Stars Support Elton Johns Campaign For Compassion With Their Blood

first_imgOne of the great barriers to ending the global AIDS epidemic is still that of human compassion. While new HIV infection rates have dropped by up to 50% in many countries over the last two years, and 8 million people living with HIV around the world are now on life saving medical treatment, the HIV symptom we still struggle to overcome is shame.EJAF Twitter blood post – LOVE IS IN MY BLOODThis Valentine’s Day, the day of international love, Elton John and a host of singers, artists, writers and sportspeople including Jessie J, Florence Welch, Ben Drew, Ai Weiwei, Elizabeth Hurley, Paulo Coelho, George Takei, Kelly Osbourne, Lara Stone, Stephen Fry, David Walliams, Jamie Oliver and Shane Warne are showing their love by pricking their fingers, creating a spot of blood and tweeting the image accompanied by the words ‘Love Is In My Blood’.The campaign, which comes from Elton’s AIDS Foundation, is designed to create a global conversation; reminding the world that the fight against AIDS is winnable, but only if we have enough love and compassion to ensure that no one is shut out, left behind or made to feel ashamed.“Now more than ever we know how to beat AIDS,” comments John, whose AIDS Foundation marks its 20th anniversary this year. “Thanks to incredible work by the AIDS community over the past 20 years we now have affordable, quality treatment which saves lives and dramatically reduces the chances of passing on HIV. But these medicines don’t work against prejudice and discrimination. It’s time to stop treating people who are most vulnerable to HIV as outcasts. Everyone deserves the chance to protect themselves. Surely we have enough love for that.”“A little drop of blood, a huge wave of love and a great surge of generosity – let them lead to an end to HIV/AIDS around the world,” comments Stephen Fry.Artist Ai Weiwei has created a film commercial inspired by the campaign. “The work is about love, about a need for all to be concerned with life,” Weiwei says. “When Elton asked me to create something for the Foundation, I wanted to contribute by finding an expression that raises awareness for this crisis among as many people as possible.” A 30 sec and 60 sec version of Weiwei’s commercial – which features the words ‘Love is in OUR Blood’ over drops of blood and the sound of a heartbeat, will run simultaneously on Thursday 14 February on YouTube, and for 24 hours from the time people wake up on Valentine’s Day throughout the day until midnight on screens in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and Independence Square in Kiev, Ukraine, which has the largest AIDS epidemic in Europe.“Of course we want people to protect themselves and everything we fund promotes safe sex, clean disposable needles and condom use” says David Furnish, Chairman of the Elton John AIDS Foundation. “The idea of this campaign is not to get everyone pricking their fingers, but to get the world’s attention; to challenge the equation that HIV + blood only equals fear and isolation. What pumps through our veins is also the love and compassion to keep one another safe AND look after people when they need it. The only question is whether we are ready to show it.”last_img read more


Gary Sinise And Lt Dan Band To Headline Rockin For Our Troops

first_imgHelp Hospitalized Veterans (HHV), a national nonprofit, is partnering with Operation Support Our Troops – America (OSOT-America) for the 10th annual Rockin’ for Our Troops event.The concert will take place Saturday, July 18, 2015, at Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois. Emmy Award winning actor Gary Sinise will headline the event along with his band, The Lt. Dan Band. Rockin’ for Our Troops will also feature musical acts by Maggie Speaks, The Voices and Chicago Blues All-Stars. More than 11,000 people are expected at this daylong event.OSOT-America’s mission is to support the morale and well-being of American forces by providing comfort, resources and education to them and their families while they are deployed in harm’s way and after their return. HHV’s mission is to provide art-based craft projects, free of charge, to active duty military personnel and veterans as a means of therapeutic recovery and renewal.“We are excited and proud to partner with OSOT-America, an organization that, like HHV, is dedicated to helping to improve the lives of those that give so much to our nation – our veterans,” said John M. Meagher, Judge (Retired), Chairman of the HHV Board of Directors.Since its launch, the one-day concert has raised more than $2.5 million for OSOT-America. Funds raised from the event will help OSOT-America ship comfort items to the troops, provide grief support for families of the fallen, offer intervention to veterans in crisis and fund traumatic brain injury and posttraumatic stress disorder care.For more information about Rockin’ for Our Troops visit RockinForTheTroops.org. For more on OSOT-America go to OSOTAmerica.org. For more on Help Hospitalized Veterans’ extensive arts and crafts program, visit HHV.org or call 888-567-VETS (8387).last_img read more


ASPCA And Animal Planet Host Premiere Screening Of Second Chance Dogs

first_imgTamron Hall, Andy Karl and Orfeh were just a few of the many attendees at last week’s special premiere screening of the ASPCA and Animal Planet documentary “Second Chance Dogs”.Tamron Hall and Matt BershadkerCredit/Copyright: Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesThe screening was held in celebration of the ASPCA’s 150th Anniversary. The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of its Behavioral Rehabilitation Center where dogs rescued from cruel situations begin a remarkable journey from rescue to rehabilitation and ultimately, adoption.The screening was followed by a panel moderated by Tamron Hall that featured Kristen Collins, Senior Director of ASPCA Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation; Erin Wanner, Vice President of Animal Planet Production; ASPCA President and CEO Matt Bershadker; and filmmaker Kenn Bell.Orfeh and Andy KarlCredit/Copyright: Neilson Barnard/Getty ImagesAdditional attendees included Eric West, Dan Churchill, Tashiana Washington, Megan Massacre, Eniko Mihalik, ASPCA President & CEO, Matt Bershadker and Meredith O’Connor.last_img read more


Celebrities Join Star Wars Rogue One To Be A ForceForChange

first_imgAs fans count down to the premiere of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Disney, Target and Star Wars: Force for Change are launching a new fashion-meets-fundraising initiative inspired by the themes of rebellion from the new movie.Ten influential names across film, music, fashion and sports have come together to support UNICEF Kid Power by creating a line of “Force 4 Fashion” T-shirts available exclusively in the U.S. at Target beginning November 27.Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will introduce fans to a group of rebels who choose to do extraordinary things, and in doing so, become part of something greater than themselves. Each of the T-shirt designs celebrates this theme using a powerful slogan to represent the importance of standing up for what you believe in.Five dollars from the sale of each shirt will be donated to the U.S. Fund for UNICEF in support of UNICEF Kid Power. Through this unique initiative, kids can complete physical activities and interactive challenges to earn points—which ultimately are used to provide life-saving packets of food for severely malnourished children around the world. The more kids move, the more points they earn, the more kids they help.“This campaign is about raising funds and awareness for UNICEF Kid Power’s mission to improve the lives of children everywhere,” said Paul Southern, senior vice president of licensing for Lucasfilm at Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media. “Everyone connected to this initiative has been a Force for Change in different ways, and we hope their stories will inspire others to get involved.”The Force 4 Fashion line was designed with support from Riz Ahmed, June Ambrose, Steve Aoki, Camilla Belle, Gareth Edwards, Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Olivia Munn, Kelly Slater, and Brittany Snow, who’ve all been active in supporting different causes through their careers. In addition to purchasing the special T-shirts, fans can join the rebellion by sharing their own inspiring stories and posting on social channels how they are a #ForceForChange on “Giving Tuesday,” November 29.“I love Star Wars and I’m passionate about giving back,” said Steve Aoki. “The opportunity to partner with Lucasfilm and Target to design a shirt that benefits UNICEF is something I’ve enjoyed being a part of and I hope my fans love it as much as I do.”“Investing in our children means a brighter future for all, and this holiday season, the U.S. Fund for UNICEF is thrilled Star Wars: Force for Change and this “Force 4 Fashion” initiative are supporting UNICEF Kid Power,” said Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “UNICEF Kid Power helps us to stand and give every child hope. With every step, kids get active and save lives, moving the world closer towards ending global malnutrition.”Since the UNICEF Kid Power program launch in 2014, more than 190,000 UNICEF Kid Power Team Members have become active, earning more than 12.5 million Kid Power Points and unlocking more than 5.1 million packets of lifesaving therapeutic food for severely malnourished children. Star Wars: Force for Change announced its collaboration with UNICEF Kid Power in May 2015 and continues to be a presenting sponsor of the initiative program.To learn more about the “Force 4 Fashion” shirts, visit Target.com and to learn more about being a #ForceForChange, visit ForceForChange.com.last_img read more


SHARE Inc Celebrates 65 Years of Philanthropy with Annual Boomtown Gala

first_imgThe 65th annual Boomtown Gala will take place in Beverly Hills on Sunday.The event is presented by SHARE, Inc. SHARE, Inc. is Hollywood’s oldest and most noteworthy charity, founded in 1953 by seven women – some of whom were the wives of the Rat Pack. Their mission is to improve the lives of children with special needs and members of the community who are less fortunate. Charities that benefit from SHARE, Inc. and the Boomtown Gala include CASA, Ahead With Horses, Team Prime Time, The Sophia T. Salvin Center, and many others.This year’s star-studded event will include a red carpet, dressy Western attire, dinner, a live and silent auction, performances by The Righteous Brothers, Martha and the Vandellas, Louis Van Amstel of Dancing With the Stars, the SHARE ladies themselves and more. Famous women’s rights attorney, Gloria Allred, will be presenting the Shining Spirit Award to this year’s honoree, Loreen Arbus, Founder of The Loreen Arbus Foundation, and the first female Head of Programming for a U.S. network – a feat she accomplished twice – both at Showtime and Lifetime networks. The production team behind Boomtown includes Anita Mann of Anita Mann Productions, a five-time Emmy Award Winning Choreographer.Also expected to attend are Kathy Hilton, Nichelle Nichols, Pat Boone, Tommy Chong and many more.WHEN:May 20, 2018WHERE:The Beverly Hilton Hotel9876 Wilshire BoulevardBeverly Hills, California 90210last_img read more


CFC Media Lab NFB and JustFilms Ford Foundation Partner to Present Creative

first_imgAdvertisement “The pairing of Canada’s top Indigenous talent with notable American artists from culturally diverse backgrounds will ignite a timely, new discussion on point of view and representation in a new storytelling medium,” said Anita Lee, Executive Producer, English Program (Ontario Centre) for the NFB. “The notions of ‘reality’ and ‘truth’ have never been more nuanced with the expansion of new technologies, and therefore capturing and representing ‘reality’ never more interesting, especially in the hands of artists whose voices are not often heard in the commercial industry.”OPEN IMMERSION has been designed to immerse the participants in both the theory and practice of creating immersive, interactive media and to push the creative storytelling process. The talent and project lab will engage the 12 storytellers in an inspiring and rigorous hands-on creative development process comprised of keynote presentations, case study critiques, group sessions and peer collaboration.“The OPEN IMMERSION Lab is our first foray with the National Film Board of Canada and the Canadian Film Centre. Our goal is to create a corridor of opportunity for visual artists to explore VR technology as the aesthetics of this new platform are being developed,” said JustFilms Director Cara Mertes. “Even though it’s very early days for VR, we are seeing how it can give socially-engaged storytellers a powerful tool to create immersive experiences with the potential to disrupt the entrenched social narratives that contribute to inequality.”The 12 artists participating in this lab come from a variety of disciplines in film, theatre, visual art, interactive media and more. The six Canadian artists are:Scott Benesiinaabandan: An Anishinabe intermedia artist, Benesiinaabandan works primarily in photography, video, audio and printmaking, and currently is based in Montreal.Kevin Lee Burton: An award-winning director, programmer and editor, Burton is originally from God’s Lake Narrows First Nation in Manitoba, Canada.Danis Goulet: An award-winning filmmaker whose short films have screened at festivals around the world, Goulet (Cree/Metis) was born in La Ronge, Saskatchewan and now resides in Toronto.Nyla Innuksuk: A filmmaker originally from Igloolik and Iqaluit, Innuksuk is nowworking in Toronto on a variety of projects, including music videos, television series and her own documentary film about Inuit youth.Lisa Jackson: An award-winning filmmaker working in both fiction and documentary, Jacksonis Anishinaabe, has a BFA in Film Production from Simon Fraser University, and has completed the Canadian Film Centre’s (CFC) Directors’ Lab.Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers: A Blackfoot and Sami actor, producer, filmmaker and curator from the Kainai First Nation, Tailfeathers divides her time between Vancouver, Canada, the Blood Reserve and Sami territory in Sweden.The six American artists are:Kai Lumumba Barrow: A New Orleans-based visual artist, Barrow sews together elements of interactive theatre, multimedia installation and performance to create “visual operas” that explore ideas of community, place and identity.Michaela Pilar Brown: An image and object maker, Brown is a multidisciplinary artist using photography, installation and performance.Kimi Maeda: A theatre artist based in Columbia, South Carolina, Maeda’s intimate visual performances cross disciplines and pushboundaries. Her ephemera trilogy is a collection of sand drawing and shadow performances that deals with memory, home and trans-cultural identity.Tiona McClodden: A visual artist and filmmaker, McClodden creates work that explores and critiques issues at the intersections of race, gender, sexuality and social commentary.Jacqueline Olive: An award-winning multimedia producer and filmmaker, Olive founded Tell It Media in 2011 to create documentaries that tell nuanced stories of the people, places and cultures that make up our diverse world.RaMell Ross: A Rhode Island-based artist whose work has been exhibited in the U.S. and internationally, Ross is currently a Research Affiliate at the MIT Media Lab and an Assistant Professor of Practice in Brown University’s Visual Arts Department. He is in production on his first feature film, Idiom (Hale County This Morning, This Evening).“The CFC Media Lab has a long history of designing and facilitating programs that offer a rigorous critique of the medium through knowledge immersion and prototyping,” said Ana Serrano, Chief Digital Officer, CFC. “VR exists on a continuum of immersive and interactive media practices and storytelling. The participants of OPEN IMMERSION each come from diverse backgrounds and disciplines; they not only understand that continuum, but also bring their own ways of seeing and doing storytelling into VR. The results will enhance the ongoing and now-more inclusive conversation about what it means to tell an immersive and interactive story.”Read more about OPEN IMMERSION: A Virtual Reality Creative Doc Lab here.Social MediaCanadian Film Centre (CFC)@cfccreatesfacebook.com/cfccreatesCFC Media Lab@cfcmedialabfacebook.com/cfcmedialabNFB@the NFBfacebook.com/nfb.caAbout CFC The Canadian Film Centre (CFC) is a charitable organization whose mission is to invest in and inspire the next generation of world-class Canadian content creators and entrepreneurs in the screen-based entertainment industry. A significant economic and cultural driver in Canada and beyond, CFC delivers a range of multi-disciplinary programs and initiatives in film, television, music, screen acting, and digital media, which provides industry collaborations, strategic partnerships, and business and marketplace opportunities for talent and participants. For more information, visit cfccreates.com.About CFC Media LabThe Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally acclaimed digital media think tank and award-winning production facility. It provides a unique research, training and production environment for digital media content developers and practitioners, as well as acceleration programs and services for digital entertainment start-ups and related SMEs. Program participants have emerged as leaders in the world of digital media, producing groundbreaking projects and innovative, sustainable companies for the digital and virtual age. CFC Media Lab is funded in part by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. For more information, visit cfccreates.com.About the NFBThe NFB is Canada’s public producer of award-winning creative documentaries, auteur animation, and groundbreaking interactive stories, installations and participatory experiences. NFB producers are deeply embedded in communities across the country, working with talented artists and creators in production studios from St. John’s to Vancouver, on projects that stand out for their excellence in storytelling, their innovation, and their social resonance. NFB productions have won over 5,000 awards, including 15 Canadian Screen Awards, 17 Webbys, 12 Oscars and more than 90 Genies. To access many of these works, visit NFB.ca or download the NFB’s apps for mobile devices and connected TV.About the Ford Foundation The Ford Foundation seeks to reduce inequality in all of its forms, and artist-driven documentary and emerging media projects are crucial to this effort. As part of the Ford Foundation’s Creativity and Free Expression program, JustFilms funds social justice storytelling and the 21st century arts infrastructure that supports it.For 80 years the Ford Foundation has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. www.fordfoundation.org. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Virtual Reality (VR) is capturing the imagination of documentary storytellers, journalists and visual artists all over the world who are eager to embrace an immersive medium that pushes new boundaries in non-fiction storytelling.To support, explore and share VR knowledge and experience, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB), the Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) and JustFilms | Ford Foundation have joined forces to present an innovative, experimental creative documentary lab for diverse creators from Canada and the U.S.Set to begin October 11, 2016, OPEN IMMERSION: A Virtual Reality Creative Doc Lab will bring together six Indigenous Canadian artists and six artists from the American South in CFC and NFB spaces in Toronto. Together, they will explore the possibilities of VR as a new storytelling platform. Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more


Mikmaq on the edge of green revolution

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe rez is going green.At least that how things seem in Nova Scotia where futuristic sports cars and space-age wind turbines may soon become a common sight next to the local band office.APTN National News reporter Ossie Michelin has this story.last_img


Chiefs take Ontario Ottawa to court over breached RobinsonHuron Treaty

first_imgAPTN National NewsA group of First Nation chiefs have filed court action against Ottawa and Ontario over owed treaty annuities promised under the Robinson-Huron Treaty.The Robinson-Huron Treaty was signed on Sept. 9, 1850 and covers about 21 First Nation communities with a population of about 30,000 Anishinabek people. The treaty area covers about 35,700 square kilometres of territory in northern Ontario. The claim, which was filed with the Ontario Superior Court in Sudbury, Ont., states the Crown has failed to live up to the treaty which, the claimants argue, promised annuities would increase along with revenue generated from the treaty territory.“Shortly after the treaty was entered into the chiefs began petitioning the Crown for an increase in annuities with limited results,” said Batchewana First Nation Chief Dean Sayers. “The Robinson-Huron Treaty anticipates and provides economic benefits for us in perpetuity. The annuity was intended to be our revenue stream, our share of wealth generated by revenues from our territory, yet many of the beneficiaries live in poverty.”Currently, treaty beneficiaries get $4 a year which has seen no increase since 1874.The chiefs, behind the claim, say they are seeking a tally of the revenue generated by their treaty territory since 1850, an increase of annuities and compensation for losses stemming from the Crown’s failure to increase annuities.“It couldn’t be plainer that the territory has generated vast amounts of revenues from forestry, mining and other resource development. Still we receive four dollars per year,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madahbee. “That is unfair and not what we bargained for.”Assembly of First Nations National Chief Ghislain Picard said it was time for Canada to rectify the “long-standing breach” of the treaty.“Canada has grown rich off the traditional territories of First Nations and both provincial and national economies benefit while too many of our communities face chronic poverty,” said Picard. “This is clearly unfair.”news@aptn.calast_img read more


Calls for public inquiry into Saskatchewans over incarceration of Aboriginal people

first_imgOver the last few years, the former police chief of Prince Albert has been leading a charge within the ministry to “turn the ship around” as he puts it.“What we’re doing is going upstream to actually take people out of the system and get them services or connect them to what they actually need before they’re in the justice system,” he said, adding one area is developing a mental health strategy and plan.He said serious and violent offenders make up 50 per cent of re-contact in the justice system.“There are people that are in the system that need to be in system, you don’t forget about them, and they need different treatment in relation to it, but these people are responsible for up to 50 per cent of re-contact in the justice system. There are where you need those intense services,” said McFee. “We know over time, based on a two and half year study, that you can reduce recidivism by 30 to 40 per cent.”He said the province achieves this through programs, such as rehabilitative services and employment.McFee said the province has been working with First Nations, education, social services- just about everyone to change the approach.“It’s tied into the roots of marginalization. If you look at housing, poverty and additions they’re disproportionately represented in those environments … they’re disproportionately going to be a product on the back end as well, right?” he said.When asked about the high rate of Aboriginal people being labelled as dangerous offenders, McFee said he didn’t know the number but it wouldn’t surprise him because it’s close to the overall incarceration rate in the province.“Look at what feeds into the system and look at what comes out of it. If you don’t go upstream to alleviate what comes in how can you fix it down stream?” he said.Quigley agrees with addressing the issue up stream and doesn’t think a public inquiry would solve this.He said the disparities in resources provided to education and social services for First Nation communities is a crime.“That’s why when I say I don’t think the criminal justice system has many answers it’s because I think some things have been tried and don’t work. What we really need is a societal push for much, much greater socio-economic equality and in the process reduce, if not eliminate, the racism we have,” said Quigley.Not just a provincial problemCanada’s prison watchdog has been issuing reports critical of Canada’s correctional service for years.Howard Sapers has focused many reports about the over-representation of Aboriginal people in the prison system.He said in 2013, between March 2010 and January 2013, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta accounted for 39.1 per cent of all new federal inmate growth.Howard SapersMost of that was led by Aboriginal offenders who make up about 50 per cent of the population in prisons there.“We see an over-representation of Aboriginal Canadians coming in the federal penitentiaries and it’s not because of predisposed positions to commit more crime. It’s because the circumstances many Aboriginal Canadians are in, including the effects of colonization. We’re still dealing with the inter-generational trauma effects of the 60s Scoop, residential schools and so many other issues,” said Sapers. “All of that doesn’t excuse the criminal behavior. The point of the Supreme Court decisions, such as Gladue and Ipeelee, was to urge restraint on how we respond to that criminal behavior to try and counterbalance that history.”Gladue principles are ignored too often in courts across the country, including in custody, said Sapers.“It’s not that you just have over-representation of Aboriginals incarcerated. You also see over-representation of Aboriginals receiving longer sentences, you see an over-representation of Aboriginals versus non-Aboriginals be held in higher security levels, being held in custody longer before first release and being subject to more dangerous offender applications,” he said.Frederick Knife left gang before dangerous offender hearingSoon after Frederick Knife attacked a fellow gang member on the gang wing of the Saskatchewan pen, he told a correctional officer to take him off the wing.The officer laughed but Knife was persistent so he was moved, by request, into self-segregation.“He recounted that his young son asked him on the telephone, ‘When are you going to leave the gang and come home to me?’” reads his latest court decision. “He further commented that ‘seven years in jail makes a person think.’”He told the court he wanted to turn his life around.It appears he has, on the inside, but is trying to get out and back to his family.The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal heard his case in January and hasn’t released its decision yet, which is taking an “unusual” amount of time said Nolin.So, Knife waits – but no longer in segregation. He’s now back in the maximum security wing and staying out of trouble.In fact, his security risk has been dropped from maximum to medium. Nolin suspects CSC is waiting for his appeal decision before moving Knife.Update: Soon after publishing APTN received new data about dangerous offenders it had been requesting from the Correctional Service of Canada. The story was updated to reflect those statistics. “I think Aboriginal people are easy targets. They tend to be marginalized and tend to have limited resources. It’s just a perfect storm for people who don’t have the resources to stick up for themselves.” Michael Nolin kjackson@aptn.ca “What we’re doing is going upstream to actually take people out of the system and get them services or connect them to what they actually need before they’re in the justice system.” Dale McFee, deputy minister of corrections and policing in Saskatchewancenter_img Nolin has taken part in six dangerous offender cases, five involved  Aboriginal people.“I think Aboriginal people are easy targets. They tend to be marginalized and tend to have limited resources,” said Nolin. “It’s just a perfect storm for people who don’t have the resources to stick up for themselves.”On top of these statistics, Nolin said he’s called expert witnesses from CSC who have testified only two per cent of all dangerous offenders have been released on parole compared to convicted murderers who get parole in four per cent of cases.“So you have less of a chance of getting out if you haven’t killed anybody under the dangerous offender legislation,” said Nolin.Dangerous offender designations are typically for violent and sex crimes, excluding murder, and classified into several categories according to the Criminal Code.The harshest is a DO designation with an indeterminate sentence with no chance of parole for seven years. A judge can also find an offender a DO, but with a determinate sentence, say for example four years in prison with LTO status upon release.They can also not find them to be a DO and issue a determinate sentence with a LTO tag, like in Knife’s case.Biased sentencing regimeSaskatoon defence lawyer James Scott has long believed Aboriginal people faced a bias in the judiciary and set out to prove it last year.Scott examined 484 cases from 1996 to 2014.He compared the sentences of Aboriginal offenders and then those handed to non-Aboriginal offenders for violent crimes other than murder.His review found a major discrepancy when it came to the length of prison time judges handed down for the same crimes.For violent crimes such as aggravated assault and armed robbery;Aboriginal offenders – 214 sentences totaled 51 years of incarceration.Non-Aboriginal offenders – 270 sentences totaled 29 years of incarceration.First Nation, Metis and Inuit offenders received, on average, double the time, and in some cases the sentencing rate was 10 times higher.For example, convictions for assault with a weapon saw Aboriginal offenders sentenced to 10 years in prison, while non-Aboriginal offenders were given a year.(Editor’s note: These numbers could be higher because Scott only counted cases where the offender was identified as Aboriginal. In many cases reviewed by APTN the offender was Aboriginal but the written decision didn’t specify)Download (PDF, Unknown)Scott’s full report can be read here: Reforming Saskatchewan’s Biased Sentencing RegimeIt could explain why Saskatchewan has one of the fastest growing Aboriginal inmate populations in the country.While Aboriginal people account for about 17 per cent of Saskatchewan’s population according to Statistics Canada, nearly 65 per cent of the inmates at the Saskatchewan Penitentiary were Aboriginal in 2013. The national average was 23 per cent“All of this is because of the inter-generational effects of colonization and residential schools. Historic trauma causes too many Aboriginal youths to end up in custody starting from their teenage years,” said Scott. “Therefore, Aboriginal (people) go untreated and end up with longer criminal records. The longer the record, the more the punishment.”Scott believes dangerous offender designations are directly tied to higher sentences.“Aboriginals are vastly overrepresented in dangerous offender applications and (this) overrepresentation accounts for a shocking discrepancy between the lengths of custodial sentences for Aboriginals compared to non-Aboriginals,” Scott wrote in his report.He points to statistics of Aboriginal offenders convicted of aggravated assault where 11 of the 16 cases involved dangerous offender applications. Of those 11, six were labelled a DO and the other five were classified as LTO.In the nine cases involving non-Aboriginal people, the Crown sought dangerous offender applications in only two cases and one was successful.Where the judge provided a sentence in their decision, Scott found Aboriginal people received, on average, 10 years of prison time compared to 3.5 years for non-Aboriginal. (In DO cases where the person gets an indeterminate sentence no length is given.)Out of the 87 dangerous offender and long term offender applications since 1997 reviewed by Scott only two were dismissed.“The Crown’s success rate … is remarkable,” said Scott.He is also calling for an inquiry.“I doubt there is going to be much reform without it,” said Scott. “It would help to just get the whole issue into people’s minds.”Incarceration rates started to climb after Second World WarIncarcerations rates in the prairies began to climb in the 1950s.Changes to federal policing may have played a role in the prairies according to the final report of Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba in 1991.“We believe that policing agreements with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police play a part in this story because they introduced consistent enforcement of Canadian law to communities where, until that time, Aboriginal law still operated,” the report states.In 1999, retired Saskatoon lawyer Timothy Quigley gave expert testimony in the case of an Aboriginal man convicted of assault.Quigley testified that incarceration rates of Aboriginal people around 1950 were underrepresented in Saskatchewan jails but climbed thereafter to 68 per cent in provincial jails by 1991 and 54 per cent, federally, in 1990.“I think you have a number of factors. One is over-policing with the establishment of RCMP detachments in northern Saskatchewan. If you look at the end of the Second World War, and in the early 1950s, you would have had residential schools but you also would have had a generation or two of survivors of residential schools,” he told APTN, adding around the same time there was a “major urbanization” of Aboriginal people moving to cities who faced increased inequality.The last residential school in Canada closed in Saskatchewan in 1996.The schools operated for nearly a century, removing an estimated 150,000 children from their parents and putting them in schools sometimes hundreds of kilometres away.Many faced physical and sexual abuse at the hands of people representing varying religious denominations that ran the schools.In his 1989 paper, Locking Up Natives in Canada, British Columbia lawyer and professor Michael Jackson wrote in detail of the crisis around imprisoning Aboriginal people.“In Saskatchewan, prison has become for young native men, the promise of a just society which high school and college represent for the rest of us.Placed in a historical context, the person has become for many young native people the contemporary equivalent of what the Indian residential school represented to their parents,” he wrote.In 2008, Prime Minister Stephen Harper apologized, but the devastating impact on generations of First Nation, Metis and Inuit people was well established.R. v. GladueThe problem in Saskatchewan appears to be a lack of knowledge of Canada’s history.And critics argue this results in the judiciary’s long history of failing to effectively apply Gladue principles at sentencing.Those principles were handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada in its historic ruling in R. v. Gladue, named after Aboriginal woman Jamie Gladue who appealed her manslaughter sentence in 1999.Supreme CourtThe high court didn’t change her sentence, instead, it issued some ground rules for lower courts to address the critical over-representation of Aboriginal people in the justice system.From that day onward, courts had to take into account what are commonly called Gladue principles:the unique systemic or background factors which may have played a part in bringing the particular Aboriginal offender before the courts;and the types of sentencing procedures and sanctions, which may be appropriate in the circumstances for the offender because of his or her particular Aboriginal heritage or connection.The SCC found the incarceration of Aboriginal people to be at crisis levels, but since that 1999 decision, rates have only gone up. The court made another ruling in 2012, R. v. Ipeelee, reinforcing the need for courts to take Gladue principles seriously.“Courts have, at times, been hesitant to take judicial notice of the systemic and background factors affecting Aboriginal people in Canadian society,” the Supreme Court said in Ipeelee. “To be clear, courts must take judicial notice of such matters as the history of colonialism, displacement, and residential schools and how that history continues to translate into lower educational attainment, lower incomes, higher unemployment, higher rates of substance abuse and suicide, and of course higher levels of incarceration for Aboriginal peoples.”Retired judge criticizes Saskatchewan judiciary – again Cunliffe Barnett, a retired judge from British Columbia, sparked controversy in Saskatchewan last September when he accused the courts there of ignoring Gladue principles at sentencing.Barnett has long kept an eye on how judges across Canada’s upheld the SCC’s Gladue ruling.He was struck with how poorly Saskatchewan’s judges followed the high court’s guidelines.A retired Saskatchewan Court of Appeal judge called Barnett’s comments unsubstantiated.But Barnett didn’t back down, instead he dug in and began poring over Court of Appeal cases. Of the 146 cases he reviewed, Barnett found no mention of Gladue in 100 of them. In 22 cases he couldn’t find any mention of the person being Aboriginal. He confirmed elsewhere that they were.Barnett was in Saskatchewan again this month to speak at a conference and was still critical of the bench.“In September last year I said that ‘many Saskatchewan judges have been reluctant to ever acknowledge the Gladue and Ipeelee decisions’. I said also that ‘in Saskatchewan many judges have been reluctant to disclose the fact that the person being sentenced is indeed an Aboriginal person’. I stand by those statements today,” said Barnett, who was a provincial court judge in B.C. from 1973 to 2006.Barnett believes it’s because judges in Saskatchewan are uneducated on the history of Aboriginal people.“There is a colonial history in Saskatchewan … I am confident that I am on solid ground when I say that this tragic history is not yet well understood by more than perhaps very few Saskatchewan judges,” he said.Is the situation changing?Critics see a recent case as maybe a small sign of things starting to change in Saskatchewan.Last month, the Court of Appeal overturned a dangerous offender designation for a First Nation man who successfully argued his Gladue principles were ignored at his dangerous offenders hearing.Mitchell Moise, 36, was labeled a dangerous offender in 2012.  He has a rap sheet of over 45 convictions for violent crimes.“Trial fairness requires Mr. Moise be given an opportunity to present evidence of aboriginal specific programming, services and supports which might assist in managing his behaviour in the community and reducing his risk to reoffend,” the court said in its decision.The panel of three judges found both the Crown and defence, as well as the judge, didn’t think Gladue principles could be considered at his dangerous offender hearing.“In this case, the sentencing judge’s error in failing to consider Gladue was compounded by the fact that both Crown and defence counsel believed Gladue considerations had no application,” said the court.Defence lawyer James Scott said in the last few months he’s started to see a small shift among the judiciary when it comes to Gladue principles and his hope is it continues nearly 16 years after the Supreme Court first ruled on the matter.“There is certainly more awareness. More people are getting involved and it does look like things have the beginning of improving,” he said.Michael Nolin agrees with Scott’s report on sentencing of Aboriginal people, but doesn’t share the same positive outlook when it comes to the province writing Gladue reports.“I got a pretty good idea that most Saskatchewan judges don’t know what a formal Gladue report is,” he said. “We know that in the defence bar that there is nobody in Saskatchewan qualified to do one which is surprising given the proportionate of representation of Aboriginal people out here. Multiple levels of courts don’t understand or care to follow Ipeelee or Gladue. They just provide lip-service.”In some provinces, the court learns about an Aboriginal offender’s past through a Gladue report. Along with a history lesson, it also tries to present options other than jail or prison at sentencing by providing community-based solutions, such as addiction treatment and counselling.Saskatchewan’s planThe province has recognized it has a problem with incarceration rates said Dale McFee, the deputy minister of corrections and policing in the Ministry of Justice.McFee has said in the past, and continues to believe, the province can’t arrest its way out of the problem.Dale McFee/Linkedin (Frederick Knife with his children in this undated photo from Facebook.)Kenneth JacksonAPTN National NewsFrederick Knife was 30 days away from his statutory release date on a manslaughter sentence in the Saskatchewan Penitentiary when he attacked an inmate he believed was going to kill him.The victim survived, but the Crown never wanted Knife to see the outside world again and tried to have him labeled a dangerous offender meaning he could be held indefinitely in 2013.Knife was 28-years-old and had two adult convictions on his record – the aggravated assault conviction for the prison attack and the other for manslaughter that put him in there when he was 19.The judge said Knife, a father of three and former member of the Indian Posse street gang, didn’t fit the criteria of a dangerous offender (DO) partly because he was too young and that he didn’t have a long enough criminal past as an adult.Instead, he was sentenced to eight years and was classified as a long-term offender (LTO). With time served, Knife had four years remaining. He is appealing the LTO designation that comes with a strict 10-year supervision order upon release from prison.But not every Aboriginal offender is, arguably, as lucky as Knife in the Prairie province.Along with locking up more Aboriginal people than just about any place in Canada, it also has one of the highest percentages of Aboriginal people designated as dangerous offenders.Aboriginal people make up 45 of the active 64 dangerous offenders in Saskatchewan, or 70 per cent according to the Correctional Service of Canada and data APTN National News retrieved from publicly available cases. The national average of Aboriginal dangerous offenders is about 29 per cent.Last year alone all six of the offender’s classified as dangerous offenders were Aboriginal people. In 2015, one person has been labeled a DO, and he’s Aboriginal.Only Manitoba has a higher rate of Aboriginal dangerous offenders as of March 2014 with nine of the 11 classified as Aboriginal according to CSC.Calls for an inquirySaskatchewan has a crisis few want to talk about and needs a full inquiry into its justice system said Saskatoon criminal defence lawyer Michael Nolin.“I would love to see an inquiry. I would love to see the province called on the carpet on this,” said Nolin, who is Metis and grew up outside North Battleford, Sask.“This is very near and dear to my heart and I have tried to get the issue raised to a higher profile.”If something doesn’t change, the province is going to need to start “building more prisons,” said Nolin.Michael Nolin/submittedlast_img read more


Riding Profile DesnethéMissinippiChurchill River

first_imgAPTN National NewsDesnethé-Missinippi-Churchill River is one of the largest ridings in Canada.It’s bigger than the province of Newfoundland and Labrador.There are more than 43,000 eligible voters in the riding and more than half are Metis or First Nation.The incumbent is Conservative Rob Clarke.As APTN’s Larissa Burnouf reports, the election is shaping into a bitter battleground between the Liberals and Conservatives.last_img


Kanina Sue Turtles family sues Tikinagan for 59M over her wrongful death

first_img(Barbara Suggashie, left, and her husband Clarence Suggashie hold the picture of their deceased daughter Kanina Sue Turtle who died by suicide Oct. 29, 2016. APTN file photo)Kenneth JacksonAPTN NewsThe family of Kanina Sue Turtle is suing Tikinagan Child and Family Services for $5.9 million after the 15-year-old died by suicide inside a Sioux Lookout foster home the agency owned and operated in October 2016.The lawsuit alleges Kanina’s death was preventable and the result of Tikinagan’s “reckless disregard” for her wellbeing.“The Defendants conduct caused Kanina to experience severe mental suffering and injury and ultimately a wrongful death,” the claim alleges.The lawsuit was filed in a Bracebridge, Ont. courthouse Thursday by lawyer Cara Valiquette from Falls Law Group.The claim details much of what APTN News has already published since February.Kanina had been in and out the child welfare system for several years.She filmed her death inside the Tikinagan home that was still being used this past summer by the agency.An APTN investigation found Kanina was clearly suicidal, yet left alone for 45 minutes before a Tikinagan worker noticed she was gone.“(Tikinagan) failed to adequately monitor Kanina,” the claim alleges. “Its employees or agents had no or improper training, qualifications, education and experience to supervise and/or assist Indigenous children suffering from mental health issues, including Kanina.”APTN has viewed the video and previously reported a worker comes into the room and says what sounds like “Kanina, take my hand.”She then laid Kanina’s lifeless body on the floor, which isn’t visible in the video and leaves the room. She returned quickly talking on a cellphone with emergency personnel. She also appeared to try to resuscitate Kanina by pumping air into her lungs with a plastic device.But it was futile. Too much time had passed.“She’s gone,” the woman said as a baby can be heard crying from another room.Within minutes sirens are heard and paramedics arrive.“No pulse,” one of them is heard saying.Her parents, Barabara and Clarence Suggashie, told APTN they filed the lawsuit to get answers, as they have never been told why Kanina was left alone the day she died.“Every day we miss her, every day we go through sadness, especially because of the video she left behind,” said Clarence. “ She had dreams about her future, and positive goals. She thought about being a police officer.”He said Kanina just wanted to come home. The family didn’t know Kanina filmed her suicide until at least six months after her death. Police returned the iPod and the family guessed the password. The lawsuit alleges no one told them the video was on there.Several days before Kanina killed herself, she was in the hospital for self-harming according to a video she posted on her Facebook account.It’s a recording of a live video where Kanina filmed what appears to be a Tikinagan worker sitting in a chair in the hospital room as they wait to be seen by a doctor.The unidentified woman talks on a mobile phone explaining to someone she is at the hospital with Kanina and how her shift is ending soon.Turtle begins the video by showing her injuries and says very little, other than she is bored.The worker agrees it is boring and notices there is no television to watch.“So quit cutting yourself so you don’t have to come here,” the woman says on the video.Kanina then turns the camera to the woman who is looking down at her phone.“(Tikinagan) created a situation of trust and an illusion of safety which the Plaintiffs relied on, and given Kanina’s mental health issues, this trust prevented the Plaintiffs from being able to appreciate the risks of death which may be encountered when Indigenous children are residing in the care of Tikinagan,” the claim alleges.Kanina’s Facebook account gave many hints of her deteriorating mental state in the days leading up to her death.“(I don’t know) what to do anymore,” she wrote Oct. 24, 2016. “Just gunna give up on everything.”A video on her Facebook posted Oct. 27, 2016, that was recorded live, shows the bruised outline of a noose across her neck.“(Tikinagan) failed to have in place emergency medical procedures and protocols when it suspected, or ought to have suspected, that a child in its group home would attempt to inflect harm on herself,” the claim alleges.Then on Oct. 28, a day before her death, she attempted again and also filmed that.APTN has viewed that video.“I don’t know what to do anymore,” Kanina says. “I’m sorry for what … umm… I’m going to do.”The video is just over a minute when she stops recording. She didn’t say anything in the video of her death.“Kanina had been receiving limited counselling in the days leading up to her death, which did not adequately address her needs,” the claim alleges.Tikinagan didn’t immediately respond to APTN when provided an opportunity to address the lawsuit.None of the allegations have been proven in court.Kanina is buried on Poplar Hill First Nation near the Manitoba and Ontario border.kjackson@aptn.calast_img read more


Now Canada will see this as real MMIWG inquiry gets set to

first_imgSurvivors and family take part in a round dance in Thunder Bay under the shadow of a red dress. For some the inquiry was a healing journey, for others it was a lost opportunity. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTNThe contents of this story may be triggering to some readers. 1-844-413-6649 is a national, toll-free support line available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsIt was 2015 when the Liberal party promised a national public inquiry into the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls (MMIWG) in Canada.As part of its election campaign, the party called the disappearance and death of an estimated 1,200 Indigenous women and girls “an ongoing national tragedy that must come to an end.”It set the bar high – claiming the inquiry would “seek recommendations on concrete actions that governments, law enforcement, and others can take to solve these crimes and prevent future ones.”But that lofty target was watered down in the inquiry’s official mandate, says former MKO chief Sheila North.“It hasn’t solved anything. Neither have police,” she said in an interview.“It set up a lot of false hope.”Danielle Ewenin from Kawacatoose First Nation in Saskatchewan won’t even try to hide her anger at the inquiry.“It was a complete failure,” she said. “So much for finding the truth and honoring the truth.”(A sandstone bench on Tsuut’ina Nation in Alberta. Submitted photo)Ewenin’s sister, Eleanor (Laney) Ewenin, was found dead outside Calgary in 1982, when she was 23. The case remains unsolved and Danielle feels it should have been included in the inquiry’s forensic police audit.But it wasn’t because she said the inquiry was unable to obtain the coroner and police reports she said her family asked them to find in 2016.“If they did not have (that) there was no point (in us appearing),” said Danielle.“Nor would the (inquiry) be allowed to appear like they provided our family with a service.”Her family had travelled to Saskatoon from their Cree community.In January 2019, the Family Information Liaison Unit – established to work alongside the inquiry – learned the files had been stored under an incorrect name (Eleanor Cyr) and sent them to the family.“They had $90 million and they couldn’t even do that for us,” said Danielle. “Why would I believe anything they have to say?”(The inquiry suffered from high turnover and at times seemed to be in disarray. This image of the inquiry office in Winnipeg taken by APTN shows an empty, unorganized space. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN)Willie Starr’s family had a similar emotional experience the night before testifying in Winnipeg about his still-missing sister Jennifer Catcheway. His parents were told they’d have a short window to relay the worst experience of their lives due to scheduling issues.They held a tense news conference at the inquiry’s hotel after contacting media outlets the night before, which led to them receiving more time.But Starr has put that behind him. He said the big picture – the final report – will give families like his the vindication they need.“Now Canada will see this is real,” he said in an interview before the final report was leaked last Friday. “That’s the most important thing.“The inquiry is proof.”(Willie Star holds a poster of his sister Jennifer at an MMIWG event. “Now Canada will see this is real,” he says of the final MMIWG. Photo courtesy: Doug Thomas)Starr said he hopes the commissioners, who were appointed in 2016, are believed and their report respected. He doesn’t want anymore turmoil.“Families need healing, and to move forward. We need to know the country is behind us.”Getting support for hurting families in Nunavut is why Laura Mackenzie lobbied to bring the inquiry to Rankin Inlet. It led to one of the most dramatic hearings in its mandate when Inuk musician Susan Aglukark disclosed she’d been sexually abused by a male neighbour.But it very nearly didn’t happen.In what was becoming classic inquiry dysfunction, Mackenzie received a phone call telling her the hearing was being moved to the capital of Iqaluit or perhaps Montreal.(“There needs to be acceptance and understanding and compassion,” says Laura MacKenzie who lobbied to bring the inquiry to Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. Photo: APTN)She contacted reporters who filed stories and the ensuing publicity put Rankin Inlet back on the schedule.But Mackenzie, too, has filed that experience away and prefers to look to the future.“What do I want to see in the final report? Peace,” she said.“There needs to be acceptance and understanding and compassion now. This took a lot out of everyone, and we deserve to be heard.“I hope this will happen. For the good of families, for the good of Nunavut, for all of Canada.”MMIWG Inquiry concludes violence against women and girls is ‘genocide’(Angela Lightning made the display in her yard in Carling, AB to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Photo courtesy Angela Lightning.)According to leaked copies of the executive summary, and final report, the inquiry has concluded that persistent and deadly violence against Indigenous women and girls is a form of genocide.The word genocide is contained throughout the 116-page executive summary of the final report sent to APTN News Friday.Read the executive summary here: Reclaiming Power and PlacePerry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, agrees with the inquiry’s conclusion.“(He) has said many times that the treatment of First Nations in Canada is consistent with the definition of genocide based on the many assaults on First Nations people and cultures,” a spokesman for Bellegarde said Friday.“The violence and homicide against Indigenous women and girls is part of this pattern and governments need to work urgently with Indigenous people to stop it.”The four government-appointed commissioners who helmed the inquiry say in the summary they agreed on the concept of genocide early on in their work, which began in September 2016.They say they use it in their report to build on the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.“The truths shared in these National Inquiry hearings tell the story – or, more accurately, thousands of stories – of acts of  genocide against First Nations, Inuit and Métis women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, intersex and asexual) people,” they write.“This violence amounts to a race-based genocide of Indigenous Peoples, including First Nations, Inuit, and Métis, which especially targets women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people.“This genocide has been empowered by colonial structures, evidenced notably by the Indian Act, the Sixties Scoop, residential schools, and breaches of human and Inuit, Métis and First Nations rights, leading directly to the current increased rates of violence, death, and suicide in Indigenous populations.”Definition of genocideThey say they rely on this definition of genocide: “…a co-ordinated plan of different actions aiming at the destruction of essential foundations of the life of national groups, with the aim of annihilating the groups themselves.”And, they note, Canada officially recognizes five genocides: the Holocaust, the Holodomor genocide, the Armenian genocide in 1915, the Rwandan genocide of 1994, and the ethnic cleansing in Bosnia from 1992 to 1995.This indicates they may ask the government to recognize a sixth genocide on Monday.The summary blames “settler colonialist structures” and “intergenerational effects of genocide” for perpetuating and encouraging the ongoing violence.“As many witnesses expressed, this country is at war, and Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people are under siege,” it says, noting the high crime rate against this group.“Perpetrators of violence include Indigenous and non-Indigenous family members and partners, casual acquaintances, and serial killers.”However, the inquiry says it was unable to learn how many Indigenous women, girls and 2SLGBTQQIA people “have been lost to the Canadian genocide to date.”The commissioners agree: “Thousands of women’s deaths or disappearances have likely gone unrecorded over the decades, and many families likely did not feel ready or safe to share with the National Inquiry before our timelines required us to close registration.“Without a doubt there are many more.”The summary says more than 2,380 people participated in the inquiry. And, to a person, it says their words told the pain of violence, racism and oppression.“Colonial violence, as well as racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia against Indigenous women, girls, and 2SLGBTQQIA people, has become embedded in everyday life – whether this is through interpersonal forms of violence, through institutions like the health care system and the justice system, or in the laws, policies and structures of Canadian society,” it says.“The result has been that many Indigenous people have grown up normalized to violence, while Canadian society shows an appalling apathy to addressing the issue. The National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls finds that this amounts to genocide.”The final report is 1,200 pages.APTN News will have full coverage of the ceremony on its website and social media platforms. kmartens@aptn.ca@katmartelast_img read more


Wellsite pipeline leak spills 560 barrels of oil emulsion into Alberta swamp

first_imgCALGARY – The Alberta Energy Regulator says a pipeline owned by Calgary-based Mount Bastion Oil & Gas Corp. has leaked about 560 barrels of an oil and water mixture at a northern Alberta wellsite.AER spokesman Jordan Fitzgerald says the regulator has staff supervising cleanup by the company at the site about 65 kilometres northwest of Red Earth Creek, which is about 420 kilometres north of Edmonton.He says the company reports the oil emulsion spill affected about 5,000 square metres of swampy muskeg, adding there have been no reports of injury to wildlife or damage to nearby creeks.Data on the AER website indicates the spill is the largest of three pipeline leaks the company has reported in the past 16 months.In July 2016, it reported a pipeline leaked about 315 barrels of oil and 125 barrels of produced saltwater at a site 75 kilometres northwest of Red Earth Creek, and in December 2016 it reported a leak of three barrels of oil and 120 barrels of saltwater at a site 30 kilometres northeast of the town.Fitzgerald says the company’s previous record will be considered by staff as they investigate the spill. The company could face penalties ranging from warnings to fines or licence restrictions.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. The original said the spill was oil alone.last_img read more


Correction EPARadiation Rollback story

first_imgWASHINGTON – In an early version of a story Oct. 2 about EPA regulation of radiation, The Associated Press reported erroneously in a headline that EPA says a little radiation may be good for you. As the story made clear, that assessment came from scientific outliers, including one quoted by EPA in a news release. The headline was changed in later versions of the story.A corrected version of the story is below:Experts say Trump’s EPA moving to loosen radiation limitsExperts say Trump’s EPA is moving to loosen radiation limitsBy ELLEN KNICKMEYERAssociated PressThe EPA is pursuing rule changes that experts say would weaken the way radiation exposure is regulated, turning to scientific outliers who argue that a bit of radiation damage is actually good for you — like a little bit of sunlight.The government’s current, decades-old guidance says that any exposure to harmful radiation is a cancer risk. And critics say the proposed change could lead to higher levels of exposure for workers at nuclear installations and oil and gas drilling sites, medical workers doing X-rays and CT scans, people living next to Superfund sites and any members of the public who one day might find themselves exposed to a radiation release.The Trump administration already has targeted a range of other regulations on toxins and pollutants, including coal power plant emissions and car exhaust, that it sees as costly and burdensome for businesses. Supporters of the EPA’s proposal argue the government’s current model that there is no safe level of radiation — the so-called linear no-threshold model — forces unnecessary spending for handling exposure in accidents, at nuclear plants, in medical centres and at other sites.At issue is Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule on transparency in science.EPA spokesman John Konkus said Tuesday: “The proposed regulation doesn’t talk about radiation or any particular chemicals. And as we indicated in our response, EPA’s policy is to continue to use the linear-no-threshold model for population-level radiation protection purposes which would not, under the proposed regulation that has not been finalized, trigger any change in that policy.”But in an April news release announcing the proposed rule the agency quoted Edward Calabrese, a toxicologist at the University of Massachusetts who has said weakening limits on radiation exposure would save billions of dollars and have a positive impact on human health.The proposed rule would require regulators to consider “various threshold models across the exposure range” when it comes to dangerous substances. While it doesn’t specify radiation, the release quotes Calabrese calling the proposal “a major scientific step forward” in assessing the risk of “chemicals and radiation.”Konkus said the release was written during the tenure of former EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt. He could not explain why Calabrese was quoted citing the impact on radiation levels if the agency does not believe there would be any.Calabrese was to be the lead witness at a congressional hearing Wednesday on the EPA proposal.Radiation is everywhere, from potassium in bananas to the microwaves popping our popcorn. Most of it is benign. But what’s of concern is the higher-energy, shorter-wave radiation, like X-rays, that can penetrate and disrupt living cells, sometimes causing cancer.As recently as this March, the EPA’s online guidelines for radiation effects advised: “Current science suggests there is some cancer risk from any exposure to radiation.”“Even exposures below 100 millisieverts” — an amount roughly equivalent to 25 chest X-rays or about 14 CT chest scans — “slightly increase the risk of getting cancer in the future,” the agency’s guidance said.But that online guidance — separate from the rule-change proposal — was edited in July to add a section emphasizing the low individual odds of cancer: “According to radiation safety experts, radiation exposures of … 100 millisieverts usually result in no harmful health effects, because radiation below these levels is a minor contributor to our overall cancer risk,” the revised policy says.Calabrese and his supporters argue that smaller exposures of cell-damaging radiation and other carcinogens can serve as stressors that activate the body’s repair mechanisms and can make people healthier. They compare it to physical exercise or sunlight.Mainstream scientific consensus on radiation is based on deceptive science, says Calabrese, who argued in a 2014 essay for “righting the past deceptions and correcting the ongoing errors in environmental regulation.”EPA spokesman Konkus said in an email that the proposed rule change is about “increasing transparency on assumptions” about how the body responds to different doses of dangerous substances and that the agency “acknowledges uncertainty regarding health effects at low doses” and supports more research on that.The radiation regulation is supported by Steven Milloy, a Trump transition team member for the EPA who is known for challenging widely accepted ideas about manmade climate change and the health risks of tobacco. He has been promoting Calabrese’s theory of healthy radiation on his blog.But Jan Beyea, a physicist whose work includes research with the National Academies of Science on the 2011 Fukushima nuclear power plant accident, said the EPA science proposal represents voices “generally dismissed by the great bulk of scientists.”The EPA proposal would lead to “increases in chemical and radiation exposures in the workplace, home and outdoor environment, including the vicinity of Superfund sites,” Beyea wrote.At the level the EPA website talks about, any one person’s risk of cancer from radiation exposure is perhaps 1 per cent, Beyea said.“The individual risk will likely be low, but not the cumulative social risk,” Beyea said.“If they even look at that — no, no, no,” said Terrie Barrie, a resident of Craig, Colorado, and an advocate for her husband and other workers at the now-closed Rocky Flats nuclear-weapons plant, where the U.S. government is compensating certain cancer victims regardless of their history of exposure.“There’s no reason not to protect people as much as possible,” said Barrie.U.S. agencies for decades have followed a policy that there is no threshold of radiation exposure that is risk-free.The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements reaffirmed that principle this year after a review of 29 public health studies on cancer rates among people exposed to low-dose radiation, via the U.S. atomic bombing of Japan in World War II, leak-prone Soviet nuclear installations, medical treatments and other sources.Twenty of the 29 studies directly support the principle that even low-dose exposures cause a significant increase in cancer rates, said Roy Shore, chief of research at the Radiation Effects Research Foundation, a joint project of the United States and Japan. Scientists found most of the other studies were inconclusive and decided one was flawed.None supported the theory there is some safe threshold for radiation, said Shore, who chaired the review.If there were a threshold that it’s safe to go below, “those who profess that would have to come up with some data,” Shore said in an interview.“Certainly the evidence did not point that way,” he said.The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which regulates electronic devices that emit radiation, advises, broadly, that a single CT scan with a dose of 10 millisieverts may increase risks of a fatal cancer by about 1 chance in 2,000.Supporters of the proposal say it’s time to rethink radiation regulation.“Right now we spend an enormous effort trying to minimize low doses” at nuclear power plants, for example, said Brant Ulsh, a physicist with the California-based consulting firm M.H. Chew and Associates. “Instead, let’s spend the resources on minimizing the effect of a really big event.”last_img read more


Most actively traded companies on the TSX

first_imgSome of the most active companies traded Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,012.65 up 1.92 points).Bombardier Inc. (TSX:BBD.B). Down 16 cents, or 6.67 per cent, to $2.24 on 27.1 million shares.Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Health care. Down 49 cents, or 6.13 per cent, to $7.51 on 9.8 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financials. Up 32 cents, or 1.48 per cent, to $22 on 9.1 million shares.Capstone Mining Corp. (TSX:CS) Metals. Up nine cents, or 15 per cent, to 69 cents on 5.8 million shares. Crescent Point Energy Corp. (TSX:CPG). Energy. Up two cents, or 0.46 per cent, to $4.38 on 4.9 million shares.Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX:NSU). Metals. Up two cents, or 0.34 per cent, to $5.97 on 4.7 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Air Canada (TSX:AC).Up $1.24 or 4.7 per cent to $27.41. The airline has signed a definitive agreement to buy the Aeroplan loyalty program from Aimia Inc. for $450 million in cash. Under the deal, Air Canada will also assume $1.9 billion of Aeroplan miles liability in a definitive agreement that follows the announcement in August of a tentative sale. Air Canada said it has also signed agreements with Toronto–Dominion Bank Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, and Visa that will see them stay on with the Aeroplan loyalty program until at least 2030.Second Cup Ltd. (TSX:SCU). Down 11 cents or 4.6 per cent to $2.30. A group of Second Cup Ltd. franchisees is each suing the struggling Canadian coffee chain for $300,000, alleging the company’s actions have been detrimental to them. The current and past franchisees outline a long list of complaints against their franchisor in a lawsuit filed earlier this month in the Superior Court of Quebec. The company allegedly misused a franchisee-funded advertising reserve, it said. Franchisees must pay the equivalent of two to three per cent of their sales to the ad fund.Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP). Up $13.20 or 7.4 per cent to $191.45. Shopify says it has acquired Swedish e-commerce company Tictail. Terms of the deal were not immediately available. Like Shopify, Tictail aims to bring trendy products to the marketplace by helping businesses create an online presence. Tictail was founded in 2012 by four friends, including one who wanted to create the company after he watched his mother struggle to build an online shop for her ceramics.Emera Inc. (TSX:EMA). Down 15 cents to $43.37. Emera has signed a deal to sell its three natural gas-fired power plants in New England to an affiliate of the Carlyle Group for $780 million. The Nova Scotia-based company says proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce debt and for capital investment. Emera CEO Scott Balfour says the deal, worth US$590 million, increases the company’s financial flexibility.The Canadian Presslast_img read more


Apples stock sours Microsofts soars Say what

first_imgWall Street investors are enamoured with a newly emergent tech company.It has nothing to do with posting selfies or finding a soul mate. The company is instead making billions of dollars selling cloud-computing and other technical services to offices around the world.Say hello to Microsoft, the 1990s home-computing powerhouse that is having a renaissance moment – eclipsing Facebook, Google, Amazon and the other tech darlings of the late decade.And now it is close to surpassing Apple as the world’s most valuable publicly traded company.Yes, that Microsoft. As other tech giants stumble, its steady resilience is paying off.That Microsoft is even close to eclipsing Apple — and did so briefly a few times this week — would have been unheard of just a few years ago.But under CEO Satya Nadella, Microsoft has found stability by moving away from its flagship Windows operating system and focusing on cloud-computing services with long-term business contracts.“Microsoft looks like they’ve finally turned the corner and have become a viable cloud player,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager for Synovus Trust. “They’ve made a very strong transition away from the desktop.”A brief period of trading Monday was the first time in more than eight years that Microsoft was worth more than Apple. Microsoft surpassed Apple again briefly Tuesday, before Apple closed on top with a market value of $827 billion, just 0.5 per cent ahead of Microsoft’s $822 billion.Apple has been the world’s most prosperous firm since claiming the top spot from Exxon Mobil earlier this decade. Microsoft hasn’t been at the top since the height of the dot-com boom in 2000.Microsoft became a contender again in large part because Apple’s stock has fallen 25 per cent since early October, while Microsoft hasn’t done any worse than the rest of the stock market. But the fact that it hasn’t done poorly is a reflection of its steady focus on business customers in recent years.Just a few years ago, Microsoft’s prospects looked bleak. The company was dependent on licensing fees from the Windows operating system used in personal computers, but people were spending money instead on the latest smartphones. In 2013, PC sales plunged 10 per cent to about 315 million, the worst year-to-year drop ever, according to research firms Gartner and IDC. It didn’t help that Microsoft’s effort to make PCs more like phones, Windows 8, was widely panned.But a turnaround began when the Redmond, Washington, company promoted Nadella as CEO in 2014. He succeeded Microsoft’s longtime CEO, Steve Ballmer, who initially scoffed at the notion that people would be willing to pay $500 or more for Apple’s iPhones.That bet paid off. Windows is now a dwindling fraction of Microsoft’s business. While the company still runs consumer-focused businesses such as Bing search and Xbox gaming, it has prioritized business-oriented services such as its Office line of email and other workplace software, as well as newer additions such as LinkedIn and Skype. But its biggest growth has happened in the cloud, particularly the cloud platform it calls Azure. Cloud computing now accounts for more than a quarter of Microsoft’s revenue, and Microsoft rivals Amazon as a leading provider of such services.Being less reliant on consumer demand helped shield Microsoft from holiday season turbulence and U.S.-China trade war jitters affecting Apple and other tech companies.President Donald Trump amplified those tariff concerns when he told The Wall Street Journal in a story published late Monday that new tariffs could affect iPhones and laptops imported from China.The iPhone maker had already seen its stock fall after reporting a mixed bag of quarterly results earlier this month amid fears about how the technology industry will fare in the face of such threats as rising interest rates, increased government regulation and Trump’s escalating trade war with China.Apple also spooked investors with an unexpected decision to stop disclosing how many iPhones it sells each quarter. That move has been widely interpreted as a sign that Apple foresees further declines in iPhone sales and is trying to mask that.While smartphones caused the downturn in personal computers years ago, sales of smartphones themselves have now stalled. That’s partly because with fewer innovations from previous models, more people choose to hold on to the devices for longer periods before upgrading.Morgan said Microsoft is outperforming its tech rivals in part because of what it’s not. It doesn’t face as much regulatory scrutiny as advertising-hungry Google and Facebook, which have attracted controversy over their data-harvesting practices. Unlike Netflix, it’s not on a hunt for a diminishing number of international subscribers. And while Amazon also has a strong cloud business, it’s still more dependent on online retail.___AP Technology Writer Michael Liedtke contributed to this report.Matt O’Brien, The Associated Presslast_img read more


Rotary Spray Park opens this Friday

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The new Rotary Spray Park’s grand opening is this Friday behind the North Peace Arena.Featured at the event will be a ribbon-cutting ceremony, Kids vs Council Water Fight, and live music.The full schedule for the event is shown below: Ribbon Cutting: 1:00 p.m. – 1:15 p.m.Kids vs Council Water Fight: 1:15 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.Party Time: 1:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.Wrap up: 4:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Children will be given the opportunity to take pictures with the newly designed Frozen John cut out, make balloon animals, win prizes, and compete in a dance-off.For more information on the grand opening call 250-785-4592.Showers are currently forecast for the day of the event. The City’s Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that they’re hoping the forecast will change to feature sunnier skies at the opening.Grand Opening Flyer. Photo by the City of Fort St. John.last_img read more


With 90 accuracy new kit can detect TB meningitis in 30 mins

first_imgNew Delhi: Early detection and treatment are crucial to prevent spread, outbreaks of TB. Scientists at the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute and All India Institute of Medical Sciences, have jointly developed a diagnostic test kit for TB meningitis (the most severe form of TB) which has almost 91 percent accuracy in detecting disorder. The kit has been developed by a multi-institutional team led by Professor Jaya Sivaswami Tyagi from the Department of Biotechnology at AIIMS. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe performance of the diagnostic test was evaluated in approx 100 cerebrospinal fluid samples obtained from paediatric subjects, and for pulmonary over 300 tests have been conducted so far, said Dr. Tarun Kumar Sharma from the Centre for Biodesign and Diagnostics at Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad. The diagnostic test is based on a derivative of a DNA aptamer (a small single-stranded DNA molecule that binds to a specific target molecule and is a chemical rival of antibodies) that shows high binding affinity in nanomolar range and high specificity to a TB antigen (HspX). Besides higher binding affinity, there is significantly higher load of the HspX antigen in cerebrospinal fluid samples, leading to higher sensitivity. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsA rapid, point-of-care diagnostic test for TB meningitis that uses the DNA aptamer has already been adapted to a sensor format and is being evaluated on clinical samples. “It takes all of 30 minutes to get the result as we are using an electrochemical sensing platform. The test which will cost around Rs 300 only is being done in AIIMS and RML hospital in Delhi,” says Prof. Tyagi. The aptamer-based diagnostic test for TB meningitis has been patented by AIIMS and THSTI and licensed to AptaBharat Innovation Pvt Limited, a THSTI spin-off founded by Dr Sharma. “The currently used diagnostic methods microscopy and culture of cerebrospinal fluid suffer from huge limitations in terms of poor sensitivity and long turnaround time of up to eight weeks, said the official.last_img read more


Taapsee wants to learn pole dancing from Jacqueline

first_imgMumbai: Actress Taapsee Pannu says she wants to learn pole dancing from her “Judwaa 2” co-star Jacqueline Fernandez. She said this on talk show “Feet up with the Stars Season 2”, presented by Voot Originals and hosted by celebrity stylist Anaita Shroff Adajania, read a statement. Asked what would she do if Jacqueline was her neighbour, Taapsee said: “I think we’ll be working out together, she works out really crazy.” “I don’t mind learning pole dancing from her. I know I’ll be horrible at it but I really want to work out with her,” she added. The actress wants to be filmmaker Anurag Kashyap’s best friend. “I want to be his best friend and tag along to fancy Hollywood parties. It is my ultimate desire to attend Hollywood parties,” she said. Taapsee worked with Kashyap in “Manmarziyaan” and is working with him again in a supernatural thriller. At the moment, Taapsee is busy with “Saand Ki Aankh”, which also features Bhumi Pednekar. It is based on old sharpshooters — Chandro Tomar and her sister-in-law Prakashi Tomar. Chandro, 87, and Prakashi, 82, are from Uttar Pradesh’s Johri village and reportedly took up sharpshooting in their 50s. Chandro, fondly called shooter ‘dadi’, is among the world’s oldest female sharpshooters. Directed by Tushar Hiranandani, “Saand Ki Aankh” also features Prakash Jha and Vicky Kadian in pivotal roles.last_img read more


Akhilesh files nomination from Azamgarh

first_imgAzamgarh (UP): Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav on Thursday filed his nomination papers for the Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat. The SP chief, accompanied by BSP national general secretary Satish Chandra Misra, arrived here this morning to a rousing reception by party workers who had gathered in large numbers. He later drove to the Collectorate to file his nomination papers as party supporters raised slogans outside. Coming out after filing his papers, Yadav said people will vote for the development works undertaken by his government here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The SP chief said Azamgarh is the ‘karambhoomi’ of ‘samajwadis’ and exuded confidence that the people will continue to repose their faith in him by giving him blessings and support. Akhilesh Yadav is seeking election from the seat won by his father Mulayam Singh Yadav in the 2014 elections and is pitted against Bhojpuri superstar Nirahua or Dinesh Lal Yadav of BJP. Mulayam Singh had won from Azamgarh Lok Sabha seat in the 2014 elections along with the Mainpuri seat, which he had represented thrice earlier in 1996, 2004 and 2009 but had retained Azamgarh. Polling in Azamgarh is slated for the sixth phase on May 12.last_img read more