(A late afternoon sun shines down on the common grounds in Maliotenam. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Tom Fennario APTN News SundayIn the centre of the teepee, a Sacred Fire burns.Some cedar is thrown on and the flames that leap out light the face of a middle-aged woman who is crying.She speaks Innu to the 20 people packed in around her.At one point, the French word for suicide is spoken.“There’s not really a word for suicide in Innu,” says Pepameshke Maikan, an Innu elder who is a part of the medicine society.“We can say ‘take one’s life’ but for many years suicide has been a taboo topic. In the old days there used to not be any suicide.”(Sacred Fire Keeper Pepameshke Maikan. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTN)Maikan is one of the people in charge of the sacred fire that is burning just outside the hearings for the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Women and Girls (MMIWG) in Maliotenam First Nation.He is here to perform healing ceremonies for anyone who so requires it.On this morning, he uses a feather fan to push the smoke of the sacred fire towards the crying woman, who wails in pain.“It’s a way to purify and to put some of that medicine inside of her,” Maikan explains“The smoke comes from a sacred fire, and medicine has been burned inside of the fire.”Maikan gently taps the crying woman with his feather fan until her sobbing subsides.“Kuei,” he says to her, the Innu word for hello, and suddenly she laughs.The tension in the teepee dissipates for the moment.But judging from just a fraction of the 60 truths heard at the MMIWG hearings this week, there’s a lot more healing that needs to be done.* * *“I can tell you about women who have been raped, but it’s taboo. Women who have been raped and experienced incest,” testified Jeanette Pilot, an Innu woman from Uashat.“At 25 years old I found my boyfriend hanging, he sent me off on an errand and when I came back he was hanging,” testified Jenny Régis, also from Uashat.“We’ve had several suicides in the community, and most those happen when people experience sexual assault,” testified Lise Jourdain of Maliotenam.“Everybody is aware here of what goes on in our community, everybody knows that there has been a complaint against our chief for sexual misconduct, nobody should hide that.”The chief in question is Mike McKenzie, who has refused to step down from his duties while he awaits the verdict in his trial for three counts of sexually assaulting a minor.He declined to speak to APTN News for this story.“I would like to convey a message to my community, to all the men of my community,” Jourdain said near the conclusion of her testimony“Do something. By the grace of God, do something. When women meet up, and we try to work on the healing, men don’t come. Men don’t show up.”* * *The next day at the sacred fire, Lucien St-Onge of Maliotenam nods when he has Jourdain’s call for action repeated to him.“There’s a women’s shelter here, but eventually they go back to the men that abuse them and the circle begins again. It’s pointless if they’re just going to go back to the same bad situation.“We need a centre for men too, and not just for them to go be by themselves and be miserable, but a centre where men can go with their families to get well, get better together,” says St-Onge.Gaëtan Régis is also sitting by the sacred fire.He says the solution isn’t to be found so much in the community as back out on the land.“A couple of years ago we brought some [high school] dropouts out on to the land to live traditionally during salmon season. You could see how it helped them, how they absorbed it, how the land heals.”Nitassinan is what the Innu call their vast territory which stretches across the north shore region of Quebec, hugging the coastline along the Gulf of the St.Lawrence before shooting up north into parts of Labrador.Ten communities dot the rolling landscape, the biggest of which (with a combined population of nearly 3,000) are the sister communities of Uashat and Maliotenam, which sit about 15 km apart and are governed by the same band council.Uashat lies just adjacent to the city of Sept-Îles, while Maliotenam sits up on a hill not far from the river. Spoken of by elders around the sacred fire neither community seems to evoke much fondness.Maliotenam has the distinction of being a traditional summer settlement…but also hosted a residential school from 1952-1967.* * *The Innu word for thank you loosely translates as “I give you a goose”, which says a lot about their culture.They hunt caribou, trap small game, and many, due to their proximity to the vast St.Lawrence, are deft fisherman.Pepameshke Maikan, whose name translates as “travelling wolf”, says it was explained to him at a young age that the Innu weren’t meant to be settled into sedentary homes.“I remember when I was about ten years old my father brought me to a mountain where we could see our community,” Maikan explains while smoking tobacco in his pipe.“And he said, pointing at the cemetery ‘look, my bones will go there,’ and he turned to the west and he said ‘the bones of your grandparents are in the forest. Will you leave the bones of your grandparents?’ I said ‘never’.“It was then I became a land protector.”Maikain is in his 70’s now and has spent decades travelling the Innu communities speaking and performing healing ceremonies.“I used to ask myself if the job [of healing] is too immense, I asked my mother once, ‘what am I doing wrong?” and she said ‘nothing, all these things have happened, it’s going to take time, it’s going to take a lot of time, it’s not going to happen the day after tomorrow, with the wounds we have, with intergenerational trauma.”Maikan pauses, to smoke his pipe and reflect.“I’m proud of what’s happening here now in Uashat and Maliotenam, I see here there are people that follow their ceremonies, they have the knowledge to do so.“We have young people who are sun dancers, who are a part of the medicine society, who do the rain dance. Young people who work for healing,” he explains.“It’s like mushrooms, what we’re doing here is like throwing spores in the air.”* * *On the next day of hearings, the teepee is again packed.An Innu song is sung, another woman can be heard crying from the outside.At the end of the song, the drum is hit five times for each direction, 20 in total, as is the Innu tradition.By the time the last beat is played, the sobbing has faded.
Laurie HamelinAPTN NewsTucked within the forest down a dirt logging road in the central interior of British Columbia is the Unist’ot’en Camp.It’s the Unist’ot’en clan’s re-occupation of Wet’suwe’ten traditional lands.Freda Huson built the camp to reconnect with her Indigenous culture and to teach land-based wellness.“People keep calling this a protest camp and it’s not a protest camp,” said Huson. “It’s a homestead, we actually live here and we get visitors from all over the world that want to learn about what we are doing.”The only access to Huson’s homestead is a bridge that is protected by a large gate.It blocks the road that leads to the future Coastal GasLink pipeline.Although Huson welcomes some visitors – not all are welcome.She said she wants nothing to do with workers from the oil and gas business.“Our medicines, our berries, the wildlife, the salmon, the water, the air we breathe, a lot of those are not replaceable,” she said. “If they destroy those and wipe out those species then they are wiping out our food and our way of life.”Huson built the first cabin along the Morice River almost 10 years ago.It’s location was strategic – the front line of a battle that continues to this day.“The number one reason that I moved back out was because of my dad,” she said. “He said the only way we are going to win and protect our territory is you have to occupy.”A decade ago, an Enbridge pipeline project was threatening the territory – so Huson built her home right where the pipeline was scheduled to run through.And for 10 years, she has been able to keep unwanted industry out.But Huson and her supporters now face their biggest challenge.The Coastal GasLink pipeline.The brand-new, 670-kilometre pipeline project will bring fracked gas down from Dawson Creek, B.C., to LNG Canada’s processing plant in Kitimat.One hundred and ninety kilometres of that pipeline will run through Wet’suwe’ten territory.Huson said she has the full support of the territory’s highest hereditary chiefs to stop it.“Unist’ot’en is not standing alone. We have the Wet’suwet’en, the head hereditary chiefs and their clans backing us,” she said.Hereditary Chief Na’moks says the Coastal GasLink pipeline challenges and ignores the authority of the Wet’suwe’ten hereditary chiefs and their feast system of governance, which was recognized by a Supreme Court of Canada ruling in 1997.“Each of the clans have held feast in our feast hall, which is our Parliament building, stating we are opposed to this,” said Na’moks.“It must always be recognized that we are unceded, undefeated and we have never signed any form of document saying that we as hereditary chiefs are not the law and jurisdiction on the land.”TransCanada, the company building the Coastal Gaslink pipeline signed agreements with all 20 Indigenous communities along the route, including the Wet’suwe’ten’s band council.But the hereditary chiefs say the band doesn’t have the jurisdiction to give consent on behalf of the entire territory.“I think the number one thing that people have to realize is that a band is like a municipality,” Na’moks said. “They have jurisdiction within the band boundaries. The territory itself belongs to the people and we as hereditary chiefs we’re obligated through our names – through our culture for thousands of years – to look after it.“The band’s only look after the infrastructure within a reserve.”But Karen Ogen, the former chief of the Wet’suwe’ten Nation, who is responsible for consultations and who signed the agreement with the gas company, says there has to be give and take for the good of the community.“I really believe there’s a place for both levels of government to be working together for the people,” she said.“But it seems a bit of a power struggle because the elected system isn’t going away any time soon and the hereditary chiefs system isn’t going away at all.“As far as I’m concerned, the hereditary chiefs look after their clan members and the land, the elected chiefs look after the members and everything under the sun with very few resources to do it.”Ogen says she’s not actually proud that she signed the agreement.“I wouldn’t say proud. I did my job as the chief of the nation to take care of the people and our environment.”Despite not having approval from the hereditary chiefs, Coastal GasLink recently tried to get past the gate to conduct preparation work at the pipeline site.But members of the homestead turned them away.The company, in turn, responded with an injunction application and civil suit.Freda Huson says she’s not going anywhere.“I live here, this is my home,” she said. “And I don’t plan to leave.”Members of the homestead expect to be in court sometime this month.Construction on the pipeline is scheduled for the first quarter of the new email@example.com@lauriehamelin
Sophie-Claude MillerAPTN NewsThe Quebec Native Women’s Association recently launched an online petition to end gender-based discrimination in the Indian Act.It’s a battle the organization has been waging for more than 45 years.Believing it will improve the quality of life for many – not just firstname.lastname@example.org
OTTAWA – Four out of every five Aboriginal reserves have median incomes that fall below the poverty line, according to income data from the 2016 census that provides insight into the depth of poverty facing Indigenous Peoples in Canada.A Canadian Press review of census figures for areas identified as Indigenous communities found about 81 per cent of reserves had median incomes below the low-income measure, which Statistics Canada considers to be $22,133 for one person.In absolute numbers, of the 367 reserves for which there was data on total individual median incomes, 297 communities fell below the low-income measure, while just 70 registered median incomes above the de facto poverty line.At the lowest end, 27 communities reported median total incomes below $10,000.Women fared marginally better than males, according to the data. About 22 per cent of female incomes on-reserve was over the low-income measure, compared to about 19 per cent for males.The income figures come from tax filings for 2015, the year the Trudeau Liberals were elected in part on a promise to improve economic outcomes for Indigenous Peoples, who collectively face the harshest poverty and housing conditions in the country.The Liberals are finalizing a national housing strategy with specific initiatives targeting Indigenous communities, and have been meeting with Indigenous leaders about what is needed in an Indigenous-specific poverty reduction strategy.But the figures are not a full picture of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Many of the communities registered so few residents that data had to be suppressed out of concerns for their privacy.Statistics Canada plans to provide more robust census data at the end of the month as part of its ongoing effort to paint a five-year portrait of the evolving Canadian population.So far, the emerging picture of Indigenous Peoples living on reserve shows a significantly younger population — thanks to a fertility rate that far exceeds its non-Indigenous counterpart — but with shorter life expectancies and much lower incomes.In September, Statistics Canada reported a spike in income levels in 2015, thanks to a prior boom in commodity prices, particularly in the Prairies, that pushed median total household income to $70,336, up 10.8 per cent from a decade earlier.Only 26 of the 503 of reserves with income data had higher median household incomes. Totals — which include sources like employment, investments and government benefits — ranged from $13,168 in Manitoba’s Roseau River First Nation to $114,381 in Cree Nation of Chisasibi on the eastern shore of James Bay in Quebec.What’s not clear from the numbers is precisely how those incomes are earned, whether resources are shared or if those who do better have specific advantages over those who do not. Each community is different, said Marshall Ballard, director of business, employment and social development with the Native Women’s Association of Canada.Indigenous leaders have pushed the Liberal government to help those communities where the need is greatest. In meetings last week, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for a meeting between Indigenous, federal and provincial leaders next year to work on closing the economic gap with the wider population.Previous research has shown that Indigenous Peoples regularly earn less than the median income. A 2014 study found they were almost as disadvantaged as in 2006 as they were 25 years earlier in 1981.Some of that is tied to location, or the geography lottery, as some communities know it, Ballard said. Location, he said, can make all the difference in the prosperity of the community.Martin Cooke, one of the authors of that 2014 study, said previous research has suggested income isn’t always tied to location, such as being in a remote community.“There’s not a clear geographic pattern,” said Cooke, an associate professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo.“To me that’s the interesting thing: it’s not all geography.”— Follow @jpress on Twitter
DANANG, Vietnam – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone when Canada declined to sign an agreement-in-principle Friday on an updated Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal.Trudeau’s decision to keep negotiating for a better deal in the 11-country pact led to the abrupt cancellation of a TPP leaders’ meeting on the sidelines of an APEC summit.His move created international headlines because foreign media reports had predicted TPP partners would reach an agreement when they gathered for the APEC event in Vietnam.But Trudeau says anyone who had paid closer attention would have noticed his signals all week that Canada would not be rushed into a TPP deal unless it was right for Canadians.Speaking to reporters today to close the APEC summit in Danang, Trudeau says the TPP trade ministers still made some progress by agreeing to several changes that moved the talks closer to a agreement.But Trudeau says despite the improvements there’s still more work to do, particularly when it comes to protecting Canada’s auto and cultural sectors.
TORONTO – Freedom Mobile will begin taking orders for the Apple iPhone X and iPhone 8 models starting Friday, with the smartphones in its stores on Dec. 8.While that’s more than a month after Canada’s three national wireless carriers began selling the iPhone X, it will be the first time Freedom Mobile has a full roster of Apple smartphones to offer its customers.The wireless arm of Calgary-based Shaw Communications Inc. (TSX:SJR.B) had previously been shut out of the Apple market because of limitations of its network technology.The company said Wednesday that it expects network enhancements to be completed by early December in Western Canada and early 2018 in the rest of Freedom Mobile’s area — primarily Ontario.Analyst Drew McReynolds of RBC Dominion Securities writes that having the iPhone ahead of the holiday period is an “incremental positive” for Shaw and Freedom Mobile and sets the stage for a more competitive market.Freedom’s iPhone X promotional pricing is “more aggressive than what we would have anticipated at this time” but availability and conditions attached to pre-launch pricing, such as high service fees, could “dampen” demand, McReynolds wrote.Formerly called Wind Mobile, Freedom is offering promotional pricing for orders placed by Nov. 30, subject to change or cancellation without notice and with certain conditions.For example, the three newest iPhone models could cost $0 if bundled with activation of a new service and a 24-month service agreement, where available. The cost of the qualifying service agreement varies by phone model.McReynolds said that profit margins for all the carriers could be affected by the cost of acquiring new customers and retaining existing customers but he believes the overall impact for incumbents “should remain manageable”.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said Freedom’s announcement was before the three national carriers, rather than after them.
VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver has launched its empty homes tax audit system meant to ensure residents are complying with the program.The deadline for homeowners to declare if their residence is empty is Feb. 2, but the city says it has already sent out notices requesting that some property owners provide evidence to support their declaration.Mayor Gregor Robertson says in a news release that the tax encourages the best use of all housing in the city and will increase the rental supply for those who live and work in Vancouver.So far, 55 per cent of all property owners have completed their form telling the city if their home is lived in or empty.Property owners who don’t declare by the deadline will have their homes declared vacant, will be fined $250 and will have to pay the tax at a rate of one per cent of the properties assessed taxable value.The mayor said in November that the tax could put as many as 25,000 empty units back on the rental market.
WASHINGTON – The Trump administration signed off Thursday on selling more than $1.3 billion in artillery to Saudi Arabia, giving a vote of confidence to the Saudi military as young Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman concludes a marathon tour of the United States.Since Prince Mohammed arrived in the U.S. two weeks ago, the administration has green-lighted more than $2.3 billion in arms sales to the kingdom, including more than $1 billion in missiles while the crown prince was in Washington. The latest deal includes about 180 Paladin howitzer systems, artillery-firing vehicles on tracks. The vehicles look like a combination of a tank and a cannon, and launch 155mm shells.The Trump administration told Congress on Thursday that it plans to approve the sale, the State Department said, triggering a 30-day window in which lawmakers could act to try to stop it. Typically, the administration obtains informal approval for such deals from key lawmakers before making them public, indicating that Congress is unlikely to act to block the sale.The Defence Security Cooperation Agency, part of the U.S. military, said the sale would “contribute to the foreign policy and national security of the United States” by boosting the capabilities of a key U.S. partner that contributes to “political stability and economic progress in the Middle East.” The agency said the artillery would help the Saudis modernize their military and improve their ability to co-operate with the U.S. military.Yet the sale comes amid continuing concerns in Congress and by humanitarian groups about alarming rates of civilian casualties inflicted by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. Even President Donald Trump has raised his concerns about that in the past, and for a while, the U.S. stopped selling certain munitions to the Saudis while demanding that they improve their targeting. The U.S. is not engaged in the Saudis’ bombing campaign in Yemen, but has supported the coalition with refuelling , targeting information and other logistics.The Trump administration and the United States more broadly have laid out the red carpet for Prince Mohammed, the 32-year-old heir to the throne, who is on an ambitious mission to modernize Saudi Arabia and improve its image in the West. After stops in Washington, New York and Boston, the crown prince has spent this week on the West Coast meeting with prominent business and entertainment leaders. He plans a final stop in the energy hub of Houston on Saturday before returning to Saudi Arabia.During Trump’s visit to Riyadh last year — the first stop on his inaugural foreign trip — the two nations announced that the U.S. would sell $110 billion in military equipment to Saudi Arabia. They said the deal could grow to $350 billion over a decade and include tanks, combat ships, missile defence systems, radar and communications, and cybersecurity technology. Tens of thousands of U.S. jobs could be created, the State Department said at the time.But no details were announced then, owing in part to the fact that the individual sales require approval from Congress that Trump by himself could not guarantee. Officials said the $1.3 billion in artillery and $1 billion in missiles announced during Prince Mohammed’s visit are both part of that broader package.___AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.___Reach Josh Lederman on Twitter at http://twitter.com/joshledermanAP
TORONTO – The Ontario Securities Commission is gathering information on several cryptocurrency trading platforms after it received a number of complaints.The regulator says the platforms, and any businesses that allow cryptocurrencies that are securities to trade on them, may be offside securities laws.It says any platform that offers this type of trading must determine whether it is a marketplace. Marketplaces are required to comply with the rules governing exchanges or alternative trading systems.The regulator says to date, none have been recognized as an exchange, or exempted from recognition.The move by the Ontario regulator comes amid the rise of initial coin offerings, which may be used by companies as an alternative way to raise money.With little regulation, initial coin offerings have raised worries about possible financial scams.
WASHINGTON — Dr. Jeffrey Shuren was adamant: The United States would never cut corners to fast-track the approval of medical devices.“We don’t use our people as guinea pigs in the U.S.,” Shuren said, holding firm as the new director of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s medical devices division.Again and again in 2011 — four times in all — Shuren was summoned before Congress. Lawmakers accused the agency of being too slow and too demanding in reviewing new devices like heart valves and spinal implants, driving U.S. manufacturers overseas where products faced less rigorous review. Each time, he pushed back.And yet the next year, Shuren and his team adopted an approach that surprised even some of his closest colleagues: The FDA would strive to be “first in the world” to approve devices it considered important to public health.The agency’s shift mirrored the talking points of the $400 billion medical device industry — a lobbying behemoth on Capitol Hill — and ushered in a series of changes that critics say have allowed manufacturers to seek regulatory approval for high-risk devices using smaller, shorter, less rigorous studies that provide less certainty of safety and effectiveness.Under Shuren, annual new device approvals have more than tripled, while warnings to device manufacturers about product safety and quality issues have fallen roughly 80 per cent, an Associated Press investigation found.The FDA says warning letters have declined because the agency is using a new approach that involves fewer warnings but more inspections to oversee companies that violate its rules.The cheaper and faster medical device approvals began despite multiple high-profile problems involving pelvic mesh, hip replacements and other implants.An AP analysis of FDA data shows that since 2012, tens of thousands of injury and death reports have been filed in connection with devices that were cleared through a streamlined pathway that minimizes clinical trial testing. The FDA’s system for reporting device problems often includes incomplete, unverified information submitted by manufacturers, physicians, lawyers and patients. Because of these limitations, it’s often unclear whether a device played any role in an injury or death.In response to questions from the AP, the FDA said its “first in the world” goal was adopted as part of a broader strategy that also focused on quickly identifying defective products to ensure U.S. devices “remain safe, effective and of high quality,” the agency added.The goal is not about a competition between countries, the FDA said, but rather a response to concerns about delays in new technologies reaching U.S. patients.Last week, the FDA announced a new goal to be “consistently first” among the world’s regulatory agencies to identify and address medical device safety issues. And on Monday, a day after a global investigation into medical device safety began publishing, the FDA proposed changes that would push manufacturers to incorporate more up-to-date technology into their devices — reforms that could take years to implement.The agency also rejected the idea that Shuren’s approach to regulation has changed over time, saying he has worked for years to improve patient safety.Still, some current and former FDA officials are worried about the ambition to be first on approvals. They include Dr. Peter Lurie, who calls the agency’s direction “an invitation to a race to the bottom for scientific standards” seemingly prompted by industry pressure. Lurie held senior posts at FDA from 2009 to 2017 and now heads the non-profit Center for Science in the Public Interest.The FDA’s medical device standards are still considered among the highest in the world. But by trying to outpace countries with less stringent requirements, Lurie said the FDA has opened the door to lowering its own standards to achieve its goal.Earlier this year, Shuren addressed a conference of medical device industry executives, each of whom paid about $1,000 to attend.Armed with dozens of PowerPoint slides, he explained how the FDA was approving more new devices in less time and credited his “north star” — the FDA’s goal to be first to approve new devices.He highlighted the agency’s new focus on “customer service,” including streamlining clinical trials.“We all know that premarket clinical trials can be very costly, very time-consuming and, in some respects, of limited value,” Shuren said.He explained that the FDA was now using easier-to-produce data to approve a variety of devices, including artery-opening stents, spinal implants and diagnostic tests.In September, the FDA began codifying a concept called “acceptable uncertainty” in draft guidelines for manufacturers. The proposal would ease pre-market testing standards for some devices, in exchange for companies conducting larger follow-up studies, even though the FDA’s own data show that many studies are not completed until five or more years after approval.The FDA said in a statement that all devices carry a level of uncertainty, even after extensive testing. It said its guidance focuses on “breakthrough” devices, where “it may be appropriate to accept a little more uncertainty,” while still meeting FDA standards.Lurie and other former regulators worry that the FDA is laying the groundwork for a “sliding scale” of medical evidence that will leave patients even more uncertain about the safety and effectiveness of devices.“This guidance is basically a ‘come hither’ to industry, inviting them to ask FDA for the lower standards of evidence,” he said.___Follow Matthew Perrone at @AP_FDAwriter___Associated Press writers Holbrook Mohr, Reese Dunklin and Meghan Hoyer contributed to this story.Matthew Perrone, The Associated Press
David Friend, The Canadian Press TORONTO — Another price hike is on the way for Netflix Canada subscribers as competition heats up among the biggest streaming video services.The company behind “Narcos” and “Orange Is the New Black” is introducing its biggest price increase yet for both new subscribers and current members.Netflix’s standard plan will now cost $3 more — or $13.99 a month — to watch content on two screens at a time.The basic plan — which does not offer high-definition video and only allows one stream — rises a dollar to $9.99 a month.Premium plan subscribers pay $3 more — or $16.99 a month — for up to four simultaneous streams and ultra high definition 4K video.Netflix says the higher prices are effective immediately for new subscribers, while existing users will be notified by email before their bills rise in the coming weeks.The company most recently increased prices for most plans by a dollar about a year and a half ago.Netflix says the move will help fund upcoming TV series and films as well as overall improvements to the Netflix platform.But the company also faces intense competition next year as the number of streaming platforms in the Canadian marketplace with attractive offerings grows.Earlier this month, Bell Media introduced a higher tier of its Crave streaming service that includes a selection of recent Hollywood movies and new HBO programs. The package, dubbed Crave+, costs about $20 per month.Next year, Disney jumps into the market with its own streaming platform. Disney+ is expected to be stocked with movies and original series like a prequel to “Star Wars: Rogue One” and a Marvel superhero show based on the character Loki from “Thor” and “The Avengers.”Other platforms could make headway too, including a new service operated by Criterion that specializes in classic films, and CBS All Access, which is beefing up its library of original shows that include “Tell Me A Story” and “Strange Angel.” Follow @dfriend on Twitter.
BEIJING — Chinese President Xi Jinping has promised that the country will “never seek hegemony” even as it approaches the centre of the world stage.Xi gave a speech Tuesday to mark the country’s 40 years of reform and opening up.The address credited former leader Deng Xiaoping’s market reforms with saving the country from the brink of economic collapse following the tumultuous Cultural Revolution.Xi also expressed support for a multilateral trading system, but he did not directly address ongoing trade friction with the United States.China has been battling global scrutiny around its outsize economic influence. Xi assured in his speech that the country will not develop “at the expense of other countries’ interests.”The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Ryan Pomeroy, a native of Fort St. John and President of Pomeroy Lodging, has been named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40.The awards, which are bestowed upon forty Canadian business leaders under 40 years of age, are chosen by an independent advisory board, which comprises more than 20 respected and experienced individuals from across Canada. Nearly 800 residents were nominated for the awards between January and March before the board met on May 15th to select the Honourees from a short list put together by Caldwell.Ryan Pomeroy, who currently serves as President of Pomeroy Lodging, was announced today as one of the forty recipients this year. Originally from Fort St. John, he began his journey at Pomeroy Lodging at a very young age. Having worked in the family business since he was five, Pomeroy was appointed the company’s President in 2006. Since then, the company says he has been instrumental in strategically positioning Pomeroy Lodging for continued success and growth. Pomeroy Lodging President Ryan Pomeroy. Photo by Pomeroy Lodging“I offer my sincere congratulations to the 2018 honourees,” said Elan Pratzer, managing partner for Canada at Caldwell. “It’s easy to understand why we recognize and honour the Top 40 — they are truly remarkable young women and men, who are experts in their fields and passionate about their work and communities. I also thank our program partners for their commitment. They understand that when we honour young leaders, it builds a sense of responsibility in them to be bold but thoughtful, and to contribute to our national economic and social vigour.”The Top 40 Under 40 recipients will be honoured at the Top 40 National Celebrations to be held in Toronto in November, including the Top 40 Awards Night Gala at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on November 21st.
VICTORIA, B.C. – The Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services has announced details for its Budget 2020 consultation.According to the Government, this consultation is an annual event where British Columbians are invited to share their priorities and ideas for the next Provincial Budget.Committee Chair, Bob D’Eith, says the consultation has been moved to June instead of the fall which will allow more time for the committee to put forward reviews and considerations. “Every year, the committee hears diverse perspectives and suggestions on a number of topics. Moving the consultation to June will allow for more time to review and consider this input and the recommendations put forward by the committee.”Residents can provide their input by speaking with the committee in-person or via teleconference at a public hearing. They can also send input via mail or through an online survey.A public hearing will be coming to Fort St. John on June 19, 2019.For more information, and to register, you can visit the committee’s website.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Five students and two delegates travelled from the Peace Region to attend the Canada Wide Science Fair in Fredericton, New Brunswick.After successfully competing and winning their spots at the Regional Science Fair held in April, the group was amongst 409 other projects that were submitted to the Canada Wide Science Fair.Out of those 409 projects, three students from the North Peace were able to win medals for their science projects. Hollis Mattson, Grade 7 student at Devereaux Elementary, won a silver medal for her Underwater Soundscape project.Kyra Taylor, Grade 12 Student at North Peace Secondary School, received a bronze medal for her project ‘Keeping the Balance: The Correlation Between Diet and pH in the Equine Hindgut’.Emilia Dyksterhuis, Grade 7 Student, won a bronze medal for her project on ‘Spare Our Air: The Use of Algae Scrubbers in the Oil and Gas Industry’.Students received an all-expense trip thanks to the sponsorship of Shell, Encana, School District 60 Science Fair Foundation B.C., and Arc Resources.
Jaipur: Congress president Rahul Gandhi Tuesday termed his party’s promise of minimum guaranteed income to the poorest 20 per cent households a “surgical strike on poverty” and said nobody should be poor in 21st century India. Addressing a rally in Suratgarh town of Ganganagar district, a day after declaring his party would roll out the scheme if voted to power, Gandhi alleged that Prime Minster Narendra Modi gave money to the rich and top industrialists of the country, but the Congress would serve the poor. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details He said the promised minimum income scheme was a “big bang”. “Dhamaka hai ye…bomb fatega (It’s a big bang…a bomb will set off). This is a Congress’s surgical strike on poverty. They (the BJP) worked to eliminate the poor we will eliminate poverty,” Gandhi said. On helping the poor, he said, “We thought how it should be done. After discussion and brainstorming, we thought that there should be a minimum income line of Rs. 12,000 per month. Soon after formation of the Congress government in 2019, the minimum income line in India will be Rs 12,000 per month.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday He alleged that poverty and unemployment increased under the Modi government. While the Congress-led UPA government lifted 14 crore people out of poverty, “Modi made them poor again”, he claimed. On Monday, Gandhi announced in New Delhi that Rs 72,000 per year will be given as minimum income to poor families, benefiting around 25 crore people, if his party is voted to power in Lok Sabha polls. “Nobody should be poor in the country in 21st century,” he told the Suratgarh rally Tuesday. He also alleged that the Modi government weakened the schemes and programmes such as MGNREGA and food security introduced by the UPA dispensation. “Whatever was done under the MGRENGA, food security and loan waiver by the UPA government, that all were finished by Narendra Modi. Poverty and unemployment increased in his rule,” he said. He said that top industrialists were helped by the government in “looting” the public money and their debt of Rs. 3.5 lakh were written off, but farm loans were not. The Congress chief continued his “chowkidar” barb at the PM. “During last elections, he promised jobs to two crore youths, Rs 15 lakh in every bank account. But no jobs were given and no money was transferred. He made tall promises. He spoke whatever came to his mind. He had asked public to not make him the prime minister but a chowkidar (watchman). But he never told that he will not be your chowkidar but a chowkidar of people like Anil Ambani,” he said. Gandhi said that all those who took away public money from banks were “helped” by the NDA government, PM Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Union minister Arun Jaitley. All of them have looted public money, he charged. He also targeted the government over demonetisation and GST and asked if the note ban was announced to curb black money why nobody having such asset was seen in queue to covert the currency. Banks changed the black money through the back door, he alleged. Gandhi said that Shah’s son business of Rs 50,000 progressed to crores of rupees, tainted businessman Mehul Choksi transferred money to the bank account Jaitley’s daughter, and fugitive liquor baron Vijay Mallya met Jaitley in the parliament house before absconding. All these allegations have been refuted by the BJP and its leaders. The Congress president reiterated his allegation on the government over the Rafale deal, saying Modi helped Anil Ambani in getting the contract for manufacturing the plane despite the fact that he had no experience in making aircraft. These allegations have also been rejected by the government and Ambani. Rajasthan Chief minister Ashok Gehlot, deputy chief minister and Pradesh congress committee president Sachin Pilot and other senior leaders of the party were present at the rally.
New Delhi: The BJP Monday accused Congress chief Rahul Gandhi of being a “habitual liar” and asked people not to fall in his “trap” in the Lok Sabha polls, a reference to his recent promises to the poor, including the minimum income scheme.BJP vice president and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan claimed Congress governments in states like Madhya Pradesh have “cheated” farmers by not fulfilling their promise of waiving agriculture loans. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’There was no immediate response from the Congress to the BJP’s attack on its president. Chouhan told reporters Gandhi had claimed that the Congress will waive farmers’ loans within 10 days of coming to power in Madhya Pradesh but, he said, it had not been done even after 104 days of Kamal Nath taking over as chief minister. He played two video clips of Gandhi, first purportedly showing him making the promise and second in which he is heard saying that the state government has fulfilled it. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K”Gandhi speaks lies with confidence and shamelessly. He is a habitual liar,” he claimed. Lakhs of farmers recently received a state government message telling them that the loan waiver exercise was put on hold due to the Model Code of Conduct that came into effect after the general election announcement, he claimed. It seems Kamal Nath had been waiting for the poll announcement so that he could get rid of this promise, he said taking a swipe at the state government.
Colombo: Sri Lanka has expelled over 600 foreign nationals, including around 200 Islamic clerics, since the Easter suicide bombings blamed on a local jihadi group, a minister said Sunday. Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardena said the clerics had entered the country legally, but amid a security crackdown after the attacks were found to have overstayed their visas, for which fines were imposed and they were expelled from the island. “Considering the current situation in the country, we have reviewed the visas system and took a decision to tighten visa restrictions for religious teachers,” Abeywardena said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince Salman ‘snubbed’ Pak PM Imran, recalled his private jet from US: Report”Out of those who were sent out, about 200 were Islamic preachers.” The Easter Sunday bombings that killed 257 people and wounded nearly 500 were led by a local cleric who is known to have travelled to neighbouring India and had made contact with jihadists there. The minister did not give the nationalities of those who have been expelled, but police have said many foreigners who have overstayed their visas since the Easter attacks were from Bangladesh, India, Maldives and Pakistan. Also Read – Iraq military admits ‘excessive force’ used in deadly protests”There are religious institutions which have been getting down foreign preachers for decades,” Abeywardena said. “We have no issues with them, but there are some which mushroomed recently. We will pay more attention to them.” The minister said the government was overhauling the country’s visa policy following fears that foreign clerics could radicalise locals for a repeat of the April 21 suicide bombings, which targeted three Christian churches and three luxury hotels. Sri Lanka has imposed a state of emergency since the attacks and given wide powers to troops and police to arrest and detain suspects for long periods. House-to-house searches are being carried out across the country looking for explosives and propaganda material of Islamic extremists.
Marrakech- King Mohammed VI, Chairman of Al-Quds Committee, presented, in favor of the 2014-2018 action plan of Bayt Mal Al-Quds Agency, a concrete strategy to counter the attempts of the occupation forces to Judaize the holy city, said Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar. “The plan initiated by the occupation authorities with the aim of Judaizing Jerusalem, requires a response within a specific policy, to which His Majesty called and emphasized through a new action plan of Bayt Mal Al-Quds Agency for the 2014-2018 period,” said Mezouar in a statement to MAP on the sidelines of the 20th session of the Al Quds Committee held on January 17-18 in Marrakech.He explained that this action plan is based on proactive field interventions to support the Maqdissis in their resistance to the Israeli occupation policies, noting that this approach illustrates the far-sightedness of His Majesty the King and the effectiveness of his approach vis -à-vis this issue.
Zurich – The Moroccan football team fell two spots to number 79 of the world’s rankings, issued on Thursday by the football federation (FIFA). Germany tops the 2014 world’s rakings, followed by Argentina, and the Netherlands. The Oranje’s third-place finish at the World Cup has propelled them 12 positions up the table and back into the top ten. All of the teams that exited the World Cup in the quarter-finals have climbed up the ranking: Colombia (fourth, up four), Belgium (fifth, up six), France (tenth, up seven) and Costa Rica (16th, up 12 – the Ticos’ highest-ever ranking).