Committed to addressing all outstanding issues with Pak bilaterally Govt tells LS

first_imgNew Delhi: The government Wednesday said it wants normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and was committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally as it asserted that the onus is on Islamabad for creating a terror-free environment for a meaningful dialogue.In written reply to a question in Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said India has asked Pakistan to take “credible and irreversible” steps to end cross-border terrorism and dismantle terrorist Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’infrastructure in territory under its control. Till then, he said, India will continue to take firm and decisive steps to respond to all attempts at cross border terrorist infiltration and supporting cover fire by Pakistan forces. “The government desires normal neighbourly relations with Pakistan and is committed to addressing all outstanding issues bilaterally and peacefully in accordance with the Simla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration,” Muraleedharan said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KHowever, any meaningful dialogue can only be held in an atmosphere free from terror, hostility and violence, he said. “The onus is on Pakistan to create such a conducive atmosphere,” he said. The minister said following major cross-border terror attacks in India, Indian forces carried out counter-terror surgical strike against terrorist launch pads along the Line of Control in September 2016 and a pre-emptive counter terrorism air strike against terrorist camp in Balakot, Pakistan, in February. After the Pulwama cross-border terror attack in February, India withdrew the most favoured nation status accorded to Pakistan and imposed a customs duty of 200 per cent on all goods originating in or exported from Pakistan, he said. The Indian government suspended cross-LoC trade from April 19, 2019, on receiving reports that cross-LoC trade routes are being misused by Pakistan-based elements for funnelling illegal weapons, narcotics and fake currency, Muraleedharan said. He said that as a result of the government’s persistent efforts, there is enhanced concern in the international community over terrorism emanating from Pakistan, including the continuing activities of internationally designated terrorist entities and individuals such as Jamaat-ud Dawa (JuD), Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), Jaish-e-Mohammad, Hizbul Mujahideen. International community strongly condemned the cross-border terrorist attack in Pulwama in February and major partner countries have called upon Pakistan to not allow its territory to be used for terrorism in any manner, he said.last_img read more

Murder case against BJP MLA after rape survivors car crash

first_imgNew Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Police on Monday registered a murder case against BJP MLA Kuldeep Singh Sengar and nine others, in connection with a road accident, which left the Unnao rape survivor and her lawyer critically injured, killing two of her aunts.The FIR named Sengar, nine others, and 15-20 other unnamed persons and has been registered at the Gurubuxganj police station in Raebareli under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 506 (criminal intimidation), and 120b (criminal conspiracy) of the IPC. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsNeither the truck driver, Ashish Pal, nor the truck owner, Devendra Singh, have been named as accused in the UP Police FIR. Both were detained by authorities after the accident on Sunday. In this FIR, the rape survivor’s uncle alleged that her security detail had informed Kuldeep Sengar and his associates about the girl’s travel plans. A car in which the Unnao rape survivor, her family and lawyer were travelling in was hit by an over-speeding truck in Raebareli on Sunday, killing two members, leaving her and the advocate critically injured. The truck’s number plates were blackened. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayDirector-General of Police O P Singh had said that the UP government is ready to hand over the probe to CBI if requested by the victim’s family. Lucknow ADG, Rajeev Krishna, later in the day, told Millennium Post that the procedure to hand over the case to the central agency had already been initiated. The case will now go through the State government to the Union government, which can then authorise the probe agency to officially take over the FIR filed by UP Police on Monday. A team of CBI officials had also visited the rape survivor at the hospital, where she is currently being treated, as it is already probing three cases against Sengar, where she is a witness. The CBI had, in July last year, filed a charge- sheet against Sengar for raping the teenage girl and another charge-sheet against his brother Atul Sengar, for the murder of the rape survivor’s father. Sengar, a four-time MLA who represents Bangermau in the Uttar Pradesh assembly, was arrested in 2018 for allegedly raping the teenage girl at his residence in 2017. After the news of accident spread, Opposition parties have also called for a CBI probe into the matter. The matter created ripples in parliament, where the upper house, Rajya Sabha, was adjourned till noon following Opposition protests. The National Commission for Women is taking cognizance of the Unnao rape case and Sunday’s accident.last_img read more

Lenders extend Jet Airways sale deadline by a week to August 10

first_imgMumbai: The lenders to the defunct Jet Airways Saturday decided to extend the deadline for submitting expression of interest by a week to August 10. Late last month, the resolution professional Ashish Chhawchharia had floated EoIs for selling stake in the airline that stopped flying mid-April. Today was the deadline putting in the EoIs and have so far received preliminary interest from four parties. “On the basis of the requests received from credible interested resolution applicants for some additional time, the deadline for submission of EoI is been provisionally extended by a week to August 10,” the lenders said in a regulatory filing. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe extension is to ensure the objectives of the IBC are achieved and also to maximise the value of assets of the debtor, it said. “The revised deadline for submission stands at 4 pm, August 10,” it added. Earlier this week, the lead banker to the airline State Bank of India had approved a Rs 10 crore interim funding and other banks are also in the process of approving the same. This was after the NCLT had on July 23 asked the RP to discuss the salary concerns with the lenders. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe tribunal said even if 100 percent cannot be paid to the employees a portion of the salary has to keeping the human interest in mind. The lenders, who own the airline since March 25 with 51 percent stake, had on June 17 sent the airline, which stopped flying on April 17, to the NCLT as they could not get a buyer. As of July 4, the RP had received claims worth over Rs 25,500 crore, including over Rs 200 crore from founder Naresh Goyal, submitted by the holding company of the airline JetAir, but was rejected. State Bank has made a claim of Rs 1,644 crore, including cash credit inclusive of interest, term loans and bank guarantees, followed by Yes Bank with a claim of Rs 1,084 crore, PNB at Rs 963 crore and IDBI Bank at Rs 594 crore.last_img read more

Karan Singh exJK Kings son supports govts move on Art 370

first_imgNew Delhi: It may be seen as a major embarrassment for the Congress which had opposed the government’s decision to scrap special status for Jammu and Kashmir in the Parliament as senior Congress leader and former J&K ruler Maharaja Hari Singh’s son Karan Singh on Thursday supported the Centre’s move to make J&K free from Article 370.While supporting the government over its recent J&K decisions, Singh said that he does not agree with a blanket condemnation of the government’s move and stressed that there are several positives in the government’s decision. Hailing the bifurcation of Ladakh into a union territory, Singh further said that he himself proposed bifurcation way back in 1965 when he was the head of the state. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In a statement issued on Thursday, he said that he supports the abrogation of provisions of Article 35A as the issue of gender-discrimination needed to be addressed. The delimitation in the state will also ensure a fair division of political power between Jammu and Kashmir, Singh added. He, however, said that two main political parties of Jammu and Kashmir — the Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference — should not be termed “anti-national”. Urging the government to release the leaders of political parties to start broad-based political dialogue in the state, he said, “The efforts should be that J&K attains a full statehood as soon as possible so that its people can at least enjoy the political rights available to the rest of the country.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KHis statement comes two days after the Congress Working Committee deplored the manner in which the government stripped J&K of its special status by scrapping provisions of Article 370, and bifurcated the state. As Karan Singh broadly backed the fresh developments in the state, of which he was the first and the last Sadr-e-Riyasat, he refrained from directly opposing or backing the abrogation of provisions of Article 370, which repealed J&K’s special status. Singh recalled his father Hari Singh’s decision to sign the Instrument of Accession with India in 1947 and said, “My sole concern is the welfare of all sections of people in the state.” Notably, as soon as the decision was taken by the government to scrap Article 370 in J&K, Congress leaders like Janardan Dwivedi, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Deepender Hooda, Bhubaneswar Kalita, etc. came out in support of the government stand. Hailing the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Dwivedi had said that even though it came late, a historical mistake had been corrected. “This is a matter of satisfaction for the nation. This historical mistake that happened at the time of Independence has been rectified, even though late, and is welcomed,” Dwivedi had said. Supporting the move, Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia had said that the state’s full integration into the Union of India was in the interest of the country. Earlier, Congress’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha Bhubaneshwar Kalita had quit his membership in the Upper House of Parliament over the issue after the party asked him to issue a whip to all members for opposing the bill.last_img read more

Moderate to heavy rainfall inundates various parts of city

first_imgKolkata: A moderate to heavy rainfall lashed the city and various South Bengal districts on Thursday morning resulting in inundation in some parts of the city.The drainage department officials of the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) acted promptly to discharge the accumulated water in various places. Water logging occurred in some stretches of North Kolkata leading to a slow movement of traffic in the morning. Many of the office goers, who stepped out of their houses without an umbrella, had to get drenched in the rain. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaPolice and the KMC officials were out there on the city’s streets from the early morning to manage the water-logging situation. The KMC engineers acted on a war footing to release the accumulated water within minimum possible time so that the people do not face any inconveniences. Senior police officers were on the streets particularly in the important intersections managing the traffic. There were some traffic snarls in some parts of the city during the morning hours due to rain. The situation was brought to normal as the day progressed. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore on Thursday predicted that rainfall will continue in various South 24-Parganas districts, including the city in the next 48 hours. The intensity of the rainfall will however be reduced as the low pressure trough formed over Bay of Bengal moved towards Jharkhand. The low pressure trough will have a forward march towards the Western part of the country. “Though the low pressure trough moved towards western parts, the Monsoon has become active in the state which will bring some more rainfall in the state in the next two days. Various South Bengal districts particularly the costal districts may receive moderate to heavy rainfall. The city may also witness scattered rainfall,” a senior weather official said. In the past 24 hour the city received considerable amount of rainfall. Behala area received highest amount of rainfall of 85 mm in the city in the past 24 hours. The other pumping station areas like Joka received 76 mm of rainfall in the past 24 hours, Mominpur 74 mm, Dum Dum 53 mm, Patuli 51 mm, Dhapa 49 mm, New Market 48 mm. Santoshpur area in the Southern fringes of the city received 46 mm rainfall while Cossipore in the North recorded 45 mm. Ultadanga area received 25 mm of rainfall since Thursday morning. Manicktala recorded 31 mm of rainfall, Thanthania 32 mm and Ballygunj 33 mm rainfall till Thursday afternoon. East Midnapore district administration conducted surveillance in all the beach towns including Digha, Sankarpur, Mandarmani on Thursday to ensure that visitors do not go to the sea when it is turbulent. The MeT officer earlier predicted that the sea will be rough due to which fishermen were also asked to return to the sea shore.last_img read more

Students offered 3month free trial of YouTube Premium

first_imgSan Francisco: In a bid to establish a strong foothold in the online content-streaming segment against its competitors like Netflix and Spotify, Google has offered a three-month free trial of YouTube Premium to students in the US. The deal essentially works by having students sign up for the $6.99 per month plan which also includes YouTube Premium Music, that will allow users to use the services for free for three months. “Attention: Students, for a limited time, new members can enjoy three months of the #YouTubeMusic Premium or @YouTubePremium student plan in select territories, on us. Let us know what you’re playing to get #BacktoSchool,” YouTube Music announced on Thursday. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year YouTube Premium is the comprehensive subscription, which allows for downloading YouTube videos on mobile, removes ads from YouTube and gives access to YouTube Original shows, in addition to all the benefits of YouTube Music Premium. YouTube Music Premium is Google’s paid music streaming service, which allows for users to stream, download, and discover new music – basically Spotify or Apple Music, but built off YouTube, The Verge reported. Recently, Amazon just announced Amazon Music Unlimited plan for students at $0.99 per month for students.last_img read more

It is not an achievement

first_imgMumbai: Actor Hrithik Roshan probably scores 10 on 10 in the looks department, and it seems like a US-based agency has also noticed it. The Kaabil actor, popular as ‘Greek God’ among his admirers, has been reportedly named the ‘Most Handsome Man in the World’ by the agency. He is thankful for the title, though it’s not really an achievement for him. The secret behind his good looks? “Well, it’s broccoli. Just kidding,” Hrithik said in an interview. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka”I’m thankful for this title although on the face of it, it’s not really an achievement. According to me, if there’s anything one should aspire for and value the most in this world, it’s their character. “A good character will always make you look more attractive,” he said in an interview with hindustantimes.com. On the work front, he is also looking forward to the release of War, which will bring him and his fan and actor Tiger Shroff on the big screen together.last_img read more

No person excluded from NRC to be detained till all legal remedies

first_imgNew Delhi: The Centre on Monday said no person excluded from the final NRC list will be detained till he or she exhausts all legal remedies. In a statement, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said the Assam government has made necessary arrangements to provide legal aid to the needy amongst those excluded from the final National Register of Citizens (NRC) through the district legal services authorities. “Persons left out of final NRC not to be detained under any circumstance till they exhaust all remedies available under law,” the statement said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details It added that such persons will continue to enjoy all rights as earlier, like any other citizen, e.g. right to employment, education and property, etc. The MHA said adequate judicial process is available for the people left out to appeal to the Foreigners’ Tribunals (FTs) within 120 days from August 31, when the final NRC was published. To facilitate the appeals, 200 new FTs will be functional from Monday, in addition to 100 already existing, it said. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday According to the final NRC released on Saturday, out of the total 3.3 crore applicants, 3.11 crore figured in the list and names of about 19 lakh residents were excluded. Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal had said last week the exclusion of someone’s name from the final NRC does not amount to the person automatically becoming a foreigner as such a decision can be taken only by a foreigners’ tribunal after following proper legal process. “No one should be worried. No one should panic. Government is here to take care of everyone. Even those who will be excluded from the final list will get enough opportunity to prove their Indian citizenship,” he had said.last_img read more

New Lenovo workstations to herald smartphonelike experience

first_imgBerlin: A sleek workstation that sits comfortably on a table or your lap when you are on the move, keeps pace with every finger tap and when you relax, streams movies and videos to give you a theatre-like experience and what’s more, it also comes with an enviable battery life.That’s what Lenovo is promising in its premium range of Yoga series and Thinkbooks that it unveiled at the annual tech industry event “IFA 2019″ here.The Chinese technology major showcased a new range of slim and stylish ThinkBook 14 and ThinkBook 15 aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMB), while its Yoga series flexible laptops included the Yoga C940 (14/15 inch), S740 (14/15-inch), C740 (14/15-inch) and C640 (13-inch). Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year”Lenovo is targeting the new Generation Z, the millennial workforce. The new tech-savvy generation born in the internet era, who require instant information, are always on the move,” said Sanjeev Menon, Vice President, Small and Medium Business, Product Marketing, Accessories, at Lenovo.Besides an efficient laptop, this new workforce also requires a device that looks stylish and showcases their personality.”It should provide a mobile-like experience, a connected and instant information requirement. The Thinkbook is a perfect device for small and medium businesses; it is a notebook of choice with its durable design and security. It has a sleek metal exterior and comes with a fingerprint reader. Lenovo is among the firsts to come with a fingerprint reader,” Menon said here while unveiling the products. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in IndiaWith its Thinkbooks and Yoga series, Lenovo is targeting the section of customers who want to make a statement with their choice but, at the same time, scout for better pricing, reliability and security, he added.These laptops are equipped with the latest Intel 10th-generation processors and Windows 10, as well as powered by “Project Athena” that has helped Lenovo engineers develop sleek machines that offer optimised performance and good battery life. “Lenovo’s Yoga range of laptops is built on the theme of ‘smarter tech for all’. It focuses on a person trying to do computational analysis, or a student trying to get his or her homework done,” said Matt Bereda, Vice President, Global Consumer Marketing, at Lenovo.The Yoga laptops come with high-resolution screen quality and Dolby sound to give users a theatre-like experience.”We have worked really hard to get high-quality resolution and display, and have got 90.5 per cent screen and have still managed to keep the camera at the top,” Bereda added.With high-screen quality and Dolby sound, the Yoga laptops, besides being a productive workstation, can also become an entertainment centre for the users.With a battery life of a gadget being a subject of concern to all, the Lenovo laptops come with 20-hour battery life, so “you can make it through the day without worries,” he added.The Yoga series also comes with the ‘Modern Standby’ mode, which while the laptop is in sleep mode, will still get all the mail notifications, and Alexa can be used to play music or get directions.”We are leveraging AI to make the users’ experience better. Though the device will be asleep, you can use Alexa above the locked screen. We are the first to deliver the experience,” said Bereda.The laptops also come equipped with a blur filter that will ensure that the background is blurred during a video chat and the focus is entirely on the person talking.He said the laptops are 4G-connected over LTE (Long-Term Evolution) and 5G is “definitely on the road-map for Lenovo”.Lenovo is also using Q control for intelligent cooling of the system, which works to keep pace with the user.It works in three different modes — stealth mode when it is being used at a low level, and at a fast pace when the user is into gaming and needs maximum power. The third is using the artificial intelligence (AI) mode to sense how the device is being used.”If the processor is not being used at its maximum, then the battery and fan will be lower for optimal battery usage. With this technology, the user gets another 15-20 per cent battery life,” Bereda explained.”It depends on the user. We get 20 hours, and now an additional 20 per cent out of that. You won’t need to run around charging all the time,” he added.Lenovo also launched it’s two new tabs — Yoga Smart Tab and Lenovo Smart Tab M8 — that are hands-free, smart home hubs.The tablets are designed to sit anywhere comfortably, from the living room to the kitchen, and has a detachable stand that acts as a charging station.The tab has a cylindrical device that gives it more battery life, has a more robust speaker and a much better audio-video quality, said Bereda.It also has Google Assistant capability that can be used to play videos and get information on weather, etc.last_img read more

Quebec robot named Nao helping students with learning difficulties

first_imgMONTREAL – This isn’t your average teacher assistant.Nao is a little robot which held its own news conference in Montreal on Thursday to outline its own accomplishments, particularly in dealing with students with autism spectrum disorder or those with learning difficulties.The humanoid robot, which has visited elementary and secondary schools in Quebec this year, is composed of cameras, sensors and microphones and can see and hear. It can also recognize humans and interact with them.Nao, which is 58 centimetres tall, is driven by artificial intelligence and is described as humanoid because it spontaneously answers questions and recognizes certain human emotions.Universite de Montreal professor Thierry Karsenti, Canada Research Chair in Technologies in Education, came up with the idea of using Nao to help students learn.Karsenti asked students in disadvantaged neighbourhoods to program Nao with different degrees of difficulty.He says the robot has given them much needed skills for the 21st century as well as self-confidence.last_img read more

Conservation deal halts commercial salmon fishing in Greenland for 12 years

first_imgFREDERICTON – A deal has been reached that will halt commercial salmon fishing in Greenland and the Faroe Islands for the next 12 years to allow adult wild Atlantic salmon to return to rivers in Canada, the United States, and Europe.The coastal waters of Greenland and the Faroe Islands are critical feeding grounds for the salmon, and many come from endangered populations in rivers like the Saint John in New Brunswick and the Penobscot in Maine.“Significantly reducing the harvest of wild Atlantic salmon on their ocean feeding grounds is meaningful and decisive,” said Bill Taylor, president of the Atlantic Salmon Federation.In exchange for commercial fishermen not setting their nets, the Atlantic Salmon Federation and the North Atlantic Salmon Fund will financially support alternative economic development in Greenland, scientific research, and education projects focused on marine conservation.The financial details are being kept confidential, but Atlantic Salmon Federation spokesman Neville Crabbe said no government money is involved.He said all funding for the initiative will be raised through donors and fund raising by the two private groups.Greenland fishermen will still be able to catch up to 20 metric tonnes each year for personal and family consumption.Officials estimate the change will mean that more than 11,000 mature salmon that would otherwise be caught in commercial nets will begin returning to their home rivers in the spring of 2019.“The best way to save North Atlantic salmon is to stop killing them. This deal does that in meaningful numbers, said Chad Pike, chairman of the North Atlantic Salmon Fund.“The alarming decline of the arctic indicator species provides insight into challenges being faced by both ocean and freshwater inhabitants,” he said.The 12-year commercial fishing hiatus will provide relief for two entire generations of wild Atlantic salmon and officials say they expect the population benefits to be significant.Declining wild salmon stocks have been a concern for years, with both overfishing and global warming being blamed.The size of salmon runs across North America in 2016 were down 30 to 50 per cent from the year before.According to figures from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the salmon population in New Brunswick’s famous Miramichi River has declined by 26 per cent over the last 12 years.Last year, the federation said it was the first time ever that no wild Atlantic salmon returned to spawn in New Brunswick’s Magaguadavic River.Despite a stocking program going back to 2002, the Fisheries department said the population in the Magaguadavic had been dropping steadily since an estimate of 900 wild salmon in 1983.Delegations from Greenland and the Faroe Islands will declare the zero commercial quotas at next month’s international summit in Portland, Maine, but they are retroactive to April 31.last_img read more

G20 leaders debate whether to stop flowing money to kidnappers for ransom

first_imgHAMBURG – Whether or not the world’s wealthiest countries should promise not to pay ransoms to terrorist kidnappers formed part of the discussions about international security Friday as G20 meetings got underway in Germany.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged more than a year ago to push other world leaders to stop paying kidnappers after Canadians John Risdel and Robert Hall were killed by a terrorist group in the Philippines in April and June 2016.A Canadian official, speaking on background, said the current draft of the final document outlining what the leaders agreed to at the G20 in Hamburg currently includes the ransom discussions — at Trudeau’s urging.Risdel and Hall were kidnapped in September 2015 along with two other hostages who were later freed. The Norwegian man who was taken with them was freed after Norway paid a ransom of about US$630,000, but Canada refused to pay.Trudeau repeated the oft-heard Canadian claim, including from his predecessor Stephen Harper, that Canada does not pay ransom because it funds terrorist activity and encourages further kidnappings.There has been language about ransom payments in the G20 communiques in both 2015 and 2016, but neither summit resulted in a full pledge not to pay them at all. The 2013 G8 summit made such a pledge, but it was not heeded by all signatories.Canada has long had an unofficial policy against paying ransoms but has done so on some occasions, including in 2009 when it paid $1.1 million to an al-Qaida affiliate in Africa to free diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay.Trudeau also pushed for the language about terrorism to reflect a commitment to diversity and inclusiveness. Officials wouldn’t further explain that component, but it comes as Trump finally gets to impose at least part of his ban on travellers from six mainly Muslim countries in the guise of national security.Trudeau has never publicly criticized Trump for the ban, although he did tweet shortly after it first came to light, promising that Canada would remain open to all refugees regardless of their faith.Trump was at the table during the security discussions, which also focused on combating the threat posed by the militant Islamic State group.Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi told Trudeau at the start of a bilateral meeting Friday that he was very happy to hear Trudeau’s “interventions” in the terrorism discussions and would be backing him all the way.“The wavelength was the same, yours and mine,” Modi told Trudeau in Hindi.Trump was also pushed on his position on climate change and the Paris agreement.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is attending the meeting with Trudeau, said the U.S. position on that issue was no surprise, nor was it expected to change.In May, Trump made good on a campaign promise to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris climate change agreement. He was already the only non-Paris supporter at the G7 meeting in May, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to construct a 19-to-1 scenario in the communique that will be made public Saturday.As part of her G20 presidency, Merkel produced an energy action plan as an appendix to the communique which could end up calling for everything from an end to fossil fuel subsidies around the world to requiring corporations to take climate change impacts and risks into account during financing decisions.Merkel had a one-on-one with Trudeau early Friday where much of the discussion focused on strategies to get as many countries as possible on board the climate change action train.Whether she will get everyone but Trump on her side may depend on Russian President Vladimir Putin. He met privately with Trump on Friday, a much-anticipated meeting given long-standing allegations of Russian meddling in the U.S. election and of collusion with Russia by American officials.That meeting, which lasted more than two hours, included Trump pressing Putin on the election issue, as well as discussions about Russia’s presence in Ukraine and the conflict in Syria.Their meeting came at the same time as the afternoon climate change discussion session, which angered German officials.Russia is one of the countries observers fear may be weakening its resolve on its Paris commitments in the wake of Trump’s decision to withdraw. Russia is not among the 152 countries who have so far ratified the accord.Trudeau also met privately with French President Emmanuel Macron, where the focus was largely on climate change. He will meet Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto on Saturday before the meeting concludes.Outside the meeting, an estimated 100,000 protesters continued demonstrating against what they consider an offensive gathering of the world’s wealthiest nations, which make all the decisions at the expense of disadvantaged people.Most of the protesters marched peacefully, but violence broke out repeatedly, with cars set ablaze and rocks thrown through storefront windows.The zone around the conference centre where the meeting was being held was tightly guarded by thousands of police who lined the streets with cars and blocked passage with a giant water cannon.Many Hamburg stores chose to stay closed during the summit and those in the vicinity of the protests, including an Ikea, boarded up their windows and doors.— Follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more

Companies must focus on managing cyberattacks not eliminating them

first_imgTORONTO – Companies trying to stay ahead of the increasing threat of cyberattacks need to be cognizant of one simple fact: there is no perfect antidote or turnkey solution against criminals bent on breaching their systems.“Everyone is hacking into everything,” said Benoit Dupont, professor of criminology at the University of Montreal and the Canada Research Chair in Cybersecurity.“Even the most secure, aware organizations like the top intelligence agencies in the world get hacked,” he said, pointing to a report in the New York Times last month that the cyberweapons developed by the National Security Agency to spy on other countries are now being used against it, thanks to a leak.The number of Canadian businesses experiencing losses of $1-million or more rose to seven per cent from just one per cent two years ago, according to a 2017 report by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.With each passing year, hacking has become more dangerous, sophisticated and difficult to prevent — and solely ramping up spending on cybersecurity is not a viable solution for any organization, experts warn.What’s required when it comes to cyber preparedness, Benoit and others argue, is a radical overhaul of the entire ecosystem that accounts for the significant role that human error plays in breaches — from confidential data sent to insecure home systems, to phishing schemes that rely on tricking people into giving up sensitive information belonging to their employer.At a minimum, organizations should ensure that mechanisms are in place to minimize the damage caused by inevitable cyber-infiltrations so that if criminals are able to breach a system they won’t necessarily be able to exit with anything of value.That starts with prioritizing the information that organizations must protect, said Christian Leuprecht, national security expert at the Royal Military College and Queen’s University.“People think there is such a thing as privacy and that you can keep things secret. We need to come to the realization that’s not possible,” said Leuprecht.Surprisingly, encryption — in which data is translated into a secret code that can only be accessed by using a secret key or password to decrypt the documents into plain text — is one measure few companies seem to be adopting, said Satyamoorthy Kabilan, director of national security and strategic foresight at the Conference Board of Canada.“The fact that every time we hear about someone’s system being breached and people are able to read the details tells you a lot,” Kabilan added.Encryption, however, isn’t a viable long-term cyber-strategy for companies that need to have constant access to data themselves, according to Andre Boysen, chief identity officer at Toronto-based SecureKey.“It’s going to make it harder for the business to read the data,” he said. “It’s got limited usefulness.”Typically, such companies instead rely on constantly monitoring what’s happening on their network — a feat no human can succeed at, even with organizations leveraging more artificial intelligence and algorithms to determine suspicious activities and identify them before hackers get access to their crown jewels.“We always assume people are hacking near perfect systems,” said Leuprecht. “We have major human errors in the way the systems are set up. Most people actually run terrible operations including some of the largest in the country.”Failure to patch and update systems is another area where human error causes critical fallout, Kabilan noted.“It’s so much of a non-starter that it’s not being done,” he said, referencing the WannaCry ransomware attack, which infected hundreds of thousands of computers in May and scrambled data at hospitals, factories, government agencies, banks and other businesses around the world.“(WannaCry) spread because some people clicked on a link but the reason it proliferated was that it took advantage of an unpatched system.”Organizations need to get a better handle on setting up simple deterrents to make it as unattractive as possible to try to steal information, said Leuprecht.“For instance, if you’re storing credit card information, or things that have lots of numbers, you can create fake versions of them … So if somebody gets a hold of all these numbers they don’t know what the fakes are and what the real ones are,” said Leuprecht.“If you’re just an organized criminal operation that’s trying to extract financial data, you don’t want to invest millions of dollars and hours trying to sift through all the data to figure out what’s real, what’s fake, what’s usable.”Other effective methods not being used by companies are exfiltration detectors that examine outgoing data and block any documents that are intended to remain inside the network, he added.“This is not rocket science,” said Leuprecht. “You have a water main break, you shut it down.”Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

Prominent Canadians share memories of philanthropists Barry and Honey Sherman

first_imgToronto billionaire and philanthropist couple Barry and Honey Sherman were found dead Friday, prompting politicians and prominent Canadians to express condolences and share memories on social media. Barry Sherman was the founder of generic drug giant Apotex.“I am beyond words right now. My dear friends Barry and Honey Sherman have been found dead. Wonderful human beings, incredible philanthropists, great leaders in health care. A very, very sad day. Barry, Honey, rest in peace.” — Ontario Health Minister Eric Hoskins.———“Deeply shocked to learn of the deaths of Honey and Barry Sherman, such remarkable people. Grappling with this terrible news.” — former Ontario premier and former interim federal Liberal leader Bob Rae.———“Two weeks ago it gave me immense joy to present a Senate medal to one of the kindest and most beloved members of Canada’s Jewish community. Today I am gutted by the loss of Honey and Barry Sherman. Our community is steeped in grief. I am heartbroken.” — Senator Linda Frum.———“Shocked to hear of their passing. My kids were impressed by his Mustang Convertible and I was impressed by how far he parked from the door at the opening of the New Humber River Regional Grand Opening despite having given millions.” — former Ontario Health Minister George Smitherman.———“Deeply shocked & saddened to hear of the deaths of Barry & Honey Sherman. Philanthropists and entrepreneurs who made our province a better place to live.” — Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid.———“Such a terrible loss. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the members of the Sherman family.” — Judy Sgro, Liberal MP for Ontario riding Humber River-Black Creek.———last_img read more

Town of Churchill says thank you to everyone who helped after rail

first_imgCHURCHILL, Man. – The town of Churchill in northern Manitoba is saying thank you to everyone who has helped the community since it lost its rail service.Mayor Michael Spence and his council say in a release on Twitter that many Manitobans, Canadians and people from across the world have reached out.The town of 900 people on Hudson Bay lost its only land connection to the south last spring when severe flooding damaged the rail line.Railway owner Omnitrax has said it will not repair the track because it would cost too much money on an already money-losing line.That means goods and people have had to rely on very costly air transportation, although a seasonal ice road recently opened.The town’s thank you says the outpouring of support has made this Christmas a special one for the community.“We are particularly touched by the many anonymous donors who have made a donation to our food bank, donated a toy for a Christmas hamper, sent a letter of encouragement, or simply supported us through this most difficult time,” says the release.“This has truly been the most challenging time our community has faced and we have all come together with the assistance and efforts of many people that care for our community and that recognize the special place that Churchill is.”The town is also reminding everyone that it is not the only northern community affected by the loss of the rail line.It mentions the Kivalliq region in Nunavut, many First Nations — including the Fox Lake Cree, Pikwitonei and York Factory bands — and the communities of Thompson and The Pas.The federal government has filed a lawsuit against Omnitrax and is trying to help transfer ownership of the rail line to a consortium of northern Manitoba communities.last_img read more

Trudeau nominates lawyer Caroline Maynard as new information commissioner

first_imgOTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has nominated government lawyer Caroline Maynard to be Canada’s new information commissioner.Maynard, currently the interim chairperson and chief executive officer of the Military Grievances External Review Committee, would replace Suzanne Legault, whose term in the role is coming to an end.Legault began her seven-year term in June 2010, but was reappointed on an interim basis for a two-month term late last year to allow the government more time to find a successor.Maynard’s nomination must still be approved by the House of Commons and the Senate.The commissioner’s office was established in 1983 under the Access to Information Act, and aims to encourage and help federal institutions to make information more easily available, while providing oversight for freedom of information legislation.Maynard, a bilingual member of the Quebec bar with a degree from the University of Sherbrooke, has spent 20 years in government service.After a stint in private practice, she joined the Canada Revenue Agency before being appointed as legal counsel with the RCMP external review committee in 1998.She served as legal counsel for the Office of the Judge Advocate General at National Defence and then joined military grievances review committee as director general of operations and general counsel.Trudeau said she will make an excellent commissioner.“She has a deep appreciation of the need for an open and transparent government and I trust she would do an outstanding job on delivering the mandate of the office of the information commissioner,” he said in a statement.last_img read more

Quebecs anticorruption unit blames media coverage for recruiting troubles

first_imgPeter Rakobowchuk, The Canadian Press MONTREAL — Seven years after it was created, Quebec’s anti-corruption unit is having difficulty recruiting members and filling a number of positions.Frederick Gaudreau, the interim head of the agency known by its French acronym, UPAC, admits unflattering coverage in the media hasn’t helped.“Yes, it’s a reason, I don’t want to deny it,” Gaudreau said at a recent news conference during the presentation of the unit’s annual report. “I won’t hide from you that it’s a challenge to recruit people.”The report also revealed that there was a 30 per cent rate of voluntary departures among permanent employees at UPAC.The unit, which has about 350 employees, was created by former premier Jean Charest in 2011 amid allegations of corruption in Quebec’s construction industry and the alleged illegal financing of political parties.Gaudreau recently took over as the unit’s director after his predecessor, Robert Lafreniere, tendered his resignation on Oct. 1 — the day of the last provincial election.No reason was given for Lafreniere’s decision to step down. He had been at the head of the unit since it was created. He was reconfirmed in the job in 2016 and his mandate was supposed to end in 2021.However, Quebec media have been reporting on turmoil within the anti-corruption unit for months, and the reports suggest the unit has a difficult work environment with low morale.Documents leaked to the press also revealed UPAC has for years been investigating Charest and Liberal party treasurer Marc Bibeau on illegal electoral financing suspicions.No arrests have been made in either investigation and Charest has denied any wrongdoing.Gaudreau was coy when asked on Saturday if the two men are still being investigated.“If we talk about an investigation that’s underway, we could put the investigation at risk,” he said. “It’s important not to comment on an investigation that’s underway.”A Liberal member of the Quebec legislature, who says he was “destroyed” after being targeted by UPAC, is suing the provincial government for $550,000.In October 2017, Guy Ouellette was arrested by the anti-corruption unit on suspicion he was responsible for leaking sensitive information about the investigation into Charest and Bibeau.Ouellette, a former provincial police officer, denied the claims and was never charged.Gaudreau admitted that the negative media coverage has affected the recruitment of officers to join the unit, but it’s something he hopes to change.“My objective, I would say, is to assure the population that the work is being done properly in the field (and) remove any uneasiness and any preoccupation that people have had in the past,” he said.An internal report in December 2017, which was leaked to the media, talked of palpable tensions and a lack of confidence in management among the unit’s employees.Quebec’s public security department announced in October that the province’s independent police watchdog, known as BEI, will investigate leaks of confidential information apparently coming from UPAC.Gaudreau said about a dozen positions for investigators and several support staff positions now need to be filled.He noted that there’s little interest among the younger generation of police officers to fight against corruption because of the complexity of the inquiries, which take a lot of time.“People who have a tendency to work on short-term dossiers are not necessarily motivated by our inquiries,” he said.Gaudreau said that, while he didn’t have exact figures, a large portion of the police being hired by UPAC don’t have any experience handling investigations.“It’s clear to me that we need to evolve the model into UPAC 2.0,” he added.Gaudreau also said he hasn’t excluded the possibility of going outside Quebec to look for investigators.“We’re open to considering anything,” he said. “What we are looking for are highly-motivated people who are best qualified to do this type of an inquiry.”— With files from Caroline Plantelast_img read more

New guncontrol recommendations due in the coming weeks minister says

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal minister Bill Blair says his ideas for new gun-control rules might come within weeks.Since August, Blair been working on ways to get handguns and assault rifles off Canada’s streets, with measures that might include anything from restrictions on sales to crackdowns on smuggling.Today he told reporters he hopes to complete the work soon and present a report to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.Part of Blair’s mandate as the minister for organized-crime reduction is supporting Minister of Public Safety Ralph Goodale’s Bill C-71, currently in its second reading in the Senate.The bill includes changes to the Firearms Act and Criminal Code.The Liberal government is concerned that the bill’s provisions won’t do enough to stop gang violence in large cities such as Toronto.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Attention shoppers Naked man takes run down aisles of Saskatchewan food store

first_imgPRINCE ALBERT, Sask. — The Crown wants a year in jail for a man convicted of running naked through a grocery store and into a meat cooler in northern Saskatchewan.The prosecution also wants Calvin John Jobb to pay the Prince Albert Superstore almost $200 to cover food that had to be thrown out after his jog down the aisles.Jobb, who is 51, pleaded guilty to charges, including indecent exposure and mischief, related to his actions in early March.The defence wants a six-month term for Jobb and says he was hallucinating, scared and very hot after taking what he thought was marijuana.Court heard during sentencing arguments on Monday that Jobb swung a broom stick, yelled at customers, damaged cash registers, threw meat and jumped into a meat cooler.He is to be sentenced May 22.An eight-year employee described Jobb as “acting like a wild animal” and yelling “just shoot me” when police tried to arrest him.Prosecutor Gail Douglas said it took four officers to get Jobb out of the store and, at one point, he grabbed one of the officer’s Tasers.Legal-aid lawyer Robert Rooney said his client was “in pretty rough shape” on the day in question.“He knew he was consuming something. He didn’t know exactly what it was and he found that terrifying.”Rooney said Jobb has been seeking help to get and stay sober. He said the “public shaming” on social media has been difficult for Jobb.“I’m sure just the Facebook aspects of this case would deter someone from doing this,” Rooney said.“He is hoping to get on with his life.”(paNOW)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Montreal MNA calls out privileged politicians who collect big money for leaving

first_imgMONTREAL — Privileged Quebec politicians shouldn’t accept generous cheques from taxpayers when they quit politics or lose elections, says a recently departed member of the legislature.Amir Khadir announced over the weekend he would donate the $90,000 payment he received after leaving office in 2018 as a member of the Quebec solidaire party. He said all the cash will go to community groups in his former Montreal riding.Quebec politicians are entitled to up to a year’s salary when they leave office. They can only collect the money if they served a full mandate, lost an election or retired due to a serious family or health-related matter.The so-called “transition allowance” is supposed to help pay the bills while they find new work after having sacrificed their time serving the public.Khadir — a physician — says he doesn’t need the money and wants to send a message to all the other privileged politicians in the province.“If people like me quit and immediately return to their work as lawyers, engineers or doctors, and they have a source of revenue, I don’t see why they should collect that money,” he said in an interview with The Canadian Press Sunday.He says he’s still bothered by the decision of former education minister Yves Bolduc, who quit politics in 2015 — in the middle of the Liberals’ mandate — and went back to work as a doctor after pocketing a $150,000 transition allowance.That episode embarrassed the Liberals and helped push them to change the law. In late 2015, the legislature unanimously adopted a bill removing the automatic right to a cash payment for retiring politicians.The new rules stipulate departing members can only collect transition allowances if they complete their term in office, with strict exceptions.But Khadir says the 2015 law isn’t strict enough.“We need to plant the idea in the heads of our colleagues that the money should be seen as a transition allowance,” he said, “and not as a bonus that we have a right to, and that we can pocket no matter the circumstance.”Ewan Sauves, spokesman for Premier Francois Legault, said Monday that the Coalition Avenir Quebec government has no intention of modifying the law. He said in an email that Khadir’s decision “belongs to him” and declined further comment.Renaud Brossard, Quebec director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, an advocacy group that lobbies for lower taxes and less government spending, said politicians shouldn’t receive any money for leaving office. He said a number of other provinces offer similar allowances, but Alberta scrapped its program in 2012.“Yes, politics is a hard job, but it’s also a privilege,” he said in an interview Monday. “This privilege shouldn’t be a reason for politicians to enrich themselves.”Elected members of the Quebec legislature receive a base salary of $95,704, which increases for cabinet members and other parliamentary office holders.“The salaries of politicians are already high compared with the average Quebecer,” Brossard said. “Why should the taxpayer finance a transition for people who are among the richest in society?”Caroline Plante and Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img read more