first_imgTodd LamirandeAPTN News Clarence Sumner drove over 2,300 kilometres, and spent the night across the street from 10 Wellington in Gatineau, Que, the country’s headquarters for Indigenous Affairs across the river from Ottawa to bring allegations of vote buying in his community.He wanted to meet Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan to see if anything can be done about the way elections are held in his community.“I want the leaders of this country to know I’m here,” he said.“I want them to know that the leaders of my community have a turned a blind eye and a deaf ear to try and be honest and do things fairly.”Sumner is appealing the 2017 election held on the Pinaymootang First Nation in Manitoba, where he alleges money is often exchanged for votes.“It’s a norm. it’s become a norm in my community to buy votes, mail in ballots preferably,” he said.Pinaymootang is located 240 kilometres northwest of Winnipeg.He met with two bureaucrats from Crown Indigenous Relations, Yves Dennoncourt, acting director of Governance Operations Directorate, and Marc Boivin, director of research Policy and Legislative Initiatives.They told Sumner they would follow up on his complaint.Sumner also delivered a copy of his appeal to Indigenous Services.He travelled all the way to Ottawa because he believes it’s more productive to meet people in person.“I believe that the minister (O’Regan) can better exercise his judgement if he could read some of the appeal.”Sumner successfully appealed the 2011 election when then Aboriginal Affairs minister Bernard Valcourt threw out the results and banned chief Garnet Woodhouse and three councilors from running for six years.But Woodhouse declared himself innocent of vote buying and appealed Valcourt’s decision to Federal Court.He was successful in 2013.APTN News attempted to contact Woodhouse for comment but calls were not returned.“Rather than being upset and getting mad at my leaders and my community I decided to use that energy to good and physically bring myself here in my own vehicle,” said Sumner.Sumner said he will stick around southern Ontario until September 16th to try and meet the leaders of all the federal parties. On that date nominations for chief and council will begin for Pinaymootang’s next election.“I’m out here because I believe that honesty will prevail.”Sumner never did meet with O’Regan.tlamirande@aptn.ca@toddlamirandelast_img read more

first_imgSome of the most active companies traded Thursday on the Toronto Stock Exchange:Toronto Stock Exchange (15,776.30, up 55.30 points):Aurora Cannabis Inc. (TSX:ACB). Healthcare. Up 21 cents, 7.24 per cent, to $3.11 on 8.3 million shares.Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED). Healthcare. Up 80 cents, or 6.74 per cent, to $12.67 on 5.9 million shares.Hydro One Ltd. Instalment Receipts (TSX:H.IR). Utilities. Up 10 cents, or 0.27 per cent, to $37.00 on 4.6 million shares.Manulife Financial Corp. (TSX:MFC). Financial Services. Up nine cents, or 0.36 per cent, to $25.43 on 4.5 million shares.Toronto-Dominion Bank (TSX:TD). Bank. Down 72 cents, or 1.01 per cent, to $70.68 on 3.9 million shares.Teck Resources Ltd. (TSX:TECK.B). Miner. Up $1.18, or 4.26 per cent, to $28.91 on 3.6 million shares.Companies reporting major news:Shopify Inc. (TSX:SHOP). E-Commerce. Down $2.76, or 2.14 per cent, to $126.19 on 1.9 million shares. Stock prices fell for a second day, following a prominent short-seller’s claim that it’s running an overvalued get-rich-quick scheme. The Canadian technology company issued a defence of its business early Thursday but didn’t specifically refer to allegations published by Andrew Left of Citron Research.TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP). Oil and gas. Up 66 cents, or 1.08 per cent, to $61.55 on 1.3 million shares. TransCanada has cancelled its $15.7-billion proposed Energy East pipeline, cutting off a potential conduit to bring more western Canadian oil to eastern refineries and overseas export markets. CEO Russ Girling cited non-specific “changed circumstances” for the decision in a brief news release Thursday morning. The Calgary-based company refused to give further explanation. TransCanada said it will record a non-cash charge of about $1 billion in its fourth-quarter financial results, reflecting the reduced carrying value of the projects. It said there would be no costs recovered from third parties.last_img read more

first_imgWASHINGTON – As NAFTA talks enter their most sensitive phase, a fever of speculation has broken out about whether Donald Trump might soon announce his intention to withdraw from NAFTA — and it’s likely to last a while.With only couple of months left in the currently scheduled rounds of talks, Canada will be keeping an ever-closer eye on the U.S. president, who has repeatedly said it might be necessary to start the withdrawal process in order to gain leverage and win concessions.Here’s a brief guide to what such a pullout announcement would likely mean.— NAFTA survives, at least for a while: The agreement’s withdrawal clause is not an automatic-exit trigger. It isn’t like Brexit and the European Union’s Article 50. NAFTA’s Article 2205 requires six months’ notice before anyone can actually pull out.— Loonie drops: Goldman Sachs projects a six-cent drop in the Canadian dollar if Trump announces a pullout, and a more dramatic effect on the peso. Mere speculation about a withdrawal in news reports this week caused a momentary dip. Currency markets can act as shock absorbers in the event of trade jolts, softening the impact of tariffs.— Lawsuit watch: A debate is already raging within the American legal community about the constitutionality of a president pulling out of a trade agreement without an act of Congress. Some insist Trump has the authority; others disagree. What everyone does seem to agree on is the likelihood of lawsuits. Behind the confusion lies a few historical contradictions: A U.S. Constitution that gives the president power over international relations, but the Congress power over trade; court cases that uphold the president’s power over international agreements, versus others that say he can’t contradict established law. This area of law hasn’t been tested much — it’s pretty rare for a U.S. president to be more hostile to trade deals than Congress, which is traditionally more protectionist. It’s unclear what would happen to the 1994 U.S. law passed by Congress implementing NAFTA, which remains on the books.— Mexico probably walks: Insiders familiar with the Mexican negotiators’ strategy are adamant: they will leave the negotiating table if Trump triggers Article 2205. The Mexicans have said this publicly, and sources there have been even more explicit in private conversations.— Canada probably stays: The Canadian government has been far cagier when asked what it would do next. But people familiar with its intentions say it would likely stay at the table and keep talking.— Trump’s next decision: Does he choose to pause negotiations during elections in Mexico and the U.S., and resume talks after a new Mexican government is sworn in this December? Stay at the table with whichever party chooses to keep talking? Turn the trilateral negotiation into a bilateral, if it’s only the U.S. and Canada? Or does he proceed to killing NAFTA after the six-month grace period?— Zombie NAFTA: The countries keep trading without tariffs, the agreement’s dispute mechanisms keep working, cross-border companies can keep investing and hiring anywhere, but all with the knowledge that the deal is half-dead and could be buried any time after six months. Without free trade, the countries would be free to apply their international tariffs — they average 3.5 per cent for U.S. imported products, 4.1 per cent in Canada, and 7 per cent in Mexico, though some products would face much higher tariffs.last_img read more

first_imgThe Toronto Stock Exchange’s main index moved ahead Monday, mostly on the back of rising oil and gold prices, but also thanks to gains in the health-care sector where a cannabis company’s shares surged more than 20 per cent.The S&P/TSX composite index advanced 63.63 points to 16,371.81.Shares of licensed marijuana producer Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) gained 20.42 per cent or $3.68 to close at $21.70.Aphria announced before markets opened an agreement to acquire Broken Coast Cannabis Inc. in a deal it valued at $230 million in stock and cash.However, broader trends in the price of commodities were more influential for the index today, said Craig Fehr, a Canadian markets strategist at Edward Jones in St. Louis.“I think the guide for the TSX today is really the little bit of a lift we’re seeing in oil price and gold prices,” he said.While the health-care sector led the TSX, shares in the gold sector gained an average of 1.2 per cent and those in the energy sector rose 0.46 per cent.Shortly after 4 p.m. ET, the February crude contract was up 51 cents to US$64.81 per barrel and the February gold contract was ahead by US$5.60 to US$1,340.50 an ounce.In commodity markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 80.50 cents US, up 0.53 of a U.S. cent.It’s likely the loonie will dip back below 80 cents US at some point in 2018, Fehr said, as the U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to remain on a steady path of hiking rates, which could outpace the Bank of Canada, putting downward pressure on the loonie.Canada’s central bank is expected to raise interest rates at its next announcement Wednesday, but Fehr believes it will later take to the sidelines at some point in 2018.Elsewhere in commodities, the March copper contract was up about 4.3 cents to roughly US$3.26 a pound and the February natural gas contract was down 6.9 cents to about US$3.13 per mmBTU.U.S. markets are closed for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.Follow @AleksSagan on Twitter.last_img read more

first_imgTORONTO – Ontario’s premier suggests a rejection by the province’s energy regulator for Hydro One’s application to purchase the Orillia Power Distribution Corp. is a win for consumers that demonstrates the system is working.Hydro One had announced a deal to acquire the utility company for $41.3 million in 2016. The figure included the assumption of about $14.9 million in OPDC debt.In its decision, the OEB said it applied a “no harm test” to assess the deal and was not satisfied that the test requirement had been met.Hydro One had said the deal would result in a one per cent reduction in base delivery rates for Orillia Power’s customers in years one to five and rate increases of less than the inflation rate in years six to 10.The utility also said the consolidation would result in ongoing cost savings of approximately $3.9 million per year and reduced capital costs of about $600,000 per year.The OEB said, however, that while it agreed that the deal would “reasonably be expected to result in overall cost savings and operational efficiencies,” they might not necessarily translate to lower rates for customers in the long run.Premier Kathleen Wynne said Friday that the decision shows how Ontario ratepayers are protected.“The OEB deemed that the Hydro One proposal was not going to save ratepayers any money and so it wouldn’t go forward,” she said.I think that demonstrates that the system works, that the Ontario Energy Board has a responsibility to make sure that decisions that are made are in the best interests of the people of the province. … I think that should give people confidence about the way the system works.”Wynne’s comments come a day after Ford said his first act as premier would be to fire CEO Mayo Schmidt and board of directors of the partially privatized utility.The newly minted Progressive Conservative leader said he would dump Schmidt because he presided over the dramatic increase of rates and earned a $6.2 million salary.Both Hydro One and the City of Orillia said late Thursday that they are reviewing the decision before determining their options.Negotiations between the city and Hydro One began in September 2015 and the deal was finalized the following August.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version dropped the word “million” in reference to OPDC’s debt.last_img read more

first_imgCALGARY – Tailings pond management plans for two former Shell Canada oilsands mines in northern Alberta have been approved by the Alberta Energy Regulator, but it said “deficiencies” in the projects must be addressed over the next three or four years.It said an amendment must be submitted by September 2021, by the current owner, Calgary-based Canadian Natural Resources Ltd., to address the Muskeg River mine plan’s shortcomings, and by September 2022 for issues with the Jackpine mine’s plan.“Plans for treating and managing its tailings beyond the next few years do not meet the AER’s requirements and government policy,” said AER spokesman Jordan Fitzgerald in an email.“In its plans, (it) proposed extending the life of Muskeg River by 57 years and Jackpine by 53 years. Neither meets the AER’s existing approvals for each mine and results in its tailings not being ready to reclaim within 10 years after mining has stopped.”Plans submitted for the mines are inadequate in dealing with existing fluid tailings ponds, the proposed reclamation plans are uncertain over the medium- and long-term, and there are concerns about the proposed tailings treatment technology, the regulator said in its decisions.The regulator’s Directive 85, released in late 2015, requires that all oilsands mine producers outline how they will deal with the toxic storage ponds that together cover more than 220 square kilometres and contain almost 1.2 trillion litres of water contaminated with oil, chemicals and fine clay particles.It said fluid tailings must be treated and reclaimed progressively during the life of a project.The Canadian Natural decision is consistent with previous approvals of tailings pond applications despite their failure to meet standards, said Jodi McNeill, an analyst with the Pembina Institute, a clean energy think-tank.“We continue to be very disappointed with the outcomes,” she said, citing AER approvals of plans for Suncor Energy Inc.’s Millennium mine and Canadian Natural Resources’ Horizon mine last year.“Every single one of these projects thus far, by the AER’s own admission, has not met the requirements of Directive 85 and, rather than denying the plans based on the fact that they don’t comply with the regulations, they’ve all been given an extra grace period.”Canadian Natural spokeswoman Julie Woo said the company has no comment as it is examining the decisions.In its decisions on Wednesday, the AER took issue with changes to the way Canadian Natural plans to co-ordinate production between the two former Shell mines, noting that it is proposing not to expand bitumen production at Jackpine.In addition, the company said it plans to continue to transport bitumen froth from Jackpine to Muskeg River and its solvent recovery unit tailings will continue to be managed at Muskeg River, inconsistent with Jackpine’s previously approved expansion application, the AER noted.With regard to Muskeg River, the original mine that began production in 2002, the AER it didn’t agree with a Canadian Natural proposal to retire two tailings deposits at the mine by creating a lake with a water cap because that technology is still being assessed.Fitzgerald said the AER has set “thresholds” to ensure tailings management activities at both mines remain on track over the next few years.He said violations could result in Canadian Natural being required to conduct additional surveillance, submit to a third-party tailings audit or pay additional security. Further enforcement tools could include more frequent inspections, orders, financial penalties, prosecution and a shutdown of operations, he said.Last week, the three countries in the North American Free Trade Agreement agreed to vote on whether to investigate if Canada is failing to enforce environmental legislation on tailings ponds.The move was required after the trade treaty’s environmental watchdog concluded there were serious questions about how the federal government enforces the Fisheries Act in relation to the giant ponds.Follow @HealingSlowly on Twitter.Companies in this article include (TSX:CNQ, TSX:SU)last_img read more

first_imgMONTREAL – Liberal Leader Philippe Couillard said Wednesday he’ll consider going to court to block or delay the adoption of a new NAFTA if the deal is unsatisfactory to Quebec farmers.Speaking in Montreal, Couillard said the province won’t accept an agreement that doesn’t meet the approval of dairy producers, who are against dismantling of the supply management system that regulates the price of dairy, eggs and poultry.He added he won’t present any deal to the legislature that the agricultural sector opposes.“I will not, not accept something that they would not accept,” he said at an election campaign event where he unveiled his party’s financial framework.“I would fight it, I would not submit the text to the national assembly if that happens.”Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland returned to Washington on Tuesday to resume negotiations on the North American Free Trade Agreement after two weeks of intense negotiations ended last week without a deal.Freeland said following the meeting that the talks were progressing in good faith and had reached a point where discussing them face to face with the prime minister was “absolutely essential.”On Wednesday, Couillard said he has so far received no indications the Trudeau government is planning to bend to American demands.But he said he wants all of Canada to know he’s ready to fight if that position changes.“Am I ready to postpone, or even be a negative factor? Yes, because I want to work and speak for our dairy producers and our farms,” he said.Nearly half of Canada’s dairy farms are located in Quebec and all of the major political party leaders have promised to stand up for supply management if elected.Earlier this week, former prime minister Brian Mulroney said he didn’t see how Canada can reach a deal without some flexibility on the issue.last_img read more

first_imgLONDON — The British government is bringing its little-loved Brexit deal back to Parliament, a month after postponing a vote on the agreement to stave off near-certain defeat.Lawmakers are beginning five days of debate Wednesday on the agreement with the European Union setting out the terms of Britain’s departure from the bloc on March 29.A vote, initially slated for December, is scheduled for Jan. 15.But opposition remains strong from both pro-Brexit and pro-EU U.K. lawmakers. Brexiteers are urging the government to ramp up preparations for leaving the EU without a deal.But many lawmakers, and businesses, say that could cause economic turmoil.The de-facto deputy Prime Minister, David Lidington, said the only way to avoid a disruptive no-deal “is for Parliament to endorse and ratify a deal.”The Associated Presslast_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati and Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Friday paid tribute to Kanshi Ram on his birth anniversary.Paying floral tributes to BSP founder Kanshi Ram, Mayawati said that the biggest tribute to him would be to get “good results” in the Lok Sabha elections. “Different political parties are paying tribute to Kanshi Ram on his birth anniversary despite the model code of conduct,” the former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister told reporters. She thanked the other political parties for saluting Kanshi Ram. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!”I also want to tell the people of our party that this time his birth anniversary has fallen at a time when the schedule of the Lok Sabha elections has been announced,” she said. “If the workers of our party across the country work cautiously against the nefarious design of the opposition parties and bring a good result, then it would be the real rich tribute to Kanshi Ramji,” she said. Former Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, “A tribute to the leader Kanshi Ramji, a great thinker, who raised the political and social consciousness, on his birth anniversary. On this occasion, we shall fulfill his dreams of social justice.” The BSP, the SP and the Ajit Singh-led Rashtriya Lok Dal will fight the April-May Lok Sabha elections as allies.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah Saturday cited Sam Pitroda’s comments to accuse the Congress of “insulting” martyrdom of soldiers killed in the Pulwama terror attack and asserted that only his party can ensure the country’s security. In a fresh offensive against the Congress a day after its leader Pitroda questioned the government’s aggressive action against Pakistan, Shah asked Congress president Rahul Gandhi to apologise to people and armed forces for these comments. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Speaking to media, Shah said Pitroda’s statement conveyed that the Pulwama terror attack was a “routine” incident carried out by a few people for which Pakistan cannot be blamed, as the BJP chief asked Gandhi to make his party’s stand clear on the issue. Pitroda, he added, also questioned surgical strikes and air strikes by the Indian armed forces. “Does the Congress believe that terror incidents in the country have nothing to do with the Pakistan government or Pakistan Army?” Shah asked, seeking Gandhi’s response. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Pitroda is Indian Overseas Congress chief and is seen to be one of the key advisers to Gandhi. His comments, including that one cannot “jump on entire nation” (Pakistan) just because some people from there “came here and attacked” in reference to Pulwama terror attack, were Friday seized on by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lead the BJP’s all-out attack against the Congress on the issues of terrorism. Keeping the heat on the opposition party on the issues of terrorism and nationalism in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, Shah said Saturday the Congress is known for “vote bank” and “appeasement” politics during election and asked if such politics can be above national interest and the “blood of martyrs”. The BJP president then drew a comparison between the Congress-led UPA dispensation’s “no strong action” against terrorism and the Modi government’s “zero tolerance” against it to assert that only the saffron party is capable of securing India. “I want to reassure people of this country that only the BJP can provide security to the country, can give a befitting response to terrorism and can foil Pakistan’s conspiracy,” he said. The Modi government has succeeded in isolating Pakistan internationally and the morale of security forces is sky high, he said. Shah said the Congress president on March 7 had said that questions raised on air strikes should be answered. “But whose questions he wants to be answered and who raising questions on Indian Air Force. Who do you support? It is not proper for the national president of a party to raise such questions and doubt the IAF,” he said. Attacking Gandhi, he added, “When anti-national slogans were raised in JNU you called it freedom of expression and you also went there in their support. This is an example of your abhorrent vote bank politics”. The BJP president also rejected the Congress distancing itself from Pitroda’s comments by terming them as his personal views, as he wondered “what is personal view in politics”. People have seen through the Congress’ “strategy” of running an orchestrated campaign like this for vote bank politics and have been distancing themselves from it, Shah said in a swipe at the opposition party. He cited past controversial comments of several Congress leaders – including B K Hariprasad, Kapil Sibal, Digvijay Singh and Sandeep Dikshit among others – from which their party had disassociated itself, and claimed that it is part of Gandhi’s politics. The Congress president should tender an apology without any delay, he demanded. Citing Pitroda’s comments, Shah said Gandhi should also answer if he believes that armed forces’ actions like surgical strikes and air strikes will not work in dealing with terrorism but dialogue with Pakistan will. Shah said many terror attacks were carried out in the UPA rule government and asked, “If terror attacks shouldn’t be responded with surgical strikes and air strikes, then is this the Congress’ policy to deal with terrorism with talks. You opted for talks but what was the result?” The “Sonia Manmohan” government was in power for 10 years but there was no tough action taken against terrorism because the Congress lacked courage, he claimed.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday slammed the opposition’s criticism over the timing of announcement of ‘Mission Shakti’ as “clerical objections” and asserted that these parties were not at all bothered about national security.Taking on the Congress, Jaitley accused that the erstwhile UPA government of not granting scientists permission to build the country’s own anti-satellite missile, saying it lacked “capability and clarity”. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Addressing a press conference at the BJP headquarters here, he said when India had test-fired the Agni-V missile in April, 2012, then DRDO chief V K Saraswat had said that India could now develop an anti-satellite missile but the government had not given its nod. Targeting the Congress, he said those patting their own back for India’s strategic missile programme were doing so for wrong reasons. “If they want to rectify the Balakot (air strike) mistake, it is the opportunity for the opposition to do so and stand in support of our scientists,” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&Khe said, referring to the air strike on a terrorist camp in Pakistan after the Pulwama terror attack. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced that India had demonstrated anti-satellite missile capability by shooting down a live satellite, describing it as a rare achievement that puts the country in an exclusive club of space super powers. Underlining that “tomorrow’s wars” will not be the same and that the nation has to prepare for future geopolitical situations, he said this technology will serve as a “deterrent”.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: The Election Commission Friday said the BJP has sought 10 more days to respond to a show cause notice issued to a member of its national election committee for sharing an “audio-visual advertisement” titled “main bhi chowkidar hun” on social media without complying with the directions of the poll body. Delhi’s chief electoral officer, in a statement, said, “As regards the show cause notice dated March 26, issued for sharing the audio-visual ad titled ‘main bhi chowkidar hun’ on social media, the BJP has sought 10 days to file a reply.” Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The poll body had earlier asked the BJP election committee member to submit a reply within three days. Earlier this month, the EC had directed political parties to keep the country’s defence personnel out of election campaigning and not to use their photographs in advertisements. The EC’s Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) had issued a conditional certificate dated March 16 to BJP national election committee member Neeraj “in respect of the said advertisement subject to the exclusion of the clips depicting Army personnel”. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday In a bid to check violation of the poll code on social media, the EC had earlier asked political parties and candidates to get their digital content certified by the MCMC before posting it. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on March 16, launched the “main bhi chowkidar hun” campaign by putting out a tweet that read: “Your Chowkidar is standing firm & serving the nation. But, I am not alone. Everyone who is fighting corruption, dirt, social evils is a Chowkidar. Everyone working hard for the progress of India is a Chowkidar.” He had also tweeted a video that begins with the PM addressing the people saying, “Your chowkidar is absolutely alert.” The video then moves into a song with visuals of people from across the length and breadth of the country, singing “main bhi chowkidar hun”. The clip also shows a group of men in army fatigues engaged in a mock operation.last_img read more

first_imgBengaluru: The ruling alliance in Karnataka will launch their joint Lok Sabha polls campaign Sunday with Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and JD(S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda addressing a mega rally on the outskirts of the city.Titled ‘Parivartana Samavesha’, this will be the first rally jointly organised by the Congress and JD(S) after the combine came to power. Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, who visited BIEC ground near Nelamanagala to inspect the arrangements being made, said the event would be “historic.” Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”This will be the first joint campaign by Congress and JD(S)…tomorrow’s meeting is historic as it will send a clear message to people of the country from Karnataka for Lok Sabha polls,” Kumaraswamy told reporters here. Congress and JD(S) ministers, MLAs and leaders will be part of the event. Sunday evening’s rally will also be attended by lakhs of workers of both parties from Tumkur, Ramanagara, Bengaluru Rural and Bengaluru urban districts, Congress and JDS sources said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KFollowing this, state leaders of both parties would organise similar joint meetings at several places across Karnataka, they said. According to seat sharing arrangements, the Congress and JD(S) have decided to contest in 21 and 7 seats respectively. For the coalition to emerge as a formidable opposition to BJP and win more number of seats, it is crucial for the Congress to transfer its votes to the JD(S) and vice-versa. However, dissidence over seat sharing among workers of both parties, who have been arch rivals for decades, has caused worry to coalition leaders. According to the sources, organising the joint campaign is aimed at addressing this disgruntlement and send out a message that both the alliance partners are together. Both parties that had fought against each other ahead of May 2018 assembly polls joined hands to form an alliance as the election threw up a hung verdict. Karnataka will go to the polls in two phases, 14 constituencies each, on April 18 and 23.last_img read more

first_imgNew Delhi: Hours after opposition Congress unveiled its campaign slogan, the Bharatiya Janta Party too launched its campaign tag line, slogans and theme song for the impending Lok Sabha elections on Sunday at the party headquarters here, seeking Prime Minister Modi’s second term in the centre: “Phir Ek Baar, Modi Sarkar” (“Modi once again”).Union Minister and senior party leader Arun Jaitley revealed the campaign themes. “The first theme of our campaign will be ‘Kaam Karne Waali Sarkaar’ (A government that works). Our second theme will be ‘Imaandar Sarkaar’ (Honest government). Our third theme will be ‘Bade Faisle Lene Waali Sarkaar’, (A decisive government that takes big decisions),” Jaitley said during a press conference. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Referring to the opposition alliance he further added, “The country has decided as to whether a weak centre (government) will be in the country’s interest or a decisive prime minister heading a majority government. We want a government with one captain and not a team of 11 members with 40 captains.” BJP also launched its campaign song – ‘Phir se Modi Sarkar Banate Hai, Phir se Kamal Khilate Hai’ (let’s elect Modi government again, let’s help lotus bloom again). The party is also going to release its election manifesto on Monday in the national capital. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KJaitley was joined by Union minister Piyush Goyal and BJP general secretary Bhupender Yadav, among others, at the press conference. The poor, the middle class and the neo-middle class will be at the centre of the BJP’s electioneering, Jaitley said, and took a swipe at the Congress for “not even saying a word” on the emerging middle class when it launched its manifesto. In fact, some of the advisers to the Congress have spoken of levying more taxes on this class, he said, adding the Modi government has consistently reduced their taxes, something that has never happened earlier. The Indian middle class will impact the global economy in the coming decades in the same way the Chinese economy influenced it earlier, he said. Pitching for a majority for the BJP in the Lok Sabha polls like it got in 2014, he said it enabled the party to take decisive and big decisions on a host of measures, including national security, corruption and black money. Many opposition leaders have spoken about their wish for a hung Parliament and it is now for people to decide, Jaitley said. “The country has decided as to whether a weak centre (government) will be in the country’s interest or a decisive prime minister heading a majority government,” he said. On one hand is a cohesive and tested government and on the other is the choice of chaos and mahamilawat (grand adulteration), he said. With agency inputslast_img read more

first_imgKolkata: Coal India Ltd has put in place over 5,000 security cameras across 300 mines of its subsidiaries to thwart pilferage attempts and ensure quick response to disasters, a senior company official said. The Rs 50-crore project will provide live feed from the mines to the coal major’s headquarters in Kolkata and other regional offices, prompting swift action in case of emergencies, he said. “CIL hopes to achieve twin purposes with the initiative – live monitoring of the collieries to prevent pilferage and other corrupt practices, especially during dispatch by rail, and increase overall efficiency of the mines with real-time response to crisis situations,” the official said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The CCTV project, unveiled recently by the Central Vigilance Commissioner K V Chowdary, along with CIL Chairman A K Jha, will also help settle allegations and disputes on coal availability. “As a part of the in-house project, 5,100 CCTVs have been installed at strategic points vulnerable to pilferage — the weigh bridges, near coal dumps and the entry and exit points of collieries. “The information technology department of the company is also working on a system to automatically trigger alarms in case of a pilferage attempt from stockyards or mines,” he added.last_img read more

first_imgColombo: The St. Sebastian’s Church in the western coastal town of Negombo bore the brunt of a series of powerful blasts across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday with 74 deaths and a top priest saying pieces of flesh were thrown all over the walls, on the sanctuary and even outside the church. At least 215 people were killed and around 500 others injured when six near simultaneous and coordinated explosions rocked three churches, three luxury hotels frequented by tourists in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, officials said. Two separate blasts took place in the afternoon, claiming five more lives, including that of three police personnel. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSri Lankan media reported that the Negombo Hospital has reported at least 74 deaths and received 113 injured worshippers from the Sebastian’s Church. Father Edmond Tillekeratne, social communications director for the Archdiocese of Colombo, spoke to CNN from St. Sebastian’s Church, one of the locations targeted. He said that the blast took place after Easter Mass, and that there were about 30 bodies lying in the area of the church. He said three priests had been celebrating the mass at the time of the blast. Two of them were badly injured by flying glass and debris, and one was only lightly injured because he was behind the altar. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsHe estimated that more than a thousand people had come to the church for Easter Sunday “because it is a special day.” Many people came from villages, he said. He described the ground as covered in rubble and shattered glass. “You can see pieces of flesh thrown all over the walls and on the sanctuary and even outside of the church,” he added. The church, built in 1946, is one of the many churches in Sri Lanka dedicated to St Sebastian who is considered a martyr in the Catholic Church history. At the St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo, journalists saw bodies lying on the floor, some draped with scarves and clothes. Reports say said much of the church roof had been blown off in the explosion, with tiles, glass and splintered wood littering the floor — along with pools of blood. The Archbishop of Colombo has demanded that those responsible for the Easter Sunday blasts in Sri Lanka to be punished “mercilessly.” Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, in a strong statement, urged the government to launch a “very impartial strong inquiry” and to punish those found responsible “mercilessly because only animals can behave like that.” All Easter mass in the Colombo District have been cancelled, the Cardinal announced. The Shangri-La Hotel in Colombo, which was the site of one of the explosions, released a statement, saying it was one of the several locations in Colombo which were affected by this morning’s attacks. “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the incident and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the casualties and those who have been affected. “We are working closely with local authorities and emergency services to provide our fullest assistance and support to the affected staff and guests. “Our immediate priority is to look after the safety and wellbeing of all involved. A Shangri-La crisis management team has been activated to provide all necessary support. “As this is an active investigation, we are unable to comment further at this stage. We will provide an update once more information is available,” the hotel said.last_img read more

first_imgJohannesburg: At least 51 people have been killed in flooding in South Africa, a local official said Wednesday, as President Cyril Ramaphosa flew into the deluged eastern region of the country. Heavy rains have lashed South Africa in recent days, with the southern and eastern parts of the country badly hit since last weekend. “Our hearts go out particularly to families and communities who have been directly affected by death, injury and the loss of property,” Ramaphosa said in a statement after returning from crisis talks in Egypt on the situations in Libya and Sudan. “This situation calls on all of us to pull together as a country to reach out to affected communities.” The death toll jumped from 33 on Tuesday, as rescuers continued to comb debris for those who might be trapped underneath landslides.last_img read more

first_imgJaipur: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said Friday that the country saw an unprecedented development under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government and its respect has increased globally. Addressing a ‘Vijay Sankalp’ dialogue here, Swaraj referred to the ‘honour’ India received at the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) meet after Modi took charge. She said Pakistan’s chair was vacant as the country had boycotted the OIC meet, citing India’s presence at the convention. Swaraj said the demand for declaring Masood Azhar as a global terrorist was going on since 2009. But due to the diplomatic acumen of the prime minister, Azhar was declared a global terrorist on May 1. Referring to the plans and achievements of the central government, the minister said many remarkable works were done in the last five years.last_img read more

Rabat – According to the chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Saudi Arabia has lost influence in the US.Congress is set to vote on Wednesday and attempt to block a $1.15 billion arms sale to the kingdom, according to Bloomberg.com. The Senate is not unanimous in its approach to the Saudi arms sale, with senators taking opposing sides.Mitch McConnell, Senate Leader of Kentucky, declared he would back the arms sale and believes that the US should maintain good ties with Saudi Arabia. Senator Bob Corker shared with the Saudis that public opinion in Congress and in America overall is at an all time low. Corker said he met with Saudi Foreign Minister, Adel al-Jubeir last week, who had been in the US lobbying lawmakers in order to hinder the September 11 Bill.Saudi Arabia has been a long-standing and financially lucrative ally for the US. However, after certain policies and the rise of Wahhabism in the kingdom, US policy-makers are becoming increasingly disillusioned with such relationship. With alleged human rights abuses being carried out in Yemen and the decrease in oil-reliance, it appears that the tide is turning against the kingdom.Even the outgoing President, Barack Obama took to criticising the Saudi Arabian government for fuelling unrest and engaging in proxy wars in the region.While various senators are still keen to keep the kingdom as allies, they have also expressed their concerns over the exportation of radical Wahhabism.There also seems to be a split in opinion in terms of Saudi Arabia as an ally in combatting terrorism. Some believe the Saudi Arabian government can be a useful partner, especially in the MENA region, whereas other senators are less optimistic.Whilst opinion may be divided in the Senate on Saudi Arabia, in terms of their role as an ally and their role in combatting terrorism, what is clear that their influence and relationship with the US is seriously being called into question. The once open and amicable relationship appears to be changing. read more