New Delhi: BJP leader J P Nadda has emerged as the likely replacement for Amit Shah as the party president after he was left out of the Union Council of Ministers, which was sworn in on Thursday, according to BJP sources. With Shah joining the Cabinet of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he may demit the office of BJP chief as part of the party’s “one-person one-post” principle. Nadda, a Brahmin leader from Himachal Pradesh, enjoys the confidence of the party’s top brass, is trusted by the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh – the party’s ideological parent- and enjoys a clean reputation. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCHe was the health minister in the first Modi government. That Nadda (58) maintains a low profile also goes in his favour as the new party president will be expected to run the organisation in cohesion with the government and carry on with organisational agenda firmed up by Shah.He is a member of the BJP’s parliamentary board, its top decision-making body having its most important members, that gives him requisite seniority for the job as well, party sources said. A few other party leaders like general secretary Bhupendra Yadav and vice president O P Mathur are also seen as contenders for the top party post. The party will also look for new presidents for its Uttar Pradesh and Bihar units.
Is Nepal’s arbitrary issuance of permits to scale Mount Everest causing overcrowding and contributing to inexperienced climbers affecting professional mountaineers to face life threats? To many seasoned adventurers, this is one of the main reasons. Recently, the world’s highest peak witnessed a traffic jam after more than 200 climbers, all clipped on to a single line of rope, attempted to reach Everest’s Summit point in a single day, risking death each minute. Eleven people have died this season which is the highest since 2015 resulting mainly from overcrowding, coupled with difficult weather conditions, lack of experience, altitude sickness, shortness of breath, mental indecision and the growing commercialisation of expeditions. Veteran climbers feel “the major problem is inexperience, not only of the climbers that are on the mountain but also the operators supporting those climbers.” They opine that “Everest is primarily a very complicated logistical puzzle” and when there are lots of “inexperienced operators and inexperienced climbers along with, particularly, the Nepal government not putting some limitations on the numbers of people,” there is a high chance of deaths taking place. It has been observed increasingly that there are more people on Everest than there should be. Once only accessible to cash-rich elite expert mountaineers, Nepal’s ‘permit philanthropy’ has led to a booming climbing market, bringing down the cost of expeditions for adventure-seekers massively. Though a doctor’s certificate is required to establish their medical fitness, no document is required to prove their stamina at such dizzy heights. And it is mostly because of this, climbers have very little time to scale the mountain until they are hit by High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) which typically occurs in rapidly climbing unacclimatised lowlanders usually within 2–4 days of ascent above 2500–3000 metres. The final push — from Camp 4 at 8,000 metres to 8,850 metres — is known as the “death zone” and the conditions are so incredibly intense that when a person dies, the others cannot spare their energy to bring down the body. The situation gets more complicated when a set of inexperienced mountaineers try to make their way up as every second is very important. Also Read – Securing nutritionNepal does not have a rule book regarding the number of permits that can be issued, neither any strict law that keeps a check. This year, permits were issued to 381 people, the highest number ever, according to the government sources. They were accompanied by an equal number of Sherpas. The point is who doesn’t want to stand on top of the world, everybody does. But unprepared tourists who have no knowledge about the extremes of Everest endanger the entire industry. It is understandable that when more people come, the number of permits increases which means more business. But, on the contrary, it can cost precious lives as well. And that is what needs to be addressed, and addressed fast.
You had said that instinct drives your choice of films. Is it still that important? Yes, and I think now more than ever. You can get corrupted as time progresses; sometimes, you make choices based on other’s opinion and what is relevant to the audience at that point in time. But then, you have to go back to reminding yourself that you are also the audience. You also have to be convinced. You can’t overanalyse and nitpick. You have to take chances. Some will go wrong and some will go right. That’s just how films work. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’You can’t just put projects together in their entirety. So, both impulse and instinct have remained intact for me. You may question your own instinct and be wary of being impulsive. But that’s good because it means you are constantly trying to improve yourself and are learning from your mistakes. You should introspect. You should not stop backing yourself. You can have moments of weakness. But if you have made it so far by backing yourself, have a little more faith. Also Read – ‘Always looking for that one great love’ How did instinct kick in when you heard the script of India’s Most Wanted? Raj Kumar Gupta gave it to me without a brief. I called him to congratulate him on Raid as I really liked the trailer. He asked me straight away, ‘Tu kya kar raha hai?’ (What are you doing?) I said I wasn’t doing anything, to which he said he was sending me a script. He sent it at 2 pm and I replied at 5 pm, saying I was doing this film. I was taken aback by its simplicity and how precisely it was being told. I was most excited by the heroism that came from deeds and actions, and not my character. It’s not that I am beating up 20 people to get to a terrorist. That is what intrigued me. I thought it was very real and believable. I wouldn’t use the word ‘documentary’ but it is a true documentation of what transpired to bring this man to justice. Some stories get lost in time and some are hidden for a reason, some stories never make it to the forefront because there is so much chaos all around. So, once the dust settles, six to seven years later, this story can finally be consumed with reality. There was a covert operation that was unofficially undertaken to bring to justice a man who is responsible for killing 400 people. That is a very big deal and will be for any Indian. On the surface, your character looks simple and unidimensional. What nuances did you add to your character? Raj Sir and I worked on the film, script and performance for about 10 days. He said, ‘If from the first scene I know that you can catch him, I wouldn’t be interested in knowing the story. I want to feel that we won’t be able to get these guys and I want to show that you are helpless. And for that, we need to shed your impression of being a mainstream commercial hero.’ I agreed and I chose the film because it is the story of an underdog. He said, ‘Exactly. So be the underdog.’ Psychologically, an intelligence officer has to be very different from a uniformed officer. You have to learn to disappear in the crowd. You have to operate very subtly. Your interrogations, suspects, the way you get information –you do it all with a smile on your face. It is a very different psychological play. Here, you need to play with words – that is entirely different. You need to be very sure of every move you make. And, these people do a job where they get zero credit with a very basic salary. They do it without expecting to be thanked. And the country can wash its hands off them many times… Yes, and that is what the deal is. If you are caught, your family will not even be mentioned. That is the reality that we, sitting in Mumbai, take for granted. When we see it in Hollywood films, we are intrigued. I think it is about time we show such things in a Bollywood film, realistically. We just discussed how it is very important for a story like this to be told. We have watched films based on real people and real incidents. As an actor, do you fear that films like that can become jingoistic? The tonality of the film, the teaser, the trailer and even its posters are simple. It is more about the internal angst of people. That’s how we have made it. We have talked about the damage that man has caused to his country. We have not spoken about bashing someone up; we have not gone into blaming or pinpointing someone. The dialogue is crisp. Patriotism, in this film, comes from telling the story of a common man in India. We represent the common man, the nine-to-five, middle-class, working generation. They are the ones who run our country. My blood boils when I hear that there is a terrorist on the move. We have brought him to justice but he is still getting away by saying that he has not done it. Jingoism aside, patriotism is a feeling that comes from within. Jingoism is thrust upon people. It is about bhaashan and dialogues. This film is internal. You cannot bring back the 400 people that our country lost. We don’t need to say much. You have to have that emotion within you and understand what loss is and what our motherland is. If you watch this film, you will understand that there are men who are sacrificing their lives and they deserve credit. The film is about respecting the people defending us. Did you have any reference point for the character you play in this film? I relied on writing. It was very clear. We met some officers to get into the mood of the film. We did some workshops with other actors in the film, for a week. And then we went into shooting. The best discovery is in front of the camera, where you can find your sur and rhythm. We have tried to keep the conversation mature and my character is not a hot-headed officer who beats up people. He has a calm demeanour, so you can’t tell what he is thinking. And that is important too. I like that my character wanted to play without showing too much and giving into much of what he was thinking. And, Raj Kumar Gupta specialises in this genre… Oh, he is fantastic! I loved working with him. I wanted to work with him. We were supposed to do Revolution 2020 together at one point but that did not transpire. I am so glad that I called him after Raid. He is a great person. He gives you so much love on the set. He is a master craftsman. He knows exactly what he wants from every shot. He is getting better with every film. This film might seem verbose but it is a thriller. He is very thorough. We have shot the film in difficult conditions but not once did it feel like he was not in control of the situation. He has done a fantastic job. He, his wife and his entire team are fantastic. He was happy to get people who were collaborative and wanted to tell the story. The preparation for this film was so thorough that I was taken aback. He has been writing this for three years. And that shows in the way he has shot the film. It has been an absolute pleasure and honour to work with him. You have shot the film at real locations. Is that a different experience? You respond to the ambience around you. If there is traffic and people are shouting and screaming around you, then the way you perform is more real because you are talking above them. If there is chaos when you are shooting in a market place, you have to glide through it without being noticed. Then the weather plays havoc. It may be a sunny, hot and sultry afternoon or a humid evening. We shot the film in Nepal at a time when it doesn’t rain there. But it started raining on the first night. We had two options, to wait for the rain to stop or shoot while it poured. We would be shooting the climax over the next seven days. We improvised the scene and thought of shooting in the rain. It rained for the next seven days. We managed to shoot because we were reacting to what was happening around us. That worked in our favour. If you work with a team that is ready to operate under pressure and thrive on it, the results will be fantastic. A lot of your contemporaries are foraying into the digital space. Are you open to the web space? I am not among those who believe that working in the web space would shrink my core audience. The story has to resonate with me. At the end of the day, when you are listening to a story, you have to consider that it should be told on a certain platform where it will get maximum attention. There are certain themes that we cannot tell on the big screen. There are certain themes that make family audiences a little uncomfortable. It is a little risky making a film with Rs 70-80 crore, with themes that might not appeal to the common man. You would rather take that risk and spend it on the digital platform and tell the story exactly the way it is, without toning it down. Then, it will definitely find its way to its audience. Full credit should be given to digital producers. At the end of the day, Netflix, Amazon and Hotstar deserve credit because they are making content without thinking about the repercussions of, let’s say, leftist or right-wing supporters. That is the beauty of the web. If you take that away, then it becomes television, where you are reaching out to the common man. I would love to be a part of the web. I would never say ‘never’. I did television and I enjoyed it; I loved hosting Khatron Ke Khiladi. The time spent doing a web project or a film is the same. You cannot quantify stardom. Is that measured by the number of followers that you have on Instagram? Has your perception towards box office numbers changed? Rs 70 crore is not a big deal today. Rs 100 crore is not a big deal either. Numbers constantly change. What is exciting to see is that the volume is growing and so, you know that there is money to be made, which is important for producers and investors. But what is more exciting and challenging is that your films can make Rs 100 crore and still not be memorable; your film can make less than that and be more memorable. The challenge is to be relevant and stay memorable in all aspects. I am not talking only about the classes or masses or the niche audience. I am saying that all kinds of films are working. For example, Badla. It is not about how much business it made, it is a film that breaks the notion that you can’t do these whodunits. It is above a Rs 100 crore film for me. When I saw Gully Boy do that kind of business, I thought it was outstanding. I realised that now we can tell the stories that we have been scared to tell. How would a person sitting in Jabalpur or Kanpur understand rap? But they do. At the same time, Kesari does well. That will make you go, ‘Okay boss, if Akshay Kumar does an action film, we want to go and watch it.’ He is being patriotic in his own way, which is unique. There are films giving you indications all the time that business is ever expanding. That is the only constant. Business is changing – every day, every week, every month. Simultaneously, we are still making the films that we want to make, which is grabbing audience’s attention. That is very exciting. Especially with the smaller gems that are being made. Right! The divide is now breaking apart. It is not the face on the film poster that dictates the performance of a film; it is all about having a good story. It takes the pressure off and also adds pressure. BOI
NEW DELHI: The BJP’s Delhi unit Chief Manoj Tiwari on Monday alleged that the AAP government’s proposal to make metro and bus travel free for women is a “desperate bid to buy votes”.The BJP leader said Kejriwal is making such announcements because he’s fast losing ground in Delhi . “It seems he’s lost his mind… ‘ghoshna mantri’ (announcement minister) has made another announcement to make people laugh… he made 70 promises and all are lies,” he told reporters. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar”After the tight slap of defeat, he started the process for implementing 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections. He’s making such announcements to hold onto his ground in Delhi . It’s a desperate bid to buy votes,” Tiwari said. The BJP leader, however, made it clear that he’s not against giving free rides to women in buses and the Delhi Metro. “We are not against the idea. There is no problem in giving free rides to women, but where are the buses? The AAPis befooling people,” he alleged. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceThe BJP’s Delhi unit has plans for free rides to all in government buses, but we will not make any tall promises, Tiwari said. Attacking the Kejriwal government over insufficient number of buses in the city, he said, “Around one crore women in the city will need 20,000 buses, but we have just 3,500-3,800. Where will they sit?” On the other hand, the Delhi Congress dubbed Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s announcement to provide free travel to women in public transport buses and Metro trains as a “publicity stunt” made in view of the coming Assembly elections here. Reacting to the decision, Delhi Congress spokesperson Jitender Kochar said the state government should also provide free travel to students and senior citizens in buses and Metro trains. “Kejriwal often makes announcements which he either does not fulfil or which do not come under his jurisdiction. The Assembly elections in Delhi are due in the next few months and he should stop publicity stunt by making such announcements,” Kochar said. Stating that the AAP lost all the seven Lok Sabha seats in recent polls and was pushed to the third spot on majority of the seats, he said that was why the party was making “populist” announcements for political gains in Assembly elections due early next year. Both Congress and AAP were routed and the BJP won all the Lok Sabha seats in Delhi with a huge majority. The AAP was pushed to the third place in five of the seven constituencies by the Congress. Former Delhi Congress MLA Mukesh Sharma said that Delhi people can no longer be “fooled” by Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal.
BISHKEK: No meeting was held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Pakistan’s Imran Khan during the informal dinner hosted by Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov for the leaders attending the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit in Bishkek on Thursday, news agency ANI has reported, quoting sources. PM Modi and Imran Khan did not even exchange pleasantries during the dinner hosted on the sidelines of the two-day summit, the report added. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from FrancePM Modi, on the sidelines of the summit, reiterated to Chinese President Xi Jinping India’s stand that Pakistan should take concrete action against terror before talks can resume. “Pakistan needs to create an atmosphere free of terror, but at this stage we do not see it happening. We expect Islamabad to take concrete action” to resume talks, foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale quoted the Prime Minister as telling Xi Jinping. China is Pakistan’s all-weather ally. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize Before PM Modi left for Bishkek, India had ruled out any bilateral meeting with Pakistan. India has said cross-border terror must stop and Pakistan must take action against terror groups operating from its soil before dialogues can begin. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan and Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had written separate letters to their Indian counterparts, ahead of the SCO summit, pushing for resumption of bilateral talks. After assuming office too, Imran Khan had written to PM Modi, seeking dialogue on all issues, including Kashmir. On Wednesday evening, after the ministry said PM Modi won’t fly over Pakistan on his way to Kyrgyzstan — a move seen as a snub — Islamabad said its airspace was open for the VVIP flight. Pakistan had closed its airspace in February after the Balakot air strikes. PM Modi’s flight, however, took a different route to Bishkek. India’s pressure on Pakistan to take action on terrorists acting from its soil spiked after the February 14 terror attack in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama, in which 40 soldiers died. At last year’s SCO summit in China’s Qingdao, PM Modi shook hands and exchanged pleasantries with then Pakistan President Mamnoon Hussain, amid frosty bilateral relationship between the two sides. The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is an eight-member group led by China that cooperates chiefly on trade and security.(With inputs from NDTV)
To bring out a “commemorative khadi stamp on Mahatma Gandhi” on his 150th birth anniversary on October 2, Portugal has ordered the signature fabric of India, the Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), said on July 5. After the successful dispatch of this consignment on June 29, KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said that in February 2019, Khadi samples gratis were provided to the Cartor Security Printing Agency of Lisbon for stamp testing on behalf of the Postal Services of Portugal (CTT) for printing the stamps. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”The Cartor Security Printing Agency had successfully completed the testing and later Dr Arjun Deore, the Second Secretary in the Embassy of India in Lisbon has confirmed the same to KVIC and requested us to supply 4,000 meters of exclusive 300-count muslin Khadi Fabric in bundles of 11 meters,” he said, adding, “Though the monetary value of this order is little over Rs 21 lakh, it values much more for the KVIC as Khadi and Bapu both would be showcased in Portugal’s stamp simultaneously.” Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardHowever, Khadi’s global presence is not a new phenomenon. In April 2018, noted fashion designer Gavin Rajah choreographed a 20-minute textile event aimed to project Khadi in a modern and trendy style at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa. In June 2018, Khadi also draped around a train and station at the Pietermaritzburg Railway Station in South Africa where Mahatma Gandhi was thrown off a train for refusing to give up his seat in a first class, “whites-only” compartment in 1893. The KVIC, for the first time, organised exclusive khadi exhibitions in 10 countries on August 15, 2018 and enthused by the massive response in those countries,the KVIC again organised khadi exhibitions in another 50 countries on October 2 last year. This order from Lisbon perhaps is the outcome of Khadi’s exposure at various exhibitions held in the recent past.
Kiev: Ukrainians on Sunday went to the polls to elect a new parliament as comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelensky seeks to bring in political newcomers and consolidate power. Zelensky’s newly-created party is expected to win the largest share of the votes in the early polls expected to usher in a new era in the country dominated up to now by politicians who grew up in the Soviet Union. The leader’s party Servant of the People — named after a sitcom in which he played a president — is predicted to get roughly half of the vote even though it barely existed before Zelensky won a landslide victory in an April presidential vote. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USZelensky, however, may not secure a majority and would need to form a coalition, possibly with rock star Svyatoslav Vakarchuk’s newly-created party Golos (Voice). After casting his ballot, the 41-year-old leader said he would make a decision about possible coalition partners after the results of the vote are out. “We do not see a coalition with the old authorities,” Zelensky said in the capital Kiev, wearing a casual blue shirt. The outgoing parliament, dominated by Zelensky’s predecessor Petro Poroshenko, has been hostile to the actor, who called a snap election during his swearing-in as president. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe Ukrainian president must share power with parliament, which will nominate a prime minister and form a government. Many said they voted for the leader’s party. “He was elected but he can’t do anything. They (lawmakers) constantly put sticks in his wheels and dump his ideas,” Valentyna, an 82-year-old pensioner told AFP in central Kiev. Roman Andreykiv, 58, cast his vote for Zelensky’s party because he wants the president and parliament to work in unison.
New Delhi: Two former Samajwadi Party leaders, who had quit their party and Rajya Sabha memberships recently, joined the BJP on Saturday, lauding the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Surendra Singh Nagar, a two-time Member of Parliament, and Sanjay Seth, a well-known realtor of Uttar Pradesh who was the SP’s treasurer, joined the BJP in the presence of its general secretary Bhupender Yadav and its media head Anil Baluni. Both Nagar and Seth hailed Modi’s leadership and lauded his government’s decision to scrap the provisions of Article 370 to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status in the Constitution.
Colombo: A controversial Sri Lankan field commander, accused of grave human rights abuses during the country’s 26-year civil war, was on Monday appointed the new Army Commander, a decision which evoked “deep concern” from the United States. President Maithripala Sirisena’s office on Monday announced that Lt Gen Shavendra Silva has been named as the new army commander. Silva, 55, will take charge as incumbent Army chief Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake’s service was not extended. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSilva headed the Army’s 58th Division in the final battle against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels in the final stages of the civil war in 2009. His brigade was accused of attacking civilians, hospitals and stopping humanitarian supplies to trapped Tamil civilians. Silva’s name was mentioned in the resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in 2013, alleging rights abuses by the Sri Lankan Army. The Sri Lanka Army has denied the alleged rights abuses. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsCritics say Silva’s appointment as the Army chief may strain Sri Lanka’s cooperation in UN Peacekeeping operations and the defence cooperation between the US and Sri Lanka. The United States expressed deep concern by Silva’s appointment, said the US Embassy here in a statement. “The allegations of gross human rights violations against him, documented by the United Nations and other organizations, are serious and credible. “This appointment undermines Sri Lanka’s international reputation and its commitments to promote justice and accountability, especially at a time when the need for reconciliation and social unity is paramount,” the embassy said. After the brutal civil war ended, Silva served in New York as Sri Lanka’s Deputy Permanent Representative at the UN Mission. According to a United Nations report, some 45,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the last months of the war alone. The United Nations and human rights groups have urged the Sri Lankan government to establish a war crimes tribunal to investigate the allegations of crimes against humanity, both by the military and the Tamil militant groups. Successive Sri Lankan governments have resisted attempts to establish an international probe, saying it is an internal issue of the island nation.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said it had received a communication from the Ministry of Law and Justice on the Collegium’s recommendation, elevating Justice Akil Kureshi as the Chief Justice of the Madhya Pradesh High Court. A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said the communication of the ministry would be placed before the Collegium to take a call on it. The bench, also comprising justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer, deferred the hearing on a plea moved by the Gujarat High Court Bar Association, which has sought a direction to the Centre to notify the elevation of Justice Kureshi.
Karachi: A woman was among the six militants of the Islamic State terror group killed in an encounter after security forces raided a terrorist hideout on Wednesday in Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province, police said. Inspector General of Police Mohsin Hassan Butt said that an official of the Balochistan Constabulary was also killed in the operation carried out near Eastern Bypass in the provincial capital Quetta, the Dawn newspaper reported. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Butt said that the militants belonged to the Islamic State group. Eight other personnel from the Anti-Terrorist Force (ATF) were injured, one of whom is said to be critical. Butt said that the operation, that lasted for six hours, was carried out by officials of the intelligence agencies, counter-terrorism department and ATF. The security forces also recovered a large quantity of weapons and ammunition from the militants. The bodies of the terrorists have been shifted to a hospital in Quetta for postmortem. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Another security official, who declined to be named, said the militants were involved in a series of targeted killings and bomb explosions in Balochistan. Following the operation, a large contingent of police and other security personnel was deployed at the site of the raid. According to a spokesperson of the Counter Terrorism Department, the raid took place after the security agencies received reports about the presence of terrorists in the area, Geo TV reported. The woman, who was wearing a suicide jacket, blew herself up during the encounter, the spokesperson said.
Pushkar (Raj): Reservation is required because there is social and economic disparity in society, and should continue till its beneficiaries feel it is needed, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said here on Monday.RSS joint general secretary Dattatreya Hosabale added that the organisation strongly feels that temples, cremation grounds and water reservoirs should be open for all and not restricted to any specific caste. “There is social and economic disparity in our society and therefore reservation is required…we totally support the reservation as mandated by the Constitution,” he said at a press conference on the last day of the Sangh’s three-day coordination meeting here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Asked whether the RSS feels reservation should not continue indefinitely, Hosabale said it is for the beneficiaries of the system to decide. “Reservation should continue till its beneficiaries feel it is required,” he said, clearing his organisation’s stance on quotas. A Dalit organisation, he said, had written to RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat applauding the Sangh’s stand on ending discrimination in society. The RSS strongly feels and has been working towards the belief that temples, cremation grounds and water reservoirs should be open for all, he said. PTI
As Seattle-based Starbucks Corp. prepares to close 8,000 U.S. cafes Tuesday afternoon for racial-bias training, Canadian experts are drawing attention to racial profiling north of the border.They say the viral video of two black men being arrested in a Philadelphia coffee shop last month while waiting for a business associate isn’t surprising for Canadians who face racial stereotyping on a regular basis.“It’s an everyday issue that happens to people as they go about their business,” says Tomee Elizabeth Sojourner-Campbell, a Toronto-based consumer racial profiling expert with Sojourner Mediation and Consulting Services.“It may sound egregious to people that don’t experience it, but for black and Indigenous people it’s part of daily life.”Starbucks Canada will close its stores for a portion of the day on June 11 for training “designed to address implicit bias, promote conscious inclusion, and ensure everyone inside a Starbucks store feels safe and welcome,” says a note to staff from president Michael Conway.Sojourner-Campbell describes what it’s like to go shopping as a black person in Canada — you walk into a store and suddenly you have a shadow, she says.A clerk follows a few paces behind you, watching your every move and checking inventory each time you pause in an aisle. You buy a few things, but you’re stopped at the exit to show your receipt, she says, even while no one else is.Sojourner-Campbell says it’s often subtle but can quickly escalate, as demonstrated in the Philadelphia Starbucks incident and a number of high-profile cases in Canada.Last month, a Toronto restaurant was ordered to pay $10,000 after asking black customers to prepay for a meal in 2014, while Shoppers Drug Mart was ordered to pay $8,000 in 2015 after a worker targeted a black woman and accused her of stealing.In Saskatchewan, a Giant Tiger employee in Regina was suspended last year amid racial profiling allegations after an Indigenous man posted a video showing him repeatedly being followed, while another video showed a Canadian Tire staff member accusing an Indigenous man of shoplifting and physically removing him from a store.“It can happen in small communities or large urban areas,” says Sojourner-Campbell. “Black and Indigenous people are racially profiled and poorly treated everywhere in Canada.”In Nova Scotia, the provincial human rights commission found that staff at a Halifax-area Sobeys discriminated against a black woman when they falsely accused her of repeatedly stealing.Andrella David was buying ice cream in May 2009 when a staff member approached her and publicly accused her of being a “known shoplifter.” The grocery giant initially appealed the ruling, saying that although the situation wasn’t properly handled, she was not racially profiled.Sobeys agreed to apologize and offer staff training on discrimination and racial profiling after public outcry prompted a months-long boycott.Nova Scotia’s first black lieutenant-governor, Mayann Francis, came forward at the time to reveal that she, too, had been the victim of repeated racial profiling while shopping.“Yes, I’ve been successful, yes, I have many accolades, but I still experience this,” she said Monday. “It doesn’t matter how successful I am.”Francis, a distinguished public service fellow with Dalhousie University’s faculty of management, applauds Starbucks for responding quickly to the Philadelphia incident.“They did not waste a minute, I give them kudos for that,” she says. “The only criticism I have is, a half-day is not going to alleviate the problem, this is something that has to be ongoing.”Francis says people need to confront their own “unconscious bias” in order to address the problem.El Jones, a Halifax poet and community organizer, says racial profiling is a result of black people being seen as a threat.“The perception is that you’re a criminal, you’re dangerous and you’re threatening,” says Jones, Nancy’s Chair in Women’s Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University in Halifax.The affect of racial profiling is hard to understand for those who don’t experience it, she says.“Think about how you go about your day. Now imagine having to second guess everything you do,” Jones says. “Black people have to think twice before they do anything. Everything about your body you have to manage and control at all times.”Encountering racism on a daily basis is devastating for racialized people, says Robyn Maynard, a Montreal-based writer, activist and educator.“We need to recognize this kind of profiling as punishment, a real kind of harm,” she says. “It has a horrific impact on young people.”Maynard, the author of “Policing Black Lives: State Violence in Canada from Slavery to the Present,” says the roots of racial profiling can be traced back to segregation and slavery before that.Consumer racial profiling is one instance of the continued racism people experience everyday, she says.“Just being black and moving freely in public space is contentious,” Maynard says.The consequences of racial profiling include black children being over-represented in the child welfare system, black students facing higher suspension rates and being streamed into lower tracks at school, she says.“The Starbucks incident draws attention to a broader crisis that has been the reality of black communities for hundreds of years.”
OTTAWA – A former military medical technician convicted of conducting inappropriate breast exams on female recruits has been sentenced to nine months in prison.Chief military judge Col. Mario Dutil told a military court in London, Ont., that retired petty officer James Wilks will serve the time in a civilian prison concurrently with a previous 30-month sentence.Wilks was found guilty in a military court in February on one count of sexual assault and three counts of breach of trust after performing breast exams on female recruits.It was the third such conviction for Wilks, who has already spent nine months behind bars after being convicted of similar crimes in December 2011.A military court sentenced Wilks to an additional 30 months in prison in 2013, but he appealed the matter.The convictions all stem from incidents that occurred before Wilks retired from the military in April 2011.Wilks testified at the end of January that he had conducted thousands of medical exams on prospective military recruits during his more than 25 years in uniform.Military commanders have been grappling with the issue of sexual misconduct in the ranks since media reports three years ago that a large number of incidents were being ignored or played down.Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance has since taken a hard line on any sexual misconduct, including threatening to kick out anyone found guilty of inappropriate behaviour.
QUEBEC – Quebec is investing $147 million to help the social and cultural development of First Nations and Inuit in the province.With the five-year plan, the province wants to introduce new services to improve school dropout rates among other initiatives.The province is also seeking to develop services for midwives and support women’s groups in the fight against sexual abuse.The plan would provide better assistance in the justice and prison systems as well as finance programs to support native languages.Quebec also announced it’s renewing, to the tune of $135 million over five years, a fund that focuses on economic and community projects. That money is separate from the $147 million.Premier Philippe Couillard made the announcements today in a Quebec City museum.
TORONTO – Scotiabank Giller Prize creator Jack Rabinovitch was celebrated at his funeral on Wednesday for helping to usher in “an explosion of Canadian literary talent,” an unending quest for knowledge and his love of the written word.Former interim Liberal leader and Ontario NDP premier Bob Rae recalled his longtime friendship with Rabinovitch, which spanned a quarter-century. Rae said he came to know the beloved businessman as a philanthropist and lover of the arts, passions that led to the creation of a lasting literary legacy with the prestigious Giller Prize.Rabinovitch died Sunday at the age of 87 as a result of a “catastrophic fall” at his home last week.The award was established in 1994, a year after the death of Rabinovitch’s wife, Doris Giller, and was created as an enduring tribute to the late literary journalist. The prize awards $100,000 to the winner and $10,000 to the other finalists, and is billed as the richest fiction prize in Canada.“It has coincided with the explosion of Canadian literary talent in the past three decades and has without a doubt helped Canadian writers and the publishing industry immeasurably,” Rae said during his eulogy.“The annual dinner and lunch with the winner have become an unforgettable event; and at the heart of it all is the affection and the support that people feel for Jack.”Rae recounted the Montreal-born Rabinovitch’s early upbringing, where he “grew up poor, smart, irreverent and quick to learn about life,” learning math skills by counting coins for the family business.“No matter how high he climbed, he never forgot where he came from and he was never intimidated by title or by success.”Rae said in his view, Rabinovitch’s ability to make and keep friends was “his legacy above all else.”“He cared about his friends, he cared about all of us. And it was never a club with a closed door. He was always curious about new ideas, new books, new people. He never stopped learning and asking questions.”Rabinovitch’s three daughters, Noni, Daphna and Elana, also shared loving memories of their father and the man they knew away from the spotlight.“My father had a lifelong love of learning and an insatiable curiosity,” said Elana Rabinovitch, the executive director of the Giller Prize.His voracious appetite for the written word was evidenced in his reading materials, which included five newspapers a day, the New Yorker magazine every week, and “at least one book on the go at all times,” she recalled.“He fostered in all of us a wonder about and love for — as he put it — the arsenal of language,” she said. “I will always be grateful that he showed us the value for and understanding of the wider world.”Ontario Lt-Gov. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Griffin Poetry Prize founder Scott Griffin, award-winning investigative journalist and author Stevie Cameron, and filmmaker and author Barry Avrich were among those in attendance for the funeral at Beth Tzedec Congregation synagogue.Media mogul Moses Znaimer, the creator of Bravo TV, which was the first telecast partner for the Giller Prize, said the award and the ensuing fanfare around the finalists and winner have helped change the lens through which Canadian literature is viewed.“Before the advent of the Giller, there was no glamour to CanLit. There was aspiration, but there was no focus, there was no buzz,” Znaimer, the founder of ZoomerMedia, said following the service. “That’s what he did by creating the prize, and he was enormously successful.“A lot of people launch things — ideas, charities and movements — and they don’t go anywhere. And this thing that Jack planted is here to stay.”Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter.
TORONTO – A new survey by the Canadian Payroll Association suggests nearly half of workers are living paycheque to paycheque due to soaring spending and debt levels.The poll found that 47 per cent of respondents said it would be difficult to meet their financial obligations if their paycheque was delayed by even a single week.The survey, which polled 4,766 Canadian employees between June 27 and Aug. 5, also found that 35 per cent said they feel overwhelmed by their level of debt.For the first time in the survey’s nine-year history, more respondents found mortgages on principal residences the most difficult debt to pay down, with 32 per cent of respondents selecting this option compared to 23 per cent who cited credit card debt.Results from the poll indicate that the primary reason for increased debt is higher overall spending. Of the major reasons for increased spending, 32 per cent of respondents pointed to higher living expenses while 25 per cent mentioned unexpected expenses.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.“These results underscore the need for spending less and saving more every day, for emergencies and for retirement,” says Janice MacLellan, the Canadian Payroll Association’s vice-president of operations.“They also show that it is very difficult for people to change or reduce their spending patterns. By paying yourself first through automatic payroll deductions, you are diverting money into a retirement or savings account before you have the opportunity to think about spending it.”
FREDERICTON – It sounds like a spectacular buy: A 100-hectare island with two houses and several private beaches on the scenic Bay of Fundy, all for less than the price of a Toronto or Vancouver bungalow.But the Quebec family that owns Cheney Island has had no luck selling it, and has dropped the price to $850,000, down from $920,000, after a couple years on the market.Cheney Island is on the New Brunswick-Maine border, just a short distance from Grand Manan Island. While part of New Brunswick, it’s actually closer to the United States than the Canadian mainland.“Being as big as it is, there are different areas. There’s sandy beaches, there’s rocky beaches and there’s rocky cliffs,” said real estate agent Dan Webster.“If you’re talking waterfront and you’re talking just acreage in general, in itself it’s a great deal. When you compare that to what you’d pay for similar acreages on Grand Manan Island or the mainland, it’s a steal.”Cheney Island offers spectacular views and lots of privacy, in waters known for whales and dolphins. It gets its electricity from NB Power.The Quebec owners have spent their summers on the island since the 1970s.“They are now getting to a point where the extended family has decided that they’d be better off moving the property off to someone who can use it in a similar fashion,” said Webster.The owners lowered the price to boost interest, and Webster said it’s working — potential buyers have come forward from New Brunswick and other provinces as well as the U.S. and overseas.“There are people out there who just like the idea of it being an island. It sounds impressive and there’s no one on your boundary, is there?”The homes are rustic; photographs reveal wood panelling, a woodstove and thin carpeting. But there are eight bedrooms in total, and taxes were only $3,463 in 2014.The current owners have a deal with a family on Grand Manan to ferry them over as required.The island is also accessible by foot or four-wheel drive at low tide.The two homes are close to the beaches along the southern shore of the island. Webster said there are cliffs along the northern coast, and the island also features fields and wetlands.“It’s an ecosystem in itself,” he said.Webster said the island offers the possibility of being used by one family, or subdivided by the buyer.“Hopefully we’ll see it sell soon,” he said.
SASKATOON – To the sound of pounding drums Indigenous dancers performed outside Saskatoon city hall to pay tribute to a homeless woman who survived a brutal attack in 2014, including being sexually assaulted and set on fire.Marlene Bird died Monday in hospital of organ failure.She lost both legs and much of her eyesight in the June 2014 attack.Bird was a member of the Montreal Lake Cree Nation and is to be buried next to her grandmother in the northern community of Molanosa.Kayla Ironstar Murray says the round dance was to remember Bird and raise awareness to end violence.Murray says Indigenous people face violence every day.“We brought our children so they can be aware of her and just know her story, honour her and respect her,” Murray said Tuesday.Murray said similar round dances to honour Bird were held in Toronto and Prince Albert, Sask. (CKOM)
HALIFAX – The Crown is appealing a Nova Scotia ruling that threw out a decade-long, $1.5-million-dollar fraud case because of what the judge said were “indefensible” RCMP investigation methods.Justice Denise Boudreau stayed multiple fraud allegations against businessmen Douglas Rudolph and Peter Mill in a decision published on Dec. 20, saying the investigators’ actions in 2011 were “grossly careless.”Boudreau had earlier ruled in October that two police officers violated the constitution by talking to lawyer Mark David, who handled some of the money for an accused, about his dealings with clients.She said the courts should jealously guard the long-standing principle of professional secrecy known as client-solicitor privilege.“In an act which I can only describe as indefensible, the police offered Mr. David immunity from prosecution for giving information against the applicants,” she wrote.“While I agree that this was not a typical situation for the police, I have no difficulty in finding that their actions were grossly careless.”In a 2002 ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada set down 10 principles that guided police on how to search and make seizures from lawyers or their offices. That process usually requires all documents be sealed and vetted by the courts to ensure the material doesn’t contain privileged material before police investigators view it.The judge said in her original October decision that the officers could have gone to a third party to conduct the interview of David and then have sent a sealed transcript to the court for vetting.She said not doing so amounted to negligence by the Mounties.“The … rules exist to protect solicitor-client privilege, which must surely extend to information in a lawyer’s head,” she wrote in the Dec. 20 decision.The Crown argued during the trial that client-solicitor privilege doesn’t apply when the communication furthers a crime, and also argued that the judge should have looked at the transcript to see what was actually said.In its notice of intention to appeal, the Crown says Boudreau made errors of law in her ruling about the police actions, arguing that the constitutional rights of the accused weren’t breached.Furthermore, the prosecutors say the judge could have found a solution other than throwing out the case altogether.The notice to the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal says that if the Crown is successful, a new trial will be requested.David was disbarred in 2009 after the province’s barristers’ society investigated him for his involvement with the CanGlobe Group of Companies and Mill during the period of the alleged frauds, 2004 through 2008.That July 15 ruling said the former in-house solicitor for an airline had entered private corporate practice and was devoting much of his time to the CanGlobe companies.In an agreed statement of facts, it said many of the business proposals he supported involved loans or investments that would be repaid with high rates of interest in very short periods of time.“None of the international financing promised (to repay loans) … came to fruition and investors and lenders remained unpaid,” it says.In addition, the barristers’ society found that David had improperly handled funds given to him in trust.In addition to being disbarred, he was fined over $300,000.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.