Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday clarified her party’s stand on the cut money issue and reiterated that her statement in this regard is aimed at disciplining her party workers.”What is wrong if I try to discipline my party workers? Whatever I had to say, I had said in an internal meeting of party leaders. What is wrong if I ask my party workers to ensure that there is no misuse of government schemes? I believe in simple living and high thinking and I have directed my party to follow the same,” Banerjee said in the state Assembly, while speaking on the Governor’s speech. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaShe justified the statements of Parliamentary Affairs minister Partha Chatterjee that only 0.1 percent of TMC workers are corrupt while others are honest. “In every section of the society, 0.1 percent people are corrupt and we need to rectify this,” she asserted. There have been protests and demonstrations in parts of the state for the past one week, over the issue of cut money and the Opposition, particularly the Congress and CPI(M), have demanded the statement of Banerjee on the issue. Leader of Opposition in the state Assembly Abdul Mannan had demanded white paper and an enquiry commission to conduct a probe on the matter. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersBanerjee said that she has already formed a monitoring cell at Nabanna on the issue and has received 5,931 applications in this regard, of which 60 percent matters have been solved. “We are a party of the masses and no one has the right to malign our party without any evidence,” she asserted. In turn, the TMC supremo questioned the silence of CPI(M) and Congress over the black money issue or the use of exorbitant money by BJP in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls in the state. She also urged people to inform her administration about complaints relating to cut money instead of taking law in their own hands. Meanwhile, Banerjee held BJP responsible for the post-poll violence at Bhatpara, ever since Arjun Singh crossed over from TMC to the saffron party and won the Barrackpore Lok Sabha seat, under which Bhatpara falls. “The people of the state are witnessing in Bhatpara what happens if you vote for the BJP. Bhatpara has seen total disruption of normal life. Schools are closed, shops have remained closed and they are trying to divide people over religious sentiments. They are trying to spread fake news and trying to instigate riots. I have directed the police administration, who will take stern action against them,” Banerjee said. “BJP is speaking about encounters in the state. Why didn’t police take any action against the speakers? The police should have filed a suo moto case and have gone for direct arrest,” she added. A Trinamool Congress legislative party delegation will visit the trouble-hit Bhatpara in North 24-Parganas on June 28, to review the law and order situation in the area. “The state government is trying to restore peace and communal harmony in the area. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has already given a call for restoring peace. We are now sending our representatives there. The delegation will reach Bhatpara at 2 pm and inform us about the situation, following which we would submit a report to Banerjee,” Partha Chatterjee said. The delegation will comprise eight party MLAs, namely Subrata Mukherjee, Firhad Hakim, Jyotipriya Mullick, Nirmal Ghosh, Partha Bhowmik, Sujit Basu, Purnendu Bose and Bratya Basu.
Kakdwip/Kolkata: Six of the 31 fishermen, who had gone missing in the Bay of Bengal after venturing into deep waters despite weather warnings four days ago, were rescued on Monday but 25 are still untraced, officials said. Thirteen other fishermen on another boat, which had developed a snag and drifted into the Bangladesh waters due to inclement weather, were rescued by the coast guards of India and the neighbouring country in a coordinated operation on Saturday, a Defence official had said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers With this, 49 fishermen have been rescued since Saturday, the officials said. The secretary of the fishermen’s association at Kakdwip, Nikon Maity, said six fishermen of FB Dashabhuja were rescued by fishermen in Haribhanga islet of Bangladesh and they were brought to Kakdwip on Monday morning. The missing fishermen had started from Namkhana in South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal on four trawlers – FB Nayan, FB Dashabhuja, FB Babaji and FB Joy Jogiraj – on Thursday, Maity said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja Though FB Dashabhuja, FB Joyjogiraj and FB Babaji are feared to be submerged, 15 fishermen each from FB Joyjogiraj and FB Babaji have been rescued. The whereabouts of FB Nayan with 16 fishermen on board are still unknown. Nine fishermen from FB Dashabhuja are also missing, Maity said. After getting information about the missing fishermen by the West Bengal Fishermen Association, Sundarban Development Minister Manturam Pakhira had asked the South 24 Parganas district authorities to launch a search and rescue operation. All the missing fishermen were from Kakdwip area. The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and its Bangladesh counterpart had rescued 13 crew members on board an Indian fishing boat amidst very rough sea conditions and inclement weather, the Defence official said Sunday. The 13 crew members of fishing boat ‘FB Tara Shankar’, which had ventured to the Bay of Bengal from Kakdwip, were rescued on Saturday amidst very rough sea conditions and inclement weather, the official said. The boat had developed a technical problem and on receiving the information, the ICG regional headquarters contacted the Bangladesh Coast Guard (BCG) West Zone headquarter at Mongla. A Bangladesh Navy ship located the Indian boat with 13 crew on board near the Mongla Fairway Buoy in the evening on Saturday and rescued all the crew members on the boat. The Bangladesh Naval ship took the Indian disabled boat under tow and brought it to Pussur river mouth, which is approximately 60 nautical miles eastward of the Indo- Bangladesh maritime border, where 100 more Indian fishing boats were sighted. The disabled boat was handed over to one of the operational Indian boats for towing back to India. As the sea was rough, around 100 Indian fishing boats, including the disabled one under tow, were guided by the Bangladesh Naval ship for taking passage through the riverine/coastal route westward up to the Haribhanga river, the official said. The coast guards of India and Bangladesh have a memorandum of understanding (MoU) followed by a ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ for helping each other during such incidents and making waters of north Bay of Bengal safe, he added.
New Delhi: BJP leader and advocate Ashwini Upadhyaya on Wednesday approached the Supreme Court seeking urgent hearing on a PIL challenging Article 370 of the Constitution that gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Upadhyaya mentioned his plea before a bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi. “File a memo,” the Chief Justice said but did not give any assurance to the petitioner. Earlier, the court had issued notice to the Centre seeking its response on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Upadhyaya who has said the matter was of extreme national importance and should be heard on priority.
Maine (US): A private dive team has located the last US Navy warship to be sunk by a German submarine in World War II, just a few kilometres off the coast of Maine. The sinking of the USS Eagle PE-56 on April 23, 1945, was originally blamed on a boiler explosion. But the Navy determined in 2001 that it had been sunk by a German submarine. The patrol boat’s precise location remained a mystery until now. Garry Kozak, a specialist in undersea searches, announced this week that diver Ryan King, of Brentwood, New Hampshire, confirmed in June 2018 that an object Kozak previously discovered on sonar is the vessel 90 metres down. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangKing’s team, which later began working with the Smithsonian Channel, extensively explored the ship on the ocean floor, 8 kilometres off Cape Elizabeth, Maine. “With the deck guns, there was no mistaking it for what it was,” said Paul Lawton, a Massachusetts attorney whose research helped to convince the Navy how the ship was sunk. The patrol boat was equipped with depth charges, explosives used to battle enemy submarines. But it was towing a practice target for bombers from a nearby Brunswick Naval Air Station when it sank. Also Read – Want to bring back US forces engaged in endless wars: TrumpOnly 13 of the 62 crew members survived; they were plucked from the water by a nearby Navy destroyer. The underwater video, which will be aired in the fall on the Smithsonian Channel’s “Hunt for Eagle 56,” backs up the story of sailors who said an explosion broke the ship into two pieces, said Kozak, of Derry, New Hampshire. The two hull segments, about 105 metres apart, blended with the uneven, craggy ocean floor, making it difficult to locate them with sonar, Kozak said. Underwater video clearly shows the deck gun on the bow; farther away, depth charges are clearly visible on the stern.
New Delhi: With the ‘smog season’ in northern Indian states just a few months away, US and Chinese scientists have developed a novel computer model that can help accurately predict air pollution levels in the region a season in advance. The statistical model, described in the journal Science Advances, uses certain climatic patterns related to the ocean which have a regulatory effect on the wintertime air pollution over northern India. India has emerged as one of the world’s most polluted countries, with particulate matter (PM) 2.5 levels spiking over 500 microgrammes per cubic metre in Delhi and many other north Indian states last year. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year According to the State of Global Air 2019 report published earlier this year, over 1.2 million people died in India due to air pollution in 2017. The new model could allow the government to forecast aerosol pollution conditions in winter and accordingly improve plans for pollution control, researchers said. “We built a statistical prediction model, which uses two autumn temperature variation patterns as predictors. With it, we will know air pollution in winter,” said Meng Gao from School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Harvard University in the US. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “In autumn, we have these indices calculated based on sea surface temperature and geopotential height fields, then the built model will tell you if the wintertime air pollution is severe or not, Gao told PTI. The researcher noted that India’s neighbour China is making every effort to control air pollution, and India has emerged as the world’s most polluted country, receiving worldwide attention with frequent winter haze extremes. The study found that the inter-annual variability of wintertime aerosol pollution over northern India is regulated mainly by a combination of El Nino — a climate cycle in the Pacific Ocean with a global impact on weather patterns — and the Antarctic Oscillation (AAO), a low-frequency mode of atmospheric variability of the southern hemisphere. “There is no such study for India that tells you what will happen for India as much as a season in advance. This study also tells you the dominant climate factor for Indian air pollution, which has not been done before,” said Gao, who is also associated with Hong Kong Baptist University in China. Both El Nino sea surface temperature (SST) anomalies and AAO-induced anomalies can persist from autumn to winter, offering prospects for a pre-winter forecast of wintertime aerosol pollution over northern India, researchers wrote in the research paper. The researchers, including those from Fudan University and Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology in China constructed a multivariable regression model incorporating El Nino and AAO indices for autumn to predict wintertime AOD. The prediction exhibits a high degree of consistency with observation, they noted. In his previous study, Meng highlighted the importance of power plant and residential emissions for health burden of air pollution in India. He said in order to alleviate the problem of air pollution, India could make efforts first in these two sectors. “They can use renewable production of electricity (wind, solar, etc) to replace coal-fired power plants, and reduce the usage of household cooking,” said Meng. He said that India should learn from Chinese government on how to implement policy. “But on specific policy, high quality research is needed for India as the conditions for these two countries are different. Indian government can increase funding in field as China did before,” he added.
Los Angeles: Naomi Watts has revealed she agreed to feature in psychological thriller Luce as Octavia Spencer was already attached to star in the project. “In the summer two years ago, I got sent the script and I was told that Octavia was attached to it. Already it was clear that it was going to be read by me by the end of the day just because it was her. I had already worked with her before on that Divergent series, and I had such a great experience with her,” she told Entertainment Weekly. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”And also the projects that she picks, it’s such an endorsement that comes with that. With her name attached it made me read it right away, and the minute I started turning those pages, I felt like it was really rich, dynamic materia,” she added. Watts said the script of the film “got under my skin”. “I loved how the story shifts from character to character, where you’re judging one and then following them and forgiving them, and then moving to the next – you’re just moving all over the place.” “It felt like the audience was going to have to participate in a very active way. It’s very satisfactory as an audience member, but also as a person who is part of the storytelling experience,” she said.
If you are popping fish oil supplements to protect yourself against diabetes, you may be mistaken. According to the researchers, Omega-3 fats have little or no effect on risk of Type 2 diabetes. Increased consumption of omega 3 fats is widely promoted because of a common belief that it will protect against, or even reverse, conditions such as diabetes. According to the team from University of East Anglia (UEA), omega 3 supplements offer no benefit. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”Our previous research has shown that long-chain omega 3 supplements, including fish oils, do not protect against conditions such as heart disease, stroke or death. This review shows that they do not prevent or treat diabetes either,” said Dr Lee Hooper, from UEA’s Norwich Medical School. “Omega-3 supplements should not be encouraged for diabetes prevention or treatment,” he added. The research team assessed the effects of long-chain omega-3 fats, ALA, omega-6 and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) – taken as supplementary capsules, or via enriched or naturally rich foods. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardParticipants included men and women, some healthy and others with existing diabetes, from North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia, in studies published from the 1960s until 2018. Participants were randomly assigned to increase their polyunsaturated fats or to maintain their usual intake for at least six months. The results show that increasing long-chain omega-3 had little or no effect on diabetes diagnosis or glucose metabolism, but high doses, at levels found in some supplements, could worsen glucose metabolism.
New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday hit out at the Modi government over the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir, with Rahul Gandhi saying the opposition and the press got a taste of the “draconian administration” and “brute force” unleashed on the people there when they tried to visit Srinagar.Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the Centre for alleging that the opposition was politicising the issue, saying there is nothing more “political” and “anti-national” than the alleged “shutting down” of democratic rights of people in Kashmir. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’A delegation of opposition leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, which wanted to visit the Valley to take stock of the situation after the withdrawal of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5, was not allowed to leave the Srinagar airport on Saturday by the state administration and had to return to the national capital. The visit was organised a day after the Jammu and Kashmir government issued a statement asking political leaders to not visit the Valley as it would disturb the gradual restoration of peace and normal life. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”It’s been 20 days since the people of Jammu & Kashmir had their freedom and civil liberties curtailed,” Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet. “Leaders of the Opposition and the Press got a taste of the draconian administration and brute force unleashed on the people of J&K when we tried to visit Srinagar yesterday,” he said. The former Congress president also posted a video of Saturday’s events, showing him unsuccessfully trying to convince authorities that he was invited by Governor Satya Pal Malik. Rahul Gandhi was referring to Malik’s offer to “send an aircraft” for him to visit the state, after the Congress leader had said, “People were dying in the state and the situation was not normal as claimed by the government.” The video also showed authorities reading out an order to the opposition leaders, and Rahul Gandhi addressing the media. He is heard alleging that mediapersons accompanying the delegation were mishandled and beaten up. He also says it is clear that things are “not normal” in Jammu and Kashmir. On Sunday, a day after the failed opposition visit, Priyanka Gandhi posted a video on Twitter in which a woman is seen telling Rahul Gandhi, on the flight from Srinagar, the problems being faced by her family and loved ones. “How long is this going to continue? This is one out of millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of ‘Nationalism’,” she said in a tweet accompanying the video. “For those who accuse the opposition of ‘politicising’ this issue: There is nothing more ‘political’ and ‘anti national’ than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir,” Priyanka Gandhi said. “It is the duty of every one of us to raise our voices against it, we will not stop doing so,” she added. Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said it was “quite clear” that the Governor’s invitation to Rahul Gandhi to visit Kashmir was not sincere. “No wonder my proposal during the Kashmir debate in Parliament to permit an all-party delegation to visit, got no reply. Government can’t be open about what it’s doing,” he tweeted. Earlier this month, the government had revoked J&K’s special status under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into two Union territories Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. During Saturday’s attempt to visit the Valley, Gandhi was accompanied by leaders of CPI(M), CPI, DMK, NCP, JD(S), RJD, LJD and TMC. The leaders included Congress’s Ghulam Nabi Azad, Anand Sharma and KC Venugopal, CPI(M) leader Sitaram Yechury , Tiruchi Siva (DMK), Sharad Yadav (LJD), Dinesh Trivedi (TMC), D Raja (CPI), Majeed Menon (NCP), Manoj Jha (RJD) and D Kupendra Reddy JD(S). Saturday evening, J-K Principal Secretary Rohit Kansal told reporters that the priority is to maintain security and law and order at a time when the threat of cross-border terrorism continues to exist.
Mumbai: Benchmark indices nursed losses for the second straight session on Thursday, dragged by heavy selling in banking and financial stocks, as August series derivatives expired amid tepid global cues. After a highly volatile session, the 30-share BSE Sensex ended 382.91 points, or 1.02 per cent, lower at 37,068.93. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty shed 97.80 points, or 0.89 per cent, to finish at 10,948.30. Most Asian markets ended in the red amid reports that the US and China are preparing for their next round of trade negotiations in September, while European equities opened in the positive territory. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Top laggards among the Sensex pack included Yes Bank, SBI, HDFC, Axis Bank, Kotak Bank, ITC, RIL, M&M, Tata Motors and ICICI Bank, losing up to 3.61 per cent. On the other hand, Sun Pharma, Vedanta, NTPC, ONGC, Asian Paints, Infosys and HUL were the top gainers, spurting up to 5.31 per cent. Besides continued concerns over an impending global recession, domestic market witnessed high volatility on the back of weekly and monthly expiration of the August futures and options (F&O) contracts, experts said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost “Further policy measures awaited are expected to bring some clarity over the market trend, however for the time being it’s better to focus on to defensive segments like IT and pharma stocks,” said Vinod Nair, Head of Research, Geojit Financial Services. Sectorally, BSE bankex, finance, energy, auto, FMCG and industrials indices fell up to 1.92 per cent. Healthcare, metal, realty, power, oil and gas, utilities and telecom climbed up to 1.50 per cent. The broader BSE midcap and smallcap indices too fell up to 0.62 per cent. Elsewhere in Asia, Hang Seng, Kospi and Nikkei settled on a negative note, while Shanghai Composite Index ended in the green. Equities in Europe were trading significantly higher in their respective early sessions. Meanwhile, the Indian rupee appreciated marginally to 71.73 against the US dollar intra-day. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, slipped 0.03 per cent to USD 59.91 per barrel.
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A former Newfoundland cab driver has been sentenced to 22 months in jail for sexually assaulting two young female passengers in March 2016.Lulzim Jakupaj was sentenced Wednesday to two months for forcibly kissing two women, and another 20 months for groping one of them as he put his arm across her throat. His name was also added to the national sex offender registry.Justice Rosalie McGrath of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador said the offences were on the lower end of the spectrum for sexual assaults.“The fact that the offender taxi driver was in a position of trust towards young, female passengers is a significant aggravating factor,” said McGrath. “While sexual assault is a violent crime, I must also recognize that sexual assault encompasses a wide range of conduct.”Both passengers were young women under 25, who had been out drinking in St. John’s when they got in Jakupaj’s cab, court heard.McGrath said she also considered the rehabilitation programs Jakupaj participated in while incarcerated, and his expressions of remorse.Jakupaj’s is already serving a four-year sentence at Her Majesty’s Penitentiary in St. John’s for a break-and-enter incident in May 2016, when he followed another female passenger into her home.McGrath said the break-and-enter conviction did not factor strongly in her sentencing decision as the incident took place after the assaults.The 34-year-old’s sentence is in line with recommendations from his lawyer, Amanda Summers.During a sentencing hearing in late March, she argued that her client should serve less time than the Crown’s recommendation of two to three years in prison.She also argued that Jakupaj’s “horrible” upbringing as a child soldier during the war Kosovo should be taken into consideration.Crown lawyer Dana Sullivan told the court in March that “all sexual assaults are violent,” arguing for a longer sentence and a lifetime on the sex offender registry.In court Wednesday, Jakupaj remained silent with his hands clasped. He chose not to comment before he was escorted out of the courtroom.Crown and defence lawyers also declined to comment.McGrath said she considered other cases dealing with crimes of similar severity, as well as Jakupaj’s personal statements and a letter she received regarding his conduct in prison. However, she said these shed little light on the motivation behind the assaults.“At this point, I cannot see that Mr. Jakupaj has demonstrated any significant degree of insight into his actions,” McGrath said.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, July 11———COMMISSIONER QUITS INDIGENOUS WOMEN INQUIRY: A commissioner on the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women has announced she will resign at the end of this week — a departure that raises new questions among advocates about how much faith they can put in the much-anticipated process. Marilyn Poitras, one of five commissioners named by the Liberal government last summer to examine the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, explained her decision in a letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It is clear to me that I am unable to perform my duties as a commissioner with the process designed in its current structure,” the letter said, noting she will step aside as of July 15. Poitras’ resignation comes shortly after the departure of the commission’s executive director, Michele Moreau, and is further evidence “the whole inquiry is in jeopardy,” said Sheila North Wilson, a grand chief of an organization representing First Nations in northern Manitoba.———TRUMP JR. TOLD IN EMAIL OF RUSSIAN EFFORT TO AID CAMPAIGN: Donald Trump Jr. eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton, emails he released publicly Tuesday say. The email exchange posted to Twitter by Donald Trump’s eldest son represents the clearest sign to date that members of the president’s inner circle were willing to meet during the campaign with Russians who wanted Trump to prevail. U.S. intelligence agencies have said the Russian government meddled in the election through hacking to aid Trump. The emails show Trump Jr. conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a lawyer from Moscow. The publicist describes the lawyer as a “Russian government attorney” who has dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” In one response, Trump Jr. says, “I love it.” The messages were the latest disclosure to roil the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and potential collusion with Trump’s campaign.———EX-GITMO DETAINEE PRAISES CANADA’S KHADR DEAL: A British man compensated by the U.K. government for his torture and years of detention at Guantanamo Bay expressed dismay Tuesday at the public and political furor in Canada over Ottawa’s settlement with Omar Khadr. Speaking from his home in Birmingham in the U.K., Moazzam Begg said Canadians instead should be proud of the federal government for the payment and apology to Khadr for breaching his rights. “The nation shouldn’t be upset about issuing an apology for something that’s right,” Begg told The Canadian Press. “If people are getting upset about that, I think they need to revisit what their morals and values are about.” Begg is one of 16 former Guantanamo detainees who settled lawsuits against the British government in 2010. The deal, while decried by some, aroused little of the anger seen in Canada over the Khadr settlement, announced last week, which sources said was worth $10.5 million. Now 49, Begg was kidnapped in Pakistan where he was living in early 2002, and turned over to American forces. They imprisoned him at Bagram in Afghanistan, where a horribly wounded 15-year-old Khadr was taken after U.S. soldiers captured him in July of that year.———WILDFIRE SITUATION DETERIORATING, B.C. OFFICIAL SAYS: British Columbia officials are bracing for a lengthy wildfire season as hundreds of blazes burn across the province with no reprieve in sight. About 14,000 people have been displaced by more than 200 wildfires and Bob Turner of Emergency Management B.C. said the situation is still deteriorating. The Cariboo Regional District expanded an evacuation order on Monday night to cover the Alexis Creek and West Fraser areas in addition to the Kleena Kleene region. An evacuation alert — which puts residents on notice that they may have to leave with little warning — was issued for the more than 10,000 residents of Williams Lake Monday night. Municipal officials warned that wind and lightning forecast for Wednesday could push fires toward the city at a “rapid pace.” The Tsilhqot’in Nation, which encompasses six communities near Williams Lake, said four of its communities are threatened. The fires, which have scorched about 400 square kilometres of land, are being fought by some 1,000 B.C. firefighters, with about 300 colleagues and support staff arriving from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.———FISHERMAN DIES AFTER FREEING ENTANGLED WHALE: A lobster fisherman with a passion for freeing whales from deadly fishing line was killed soon after he cut the last piece of rope from a massive whale in the waters off eastern New Brunswick, friends and colleagues confirmed Tuesday. They say Joe Howlett had helped rescue about two dozen whales over the last 15 years. Mackie Green of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team said Howlett had boarded a federal Fisheries Department vessel off Shippagan on Monday to help a North Atlantic right whale that had become entangled in a heavy snarl of rope. Green was not on the boat, but said he was told the 59-year-old veteran fisherman was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and started swimming away. “They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip,” said Green, who started the rescue team with Howlett in 2002 and had worked closely with him ever since.———BIBEAU TO PRESS U.S. TO PRESERVE AID BUDGET: International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she will try to persuade her counterpart in the Trump administration not to slash billions in foreign aid as the president has proposed. Bibeau she will make the case for continued spending, including for family planning and abortion, when the new head of the U.S. Agency for International Development is finally hired. The USAID chief is one of many vacant Trump administration positions, but former Tanzanian ambassador Mark Green has been nominated. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will cut the State Department and USAID budgets by 31 per cent in 2018. Trump has also reinstated a ban on funding abortion-related activities by foreign aid that was first started by the Reagan Republicans in 1984. Bibeau says the government is steadfastly committed to funding family planning as she announced how $241 million of a previous $650 million commitment would be spent.———FIRST FEMALE JAG SAYS ARRIVAL SENDS A MESSAGE: The new head of Canada’s military justice system says her appointment shows the Forces are serious about accepting and valuing women in uniform. Commodore Genevieve Bernatchez is the Canadian Armed Forces’ first female judge advocate general, or JAG. She takes over as senior leaders have been pushing for the military to add more women in uniform and within the senior ranks. The military justice system is also in the midst of its first full review in decades, in part due to complaints about how the system has handled sexual misconduct in the ranks. Bernatchez says there’s no denying she will bring a different perspective and approach to military justice than her male predecessors. But she says she’s reserving judgment on exactly what needs to change until the review is completed later this summer.———CLOSE CALL FOR AIR CANADA PLANE IN SAN FRANCISCO: Investigators looking into what caused an apparent close call involving an Air Canada flight at San Francisco International Airport are expected to examine whether human error or controller procedures played a role in the incident, an aviation expert said Tuesday. The state of the aircraft’s and controller’s equipment, and the design of the air space will also be under review as officials try to determine how a flight from Toronto came to line up with a taxiway rather than the runway as it prepared to land, said Barry Wiszniowski, president of Aviation Safety Management Experts. An Air Canada Airbus A320 was cleared to land on one of the runways at the San Francisco airport just before midnight on Friday when the pilot “inadvertently” lined up with the taxiway, which runs parallel to the runway, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority said. There were four aircraft lined up on the taxiway waiting for departure when the incident occurred, the FAA said in a statement. The Air Canada plane eventually made another approach and landed without incident, it said. Air Canada said 135 passengers and five crew members were aboard its plane, but gave little other information, citing its own ongoing investigation.———HALIFAX MAYOR URGES CALM ON CORNWALLIS STATUE: The mayor of Halifax is speaking out against a plan circulating on social media to forcibly remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park that bears the name of the city’s contentious founder. Mike Savage issued a statement Tuesday saying any action to remove the statue is not condoned by the Nova Scotia Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs. The mayor says he understand that many Indigenous people and others disagree with the continued presence of Cornwallis on a pedestal in a public park. Cornwallis and his military council issued an infamous scalping proclamation in 1749 promising a bounty for the scalp of every Mi’kmaq. Savage says he is committed to a resolution of the polarizing situation and notes that city council has asked a panel to make recommendations, including potentially removing the statue and renaming the park. A Facebook event called “Removing Cornwallis” invites people to a protest Saturday, and to “peacefully remove” the statue.———RESCUE DOG FOUND AFTER ESCAPE AT AIRPORT: The new owner of a rescue dog that went missing after being let out of a crate at Canada’s busiest airport said he’s relieved his pet was found before any harm came to the animal. Jordan Wong said he and his family were anxious throughout the hours-long hunt for Emily, a 4.5-kilogram dog that had been brought to Canada from Greece as part of a rescue effort. Emily had been on Canadian soil for barely an hour when customs officials allegedly opened her crate to give her a walk on Monday. At that point, Emily bolted and raced across the highway near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, according to Stray Paws from Greece, the rescue group that co-ordinated her adoption. Wong said he and his family waited at the airport for eight hours while searchers scoured the area for Emily, but eventually had to go home without the pet they’d been eagerly awaiting for the past three weeks. On Tuesday morning, however, a Toronto woman found the dog and brought her to a local veterinary clinic where the pup was eventually identified. Stray Paws could not immediately be reached for comment but alleged in a Facebook post that Emily was lost while being processed through customs in Toronto.
MONTREAL – Once dismissed as unreliable, Wikipedia has emerged as a trusted source of information in an era of fake news, its founder said Friday.Jimmy Wales said the free online encyclopedia has become stronger and more accurate with time, although he maintained it was never as inaccurate as its critics claimed.“We always wanted to get to quality,” he said during a panel discussion in Montreal. “When there would be an error the press would make a big deal, but they never made a big deal about how passionate we were about trying to fix it.”Wales was in Montreal Friday for the opening of the annual Wikimania conference.The three-day event is gathering about 1,000 people for a series of training sessions, presentations and workshops that focus on the future of free knowledge projects.In an hour-long panel discussion with McGill University professor Gabriella Coleman, Wales said Wikipedia’s reputation has soared as people seek out neutral sources in an era of fake news and intense partisanship.Wales said that while true false news sites have had little impact on Wikipedia because ofthe encyclopedia’scommitment to checking sources, it was still a challenge to maintain “a real sense of neutrality” in a time when public voices tend to be loud and divergent.“I wish the New York Times would occasionally write ‘the neutrality of this article is disputed’ at the top of their articles like we do to acknowledge, as we acknowledge, we’re still struggling, we’re grappling here,” he said.Wales said that as traditional media outlets have declined in quality, Wikipedia has stepped up to satisfy people’s desire for unbiased information.To take the concept further, he is launching a separate crowd-funded news website that will be produced by a team of paid journalists working with community volunteers.In an interview, he said the site, called WikiTribune, will have no advertisers, no paywalls, and will be funded by subscribers.“I’ve been joking it’s a series of bad business decisions, but that’s how I’ve built my career,” he said.Wales said his project will avoid the pitfalls of a business model based on ads, which he said has forced traditional media outlets towards clickbait and “fluffy stories.”He said WikiTribune will instead focus on investigative journalism, features and explanatory content that is good enough to convince people to support the service.“We have to produce content such that at the end of a story people say ‘this is different, I understand the world in a way I didn’t before, this deserves to exist,’” he said.
VICTORIA – The unprecedented overdose death toll in British Columbia means it may be time to have a “courageous conversation” about decriminalizing the drugs that are killing so many people, says the province’s minister of addictions.While decriminalizing drugs is a federal matter, Judy Darcy said Thursday the province is doing everything it can to stem the number of deaths.“I think the fundamental issue here is we need to start treating addiction like a health issue,” she said, adding many people living with addictions are homeless or living in poverty.“We need to be pouring on the supports so that we have a pathway to hope for people and so they don’t end up in the criminal justice system.”The death toll from illicit drug overdoses reached 1,103 for the first nine months of this year, the coroners’ service said. In 2016, 982 people fatally overdosed in British Columbia.The opioid fentanyl was detected in about 83 per cent of the deaths, representing a 147 per cent increase over the same period last year, it said.In most cases, the powerful opioid painkiller was combined with other drugs, including cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.Darcy said removing the threat of being arrested for those who are caught using the drugs could be helpful.“I think we should be prepared as a country to have a courageous conversation about it. In the meantime we are pushing the envelope and we are being bold and innovative in doing everything we can within the context of the present federal framework.”Health Canada said in an email statement that the federal government is not considering decriminalizing or legalizing all drugs.“The Government of Canada is committed to a comprehensive, collaborative, compassionate and evidence-based approach to drug policy, which uses a public health approach when considering and addressing drug issues,” the statement said.The statement said harm reduction has been restored as a core pillar of Canada’s drug policy, along with prevention, treatment and enforcement.Safe consumption sites have opened around the province for addicts and the coroner’s service said there have been no deaths at them.Ninety per cent of the deaths happened indoors, half of those in private homes.Darcy said her ministry is working to counter the factors that lead to most of the deaths.“We are also ramping up …. a major anti-stigma campaign and a major campaign to reach out to people who are using alone because nine out of 10 people who are dying are using at home alone. That’s about overcoming stigma, that’s about everybody in a family, in a community, friends reaching out and having conversations with people and reducing the stigma.”Three-quarters of those who died are between the ages of 30 and 59, and four out of five of them are male.The Fraser Health Authority, which covers Metro Vancouver neighbourhoods from Burnaby to Hope on the east side of the Fraser Valley, had the most deaths this year at 295, followed by Vancouver at 269.In 2012, fentanyl was detected in just four per cent of overdose deaths.Darcy said the government is looking at enlarging a program used at overdose prevention sites in Vancouver where people can check their illicit drugs for fentanyl.“But we plan to do everything we can including expanding drug checking to keep people safe from these poisoned drug supplies on the street.”
A former editor at the New York Review of Books says he stands by his decision to publish a controversial essay written by disgraced former radio host Jian Ghomeshi.Ian Buruma told Vrij Nederland, a Dutch magazine, that he lost his job after an intense backlash to the article from social media and magazine advertisers.“It is rather ironic: as editor of The New York Review of Books I published a theme issue about #MeToo offenders who had not been convicted in a court of law but by social media,” the Dutch native said to Vrij.“And now I myself am publicly pilloried.”Last week, the magazine published Ghomeshi’s essay, titled “Reflections from a Hashtag,” where he wrote he had “deep remorse” for the way he treated people, but said the accusations from the women were inaccurate.Ghomeshi was acquitted in March 2016 of four counts of sexual assault and one count of choking involving three women and later signed a peace bond after apologizing to a fourth woman that saw another count of sexual assault withdrawn.The essay sparked an online backlash from those who said the former CBC radio host should not have been given such a prestigious platform to write an unchallenged first-person piece. Critics complained that the piece wasn’t properly fact-checked and was self-serving to a man trying to rehabilitate his image.On Wednesday, the magazine added an editorial note clarifying several details about the allegations against Ghomeshi, how they emerged and the legal proceedings that followed.Buruma says he was not fired from the prestigious literary magazine, but felt forced to resign after he was told by his publisher that university publishers who advertise in the Review of Books were threatening a boycott.“They are afraid of the reactions on the campuses, where this is an inflammatory topic,” Buruma said to Vrij.“Because of this, I feel forced to resign — in fact it is a capitulation to social media and university presses.”He admits he didn’t gauge the forces of the #MeToo movement.“I still stand behind my decision to publish,” Buruma says now. “I expected that there would (be) intense reactions, but I hoped that it would open a discussion about what to do with people who behaved badly, but who were acquitted in a court of law.”Romayne Smith Fullerton, an associate professor in Western University’s faculty of information and media studies, said it’s the intransigence of those with influence like Buruma that has made her less and less optimistic about the potential for gender equality in journalism and beyond over her 22 years of teaching.“It makes me feel like we haven’t come very far,” she said. “I feel often like there’s more push back. That there are less people who are willing to even stand up for equality, let alone what I would see as advancing the cause of women.”Smith Fullerton said the magazine’s lack of transparency about the events that transpired over the roughly weeklong controversy has sown distrust among readers.“I would like to see the magazine step up, and acknowledge what they see as their own deficiencies,” she said. “One of the biggest and most valuable pieces of currency journalism has is credibility. If you’re going to throw it under the bus, don’t be sad when you don’t have an audience.”There is a place for journalism about the cultural forces that have enabled bad male behaviour, said Smith Fullerton, as well as the perspectives of men who have been accused, like Ghomeshi. But those accounts shouldn’t come in the form of an unchallenged, first-person essay in a highbrow literary magazine, she said.“Until we actually reach a spot where we are in fact equal, then we need to advocate on the side of those who are not equal,” she said. “And we do not yet have an equal workplace, a equal social sphere, or an equal public sphere.”The New York Review of Books declined to comment.
MONTREAL — The family of a Montreal teen who drowned during a high school gym class say they intend to sue the school board and the city alleging negligence.Blessing Moukoko’s parents and uncle made the announcement at their lawyer’s office this morning.His mother, Evelyne Mavoungou-Tsonga, says she hopes the legal action will shed light on the event and help spare others the nightmare of losing a child.A coroner’s report found the 14-year-old, who did not know how to swim, spent 38 minutes at the bottom of the pool with nobody noticing during a busy high school gym class Feb. 15.Coroner Louis Normandin recommended that gym teachers be required to have a minimum of training if they are to give swimming lessons and that a lifeguard provide full-time surveillance during all courses.The family announced they also intend to start a foundation in Blessing’s name.The Canadian Press
SAGKEENG FIRST NATION, Man. _ A report into the death of a Manitoba Indigenous teenager says she asked for help in the weeks before she was found dead in the Red River, but social agencies told her there were no beds available.The report by Manitoba children’s advocate says that essentially left Tina Fontaine homeless and at risk for sexual exploitation.— CityNews Winnipeg (@CityNewsWPG) March 12, 2019The report by Manitoba children’s advocate says that essentially left Tina Fontaine homeless and at risk for sexual exploitation.“Tina had acute mental health needs following her father’s death but she was never provided with a single counselling session or other cultural healing, despite ongoing assessments and recommendations that this was a critical need in her life,” reads the reports from Daphne Penrose.“Further, Tina developed acute addictions in her final months of life and used many different drugs and alcohol but was unable to find the help she needed that would support her to address her underlying pain.”READ MORE: System failed Manitoba girl returned to parent without support, checks: advocateSocial workers and others ignored multiple signs that Tina was spiralling downward and in danger according to the report.Penrose said following the death of Tina’s father, victim services did not follow through with the child to provide counselling support, “despite her right to this services and the obligation of victim services to provide it during the two and half years in which they were involved with Tina’s family.”The child advocate’s report also looked into the sexual exploitation of the province’s youth–something Penrose says Manitoba has a “shameful reputation for”.READ MORE: Small things become scary, says Indigenous teen of Fontaine case, MMIWGThe report also details how Fontaine’s family was affected by a history of residential schools, the ’60s Scoop, and child-welfare agencies.“She carried a burden that was not her own,” Penrose said.Tina’s mother was 17 years old and was still a child in care when Tina was born on New Year’s Day in 1999. Both her parents struggled with addictions.Five years later, her father asked Tina’s great-aunt Thelma Favel to take care of her and her sibling on the reserve northwest of Winnipeg. It was a relatively stable time in the young girl’s life.That changed when Tina’s father was murdered in 2011. Tina’s caregiver tried to get help for the young girl from victim services. But because of questions about who was the teen’s legal guardian, she never received counselling.In June 2014, Tina left to try to reconnect with her mother in Winnipeg. When Favel didn’t hear from the girl, she called Child and Family Services for help.The report outlines how Tina’s high-risk behaviour rapidly escalated in her final two months. She disappeared, was homeless, developed addictions and was sexually exploited.But she also reached out several times for help.On one occasion Tina called Child and Family Services but no one arranged to pick her up. Workers told the teen to ride her bicycle to a shelter.There’s no evidence she arrived.The report says Tina disclosed to her child-welfare agency that she was hanging out with a 62-year-old, meth-using man. Court heard during the second-degree murder trial of Raymond Cormier–who was acquitted last year in Tina’s death–how the young girl was associating with the older man and he admitted he was sexually attracted to her.Social workers believed Tina had been sexually assaulted, but the agency still dropped the teenager off with a contracted care worker at a downtown hotel. Tina walked away from the hotel shortly after.Just days later her 72-pound body, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, was pulled from the Red River.Recommendations from the Child and Youth AdvocatePenrose makes five recommendations which she says need to be acted on quickly because children and youth are still facing the same risks and getting the same responses as Tina.The first is for Manitoba Education and Training to reevaluate the use of suspensions and expulsions in public schools. Penrose pointed to the recently-formed Commission on Kindergarten to Grade 12 Education which carefully examines the uses of those punishments so they can be limited, reduced, and phased out.READ MORE: ‘Don’t talk to each other’: Inside Manitoba’s child protection hearingsThe second recommendation is for Manitoba Health, Seniors, and Active Living which, ten months after the province handed down a mental health and addiction strategy, has yet to reveal implementation plans.Penrose has also recommended for Manitoba Justice – Victim Services to “address the quality control measures that were lacking” in their interactions with Tina and her family. “While this system was involved for a number of years, barriers to access the service were plenty and overall, the service was not delivered to Tina in child-centred ways.”The next is aimed at Child and Family Services and its responsibility to kids in need of protection.READ MORE: ‘Traumatic to witness a lack of empathy’ says mother of apprehended newborn“What Tina might have benefited from was access to the full continuum of services for children at imminent danger, and this continuum includes safe and secure treatment facilities that are therapeutic, culturally-informed, and effective – or, as Tina described to her CFS agency, a place where it feels like home,” Penrose’s report continues.And lastly, Penrose points at Manitoba Families to create a new protocol with individually-tailored response plans for missing kids. “Access to time-sensitive safety and care information about children who are missing might mean the difference between life and death for some youth.”The report says response plans specific to each case are imperative because of a strong correlation between missing persons, sexual exploitation, and “other harms that can place young people at immediate risk of injury and death.”The highly anticipated report was released on Tina’s home reserve.Not much has changed since Tina’s 2014 death: PenroseOver the course of the investigation, Penrose said one thing had been made abundantly clear–that not enough has changed since Tina’s tragic death five years ago.“In fact, what we know to be true from the youth we are working within our advocacy program and who are still alive today, and which has been confirmed by public systems throughout this process, is that children and youth who present with the same issues today may find themselves getting the same responses and experiencing the same barriers to service that Tina did.”Penrose urges the government agencies to heed her recommendations as change cannot be put off any longer, since for many at-risk teens struggle with structural barriers for many months and years and the “downward spiral gathers speed rapidly”.She said in her report that interventions and critical response measures often–and in the case of Tina–come too late because a threshold must be met before action is triggered.“Our track record in Manitoba is not good. We are home to the highest numbers of children in care, highest numbers of youth in custody, and highest numbers of missing children. These are the outcomes when services and investments are not intensively targeted on the early years and on the prevention of crisis.”Now, according to the advocate, Manitoba needs to jump to a more proactive approach.“The solutions lie upstream. If the focus of our resources and interventions keep our eyes locked on the results of trauma, then we will ignore the reasons that cause the trauma and our province will continue to see ballooning numbers of youth involved in child and family services, youth justice, and youth who are in need of emergency detox and treatment.“We can do better.”-with files from the Canadian Press
Five stories in the news for Thursday, Aug. 22———SECURITY TIGHTENED FOR POMPEO VISITSecurity around Parliament Hill has been tightened in anticipation of today’s visit to Ottawa by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The Parliamentary Protective Service is warning of visibly heightened security around the precinct for Pompeo’s visit “due to the nature of the event.” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s office says discussions with Pompeo will centre around Canada-U.S. co-operation on a number of domestic and international fronts, as well as security and foreign policy matters. The State Department says the crisis in Venezuela will also be on the agenda.———B.C. FATHER DENIES KILLING TWO DAUGHTERSA Vancouver Island man has told a B.C. court that he didn’t kill his two daughters. Andrew Berry took the stand Wednesday in Vancouver and also denied that he tried to take his own life on Christmas Day 2017. Berry is on trial for two counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey, who were stabbed to death in his Oak Bay apartment. The jury has already heard that Berry was found injured in the tub. Defence lawyer Kevin McCullough has told the jury that Berry will testify he owed loan sharks thousands of dollars and he was attacked in the apartment on the day the girls were killed. The jury has already heard how police found a note at the scene addressed to Berry’s sister that read, “Betrayed, bullied, and miscast I set out to leave with the kids.” ———STUDY POINTS TO AUTISM OVERDIAGNOSIS: EXPERTAn analysis of 11 previous major studies concludes that autism has become so over-diagnosed that within five to 10 years, there could be almost no difference between those diagnosed with it and those who have not. Montreal researcher Laurent Mottron found that the differences have decreased in five of the seven main constructs that define autism, including emotion recognition, theory of mind, planning and brain size. He says the gap could soon narrow to nothing because the criteria have lowered to the point where a diagnosis could become nearly meaningless. The study’s authors say their findings may be due to several factors, including a true increase in the condition, greater public awareness, the fact that a diagnosis leads to greater support, a lowered threshold for diagnosis and a greater tendency to diagnose individuals with a normal IQ.———DOCTOR SERVICES GROUP TO REPORT BACK ON SAVINGS PLANA group established to look into restricting inappropriate or overused physician services in Ontario will report on its recommendations today. The group, which has members from the provincial government and the Ontario Medical Association, is expected to reveal a list of recommendations designed to save money in the health-care system. It was formed in the wake of a four-year contract struck between the province and its doctors in February. At the time, the working group was created to recommend changes to physicians services or payments that could result in $460 million in savings.———B.C. FISHERMAN HAULS IN $60M LOTTO JACKPOTA retired fisherman from Richmond, B.C., has reeled in the catch of a lifetime — a $60-million lottery haul. The B.C. Lottery Corp. says Joseph Katalinic matched all seven numbers in last month’s Lotto Max draw to win the largest lottery prize in the province’s history. It says in a release there have previously been three $50-million winners in the province. Katalinic retired as a commercial fisherman 20 years ago and told the lottery corporation he now plans to “live like a king.” He says there was a lot of hugging and kissing when he broke the news to his family, which is planning a vacation in Hawaii and a visit to a town in Europe where his parents were born.———ALSO IN THE NEWS:— Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains will announce funding for Canadian cleantech companies across the country.— Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett participates in the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Metis Nation of Ontario Annual General Assembly in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. — Statistics Canada is expected to release today its wholesale trade figures for June.— A judge is to give his verdict in the second-degree murder trial for Silva Koshwal, who has pleaded guilty but not criminally responsible in the death of Nadine Skow. She was stabbed 101 times in her apartment in August 2015.The Canadian Press
HUMBOLDT, Sask. – For the first time in 526 days, former Broncos hockey player Ryan Straschnitzki will be back in Humboldt, Sask.The 20-year-old from Airdrie, Alta., was paralyzed from the chest down when a bus carrying Humboldt’s junior hockey team collided with a semi truck on the way to a playoff game on April 6, 2018.Sixteen people died and 13 others, including Straschnitzki, were injured.“I wanted to give myself the right amount of time before returning,” Straschnitzki told The Canadian Press.“It’s time.”His visit coincides with the Broncos hosting the Notre Dame Hounds in their season opener Saturday night. The Humboldt team is also celebrating its 50th anniversary and plans to welcome various alumni.Straschnitzki says returning this weekend seemed like the right opportunity.“I’ve got a lot of mixed feelings about going back. It seems like a long time ago now.”The driver of the semi, Jaskirat Singh Sidhu of Calgary, pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving for causing the crash. He was sentenced earlier this year to eight years in prison.Court heard that the rookie driver was distracted by a flapping tarp on the back of his load when he barrelled through a rural stop sign and into the path of the hockey team’s bus.Graysen Cameron of Olds, Alta., fractured a vertebrae in the crash.He took an assistant coaching role last year with the Red Deer Midget AAA Optimist Chiefs, his former team in the Alberta Midget Hockey League before he joined the Broncos. He then had surgery to remove metal rods and screws in his back in an attempt to improve his mobility.The 20-year-old is back playing for the Broncos this season.“I think it’s great that Graysen is back with the Broncos — and he’s been named the captain,” Straschnitzki says.“I spent some time with Graysen in Kelowna over the summer and that’s when I decided to go. I want to be there for him and it will be great to see some of the guys.”Straschnitzki says he also hopes to see fans and meet with billet families.A decision on whether he’ll visit the site of the bus crash near Nipawin, Sask., is still up in the air.“Going to Humboldt is one thing. But whether I will be able to go to the site — might be too difficult,” he says.“Maybe if I were to go with some of the other guys.”While still in hospital after the collision, Straschnitzki decided to take up sledge hockey and has kept himself busy pursuing a spot on Canada’s national sledge hockey team.Earlier this year, he signed a deal with Adidas to participate in its hockey and training campaigns.Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is proud to announce that pop superstar Britney Spears will headline the 2014 Ambassador class, a collection of celebrities dedicated to showcasing the importance of music education and raising awareness about the work the Foundation is doing to keep music in our schools.Joining Spears are a group of engaged and committed stars including Taye Diggs, Jason Derulo, Hunter Hayes, Gloria Reuben, Diane Birch and platinum selling singer Cher Lloyd, who kicked off the classes’ initiatives last Wednesday by performing at the opening of the new Bloomingdale’s in Glendale, CA, which served as a fundraising benefit for the Foundation.“I am so proud to be a VH1 Save The Music Foundation Ambassador,” said Britney Spears. “Music is such a big part of my life and as a mother I can’t imagine my children growing up without it,” added Spears.The VH1 Save The Music Foundation is a non-profit organization that restores instrumental music education programs in public elementary and middle schools across the country. Music is an integral part of a child’s development and a key component of each student’s complete education, helping increase performance in all core subjects, while encouraging collaboration and creative thinking. To date, the Foundation has provided nearly $51 Million in new musical instruments to almost 1,900 public schools in more than 192 districts around the country, impacting the lives of over 2.3 million children.“We are thrilled to have such an incredible collection of celebrities join our 2014 Ambassador class,” said Paul Cothran, Vice President and Executive Director of the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. “It is extremely important that we make people aware of how vital music education is to a child’s development and with the support of these generous superstars we can help to inform the national conversation.”The VH1 Save The Music Foundation began its Ambassador Class program in 2009 with Beyonce, Jamie Foxx, Chris Webber, Gavin DeGraw, Ne-Yo, John Rzeznik, Natasha Bedingfield, The Fray, 3 Doors Down and Venus Williams. The program continued with the 2010 class, which included Jason Mraz, Nick Lachey, Kelly Clarkson, OneRepublic, Fall Out Boy, Mandy Moore, Chrisette Michele and Colbie Caillat and the 2011 Ambassador Class consisted of superstars Amber Riley, Ciara, Jewel, John Legend, John Mayer, Lifehouse and Sara Bareilles. The 2012 class included Gavin Rossdale, Jordin Sparks, AJ Mclean, Katy Perry, Daughtry, Lupe Fiasco, Vanessa Carlton and Matthew Morrison with 2013 bringing Mariah Carey, Matchbox Twenty, B.o.B., Ingrid Michaelson, Robin Thicke, LeAnn Rimes, Andy Grammer and Henrik Lundqvist into the fold. This year’s Ambassadors will be added to the incredibly talented list of supporters and bring the Foundation one step closer to restoring instrumental music education in the U.S.For more information or to see how you can get involved please visit www.vh1savethemusic.org, like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @vh1savethemusic. For more information on the Ambassador program please visit www.vh1savethemusic.org/ambassadors.Source:PR Newswire
The Women Survivors Alliance is excited to announce that Giuliana and Bill Rancic will serve as honorary co-chairs for the Second Annual National Women’s Survivors Convention.This one-of-a-kind event designed to honor and inspire cancer survivors will take place Thursday, July 31 – Saturday, August 2, 2014 at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tennessee.Giuliana Rancic is one of the world’s most credible and well-known entertainment journalists and can be seen nightly as anchor of E! News. A breast cancer survivor, Giuliana created “Fab-U-Wish,” a program to grant fashion, beauty and celebrity themed wishes to women battling this disease. In addition to co-hosting the event, Giuliana will step into a familiar role along the red carpet as host of the convention’s Red Carpet Live Pajama Party. See what it’s like for the world’s top celebrities to be on the other end of Giuliana’s microphone.“While we cannot control what life brings us, we can control how we react,” says Giuliana. “This is where we find the strength and power to persevere and succeed.”Bill Rancic burst onto the national scene when he was hired by Donald Trump as the winner of the first season of NBC’s breakthrough program The Apprentice. Bill is one of the most sought-after motivational speakers on the topics of entrepreneurship and business. He educates and inspires audiences by sharing the lessons he’s learned throughout his business career.“Life’s experiences make us who we are. Accept this, embrace this and use this to create the world you want and the world you deserve,” says Bill. “If you do this, nothing can stop you.”The couple’s hit reality show, Giuliana & Bill, will continue with the season six premiere, July 16th, on Style Network. Giuliana and Bill’s unique combined perspective provides audiences with a stimulating, candid, provocative and inspiring conversation from both sides of the aisle.Founded by the Women Survivors Alliance, the National Women’s Survivors Convention aims to establish a network where women affected by cancer can find their voice, improve their quality of life and embrace their new normal.Thanks to tremendous strides in research, more of us are now beating the beast called cancer. In fact, there are over 7 million women cancer survivors in this country. But a cancer diagnosis is a life game changer. Survivors must address the long-term and life limiting effects of the illness and its treatments including physical, emotional, psychosocial, legal and financial issues. Survivorship, and the recognition of the many challenges survivors face following treatment, is the cutting-edge theme in the world of cancer. It is clear that the time has come to move survivorship to the forefront of the conversation about cancer and Giuliana and Bill exemplify that movement.Also for 2014, participants can expect even more celebrities, cutting edge researchers, cancer-based organizations, networking opportunities, the Celebrate Survivors 5k and the opportunity for a night out downtown. Returning favorites include the Survivors Marketplace Expo, and their Glamville makeovers.Space is limited, so reserve your spot at www.SURVIVORVILLE.org.