(Photo: Milner Ridge Institution)APTN National NewsWINNIPEG–Tyler St. Paul pleaded for help before he was found dead from a jail-house beating, according to a source from inside Manitoba’s Milner Ridge Institution.St. Paul, 21, was found dead Monday inside his cell and the RCMP is investigating his death as a homicide, the first inside a provincial jail in decades.St. Paul was a member of the Money Over Bitches gang (known also as Most Organized Brothers), which goes by the acronym MOB. The source said MOB gang members beat St.Paul to death but they may not have meant to kill him.“These eight guys went into his cell for a gang discipline to get him,” said the source.St. Paul did not die immediately from the beating, but lay in his cell and pleaded for help, according to the source.“He didn’t die during the night,” said the source. “I guess in the morning he asked for help and … after that he died.”St. Paul was from Lake Manitoba First Nation and was serving a 15 month sentence for drug trafficking.He was the father of a six month-old child.
Editor’s Note: Aboriginal Affairs responded to this story and their letter to the editor is included below.By Justin LingSpecial to APTN National NewsThe Harper Government’s Northern Action Plan is forging ahead, and the first thing to go is local oversight for a little-known process of dealing with toxic waste water.Until this year, the Northwest Territories local land and water boards were responsible for licensing ‘downhole injections,’ a process through which oil and gas companies get rid of the toxic fluid byproduct of drilling. To do so, the companies drill a well and, through a process similar to fracking itself, pump the liquid at high speeds into underground rock formations.That practice required oversight and public consultations from the land and water boards, who, if satisfied, issue a Type A license.Then, with one fell swoop of the regulatory pen, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development changed the rules. With no debate, and no legislation, licensing decisions regarding downhole injections were now the sole responsibility of the Calgary based National Energy Board. A notice of the change was put out in the Government of Canada publication, the Canada Gazette in November 2012.The reason given was to “include greater efficiency in the regulation of oil and gas activities in the Northwest Territories.”The National Energy board looks primarily at the engineering, environmental and technical side of the projects and doesn’t pretend to evaluate their social license. That, according to one board analyst, is up to the land and water boards and the companies themselves.The change, thanks in no small part to its technical nature, garnered little attention, partially overshadowed by devolution talks between Ottawa and the territory. The Harper Government began working to axe the boards’ regulatory power on downhole injections in 2010 when it announced a broader plan for Northern development, but failed to move forward on most of the announced changes. Now, as the devolution talks near an endpoint, the government seems ready to forge on, and this change is just the first step.According to Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development, the department responsible for regulating the land and water board system, the axing of the need to obtain a Type A water license from the land and water boards — was due to double-regulation. They said that the NEB already oversaw the projects; therefore there was no need for the territory to license the process at all.Numerous requests for comment from the Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development on the story, but none were returned.It’s good timing for industry. ConocoPhillips is looking to begin a fracking well this winter, and is in the midst of evaluation by both the land and water board and the NEB. The company refused comment on most questions, responding by email that they “respect the regulatory process,” but when asked about holding public consultations, a spokesperson did say that they offered a two-day workshop and a tour of their proposed site for those involved in the regulation process.MGM Energy, a large oil and gas company, had previously lamented the public consultation process for downhole injection at a National Energy Board conference in 2009. MGM then took aim at the territory’s environmental assessment last year after they withdrew plans for a fracking, claiming that the environmental assessment project under the land and water boards was fraught with uncertainty, could take long and could cost too much. They, and many in the territory’s business community, have pushed for the review process’ scope to be tightened.MGM, with other oil and gas companies, have lobbied the federal government extensively on the matter. The scope of the territory’s water and land boards has been the subject of numerous meetings between a half dozen lobbyists and a handful of government MPs since 2008, according to Canada’s lobbying registry.And the product of that lobbying appears to be the Action Plan to Improve Northern Regulatory Regimes, the Harper Government’s game plan for making the North friendlier to development. Changes to the Northwest Territories Waters Regulations, including the local deregulation of downhole injections, were included in that plan.This change very much appears to be step one towards turning the Sahtu into the resource capital of the North. Financial independence for the Northwest Territories, which is plagued with high unemployment in certain regions, would perfectly compliment the territory’s assumption of more powers from the Federal government. Yet Ottawa seems intent on keeping control of the territory’s development review mechanisms.Paul Dixon, Executive Director of the Sahtu Land and Water Board, said that a substantive level of oversight already exists for any waste management system, and that while the process might not be licensed by the board, they will still have the ability to consult the public on the proposed projects.However, when the Federal government informed the other land and water boards of the regulatory change, some feathers were ruffled.“Parties expressed concerns that the removal of the requirement for a Type A water license, and with it the requirement for a public hearing,” reads the summary of the consultation process, published in the Canada Gazette within the notification of the change.Industry has long been “wanting to find a way to grease the skids,” says Kevin O’Reilly, of the environmental think tank Alternatives North. He notes that vesting the power to regulate downhole injections in the NEB is problematic, as the board employs only two staff in the Northwest Territories, and isn’t very present or visible in the area.O’Reilly says that the deregulation might not have much of an impact in the short term, but he says that as more exploration begins, it will be harder to predict the impacts — especially with the fracking process, which is a relatively new and controversial process.Shauna Morgan says that direction is causing worry. “Downhole injection is an issue that community members regularly express concerns about. It is not well understood in communities near the operations.” Morgan, a policy analyst with the Pembina Institute, says that removing any layer of public consultation “will likely breed more distrust and suspicion.”“Projects are losing their social licenses,” says Dennis Bevington, New Democrat MP for Western Arctic. He told this journalist in a phone conversation that axing public consultations isn’t wise when there is “clear public concern” over aspects of development.A big factor on these plans is the disposal of wastewater. Currently, companies either dispose of the water via sump, which has fallen out of fashion after several hazardous leaks, by truck, which proves costly and inefficient, or downhole injection, which has only ever been used on one site in the territory. A 2011 study for the journal of Geothermics studied dozens of fluid injection projects and concluded that, while data is still limited, downhole injections appear to cause low-magnitude earthquakes, while the long-term impacts are still unknown.But the ConocoPhillips plan submitted to the Sahtu Land and Water Board proposes that the company ship the toxic wastewater to Alberta. With the new regulatory changes, the company could, ostensibly, later change course and begin downhole injection and avoid assessment from the Sahtu board. Dixon says he can’t think of a situation where that would happen, saying it’s a “0.1% chance.”As of now, the future of ConocoPhillips’ project is in flux, as the Sahtu Land and Water Board has temporarily waived an environmental assessment, requesting clarification on the company’s plan. They will take time to review the project, and could opt for an environmental review later. The board could further accept or reject the project outright when they come to a decision this summer.But other companies have walked away from the process before, citing the onerous nature of the land and water boards’ review process. The Sahtu board has faced pressure to forgo the environmental review altogether.With Ottawa’s Northern plan finally move forward, that review process stands to become much less onerous. The government plans on merging all the land and water boards together, while a sizeable opposition says the changes will seriously impact the territory’s ability to oversee their own development projects. That fight is just around the corner. Aboriginal Affairs responseDear Editor,I wish to respond to an article which appeared in the May 29 edition of Aboriginal Peoples Television Network National News entitled Government strips local oversight of handling toxic waste water in the North.The resource potential of the North represents a tremendous economic opportunity not just for Northerners but for all Canadians. The federal government’s goals are clear: we want the North’s regulatory regimes to be more effective and predictable, while safeguarding the environmental health and heritage of the region, and providing meaningful Aboriginal consultation. Greater predictability, timelier reviews, reduced regulatory burden and reduced duplication are improvements that will position the North for job creation and long-term economic growth.In his article, the reporter appears to confuse the process of fracking with downhole injection. I want to be clear that these amendments do not permit hydraulic fracturing – a process that is not related to downhole injection.The use of downhole injection wells is considered common practice in Canada for the management of drill wastes and consists of disposing drill waste in conjunction with the drilling of wells for oil and gas exploration or production.Downhole injection is one of several options for the disposal of drill wastes, however prior to these amendments it was the only option subject to duplicate approvals. This amendment aims at streamlining the approval process.Finally, I want to be clear that these regulations were not developed without consultation as your article would suggest. Not only were the proposed changes distributed to Aboriginal organizations, northern boards, environmental organizations and other stakeholders, two rounds of consultations were also conducted between March 2010 and March 2011.As we indicated during those consultations, proposed oil and gas activities will continue to undergo the same rigorous environmental screening and/or assessment processes and there will be no reduction of oversight to ensure environmental risks are identified and appropriate mitigating measures taken.Paula IsaakDirector GeneralNatural Resources and Environment BranchAboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
Tom Fennario APTN National NewsLawyers working on a review of how the Toronto Dominion bank is investing in the Dakota Access pipeline said it has not idea when the project will be complete.In December, the bank issued a statement stating that it would undertake a review after protesters blocked several branches in Canada and the United States in an effort to get the bank to stop investing in the Dakota Access pipeline.“We’re focusing our attention on TD partly because it has invested the most money out of any Canadian bank into the Dakota access pipeline.” said Montreal demonstrator Meara Kirwin outside a downtown TD bank on a frigid February day.TD Securities is part of what’s called a lending syndicate – a group of banks that lends expensive projects money.In the case of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) TD has put in more than $360 million to help finance the controversial project.“We don’t think that banks should be funding human rights violations the way the Dakota access pipeline is doing in cooperation with the local police forces,” said Mohawk protester Kenneth Deer at a demonstration targeting a Montreal TD bank this past November.The response from the bank was to hire a human rights expert to conduct a review on behalf of the lenders and advise on recommended improvements.But Foley Hoag, the Boston law firm in charge of the review told APTN National News that despite having worked on it for more than three months, there’s no time frame to release the report.This comes at a time when court documents state the Dakota access pipeline might be operational as soon as next week.Now the demonstrators are wondering what’s taking the review so long.“Taking that long to do a review when the reality of the situation is very clear ethically and economically is completely unacceptable,” said Kirwin.TD declined to be interviewed for this firstname.lastname@example.org
APTN National NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau says he “regrets” comments he made about Sen. Patrick Brazeau in a recent interview with Rolling Stone magazine.Indigenous advocates denounced Trudeau’s comments in the U.S. magazine’s August issue where he referred to Brazeau as “the scrappy tough-guy senator from an Indigenous community.”“It wasn’t random,” Trudeau told RS correspondent Stephen Rodrick. “I wanted someone who would be a good foil … he fit the bill, and it was a very nice counterpoint. I saw it as the right kind ofnarrative, the right story to tell.”Trudeau’s comments referred to his victory in a 2012 charity boxing match against Brazeau, who is from the Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation in Quebec.As the winner, Trudeau went on to cut the tip of Brazeau’s braid in the foyer of the house of commons.APTN asked Brazeau about Trudeau’s remarks.“I’ll take it as a compliment,” Brazeau wrote.In an interview with CBC Radio One in Vancouver, Trudeau now says he regrets his choice of language in describing Brazeau.He says the way he characterized Brazeau “doesn’t contribute to the positive spirit of reconciliation.”Trudeau says he and his government have been working with Indigenous leaders and communities and he recognizes there are “a lot of patterns to change.”The issue hits news stands in August. Contact APTN National News here: email@example.com – with files from the Canadian Press
Holly MooreAPTN InvestigatesCanada’s highest court has denied a bid by Regina- based Merchant Law Group (MLG) Thursday declining to hear an appeal in a case where more than $20,000 of a residential school survivor’s compensation was retained by the firm to settle outstanding legal bills.Survivor J.S was awarded $93,000 Jan. 2014 under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement’s (IRSSA) Independent Assessment Process (IAP).MLG had, since 2000, acted for the woman and her son in both their IAP claims and in other unrelated legal matters.When the firm received the IAP compensation money for J.S. in trust, they raised the possibility of legal action if she failed to instruct the firm to withhold $21,310.83 to pay for the previously incurred legal bills.During the routine fee review conducted on each IAP file, the adjudication secretariat took note of the deduction for the previous legal bills and MLG was told to pay that money back.A 2006 Supreme Court of British Columbia decision, Article 18 of the IRSSA and the Financial Administration Act, all prohibit assignments. Because IAP claimants were considered especially vulnerable lawyers were expressly forbidden to assign any part of IAP compensation.MLG believed it could make an argument that this case was an exception to that prohibition.MLG filed a request for direction in October 2014 to retain part of the award to settle the debts. A B.C. court denied the request in 2016 and the law firm ordered to repay the money to J.S.Read the B.C. decision here: MLGThe court found the assignment was “impermissible” and ruled the firm was “not entitled to retain the funds.” MLG was ordered to return the cash to J.S with interest.With Thursday’s ruling that it won’t hear MLG’s appeal of that B.C. court decision. The case comes to an end.When contacted, Tony Merchant of MLG declined to comment.IAP Chief Adjudicator “pleased” with decision.“I am pleased that the SCC has allowed the decision of the BC Court of Appeal to stand,” wrote Dan Shapiro, the Chief Adjudicator of the IAP in an emailed statement.“The lower Court decision affirms that compensation awarded to claimants under the IAP cannot be assigned, as this would deny claimants the benefits to which they are entitled under the Settlement Agreement.” He added that the Court’s decision is consistent with case law, IAP decisions and “special clauses in our adjudicators’ fee rulings.”Shapiro provided direction to lawyers representing IAP clients in this document.He added that the decision ensures all compensation paid under the IAP will reach claimants apart from approved legal fees and firstname.lastname@example.org@HollyMooreaptn
Members of group that rallied outside Vernon, B.C., courthouse. (Facebook photo)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsA judge has denied bail for a suspect charged with violence against women in B.C.’s Okanagan district.The decision to keep Curtis Sagmoen behind bars was cheered by Indigenous activists gathered on the steps of the Vernon courthouse.“It did have an impact,” rally organizer Jody Leon told the small but vocal group.“At every bail hearing they heard your voices.”Allies and advocates from Vancouver and Kamloops were in the crowd, Leon said on Facebook.“When it comes to the next decision we’re going to be here.”Sagmoen faces a number of charges alleging violence against women in various B.C. communities.Evidence disclosed at the bail hearing cannot be published under a publication ban.But not in relation to the death of Traci Genereaux, whose body RCMP discovered on a farm owned by Sagmoen’s parents outside Vernon.Sagmoen was living in a trailer on the property prior to his arrest a year ago.Genereaux is one of five women – two Indigenous – missing from the area.Leon’s group has been helping families of the missing women search for clues.APTN Investigates documented their efforts in this story.They were also outside the courthouse for each of Sagmoen’s court appearances over the past few weeks in Vernon.The group drummed, waved homemade banners and chanted, “No more stolen sisters” as passing motorists honked their horns. email@example.com@katmarte
Danielle RochetteAPTN NewsThe council of Akwesasne has decided to take another path towards settling its issues with cannabis stores in the community.This was the decision after two police raids split the community.The stores were raided because they didn’t have a license from the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, but instead, they were licensed by a group called the Indian Way Longhouse.Now, despite the different perspectives on the issue, ongoing efforts are being made to encourage a peaceful solution.“We have since been in conversation with various representatives of the community into discuss what a more fullsome collective process would look like for the ongoing development of a framework regulatory for our community to be able to regulate and license the cannabis industry within Akwesasne,” said Abraham Benedict, grand chief of the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne.Roger Jock Kanerahtiio has been sitting on the men’s council for 13 years in the Indian Way Longhouse.As one of the representatives of the Longhouse, he denounced the interference of the Akwesasne Mohawk police and other non-Mohawk police on the Cannabis dispensaries.“Two times they were robbed,” he said. “Two times they were set back but they open the next day.“We do not live in a dictatorship we are Onkwehonweh and Onkwehonweh they are free.”Kanerahtiio says that things can be turned around in a positive way.“Communication is the most important thing and I think by working to come to peaceful understanding because basically I see that we can do that without having to say he won or we won or they won you know the people has got to win,” he said.Kanerahtiio is also hoping that the police will cooperate to the ongoing discussions.“I hope we do not see the aggression of the police again I really hope that they see that we are working it out and they need to stay out of the business as we know tensions get high really quick.”There is one thing that everybody agrees on – that some aspects of the cannabis business are good.“We want to create jobs in our community, we want to have small businesses,” said Abraham. “We want to have an economy that supporting our community as well as having a collective benefit for everybody it is just a matter of getting through the framework what the framework will look like.”firstname.lastname@example.org@danfromest
NEW YORK, N.Y. – CBS News has appointed Mosheh Oinounou (WAH-noo-noo) as the top behind-the-scenes executive at the “CBS Evening News,” where Jeff Glor recently took over as the anchor.Oinounou replaces Steve Capus as the show’s executive producer. CBS News President David Rhodes said Capus, a former NBC News president who has been the show’s executive producer for the past four years, will be staying at CBS in a role yet to be defined.CBS says Oinounou will be looking for digital extensions to the nightly newscast. He was part of the leadership team for the CBSN streaming service.The “CBS Evening News” generally draws about 7 million viewers a night, placing it third in the ratings to newscasts at ABC and NBC.
PARIS — The Latest on protests in France against rising fuel taxes (all times local):12:45 p.m.French interior ministry officials say that one protester has been killed and 47 injured as demonstrators block roads around France to protest gas price increases.Police say that three of the injured are in serious condition, according to the ministry. Officials say that 24 people have been arrested and 17 held for questioning.The protests over rising fuel taxes have drawn citizens upset about a host of problems like decreased buying power. An investigation was underway in the death of a protester in the eastern Savoie region, hit by a driver who apparently accelerated in a panic while caught in the demonstration, according to a regional official.Authorities didn’t give a breakdown about how the 47 others were injured during the protests.___8:20 a.m.Drivers in France are planning to block roads across the country to protest rising fuel taxes, in a new challenge to embattled President Emmanuel Macron.Protesters pledge to target tollbooths, roundabouts and the bypass that rings Paris on Saturday. The government is preparing to send police to remove protesters and threatening fines.The taxes are part of Macron’s strategy of weaning France off fossil fuels. Many drivers see them as emblematic of a presidency seen as disconnected from day-to-day economic difficulties.The protesters have dubbed themselves the “yellow jackets” because they wear fluorescent vests that all French drivers must keep in their vehicles in case of car troubles.Separately, ambulances briefly blocked Paris’ Champs-Elysees on Friday to protest new rules on ambulance financing and put pressure on Macron’s government.The Associated Press
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are slipping Tuesday morning as technology companies fall after President Donald Trump said he expects to put more tariffs on imports from China. That could increase the cost of products like laptops and smartphones. Other stocks are also lower after a strong gain the day before. Industrial conglomerate United Technologies is falling after saying it will split up into three smaller companies.KEEPING SCORE The S&P 500 index lost 6 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 2,667 at 10 a.m. Eastern time. The index jumped 1.6 per cent Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 127 points, or 0.5 per cent, to 24,512. The Nasdaq composite dipped 13 points, or 0.2 per cent, to 7,069. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks slid 6 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 1,499.MORE TARIFF TURMOIL FOR TECH: Trump told the Wall Street Journal that he expects to raise tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports on Jan. 1. That increase, already scheduled, will raise the tax rate on those products to 25 per cent from 10 per cent. Trump also threatened again to place tariffs on all remaining U.S. imports from China.The administration’s current tariffs have driven up costs for many businesses, but consumers haven’t felt as much of a sting. Another round of tariffs on products like laptops and computers would change that. Trump is scheduled to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Group of 20 summit in Argentina later this week.Apple gave up 1.2 per cent to $172.55, and chipmakers also fell. Intel fell 1.4 per cent to $46.74 and Microchip Technology lost 2.4 per cent to $73.93.Apple stock has fallen 26 per cent since early October, a drop that wiped out almost $300 billion in value. Apple and Microsoft are now essentially tied for the title of the most valuable publicly traded company in the world. Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market in October and November and it was unchanged at $106.47 Tuesday. Apple’s current market value is about $819 billion to $817 billion for Microsoft.NO LONGER UNITED: United Technologies said it will split into three companies now that it has finished its $23 billion purchase of aviation electronics maker Rockwell Collins. The company’s aerospace and defence industry business will keep the United Technologies name, while its Otis elevator business and Carrier air conditioner and building systems unit will become separate companies.The stock fell 6.1 per cent to $120.16.BRISTOL BRUISED: Bristol-Myers Squibb fell after it reported disappointing results from a cancer drug study. The company said the combination of its drugs Yervoy and Opdivo did not impose survival for patients with small cell lung cancer. Bristol-Myers was studying the drug as a maintenance therapy for patients who had already finished a round of chemotherapy.The stock shed 4.6 per cent to $50.32.ENERGY: Benchmark U.S. crude rose 0.4 per cent to $51.85 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 0.3 per cent to $60.64 a barrel in London.BONDS: Bond prices edged higher. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 3.06 per cent from 3.07 per cent.CURRENCIES: The dollar edged up to 113.67 yen from 113.64 yen. The euro felt to $1.1303 from $1.1328.OVERSEAS: Germany’s DAX fell 0.2 per cent and the British FTSE 100 slid 0.4 per cent. In France, the CAC 40 lost 0.3 per cent.Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added 0.6 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gave up 0.3 per cent.____AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAPMarley Jay, The Associated Press
New Delhi: A day after the announcement of 7-phase poll dates for Lok Sabha elections, the Opposition parties questioned the Election Commission’s decision to spread Lok Sabha polls in the states of West Bengal, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh over seven phases and alleged that voting has been staggered with a view to enabling extensive electioneering by the ruling NDA’s start campaigner – Prime Minister Narendra Modi.Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Monday suggested that the long-drawn Lok Sabha election process was part of the BJP’s “gameplan to disturb” her state. Banerjee, also the state’s ruling Trinamool Congress chief, said the list of candidates of her party will be released on Tuesday. Notably, all the three states – Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh—will witness 7-phase polling. In UP, 41 out of 80 seats (more than 50 per cent) have been squeezed into the last three stages of the election schedule, while the remaining 39 have been spread over four phases before the fasting month for Muslims start. Of them 14 will go to polls on the first day of Ramadan on May 6, another 14 on May 12 and the voting for the remaining 13 seats will be held on May 19. In West Bengal, where the BJP has been trying to gain a foothold to compensate for the possible losses in north India, polling for 42 Lok Sabha seats will be held in seven phases with 24 of them being scheduled for the last three phases (May 6, May 12 and May 19). Similarly, Bihar will see 21 out of a total of 40 seats going for polls in the last three phases during Ramadan. “It is strange that the number of phases over which voting will be held in Bihar is the same as that of the neighbouring Uttar Pradesh where the number of seats is twice as many and in West Bengal too, which has only 42 seats, polling will be held in seven phases,” RJD leader Shivanand Tiwary said.
Chennai: Asserting that law must not be applied selectively, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday said if his brother-in-law Robert Vadra can be probed so can Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his alleged role in the Rafale deal. He also said economic growth is directly related to the mood of the nation and one cannot expect it to happen in a negative and fearful atmosphere. The Congress will change the mood of the country and make people feel happy and empowered, the Congress chief said while addressing women students at a college here. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF Day Gandhi, who asked students to refer to him as Rahul, said the law must apply to everybody and not be applied selectively. He said this in response to a question on Vadra, who is being probed in connection with a money laundering case related to purchase of assets abroad and a land case in Rajasthan’s Bikaner district. During his informal interaction with the students, he also brought up the issue of the Rafale deal and reiterated his allegations about the pricing of the aircraft and the process. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penalty “I will be the first person to say it… Investigate Robert Vadra but also investigate Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” he said. Modi is a “corrupt” man, he bypassed negotiations and ran parallel negotiations on the Rafale deal, Gandhi alleged while responding to the question. The Congress chief said the prime minister should have the guts to face the media and asked why Modi was “hiding”. The BJP and the government have repeatedly rejected the Congress’s allegation of corruption in the Rafale fighter jet deal. He also alleged that the BJP’s idea is to capture every institution of the country and run them from Nagpur, the RSS headquarters. Gandhi said the Congress would pass the women’s reservation bill if it comes to power. “Don’t see enough women in leadership positions. You cannot have women in power in India until the attitude towards them changes,” he told the cheering crowd. In response to a question, he said he had learnt the lessons of humility and love from his mother Sonia Gandhi. He asked the gathering, “Did you like demonetisation?” When the audience answered, “No”, he said, “I think it’s pretty clear the damage demonetisation did. PM should have taken your advice.” Gandhi, who asked the students to challenge him and “make him uncomfortable”, also questioned whether the prime minister could stand in a large audience and answer people’s questions. Referring to Modi’s policies on Jammu and Kashmir, he said these were setting fire to the state and blamed the Centre for not strategically and systematically handling terrorism. As soon as Modi assumed power, he made a “huge mistake” of forging an alliance with PDP just for the sake of power. “Today Narendra Modi ji’s policies are actually setting fire to Kashmir,” he said, alleging that it was his policies that were allowing Pakistan to carry out terrorist acts in India. Gandhi underscored the need to engage the people of Kashmir and bring them “on our side.” The prime minister’s policies “pushes the people away so you cannot fight terrorism with one off gestures,” he said. Noting that it was “our responsibility” to stop the neighbouring country from carrying out terror strikes and save our people, Gandhi said, “It is not good enough to say that 45 CRPF men died and now we will do something.” He sought to know why the attack (in Pulwama) was not stopped in the first place. Forty CRPF personnel were killed and five injured on February 14 in one of the deadliest terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir when a Jaish-e-Mohammad suicide bomber rammed a vehicle carrying explosives into their bus in Pulwama district. Claiming that the Congress pursued a policy of systematic and strategic approach in Jammu and Kashmir, he said the NDA government had not followed a similar policy. “We actually crushed terrorism,” he said and referred to the “drastic fall” in the number of soldiers and people killed during UPA’s tenure. The Congress followed a multi-pronged approach when it came to power in 2004 and toed both systematic and strategic lines, he said. “And it was successful,” he said adding it led to diplomatic isolation of Pakistan. Gandhi also called his party’s minimum income guarantee scheme a revolutionary idea.
Mumbai: Music maestro A R Rahman has teamed up with Marvel India to create an all-new anthem for Avengers: Endgame in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu. The track, to be released on April 1, is a treat for Indian fans of the Avengers franchise, which is massively popular in the country. “Being surrounded by Marvel fans in my own family, there was too much pressure to come with something really satisfying and apt for ‘Avengers: Endgame’. I hope Marvel aficionados and music lovers enjoy the track,” Rahman said in a statement. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”Avengers: Endgame is not just a movie, it’s an emotional journey for fans everywhere in India. An original composition by Oscar winner A R Rahman was the perfect way to celebrate the love for Marvel among fans in the country. This is our small way of thanking the fans here for their extraordinary support,” said Bikram Duggal, Head – Studios, Marvel India. The film is produced by Kevin Feige and directed by Anthony and Joe Russo.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said the BJP-led NDA will continue with fiscal prudence and lower tax rates if elected back to power. He further said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has cut tax rates on consumption items to 12 or 18 per cent from the highest slab of 28 per cent and lowering rate on cement is next on agenda. “I speak in terms of taxation policies… I’m quite clear in my mind that on two issues at least we had – a lot of good fiscal prudence and we brought the rates down, these are two areas, if we are in power we will continue the same glide path,” Jaitley said while addressing the CII AGM here. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe general elections will be held in phases beginning April 11 and counting of votes will take place on May 23. Jaitley said India’s growth has stabilised between 7-7.5 per cent and irrespective of global trends, domestic consumption is going to increase. “We have come to 7-7.5 per cent (growth rate) range despite the fact that there is no global boom or support of any kind, and we have stabilised at that, you need to graduate further,” he added. The Reserve Bank of India Thursday cut its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal by 20 basis points (bps) to 7.2 per cent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe minister said that over the last 5 years the government did not increase tax rates, and in some cases doubled tax base and increased tax collection. “In the last 20 odd months of the GST except for Cement that is because of affordability, … every item of consumption has come down to 18 per cent and 12 per cent category from 28 per cent. So, it is only a matter of time that the last one also comes down,” Jaitley said. Asked what steps would be taken if the government comes to power, Jaitley said, “Wait for a couple of days, when our manifesto comes out, you may find some of the views expressed in that”. The government had revised upwards the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 fiscal to 3.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent projected in the budget. For current fiscal, which begun on April 1, the fiscal deficit target has been set at 3.4 per cent.
In a significant decision, the Bombay High Court has clarified the law on abortion in India. It is legal. Every woman has a fundamental right to her sexual and reproductive autonomy and choose whether to retain her pregnancy or not. But this is not an absolute right, and is subject to certain exceptions in law, as prescribed in The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act) which seeks to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners. Section 3 of the Act provides that a registered medical practitioner can terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, or two registered medical practitioners can terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks if they are of the opinion that continued pregnancy would involve a risk to the pregnant woman’s life or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health, or there exists a substantial risk to the child’s health. The MTP Act further allows termination of pregnancy beyond twenty weeks, if the doctor opines that such termination is immediately necessary to save the woman’s life. However, doctors are highly reluctant to conduct abortions beyond 20 weeks without court approval. In most cases, women seeking abortion after 20 weeks have to approach the High Courts or the Supreme Court, who then set up a medical board consisting of a panel of doctors to decide whether abortion could be allowed or not. In Ms. Z v. State of Bihar (2018), a woman was raped in a shelter home, and her request for abortion in 17 weeks was not allowed by the hospital. When she approached the High Court, she was again denied, which was overturned by the Supreme Court. However, she was already 26 weeks’ pregnant by the time her matter was heard in the Apex Court, and she was not allowed to abort. The Supreme Court held that “the duty cast on the authorities under the Medical Termination Pregnancy Act, 1971 is not dutifully performed, and the failure has ultimately given rise to a catastrophe, a prolonged torment”. In the present case, referring to various High Courts and Supreme Court decisions, the Bombay High Court gave certain interim directions for the implementation of the MTP Act. The High Court categorically held that a registered medical practitioner is entitled to terminate a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if she is of the opinion that such termination is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. But if she opines that there is no immediate danger to the life of pregnant woman, then she is not entitled to terminate the pregnancy beyond 20 weeks without court’s approval, even if such pregnancy may cause grave physical or mental harm or there is a substantial risk to the child. In the latter case, the pregnant woman has to approach the High Court directly to seek permission for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The Court further directed the State to set up medical boards in each district in order to examine pregnant women and assess the feasibility of termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. It is argued that though the High Court attempted to clear the confusion regarding termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, by doing so, it has made the law on abortion more difficult for women in India. As noted before, the issue of termination of pregnancy exceeding 20 weeks is a vexed one plaguing the courts for the last many years. The High Court’s distinction between cases with an immediate risk to woman’s life, and those where the same risk is not there, but there’s a substantial risk to her physical/mental health or to the child is a flawed one. The High Court failed to take note that while there may not be an immediate risk to her life, to force her to approach the Courts which would then take their own time to set up a medical board to assess pregnancy would cause irreparable damage to her physical/mental health, especially if there is a delay in adjudicating the matter, like what happened in Ms. Z v. State of Bihar. In many cases, by the time the Supreme Court or the High Courts allowed the termination of pregnancy, several weeks had passed, thereby making it impossible to conduct the termination, and forcing women to bear unwanted pregnancy. It is an irony that a law like MTP that primarily pertains to women’s bodies has not been enacted from women’s rights perspective, but to exempt medical doctors from penalty vis-à-vis offences in the IPC regarding causing miscarriage and causing fetal death. Despite referring to women’s rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bombay High Court failed to make the women’s reproductive autonomy central to the interpretation of the MTP Act. If a pregnant woman seeks to terminate her pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, then her physical/mental health should be of main concern, even if there is no immediate risk to her life. To compel her to get involved in complex bureaucratic procedures of court approval, which includes examination by a medical board, is an affront to her sexual and reproductive autonomy. It is hoped that this rigidity of interpretation is relaxed in the future, and a truly progressive regime on abortion is ushered in this country soon. (The author is an Attorney. The views expressed are strictly personal)
New Delhi: Congress president Rahul Gandhi and his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who are on the campaign trail for the Lok Sabha polls, met each other at the Kanpur airport in Uttar Pradesh and shared a few light-hearted moments.Posting a video of their meeting on Facebook, Rahul Gandhi wrote: “Was nice meeting Priyanka at Kanpur Airport! We’re headed to different meetings in UP.” “Let me tell you what it means be a good brother. What it means is that I am doing these massive long flights and I am going in a little helicopter squeezed up. And she is doing short flights and going in a big helicopter,” he says in the video, with Priyanka Gandhi laughing and saying “that is not true”. But, I love her, the Congress chief added. The two also posed for photographs with pilots and the airport ground staff. While Rahul Gandhi was in Raebareli and Amethi on Saturday, Congress general secretary in-charge Uttar Pradesh (East) Priyanka Gandhi was in Unnao and Barabanki.
Beijing: Leading the final from beginning to end, Abhishek Verma secured India’s fifth Olympic quota place in shooting, winning the 10m air pistol gold medal at the ISSF World Cup here Saturday. Shooting in his maiden International Shooting Sport Federation World Cup final, the lawyer-turned-shooter led the field throughout the men’s 10m air pistol event to clinch the top spot with a total score of 242.7. Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver with a total of 240.4 points in the eight-man final. Korea’s Seungwoo Han finished with a bronze after shooting 220.0 in the final. Also Read – We will push hard for Kabaddi”s inclusion in 2024 Olympics: RijijuSon of a siting judge, Verma showcased his class in what was only his first ISSF World Cup final. The Indians have sealed five quota places for the Tokyo Olympics so far with young Saurabh Chaudhary clinching one in 10m air pistol event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi earlier this year. With this, India have clinched both their quotas in this event. Incidentally, Verma made his World Cup debut in New Delhi but failed to qualify for the final at home. Also Read – Djokovic to debut against Shapovalov at Shanghai MastersIn the Chinese capital on Saturday, Verma shot a total of 585 points to qualify for the final at the fourth spot. He was the only Indian who progressed to the final with Shahzar Rizvi and Arjun Singh Cheema finishing 32nd and 54th respectively. Verma, who had won a bronze medal in the 10m air pistol event during his India debut at the Asian Games, does not have much international exposure, making the feat even more creditable. This was his fourth big final in less than nine months and a third international medal in his very first year. He was on the job from the word go, evident from a score of 97 in his first qualifying series. He shot a 100 in the fourth and finished with 98 and 97 for a qualification round score of 585, his best in a short international career. The total placed him in a comfortable fourth place in the 97-strong field. Park Daehun of Korea topped the field with a 586. The final eight comprised names such as former Olympic champion Pang Wei of China, world championship silver medallist and world number two Artem Chernusov of Russia as well as experienced campaigners and multiple ISSF medallists like Oleh Omelchuk of Ukraine and Yusuf Dikec of Turkey among others. Verma, however, remained unfazed and pulled off a comfortable victory in the end. In the day’s other events, Manu Bhaker was the best-placed Indian shooter after the precision stage of the women’s 25m pistol qualifications round. She shot 291 to be four points behind the leader in 14th spot while Asian Games champion Rahi Sarnobat’s effort of 288 put her in 29th place. Chinki Yadav shot 284 to lie in 57th spot. All three Indians in the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions (3P) event also comfortably sailed through their elimination round and will shoot the qualifying round on Sunday, which is also the concluding day of competitions. On Friday, Rajasthan’s 17-year-old teenager Divyansh Singh Panwar on Friday secured India’s fourth Olympic quota place by winning silver in 10m air rifle event. This is India’s fifth 2020 Tokyo Olympic quota after Anjum Moudgil and Apurvi Chandela (10m air rifle women), Saurabh Choudhary (10m Air Pistol men) and Divyansh had secured berths in the earlier World Cups and last year’s World Saurabh Chaudhary was fielded in the MQS category earlier in the day to boost the chances of another Olympic quota place for India.
Kolkata: The Election Commission has ordered repolling in one polling booth in West Bengal’s Bankura parliamentary constituency on May 19, an official said. The constituency had voted in the sixth phase of polls on May 12. As per the notice on Friday, the EC has ordered the repoll in Chhatarkanali Prathamik Vidyalaya that falls under the Saltora assembly segment. The booth will go for the polls from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. along with the seventh phase elections for nine seats. There are 1,936 polling stations in Bankura parliamentary constituency
Rabat – Soumia Benkhaldoun, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, said that 240,000 students will benefit from a Government-sponsored medical coverage that is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016).In an interview with Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the Minister pointed out that 240,000 university students out of 900,000 will benefit from the compulsory medical coverage which will be entirely financed by the government.The new procedure will cost 120 million Dirhams from the state budget, the Minister said. Benkhaldoun added that work is underway to come with a list of students who are eligible to benefit from the medical coverage, saying that this category will have special cards that will allow them to benefit from the medical coverage.First, only university students will benefit from the medical coverage then later it will include students from institutions of higher education and students from vocational training institutions.The operation will be managed by the Caisse Nationale Des Organismes de Prévoyance Sociale (CNOPS) and it is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016).
Rabat – Togolese footballer and Tottenham Hotspur forward Emmanel Adebayor converted to Islam.The former Real Madrid player has announced his reversion to Islam at an event in his home country of Togo. A YouTube video shows the 31-year-old striker taking the Shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith that one must utter prior to his or her conversion to Islam.In May, London-based club Tottenham gave the player compassionate leave for the second time during the season to return to Togo to resolve some family issues. The Togo international took to Facebook to write about his family issues and said he had considered to commit suicide at some point.Tottenham are said to be willing to sell Adebayor during the summer transfer window but they are also reported to be concerned about his mental well-being.Adebayor played for many European clubs including, Metz, Monaco, Arsenal, Manchester City and Real Madrid.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission.