APTN National NewsA national report on animal protection laws has placed the Northwest Territories among the worst in Canada.The report, released by the Animal Legal Defence Fund, compares animal protection laws from across all provincial and territorial jurisdictions.The NWT lost points for failing to ensure key animal protection laws within its legislation.According to the report, there are no mandatory reporting requirements for veterinarians of suspected dog cruelty and only dogs are protected by law.NWT government officials say they are monitoring the situation.
APTN National NewsThursday marked the likely end of testimony for the trial of Eric Dejaeger.The defrocked cleric is charged with more than 70 sex crimes against small children in Igloolik, Nunavut.However it’s not the end of the trial.
The Canadian PressCALGARY – TransCanada has been granted a presidential permit from the U.S. State Department that allows it to move forward on building the long-delayed Keystone XL pipeline, the latest turn in fortunes for the controversial project.In granting the permit, the U.S. State Department said it concluded that Keystone XL, which is fiercely opposed by environmentalists concerned about its potential impact on climate change, would serve the national interest after considering a range of factors including energy security and the environment.“This is a significant milestone for the Keystone XL project,” TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said in a statement Friday.However, Keystone XL faces more hurdles.TransCanada (TSX:TRP) still does not have deals with all the landowners in Nebraska on the pipeline’s proposed route and it lacks a permit in that state. Protesters also promise they will try to stop the project, which would help carry Alberta crude to U.S. refineries.The Calgary-based company said Friday it would continue to work with key stakeholders throughout Nebraska, Montana and South Dakota to obtain the necessary permits and approvals to advance this project to construction.However, because the pipeline project crosses the Canada-U.S. border, TransCanada also required approvals from the president and U.S. State Department.Former president Barack Obama rejected the previous Keystone proposal, saying it wasn’t in the U.S. national interest.In response, TransCanada filed a challenge under Chapter 11 of the North American Free Trade Agreement, alleging the U.S. government breached its legal commitments under NAFTA. That challenge has been discontinued, TransCanada said Friday.Donald Trump, while campaigning to be president of the U.S., had said he would reverse Obama’s decision.“While receiving the permit is a good step forward for the project that could provide visible growth in the 2020 time frame, given the prior comments and executive orders out of the Trump administration, we believe that the receipt of the presidential permit was expected by the market,” RBC Capital Markets said in a note to clients.“We note that KXL is not included in our valuation for the stock and if the project moves forward, we view that as upside.”Trump signed an executive order in his first week in office that invited TransCanada to reapply for a permit and promised a decision within 60 days. The 60-day timeline in Trump’s executive order was to expire Monday.“We greatly appreciate President Trump’s administration for reviewing and approving this important initiative and we look forward to working with them as we continue to invest in and strengthen North America’s energy infrastructure,” Girling said.The White House said Trump was expected to make an announcement about Keystone XL later Friday.Awarding cross-border pipeline permits is technically the domain of the Secretary of State. However, in this case, The Associated Press reported Thursday that the decision would come from Undersecretary of State Tom Shannon because his boss, former oil executive Rex Tillerson, recused himself from the decision.
Justin Brake APTN NewsNewfoundland and Labrador’s Child and Youth Advocate has announced that her office will undertake a “comprehensive, independent review of the treatment, experiences and outcomes of Inuit children and youth” in the province’s child protection system.“I am extremely troubled about the poor outcomes for Indigenous children in the child protection system,” Jackie Lake Kavanagh said in a press release Wednesday. “This is a historical issue with its roots in colonial practices reflected in residential schools, generations of families with histories of trauma, and social inequality. The status quo is not acceptable and cannot continue for Inuit children and youth.”The announcement comes almost 10 months after the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador announced a provincial inquiry into Innu children in state care.Days prior to that announcement Innu leaders from Labrador confronted former Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett at a Canada Day barbecue in her Toronto riding and demanded federal intervention in what many have described as a suicide and child welfare crisis.Michelle Kinney, Nunatsiavut Government’s Director of Social Development and Deputy Minister of Health and Social Development told APTN Wednesday’s announcement is the result of collaboration between the provincial government and the self-governing political body that represents the Inuit communities of Northern Labrador.“We wanted a process where we could review the systemic issues, involve people in our communities so that they were part of the process, and come up with solutions and ways of implementing them,” she said.“We thought that if we can get this process right that it would be a good model for reconciliation for the province, for the feds, for the future projects that we might work on.”Kinney said approximately 145 of the roughly 1,000 children in state care in Newfoundland and Labrador are Inuit. Many of them have been taken away from their extended families, communities, and even placed in foster homes outside of Labrador.She said Nunatsiavut’s 2005 land claims agreement gives Inuit the ability to “take down or devolve any provincial program when they are ready and have the capacity to do so, and can meet or exceed provincial standards.”In the meantime Kinney said the Inuit have been gradually identifying and implementing some of their own solutions, but that a successful and all-encompassing process requires the kind of review being undertaken by the Child and Youth Advocate’s office.“If we’re looking at a devolution process we really need to have good documentation, good evidence, look at what hasn’t worked in the past, and have a really good model and plan for moving forward. So we’re hoping this review will give us some of that,” she explained.“The biggest issue we see is that the child welfare system has become reactive, Kinney continued. “We would like to see resources put into preventing children from coming into care.“We all know the systemic issues. We all know why some parents are not doing well: residential schools, relocation, colonization. All of those things haven’t been favourable to Indigenous people.”She said the “majority of our children are coming into care for neglect, poverty, parents’ issues with alcohol, and witnessing family violence,” and that “very few children are actually coming into care because of maltreatment or physical or sexual abuse.”The terms of reference mandate directs Kavanagh to “review child protection services provided to Inuit children” in the province “with a view to identifying deficiencies, exploring promising and best practices, and making recommendations for improved outcomes within an appropriate cultural framework.”The review is scheduled to conclude by March 31, 2019 and a public report with the review’s findings will be released thereafter.APTN requested comment from Children, Seniors and Social Development Minister Lisa Dempster but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
SASKATOON – Workers at two uranium facilities in northern Saskatchewan are facing tough times after Cameco announced Wednesday it was shutting down productions at the Sask. sites.Cameco (TSX:CCO) said 845 jobs would be “temporarily” lost by the end of January due to the shutdowns at Key Lake and McArthur River.The McArthur River site mines uranium ore and sends it to Key Lake for processing.The company said about 210 workers would be kept on at the facilities to ensure they maintained a safe shutdown mode.The suspension is expected to last 10 months, but more details are to be provided when fourth quarter results are released in February.Cameco cited market oversupply and low uranium prices as reasons for the production suspension.They noted prices have fallen over 70 per cent since an earthquake and tsunami in Fukushima, Japan devastated a nuclear facility in 2011.Operations at Rabbit Lake were suspended in April 2016, resulting in 500 job losses.The company announced third-quarter losses of $124 million on Oct. 27, one year after turning a profit of $142 million in the same time span.(CKOM)
CALGARY – Shares of Enbridge Inc. popped higher in early trading after the company announced plans to raise its dividend, issue shares and sell off at least $3 billion in assets next year.The stock was up $2.72 or about six per cent at $48.47 in trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning.In a strategic update after markets closed Wednesday, the Calgary-based pipeline company said it has identified $10 billion of what it describes as non-core assets.The company also announced Wednesday a private placement of $1.5 billion in common shares and plans to issue an additional $4 billion of hybrid securities through the end of 2018.The moves follow Enbridge’s takeover of U.S. -based Spectra Energy earlier this year.“With the Spectra Energy assets now in the fold, we will focus our attention on what we do best and the value proposition that has served shareholders well over the years,” Enbridge chief executive Al Monaco said in a statement.“We will rationalize our asset mix to a pure regulated pipeline and utility business model, which emphasizes low risk businesses and strong growth in our three crown jewel businesses: liquids pipelines and terminals, natural gas transmission and storage and natural gas utilities.”Enbridge (TSX:ENB) said it will pay out a quarterly dividend of 67.1 cents per common share, payable on March 1, 2018. The dividend represents a 10 per cent increase from the previously quarterly rate.The company also said it expects to continue to grow its annual dividend by 10 per cent through 2020.The company has an extensive network of oil and natural gas pipelines that ship about 65 per cent of Canadian crude oil exports bound for the U.S.
VICTORIA – Hydro rates in British Columbia will increase three per cent in April after the province’s independent energy regulator overruled a government promise to freeze rates for one year.Energy Minister Michelle Mungall said Thursday she’s disappointed with the B.C. Utilities Commission’s ruling, but it has prompted the government to immediately start planning to help those who are struggling to pay their power bills.“I would have liked to have seen a much different response for British Columbians, but I appreciate their rationale,” she said. “I understand it and will be moving forward with other alternatives for making life more affordable.”The commission rejected a request from the government to freeze rates, saying other increases have done little to meet the revenue needs at BC Hydro.“The panel ultimately found there to be insufficient regulatory justification to warrant lower increases because even these increases do not fully recover BC Hydro’s forecast revenue requirement, which includes items such as operating costs, new capital expenditures, and carrying costs on capital expenditures,” the commission said in a statement.Mungall said the government will work with the Crown-owned utility on a so-called lifeline rate program that could result in some hydro customers with demonstrated needs getting a lower rate for electricity.She said the government will also consider providing a grant of up to $600 for hydro customers facing financial emergencies.The NDP government campaigned last spring on promises to tackle rising hydro rates and last November Mungall announced plans to request that the utilities commission freeze the scheduled April increase.The commission has also formally approved rate increases of four per cent in 2016 and 3.5 per cent last year.Mungall said the government will conduct a review of BC Hydro in a bid to find savings and keep rates low. The scope of the review will be announced in the next few weeks, she said.“The (utilities commission) are very clear in a nutshell that this is a mess,” Mungall said. “There’s a mess that is at BC Hydro. It needs to be cleaned up and I hear that.”Opposition Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson said the rate hike is just another broken promise by the NDP government.“This is a government that stumbles into messes that cost all of us because they put rhetoric ahead of planning,” Wilkinson said in a statement. “It’s clear, British Columbians can’t afford this government.”Green Leader Andrew Weaver said he’s glad to see the government respecting the independence of the utility commission, but the increase shows a need for income security across the province.
CALGARY – A joint federal-provincial review panel says the Frontier Oil Sands Mine project application is now complete enough to advance to a public hearing set to take place as early as September.It says it is now accepting submissions about preferred locations and dates for the hearing, adding that requests to submit evidence or participate must be made in writing by June 22.The open pit project proposed by Vancouver-based Teck Resources Ltd. is estimated to cost $20 billion and designed to produce 260,000 barrels per day of bitumen from a site about 110 kilometres north of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta.That’s more than the recently completed 194,000-bpd Fort Hills mining project in which Teck is a minority partner holding 21 per cent and Suncor Energy Inc. is the operator holding 54 per cent of the project.The joint review panel was appointed in May 2016 and given 13 months to assess the project and its environmental impacts. It won approval last November for an eight-month delay to complete its review.Two years ago, Teck said the earliest date for first oil from Frontier would be 2026.Companies in this article: (TSX:TECK.B, TSX:SU)
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of complaints raised against Canada’s telecommunications providers, according to an annual tally released Tuesday by the private-sector body assigned to resolve disputes brought by customers who haven’t been able to get satisfaction directly from their provider.The 14,272 complaints raised by Canadian telecom and TV customers over the 2017-18 period was up 57 per cent from the previous year, while the total number of issues they raised rose 67 per cent to 30,734, the Commission for Complaints for Telecom-Television Services says in its report for the 12 months from Aug. 1, 2017 to July 31, 2018.“With the addition of TV complaints to our mandate in September of 2017, we did anticipate an increase — but not the 57 per cent that we received,” CCTS commissioner Howard Maker said in the report.But, Maker added, fewer than five per cent of the complaints related to TV alone.“The increase was in the same types of issues that Canadians have complained about historically: sales transactions that go wrong, service that doesn’t work as expected, and billing problems.”The CCTS is a decade-old independent industry-funded body that works under a mandate from Canada’s federal regulator.The dispute-resolution body was originally responsible for monitoring compliance with Canada’s wireless code, which was updated last year by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, effective Dec. 1, 2017.Wireless services continued to have the biggest number of identified issues by far, with 12,757 in 2017-18, up 49 per cent from last year’s tally.But issues with internet service rose even more quickly to 8,987, up 56 per cent.Billing and contract disputes continued to be the two biggest issues identified in the CCTS report, regardless of type of service. Bell Canada also continued to receive the biggest number of complaints, 4,734 or 33.2 per cent of the total — not counting 847 directed at its Virgin Mobile flanker brand or its Bell Aliant (229) and Bell MTS (135) regional affiliates.Similarly Rogers received the second-largest number of complaints, 1,449 or 10.2 per cent of the total, followed by Telus at No. 3 with 944 or 6.6 per cent of the total, not counting their flanker brands.But relative newcomer Freedom Mobile placed fourth in the tally, after the number of complaints rose 185.3 per cent to 850.Freedom’s corporate parent Shaw also saw complaints against it more than double, as did Videotron — Quebecor’s telecom division — Cogeco Connexion, Eastlink and TekSavvy, but the totals remained far behind the three national wireless carriers.The CCTS says 10,214 or 71.6 per cent of the complaints it received were resolved without having to move to a higher level of intervention that included an investigation. A further 1,935 of the complaints were resolved after an investigation and 1,068 complaints were closed with or without an investigation for a variety of reasonsIn 32.5 per cent of the closed complaints, the CCTS decided that a further investigation wasn’t warranted and 30.1 per cent were closed because the customer didn’t co-operate. A further 18.8 per cent were closed because the CCTS decided the service provider’s offer was reasonable. Companies in this story: (TSX:BCE, TSX:RCI.B, TSX:T, TSX:SJR.B, TSX:QBR.B, TSX:CCA) David Paddon, The Canadian Press
BEIJING — China has demanded Canada release a Huawei Technologies executive who was arrested in a case that adds to technology tensions with Washington and threatens to complicate trade talks.Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, faces possible extradition to the United States, according to Canadian authorities. The Globe and Mail newspaper, citing law enforcement sources, said she is accused of trying to evade U.S. curbs on trade with Iran.The arrest follows a U.S.-Chinese cease-fire in a tariff war over Beijing’s technology policy.Asian stock markets tumbled on the news, fearing renewed U.S.-Chinese tensions that threaten global economic growth.The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said Meng broke no U.S. or Canadian laws and demanded Canada “immediately correct the mistake” and release her.The Associated Press
“Now with the addition of the Fort St. John office, we are well positioned to meet the increasing demand for our services,” said Joe Loomis, CEDA’s Vice President of Operations for the B.C. Region. “Our new location strengthens our presence in Northeastern B.C. and allows us to be more accessible to our growing client base. We look forward to making a positive contribution to the local economy and giving back to the community,” Mr. Loomis added.CEDA’s new office is located in the 9800-block of 78th St. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – CEDA has announced that it recently opened a new office and shop in Fort St. John as part of its strategy to further expand its reach within the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin.The company says its newly-appointed Operations Manager Steven Cooper is overseeing the 10,000 square foot shop, which houses a fleet of pressure and water trucks, tankers, hot oilers, steamers, hydro vacuum and combination vacuum units used to deliver comprehensive industrial cleaning services.In 2017, CEDA entered the B.C. market by acquiring Joe Loomis Trucking in Dawson Creek, and continued to grow its operations through the recent acquisition of Breakthrough Oilfield Services.
Communities included in the ride are Fort St. John, Chetwynd, Hudson’s Hope, Dawson Creek, Taylor and Tumbler Ridge.Poker hands cost $30 each while the ride is free for all residents to attend. The ride will also feature a free breakfast at 7:30 a.m. in the Pomeroy Sport Centre as well as a barbeque in Chetwynd. Residents interested in registering for the poker ride must sign up at the Pomeroy Sport Centre.The poker ride starts at 9:00 a.m. on August 18th at the Pomeroy Sport Centre. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Registration is now open for the 6th Annual “Community 2 Community” Poker Ride.The poker ride will see participants motorbiking all around the Peace Region, with half starting in Fort St. John travelling North and the other half starting in Dawson Creek and travelling South. The two groups of bikers will then pass by each other at the halfway point of the ride.Participants will draw a card at every community they visit during the ride. The goal of the ride is to have the best poker hand once they visit each location.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Christmas is approaching and the group, Peace Seniors Connect & Care needs your help by providing donations that will go directly to the seniors in our community.PSCC is a group of caring people that came together three years ago to touch the lives of seniors in our community. The first year the group helped 86 seniors and this year’s numbers look to be helping 200 seniors as there is a need for this type of campaign.Group Administrator, Vanessa Siemens-Ford says “Seeing the looks on these seniors faces is more then one can handle at some points when on realize that these interactions through the parties we hold may be the only ones they get all year long.” PSCC has asked businesses around FSJ to set out collection bins and now needs the community’s help to fill them by donating items. These donations will become gifts which will be handed out to seniors this Christmas at Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors Housing.“I am a very lucky individual. I have 3 of my grandparents still living. 88, 89 and 99 years old! The little things and time spent with them is so important for their health. This is a wonderful way of getting involved.” said Annamari Miles of Harvest Wine OutfittersA list of suggested items you can donate;– small bags of nuts or candy (diabetic candy too)– socks– hand cream– gift cards for Cool Beans (cafe downstairs at the hospital), Wal-Mart, Tim Hortons, McDonald’s, Shoppers, Grocery stores, etc– hats, toques, mitts– puzzles– playing cards– pajamas, slippers, housecoats– magazines– crossword or word search books– nail polish– scratch or lotto tickets– brain teaser puzzles– Handy Dart passes– lip balm– chocolates, licorice– hair brushes & combs– adult colouring books, crayons, pencil crayons & markers– art supplies– fidget toys– nail clippers and files– change purses– toothbrushes– toothpaste– throw blankets– coffee mugs or teacups– watches– ladies necklaces– calendarsOther items needed for the preparation of gift giving:– gift wrap– tape– gift bags– gift tags– donations of food items for each seniors party, including Abbeyfield, Peace Villa and Seniors HousingPlaces to drop off Donation;Fort Motors: 11104 Alaska Road NorthNEAT: 10003 – 95 AvenueMLA offices: 10104 – 100 StreetHarvest Wine Outfitters: 8221 – 100 AvenueIG Wealth Management (beside Unforgettable Memories )Anna’s Laundry Service: (Taylor 10264 – 100 Street)12-6pm Mon, Tues, Thurs, Fri9-2 SaturdaysVanessa Siemens-Ford’s House: 9103 – 87 Avenue
Staff were told the shutdown was due to poor market conditions in Western Canada and the US. “It’s certainly a sad day for Fort St. John and area. Anytime there is a large layoff, it not a good thing and my heart goes out to the employees that are affected by this.”According to Davies, one reason for this closure is due to the fact that B.C. is becoming uncompetitive when it comes to doing business. He also puts part of the blame on the new Forest Amendment Act, Bill-22.“B.C. is just becoming far too uncompetitive. It’s hard to get business done in B.C. Bill-22, that was recently passed, was just another slap in the face against forest companies. It’s really hard to find a compelling reason to come to B.C. and do business.”Davies says Premier John Horgan needs to stop talking and needs to focus on stopping the trend of mill closures.“The Premier needs to just stop talking, he needs to put some decisive things in play, and stop this trend of mill closures, not only here but across the Province.”Sources say the staff were told Thursday morning that the plant would close as of August 9, 2019. Approximately 190 people work at the facility. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – With the Peace Valley OSB Plant set to close this summer, the news has many within the community concerned and upset.One of those concerned with this closure is Peace River North MLA Dan Davies.Davies says this news is a sad day for Fort St. John, adding that his heart goes out to those affected by this closure.
Beijing: China’s Long March-3B rocket, regarded as the main stay of the country’s space programme since 1970, successfully completed its 300th launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit on Sunday. The indigenously-built rocket had send more than 500 spacecraft into space. “This is a milestone for China’s space industry development,” Wu Yansheng, board chairman of the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC) said. The Long March carrier rocket series, developed by CASC, is responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China. It took 37 years for the Long March rockets to complete the first 100 launches, 7.5 years to complete the second 100 launches, and only about four years to accomplish the final 100, with the average number of launches per year increasing from 2.7 to 13.3 and then to 23.5, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported. The Long March carrier rockets helped provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, including Algeria, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. “Intensive launches have become normal in China, indicating the rapid development of the space industry, the progress of science and technology and the enhancement of national strength,” said Shang Zhi, director of the Space Department of the CASC. China joined the space club on April 24, 1970, when the Long March-1 carrier rocket launched the country’s first satellite, Dongfanghong-1, into orbit. At that time, the carrying capacity of the Long March rocket was only 300 kg. On November 3, 2016, China’s current largest carrier rocket, the Long March-5, made its maiden flight, with its carrying capacity reaching 25 tonnes for low-Earth orbit and 14 tonnes for geosynchronous orbit. The success rate of the 300 launches of the Long March rockets stood at 96 per cent, according to CASC. During the third 100 launches, the Long March rockets sent a total of 225 spacecraft, weighing about 240 tonnes, into space, with a success rate of 97 per cent, reaching a high level in the world, said Shang. From October 1996 to August 2011, the Long March rockets set a world record for 15 years of successful consecutive launches. In 2018, the Long March rockets completed 37 consecutive successful launches, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches. A total of 17 types of Long March carrier rockets have been developed and put into use since 1970, ensuring the implementation of a series of key space projects including manned space program, lunar exploration, BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS) and the Gaofen Earth observation project. In addition, the Long March carrier rockets also launched a large number of meteorological satellites, resource satellites and oceanographic satellites, as well as several innovative science satellites including DAMPE to search for dark matter, the world’s first quantum satellite, and an electromagnetic satellite to study earthquakes, playing an important role in promoting the economic, social and scientific development in China, the Xinhua report said. Currently, China is developing new generation medium launch vehicles including the Long March-6A, Long March-7A and Long March-8. A test version of the Long March-5B, which has the largest carrying capacity to low-Earth orbit, has been produced and will be used to launch the modules of China’s space station, according to CASC.
Brussels: China’s foreign minister lashed out Monday at “abnormal, immoral” attacks on Huawei amid growing concern, led by the US, that the telecom giant poses a security risk to the West. Wang Yi demanded a “fair and just competition environment” for Chinese firms as he met EU foreign ministers and officials for talks in Brussels. His call comes as Washington steps up pressure on allies, particularly in Europe, to shut Huawei out of tenders for fast fifth-generation, or 5G, telecom networks, because of the firm’s ties to the Chinese government. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”China hopes all countries will create a fair and just competition environment for companies of all countries,” Wang told reporters. “What we oppose is groundless accusations out of political purposes and attempts to bring down a foreign company. We think such practices are abnormal, immoral and have no support from other countries.” Huawei strenuously denies allegations its equipment could be used for espionage and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang insisted Friday that Beijing would “never” ask its firms to spy on other nations. A law recently enacted by Beijing obliging Chinese companies to aid the government on national security has added to concerns about Huawei just as European countries begin planning 5G infrastructure.
Gurugram: The Special task force of Haryana force on Wednesday night arrested five people who were wanted for abducting son of a doctor in Gurugram and demanding extortion of Rs 50 lakhs from the medical practitioner. The five arrested accused have been identified as Jongender w, Shiva, Deepak, Kamal and Amitesh.The accused were held after an encounter with the STF in Rewari. Joginder was the leader of Joginder Panchi jatan gang and had huge prize money placed on his arrest Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to the STF, the gang had arrested had a criminal past and were found wanting in various cases that ranged from murder, attempts to murder, abduction and burglaries in Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. The law enforcement officials were able to recover four pistils, ten live cartridges and Rs 49 lakhs the amount which they had been able to successfully recover on the kidnapping of the doctor Interestingly Amitesh one of the people who has participated in the Super Boxing League acted in a Bhojpuri film, and recently directed a short film. The police said he wanted money to make a big film and cast himself as the lead. He was arrested along with four other gangsters by the special task force in an encounter on Wednesday night. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsAccording to them, he became a member of Panchi gang a few years ago after befriending Joginder Panchi Jatan, the gang leader, whom he met in a Delhi pub. Police in Lucknow said Chaubey was arrested from his Jankipuram house there. Joginder Panchi Jatan, a resident of village Panchi in Sonipat, formed a gang after his brother was shot dead over political rivalry in October 2015. His brother was a former deputy superintendent of police in the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and a national wrestler, the police said. Jatan is himself a former national-level hockey player and a passionate boxer, said police, adding that he is involved in ATM thefts, carjacking, and loot and dacoity cases registered across the state and the National Capital Region. According to the police, the members of his gang are all mostly former wrestlers and hockey players looking to make quick money. On March 16, the Joginder Panchi Jatan gang kidnapped a 27-year-old doctor who was returning to his house in the city’s Sector 50, after partying with his friends. He stopped the car to relieve himself near a liquor vend in Sector 29 when the accused allegedly kidnapped him at gunpoint and forced him into his car. The family who runs private hospitals in Rewari and Gurugram paid the ransom by March 17 and secured the release of the victim.
Mumbai: German auto major Volkswagen, which has been facing headwinds for long and got restructured under its subsidiary Skoda, Friday rolled out the 1-millionth car from its Pune facility, which was commissioned in 2010. The 20,000 cars per annum Pune plant produces four models –the Polo, Ameo and Vento and the Skoda Rapid. Besides meeting the local demand, the facility also exports to some 50 countries across Asia, Africa, North America and South America. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The rollout of the 1-millionth car is an important milestone for us,” said Gurpratap Boparai, managing director, Volkswagen India. The German auto giant, which is the world’s largest auto company by volume, has three direct entities in the country-Volkswagen, Volkswagen Group Sales, and Skoda Auto apart from the luxury car unit Audi India. “We would like to build further following this milestone and work towards higher localisation, ramping up production and manufacturing world-class products for this and other target markets around the world,” Boparai said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostAs part of its Skoda-led ‘India 2.0’ project, which aims at more India-specific cars, the three entities have been proposed to merge into Skoda. The Volkswagen group will be investing Rs 8,000 crore in the country as part of this revival strategy over the years and has already set up a technology centre at the Pune plant to start local development under this. Volkswagen globally represents by 12 brands –Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Ducati, Lamborghini, Porsche, Scania, Seat, koda, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, Man, and Volkswagen Passenger Cars. Meanwhile, in another development, Skoda India has offered an assured buyback scheme for its Superb model range. Made available exclusively through its vehicle finance arm, the scheme will allow the owners of these lower range cars to buy a brand new Superb at low EMIs, the company said. Called koda EasyBuy, the program offers an assured introductory buyback value of 57 percent for a new Superb at the end of the three year contract term.
Lahore: A year after singer Meesha Shafi accused Ali Zafar of sexual harassment, the singer-actor recently urged her to face the court as her case against him was dismissed. He even drew a parallel between her and Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai. Ali wrote on Twitter: “Meesha Shafi’s case against me has been dismissed alongside the appeal made against the dismissal. The case in the court is my case against her to pay for damages that her false statement has caused me, which naturally she is trying to run away from.” Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger”I have also filed a case against all the fake and other accounts being used to run a campaign against me on social media. I have been quiet about all this for a year while thousands of disgusting tweets were posted against me, like a campaign every time a big event comes. But it’s time to expose the truth via due process of law for which I urge the FIA to take strict legal action. Meesha had called out the singer last year, accusing him of sexual assault.
After four rounds of polling, there is not a single credible voice that confidently argues that Modi wave still prevails. Waves come and go but they go away for definite reasons. Anti-incumbency is no fickle-minded mood change. Once the elections are over, political analysts would split their hair over what made the Modi magic vanish. But the poll observers on the ground are already left with no doubt that the jobs crisis has caused maximum damage to Modi’s prospects in 70 per cent of the seats where polling is over. Also Read – A special kind of bondSome basic problems like poverty and agrarian crises are chronic ones and not all of them turn into poll issues all the time in all elections. While addressing one of her election rallies in UP, when Congress’s charismatic star campaigner Priyanka Gandhi declared that in the five years of Modi’s rule 5 million jobs were lost, tens of thousands who had gathered stood up spontaneously and roared in one voice ‘Modi Hatao!’ The message has obviously sunk well into the popular mind that demonetisation and a ham-handed GST had precipitated a very acute crisis of job losses. Also Read – Insider threat managementIt is not an urban jobs crisis alone, as data reveal the rural jobs crisis is no less severe. The job-crisis for women is acute but it is not a one-sided affair across the gender divide, and men, mostly the main bread-winners in the families, suffer an equally crippling employment crisis as well. The statistics put out even by the official agencies show that the jobs crisis among the youth is mind-boggling. The jobs crisis among the educated might be grave but what is shocking is that the low-skilled millions in informal India are also coming under a creeping employment problem. In short, it is a generalised jobs crisis. When the foremost voice of opposition in a democracy like Priyanka Gandhi comes out with a startling revelation that Modi massacred 5 million jobs in five years, not a single leader of stature in the ruling establishment dares to step out to challenge it. The same finding by the meticulously researched State of the Working India Report 2019 of the eminent Azim Premji University had barely been out a couple of days earlier. Based on CMIE’s large-sample surveys, the report showed that five million people lost their jobs between 2016 and 2018, coinciding with the demonetisation of November 2016 and the introduction of GST in July 2017. Naturally, no one could dare to counter Priyanka. Silence and subterfuges cannot check the shifting preferences of the voters over the burning employment question. The writing on the wall on the employment issue was clear to Modi himself. That was why he stooped down too low to the cheap level of withholding NSSO’s Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) 2017–18 in January 2019, which led to the resignation of two eminent academics from the National Statistical Commission. The PLFS report said that under Modi unemployment had hit a 45-year high of 6.1 per cent. It might look a small number. But going by the 2018 figure of 466 million persons in the Indian labour force, this small figure of 6.1 per cent translates into a big unemployed army of 28.43 million people. Unfortunately, it is a weakness of the otherwise rich English vocabulary that the term unemployment lacks precision and means different categories — those who are part of the labour force and ready for a job but who have never got one as well as those who were already having jobs but have lost them. Or, in other words, it stands for both, a lack of employment and job-losses. To compound the confusion, those who are never part of the labour force are also treated as unemployed in certain contexts. So figures, sometimes, tend to obfuscate the gravity of the problem. Why did Modi lose his popularity among young voters? 30 per cent of young India is neither in jobs nor in education nor training. If 23 million Indian youngsters apply for 89,400 jobs advertised by the Indian Railways, that gives the enormity of the problem of educated youth unemployment. If labour force participation of women in India under Modi had fallen from 16.81 per cent in 2016 to a miserable 10.97 per cent by February 2019, the agony years of demonetisation and GST, the thinking sections of the middle classes disgusted by Modi’s jumlas would naturally start wondering what sort of Shreshth Bharat he and his RSS are trying to build. Even among the 10 per cent women who are coming into the workforce, one in every three women (as against one in every five men) in urban India in the 15–29 age-group were unemployed in 2017–18 as per the NSSO data, and these are mind-boggling figures indeed. Modi flaunts his Mudra, where 40 per cent beneficiaries are supposed to be women and 33 per cent SCs-STs-OBCs. At the end of his term, RBI raises an alarm that 53 per cent of Mudra advances have become NPAs and 75 per cent of the Mudra self-employment ventures have folded up. The figure is 80 per cent for start-ups under Modi’s Start-Up India! Modi’s loyal court statisticians and economists might claim that the overall labour force participation rate in India came down only marginally from 52.9 per cent in 2011–12 to 50.4 per cent in 2015–16. But the starker meaning of these figures is that around half of India still remains out of the workforce. Actually, Priyanka’s and Azim Premji University’s figures do not fully capture the full impact of job losses – manufacturing jobs actually fell in absolute terms from 58.9 million in 2011–12 to 48.3 million in 2015–16, a whopping 10.6 million over a mere four-year period. Statistical jugglery is no answer to a profound livelihood crisis when the future of millions is bleak. A desperate Modi Government could only come up with yet another subterfuge of citing inflated EPFO enrolment, to claim 7–10 million jobs were created in 2017–18. Only later it dawned upon many that these were not new jobs but new enrolment of those already in jobs for the previous 5 years. CMIE’s current survey in 2018, on the other hand, showed that 11 million people with jobs lost them in that very year. BJP’s election manifesto waxes eloquent on 12 major themes and it is no surprise that employment creation is not one of them. It is really astonishing that a party running an incumbent government facing a burning employment question comes out with a poll manifesto that doesn’t offer a single specific promise on job creation. In any case, Modi promised to create 2 crore jobs every year in 2014 and this unmet promise itself has robbed the BJP manifesto of 2019 of any credibility. (The views expressed are strictly personal)