Kolkata: Metro Railway has installed two convex mirrors at the driving motorman’s end on both Up and Down platforms at Park Street Metro station on Wednesday.After the incident of a passenger’s death due to a rake moving with his hand stuck between the doors, Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) had instructed the Metro Railway authorities to install convex mirrors at the driving motorman’s end at both platforms in all stations, as soon as possible. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to Metro Railway authorities, after the instruction by CRS they took up the matter and the first set of such mirrors has been installed at Park Street Metro station, where the accident happened a few weeks ago. These mirrors will help the driving motorman to observe any irregularities happening in the platform while closing the Metro rake doors. Though the convex mirrors have been installed at the driving motorman’s end, conducting motormans have been instructed to personally observe the boarding of passengers in the last four coaches from his cab, as the driving motorman can see the first four compartments clearly. Metro Railway authorities also informed that similar convex mirrors will be installed in all 24 Metro stations within one month as instructed by the CRS.
Karachi: Left-arm Pakistan pacer Mohammad Amir, who quit Test cricket recently, is planning to obtain a British passport and settle down in the United Kingdom, a source said. Amir has been married to a British national, Nargis Malik since September, 2016 and is eligible for a spouse visa, which allows him to stay in England for 30 months.”He is clearly planning to obtain a British passport and permanently settle down in England in future,” a well-informed source said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”With a spouse visa he can work freely and enjoy other benefits as a permanent resident of UK which is why he is planning to also purchase a house in England,” the source added.Amir, 27, has plenty of cricket left and the news about his plans to settle down in the UK came as a surprise for his fans.The source said Amir is eligible for the spouse visa despite spending some time in a juvenile jail for a few months during the spot-fixing scandal in 2010-2011. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”He travels to England regularly and also plays county cricket since last year. So, there are no hurdles for him now.” Amir announced his retirement from the longest format on Friday having played 36 Tests in his chequered career that saw him being banned for spot-fixing.Amir’s decision, however, to didn’t go down well with Pakistani pace stalwarts, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. Former captain Rameez Raja too was not impressed by Amir’s decision. Akram and Akhtar, in particular, hit out at Amir for retiring from Test cricket, noting that Pakistan had invested a lot in him and now was the time for the pacer to pay back to the country. “I am disappointed and sad at his decision at this time. At 27 years of age he is at his peak and should been available for Pakistan in Test cricket,” Akhtar said.He said unfortunately the modern day pacers were only interested in playing T20 cricket and even avoided 50-overs cricket. “I fear we might also see others like Hassan Ali and Wahab Riaz follow Amir in quitting test cricket.” Akram said he was surprised by Aamir’s decision as Test cricket is the pinnacle of the game and a cricketer attains greatness only by proving his worth in the longest format. Amir’s teammates have also been taken aback by his decision to quit Test cricket.
New Delhi: It took only 3 to 10 minutes for 40-year-old Zahid alias Anna to steal vehicles from different parts of Delhi. The criminal with his modus operandi stole more than 100 vehicles but his happy run came to an end when he was arrested from Kalkaji area on July 23.Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Chinmoy Biswal said as per depending on the condition the accused sold stolen cars in between Rs 20,000 to 50,000. “Hardly he took 3 to 10 minutes for stealing. From the possession of accused person 11 stolen luxury cars have been recovered,” said DCP Biswal. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDCP Biswal further said that during interrogation, Zahid disclosed that in order to earn quick money he started stealing cars. Accused used to steal vehicles with other auto-lifters and was first time arrested in 2005. “Accused Zahid further disclosed that last year he formed his separate gang and recruited young boys into his gang. Accused trained them on how to steal cars. Accused Zahid behaved like their elder brother and his gang members started calling him ‘Anna’. Thereafter, the gang was famously known as ‘Anna Gang’ in the circuits of Meerut,” police said. Police further added that accused persons used to target cars parked in the residential areas of Delhi NCR and disposed them to receivers of Meerut. The gang members used stolen cars to conduct recee and Zahid was expert in car thefts. The gang mostly used to steal cars on demand of the receivers.
Brighton: Australia all-rounder Ellyse Perry became the first cricketer of either gender to reach the rare milestone of scoring 1000 runs and taking 100 wickets in the T20 format. Perry (47 not out) and captain Meg Lanning (43 not out) stitched a match-winning partnership to guide Australia to a seven wicket win against England in the second T20 of the Women’s Ashes tour, here on Sunday. A four brought up the 1000-run milestone for the all-rounder, who had picked up her 100th wicket by dismissing England’s Nat Sciver in the World T20 final in November last year. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe 28-year-old , who hit four boundaries and a six, was adjudged player of the match. “I guess it’s lovely, but I wasn’t aware of it. I actually think in T20 cricket at international level, we probably play it as much as the men, so I have played a pretty big volume of games now – over 100,” Perry was quoted as saying by ESPN Cricinfo. “So I suppose when you’ve played 100 games you might get close to it. That’s probably the only reason I’m there – because I’ve played a lot of games,” she added. Former Pakistani all-rounder Shahid Afridi (1416 runs and 98 wickets) currently stands closest to achieving the feat, while Bangladesh’s Shakib al Hasan, with 1471 runs and 88 wickets, stands next in line to join Perry.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday sought a report from its secretary general as to why a letter written by the Unnao rape victim to Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi, apprehending threat to her life, was not placed before him. “Unfortunately, the letter is yet to see the light of the day and yet the newspapers flashed it as if I have read the letter,” Justice Gogoi said. The observations came when senior lawyer V Giri, who is assisting the court as an amicus curiae in child rape cases, sought urgent listing of the Unnao rape case. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The court also asked the Uttar Pradesh authorities to file a status report by Thursday on the accident of the Unnao rape case victim. The 19-year-old woman, who was allegedly raped two years ago by BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar at his residence in Unnao, was critically injured in a car crash on Sunday. She was travelling with her family when their car was hit by a speeding truck in the northern state’s Rae Bareli district. Two of her family members were killed in the accident while her lawyer also sustained serious injuries. The woman’s family has filed a complaint alleging “conspiracy” behind the car crash.
Chennai: The DMK on Monday slammed the Centre for imposing unprecedented resrictions in Jammu and Kashmir. The party said it has decided to oppose the government’s massive action in that state in Parliament. “There is no reason for the central government to create an impression of big threat in Jammu and Kashimir. We will oppose the government. We will stand by the Congress,” party spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member T.K.S. Elangovan told IANS. He said without any reason the government is taking some action in Jammu and Kashmir. The central government has imposed restrictions in Kashmir and has confined former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti to their homes and not allowed them to move out since early Monday. The DMK has 37 members in the Lok Sabha and five members in Rajya Sabha.
Making an indelible mark as one of India’s greatest women athletes, PV Sindhu created history after clinching her first Badminton World Federation’s (BWF) title. For the past two years, Sindhu had reached the World Championship finals on two occasions, only for Nozomi Okuhara (2017) and Carolina Marin (2018) to prevent her from taking the last leap. Shining atop the podium, third-time lucky Sindhu finally grabbed her place in just 38 minutes of play. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhHaving lost this title to the same opponent two years back in Glasgow in a 110 minute epic finale, Sindhu came on top this time, eliminating Okuhara in 38 minutes with a telling score of 21-7 21-7. A dominating and ruthless performance by Sindhu forced critics to chew upon their comments on her inability to deliver in finals of major tournaments. Now, she is the first Indian shuttler to claim the world championship. She is often under scrutiny for choking in big matches, having already lost the previous two BWF finals and also a historic gold at Rio Olympics. This win came as a huge sigh of relief, bringing confidence in her way ahead. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”This is my answer to the people who have asked me questions over and over. I just wanted to answer with my racket and with this win – that’s all,” Sindhu was quoted saying to BWF’s official website. “I felt really bad after the first World Championships final and last year, I was angry, I was sad. I went through all my emotions, asking ‘Sindhu, why can’t you get this one match?’ but today I came and I told myself to play my game and not worry – and it worked out,” she added. Chief national coach Pullela Gopichand informed the media that there was no special or different kind of preparation for this year’s final, considering the epic final the two players were involved in two years ago in Glasgow. The gold is her fifth medal at the World Championships, making her the joint highest medal-winner in women’s singles in the World Championships history with former Chinese Olympic champion Zhang Ning, who too won an identical one gold, two silver and two bronze. Hopefully, this tournament has paved the way for the best. With Sindhu reaching her prime form, she is at that stage of her career where expectations will undoubtedly be high. As the Tokyo Olympics is right around the corner, all eyes will be on Sindhu to deliver India a long-awaited gold medal. This win will surely bolster her and the camp’s confidence to go on and dominate the sport in the years to come. Most importantly, she won the battle against the demons within herself.
Kolkata: A lady cop was allegedly assaulted by a woman when she intervened to quell a dispute between a house owner and tenant inside Haridevpur police station on Wednesday evening. The woman involved in the act was arrested by the police.The woman, Baisakhi Singh, had submitted a petition to the effect that her landlord is directing her to vacate the tenanted room. She claimed that the landlord Goutam Koley owed her Rs 14,000 but the latter has been refusing to refund the amount to her. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaOfficers from Haridevpur police station summoned the landlord for examination on Wednesday evening. He informed the investigating officer on duty that the woman’s (Baisakhi Singh) brother Rajib Bhuian was actually his tenant and not Singh. The police then asked the woman to call up her brother Rajib, but she refused to do so. She suddenly got annoyed and went on harping on the fact that she required the money immediately. Amidst the talks to pacify her in the investigating officer’s room she became very violent and started screaming at the top of her voice. A lady police who was at that time on duty at the police station rushed to the room and tried to calm down the woman. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayBut the woman became furious and hit the lady police for which the latter was admitted at Bangur Hospital. She was released soon after treatment. Singh was arrested on the basis of a complaint lodged by the lady cop. It was only a month back when an unruly mob had unleashed violence at the Tollygunge police station by beating up a number of police personnel to protest the arrest of a Chetla youth arrested for creating public nuisance.
EDMONTON – Canada’s premiers met with a reduced group of Indigenous leaders Monday after three national bodies — including the Assembly of First Nations — boycotted the event.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said work was done discussing issues such as the socioeconomic challenges for Indigenous women and the state of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.“I think we reached agreement and a fairly shared common purpose on these issues, and I think we’ll see some good work coming out of it,” Notley told reporters.She and the leaders of Canada’s provinces and territories met with National Chief Robert Bertrand of Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, and Francyne Joe, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.Referring to the absentees, Notley said, “Although we regret that they were not here today, we are fully committed to engaging with these leaders face-to-face around a common table.“We are also steadfast in our resolve to making progress on issues that are critically important to Indigenous people.”Earlier Monday, the heads of the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Metis National Council announced in Toronto they were boycotting the meeting to draw attention to their bid for “full and meaningful inclusion” in the larger annual gathering of provincial and territorial leaders known as the Council of the Federation.Perry Bellegarde, national chief of the Assembly of First Nations, said Canada’s Indigenous Peoples are not just another special interest group and won’t stand to be treated as such.“We’re not ethnic minorities. We are Indigenous Peoples with the right to self-determination, because we have our own lands, we have our own laws, we have our own languages, we have our own identifiable peoples and we have our identifiable forms of government,” he said.Though the groups have met with the premiers in the past, they said long-standing issues have come to a head in the last year, particularly when contrasted with the federal government’s more inclusive approach.“Unless we start taking a stand, they’re not going to really listen to us,” said Clement Chartier, president of the Metis National Council.Back in Edmonton, Bertrand declined to say what he thought of the boycott decision, but said it’s in the best interests of the people he represents to meet the premiers face-to-face.“It was well worth our while to have been present here,” said Bertrand.“Mainly for having made connections with all the premiers of the provinces. This way if in the future there are any problems, you can pick up the phone and discuss it with either the premier or with another person who will be able to help us.”Joe echoed those remarks: “My membership expects me to do whatever I can to discuss the issues that are affecting our women.“We hope that the others will join us at some point so that we can work together to address these issues.”New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said it’s unfortunate that the process of how best to meet detracts from a focus on improving the lives of aboriginal people.“Process can be very important, but at the end of the day it’s only important because we’re all trying to achieve results that will improve the quality of life of Indigenous people,” said Gallant.The premiers meet Tuesday and Wednesday in the Alberta capital for the summer meeting of the Council of the Federation.B.C. premier-designate John Horgan is being sworn in Tuesday and therefore is not attending.— With files from Paola Loriggio in Toronto
CALGARY – Calgary city council has voted to continuing exploring a potential bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics.The Calgary Bid Exploration Committee presented council Wednesday with an option not to move forward with the bid, and another option to keep exploring potential funding opportunities.Council endorsed the second choice, saying it would provide the city’s administration with the time to investigate potential solutions “that could help reduce the city’s risks” associated with a bid.The city says that regardless of whether a bid goes forward, the exploration committee’s work has provided valuable information about the costs of sustaining or upgrading Calgary’s 1988 Olympic facilities.The 17-member committee chaired by former Calgary police chief Rick Hanson has said that while it’s feasible for the 1988 Olympics host city to have another turn, more work is needed to determine if it would be prudent.When the bid exploration group was formed, it expected a September deadline for the city to decide on a bid, but the International Olympic Committee has since extended the invitation phase for 2026 bids, meaning the city has another year to mull it over.The committee told city council last month that the price tag to hold the 2026 Games would be about $4.6 billion.It said the Games would generate almost half that in revenue, but another $2.4 billion would be needed.The 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and Whistler, B.C., cost $7.7 billion.Calgary’s estimate is lower in part because the city could reuse venues from the 1988 Winter Games.Sion, Switzerland, and Innsbruck, Austria, are among Calgary’s potential rivals for a 2026 bid.
OTTAWA – A Federal Court judge has ordered the central bureaucracy that serves the prime minister and cabinet to partially release pages of information on four senators at the heart of the 2013 Senate spending scandal, ruling they were improperly withheld.Justice James O’Reilly ruled parts of the documents — including a memo Canada’s top bureaucrat wrote to then-prime minister Stephen Harper — were wrongly classified as sensitive legal or ministerial advice, making them exempt from public release under the federal access to information law.O’Reilly also agreed that portions of the documents related to senators Mike Duffy, Patrick Brazeau, Pamela Wallin and former senator Mac Harb should remain out of public view — although those details of the written ruling were among large swaths that remained redacted in order to give the government a chance to appeal.Information commissioner Suzanne Legault said the office is considering whether to appeal any aspects of the decision. The Prime Minister’s Office deferred comment to the Privy Council Office.“We are in receipt of the courts decision and are reviewing it while considering all options,” said PCO spokesman Stephane Shank.An expert on the Access to Information Act said the ruling exposes long-standing issues with the decades-old transparency law that may not be fully addressed in the Liberal government’s proposed changes to the act.“It’s for the most part a good decision within the constraints of the act, but it is not as if the act is changing and the secrecy the act allows for hasn’t changed and doesn’t look like it’s going to change under the federal Liberals,” said Sean Holman, an associate professor of journalism at Calgary’s Mount Royal University.The Liberals have introduced changes to the decades-old transparency law that would let the information watchdog order departments to release documents, but fell short of a lofty campaign promise to make ministers’ offices fully subject to the freedom of information regime. It would also allow for departments to refuse requests that are considered frivolous or “vexatious.”The law allows people who pay $5 to ask for everything from internal federal audits and meeting minutes to correspondence and studies, but gives leeway for officials to withhold information for a variety of reasons.In August 2013, The Canadian Press filed a request to the Privy Council Office, asking for any records created since March about the four senators. Officials refused to release 27 of 28 relevant pages, providing only what O’Reilly described as “innocuous information” like letterhead, signatures, dates and names.The information commissioner took the PMO to court in late 2015, believing officials “erred in fact and in law” when they declared every word on the 27 pages to be exempt from the Access to Information Act.O’Reilly found the documents had factual information that should have been released, including decisions Harper made at the time, and that portions considered to be legal advice were nothing of the kind. The judge also rejected government arguments that some of the information contained sensitive personal information — arguments that appear to have been applied to “discretionary financial benefits.”Further details, again, were deleted from the written ruling.It was in 2013 that the Senate was plunged into scandal when questions were raised, audits ordered, and criminal investigations launched about the housing expenses incurred by Harb, Duffy and Brazeau, as well as Wallin’s travel expenses.Harb resigned that summer after reimbursing some $231,000 to the public purse, and in November the upper chamber voted to suspend Duffy, Wallin and Brazeau without pay for two years.Duffy was charged and then cleared last year of 31 criminal charges relating to his Senate expenses, and the RCMP subsequently closed investigations against Wallin and Brazeau.Duffy is now suing the Senate and the government for more than $7.8 million, claiming his suspension was unconstitutional and a violation of his charter rights, and that the federal government is liable for the RCMP’s alleged negligence in its investigation.The Senate has worked to dig itself out from under the cloud of financial scandal, publicly posting expenses and trying to heed the call of the federal auditor general for greater transparency. There were calls Friday for the upper chamber to have outsiders oversee senators’ expenses, rather than having senators sit in judgment of their peers.“Canadians demand transparency, and an independent body will provide exactly that,” Sen. Peter Harder, the Liberal point man in the Senate, wrote in a column for the digital magazine Policy Options.“The lesson of the past few years is that light kills germs. The Senate has a duty to shine the light on itself in order to regain the confidence and trust of the people and country it serves.”
REGINA – Backlash from U.S. President Donald Trump’s comments about NFL players kneeling during the national anthem reached the Canadian Football League on Sunday.Though players from both the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders stood for the Canadian anthem prior to their game in Regina, the Riders locked arms in a show of solidarity.Many players voiced their support for their football brethren south of the border after Calgary’s 15-9 victory.“It’s sad and it’s disheartening to me as an American to see our president getting in bickering matches with people on Twitter, calling out athletes saying they should be fired,” said Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell. “I’m glad we’re all uniting against that and I hope we take a stand against something that is unacceptable.”Trump inflamed an already emotional and controversial issue on Friday at a rally in Alabama.“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired.’” Trump said during his speech.Trump also rescinded his invite to the NBA champion Golden State Warriors after all-star guard Steph Curry said he was not interested in visiting the White House.Roughriders quarterback Kevin Glenn took to Twitter Saturday morning and voiced his opinion on the issue.Glenn tweeted: “#trump is the disrecptful (sic) one, he should be fired #trumpisabean.”Riders offensive lineman Derek Dennis was one of the players that locked arms.“We wanted to show solidarity and show that we understand what’s going on back home,” he said. “We didn’t do this to disrespect the Canadian flag or its Armed Forces because this country has given us an opportunity to play football, the game we love. We just wanted to show our support for what is going on back home.“Being a kid from New York City. … I was attacked by a bunch of undercover detectives who just messed with me just because they could. I’ve been through it and I understand what’s going on.”According to The Associated Press, approximately 130 NFL players either took to a knee or sat during the Star-Spangled Banner during the league’s first nine games on Sunday.The Pittsburgh Steelers elected to remain in the tunnel while the anthem was sung.“It’s more about unity than anything else,” said Calgary’s Charleston Hughes. “This is about being united as brothers to stand up for one another. It’s not just about the NFL or just about the CFL. It’s about standing up for what is right and showing support.”The movement started last year with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who took to one knee in protest of racial injustice and police brutality in America.On Saturday, the anthem protest reached Major League Baseball shores. Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell was the first player in that sport to take a knee during the Star-Spangled Banner.Several teams in the WNBA have protested the anthem since 2016.“It shows that people understand the social issues that are going on right now,” Dennis said. “With Trump’s comments the other day, it showed us that we’re really alone as an ethnicity in America. It hurts.”
WINNIPEG – Manitoba’s Progressive Conservative government introduced legislation Thursday to allow politicians to jump from one party to another — a move that should end stalling tactics by ousted former Tory Steven Fletcher.Justice Minister Heather Stefanson introduced a bill that would lift a ban on so called floor-crossing — where politicians elected under one party’s banner join another party without a by-election.The ban was introduced by the former NDP government and was being fought in court by Fletcher, who was kicked out of the Tory caucus in June after criticizing the government’s plans for a new Crown corporation to promote energy efficiency.Now an Independent legislature member, Fletcher said the Manitoba ban is the only one of its kind in Canada and violates his freedom of association and expression.To protest the ban, Fletcher single-handedly brought proceedings in the legislature to a halt on Wednesday — the first legislature sitting since the summer break — by raising nine procedural complaints that had to be debated and voted on individually in the chamber.On Thursday, Fletcher relented.“The objectives of yesterday were achieved,” Fletcher said.The bill has yet to be debated and the government hopes to have it become law by Nov. 9. As a backup, Fletcher has a court date in December when his lawyer will ask a Court of Queen’s Bench judge to strike down the ban as unconstitutional.Fletcher has previously said he has no intention of joining another party, but would not rule it out Thursday.If he were to join the Liberals, it would give the struggling party a fourth legislature seat — enough for official party status and the extra funding that the designation brings.Liberal house leader Jon Gerrard played down that possibility Thursday.“I have met with Steven Fletcher on a number of occasions, but he has been very clear that this is not about him going to join another party like the Liberals, it is all about the fact that this is a point of principle.”While Fletcher ended his stalling manoeuvres Thursday, legislature business was disrupted for another reason — a phone threat that prompted the evacuation of the historic building.The fire alarm rang and politicians, staff and visitors were ordered out just as Question Period was winding down. They spent almost 90 minutes on the front lawn before the all-clear was given.“I understand it was a phone threat and it was very quickly made and difficult to track,” Premier Brian Pallister said under a shady tree.“It’s a behaviour that’s counter-productive to creating a sense of security and there’s always a balance in terms of how we react to it. You don’t want to let the prankster win.”
VANCOUVER – Chronic opioid users in rural and remote communities in British Columbia need access to supervised injectable treatment that is already available in the Vancouver area, says the head of the BC Pharmacy Association.Geraldine Vance said the overdose epidemic demands immediate involvement by community pharmacists who have the skills to dispense medications, such as the opioid pain reliever hydromorphone, and monitor patients.Vance said Williams Lake and Kelowna are among the communities that need supervised injectable treatment with hydromorphone, which is provided along with pharmaceutical heroin at the Crosstown clinic in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.“Not Kelowna, where on a per capita basis the deaths from overdoses are higher. The problem cannot be contained to a few blocks in Vancouver, and everybody knows that.”Two pilot projects involving hydromorphone are underway in Vancouver, with two pharmacies participating.However, Vance said pharmacists could be involved in up to 20 such projects elsewhere in the province.Vance’s association has been in talks with the BC Centre on Substance Use and the BC Centre for Disease Control since last spring about expanding the role of pharmacists during the opioid epidemic.“Our view at this point is that given the nature of how significant the crisis is in the province as a whole, that we should move forward with those pilots,” she said.A report released last week by the BC Centre on Substance Use listing guidelines for health-care providers for use of hydromorphone missed an opportunity to involve pharmacists in pilot projects, Vance said.The report says there’s a need to increase use of hydromorphone, either through stand-alone clinics like Crosstown or existing facilities, such as hospitals or pharmacies, for patients on a stable dose.“Similar to daily pharmacy-witnessed methadone ingestion, prescribed hydromorphone syringes would be prepared, dispensed, self-administered and witnessed by trained pharmacists,” the report says.Vance said pharmacists in the Fraser Valley who were called on to help during a measles outbreak in 2014 gave nearly 1,300 vaccines and could join other health-care providers in stemming the death toll from the illegal and tainted drug supply.The BC Pharmacy Association submitted a report last week to the select standing committee on finance and government services on the 2018 budget, saying its 3,200 community pharmacists are the most underutilized professionals in the health-care system.“We strongly urge the B.C. government to act now and begin maximizing the expertise of community pharmacists to benefit British Columbians.”“Successive provincial government administrations have failed in leveraging the health human resources and infrastructure that is currently available in community pharmacies,” the report says. “As a result, the province has missed opportunities to both better serve the needs of patients and garner savings in the health-care budget.”Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy said last week she has tasked health authorities to look into scaling up the use of hydromorphone across the province.Darcy was not available to comment Monday on the role of pharmacists.Implementation of injectable treatment, including pilot projects, would involve health authorities and the ministries of health and addictions, the B.C. Centre on Substance Use said in a statement.“There is a need to pilot and evaluate these emerging pharmacy-based models of care in communities where embedded or stand-alone models do not meet population needs,” it said.The coroner’s service has said 1,013 people died of illicit-drug overdoses in British Columbia between January and August this year, eclipsing a record 982 deaths in 2016.The highest increase in the death rate per 100,000 people occurred in the Okanagan, where the rate jumped from 20.9 in 2016 to 45.6 between January and August.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.
NAKUSP, B.C. – Thousands were without electricity in British Columbia’s Fraser Valley on Friday after freezing rain and a buildup of ice brought down trees and power lines.Travel advisories were posted for the entire Coquihalla Highway and heavy snow was also forecast for Highway 97C between Merritt and Kelowna. Environment Canada called for as much as 25 centimetres of snow in mountain passes before Saturday.The Fraser Valley was one of the hardest hit areas after freezing rain fell on Thursday night.The freezing rain continued through Friday. BC Hydro said Abbotsford and Mission were the worst hit areas with more than 40,000 customers without power.It said additional crews were being brought in from other areas but icy conditions hampered access to the affected regions.The ice also resulted in dangerous driving conditions and prompted some road closures, Abbotsford police said on Twitter.An extreme cold alert remained in effect for Yoho and Kootenay parks, the Peace River region, North Coast and the South Klondike Highway, where Environment Canada says temperatures will feel as low as -45 C with the wind chill.Police said the body a 10-year-old boy from British Columbia was found Thursday after the vehicle he was in crashed and sank into Arrow Lake in southeastern B.C.The crash was one of many on southern B.C. highways since Wednesday when storms began bringing snow, freezing rain and extreme cold to the southern Interior and some northern regions.The boy had been missing since Wednesday when the vehicle veered off Highway 23 in snowy and icy conditions.The 37-year-old driver and an 11-year-old girl were able to get out before the car sank and were treated for minor injuries.Sgt. Monty Taylor with the Kootenay Boundary Regional District RCMP said the cause of the crash is under investigation and the coroner is also investigating.The name of the boy will not be released.“This is a tragic end to a family’s holiday season, our thoughts and prayers are with the family and their extended network of family and friends,” Taylor said in a news release.
RED DEER, Alta. – An Alberta man convicted of criminal harassment for his involvement in a Creep Catchers sting has been fined $1,500 and must spend a year on probation.Carl Young, 38, also known as Karl Murphy, was convicted last month for his involvement in an incident where he lured a man to a meeting on Nov. 23, 2016, in Lacombe, Alta., and accused him of illegal acts with minors.The man immediately denied he’d done anything wrong, and Young posted a video of the encounter online the next day.Court heard during Young’s trial that he and the man had been communicating through the online app Grindr, where Young posed as a teenage boy and claimed to be 18 before later saying he was 15.They arranged to meet, but the man testified he planned to watch a movie with the teen and that he has a learning disability that makes it difficult for him to pick up on social cues.In addition to the probation and fine, Justice Darrell Reimer imposed conditions that ban Young from having or using any electronic device capable of sending or receiving messages, unless needed for a job or as permitted by his probation officer.Creep Catchers are private citizens who post videos online to expose people they believe are seeking out minors for sexual activity.Defence lawyer Maurice Collard had argued that the fine alone would be sufficient punishment for Young, saying last month that his client’s motivation, while framed as vigilantism, was to protect other people from exploitation.Young now lives in British Columbia.(RD News Now)in Red Deer Provincial Court
SAINT JOHN, N.B. – It’s only been in Saint John for a couple of days, but a Haligonian tugboat is already a big hit in New Brunswick.A replica of the titular main character in the children’s television series “Theodore Tugboat,” Theodore Too will spend the summer in the New Brunswick port city after living in the Halifax harbour for the past 18 years.The beloved tugboat swept into the Saint John harbour on Thursday before a crowd of eager spectators, and will remain there until its departure back to Nova Scotia in October.Miranda McCollum, 29, and her toddler Kyler Daigle-McCollum were part of Theodore’s Saint John welcoming committee.“Even though it was foggy, we sat there and watched him come in the harbour, tooting,” she said in a phone interview Saturday. Kyler “was amazed. He was standing and clapping and cheering.”Like many Atlantic Canadians, McCollum grew up watching “Theodore Tugboat,” which originated in Halifax and chronicled the adventures of Theodore and his friends in the Big Harbour.The tugboat’s much-anticipated visit bodes well for New Brunswick, according to Discover Saint John executive director Victoria Clarke.During a phone interview Saturday, she said Theodore’s affable presence will act as both a tourist attraction and a way to get more locals on the waterfront this summer.“Locals are just absolutely delighted to see his smiling face in our port,” she said, adding that Theodore fans span multiple generations. “Folks that have grown up watching him on TV and have not had the opportunity to see him in Halifax now have a closer-to-home opportunity.”Theodore’s time in New Brunswick will be a mix of work and play: on its work days, the tugboat will host harbour tours and cruise excursions and welcome new ships to the port.It will spend its off time hunkered down at Pugsley Slip, a prominent spot on the Saint John waterfront.Paula Copeland, a spokeswoman with Port Saint John, said the city doesn’t have the variety of boat tours that Halifax does, and that Theodore’s stay will help fill that gap.“We don’t have a lot of water product for tourism,” she said. “And of course, we’re a cruise port, so it’s going to be great for the cruise business to have that availability there.”She added that the boat’s presence alone helps brighten the waterfront.“You can’t not smile when you look at him,” she laughed.Theodore’s arrival in New Brunswick, however, was not without controversy.Ambassatours Gray Line, the company that owns the boat, announced last month that Theodore will spend the summer away from home — much to the annoyance of some Haligonians, who took to social media to accuse the smiling, baseball-cap-clad vessel of treachery.But Ambassatours spokeswoman Terri McCulloch said Halifax has had Theodore for many years, and it’s time someone else gets a turn.“Obviously, the show was set in Halifax and Haligonians have a great affinity for Theodore. He’s definitely been a fixture on the waterfront,” she said.“It caught a few folks by surprise, and certainly, we didn’t mean to offend anyone. He’s still in the region here, so perhaps it’s a nice opportunity for someone to take a little trip over on the ferry (from Digby, N.S.) and pop over to Saint John’s and see how he’s doing over there.”She also pointed out that Theodore has already spent time outside of Halifax, noting it has spent several summers in Quebec and embarked on a 50-city tour along the Eastern seaboard about 10 years ago.On Sunday, Port Saint John is hosting its annual Community Day, which is expected to draw thousands of people to the waterfront to take a gander at the famous boat.
MONTREAL – Endangered beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River already facing plenty of adversity now have an unlikely foe to contend with — the common house cat.A new study suggests the belugas are being increasingly infected with a parasite known as toxoplasma gondii, transmitted through the feces of cats.Stephane Lair, a professor of veterinary medicine at the Universite de Montreal and one of the study’s authors, said of 34 beluga whale carcasses examined between 2009 and 2012, 44 per cent were found to be infected with the parasite.“It doesn’t mean they died of this parasite. It means there was a presence either in their heart or their brain,” Lair said on Monday. “And we know that it’s a parasite that can kill belugas, so its presence can have an impact on their lives.”Toxoplasmosis — the disease caused by the parasite — is increasingly prevalent in a wide range of marine mammals. It is spread by wild and domesticated cats, which contract it by eating rodents. In marine mammals, it may cause neurological problems and behavioural change.“Marine animals in North America have been in contact with this parasite for thousands of years,” Lair said. In 2014, the cat parasite was found in Arctic belugas, likely spread by wild cats such as lynx, bobcat and cougars.“The big difference in the last few centuries is the introduction of domestic cats — a new definitive host for the parasite that probably has contributed to an increase in the amount of toxoplasma those mammals are exposed to,” the veterinarian said.Toxoplasmosis is associated with mortality in marine animals all over the world. Lair pointed to the example of the endangered monk seals of Hawaii, 11 of which have died from the disease since 2001.In the past 30 years, seven St. Lawrence beluga deaths have been linked to the parasite. But there are other effects that need further study.“In a lot of species, there’s a big question about the sub-lethal effect of that parasite — it means that it might not necessarily kill the animal … but when present, it can have a health impact that’s not always detectable,” Lair said.At last count, about 900 belugas lived in the St. Lawrence estuary.As for dealing with the problem, Lair said keeping domestic cats indoors prevents them from eating infected prey.Also, ensuring cat feces is not flushed down the toilet would reduce parasite levels in the water.“The parasite is quite resistant, it would survive all the different (sewage) treatments and end up in the estuary,” Lair said.The research was published in the journal Diseases of Aquatic Organisms last month.
CALGARY — A Calgary man has started an online petition with the hope of revoking day parole for a woman who was imprisoned for his little girl’s death.Ryan McGrath’s daughter, Ceira, was 18 months old when she was asphyxiated by the strap of a car seat while inside a closet for hours at an unlicensed day home in November 2015.Elmarie Simons, the home’s operator, pleaded guilty last April to criminal negligence causing death and was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison.The Parole Board of Canada has granted Simons day parole — a decision which McGrath says sets a frightening precedent in cases involving serious offenders.He plans to take the petition to the federal justice minister with the goal of bringing about changes in the parole system.So far, he’s gathered almost 5,000 names.“I think people are similarly outraged like we are. It’s good to see the support and I hope it keeps growing,” McGrath says.He says the family was not notified of Simons’s scheduled parole hearing in January and was shocked to learn there’s also the possibility of full parole by this summer.“The sentence was outrageous. The parole board even states that she (Simons) shows little insight or regard for her crime and hasn’t even accepted responsibility, yet she’s granted parole. The system’s broken and it needs change.”The parole board and Correctional Service of Canada do not automatically update victims or families of victims on the timing of parole hearings or their outcomes.Officials say some people prefer not to receive any further information about an offender, while those who would like updates must submit forms.McGrath says the requirements to receive updates on Simons’s parole eligibility may have been discussed following her sentencing, but if they were, the family missed it.During her sentencing hearing, court was told Simons put Ceira in a child seat that was too small, buckled the chest strap and left her in a dark closet for more than five hours.Simons left the home to run errands. Her visiting brother was at the house, but she didn’t tell him that Ceira was upstairs.Under terms of her day parole, Simons cannot provide care for any child under the age of 12 unless she is supervised by another adult who has been approved by her parole supervisor.She must also take a treatment plan and refrain from contact with the McGrath family.(CFFR, CTV Calgary, The Canadian Press)The Canadian Press