US slaps 5 bn fine curbs on Facebook

first_imgWashington DC: US regulators on Wednesday slapped a record 5 billion fine on Facebook for privacy violations in a settlement requiring the world’s biggest social network to “submit to new restrictions and a modified corporate structure.” The Federal Trade Commission said the penalty was the largest ever imposed on any company for violating consumers’ privacy and one of the largest penalties ever assessed by the US government for any violation. “Despite repeated promises to its billions of users worldwide that they could control how their personal information is shared, Facebook undermined consumers’ choices,” FTC Chairman Joe Simons said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The magnitude of the 5 billion penalty and sweeping conduct relief are unprecedented in the history of the FTC. The relief is designed not only to punish future violations but, more importantly, to change Facebook’s entire privacy culture to decrease the likelihood of continued violations.” The agreement establishes an independent privacy committee within Facebook’s board of directors, “removing unfettered control by Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg over decisions affecting user privacy,” the FTC statement said. Two commissioners of the five-member FTC dissented in the settlement, saying the penalty was insufficient.last_img read more


Supreme Court notice to Centre 10 states on steps to curb mob

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre and 10 states to explain what they have done to curb mob lynching on a petition that accused states of not implementing the top court’s11-point prescription to curb such violence. The top court had last year outlined the steps that need to be taken to deal with an increase in reported cases of mob violence. One of the steps that it had advocated was enactment of a law to deal with the crime that threatens rule of law and the country’s social fabric. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details On Friday, a bench led by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi issued notice to the central government, National Human Rights Commission and 10 states including Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Rajasthan on a follow-up petition filed in the top court. The top court’s notice comes amid a letter vs letter that has broken out between two groups of celebrities. The first open letter signed by 49 intellectuals, artists and professionals was addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi. This one asked him to end the lynching of Muslims, Dalits and other minorities. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The government had quickly rejected the charge. Hours before the top court took up the mob violence petition, 62 celebrities responded to the first open letter hitting out at the first group for what was described as “selective outrage” and “false narratives”. In its order last July, the steps indicated by the court also include steps to tackle hate speeches, provocative statements and fake news, usually the precursor to attacks by lynch mobs. Among the steps listed by the top court were getting mob violence cases tried by designated fast track courts and completion of trial within six months.(With inputs Hindustan Times)last_img read more


Child lifter lynchings continue in N Bengal

first_imgDarjeeling: The killing spree continues in NorthBengal on the suspicion of child lifters. On Sunday, a homeless person was beaten to death by a mob in the Alipurduar district. The incident occurred near Tasati Tea Estate in Alipurduar. Late in the evening on Sunday, a man was sighted approaching the football field in the tea estate. On suspicion of being a child lifter, the locals forcefully confined him and started beating him up. A police force was sent from Jateshwar police outpost. However, the force fell short in number in front of the mob. The mob subsequently attacked the police. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaA huge police contingent arrived later and resorted to baton charge, but could not quell the mob. The police also fired tear gas shells. Finally, they managed to rescue the victim and rushed him to Birpara Hospital, where he was declared brought dead. Superintendent of Police Nagendranath Tripathi said: “17 persons have been arrested in connection with the incident. The victim remains unidentified. He was a vagabond. The people arrested will be charged under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. In Sunday’s incident sharp weapons were also used. We have started an investigation.” The SP further stated that awareness is also being spread regarding the issue. He appealed to the public that in case of any suspicion the administration or police should be informed. “We will verify the suspicion. Till now none of the victims rescued had anything to do with child lifting. They have been beaten up and in two cases killed, just on the basis of suspicion,” stated the SP.last_img read more


Leasing of warehousing spaces jumps 31 in 8 major cities in 1st

first_imgNew Delhi: Leasing of warehousing spaces went up by 31 per cent to over 13 million sq ft across eight major cities in the first half of this year, while investment of more than $200 million was witnessed in the industrial and logistic real estate segment, according to property consultant CBRE. The demand for warehousing/logistics space was driven by third party logistic firms, which absorbed 56 per cent of the total space, CBRE said in its report ‘India Industrial and Logistics Market View H1 2019’. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal read more


Bringing RadhaKrishnas love alive on stage

first_imgTo mark the Krishnashtami, Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts organised a two day ‘Gita Govinda’ festival in the Capital, at IGNCA. With the nation soaked in colors of Janmashtami celebrations, it was an enthralling experience for Delhiites to enjoy and celebrate the occasion with performances dedicated to Lord Krishna. The festival commenced with a dance production by Centre for Mohiniyattam (CFM), titled ‘Deva-Gita’, which transported the audience to the magical era of Lord Krishna and his divine love saga. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainInspired from the temple traditions of Kerala, Deva-Gita, was performed in Mohiniyattam and sung reminiscent of the Sopana musical tradition. Keeping the tradition alive and depicting it through the presentation was the main attraction of the show. The presentation began with an invocation to Lord Krishna of Guruvayur temple, followed by Radha and her sakhi discovering Krishna in the company of Gopis, leaving Radha peeved. The next segment depicts Radha waiting anxiously for Krishna. After a night’s futile wait, Radha, initially ecstatic, to receive him, is shocked to find him in a state of disarray. She is upset, hurt and angry. Krishna tries to convince her by professing his love for her, but Radha is unconvinced. When he finally places her head at her feet she is taken aback. She is shocked and expresses remorse. They embrace in love. The performance concludes with the gopis joining them in celebration. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardPadmashri Bharti Shivaji has molded her research and unique ideas into Mohiniyattam. The presentation saw the wonderful synergy of Mohiniattam dance with sopanam songs sung in temples in Kerala, which was the highlight of the performance. On the occasion, Bharati Shivaji said that the essence of this entire presentation is the love of Radha-Krishna. This essence of divine love is unique and formed an integral part of Indian culture through centuries, presenting it on the auspicious occasion of Janmashtami only seemed to enhance its ethos further. The evening also had performances by Ustad Wasifuddin Dagar, and noted dancer Ranjana Gauhar, and Ranjana Dance Academy on day one. The second day, which was held on August 25, witnessed Manipuri presentation by Guru Singh Ajit Singh, Charu Sija Mathur and Manipuri Nrityasram, followed by Carnatic Vocal of Sudha Raghuraman and concludes with Kathak presentation by Shovana Narayan and Asavari Repertory.last_img read more


Delhi Cabinet gives nod to free bus travel for women

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi Cabinet on Thusday approved free rides for women on DTC buses as well as its cluster buses from October 29 in order to provide them with a safe travel experience. During the cabinet meeting held in New Delhi on Thursday, Transport Minister Kailash Gahlot announced that women can avail the free bus ride facility from October 29 onwards, which is also Bhai Dooj. “It would be a choice for the women travelling in DTC buses and cluster buses if they want to buy the ticket or they want to avail the free bus service. In case they want to buy the ticket, they can simply collect it from the conductor and if they want to avail the free service, they can get a single journey pass from the conductor and travel,” said Gahlot. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Single journey pass means that the passenger has to buy that pass every time she boards the bus. This service has been introduced in order to provide women with safe travel experience,” Gahlot added. The Delhi Assembly had on Monday approved additional grant of Rs 479 crore for the Transport Sector, which includes funds to provide subsidy for free rides for women in DTC buses. The supplementary grant for the transport sector was moved by Finance Minister Manish Sisodia and includes Rs 140 crore for free transport for women by buses. “Rs 90 crore was kept for DTC buses while Rs 50 crore was kept for cluster buses to provide subsidy to female riders,” the proposal said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsOn June 3, CM Kejriwal announced that his government is planning to roll out a free travel scheme for women in Delhi metro and DTC. He said the Delhi government will provide subsidy for free travel to women in DTC buses, cluster buses and Delhi Metro in the national Capital. It is pertinent to mention that out of the total estimated budget, Rs 140 crore has been earmarked for DTC buses while Rs 150 crore has been set aside for Delhi Metro. The proposal for free metro ride is still under process as it includes several technicalities, he added. On August 15, Kejriwal announced that women commuters will be able to travel free of charge on DTC and cluster scheme buses starting October 29. The facility will be available in both AC and non-AC buses.last_img read more


This man picks bike locks but only during a ride

first_imgNew Delhi: Beware! if you are keeping any valuable items in the storage box of motorcycles, then you might be in trouble as criminals are now able to steal these from running bikes. The motorcycle rider will only notice the missing items after reaching his destination. Police have now arrested one person, specialising in such daredevil crimes, from Bara Hindu Rao locality in North Delhi.DCP (North) Monika Bharadwaj confirmed the incident and said that, while the probe is on, they have been able to identify the accused as Chintu, a native of Bihar. His modus operandi was unique as he, with the help of small precision tools, broke open the locks of storage boxes of running motorcycles. “After taking out the valuables from the box Chintu hands over the stolen items to his associates and flees the spot,” said an officer. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe team formed under SHO (Bara Hindu Rao) Sanjay Kumar arrested the accused after he was found to be loitering suspiciously in the area. Police claimed that Chintu, during interrogation, confessed that he learnt the trade from the elders in his village. He had purportedly committed more than a dozen such thefts. Revealing details about Chintu’s modus operandi, the police said that before coming to the city, he would prepare a fake identity card from a different state. With the help of this forged identity card, he would then purchase a second-hand bike to start his crime spree. “He had planned that if police caught him during checking he would show the vehicle documents and the fake ID card,” one officer said. The accused later took rooms in hotels close to industrial areas or markets. He would conduct detailed reccee during the day and then Chintu and his associates would steal after having zeroed-in on their target. “The accused parked his vehicles in parking areas and fled the city. The gang , in some incidents, also punctures the tyres before committing the crime,” added an investigator.last_img read more


Ontario teacher guilty of pushing antivaccine views suspended for talking to media

first_imgAn Ontario high school science teacher who was found guilty of professional misconduct after pushing anti-vaccination views says he was suspended without pay for three days for speaking to the media about the case.Timothy Sullivan said he received a letter from the Grand Erie District School Board that said he had breached the ethical standards of the Ontario College of Teachers.“You have drawn your employer, the board, into the media attention,” said the letter, dated April 20 and signed by superintendent of human resources Scott Sincerbox.“The result of that is that the board’s image in the public domain has been negatively impacted.”Sullivan said he served his suspension last week.In February, the southwestern Ontario teacher attended a public hearing at the Ontario College of Teachers in Toronto.The college accused Sullivan of professional misconduct for his actions on March 9, 2015, when he shouted at a public health nurse administering vaccines at his high school and accused the nurse of withholding information from students receiving vaccinations.The proceeding also heard Sullivan asked a student if they knew that one particular vaccine could cause death.An independent disciplinary committee of the college found the teacher guilty of five offences, including abusing students psychologically or emotionally. He is awaiting sentencing from the college, which is seeking a suspension for one month, completion of an anger management course and a public reprimand.Sullivan denies the allegations from that case, despite his finding of guilt, and is confused about the suspension for speaking with the media.“I didn’t think it was actually hidden. The charges against me were on the Ontario College of Teachers website, the hearing dates were published in advance and the hearing itself was public,” Sullivan said in an interview with The Canadian Press.“Yet, I’m hesitant to talk because that’s an odd letter and here I am talking to the media.”In the letter, Sincerbox chastised Sullivan for speaking to reporters during the college’s two-day hearing, calling the media attention “excessive.”“Tim, your actions brought unnecessary publicity and attention to the matter,” Sincerbox wrote. He also wrote that the board was not looking for a repeat of “the unwanted media attention.”Another line from Sincerbox’s letter that sounded ominous to Sullivan read: “Please note that future incidents of this nature may lead to further discipline, up to and including dismissal.”Sullivan said he turned to the media because his union, the Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation, dropped his case and didn’t attend either the hearing with the college or the meeting with the board.The union said it would not comment on the matter.Sincerbox declined comment in an email citing employee confidentiality.During the hearing with the college, the school’s principal at the time testified that parents and students had complained about Sullivan’s views on vaccination in the past, adding the teacher had told his pupils there is a link between vaccines and autism — a view that is widely denounced by the scientific community.Is he against vaccines?“I won’t say I’m anti-vaccine, as it does seem like they’ve had some benefit over the years, but the number of them and the ages of — no, I’m going to end it there,” Sullivan said. “I’m pro informed consent, let’s leave it at that, OK?”last_img read more


14vehicle crash causes massive fire multiple fatalities north of Toronto

first_imgBARRIE, Ont. – Ontario Provincial police say a fatal 14-vehicle pileup north of Toronto has caused a massive fire and closed a stretch of highway in both directions.OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt says that two fuel tanker trucks and at least three transport trucks were involved in the fiery crash, which happened in the northbound lanes south of Barrie, Ont.Schmidt says all lanes of Highway 400 are closed between Country Road 88 and Highway 89 and are expected to remain closed all day today.Video footage of the scene posted on social media shows towering flames and the sound of explosions.Schmidt says there a “multiple fatalities,” but could not say exactly how many because emergency crews have not yet been able to reach all the vehicles.The cause of the collision, which happened Tuesday just before 11:30 p.m. in the northbound lanes, is still under investigation.But Schmidt says initial inspections indicate that a transport truck may have collided into slowing traffic.Multiple fatality collision, #Hwy400 closed NB and SB between 88 and 89, 14 vehicles, massive fire from fuel tanker https://t.co/qT6g0IjWar— Sgt Kerry Schmidt (@OPP_HSD) November 1, 2017last_img read more


Family friends teammates say final goodbye to Roy Halladay

first_imgCLEARWATER, Fla. – Toronto Blue Jays pitching great Roy Halladay was remembered Tuesday as an amazing husband, father, friend and teammate who was one of the best pitchers of his generation but an even better man.A 91-minute “Celebration of Life for Roy Halladay” attracted more than 1,000 people to Spectrum Field, the spring training home of the Philadelphia Phillies, one of two franchises the two-time Cy Young Award winner played for during a stellar 16-year career.“The man made the ballplayer,” Phillies owner John Middleton said, “not the other way around,”Halladay died Nov. 7 at age 40 when the private plane he was piloting crashed into the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.The eight-time All-Star who pitched a perfect game and a playoff no-hitter, Halladay played for the Blue Jays from 1998-2009 and for the Phillies from 2009-13, going 203-105 with a 3.38 ERA.The public memorial began with a video tribute and ended with Halladay’s wife, Brandy, and sons, Braden and Ryan, standing on the mound and releasing butterflies from a container in a final “goodbye.”“All eyes are on me,” the pitcher’s wife, the last of nine speakers, said from a rostrum perched behind the mound, flanked by pictures of Halladay with the Phillies and Blue Jays, along with floral arrangements bearing the 34 and 32 jersey numbers he wore.“I’m really fortunate that I’ve gotten used to that feeling. I’ve literally been standing next to a man for 21 years that people could not take their eyes off of,” she said. “He was awe-striking. He was beautiful inside and out. Without saying a word, he seemed to always have just the right thing to say. When he did speak, people listened.”Other speakers included Halladay’s dad, Roy Jr., former teammates Cole Hamels, Chase Utley and Chris Carpenter, long-time baseball executive and former Blue Jays GM JP Ricciardi, ex-Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and Blue Jays trainer George Poulis.Hall of Famer Frank Thomas, former Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston, Rays manager Kevin Cash, and one-time teammates Cliff Lee, Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Howard, Jose Bautista, BJ Ryan, A.J. Burnett and J.A. Happ were among other guests.“He didn’t like to lose, so everything he did, he did to win. But there was a joy to it. I’ll always remember that,” Rollins said. “He made you better. That’s what he did. Everywhere you went, he made everything better.”Carpenter grew up with Halladay in the Blue Jays organization; Hamels valued the 6-foot-6 right-hander as a friend, teammate and mentor; and Utley lauded the pitcher’s relentless work ethic as a player.“I saw everyday what it took to be a man among boys,” Utley said.Carpenter told a story about going swimming in the Amazon River when he and Halladay took a trip to Brazil after the close friends faced each other in the decisive Game 5 of an NL Division Series between Philadelphia and St. Louis in 2011. Carpenter won 1-0.“He was never afraid of a challenge or doing something others might not want to do — or dare to do,” Carpenter said.“Remember now, we’re in the jungle. The water is clear as a cup of coffee and we’ve been catching piranha all day. I told him, you’re nuts,” Carpenter said. “He said, ‘I know. Now come on Carp. … We can say we swam in the Amazon River. Who do we know who can ever say that?’ I was like: ‘All right. Good point. Let’s do it.’”Brandy Halladay cried throughout her 17-minute tribute, remembering her husband as a family man who loved his two sons.Former teammates echoed those sentiments, insisting that as great a pitcher as Halladay was, they were more impressed by the man off the field.“He tried to be the best that he could be. Full of passion and desire,” former major leaguer Raul Ibanez said. “He was not a one-dimensional man. Who he was, everything about him was just great and grace. He carried himself with class and confidence and humility. Just a tremendous human being.”___More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseballlast_img read more


Alleged hitman granted new murder trial 14 years after conviction

first_imgHALIFAX – A Nova Scotia man convicted of committing a Hells Angels-ordered killing in October 2000 has been granted a new trial by the province’s Court of Appeal.Dean Kelsie was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder by a judge and jury in 2003 and sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.Sean Simmons was shot twice — once in the arm and once in the head — in the lobby of a Halifax-area apartment building, because he’d had an affair with a girlfriend of a member of the Hells Angels motorcycle gang.Kelsie was one of four men convicted of the crime, but testimony at the trials indicated that it was Kelsie who pulled the trigger.But now, more than 14 years after Kelsie began serving his sentence, the Appeal Court has ruled that the trial judge erred in his instructions to the jury.It says the trial judge failed to properly instruct the jury around intention, and erred on what use jurors could make of the hearsay evidence of co-conspirators.And it found the judge should have mentioned manslaughter to the jury as an alternative verdict, even though Kelsie’s lawyer didn’t object that it wasn’t.“The possibility of a verdict of manslaughter was available. Failure to charge the jury on manslaughter cannot be excused by the conduct of counsel. To do so would be a grave injustice,” Justice David Farrar said for the three-judge panel.No date has been set for the new trial.In the ruling, Farrar set out how Simmons came to be targeted.“Mr. Simmons, in the early 1990s, had been closely affiliated with the Halifax Hells Angels and hoped to become a member. By 1993, however, he was targeted for violence by the club and was beaten up twice. The evidence suggested that this was the result of a belief among Hells Angels members that he had had an affair with the mistress of Michael McCrea, the then president of the Halifax chapter,” the judge said in his decision“As a result, Mr. Simmons and his wife left Halifax and spent several years in New Brunswick, returning at the end of 1998.”When the Hells Angels learned about Simmons’ return, a hit was ordered, the judge said.Kelsie’s conviction is the second that has been thrown out in the Simmons murder.In October 2016, the Court of Appeal threw out — for a second time — the first-degree murder conviction of an Ottawa man, Steven Gareau, who claimed he had no idea Kelsie was planning to shoot Simmons when they went to the apartment building on Oct. 3, 2000.Gareau was first convicted in 2004, but it was thrown out eight years later because of different legal mistakes by a different judge. He was retried over seven months in 2013 and 2014.last_img read more



Man shot in head after altercation with constable at Maniwaki courthouse

first_imgMANIWAKI, Que. – An 18-year-old man was shot in the head on Wednesday at a Quebec courthouse, after he was involved in a fight with a constable that was purportedly caught on video.Quebec’s independent investigations bureau is examining the incident, which took place at the courthouse in Maniwaki, Que., about 135 kilometres north of Ottawa.The bureau released a statement saying the man managed to seize the constable’s baton and used it to strike the officer over the head.The constable then took out their gun and fired it, hitting the 18-year-old at least once in the head.Both the officer and the civilian were transported to hospital, and the investigations bureau said it didn’t know the condition of either person.A video uploaded to YouTube and purporting to show the incident begins with someone in uniform grappling with a man in a room lined with chairs. Other uniformed officers participate in trying to subdue the man, who is then pushed into an adjacent room off-camera.Moments later, the video shows an officer seemingly pointing a gun and shooting once towards a target that is off-camera, followed by people screaming and crying.Quebec provincial police Sgt. Marc Tessier said in an interview that the injuries sustained by the two were deemed serious, but he couldn’t say if their lives were in danger.———The YouTube video can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkmpmD3xG7clast_img read more


Judge strikes mandatory minimum sentence in drug case involving Indigenous woman

first_imgAn Ontario judge has struck down a mandatory minimum sentence for a drug smuggling offence, ruling that two years in prison would be a “grossly disproportionate” punishment for an Indigenous single mother who ran away from home at age 13.Advocates welcoming the ruling say the case highlights the need to strike down dozens of mandatory minimums that remain in place despite contradicting Supreme Court guidelines for sentencing Indigenous offenders.Cheyenne Sharma, a 23-year-old single mother living in poverty at the time of her crime, was sentenced to 17 months in jail after pleading guilty to bringing under two kilograms of cocaine into Canada from Surinam in the lining of her suitcase.The mandatory minimum penalty of two years in prison would have violated Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Justice Casey Hill determined.“Reasonable and right-thinking Canadians fully informed of the offender’s particular circumstances and the nature of the sentencing function including the unique history of the Aboriginal peoples … (would) conclude that such a sentence would outrage standards of decency,” Hill wrote in his decision.The ruling means people convicted of importing more than one kilogram of a “Schedule I” drug — including cocaine and heroin — into Canada will no longer face the mandatory minimum sentence, said Jonathan Rudin, program director for Aboriginal Legal Services, which intervened on Sharma’s behalf in the case.But there are still many other mandatory minimum punishments in Canadian law contributing to the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prisons, Rudin said, calling on the federal government to act on the issue.“The answer has to be that the federal government do what they said they were going to do and legislate away these mandatory minimums or legislate in an escape clause (for judges),” he said.Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said the prime minister has called for a “broad review” of changes to the criminal justice system that have taken place over the past decade, including mandatory minimums.“The examination of mandatory minimum penalties is included in this review (and) that work is ongoing,” she said in a statement. “The courts have made it clear that mandatory minimum penalties present serious challenges from a constitutional perspective.”The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that when sentencing Indigenous offenders, judges must take into account that person’s individual circumstances and how they may have been affected by societal issues such as racism, poverty, substance abuse and “family or community breakdown.”These guidelines, referred to in law as the Gladue principles, force judges to recognize that Indigenous people do not always have the same access to justice as non-Indigenous Canadians, lawyer Josephine De Whytall said.In sentencing Sharma, Hill noted that her maternal grandmother was a survivor of the residential school system who became pregnant at age 15 and was involved in bootlegging and prostitution.When Sharma was five, her father was deported to Trinidad, where he was convicted of murder and sentenced to 12 years in prison, Hill wrote in his decision.Sharma ran away from home in her early teens and began drinking every day, Hill wrote. She said she was sexually assaulted as a teen, was working as a prostitute by age 15 and gave birth to her daughter at age 17, he wrote. Sharma has attempted suicide more than once, Hill wrote.Sharma was two months behind on rent and was facing eviction when the man she was dating said she could make $20,000 by picking up a suitcase in Surinam, Hill wrote. She agreed, afraid she and her two-year-old daughter would otherwise end up homeless, the judge noted.Normally, mandatory minimums don’t allow a judge any leeway to take that type of information into consideration, De Whytall said.“Rather, it’s an arbitrary recognition that anybody who does this (crime) must get this sentence, and that just doesn’t work for Indigenous people because there are so many complex societal issues at play,” she said.Mandatory sentences can only be eliminated on a case-by-case basis, through a long and costly legal process, Rudin said, noting that judges can only strike them down when a defendant successfully makes a charter challenge arguing the sentence would constitute “cruel and unusual punishment.”“The reality is that mandatory minimums have been falling fairly regularly across the country when they have been challenged,” he said. “But we can’t solve this by taking on each mandatory minimum one at a time.”Aboriginal Legal Services helped Sharma’s defence launch its Charter challenge, calling York University sociologist Carmela Murdocca as an expert witness to testify about the historical challenges faced by Indigenous people and the vulnerability and financial hardship experienced by many racialized women convicted of drug crimes.The entire case took over two years.Not all offenders can afford the time and resources these challenges require, Rudin said. In some cases, the time it would take to go through the process of challenging the minimum sentence is longer than the sentence itself, he said.There were 29 offences carrying a mandatory minimum sentence of imprisonment as of 2015, according to the Department of Justice, and several more that carry mandatory minimum punishments that do not include prison time.last_img read more


Lesser budget measures cover array of issues from dead dollars to PTSD

first_imgOTTAWA – Beyond the usual headline-grabbing, big-ticket items, the federal budget Finance Minister Bill Morneau introduced Tuesday includes a variety of smaller fare, from a plan to phase out obsolete currency to the funds to fight a persistent forest pest. Among them:___The budget offers a tax break for the costs of keeping a psychiatric service dog. There is already a break for service animals like guide dogs for the blind, but the government is extending the benefit to cover dogs specially trained to help people with conditions like post-traumatic stress.The 15-per-cent, non-refundable tax credit covers costs including food and vet care.It does not, however, apply to a regular pooch that might provide comfort or emotional support.The budget does not include any specific details about how much the measure will cost.___Veterans Affairs will get $24.4 million over five years to help finance repairs and restoration work at the gravesites of military veterans.The department last year reported that about 45,000 such graves needed work, a job that would take 17 years to finish with existing funding.The new money will do the job in five years, the budget says.___The budget includes an effort to improve the way political leaders engage in televised debates during election campaigns, earmarking $6 million over two years to support a new process.Leaders’ debates have been run in the past by a consortium of broadcasters, but in recent years the process has become inconsistent and controversial, with some leaders being excluded and others opting not to take part.The budget says the government will offer proposals for debate formats over the coming months and may bring in legislation.—The budget provides funding for six new Superior Court judges in Ontario and a new appeal court judge in Saskatchewan.As well, the budget allots money to expand unified family courts, providing 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.There is also money set aside for additional administrative support to the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court.—Prison farms at Joyceville and Collins Bay, Ont., which were closed down by the previous Conservative government, will be re-opened, the budget says.It sets aside $4.3 million over five years to restart the operations.The farms will be run by a Correctional Service rehabilitation agency.—The budget includes up to $74.75 million over five years to fight the forest-threatening spruce budworm in Atlantic Canada.The destructive pest is one of the greatest threats to spruce forests.The money will be spent on a 60-40 basis with the federal government taking the larger share and provinces and industry handling the rest.—The Bank of Canada long ago stopped printing a number of paper bills, from the humble $1 note to the rarely seen $1,000 bill, although they remained legal tender.The federal budget says that will come to an end with new legislation covering $1, $2, $25, $500 and $1,000 bills.While the notes will no longer be legal tender, the Bank of Canada will continue to honour the bills and exchange them at face value.—last_img read more


Crown appeals sentences in case where bodies were found in burned farmhouse

first_imgCALGARY – The Crown is appealing sentences handed to two Alberta men convicted of murdering a family whose bodies were found in the charred remains of their home.Notice of the appeals, filed Monday in Calgary, claim the sentences for Jason Klaus and Joshua Frank of life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years were “demonstrably unfit.”The Crown had argued that the two men deserved the maximum of 75 years without hope of parole for what the prosecution called a contract killing of sorts.The bodies of Klaus’s father, Gordon, and sister, Monica, were found in their burned-out farmhouse in central Alberta in December 2013.His mother Sandra’s body was never found but police believe she also died in the house.In January, Justice Eric Macklin convicted both Klaus and Frank on three counts of first-degree murder, saying each had played a crucial role in executing the plan.There are provisions in the Criminal Code to have sentences served one after the other for multiple murders, but the judge said details of the case were not particularly uncommon compared with other murders and did not warrant consecutive sentences.Macklin also ruled that although their crimes were horrific, delaying parole for Klaus and Frank would be “a decision out of the ordinary.”He also suggested that the two men would have a better chance of rehabilitation if they were not “bereft of hope.”The appeals, however, argued the judge erred by refusing to give effect to Parliament’s sentencing intent. They state that allowing the men concurrent periods of parole ineligibility is “not proportionate to the gravity of the offence or the moral blameworthiness of the offender.”Klaus, meanwhile, has already filed a notice of appeal of his conviction and sentence.During the trial, court heard that Klaus was having problems with his father and offered Frank money to kill the family. Klaus had a cocaine and gambling addiction and forged cheques on his parents account, promising to pay them back.Frank told police after his arrest that he killed the family because he was scared that Klaus would shoot him if he didn’t.last_img read more


Inquiry hears of QuebecNL tensions over Churchill River energy

first_imgHAPPY VALLEY-GOOSE BAY, N.L. – The Muskrat Falls inquiry has been told that Quebec’s hold on the Churchill River’s resources has long blocked Newfoundland and Labrador from accessing elusive energy markets.Historian Jason Churchill was an expert witness Wednesday at the independent inquiry into the cost and schedule overruns of the $12.7 billion Labrador dam, led by provincial Supreme Court Justice Richard LeBlanc.Churchill presented a report on the political struggle over the river’s hydro energy resources from 1949 through 2007, and the province’s attempts to sign agreements to export and sell Labrador’s valuable energy resources.“The expression ‘the more things change the more they stay the same’ encapsulates the overall theme of negotiations to develop the Churchill River’s hydroelectric potential,” Churchill’s report reads. “The geographic isolation of Labrador’s hydroelectric resources has dominated discussions from Confederation.”Churchill spoke to the tense relationship between Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec, stemming from the notoriously lopsided 1969 Churchill Falls deal, which has generated more than $27.5-billion for Hydro-Quebec and about $2-billion for Newfoundland and Labrador to date.According to Churchill’s paper, Quebec’s firm position set the tone for future negotiations, referring to former premier Jean Lesage’s 1965 comments that any electricity passing through Quebec territory would “become property of Hydro-Quebec.”Churchill concluded that while political actors and tactics changed over the six decades he studied, Quebec’s hold over the river’s resources constrained Newfoundland and Labrador, informing former premier Danny Williams’ 2007 energy plan for the future of the province.Williams’ plan, titled “Focusing Our Energy,” took an optimistic tone, suggesting that the province had reached a watershed moment and was on the cusp of prosperity. Williams retired from politics shortly after announcing the plan for Muskrat Falls in 2010.The project was fairly well received at the time because the subsea cables suggested access to other Canadian and U.S. markets that had previously been blocked by Quebec.Since then, the project has essentially doubled in cost, and ratepayers in the small province of 530,000 are concerned at the prospect of footing the sizable bill if outside markets don’t purchase the excess power.Churchill wrote that the Labrador-Island transmission link “has added a new wrinkle to the established narrative” by offering an alternative to transmitting through Quebec.“Time will tell if it means that things have changed utterly, or if the goals of Newfoundland and Labrador premiers since Confederation to have the province reap the full rewards of the Churchill River’s hydroelectric resources will remain elusive,” Churchill’s report read.Stan Marshall, the current CEO of Nalcor Energy, the provincial Crown corporation overseeing Muskrat Falls, took the stand to offer a detailed update on the construction process to date.Marshall, who has famously called the project a “boondoggle,” said the main construction components are mostly complete, pending final touches this year on the north dam, installation of turbines and further work on the dam’s intake and tailrace gates.Marshall said Nalcor is planning for full power from Muskrat Falls to be online by 2020.— By Holly McKenzie-Sutter in St. John’s, N.L.last_img read more


Canadas health system commendable overall but barriers to care remain UN

first_imgThe Canadian Press OTTAWA — The United Nations says Canada’s health care system is “commendable” overall but vulnerable groups still face barriers to quality care.That’s the conclusion of the UN’s special rapporteur on the right to health, Dainius Puras. He wrapped an 11-day visit to Canada Friday.He says most Canadians enjoy a good standard of care but barriers remain for Indigenous peoples, the poor, undocumented migrants and other vulnerable groups.Puras says Canada has yet to fully embrace the notion that health care is a human right, despite signing onto international declarations on the subject.Puras also says Canada should stop providing foreign aid to countries with mental health systems that rely on over-medication and coercion.A summary of Puras’ findings was contained in news release issued Friday; his full report is due in June.last_img read more


Clay Walker To Host Gala Against MS

first_imgMulti-Platinum Country Music Artist, Clay Walker, is hosting the first annual Clay Walker Gala & Live Performance to benefit MS on Thursday, October 18, 2012, at the House of Blues located at 1204 Caroline Street from 6:00pm-11:00pm.The following morning, Friday, October 19, Clay Walker and Band Against MS are hosting an MS Forum at the Four Seasons Hotel located at 1300 Lamar Street from 9:00am-11:00am. Registration begins at 8:00am.Corporate leaders, philanthropists and the sports and entertainment industries will come together for this memorable night to raise funds in support of Clay’s charity Band Against MS Foundation (BAMS). BAMS will honor American Businessman, Philanthropist and Owner of the NFL Houston Texans, Bob McNair, for his long time support of Band Against MS. Honorary Co-Chair and CEO of Associated Pipeline Contractors, Inc. Paul Somerville, will also be there for this exciting evening. Mr. Somerville is a lifetime Vice President and past Treasurer of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and serves on the board of Band Against MS (BAMS).During this exciting evening, there will be live performances by Clay Walker, Percy Sledge and Sarah Marince. There will be a delicious dinner served, open bar and a chance to participate in the live and silent auctions. On Friday morning, Clay Walker and BAMS will host a MS Forum free for MS patients, caregivers, family and friends. During the open discussion, one of the leading MS researchers will speak about Multiple Sclerosis research and patient care. An MS Patient Panel consisting of Clay Walker and Sports Psychologist & Author, Dr. Jack Llewellyn will answer questions from the attendees.Band Against MS, Inc. is a public charity committed to providing educational information for those living with Multiple Sclerosis, funding programs researching a cure for Multiple Sclerosis and funding programs helping those living with the disease. Nationally acclaimed recording artist Clay Walker established BAMS in February 2003 because he wanted to help others living with the same disease he has battled since 1996.To purchase tickets or to make a donation to Clay Walker’s Band Against MS (BAMS) please visit: www.bandagainstms.org.last_img read more


Celebrities Spotted At Project Green Music Lounge

first_imgA plethora of stars were spotted at the Project Green Music Lounge with Fortunate Angels at the Re:Treat during Sundance.Alicia Keys at SundanceCredit/Copyright: Extreme Public RelationsCharity Founders Kim Kreiss & Patrycja Siewert-Towns with Fortunate Angels invited Sundance celebrity guests to spread good Karma in the ” Honest Tea Honest Compliments” booth during Sundance Film Festival while being interviewed by Entertainment Tonight among other media outlets. Kim and Patrycja, Executive Producers of “Alive! Expo Green Pavilion & Project Green Music Lounge were pleased sponsor this RE:Treat along with Entertainment Tonight and MTV at Sundance 2013.Guests were invited to “Relax Pamper & Refresh” with Landis AVEDA Make Up & Hair Touch Up/Aromatherapy Candle Warmers Inc., Aubrey Organics Hand Massages, “Detox & Clarify” with Simply Rasberry Ketones aProvenProduct, Cultures For Health and treated to Verve Healthy Energy Drink.This event benefitted the children’s charity Project Green.Alicia Keys, Jennifer Hudson, Naomi Watts, Jesse Eisenberg, Michael Cera, Kristen Bell, Jane Lynch, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Tony Danza, Alfred Molina, Shailene Woodley, Mariel Hemingway, Tim Daly, Matthew McConaughey, Mathew Moon and Natalie Gelman among others were treated to the “Honest Tea VIP Gift Bag” that included: (Landis AVEDA), selection of plant-derived bodycare products; Simply Rasberry Ketones – aProvenProduct, says DR. OZ is a “Miracle in a bottle” weight loss aid; Aubrey Organics, natural hair & skin bodycare; Brush On Smile, Made in USA on-the-go teeth whitening pen; Candle Warmers Inc., flameless scented candles; Cultures For Health, real food lifestyle probiotic starter kit; Honest Tea, Honest Fizz zero calorie soda; Vemma, Verve Healthy Energy Drink balanced fast acting energy formula.Copyright ©2013Look to the Starslast_img read more