Anger erupts after statue of martyr gets desecrated in Gurugram

first_imgGurugram: Soldiers from defence forces especially the martyrs hold a great reverence among the villages in and around Gurugram. For the last two days, the residents of Pahari village in Pataudi have erupted in rage after the statue of one of the martyrs was desecrated.The person who committed this act has still not been identified. The statue was created in the memory of martyr Anil Kumar Yadav who had laid down his life defending the country against terrorists in 2007. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAccording to law enforcement officials, the act may have been committed by some drug addicts during the intoxicated act. As of now, there have been no arrests that have been made in the case. “We have been able to bring the situation under control and assured the villagers that the culprits involved in the case will be arrested soon. The heads of the village have been generous enough of cooperating with us,” said a senior official from Gurugram police. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsEven though it is an uncommon sight there have been stray incidents where often persons have desecrated the soldier’s statues. In one such incident that was reported in 2017, the Rezang-la memorial which is located near Palam Vihar was vandalised by few drunkards. The destructors were booked under Section 427 (destruction of the public property) of the IPC. The incident then had resulted in massive outrage among the defence veterans who live around Gurugram. The war memorial had been built in the memory of 114 Army soldiers who were martyred during the 1962 war against the 5,000 strong Chinese soldiers in November 1962. Situated at an altitude of 17,000 feet around 30 km of South of Chusul valley in Ladakh, it was one of the most difficult battles fought by the Indian soldiers on the geographic front. It is said that hundreds of soldiers even in the lack of resources were able to kill a thousand Chinese soldiers. A majority of the war heroes of the 13th Kumaon regiment that fought the battle at Rezang La were from South Haryana districts of Gurugram, Rewari and Mahendragarh.last_img read more

Vinesh suffers defeat in final of Medved event in Belarus

first_imgNew Delhi: Top Indian woman wrestler Vinesh Phogat lost to N Malisheva of Russia in the 53kg final of the Medved event in Minsk, Belarus, on Sunday. The 24-year-old Vinesh, the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, suffered a 0-10 (technical superiority) defeat against her Russian opponent in the summit clash. The loss meant that Vinesh failed to win her fourth consecutive gold. The top Indian woman wrestler had stood atop the podium at Grand Prix of Spain and at the Yasar Dogu International at Istanbul, Turkey last month.last_img

IIT KGP to steer EUfunded project for treatment reuse of wastewater

first_imgKolkata: Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur will steer a European Union-funded project to evolve technologies for reusing wastewater after treating it. IIT Kharagpur is the lead Indian partner of the multi-institutional, multi-crore Saraswati 2.0 project for treatment and reuse of water, a statement issued by the institute on Wednesday said. The project is being funded by the European Union and the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology and the Department of Biotechnology, it said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja It aims to identify the best available and affordable technologies for wastewater treatment and to provide solutions to the challenges of water use in both rural and urban areas. As part of the project, three water treatment plants will be set up at the IIT Kharagpur campus to treat wastewater and make them fit for use in irrigation. “We will test different technologies at the three plants and evaluate their effectiveness,” said Prof Makarand Madhao Ghangrekar of the institute’s Aditya Choubey Center for Re-water Research. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway The plants will be commissioned by January 2020, he said. Seven such plants will be also set up in the other partner Indian institutes, which are IIT Madras, IIT Bhubaneswar, IIT Roorkee, NITIE Mumbai, MNIT Jaipur and TERI School of Advanced Studies. IIT Kharagpur will manage the project along with its lead European partner, BOKU (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna), the statement said. They will execute the project in collaboration with several European institutes. Saraswati 2.0 builds on the Saraswati project of 2012 -17, which was also jointly funded by the European Commission and Indian government’s Department of Science and Technology. The project has been selected under the EU-India joint call on research and innovation for water. It will lead to transfer of European technologies to India, which could then be tested and customised according to Indian needs at an affordable cost, the statement said. The target is to not only facilitate exchange of technologies but also use them for benefiting the Indian population once they are tried and tested, it said. The project assumes significance as untreated domestic and municipal wastewater has become a major source of water and environmental pollution. Treatment of wastewater not only prevents pollution of the water sources but also provides a valuable additional source of water supply, it said. The statement said treated wastewater can be used for irrigation or for non-potable purposes such as flushing of toilets.last_img read more

Postcard from Positano

first_imgYou can’t hasten through Positano. Nor can you sprint through any part of Amalfi Coast, located in southern Italy – be it Sorrento, Salerno, Capri or Positano. Once you are off Naples, the coastline plays havoc with your emotions. Miles together, the beauty of the undulating coastal landscape leaves you enthralled. Clear blue water kissing gentle white breakers, gulls flocking in groups, drifting white clouds – absolutely intoxicating. No, you cannot race through any of these destinations. You must arrive with enough time and be prepared to write a postcard every day. Also Read – Oman – Beauty with an address Sorrento There are two types of fast trains from Rome to Naples. The state-owned national rail Trenitalia, and Italotreno run by a second railway company. We bought tickets on Italo online. At Roma termini, the announcement of departure came only 10 minutes before the scheduled boarding time. And, before we could finish a cup of coffee and short nap on board, we were in Naples! Garibaldi station at Naples Rail Terminus is one level below and tickets to Sorrento can be purchased here and further at a tobacconist. Though the train is shabby and slow, the beauty in motion outside the window more than compensates for the mild discomfort. Also Read – CANADA: A traveller’s delightAfter Rome, a cosmopolitan, tourist-infested city, the train journey from Naples to Sorrento is refreshingly local in flavour. After many small one minute stops, came Pompeii. A group of tourists got off to see the ruins, desperately clutching umbrellas and cameras together while stepping into the drizzle. The train was nearly empty now. At the far end of the compartment, two men in their forties were talking animatedly. One of them noticed that we were listening to their conversation and asked, “India?” I nodded. “Not many Indians come to Amalfi Coast, you will like it,” said the one with the dark glass and an Italian cap. I said, it is my second visit to Naples, though I have not gone beyond. Conversations are easy to initiate, offering you gentle welcome and warmth. Sorrento railway station and the city have nothing in common. The shabby station gave way to a beautifully manicured city, which unfolded as we drove to our hotel in a Mercedes van, driven by a middle-aged soft-spoken Italian driver, happy to introduce us to his resident town. Our hotel on Via Capo was on the edge of the cliff, allowing a spectacular view of the Gulf of Naples. Without wasting any time, we walked our way to the ferry station to take a boat to the Island of Capri. At Capri, harbour buses leave every half-an-hour to Anacapri, the top of the mountain. Anacapri allows a breathtaking view of the gulf. You can sit in a restaurant by the cliff, order some white wine and nibble at the olives in the freshly prepared salad. From atop the cliff, boats to Blue Grotto and around the island looked like tiny toys, leaving trails of white spume behind them. By evening, the weather had cleared and we were back to Sorrento by the last ferry. As we walked down the quaint streets of Sorrento’s popular square, we were sure that we have not experienced anything as pretty as this little town. Buildings and shops complement each other in architecture, aesthetics and design. Locals are tourist-friendly, always ready to guide you around. Sparkling clean roads are filled with high net worth European and American tourists, who spend a good amount of time in the city, soaking in the good weather that they so dearly miss back home during autumn. Sorrento has everything to offer – a beautiful coastline with an active harbour, pretty apartment blocks, a majestic square with cosy shops and restaurants, departmental stores and big shopping malls, art galleries and up-market hotels. Positano We took a bus from Sorrento to Positano that fits 16 passengers. Smaller vehicles though also manoeuver well through narrow winding roads adjoining the coastline. On one side of the road is the rocky mountain while on the other side is a sharp drop of 1,000 meters into the Tyrrhenian Sea. As the bus takes sharp turns, you see villas perched at the top of the rocky mountain. Most of these are owned by celebrities, either Italian or Hollywood movie stars or millionaires from Europe. Occasionally, there are shops selling fruits and juices by the road. You can park and pick up something to cool off while enjoying the magnificent view of the coast. Far away, on the right, was a small island with a large villa. The guide pointed out and informed that this was once owned by Jacqueline Onassis, widow of the famous Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis. Jacqueline died of cancer in 1994. Half way to Positano is the town of Amalfi, after which the entire coast has been named. We stopped by for a sandwich and coffee. The panoramic view of the city from the pier, with twin rocky mountains as the backdrop, is a photographer’s delight. We took a short boat trip to see the expanse of Amalfi coast and the city. On the far left, as you face the beautiful city, is the famous villa of Italian film artist Sophia Loren, gifted to her by her husband Carlo Ponti. The steps from the sea go right up to the villa and also offer a gliding lift to take guests who do not want to walk up. As you approach Positano, along the way are shops with scooters parked outside. Once off the bus, you walk down the narrow by-lanes of the picture postcard town. Shops along the lane are among the prettiest you will see anywhere in the world. Clothes, laces, hats, art galleries – all retail outlets lined up one after the other to entice you. We took the lane that takes you to the church and then finally to the beach. Positano has a black sand beach, created from the volcanic ashes of Vesuvius among others. We walked all the way to the water and then turned around to see the picture postcard town. The first thing that strikes you in the multi-coloured dome of the church. The colours of the houses perched on the mountain vary from white to light yellow to yellow to light pink to dark pink and to end with deep red. All of it together appears like a patch work of watercolour creatively arranged by an artist. So beautiful and breathtaking – you cannot take your eyes away; you will wonder about who perceived the idea of this settlement on a mountain which looks so unreal. At the day’s end, we checked into a small boutique hotel where our room had a tiny but pretty balcony, overlooking the vast expanse of Tyrrhenian Sea. Wrought iron table and chairs were laid out for guests to soak in the beauty and tranquility complementing the view. After a day full of hectic activities, we finally settled down, stretched our tired legs, ordered some tea and looked ahead into the horizon. From the hotel terrace, atop the hill, the sea looked calm and boats static, as if the world just stopped still. The silence around was overpowering, lending a sense of emptiness, a vacuum that you don’t want to escape from.last_img read more

India Russia decide to expand bilateral trade to 30 bn by 2025

first_imgVladivostok: India and Russia on Wednesday decided to step up industrial cooperation and create new technological and investment partnership, especially in advanced high-tech areas, with an aim to increase bilateral trade to $30 billion by 2025. According to a joint statement issued by the Russian government after 29th India Russia Annual Summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin also agreed that the work on promoting mutual settlements of payments in national currencies will be continued. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalModi is visiting Russia on the invitation of President Putin. The 20th India Russia Annual Summit was held in Vladivostok. Modi also participated in the 5th Eastern Economic Forum as the Chief Guest. The leaders expressed satisfaction with the stable mutual growth of trade turnover, the statement said. “To bring it to $30 billion by 2025, they agreed to more actively engage the impressive resource and human resources potential of India and Russia, enhance industrial cooperation, create new technological and investment partnership, especially in advanced high-tech areas and find new avenues and forms of cooperation,” it said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIndia-Russia bilateral merchandise trade was about $8.2 billion during 2018-19. Both the sides expressed their interest in expanding the participation of Russian business in ‘Make in India’ programme and that of Indian companies in investment projects in Russia. In this context, the statement said they agreed to speed up preparations for signing of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Agreement on Promotion and Mutual Protection of Investments. It was also agreed to intensify work for eliminating trade barriers. This would be facilitated, inter alia, by the proposed Trading Agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Republic of India. The statement further said India is ready to play a significant role in the Arctic Council, while Russia expressed its readiness to participate in major infrastructural and other projects in India. The two sides have also agreed to cooperate in supply of coking coal from Russian Far East to India. “The leaders are determined to forge cooperation in geological exploration and joint development of oil and gas fields in Russia and India, including offshore fields,” the statement said. India and Russia agreed to consider the prospects for expanding cooperation in hydro and thermal power, energy efficiency as well as for designing and constructing facilities that generate energy from non-conventional sources. “With the signing of the Roadmap for cooperation in Hydrocarbons for 2019 24 during the Summit, both Sides expect bilateral cooperation in this sector to touch new heights in the next five years,” it added. Further, the two sides agreed to review possibility of expanding direct passenger and cargo flights including flights between various regions of both the countries. Also, the Sides acknowledged the opportunities to increase bilateral trade in the sphere of agriculture. They expressed their intent to take specific steps to enhance legal framework in this sector and harmonize phytosanitary standards, develop logistics, find new ways to promote agricultural commodities in the two countries’ markets and study the capacities and needs of each other more carefully. Modi, who arrived in Russia on a two-day visit on Wednesday during which he will also attend the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), is the first Indian prime minister to visit to the Russian Far East Region.last_img read more

Haryana to implement NRC as well hints CM Manohar Lal Khattar

first_imgAfter Assam, Haryana may introduce the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the state, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar hinted Sunday, without elaborating on any definite plans on how and when it shall be done. Khatter, who is seeking his second term as Haryana chief minister, met several imminent personalities Sunday, including state’s former Human Rights Commission’s chairman Retd. Justice H S Bhalla and ex-Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lamba, as part of BJP’s nationwide Jan Sampark programme ahead of the state elections. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Speaking to the media persons outside Bhalla’s Sector 16 residence in Panchkula, Khattar said, “Justice Bhalla had headed the Haryana Human Rights Commission besides holding various other positions. These days, he is working on NRC. I also said that we shall implement NRC in Haryana and sought his cooperation on how to implement it. He [Justice Bhalla] has also suggested that Haryana should also have a Law Commission. We shall examine that too and if people get benefitted with this, we shall also constitute one in the state.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Talking to The Indian Express, Justice Bhalla said, “Yes, I suggested the Chief Minister two things – NRC and State Law Commission in Haryana. NRC is only in Assam, currently. So, he [CM] was of this view that in Haryana, there should also be NRC. Residents should be given a card that they are the genuine residents of the state. It was a passing reference so far. “I think the Model Code of Conduct shall also be imposed tomorrow. Thus, they cannot work on this [NRC]. But once the BJP returns to power, then, of course, things might come upon this. As of now, saying much on this is premature. But, it was his desire that Haryana should also have NRC so that people should not face any problems. It will be a card like Aadhaar card, but a separate one,” he said. Haryana Vidhan Sabha polls are scheduled next month. In a statement issued later this evening, Khattar said that state government was already in process of issuing family id-cards to people of Haryana. The same database shall also be used for the implementation of NRC in the state.(Inputs from The Indian Express)last_img read more

Trudeau urged to press G7 leaders for 13 billion for girls education

first_imgOTTAWA – A coalition of 30 non-governmental organizations has asked Justin Trudeau to persuade his fellow G7 leaders to commit $1.3 billion over three years to help send millions of the world’s poorest girls to school.The Canadian Press has learned that the coalition of groups — which included the United Nations Children’s Fund, World Vision, Save The Children and Plan Canada — presented its plan to the prime minister and Liberal government officials three weeks ago.They presented a detailed analysis that showed the spending commitment would help 3.7 million children in poor countries — the majority girls — get access to education.Trudeau said Thursday he would push for more funding for girls’ education when he hosts the G7 leaders in Quebec in June, but he has yet to make a commitment.The heads of major aid agencies say Trudeau must have a plan with money attached because vague G7 declarations of intent simply won’t be enough to back his pro-feminist aspirations and rhetoric.The anti-poverty group, One Campaign, headed by U2 singer Bono, criticized Trudeau earlier this week for moving too slowly on his G7 gender promises after it presented Trudeau with its own five-year, US$6-billion plan late last year.last_img read more

Evacuation orders lifted for some properties in Grand Forks BC

first_imgGRAND FORKS, B.C. – The Regional District of Kootenay Boundary, B.C., has begun lifting evacuation orders on some properties, after cooler temperatures and less rainfall spared the area from an expected second surge of catastrophic flooding last week.By Sunday afternoon, the regional district had rescinded evacuation orders on 175 properties, which affects about 350 people in Grand Forks and some nearby communities.Residents at all 415 properties at Christina Lake had their evacuation orders lifted by Sunday evening.“I’m excited to say the forecast is improving and the river levels are dropping faster than anticipated,” said Dan Derby, fire chief for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.About 20 rapid damage assessment teams comprising 47 firefighters are going door-to-door, putting placards on homes with minimal or no damage that they deem safe to return to.Amid the devastation, they have found a small piece of good news.“There’s been a higher number of [homes] than we anticipated that are what we call ‘green’ or safe to re-enter,” Derby said.While about 1,000 properties remain under evacuation orders in the region, Derby said the goal is to have as many orders lifted as possible by the end of the day Monday.That includes opening up the downtown core, while acknowledging that some individual businesses may require damage repair, he said.Several hundred homes evacuated due to loss of road access will also have their orders rescinded once access is restored, but officials warn that doesn’t mean the community is in the clear.The district says waters could rise again later in the week if there is heavy rain, so it’s encouraging residents to keep sandbags in place until more high-elevation snow finishes melting in the coming weeks.The rising water levels in the Kettle River watershed have also increased the risk of sloughing, erosion and bank instability in several locations, so 39 addresses in the Grand Forks area have been issued hazard notices.The Red Cross is setting up a “resiliency centre” in the community, as a place of support for residents whose properties are unsafe to enter and as a source of information for all those affected.About 100 members of the Canadian Armed Forces, who had arrived to help prepare the area for the forecasted second surge by sandbagging and reinforcing dikes, left the area Sunday and were redeployed to other parts of the province, officials said.While that second surge never came, regional district chairman Roly Russell said the military provided vital psychological support to residents and emergency crews already exhausted by the disaster.“We knew we would have the capacity to respond Friday, Saturday, to the surge that was predicted,” Russell said.Other parts of the province remain on alert, but are also hoping to avoid major damage.Langley’s emergency program co-ordinator, Ginger Sherlock, said officials there are monitoring dikes and are ready to deploy sandbags if necessary.But she said the area has been lucky so far to avoid a projected rise in the Lower Fraser River that would have displaced hundreds of people.The gauge at Mission was projected to reach 6.0 metres by the end of the day Friday and rise to 6.4 metres by Monday, which would prompt evacuations in areas unprotected by dikes. It was hovering just below 6.0 metres by Sunday afternoon.“We were prepping in case we needed to evacuate people, but we got good news (Saturday) that the levels were not as high as anticipated,” Sherlock said.“Nobody wants to be displaced and nobody wants to displace people. So we’re hoping and crossing our fingers and toes that Mother Nature continues to be co-operating with us for the next couple of weeks.”Meantime, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will visit Lake Okanagan on Monday to observe flood relief efforts.There are currently 300 Canadian Army soldiers assisting with flood relief efforts in the region, while other military assets and personnel are on standby.Sajjan will receive briefings from military operations staff and meet with Canadian Armed Forces personnel assisting in flood relief efforts.He will be accompanied by senior military staff co-ordinating the military’s relief efforts in the province.On Sunday, members of the military worked alongside B.C. wildfire contractors and municipal staff in the Green Bay area of West Kelowna to install sandbags and other flood protection measures.Kirsten Jones, public information officer for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, described Green Bay as a spit of land coming into the lake that is particularly vulnerable because it hosts lots of public infrastructure.She said Okanagan Lake is currently at 342.54 metres — six centimetres above “full pool,” the target set by the province to ensure adequate water supply through the summer.“Full pool doesn’t necessarily mean flooding, and it’s not a terrifically unusual occurrence in the Okanagan. But it is something we mention as sort of a measure,” Jones said.Only two properties are under evacuation alerts at the moment, she said, however the lake is expected to keep rising.Private property owners are responsible for protecting their own property and should put the same flood-protection measures in place as last year, the regional district said.Jones said last year’s historic flooding rose higher than 343 metres.Region-wide flood protection measures that had been put in place for possible creek flooding, including bladder dams and sandbags, are now being redeployed to areas vulnerable to lake flooding.Boaters are also being asked to avoid creating wakes near vulnerable shorelines, and to watch for debris and other hazards.— by Amy Smart in Vancouverlast_img read more

Winnipeg police arrest charge men with killing Tina Fontaines cousin

first_imgWINNIPEG – Police have charged three men in the killing of a cousin of Tina Fontaine, a teenager whose death fuelled calls for a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.Police in Winnipeg say Jeanenne Chantel Fontaine, 29, was shot in March before the home she was in was set on fire.She was later taken off life-support.Const. Jay Murray said police believe the suspects went to the home looking for a man over a methamphetamine deal. Fontaine was in the wrong place at the wrong time.“She was not the intended victim in this matter,” Murray said at a news conference Wednesday.“These individuals came to the house looking for someone else. I want to make that clear.”Malcolm Miles Mitchell is charged with second-degree murder and arson.Jason Michael Meilleur is charged with manslaughter and Christopher Mathew Brass faces counts of manslaughter and arson.Brass is also charged with second-degree murder in the death of a man who was shot in February.The body of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine was discovered wrapped in a bag in the Red River in August 2014, eight days after she was reported missing.Her death sparked a nationwide outcry, which helped lead to an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.Raymond Cormier, 54, has been charged with second-degree murder in her death.last_img read more

Town that has belugas and polar bears expects to suffer with loss

first_imgCHURCHILL, Man. – Business owners and residents of an isolated Manitoba community with some of the Canada’s most prestigious tourist attractions say help is needed following news that their only land link may be cut off until the winter.Omnitrax, the owners of the Hudson Bay Railway line to Churchill, said Friday that flooding damage to the track is so severe that service is suspended until at least the winter and possibly next spring.“The whole town is very stressed, very depressed,” said one hospitality worker in Churchill who wouldn’t give her name.“The government needs to step in.”Churchill’s attractions play a big role in luring potential visitors to Manitoba. The first image on Travel Manitoba’s web page is a sea kayaker paddling among a pod of beluga whales on Hudson Bay, and people pay thousands of dollars to get up-close views of polar bears at various times of the year.In 2010, household style maven Martha Stewart visited Churchill and tweeted pictures of her up-close view of a polar bear when she visited the town.“Believe it or not, northern Manitoba and Churchill are exotic locales for people from all over the world,” said John Gunter of Frontiers North Adventures.Frontiers North provides package tours and takes travellers to see polar bears in bus-like tundra buggies. A tour group was planning to arrive by train in the autumn, Gunter said, and he’s been scrambling to make arrangements for them to fly instead.Gunter said he’s also having to make alternate arrangements for vehicles, construction materials and other supplies that are too large to come by plane. They’ll now arrive by barge from Montreal, he said, but at much greater expense.Prices for food that restaurants in Churchill serve to visitors is also expected to rise, due to the extra cost of flying it in.A head of broccoli in Churchill already costs $8.75.Thuraya Weedon of Churchill Nature Tours said air fare is part of the full-service package tours she offers, but notes she’ll be paying more to feed her guests.It’s a cost she says she’ll just have to eat. But she said other businesses in Churchill have it worse.“All their guests who come off the train, well, they’ve all cancelled. So their loss is greater than the pittance that I have to pay extra,” Weedon said.Olivia Billson, a spokeswoman for Infrastructure Minister Blaine Pedersen, said Friday the province has been advised an airline will provide twice-a-week service to Churchill and that the province “will take further steps as warranted to ensure the safety and well-being of all Manitobans.”Churchill Mayor Mike Spence has called for both the provincial and federal government to pay for the difference for freight.Gunter said the train trip to Churchill across prairies, boreal forest and tundra is part of the adventure for many visitors, and that polar bears are among the top things people think about when they think of Canada.Omnitrax also announced last year it was suspending operations at the grain terminal at the Port of Churchill, then scaled back freight service on the rail line. The Denver-based company has been trying to sell the port and rail line to a First Nations consortium.“We’ve heard nothing and I think it’s that lack of communication and that vacuum of information, that has been really stressful for everybody involved,” Gunter said.“So, say yes, or say no. Say something so we can make our own plans if we have to.”last_img read more

Rare chicks rescued in Manitoba catch flight to Ontario before flying south

first_imgWINNIPEG – Four rescued chicks that tumbled from a chimney in Manitoba have been flown to Ontario to join a flock that will hopefully lead them south for the winter.The Manitoba government says the chimney swift chicks fell from a heritage building at the Lower Fort Garry National Historic Site in St. Andrews in August.Chimney swifts are listed as a threatened species in Manitoba, with the population estimated between 300 and 1,000 birds.The chicks must be part of a larger flock to be released into the wild, but by the time they were ready, the adult birds had already left Lower Fort Garry for their annual trek to South America.In mid-September, after two weeks of rehabilitation and flight training with other young chimney swifts, the chicks were successfully released into a flock of 500 adult swifts in the chimneys of a brewery in London, Ont.“The standing joke is that I cry at every release. It is a fascinating, fascinating process,” said Debbie Lefebre of Swift Care Ontario, which cared for the birds in London.“Most birds you can release where there’s good food. These have to released where there’s a sizable flock of birds.”Parks Canada staff who discovered the chicks reached out to the Prairie Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Winnipeg, and with some help from provincial workers and others, the best option for joining a flock was determined to be in Ontario.The birds travelled there on a commercial airline.Lefebre, who is a retired school principal, said chimney swifts are “incredibly high maintenance” because they need feeding every hour from six in the morning until nine at night. Since they’re aerial feeders, even adult birds in captivity need to be hand fed.They also need special cages because they roost vertically, like bats except with their heads up instead of down. And for the four fledgling Manitoba birds that hadn’t yet learned to fly, Lefebre said they had to be taught how to fly into a chimney.That required an artificial chimney — which was actually a cardboard box that was lined so they could perch on it. Lefebre said the birds were lured there with crickets and worms, and once one started feeding, it made a lot of noise that attracted the others.She said she already had a few other chimney swifts, including one that was the same age as the Manitoba birds. Their peer had already gotten the knack, so the Manitoba birds were able to learn from it.But the season was getting late. Chimney swifts were converging in London, preparing for their annual migration. Lefebre was investigating the possibility she might have to drive the young birds further south to Windsor, Ont., where they could unite with another flock that was also gathering, in case the London flock took off.But the weather stayed warm and the birds hung around until the Manitoba birds were finally ready for release.Lefebre said she waited until some of the flock were visible overhead and the young, captive birds could hear them. She unzipped the mesh cage and the birds flew straight up.“Wild birds immediately fly down and start to circle with them. I call them ‘the welcome wagon.’ That happens at every single release, that they will hear the babies chittering and they’ll come and sort of incorporate them into the flock,” Lefebre explained.“They’ll fly around for maybe an hour and then they follow the flock into the chimney, which is a completely new chimney for them, but they follow the flock.”—by Rob Drinkwater in Edmontonlast_img read more

Review of scientific studies suggests man flu may be more intense researcher

first_imgA researcher who blended scientific review with humour is suggesting those who believe “man flu” is more intense than the female version have some evidence to back their views.The piece was published by a Canadian physician in the December edition of the British Medical Journal.Dr. Kyle Sue, a family physician based in Arviat, Nunavut, found studies on mice and humans going back to the 1990s suggesting flu symptoms in men are often more acute.His study also noted that a seasonal influenza study from 2004 to 2010 in Hong Kong found men had higher rates of hospital admission, and a decade-long American observational study that ended in 2007 suggested men had higher rates of flu-related deaths in comparison to women.The latter study held true regardless of underlying heart disease, cancer, chronic respiratory system disease, and renal disease.“Perhaps now is the time for male friendly spaces, equipped with enormous televisions and reclining chairs, to be set up where men can recover from the debilitating effects of man flu in safety and comfort,” Sue wrote.The British Medical Journal’s December issue is meant to be a special issue that has peer-reviewed articles, but allows authors to use some humour, said Navjoyt Ladher, the editor who put the issue together.“The spirit of the issue is quite light hearted and often tackles quirky subjects … But it’s real work,” she said.In his study, Sue also notes that the term man flu has become so common that it is included in the Oxford and Cambridge dictionaries, with Oxford defining it as “a cold or similar minor ailment as experienced by a man who is regarded as exaggerating the severity of the symptoms.”Sue writes: “Since about half the world’s population is male, deeming male viral respiratory symptoms as ‘exaggerated’ without rigorous scientific evidence could have important implications for men, including insufficient provision of care.”Sue’s study also considered the hypothesis that testosterone may have a relationship to influenza by acting to suppress the male immune system.He notes there are numerous potential weaknesses in the “immunity gap” theory, including that it doesn’t always consider other influences on the flu such as the rates of smoking.“The evidence is not definitive. It’s only suggestive,” he said during an interview, in reference to the Hong Kong and American epidemiological studies.He says another factor not considered was the influence of men tending to take longer to seek medical care than women.The physician also cites theories that evolution plays a role in men taking more rest than women for flu, and includes one hypothesis arguing that “the increase in male sickness may be a strategy important for survival since ‘it promotes energy conservation and reduces the risk of encountering predators.’”“Further high quality research is needed to clarify other aspects of man flu,” says Sue’s article, with possible topics including the impact of environmental conditions on flu in males.In addition, he raises the question of whether men who have the flu are more successful at finding mates.“In other words, can the blame for man flu be shifted to the people who select these men as sexual partners rather than the men themselves?”In his conclusion, Sue says the idea of “man flu” and suggestions males exaggerate their suffering is potentially unjust.“Men may not be exaggerating symptoms but have weaker immune responses to viral respiratory viruses, leading to greater morbidity and mortality than seen in women,” says the journal article.Sue said in an interview from his clinic that he decided to do the study for a masters level class about a week after he experienced the flu.“It seemed like a pertinent and possibly entertaining topic to look into. And when I looked into the literature I realized that there are a lot of interesting studies and nobody had actually put it together into something coherent,” he said.last_img read more

House demolished after falling into Nova Scotia sinkhole as family slept

first_imgFALMOUTH, N.S. – Four months after it lurched into a sinkhole with a terrifying clamour in the middle of the night, a Nova Scotia house has been demolished.Heather Strickey stood outside her Falmouth, N.S., home Tuesday as an excavator ripped apart the dream home she’d moved her family into more than a decade ago.“We thought that this was the house that we would watch our kids graduate from high school, get married, all those wonderful landmark moments, retire here, head to the golf course from here,” she said.“But obviously that’s not going to happen.”Strickey was home with one of her teenaged daughters on Sept. 3 when they heard a terrifying sound. They escaped to discover their two-storey home had sagged into the ground and a large sinkhole had opened up.“We knew it would have to be taken down due to the structural damage to the house. So this was the day that it was decided they would take it down. And uh, there it goes,” Strickey said, the excavator ripping into the home behind her.After the collapse, Strickey and her family stayed with friends until they recently rented a home in nearby Windsor. They’re still waiting for their insurance provider to make a decision on whether the collapse will be covered.“We’re renting that but we’re still taking care of the mortgage here in hopes that at some point, we will have the ability to move on and own another home in the local area,” she said.“It’s a very complicated, difficult situation. Our lawyers are still speaking to our insurance provider trying to figure out how all of this is going to be taken care of.”In the days and weeks after the incident, residents in her neighbourhood held meetings to voice concerns about their own homes. At the time, a geologist with the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources told Global News that the area is mapped as “high risk” for naturally occurring sinkholes.“It makes it a high risk because of the rock type that’s underneath the gypsum,” said Bob Ryan at the time.The Municipality of West Hants, however, said it had never been advised that the region was at a high risk and called the incident an “isolated natural event.”Meanwhile, Strickey said she remains hopeful and is trying to move on.(Global News)last_img read more

Tories accuse Morneau of hypocrisy on budgets gender equality measures

first_imgOTTAWA – Conservative deputy leader Lisa Raitt is accusing Finance Minister Bill Morneau of hypocrisy when it comes to budget measures aimed at boosting the equality of women and their participation in the workforce.The accusation prompted a tense exchange Monday during an appearance by the minister before the House of Commons finance committee, in which Morneau indirectly referred to the Conservatives as Neanderthals.Raitt opened Opposition questioning of the minister by noting that February’s budget mentions the word “gender” 358 times in 368 pages. She argued that the sincerity of the government’s commitment to equality should be judged by Morneau’s track record, both in his past role as head human resources giant Morneau Shepell and in his current position as minister.During his time at Morneau Shepell, Raitt said only three of nine positions on the board were held by women, only three of 11 senior managers were women and the company’s governing charter made “no mention of diversity, inclusion, gender.”And in the company’s annual reports dating back to 2011, “never once” was not hiring women mentioned as a risk.Moreover, Raitt said only four out of 11 senior bureaucrats at Finance Canada are women. And in Morneau’s own office, she said there’s only one woman among six senior staff.“Aren’t you just buying votes, minister? Isn’t that what this whole budget is about?” Raitt demanded.“It’s a cynical political gesture … because you do not at all emulate or try to foster any of the things that you’re talking about in the budget, either in your past corporate life, within your own department or even in your own ministerial staff. Isn’t this just a way to get a woman’s vote? Isn’t that what this is all about?”Morneau seemed taken aback by Raitt’s line of questioning.“I actually find your line of questioning to be offensive,” he said, adding that he and the government “absolutely believe” that promoting women into positions of leadership is a key to a successful economy.“We will drag along the Neanderthals who don’t agree with that and that will be our continuing approach,” he added, in apparent reference to Conservatives.“I’m not a Neanderthal,” retorted Raitt.Morneau’s latest budget included a new parental leave benefit aimed at encouraging men to take a greater role in caring for newborns and allowing women to return to the workforce sooner. It also included a promise of pay equity legislation for women in federally regulated sectors and billions in funding to boost the participation of women in trades and agriculture, help finance women entrepreneurs and power the government’s feminist international aid policy.The budget also earmarked funding for women’s groups, promoting gender equality and combating gender-based violence, as well as money to boost the participation of women and girls in sports and to set up a unit devoted to gender, diversity and inclusion within Statistics Canada.Liberal MP Jennifer O’Connell came to Morneau’s defence, pointing to the Conservatives’ own hypocrisy on gender equality. She pointed out that there are no female Tory members of the finance committee — Raitt was sitting in on Monday’s meeting but is not a member — and only eight women in the party’s current shadow cabinet.Moreover, at best, she said women made up less than one third of former prime minister Stephen Harper’s cabinet, whereas half of Justin Trudeau’s ministers are women.She also went after the Conservatives for appearing to suggest the measures in the budget aimed at women are purely political gestures with no economic impact.“Is parental leave enhancement so that women can get back to the workforce buying votes for women?” O’Connell asked.“What about the funding and the carve outs for supporting women entrepreneurs? Is that buying votes? … We can all go back to the dark ages of the Harper Conservatives, but that hasn’t helped women.”Morneau said one third of the economic growth experienced by Canada over the past 40 years has been generated by women entering the workforce. But he said there’s still room to do more, getting women’s workforce participation rate, currently 61 per cent, closer to that of men at 70 per cent.With Canada facing “significant demographic challenges” as the baby boomers reach retirement age, Morneau said it’s particularly important to ensure that all Canadians who want to work are able to achieve their full potential.last_img read more

Pompeo says Canadian claim to Northwest Passage is illegitimate

first_imgOTTAWA — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is calling Canada’s claim over the Northwest Passage “illegitimate” in a major speech that is being criticized for being provocative and inaccurate.   A leading international-security expert says Pompeo’s branding of a longtime disagreement on Arctic policy between the Canada and the U.S. is a “stunning rebuke” of the 1988 Arctic Co-operation agreement between the two countries.Fen Hampson of Carleton University in Ottawa says Pompeo’s remark upends a gentleman’s agreement between Brian Mulroney and Ronald Reagan that allows the U.S. to designate the Northwest Passage an international waterway while Canada claims it as sovereign territory.Pompeo offered that characterization during a wide-ranging speech in Finland today in which he also warned against China’s increased Arctic presence, saying it threatens North American security and could be harmful to the environment.Michael Byers, an Arctic expert at the University of British Columbia, says Pompeo is not only off-base about the threat posed by China, his argument is based on a false statement that the People’s Republic is trying to build infrastructure in the Canadian Far North.Byers says the federal government should be worried that the top diplomat from one of its key Arctic allies got his facts so wrong.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Family of Calgary woman killed by police officer wants answers

first_imgCALGARY (660 NEWS) – The family of a woman shot and killed by Calgary Police last week says they need answers.Angela May-Fiddler says she was very close to her cousin, Robin Fiddler, who was originally from the Water-Hen First Nation in Saskatchewan but who had lived in Calgary for the last five years.At about 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Calgary Police were called to the southeast community of Southview after getting reports of a suspicious person wandering in and out of backyards.The Alberta Serious Response Incident Team (ASIRT) says an officer was then pepper sprayed while sitting in her cruiser and when she got out of the car to arrest Fiddler there was a struggle and Fiddler was shot.She was rushed to hospital in critical condition, but died of her injuries.May-Fiddler says the family would like to see unedited footage of the incident, as she highly doubts Fiddler would spray the officer without reason. She’s also calling for mandatory cultural awareness training.Acting Deputy Police Chief Steve Barlow commended the officer for how she handled the incident, saying no one comes to work planning on being in this type of situation.ASIRT continues to investigate and is asking for any video evidence or witnesses to come forward.last_img read more

Bill Clinton Thanks Supporters For Birthday Wishes

first_imgBill Clinton has thanked supporters of the Clinton Foundation for the birthday wishes sent to him last week.“More than 35,000 people made my birthday special by sending in messages of support for the Clinton Foundation’s work – work that truly wouldn’t be possible without people like you,” he wrote. “From connecting Malawian farmers with essential tools and resources to helping U.S. communities live healthier, I know I have you to thank for improving the lives of so many people around the world.“After 67 years, I’ve learned that by working together, we can do more than any one of us could do on our own. It’s the best birthday gift to know that you share our commitment to building a better world, and that I can count on you to help us improve even more lives in the months and years to come.”last_img read more

Jennifer Hudson Features In Window Display For Cancer Research

first_imgA window display at Rockefeller Plaza this month featuring GRAMMY-winning singer, Oscar-winning actress, and Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C) Ambassador Jennifer Hudson together with Shiva Malek, Ph.D., a senior research scientist at Genentech, will reach almost 250,000 people per day with a message about the importance of supporting innovative research.The display is adapted from a collaborative public service campaign highlighting the incredible work of today’s leading cancer researchers, created by Stand Up To Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation (EIF), a 501c3 nonprofit, and Genentech, one of the world’s leading biotech companies. The window space at 10 Rockefeller Plaza, donated by EHE International, will house the display throughout March.Juxtaposing Hudson and Malek, the display notes the similarities between the worlds of art and science—reinforcing how much can be accomplished by working together. The “Two Worlds. One Dream.” campaign, launched in 2014, charges everyone — from doctors and scientists, to artists with powerful public voices, to individual patients and survivors — to unite in the fight against the collection of diseases known as cancer, which is expected to take the lives of over 1,600 Americans every day this year.“EHE international is delighted to make this gift to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Stand Up To Cancer initiative, which will offer a potent reminder that each and every one of us can play a part in the fight against cancer,” says Deborah McKeever, President of EHE International.“We are so grateful to Jennifer Hudson and Genentech for their invaluable support, and to EHE International for this incredible opportunity to get our message out to millions of people,” said Lisa Paulsen, co-founder of Stand Up To Cancer. “This campaign champions collaboration, which is a cornerstone of SU2C. We hope to continue inspiring the public to realize their role in supporting research that has the ability to transform lives.”For more information on the campaign, visit standup2cancer.org.last_img read more

Sharon Osbourne Sends Harvey Nichols A Sack Of Coal For Christmas

first_imgIt takes a lot to make it onto Sharon Osbourne’s “naughty” list – but Harvey Nichols takes the top spot this Christmas.Sharon sent a sack of coal to the department store’s CEO Stacey Cartwright, along with a letter explaining that while the pile of sooty rocks has made its way to the store, she will not be seen there – until the retailer stops selling fur.“I was shocked to learn from my friends at PETA that Harvey Nichols has abandoned its decade-long no-fur policy”, she writes. “This officially puts you at the top of my naughty list (which is truly saying something!), so I thought it apt to send you a sack of coal.”Sharon goes on to explain that “I used to wear fur before I became aware of the cruelty involved in its production. I hope you, too, will make the compassionate decision not to support this violent industry”.Harvey Nichols hides behind a marketing ploy called “Origin Assured”, which was created by the fur industry itself following years of plummeting sales. Fur coming from farms in 29 countries can potentially be labelled “Origin Assured” simply because these countries have environmental standards, animal-welfare laws, or best-practice guidelines – but whether or not these regulations are enforced isn’t taken into consideration. A PETA exposé narrated by Paloma Faith reveals the tremendous suffering of animals whose fur bears this label. It shows that on fur farms in Denmark, Finland, Sweden, and other so-called “Origin Assured” countries, animals such as foxes, rabbits, and minks are kept in filthy wire cages – sometimes alongside the rotting corpses of other animals – and are left to suffer from untreated injuries, including missing limbs. Frightened and distressed, they often mutilate themselves and others in the cage. These animals are then slaughtered – just so that their skin can be made into clothing.While Selfridges, House of Fraser, and Liberty all remain fur-free, Harvey Nichols abandoned its decade-long fur-free policy in 2014 amidst much public outcry. Sharon joins Joanna Lumley and Twiggy in teaming up with PETA to call on the retailer to pull all fur from its shelves.last_img read more

Franka Potente Stars In New ProVegan Campaign

first_imgBourne Identity and Run Lola Run actor Franka Potente has teamed up with PETA Germany for a new ad and video campaign, in which she shares that going vegan three years ago changed her life.“I went vegan for health reasons,” she says in the video. “My choice was to either take medication that I didn’t want to take or change the way I eat. And I love a good challenge, so I walked out of the doctor’s office vegan.”“I felt different pretty much immediately,” continues the German-born Taboo star. “I always had trouble with lingering throat inflammation, and I got rid of that immediately, and my skin cleared up. I slept better.” Now, she’s encouraging others to do the same: “Try it out and see how you feel. If you feel better after a week, try another week.”PETA — whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to eat” — notes that in addition to the health benefits that Potente enjoyed, other advantages of going vegan include a decreased risk of suffering from heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, and obesity by comparison with meat-eaters. And of course, every person who goes vegan spares approximately 100 animals every year daily suffering and a terrifying death in today’s industrialized meat, egg, and dairy industries.last_img read more