After Amul Mother Dairy hikes milk prices by up to Rs 2

first_imgNEW DELHI: Mother Dairy on Friday hiked milk prices by up to Rs 2 per litre effective from Saturday as it is paying more to farmers for procurement of milk due to the rising cost of fodder. The leading milk supplier in the national capital region has increased the prices for the first time in more than two years. It also came days after Amul hiked milk prices by Rs 2 per litre. Mother Dairy has increased the prices of only poly pack milk. “The 1-litre pack has been increased by Re 1 only and the 500 ml pack by Rs 2 a litre, effectively impacting the consumer by Re 1 per pack,” it said in a statement. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarThe company, which supplies over 30 lakh litres of milk per day in Delhi-NCR, had increased the price last in March 2017. “The milk procurement prices have been continuously on the rise for the last 3-4 months due to increase in feed and fodder cost by 15-20 per cent and labour cost etc. However, while paying higher prices to producers by 7-8 per cent compared to the last year, the consumer prices were kept intact,” it said. Mother Dairy would continue to support the dairy farmers with remunerative prices, which is also the main reason for the price hike. According to the new rate, full cream milk would cost Rs 53 per litre from Rs 52 now, while half a litre would have an MRP of Rs 27 from Rs 26 earlier. Full cream (Premium) milk would be sold at Rs 55 per litre and half a litre at Rs 28. The rate of toned milk has been increased to Rs 42 from Rs 41 per litre. Half litre pouch would cost Rs 22 from Rs 21 earlier.last_img read more

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Not got proposal on free metro ride for women Puri

first_imgNew Delhi: Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs Hardeep S. Puri on Thursday said that he has not received any proposal from the Delhi government to provide free rides to women on buses and metro. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal earlier this week had announced free rides for women on buses and metro. Taking a dig at Kejriwal, Puri said: “You can’t announce a scheme first and then prepare a proposal.” Puri added that the Delhi government has a budget of Rs 50,000 crore, which it has not used on the Centre’s Swacchh Bharat scheme or the Ayushman Bharat scheme but wants to give Rs 2,500 subsidy for free rides. “The Supreme Court has mandated 11,000 buses in the national capital, how many buses are there today? I have said in the Parliament that we should provide facility for the elderly and the students on the metro and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation is working on a technology for the same,” he added.last_img read more

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Pakistanbound Sikh pilgrims stranded at Attari

first_imgAmritsar: At least 130 Sikh pilgrims heading for Pakistan were left stranded at the Attari railway station on Friday as the Indian government did not grant them permission to cross the international border. The pilgrims, mostly elderly and hailing from various parts of Punjab, were going to Pakistan to observe the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev, the fifth Sikh Guru. They reached Attari station in the morning, but the special train from Pakistan didn’t get clearance to enter the Indian side. Indian railway authorities said there was no permission from the government so the train from Pakistan was not allowed. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana There was a lack of communication between the railways and the Minitry of External Affairs, rued a stranded passenger. The stranded pilgrims raised slogans against the government. They also complained that there was lack of drinking water and toilet facilities. “The moment we will get the permission, we will allow the train to enter Attari,” Station Master M.L. Rai told reporters. The SGPC every year sends four ‘jathas’ to Pakistan in a year. The biggest one goes to Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of the Sikhism founder Guru Nanak Dev, in November to celebrate his birth anniversary. Another ‘jatha’ goes on festival of Baisakhi in April. The remaining two leave in May-June on the martyrdom anniversary of Guru Arjan Dev and the death anniversary of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, the founder of the Sikh empire.last_img read more

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Rights of members in House will be protected Speaker

first_imgNew Delhi: Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, during his maiden interaction with reporters, said that he will work to draw from best parliamentary customs from across the world and asked members to refrain from practices such as trooping into the Well of the House to register their protests. Elaborating on the transparent election process, Birla said that elections in India have always been transparent and said that the Congress would not be defeated in the Lok Sabha polls held after the Emergency in 1977 if this had not been the case. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaWhile maintaining that rules of the House would be above the customs being followed over the years, the Speaker asserted that rights of members of Parliament in the House would be protected under the prescribed rules and procedures. “India is the largest democracy of the world and 91 crore people, including 44 crore women have reposed their faith in democracy by enthusiastically coming out to vote in even harsh weather conditions. We have to work for a democratic system in the true spirit of the Constitution, rising up to the hopes and aspirations of the people towards whom we all are committed,” he said. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahUrging reporters to take note while reporting of the purposive debates and discussions for which the members work hard, he said that the first-time members would be given sufficient opportunity to express their views on the floor of the House. Earlier, on Friday morning, Birla practised yoga in Parliament House along with union ministers, 134 parliamentarians, officers of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha Secretariats and other dignitaries.last_img read more

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Slums in Jharkhand to get Mohalla Clinics like Delhi

first_imgRanchi: Taking a cue from the Delhi government, the Raghubar Das government plans to start “Mohalla Clinics” that will offer free medical care to people living in slums in Jharkhand. “These clinics will be like primary health centres and will offer free diagnostics facilities, treatment and medicine for minor ailments. These are being started for the benefit of daily wagers, who lose a day’s salary if they visit a regular hospital for treatment. The clinics will open every day in the morning and evening. Serious patients would be referred to bigger hospitals for treatment,” state Health Minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi told IANS. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! Every clinic will offer OPD, vaccination, maternity, post natal and family planning services, along with tests for malaria, tuberculosis and other small ailments. Doctors will be paid for the number of patients they treat in a clinic. A Health Department official said: “Every slum will get a Mohalla Clinic on a population of 15,000. Based on the number of slums, some 25 temporary Mohalla Clinics have been planned in the state.” Chandravanshi said the clinics will also function as Awareness Generation Centres for diseases that mainly affect poor people mainly living in slums.last_img read more

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TRAI relief for small cable operators recommends no net worth rule required

first_imgNew Delhi: Telecom regulator TRAI on Monday recommended to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting that there is no need for fixing a minimum net worth for registration of multiple-system operators in cable TV service. The Cable Television Network Rules, 1994, prescribe the criteria for grant of registration to an multiple-system operators (MSO), which provides cable TV services to its subscribers. The I&B Ministry had written a letter to TRAI on May 16 last year, seeking recommendations from the telecom regulator on appropriate levels for fixation of entry level net worth of MSOs for operationalising cable TV digitisation across the country. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalIn order to deliberate on various aspects related to the matter and to seek inputs from the industry stakeholders on relevant issue, TRAI issued a detailed consultation paper on ‘Entry Level Net Worth for MSOs in Cable TV Services’ on April 9 this year, an official statement said. Subsequently, an open house discussion was held on June in Delhi to seek further views of the stakeholders on various issues, it said. TRAI finalised its recommendations based on the comments of the stakeholders received during the consultation process and its own analysis, the statement said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIt noted that the New Regulatory Framework provides an enabling environment for small and medium MSOs and up scaling of LCOs to MSO. “After careful consideration, authority has recommended that there is no necessity for fixation of a minimum entry-level net worth for MSO registration,” the statement said. At present, any individual, company, corporate firm or LLP that fulfils provisions of the cable TV rules may be granted MSO registration, it said.last_img read more

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Coffee Day Board assessing situation

first_imgNew Delhi: Cafe chain operator Coffee Day Enterprises on Tuesday said it is assessing the situation after its founder and chairman V G Siddhartha went missing and formulating appropriate steps to ensure business operations are unaffected. The company’s board has held emergency meeting following disappearance of Siddhartha and also reviewed the letter purportedly signed by him and shared copies with relevant authorities, the company said in a regulatory filing. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”We are shocked by this development and our thoughts and prayers are in support of his family and loved ones… The board is confident that the professional management of the company and each of the entities in the Coffee Day Group and their respective leadership team will ensure continuity of all business operations consistent with past behaviour,” Coffee Day said. The board said it has also “sought the assistance of local and state authorities, who are doing their utmost, and relevant officers of the company are cooperating with the authorities as requested”, the filing said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe purported letter sent by Siddhartha to the board claimed that he was being pressured by “one of the private equity partners” forcing him to buy back shares, a transaction he had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from “a friend”. The letter also talked about “harassment” by I-T Department official, who initially attached his shares in Mindtree. On Tuesday moring, the company confirmed that Siddhartha has been missing since Monday evening. The company said Siddhartha is not reachable since Monday evening. “We are taking the help of concerned authorities.” Siddhartha reportedly had been witnessing rising debts, especially in the last few years. “I would like to say I gave it my all. I am very sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend,” he purportedly said in the letter. Siddhartha, in the said letter, also took sole responsibility of all financial transactions undertaken by the company. “I sincerely request each of you to be strong and to continue running these businesses with a new management. I am solely responsible for all mistakes. Every financial transaction is my responsibility. My team, auditors and senior management are totally unaware of all my transactions. The law should hold me and only me accountable, as I have withheld this information from everybody including my family”. The letter, however, does not elaborate more on that. “My intention was never to cheat or mislead anybody, I have failed as an entrepreneur. This is my sincere submission, I hope someday you will understand, forgive and pardon me,” he added. Coffee Day Enterprises had seen its net loss widen to Rs 67.71 crore in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2018, from Rs 22.28 crore loss in the previous year. This despite revenues climbing 59 per cent to Rs 122.32 crore. He was reportedly in talks to sell his real estate venture Tanglin Developments Ltd to New York-based private equity giant Blackstone Group.last_img read more

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No exposure to any Cafe Coffee Day group cos says Tata Capital

first_imgNew Delhi: Amid talk of financial stress driving founder V G Siddhartha to allegedly end his life, the coffee tycoon had repaid all the loans taken from Tata Capital Financial Services (TCFS) and has no outstanding dues to the entity. According to TCFS, it had a maximum exposure of Rs 165 crore to Caf Coffee Day (CCD) group in FY2017-18, and that the entire amount had been repaid by March 2019. “The maximum exposure of TCFS to the CCD group during 2017-18 was Rs 165 crore. In March 2019, TCFS’ exposure has completely been repaid,” said a company statement emailed to PTI. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal Currently, TCFS – a subsidiary of Tata Capital Ltd – has no exposure to Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) or any of the companies within the Caf Coffee Day group, it added. CDEL promoter and coffee tycoon V G Siddhartha is said to have been under severe financial stress before his death, with his flagship cafe chain’s liabilities doubling to over Rs 5,200 crore by the end of March 2019. His unlisted ventures for realty and hospitality had also availed loans from various entities, as per regulatory filings with the corporate affairs ministry. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost Siddhartha, whose body was recovered from a river near Mangalore on Wednesday after going missing on Monday, had struggled with mounting financial burden and a letter purportedly written by him had hinted at his war with “serious liquidity crunch” and “tremendous pressure” from lenders and an unnamed private equity investor. Filings with the corporate affairs ministry showed him trying to raise funds by pledging shares of his listed and four unlisted firms to pay off personal and company loans. Siddhartha and promoter group entities had pledged over 75 per cent of their shares in the BSE-listed CDEL as on March 31, 2019. Siddhartha had several entities that borrowed money from a gamut of organisations, including banks and financial institutions, for his non-coffee businesses. A letter, purportedly written by him, had cited pressure from banks, investors and tax authorities. “I would like to say I gave it my all. I am sorry to let down all the people that put their trust in me. I fought for a long time but today, I gave up as I could not take any more pressure from one of the private equity partners forcing me to buy back shares, a transaction I had partially completed six months ago by borrowing a large sum of money from a friend,” Siddhartha purportedly wrote in the letter. Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL) had a total current liability of Rs 5,251 crore as on March 31, 2019, up from Rs 2,457.3 crore a year back, according to regulatory filings. CDEL’s promoter companies — Devadarshini Info Technologies, Coffee Day Consolidations, Gonibedu Coffee Estates, and Sivan Securities — had also borrowed heavily from time to time. While the exact quantum of the borrowings by the unlisted companies of Siddhartha could not be immediately ascertained, the total as indicated by the filings would be in addition to the amount CDEL owed to lenders. Siddhartha’s borrowings appear to have intensified after 2017 though there is no indication of just how many of them remain unpaid after their due date or have turned non-performing assets.last_img read more

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This is an attack on our culture and our Durga Puja festival

first_imgKOLKATA: As Bengal’s revered Durga Puja is caught up in a political imbroglio, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged distortion of facts in regard to the Income Tax Department’s notice to Durga Puja committees.Reacting sharply to a press release issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxation (CBDT) that claimed to clear air on notices to the Puja committees for tax, more commonly known as ‘Puja Jijia Tax’, Banerjee wrote on Facebook: “The press release is a sheer distortion of facts with an aim to create confusion in the minds of local people and Puja committees and perpetrate mental tension.” Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”This is also an attack on our culture and on our Durga Puja festival. I do not know whether this is being done knowingly or unknowingly, but it is certainly of bad taste, especially when people of all religions, caste, creed participate in our Durga Puja, which is just like a national festival. Any such taxation should be totally withdrawn and the festival should be allowed to be celebrated with its usual fervour.” She further added: “In fact, Income Tax authorities sent notices to Puja Committees last year regarding event management including ‘Dhaki’, ‘Purohit’, small and village artisans engaged in arts and crafts working in pandals for collecting tax from them through Puja committees by way of TDS, which is as good as ‘Terrible Disaster Scheme’. This is, undoubtedly a huge burden on them. CBDT clarification that no notices have been issued for this year makes little sense. It is only obvious that for Pujas held this year, notices will only be issued next year, which is as per their scheme of tax assessment. So, the clarification itself proves that the imposition of tax very much stands. Then, why misleading?” Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwaySeveral party leaders echoed the Chief Minister’s thoughts as they took part in a dharna organised by the Trinamool Banga Janani Bahini at Raja Subodh Mullick Square to protest against the notices. “The Income Tax department has no right to send notices to the community Puja organisers asking them to furnish details of their income,” Trinamool Mahila Congress president Chandrima Bhattacharya said on Tuesday. Bhattacharya, a lawyer well-versed in Income Tax laws, said the department has no authority to send the notices as the community Puja organisers are not profit-making bodies. Meanwhile, Mayor Firhad Hakim said TMC will continue to protest against the “arbitrary decision of the Income Tax department until it withdraws the notice.” TMC supporters, sympathisers and representatives of different Puja committees also took part in the protest that was held from 10 am to 6 pm.last_img read more

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Paine plays down Archer fear factor backs Warner

first_imgSydney: Australia captain Tim Paine says the tourists will not be intimidated by England fast bowler Jofra Archer and has backed misfiring batsman David Warner to hit form in the third Ashes Test at Headingley. Paine was full of praise for Archer, whose raw pace electrified the drawn second Test as he took five wickets and peppered the Australians with bouncers, leaving Steve Smith with concussion that has ruled him out of the match in Leeds. But Paine said Australia’s batsmen were used to facing pace and had a few useful speedsters of their own. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”It’s fantastic to see a young cricketer with so much talent come onto the scene and it was a bit of a buzz to face him at Lord’s,” Paine wrote in a column for the Australian newspaper. “He’s fast for sure, but in Australia we’ve been brought up facing guys of his pace. “Every time we have a net (session) we have Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and James Pattinson coming at us like we are the opposition.” Paine said Smith’s replacement Marnus Labuschagne, who scored 59 when he came on as Test cricket’s inaugural concussion substitute, showed the depth of Australia’s squad. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHe was unconcerned about Warner’s lack of form, which has seen the left-hander score only 18 runs in four innings. “David Warner hasn’t hit his straps yet and I notice people getting a bit trigger happy on that subject, but I am not worried,” he wrote. “We are 1-0 up in the series and he hasn’t got out of the blocks. He is a match winner… he is also the most mentally tough cricketer I know. He is due a score and that is a dividend I am looking forward to.” Meanwhile, former Australia paceman Andy Bichel has labelled England captain Joe Root a “blatant cheat” over a disputed catch on the final day of the second Test. Root took a low catch to end Labuschagne’s innings, with replays suggesting the ball may have bounced first, although the England skipper later insisted it had carried. “It didn’t carry. We can see that,” Bichel told Macquarie Sports Radio. “It’s ricocheted off the player as well so it’s bobbled a little bit to him, so therefore he’d know if he’s picked it up on the half volley — it’s blatant cheating.” The third Test begins on Thursday.last_img read more

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Health Minister Harsh Vardhan visits Lodhi Garden for NDMCs Yoga event

first_imgNew Delhi: Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan on Wednesday participated in New Delhi Municipal Council’s Yoga Protocol Programme at Lodhi Garden here along with delegates from the 72nd Conference of the World Health Organisation Regional Committee for South-East Asia. The entire group, led by Vardhan, undertook a fitness tour as part of the programme.NDMC Chairman Vijay Kumar Dev and Secretary Rashmi Singh participated in the event and welcomed all the delegates, who were from different parts of South-East Asia. The Council also launched an Educational Eco-Walk for school children at Lodhi Garden in a bid to inculcate awareness and bring the future generation closer to nature.The NDMC said this move will give an opportunity for the children to learn more about flora and fauna in the garden, recycling water, cultural heritage and historic monuments among other things. Health Minister Vardhan interacted with these students and motivated them to take the Fit India Movement seriously. He asked the students to ambassadors for the protection of the environment.last_img read more

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Art 370 SC to hear pleas today

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear on Monday pleas challenging abrogation of provisions of Article 370 — which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, validity of imposition of President’s rule and the related restrictions imposed in the state. A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S Abdul Nazeer will be also hearing a bunch fresh petitions, including the one filed by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad seeking permission to visit his family members and relatives. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Azad, who had tried to visit the state twice after the abrogation of Article 370 provisions in Jammu and Kashmir but was sent back from the airport by the authorities, has sought a nod from the top court to visit his family members. Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference party led by Sajjad Lone has also challenged the abrogation of provisions of Article 370 and the validity of the state Re-organization Bill. Child right activists Enakshi Ganguly and Professor Shanta Sinha have also filed a plea against the alleged illegal detention of children in Jammu and Kashmir since the revocation of special status. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KA plea of Rajya Sabha MP and MDMK founder Vaiko is also listed for hearing, in which he has sought a direction to the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir to produce former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah, allegedly under detention following abrogation of Article 370, before the court. In his plea, Vaiko has said that authorities should allow Abdullah to attend a “peaceful and democratic” annual conference, being organised in Chennai on September 15, on the occasion of birthday of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister C N Annadurai. The plea of CPI(M) Sitaram Yechury who had moved the apex court seeking to see his ailing party colleague Mohammed Yousuf Tarigami is also among the batch of petitions listed for hearing. The top court had allowed him to pay a visit to Tarigami but with certain conditions and had granted him liberty to file a report on his return. The plea of Kashmir Times editor Anuradha Bhasin seeking removal of media restrictions imposed in the valley after the abrogation of Article 370 will also be taken up along with some other petitions.last_img read more

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G7 and European Union unite to reject recent election in Venezuela

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada and its fellow G7 countries along with the European Union issued a joint statement today saying they are united in rejecting and denouncing the recent presidential election in Venezuela.The May 20 election of Nicolas Maduro has already attracted widespread condemnation, with Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland earlier calling the vote “illegitimate and anti-democratic.”The joint statement says by “failing to meet accepted international standards and not securing the basic guarantees for an inclusive, fair and democratic process, this election and its outcome lack legitimacy and credibility.”The G7 and EU add that while the Maduro regime “solidifies its authoritarian grip, the people of Venezuela continue to suffer human rights abuses and serious deprivation.”The statement calls on Maduro to restore constitutional democracy in Venezuela, schedule free and fair elections, immediately release all political prisoners, restore the authority of the National Assembly, and provide for full, safe and unhindered access by humanitarian actors.On Monday, the Canadian government applied some pressure on its own by saying it would not seek to replace its ambassador in Caracas and would “downgrade” its diplomatic ties with the South American country.Ottawa also imposed a ban on formal military co-operation with Venezuela and ensured the Canadian embassy in Caracas is only headed by a charge d’affaires rather than an ambassador.last_img read more

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Borderbeer case could redesign Canadian federalism NB government

first_imgFREDERICTON – A battle over cross-border beer sales threatens to end Canadian federalism as it was originally conceived, the New Brunswick government argues in a submission to the country’s top court.In a statement of facts to the Supreme Court of Canada, the province says allowing a New Brunswick man to purchase alcohol in a Quebec border town could ultimately “redesign Canadian federalism.”Gerard Comeau was charged with possessing liquor not purchased from the New Brunswick Liquor Corporation and fined $292.50 after police stopped him on his way home from Quebec with 14 cases of beer and three bottles of liquor in his trunk.He took the case to court and a New Brunswick trial judge ruled that the charge violated constitutional law, overturning a ban on bringing alcohol across provincial boundaries.“This case began as a simple ticket offence. A simple case it is not,” the New Brunswick government said. “This ‘simple case’ and the trial decision that resulted raise the issue of competing constitutional provisions and propose an end to Canadian federalism as it was originally conceived, has politically evolved and is judicially confirmed.”At issue is a section of the New Brunswick Liquor Control Act prohibiting anyone in the province from having more than 12 pints of beer not purchased through a liquor store in the province.However, the trial judge said the law is at odds with Section 121 of the Constitution Act, which reads “All articles of the growth, produce, or manufacture of any one of the provinces shall, from and after the union, be admitted free into each of the other provinces.”Judge Ronald LeBlanc said the original framers of the Constitution never intended that laws should blatantly block the free flow of goods within their new country.The New Brunswick Court of Appeal declined to hear the Crown’s appeal, but the country’s highest court agreed to hear the potentially landmark case on what the fathers of Confederation really meant by the constitutional clause about free trade among provinces.The province is asking the top court to rule that the provincial Liquor Control Act does not violate the Constitution Act.The New Brunswick government acknowledges that Section 121 of the Constitution has been “the subject of political debate and discussion for decades.”However, the province argues that regulating liquor within its borders is a “constitutionally permissible example of co-operative federalism” and that siding with the trial judge would “undermine this co-operative legislative effort and would redesign Canadian federalism.”“The courts would then be required to reformulate Canadian federalism as it now exists,”the province says.Submissions from other provinces and Ottawa are due mid-October, followed by submissions from Comeau’s lawyers by the end of October.last_img read more

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Man who pledged 7M to hockey team charged with fraud over cheques

first_imgVANCOUVER – A man who promised $7.5 million to a junior hockey team in British Columbia has been charged with forgery and fraud after a restaurant owner complained to police about an unpaid bill.Cranbrook RCMP say they began investigating Michael Lawrence Gould of Wasa, B.C., in early November after a local business owner contacted them. The owner said she’d catered a banquet for 50 people and she was paid with cheques.“When the business owner attempted to cash the cheques, she was advised that there were insufficient funds,” Const. Kathy Forgeron said in a statement on Tuesday.Forgeron said Crown counsel has approved charges of forgery and fraud against Gould, who is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.Asked for his response to the allegations, Gould said he did not plan to appear on the charges.“I’m not going to court,” he said.“I got no reaction. I don’t have to be there. There you go. Goodbye,” he said, before hanging up.In some cases, a lawyer can appear on behalf of an accused at a first appearance. Gould did not say whether he had obtained counsel.Gould, 38, promised millions to the Kimberley Dynamiters at a home game in October attended by 700 people. He said he had won a jackpot in a EuroMillions lottery, although he declined to say how much he’d won.The team’s board of directors issued a statement on Nov. 13 saying it had not received the money.On Nov. 15, Gould said the team would receive the money in 10 days. He said the delay was due to minor issues and also “with the banks,” but he didn’t elaborate.In an email on Wednesday, team president James Leroux said the team has not received the donation.Jolene Salanski, owner of the Northwest Grill, said Gould held a banquet at the restaurant in October to celebrate his promised donation to the team.She said he appeared to be a “very nice gentleman, very businesslike, well-mannered.”The bill was close to $8,000 and he paid her in two cheques that had his stepfather’s name on them, she said. Salanski said she knew the man was Gould’s stepfather because he had also attended the banquet. The stepfather could not be reached for comment.The next day, Gould called her and asked her not to cash the cheques, adding he’d bring her a bank draft instead, Salanski said.“There was promise after promise,” she said. “He kept telling me he’d come and then he never did.”She said he gave her a gift letter with a bank’s logo on it as well as other documents that he said were from the bank. She said she became suspicious and frustrated as she owed money to food vendors and employees who assisted with the event.After about a month, she took the cheques and other documents to the bank, Salanski said.“I was informed at that time that (Gould’s stepfather) had no idea the cheques were written and I was to meet (him) at the RCMP station,” she said, adding the bank also told her the other documents were not real.Gould has told the National Post that all the documents he has provided on financial institutions’ letterheads were authentic, and repeated he plans to fulfil his promise to the Dynamiters hockey team.The Post quotes Gould as saying he asked Salanski not to cash the cheques because he didn’t have access to funds to give to his stepfather to cover the payment. Gould told the newspaper he offered the gift letter to Salanski because he wanted to help her out.Salanski told The Canadian Press she turned over all the documents to police. Cranbrook RCMP did not respond to interview requests.About two weeks ago, Gould came into the restaurant and paid the bill in cash, Salanski said.“He likes to put on a show,” she said. “It was right in the middle of the restaurant and he’s counting out all this money on the table. … He just made a big spectacle of it.”She said the experience was extremely stressful as she just took over as owner of the restaurant in August.“This was not my dream of owning my own restaurant, put it that way,” she said.— By Laura Kane in Vancouverlast_img read more

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Flimsy fences ferocious dogs Canadas top pot expert on weeds path to

first_imgTORONTO – Even though Ernest Small was the biggest legal grower of legal marijuana in North America back in the 1970s and is the federal government’s foremost pot expert, the Canadian researcher is in disbelief that the country is on the cusp of legalizing the drug’s recreational use.The principal research scientist for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, who was recently named to the Order of Canada last week for his vast body of work, says the atmosphere around marijuana in government and law enforcement circles was “repressive and conservative” for decades.“I would never have predicted that we would come to this. … There was not the slightest suggestion that one day, marijuana could be a legal commodity,” he said in an interview. “It just didn’t seem possible.”Now, there are more than 80 licensed producers of cannabis in the country, all of whom are ramping up production to be ready for the July 2018 deadline for the legalization of recreational marijuana across the country, while pot company stocks have been on fire for months.But looking back, Small had to aggressively plead his case with the government to allow him to begin researching weed, when he joined as a researcher in 1969.At the time, the now 77-year-old had just finished his doctorate in plant evolution from the University of California. Before landing in the Golden State, he said he had “no idea what drugs were, no idea what hippies were.”“It was just a total culture shock. And nevertheless, I did become quite interested in the cannabis plant because that was the thing that students, and even my professors were doing. And I was interested as a botanist in studying it as a plant.”Small said he convinced the government to allow him to study what was “basically verboten” by focusing on pot’s risks and how research could help law enforcement depress its use. He was eventually able to convince Health Canada to give him the green light, he said.The government also wanted, at the time, a standard supply of marijuana for experimental purposes. And in turn, Small was involved in establishing a two-acre pot crop at the Central Experimental Farm in Ottawa, at Health Canada’s request.“I actually grew several tonnes of marijuana, and at that time more legal cannabis anybody in the world, at least in North America,” Small said.However, the outdoor plot only lasted for one summer in 1971, after being “raided frequently.”Small describes a “very flimsy fence” around the plot, as well as guards and “very ferocious dogs” on hand to protect it.“It very quickly became apparent that teenagers were doing a lot of the raiding. And we could not expose them to these dogs, so the dogs were kept chained up, ” he said. “We didn’t have searchlights… so the whole plot was a sitting duck.”After one summer, the operation was later moved indoors until roughly 1980, when the department of Agriculture decided it didn’t want to grow cannabis on the premises, he said.Subsequently, Small said he grew legal cannabis in association with the private sector, on private land.Small was also closely involved in selecting the strain of marijuana that is now the basis of all licensed medical marijuana in Canada.“It was a reasonable strain, easily producing 12 per cent THC,” he said.Today, Small noted, there are stronger strains with different balances of cannabinoids — chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers which give pot its medical and recreational properties.Still, Small believes that cannabis is now “on the verge of huge changes that are agriculturally significant, in terms of the productivity of this plant.”While most other crops have undergone the so-called Green Revolution, which has boosted agricultural production, cannabis has been left behind, he said.“The green revolution phase has totally been overlooked, because, of course, it’s been illegal most of the last century,” he said. “We are standing on the verge of huge changes that are agriculturally significant in terms of the productivity of this plant. It’s just a mind-boggling situation. There is no other crop but cannabis that is in this remarkable situation.”When asked whether his research, or recreation, has ever involved dabbling in pot himself, Small responded, “Hell, no.”He said if there is even the slightest odour of cannabis at a party, he immediately leaves. It’s an approach he intends to keep up with, even after July 2018.“I’m as pure as the driven snow,” Small said, adding that he does not drink alcohol or coffee either. “The simple fact is I’m entrusted with an enormous responsibility. And I am not going to, and have never, considered compromising that.”last_img read more

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A look at the events of the Patrick Brown saga in Ontario

first_imgA timeline of the tumultuous events that followed the resignation of former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown in January, and his bid to reclaim that post:Jan. 24: Patrick Brown calls a last-minute news conference to deny a pending news report about sexual misconduct, and decry them as “categorically untrue.” Minutes later, CTV News airs a story in which two unnamed women make allegations of sexual assault and other misconduct against Brown dating back to his time as a federal member of parliament. The allegations have not been independently verified by the Canadian Press.Jan. 25: Brown issues a statement in the early morning hours saying he will step down as party leader to focus on clearing his name.Jan. 26: The PC caucus names Tory legislator Victor Fedeli as interim leader. Fedeli vows to root out the “rot” from within the party. The caucus further recommends that Fedeli carry the party through to the election, but the party executive announce that a leadership contest will be held instead.Jan. 29: Former Toronto city councillor Doug Ford, brother of the notorious late mayor Rob Ford, becomes the first person to declare his candidacy for the party leadership. He says he plans to rest control of the party from elites and give a voice to the grassroots members.Feb. 1: Former Ontario legislator Christine Elliott announces her bid to contend for the party leadership. Elliott came second to Brown during the last contest to select a new leader in 2015. Elliott is the widow of late federal finance minister Jim Flaherty.Feb. 5: Toronto lawyer Caroline Mulroney, daughter of former Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, ends days of speculation by announcing her candidacy for party leader.Feb. 6: Brown breaks his silence in a tweet reaffirming his denial of all sexual misconduct allegations and saying “the truth will come out.”Feb. 8: Social conservative and parental rights activist Tanya Granic Allen announces plans to join the leadership race.Feb. 9: PostMedia publishes the first interview with Brown since his resignation, in which he says he’s contemplating legal action for what he calls the “absolute lies” said about him.Feb. 11: Brown publishes the first of several Facebook posts in which he vows to clear his name and questions the credibility of the women who brought allegations against him. He openly challenges the veracity of CTV’s reporting on the original story and points out discrepancies in the women’s accounts that he says prove their accusations are false.Feb. 13: CTV reports one of Brown’s accusers has altered the timeline of her story but stands by the core events of her allegation. The network says the woman, who claimed she was still in high school at the time of the incident, was in fact of legal age.Feb. 15: Brown announces his intention to sue CTV for its reporting of the allegations against him.Feb. 16: Interim Progressive Conservative leader Vic Fedeli says Brown has been kicked out of the caucus. With less than an hour to go before the deadline for candidates to register for the leadership expires, Brown joins the race. He says his name has been cleared and he wants to focus on getting Ontario back on track.Feb. 20: Brown is not present as the Ontario legislature resumes. He says in a Facebook post that accounts questioning his integrity are likely to emerge in the coming weeks, claiming a small group of insiders is trying to derail his efforts to reclaim his old job. That evening, Brown is interviewed by a Tory nomination committee that will make a decision on whether he can continue on in the leadership race.Feb. 21: Brown quest to regain the Tory leadership is given the green light after the party nomination committee gives him a stamp of approval for a run in the spring election. The committee also approves Brown’s competitors in the contest.Feb. 24: Brown files a notice of libel against CTV News, claiming it engaged in false and malicious reporting when it broadcast sexual misconduct allegations against him.Feb.26: Brown withdraws from the Tory leadership race, saying it has been difficult on his family, and his candidacy has distracted from the policy discussion needed for the party as it heads toward the spring election. His announcement comes hours after Ontario’s integrity commissioner says he has launched an investigation into a complaint filed by Tory legislator Randy Hillier into alleged misconduct by Brown.last_img read more

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Canada expels Russian diplomats in wake of British attack

first_imgOTTAWA – Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada is expelling four Russian diplomats and will deny permission for three others to bolster Russian staff in Canada.She says the move is in solidarity with Britain in the wake of a nerve agent attack in that country which left a former Russian spy and his daughter in hospital.Freeland calls the attack a despicable and reckless act.The diplomats to be expelled are from the embassy in Ottawa and the consulate general in Montreal, and are described in a government statement as intelligence officers or individuals who used their status to “undermine Canada’s security or interfere in our democracy.”Freeland says the British attack is part of a pattern of unacceptable behaviour on the part of Russia in recent years, including the annexation of Crimea and complicity in the Syrian war.The House of Commons has passed a resolution blaming Russia for the nerve gas attack.More Cominglast_img read more

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NEB suggests noise reduction for ferries and other vessels in BCs Salish

first_imgCALGARY — A reconsidered National Energy Board report endorsing the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline suggests potential limits on whale-watching boats and noise reduction efforts for ferries that ply British Columbia’s Salish Sea.The shipping route that is a critical habitat for southern resident killer whales would see a seven-fold increase in tankers carrying diluted bitumen to offshore markets if the federal government approves the project.The board’s latest report makes 16 new recommendations for the government, including reducing noise of ferries and incentives and requirements for quiet vessel design.Robert Steedman, chief environmental officer with the National Energy Board, told a news conference the recommendations are broad and “not necessarily prescriptive.”He says the solutions the government will want to examine are complex and all activities on the Salish Sea would have to be considered.The board has already made 156 recommendations on the controversial project, and Steedman says some of the latest ones relate to underwater noise generated by marine vessels and the possibility ships could strike marine species or disrupt their communication and behaviour.“The recommendations relate to the entire system of marine navigation and marine traffic in the area and the panel feels strongly that as the recommendations are implemented they will offset the relatively minor effects of the project-related marine traffic and in fact will benefit the entire Salish Sea ecosystem,” he says. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Citing concerns for flood victims Ontario Quebec opt out of alertsystem test

first_imgOTTAWA — The country’s two biggest provinces won’t take part in what was supposed to be a nationwide testing of Canada’s Alert Ready system on Wednesday.Public Safety Canada says it received notifications last week from Ontario and Quebec that the provinces are opting out of the testing because neither wants to send unnecessary alert tones to residents dealing with historic flooding.The alerts sound when emergency officials send signals to cellphones, TV consoles and radio stations.System operators are mandated to conduct nationwide testing of the service twice annually, blasting out distinctive electronic tones on LTE-enabled wireless devices that have their speakers turned on, as well as through television and radio.Provinces and territories that are part of the system can opt out of the testing if they think it can be too disruptive during a real emergency.The system has been in wide use for about a year, alerting Canadians about potential dangers, including natural disasters, biological and terrorist threats and civil emergencies.It has also been used to issue localized Amber Alerts when police seek the public’s help in locating missing children, although there have been complaints from wireless users that the alerts have been issued too broadly.A glitch in the public-alert system when it was first tested a year ago affected mobile devices across Quebec. An official with Canada’s telecom regulator said at the time that a coding issue originated with emergency-management officials in that province and Pelmorex Corp., which operates the system.Testing on Wednesday is scheduled to be conducted at 10:55 a.m. local time in New Brunswick and Newfoundland, 10:25 a.m. in Labrador, 12:55 p.m. in Prince Edward Island and at 1:55 p.m. in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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