries.Pillar 3: Strengthen public broadcasting and local newsSupporting Local NewsThere is no place to be more concerned about filter bubbles and the vital need for local information than in the news sector.During our consultations—and through the hard work of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage—I heard first-hand the importance of local news and information.In some communities, public broadcasting—on radio or over-the-air TV—is an essential source of local coverage.For others, it’s their local newspaper, which could be online like AllNovaScotia, an online source for local and business news in the Atlantic region.There are no easy solutions to the challenges facing this sector.We start from the premise that this is a shared responsibility between government at all levels, the private sector and civil society.Our approach will be guided by our belief that reliable journalistic content is critical to a healthy democracy. And that any action or measure by government must respect journalistic independence.Our approach will not be to bail out industry models that are no longer viable.Rather, we will focus our efforts on supporting innovation, experimentation and transition to digital.There is no one-size-fits-all approach.We have to foster experimentation and continue to take into account regional and linguistic differences.A few minutes ago, I talked about our expectations of platforms that create and share cultural content. We expect them to contribute to our goals.We expect Internet companies that aggregate and share news to do the same.We’ve asked Facebook to do more. Today, I’m pleased to announce that they will partner with Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone and the Ryerson School of Journalism to create a digital news incubator—the first of its kind in Canada.Participants will receive start-up funding and mentorship to accelerate innovative ideas that contribute to the digital development of journalism.This is a welcome first step; our intention is to foster many more.In our own program, the origins of the Canada Periodical Fund began before Confederation, as a postal subsidy to ensure Canadians across our vast country could have access to periodicals at an affordable price.Today, the Fund aims to ensure Canadians have access to diverse Canadian magazines and community newspapers. But eligibility is still built upon dwindling numbers of print subscribers.As more publications add mobile versions or move fully online, what’s important to Canadians is that they continue to publish original Canadian content.And that our programs provide the support they need to innovate, adapt and transition onto the platforms Canadians choose.A Vital Public BroadcasterIn this environment, the need for a strong, national public broadcaster has never been more clear.CBC/Radio-Canada broadcast its first newscast—a bilingual radio report—in 1936. For nearly 81 years, it has been a source of news stretching to the furthest communities of our country.In many parts of the country, it is an essential source of information, sometimes the only source.Never before has a public broadcaster been so needed, so vital, to so many.To tell the stories that must be heard—on television and radio, and through documentaries, films and programming for young audiences.To report on news that must be covered.To convene the conversations that must happen in a space built on the public’s trust and in public’s interest.The CBC carries a huge public responsibility. Canadians’ expectations for it are fiercely high. They ought to be.We’ve put $675 million of new funds into CBC/Radio-Canada, which it is using to support local content, the transition to digital, and to help bring on board the next generation of creative talent.We’ve also launched a new, open and independent process to select the next CBC leadership to ensure that Canadians are well-served by a team that reflects Canada’s incredible diversity and talent.This is an important moment for the CBC to look ahead and consider the critical role they have in providing a uniquely Canadian experience on a uniquely Canadian platform.As we review the Broadcasting Act, we will strengthen the mandate of our public broadcaster.We want the CBC to be a leading partner among Canada’s news and cultural organizations.And we want the CBC to play a leading role in showcasing Canadian cultural content—in both French and English, and reflecting the country’s diversity and Indigenous Peoples—at home and around the world.Where do we go from here?During the past 12 months, I’ve heard from thousands of Canadians, including many of you here in this room today.We all know that this is a very complex subject.No one is able to say with certainty what the new business model for creation, production and distribution of Canadian content will be in a digital world.This is a challenge and an opportunity. It generates anxiety and optimism.It is with humility and a deep sense of responsibility that I present to you today our government’s vision for a Creative Canada.While we deal with the transition, we will build our new system.This vision, and the strength of our creative industries, is our foundation and a roadmap for our sector.We are investing in our creative industries and creators, tackling the issues of distribution, and strengthening our media sector and public broadcaster.This morning, we published our policy framework for a Creative Canada.I invite you to read through it to digest more of the details.But our work isn’t done.In the year ahead, we will work with you, our partners, and across government to build on the direction I’ve outlined here.We will work with our Portfolio partners. Each of them will contribute to this vision.If we get this right, we will be a leader in the world.And, this will be our legacy.Generations from now, we want Canadians to have touchpoints that bring them together, that are markers of shared experience, of who we are.That is what culture does. And that’s why, now and in the future, culture matters more than ever.Let’s build this future together.Let’s build our Creative Canada.last_img read more

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Muslims, Christians, and Jews Share an Iftar in Brussels

By Safae KajouaneRabat – The European Council of Moroccan Ulema (CEOMA) organized a banquet in Brussels attended by Belgium’s Muslim, Christian and Jewish figures on Tuesday evening June 14, 2016. Tahar Toujgani, president of The European Council of Moroccan Ulema stressed the virtues of the holy month of Ramadan, especially the values of sharing, fellowship, and living together. After condemning the brutal terrorist acts that occurred purportedly in the name of Islam, he stressed that nothing can justify such a crime committed against innocent citizens. Mr. Samir Addahre, Morocco’s ambassador to Brussels, stressed the need to defend the values that unite the three religions, particularly after the current terrorist acts in different parts of the world. He added that these acts have nothing to do with Islam.“This Iftar allows us to send a twofold message to those who want us to stand divided: that we are united around principles and universal values of brotherhood, solidarity, and friendship, and that those who cloak themselves in religion and commit these unspeakable acts have nothing to do with religion” stated Mr. Samir AddahreThe ambassador also highlighted the efforts of the Moroccan Kingdom to preserve spiritual safety and ensure that the practice of Islam remains in harmony with the noblest democratic values that Morocco has consistently upheld under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, Commander of the Faithful. read more

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Appointment of New Head of MINURSO Raises Concerns about UN Approach…

Rabat – The appointment of Canadian Colin Stewart as head of the MINURSO is putting Morocco on its guards.Stewart’s former position as the UN’s Acting Chief of Staff and Chief of Political Affairs in Timor-Leste is raising concerns about a similar approach to that of his predecessors on the Western Sahara issue.“I wonder what criteria the United Nations Secretary General has used in appointing his new head of MINURSO,” a UN staff member who spoke on the condition of anonymity told Morocco World News. Stewart’s profile is an interesting one. While the diplomat has extensively worked with the UN, it is his 10 years’ mission in Timor-Leste that is raising many questions on the Moroccan side.“Knowing the experience of Stewart, it makes one wonder whether the appointment of someone who has experience in Timor-Leste is the appropriate person to lead MINURSO at this juncture, knowing the differences that existed between Timor-Leste and the Western Sahara,” adds MWN’s source.The history of East Timor and how it came to independence is a “life-altering” one, as Stewart described it in an interview with The Globe and Mail back in 2002, but it is a very different one from that of the Sahara.As Moroccan political analyst, Samir Bennis, put in one of his articles about the topic, “while Timor-Leste was under Portuguese sovereignty from the 16th century until 1975 when it was invaded and taken over by Indonesia, Western Sahara was under Moroccan sovereignty until the end of the 19th century.”“Morocco’s claim to sovereignty is supported by historical (colonial) records and a number of international agreements, such as the accord signed between Morocco and the United Kingdom in March 1895, in which the British government acknowledges that the Sahara belonged to Morocco.”According Bennis, another factor demonstrating the absence of similarities between the two cases is linguistic, religious, and ethnic unity among the regions. There is a linguistic, religious, and ethnic unity between the rest of Morocco’s territory and the Sahara: Saharawis are a mixture of Arabs and Amazigh, are Muslims and speak Arabic and Berber in addition to the Hassani language. Such similarities did not exist between Indonesia and Timor-Leste.While Indonesia is a Muslim country, the population of Timor-Leste is predominantly catholic, making the country after its independence the second largest Roman Catholic country in Asia after the Philippines. Likewise, as to the language, while Indonesia’s language is Indonesian, the two main languages used in Timor-Leste are Portuguese and Tetum.“What raises more questions about the pertinence of this choice is that the appointment of a new head of MINURSO who served in Timor-Leste comes amid reports that the UN Special Envoy for Western Sahara [Christopher Kohler] is allegedly leaning towards proposing some sort of commonwealth or federation under which the Western Sahara would have its own constitution.” reveals our source.“While the latest Security Council resolution adopted last April seemed to give preeminence to the Moroccan autonomy plan, it remains to be seen what orientation the UN Secretary General [Antonio Guterres] will give to his mediation efforts now that the MINURSO will be headed by personality who served in UN mission that led to a different outcome from the one called for Morocco,” explains the UN member.“The upcoming UNSG report scheduled to be released in April 2018 will be critical in shedding a cleared light on the new orientation that the Guterres will give to the conflict,” concludes our source.Legitimate concerns?Morocco has often questioned the criteria governing the choice of certain UN officials to take control of the UN mission in the Sahara. Seeing the past of Stewart and his pressed actors, Canadian Kim Bolduc and German Weisbrod-Weber, all whom served in the organization of referendums of independence in East Timor (August 30, 1999) or in South Sudan (January 2011), Morocco’s concerns might be in the right place after all.Weisbrod-Weber had overseen the popular consultation in the former province of Indonesia as Chief of Staff at the United Nations Integrated Mission in Timor-Leste. Stewart also worked for the United Nations in the Political Affairs Division from 1999 to 2009 as an analyst specializing in Timor-Leste and Indonesia. This experience has paved the way for him to be appointed, from January 2011 to March 2016, Deputy Head of the United Nations Office at the African Union.Knowing that Weisbrod-Weber has never set foot in Rabat during his position as head of MINURSO during his tenure, and Bolduc barely visited the capital once, while both had made numerous visits to the Tindouf camps, will Stewart take the same route? read more

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Canadian economy posts weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015

OTTAWA – Canada’s economy expanded at an annualized pace of just 0.4 per cent in the first three months of the year, giving the country its weakest back-to-back quarters of growth since 2015.Statistics Canada says the real gross domestic product reading for the first quarter follows a revised reading of just 0.3 per cent in the previous quarter.Following a 0.2% decline in February, gross domestic product increased 0.5% in March 2019. https://t.co/TeectjltUK #GDP pic.twitter.com/LYzxiCpPbb— Statistics Canada (@StatCan_eng) May 31, 2019The first-quarter reading was slightly higher than the prediction of the Bank of Canada, which has stressed the slowdown was temporary and that growth has been accelerating in the second quarter.The report says downward pressure on growth was driven by weakness in net trade as imports rose and export volumes saw their first quarterly decrease since 2017.Canada saw substantial declines in its exports of farm and fishing products as well as a drop in crude-oil shipments.On the positive side, the agency says overall economic growth was boosted by the highest quarterly level of household spending in two years and the biggest jolt of business investment in equipment and machinery in 23 years. read more

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UN humanitarian chief discusses peace talks with Ugandan President

John Holmes, who is also Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, met Mr. Museveni in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, at the start of the second leg of his African tour.Mr. Holmes described the meeting as “a lively exchange” and said the latest round of peace talks in Juba, southern Sudan, between the Ugandan Government and the LRA topped the discussions, according to a press release issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).The peace talks resumed on the weekend, a month after the two sides agreed to extend an agreement on a formal cessation of hostilities – first struck last year – until the end of June.Mr. Holmes said he emphasized to Mr. Museveni the importance of meeting humanitarian needs during the anticipated return process for some of the vast population of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.“We agreed that the United Nations and the Government of Uganda should work on humanitarian and development issues in the coming years and also enhance partnership to ensure a smooth transition process,” he said.He added that the two men discussed the security situation in Karamoja, one of Uganda’s poorest regions, where there has been escalating violence since November last year. Last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said “the indiscriminate and excessive use of force” by Government forces had led to the deaths of 69 civilians in Karamoja between last November and the end of March.Tomorrow Mr. Holmes is expected to travel to Kitgum district in the north to meet aid workers and local authorities and tour settlement camps for IDPs, including ex-combatants. Kitgum is home to about 260,000 IDPs spread across 23 settlements.Thousands of people have been killed and an estimated 1.5 million others have become displaced in Uganda or neighbouring countries since the LRA insurgency began in 1986. During that time, the rebel group has become notorious for abducting children and then using them as soldiers or porters, while subjecting some to torture and allocating many girls to senior officers in a form of institutional rape.In October 2005 the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued its first-ever arrest warrants against Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, and four of the group’s commanders – Vincent Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya – on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity. 14 May 2007The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator held talks today with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, stressing the importance of protecting civilians and meeting their humanitarian needs during the current peace process between the African country’s Government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). read more

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Nuclear terrorism is still urgent risk says UN atomic watchdog chief

“For those of us in the nuclear field, it has become obvious that our work to strengthen nuclear security is both vital and urgent – and that we must not wait for a ‘watershed’ nuclear security event to provide the needed security upgrades,” International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei told the opening session of a three-day conference in London.”Ultimately, our success will only be as strong as our weakest link,” he said, stressing the need for cooperation, assistance, regional and international networks, and the importance of learning from each other.Noting that the terrorist attack against the United States in September 2001 had propelled the rapid and dramatic re-evaluation of the risks of terrorism in all its forms, he categorized four potential nuclear risks: theft of a nuclear weapon; acquisition of nuclear materials to build a device; malicious use of radioactive sources such as a “dirty bomb;” and radiological hazards from attacking or sabotaging a facility or transport vehicle.”These risks are real and current, but they are not all the same,” he told the IAEA’s “International Conference on Nuclear Security: Global Directions for the Future,” underscoring the importance of international cooperation.”While the probability of a nuclear explosive device being acquired and used by terrorists is relatively small, it cannot be dismissed, and the consequences would be devastating,” he said. “On the other hand, a dirty bomb would likely have far less impact in terms of human life, but the relative accessibility of radiological sources makes it more likely that such an event could occur.”The IAEA’s security plan to guard against thefts of nuclear and other radioactive material and protect related facilities against malicious acts rests on the three pillars of prevention, detection and response.The first requires effective physical protection of materials and of related nuclear facilities including strong state accounting systems. The IAEA has provided a range of advisory missions, training workshops and technical guidance documents.The second seeks to ensure that systems are in place to help countries to identify, at an early stage, illicit activity and here, too, the IAEA has been assisting countries from many regions in training customs officials, installing better equipment at border crossings, and ensuring that information on trafficking incidents is shared effectively.The third aims to strengthen programmes to ensure that the response to any illicit activity, including nuclear or radioactive terrorism, is prompt and well coordinated. To date, most such responses have involved helping governments with the recovery of radioactive sources that have been stolen or lost.Since September 2001, working in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, the IAEA has conducted more than 125 security advisory and evaluation missions, and convened over 100 training courses, workshops and seminars.The agency’s illicit trafficking database shows over 650 confirmed incidents of trafficking in nuclear or other radioactive material since 1993. Last year, nearly 100 such incidents occurred, 11 of which involved nuclear material. read more

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DR Congo vote count on schedule says UN mission there

The mission says that the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), the sole authority permitted to release the vote total, has counted 90 per cent of the ballots from the 30 July elections. Nonetheless, the IEC will not be able to issue provisional results before the originally scheduled deadline of 20 August, the mission reports.In an interview with MONUC, Dieudonné Mirmi, the first reporter of the IEC, stressed how important it was for the Congolese people to remain patient in the meantime, and to disregard the results that appear daily in the local media.“These are partial results and one should not speculate or extrapolate from these data,” said Mr. Mirmi.Meanwhile, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for the DRC, William Lacy Swing, welcomed former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano in Kinshasa yesterday. Mr. Chissano is serving as Chairman of the International Committee of the Wise, a UN-backed advisory group on the Congolese elections.In an interview with MONUC, Mr. Chissano said he believed the elections had been successful, citing the strong turnout and high level of enthusiasm among the Congolese people.“They recognized the value of the vote, and they recognized this as their right, but they also wanted to participate in choosing their leaders,” he said.In a statement, Chissano and his fellow members of the Committee called on the Congolese to remain calm and patient while the ballot counting continues. During the largely peaceful elections, millions of voters went to some 50,000 polling stations to choose from among 32 candidates for president and more than 9,000 candidates for the National Assembly. read more

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Draft federal government report says bitumen spill effects unknown

by Bob Weber, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 2, 2015 2:00 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email An unpublished federal report on environmental threats from oil and bitumen pipelines says little is known about the potential toxic effects of oilsands products in oceans, lakes or rivers.“In particular, research on the toxicology of bitumen is lacking,” says the draft report, commissioned in response to concerns raised at the Northern Gateway pipeline hearings.The document comes as Canada debates pipeline proposals for moving large amounts of diluted bitumen from Alberta’s oilsands to refineries and ports on both coasts and into the United States. It was obtained by Greenpeace under freedom-of-information legislation.Although it has been through several versions, the 2013 report has never been released.“A more complete, peer-reviewed report was produced by (Fisheries and Oceans), and will be published in the coming months,” wrote department spokesman David Walters in an email.All drafts of the report warn that the behaviour and effects of bitumen remain largely unknown.“Research on the biological effects of oilsands-related products on aquatic organisms is lacking,” it says.An early draft lays out 10 specific “knowledge gaps” about bitumen and the various substances used to dilute it when it’s pumped through pipelines.“Very little information is available on the physical and chemical characteristics of oilsands-related products following a spill into water,” it says.“A better understanding of the fate and behaviour of these products is critical for assessing the potential risk to aquatic organisms.”More research is needed on what would happens to heavy metals in bitumen in the case of a spill. There is a “lack of information” on how condensate — a lighter hydrocarbon used to dilute bitumen for pumping — would behave in water.The understanding of how chemicals in bitumen would interact with fish should be improved, the report says. Specific research on possible oil impacts on the Pacific, Arctic and Great Lakes is needed.The impact of sunlight, which can make some chemicals in bitumen vastly more harmful, is also unknown, says the report. The combined effect of bitumen and dispersants — chemical agents used to break up oil spilled in water — hasn’t been studied.As well, little is known about the potential impacts of a spill in the Arctic.The early draft of the report examines research on Orimulsion, a Venezuelan product about two-thirds bitumen and one-third water.Studies say Orimulsion tends to sink in fresh water, but remain suspended throughout the water column in salt water. It is also “highly toxic to fish” — 300 times more toxic to embryos than heavy fuel oil.The 61-page draft includes 14 pages of references to peer-reviewed academic studies as well as government and industry publications. They date from 1976 to 2013 and include articles from a wide variety of scientific journals.Walters said new research is already underway.“The information collected during this exercise has already resulted in (the department) providing Canadian universities with funding for five projects related to the effects on fish and shellfish,” he said.The government also recently released research that found bitumen tends to float on sea water, but responds poorly to dispersants and shows “significant” differences from conventional crude.Prominent ecologist David Schindler, whose work is cited in the review, said the real state of knowledge about the potential effects of a bitumen spill is even sketchier than the review suggests.The report adopts a piecemeal, substance-by-substance approach instead of considering the combined effect of all chemicals, he said. It also doesn’t ask what happens if a spill gets under river ice, which has already happened on Alberta’s Athabasca River.“The recommended list of new activities will not solve these shortcomings,” Schindler said in an email. “They are simply recommending more of the same deficient tests, fine for initial screening, not for protecting ecosystems.” Draft federal government report says bitumen spill effects unknown read more

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Repair world in pieces and create world at peace UN chief Guterres

“We are a world in pieces. We need to be a world at peace,” said Mr. Guterres as he presented his annual Report on the work of the Organization ahead of the general debate of the UN General Assembly, in which Heads of State and Government and other high-level representatives from around the world discuss key global issues. He said that the world is seeing insecurity rising, inequality growing, conflict spreading, climate changing, societies fragmenting and political discourse polarizing. The UN chief noted that global anxieties about nuclear weapons are at the highest level since the end of the Cold War due to provocative nuclear and missile tests by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The solution must be political. This is a time for statesmanship. We must not sleepwalk our way into war,” he warned, as fiery talk can lead to fatal misunderstandings. On terrorism, the Secretary-General stressed the need to address the roots of radicalization. “It is not enough to fight terrorists on the battlefield,” he said. Stressing the need for “a surge in diplomacy today” and “a leap in conflict prevention for tomorrow,” he said that it is possible to move from war to peace, and from dictatorship to democracy. Only political solutions can bring peace to the unresolved conflicts in Syria, Yemen, South Sudan, the Sahel, Afghanistan and elsewhere. That was why he announced the creation of a high-level advisory board on mediation, he added. On Myanmar, Mr. Guterres said the Asian country’s authorities must end the military operations in Rakhine state, allow unhindered humanitarian access, and address the grievances of the Rohingya Muslims, whose status has been left unresolved for far too long. He went on to take note of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s address today – and her intention to implement the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State that was chaired by Kofi Annan within the shortest time possible. On the Israel-Palestine conflict, the two-state solution remains the only way forward, he said. Turning to climate change, Mr. Guterres urged Governments to implement the historic Paris Agreement with greater ambition. “We should not link any single weather event with climate change. But scientists are clear that such extreme weather is precisely what their models predict will be the new normal of a warming world,” he said, noting that mega-hurricanes, superstorms and rain bombs are added to the vocabulary to describe what is happening. While explaining how globalization and technological advances have brought uneven benefits, he also highlighted the dark side of innovation, such as cybersecurity threats as well as the possible negative implications of artificial intelligence and genetic engineering. Lastly, Mr. Guterres said safe migration cannot be limited to the global elite and stressed the need to do more to face the challenges of migration. Refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants are not the problem; the problem lies in conflict, persecution and hopeless poverty. To tackle these challenges, he said, the UN has launched initiatives to reform itself. Looking over the packed General Assembly Hall, he said that the UN is needed, and “multilateralism is more important than ever” when there are competing interests and even open conflict. “We call ourselves the international community; we must act as one,” he concluded. read more

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Cholera surges children in urgent need one month after Idai slammed southern

Zimbabwe: Providing over 60,000 people with information to prevent waterborne diseases; distributing hygiene  kits; rehabilitating water systems; restoring sanitation facilities; providing vital health and nutrition supplies; and, with partners, delivering psychosocial support to vulnerable children in child-friendly spaces. Citing one million children in Mozambique, followed by more than 443,000 in Malawi and 130,000 in Zimbabwe, UNICEF said that the needs of children remain “massive”, including for healthcare, nutrition, education and water assistance.Since the cyclone hit Mozambique, cholera has surged in to 4,600 cases and malaria to 7,500 cases. UNICEF said that any prolonged interruption to essential services could lead to disease outbreaks and spikes in malnutrition – where children are especially vulnerable. “The road to recovery will be long”, asserted Ms. Fore. “It is imperative that humanitarian partners are there every step of the way”. According to the UN Children’s Fund, over 200,000 homes were destroyed in Mozambique alone and because the storm demolished crops just weeks before the harvest, food security is precarious.Meanwhile, as thousands of people remain in evacuation camps, UNICEF expressed particular concern over the more than 130,000 displaced children, mostly in Mozambique and Malawi. “We need to help children and families survive and then get back on their feet”, stressed the UNICEF chief.To support its humanitarian response for children and families affected by the storm and its aftermath in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi over the next nine months, UNICEF has launched an appeal for $122 million.UNICEF response actions to date include: Mozambique: Providing vaccines to immunize 900,000 people against cholera; distributing 500,000 mosquito nets to protect against malaria; and helping to restore Beira’s water supply for 500,000 people.  Malawi:  Providing safe water to more than 53,000 people  and toilets to over 51,000 people; in evacuation centres, provided child friendly spaces, water trucks, toilets, medicines, recreation kits and volunteer teachers. “Children living in crowded shelters or away from their homes are at risk of diseases, exploitation and abuse,” said Henrietta Fore, UNICEF Executive Director, who visited Mozambique’s busy port city of Beira immediately after the cyclone hit.Luca is bringing urgent aid to families and children who need it most in Mozambique after the worst natural disaster to hit southern Africa in two decades. #CycloneIdai pic.twitter.com/OCIYmHV3aX— UNICEF (@UNICEF) April 13, 2019 read more

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