Sandra Kelly has done everything from painting hop-scotch blocks on the school playground to organizing pedometer challenges to help get her students active and physically fit. The Seton Elementary School principal has also encouraged students to participate in community runs and fitness challenges, established a walk-to-school program, and made sure her North Sydney school sells only healthy beverages, like 100 per cent fruit juices and milk, in the vending machines. Ms. Kelly takes student health seriously, and she is not the only one. The veteran educator is one of 26 teachers and education partners being honoured during provincial Education Week for their efforts to promote healthy eating and physical activity in their schools. This year’s Education Week theme is Healthy Living: Step up to the Plate. Education Week runs from April 23-29. “The truth is that healthy children learn better, and that schools can play a major role in promoting healthy, active living,” said Education Minister Jamie Muir. “There are many educators like Sandra Kelly right across this province who are stepping up to the plate to help students enhance the quality of their lives by encouraging them make healthy choices.” The award nominees were recognized at a ceremony today, April 24, at the Nova Scotia Community College’s Akerley Campus in Dartmouth. Ms. Kelly says it is part of her job to get students excited about, and interested in, healthy eating and physical fitness. “I think it’s making a difference. We are seeing our students more engaged and certainly more on task,” she said. Over the past three years Ms. Kelly and her staff have used a number of techniques to highlight the importance of a healthy lifestyle. The school has filled the area around the school with games, promoted activity breaks, offered prizes for kids who walk to school, and entered the school in the Fiddlers Run and Cape Breton The Lakes Active Healthy Living challenges. One of her innovative approaches has been to use pedometers so students could compete with each other to see who walked the furthest over the course of a week. The school also allows children to eat fruit and other healthy foods while in class. Developing and promoting healthy, active learners has been a key element of the province’s Learning For Life II, government’s plan for education. Over the current school year, the Department of Education and Nova Scotia Health Promotion and Protection have expanded the health curriculum and worked with boards to implement healthy eating policies. Support has also been made available to hire more qualified physical education teachers and increase the minimum time for phys-ed instruction. Education Week, celebrated in Nova Scotia since the 1930s, is supported by five key education partners: the Department of Education, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, the Nova Scotia Federation of Home and School Associations, and la Federation des parents acadiens de la Nouvelle-Ecosse. For the fourth year in a row, Education Week is being sponsored by the Teachers Plus Credit Union.
The province is asking Nova Scotians for input into energy and greenhouse-gas reduction policies. Energy Minister Bill Dooks announced today, Oct. 22, that his department is updating its 2001 Energy Strategy and also creating a new Climate Change Action Plan. “We’re committed to growing our economy and cutting emissions at the same time,” said Mr. Dooks. “To get there, we need a plan grounded in reality –- to create real opportunities for Nova Scotians and to make the changes we need to thrive, both now and in the future. That plan must involve input from Nova Scotians.” The province has created two documents, entitled “Consultation Paper: Nova Scotia’s Renewed Energy Strategy” and “A Background Paper to Guide Nova Scotia’s Climate Change Action Plan,” to help inform public discussion. The first deals with broad energy policy and the second mostly with climate change –- especially action to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. The information gathered through written submission and public consultation supported by these two documents will be used to create the Energy Strategy and the Climate Action Plan. Consultation on both is scheduled for this fall, with release dates scheduled for spring 2008. “Both plans will share the same goal — to meet the 2020 deadline for cutting our greenhouse-gas emissions to 10 per cent below 1990 levels, while continuing to see our economy grow,” said Mr. Dooks. “Our province’s homegrown energy resources will play a major role in meeting these goals, from wind to natural gas to tidal. But, our greatest resource will be the creativity and determination of Nova Scotians.” The consultation and background documents are available on-line at: www.gov.ns.ca/energy/energystrategy or by calling 902-424-8090. Reference copies will be mailed shortly to Nova Scotia libraries. Submissions can be made electronically to: email@example.com (for the Energy Strategy), firstname.lastname@example.org (for the Climate Change Action Plan). Submissions can be made in writing to: Department of Energy, Energy Strategy/Climate Change Action Plan, 400-5151 George St., P.O. Box 2664, Halifax, N.S., B3J 3P7. The deadline for written submissions is Dec. 12. Please check the website in the coming weeks for consultation dates and locations.
Economic issues dominated discussion today, Oct. 29, between Premier Rodney MacDonald and members of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. It was the latest in a series of meetings with business leaders in Nova Scotia. Premier MacDonald said that with the global economic situation dominating headlines, now is the time for the people of the province to work together to ensure stability. “We will get through these difficulties,” said the Premier. “Government needs to show leadership in times like this, but part of leadership is working with people, listening to their ideas, and getting feedback on initiatives that have already begun.” The Premier reiterated his commitment to a balanced budget. He said if that means making hard decisions regarding spending, then he is willing to make those decisions. “Other provinces are running deficits, but we are not going to run a deficit,” he said. “I am absolutely committed to that.” Chamber officials told the premier that so far, consumer confidence in Nova Scotia remains strong, and urged the premier and government to take action to ensure that businesses and consumers remain optimistic about the province’s economic situation. “So far, business hasn’t been affected too much, but it can take six months or so for the impact to start showing up in stores and businesses around the province,” said Valerie Payn, president of the Halifax Chamber. “We need to work together to ensure consumer confidence doesn’t erode.” Other issues discussed at the meeting included downtown Halifax development, the province’s tax review, and the shortage of skilled labour in Nova Scotia. The premier will meet with the Nova Scotia Chamber of Commerce next month. Last week, he met with members of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. The premier will also attend the first ministers meeting on the economy being hosted by the prime minister in early November.
With the temperature dropping and holiday decorations going up, Nova Scotians are urged to take care and keep safety front and centre. “Electrical and fire safety can sometimes be forgotten in the excitement of installing Christmas lights and finding that perfect tree for the house,” said Minister Marilyn More, Labour and Workforce Development. “Following a few tips from the fire marshal can help make sure you and your family have safe and joyous holiday season.” “Unfortunately, this time of year we can see an increase in certain types of fires,” said Harold Pothier, acting Fire Marshal. “However, there are a few simple steps you can take to prevent potential fire hazzards when the weather gets colder and many of us are decorating with lights, trees and candles.” Over the holidays and winter months, always remember to: In addition, Nova Scotians should take care when installing their Christmas lights. Lights should be checked over carefully for wear, installed following the manufacturers instructions and should not be installed with staples. For more information on fire safety, contact the Office of the Fire Marshal at 1-800-559-3473. take care when cooking or smoking never discard fireplace or wood stove ashes in your green bin. Instead, place them outdoors in a metal container and away from your house. Let the ashes sit for at least 72 hours before disposing them never leave candles unattended. Keep out of the reach of children and pets, and place in a sturdy holder. Battery-operated candles and lights are safe and convenient alternatives water your natural tree, turn out the lights when not in use, and keep it away from heaters or any flammable objects.
David Muise, Sydney Ian MacLean, Pictou Rollie Thompson, Halifax Cathy Dalziel, Halifax Fae Shaw, Halifax Judith Ann McPhee, Halifax Lynn Connors, Kentville Karen Leslie Hudson, Halifax Darrell Dexter, Dartmouth Roderick (Rory) Rogers, Halifax Timothy Daley, New Glasgow Sean Layden, Dartmouth Dianne Lynn McGrath, Sydney Shawna Yvonne Hoyte, Halifax “I congratulate all recipients on this special designation,” said Mr. Landry. “An independent committee has recognized these individuals for their commitment to serving the justice system, their communities and all Nova Scotians.” Queen’s Counsel appointment criteria includes a minimum of 15 years as a member of the bar of Nova Scotia, demonstration of professional integrity, good character and outstanding contributions to the practice of law. The Queen’s Counsel Advisory Committee is chaired by Chief Justice Michael MacDonald. Other members of the committee include Alice Almond, Janice Beaton, Robert Dickson, Ronald MacDonald, Harvey McPhee, Harry Munro, Terry Roane, William Ryan, Kimberley Turner, and John W. Traves. Justice Minister and Attorney General Ross Landry announced today, Feb. 25, the Queen’s Counsel Advisory Committee recommendation for the appointment of 14 lawyers as recipients of the prestigious Queen’s Counsel designation. The appointees are:
An independent Nova Scotia human rights board of inquiry in the case of Francis Xavier Anopuechi v. Atlantic Private Protection Services and Christopher Sandeson is scheduled to begin Monday, May 4. Mr. Anopuechi alleges Mr. Sandeson, a security officer employed by Atlantic Private Protection Services, discriminated against him while he was shopping based on his skin colour and race. The board of inquiry will begin at 9:30 a.m., in the Banook Room, Holiday Inn Harbourview, 101 Wyse Rd., Dartmouth. The board chair is Eric Slone, who is independent of the commission, which is representing the public interest at the inquiry. -30-
Twenty-four community organizations and groups are receiving grants to prevent domestic violence. “Domestic violence is a complex issue that affects too many Nova Scotians,” said Kelly Regan, Minister responsible for the Advisory Council on the Status of Women, today, April 29. “What we learn from these projects, along with the deep expertise in our communities, will help build the best plan for addressing and preventing domestic violence.” The grants, totalling $912,000, are part of the work to develop Standing Together, a provincial plan to prevent domestic violence and support victims and their families. A wide range of projects are receiving grants. They include ones focused on addressing domestic violence in specific communities, including African Nova Scotian and Mi’kmaw communities, as well as projects focused on engaging and developing supports for groups such as children and youth, men and boys, girls and young women and women with disabilities. “We welcome the support of the province for our project, Not Just Victims of Family Violence: Our Children, Our Future,” said Shiva Nourpanah, provincial co-ordinator of the Transition House Association of Nova Scotia. “We developed this two-year project in partnership with SeaStar Child and Youth Advocacy Centre at the IWK Health Centre. It will deliver expert, trauma-informed training on working with children who have experienced domestic and family violence to the staff of our member organizations, and put standardized, consistent practices in place across the province.” Eleven of the 24 grant recipients received Standing Together Shift grants, which provide up to $75,000 to help organizations explore, develop and test new ideas for preventing domestic violence and providing support to victims and their families. Thirteen projects received Standing Together Prevention grants. These grants provide up to $10,000 for projects that raise awareness of domestic violence and encourage people and communities to get involved and take action. Research Nova Scotia is administering the grants. The recipients were selected by an independent review committee. For a list of projects receiving grants, please see www.novascotia.ca/standingtogether .
New Delhi: In a bone-chilling incident, a man in Farsh Bazar area allegedly killed his father, chopped his body into pieces. The accused told police that his father used to scold him and in a fit of rage, he murdered him.The accused and his friend has been arrested in the case. The deceased’s family members alleged that he (deceased) had some property dispute with his family. Police identified the deceased as Sandesh Aggarwal. His brother said that the deceased lived alone whereas his family resides in another part of the house in Farsh Bazar area. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarDeputy Commissioner of Police (Shahdara) Meghna Yadav said that they have arrested accused Aman Aggarwal (son) and his friend Ayush from Farsh Bazar. “Deceased’s son said that he was scolded by his father regarding the job. He killed him in a fit of rage and then chopped his body for disposal,” said DCP Yadav. Police further said that in more than three big poly bags, the accused had kept his father’s body parts. During interrogation, accused told us that they did not have made any plan regarding disposal. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance”They might have thrown plastic bags in any dustbin or drain,” a police officer said adding that they were arrested from the spot. Deceased’s brother Rakesh Aggarwal said that there was a property dispute between him (deceased) and his family members related to the cosmetic shop owned by Sandesh.”On May 21, I made phone call to Sandesh but his phone was switched off. Later, I went to his house and knock the door. After sometime his son Aman Aggarwal opened the door,” said Aadesh Aggarwal, deceased’s brother. He further said,” When I asked him about Sandesh he told me to go and search. I went to my brother’s room which was unlocked. I again asked his son about his father but he told me that the deceased had left the house around 2 pm carrying a bag.” According to deceased’s brother, he scanned the CCTV recording but Sandesh was not seen. “I asked Aman about his mother he told me that she had gone out of station. I made phone call to Sandesh’s wife she told me to call relative’s,” added the brother. Later, Aadesh made a PCR call. Meanwhile a car stopped in front of Sandesh’s house and accused friend Ayush came out from the vehicle. Earlier the accused son stopped deceased’s brother to check his room but when the police arrived his room was searched. “When policemen strictly questioned Aman he took them to a shop which was situated in the ground floor. His friend Ayush was also there. Three polythene bags were kept and during the search, body parts of my brother was recovered,” added brother. DCP Meghna Yadav said that Aman claimed that he cut his father with the help of knife. The deceased’s family members said that Sandesh other relatives are also involved. “Family have alleged regarding the involvement of more people which is being investigated,” said DCP Shahdara. Reports were coming that he cut his father body in more than half-dozen pieces.
London: Glaciers become the largest supplier of water to some of Asia’s major river basins during droughts, fulfilling the basic needs of 221 million people when water shortages are at their worst, a study has found. The study, published in journal Nature, has important economic and social implications for a region that is vulnerable to drought. Climate change is causing most of the region’s glaciers to shrink. Hamish Pritchard, a glaciologist at the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) in the UK, said that the melt-water is important for the people living downstream when the rains fail and water shortages are at their worst. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’According to researchers, each summer, glaciers release 36 cubic kilometres of water — equivalent to 14 million Olympic swimming pools — to these rivers. This is enough water to cater to the needs of 221 million people. The high-mountain region of Asia, known as the Third Pole, including the Himalayas, has 95,000 glaciers in total. About 800 million people are partly dependent on their melt-water. However, this supply is unsustainable because climate change is causing the region’s glaciers to lose 1.6 times more water than they gain each year from new snowfall. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaResearchers analysed estimates of the glacier contribution with the amount of precipitation in average years and in drought years. They used climate datasets and hydrological modelling to calculate the volume of glacier water entering and leaving the region’s major river basins. “Even in high-mountain Asia, they are remote and cover quite a small part of the region. It turns out that they are particularly valuable to society as a natural store of water that keeps the rivers flowing through summer, even through long droughts,” Pritchard said. Against a background of increasing drought-related water and food shortages and malnutrition, which have been predicted with high confidence for the coming decades, Pritchard said that Asia’s glaciers will play an increasingly important part in protecting downstream populations from drought-induced spikes in water stress.
New Delhi: The government will continue to take steps for further simplification of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), President Ram Nath Kovind said Thursday. Addressing the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, the president said the indirect tax system is being made simple and effective. “With the implementation of GST, the concept of ‘One country, One tax, One market’ has become a reality. Efforts to further simplify the GST will continue,” he said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepThe GST, which subsumed over a dozen local taxes, was rolled out on July 1, 2017. He said that keeping in mind the interest of traders, accident insurance of up to Rs 10 lakh will also be provided to all traders registered under GST. Kovind also said for small traders, the government will soon constitute the National Traders Welfare Board and formulate a National Retail Trade Policy to promote retail business. The taxation regime, he noted, plays an important role in accelerating economic development. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs”Along with continuous reform, simplification of taxation system is also being emphasised. Exemption to persons earning up to Rs 5 lakh from payment of income tax is an important step in this direction,” he added. Terming infrastructure as pivotal in propelling prosperity and growth, President Ram Nath Kovind Thursday said the government’s endeavour is to build 35,000 km of highways, besides expressways, by 2022 and to lay a strong foundation for urban infrastructure that will encourage employment generation. Addressing the joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament, the President said massive work to create infrastructure is underway, and electric vehicles (EVs) are being promoted to reduce pollution. “Under the ‘Bharatmala Project’, construction or upgradation of about 35,000 kilometres of national highways is to be undertaken by 2022. In addition, under the the ‘Sagarmala Project’, a network of good-quality roads is being constructed in coastal areas and areas adjoining ports,” he said. Along with the highways, the government is also working extensively in areas such as railways, airways and inland waterways. Under the Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik (UDAN) scheme, air connectivity to smaller towns is being expanded rapidly, he said. “On this path of a New India, infrastructure for the 21st century will be built and all resources for creation of a powerful India will be mobilised… Infrastructure will play an important role in ushering in a prosperous India,” he said. The President said the current government’s continuous endeavour has been to build infrastructure in an eco-friendly manner. Along with concrete, greenery has been made an integral part of the highway and expressway projects. For supply of electricity, optimal utilisation of solar energy is being stressed, he said adding that household and industrial wastes are also being used in road construction. The President said that in the 21st-century economy, the pace and spread of urbanisation will continue to increase and there is need to develop urban infrastructure. He said urban transport infrastructure is being created to cater to the current and future requirements.
Lucknow:After a video of two inmates flashing a country-made pistol at the Uttar Pradesh’s Unnao jail went viral on social media, the Samajwadi Party Thursday termed the incident an “open challenge” to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath. The party alleged the jails in the state were in the pocket of criminals. “Uttar Pradesh ki jail me kuch bhi ho sakta hai. Unnao jail se mukhyamatri ko khula challenge. Raebareli jail me lag rahi kaidi ki adalat. Apradhiyon ki jeb me mukhyamantri ki jail! (Anything can happen in UP jails. It’s an open challenge to the CM from the Unnao jail. In the Rae Bareli jail, criminals are holding a court. The CM’s jail is in the pocket of criminals), the party said in a tweet. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah Commenting on the issue, party spokesman Sharvendra Bikram Singh said criminal ruled the roost in the jail. In the video that went viral on social media, two inmates were seen flashing a country-made pistol, prompting the state government to initiate action against four officials of the Unnao district jail. The UP Home Department, however, Wednesday came up with a bizarre clarification, saying the pistol was made of “clay” and looked real as one of the two inmates was a “good painter”. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey Colony The video of the inmates– Amrish and Gaurav Pratap Singh, alias Ankur– was circulated on social media on June 23 and the state government had termed the entire sequence of events serious. Additional Director General (Prisons) Anand Kumar had said, “In the probe, it was found that the incident took place in collusion with some jail officials to put pressure on the jail administration.” “Head Jail Warders Mata Prasad and Hemraj and Jail Warders Awadhesh Sahu and Saleem Khan have been found colluding with the inmates. Action is being initiated against them as per rules,” he had said, adding that the video dated back to February. “Inmate Amrish was brought to the Unnao jail from Meerut, while Gaurav was transferred from Lucknow,” he said. In a statement, the Home Department said, “During the probe, it was found that Gaurav is a very good painter and the pistol shown in the video is made of clay.” “Apart from this, all the food items, which are seen in the video, are regular items, which are given to the inmates. None of the items were brought from outside or are objectionable,” it added. The statement also said that Amrish, a resident of Meerut, was serving life term in a case of loot and murder while Gaurav, who hails from Rae Bareli, was named in similar cases.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a petition challenging s Bombay High Court judgment, allowing reservations for Marathas in jobs and educational institution. The matter will come up for hearing on Friday. The Bombay High Court in June upheld the validity of reservations in education and government jobs granted to the Maratha community under the Socially and Educationally Backward Class (SEBC) category but reduced the quantum from 16 per cent. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu Bringing down the quota from the proposed 16 per cent to 12 per cent in education and 13 per cent in jobs, it observed that the higher quota was “not justifiable”. A Division Bench of Justices Ranjit More and Bharati Dangre also said that the government was entitled to create a separate category for SEBCs and grant them reservations. The verdict came on a bunch of petitions challenging the state government’s November 2018 decision granting 16 per cent reservation to the Maratha community under the SEBC category. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC In his initial reaction, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis welcomed the court verdict and indicated that the new quota percentages recommended were acceptable to the government. Vijayalaxmi Khopade, the lawyer for one of the petitioners, said the court also endorsed the report of the nine-member M.G. Gaikwad Commission classifying the Marathas as a “Socially and Educationally Backward Class”. The judges said the reservations proposed by the Maharashtra government were based on justifiable data submitted by the Backward Class Commission, Khopade had told IANS.
New Delhi: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the government’s own advisers had now admitted that the country’s economy was in a “deep mess” and asked the Centre to remonetise it by putting money in the hands of “the needy and not the greedy”. He also said the Congress had been cautioning about the state of the economy for long. “Government’s own economic advisors have finally acknowledged what we cautioned for long – India’s economy is in a deep mess. “Now, accept our solution and remonetise the economy, by putting money back in the hands of the needy and not the greedy,” Gandhi wrote on Twitter.
Kolkata: A Trinamool Congress councillor of Asansol Municipal Corporation identified as Md Khalid was shot dead on Saturday night, in front of his home at Barakar in Asansol.Three miscreants came to the area on a bike and fired multiple rounds at him. When Khalid hit the ground, the miscreants fled the scene. According to sources, Khalid, who was the councillor of ward 66 of Asansol Municipal Corporation, had gone out of his home for a stroll on Saturday night. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaWhen he was about to enter his house at Manberia in Barakar with his younger brother Arman at around 12 am on Saturday night, three miscreants came there on a bike. Two of them came down from the bike and came close to Khalid. Before he could react, one of the miscreants shot a round at his leg. When he was trying to reach his home, the miscreant shot another round at Khalid’s chest. As soon as Khalid fell down, the miscreants fled. Arman, who was close to Khalid, tried to stop the bike but failed. Immediately, Khalid’s neighbours and family members rushed him to Asansol District Hospital where doctors declared him brought dead. Later, Arman stated that he Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayis suspecting three persons with possible motive for the crime. He also stated that Khalid was attacked a few years ago as well. Before that, they had even attacked Khalid’s father. The suspected persons are their family members. The Mayor of Asansol Municipal Corporation reached the hospital as soon as he got the news. Later, he said: “Khalid’s brother is suspecting some persons, about which he has informed the police. We also want the culprits behind bars soon. Police will do the needful.” Later on Sunday night, police arrested a person identified as Tinku Khan, who is a relative of Khalid. It is suspected that the attack was due to some family dispute.
Washington: US President Donald Trump on Saturday confirmed that Hamza bin Laden, the son and designated heir of Al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, was killed in a counter-terrorism operation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. US media reported in late July and early August, citing intelligence officials, that the younger Bin Laden had been killed sometime in the last two years in an operation that involved the United States. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper confirmed the death last month, saying it was “his understanding” that Bin Laden was dead, but Trump and other senior officials had not publicly confirmed the news. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”Hamza bin Laden, the high-ranking al-Qaeda member and son of Osama bin Laden, was killed in a United States counterterrorism operation in the Afghanistan/Pakistan region,” Trump said in a brief statement issued by the White House. “The loss of Hamza bin Laden not only deprives Al-Qaeda of important leadership skills and the symbolic connection to his father but undermines important operational activities of the group.” The statement did not specify the timing of the operation.
HALIFAX – Two years after an Air Canada jet crash-landed in a blizzard at Halifax’s airport, injuring 25 people, the results of a Transportation Safety Board investigation will be released Thursday.Flight 624 landed about 200 metres short of runway 05 at Halifax Stanfield International Airport shortly after midnight on March 29, 2015, as it approached in gusty winds and heavy snowfall.The twin-engine Airbus 320-200 bounced into the air and crashed near the runway threshold before careening along the tarmac for another 570 metres. An engine and the plane’s landing gear were ripped from the airframe amid a shower of sparks and leaking fuel.The TSB said in a news release Tuesday that the report on what it terms a “collision with terrain” will be released at a news conference at a Halifax hotel.Halifax lawyer Ray Wagner, who has launched a class action suit, said the report should offer insight into the dynamics between Nav Canada, the airport authority and what was taking place in the cockpit as the pilots planned their descent through harsh weather.“All of that will be helpful in terms of sorting our the varying responsibilities for what happened,” Wagner said in an interview.“Any information that we can garner … will be extremely helpful in terms of formulating the questions that we’ll be asking the relevant parties.”In particular, Wagner said he is keen to learn how the pilots calculated their approach and what information they received about the prevailing weather conditions.However, he said it’s important to note that the board’s findings will not assign fault or determine civil or criminal liability.Late last year, a Nova Scotia Supreme Court justice certified Wagner’s class action lawsuit that names Transport Canada, Air Canada, the Halifax International Airport Authority, Nav Canada and Airbus SAS, the French company that built the jet.In a statement of claim filed with the class action, three passengers have come forward to represent the plaintiffs.Kathleen Carroll-Byrne of Halifax said she continues to suffer from anxiety, a loss of concentration and a fear of flying. Halifax resident Asher Hodara said he suffered a mild traumatic brain injury and dental damage. Malanga Georges Libboy of Church Point, N.S., said the crash has left him with profound psychological stress and pain in his knee, neck and mouth.None of the allegations in the class action has been proven in court.Wagner said all documents relevant to the case must be disclosed by end of July, and the discovery process should be concluded by Nov. 10.“It will be a pretty intensive period of discovery examinations that will take place in the latter part of summer and into fall,” he said.There were 133 passengers and five crew aboard the flight from Toronto.Virtually all of the passengers had to spend about 50 minutes on the tarmac, huddled against the blowing snow, before they were taken to an unheated hangar.In June 2015, the independent safety agency issued a preliminary report, saying the jet had no major mechanical problems.The board said it was correctly configured for landing, its air speed was consistent with a normal approach and there were no mechanical deficiencies with its engines, flight controls, landing gear and navigation systems.In March of this year, Air Canada filed a lawsuit against Airbus, claiming in Nova Scotia Supreme Court the manufacturer was negligent by failing to identify shortcomings of the aircraft related to how its flight path angle is affected by external forces. None of those allegations have been proven in court.
TORONTO – High-level containment labs at Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are being expanded to allow scientists increased capacity to research some of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases, federal Health Minister Jane Philpott announced Thursday.Known as level-4 containment labs, they provide the highest degree of biosafety for diagnosing, researching and developing treatments and vaccines for high-risk pathogens like Ebola, Middle East respiratory syndrome and avian influenza.Philpott said the federal government is investing $5 million to beef up level-4 containment labs within the NML, which is part of the Canadian Science Centre for Human and Animal Health. Construction of the expanded space is expected to be completed by 2020.“The decision for this particular expansion is not in response to any specific new infectious threat,” Philpott said from Winnipeg, although increased capacity is considered critical for strengthening Canada’s ability to respond to both global and domestic public health threats.“The Public Health Agency has a very active program in terms of trying to be tuned in to any potential outbreaks, and so we need to be ready at any time for these outbreaks and also be doing research in advance on the ones we already know, like Ebola and Zika and many others.”Scientists at the National Microbiology Lab have improved diagnosis and developed a vaccine for Ebola, while also working on treatments for other level-4 diseases like Lassa fever and the Marburg virus.Researchers at the lab are also studying Nipah virus — a potentially fatal disease that can affect both pigs and humans.“The expansion of our level-4 lab enables us to pursue more discovery, more innovation and offer more testing services,” said Matthew Gilmour, scientific director general for the Public Health Agency of Canada.“Having a larger footprint … obviously enables us to continue to do that work at a heightened capacity,” Gilmour said from Winnipeg.An entire wing at the NML is devoted to level-3 and level-4 containment labs. Examples of the somewhat less dangerous microbes that could be dealt with in a level-3 containment lab are yellow fever, West Nile virus and the bacteria behind tuberculosis.“The plan is to convert some level-3 labs to level-4 and make them contiguous,” he said.“That means improving the filtration of the air coming out of the lab, providing air control for the employees working within the lab, and providing them things like chemical showers so as they exit the lab they’re able to decontaminate their suits.”Gilmour said there is no urgent threat from any particular pathogen on the horizon that has prompted the NML facelift, but scientists need to be ready in the event of outbreaks of both known and unknown infectious diseases.“This is just part of our general preparedness, our opportunity to continuously improve our operations.”Philpott said that at every international meeting she attends, the topic of emerging infectious diseases is “front of mind for all the health ministers around the world.”“We’ve seen what happened when a new virus appears on the scene and people aren’t ready for it,” she said. Such was the case with the 2003 SARS outbreak that killed 44 people in Canada and almost 800 in China and three dozen other countries.“So this is something that is very important and it is part of our international responsibility to make sure we are contributing to the science in these areas. And it’s something that Canada does very well.”—Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter
TORONTO – Natasha Penner was in the midst of celebrating her 30th birthday at a West Coast music festival when she accepted a drink from a newfound friend.She felt after spending most of the day with him they had established some trust. But after she took a few sips, everything became a blur.“I woke up 10 hours later naked in his tent,” she recalls of the 2014 incident. “I was definitely drugged.”Still disoriented and confused, Penner was told by the man to leave his tent. Upon examining herself, she says she found signs she was raped.Stories like Penner’s are putting pressure on organizers of music events — like this weekend’s Wayhome Music and Arts Festival north of Toronto, headlined by Frank Ocean, Imagine Dragons and Flume — to do a better job making their venues safer, particularly for women.A study by the Sexual Assault and Partner Abuse Care Program at the Ottawa Hospital found that 26 per cent of sexual assault cases involving patients who attended the institute in 2013 occurred at mass gatherings. About 40 per cent of patients believed they were drugged and only 33 per cent said they knew the assailant.Other assaults are more fleeting — it’s not unusual for female crowd surfers, for example, to encounter random hands emerging from the audience to tear at their clothes.Stacey Forrester is a co-organizer of the Vancouver wing of volunteer organization Good Night Out, which works with venues to prevent and combat the sexual harassment women typically face at events like concerts.She remains skeptical that promoters are fully committed to preventing harassment on their premises. She says if they were, organizations like hers wouldn’t have to dedicate their time to patrolling venues.“For a long time, having someone grind on you or grab you in passing was just expected to be a normal part of going out or being in a mass crowd of people,” Forrester says.“People who are in security positions still hang on to those beliefs. We see it … when we’re doing training. Even people who are entrusted with the safety of the crowd often buy into these rape myths.”Montreal’s Osheaga music festival recently announced new measures in a bid to curb some of these incidents.Co-founder Nick Farkas says female “Hirondelles” — translated into English as “swallows,” the birds representing love and compassion — will patrol festival grounds looking for trouble and offering assistance.A similar initiative was launched at the Montreal International Jazz Festival last month to complement the mostly male security staff hired to ensure crowds don’t get out of hand.“Historically security guards are often giant guys dressed in black and they’re not super approachable,” Farkas says.“What we’re trying to accomplish with this is that people feel comfortable approaching the special team if something happens.”Osheaga brought in the security measure following a firestorm of criticism last year. Concertgoer Melanie Doucet said she was drugged during the festival’s Red Hot Chili Peppers set. Doucet felt a date-rape drug kicking in and immediately reported it to security, but later said she felt staff could’ve handled the situation better.Toronto’s electronic-dance Veld Music Festival unveiled new measures on Friday to provide designated security spaces staffed with women and outreach booths with volunteer counsellors and crisis intervention managers.Wayhome declined interview requests to discuss safety measures for women, saying they were tied up with preparations for the event.“We are constantly trying to improve on lines of communication with our audiences to ensure they are aware of all channels available to provide aid in any scenario,” said Todd Jenereaux, an organizer at promotion company Republic Live, in an emailed statement.Jodie Ortega, a Vancouver-based advocate for survivors of sexual violence, says the growing conversation around the safety of women at music festivals should be a cue to other events, concert halls and clubs that ticket buyers expect to see improvement.“If public safety is one of their main priorities … then they have to take a step back and think of the bigger picture,” she says.Ortega suggests venues take a cue from public transit operators that post signs saying that violence against bus drivers won’t be tolerated.“There’s no signage like that on the front of a nightclub or the back of a concert ticket,” she says.“Maybe it’s time to be completely blunt.”Follow @dfriend on Twitter.
MONTREAL – Four members of the same Quebec family were among the people injured in a recent boating crash in Puerto Rico, a relative said Monday.Vincent Boileau said his father-in-law suffered broken bones and lacerations while his mother-in-law dislocated her shoulder and received a severe concussion after a motorboat struck the family as they were on a night boat tour.Boileau was also vacationing with his wife, his son and his wife’s daughter.His wife and stepdaughter were also injured, but less seriously than his in-laws.“The motorboat was clearly going too fast,” he told The Canadian Press from Puerto Rico. “The boat that hit us jumped onto the deck. The propellers of the motor struck my wife’s daughter, my mother-in-law, and the most damage was done to my father-in-law.”The crash occurred around 9:45 p.m. on July 25, a few minutes after the family, along with other tourists, boarded a tour boat headed towards Isla Magueyes, in Puerto Rico.Boileau’s in-laws were transported to a local hospital by helicopter.While his mother-in-law was treated and released, his father-in-law had to be taken to another hospital to be seen by a surgeon.Boileau said the family waited more than 24 hours for his father-in-law to be seen by a doctor and that he was only treated after they called the Canadian Embassy for help.“Only after the consular official showed up at the hospital did things start to move and they start to take care of him,” he said.Boileau said his family is considering suing the operator of the motorboat and the agency that organized the night tour.He said his stepdaughter has returned to Quebec but that the rest of the family is still in Puerto Rico because his father-in-law is waiting to be cleared by a doctor to travel.
AGASSIZ, B.C. – Five homes have been evacuated in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley over concerns about the stability of a giant boulder that slid down into a residential community last month.The District of Kent says in a news release that 22,000-kilogram rock came from a bluff above the homes in the community of Agassiz on Nov. 5.Officials say crews have been working with a geotechnical engineer to access the site, but bad weather has impeded the process.The district’s mayor, John Van Laerhoven, ordered an emergency evacuation Sunday for eight properties, which includes five homes in the area, saying life safety is paramount.He says in a statement that the evacuation order is a precautionary step to help address a potentially serious situation due to freezing weather at higher elevations.The district says it is working with Emergency Management B.C. to complete a geotechnical assessment on the rock bluffs as soon as possible.