New Delhi: India on Thursday expressed concern over developments in the Strait of Hormuz impacting movement of crude oil and LNG tankers, and sought the world’s top oil exporter Saudi Arabia’s active role in keeping rates at reasonable levels. Saudi Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih made a brief visit to India and then flew to China as the OPEC kingpin tried to get the top oil buyers involved in securing ships through the narrow strait that links oil producers to the rest of the world. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe move follows heightened tensions after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the waterway last week in an apparent retaliation for the British capture of an Iranian tanker two weeks earlier. “Met Saudi Energy Minister, H.E. @Khalid_AlFalih & discussed the ongoing developments in the global oil markets,” Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan tweeted after an hour-long lunch meeting with the visiting minister. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost”Raised my concerns on the recent increase in Asian Premium, disturbances in the Strait of Hormuz impacting the movement of oil/LNG tankers and the decision of OPEC Plus members on extending production cuts leading to oil price volatility & its adverse impact on the Indian economy.” India faces the biggest impact of the current tensions in the Strait of Hormuz as it depends heavily on the region for its oil and gas supplies. Two-thirds of the oil and half the liquefied natural gas (LNG) India imports come from the strait between Iran and Oman. Eighteen million barrels of oil pass through the Strait of Hormuz every day, accounting for one-third of the global oil trade. Besides, one-third of the world’s LNG trade also passes through the strait. On June 13, two oil tankers in the strait were damaged by explosions, an attack which the US blamed on Iran. Iran has denied any involvement. The attacks were seen by some as a response to the US tightening its sanctions on Iran. Since then, Indian ships passing through there have taken the assistance of the Indian Navy escort to safely pass through the waterway. Sources said Saudi Arabia wants the top oil buyers China and India to get actively involved in securing the ships that carry crude oil and liquefied natural gas to them. This is being seen as an attempt by the OPEC kingpin to counter its arch-rival in the region, Iran. “Requested Saudi Arabia to continue its leadership role in maintaining the oil market balance. Urged H.E @Khalid_AlFalih to address the issue of Asian Premium for transparency in the global oil market, also advocated for responsible pricing in the larger interest of all nations,” Pradhan said in another tweet. India is 84 per cent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs. Two-thirds of its imports comes from the Middle-East region, with Iraq being the top supplier, followed by Saudi Arabia. It also buys some crude oil and cooking gas (LPG) from the UAE. India has time and again warned oil producers that higher crude prices are hurting global economic growth and they should do more to bring down rates to reasonable levels. Volatility in oil prices has resulted in a see-saw in retail petrol and diesel prices, with rates rising on some days and falling on others. Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015 had set a target of reducing India’s oil dependence by 10 per cent to 67 per cent by 2022 (from 77 per cent in 2014-15). However, import dependence has only increased since then and the government is now looking for ways to raise domestic output. The Indian Navy is escorting Indian crude oil carriers transiting through the Strait of Hormuz in the wake of the heightened threat perception following recent attacks. Naval teams have boarded Indian oil carriers and are escorting them out of the region. At least half a dozen tankers have been escorted out since June. The navy has also deployed two warships Chennai and Sunayna in the Gulf of Oman and Persian Gulf to undertake maritime security operations. Naval aircraft have also been conducting surveillance in the area. Also, the navy’s Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region which was launched in Gurgaon in December last year is also keeping a close watch on the movement of ships in the Gulf region.
India now has 2,967 tigers and that fact alone says it all. As the latest census results were made public by the prime minister, India deserved a pat on the back for the kind of determination that has been on display to ensure the survival of endangered species. Back in 2006, the glaring fact that had made it to dinner tables across the country was the alarming number of tigers left in the country–1411. Since then, four surveys–including the latest one–have seen a proportionate rise in tiger population much to the relief of forest officials who have worked relentlessly in collating data to arrive at the right number. And, the numbers indeed bring a jubilant moment for them as well as people in general since the declining population of tigers was a real scare where the people felt helpless in their apprehensions. The cause for celebration is the kind of perseverance shown in improved conservation as well as estimation means by the forest officials which has prevented the big cat population to fall beyond critical levels. The mammoth task of scanning lakhs of kilometres of forest area with thousands of cameras placed to track movements and millions of images processed to identify the accurate number, considering repeated images of the same tiger, deserves credit. The exercise outlines the true spirit of conservation and points at the sustainability factor well understood by concerned personnel. It lauds the commendable action plan spanning over years to ensure something that is in a lot of ways out of our hands. It is to be noted that approaching these animals and forcing them to breed is not something feasible and hence it is difficult to promote numbers when all one can do is sit and observe. But better management of sanctuaries across India is the reason that tigers found breeding and survival as the way of life–like it always has been. The Pench Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh recorded the highest count of tigers while the Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in Tamil Nadu showed the maximum improvement since 2014. Individually, these reserves and their policies have played a major role in ensuring the stability and sustainability factors. The government also gauged the economic values of these reserves which comprise protected forests, forest-dependent livelihood and forest tourism which turned out to be as high as 16,000 crores annually. The steady rise in tiger count gauged in four surveys viz., 2006, 2010, 2014 and 2018 shows the diligent behaviour on display by those who have made it possible and commends India’s action plan for tiger conservation.
New Delhi: Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Friday said his government’s initiative ‘Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum’ will meet the challenge of India’s economy and will contribute to its growth. Sisodia, during an interaction with 200 entrepreneurs, said Delhi’s Entrepreneurship Mindset Curriculum was launched earlier this year in all Delhi government schools for Classes 9 to 12. “A major component of the programme involves the entrepreneur community of the city to engage with children on a regular basis,” Sisodia said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder The 200 entrepreneurs who had responded to the government’s open call to the community to participate in the curriculum were invited to interact with the Deputy Chief Minister. Sisodia said, “India has slipped today from the 5th place to the 7th this year in GDP terms. Regardless of who is running the government, the slowing down of the economy impacts us all as citizens. We will have to work together to change this.” Laying out his government’s vision for the Entrepreneurship Mindset curriculum, the Deputy Chief Minister said, “Most of the graduates coming out of our colleges today are job seekers. If this is allowed to continue, India will always remain a job seeker economy. We have to become a job creator economy.” Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings He said when country’s best brains get jobs at Microsoft, Adobe, and elsewhere, we consider it a success. “The only value this adds to our economy is the salaries Indians earn and the taxes they pay. But the profit and income that is generated by these companies and their technologies is routed back to their country of incorporation, not into India,” he said. “It’s a matter of pride that Indians are running these large corporations, but we will truly grow as an economy when people around the world begin to work for Indian companies, launched by Indian entrepreneurs. For this, we need to build a job creator economy,” he said. Sisodia said that many top institutions are running entrepreneurship development courses that are teaching students the skills needed to start businesses. “But what we are lacking in is the mindset of entrepreneurship. Our aim is to instil this mindset at the right stage, that is from Class 9 to 12. This is our mission, it is not a mere government programme. It’s a form of patriotism for us.”
Mumbai: To further ease the resolution of stressed assets, the Reserve Bank is in discussions with its counterparts Sebi and Irdai to allow asset management companies and insurers to become part of the inter-creditor agreement (ICA), something that is mandatory for resolving stressed assets.In the revised circular on the framework for resolution of stressed assets, issued on June 7, the RBI made signing of an inter-creditor agreement by all lenders mandatory, to arrive at a majority decision-making criteria for resolving stressed assets. “In the June 7 circular, we have made ICA mandatory. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalBut it has been learnt that while dealing individual cases, banks have found that a good portion of the outstanding of individual corporates or entities are from insurance companies and mutual funds,” governor Shaktikanta Das told reporters after the post policy announcement. But the present rules do not consider AMCs and insurance companies as financial creditors; therefore the planned changes. He said it is necessary to look at the whole situation, liability of the entity comprehensively and not only from the bankers’ eye. Das said RBI have had inter-regulator meeting at a very senior levels from senior members from Sebi and Irdai. “Irdai has taken a decision to enable the insurance companies to be part of the ICA. Our discussion with the other regulator is ongoing,” the governor said.
Kolkata: Vast swathes of the city were inundated following torrential overnight rain that began on Friday afternoon and continued till Saturday, cutting off road links at several places of the metropolis.Sanjib Bandyopadhyay, Deputy Director, Indian Meteorological Department said the city, along with the South Bengal districts, are likely to experience heavy showers in the next 24 hours. Mayor Firhad Hakim along with senior civic officials, including Khalil Ahmed, Commissioner, Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) and Amit Roy, Director General (Drainage) visited the pumping stations and several low-lying areas in Behala where Ratna Chatterjee also accompanied them. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaThe city received 186.1 mm rainfall in the past 24 hours till around noon on Saturday, the Regional Meteorological Centre said. The MeT office has forecast heavy rain for the day. Areas surrounding Parnashree, Shilpara and Sakherbazar were underwater. Hakim said all the pumps were working good and the accumulated water from the streets would be cleared if there was no further downpour. The rain stopped around 2.30 pm. The Eastern Railway cancelled six short destination EMU local trains as the car shed in Howrah was under water. As a result, two UP EMU local trains from Howrah to Srirampore and Belur Math and two Dn EMU local trains from Belur Math and Seoraphuli to Howrah were cancelled. The Circular Railway Services between Princep Ghat and Bagbazar had been suspended from 10.40 am after the railway track got flooded. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayFlight operations were also disrupted, as take-off and landing were delayed at the Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose International Airport. The city woke up to an overcast sky with sporadic heavy showers. In North Kolkata, areas under Amherst Street, Thanthania Kali temple and Sukia Street were marooned. It may be mentioned that KMC has proposed to take up a plan to upgrade the century-old drainage system in these areas. Traffic along Chittaranjan Avenue crawled as stretches near Rammandir and Mohammad Ali Park lay under knee-deep water. Muktaram Babu Street and Colootola Street were also waterlogged. In South Kolkata, there was waterlogging in some low-lying areas in Behala, Chetla and Kalighat. One person was trapped after a portion of an old dilapidated building collapsed at 40, Pulin Khatik Road in East Kolkata. The disaster management team of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation worked to clear debris along with their Kolkata Police counterparts. In New Town, Debashis Sen, Chairman of Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (Hidco) visited the pumping station and added that all the 22 pumps are working to clear the accumulated water from some low-lying areas of New Town and Sector V. A special control room was opened to monitor the operation to clear the accumulated water and a special task force was set up to remove plastic from Bagjola Canal where the water is offloaded. Some important thoroughfares in Srirampur in Hooghly were under water. Vast areas surrounding Rajpur and Sonarpur in South 24-Parganas and Agarpara in North 24-Parganas were inundated. In Sonapur, a 28-year-old person was killed after being electrocuted on Friday evening.
New Delhi: Google has removed 27 apps that prompted users to install a fake Play Store after researchers from Pune-based Quick Heal Technologies spotted these malicious apps of dropper category and reported the issue. These apps were designed to infect devices with adware after someone fell prey to their continuous installation prompts for fake “Google Play Store”, Quick Heal Security Lab said. The apps stated that users need to install Google Play Store for gaming purposes. If someone cancelled the installation prompt, then it showed the pop-up continuously until installation of the app. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year On executing the parent app, it launched a dropped app. The fake “Google Play Store” remained in the device even after its parent app was uninstalled and kept on displaying full screen ads at random time intervals. The app kept running in the background and showed full screen ads till one did not uninstall it manually. These apps were published by the same developer with the name “AFAD Drift Racer” and all the apps belonged to free car racing games category, Quick Heal said. To avoid installing fake mobile apps, users should check an app’s description before downloading and avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores. Using a reliable mobile antivirus may also help prevent fake and malicious apps from getting installed on one’s phone.
NEW DELHI: The Arvind Kejriwal government-led campaign to combat dengue has garnered support from several public personalities, including cricket legend Kapil Dev, many Bollywood actors and well-known journalists.At a Press conference here on Sunday, the Delhi chief minister thanked all those who took part in the campaign, and said, “Lt Governor Anil Baijal today also checked for any water stagnation at his residence”. “Our campaign against dengue is getting a lot of support, and many celebrities are also participating in it. I am very happy that many people are taking part in it besides celebrities and journalists,” Kejriwal told reporters. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHe said participation of these public personalities will inspire common people to take precautions in combating this vector-borne disease. On September 1, Kejriwal had launched the campaign ‘#10Hafte10Baje10Minute’ by inspecting his house for clean standing water. Dengue mosquito larvae breed in clean and stagnant water, and they thrive in this season. Baijal also shared pictures on Twitter after the inspection, and tweeted: “Carried out inspection at residence to check for any potential sources of stagnant clean water, which can lead to breeding of Aedes mosquitoes that causes vector-borne diseases like dengue, chikungunya, etc. Such checks to be done at frequent intervals”. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsIn a fresh video message, the chief minister appealed to Delhi residents to give 10 minutes every Sunday–between September 1 and November 15–to ensure that there is no stagnant water in their houses or surroundings. The chief minister in the morning had also tagged a few celebrities to join the campaign. “I challenge @therealkapildev ji, @ShatruganSinha ji, @sardesairajdeep ji and @taapsee ji to participate in the #10Hafte10Baje10Minute campaign and inspect their homes. I urge all of you to challenge people you care about. Just 10 minutes can protect us from danger!,” he tweeted. Kapil Dev responded with a tweet in support of the drive, saying, “A good initiative taken by the honourable CM of Delhi… I request the Delhi residents to take all necessary precautions… suggested!!” As part of his effort to spread awareness about the campaign against dengue, Kejriwal also paid a visit to the residence of Kapil Dev, who hosted the chief minister for tea. Bollywood actors Emran Hashmi, Taapsee Pannu, Swara Bhaskar and filmmaker Mahesh Bhat, and several senior journalists, including Rajdeep Sardesai, Nidhi Razdan, Faye D’Souza, have supported the campaign. “More power to @Arvindkejriwal for making Delhi, Dengue – Free ! We all can do our bit by checking our homes every Sunday and ensure there’s no stagnant water stored anywhere. If there is – simply spill it out, pour oil in it, or replace it.#10Hafte10Baje10Minute,” Hashmi tweeted. Kejriwal also retweeted several tweets posted by celebrities and journalists and thanked them. “As a dengue survivor, happy to join the anti dengue campaign in the capital. Let’s spread the word: health and education above politics! @BishanBedi @sagarikaghose @Nidhi @bhupendrachaube @DILIPtheCHERIAN .. pl spread the word,” Sardesai tweeted and shared a small video. “The battle against Dengue in #Delhi is one we should all support and the citizens are winning this battle. It’s a great example for other cities as well. Mumbai and Bangalore to also start this campaign. #10Hafte10Baje10Minute Check there is no stagnant water in your homes,” wrote D’Souza on Twitter.
New Delhi: The bodies of two men and as many women, who drowned during Ganesh idol immersion, were recovered from near Palla Bakhtawarpur village in the early hours of Friday, the Delhi Fire Service said. The Fire Department received information regarding the drowning around 9 pm on Thursday, officials said. A fire tender was rushed to the spot and a rescue operation initiated. The bodies were subsequently recovered, they said. According to police, information of four people drowning in the Yamuna river near ‘thoker’ number 17 was received around the same time as the Fire Department. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder During inquiry, it was found that a group of around 30 people were on their way to bathe in the Yamuna river after performing Ganesh puja, they said. “They were stopped at Shani Mandir and Bakhtawar Pur, and advised by civil defence and police staff to avoid bathing in the river,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer North) Gaurav Sharma said. The group had initially agreed to the requests but eventually, eight of them did enter the river, Sharma said. Police were informed that eight people, who were bathing on the banks of the Yamuna, had ventured into deeper water, following which four of them drowned, officials said. The deceased have been identified as Umesh Yadav (20), Priyanka (20), Pinki (21) and Nikit (21), all residents of Nihal Vihar, Nangloi, they added.
The federal government says a Canadian has been killed in Peru.Global Affairs Canada says the death was related to the reported assassination of Indigenous elder Olivia Arevalo Lomas.Arevalo Lomas was a human rights activist of the Shipibo-Konibo people in the Ucayali region.The federal government says it is providing consular assistance to the family of the Canadian, whom they did not identify.A Peruvian news agency identified the Canadian as Sebastian Paul Woodroffe.The government extended its condolences following Arevalo Lomas’s death.
EDMONTON – A judge wants more education and oversight to come with prescription opioids following the suicide of an Edmonton soldier six years ago.A fatality inquiry heard that Lt. Shawna Rogers became dependent on opioids, and later street drugs, after injuring her back during basic training.Doctors, family in Ontario and a military supervisor all suggested she go into a paid-for residential treatment program, but she refused.The 27-year-old was found dead in her apartment in October 2012.Provincial court Judge Susan Richardson says the Alberta College of Pharmacists has since made changes to the way opioids are prescribed, and their use is monitored as well.But she recommends prescriptions for opioids treating anything but cancer come with mandatory addictions education and regular psychological reviews.She further suggests pharmacists encourage patients to return unused medications and require all medical information to go through a “patient navigator,” who can offer family and social supports.“There is no ability to force someone into treatment,” Richardson wrote in her report released Tuesday.“Although family and medical professionals were suggesting that Shawna could benefit from residential treatment, and the Canadian Forces would make that option available to her, Shawna saw drug treatment as imperilling her career.”The judge said Rogers initially sought various forms of help for her back. She went to physiotherapy and occupational therapy, attended a pain clinic and went to the United States for surgery. She also regularly saw her military doctor.In 2010, she was assigned work that accommodated her chronic pain. She was also being prescribed increasingly more potent painkillers.Months before she died, she saw a psychologist and a psychiatrist for depression.“Shawna did not want to be using narcotics. She tried to wean herself off them more than once, and was unsuccessful,” said Richardson.The judge described Rogers as intelligent, strong and ambitious — qualities that made it difficult for her to seek treatment for her addiction. She wanted to manage it on her own.Richardson noted that she has no jurisdiction to make recommendations aimed at the Canadian Forces.The military has already conducted a board of inquiry and quality of care review into the death.
A man from British Columbia wanted in connection to allegedly impersonating a police officer and sexually assaulting a woman in the Greater Toronto Area may have committed similar offences in Calgary.A spokesperson with the Calgary Police Service said the images of the suspect caught in both cases via CCTV are similar in nature.Earlier this month, police were called to a business in the 2800 block of Sunridge Way N.E. over reports of an assault.The woman had agreed to meet a man there and when the man arrived, he immediately identified himself as police and told her he had a warrant to search her for drugs.She asked for his badge number and it was at that point, he grabbed and pushed her, yelling at her to stop resisting arrest. She then asked him to get more officers to execute the warrant and he fled the scene in an older black Volkswagen Jetta.The man was described as being of Middle Eastern descent, approximately 20 to 30 years old, 5’8″ to 5’10” tall, with a slim to medium build, short black hair and a day’s growth of facial hair.The suspect was also wearing a dark-coloured, long-sleeve shirt and a black vest that said “POLICE” in large letters underneath a dark blue jacket.It’s also believed he had a belt with a flashlight, baton and a gun in the holder.A few days later, a similar incident unfolded in the City of Vaughan at Highway 7 and Interchange Way.A suspect met with an 18-year-old escort after arranging a date at a hotel.He reportedly told her he was a police officer and was executing a warrant and then proceeded to sexually assault her, leaving some money behind.York Regional Police issued a Canada Wide Warrant for 33-year-old Asif Choudry, also known as Brandon, from Sechelt, B.C.Police are warning the public he should be considered armed and dangerous; if you see him don’t approach and call 911.Calgary police tell 660 NEWS the Calgary and York region suspect may be the same individual, and they are planning to issue a similar warrant in the coming days. Anyone with information is asked to contact the Calgary Police Service, the York Regional Police or Crime Stoppers.
TORONTO – A notorious bank robber who was dubbed the “Vaulter” for his technique of jumping over bank counters has been sentenced to 15 years in prison.York regional police say Jeffrey James Shuman pleaded guilty last month to seven counts of robbery with a firearm.They say the 55-year-old French-American citizen was sentenced by a judge on Tuesday and was given a 34-month credit for time already served.Police said at the time that he was wanted in connection with 21 bank robberies between 2010 and 2015 — 15 in the Greater Toronto Area, four in Calgary, and one each in Hamilton and Ottawa.Police had spent years trying to catch Shuman without success. The Canadian Banking Association also put out a $100,000 reward for his capture.Shuman was arrested on an international warrant in Switzerland in September 2015.He was extradited to Canada in February 2016 to stand trial.
TORONTO – One of the world’s largest tobacco companies is rolling out a smokeless cigarette in Canada that it contends is less harmful than conventional combustible products, but some critics call the device merely a ploy to maintain — or even increase — market share in the face of dwindling smoking rates.Philip Morris International has developed a heat-not-burn product called IQOS, or I-Quit-Ordinary-Smoking, that the tobacco giant says retains a high level of nicotine while reducing carcinogenic components found in the smoke of regular cigarettes.PMI, along with its Canadian subsidiary Rothmans Benson & Hedges, says it is committed to a smoke-free future — one that eliminates the burning of cigarettes and helps Canada reach its goal of reducing the smoking rate to less than five per cent by 2035.“Basically if you eliminate the combustion and the smoke in a product that is still satisfying to adult smokers, that’s where we’ll probably see a true impact of reduction on public health,” PMI medical adviser Mikael Franzon said after travelling to Toronto this week from the U.S.The IQOS product is comprised of a heating blade that’s inserted into a cigarette-like stick called a HEETS, which contains ground tobacco. The blade heats the stick to about 350 degrees C., compared to the more than 800 degrees with a combustible cigarette, creating an aerosol instead of smoke.“Because it is actually heated and not burned, the tobacco rod is intact after you have used it and it lasts six minutes or 14 puffs, whatever comes first,” said Franzon, a smoking cessation expert who joined PMI about two years ago.“But it still gives you the same amount of nicotine as you find in conventional cigarettes,” he said, maintaining that testing by PMI scientists has shown there is a more than 90 per cent reduction in harmful components in the aerosol compared with smoke from regular cigarettes.But Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst for the Canadian Cancer Society, suggested the company is only blowing smoke when it touts its heat-not-burn technology as a means of reducing Canadians’ tobacco use.“Philip Morris is engaging in double-speak, saying that they want to decrease cigarette sales yet at the same time opposing legislative measures that would reduce cigarette sales, such as plain packaging, a menthol ban and higher (tobacco) taxes,” said Cunningham.“When they say they want to stop selling cigarettes, it is nothing more than a public relations stunt to distract attention from the regulatory measures that would be effective at reducing cigarette sales, measures that they oppose … and to provide cover as they continue to aggressively sell and market cigarettes.”Given Big Tobacco’s long history of denying smoking’s link to cancer and other harmful health effects, Franzon said he understands there is skepticism about PMI’s intentions.“But I think also there is a new generation of people working in the tobacco industry, transforming it, and our main mission is to develop and deliver these smokeless products with the potential to reduce smoking-related risks,” he said.The company began selling IQOS in B.C. late last year and has since expanded availability to Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec. The heating unit and holder costs about $125, with a pack of 160 HEETS retailing for about $90, Franzon said.The product is sold in 20 countries and PMI is seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration to market IQOS in the U.S. In Canada, companies do not need to seek Health Canada approval to sell new products under the Tobacco Act.Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott was not available for an interview Tuesday to comment on PMI’s assertion that its heat-not-burn cigarettes could help Canada reach its 2035 smoking rate target. The latest estimates from 2015 put that rate at 17 per cent of the population aged 12 and older, or roughly 4.5 million Canadians.While it’s too early to know the specific health effects related to heat-not-burn technology, Philpott said by email that “the harms of tobacco products are indisputable … New technologies such as vaping products present challenges and opportunities, as do emerging tobacco products reported by industry to be less harmful.”In fact, a study by independent Swiss researchers published in JAMA Internal Medicine in May found IQOS vapour also released carcinogenic chemicals — some of them in much higher concentrations than conventional cigarettes, principal investigator Dr. Reto Auer of the University of Bern reported at the time.Franzon said PMI has sent a letter to JAMA criticizing the methodology used by the researchers to test its smokeless product against combustible cigarettes.David Hammond, an expert in tobacco policy at the University of Waterloo, said PMI and other tobacco companies have been making claims about minimizing health risks for decades, going back to the 1950s when filtered cigarettes were introduced.“If they think combustible cigarettes are killing people and they would rather not sell them, then I would ask them why they continue to sell them?” he said.Still, Hammond agreed that any nicotine product that doesn’t involve smoke inhalation “is almost certainly going to be less harmful than regular smoked cigarettes. That includes e-cigarettes and it probably includes these products.”But that doesn’t mean they carry no risk, he said.“To be clear, smokeless tobacco is less harmful than smoking cigarettes, but that does not mean that it’s safe. We definitely know that there’s some serious harms.”– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
OTTAWA – During the CFL regular season, Conrad Brock and Mike Hassel are bitter rivals.Brock, a Saskatchewan native who lives in New Brunswick, bleeds Roughrider green. His long-time friend Hassel carries a small plastic horse wherever he goes in honour of his beloved Calgary Stampeders.At Sunday’s Grey Cup, however, they will be on the same side.With Brock’s Roughriders not in the big game, he’ll support his friend’s club when they face off against the Toronto Argonauts in the CFL showcase.“I think it’s a bit of a love-hate relationship,” Brock said of his friendship with Hassel.The two pals take verbal jabs at each other when it’s game time, but tone down the taunts when the footballs are put away, said Brock’s wife Sally, a convert to CFL fandom after she met her husband in Moncton.“Part of the friendship is being able to trash talk each other’s team during the season and then (other times) they still do that, but it’s good natured,” she said.While the Brocks are favouring Calgary, the same can’t be said of another Roughriders fan.Moose Jaw’s Elaine Johnson arrived in Ottawa on Thursday, just in time to celebrate her 70th birthday. And since she can’t see her beloved Roughriders play, she’ll cheer for the Argonauts instead.“I was hoping that Saskatchewan was in it, but now I’m a Toronto fan all of a sudden,” said Johnson, who laughed as her young grandson David piped in to predict a Calgary win.“Once it comes to Grey Cup time, it’s just a great opportunity to meet fans from all across the country, really,” she said as members of a Roughriders pep band pursed their lips to trumpets and other cold brass instruments outside Ottawa’s TD Place Stadium.Some Calgary fans, including Hassel, see this year’s championship as a rematch of the 2012 finale that saw Toronto defeat Calgary 35-22.“It is payback time,” said Hassel, who was there five years ago and at last year’s championship, where Calgary was defeated by the Ottawa Redblacks.“They know better now,” he said of this year’s Stampeders. “They’ve learned their lessons twice. Third time’s the charm.”The Grey Cup is just one of many big ticket events Ottawa is hosting this year, including celebration of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation and the NHL’s 100th anniversary. But that doesn’t mean football has taken a back seat.“It’s a big deal for us from a celebratory point of view, but also from a tourism and economic development point of view,” said Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.“This is big dollars that are coming into the local economy.”Since the arrival of the trophy Tuesday, there have been a number of activities leading up to game day, including a four-day-long street party at the city’s Lansdowne Park and concerts until Sunday.Canadian pop-country star Shania Twain will perform at halftime Sunday and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, along with his family, is expected to be among the VIPs in attendance.It will be the first Grey Cup for Julie Payette since being sworn in as governor general. She’ll kick off the game with the traditional coin toss.The weather forecast for game day calls for a few flurries and temperatures reaching -2 C.
Canadian snowboarder Laurie Blouin has won a silver medal in the women’s slopestyle at the Pyeongchang Olympics.Sporting a black eye after a nasty crash in training a few days ago, Blouin overcame high winds to nail a clean second run for 76.33 points.The reigning world champion from Stoneham, Que., Blouin was second behind American Jamie Anderson, who scored 83.00 on her first run.Enni Rukajarvi of Finland took bronze with a score of 73.91.Brooke Voigt of Fort McMurray, Alta., finished 21st and Spencer O’Brien of Courtenay, B.C., was 22nd.The start of the competition was delayed for about 75 minutes due to the conditions at windswept Phoenix Park.High winds forced the cancellation of the qualification on Sunday. Organizers decided to instead allow all competitors direct entry into the final.Blouin took a hard fall Friday when her board got stuck in a crack after she landed a double jump. She resumed full training Sunday.Canada won two medals in the men’s slopestyle competition on Sunday. Max Parrot of Bromont, Que., won silver and Regina’s Mark McMorris took the bronze.
KINGSTON, Ont. – Via Rail says its trains are back on schedule after a freight train derailment delayed trips between Toronto and Montreal or Ottawa for hours on Saturday.The widespread delays came about when two cars at the back of a Canadian National Railway train carrying paper derailed just east of Kingston at 1:20 p.m.The incident caused hours of delays for rail passengers across the province on Saturday, but Via spokeswoman Marie-Anna Murat says there aren’t any delays expected between Toronto and Montreal or Ottawa.Murat says 647 people were on passenger trains at the time of the derailment, and more than a thousand were believed to be affected by Saturday’s delays.Murat says all trains on the route were cancelled that evening, and passengers were given the option of either exchanging their tickets or receiving a full refund.She says Via Rail provided buses and other forms of alternate transport for most of the passengers stranded at the time of the derailment.
NORTH VANCOUVER, B.C. – An apartment fire in North Vancouver has killed two people and sent a dozen to hospital for treatment of various injuries.The victims were trapped when the blaze tore through one of four buildings in the 170-unit complex around 2:30 a.m. Monday, said Wayne Kennedy, deputy chief with District of North Vancouver Fire and Rescue.“One half of the building was fully affected by the fire and the other half was affected by smoke and water,” Kennedy said.RCMP said in a news release that 17 units in the wooden, two-storey complex were extensively damage, leaving about 70 people permanently displaced.Flames were visible as firefighters pulled up, Kennedy said, but residents from other suites were already rushing to assist people and that was a huge help to crews.As a precaution, crews evacuated other buildings in the sprawling 4.5-hectare complex and sent more than 100 residents to a nearby reception centre.Fire crews didn’t immediately realize two people were trapped, Kennedy said.“There was some mention to us, early on, that there were a couple of people who weren’t accounted for, but due to the intensity of the fire and the amount of units that were involved it wasn’t a safe alternative for us to get into some of the units until we had a better control of the fire.”Firefighters were able to check the suites several hours later and found both people in the same unit.The BC Coroners Service confirmed via email that it is in the early stages of an investigation into two deaths.The victims were from the same family, but their names and ages have not been released, police said.Mounties added that 12 survivors were treated in several area hospitals for injuries ranging from smoke inhalation to burns.Most residents were allowed to return to their suites in unaffected parts of the complex within hours.Crews continued to douse hot spots on the fire Monday, and Kennedy said an assessment of the structural integrity of the building would also be required.He said it was still unclear what sparked the blaze and work to determine a cause would begin as soon as possible.An RCMP arson unit, the fire department and the coroners service are all working on the investigation.
LETHBRIDGE, Alta. – A southern Alberta man with mental health issues has been sentenced to five years in jail for stabbing his parents.Nigel Vermeulen, who is 29, had pleaded guilty in Lethbridge court to one count of attempted murder and another of assault with a weapon.Court heard he stabbed his 72-year-old father in the neck and his 62-year-old mother in the leg.The sentence was recommended as part of a joint submission by the Crown and defence.An assessment at the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatry Centre determined that he was fit to stand trial and did not meet the criteria to be found not criminally responsible due to a mental disorder.Vermeulen has been diagnosed as having autism spectrum disorder, selective mutism, delusional disorder and an unspecified personality disorder.“It seems to me there is no rational explanation for the perpetration of these crimes by Mr. Vermeulen,” Provincial court Judge Eric Peterson said Wednesday before delivering the sentence.“He is mentally ill, but not to the extent that it would excuse his conduct.”Court heard that Vermeulen’s parents became aware of his mental health problems when he was still very young.He continued to live with them as an adult, having quit school early and never got a job.Vermeulen would only leave the house to go for walks with his father or to get groceries with his mother.On Feb. 11, Vermeulen’s mother woke to her husband screaming and a sharp pain in her knee.She called out to Vermeulen but then found her husband bleeding heavily from the neck and called 911.The Crown says he was lucky to survive the wound.Lethbridge Police later found Vermeulen not far from home and took him into custody.During an interview in which he would only respond by writing, Vermeulen said he felt the only way he could start his own life was by killing his parents.Police also found a journal entry that Vermeulen had entered into his computer before the stabbing attacks.“Can’t sleep, hungry, so might as well kill my parents,” he wrote according to the agreed statement of facts. “Going to knife them and hope it works … all that matters is killing them.”The Crown also noted that aside from the remorse demonstrated by entering a guilty plea, Vermeulen hasn’t shown any other signs of empathy towards his parents. (LethbridgeNewsNow)
HALIFAX – The Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. offered a glimpse inside one of its coming cannabis stores Wednesday, showcasing a unique retail hybrid not likely found anywhere else in the world.NSLC president and CEO Bret Mitchell took media on a tour of the cannabis store that’s inside the NSLC on Joseph Howe Drive in Halifax, saying Nova Scotia is the only jurisdiction that brings cannabis and alcohol sales under one roof.“We have a very unique situation here in Nova Scotia and one that’s definitely going to be setting the stage for the world,” said Mitchell inside the new cannabis store, located in a renovated section of the liquor store.“It hasn’t been done to my knowledge anywhere else in the world, and so it’s going to make it a very different retail environment than you’ll experience in any other jurisdiction.”The entrance to the 130 square-metre rectangular-shaped store — which will be one of the largest in the province — is located in the back left corner of the liquor store beneath large letters that read “cannabis.”Customers walk through an opening with frosted glass and around a corner into a brightly-lit space with light-coloured walls.Behind the counter and spanning an entire wall are dozens of white boxes that will eventually contain types of cannabis. The available products will be displayed on TV screens and are divided into four distinct categories: relax, unwind, centre and enhanced.Mitchell calls this a “discovery guide approach.”“The four categories are how we will be grouping our assortments to hopefully help those who are new to the category have an ability to choose what they’re looking for when they buy cannabis,” said Mitchell.For example, a sign on the wall explains that, “relax” products offer “relaxing and calming experiences that are generally more focused in the body than the mind.”There are a number of tablets at wood grain countertops that will contain information to help customers choose a product. Mitchell said “hosts” will greet customers as they come in, firstly to determine if they’re legal age, and secondly to show them how to shop.The cannabis will be provided in a sealed bag, and must be purchased before leaving the cannabis store boundaries.Products and accessories will be displayed in cabinets on the walls. Customers will not be able to smell the product, except for at its Clyde Street store in downtown Halifax. NSLC says the products will have descriptions regarding their “nose.”There are also a number of safety messages posted on signs throughout store, including warnings against smoking and driving.Barriers that weave in front of the checkout counters will help control the expected lineups, but Mitchell said the hope is to eventually remove them once the initial rush dies down and customers become more familiar with the process. The store can comfortably accommodate roughly 60 people.Mitchell conceded that the store’s opening would not come without growing pains.“This is a new experience for us and it’s going to take time to figure out,” he said.He said in order to have a cannabis store within the liquor store, they must abide by a number of federal regulations, including that it be totally separate from the liquor store. No one under the age of 19 is allowed in the cannabis section.“There’s going to be some learning. Do people shop the same way? Do they come at the same time of day? How do they interact with staff? It’s going to be a very different experience,” he said, adding the average alcohol transaction is three minutes, whereas cannabis transactions will take up to 20 minutes.Twelve cannabis stores will be opening inside NSLC locations on Oct. 17, said Mitchell. He said they’re anticipating up to 90 people an hour will use the cannabis store at the Joseph Howe Drive location once it opens.The introduction of cannabis is expected to double that location’s retail sales, from $11.5 million a year to $22.5 million, said Mitchell.
SASKATOON – A court hearing related to money raised following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash will be the first real test of Saskatchewan’s efforts to regulate crowdfunding campaigns, says a lawyer for the fund.The Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc. is to ask Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday for an initial order that would declare a GoFundMe campaign a public appeal, authorize the money to be held in trust and approve an interim payment of $50,000 each to the 13 survivors and the families of the 16 people who died after the April 6 crash.The GoFundMe campaign raised $15.2 million in donations from all over the world.The money has yet to be distributed because Saskatchewan has legislation known as the Informal Public Appeals Act, which outlines court-supervised payouts.“This is a new law that was enacted in Saskatchewan in 2015,” said Jeff Lee, a lawyer who represents the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.The legislation was recommended in 2012 by a national body called the Uniform Law Conference, which proposes changes when gaps are identified in existing laws.“Saskatchewan was the only province that stepped up and actually enacted that statute into law and this would be the first occasion in which it’s been considered in court,” said Lee.Under the law, a court hearing can be requested by a trustee, a donor, a person who benefits from a fund, the attorney general or anyone the court considers has a sufficient interest in a fund. In the Broncos case, a hearing was requested by the Humboldt Broncos Memorial Fund Inc.Some have expressed concerns that the courts could take too long, but Lee said that’s why there will be a request for an interim payment.He and other legal experts said the law is meant to improve the overall process and deal with any disputes that could tie money up for years.Peter Lown, chair of the committee on program development and management with the Uniform Law Conference, said the law was initially recommended because of an increasing number of public fundraisers.“Everybody says, that’s terrible, that’s the most awful thing that’s happened — I should help out with that,” he said. “So what does that mean? How are they going to be helped? Is there a differential for survivors and non-survivors or families? What can it be used for? How much of it can be used?“Somebody has to take responsibility for doing all of that. Otherwise it’s just total chaos.”Lown, who’s also a retired law professor at the University of Alberta, said courts can act as guides by introducing “some structure without suffocating it and without turning it into a long process of litigation.”Potential legal traps identified included questions about what to do with a surplus if too much money is raised or an insurance company picks up some costs. The Saskatchewan law also offers legal protection to people who spearhead fundraisers.As part of the initial order Wednesday, the court will be asked to approve a committee to determine how the rest of the Broncos GoFundMe money is to be distributed.It would be made up of retired Saskatchewan justice Dennis Ball; Mark Chipman, chairman of the company that owns the NHL’s Winnipeg Jets; Olympic gold medallist Hayley Wickenheiser; Dr. Peter Spafford, who’s in charge of head and neck surgery at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Medicine; and Kevin Cameron, executive director of the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response.The committee would prepare a report with recommendations to the memorial fund board within the next couple of months. The board would then return to the courts for final approval.— By Colette Derworiz in Edmonton. Follow @cderworiz on Twitter