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Divya Khosla Kumar to star in John Abrahams Satyameva Jayate 2

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first_imgMumbai: Divya Khosla Kumar is likely to return to acting with the sequel of John Abraham-starrer “Satyameva Jayate”. Divya made her acting debut in Bollywood opposite Akshay Kumar in “Ab Tumhare Hawale Watan Saathiyon”. After her marriage to producer Bhushan Kumar she directed two youth centric films “Yaariyan” and “Sanam Re”. According to sources close to the development, Divya has been approached for the sequel of “Satyameva Jayate” and she has signed the film on the dotted line. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’ Directed by Milap Zaveri, “Satyameva Jayate”, an action-drama featured John and Manoj Bajpayee in the lead. The film narrated the story of a cop (Bajpayee), who has been given the task to catch a person named Vir (John), who is on a spree of killing corrupt police officials. Both Bajpayee and John fight for the same reason but they are divided by law. The film will go on floors this year. Milap is currently working on his next directorial venture “Marjaavaan” starring Sidharth Malhotra and Tara Sutaria. While John is busy with Anees Bazmee’s “Pagalpanti”.last_img read more

AN32 crash Mortal remains of 13 IAF personnel yet to be retrieved

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first_imgItanagar: A rescue team has recovered the cockpit voice recorder (CVR) and flight data recorder (FDR) of Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force at the crash site in Arunachal Pradesh Friday, an IAF spokesman said.Shillong-based IAF spokesman Ratnakar Singh said that despite inclement weather and treacherous terrain, the rescue team of Indian Air Force (IAF), Army and locals are trying their best to retrieve the bodies of the air warriors. The Indian Air Force had said Thursday that all 13 people on board the aircraft have died. The Russian-origin AN-32 aircraft was going from Jorhat in Assam to Menchuka advanced landing ground near the border with China on June 3 when it lost contact around half-an-hour after taking off. The process of recovering all the bodies on board the AN-32 is still on. Inclement weather condition with continuous downpour, besides hostile terrain, continues to hamper efforts for retrieving the bodies, the IAF spokesman said. On Thursday, three more local mountaineers have joined the rescue mission, the spokesman said. Siang district deputy commissioner Rajeev Takuk said the district administration has extended all possible help to the IAF to retrieve the bodies from the crash site. The weather and the hostile terrain have posed great challenges to the rescue team, the DC said, adding the site of the crash is located in a steep gorge which is inaccessible. The wreckage of the plane was spotted by an IAF chopper on Tuesday at a height of 12,000 feet near Gatte village on the border of Siang and Shi-Yomi districts, after eight days of a massive search operation involving a fleet of aircraft and choppers as well as ground forces. A 15-member team of rescuers was sent to look for survivors in the accident site on Wednesday and eight of them reached the place on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Governor Brig (Retd) B D Mishra have conveyed their condolences to the bereaved family members of the air warriors of the unfortunate IAF AN 32 aircraft which crashed on June 3 last in Arunachal mountain.last_img read more

Looking East with a squint

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first_imgAt quite regular intervals, Indian foreign policymakers get a little guilty about how we treat our neighbours in the East and brush up their forgotten policies toward East and Southeast Asia. Three decades ago, P V Narasimha Rao first came up with a ‘Look East’ Policy. The policy envisioned that we pay greater attention to our neighbours in the East and Southeast. With Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, etc., setting a scorching pace of economic growth in previous decades, India seemed to realise that there are countries to our east which needed attention. The ‘Look East’ policy was intended to build strong relations with the Tigers in our East. Also Read – A staunch allyThe prime ministers who followed Narasimha Rao would occasionally remember that India had a ‘Look East’ policy and dust it up and re-parrot it intermittently. Like our old Ambassador cars, which Hindustan Motors year upon year would produce the same model of a car but in a decade or two change the shape of the car’s grill or of its side view mirrors or of the door handle and call the revised version Mark II or Mark III or IV, every few years India, too, would come up with a Look East Policy Mark II or III or IV. The policy —if ever there was anything substantive in the policy —would not change fundamentally but the new incumbent prime minister or his foreign minister would tinker a little bit here or there and present the policy to the country as something new and very different from the past. Also Read – Cuban pathosClearly, everyone, and especially our Asian neighbours to the East and Southeast knew that these new policies were merely old wine in new bottles, or more correctly no wine in new bottles. Look East policy were empty words with little substance. Even the term ‘Look East’ has a condescending ring about it. It is as though India has finally deigned to turn its head a little and begin looking at our neighbours to the East. But those neighbours always knew that India was, is, and always will be obsessed with the West. Our minds, and especially the minds of our policymakers in the South Block have always been fixated on the West. A young Indian Foreign Service Officer would feel delighted to be posted to Washington DC or New York or London or Paris or Brussels or Berlin, or even to Tel Aviv or Beirut, but would hate it if the posting was to Phnom Penh or Yangoon or Jakarta or even if it was Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur. We always look to the West for approbation and for pat on the back. A good word from even a junior official in the White House or an insignificant someone in Washington DC would send us into convulsions of joy. That passing mention would figure in the front pages of our papers and we would go chest-thumping. South Block would be delighted. Similar praise from UK, Germany, France or any of the smaller countries of Europe would also become occasions to celebrate. Our diplomatic initiatives, our trade policy or travel policy, our VIP visits, et al are all oriented (pun intended) towards the occident. India’s un-articulated but omnipresent Look West policy is not restricted to just the US and Europe. It includes countries in West Asia and the Gulf in a big way. With India being a major importer of oil how could it be otherwise? The countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council have always had a special status for India and our policymakers. So, the rare talk of a Look East policy continues to be only an occasional balm to soothe our Asian consciousness when on those few occasions the reality that we are a South Asian nation and therefore, the need to be close to East and South East Asia hits us. But the historic links that we have with our neighbours in the East cannot be forgotten easily. For many centuries, countries of Southeast Asia were Hindu Kingdoms with a highly Sanskritised culture. Even though Indonesia is a Muslim country today, its Indian and Hindu roots run deep. From the names of its people to its monuments, culture and traditions, India is always present in Islamic Indonesia. And not to forget Bali, a small island in Indonesia, has an overwhelmingly Hindu population. Its Hindu temples, festivals, culture and history are well known. India’s links with Thailand is palpable. Their kings are called Rama I, Rama II and so on. Many of the words of the Thai language have Sanskrit origins. The Thais would even claim that the real Ayodhya where Lord Ram was born is Ayutthaya, a town not far from the Thai capital Bangkok! (Ha! Only if it were, the Ram Janmabhoomi controversy would become irrelevant). Cambodia lying just beyond Thailand was the Kamboja-Desa of our Puranas. It is a very Buddhist country now but 1000 years ago, it was a Hindu Kingdom. It was only when the then King Jayavarman VII converted to Buddhism in the 11th Century that it became Buddhist. The largest Hindu Temple in the world, the Angkor Wat is in Cambodia. The Cambodian language Khmer is highly Sanskrit in its origins and still contains many words taken from the original Sanskrit. For example, a man is lok in Khmer, a woman is srey, a road is veethi, a school is vishyalay, an office is karyalay, etc. Even the word Angkor of Angkor Wat is a variation of nagor or nagar meaning a town or a city. Myanmar is very Indian in its language and culture and its dres. Even on formal occasions, men in Myanmar wear a coloured lungi, much as a white mundu or veshti would be worn in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. In recent times, India has had a very early diplomatic lead in many of these countries, which, unfortunately, we have now frittered away. India was one of the first countries to recognise Cambodia when it was liberated from the hated Khmer Rouge. We were one of the first to re-establish our embassy there at a time when China and the US, and most of Europe, were supporting the genocidal Khmer Rouge that had been overthrown. Similarly, we had extremely friendly relations with Vietnam starting from the time of Ho Chi Minh. And most of these countries love India and its citizens. I spent seven years in Cambodia on a UN posting and every time the Emigration Officers, or for that matter anyone, realised that I was an Indian, a smile would brighten their lips. The Emigration Officers’ hard face would soften like a baby’s, and they would seal their entry stamp on my blue UN passport without much ado. But today, our soft influence and early diplomatic inroads into these countries have been frittered away. And China has taken over and filled the vacuum. The Chinese presence in Cambodia, for example, is clearly visible everywhere today, with roads and bridges and huge development projects taken up by the Chinese in Phnom Penh, and elsewhere. On the other hand, India is visibly absent in Cambodia these days, with even the significant work the Archaeological Survey of India did to restore the Ta Prohm temple near Angkor Wat being just a drop in the mighty ocean of Chinese presence. These historic links and the more recent diplomatic advances we have had are very useful as soft power in any policy we now develop towards East and Southeast Asia. When Modi came to power in 2014 he promised not only to Look East but Act East. But in the five years since the Act East policy was announced, the focus of South Block on East and Southeast Asia has only been dwindling. There is very little action India has taken in respect of our relations with these countries. On the other hand, religious intolerance that has been on display in the country in the years after Modi took over could well be fuelling negative policy reactions in at least some of the many Muslim and Buddhist countries in the region. Modi’s second term has just begun, and it may be too early to say anything substantial about his foreign policy initiatives in the next five years. But in the initial few weeks of the second term itself, the Act East policy of his first term seems to have been replaced by a Look South, Fly South policy. Not that his visits to Male and Sri Lanka were not useful. But with Jaishankar as External Affairs Minister, our policy towards our Eastern neighbours could continue to hibernate. While he has been Ambassador to China and High Commissioner in Singapore, and while his wife is Japanese, it is not Japan, China nor Singapore that India needs to target in its Look East or Act East policies. It is the smaller nations of the region that should be the target of India’s policy. Jaishankar’s diplomatic interest in them is not quite clear. With China emerging – in the last couple of decades – as a real economic and military threat to India as well as for Southeast Asian nations, India must put in place a robust policy towards the East. Long ago when I was in school, I heard my friends insensitively describe a person with a squint with the words, ‘London Looking, Tokyo Turning’, meaning that even though the person is turning to the East he is actually looking to the West. That about sums up India’s Look East and Act East policies. In Modi’s second term our policy to the East can perhaps best be summed with the words ‘Lanka Looking, Thailand Turning’. We may be turning our head towards the East but our look and attention are being fixed on South Asia, with the West, of course, continuing to be the perennial priority. That would need to change. It is not enough to look at the East with a squint. We need to be proactively present in these countries. (The author is a former Indian and UN Civil Servant and has worked extensively in South East Asia. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Real estate cos post robust sales despite sectoral slowdown in FY19

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first_imgMumbai: The real estate sector grappling with liquidity crisis on the back of slow sales and reduced availability of credit, major listed realty players have reported robust sales and increased project launches in FY19, the report said. Top 10 listed entities, including Ashiana Housing, Brigade Enterprises, DLF, Godrej Properties, Mahindra Lifespace Developers, Oberoi Realty, Prestige Estates Projects, Puravankara, Peninsula Land and Sobha sold nearly 32.19 million sqft, registering a robust 44 per cent growth over the previous year, rating agency Icra said. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonIcra’s Shubham Jain noted that despite GST related disruptions and the NBFC financing slowdown, these companies have reported healthy sales during last fiscal. “Home-buyers are increasingly leaning towards developers with an established track record of on-time and quality project completion. Pricing also remains a key driver of purchase decisions. Thus, focused execution, resulting in timely deliveries, and developer emphasis on increasing affordability of residential projects, has supported sales levels for the larger listed players,” Jain added. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorHe further said that due to liquidity crunch the sector has been going through a phase of consolidation, with smaller players, who have been finding it difficult to cope with the prevailing market conditions, losing ground to larger, more established players. According to Icra, sales velocity in FY19 reflects the highest level achieved over the past five years, with strong sales of 10.99 million sqft having been registered in Q4FY19 alone. Collections also remained high, standing at Rs 16,814 crore during FY19, recording a growth of 13 per cent over FY18, it said. “In order to capitalise on healthy sales momentum, large listed players have increased the pace of project launches as well, with the same standing at a high 34.32 million sqft during FY19, depicting a robust 62 per cent growth as compared to the previous year,” Jain said. In addition to the ramp-up in deliveries, sales momentum for the major listed developers has also been supported by a downtrend in average sales price, driven by increasing developer focus on affordability, the agency said. The average sales price for the sample set stood at Rs 6,633 per sqft in FY19 as compared to Rs 7,158 per sqft in the previous year, registering a decline of 7.3 per cent.last_img read more

Bond 25 production underway in London

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first_imgLondon: The shooting of “Bond 25” is officially underway in London, the makers of the film announced. The currently untitled movie was previously filming in Jamaica. The official James Bond Twitter account on Sunday shared an image of a clapperboard in front of The Queen’s Horse Guards. The tweet was captioned: “#Bond25 on location in London.” Another post followed which was a 13 second-long clip of Daniel Craig’s Bond in an Aston Martin V8 car. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography “Daniel Craig and the @astonmartin V8 on location for #Bond25,” the video caption read. In the next tweet, the makers revealed that the cast and crew filmed at several locations in the English capital, including Whitehall. “007 star Daniel Craig, director Cary Fukunaga and the #Bond25 crew were out in the sunshine today shooting across a number of London locations, including Whitehall, where Daniel filmed a scene with a classic @astonmartin V8, first seen in a Bond film in ‘The Living Daylights,” the post accompanied Craig’s photo dressed as Agent 007 for the fifth and final time. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot A behind-the-scenes video of the new film, set to the ‘Boom Shot Dis’ track by Kully B and Gussy G, was shared last week, with director Cary Fukunaga and Craig at work from the sets in Jamaica, where the “Spectre” star was injured. Production on the film has been hit by issues in recent weeks, with a “controlled explosion” causing damage to the filming stage at iconic Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire, which also left one crew member injured. Reports of delays also surfaced which were denied by both the director and film’s antagonist Rami Malek.last_img read more

Light rains likely today

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first_imgNew Delhi: It was a hot and humid day in the national capital with the mercury settling at 36.9 degrees Celsius, three notches above the normal.The minimum temperature settled at 27.8 degrees Celsius, a notch above normal, a meteorological (MeT) department official said. The humidity levels oscillated between 88 and 57 per cent.The weatherman has predicted cloudy sky for Friday with possibility of light rains and thundershowers. Maximum temperature is expected to be around 34 degrees Celsius, he said. On Wednesday, the city recorded a high of 34.5 degrees Celsius, a notch above the normal, and a low of 27 degrees Celsius.last_img

10 SDF MLAs join BJP in Sikkim

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first_imgNew Delhi/Gangtok: As many as 10 MLAs of the Sikkim Democratic Front joined the BJP on Tuesday, propelling the saffron party to the status of the main opposition in a state where it had not won a single seat in the recent assembly polls.In Gangtok, the SDF leadership said it would prefer to wait and watch now as the situation is “complex”, while the ruling Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) refrained from commenting on the development. The MLAs met BJP working president J P Nadda and joined the party in the presence of its general secretary Ram Madhav, who is in charge of the party’s affairs in the north east. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Madhav told reporters that the SDF had a strength of 13 MLAs and its legislature party decided to merge with the BJP. The BJP is running government as the main party or in alliance with regional parties in all the northeastern states except Sikkim and this development has pushed the party closer to power there as well. Two-thirds or more numbers of the MLAs of a party can join another party without violating the anti-defection law. The SDF headed by Pawan Kumar Chamling ruled the state for over 25 years, making him the longest-serving chief minister of the country but he lost power in the recent polls. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe party won 15 seats while the SKM won 17 in the 32 -member assembly. Since two of the SDF MLAs had won from two seats, they resigned from one seat each, reducing the party’s strength to 13 in the assembly. “We want to wait and watch the situation now. The issue is complex. We can neither welcome it, nor condemn it outrightly without giving consideration to the circumstances in which this development has taken place,” senior SDF leaders P D Rai and K T Gyaltsen told a press conference at Gangtok. They, however, did not elaborate on why the issue is complex. The two added that the party will remain alive under Chamling’s leadership and continue to serve the people of Sikkim. The SDF was a saffron ally earlier but now the ruling SKM has replaced it as a member of the BJP-headed North East Democratic Alliance. The switching sides of the SDF MLAs may alter the relationship between the SKM and the BJP. Chief Minister and SKM president Prem Singh Tamang aka Golay has visited New Delhi on several occasions to strengthen friendship with the BJP top brass.last_img read more

Jail inmates carve décor items from scrap wood

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first_imgKolkata: Inmates of Dum Dum Central Correctional Home, particularly those who have been associated with carpentry for the last six years, are now being trained in manufacturing a wide variety of home décor items from discarded wooden pieces.The three-day workshop (one day a week) to train 25 inmates at DDCCH to make aesthetically-fashioned wooden items was inaugurated last week. “We have been undertaking several initiatives to impart skill development training to the inmates in the correctional home so that when they go out after completing their term they are not only reformed but can eke out a living on their own. The workshop has Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujabeen planned in such a manner so that they develop innovative ideas of their own in churning out variety in wooden products,” said Debasish Chakraborty, superintendent of DDCCH. He added that the training imparted in the workshop will equip the beneficiaries to start business with minimum investment after they are released. Most of the inmates, who have been handpicked for the workshop, have been involved in making wooden furniture like chair, table and almirah. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway”These designer wooden items is aimed at empowering the inmates to promote inclusivity and sustainability through eco-friendly products. The exquisite upcycled wood products are designed using dead tree stumps and abandoned tree trunks. The designs enhance the natural aesthetics of the wood piece highlighting the beauty of nature,” said Chaitali Das, founder of Rakshak Foundation. The entire workshop to train the inmates has been arranged by Rakshak Foundation. “Jute Story Behind Bars” an effort to empower the lives of the inmates of DDCCH through co-ordinated skill development training of six months in artisanal manufacture of jute products has been very successful. The project was started in 2017. The wide array of jute products made by the inmates have been showcased and sold in various fairs and exhibitions and has evoked excellent response. The variety of jute designer products manufactured by them are being displayed and sold at the Oxford Book Store at Park Street.last_img read more

Smith reclaims No 1 Test ranking from Kohli Bumrah rises to 3rd

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first_imgDubai: India skipper Virat Kohli lost his numero uno status after being toppled by Australia’s Steve Smith in the batsman’s chart, while Jasprit Bumrah rose to third position among bowlers in the latest ICC Test Rankings released on Tuesday. Kohli slipped to No.2 spot following his first-ball duck in the Jamaica Test, while Smith returned to the top spot riding on his twin centuries in the first Ashes Test against England and 92 in the second match. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Among others, Ajinkya Rahane returned to top 10, rising four places to No.7, after following up his half-century and hundred in Antigua with another useful fifty in Jamaica. Hanuma Vihari, described by Kohli as “the find of the series”, shot up 40 places to No.30 after just six Tests following a fruitful West Indies tour. With India beating West Indies by 257 runs in the second Test here on Monday, Kohli registered his 28th Test win from 48 matches, surpassing Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s 27 wins from 60 Tests, to become the country’s most successful captain in the longest format. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later However after having made 76 in the first innings of the second Test against the West Indies, Kohli made a first-ball duck in the second essay. He is yet to add to his 25 Test hundreds after three Tests this year. That allowed Smith, who missed the third Test at Headingley, to open up a single-point lead in the latest rankings. He has a chance to extend that lead in the fourth Ashes Test, starting at Manchester on Wednesday. Smith was on the top spot since December 2015. It was only in August 2018, when he was serving a ban for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, that Kohli overtook him after reaching career-high rating points in the series against England. The Australian No.4 has fought his way back up the charts in his first series back from the ban, making twin centuries in the first Test against England and 92 in the second. He now averages 63.2 in Test cricket. Kohli’s next chance to challenge Smith will be in the home Test series against South Africa, starting on October 2. In ICC Test rankings for bowlers, Bumrah, who is currently the No.1 ODI bowler, continued his impressive run to climb up to the third spot with a career-best 835 rating points. Bumrah is now only behind Australia’s Pat Cummins and South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada. West Indies skipper Jason Holder, who is already No.1 on the ICC Test rankings for all-rounders, rose seven places to join England’s James Anderson at the fourth spot. He picked up six wickets in the second Test, including 5/77 in the first innings. Among other movers in the bowling chart were India’s Mohammed Shami (up one to No.18) and Ishant Sharma (up one to No.20). Bumrah, who earlier in the series became the fastest Indian to pick up 50 Test wickets, has had an exceptional time in red-ball cricket since his debut in early 2018, racing to 62 wickets in just 12 matches. In the just-concluded two Tests against the West Indies, Bumrah finished with 13 wickets at a strike rate of 9.23. That included figures of 5/7 in the first Test and a hat-trick in the first innings of the second Test at Sabina Park, Jamaica. India won the series 2-0.last_img read more

Modi meets Malaysian PM discusses Kashmir and raises Zakir Naiks extradition

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first_imgVladivostok: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday explained to his Malaysian counterpart Mahathir Mohamad the rationale behind New Delhi’s decision on Jammu and Kashmir and sought the extradition of controversial Indian televangelist Zakir Naik. Prime Minister Modi met the Malaysian Prime Minister on the sidelines of the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) held here in the Russian Far East Region. “Prime Minister Modi raised the issue of Zakir Naik’s extradition. Both the parties have decided that our officials will stay in contact regarding the matter and it is an important issue for us,” Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said on PM Modi’s meeting with Mahathir. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Naik, a 53-year-old radical television preacher, reportedly left India in 2016 and subsequently moved to largely Muslim Malaysia, where he was granted permanent residency. He has been banned from from any public activities in the multi-ethnic country after his remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Chinese on August 8. Prime Minister Modi also discussed with Mahathir the “reorganisation” and the developments related to Jammu and Kashmir. They growing threat of terrorism also figured in their talks. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “PM Modi explained to Mahathir the rationale behind the reorganisation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, in terms of both giving effective governance and delivering socio-economic justice. And in that context the two leaders discussed the focus was on terrorism, on how to combat the growing threat of terrorism,” Gokhale said. “PM Mahathir acknowledged that terrorism was a global problem and Malaysia is against any form terrorism,” he added. India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and has categorically told the international community that the scrapping of Article 370 was an internal matter and also advised Pakistan to accept the reality. Pakistan is trying to internationalise the Kashmir issue after India’s decision on August 5. Hours after India’s move, Prime Minister Imran Khan held phone conversation with Mahathir and sought support on the issue. Prime Minister Mahathir expressed hope that India and Pakistan would exercise “utmost restraint” to prevent further escalation that could be detrimental to the peace and stability in Jammu and Kashmir. This is the second meeting between the two leaders, the first was in May last year when Prime Minister Modi called on 94-year-old Mahathir in Putrajaya. Gokhale said that the meeting between the two prime ministers was “very warm”. “Modi also described Mahathir’s election as a historic one and said India was looking forward to working with Malaysia,” Gokhale added. There was also discussion on trade and ways to diversify the bilateral ties to benefit people in both the countries. “Mahathir acknowledged that there was a growing trade between the two countries, but that Malaysia had a surplus in trade. He assured Modi that while we should grow this trade, Malaysia is looking at ways by which we can balance this trade. He (Mahathir) said, Malaysia would consider importing more from India so that India’s exports to Malaysia grow,” he said. “Meetings continue in Vladivostok. Prime Ministers @chedetofficial and Narendra Modi discuss ways to diversify India-Malaysia cooperation for the benefit of people in both countries. Strengthening ties with an important ASEAN partner,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a tweet. Modi arrived in Russia on Wednesday to participate in the 20th India-Russia annual summit and the EEF. On his arrival, Modi received a guard of honour at Vladivostok International Airport. The forum focuses on development of business and investment opportunities in the Russian Far East Region, and presents enormous potential for developing close and mutually beneficial cooperation between India and Russia in the region. The EEF is being held in Russia’s Far East port city of Vladivostok on September 4-6.last_img read more

Court sends DK Shivakumar to judicial custody till Oct 1

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first_imgNew Delhi: A Delhi court Tuesday sent Karnataka Congress leader D K Shivakumar, arrested in a money laundering case by Enforcement Directorate, to 14-day judicial custody.Special judge Ajay Kumar Kuhar directed the ED to take Shivakumar to hospital first and to see whether doctor suggests admitting him there. “It is directed that the accused be first taken to the hospital and only after his medical condition is opined to be stable, he be sent to judicial custody in Central Jail, Tihar… The accused is remanded to judicial custody till October 1,” the judge said in the order. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The court has listed Shivakumar’s bail plea for hearing on Wednesday at 3.30 pm. The judge said that in case the MLA is admitted to the hospital, his custody be taken over by the Superintendent of Tihar jail and the doctors hand over his custody only on his discharge. “In case, he is admitted in the hospital, his custody shall be taken over by the Superintendent Central jail, Tihar who shall provide guards for the accused. In case of his admission in the hospital, the doctors shall hand over his custody to the Superintendent, Central jail, Tihar only on his discharge,” said the judge. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe judge also said that in case Shivakumar was taken to Tihar jail, then the authorities permit him to take his medicines subject to the approval of doctor on duty in the jail. The court took into consideration the medical records of Shivakumar, which said that he suffered from hypertension and fluctuating blood pressure and has undergone angioplasty earlier and is on a heavy medical dosage. The probe agency claimed in the court that his interrogation was yet to be completed and sought permission from the judge to question him during the judicial custody. Additional Solicitor General (ASG) K M Nataraj and Special Public Prosecutors Amit Mahajan, N K Matta and Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, told the court that Shivakumar’s health condition did not allow his effective questioning. The Congress leader’s counsels opposed the ED plea for judicial custody and sought his bail on medical grounds. Senior advocates A M Singhvi and Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Shivakumar, submitted in the court that the MLA’s health condition was very serious and he was close to a heart attack; therefore, he be granted bail. The ASG told the court that Shivakumar was taken to hospital as directed by court and due to his aliment, his interrogation could not be continued. Singhvi further said that only Rs 41 lakh was recovered from Shivakumar and not Rs 8.5 crore, as alleged by the ED and now surprisingly the figure has become Rs 143 crore. He alleged that ED is biased and mala fide and is lying before the court about the investigation. The agency’s claim about 317 bank accounts was only to spoil Shivakumar’s image in media and public, he added. Rohatgi, also representing Shivakumar and seeking bail for him, said he was a 7-time MLA and not a flight risk. It is a case based on documentary evidence and there was no ground to keep Shivakumar in custody as he has no criminal antecedent, he said. Rohatgi further said that this is a case of granting bail and the court can impose conditions; if not, then granting medical bail to Shivakumar should be considered. Opposing the bail plea, ED said that it had taken care of his medical conditions. It also alleged that laundering of money took place through bank accounts of the MLA and his family members.last_img read more

Flood waters on the St John River force evacuation of some homes

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first_imgFREDERICTON – A steady flow of people were at Fredericton’s world-renowned Beaverbrook Art Gallery Saturday, but instead of viewing the art inside, they were there to see the flood waters of the swollen St. John River pushing against the outside of the building.Swollen rivers across New Brunswick continued to rise this weekend, flooding streets and properties and forcing people from their homes in at least four communities.By Saturday afternoon the St. John River was 1.7 metres above flood stage in Fredericton — approaching levels hit during the last major flood in 2008 — and rain was forecast through the weekend.Sandbags were packed against a number of historic buildings near the river in Fredericton, including the provincial legislature.The storied Beaverbrook Art Gallery was half-surrounded by water, with the river threatening to get into lower levels.The gallery has been temporarily closed, and all artwork in the basement has been moved upstairs.Opened in 1959, the gallery is famous for a collection that includes the work of artists such as Thomas Gainsborough and Salvador Dali.There have been a number of expansions over the years, including a major addition that opened last year.Former director Terry Graff oversaw the design and construction of the addition, and was out Saturday morning to check to see if their flood protection measures were working.“The gallery is built right on the river, but the water has come up right to the expansion and I guess this is the test to see if it keeps the water out,” he said.“A membrane was constructed to keep the water out and there are barriers that have been designed to also block leakage. There was much care and consideration that went into the planning and design, knowing that this could be a risk,” Graff said.However he said there is still the risk of water getting in if sewers and storm drains are overwhelmed.A number of Fredericton streets — blocks away from the river — were partially flooded on Saturday as a result of water being forced up through the storm sewer system.“The river levels will remain at or near flood stage for the next 48 hours,” said Greg MacCallum, director of New Brunswick’s Emergency Measures Organization.The Red Cross had helped evacuate more than a dozen homes in Edmundston, Bathurst, Fredericton and Maugerville, while other residents left on their own to stay with relatives and friends.Geoffrey Downey, a spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, said many roads and highways are covered by the fast flowing water, and one man near Fredericton had to abandon his vehicle after ignoring a barricade and the vehicle got stuck.He said the man got to dry land by himself and called authorities to report the vehicle.MacCallum said it’s an offence to move or ignore any of the barricades.“Washouts are happening and you don’t know what that water conceals. It could be deeper than it appears. There could be sinkholes and you could damage a vehicle, or worse,” he said.Officials said there has been significant erosion damage to Highway 144 in the Edmundston area, and much of Route 105 is closed to traffic.Officials also warned that there may be a lot of animals on the roads that are seeking an escape from the water.NB Power had cut electricity to more than 100 homes that have been flooded.A lot of people are venturing along the edge of the river to get a view of the flooding, but MacCallum warned against what he called “disaster tourism.”“I understand the curiosity, but people need to stay safe,” he said.“There’s debris in the water. It’s fast flowing, and it’s not a good place to be right now.”And EMO officials cautioned homeowners with flooded basements from pumping the water out until the water on the outside recedes. They said the pressure on the outside could damage the foundation.last_img read more

Former MP wants Philpott to intervene in department handling of drug safety

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first_imgOTTAWA – Former Conservative MP Terence Young is calling for Health Minister Jane Philpott to personally review her department’s handling of a law that bears his daughter’s name — a request supported by both opposition parties.Young says a robust drug safety bill — called Vanessa’s Law — cleared the House of Commons and Senate without dissent but he now believes Health Canada is quietly looking to dilute its powers in related regulations.He points to consultation documents from the department this summer as evidence of this, suggesting key requirements in the law — including mandatory adverse drug reaction reporting by health care institutions — are being “gutted.”Philpott cannot allow this to happen, he said.“I would tell her she’s got to intervene and tell Health Canada ‘I want all serious drug reactions that happen in Canada’,” Young said. “I would tell her if you don’t do this, you are going to set us back 10 years on prescription drug safety.”For Young, who lost his seat in 2015, the issue is personal: he’s spent years advocating for improved drug safety laws following the death of his 15-year old daughter after she took a medication to treat a mild form of an eating disorder.He said when the legislation became law in November 2014, he was “naive” that this would be the end of his fight.“I thought, ‘OK, my battle is over, I’ve achieved this’,” he said. “They have dishonoured the person the bill is named after, 15-year-old Vanessa Young.”Conservative health critic Colin Carrie agrees his former colleague has raised legitimate concerns, saying the minister needs to take a close look at what is going on in her department.“I think she needs to be concerned that the proposal being put forward by her department doesn’t follow through with what we passed in the House and it is legitimate for her to ask questions,” he said, adding he intends to raise the issue in the Commons in the fall.“This was something supported by all parties.”NDP health critic Don Davies also sees a reason for the minister to be concerned.“The bill has given the government real potential to improve drug safety and save lives, but I am concerned that with the release of the … documents that the government may be attempting to water down the protections I think the bill really was intended and sought to bring in,” Davies said.“We should be seeking to capture every serious adverse drug reaction so we have the widest possible data if we are really going to meet the bill’s objectives of saving lives.”David Lee, Health Canada’s chief regulatory officer of health products and food branch, said the department is conducting consultations on regulations for Vanessa’s Law and is working to follow the intent of Parliament and focus on patient safety.“The department sees Vanessa’s Law and the changes to the Food and Drugs Act as very essential safety inclusions,” he said in an interview.“If there are comments that make us think about the scope of a provision or the kind of information that should be publicly available, that’s exactly what we want to know through the consultation.”Philpott’s office has not provided further comment, but in a letter sent to Young in May, the minister said she welcomed the opportunity to discuss the law’s implementation.Young said that meeting has yet to happen.—Follow @kkirkup on Twitterlast_img read more

NDPs Jenny Kwan says Liberals are misleading asylum seekers over border

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first_imgOTTAWA – The Liberal government is misleading people when it says there’s no advantage to crossing illegally into Canada to seek asylum, NDP MP Jenny Kwan says.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made those comments over the weekend as the Liberals have become more assertive in their efforts to tamp down the volume of asylum seekers. Nearly 7,000 have arrived in the last six weeks, mostly via Quebec.But in a letter to Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen, Kwan suggests there is in fact an advantage.If they go the legal way, she says, they’ll be turned away, because of the agreement between Canada and the U.S. that precludes people from making asylum claims at official land border crossings.“Under international law, once they have crossed the border Canada must take them in and process their refugee claims,” Kwan said in the letter, sent late Tuesday.“If the prime minister was serious about reducing unsanctioned border crossings, let alone truly welcoming refugees, he would have already suspended the Safe Third Country Agreement.”The Liberal government has repeatedly insisted there’s no reason to suspend the deal, noting that the asylum system in the United States is still functioning and the country remains open to granting people refuge.In her letter, Kwan points to violent clashes between white nationalists and counter protesters in Virginia earlier this month as a sign of increased insecurity for all minorities.But more so, she said, the influx of people into Canada makes it clear they no longer feel the U.S. is safe.The government is ignoring what should be a manageable issue, she said.“Given the current trend of anti-immigration and anti-refugee rhetoric throughout the developed world, maintaining the highest degree of public confidence in Canada’s immigration system should be a top priority for your government to reduce the risk of those views taking hold in Canada,” she wrote.The federal-provincial task force set up last week to oversee the surge of asylum seekers is set to meet today in Montreal. The prime minister is to take part in the meeting and will talk to Haitian community leaders later in the day.The agenda includes the next steps to manage the surge, both in terms of increasing resources available to process refugee claims and making sure the communities in which the asylum seekers are now living have the resources available to help them.In her letter, Kwan notes the increased volume of asylum seekers hasn’t been matched so far with a single extra dollar for the settlement agencies that will eventually help absorb them.In an interview Tuesday, Hussen said settlement funding being provided by the government is currently at historic levels and the system has the capacity to handle the demands being made by the new arrivals.last_img read more

Condemnation after suspected Edmonton terror attack injuries officer pedestrians

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first_imgEdmonton police are investigating as acts of terrorism an unprovoked knife attack on an officer who was controlling traffic outside a football game and a high-speed chase of a moving van that struck and injured four pedestrians.Here is what some had to say about the violence that unfolded:“None of our citizens, Muslim or other, support this kind of activity. This is an individual that has to be held accountable for his specific actions.” — RCMP assistant commissioner Marlin Degrand—“From all indications, it appears that this was a single individual acting alone. We have no reason to believe there is any threat to our city.” — Edmonton police Chief Rod Knecht—“The Government of Canada and Canadians stand with the people of Edmonton after the terrorist attack on Saturday that sent an Edmonton Police Service officer to hospital and injured a number of innocent people who were out to cheer on their football team and to enjoy an evening in their city. I am deeply concerned and outraged by this tragedy.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau—“The horrific events last night in downtown Edmonton have left us shocked and angry. It’s left us shocked at the indiscriminate cruelty and angry that someone might target their hatred at places where we gather with our families and friends.” — Alberta Premier Rachel Notley—“Random acts of sick people are difficult to anticipate. We are in a responsive mode on this but I believe the response is well-co-ordinated, calm, appropriate. It was swift.” — Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson—“We condemn the cowardly terror attacks on a police officer and pedestrians that occurred late last night in Edmonton, Canada. Law enforcement authorities from the United States are in touch with their Canadian counterparts to offer assistance with the ongoing investigation. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims, as we hope for their speedy and complete recovery.” — White House statement—“Saddened for my home province of AB, terrorism has no place in Canada. Wishing a speedy recovery to @edmontonpolice officer and all injured.” — former prime minister Stephen Harper said on Twitter—“I strongly condemn this act. #YEG is a safe, peaceful city that I am proud to call home. Thoughts are with the injured & @edmontonpolice” — federal Infrastructure and Communities Minister Amarjeet Sohi in a tweet—“We extend our utmost support to the EPS officer who was attacked last night. To all the men and women who wear the EPS uniform, thank you.” — Len Rhodes, president and CEO Edmonton Eskimos, on Twitter—“The Winnipeg Blue Bombers departed Edmonton International on a charter plane at approximately 2 a.m. MT without incident. We thank everyone for their care and concern and extend our thoughts to Edmonton police officer injured and citizens as a result of last night’s attack.” — statement from the Winnipeg Blue Bombers—“Edmonton will band together in the face of terror. We won’t be divided. Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected. #edmontonstrong.” — former Edmonton Oiler Ryan Smyth on Twitter—“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the Edmonton attacks and their loved ones.” — former NDP Leader Tom Mulcair on Twitter.—“All Canadians have been, and will continue to be unequivocal: terrorist ideologies have no place in our country. Canada is not immune to the threat of terrorism. Only with unity, resolve and determination, will our great country defeat terrorism here at home and around the world.” — Federal Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer in a statement—“All Calgarians stand with our sisters and brothers in Edmonton in the wake of last night’s terror attack. We all condemn this terrible act of violence and hatred … I also know this: Albertans are resilient and this will not weaken the strong and diverse community that defines us.” — Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi in a statement—“Shocked by the suspected terror attack in Edmonton. I’ve reached out to Edmonton Mayor @DonIveson this morning to express my concern & my hope that those injured will recover quickly. We will continue to do everything we can to fight terrorism.” — Toronto Mayor John Tory on Twitter—“Our thoughts & prayers are w/ victims of last night’s terrorist attack in #yeg. Saskatchewan stands with our friends in Edmonton & across AB.” — Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall on Twitter—“We will not tolerate intolerance. We condemn hate here and across Canada. Thoughts and prayers are with the people of Edmonton.” — Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister in a tweet—last_img read more

Quebec man paralyzed in mosque shooting to receive 400K for new home

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first_imgMONTREAL – A man who lost the use of his legs in last year’s Quebec City mosque shooting is set to receive the $400,000 that was raised to buy him a wheelchair-accessible home.The Muslim-Canadian non-profit DawaNet says it will deliver the funds to Aymen Derbali on Saturday.Derbali, a father of three, was paralyzed from the waist down when a shooter opened fire in the mosque on Jan. 29, 2017, killing six.DawaNet says it received donations from more than 4,800 donors in 40 countries after it launched an online fundraiser in December.Derbali is currently living in a rehabilitation centre but has said he hopes to move out by this summer.Alexandre Bissonnette pleaded guilty this week to six charges of first-degree murder and six of attempted murder in connection with the shooting.last_img read more

Canada notified in advance but not asked to help with Syria airstrikes

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first_imgLIMA, Peru – Canada was told in advance that the U.S., Britain and France were planning to launch airstrikes against Syria, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Saturday — but was not asked to participate.“We were apprised in advance of the operation,” Trudeau told reporters at the end of a three-day visit to Peru. “We were very supportive. And there was no request for Canada to join as part of that operation.”The comments came as the international community was still grappling with the aftermath of the Friday’s airstrikes against the Syrian government in retaliation for a suspected chemical-weapons attack that killed dozens of people.U.S. officials have said the strikes hit three chemical-weapons facilities, including one in Damascus and two in Homs. U.S. President Donald Trump hailed the attacks on Twitter as “perfectly executed,” adding: “Mission Accomplished!”Syria has denied launching any chemical-weapons attacks, including one on April 7 in the rebel-held enclave of Douma that killed at least 43 people and injured hundreds more and was the catalyst for Friday’s airstrikes.Russia, which has emerged as Syrian President Bashar Assad’s strongest supporter, previously suggested Israel and Britain were behind the Douma attack and expressed outrage Saturday over the airstrikes.The U.S., Canada and their allies have largely dismissed Damascus’s denials and said the strikes were necessary, but have not said how they know that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical-weapon attacks.The joint airstrikes occurred as Trudeau was attending the Summit of the Americas, which brings together leaders from across the Western Hemisphere every four years, and which was largely overshadowed by the Syria crisis.Earlier in the day, U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence thanked Canada for backing the strikes and explicitly singled Trudeau out for praise during his address to summit participants.For his part, Trudeau described the airstrikes as “unfortunate, but necessary” to stop the Syrian government from launching further chemical-weapons attacks against civilians.“This is something we cannot accept, the use of chemical weapons on civilians,” he said, “and the international community needs to continue to stand extremely strongly as we continue to hold Syria accountable.”The prime minister also had some tough words for Russia, not only for its support to the Syrian government, but also its actions in Ukraine and the poisoning of a former Russian spy. Moscow has denied responsibility for the poisoning.“These are things that have demonstrated that Russia is not interested in being a positive actor in the global rules-based order and the rest of the international community needs to stand firmly united,” Trudeau said.last_img read more

Demand for EI sickness benefits on the rise NDP cites need for

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first_imgOTTAWA – More and more Canadians are applying for federal help as they take time away from work to battle serious illness — and almost four out of every 10 applicants are maxing out their benefits.Since 2015, demand for sickness benefits under the federal employment insurance program has reached a 10-year high, with more than half of successful applicants taking 10 or more weeks’ worth of payments.The figures, contained in a recent report to Parliament, show more than 142,000 people used their maximum allotment of 15 weeks in 2017, an increase of about eight per cent from the previous year. The most recent report on the EI system for the fiscal year ending March 2017 found the duration of benefits increased with age, with those over 55 using an average of 10.5 weeks of benefits.Sickness benefits cost the EI system $1.6 billion in 2017.There aren’t any scientific studies on the people who rely on sickness benefits to provide a definitive explanation about what is fuelling the increase in demand, said Donna Wood, an expert on the EI system from the University of Victoria.Nor does there appear to be many demands for changes even as demand increases, she said.“Every year, sickness benefits continue to go up,” Wood said. “In terms of policy change, nothing has changed. It’s still 15 weeks of benefits and nobody seems to pay that much attention to it.”Since 2015, the Liberals have changed eligibility rules for regular employment insurance benefits, extended parental leave to 18 months without adding any extra money, created five weeks of optional leave for non-birthing parents and expanded the scope of compassionate care leave.But sickness benefits have thus far not been targeted for any major changes, leaving it as the only one of the so-called special EI benefits that hasn’t received a Liberal makeover.The federal department overseeing the program is scheduled to conduct an evaluation on the benefit this fiscal year.NDP jobs critic Niki Ashton said the fact that so many people are using up their benefit is evidence that the 47-year-old program needs an update.“We’ve heard from folks with heartbreaking stories about the stress that comes with having to be right back at work, or be back at work when you’re still not well,” Ashton said.“This is a benefit that is there to support people in getting better, rather than contributing to them becoming worse off.”Michael Brewster, a spokesman for Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos, said the government has already made improvements to sickness benefits to give people more options for returning to work.In the 2018 budget, the Liberal government agreed to allow new parents and those recovering from illnesses to work while receiving benefits without jeopardizing their EI payments.“It will soon be possible for people who are sick and who choose to go back to work part time to do so while continuing to receive benefits,” Brewster said.“The important work of improving our EI system continues as we ensure it is responsive to the reality of today’s families.”— Follow @jpress on Twitter.last_img read more

Alberta United Conservative leader says no confusion sowed on India trip

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first_imgWATCH: Jason Kenney’s trip to India is being questioned CALGARY – Alberta Opposition Leader Jason Kenney says he didn’t sow confusion on his recent trade trip to India, and says the contacts he renewed there can only help the province.Kenney also mocked Trade Minister Deron Bilous for saying his office is now doing “damage control” with Indian officials to make sure Kenney’s role and the provincial position on trade issues is clear.“I don’t think they would know who to call,” Kenney said Monday.“In the three-and-a-half years they’ve been in office, neither Premier (Rachel) Notley nor the trade minister has bothered to visit India, the world’s fastest-growing, second-largest market. I have 20 years of deep connections in that country.”Kenney, along with fellow United Conservative MLAs Prasad Panda and Devin Dreeshen, toured India last week, meeting with senior government and oil and gas officials.They also expressed concern about Indian tariffs on pulse crops.Kenney said he went as Alberta’s official Opposition leader and used the trip to renew and strengthen relations with Indian officials established previously while working as a federal cabinet minister.He said the talks will help the province, particularly if Kenney’s party wins power in the spring election.“Should we elect a Conservative government next year, we will already have hypercharged our relationship with the senior commercial and political leadership in India,” he said.“I think that’s good for Alberta.”Kenney also appeared to reverse himself on a core criticism of Notley’s government. He has said that Alberta’s tax system, particularly the carbon tax, is counterproductive and undermining investment, but in India he told a TV reporter that Alberta is a prime spot for investment because of many factors, including low taxes.Premier Rachel Notley dismissed Kenney on Monday for playing “minister of make believe” abroad.“He was in India, I understand, suggesting that he was a member of our cabinet and extolling the virtues of our government’s policies,” said Notley. “I think he’s either seen the light or, conversely, getting started a little early on the pot legalization.”Kenney said for him partisan politics stops when he goes abroad.“It’s unfortunate the NDP here sought to politicize it, but I was very careful — we were very careful — in our time there not to mention a single word of criticism of the Alberta government. To the contrary, we talked up Alberta,” said Kenney.“When I leave the borders of Canada, I’m on Team Alberta.”Bilous has said Alberta has extensive and ongoing relations with India, adding that Agriculture Minister Oneil Carlier has made two recent trips there.Bilous said damage control was needed last week because one senior Indian government official referred to Kenney as a cabinet minister and it wasn’t clear what was being discussed in the meetings.— By Dean Bennett in Edmontonlast_img read more

We have to build some trust here legalizing cannabis sales on Mohawk

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first_imgMONTREAL – For the Mohawk territory of Kahnawake, cannabis legalization is an opportunity to correct the mistakes of the past regarding tobacco.Smoke shacks selling tax-free cigarettes are pervasive in the community across the St. Lawrence River from Montreal, and their owners have no obligation to give money back to citizens, says Joe Delaronde, spokesman for the Mohawk Council.The federal government was part of the problem, he explained, “giving tobacco licences willy-nilly.”“People became very frustrated with that over time,” Delaronde added. “And even though some people gave back — some just pocketed (all the revenue).”But while lucrative tobacco shops abound in Kahnawake, selling, distributing or manufacturing cannabis on the territory remains illegal.Kahnawake is currently drafting its own cannabis legislation and taking its time to make sure citizens’ concerns are heard, said Delaronde.“We have to build some trust here,” he explained. “We need our own laws to make sure we have control over the situation.”Opinion in Kahnawake on legalizing cannabis sales is split.The council recently released results of an opinion polls that surveyed 425 people in the community, 55 per cent of whom either “agreed or strongly agreed” with allowing the legal sale of cannabis on the territory.Kahnawake’s cannabis bill could be adopted before Christmas, Delaronde said, but committees will still need to create a series of rules and regulations to compliment the law, which will ensure the final legislation only enters into force much later.The council is also still working out if and how the community will impose a “royalty” on cannabis sales — or to tax non-Indigenous people who come into the community to buy the product.Delaronde says charging a royalty could ensure cannabis is not cheaper on the territory than in the rest of the province.“If the price is lower in Kahnawake are we encouraging our young people to smoke more?” Delaronde asked.The legal process Kahnawake is going through to legalize cannabis sales is highlighting a tension between the federal, provincial, and First Nations governments regarding who has final authority over the drug.Ottawa legalized cannabis on Oct. 17 and left it up to the provinces to draft laws regulating the sale of the product on their territory.Quebec, for instance, bans all cannabis sales outside its government-run stores.Kahnawake, however, is located within Quebec, but its leaders are drafting a law that would create the community’s own sales and production network.In other Mohawk communities, such as Kanesatake, just north of Montreal, the increasing number of cannabis dispensaries is causing tension between shop operators, the band council and the police.While in Akwesasne, a Mohawk community that straddles the Quebec, Ontario and New York state borders, its council passed what it called “interim” cannabis legislation on Oct. 17.Until Akwesasne passes the official law, anyone on the territory wishing to “produce, sell or distribute cannabis must be licensed to do so” by the council.Quebec’s Health Department said in a statement that the province’s law allows First Nations communities to “enter into agreements” with the province regarding cannabis legislation.“No agreement has so far been signed,” the statement to The Canadian Press read.And while First Nations councils are asserting jurisdiction over their territories, they are facing the reality that cannabis production is complex and many communities — at least for the moment — need help.Ghislain Picard, regional chief of the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador, said his organization unanimously adopted a resolution stating the federal and provincial governments will not dictate laws about cannabis on their territories.“But that being said, (the resolution) is not quite wishful thinking — but it’s not far from that either,” Picard said in an interview. “Because the capacity (to regulate cannabis) is not necessarily there yet.”Kahnawake’s cannabis bill, for instance, is relying partly on the federal cannabis framework, and requires anyone seeking to produce marijuana on the territory to obtain a licence from Health Canada as well as the Mohawk council.“Do we have expertise to ensure that the product is safe?” Delaronde asked. “No, we don’t. So, in order to do this properly there is no choice in the matter but to follow the guidelines and laws and parameters of what’s out there.“Safety and health are paramount.”But that doesn’t mean the Mohawks of Kahnawake aren’t interested in eventually developing the capacity to regulate cannabis entirely on their own.“At some point,” Delaronde said, “we aren’t closing the door.”The council has already signed a non-binding agreement with Canopy Growth Corp. that would see the First Nation host a 4,650-square-metre cannabis production facility, plus a processing and packaging space nearly half that size, in partnership with Canada’s largest cannabis company.But despite the potential for significant council revenues and economic growth from the cannabis industry, Kahnawake wants to make sure this time around, cannabis doesn’t go the way of tobacco.“Once the (tobacco) genie left the bottle it was too late to do anything about it,” Delaronde said. “Now we are getting ahead of the game on (cannabis). The vast majority of the people here want it regulated.”last_img read more