By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsAttawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence has signed off on her will and is prepared for death, APTN National News has been told.Spence’s will includes a description of who will care for her daughters and she has also signed off on directions requesting non-intervention if her health takes a turn for the worse. The documents are in the hands of her lawyer, aides told APTN National News.Spence began her hunger strike Dec. 11 to force a meeting between Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Gov. Gen. David Johnston and First Nations leaders.Harper is scheduled to meet with a delegation of First Nations leaders, youth and elders on Friday.Johnston’s office, however, has said he would not be attending.Spence has said she would not be attending the meeting if Johnston did not go and would continue her hunger strike.Spence’s spokesman Danny Metatawabin told chiefs Wednesday they should cancel or walk-out of the meeting if Johnston did not attend.Johnston represents the Crown, which entered into treaties with First Nations. The Johnston’s presence is viewed as essential by some because he represents the original treaty relationship.Spence has sent a letter to Queen Elizabeth II requesting she direct Johnston to attend.While some chiefs are seriously considering canceling or walking out of the meeting, Six Nations Chief Bill Montour said Spence should end her hunger strike on Friday.“For her own health, Jan. 11 should be the end of the hunger strike,” said Montour. “She has the attention of the world and let the world judge Harper.”This is not the first time a First Nations leader has asked Spence to end her hunger strike. Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Derek Nepinak also asked Spence to end her hunger strike in a Christmas Eve letter.“I believe that you have accomplished the efforts for which you have set out to do and I plead with you now to take down your camp, return to your people and embrace your loved ones,” wrote Nepinak in the letter.Montour said First Nations leaders should attend the meeting with the prime minister, even if Johnston does not attend.“You never walk out of a meeting, if you walk out you are defeated,” said Montour.Spence has consumed no solid food, taking only on cups of fish broth, herbal teas and water since she began the hunger strike. Spence’s health is rapidly deteriorating, she has been complaining of pains from her stomach contracting over lack of solid food, has lost at least 22 lbs and is increasingly fatigued, her life partner Clayton Kennedy told APTN National News. Kennedy also said her blood-sugar level has been firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsManitoba Keeewatinowi Okimakanak Grand Chief David Harper’s plan to classify sponsors for the upcoming Assembly of First Nation election event in Winnipeg by traditional clan designations has upset some chiefs in his organization.Chiefs gathered at the AFN’s annual general assembly in Halifax this week selected MKO to host the election for national chief in Winnipeg this coming December.The dismal state of MKO’s finances, however, has led MKO-member chiefs to question whether the organization had the financial ability to host such a large and important event. The organization has been warned the federal Aboriginal Affairs department could put it into co-management or third party management if it doesn’t get its books in order.Yet, despite this, Harper said during the AFN assembly MKO was “financially ready” to host the event.Harper refused requests from APTN National News for an interview.A spokesperson for MKO said the organization would be relying on the Manitoba government, Tourism Winnipeg and third-party sponsors to help pay the bills.In an effort to attract cash, MKO plans to award Bear, Eagle, Sturgeon and Wolf Clan designation to sponsors, according to a sponsorship package obtained by APTN National News. The sponsorship package was drawn up on the assumption the AFN election would be held on Sept. 30.APTN National News confirmed the sponsorship clan plan remains the same for the December event.The document shows that a sponsor who contributes $75,000 or more to the AFN election event will be classified as Bear Clan. An Eagle Clan designation will go to sponsors who contribute $50,000, a Sturgeon Clan designation will be bestowed on sponsors contributing $25,000 and the Wolf Clan goes to sponsors who put up $15,000.Bear, Eagle and Sturgeon Clan-level sponsors will get a chance to attend a private reception with the newly elected national chief, according to the document. All clan-designated sponsors will have a seat on the planning committee for the event.The use of traditional clan designation, however, has upset some MKO member chiefs.“Trying to utilize our sacred clan system for the purpose of this nature is not right. As Indigenous people, a clan system is very sacred to us and to use it as an economic development strategy is not something we should do,” said an MKO-member chief who requested anonymity. “That is not right using our sacred clan system.”Harper’s plan to sell sponsorships for a “spiritual services event” to coincide with the AFN election is also causing concern. Harper, who is a born-again Christian, has organized Gospel jamborees to coincide with MKO events and there is suspicion among some MKO chiefs that the organization’s money is used to support revival services.“There were certain things that were not budgeted for that the grand chief insisted would get funded,” said another MKO member chief. “There were certain revivals (Evangelical Christian services) that he would associate with the businesses we were doing. He has these Gospel jamboree that are usually loosely connected to events that MKO hosts and he would us MKO funds for this.”An official with MKO, who was not authorized to speak on behalf of the organization, said revival and “prayer services” are paid for by sponsorship dollars.Harper is facing increasing discontent from the MKO chiefs who voted him into the job. There is a move to oust the grand chief over allegations of financial mismanagement and suspect transactions with MKO dollars.MKO is facing major financial difficulties, according to documents obtained by APTN National News that showed the organization faced a $976, 025 accumulated deficit as of March 2013.MKO member chiefs say they have received little information about the current state of the organization’s finances. MKO.MKO is currently under a forensic investigation called for the executive council of chiefs. The results of the most recent phase of the forensic audit is expected to be tabled at MKO’s chiefs meeting next week in Norway House First Nation, Man.The forensic audit report will reveal that laptops and cell phones were tampered with before they were handed over to auditors conducting the investigation, according to a copy obtained by APTN National News.Harper is also facing allegations he tried to obstruct the forensic email@example.com@JorgeBarrera
APTN InFocus:On Wednesday, December 10th at 6:30pm ET we’re putting the election of National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations InFocus.We’re broadcasting live from the Convention Centre in downtown Winnipeg on the day Chiefs choose their national leader.Our guests will join host/producer, Cheryl McKenzie, to share their perspective on the issues influencing the decision of who gets in.Here are our InFocus guests for the live show: Arthur Manuel, former Chief of the Neskonlith Indian Band and the son of George Manuel who was a leader in the Constitutional Express that ensured Aboriginal rights and title were recognized in the 1982 Constitution Act;Russell Diabo, Mohawk from Kahnawake, and Publisher and Editor of the First Nations Strategic Bulletin; Joan Jack, Anishinaabekwe from Beren’s River First Nation in Manitoba; Lawyer and previous AFN National Chief candidate.WATCH these clips from the candidates to get a sense of where they’re coming from.They appear in alphabetical order: Perry Bellegarde, Leon Jourdain and Ghislain Picard.(Video clips recorded at candidates forum in Winnipeg, Nov.6/14) Cheryl Maloney, President of the Nova Scotia Native Women’s Association and daughter of Reginald Maloney, the long-time Chief of the Mi’Kmaq Shubenacadie Band who took his fight for treaty rights all the way to the Supreme Court and won; and
APTN National NewsThe remote First Nation of Garden Hill in northern Manitoba has been working hard to tackle food insecurity.The Meechim Farm is a self-sustaining community project.It’s creating jobs producing affordable food and teaching youth traditional food practices.It’s even caught the attention of a documentary filmmaker.APTN’s April Johnson has this story.
The Canadian PressCALGARY – The CEO of oilsands giant Suncor Energy Inc. says he’s confident new oil pipelines will be built after hosting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at its newly opened Fort Hills oilsands mine in early April.The message he left with Trudeau was that pipeline access must be assured if the industry is to attract the capital it needs to grow, Steve Williams said on a conference call on Wednesday.“We don’t want these new projects to have to bear the burden of some of these (oil price) differentials,” he said, reiterating Suncor’s commitment to building no new major oilsands projects without new pipelines.“The simple measure will be we want to see shovels in ground and pipelines being built.”His comments came the same day First Nations chiefs from Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia held a news conference in which they vowed to resort to large-scale civil disobedience if Kinder Morgan’s controversial Trans Mountain pipeline from Alberta to the B.C. coast goes ahead without the consent of local First Nations.The Trans Mountain pipeline is a hot issue in western Canada as two premiers threaten one another with a trade war, while hundreds of people have been arrested while protesting the expansion of the 1,150 km project.On Wednesday, the Treaty Alliance Against Expansion of the Tar Sands held a news conference to talk about the Trans Mountain expansion.In a release sent later in the day, the group says First Nations cannot be bribed into signing onto these kinds of projects.“If we cannot have a say as to what goes on in our territories, free from economic coercion and threats, particularly in the case of dangerous projects like Kinder Morgan, Canada cannot say that it respects the rights of Indigenous Peoples,” said Chief Judy Wilson of the Neskonlith Indian Band, which is part of the Secwepemc Nation in B.C. whose territory much of the pipeline would need to pass through.According to the release, the Treaty Alliance is also calling for an independent investigation into the project’s approval process.But Williams said he’s “greatly encouraged” by what Alberta and federal governments are saying recently and believes even the Trans Mountain expansion project will be built, despite proponent Kinder Morgan threatening to abandon it if it isn’t reassured about its construction by the end of May.Later, on the sidelines of Suncor’s annual general meeting, Williams said he hopes that “good sense and reason prevail” but added Suncor has a contingency plan in case Alberta follows through with its plan to restrict oil or refined fuel exports through the existing Trans Mountain pipeline to B.C.Also on the call, Williams said he also believes Enbridge Inc.’s Line 3 pipeline replacement project into the U.S. Midwest will proceed, despite an ongoing disagreement in Minnesota over its routing.Suncor reported net earnings fell to $789 million, compared to $1.35 billion in the same period of firstname.lastname@example.org@aptnnews
The Canadian PressMetis and non status Indians across Canada are seeking damages for the alleged harms inflicted on them by the Canadian government during the ’60s Scoop, according to a proposed class action filed on Thursday.In an untested statement of claim, the survivors of the Scoop argue they were deprived of their identities by being taken from their families and placed with non-Indigenous families.As a result, they say, they suffered mental, emotional and other harms.“Aboriginal communities describe the ’60s Scoop as destructive to their culture,” the claim in Federal Court asserts. “Canada was careless, reckless, wilfully blind, or deliberately accepting of, or was actively promoting, a policy of cultural assimilation.”Among other things, the claim seeks a court declaration that the government breached its duty toward the plaintiffs and seeks unspecified damages.Garth Myers, lawyer for the plaintiffs, said on Thursday it was unclear how many people might be taken in by the class at this point or what an appropriate level of compensation might be if the claim were to succeed.Earlier this year, the government struck an $800-million settlement of a similar class action _ one involving on-reserve Indigenous people who became victims of the ’60s Scoop _ in which each victim would receive up to $50,000. Lawyers for the plaintiffs say it’s time Canada recognized its actions taken in the ’60s Scoop affected a much larger group of Indigenous people.In June, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett said the settlement agreement did not address “all of the harm” done by the ’60s Scoop. More work needed to be done with Metis and non-status peoples, she said.“They have waited far too long to be recognized and for the harm done to them to be acknowledged,” Bennett said of the on-reserve victims. “They should not be made to wait any longer nor suffer through any more court battles.”Bennett had no immediate comment to the proposed action.The proposed representative plaintiff in the case is Toronto-born Brian Day, 44, a Metis who now lives in Ottawa.According to the claim, Day was raised in accordance with his family’s Metis tradition that included hunting until age four, when the Kawartha-Haliburton Children’s Aid Society took him from his family and placed him for seven years with a non-Aboriginal family in Sudbury, Ont.“Mr. Day was told by his non-aboriginal adopted family that he was not Metis or Indigenous,” the claim asserts. “For years, he was told by this family that he was white and Scottish.”Given his upbringing, Day has lost his Metis cultural identity and cannot speak French, the claim states.“Because of ’60s Scoop, Mr. Day is emotionally, spiritually and culturally disconnected,” the claim says. “He feels alienated, anxious, hopeless, sad, frustrated, and resentful.”email@example.com@aptnnews
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Long-haul carrier Emirates purchased 40 American-made Boeing 787-10 Dreamliners on Sunday at the start of the biennial Dubai Air Show, a $15.1 billion deal certain to please U.S. President Donald Trump who has touted the plane’s sales as a job creator in America.The deal appeared to surprise Boeing’s archrival Airbus, whose staff had attended a long-delayed news conference and left the room just moments before the announcement.Airbus has pinned hopes of continuing production of its double-decker jumbo jet on Emirates, the world’s largest operator of the aircraft which took delivery of its 100th A380 earlier this month. Reports circulated before the air show that a major A380 sale would be coming.But instead, Emirates CEO and Chairman Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum explained how the airline considered the Airbus A350 and decided to pick the Boeing 787-10.“We were comparing the two apples,” he said, but found that the Boeing 787 is “the best option” for Emirates “given its maintenance and so on.”It’s the second time Airbus has lost out on selling the A350 to Emirates. In June 2014, the state-owned Emirates cancelled an order for 70 A350s after a “fleet requirement” review.The Boeing 787-10 typically lists for $312.8 million. Delivery will begin in 2022.Chicago-based Boeing Co. already has 171 787-10s on order. Among those waiting for the aircraft are Abu Dhabi-based Etihad.The twin-engine 787-10, however, has been a focus of Trump since he came into office. In February, he visited the Boeing plant in North Charleston, South Carolina, which manufactures the carbon-fiber, 330-seat plane Trump described as “an amazing piece of art.”“As your president I’m going to do everything I can to unleash the power of the American spirit and to put our great people back to work,” Trump said at the time. “This is our mantra: Buy American and hire American.”Sheikh Ahmed made a point to say the deal will help create more jobs, echoing Trump’s mantra. The deal was signed in the presence of Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also serves as the United Arab Emirates’ prime minister and vice-president.“The order will take Emirates’ total (number of) wide body aircraft of the Boeing to 204 aircrafts, units worth over $90 billion,” Sheikh Ahmed said. “This is a long-term commitment that supports hundreds of thousands of jobs, not only at Boeing but also throughout the aviation supply chain.”Trump and the White House made no immediate comment on the sale amid the president’s trip to the Philippines on Sunday.Emirates’ business has suffered under Trump’s travel bans affecting predominantly Muslim nations, as well as the recent ban on laptops in airplane cabins. Emirates said it slashed 20 per cent of its flights to the U.S. in the wake of the restrictions, though Dubai International Airport remains the world’s busiest international travel hub.Emirates now relies solely on the Airbus 380 and the Boeing 777 for its flights, making it the largest operator of both. It now has 165 Boeing 777s in its fleet today.Last week, the U.S. plane manufacturer secured an order valued at more than $37 billion at list price for 300 of its single-aisle and double-aisle planes during Trump’s visit to China. Trump also was present for the signing ceremony last month between Boeing and Singapore Airlines for 39 new aircraft, including 19 of the 787 Dreamliner, in a deal worth up to $14 billion.While a big sale, the Dubai Air Show opened Sunday on what seemed to be a quieter note. The only other major sale for airplane manufacturers involved Azerbaijan Airlines, which will buy five Boeing 787-8s, two other freighter aircraft and landing gear maintenance from it for some $1.9 billion. The UAE’s Defence Ministry signed a $1.6 billion deal with Lockheed Martin to upgrade dozens of its F-16 fighters.It’s a far cry from 2013, when airlines made $140 billion in new orders before the collapse of global oil prices. Prices have rebounded recently to around $60 a barrel.Other airlines than Emirates are taking part, but missing from the trade show this year is one of the region’s largest long-haul carriers, Qatar Airways, amid a diplomatic fallout between Qatar and four Arab nations. Qatar Airways previously had played a big role in the Dubai Air Show, reserving a large pavilion and displaying its latest aircraft to visitors.Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain cut ties with Qatar in June over its ties with Iran and its support of Islamist groups, accusing the small Gulf state of supporting extremists, charges it denies. The Arab quartet cut direct flights with Qatar and closed their airspace to Qatari aircraft.Meanwhile, Emirates unveiled new, state-of-the-art, first class private suites.In an industry first, passenger suites in the middle aisle without windows will be fitted with “virtual windows” relaying the sky outside via fiber optic cameras on the plane. There’s also a video call feature in the suites that connects passengers to the cabin crew, as well as temperature control and various mood lighting settings.Emirates President Tim Clark declined to say how much a ticket in the 40 square-foot (3.7-square-meter) private suite will cost. The private suites will be available on the airline’s Boeing 777.
TORONTO – Facebook and Instagram will charge the goods and services tax on online advertisements purchased through their Canadian operations, but other technology giants said they aren’t ready to follow suit just yet.The U.S.-based social media networks said they decided to apply the taxes by mid-2019 in an effort to “provide more transparency to governments and policy makers around the world who have called for greater visibility over the revenue associated with locally supported sales in their countries.”The federal government has long faced pressure to force foreign online services to apply sales taxes to their work, but has shied away from such measures, despite its international trade committee urging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to make online services pay the taxes so small- and medium-sized businesses don’t lose customers to larger firms based abroad.The decision to charge the taxes could create a windfall for the federal government and bring it closer to the 2020 deadline it set with other G20 countries to develop an international tax plan to address companies that are based in one country but have the potential to pay taxes in another.In the wake of Facebook and Instagram’s announcement, a spokesperson for Twitter Canada said it does not currently charge sales taxes on ads and a representative for Uber Canada said it already applies sales taxes on all of its rides and food delivery orders in the country.Google referred The Canadian Press to statements the company made back in May indicating that it would comply with legislation, should the federal government create regulations to require the collection of such taxes on digital sales.The company noted that it already plans to comply with similar legislation Quebec passed around its sales tax.Meanwhile, streaming service Netflix said only that it “pays all taxes when required by law.”Short-term rental company Airbnb previously asked the federal government for regulation around taxes.“We think as a platform our hosts should pay taxes. I know people get shocked when we say that, but we do. We think we should be contributing,” Alex Dagg, Airbnb’s public policy manager in Canada, said in an interview.“We just need to figure out what are the appropriate rules in place to do that and how can we facilitate that.”With files from Jordan Press in Ottawa
PTOLEMAIDA, Greece — If earthquakes struck in slow motion, the results might be visible in a place like the Greek village of Anargyri, a hardscrabble enclave in a black landscape gutted by coal mining.The village in northern Greece once had more than 400 people. Now it has fewer than 50, after being torn apart over decades. Its roads are slowly buckling, its door frames have shifted, its walls and home foundations have cracked beyond repair. Residents are leaving not in panic but out of desperation.One after another, the tiny villages in Greece’s lignite belt have been destroyed by mining as the ground becomes too unsteady to hold homes upright. Bells at one church in the area are not rung regularly for fear of causing more cracks in the walls.Cattle farmer Michalis Bitas first noticed the damage to homes in Anargyri in 1986.“That’s when mining started locally. It slowly began to eat up the houses before it went on to eat us up too,” he said.Bitas is from one of the few dozen households in the village who have refused a power company’s offer to move them to a rented apartment in a nearby town. These villagers are demanding full compensation for their homes — a right only granted by law if mining occurs directly below a settlement.“I have sheep and machinery. What am I supposed to do? Move them into an apartment?” Bitas said.Heavy-duty coal excavators and vehicles on the horizon near the village look like toy trucks, dwarfed by the scale of the blackened mining fields.Greek is still hooked on coal, despite warnings about the dire consequences of global warming issued both by a new scientific report and experts at the recent U.N. climate talks in Poland and despite ambitious European Union-wide targets to replace coal use with renewable energy.Greece is currently the world’s 12th largest producer of lignite — known as brown coal — mining 36 million tons annually, according to U.S. federal government energy data. Lignite is a low-grade coal that throws off higher carbon dioxide emissions than black coal. It is often burned near where it is mined since its low energy density makes it too expensive to transport very far.Nearly a third of Greece’s electricity is produced by coal-fired plants and the country has no phase-out plan to stop using domestically produced coal, unlike most parts of Western Europe. Despite abundant wind and sun, only around 15 per cent of Greece’s energy is produced by renewable sources. Most of its reduction in coal use in recent years has been offset by an increased use of imported natural gas.Under measures hammered out with Greece’s bailout creditors, the state-controlled power company, PPC, will privatize three coal-fired electricity plants, prolonging their life.Also, contrary to many of its EU neighbours, Greece is on course to expand its dependence on oil and gas as the nation tries to attract overseas investment to counter a financial crisis that lasted nearly a decade. The Greek government has embarked on a major exploration drive for oil and gas off its western and southern coasts.The oil and gas ventures have alarmed environmental groups, which have issued an urgent plea to the Greek government to reverse its course and switch investments to the renewable sources like solar and wind power.“We must act directly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but our country is moving in the opposite direction,” a letter addressed to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said. It was signed by 34 environmental and human rights groups, including Greenpeace, the World Wide Fund for Nature, Amnesty International and Doctors Without Borders.Greece is planning to invest “in fossil fuels for decades, along with worrying delivery of hundreds of thousands of square kilometres, on and offshore, for hydrocarbon extraction,” the letter said. “This would surrender the country to the nightmare consequences of climate change.”In Anargyri, despite the destruction of their homes, residents have mixed feelings about coal, since PPC is a key employer that provides 5,000 local jobs. The other attraction is that lignite, mined domestically, is not vulnerable to financial market swings or geopolitical shocks, unlike imported oil and gas, which in Greece mostly comes from Russia.“Clearly, lignite activity will be reduced and will be replaced by other sources of energy, renewable sources of energy,” PPC executive Konstantinos Theodoridis told The Associated Press.“But lignite will continue to be a strategic fuel that, in any geopolitical instability, is the only energy-producing fuel that is absolutely controlled by our country,” he said.___Derek Gatopoulos in Athens contributed. Follow Kantouris at http://www.twitter.com/CostasKantouris___Read more about climate issues from The Associated Press at https://www.apnews.com/ClimateCostas Kantouris, The Associated Press
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Luis von Ahn, the 40-year-old co-founder and CEO of popular language-learning app Duolingo, says one of the challenges of seeing his business grow is having to let go of doing everything. Motivating people and trusting them become important, he says.The Pittsburgh-based startup employs 150 people and has grown rapidly since its 2014 launch. It had more than $40 million in revenue this year and boasts 300 million users worldwide.Von Ahn spoke with The Associated Press after winning the prestigious Lemelson-MIT Prize for inventors who’ve made a positive social impact. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.Q: How did you learn how to manage people as Duolingo grew?A: This is probably the toughest thing I’ve done. As a professor I spent most of my time coming up with inventions or new products. With Duolingo it’s been a shift. Over time, you get to a point where you don’t know everybody’s name. You’re not even talking directly to the people who are doing the stuff. It’s about learning how to motivate and direct a large group of very intelligent people. Usually intelligent people have their own will, their own ideas. It’s a balance between letting them innovate by themselves, but also everybody pointing in the same direction.Q: How’d you figure it out?A: Most of it was through trial and error. My approach to most things in life is, “OK, we’re going to try this, as long as you know what the success condition is.” What’s failure, what’s success? As long as you’re pretty good at that, you can try a lot of things. And as long as everyone you’re working with knows you have the company’s best interests in mind, they allow you to try things.Q: How did you let go from being involved in everything?A: It’s been very difficult. One of the reasons why Duolingo was successful early on was because I was very detail-oriented. I was on top of every single thing. It was psychologically difficult for me to let go. It was a tough realization when the product didn’t get any worse when I stopped being on top of it. But eventually you get through it because you have to. It is now literally impossible for me to be on top of everything we do. I just can’t. It’s available in multiple platforms, multiple languages. I can’t test everything myself.Q: Is it any easier to grow a tech company in Pittsburgh than in San Francisco or New York?A: Probably the biggest difference is the amount of time each person stays in the company. People come to Duolingo and very rarely leave. We have much less churn of employees. On the flip side, there’s just not that many people in the ecosystem. We put a billboard on U.S. 101 in San Francisco that says, “Own a home, work in tech, move to Pittsburgh.” We’ve gotten a ton of applicants.Matt O’Brien, The Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — New Year’s Eve revelers in Utah could find themselves with more than a hangover as 2019 dawns. If they drink and drive, they could end up on the wrong side of the nation’s newest and lowest DUI threshold.The 0.05 per cent limit goes into effect Sunday, despite protests that it will punish responsible drinkers and hurt the state’s tourism industry by adding to the reputation that the predominantly Mormon state is unfriendly to those who drink alcohol. The state’s old limit was 0.08 per cent, the threshold in most states.For Utah lawmakers, the change is a safety measure aimed at encouraging people not to drive at all if they’ve been drinking.The change was easily approved in 2017 by the Legislature, which is mostly Mormon and mostly Republican, and signed into law by Gov. Gary Herbert, also a Republican and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The religion teaches its members to abstain from drinking alcohol.“The vast majority of people nationwide think that if a person has been drinking they shouldn’t be driving,” said Republican Rep. Norm Thurston, who sponsored the measure.The change means that depending on things such as food intake, a 150-pound man could be over the 0.05 limit after two beers in an hour, while a 120-pound woman could exceed it after a single drink in that time, according to figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.The National Transportation Safety Board also backs the change, and many in the hospitality industry worry that other states will follow suit. Utah was among the first to adopt the now-standard 0.08 threshold decades ago, and lawmakers in four states — Washington, Hawaii, Delaware and New York — have floated measures to lower their DUI limit in recent years. None has passed.“Other states proposing the 0.05 law, don’t just follow blindly in the footsteps of Utah,” said Jackson Shedelbower, a spokesman for the American Beverage Institute, a national restaurant group.In 2017, the group took out newspaper ads in Utah, neighbouring states and in USA Today, featuring a fake mugshot under a large headline reading, “Utah: Come for vacation, leave on probation.”It’s unfair that smaller people could violate the new threshold after just one or two drinks in quick succession, even though they’re no more impaired than someone talking on a hands-free cellphone, his group argues.NTSB member Bella Dinh-Zarr countered that fears about the law are overblown. Nearly 100 countries have a similar limit, and it hasn’t correlated with less drinking per-capita. Federally funded research indicates the standard could save some 1,500 lives a year if adopted around the U.S., she said.“The restaurant industry should support this because it keeps their customers alive and drinking,” Dinh-Zarr said.Utah’s law takes effect as the state basks in the news that the U.S. Olympic Committee chose Salt Lake City over Denver as a future bid city, most likely for the 2030 Winter Olympics. State tourism officials say they’re not concerned about the law driving away visitors.With the increased use of Uber and other ride-hailing apps, many people going out for a night on the town don’t set foot in their own cars. In Utah, DUI arrests have dropped more than 50 per cent over the past seven years despite a booming population, according to state figures.Even if the law doesn’t present a practical problem, it could scare off some visitors who see the state as rigid about liquor laws, said David Corsun, director of the Daniels College of Business’ Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management. Still, it’s hard to say how big the impact might be.“If you really want to ski Utah, you’re going to ski Utah. You’re just going to figure it out,” Corsun said.Police, meanwhile, say they’re aiming to stop dangerous drivers, not target people who might have had a drink or two and could be in violation of the lowered DUI threshold.“You can’t just stop someone who left a bar because you suspect they may have used alcohol,” said Sgt. Nick Street with the Utah Highway Patrol.Still, patrons of Salt Lake City’s burgeoning bar scene do feel unfairly singled out by the change.Stopping for a whiskey after work with her sister at the upscale pub Beerhive, Maude Romney, 29, said she’ll likely only go to places she can walk to from her downtown home.“I’m paranoid about it already,” she said.A DUI charge can be expensive and have long-term effects on careers.In a booth in a corner, recent Ohio transplant Rob Wheatley, 50, said he drinks to try new craft beers, not to get drunk. He’s skeptical that the law will be a serious deterrent for binge drinkers.“I don’t know if it’s going to change anyone’s behaviour,” he said. “If they’re going to have a beer, they’re going to have a beer.”Lindsay Whitehurst, The Associated Press
ST. PAUL, Minn. — An influential Democratic congresswoman wants to know why the Environmental Protection Agency opted against filing formal comments with state regulators when they considered whether to issue a key permit for the PolyMet copper-nickel mine in Minnesota.Minnesota Rep. Betty McCollum, a critic of the project who chairs a House subcommittee that oversees the EPA, says it’s “remarkable” that the EPA did not formally weigh in before the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued the final water permit last month.McCollum was responding this week to questions from environmental group WaterLegacy. Paula Maccabee, the group’s attorney, says documents obtained from the state agency show that regional EPA staffers told the agency last fall that they had “substantial questions” about the water permit.EPA officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Steve Karnowski, The Associated Press
HUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. — The Hudson’s Hope RCMP say they responded to approximately 25 calls for service over the last four weeks. During the month of March, the Hudson’s Hope RCMP issued 33 Motor Vehicle Act Warnings and Violation Tickets. Three impaired drivers were stopped and charged during this period. The Hudson’s Hope RCMP is still investigating the incident of slashed tires of one of the police vehicles that occurred at an RCMP residence. This act of mischief put residents at risk by delaying any emergency police response that would have been needed during that night and next morning. Any residents with information can call the local detachment or Crime Stoppers to report anonymously. Anyone with information regarding current or past investigations can contact the Hudson’s Hope RCMP directly at 250-783-5241 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Visit http://crimestoppersnebc.ca/ for advice on submitting tips online and to browse the area’s “most wanted” page. The Hudson’s Hope RCMP is still investigating the attempted theft of ATM machine from the local Credit Union. Anyone with information regarding this incident can call the local detachment or Crime Stoppers to report anonymously. On March 17th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP responded to a complaint of an erratic driver on Hwy 29 heading toward Hudson’s Hope. The vehicle was located and the driver was arrested for a warrant and for being impaired by drug. Suspected drugs were located in the vehicle. Charges are pending.On March 17th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP stopped a vehicle for speeding at 153 Km/hr in the 90 Km/hr zone. The vehicle plate was not associated to the vehicle and several violation tickets were issued to the driver. On March 23rd, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP responded to two reports of the same tractor trailer spun out on two different hills along Hwy 29. The driver was issued a Notice and Order to repair or replace his tire chains as they were in poor condition causing the vehicle to spin out and block traffic on two occasions. The chains were replaced the following day. On March 24th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP observed a snowmobile travelling on local streets. The snowmobile took off but was eventually located at a local residence thanks to a tip from a citizen. The owner of the snowmobile was issued written warnings for no insurance and non-registered off road vehicle on public road. On March 31st, 2018, a vehicle was stopped for speeding and the driver was issued a 3 day immediate roadside driving prohibition after providing a breath sample. On April 8th, 2018, a driver was stopped on Beattie Drive for speeding. The driver was found to not have a driver license and failed two road side breath tests. The driver was issued a 90 day immediate road side driving prohibition, a violation ticket for no driver license, and the vehicle was impounded for 30 days. On April 15th, 2018, Hudson’s Hope RCMP responded to a local property to assist BC Conservation office with a complaint of dogs attacking a small deer. The investigation revealed that a resident had fired a firearm from a vehicle while close to a residence. A charge for careless use of firearm is being investigated and charges are pending. As the weather improves, many people will be heading out to enjoy the local trails and rivers. The RCMP would like to remind everyone to conduct themselves in a safe manner while obeying the rules and regulations pertaining to proper and safe operation of off road and marine vehicles. Know the requirements prior to heading out. Leave a travel plan with someone who will know where you are going and when you will be expected to return. Hudson’s Hope RCMP will be conducting ORV and Marine patrols throughout the area and operators may be issued tickets for non-compliance.
Dehradun: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday said if elected to power, his party will introduce a scheme of guaranteed minimum income for the poor, which will go straight into their bank accounts. Launching the Congress’s campaign for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls at a rally in Uttarakhand, Gandhi said everyone earning below a certain level would be given a guaranteed minimum income, which would go straight into the accounts of the beneficiaries. He added that India would be the first country in the world to introduce a scheme like this if the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power. The seven-phased Lok Sabha polls will be held from April 11 to May 19 and the counting of votes will be taken up on May 23.
New Delhi: The Odisha Parba 2019, a three-day mega celebration in the heart of India’s national capital New Delhi received overwhelming response by the visitors. Many visitors including foreigners relished the authentic taste of Odisha and experienced the essence of rich cultural ethos of Odisha at this event. Lakhs of visitors were thrilled with joy to witness Odisha’s magnificent journey from the ancient maritime era to the illustrious contemporary times and a vision for future of Odisha. Organized by Odia Samaj, New Delhi Odisha Parba 2019, a celebration of Odisha’s Culture, Tradition, Heritage & Cuisine was inaugurated on 15th March 2019 at India Gate Lawn No-5, New Delhi. In the valedictory ceremony of this event, Draupadi Murmu, Governor of Jharkhand was the chief guest and Dr Arijit Pasayat, former Judge, Supreme Court, Padma Vibhushan Dr Sonal Mansingh, MP, Rajya Sabha and Odisha Dance Exponent graced the occasion as Guests of Honour and Odia Samaj President, Sidhartha Pradhan, Trustee Hiranya Mohanty were also present at the occasion.
Ahmedabad: Gujarat minister Pradipsinh Jadeja on Wednesday testified in the Gujarat High Court in an election petition filed by BJP leader Balvantsinh Rajput, challenging the victory of veteran Congress leader Ahmed Patel in 2017 Rajya Sabha election.Jadeja, who is the Minister of State for Home, told high court Judge Bela Trivedi that Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil had snatched Congress turncoat Raghavjee Patel’s ballot paper after noticing that he had voted for Rajput in August 2017 Rajya Sabha election for three seats in Gujarat. He also told the court that since Congress MLAs Shailesh Parmar and Mitesh Garasiya had showed their ballot papers to persons other than the authorised agents, their ballot papers should have been cancelled, which was not done by the Election Commission (EC). When the defence lawyer asked him during his cross-examination whether seven of the fourteen rebel Congress MLAs were subsequently given tickets from the BJP to contest the December 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections as an incentive for joining the saffron party, he replied in the negative. Jadeja said that as per the decision taken by the party’s parliamentary board in consultation with the state parliamentary board, the candidates were selected based on their popularity and other factors. He also said he was not aware that Congress MLA Parmar had given a written complaint against Raghavjee to the returning officer. Ahmed Patel was declared the winner after the EC invalidated the votes of rebel Congress MLAs Bholabhai Gohel and Raghavjee Patel, bringing down the number of votes needed for the victory to 44 from 45. In his election petition, Rajput alleged that Patel had taken Congress MLAs to a resort in Bengaluru before the election, which amounted to “bribing the voters”. He also said that the EC should invalidate the votes of two Congress MLAs Parmar and Garasiya.
Kolkata: A primary school in remote Sagar block in South 24-Parganas has set a precedence in creating greenery and curbing pollution.The students of Chowranghee Primary school are using the leftover food of mid day meal and other waste products and converting them into organic fertilizers and they are using it for growing trees on the school campus. The students have also been able to store excess water of deep tubewell by preventing it from flowing outside the school and have successfully cultivated seven rare varieties of food grains. This project of cultivation of foodgrains is being supervised by noted environmentalist Amalesh Mishra. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”We are giving special emphasis to environmental studies and are imparting lessons to our students on the conservation of greenery. We are using waste to convert them into organic fertilisers. We are also storing drinking water that is wasted,” said Tapas Mondal, headmaster of Chowranghee Primary School. The school, at present, has 156 students and six teachers. Midday meal is provided to the students of these schools on a daily basis as per norms of the Ministry of Human Resource Development. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe vegetable waste and the leftovers of food are being stored by the students themselves. “We have three separate waste bins. A red bin is used for dumping of waste paper, pen, pencil and similar educational equipment. A yellow bin is being used for storing vegetable waste and food waste while a green one is being used for plastic waste. The plastic waste is being recycled for making greetings cards,” Mondal said. The rice starch is being mixed with cow dung collected from some adjacent houses in the neigbourhood. Then earthworms are released into the mixture. In three months, it is converted into fertilisers. This is being used for growing plants that have medicinal value such as basak, tulsi and kalmegh. The entire work is being done by the students and teachers of the school. The school has come up with a reservoir for storing rainwater and tubewell water, which is usually wasted. This water is being used for cultivation of seven rare food grain varieties such as Mugai, Chapakusi, Gosba, Hangra, Taldi to name a few. However, none of these food grains are being sold commercially. In future, the school has plans to encourage local residents to adopt similar practices.
Mumbai: After a long hiatus, gold is likely to glitter this Akashaya Tritiya and the industry is expecting high double-digits volume growth given the positive consumer sentiment and stable prices. Retail price of gold has come down to around Rs 31,500 per 10 grams from around Rs 33,700 in mid-February. “We expect robust demand for gold/gold jewellery this Akshaya Trithiya due to price stability since the past few months and the improved consumer sentiment since Gudi Padwa. Also Read – Commercial vehicle sales to remain subdued in current fiscal: IcraLooking at the current momentum we expect at least 10 percent demand growth this auspicious occasion,” All-India Gems & Jewellery Domestic Council chairman Anantha Padmanabhan told PTI. Expectations are conservative as the general election is still on in some parts of the country, which will impact the overall demand. It can be noted that the Northern and Eastern states are yet to complete the polls. Of the seven phased polling, only four phases are over and across the Southern and the Western states. Also Read – Ashok Leyland stock tanks over 5 pc as co plans to suspend production for up to 15 daysEchoing similar views, World Gold Council managing director Somasundaram PR said this Akshaya Tritiya looks more optimistic than last year as the market has settled down after policy changes including note-ban and GST which had hit the industry very badly. “Organised retail players, who are gaining groun with their more targeted marketing, are having greater impact on the positive consumer sentiment,” he said. However, he admitted that places where the polling will take place during the festival (northern and Eastern states), might have negative impact with people hesitating to carry gold. India Bullion and Jewellers Association National vice -president Saurabh Gadgil said he expects 15-20 percent growth in demand this Aksahya Tritiya. “The sentiment is positive as in most places voting will be over and also the festival falls virtually at the beginning of the month when salaried people have a thicker pockets,” he added. Kalyan Jewellers chairman TS Kalyanaraman is expecting a 25 percent sales growth as a result of their planned efforts during the last two months. Kalyan Jewellers has launched a pre-booking scheme through which customers can select and place their jewellery orders in advance, and simply pick it up on Akshaya Tritiya or closer to that date, thus avoiding the rush and long wait. “We have seen a 30 percent growth in pre-booking compared to last year,” he added. Titans jewellery division chief executive for CK Venkataraman said the current sentiment and jewellery market outlook look positive. “In past five years, we have seen a double-digit growth every year and we expect this Akshaya Tritiya season to be very good and has ruled out the polls impacting sales. Last year it opened 30-40 stores with most of them covering small towns. We are hoping to see a good share of business and walk-ins coming from these markets.
Bhopal: The BJP’s Bhopal Lok Sabha candidate Pragya Singh Thakur has replied to an Election Commission notice denying charges that she campaigned despite a 72-hour ban that ended Sunday morning.Thakur was earlier issued notices for claiming that former Maharashtra ATS chief Hemant Karkare died in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack because of her “curse” and also for stating that she had participated in the demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya. The latest notice was served to her on Friday night after the Congress complained that pamphlets in her favour were distributed while she visited temples during the time she was banned from electioneering. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghDistrict returning officer Sudam Khade Sunday told PTI that he had received Thakur’s reply which has been forwarded to MP chief electoral officer VL Kantha Rao for a decision. In her reply on Saturday evening, Thakur has denied the charges of the Congress that she campaigned during the 3- day ban period, Khade said. She later told reporters that visiting temples is an intrinsic part of her life. “Those who are trying to stop me from going to temples should think about their lives, Thakur told reporters.
Bengaluru: Attacked time and again over shifting loyalty from JD(S) to Congress, former chief Minister Siddaramaiah Saturday clarified that he was expelled from that party by former prime minister and its supremo H D Deve Gowda. “They (BJP) ask why Siddaramaiah quit JD(S) and joined Congress. I did not quit JD(S).. I was expelled. You must know the truth.. I was expelled from the JD(S) by Mr Deve Gowda for my AHINDA activities. Now you know, I believe,” Siddaramaiah told reporters at Kalaburagi. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh AHINDA in Kannada stands for minorities, backward castes and Dalits. The senior Congress leader was canvassing for party candidate Subhash Rathod, contesting the bypoll from Chincholi assembly constituency. The Chincholi seat fell vacant after disgruntled Congress MLA Umesh Jadhav resigned from the assembly to join the Bharatiya Janata Party and contested the Lok Sabha election from Gulbarga where he had a direct fight with Congress stalwart Mallikarjun Kharge. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad The BJP gave ticket to Jadhav’s son Avinash Jadhav to contest from Chincholi Assembly constituency, where election is due on May 19. While addressing a public meeting two days ago Siddaramaiah flayed Jadhav, saying a “traitor” alone would ditch the party, which is like a mother. In retaliation, BJP MLA and former deputy chief minister R Ashok had sought to know why Siddaramaiah quit the JD(S) and joined the Congress. To this, Siddaramaiah said Ashok knew nothing as there were lots of dissimilarities between Umesh Jadhav quitting the Congress and joining the BJP and him leaving the JD(S) and joining the grand old party. The comparison was “improper,” he added.