HC commutes two convicts death penalty to life term

HC commutes two convicts death penalty to life term

first_imgMumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday commuted the death penalty of two convicts in the 2007 Pune BPO gang-rape and murder case to “life term for a period of 35 years” on the grounds that there had been an inordinate delay in executing them.Purushottam Borate (38) and Pradeep Kokade (32) were to be executed on June 24, but the high court had said on June 21 that the execution should not take place until further orders. A division bench of Justices B P Dharmadhikari and Swapna Joshi on Monday allowed the petitions filed by the convicts seeking a stay on the execution of their death warrant. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”We find that the delay in executing the death penalty in the present case was undue, inordinate and unreasonable,” the court said in its judgment. It added that the delay could have been avoided if the mercy petitions and the final execution were dealt with some sense of urgency. “We find that there has been undue and unexplained delay by both the state and Central government in processing the mercy petitions,” the court said. “Here we have to consider a case of two convicts who have to be hanged. When the protection of Article 21 of the Constitution of India (Right to life and personal liberty) is at stake then the Executive, Court of Law or the Governor and President of India stand at the same pedestal,” the court said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThus, delay by any arm of the state or the Central government would be against the fundamental rights of the convicts, it added. “It is clear that the actual execution of the death penalty is at the hands of the state government. The state government has to fix a date and obtain death warrant,” the judgment said. Thus, merely writing letters to the sessions court seeking for a date to be fixed for execution of the death penalty cannot be seen as compliance, it added. “In such a situation, we commute the death penalty to life term for a period of 35 years considering the time already spent by the petitioners in jail,” the court said in its judgement. The bench also berated the government for using old age methods like telegram and express letters for communication. We are in the 21st century and in this digital era, not resorting to devices such as email and telephones would be to deliberately delay the exercise or derail it,” the court said. The bench also noted that the convicts were kept in solitary confinement from 2012. The convicts’ lawyer, Yug Chaudhary, told reporters the court had said in the judgement that the duo should be in prison for a period of 35 years after taking into account the time already spent in jail and remission. On November 1, 2007, a Wipro BPO employee, who was then 22-year-old, got into the regular cab contracted by the company to report for her night duty in a Pune suburb. Cab driver Borate, accompanied by his friend Kokade, changed the route and took her to a remote place, where they raped and strangled her with her dupatta. They also disfigured her face. The duo was convicted and awarded death penalty by a sessions court in March 2012 for kidnapping, raping and murdering the woman. In September 2012, the high court confirmed the punishment and the verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court in May 2015.last_img read more

Youth beaten to death for splashing water while driving

first_imgKolkata: A youth was hacked to death at Liluah bridge on Wednesday.It is alleged that a few days ago, the youth got involved in a scuffle after water splashed on a few persons while he was riding his bike. According to sources, a few days ago, the youth identified as Chandan Singh (20) a resident of Potuapara in Liluah was riding his bike in front of Liluah Rail Colony. While riding the bike, accumulated water on the road splashed on some people. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe youths hurled expletives at Singh. Hearing the abusive words, he got down from his bike and an altercation ensued between the youths and Singh. Local residents informed that Singh tried to explain that he did not splash water on them intentionally. It happened accidentally he said but the accused youths refused to accept his explanation. All of a sudden they started attacking Singh. Seeing them got involved in a scuffle, some local residents intervened and the fight was stopped. It is also alleged that the accused youths threatened Singh with dire consequences. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayLocal residents say Singh and accused youths were known to each other and there could be some issues with them. On Wednesday afternoon, Singh was called by the accused persons at Liluah bridge to end the dispute. When he arrived there accused youth again hurled expletives and sought for an apology. When Singh refused to apologise, accused youths started beating him. He even tried to escape but failed. Accused youths chased him and started beating him. While Singh was getting beaten up, one of them stabbed him. When Singh hit the ground, accused youths fled from the spot. Local residents rushed Singh to a private hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. A case has been lodged at Liluah police station. Till Wednesday night none has been arrested.last_img read more

Interpol issues Red Corner Notice against Nirav Modis brother

first_imgNew Delhi: The Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice (RCN) against Nehal Modi, brother of Nirav Modi, the main accused in the USD 2 billion PNB scam case, officials said on Friday. They said the global arrest warrant against the Belgian national Nehal, 40, has been issued on charges of alleged money laundering that is being probed by the Enforcement Directorate. Nehal Deepak Modi was born in Antwerp, Belgium and he knows languages such as English, Gujarati and Hindi, according to the RCN. Nehal has been named in the charge sheet filed by the ED in this case and he has been charged with destruction of evidence. Nirav Modi and his uncle Mehul Choksi are alleged to be the main perpetrators of India’s biggest bank fraud that came to the fore last year. The Punjab National Bank is stated to be duped of nearly Rs 14,000 crore in this scam.last_img read more

Some New Brunswick lobster fishermen park boats concerned with low prices

first_imgSHEDIAC, N.B. – Some lobster fishermen in eastern New Brunswick tied up their boats and remained onshore Thursday in a protest over the prices they’re getting for lobster.Fishermen in ports such as Pointe-Sapin and Richibucto remained at the docks, saying landings are down and prices are low.“Some processors were telling some fishermen that their price was going to be $5 and $5.50 a pound, and last week they found out from those same buyers and processors that their price was going to be far less. You can imagine the frustration of fishermen right now,” said Michel Richard, an organizer with the Maritime Fishermen’s Union.Fishermen say right now they’re being paid about $4.25 per pound for canners and $4.75 per pound for market lobsters.They say it’s a big drop from about $7.50 per pound in the spring.Richard said fishermen aren’t getting any answers from the processors and buyers about the price drop.“The fishermen are frustrated because they don’t know exactly where to get that information,” he said.But Jerry Amirault, president of the Lobster Producers Association of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, said producers are paying what the market can bear.“At this time the markets are fragile, and we are working with the MFU and the fishermen,” he said.Amirault said the change in the value of the Canadian dollar has had an impact on exports.Since late July the value of the U.S. dollar has gone from $1.35 Canadian to $1.25 Canadian, the equivalent of a 7 per cent drop for Canadian exporters selling in U.S. dollars.The provincial Department of Fisheries issued a statement, saying it is working with the fishermen and the processors.“The price of lobster is determined by market conditions. There are many components of pricing within the marketplace. They include … availability of supply, fluctuation in market demand and fluctuation in exchange rates,” the statement reads.In 2016, the value of New Brunswick’s exports of seafood increased by $157 million to $1.6 billion compared to the year before.It’s not the first time fishermen have protested over lobster prices.In 2013, fishermen in New Brunswick, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia stayed at the docks in a protest over prices. At the time, prices had dipped to about $2.75 per pound for canners and $3.25 per pound for market lobsters.New Brunswick fishermen blocked trucks delivering Maine lobsters to three producers in Cap-Pele and Shediac in 2012.Richard said not all the current lobster fishermen are protesting the prices. He said some of the boats didn’t go out Thursday because of high winds.The fall season, for the zone covering much of the Northumberland Strait, opened Aug. 8 and runs until Oct. 9.— By Kevin Bissett in Fredericton.last_img read more

Tory MPP apologizes for comments about Wynne after lawyers warn of possible

first_imgTORONTO – A Conservative member of the Ontario legislature is apologizing to Premier Kathleen Wynne for comments made in a radio interview after the premier’s lawyers warned he could face a defamation lawsuit.Lawyers representing Wynne sent a letter Wednesday to MPP Bill Walker asking that he publicly retract and apologize on the air for statements made to Toronto radio station AM640 on Monday.The letter alleged Walker told the radio station Wynne was under investigation and facing charges in connection with an upcoming Election Act bribery trial for two Liberal party members, when in fact the premier is slated to testify in the trial.It said his statements “could be the subject of a defamation action” and warned against making any further comments along those lines.In a statement released Wednesday evening, Walker said he made a mistake while discussing Wynne’s plan to testify at the upcoming trial.Wynne’s lawyer said later Wednesday that Walker was expected to be interviewed on the radio station again on Thursday. He said Walker’s comments would be monitored “to ensure our demand for a retraction and apology is fully satisfied.”Pat Sorbara, the premier’s former deputy chief of staff, faces two bribery charges under the Election Act, and Gerry Lougheed, a Liberal fundraiser, faces one charge.“I misspoke by implying that the premier is under investigation and facing charges. The premier is not, in fact, under investigation or facing charges,” he said.“I regret the error and apologize for it without reservation.”In their letter, they said Walker’s radio statements “appear to have been made with the intention to harm the reputation of Ms. Wynne,” who they said has co-operated with investigators in the case.“Despite the inaccuracy of your statements, your status as an MPP increases the likelihood that these falsehoods will be repeated by others, increasing the potential harm to the premier’s reputation,” the letter read.“Accordingly, you will be held accountable for any damages arising from your defamatory statements and their repetition by others.”Wynne previously sued former Conservative leader Tim Hudak and another Tory MPP after the pair said she oversaw — and possibly ordered — the destruction of documents related to two cancelled gas plants.That lawsuit was resolved in 2015, though it is not known whether it was settled or withdrawn.last_img read more

Securities commissions defend nameandshame lists despite long list of unpaid penalties

first_imgCALGARY – It turns out that publicly shaming violators of provincial securities laws is an exceptionally poor way of collecting unpaid penalties but some Canadian regulators say they will continue to operate the websites anyway.In the five years since the Ontario Securities Commission launched its “delinquent respondents list,” a website page designed to expose violators of securities law who haven’t paid their fines and other sanctions as ordered, only 16 of 432 names have been removed — 13 because they paid up and three because they’ve started payment plans.Similarly, two years after the Alberta Securities Commission announced it was posting the names of violators of securities laws who don’t pay, a total of eight debts for about $525,000 have been collected.That leaves almost half a billion dollars owed by nearly 600 names since 2005 between the two lists as of June.Not even the commissions agree on whether the sites are effective, fair or worthwhile — only five of the 10 provincial bodies use them.“Fining somebody and banning them from the markets — when they weren’t operating in the markets in the first place legitimately, and fining them when you know they’re never going to pay — doesn’t really do much,” said Marian Passmore, director of policy for the Canadian Foundation for Advancement of Investor Rights.She said her organization would like to see more criminal proceedings in financial crimes such as fraud.“Putting them in jail, there’s a real deterrent.”Canada’s provincial securities commissions concede that many people sanctioned for scams, pyramid schemes, dishonest marketing or simply failing to follow provincial financial procedures won’t pay their penalties.But they say naming them online is worthwhile because it offers vital information to investors and is a low-cost way to encourage at least some violators to pay up.“It’s kind of a name-and-shame that puts miscreants under the spotlight,” said James Sinclair, general counsel for the OSC, Canada’s largest securities regulator.He said the commission is trying to work with police to put more fraudsters in criminal courts where they face possible jail sentences.It has also launched a new program to use an outside legal firm to pressure people to pay. And it has recently forced three companies with outstanding unpaid sanctions into bankruptcy, he said.“There’s no guarantee any of this will work — we have respondents who regularly lie about their assets, hide them offshore, put them in their wives’ or children’s names, making it all the more difficult to go after them,” Sinclair said, conceding that the OSC’s budget to enforce collections is limited.Likewise, securities violators who can escape to another jurisdiction or change names to start a new venture likely don’t care if their names are sullied on securities commission websites.However, those who stick around say the shaming does cause real hardship.Two men named for unpaid sanctions — both small business owners — contacted by The Canadian Press would speak only on the condition of anonymity, explaining their reputations can’t take any more damage by being mentioned in this article.“I’m trying to get my life back together. This is going to follow me to my obituary,” said one, adding his securities violation record pops up whenever a new business contact Googles his name.“It’s a process and I’m stuck in that process,” said the other. “I just want to make myself solvent and good and be able to come out of all of this.”In Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, names on the unpaid orders lists are erased when the debt is paid, but in British Columbia and Nova Scotia, the names remain and the agency adjusts the status from unpaid to partly paid or fully paid when money comes in.“I think it’s important out of fairness that it’s publicly known the respondent has paid the sanction,” said Doug Muir, director of enforcement for the B.C. Securities Commission, who said its list has existed for more than 10 years.The B.C. commission’s roster of unpaid respondents has climbed by 122 names to 328 in the past five years while its paid list has grown by just 59 names to 454. It said it could not provide a dollar value for either category.In Quebec, meanwhile, the Autorite des Marches Financiers is currently evaluating adding a delinquent accounts website page, said spokesman Sylvain Theberge. He said the AMF first wants to ensure such a page will better inform investors — and result in a collections boost.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.last_img read more

Calgary and Saint John mayors urge NEB to reverse Energy East pipeline

first_imgCALGARY – Mayors from both ends of the proposed Energy East pipeline are calling for the National Energy Board to reverse its requirement that upstream and downstream emissions be included in its review of the $15.7-billion conduit.Saint John Mayor Don Darling, who said he was in Calgary to attend a wedding, paired up with Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi at a joint news conference to voice their support for the project which they say will create jobs and prosperity across Canada.Project proponent TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) of Calgary put its application on hold for 30 days earlier this month after the national agency said it would consider indirect greenhouse gas emissions in evaluating the proposed 4,500-kilometre oil pipeline from Hardisty, Alta., to Saint John, N.B.Darling said the ruling is unfair and amounts to changing the rules three years after the company started the process.Nenshi said the change was “madness” because upstream and downstream industries already have their own environmental processes.Environmental groups, however, support the NEB ruling which has also been backed by the federal government.last_img read more

Liberals to miss second selfimposed deadline for Canada Post review official

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal Liberals will miss a second self-imposed deadline for deciding whether to restore door-to-door mail delivery to thousands of Canadians, says a government spokeswoman.The most recent delay is frustrating the union representing postal workers as issues surrounding the future of Canada Post are figuring prominently in negotiations to reach new contracts with the Crown corporation.The Liberals had said they expected to release a decision on door-to-door delivery before the end of 2017 as part of a wide-ranging review of the mandate of Canada Post.Former Public Services and Procurement Minister Judy Foote had initially set the target date for a decision in the spring.But that deadline passed with the Liberals saying they needed more time to review two reports on the future of the postal carrier — one from a task force and one from the House of Commons government operations committee. Both reports were finalized in late 2016.Now the government is aiming for a decision at an unspecified date in 2018, said a spokeswoman for the current minister, Carla Qualtrough.No reason was given for the most recent delay, but an email from the minister’s office referred to the appointment last week of Jessica McDonald as new chair of Canada Post’s board of directors.“Minister Qualtrough looks forward to working with Ms. McDonald who will play a critical role in overseeing the future direction of this important Canadian institution,” said the statement.“An announcement of our government’s vision for Canada Post will be made in due course.”Mail service became an issue during the 2015 election campaign as both the Liberals and New Democrats opposed a controversial decision by the previous Conservative government to phase out door-to-door delivery in favour of community mailboxes.The Harper Tories argued the move was necessary to cut costs at Canada Post in the wake of dramatic declines in the carrier’s letter mail business.Shortly after taking office, the Liberals imposed a moratorium on mailbox conversions.The Commons government operations committee’s report recommended the freeze on community mailbox installations be maintained, and that door-to-door delivery be partially restored to households who lost it after the 2015 election campaign started.The report noted that 830,000 individual addresses had been moved to community mailboxes since 2013, saving Canada Post $80 million annually.The Canadian Union of Postal Workers has argued that the pessimistic financial forecast for Canada Post is overstated. While acknowledging a steady decline of letter mail volumes, CUPW has noted that Canada Post has seen rapid growth in its parcel delivery business, thanks to booming online sales.The union said Monday it was “disappointed by yet another delay of the government response to the Canada Post review.”“We were first told it would be in the spring of 2017, then by the end of 2017,” said CUPW national president Mike Palecek.“People across this country are facing another winter, trudging to the group mailbox that the prime minister promised to get rid of. We deliver. When will Trudeau?”In contract talks with Canada Post that have revved up in recent weeks, CUPW has demanded the Crown agency restore door-to-door delivery to all addresses where it was removed, and expand it to others.last_img read more

Ontario man pleads guilty to animal cruelty in deaths of 1500 pigs

first_imgSIMCOE, Ont. – Ontario’s animal welfare agency says a man has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty in the deaths of more than 1,500 pigs.The Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals says Ben Stein, of Tavistock, Ont., pleaded guilty Thursday in Simcoe, Ont., court to permitting an animal to be in distress, failing to provide adequate sanitary conditions, failing to provide adequate ventilation and failing to provide adequate medical attention.Stein is to appear in court on April 26 for sentencing.Ontario SPCA officers went to a pig farm in Langton, about 80 kilometres southeast of London, last February after receiving a concern about the welfare of pigs on the property.Upon entering a flooded, manure-filled barn in total darkness, the officers discovered dead and dying pigs.The OSPCA says 1,265 pigs were dead and an additional 250 pigs had to be euthanized on site due to the severe condition in which they were found.“There is no excuse for not providing the proper care your animals require,” OSPCA senior inspector Bonnie Bishop said Thursday. “There are resources available for those who require assistance to provide care for their animals.”last_img read more

2 Canadians indicted in 2012 Montana oil plant explosion

first_imgBILLINGS, Mont. – A federal grand jury in the U.S. has indicted two Canadians and an oil recycling company on criminal charges including conspiracy and endangerment in an explosion that injured three workers at an eastern Montana oil plant.Custom Carbon Processing Inc., its president Peter Margiotta and project manager Mark Hurst face charges of conspiracy, endangerment and Clean Air Act violations, according to a redacted copy of the indictment that was unsealed last week.They could face up to 15 years in prison and a $1 million fine on the most serious charges.The 2012 explosion near Wibaux sparked a fire that burned eight days and drew attention to the potential dangers of the oil boom then sweeping through the remote Northern Plains along the Montana-North Dakota border.Margiotta and Hurst did not appear for their Jan. 11 arraignment and they could not be located for comment. Court documents show they have not been served with the indictment.They would have to be extradited to face trial if they don’t appear voluntarily.Prosecutors said the two men ignored warnings from a company foreman about hazards at the plant.The plant, built on the site of a former disposal well, recycled so-called “slop oil” that comes from oil fields into higher-quality crude oil that could be sold.The documents say the foreman told the defendants the use of highly flammable natural gas condensate to thin slop oil at the plant was creating a dangerous situation. The foreman attempted to refuse shipments of the condensate, but Hurst ordered him to continue taking them, according to the indictment.In the lead-up to the explosion, vapours from a condensate shipment spread through the building, reached an ignition source and blew up both the plant and the tractor trailer that had delivered the fuel. Three workers who had been installing insulation were injured.Margiotta and Hurst also are accused of opening the plant even though they knew it did not have appropriate wiring, ventilation and other safety measures.The documents state that Hurst sent an email to Margiotta saying some control panels “must be moved asap with the explosion proof wiring. We run the risk of killing someone, not only our operators but also customers.”The driver of the tractor trailer, Kelly Steen, was sentenced in 2015 to three years of probation and ordered to pay a $2,000 fine for transporting hazardous materials without warning placards.Green Oasis Environmental Inc. was the Alberta, Canada-based parent company of Custom Carbon Processing. Its website is no longer active and phone numbers listed for the company do not work.__Follow Matthew Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/matthewbrownap .___This story has been corrected to say the driver was sentenced for transporting hazardous materials without warning placards instead of with warning placards.last_img read more

New Brunswick village lowers straight flag after public backlash

first_imgCHIPMAN, N.B. – A New Brunswick village has taken down a “straight flag” after a single day, following a public backlash locally and beyond.Chipman’s village council issued a statement Monday afternoon saying the flag was raised as a sign of support for all groups in the community, but it was removed as a result of “unintentional attention,” and based on residents’ feedback.“The straight flag is being seen as a flag of privilege and anti-minorities which our community and our council does not support,” Mayor Carson Atkinson wrote.“This flag distraction is a lesson for us and for other rural communities such as our own.”The statement said “no harm or hate was intended,” and that the village of 1,200 remains “an open welcoming community.”The flag was raised Sunday afternoon with Atkinson saying it met the village council’s criteria because it “recognizes, accepts and respects the rights of individuals under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”Atkinson said it was important to celebrate everyone in Chipman, and said the council previously voted to raise the rainbow flag representing the LGBTQ community.“Whatever your personal persuasions, political or religious views, or country of origin, we welcome you in our community and ask for your volunteer efforts to help make Chipman a more open, dynamic and attractive community for all citizens,” Atkinson said in a Sunday speech.Comments have poured in on the village’s Facebook page from residents and neighbours criticizing the decision as harmful towards the LGBTQ community and urging the town to take down the flag — three black stripes over a white background.By Monday afternoon, the flag had been removed from its spot beside a main road.Chipman’s office assistant, Janette Fanjoy, said on Monday that the rainbow flag had been raised for the week of June 24, and the straight flag had also been scheduled to fly for one week.Faith Kennedy, who works with youth in the community, said she was surprised the council approved the straight flag.Kennedy was one of a number of residents who requested a rainbow flag fly for the village’s first pride celebrations this year, although requests for a rainbow crosswalk were not approved.Kennedy said she had read in the local newspaper about the idea of a straight flag being presented to council, but didn’t expect the mayor and councillors to approve it.“Heterosexuals have never had to fight, we’ve always been accepted,” said Kennedy.“I personally hope that this doesn’t represent the better part of our village. I was raised here and I would like to think that this isn’t really what our village is about.”Justin Smith, who grew up in the neighbouring village of Minto, N.B., said in an email Monday that he sees the raising of the straight flag as a “display of hate” that sends a disappointing message.“There has been a lot of emotions that come with seeing community leaders act in this blatantly insensitive manner,” Smith wrote.As a member of the LGBTQ community, Smith said he celebrates pride after years of living with disrespect and bullying, and said he sees it as a way to honour those who have been killed over their sexual and gender identities.Smith said he hopes the council will issue an apology and resign.“The LGBT pride movement wasn’t born out of a celebration of sexuality, it was to bring visibility to an oppressed and marginalized people group,” Smith wrote.“The sad irony here is that raising a so-called ‘straight pride’ flag … is a prime example of the discrimination that we have faced and still face today.”Helen Kennedy, executive director of human rights group Egale Canada, said she wasn’t familiar with the straight flag — and Sunday’s ceremony was the first time she had heard of it being raised in Canada.Kennedy said the council’s decision to raise the flag was “unfortunate and unnecessary,” and said it likely stems from a lack of understanding of the real symbolism of the pride flag, as well as a lack of understanding about the hardships faced by Canada’s LGBTQ community.“When the LGBT community recognizes an event like pride or sees the pride flag flying, it is an indication that their community is potentially a safe space for them to be and to live,” Kennedy said.“I think it’s really unfortunate that the community has done this because it further marginalizes LGBTI people and it makes them feel really unsafe in their communities.”Kennedy said the incident in Chipman highlights the importance of educating the public about the realities faced by many LGBTQ people in Canada, such as lack of access to health care, housing and employment, was well as high incidents of homelessness.She said she hopes the village will take the opportunity to discuss the realities of being a marginalized person in a small community, and the message that raising a “straight pride” flag sends.“It really flies in the face of those who are the most marginalized in our society.”-By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L.last_img read more

Man says hes father of newborn seized in hospital by Manitoba social

first_imgWINNIPEG — A man has come forward saying he is the father of a newborn seen in a social media video being taken from its mother by police and social workers.A child protection hearing in Winnipeg today was adjourned for a week at a request by the man’s lawyer.The request was relayed by a lawyer representing the First Nations child and family services agency in charge of the baby.No participant in the hearing can be named under Manitoba law.The video of the newborn was broadcast live on Facebook by the woman’s uncle in January, and First Nations leaders have said it shows a child-welfare system biased against Indigenous people.In the video, the mother is sitting in a Winnipeg hospital bed cradling the two-day-old baby and crying before social workers and police take the child into care.Statistics from the Manitoba government show that newborn apprehensions occur, on average, about once a day and that about 90 per cent of kids in care are Indigenous.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Last Quebec schooner of its kind threatened after grounding in Cuba

first_imgMONTREAL — Cuban authorities have backed off a threat to seize the last surviving St. Lawrence River schooner, which ran aground on a beach in the Caribbean country on Jan. 27.But the danger remains very real for the Grosse-Ile, the last seaworthy vessel of its kind and an important piece of the province’s maritime heritage.The ship’s owner, Didier Epars, and his son Vincent were forced to ground the ship to avoid sinking after its engine failed during an intense storm.“We deliberately ran aground at Maria la Gorda Cuba to save our lives,” Epars wrote in a message to The Canadian Press, describing how he and his son swam ashore wearing life-jackets after the ship hit bottom.His son has since left Cuba, but Epars remains “in custody” — albeit at a holiday resort that he said is actually run by the Cuban military. The resort is close to his ship, which he monitors from a distance when he can. The ship has nonetheless been repeatedly pillaged by thieves, he said.“The Cuban army wants the boat in exchange for my freedom,” Epars wrote. The Canadian Press obtained a handwritten letter bearing an official Cuban seal in which a military representative tried to bargain for Epars’ release in exchange for the Grosse-Ile.The vessel ideally would have been towed and repaired weeks ago, but Epars has encountered problems with his insurer. Concept Special Risks of the United Kingdom, the agency representing insurance company Great Lakes Insurance SE, says the insurance policy covers salvage costs up to a certain limit, but it wants Epars to arrange the towing and then seek reimbursement. Epars says he is not able to and is asking the insurers to make arrangements.Last Friday, a Cuban tugboat that had not been requested by Epars or the insurer showed up. But in the end it turned back without dislodging the Grosse-Ile, saying only that “the negotiations failed.” Information obtained later revealed that the salvagers had demanded 270,000 euros  — approximately $410,000 — to extract the ship.Adding to the precariousness of the situation, the insurance policy expired Feb. 26, although the insurer recognizes its responsibility for incidents that occurred while the policy was still in force.The British company has told Epars it is looking for a towing firm outside Cuba, but it asked him to pay up front the amount of the deductible, US$140,000. The firm blames the delays on problems obtaining the necessary permits for a salvage operation in Cuba and insisted that the search for a tugboat was Epars’ responsibility.Built in 1951, the Grosse-Ile was used to provision the island east of Quebec City after which it was named. Epars bought it in 1992, but it needed to be almost entirely rebuilt. It took him 20 years to get the necessary permits to take on passengers, and in 2015 the schooner returned to the water, sailing between Quebec City and Montreal.Global Affairs Canada had little to say when asked if it planned to intervene on behalf of Epars and his schooner. A department spokesman said “consular services are provided to a Canadian citizen who is in Cuba following a boating accident” and “consular agents in Cuba are in contact with local authorities to collect additional information.”In Quebec City, the Department of International Relations said it has contacted Global Affairs Canada and is monitoring the situation from a distance. The provincial Culture Department said the Grosse-Ile does not have a legal heritage status. Despite several requests by Epars, the authorities have refused because the restoration modified the hull and added sails.Even if the ship had heritage recognition, it would not provide protection outside Quebec.Pierre Saint-Arnaud, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Womens shelters suffering chronic funding gaps new national report

first_imgOTTAWA — Newly compiled data shows an alarmingly high number of women who are victims of violence are being turned away from shelters across Canada due to a chronic lack of resources and funding.A new national study — the first of its kind in Canada — found that “violence-against-women shelters” across the country take in more women and children than they have beds and are struggling to help a growing number of people with fewer resources.More than 400 shelters took part in the study and one in five said they have not received funding increases in 10 years or more.This has led to staff burnout, due in part to low wages and poor benefits.Staff who do remain often have to raise money in addition to providing care and support to women.Major gaps also exist between services available to female victims of violence in urban areas compared to those in more remote communities.Women’s Shelters Canada, which led the study, is calling for a national plan on violence against women and nationwide standards for funding and services.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Quebec man arrested after stolen backhoe smashes home starts fire

first_imgSTE-THERESE, Que. — A Quebec man is facing charges after allegedly stealing a backhoe and going on a rampage on Canada Day.Local police say a 50-year-old man from Ste-Therese, north of Montreal, is expected to appear in court today on charges of theft, impaired driving, and mischief.A witness contacted police just before 9 p.m. Monday about a man who’d stolen a backhoe and was driving erratically, heading towards the town’s downtown, Ste-Therese-de-Blainville police Sgt. Martin Charron says in a statement.As police moved in to intercept, the backhoe smashed a residential building, causing considerable damage, and knocked down electrical wires, which sparked a fire.Police officers had to forcibly remove the suspect from the cab of the vehicle.There were no major injuries, but two police officers were slightly injured by debris from the fire.The investigation is ongoing, including why the home was targeted.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

One Direction Gets Behind School Attendance Challenge

first_imgAn unprecedented 225 middle and high schools are participating in Get Schooled’s Fall Attendance Challenge.More than 215,000 students in 80 cities across 28 states will engage in Get Schooled’s ‘friendly competition’ to boost student and school engagement and attendance rates. The size of the Challenge reflects increased national attention on attendance, as educators and communities focus on improving student achievement and graduation rates.To energize students and families alike, celebrity superstars One Direction, Ciara, and Rise of the Guardians star, Chris Pine have lent their voices to encourage middle and high school students to boost their attendance.According to a 2012 study by Johns Hopkins, 7.5 million students in the United States miss a month or more of school, putting them at risk for failing to learn key skills and potentially dropping out of high school. In a Get Schooled poll of middle and high school students released last month, students said celebrities, along with parents or a trusted teacher, are most likely to get them on a path to getting to school every day.“Schools and educators recognize we need to bring new energy and excitement to motivate students,” said Marie Groark, Executive Director of Get Schooled. “We are thrilled to have so many schools participate in our challenge and bring A-list partners on board this fall like One Direction, Ciara and Rise of the Guardians to motivate students to get to school and focus on their education.”One Direction, the global superstar group from the UK, taped a wake up call encouraging their fans to get the education they need to reach their dreams. As a bonus, students who sign-up on GetSchooled.com to receive a wake up call will be eligible to win a school notebook signed by One Direction.“Good Morning” the One Direction message says to students receiving the calls, “we’re not used to calling people this early, so you know this is important.”This is Get Schooled’s fourth, and largest, attendance challenge. Last Spring, Get Schooled led a Metro Detroit Attendance Challenge in partnership with Viacom, the United Way for Southeast Michigan and Chevrolet. More than half of all schools posted attendance increases during the challenge, with the winner, Lincoln High School, posting a remarkable eight percent gain.Get Schooled has also recruited some of the nation’s most innovative entertainment and educational gaming companies to support the Fall Attendance Challenge including Dreamworks Animation, Game House, The Jason Project, College Board, MTV and Cable in the Classroom.Get Schooled, Dreamworks Animation and Paramount Pictures have collaborated on a series of activities designed to inspire and motivate students during this challenge.Chris Pine, who stars in the film, has recorded a wake up call and loudspeaker announcement. Schools with the most engaged students early in the challenge have the opportunity to earn a private screening of Rise of the Guardians before its theatrical release.The winning school – with the highest attendance gains and highest levels of engagement –earns a Celebrity Principal for the Day. Grammy Award winning singer/songwriter, Ciara, is acting as the ‘face of the challenge’. While finishing her upcoming album, One Woman Army, she is using her voice to encourage schools and students to get active in the challenge and in their education.“Music has always been my passion, but school was always my priority”, said Ciara. “Education is the building block for everything we will do in our lives, without it, it is hard to say where any of us would be. I’m proud to be involved in a campaign that inspires and reminds today’s youth to get up, get out of bed and ‘Get Schooled!’”The Challenge launched October 1 and runs through November 30. To see a full list of schools participating, including current leaders, in the Fall Attendance Challenge, go to www.getschooled.com.last_img read more

Kevin Nealon Hosts Date For The Cure

first_imgThe Inaugural “Date for the Cure” Gala took place on February 16th at the Sheraton Universal Hotel.This elegant night of dinner & entertainment was produced by the Invent Group. The event was a grand success, while raising funds of the gala benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Los Angeles County.This engaging evening of entertainment was kicked off by host actor & comedian Kevin Nealon taking the stage with one joke after another and set the evening to be about not only awareness, but laughter and enjoyment.Shortly thereafter Paul McDonald (American Idol) shared his musical talents, followed by a swimwear fashion show by A. Ché, and an exhilarating dance performance by Dancing with the Stars’ Paul Barris and Sharna Burgess. Last but certainly not least Josh Krajcik (X Factor) performed over 30 minutes and the guests couldn’t get enough of his powerful set starting with his famous cover of Etta James’ “At Last” and closed the night with a cover of Rolling Stones’ tune “Wild Horses”.The Sheraton Grand Ballroom set the scene for 350 people who enjoyed this unique spectacular evening. During the VIP hour, attendees enjoyed signature cocktails courtesy of Chambord Vodka.Celebrities in attendance included Twilight Star Nikki Reed, Actors Edwin and Aldis Hodge, Kimberly Caldwell, Chelsea Lately’s Chuy Bravo, Torrance, Coombs, Cheryl Burke from DWTS, and many more.Among the attendees were reigning Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, reigning Miss USA Nana Meriwether, reigning Miss California USA Mabelynn Capeluj, and many other Beauty Queens such as: Reigning Miss California Teen USA Cassidy Wolf, Reigning Miss District of Columbia Allyn Rose, Miss South Carolina USA 2011 Courtney Hope Turner, Miss Teen Hawaii Melissa Paulino, Miss USA 2011 Alyssa Campanella, Miss USA 2009 Kristen Dalton, Miss USA 04 Shandi Fennessey, Miss Teen USA 03 Tami Farrell and Miss Vietnam Deanna Nguyen.Leading up to the event, titleholders Miss Universe Olivia Culpo, Miss USA Nana Meriwether, Miss California USA Mabelynn Capeluj and more donated their time by auctioning a date to the Date for the Cure Gala. Throughout the evening, guests had the opportunity to bid on silent auction items all for much needed funds going directly to Breast Cancer research and treatment.Find out more here.last_img read more

Eva Longoria To Take Part In Clinton Global Initiative Meeting

first_imgNew participants and program details have been announced for the 2013 meeting of Clinton Global Initiative America (CGI America), to be hosted by President Bill Clinton, Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, and Clinton Foundation Board Member Chelsea Clinton June 13-14 in Chicago.Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett, Chief Technology Officer of the United States Todd Park, Chair of the Board and CEO of DuPont Ellen Kullman, Chairman, President and CEO of Duke Energy Corporation Jim Rogers, Walmart U.S. President and CEO Bill Simon, and leading U.S. mayors are among the latest participants slated to join nearly 1,000 business, government, and civil society leaders at the annual gathering dedicated to accelerating economic recovery and promoting the long-term competitiveness of the United States.Other newly announced CGI America participants from the business and nonprofit sectors include some the country’s leading innovators and experts on sustainable economic development, such as James Anderson, director of government innovation, Bloomberg Philanthropies; Janie Barrera, president and CEO, ACCION Texas, Inc.; Mike Brady, president and CEO, Greyson Bakery; Nikki Cicerani, executive director, Upwardly Global; Harold DePriest, president and CEO, EPB; Liz Dwyer, education editor, GOOD Magazine; Carly Fiorina, chairman and CEO, Carly Fiorina Enterprises, chairman, Good360; Sara Martinez Tucker, chief executive officer, National Math + Science Initiative; Tracey Nichols, director of economic development, City of Cleveland; Rex Northen, executive director, Cleantech Open; Katie Rae, managing director, TechStars Boston, founder, Project 11; Jessamyn Waldman Rodriguez, founder and CEO, Hot Bread Kitchen; Davier Rodriguez, winner of CGI University’s Commitments Challenge and co-founder, DREAMzone; Beth Shiroishi, vice president, sustainability and philanthropy, AT&T Services; and Laysha Ward, president, community relations, Target Corporation.For the first time, CGI America will feature Broadcast Conversations, programming produced in conjunction with and broadcast by CGI media partners, which is now a regular feature of the CGI Annual Meeting in September. At this year’s meeting of CGI America, Bloomberg TV anchor Trish Regan will host sessions where top government, business, and nonprofit leaders will address the U.S. economy, including how to improve access to capital for small businesses and how the U.S. can enhance its energy production in a way that’s sustainable for the environment and beneficial to the economy.CGI America 2013 will also serve as the site of the next meeting of the Infrastructure Financing for Cities Task Force (IFC Task Force). Launched in April and chaired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel with the co-leadership of President Clinton, the IFC Task Force is a collaborative effort by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and CGI to spur investment into job-creating public infrastructure projects. Task Force mayors participating in CGI America 2013 include Mayor Emanuel; Philadelphia Mayor and USCM President Michael Nutter; Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard; Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown; Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett; Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer; Redmond, Wash. Mayor John Marchione; Houston Mayor Annise Parker; Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed; and Mesa, Ariz. Mayor Scott Smith.Today’s list of new participants join the business, government, philanthropy, and nonprofit leaders announced May 2, including Chris Christie, governor of New Jersey; Jacob J. Lew, United States Secretary of the Treasury; Randi Weingarten, president, American Federation of Teachers; Jim Gibbons, president and CEO, Goodwill Industries International, Inc.; Anne R. Pramaggiore, president and CEO, Commonwealth Edison; Jessica Jackley, venture partner, the Collaborative Fund; Eva Longoria, founder, the Eva Longoria Foundation; Janet Murguía, president and CEO, National Council of La Raza; and Lucien Vattel, chief executive officer, GameDesk.For more information, including the full program and list of participants, visit cgiamerica.org.last_img read more

Carma Foundation To Host Annual Geminis Give Back Event

first_imgMelky Jean’s Carma Foundation will hold its annual Geminis Give Back event on Sunday, June 22.Among the special guests expected at the event are Mona Scott-Young, actor Marc John Jefferies, former NY Knicks John Starks, 103.5 The Beat’s K. Foxx, NY Jets Donald Strickland, musical sensation Wyclef Jean, comedian Von Decarlo of Centric TV’s According to Him + Her and cast, ThisIs50.com’s Young Jack Thriller, comedians Dane Cook and Rip Michaels, Vinnie and KaGee of Naughty by Nature, & Miguel Nunez.Celebrity friends and lovers of everything Carma will come out to enjoy an evening of light hors d’oeuvres by Haiti’s own Chef Lucman Pierre, mingling, and entertainment. The venue is The Griffin, 50 Gansevoort Street, Manhattan, NY 10014.The Carma Foundation is a non-profit organization founded by Melky Jean. The mission of Carma is to measurably improve the health of poor and vulnerable women and children in the Caribbean and Inner Cities of the United States.Carma has built its legacy and reputation on solid initiatives and successful projects since its inception in 2007. After the wake of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, Carma was one of the first foundations already on the ground and ready to address the needs of the people. Carma’s shoe program has distributed over 70,000 pairs of Crocs shoes and hundreds of donated shoes. From the reconstruction and development of an orphanage/child care center to beauty makeovers, scholarship programs and community outreach programs, the Carma Foundation has remained steadfast in its efforts to restore and give back. Melky Jean’s unyielding commitment and love for her homeland, has inspired an annual tradition; The Geminis Give Back Event, where she dedicates her birthdays to holding fundraisers where in lieu of receiving gifts, donations are made to the Carma Foundation benefiting Haiti. Geminis Give Back is always a highly anticipated event which has garnered the support of various celebrities such as Patti LaBelle, Vivica Fox, Lynn Whitfield, Anderson Cooper, John Legend, Hip Hop Artist Trina, Wyclef Jean, John Starks, 2010’s Miss America Rhima Fakih, Mike Williams from the HBO’s Wire, Al B Sure, VH1’s Basketball Wife Royce Reed, and the Carma Foundation’s own ambassador Hot 97’s Kay Foxx.Find out more here.last_img read more

Shaquille ONeal Helps ToysRUs Raise 58 Million For Charity

first_imgToys”R”Us has announced that its annual nationwide fundraising campaign to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation raised more than $5.8 million and collected over 200,000 toys.During the 2015 campaign, customers helped bring holiday joy to some of the 15.5 million kids in need across the U.S. by donating new, unwrapped toys at Toys”R”Us and Babies”R”Us stores nationwide and through monetary contributions made in stores and online at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots.“In our twelfth year of partnership with Toys for Tots, we are grateful to our passionate team members and loyal customers for helping us make a difference for families in need this holiday season,” said David Brandon, Chairman and CEO, Toys”R”Us, Inc. “Their tremendous support and the success of our 2015 campaign has allowed us and Toys for Tots to once again create magical experiences for the millions of kids living in poverty in the U.S who may have otherwise gone without a toy to open on Christmas morning.”As part of this year’s campaign, NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal suited up as Shaq-A-Claus to help Toys”R”Us support its partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and encourage customers to #PlayItForward, an initiative designed to further spread awareness of the cause and to inspire families to donate.“I’m so thrilled to have partnered with Toys”R”Us for another holiday season to ‘Play It Forward’ and help families in need through the amazing work of Toys for Tots,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “I want to extend my thanks to everyone who donated. Your contributions gifted countless kids the awesome moment of finding a toy under the tree this Christmas. As Shaq-A-Claus, my role is to ensure we put smiles on the faces of children in need, and I am happy to report that with your help, we did just that!”Additionally, hundreds of online shoppers purchased and donated toys featured on The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List, which were shipped directly to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation and distributed to children in impoverished communities across the country this holiday season.As the largest retail partner in the history of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Toys”R”Us has raised nearly $48 million and collected more than 4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004.The Shaq-A-Claus #PlayItForward initiative was supported by the Toys”R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys”R”Us, Inc.last_img read more