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www.theasianstar.com Vol 17 - Issue 15

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Murder charge laid in Surrey case of newlywed man shot on his wedding day Seven years after Manbir Kajla was shot dead on his wedding day while his new wife watched in horror, a man has been arrested and charged with murder. Samandeep Singh Gill (pictured) a 30-year-old Surrey resident, was arrested Saturday and charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder in the attack on Kajla and his wife, the

Integrated Homicide Investigation Team announced Monday. Kajla was 30 years old when he was killed on April 27, 2011. He had just been married that morning and was driving with his new wife, Pavan Sanghera Kajla, when their Lexus collided with an SUV on 128 Street near 68 Avenue Continued on page 6

Walmart buys majority stake in India’s Flipkart for US $17B Walmart Inc.’s deal to buy a controlling stake in India’s biggest online seller is meeting skepticism on Wall Street. The world’s largest retailer will acquire a 77 percent holding in Flipkart Group for $17 billion, the companies said earlier Wednesday. Flipkart co-founder Binny Bansal and other shareholders will hold the remainder. The tie-up values the Indian e-commerce giant at about $20.8 billion

and marks a blow against rival Amazon. com Inc. as the battle for e-commerce supremacy goes global. The deal -Walmart’s biggest ever -- gives it greater access to India’s e-commerce market, which Morgan Stanley has estimated will grow to $200 billion in about a decade from about $30 billion today. But it will take some time for the business to turn profitable, and analysts on a Wednesday morning call about the deal adopted a cautious tone. S&P Global Ratings changed its outlook on Walmart to negative. “As Flipkart is expected to generate meaningful losses for at least the next few years, this is clearly an investment for the future,� Moody’s analyst Charlie O’Shea wrote in a note. Continued on page 2

Tel:604-591-5423

India could seek extradition of alleged Sikh militant based in Surrey India’s counter-terrorism law enforcement agency has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against a Surrey, B.C. man accused of plotting to carry out a major terrorist attack in India’s Punjab state. Hardeep Singh Nijjar is accused of “conspiring and planning to carry out a major terrorist attack in India,� the National Investigation Agency said in its Thursday FIR filing, a key step towards pursuing extradition per India’s extradition treaty with Canada. Nijjar’s associates in India have been carrying out reconnaissance of gatherings of the hardline Hindu nationalist group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Continued on page 6

20,000 henna cones recalled in Canada after reports of chemical burns

Thousands of mehndi, or henna, cones are being recalled across Canada after reports of chemical burns. About 20,022 Shakeel Bhai Mehndi Waley Bridal Special Henna Cone products were distributed by retailers across the

country between June 2015 and May 2017. Health Canada says the products are commonly found at ethnic stores. The health agency highlights three C a n a d i a n Continued on page 7

 

  Traffic camera photo was taken at 6:31 am on Friday, May 11 at the scene of an accicdent at 64th Ave and King George Blvd., where a woman struck in crash was taken to hospital in critical condition. See story on page 3

Fewer than 1% of more than 28,000 irregular asylum seekers have been removed from Canada so far While just over 28,000 asylum seekers have crossed the border into Canada irregularly since the beginning of last year, fewer than one per cent of those have been removed from the country. Those figures come as senior government

ministers maintain they expect that close to 90 per cent of those who crossed the border at unofficial ports of entry will see their application to stay fail. Public Safety Minister Continued on page 7

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Walmart buys majority stake in India’s Flipkart for US $17B

The retail giant declined to give a specific timetable on profitability, saying only that Flipkart’s losses should decline “in the mid to long term.” The deal will shave 25 cents to 30 cents per share from this year’s earnings, with that impact doubling the following year. “It’s typical of a business like this that, as you scale up, you will have losses. We expect those losses to continue for a little while,” Walmart’s Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said in a phone interview. S&P lowered Walmart’s outlook to negative from stable, citing increasing leverage and risks stemming from the company’s spending to expand online and globally as it continues its

share buyback program. The credit firm rates Walmart AA, the third-highest investment grade. The negative outlook shows there’s “about a one-in-three chance” that Walmart’s strategy shift could result in a downgrade over the next two years, the credit-ratings company said in a statement. With the Walmart tie-up, Flipkart gets additional capital and expertise to battle Amazon, which has spent billions of dollars to gain customers in India. Online sales in the world’s second most-populous nation are growing about 35 percent a year, according to data tracker Euromonitor, fueled by a rising middle class and urbanization that present an attractive environment for e-commerce.

“We’ve been looking at this business for some time. India needs no introduction; it’s a fantastically growing market. And it fits right in with our strategy,” Judith McKenna, Walmart’s international chief executive officer, said in a phone interview. Walmart was upstaged earlier Wednesday when Masayoshi Son, chief executive officer of SoftBank Group Corp., confirmed during a briefing in Tokyo that the U.S. retailer had agreed to buy control of Flipkart. SoftBank invested $2.5 billion in the Indian company in 2017 and that stake will be worth about $4 billion in the deal, Son said. For the U.S. retailer, acquiring a stake in Flipkart enables it to tap into India’s retail

market without building stores. Walmart once envisioned operating hundreds of locations across India but it has been unable to open traditional units because of long-standing governmental rules for so-called multibrand international retailers. Walmart entered India in 2009 through a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises, and took full control of that business in 2013. It currently operates 20 wholesale clubs in India that serve small businesses. Walmart’s investment includes $2 billion in new equity funding, which the companies say will be used to spur Flipkart’s growth. The companies said they’re also in talks with other potential investors, which could result in the U.S. company’s stake being lowered, though it will retain majority ownership. Flipkart will maintain a separate brand and operating structure, the companies said. The deal is the largestever in e-commerce, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The deal represents a missed opportunity for Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, who has also failed to create a meaningful presence in China. Amazon needs to succeed in another high-growth market to prove it can effectively replicate its model beyond North America, and it has been aggressively expanding in India. Bezos has committed $5.5 billion to the country and his local chief, Amit Agarwal, has made progress by adapting the site to local conditions. Despite its size and global clout, Walmart has found it necessary to forge alliances in its battle against Amazon, which last year bought Whole Foods Market to gain a foothold in the U.S. grocery industry. In China, Walmart has acquired a 12 percent stake in e-commerce player JD.com, and in Japan it teamed up this year with Tokyo’s Rakuten Inc. India is the next big potential prize after the U.S. and China, where foreign retailers have made little progress against Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. “We’ve been talking about how we want to get this global portfolio where we want it,” CFO Biggs said. “Nobody will be better positioned in Asia than we will be.” Walmart executives said they were particularly interested in PhonePe, Flipkart’s mobile payments app, along with its fashion sites Myntra and Jabong. Walmart has tried to make a bigger push into apparel online with acquisitions like Bonobos and ModCloth, along with a partnership with department-store chain Lord & Taylor.

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Local

Saturday, May 12, 2018

More than 3,000 people affected by evacuation order as waters rise in Kootenay and Boundary regions Recent downpours in many parts of Emergency Operations Centre. southern interior of British Columbia have The River Forecast Centre has issued added to flooding woes across already soggy flooding warnings for the Kettle River, West region, prompting new flood warnings for Kettle River, Granby River and surrounding several rivers, forcing thousands out of their tributaries in the Boundary region. There is homes and closing a number of roads. Emergency Info BC, the body that provides information during provincial emergencies, says flooding has led to evacuation orders or alerts in seven regional districts and seven First Nations around the province. More than Floods are rising in Grand Forks region in BC 3,000 residents have been ordered out of their homes in the Regional District of also a high streamflow advisory for the West Kooteney-Boundary due to “imminent danger and East Kootenay. At 11 a.m. on Thursday, to life and health due to flooding,” according to 54 properties in the Okanagan Falls area were Frances Maika with the district. under an evacuation order, due to flooding The order applies to all low-lying areas near along the Shuttleworth Creek. the Granby, Kettle and West Kettle rivers, as Highway 3 remains closed in both directions, well as other areas under an evacuation alert 14 kilometres west of Keremeos, because of yesterday. Officials say rivers are rising to flooding from the Similkameen River. There is levels not seen since the disastrous flood year no estimated time for reopening. Patients at of 1948, when most of southeast B.C. was a hospice in the Okanagan have been moved under water, entire towns were destroyed and amid flooding fears. Ruth Edwards with the lives were lost. The banks of the Boundary North Okanagan Hospice Society says nine rivers are expected to peak on Thursday people were moved from a facility in Vernon or Friday, which will mean more washouts to the local hospital when a nearby creek rose and evacuations to come, according to the dramatically yesterday.

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BC Liberal wants Victoria MLAs to stop claiming for meals To BC Liberal MLA Peter Milobar, it’s a question of fairness and free lunches for politicians. To Andrew Weaver, it’s cynical politics. But a private member’s bill introduced by MIlobar on Wednesday, which would take away the ability of Victoria-area MLAs to claim a food allowance while the B.C. Legislature is sitting, produced predictable reactions on both sides of the house. “They’re absolutely busy people, but they do live close to the legislature. That’s why they don’t qualify for the housing allowance, and there are tens of thousands of civil servants that are also very busy people who don’t charge per diems,” said Milobar. The seven MLAs that represent ridings in Greater Victoria are currently allowed to claim $61 a day for food, or smaller amounts for specific meals, on days the legislature is sitting. The 81 MLAs who live outside the capital region can do the same, but also claim a housing allowance. All can claim their per diems on top of the basic MLA salary of $105,881.83 per year. BC minister’s $6,000 for meals OK: NDP The B.C. Liberals provided figures showing

Premier John Horgan (MLA for Juan de Fuca) had claimed $1,684.50 in per diems on days the legislature had been sitting between forming government and March 15, with Finance Minister Carole James (MLA for VictoriaBeacon Hill) at $1,587.00. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham (MLA for Saanich South) had not claimed any per diems on those days, which Milobar said was proof the switch could be done. ‘Smaller on the dollar scale’ Private member bills are rarely moved forward by the government for debate and none of the affected MLAs are B.C. Liberals. But Milobar, who emphasized that Victoria MLAs were operating fully within the law, said political gamesmanship had nothing to do with his motion. “Admittedly, it’s something smaller on the dollar scale, but I think it’s something that’s relatable to very many British Columbians when they take their lunch to work.” Milobar said there was no hypocrisy in bringing it forward with the Liberals out of power for the first time in 16 years, because, as a first-term MLA, he has never served in government. “I’m a new MLA. I’ve always brought forward things in my previous life as a municipal politician.

Pedestrian in critical condition after early Friday morning crash in Surrey Police have blocked traffic in all directions at 64th Avenue and King George Boulevard this morning after a crash involving a pedestrian. RCMP say the crash happened at about 5:20 a.m. They say the driver remained on scene and the pedestrian was taken to

hospital in critical conditionIn addition to the intersection being completely blocked, Surrey RCMP say 64th Avenue is closed between 134th and 144th Streets. Police say the road closures will be in effect for “quite some time” as the investigation continues.


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OPINION

By: Dr Shinder Purewal and Jordan Bateman

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Details and debate is missing in proportional representation electoral reform

On proportional representation (PR), it seems the NDP government is taking the mushroom approach with voters – keeping British Columbians in the dark and hoping to feed us a bunch of manure. A referendum on changing the way we elect the provincial government is coming this fall; it’s the key part of the deal between the NDP and the Green Party MLAs propping up the John Horgan government. But the details of the referendum, including the most important one of all – the question – are still a tightly guarded secret. Why are voters being kept in the dark about such a sweeping and fundamental change to our electoral system? They shouldn’t be. B.C. had lengthy consultation processes on the electoral reforms proposed in 2005 and 2009, giving people a chance to discuss and debate the pros and cons. In this case, not only do we not know the question, Premier Horgan stated last week that most British Columbians aren’t going to think about this issue until the fall, just weeks before the vote. If it’s not top-of-mind for people, why bother trying to change at all? Further, the votes in 2005 and 2009 were held during the provincial elections to ensure larger participation. This time, likely to suppress turnout to only the most passionate of PR supporters, the NDP plan a mail-in vote smack dab in the middle

of a municipal election campaign. On an issue so important to our democracy, governments should not play politics. When the federal government faced the challenge of dealing with the separatist movement in Quebec, they passed the Clarity Act. Two important parts of that process are vital for any discussion on electoral reforms in B.C.: The question in a referendum must be clear, and a clear majority has to be expressed – likely higher than fifty percent plus one. The B.C. Government is already failing on both counts: we have no question yet, no details on what’s being proposed, no information on why this change is necessary, and no clarity on whether keeping our current First-Past-The-Post (FPTP) system will even be an option. Second, the NDP has said a simple majority of the people who vote will be enough to change the rules – even if it’s just a tiny fraction of the overall electorate. The delay in releasing such details seems designed to keep people from evaluating choices and making informed decisions. For example, some voters have expressed concerns about the tight discipline imposed by political parties on the elected representatives to move their narrow party agenda. PR would actually strengthen party discipline because it would deprive electors of the ability to directly elect

their individual MLAs; they would be simply voting for the lists generated by party elites. There is no room for independents in the PR system, thus forcing all voters to migrate to organized parties. Worse, the 87 electoral districts will disappear, making local representation a thing of the past. The present FPTP system allows people access to their local elected officials; the PR system would deprive this element of individual responsibility for local areas. PR also breeds instability. All comparative studies of PR systems indicate that coalition formations become central to party politics, leaving the important challenges of governance and economy to happenstance. The instability of coalition governments is a major deterrent for investment. The kind of politics being played on the Trans Mountain pipeline today by just a two-party coalition is dangerous and has already sparked a constitutional crisis. Imagine what a coalition of four or five such parties might do. Every election in a PR system is followed by coalition formations, and sometimes it takes months before a new government takes power. After the 2011 elections in Belgium, it took 541 days of coalition talks to form a new government. This can cause economic chaos, especially if it occurs during tough financial times. Studies have also shown that PR systems encourage anti-immigrant, xenophobic groups to mobilize people on narrow sentimental politics of hatred. In the most recent German elections, the ultra-right Alternative-For-Germany party got nearly 13 per cent of the vote share at the national level, entrenching it as major force. In essence, we can see the necessity for a serious debate about the radical, proposed change to the electoral system. The government’s attempts to leave as little room as possible by not releasing details about the referendum do not bode well for democracy. Keeping voters in the dark about how we elect our political leaders is not fair, is disingenuous, and betrays the very democratic principles that the NDP government purports to want to strengthen. Studies have also shown that PR systems encourage anti-immigrant, xenophobic groups to mobilize people on narrow sentimental politics of hatred. In the most recent German elections, the ultraright Alternative-For-Germany party got nearly 13 per cent of the vote share at the national level, entrenching it as major force. In essence, we can see the necessity for a serious debate about the radical, proposed change to the electoral system. The government’s attempts to leave as little room as possible by not releasing details about the referendum do not bode well for democracy. Keeping voters in the dark about how we elect our political leaders is not fair, is disingenuous, and betrays the very democratic principles that the NDP government purports to want to strengthen.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

SIMPSON, THOMAS & ASSOCIATES

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Saturday, May 12, 2018 From page 1

India could seek extradition of alleged Sikh militant based in Surrey

Sangh (RSS), “with an intention to target them and strike terror,” states the report. “He intends to execute the attack at a time and place where there is a large gathering so that there are maximum casualties,” the report concluded. The RSS has close ties to India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, himself a member and former full-time worker with the organization. Nijjar’s lawyer Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told Global News that he is prepared to fight any attempt to extradite his client to India. “We will defend Nijjar and thwart Indian government’s attempt of terrorizing Sikh separatists who are raising voices against atrocities committed against the Sikh

community while being part of Sikhs’ rights to self determination campaign ‘Referendum 2020,” Pannun said in a statement. Nijjar is no stranger to the Modi government, which previously filed an FIR against him in 2016 after claiming that he was actively working to “promote disharmony between different groups on grounds of religion and revive terrorism in the state of Punjab.” He was also accused of running terror camps in B.C., and linked with a 2007 blast that killed six and injured 42 in the city of Ludhiana in Punjab, according to a 2016 report in the Times of India. Nijjar responded to the 2016 FIR by penning an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau,

in which he admitted to participating in Sikh nationalist activism, but denied being involved in any acts of violence. He also labelled the Indian government’s allegations as “fabricated, baseless, fictitious and politically motivated,” and accused India of abusing its power to get an INTERPOL red notice issued in his name in 2014. The INTERPOL notice stated that Nijjar was charged with terrorist acts, and making or keeping explosives with the intent to endanger life or property. It has since been taken down. Canada’s Department of Justice refused to confirm or deny the existence of an extradition request at the time, citing the “confidential nature of state-to-state communications.”

Nijjar is also accused of being a member of Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), a Sikh militant group implicated in simultaneous explosions in two New Delhi movie theatres in 2005, which left two dead and dozens injured, the Indian Express reported. The theatres were screening the Bollywood action comedy film “Jo Bole So Nihaal,” which had been heavily protested by some Sikhs over the portrayal of its lead character. Indian police officers and investigators inspect the damage to the interior of the Liberty Cinema Hall in New Delhi,22 May 2005. after a series of bombs exploded at cinema halls in the Indian capital. Indian police officers and investigators inspect the damage to the interior of the Liberty Cinema Hall in New Delhi,22 May 2005. The issue of Sikh separatist activities in Canada was a major flashpoint of Prime Minister Indian media reported that Nijjar’s name was on a list of suspected Khalistan militants given to Trudeau by Punjab’s chief minister Capt. Amarinder Singh when the pair met in the city of Amritsar. Nijjar was reportedly arrested by Surrey RCMP in April but released the next day with no charges filed, according to the Hindustan Times.

Murder charge laid in Surrey case of newlywed man shot on his wedding day From page 1 in Surrey. Investigators say Kajla got out of his vehicle and was shot as he approached the SUV. He died in hospital of multiple gunshot wounds. RCMP Supt. Ward Lymburner called the shooting a “random act of violence,” and said the years since Kajla’s death have been rough on his family. “I hope news of the charges brings some semblance of peace, especially given the truly devastating way the life-changing day unfolded,” Lymburner told

reporters. Kajla was fatally shot on the day he got married. Seven years after the shooting, a suspect has been arrested. Kajla’s family issued a statement Monday expressing thanks to homicide investigators for their work on the case. “We have waited seven long years for this moment and we are relieved that closure is in sight,” the family said. “Only we know the unimaginable grief that our family has been going through and the toll it has taken on every family member. What we have been going through is something that no family should ever have to go through.” Family members described Kajla as a selfless brother and friend, and a “fun-loving person who is missed deeply every day.” Police said the investigation is still ongoing, and anyone with further information about the shooting is asked to call IHIT.


LOCAL

Saturday, May 12, 2018

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Fewer than 1% of more than 28,000 irregular asylum seekers have been removed from Canada so far From page 1 Ralph Goodale told reporters Monday that it was too early in the process to expect large numbers of asylum seekers to become subject to removal orders. “The numbers have to reflect the stage in the process that you are at, and you can’t deal with a removal until you’ve got the decision taken that a person is inadmissible,” Goodale said. “So it’s a whole sequence of events that needs to be accelerated.” Since the beginning of January 2017 and up until the end of March 2018, the RCMP have intercepted 25,645 people crossing the border into Canada illegally. Public Safety Canada estimates another 2,500 came across in April for a total at just over 28,000. Once an application for asylum has been received by the federal government, it takes about 19 months for the initial assessment and another 10 months for a final decision to be issued. A backlog of cases and a shortage of staff to process the applications have contributed to the wait times.On Monday in Montreal, Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen explained that efforts were being made by the federal government to address the backlog. “To further strengthen our border security operations and our ability to process asylum cases, budget 2018 invested $173.2 million towards managing irregular migration,” Hussen said. “As part of this allocation, budget 2018 allocated $74 million towards the Immigration Refugee Board, and this will be used to hire 50 new decision makers in the refugee protection division of the Immigration Refugee Board, and 14 new staff in the refugee appeal division.” Hussen said the influx of cash will allow the refugee board to process an additional 17,000 cases every year. A spokesperson for Public Safety Canada said the 243 removals that have taken place since April 2017 (the department did not separately

20,000 henna cones recalled after reports of chemical burns From page 1 importers of the product: 1) TAHA International Inc. in Montreal 2) Nutrifresh West Ltd. in Calgary 3) Pak National Foods Ltd. in B.C. Health Canada adds that there may be other importers of the product around the country, which is manufactured in Pakistan by the company S.Y. & Sons. The product was first recalled in April 2017, after it was discovered that the henna inside contains phenol, a skin sensitizer that can produce chemical burns. Phenol prohibited in Canada. Health Canada said in a release this week that there have been two reports of burns related to the cones. Consumers who have this product should stop using it immediately and throw it out. Retailers have also been reminded by the health agency that it is illegal to sell cosmetics or other products that contain prohibited substances in Canada.

track removals from irregular migrants from January to March 2017) may have been expedited for a number of reasons. W h e n someone crosses the border into Canada they are first subject to a security and identity check. People who have criminal convictions for serious crimes or who have applied for refugee status in the past and failed would not be eligible to apply again. Those

people are still able to appeal their removal through the courts, but they can also decide to withdraw their applications themselves and return to the United States.

Should a migrant seeking asylum pass the initial security screen, they then have to submit a completed application for asylum before the 2½-year wait to process their application can begin. “If they’re not able to establish that they need the protection of Canada, if the answer is no, then the sooner that answer is given the better on the basis of due process so that the consequences from that decision can flow,” Goodale said Monday. But before any decisions are rendered, the federal government has to ensure that “all Canadian laws are enforced and all Canadian international obligations are respected,” Goodale said. “That’s the standard we have to meet. We’ve been meeting it, but we have to pick up the pace.”


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OPINION

Saturday, May 12, 2018 By: David Eby, Attorney General

Walmart pundit warns India: “You don’t ever win in a competition with Walmart” The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, is now a force to reckon with in India. How it will run the show in Asia’s third-largest economy is anybody’s guess as of now. A look at its history and culture could help decode what India should expect from Walmart. On May 09, Walmart acquired a 77% stake in India’s largest homegrown e-commerce firm, Flipkart, for a massive $16 billion. This comes 11 years after the US-headquartered company made its India debut, but failed to take off due to restrictive government policies. Walmart remains a little-known entity to most Indians. So, Quartz reached out to Charles Fishman, an American journalist who has closely observed the company for 15 years now, to get a sense of what makes Walmart such an influential company. In 2006, Fishman wrote The Wal-Mart Effect: How The World’s Largest Retailer Really Works, a bestseller that went on to become a standard for understanding the company. Edited excerpts from an email exchange about Walmart’s ideology, its strengths, and how it can impact India: If you had to sum up Walmart’s journey in the US briefly, what would you say? Sam Walton, the founder, set Walmart (in 1962) on that course with just two core ideas: Sell what customers want, and what they use every day; and keep the costs of your company low so that you can sell at prices—every day, without specials—just a little bit lower than everybody else. Those two principles have, quite literally, driven every decision Walmart has made. In the last decade, Walmart has become a huge force for corporate sustainability, for reducing energy use and packaging, and for using renewable energy and reducing greenhouse gases. Why? Because, while all those

things are good for the environment (and for Walmart’s image), they also save money. Here’s the remarkable thing: Amazon.com started its business in 1995. Walmart’s online site, walmart. com, was started in the year 2000. At the time, Walmart was number two on the Fortune 500, a list of the world’s largest companies. So you had a tiny startup selling books, very quietly taking on the second-largest company in the US. And yet, here we are, 18 years later, and Amazon.com’s online merchandise sales are 10 times the size of Walmart’s online sales. Walmart has been struggling to figure out how to sell to its US customers online. At one point recently, the e-commerce division of Walmart had three different CEOs in two years. But in the last three years, the new Walmart CEO, Doug McMillon, has revamped the e-commerce strategy. He has bought some important US companies and he hasn’t “Walmartized” those acquisitions. He has tried to use the culture of those companies to teach Walmart how to do e-commerce right. Walmart is a relentless innovator. What according to you is Walmart’s biggest strength? Odd as it may seem, Walmart is a relentless innovator. The company’s stores look just like ordinary big-box stores, but inside retail, Walmart has changed everything, like the way products are packaged and displayed, the way data about sales is analysed (Walmart analyses sales for every product category in the US every single hour), the way its warehouses run, the way trucking systems operate, and even the way trucks themselves operate, doubling the gas mileage of tractor-trailer rigs in the US. Walmart introduced 24-hour stores in the US. It was the first to introduce the idea of stores that sell blue jeans and athletic socks and toys alongside groceries. And that’s just a slice.

Being clear about the ICBC road ahead

It seems that almost everyone knows ICBC is losing money, a lot of money. What many people may not know is how our government is going to fix ICBC so that it delivers affordable car insurance, with good benefits, for all British Columbians. After all, that was the point of British Columbia establishing ICBC in the first place. On April 23, 2018, our government introduced two significant bills in the legislature. These bills are written in legal language. In short, they say that our government will no longer tolerate having British Columbians’ car insurance premiums pay to administer costly and lengthy lawsuits with multiple experts in B.C. Supreme Court for minor injuries. We will no longer permit endless growth in “pain and suffering” awards for minor injuries that have increased more than 260% in just the last 10 years. The fundamental changes proposed by the two bills are simple — an independent tribunal will resolve minor injury disputes between claimants and ICBC, and a limit will be placed on the maximum pain and suffering award for minor injuries. These simple changes translate into big savings of more than a billion dollars each year. The billion dollars in savings comes even after including the cost of increasing benefits to cover the full cost of rehabilitation services like massage therapy, counselling, acupuncture, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and other treatments. The savings also come after increasing benefits for lost pay, and doubling the lifetime entitlement to benefits for those catastrophically injured in an accident. The most-recent time these accident benefits were increased was 25 years ago. Twenty-five years ago, a movie ticket cost about five dollars. Imagine what a physiotherapy session cost in 1993, and then try telling a physiotherapist that’s the maximum amount you’re able to pay in 2018. While these changes may be controversial for those who have benefited from the existing broken system, they’re not new. Every province in Canada has taken steps like this to get minor

injury costs under control. We’re learning from what they got right and what they got wrong. But we’re not stopping there. We’re looking carefully at ICBC itself. A business audit by a third-party firm identified $57 million in possible annual savings inside ICBC. We’re making roads safer and reducing costs by cracking down on distracted drivers with higher fines, and using red-light cameras more aggressively to discourage people from running red lights and speeding through intersections. ICBC’s material damage cost reached $1.7 billion in 2017, and collision repair is the largest component. In 2017, ICBC paid more than $700 million to collision repair suppliers, up 50% since 2012. The situation is not sustainable. That’s why we’ve been looking at these costs carefully. While drivers might imagine ICBC only uses their insurance premiums to pay for the actual cost of a part used in a repair or only pay for repairs that are required, that’s not the case. In more than half of windshield replacement claims, ICBC policy means ICBC pays more for a replacement windshield than the original manufacturer charged for the part. We’re changing policy that requires our public insurer to pay to replace the “moulding” of a windshield every time — even if the moulding doesn’t actually require replacement. We’re about a decade behind in these changes, and it shows: ICBC is on track to lose an astounding $1.3 billion for the 2017-18 fiscal year alone. As if to emphasize how ICBC ended up in so much trouble, the opposition party is voting in the legislative assembly against many of the changes needed to get ICBC back on track. Thankfully, the majority of the elected representatives in the legislative assembly understand, and support, these long-overdue changes to a bloated and broken system. The reforms we make today will ensure ICBC is efficient and delivers affordable car insurance with good benefits for British Columbians for years to come.

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FOI minister Jinny Sims apologizes for using her personal e-mail in government work The minister in charge of B.C.’s records management apologized Thursday for using her personal email while on the job. \Citizens’ Services Minister Jinny Sims told reporters she should never have used a personal email account to contact her staff, deputy minister and chief of staff to the Premier’s Office. The practice is generally not allowed under B.C.’s Freedom of Information rules because personal emails have in the past been used by some to circumvent the FOI process and communicate government business without leaving an official record. Sims said she was simply forwarding on Twitter posts and links of interest from her personal iPad, which she uses for social media, to her government staff. “When I read articles that were interesting to me I forwarded it to my staff because I don’t have social media on my government iPad and phone for a reason,” she said. “That’s what I did. I’ve corrected that practice. I no longer do that. I’ve looked at the emails, it wasn’t government business except for the one email I did send to my staff, which was about the timing of an announcement.” The email in question went from Sims’s personal account to Premier John Horgan’s chief of staff, Geoff Meggs, in February and asked if it was possible to reschedule an announcement about replacing the Pattullo Bridge to a different date to accommodate

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner’s schedule. The Liberal Opposition blasted Sims in the legislature Thursday, with critic Jas Johal accusing her of “blatantly (flouting) the rules.” The Liberals further alleged in the House that several senior officials in Horgan’s office were found to have had “no records” under a recent FOI request for their sent emails. The handling of government email records was a particularly controversial issue under the previous Liberal government, which was found by the privacy commissioner to have illegally “tripledeleted” some emails in government ministries to permanently scrub records from the system, as well as created an “oral culture” inside government to avoid writing down key decisions and creating a paper trail. FOI requests routinely came back with “no records” for key Liberal officials, something the NDP harshly criticized at the time. In response, former premier Christy Clark ordered cabinet ministers to keep all their sent emails, even routine “transitory” ones they might be allowed to delete under the law. Sims said Thursday that she’s rescinded Clark’s order and the government has gone back to deleting “transitory” emails.

NDP MP Kennedy Stewart confirms he will run for mayor of Vancouver as independent Burnaby South NDP MP Kennedy Stewart has confirmed he’ll run for mayor of Vancouver as an independent, with the aim of uniting the city’s leftwing parties. The twoterm MP said he would be resigning his seat in parliament on Thursday in order to campaign. “Progressive forces need to come together to keep the NPA out of power,” Stewart said at a news conference in Vancouver on Thursday morning. That means Stewart will be effectively running against Shauna Sylvester, who announced similar plans to unite the centre-left as an independent. Stewart, 51, was most recently in the

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news for being arrested alongside federal Green Party Leader Elizabeth May after protesting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion at Kinder Morgan’s tank farm on Burnaby Mountain. The province appointed a special prosecutor to handle the case. Special prosecutors to handle federal MPs cases after anti-pipeline protest arrests Stewart, who has a PhD from the London School of Economics, is also currently on leave as a professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Public Policy. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 2011.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

BC passes marijuana driving-impairment law, but confusion remains BC’s top cop says he’s frustrated by Ottawa’s slow pace in selecting the roadside testing equipment that provinces will use to police drivers under the influence of soon-to-be-legal marijuana. Solicitor General Mike Farnworth said it was difficult for B.C. to pass new legislation this week that sets out a ticketing and policing regime for drivers and cannabis, because it still doesn’t have details from Ottawa on what will be considered the federal standard for roadside drug-impairment testing. “That’s again what is frustrating for us as a province,” he said Thursday. “And so what we’ve got to do is at least get the legislative framework that we can

operate in place.” B.C.’s new law, which passed Wednesday, sets up a particularly labourintensive system to test and penalize people who drive under the influence of cannabis. It starts with a police officer pulling over a driver, and then suspecting the person might be impaired by marijuana. If that happens, the driver is taken back to the police station where a certified drug-recognition expert will put them through a 12-step test to determine if they should be penalized with a ticket or their licence revoked through an immediate roadside prohibition that is similar to existing immediate roadside prohibition penalties for alcohol.

NDP’s proportional-representation referendum proposal steers clear of details The B.C. NDP and Greens say a fall referendum should give British Columbians the option of voting for proportional representation but not allow them to choose a specific type of system – a request the Opposition Liberals warn would leave residents in the dark. The NDP government, which is supported by the Greens in the legislature, has said the referendum will ask whether B.C. should keep its first-past-the-post voting structure or move to proportional representation. B.C. residents voted against a form of proportional representation, known as the single transferable vote, in 2005 and 2009. The province has undertaken public consultation that closed at the end of February, but details, including those on the referendum question, have been scarce. Attorney-General David Eby, who is serving as a neutral arbiter in the referendum process,

has said he will release a report on the issue by the end of May. In a joint submission prepared for the consultation process, both NDP and Green caucuses recommended the referendum have a single, straightforward question. The parties said that if the Attorney-General opted for a second question it should be “on the values that British Columbians believe should be included in a new, madein-BC proportional representation system as opposed to a question on specific systems.” The parties went on to recommend that the Attorney-General create an independent advisory body of “trusted experts and diverse citizen representatives” that would, in the event of a yes vote, provide recommendations on a proportional representation model “that best suits the needs and values of British Columbians.”

BC residents against housing for homeless camp out in protest

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A new protest camp has been set up in Maple Ridge, this one on Royal Crescent, where B.C. Housing wants to build a 55unit temporary modular housing complex to house the city’s homeless. “We’re occupying the land in favour of seniors residences,” said Riekie Armstrong, with the Facebook group Protecting Maple Ridge. A handful of protesters moved on to the site Thursday, hours after the old Mussallem house was hauled away to the Maple Ridge Cemetery, where it will serve as a caretaker’s

house. Bylaws and police have both stopped by and are OK with the camp. Armstrong opposes B.C. Housing’s plan to build the modular housing complex. “We’re going to keep the place nice and clean. There won’t be any garbage.” She added that Maple Ridge has housed many people.BShe said many seniors live in the area. “This is no place for a campful of drug addicts.” B.C. Housing intends to build modular homes and provide 24/7 supervision and will offer access to mental health and addiction treatment


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Surrey First leadership candidate Tom Gill battles rumours Surrey Councillor Tom Gill says he’s undeterred from running for mayor, despite being the target of malicious flyers and potentially damaging rumours. “It’s ironic that all these things are coming six weeks before our leadership nomination for Surrey First, so there’s some concern,” said Gill. The flyers were distributed to people’s doorsteps and posted in some Surrey restaurants over the weekend. Then, rumours began to circulate on Thursday that Gill was being investigated by the RCMP. Gill vehemently denies the rumours, calling them “problematic,” and the police have confirmed that there is no investigation. “I’m pretty confused as to what’s going on and why,” Gill said. He said he’s not sure

whether the motivation is political or personal, or whether it’s an individual or group responsible, though he has his suspicions. Gill said that during his almost 13 years on council and four previous election campaigns, he’s seen some nasty behaviour — signs defaced by racially motivated vandals and inappropriate comments and innuendo spread — but he’s not had to weather the kind of attacks he’s now facing. “This is pretty much a first,” Gill said. Gill said he spoke with Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Dwayne McDonald by

phone on Monday about the flyers and then again on Wednesday in person. “He’s quite aware of what’s going on,” said Gill. Surrey RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Elenore Sturko confirmed that Gill met with the detachment’s officer in charge to discuss the flyers. “As far as that goes, it’s not criminal in nature and so we aren’t actually doing an investigation, but we will continue to monitor to ensure that everything doesn’t become criminal in any way,” said Sturko. She said in order to be criminal,

the flyers would have to contain material that would be considered a hate crime, threatening or harassment. “I don’t want to get into specifics, but those would be the type of things we would seek to identify,” she said. As for the latest incident, Sturko said Surrey RCMP aren’t aware of an investigation involving Gill. Spokespeople for the Richmond RCMP and federal RCMP also said they had no such investigations under way. Gill said he also sent a letter to Elections B.C. on Monday seeking clarification on its stance that the flyers did not violate any rules under the Local Elections Campaign Financing Act because third-party advertising is only regulated during the campaign period, which runs from Sept. 22 to Oct. 20.

Minister Navdeep Bains says US security agents asked him to remove turban Federal cabinet minister Navdeep Bains says he was subjected to a zealous security check at a US airport last year, prompting Trudeau gov’t to follow up with the Trump administration. Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains said he was flying through the Detroit Metro Airport on his way back to Toronto with his Canadian passport following an economic summit with the Michigan governor back in April 2017. Navdeep Bains said that he had already passed through the airport’s regular security checks, including a metal detector, when he was asked to do further tests. He said the agent struggled with the swab test, read a false positive and then asked him to remove his turban. Bains said he tried to stay calm and asked the agent if there was another option. In the Sikh religion, the turban is a mandatory piece of clothing. “I will never be asked to take off my clothes. It’s the same thing. It’s a piece of linen,” he said. He said the agent agreed to perform another test, which he passed, and he was allowed to continue to his boarding gate. But then he alleges a security agent tracked him down at his gate, 20 minutes before takeoff, and said protocol hadn’t been followed and he’d have to go back to security and remove his turban. That’s when Bains said he flashed his diplomatic passport — and the agent backed off. “I’m about to embark and you tell me to take off my turban. But, by knowing my diplomatic status, you tell me that everything is correct? This is not a satisfactory answer,” he said. Bains also said when he travels he doesn’t

like to reveal his cabinet position because he wants to see how things play out for people who aren’t ministers or lawmakers. He said the experience was unsettling and described the security agents as “very insistent and very difficult.” “It was very frustrating. It was unnecessary ... I felt very awkward,” he said in Toronto on Thursday. Bains also said security is important but the incident “speaks to discrimination and discrimination happens with many people, and I’m in a very fortunate position to talk about it.” Bains’s office said Global Affairs Canada reached out to the US officials and the undersecretaries for the Homeland Security and Transportation departments apologized verbally. “I thought that was important for us to support Minister Bains, and frankly to support all Canadians travelling across the border,” said Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland. “It was a conversation among officials.” In a statement a spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration said it reviewed closed-circuit video of the incident and determined the officer didn’t follow standard operating procedures; the officer subsequently received additional training. “We regret the screening experience did not meet the expectations of Mr. Bains,” said Michael McCarthy. “All persons wearing head coverings may be subject to additional security screening, which may include an officerconducted or self-conducted pat-down. TSA does this to ensure that prohibited items or weapons are not concealed beneath any type of clothing and brought onto an aircraft.

Founder of Chinese company with billions in BC assets jailed 18 years for fraud In Shanghai a court sentenced the founder of a Chinese insurance company that owns extensive assets in B.C. to 18 years in prison Thursday after he pleaded guilty to fraudulently raising billions of dollars from investors, state media reported. Shanghai’s No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court also ordered the confiscation of 10.5 billion yuan ($1.6 billion) in assets from Wu Xiaohui, the former chairman of Anbang Insurance Group. Anbang controls the largest retirement and care home provider in the province through its subsidiary Retirement Concepts, which has 20 locations in B.C., two in Alberta and one in Quebec. Chinese acquisition of B.C. seniors’ care chain ‘nothing to be concerned about,’ expert says The Canadian government approved Anbang’s purchase of

Retirement Concepts in February 2017. It also owns the Bentall Centre, Vancouver’s largest office complex, and is believed to own the Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel. The office of Navdeep Bains, the minister of innovation, science and economic development, emailed a statement to CBC today confirming that it is watching the Anbang developments. “We are aware of Anbang’s situation in China and monitoring closely for any implications on its investments in Canada,” the email said. A majority share of the four-tower Bentall Centre was sold to Anbang for $1 billion in 2016. (Bentall Centre) The short statement said that the investor that bought Retirement Concepts in B.C. remains governed by provincial regulations.

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Court to decide whether sons of Russian spies are Canadian citizens The Supreme Court of Canada will help settle the controversy over whether the Toronto-born sons of Russian spies are actually Canadian citizens. A high court decision Thursday grants the federal government a chance to fight a Federal Court of Appeal ruling that effectively affirmed the citizenship of Alexander and Timothy Vavilov. Alexander, 23, and Timothy, 27, were born in Canada to parents using the aliases Donald Heathfield and Tracey Ann Foley. The parents were arrested eight years ago in the United States and indicted on charges of conspiring to act as secret agents on behalf of Russia’s SVR, a successor to the infamous Soviet KGB. Heathfield and Foley admitted to being Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova. They were sent back to Moscow as part of a swap for prisoners in Russia. Alexander, who finished high school in Russia, changed his surname to

Vavilov on the advice of Canadian officials in a bid to obtain a Canadian passport. But he ran into hurdles at the passport office and in August 2014 the citizenship registrar said the government no longer recognized him to be a Canadian citizen. The registrar said his parents were employees of a foreign government at the time of his birth, making him ineligible for citizenship. But last June the appeal court set aside the ruling and quashed the registrar’s decision. It said the provisions of the Citizenship Act the registrar cited shouldn’t apply because the parents did not have diplomatic privileges or immunities while in Canada. In its application to the Supreme Court, the federal government said the registrar’s original decision was “rational and defensible.”

Romaine lettuce linked to 6 E. coli illnesses in Canada A total of six people in Canada have been sickened by E. coli linked to contaminated romaine lettuce, the Public Health Agency of Canada says. The Canadian illnesses of E. coli O157 have a similar genetic fingerprint to illnesses reported in the U.S., where 149 people have been infected with an outbreak strain from 29 states, health officials say. Two of the six people who became sick reported travelling to the U.S. before they became ill, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada. “Based on the ongoing U.S. outbreak, and the information provided by individuals who became sick, the likely source of the outbreak in Canada is romaine lettuce,” the agency said. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has reported the E. coli illnesses are linked to romaine lettuce from the Yuma growing region of western Arizona. The FDA has said the Yuma growing region is no longer producing romaine lettuce and since leafy greens have a shelf-life of 21 days, the potential for exposure to contaminated product is now diminished.

“Canadians who are travelling to the U.S., or who shop for groceries across the border and purchase romaine lettuce in the U.S. are advised to follow the U.S. CDC’s advice for U.S. consumers found on their website,” the Public Health Agency of Canada said. The CDC recommends that consumers not eat or buy romaine lettuce unless you can confirm it is not from the Yuma growing region. Currently there are no food recalls associated with the outbreak in Canada or the U.S. “Certainly there’s no evidence at the present time that points to any specific … brand of romaine lettuce and therefore at this point we do not have any indication that we could or should be having a food recall,” Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer at Public Health Agency of Canada, said in an interview on Thursday. “Lettuce in any part of the world that’s being produced is at risk of contamination and therefore we certainly can’t let down our guard.”

Overdose deaths reached near-record level in March Suspected overdose deaths spiked again in March, reaching the province’s second highest monthly total to date, according to the B.C. Coroners Service. A total of 161 people are believed to have died from drug overdoses in March, a 58 per cent increase over the month before. Toxic drug supply spikes Vancouver overdose calls in April Only December 2016 saw more fatal overdoses, with 162. So far this year, there have been 391 deaths across B.C., with about a quarter (102) happening in the the City of Vancouver. A graph from the B.C. Coroners Service shows a dramatic spike in overdose

deaths. (B.C. Coroners Service) Fentanyl remains a major factor in B.C.’s deadly drug crisis, according to the latest stats. The coroners service says the opioid was detected in postmortem testing on 83 per cent of victims who died in the first three months of 2018. Most of the overdose victims this year have been male (82 per cent) and between the ages of 19 and 49 (69 per cent.) B.C. moves to restrict ownership of pill presses, other drug-making equipment The vast majority of people — more than 90 per cent — have overdosed indoors. No one has died from an overdose at a supervised consumption site or an overdose prevention site.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

BC woman fired from job after her racist altercation caught on camera at Lethbridge restaurant Video of a woman Kelly Pocha of Cranbrook, BC. (pictured) uttering racist remarks and threatening violence against a group of men at a Lethbridge restaurant is being shared widely on social media and has cost her job. The five-minute video begins with a woman telling a group of men sitting at a table next to hers that they’re “dealing with a Canadian woman right now and I will leap across this table and punch you right in your f***king mouth.” As the video continues, the woman can be heard saying, “Go back to your f***king country,” and “You’re not Canadian,” after one of the men is heard saying, “We’re all Canadian.” Towards the end of the video, the woman tells the group, “Speak English if you’re going to speak. It’s Canada.” The video was posted to Monir Omerzai’s Facebook page on Tuesday night as well as on other Facebook pages. He said the incident happened in mid-April, 2018. Omerzai was one of the targets of the verbal attack. He said the exchange started after he noticed the woman glaring at one of his friends and asked her, “Is everything OK?” “She started going off. She just started calling us names, that we’re from Syria, we’re from this country, we’re from that country,” Omerzai said. “As a human being, we should never be treated like that and I was never expecting that sort of experience from a grownup lady.” The woman in the video has been identified as Kelly Pocha of Cranbrook, BC. According to media reports she’s sorry for what she said, she was “totally provoked.” “It’s gotten way out of hand. People aren’t seeing the whole story,” she said. According to Pocha, who said she had a few drinks before the tirade unfolded, she and her husband went to the restaurant to eat. “It started with a look,” she said. “I turned around and I looked at the one gentleman and he was staring at me and I said, ‘Is there a problem?’ And he said, ‘No, no problem.’” Pocha said she turned around again and he was still looking at her. She said she then turned around a third time and the men were speaking in a language she couldn’t understand and she believed they were laughing at her. “They did say a few things to me in English that weren’t very nice and then I got extremely heated and then that’s basically when they hit record.” On Wednesday afternoon, Pocha’s employer — Cranbrook Dodge — posted on its Facebook page the “employee in question has been terminated.” “We have recently become aware of a disturbing video that involves one of our employees,” dealership owner Dave Girling said in the post. “We are deeply concerned about the content of this video and want all of

our friends, families, colleagues, and customers to know that this behaviour does not reflect the values of Cranbrook Dodge in any way. “We strive to be a welcoming and inclusive company with no room for hate or intolerance.” Girling declined to comment further except to say “it’s just the right thing to do.” Pocha said she realizes the video may damage her reputation. “I don’t know how to handle this kind of attention,” she said. “I don’t really know what to do.” The video begins with one of the men sitting at the table next to the woman telling her to “shut the f*** up.” The woman then stands up and yells at him while the man she’s yelling at tells her to “sit down.” “I respected you first… f*** you,” he is heard saying as a man sitting next to the woman tries to restrain her. There is more yelling between the two and a woman’s voice, which sounds like it is close to the camera, is heard saying, “B***, he belongs in Canada just as much as you. Shut the f*** up.” Omerzai said he moved to Canada 13 years ago after growing up in Afghanistan and Tajikistan and has never experienced racism to that level. “I have sat with people, I have dealt with people myself in life, but I have never seen such a thing like that for 13 years, and someone shows you so much hate and so much anger. “It was just something shocking for me.” Mujtab Abdul Gahafar was one of the other men at the restaurant table that night. He echos Omerzai’s comments that the verbal attack was shocking, particularly because he hasn’t experienced anything like that previously. “I know what real Canadians are like, so we don’t take this as a representation of Canada,” Gahafar said. “She is what she is to herself, and I hope at some point in life she realizes that whatever she has inside of her is all hate and she needs to maybe get rid of some.” Pocha, who describes herself as a hardworking mother of three, said she doesn’t “normally say things like that” and that she was having an “off day.” “If I could rewind and take it back I would, but I can’t,” she said, adding she later apologized to the restaurant’s server and manager and told them she would like to apologize to the men she said racist things to. Gahafar and Omerzai said the incident happened at the lone Denny’s restaurant in Lethbridge. Gahafar said he spoke to police the night of the incident and was told “there is no Criminal Code against racists.” “It looked like the police didn’t seem to put a lot of interest in seeing the video and doing further investigation, so basically he wanted the scenario to be over with,” Gahafar said.

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Emergency alert test in BC did not work for everyone Emergency Management BC conducted a test today of the B.C. emergency alert system, as part of a Canada-wide system. But the message did not get to everyone. Many took to Twitter to say they never received it. Ian Lightbody with Emergency Management BC said it’s unclear why some didn’t receive a message. “It doesn’t seem to be any consistent thread or theme in the phones that didn’t get the alert. It wasn’t a consistent carrier or it wasn’t a phone type or a software type,” he said. The alert is supposed to warn the public of a large-scale disaster or emergency where loss of life is imminent and possible. A high pitch sound similar to an ambulance alarm and the following message is supposed to appear on all mobile devices as well as Canadian radio and TV during these tests. “This is a TEST of the British Columbia Emergency Alerting System, issued by Emergency Management British Columbia. This is ONLY a TEST. If this had been an actual emergency or threat, you would now hear

instructions that would assist you to protect you and your family. For further information go to http://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca This is ONLY a TEST, no action is required.” The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered wireless providers to implement the system to distribute such warnings to all of its costumers. If you were one of the people who did not get the message, this is what it was supposed to look like. Another test for the warning system happened on Monday in Ontario and Quebec and the results weren’t much different from what was experienced in B.C. Quebec had no alerts registered on mobile devices but it did broadcast on TV and radio. You can check your phone’s compatibility with the Safety Alert System on the Alert Ready website. Emergency Management BC will work with Pelmorex, the company that operates the system, and wireless carriers across the province to fix the issue, Lightbody said.

WestJet pilots vote in favour of strike action WestJet pilots could walk off the job as early as May 19 after voting 91 per cent in favour of striking. The pilots and airline are still at the negotiating table, but the union now has a strike mandate after voting ended Thursday morning with 95 per cent of members casting a ballot. The union said it still hopes to sign a contract before taking any job action, although it said large gaps exist in negotiating compensation, working conditions and job security.

Negotiations resume next week in Halifax. As a gesture of goodwill, the union said it has told the airline it will not strike during the busy May Long Weekend. “It’s clear WestJet pilots are ready to stand up for the fair contract we deserve — one that puts us in line with our peers across the industry,” said Rob McFadyen, chair of WestJet’s Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA) master executive council, in a statement.


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Chinese students are victims of ‘virtual kidnappings’ by extortionists: police say Vancouver police are warning the public after two students from China were targeted in separate and elaborate extortion schemes dubbed “virtual kidnappings.” The scam starts when the student receives a phone call. They are told there is a warrant for their arrest in China, or that the Chinese police need their help with an investigation. The suspects, who can be calling from a number that appears to be from the Chinese consulate, convince the victim to make fake videos indicating they have been kidnapped or are the victim of another crime. Police say the scammers then use the video to extort money from the victim’s family members.

The victims, generally young Chinese women in Canada on student visas, are instructed to go to a motel or a short-term rental to hide from Canadian police. “We want to remind all foreign students that the Chinese police will not arrest you in Canada, or ask you to take photos or videos of yourselves pretending to be the victim of crime,” said VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard. “Legitimate contact from the Chinese authorities will be through your local police. We are here to help you. If you are confused or scared, reach out to your local police department in Canada.”

Carjacking suspect killed in police shooting at Nanaimo’s ferry terminal One man is dead after a police-involved shooting at the Departure Bay ferry terminal Tuesday. The RCMP said in a release that officers were attempting to arrest a suspect in connection with a violent carjacking elsewhere in the province. Nanaimo RCMP and the Island District Emergency Response Team stopped a vehicle as it left the ferry and initiated a “takedown” of the suspect. “Initial information based on police accounts is that the male exited the vehicle with what police believed was a firearm and shots were fired resulting in the male sustaining serious injuries,” the RCMP said. The man, who has not been identified,

died of his injuries. Police said no officers or members of the public were injured during the incident. They said the Independent Investigations Office, which probes policeinvolved deaths, will take control of the investigation “to see if there is any link between police actions and the male’s injuries.” The IIO confirmed that three of its investigators were dispatched to the scene with more to follow. Ron MacDonald, chief civilian director of the IIO, said it was his understanding that B.C. Ferries staff had arranged things in such a way that the suspect vehicle was one of the last ones to leave the ferry.

Surrey pet breeder guilty of cruelty charge, handed 7-year ban on owning animals A Surrey, B.C., pet breeder has been banned for owning animals for seven years after she was found guilty of animal cruelty. Ivy Xin Zhou, 50, was charged with causing an animal to continue to be in distress after 69 cat and 15 dogs were seized during a 2016 raid on her breeding and boarding facility. After a lengthy trial, Zhou was found

guilty and sentenced to two years probation along with the seven-year ban, according to B.C. SPCA spokesperson Marcie Moriarty. Officials put a dog into a van during the raid in February 2016 that led to the seizure of more than 80 dogs and cats. Moriarty said given Zhou’s history, she found the sentence to be “woefully inadequate.” “We think this case most

certainly was appropriate for a lifetime ban,” Moriarty said. “This is an individual that we have dealt with repeatedly. Back in 2014 we removed animals from her.” Moriarty said Zhou still owes the SPCA $37,000 after the Farm Industry Review Board ruled that Zhou was accountable for the cost of caring for the seized animals. “We haven’t seen a cent of that,” Moriarty said.

RCMP widens investigation in Okanagan after fatal ferry shooting RCMP are examining possible links between two violent incidents in British Columbia’s Okanagan less than 24 hours before a deadly police-involved shooting Tuesday on Vancouver Island. Sgt. Janelle Shoihet says a preliminary investigation has uncovered possible ties between a shooting that severely injured a man in Vernon and a carjacking in Penticton that injured another victim and ended with the theft of his vehicle. The Vernon shooting happened at around

noon on Monday, and Shoihet says a suspect was seen leaving the area in a 1996 grey Ford Crown Victoria. Several hours later, RCMP in Penticton were alerted to a man allegedly carrying a gun and matching the description of the suspect in Vernon, followed just minutes afterwards by a call about a carjacking and the theft of a Pontiac Vibe. The suspect escaped and the RCMP say in a news release the Pontiac was traced to a B.C. ferry arriving in Nanaimo on Tuesday

morning, when police intercepted the vehicle as it left the vessel. An unnamed driver was killed Tuesday when shots were fired at the ferry terminal in Nanaimo, and the province’s police watchdog is now investigating. “Investigators are actively working to either confirm or eliminate information in order to conclusively determine if the various incidents are connected, if they are connected to a single individual, or if others are involved,” the RCMP says in the release.

Police said Thursday they located the Ford Crown Victoria they had been looking for after a public appeal. Const. Kelly Brett also said the 24-yearold man shot in Vernon remains in hospital in serious condition.

The RCMP investigation must take care not to impede the Independent Investigations Office as it looks into the Nanaimo shooting, says Supt. Ray Carfantan, assistant district officer of the RCMP’s southeast district. “While we wish to advance these investigations, we must be mindful of the nexus to the ongoing Nanaimo investigation by the Independent Investigation Office of British Columbia,” he says in the news release. “We will continue to support the investigative needs of our units here in the Okanagan to enhance public safety, while respecting that the IIO BC leads the investigation on Vancouver Island.” Ron MacDonald, the chief civilian director of the Independent Investigations Office, has said the agency must determine a number of things in its investigation, including whether the suspect was armed when he was stopped on Tuesday and if there was an exchange of gunfire between the suspect and police. The agency investigates all police incidents that result in death or serious injury.


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Man charged after guns concealed in vehicle panels seized at Canadian border of 19 hand guns and 32 overcapacity magazines, hidden behind various panels within the vehicle.

The Canada Border Services Agency is announcing a significant weapon seizure that occurred at the Pacific Highway port of entry. On March 23, Scott MacCallum Osborne, a Canadian citizen who was living in the U.S. at the time, was referred to a secondary examination while seeking entry to Canada. A dog was also called in to assist. Further investigations found a total

Elderly pedestrian struck by car in East Vancouver dies An elderly man is dead after he was struck by a car on Tuesday at a crosswalk at Victoria Drive and Kingsway Avenue in Vancouver. Police say this is Vancouver’s fourth traffic fatality of 2018. In three of the four traffic fatalities this year, the victims have been pedestrians. Shortly after 2 p.m., first responders were called to Victoria Drive and Kingsway Avenue, where an 82-year-old man had been struck by a car. The man was taken to hospital, where he later died. VPD Collision investigators believe the pedestrian was crossing Kingsway,

walking north in a marked crosswalk, when a southbound car on Victoria Drive made a left turn onto Kingsway and struck him. VPD Sgt. Jason Robillard says the driver remained at the scene, and is cooperating with investigators. The accident took place at Yale Road crossing in Rosedale on Tuesday night.

Two women injured after chasing dog onto train tracks in Chilliwack Two women were injured after they chased their dog onto train tracks and were struck by a Canadian Pacific Rail freight train Tuesday night. RCMP responded to a report of a collision between two pedestrians and a train in the 51000-block of Yale Road at around 9 p.m. When they arrived, emergency crews

found two local women suffering nonlife threatening injuries. They were transported to hospital by B.C. Ambulance. RCMP say the women were walking their dog when the pet ran onto the rail track in front of a westbound Canadian Pacific train. The pet died from its injuries. “Railway lines are on private property. RCMP remind pedestrians it is dangerous to walk on or near tracks,” said RCMP Corp. Mike Rail. RCMP are urging anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact the Chilliwack RCMP at 604-792-4611 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS). Patrick Waldron, a spokesman for CP Rail, confirmed the incident involved a CP train heading westbound on CN tracks

shortly before 9 p.m. near Old Yale Road. He said two individuals were hit by the train at or near the Yale Street crossing. They were taken to hospitals by emergency services. Waldron said the incident remains under investigation by the RCMP,

The guns were secured and the vehicle is being held as evidence for criminal prosecution. Osborne was arrested and is now facing 27 charges against him for smuggling, illegal importation and possession of handguns. “This amount of firearms is a significant amount of firepower that the CBSA has taken off of the streets and prevented from

ending up in the wrong hands,” says Harold Wugik, CBSA’s assistant director of criminal investigations. Daniela Evans, the director of the pacific highway district said in a press conference “this seizure demonstrates CBSA’S commitment to securing our borders and protecting Canadians.” Osborne released on $15,000 bail.


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LOCAL

Saturday, May 12, 2018

BC gov’t gives TransLink new authority for Mayors’ Council’s 10-year vision The Government of British Columbia is doing its part to help TransLink address congestion in Metro Vancouver, through the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision, so people can spend less time in traffic and more time with their friends and family. In response to a request from the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, the Province has introduced legislation to give TransLink the authority to set and levy a development cost charge (DCC) on new construction in the region. The DCC authority was a priority action for the Mayors’ Council to help ensure the necessary funds are available for TransLink to deliver on its 10-year vision for transportation in Metro Vancouver. Development cost charges are one-time fees that apply to new developments to help fund growth-related infrastructure costs. TransLink conducted significant stakeholder consultation as part of its planning work. With this funding mechanism in hand, TransLink will be better positioned to implement the vision, which includes

improvements to roads and cycling, as well as pedestrian and public-transit infrastructure. A number of accountability and transparency provisions have been built into the structure of the proposed legislation, including a requirement for TransLink to list the revenue it anticipates it will collect from DCCs for each year of the plan in its Investment Plan, and to publicly report on its DCCs as part of its annual reporting process. These measures will ensure that rates are fair and equitable, and that rates are set and maintained openly and transparently. The framework of this legislation is designed to ensure housing affordability in the region is not affected by the new charges, e.g., the legislation permits TransLink to provide waivers and reductions to DCC amounts for developments that provide affordable rental housing in the region. The Government of B.C. is committed to funding 40% of the capital costs of the Mayors’ Council’s 10-Year Vision, and to helping the region raise its share of the funding

Woman injured while in police custody in Surrey ‘unlikely to survive’ A woman who suffered an unknown injury while in police custody in Surrey is in hospital and in a battle for her life. According to a media release from Surrey RCMP, the unnamed woman was arrested on an assault charge on Saturday, made an appearance in front of a judicial justice on Sunday and was found “unresponsive” in her cell on Monday morning.

Police officers moved to treat her immediately and called for help from paramedics. She was transported by ambulance to hospital, where she is listed in critical condition. The RCMP say she is “unlikely to survive.” The Independent Investigations Office is now investigating to determine whether the woman’s injury was a result of police actions.

Dozens of seniors forced out of their manufactured home park in Surrey Bob Potter likes to joke that the 1926 Model T Ford in his driveway is the only thing he owns that’s older than him. Potter, 87, has lived at Green Tree Estates on Fraser Highway in the Fleetwood area of Surrey for nearly a decade. “I expected it to be the last house I ever owned,” he said. “Things change and you gotta go with them.” T h e manufactured home park that Potter and dozens of other seniors call home will soon be replaced with t ow n h o u s e s .

A developer has bought out all of the homeowners in the park and everyone has to be out by the end of next year. Potter’s neighbour, Richard Porta, says he can’t afford to stay in Metro Vancouver, so he’ll likely move to Chase, B.C. Porta says he’ll likely have to give up his guitar repair business when he leaves. “In the Greater Vancouver area, I have access to a lot of secondhand guitars,” he said. Property owner Ted Dawson told council at Monday’s meeting that he’s doing everything he can to help residents find new places to live. “Every single resident has chosen to enter into a legal and binding agreement with the applicant for the purchase of their manufactured home,” he said. “We’re going to have spent over $11 million on tenant relocation.” Councillor Vera LeFranc says the city is trying to strike a delicate balance between increasing housing density along transit corridors and protecting affordable housing stock. She says it recently added new rules to protect mobile home park residents.

$90 million being spent to build 2,010 rental units in Victoria A number of new rental developments will be built in Greater Victoria in the coming years after a $90 million government investment. Federal, provincial and Capital Regional District politicians made the announcement of 2,010 rental units on Thursday, one of the first announcements to come out of the federal government’s National Housing Strategy. Approximately 20 per cent of the units will be priced at shelter rates (currently $375/month), with 30 per cent at subsidized prices and the rest at market rental. “Today is about working toward ending chronic homelessness in Greater Victoria,” said Jean-Yves Duclos, the minister of families, children and social development. “Today is also about all levels of government stepping up, recognizing their joint levels of responsibility and doing their part.” The money for the developments are split evenly between the federal, provincial and regional governments, with the exact locations to be decided at a later date. It comes a month after the provincial government announced how it would spend $1.9 billion over the next decade to build rental housing, using a similar formula of market rental homes to subsidized and sheltered units. In 2017, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation said Greater Victoria’s vacancy rate was 0.7 per cent, the third lowest in the country.


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DREAM CARPET

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NATIONAL

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Saskatchewan applying to intervene in BC pipeline court case The province of Saskatchewan is attempting to intervene in a court battle over the Trans Mountain pipeline. The provincial government in British Columbia is asking its court of appeal whether the province has jurisdiction over the $7.4 billion pipeline expansion project. British Columbia has said it is defending its coast from the potential for a catastrophic oil spill, while the federal government and the province of Alberta say the project is in the national interest. Federal court rejects B.C. government’s appeal against NEB’s local bylaw ruling B.C. going to province’s highest court in attempt to fight Trans Mountain pipeline

Trans Mountain decision by appeal court is a ‘victory’ for Alberta and pipelines, Notley says Saskatchewan’s justice ministry is applying to participate in the case. “Saskatchewan remains dedicated to standing up for the hard-working people in our natural resources and energy sectors,” Justice Minister Don Morgan said in a news release. “We know that these pipelines are necessary for our energy companies to get their products to tidewater to ensure a competitive price, and that the increased capacity this pipeline represents stands to benefit all Canadians.” The project would triple pipeline capacity of the line which already runs oil from

Students visit Richmond Gurdwara

Last Tuesday 80 students and their teachers from Lynden Christian High School, Lynden, Washington (U.S.A.) visited Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. The participants (pictured above) were

very impressed with the warm welcome and learning about Sikhism and the Indo-Canadian community in Canada. Soon after their departure another group of 20 students and adults from Youth With A Mission, Vancouver, joined us with the same purpose. All of them, like the previous group from Lynden were very impressed with the hospitality and learning experience at the Gurdwara. Before leaving for other places of worship along our Highway to Heaven, they enjoyed a delicious vegetarian langar (lunch) at the Gurdwara. Leaders of both groups thanked the Gurdwara management for a very warm welcome. Gurdwara Nanak Niwas is one of the most popular places for visitors on Richmond’s Highway to Heaven. There are more than 20 places of worship of different religious denominations who serve the visitors with a great deal of enthusiasm... These are excellent examples of inter-cultural and inter-religious harmony. Such initiatives gain added significance as we are celebrating Canada’s multiculturalism and diversity.

Surrey school board balances budget for next year While the Surrey School District’s budget is balanced for the 2018-19 school year, concerns about future years linger. The district intends to hire 66 new teachers and 24 education assistants to help with the anticipated growth of 850 students next fall. Also being hired are 28 additional support staff and a new school administrator, after Surrey Board of Education approval on May 9. Spending in other areas will remain unchanged, despite steady enrolment growth, a district release reveals. “There is no management or professional staff hiring in the budget,” a media release notes, “with the result that the proportion of spending on district administration will shrink from 2.58 per cent to 2.33 per cent; expected to be the lowest in the province.” Operating expenses for the 2018-19 school year are expected to rise by about $15 million, due to increased staffing and salary costs, as well as a 2.2 per cent inflationary increase in equipment, supply and services costs. The district also says the net result of the provincial government’s elimination of Medical Services Plan premiums in favour of a new Employer Health Tax will cost $3 million more next year. The budget also includes the district’s contributions to the construction of Salish Secondary ($9.6 million) and a 200-seat addition to Woodward Hill Elementary ($3 million), which are both expected to be ready for students this fall. In all, it’s expected the Surrey School District will have 73,368 students this fall when factoring in schoolaged, adult and online students.


NATIONAL

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Taekwondo teacher arrested in Toront in alleged sex assault on girl may have BC ties: RCMP RCMP in British Columbia say they are assisting the Toronto police after the arrest of a taekwondo teacher who’s been charged with sexual assault and other sex-related charges involving a teenage girl. Shin Wook Lim was arrested by the Toronto Police Service on Tuesday. In a news release, the Toronto police said a man sexually assaulted a teen girl in

the city’s Bloor Street West and Ossington Avenue area between 2015 and 2017. This man had coached the girl in taekwondo, police said. Lim, a 44-year-old resident of Woodbridge, Ont., was arrested and charged with six counts of sexual assault; five counts of sexual exploitation; invitation to sexual touching; and sexual interference.

Tax preparer sentenced, fined $100,000 for fake tax returns in Brampton A Brampton tax preparer has been handed a conditional sentence of two years less a day and fined close to $100,000 for filing 100 fraudulent tax returns, according to the Canada Revenue Agency. Ajay Sharma pleaded guilty to one count of fraud over $5,000 on Sept. 25, 2017. He was sentenced April 27, according to the CRA. An agency investigation revealed Sharma owned and operated S & S Associates and between 2009 and 2012 he prepared 100 fraudulent tax returns for 37 clients, according to a

CRA news release. Sharma created fake business losses totalling $2.6 million when he prepared the false returns. Those returns resulted in the evasion or attempted evasion of federal tax payments totalling $488,178. Sharma pocketed $96,946 from the scam by charging his clients a percentage of the tax refunds they received, according to the CRA in quoting court records.

Supreme Court says garage not liable for teen crash in stolen car The Supreme Court of Canada says a garage owner should not be held responsible for the terrible injuries a teen suffered when he and a friend crashed a car they had stolen from his lot. In a split 7-2 decision, the court has overturned earlier rulings that found Chad Rankin’s garage in Paisley, Ont., was 37 per cent liable in the 2006 incident. Court records show the teens had been drinking and smoking marijuana before

they stole the vehicle. One of the teens, then 16, drove the car, although he had no licence and had never driven before. The 15-yearold passenger was left with catastrophic brain injuries in the ensuing crash. The Supreme Court majority, in overturning the finding against the garage, found Rankin’s business owed no duty of care to the injured teen.

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Naveed Anwar acclaimed as new leader of Saskatchewan Liberal Party Naveed Anwar has been acclaimed as the new leader of the Saskatchewan Liberal Party, the party announced on Saturday in Saskatoon. Tara Jijian had been serving as interim leader since the fall of 2017. Anwar, who lives in Saskatoon with his wife and children, owns a tax consulting firm with operations in both Saskatoon and Prince Albert. He ran as a Liberal candidate in the 2016 provincial election in Saskatoon Westview, taking 235 votes. Anwar said he chose to run in that riding — then-NDP leader Cam Broten’s riding — knowing he would siphon away votes

from the NDP after he was kicked out of the NDP. Broten lost by 232 votes. Anwar was the NDP candidate in Saskatoon Sutherland in 2011. He said he didn’t know why the NDP later disqualified him from running for the party. “I look forward over the coming months to bringing a fresh voice to the political scene in Saskatchewan, and offering a real alternative to voters in the next provincial election,” Anwar said in a news release after becoming the Saskatchewan Liberal Party leader.

Signs purchased by Greens to help Liberal candidate in BC led to violation: elections watchdog The federal elections watchdog says an unofficial partnership between the Greens and Liberals in a B.C. riding aimed at unseating a Conservative incumbent in the 2015 election led to an “illegal” contribution to the Liberal campaign. The Commissioner of Canada Elections says the use of signs purchased by the Green party to help build support for Liberal candidate Stephen Fuhr in the Kelowna-Lake Country riding constituted a non-monetary contribution to Fuhr’s campaign and a violation of the Canada Elections Act. Thomas Ryder, the official agent for Green party candidate Gary Adams, has entered into a compliance

agreement with the elections commissioner, in which he promises not to do this again. The Liberal campaign struck an agreement with the Greens to have Adams withdraw from the race and endorse Fuhr – an attempt to encourage strategic voting against the Conservative incumbent which appears to have worked because Fuhr won the seat. Ryder purchased Green campaign signs with party money, but after Adams stepped down, Ryder and other volunteers continued to use the signs at Liberal campaign events, which is considered a noncash political contribution and not allowed.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

BMO offers record variable discount as mortgage wars heat up Bank of Montreal is wooing homebuyers with a variable mortgage rate with the biggest discount ever by a large Canadian bank, according to one market watcher. The Toronto-based bank known for its spring mortgage specials is offering a fiveyear variable rate of 2.45 percent until the end of May -- 1 percentage point below its prime rate. The special marks the biggest widely advertised discount ever by Canada’s six biggest banks, RateSpy.com founder Robert McLister said. Bank of Montreal’s offer beats discretionary rates of 2.75 percent for similar mortgages by other lenders including Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and

Bank of Nova Scotia, according to RateSpy. com. It’s also better than the advertised 2.49 percent variable rate with HSBC Holdings Plc’s Canadian lender, which has been undercutting the largest domestic bank on mortgages for about a year. “Bank mortgage growth is the slowest since 2001, yet there is serious and intensifying competition from players like HSBC and online brokers,” McLister said Tuesday in a phone interview. “BMO felt that they had to do something, clearly, to maintain a market share and grow in a slowing housing market.” The rate is “reflective of the competitive environment and is a great rate for customers seeking a variable mortgage,” Paul Gammal, a Bank

Scotiabank becomes latest of the big banks to hike mortgage rate Scotiabank has joined its Big Five banking peers in raising its benchmark fixed-rate mortgage rate. Canada’s third-biggest lender raised the posted rate for a five-year fixed-rate mortgage from 5.14 per cent to 5.34 per cent, effective Tuesday, while also increasing the posted rates for other terms. Late last month, TD Bank was the first of the Big Five lenders to raise the benchmark rate, increasing it to 5.59 per cent, due to factors including the competitive landscape, the cost of lending and management of risk. Royal Bank later raised its benchmark rate

to 5.34 per cent, followed by CIBC which raised its posted rate for five-year fixed term mortgages from 4.99 per cent to 5.14. The Bank of Montreal earlier this month upped the benchmark rate slightly to 5.19 per cent. The mortgage rate increases from Canada’s biggest lenders come as government bond yields rise, signalling higher borrowing costs for corporations. Mortgage rate hikes at Big Six banks could trigger rise in qualifying rate today Mortgage rates at big six banks diverge following TD’s bold hike Mortgage wars heat up as BMO offers variable rate at biggest discount ever

Bank of Canada’s mortgage ‘stress test’ rate climbs up As mortgages get more expensive with interest rates rising in Canada, the hurdle that some borrowers must pass is also getting higher. The interest rate used by the Bank of Canada for mortgage stress-testing went up by 20 basis points Wednesday to 5.34 per cent from 5.14 per cent, where it had been since midJanuary of this year. The rate used has now gone up five times since last May, when it stood at 4.64 per cent. The central bank’s rate is based on a survey of conventional fiveyear rates available at the big banks. “The change in the Bank of Canada five-year benchmark rate not only means Canadians will pay more per month for their mortgage, it also means the amount Canadians can qualify for has diminished,” James Laird, co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and president of CanWise Financial, said in a release.

“This increase will put pressure on first-time homebuyers, who are the most financially strained Canadians entering the housing market,” he said. Under new rules that came in force in Jan. 1, all home buyers have to go through the mortgage stress test. The test is based on qualifying for the greater of either the Bank of Canada qualifying rate or the buyer’s contracted interest rate plus two percentage points. “The idea behind [the test] is to make sure you can afford your mortgage at a time when interest rates are going up,” Cynthia Holmes, an associate professor and chair of the real estate management department at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University, said. “They want to make sure you can afford your mortgage with a good solid rate in place, not that you can only afford it if rates are really really low,” Holmes said.

Canadian economy lost 1,100 jobs in April, but jobless rate holds steady at 5.8% Canada’s job market was essentially unchanged in April, as the economy shed 1,100 jobs, but the unemployment rate held steady at 5.8 per cent — tied for its lowest level in 40 years. Statistics Canada reported Friday that goods-producing industries lost almost 16,000 jobs during the month, but the service sector added almost 15,000 to offset that. Economists had been expecting a modest gain of about 20,000 jobs during the month. “While no doubt a tad disappointing, many of the details of the release were notably healthier, and we would view this report as

roughly neutral overall,” Bank of Montreal economist Doug Porter said after the numbers came out. Porter singled out the fact that the economy added 28,800 full time jobs during the month — they were just offset by a loss of about that many part-time positions. Over the past year, that means the Canadian economy has added 378,000 full time jobs, and lost 100,000 part time positions. “As well, wages continue to power up, with average hourly wages up 3.6 per cent,” in the past year, Porter said.


Saturday, May 12, 2018

‘You are right about Iran,’ Stephen Harper & other former PMs tell US president Trump in ad Former Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper has added his name to a full-page ad in the New York Times with a message to U.S. President Donald Trump: “You are right about Iran.” The ad, titled “Mr. President, you are right about Iran” in bold letters, is signed by Harper, former Australian prime minister John Howard, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Northern Ireland first minister David William Trimble, and other former politicians and writers, including John Baird, former Canadian foreign affairs minister.The A5 ad ran Wednesday, a day after Trump announced

the U.S. is pulling out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran. Even before Trump dumped nuclear pact, Canada’s relations with Iran were in limbo Trudeau regrets Trump decision to pull out of Iran nuclear agreement “Iran is a danger to us, to our allies, to freedom,” the text says. “We stand alongside you in ending the dangerous appeasement of Iran and making all and any action required to stop Iran going nuclear, help its people, halt its spreading of terror and achieve peace and stability in the Middle East and among all peoples and nations.”

Jagmeet Singh suspends NDP MP Christine Moore after harassment allegations surface NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh is dealing with more harassment allegations within his own party, suspending Christine Moore from caucus hours after a report surfaced Tuesday alleging the Quebec MP harassed a military veteran. “I take these allegations very seriously and I will be appointing and independent investigator to conduct a fair and full examination,” Singh said in a statement. “While that process is ongoing, Mme Moore’s duties as an NDP MP, including participation on any committee, will be temporarily suspended. Once the work of the investigator has been completed, Mme Moore’s role in caucus will be re-evaluated.” Moore’s suspension comes days after Singh booted Erin Weir from caucus after accusations the Saskatchewan MP harassed several women were deemed credible following a threemonth investigation. Moore helped launch the investigation after she said she heard secondhand information of Weir’s alleged conduct. Glen Kirkland was with the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry in Afghanistan a decade ago when he was maimed in an ambush that left three fellow soldiers dead. He was hit with shrapnel that left him with a damaged pancreas, and hearing and vision impairment. While still taking various medications for

his injuries, Kirkland was called to a June 2013 House of Commons standing committee on defence to testify about his treatment by the military. Following his testimony, committee member Moore gave Kirkland her card and asked to meet with him to talk further at her office. At Moore’s office, Kirkland said she offered him gin. He declined, saying he was still taking antidepressants and painkillers. Moore persisted, Kirkland added, and he eventually relented and had several drinks. At that point, he realized her intentions were not professional in nature. Kirkland said she “followed” him back to his Ottawa hotel that night where he said she stayed overnight. Kirkland also alleges Moore began sending explicit messages and a month later she informed him that she arranged to meet up with him and his golfing buddies in Saskatchewan. “This is not a thing. This is not happening,” Kirkland said he told Moore during her visit. Weeks later, Kirkland said Moore arrived unannounced to his residence in Brandon, Man. He said he was “curt” with the MP, and she finally stopped communicating with him.

New poll shows mixed feelings about BC NDP government Many British Columbians feel uneasy about the direction of the province under the NDP government, yet Premier John Horgan enjoys the highest approval rating of all party leaders, according to the mixed bag results of a new Angus Reid Institute poll. The poll delved into how British Columbians feel about the minority NDP government’s performance, and found a province divided along political, generational and regional lines. “It’s certainly a province that is, I would suggest, as divided as it was this time a year ago,” said Shachi Kurl, executive director of the Angus Reid Institute. The survey found more British Columbians are more likely to say the province is on the wrong track (42 per cent), compared to those who are optimistic about the direction it is headed (29 per cent). Another 28 per cent are on the fence. The policies the NDP had brought in to improve housing affordability — an increase to the foreign-buyers tax and property transfer tax, the new speculation

tax and proposed school tax increase — have widespread support, ranging from 66 per cent to 75 per cent. Despite this, only 35 per cent of British Columbians approve of the government’s performance on the housing affordability file. Close to 50 per cent disapproved with disapproval ratings highest in the rest of Metro Vancouver (except the City of Vancouver) and the rest of B.C. Even in Vancouver, views on the government’s performance on the file is “middling,” said the report. “There isn’t necessarily a tremendous endorsement of the government’s handling of key issues yet at the same time, some of the most contentious policy pieces have found a notable amount of support,” said Kurl. A larger number (53 per cent) gave a thumbs down to the government’s handling of the Kinder Morgan TransMountain pipeline project, while 36 per cent were in favour. Support for the government on this issue was lowest outside of the Lower Mainland.

NATIONAL

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Indian banks won against Vijay Mallya in court, but battle is far from over A consortium of 13 Indian banks may have won a high court battle against Kingfisher Airlines founder Vijay Mallya on Tuesday, but there are still significant hurdles for the banks ahead. On Tuesday, a UK high court judge ruled that an Indian judgment against him can legally be enforced against his assets in England and Wales. That judgment states that Mallya owes the banks more than Rs 9,000 crore. UK high court enforcement officers can now act to recover those debts from his assets in England and Wales. However the “opaque and complex” ownership structure of Mallya’s various UK properties are frustrating attempts by the Indian banks to establish if they are his assets, court documents seen by TOI reveal. “It is common ground that Dr Mallya holds his assets through a network of complex ownership structures. He has been less than forthcoming in providing details when pressed,” skeleton submissions by Nigel

Tozzi QC, representing the banks in the UK high court, state. Mallya could also seek permission to appeal against the high court decision in the court of appeal. He will receive permission if the court considers that the appeal has a real prospect of success or there is some other compelling reason for it to be heard. “It is common ground that Dr Mallya holds his assets through a network of complex ownership structures. He has been less than forthcoming in providing details when pressed,” skeleton submissions by Nigel Tozzi QC, representing the banks in the UK high court, state. Mallya could also seek permission to appeal against the high court decision in the court of appeal. He will receive permission if the court considers that the appeal has a real prospect of success or there is some other compelling reason for it to be heard.

Student seeks minister’s help to get Indian passport, but minister tells him to remove ‘Indian-occupied Kashmir’ from his profile External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, who has gained admiration on social media for going out of her way to help Indians in foreign land, recently taught a Kashmiri student who was seeking her help a ‘lesson’. Sheikh Ateeq, who tweets from his @ SAteEQ019, had requested Swaraj to help him with getting a new passport and said he needed to get back to his “home, India” as his health was deteriorating. “I am from J&K doing medicine course here in Philippines my passport got damaged I applied for new one 1 month ago I request u pls help me to get it as i literally need to go home

for medical checkup (sic),” Ateeq tweeted. Swaraj responded to Ateeq saying she would have helped him if he belonged to the state of Jammu and Kashmir but his profile said “Indian occupied Kashmir”. “Your profile says you are from ‘Indian-occupied Kashmir’. There is no place like that,” Swaraj tweeted. The youth promptly corrected the location on his Twitter bio to “jammu &kashmir/ manila”. Swaraj acknowledged the correction in a tweet that was shared minutes later and asked the Indian Embassy in Manila to help the medical student.

Vijay Mallya ‘fugitive from justice’: UK court Wanted in India to face charges of fraud and money laundering amounting to around Rs 9,000 crore, Liquor baron Vijay Mallya (pictured, right) can be regarded as a “fugitive from justice”, the UK High Court has concluded. Judge Andrew Henshaw, who upheld a worldwide freeze order and ruled in favour of 13 Indian state-owned banks to recover funds amounting to nearly 1.145 billion pounds in a judgment yesterday, took note of the fact that the 62-yearold businessman is contesting his extradition to India relating to “alleged financial misconduct”. “In all these circumstances, and even taking account of the fact that Mallya is contesting the alleged grounds for extradition, there are grounds for regarding Mallya as a fugitive from justice,” the judge said as part of his ruling.

The High Court remained unconvinced by Mallya’s claim that he has been a nonresident Indian (NRI) since 1988 and has lived in England since 1992, a country where he has indefinite leave to remain (ILR). “The evidence indicates that prior to March 2016 Mallya travelled fairly regularly between India and England for business and political reasons. Most of his business interests were in or closely connected with India, most notably United Breweries Group and Kingfisher Airlines…Whilst Mallya has indefinite leave to stay in the UK, he is said to be a non-resident taxpayer,” the court observed.

Centre to tread cautiously on ceasefire proposal in Jammu and Kashmir The Centre seems not too keen about initiating a unilateral ceasefire in Jammu and Kashmir as of now as the situation is not conducive and such an exercise in 2000 did not give the desired results, officials said here. They said there was no guarantee that the Pakistan-based terrorists groups would reciprocate if the Centre agrees to the state government’s request for a ceasefire. Recalling the Non Initiation of Combat Operations (NICO), announced by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihar Vajpayee in 2000, a senior government functionary said there was a major terror attack at the Srinagar airport during the crucial four-month period

18 years ago, and the announcement of such a decision now may be termed as a “weakness” in the current situation in the state. “Almost all terrorists groups operating in the Valley in 2000 had rejected the government offer. Many still recall that during the four-month period, terrorists were roaming freely in Kashmir. Is there any guarantee that such a situation would not repeat now,” the official said requesting anonymity. Six terrorists belonging to the Lashkar-e-Toiba had attacked the Srinagar airport when the ceasefire was in force in 2000 in which two security personnel and two civilians were killed. All six terrorists were also killed in the retaliatory firing.

Sad to see Sachin leave Flipkart, says co-founder Binny They were considered the Jai-Veeru of the Indian startup panorama, and when one decided to finally exit the company they founded 11 years ago, it was really a sad moment for the other. Sachin Bansal’s decision to exit Flipkart after its takeover by Walmart was a “very emotional moment”, said the company’s co-founder Binny Bansal. Asked if he didn’t try and convince Sachin to stay on, Binny, 35, said: “That’s an understatement.” As US retailer Walmart acquired a majority stake in Flipkart, Sachin sold his 5.5 per cent stake for about $1 billion and exited the company. The two Bansals, both from Chandigarh, are not related but came to know each other as they were passing out of Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, in 2005 and decided to move to Bangalore, now known as Bengaluru.

They launched Flipkart in 2007 as the ‘Amazon of India’. It was valued at close to $21 billion as Walmart bought 77 per cent stake in it for $16 billion. While Binny decided to continue with the company, Sachin, 36, exited. “Sachin and I met in 2005 when we were passing out (of IIT, Delhi). Both of us moved to Bangalore. We were a group of eight friends from IIT-Delhi and we used to hang out together all the time,” said Binny. “I think both of us have been sort of a pillar of support to each other.” In a Facebook post, Sachin said his work at Flipkart “is done” and “it’s time to hand over the baton and move on”. After moving to Bangalore, Sachin joined Amazon and recommended Binny, earning an employee recommendation bonus. He, however, had to soon return it as Binny left Amazon in just eight months.

PM in 2019 if Congress wins majority? Yes, why not, says Rahul Gandhi; BJP makes fun “Yes, why not,” was Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s response on Tuesday when asked if he will become the Prime Minister in 2019 if the Congress emerges as the single largest party after the Lok Sabha elections, reported news agency PTI. Gandhi was in Bengaluru ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections to launch the Samruddha Bharat Foundation — “a platform to propagate liberal, secular and republican values”. “Well, it depends… it depends on how well the Congress does in the election… I mean if it emerges as the biggest party, yes,” Gandhi was quoted as saying by PTI. Gandhi expressed confidence that Prime Minister Narendra

Modi would not be re-elected to the post next year. “It is highly unlikely that BJP will form the next government, and the second part is that it is close to impossible that Modi will be the next prime minister,” Gandhi reportedly said. Gandhi took the reins of the Congress last December from his mother and now UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. He has been elected at a time when the Congress is at its weakest, electorally and politically, in its 133-year history. From helming governments in 19 states 24 years ago, the party today is in power only in four states and one Union Territory


PUNJAB

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Punjab CM launches farm loan waiver scheme Making amends in the implementation of much-publicised crop loan waiver scheme, the Congress government has now decided to disburse the waiver certificates at sub-divisional level across the state, instead of district level. Earlier, the government has even held state-level events at Mansa, Nakodar, Gurdaspur and Sangrur. The move is aimed at speeding up the waiver disbursement, while ensuring participation of party MLAs and leaders at the local level. In the past, MLAs had objected to not being taken on board while disbursing the certificates. After getting the CM’s approval, the Cooperation Department has decided to roll out the scheme as per the new schedule

Cop arrested for taking bribe from farmer A head constable of the Moga police has been arrested for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs 1-lakh from a farmer to release his employee, a farm labourer, who was illegally detained by him. Kuldip Singh, a head constable of the local police posted on deputation with the Excise and Taxation Department, and two of his associates (unidentified) went to the fields of farmer Kulwinder Singh at Majiana village where farmer’s employee Gagan was making fodder for cattle. Kuldip Singh “forcibly” took Gagan to a private house on the backside of a petrol pump at Nihalsinghwala town in a jeep and called up Kulwinder Singh, alleging that Gagan was involved in selling drugs. He demanded Rs 1 lakh from the farmer to release his employee and threatened to register a case under the NDPS Act against him. Kulwinder Singh arranged the money and reached the spot. He gave Rs 1 lakh to the accused, following which Gagan was released. Later, the farmer informed the senior authorities of the district police who first inquired into the incident and prima facie found the allegations true.

Pregnant woman beaten by police A pregnant woman was allegedly thrashed by police constables over her husband’s dispute with his colleagues in Haleemwala alias Dhani Rampura village in Jalalabad subdivision of Fazilka district. Admitted to the local civil hospital, Rajinder Kaur (32) told The Tribune that constable Harbans Singh, another unidentified policeman deployed at City Police, Jalalabad, and two teachers had stormed into her house at about 4 pm on May 7. They asked about the whereabouts of her husband Gurdarshan Singh from her mother-in-law Balwant Kaur and allegedly thrashed her. When seven-month pregnant Rajinder Kaur tried to intervene, they also beat her up. She claimed that her labour pain began immediately after the thrashing. She was admitted to the local civil hospital. Rajinder Kaur’s father-in-law Puran Singh, who was present at the hospital, alleged that no police officials came to record their statement. Puran Singh said that his son Gurdarshan Singh, who is a computer teacher at Sarian village of Jalalabad subdivision, had some monetary dispute with the other teachers.

immediately after the Shahkot byelection. Confirming the development, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, Cooperation Minister, said around 68,000 marginal farmers would be covered under the new schedule. The government would waive crop loans worth Rs 361 crore. A senior government functionary said the government had so far disbursed loan worth Rs 999.62 crore of 2.02 lakh farmers. With 67,941 more marginal farmers to be included, the total loan amount would touch Rs 1,361 crore. After the party Dalit leaders raised the issue of waiver to the SC community of loans taken from cooperative banks.

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Punjab gov’t protecting Laddi, claims Sukhbir Badal Shiromani Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal on Wednesday said since Congress candidate Hardev Singh Laddi Sherowalia had been booked under nonbailable offences and was scheduled to appear before the SDM, Shahkot, on Thursday, he should either get bail first or be arrested. Interacting with the media on the sidelines of first party rally in favour of its candidate Naib Singh Kohar prior to his filing papers on Wednesday, Sukhbir alleged that the Congress was misusing power by shielding Laddi. On PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar’s stand that there should be one standard procedure for arrest after lodging of FIRs and that even Sukhbir and his party men could be arrested, Sukhbir said, “Let them arrest us. We are not stopping them. In any case, they cannot equate a looter with a person holding a democratic fight as we did. Their candidate is charged with looting the state’s property.” Speaking in favour of SHO, Mehatpur, Inspector Parminder Singh Bajwa, he said,

“It was the same SHO who was given DGP’s commendation disc a few months back by the same SSP Gurpreet Singh Bhullar, who is now accusing him of indiscipline. The Congress is trying to browbeat even the police officers. How can the district officers seek transfer of the SHO appointed by the ECI? The officers have begun speaking the language of the government.” Sukhbir said it was clear that money had changed hands in the award of the party ticket to Laddi. “There can be no other reason for the stoic silence of the Congress high command as well as Rahul Gandhi on this issue,” he said. Nine nomination papers were filed on Wednesday. Rajesh Kumar (Independent), Manohar Lal (Independent), Satpal Singh (Rashtriya Janta Congress), Rattan Singh (AAP), Ranjeet Kaur (AAP), Sulakhan Singh (SAD Amritsar), Gurmit Singh (SAD Amritsar), Naib Singh (SAD) and his son Bachittar Singh filed their nominations for the bypoll.


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INDIA

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Supreme Court reserves judgment on pleas challenging Aadhaar Supreme Court on Thursday reserved its verdict on a batch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Aadhaar and its enabling 2016 law. A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra directed all the parties concerned to file their written submissions to put forth their case. The judgment was reserved after a marathon hearing which went on for 38 days spanning four months. A battery of lawyers, including Attorney-General K K Venugopal who represented the Centre, and senior advocates like Kapil Sibal, P Chidambaram, Rakesh Dwivedi, Shyam Divan, Arvind Datar, Rakesh Dwivedi had appeared for various parties. The Constitution Bench also comprised Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. During

the arguments spread over four months, the Centre had strongly defended its decision to seed Aadhaar numbers with mobile phones, telling the top court that it could have been hauled up for contempt if the verification of mobile users was not undertaken by it. However, the court had said that the government had misinterpreted its order and used it as a “tool” to make Aadhaar mandatory for mobile users. Former Karnataka High Court judge Justice K S Puttaswamy and other petitioners had challenged the constitutional validity of Aadhaar. The court had also not agreed with the government’s contention that the Aadhaar law was correctly termed as a Money Bill by the Lok Sabha Speaker as it dealt with “targeted delivery of subsidies” for which funds came from the Consolidated

Why PM Modi’s visit to Nepal is strategically important for both countries \In a clear sign that relations with Nepal hold importance for India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the neighbouring country for the third time in four years. It is the first high-level visit from India since the formation of a new government in Nepal this year. The visit is being seen as an attempt by both countries to bring back normalcy in ties after a spell of uneasiness, and is particularly important in the backdrop of Beijing strengthening its political and economic ties with the Himalayan nation. For Nepal, Modi’s visit shortly after the formation of the strong leftist government led by Nepalese Prime Minister Oli is being seen as India’s endorsement of the Nepalese Constitution that was promulgated two and a half years ago. Oli was among the key leaders who played a major role in drafting the 2015 constitution, which failed to get India’s endorsement, resulting in an official blockade against the neighbouring country. Earlier today, the PM flagged off his visit to Nepal with a visit to Janakpur where

he jointly launched the Ramayan circuit along with Oli to promote tourism in Nepal and India. Fifteen destinations in both countries, such as Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur and Chitrakoot, will be developed to promote religious tourism. Among other reasons there is a reason why Modi’s visit to Nepal is crucial for both countries, Modi and Oli will get the ball rolling for the construction of the 900 MW Arun III project in Sankhuwasabha + district of eastern Nepal being developed by India through remote control. The two prime ministers will jointly inaugurate the project, the largest hydropower project to be developed in Nepal, that is expected to be completed within five years at a cost nearing Rs 6,000 crore. The venture will transform the Nepalese economy by generating around 900 MW of power as it aims to provide billions of dollars to the Nepal government in the form of free electricity, royalty and tax. India, too, would benefit through the supply of the electricity generated by the project.

Taj Mahal’s floor dirtied by ‘dirty socks’ : says Archeological Survey of India The Archeological Survey of India (ASI) came in for sharp criticism from the Supreme Court, which pulled it up for failing to take measures to protect Taj Mahal. “This situation would not have arisen if the ASI would have done its job. We are surprised with the way the ASI is defending itself. You (Centre) please consider if the Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is needed there or not,” a Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur told Additional Solicitor General ANS Nadkarni, who represented Federal gov’t. Founded in 1861 during the British Raj, Archeological Survey of India (ASI) is an organisation under the gov’t responsible for archaeological research, conservation and preservation of landmarks and ancient monuments in India. It has been assigned the task of maintaining all ancient monuments under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act. Concerned over Taj Mahal being infected by insects, the Bench asked the ASI and other authorities to explain the steps taken to prevent

it. The ASI counsel said the problem of insects was due to stagnation of water of the Yamuna. He said the Taj Mahal floor at several places was dirty as many of the tourists didn’t use socks. “We provide socks only to the VIPs, others use their own socks,” he told the Bench. The ASG told the Bench that the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) was considering the court’s suggestion to appoint international experts to look into the issue of protection and preservation of Taj Mahal. Known as one of the Seven Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Taj Mahal was built between 1632 and 1653 at Gara by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. She had died in 1631 while giving birth to their 14th child. The Taj had hit national headlines last year after being dropped from the state government’s tourism booklet. Later, it was mentioned as a place of pride in the Uttar Pradesh Govt’s 2018 calendar.

Kejriwal’s nephew held in bribery case Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s nephew Vinay Bansal was arrested on Thursday by an anti-graft body in connection with alleged financial irregularities in a drainage project for the PWD, prompting AAP to allege a conspiracy to malign the party chief ’s image. While Bansal was sent to one-day judicial custody by a Delhi court, his arrest triggered a political slugfest, with the BJP’s Delhi unit

demanding Kejriwal’s resignation and Delhi Deputy CM Manish Sisodia alleging that the Centre was using Delhi Police and the AntiCorruption Branch (ACB) only “to harass and trouble” AAP leaders and their relatives. The ACB claimed Bansal was a 50 per cent stakeholder in Renu Constructions that was allegedly involved in financial irregularities in laying a drainage system. —

Bitter, head-to-head campaign ends in Karnataka Extremely shrill and bitter, the campaign for the 224-seat Karnataka Assembly elections came to an end on Thursday. Congress president Rahul Gandhi campaigned in the state for about two months and appeared to have given a headstart to the party, but Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived to bat in the slog overs, ensured the May 12 contest was more or less even. Karnataka has never voted the ruling party back to power in three decades. Nevertheless, Congress Chief Minister Siddaramaiah hopes to create a record by retaining his position. On the other hand, BJP’s CM-candidate BS Yeddyurappa is making a concerted effort to wrest power

after nearly a decade. Most opinion polls have predicted a hung House with the JD(S), the third player, emerging as the kingmaker. But given the people’s aversion to coalitions, the possibility of one of the two big parties surging ahead by garnering floating votes cannot be ruled out. Rahul Gandhi’s description of JD(S) as BJP’s ‘B’ party, which infuriated JD(S) chief HD Deve Gowda, could prove dear, should there be no clear verdict on May 15. Wrapping up the election campaign, PM Modi chose to reach out to a whopping 25 lakh people in Karnataka through several video interactions on the ‘NaMo’ app, accusing the Congress of betraying the Dalits and OBCs.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

INDIA

Manmohan on Modi: It doesn’t behove a PM to stoop so low Talking about PM Modi of trying to “polarise” the society in the Karnataka assembly elections, his predecessor former PM Manmohan Singh said it was “shocking” that he was “stooping so low” and using language that was unbecoming of a prime minister. Singh castigated Modi for personalised attacks and said no prime minister had used the office to “say things about his opponents that Mr Modi has been doing day in and day out....It is not good for the country”. When asked about the campaign for the May 12 assembly polls in Karnataka, he said, “I am really sorry the way the state’s population is sought to be....what can I say, polarised. This is not good for Karnataka. It’s not good for the country as a whole. “It is all the more shocking that the prime minister of India stoops so low and uses language which is unbecoming of a PM, particularly when he’s in a state where elections are taking place,” Singh told reporters in Bengaluru. “No prime minister has used these election times to say things in a manner that Modi is trying to. I sincerely hope he will now learn the lesson and not seek to polarise our society, the way he is doing day in and day out,” he said. He said the outcome of the Karnataka polls would have an impact on national politics as it was one of the most prosperous states in the country. He also launched a scathing attack on the Modi government for its “disastrous policies”and“economicmismanagement”. Singh attacked the government over a series of banking frauds, saying the money swindled almost quadrupled from Rs 28,416 crore in September 2013 to Rs 1.11 lakh crore in September 2017. “Perpetrators of these frauds, meanwhile, escape with impunity. The economic mismanagement of the Modi government, and I say this with great care and responsibility, is slowly eroding the trust of the general public in the banking sector,” he said. “Our nation today is experiencing difficult times. Our farmers are facing an acute crisis, our aspirational youth are not finding opportunities, and the economy is growing below its potential,” Singh said. He said the “unfortunate truth” was that each of these crises was “entirely avoidable”. “Itpainsmetoseehowratherthanstanding up to all these challenges, the government’s response has been to stifle dissent when deficiencies are pointed out,” he said. Noting that economic policy has a significant impact on the lives of people, he said it was essential that those tasked with decision making pay careful attention to policies and programmes and not act on mere whims and fancies. “India is a complex and diverse country and no one person can be the repository of all wisdom,” he said in an apparent dig at Modi. He said every time an answer was sought for any of the “disastrous policies” of the BJP government, “all we hear is that the intentions are virtuous”. Singh said the intentions of

the Modi government which it claimed were good, had resulted in “massive” losses for the country.

SOUTH ASIA

India sends 2nd relief consignment for Rohingyas in Bangladesh DHAKA: India has sent to Bangladesh its second relief consignment to help tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya Muslims who fled Myanmar following a military crackdown, triggering one of the world’s worst refugee crises. Over 600,000 Rohingyas have fled Myanmar’s violence-hit Rakhine state to neighbouring Bangladesh since August when the military intensified crackdown against alleged militant outfits of Rohingya Muslims. Indian Navy Ship INS Airavat sailed from Vishakhapatnam and reached Chattogram port (formerly Chittagong) Port yesterday where Indian High Commissioner Harsh

Vardhan Shringla handed over the relief consignment to Disaster Management and Relief Minister Mofazzel Hussain Chowdhury Maya. Officials familiar with the development said the 373-tonne consignment contained 104 tonnes of milk powder, 102 tonnes of dried fish, 61 tonnes of baby food, 50,000 raincoats and 50,000 pairs of gum boots. “Another tranche containing 1 million litres of kerosene oil and 20,000 cooking stoves is expected to arrive soon,” Shringla said. He said India sent the relief in view of the specific needs of the “large number of (Rohingya) women and children living in the

camps and the onset of monsoon”. “We hope this will bring some succour to the people living in camps,” he said. Bangladesh has repeatedly sought India’s help to put pressure on Myanmar to resolve the Rohingy crisis. During a recent high-level visit of UN Security Council, Bangladesh called upon India as well as Russia, China and Japan to play a stronger role for Rohingya’s secured and dignified repatriation. Earlier, Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina engaged the foreign ministry to pursue a vigorous diplomacy with countries having direct borders with Myanmar.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018


SOUTH ASIA

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Lessons to learn for countries eyeing China’s Belt-and-Road billions In the middle of a brand-new four-lane highway cutting through southern Sri Lanka’s jungle, Vijitha Gamage and his family left large piles of freshly harvested rice paddy to dry on the baking asphalt. They didn’t need to dodge traffic. On a recent afternoon, the barely used highway built with Chinese money through a rural stretch of the island nation carried more 50-kilogram (110-pound) rice sacks than vehicles. “The road gets really hot, so the rice dries faster,” Gamage said. The project is one of several in Sri Lanka that offer lessons for countries looking to snag some of the more than $500 billion projected to underpin Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Belt and Road infrastructure initiative. Interviews with the nation’s politicians, government officials and financial experts show that mitigating the risks is key to maximizing opportunities. When a 25-year civil war ended in 2009, Sri Lanka had little choice but to turn to China. Beijing stepped up aid and arms shipments as the US and Europe withdrew funding, leaving China in position to quickly offer loans and financing. Many countries in South Asia are in a similar position. Myanmar and Iran were under western sanctions, while extremist violence has kept investors away from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Lesson 1: Too much debt can backfire The lure of easy money can tempt politicians to approve expensive projects that generate little economic activity. The sleepy southern district of Hambantota — home to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa — is a case in point. Aside from the empty four-lane highway, Hambantota boasts an international airport that services one scheduled flight a day, a conference center that is hardly used and a port that handles one ship a day. All were goodies approved by Rajapaksa to benefit his electoral constituency in one of the country’s least developed regions. The country now spends 80 percent of government revenues paying down what Prime Minister Ranil

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Salahuddin Rabbani has met new Indian envoy to the country Vinay Kumar and assured him that Afghan security forces will not spare any effort to ensure the safety and release of seven Indian engineers abducted by the Taliban gunmen in the restive northern Baghlan province. During the meeting with the Indian ambassador yesterday, Rabbani expressed grief and sorrow over the abduction of the Indian engineers and said that the Afghan security forces will not spare any effort to protect the safety and secure the release of the Indians. He said that efforts have been initiated through the community elders to help secure their release. Rabbani also had a telephone conversation with External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj regarding the abduction of the seven Indian engineers of KEC International, an RPG group company. Swaraj had conveyed India’s concerns about the abducted Indians and requested him for help in tracing and freeing them. The abducted Indian engineers were working on a project for the construction of a power sub-station. They were abducted by the militants from the vicinity of Cheshma-eSher area on Sunday while they were going to inspect the work on the project. An eyewitness,

Two Islamist terrorists sentenced to death for killing liberal Professor in Bangladesh

Wickremesinghe has called “unprecedented” debts. Last year, Wickremesinghe — who took office after Rajapaksa lost the presidency — sold the port to a Chinese firm for $1.1 billion to ease the debt burden. “If other countries are getting investments, they should not do it the way that we are doing it in Sri Lanka,” said Beragama Wimala Buddhi Thero, the head monk at a local Buddhist temple who worries the new projects will displace villagers. “They should do it in a controlled way. And it should be transparent to the common people.” Lesson 2: Politicians will exploit antiChina sentiments In the 2015 election, Rajapaksa suffered a surprise defeat after challenger Maithripala Sirisena attacked his tight relations with China, warning that Sri Lankans “would become slaves” if the trend continued. Three years later, Rajapaksa’s political group is attacking Sirisena for close ties with China. “The Chinese are like an octopus — once they get a hold of something, they take everything,” said Ruwan Kumara, a local politician aligned with Rajapaksa who runs a store in Hambantota. “They want to get a hold of all the smaller Asian countries and become the most powerful country in Asia.” While discontent brews in the countryside, many in the capital benefit from the Chinese cash. Cranes loomed over the skyline in Sri Lanka’s capital, where a $1.4 billion land reclamation project led by stateowned China Communications Construction’s China Harbor Engineering aims to transform Colombo into a “world class” South Asian hub. Lesson 3: China’s cash has a geopolitical price China has said its Belt-and-Road Initiative is a win-win solution that allows it to develop trade routes and export excess capital while building much-needed infrastructure in emerging economies. Yet that hasn’t s t o p p e d countries like India —

Afghanistan FM meets Indian envoy, assures safety and release of abducted Indians who wished a n o n y m i t y, told Pajhwok Afghan News that he saw a number of armed men stopping a white coloured car on the Puli-KhumriMazar-i-Sharif highway. The eyewitness did not know how many people were in the car, but said the militants took the Indian nationals to their mini bus type vehicle and sped towards areas under their control.

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Two Islamist terrorists were sentenced to death and three others jailed for life by a special court today for brutally hacking to death a liberal professor near his home in northwestern Bangladesh. Operatives of Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), said to be inclined to the Islamic State, hacked professor AFM Rezaul Karim Siddiquee to death using machetes near his house in Rajshahi city on April 23, 2016. Maskawat Hossain of Bogura and Shariful Islam, a student of Prof Siddiquee’s English department of state-run Rajshahi University, were sentenced to death by the special court, a prosecutor told PTI. He said Speedy Trial Tribunal Judge Shirin Akhter simultaneously sentenced three other militants -- Rahmat Ullah of Nilphamari, Abdus Sattar of Rajshahi and Sattar’s son Ripon Ali -- to life imprisonment. The mastermind of the murder, Shariful Islam, is on the run.

Karim was known for his love for music and philanthropic activities. According to USbased SITE Intelligence Group that monitors global terror activities, Islamic State claimed responsibility for Karim’s murder for “calling to atheism”, a claim rejected by Bangladesh authorities. The verdict came as police in recent years intensified investigations into a series of clandestine attacks on secularists and liberal intellectuals, bloggers and minorities including gay activists against the backdrop of growing criticism for failure to track down the assailants. In 2014, another University teacher AKM Shafiul Islam was similarly murdered. Though his murder was initially claimed by radical group ‘Ansaral Islam’, police later ruled out that possibility, saying he was murdered due to personal rivalry. But some years ago, two more professors of the Rajshahi University had been killed.

Sri Lanka president urges end to power struggle Sri Lanka’s president Tuesday appealed to his prime minister to end a bitter power struggle and said the coalition government had failed to deliver promised reforms. But Maithripala Sirisena suffered a new blow when 16 of his MPs joined the opposition. Sirisena told parliament that the coalition partners should commit to a reform agenda to revive

the island nation emerging from a decadeslong ethnic war that claimed more than 100,000 lives. “This is not a time for parties to engage in a power struggle,” Sirisena said after opening a new session of parliament. “Although we formed a coalition government in August 2015, we still have not politically matured to accept and work within this reality.

Sri Lanka president’s chief of staff arrested for bribery Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s Chief of Staff was arrested today for soliciting a bribe from an Indian investor, Bribery Commission officials said. IK Mahanama, the chief of staff at presidential secretariat, along with P Dissanayake, who was heading the state-owned Timber Corporation, were arrested when they were accepting a bribe of

20 million Sri Lankan rupees, officials said. The Indian firm was to revive the eastern province’s Kantalai state sugar factory owned by the state and was seeking approval for the project, officials said. Mahanama was serving as the secretary to the ministry of lands when the Indian firm was applying for land clearance.

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FIJI

Saturday, May 12, 2018

9-year-old Fijian breaks national chess record A 9-year-old girl Tanvi Prasad created history in chess as she beat a Swaziland player in only 9 moves which is a national record for Fiji in terms of the fastest win recorded in a world chess championship by a local rep. Prasad who is a year 5 student at Deenbandhoo Memorial Primary School was the youngest ever participant from the South Pacific. Tanvi’s father

Ravikesh Prasad says Tanvi started learning and playing chess when she was 5-years-old and played her first competitive chess game when their family was staying in Canberra for a year. He says her achievements have made the family proud as they were surprised when she was selected in the national team.

Sai Prema open free medical clinic Sai Prema Foundation opened its first Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre in Suva today. Owners said the $1.5m project will benefit the poor and needy in society. Sai Prema Fiji Foundation Director, Sumeet Tappoo said this project was to bring bliss and happiness to the people of Fiji. Sri Sathya Sai Sanjeevani Medical Centre

will specifically look at outpatients which will completely charge them free of cost. “What is unique about our NGO is that each and every person who has joined hands with us has done so with the willingness to serve the underprivileged and needy in a quest to bring joy and bliss to the people of Fiji and to our beloved motherland,” Mr Tappoo said.

400 students graduate from Technical College of Fiji A total of 437 students graduated today from the Technical College of Fiji. The students are graduating from four different campuses, including the Anjuman Hidayat -UI- Islam Campus in Nausori, C.P Singh Campus in Navua, Suva Hospitality and Textiles Training campus, and the Nabua Sanatan Campus.

The graduates are receiving N a t i o n a l Certificate II from a range of different fields, including attainment of a National Certificate II in Engineering, Construction, Hospitality, and Agriculture, among others. The graduation was held at the FMF Gymnasium in Laucala Bay, Suva.

Mother charged with murder after she tied herself to her daughter and drove their car into Rewa River The woman who allegedly tied herself up with her 4-yearold daughter and drove their car off the road into Rewa River on Sunday night, has been charged with murder. Fijivillage had earlier questioned Police whether the mother is under investigation for allegedly murdering her daughter and then attempting to commit suicide. This is based on the Police report that the woman allegedly tied up her daughter before driving the car

into the riverThe woman allegedly drove the car into the river in Kasavu after leaving their home in Vuci South. Bystanders quickly got into the river to save the two. The mother and daughter were taken to the Nausori hospital where the 4-year-old girl was pronounced dead. The woman’s husband has alleged that she had called him while driving with their daughter saying that she will take both their lives.

Dialogue leads to decisive action, says PM Bainimarama “Dialogue is merely an important staging post on the journey toward decisive action”. This was part of PM Bainimarama’s welcoming remarks at the 6th Dialogue on Action for Climate Change Empowerment at the World Conference Centre in Bonn, Germany. “It is by telling our stories, and listening to the stories of others, that we can learn how to tackle the climate challenge more effectively,” he said. He said these exchanges between countries, states and regions, civil society, the private sector and ordinary men and women had the power to inspire action. Mr Bainimarama said they could inspire other people with their enthusiasm and ideas, and

in turn could be inspired by them. By bringing their minds and experiences together, he said they could step up the ambitious action that each and every one on planet earth must take to preserve their common future. “So, friends, talk, listen and inspire. Bring to this discussion – just as we brought to the Talanoa Dialogue on Sunday – your best ideas about how working together as one world, one people, we can set ourselves on a new course. “Meaningful, decisive and sustainable action that really makes a difference.” He said, inspired by enlightened leadership, this journey begins at the grassroots in all of our societies.

Fire leaves thirteen members of a family homeless in Suva Thirteen people from a house in Suva are now without clothes and belongings after the home they were living in was destroyed in a fire early yesterday morning. The home in High Street, Toorak, was ablaze around midnight, leaving just visible remnants of its foundation structure, charred from the inferno. The quick-thinking of Krishneel Kirtesh Lal saved the rest of the tenants and landlord who were asleep. A total of 13 people including the landlord and his family were living in the house. The 23-year-old said he heard a cry for help around midnight by one of his

female flatmates from the kitchen. He then woke up his other flatmates and the landlord. The home had seven bedrooms, five kitchens and one living room. Mr Lal said the tenants were sharing the house with their owner. “We have lost everything in the fire, totaling to about $500,000,” Mr Lal said. “The only thing I have left right now is my clothes that I am wearing from last night. I have lost everything. I even left behind my mobile phone in the fire. “As soon as we saw the fire, we called the fire truck and we even tried to extinguish it with water ourselves.” The National Fire Authority is investigating the cause of the fire.

Two new resident magistrates sworn in Fiji’s judiciary Fiji’s judiciary welcomed another addition to its rank following the swearing-in of two resident magistrates yesterday at the State House. Resident Magistrate Timoci Qalinauci and Resident Magistrate Lisiate Fotofili were officially sworn in by the President, His Excellency, MajorGeneral (Ret’d) Jioji Konrote. Mr Qalinauci holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and a Bachelor of Law from the University of the South Pacific. He was admitted into the bar in 2008 as a Barrister and Solicitor for the High Court of Fiji and was the Senior Legal Officer for the

Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions since 2013. Alongside him, was Mr Fotofili, who graduated with a Post Graduate Certificate in Corruption Studies from the University of Hong Kong, Post Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, and a Bachelor of Law from The University of the South Pacific. He has worked as a prosecutor for 12 years with appointed posts as legal officer to manager for the Serious Crimes Division/ODPP Suva in 2015. Chief Justice Anthony Gates, and Chief Registrar Yohan Liyanage were also present at the swearing- in ceremony.


PAKISTAN

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Opposition leader Imran warms to Pakistan military as his political fortunes rises Charismatic sportsman, cricekter turned politician and leader of opposition in the parliament Imran Khan is brimming with his newfound political confidence recently. Imran Khan made a spirited claim to lead the next federal government in Pakistan when he addressed thousands of his supporters who had gathered in the politically important city of Lahore in the province of Punjab a week ago. Election rally kicked off the political season, on the other side other political parties also have begun campaigning around the country. Imran Khan a populist with whose nationalist appeal rests in part on an anti-American platform — is the main challenger to the political party of former PM Sharif, who was ousted by Supreme Court of Pakistan after money laundering and corruption inquiry. Mr. Sharif was barred from holding the public office, and he faces a verdict next month on corruption charges. With Mr. Sharif looking at possible jail time, and several leaders of his party, PML-Nawaz league, ensnared in corruption investigations, Imran Khan says this is his time. He presents himself as an alternative to what he calls a corrupt political elites & mafias and says he will work to improve the system, education, health and environment. His prospects have brightened in light of his warming ties with the military, which controls the main lever of power in Pakistan and has dominated foreign and security policies for decades. Former PM Sharif ’s efforts to assert civilian control over

the military during his last term failed, turning him into an intensely hated figure among the military establishment. Imran Khan, on the other hand, has no qualms about working with the military. “I think a democratic government rules from moral authority,” Imran Khan said in an interview in Lahore. “And if you don’t have moral authority, then

National accountability bureau probes former PM Sharif for $5 billion money laundering to India NAB probes another money however, has not mentioned details of the media report in question. The laundering case against former disqualified PM Nawaz Sharif, antipress release claimed, “The amount corruption authority, the National was laundered to the Indian finance ministry after which Indian foreign Accountability Bureau, on Tuesday ordered an inquiry against him for exchange reserves witnessed an allegedly laundering $4.9 billion to increase while Pakistan had suffered as a result.” However, in a press India. In a statement NAB said, the bureau chairman Justice Javed Iqbal release issued on September 21, (Retd) has taken notice of a media 2016, the State Bank of Pakistan Nawaz Sharif report claiming that the incident (SBP) had rejected the estimates of was mentioned in World Bank’s Migration $4.9 billion remittances from Pakistan to India and Remittances Book 2016. The statement, and had termed it contrary to facts.

Pak-Italian woman was strangled to death, autopsy confirmed, Father, brother and uncle charged for her murder

those who have the physical authority assert themselves. In my opinion, it is the Pakistan Army and not an enemy army. I will carry the army with me.” Mr. Khan has opposed operations against Taliban insurgents in the tribal regions and its cooperation with the United States. He still has developed closer ties with powerful military. Army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, increased his clout, while dissenting voices in the country have come under greater pressure and restrictions on the media have increased. Ousted former PM Sharif has on various occasions accuses army, judiciary and some media of working together to have him removed from the office, depriving his party of a level playing field in the general elections. Both the military and the judiciary deny the allegations, which Mr. Sharif repeated last week at a rally in the province of Punjab in Pakistan.

Pak-Italian woman was strangled to death, she did not die of natural causes in Gujarat, Pakistan, the autopsy report confirmed. Police claim to have arrested deceased Sana Cheema’s father, brother and one uncle in the light of the autopsy and charged them for her murder. The report issued by the Punjab Forensics and Science Laboratory reveals that Cheema’s cervical bone was fractured on April 18. “Cheema’s death was not accidental as she was strangled,” the report says. The incident took place in Kunja, Gujrat, some 150-km from Lahore. The body of Cheema was exhumed

on April 24 on the court’s order as police suspected that she might have been killed in the name of “family honour”. Police high-ups initiated the probe after reports published in Italian media that Cheema was killed by her family members over marriage issue. Cheema’s family declared her death “accidental” and buried her in a graveyard far from their residence on April 18, raising suspicion. “We have arrested Ghulam Mustafa along with his brother Mazhar Iqbal and son Adnan Mustafa for allegedly killing Sana Cheema. They have been booked under the murder charges,” says police.

CIA concerned about potential contacts between Pak nuclear scientists and extremists CIA continues to be very concerned about the potential connection between extremist groups and Pakistani nuclear scientists and is very closely monitoring this, a top official from the spy agency has told lawmakers. “There was very deep concern about potential contacts, and we continue to

monitor this very closely, between extremists and Pakistani nuclear scientists,” Gina Haspel, US President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director told the members of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

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NRI

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Indians accounted for over 74 pc of H-1B visas Technology professionals from India accounted for 74.2 per cent of the total number of H-1B visas issued by the US in 2016 and the next year the figure rose to 75.6 per cent, a government report said on Tuesday. However, there has been a drop in the number of new H-1B beneficiaries from India, the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services report said. China with 9.3 and 9.4 per cent respectively for 2016 and 2017, comes a distant second after India in terms of number of H-1B visas issued. “The number of beneficiaries from India approved for initial employment decreased by 4.1 per cent in fiscal 2017, while the

number of beneficiaries approved for continuing employment increased by 12.5 per cent in fiscal 2017,” the USCIS said in its latest report titled ‘Characteristics of H-1B Specialty Occupation Workers’. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year. The USCIS said petitions for initial employment are filed for first-time H-1B employment with an employer, only some of which are applied to the annual cap.

Two NRIs charged with securities, wire fraud in US Two Indian-origin men have been charged by federal authorities in the US with securities and wire fraud for inflating the value of private funds they advised by hundreds of millions of dollars. Anilesh Ahuja, 49, of New York, the founder, chief executive officer, and chief investment officer of a New York-based investment firm that managed hedge funds focused on structured

credit products, was arrested on Wednesday, Audrey Strauss, the Attorney for the United States, said. In addition, Strauss announced the unsealing of charges against Ashish Dole, a former chief risk officer and trader at the firm, and Frank Dinucci, a former salesman at a broker-dealer.

Indian students dominate London universities London was on Wednesday ranked as the top city for students in the world, with Indian students making up the fourth-largest category. The top student cities in the latest edition of ‘QS Best Student Cities Rankings’ ranks Tokyo, Melbourne, Montreal and Paris to complete this year’s top five based on factors such as the number of top universities in a city, the local jobs market, the diversity of the culture and the quality of life. In a related study released by the Mayor of London’s promotional agency London & Partners (L&P), Indian students are among the dominant group

of international students in the city. In 2016-17, there were 4,545 Indian students in London – accounting for 26 per cent of all Indian students in the UK, L&P said. As the city’s fourth-largest student market after China, America and Italy, the average Indian student in London spends 30,100 pounds and contributed 137 million pounds in total spending in London in 2016-17. “We have more leading universities and international students than any other city and I want to make sure it stays that way,” said London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

US Navy veteran sentenced to life for killing Indian techie A US Navy veteran was on Friday In addition to the state charges, Purinton faces prosecution sentenced to life imprisonment for killing Indian engineer Srinivas in federal court. The US Kuchibhotla in a racially motivated Attorney’s Office in Kansas filed hate crime charges against hate crime at a bar in Kansas City last year. A federal judge in Kansas Purinton last June. Purinton, yelled, “Get out of my country”, sentenced Adam Purinton to before shooting Kuchibhotla, nearly 78 years in prison as part of a plea agreement reached in March. who later died from injuries sustained in the attack. Purinton would not be eligible for Srinivas Kuchibhotla parole until after he turns 100, the Kuchibhotla is survived by his KSHB reported. In March, Purinton, 52, had wife Sunayana Dumala, who welcomed the pleaded guilty to the charges of murdering court’s decision. “Today’s sentencing in the Kuchibhotla. Purinton was charged with murder of my husband will not bring back first-degree murder of Kuchibhotla, 32, my Srinu, but it sends a strong message that and two counts of attempted first-degree hate is never acceptable,” Dumala said in murder in the shootings of his friend, Alok a statement. “I want to thank the District Madasani, and a bystander, who chased Attorney’s office and the Olathe police for Purinton after he fled the Austin’s Bar and their efforts to bring this man to justice,” she Grill in Olathe city on February 22 last year. said. Kuchibhotla hailed from Hyderabad.

Indian-American gets US4 1.6 m grant for reserarch on kidney cells An Indian-American professor has received a grant of US$ 1.6 million for his research on kidney cells that can protect the organ from chronic inflammation caused by obesity. Tahir Hussain, a professor of Pharmacology at the University of Houston, received the grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), for his research on cells that release a protein called angiotensin type 2 receptor (AT2R), which recently has been indicated to have antiinflammatory and reno protective actions. If activated, the AT2R will protect against chronic and acute kidney injury, said Hussain, an alumnus of the Aligarh Muslim University. He will study the impact of inflammation in kidneys with active AT2R in relation with those with no AT2R. “What I’m proposing in this grant is that

certain cells in the kidney can protect the kidney itself,” he said. The expression of AT2R in the body is inherently low and hence “weak”, Hussain said, adding that “but because we know it has anti-inflammatory activity, we want to pump it up”. Hussain said to strengthen it, he would use a drug that binds to it and activates it. With one-third of the US population being obese, the NIH estimates the annual cost to manage or treat obesity-associated disorders to be as high as US$ 125 billion. These disorders include chronic as well as acute kidney injury (AKI). Chronic kidney injury is the result of progressive loss of kidney function leading to irreversible damage, while AKI occurs as an abrupt loss of kidney function and usually is reversible.


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Saturday, May 12, 2018


Record crowd of over 6,000 fans mesmerized by singers Atif & Neha in US

Amitabh Bachchan Inaugurates ‘Frames 75,’ an Ode to the Superstar

AAAA Renowned photojournalist Pradeep Chandra and film historian Renowned photojournalist S.M. M. Ausaja have joined Pradeep hands to Chandra and film historian S.M. M. curate a unique show titled “Frames 75,� Ausaja joined hands to curate a which have uses rare photographs, paintings, unique show titledblock “Frames whichLP sketches, posters, print75, art,� vinyl uses paintings, covers,rare lobbyphotographs, cards and hand-bills in 75 sketches, posters, block print art, vinyl frames to celebrate Amitabh Bachchan’s far. Bachchan is running 76, LPjourney covers,solobby cards and hand-bills ode is to on the completion of his inand 75this frames celebrate Amitabh platinum year. Bachchan’s journey so far. Bachchan is running 76, and this ode is on the

The event, which was hosted at St Regis, May 9, was inaugurated by completion his present platinum year.event were Bachchan.of Also at the The event, which was hosted guests from the film fraternity and atart Stworld, Regis,and May 9, was from inaugurated by celebrities across fields. Bachchan. Also present at the event were guests the filmwill fraternity and artto Thefrom exhibition be accessible world, from across fields. fans and and celebrities film students at Whistling Woods International, The exhibition will beSubhash accessibleGhai’s to well-known institute.at Whistling fans and filmfilmstudents Woods International, Subhash Ghai’s Facebook well-known film institute.

Stage Paint Productions, in association with Chateau Luxe Banquet & Conference Center and Holiday Inn, Hollywood Walk of Fame, presented an electrifying live concert featuring singers Atif Aslam and Neha Kakkar at the Long Beach Arena here May 6, mesmerizing the over 6,000 fans in the audience. In the lobby of the arena, caterer Dilliwala had set up colorful tents selling delectable I n d i a n cuisine with the concertg o e r s thronging the stalls. Inside, the arena sported a tastefully decorated venue with tall, silky curtains hung behind the stage. The lighted balls hanging from the ceiling and gigantic media screens flanking both sides of the stage, decorated with brilliant lights

that changing hues, created a dazzling effect. The jam-packed audience in the theater could sense that this was no ordinary event but an extraordinarily huge concert. The sound system was impeccable, befitting a concert this big. Vivek Mishra opened the show by singing hit songs such as “Mar Jaaoo ya Jeen Loon Z a r a ,� “Har Kisi Ko Nahi M i l t a Ya h a n P y a r Zindagi M e i n� and Rafi’s evergreen “Ehsan Tera Hoga Mujh Par� before making way for the grand entry of Neha Kakkar. As the emcee introduced her as the singer of the latest hit songs from India, and the lights dimmed with a large screen Continued on page 4 playing her

 

         

                       



           

      

   

        

 

   

 

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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Do me a favour, let’s play Holi Mallika Sherawat is hosting a Bollywood-theme Holi party at her Los Angeles home this weekend. The actor is keen on celebrating the festival with Yankee pals and neighbours. She is making sure to use natural and safe colours. A desi menu has been planned, which includes rajma chawal. She has created a playlist of chartbusters like Rang Barse, Balam Pichkari and Holi Khele Raghuveera. Guests will command over Hindi, which also be Jyotika feels is rare in taught BBollywood today. As a Tamil Town ponnu (girl), Vids is happy thumkas. that the film is being remade in Tamil. The original, directed by Suresh Triveni, is about a housewife-turned-RJ. Manav Kaul played Vidya’s lovable hubby.

Tamil remake of Tumhari Sulu Vidya Balan-starrer Tumhari Sulu (2017) is being remade in Tamil with South star Jyotika. It will be directed by Radha Mohan. Jyotika is a fan of Vids and feels honoured to be stepping into her screen idol’s shoes. She loves her voice and

For the sake of humanity Esha Gupta found herself being trolled after writing about the crisis in Syria on social media. The Rustom (2016) actor posted a picture of a wounded child (right) and wrote, “I don’t care which country or religion or government I have, humanity is dying. The children are dying and it needs to stop. Syria is bleeding (sic).� Twitterati took her to task for ignoring India’s problems. Not to take it lying down, the actor replied, “That’s the problem with you trolls, good for nothing, even in humanity you see borders. Even for children you see religion. This is what is called the dark age (sic).� A favourite of the trolls, Esha sure knows how to hit back and silence them.

Reunion 19 years later

Santoshi hospitalised Sharman Joshi and Masumeh Makhija reunite in Arjun Mukerjee’s upcoming film, 3 Storeys, after 19 years. The two featured in Vishal Bhardwaj’s television show Gubbare in 1999, which also starred Dilip Prabhavalkar, Kirron Kher and Shreyas Talpade. While shooting for the film, Masumeh felt she was connecting with an old pal.

   





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Bollywood

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Film: ‘Hope Aur Hum’

H

ope Aur Hum is a family entertainer with a simple story, says its director Sudip Bandyopadhyay. The first poster of the project, based on a family in Mumbai and also featuring Sonali Kulkarni, Kabir Sajid, Naveen Kasturia and Aamir Bashir, was released on Monday. It shows the entire cast posing against a bright yellow background with antique items spread out all over. Bandyopadhyay said in a statement to IANS, “When we scripted ‘Hope aur Hum’, we intended it to be a perfect family entertainer. We are thrilled at how it has turned out and are absolutely ecstatic we could bring together such a talented cast to star in the film. “From Naseer sir to Sonali Kulkarni everybody brought life to their character. The audience can look out for a simple story that they will easily relate to. It’s a story about love, hope and destiny and Ravi K. Chandran’s cinematography lends the perfect poetic realism to it.” Scheduled to release on May 11, Hope Aur Hum tells the

tale of the Srivastava family whose lives are affected by the senior most member of the family, Nagesh (Naseeruddin). His obsession with his traditional copying machine called Mr. Sonnecken starts to take a toll on the relationship of the entire family. With the family revolting against Nagesh’s old ways, the film tells the tale of the transition between the old and new, explored through the ideas of three different generations. Produced by Thumbnail Pictures, the film is presented by PVR Pictures. Hope Aur Hum (English: Hope and Us) is an upcoming 2018 Indian Hindi Family Drama filmproduced by Samira Bandopadhyay under her banner Thumbnail Pictures and directed by Sudip Bandopadhyay.[3] The film stars Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni, Aamir Bashir and Naveen Kasturia in lead roles and was released on 11 May 2018 Set in present day, suburban city, ‘Hope Aur Hum’ is a simple, human story of a family. Nagesh (Naseeruddin Shah) earns the family’s bread and butter with a spaceconsuming out-of-order photocopy machine that consistently raises space and room issues for his granddaughter, Tanu. His younger son Nitin (Naveen Kasturia), who has a penchant for showing up uninformed, finds a love interest under surprising consequences.

May

11

Hope Aur Hum *ing: Naseeruddin Shah, Sonali Kulkarni

May FALOODA

11

*ing: Aarav Negi, Goonj Chand Azhar Pihu Sharma

New Released Bollywood Films May

04

May

04

THE PAST

*ing: Vedita Pratap Singh, Yuvraaj Parashar

May

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RAAZI

OMERTA

*ing: Vicky Kaushal, Alia Bhatt

*ing: Rajkumar Rao

3


4

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Bollywood

Atif & Neha mesmerize record crowd of fans

HOROSCOPE Aries

March 21 - April 20 The week ahead could encourage you to tackle certain issues head-on. On Monday, there’s a possibility of a clash with someone in authority, and you might be tempted to say exactly what you think. But with lovely Venus angling toward nebulous Neptune on the same day, things may not be quite as they seem. If                            bring more positive results.

Taurus

April 21 - May 20 If you have secret reservations about an idea, your mindset may be what’s holding you back. You could be sabotaging         move. Understanding the reasons for this          

   perspective and perhaps give you the courage to go ahead. Lovely Venus angles toward nebulous Neptune on Monday, which indicates that you could doubt the word of a friend.

Gemini

May 20 - June 21 As expressive Mercury, your guide planet, angles toward powerful Pluto on Monday,              a friend. However, this aspect is temporary, so you might discover that if you leave your conversation until Tuesday, when the sun links to upbeat Jupiter, the outcome will be much more productive. Friday could bring some powerful insights that help you let go of a deep-seated issue that has held you back in the past.

Cancer

June 22 - July 23

        at the start of the week even if you don’t agree with someone’s words of wisdom. However, if this person seems to be manipulating                strengthening your boundaries. Although a tie between sociable Venus and ethereal Neptune could encourage you to give in to this person, it might be better for you if you don’t. An upbeat aspect between the sun and positive Jupiter on Tuesday can be excellent

Leo

June 24 - August 23 !             yourself or knuckle down to some hard work? This could be the choice you face on Monday when talkative Mercury angles toward intense Pluto. It’s very likely that you won’t be able to                later in the week. Tuesday is more positive as the sun opposes  "  #

Virgo

August 24 - Sept 24 The start of the week could see you faced with a number of distractions. With convivial Venus         $      



%             trying to get your attention. If the work is important,         # On Tuesday, the sun links with positive Jupiter, which should make the day quite positive.

Libra

Sept. 24 - Oct 22 There could be times this week when    

%          member concerning a key issue. Don’t let this get to you. By using your natural tact and diplomacy, you may be able to make the best of a tricky situation. The sun makes a link with fortunate Jupiter on Tuesday, which could make it an upbeat and positive day. You could get an unexpected gift or small amount of money, which would certainly cheer you up.

Scorpio

Oct 23 - Nov 22 There is still an intense focus on your sector of communication, which will continue for some time yet. However, Monday could coincide with a misunderstanding, which may be due to a genuine mistake. Before you say anything, it might be wise to let things stand for a day or so because it may well come to nothing. Tuesday can be a good day for a romantic date or fun social event. If you’re invited out, make the most of it.

Sagitarius Nov 23 - Dec 22

With a lively focus on your leisure sector,           opportunities to get out and about and have some fun. The only factor that might be an issue is cost. On Monday, you may feel guilty about doing something because of the expense. However, if it’s a one-time experience, why not  & On Tuesday, the cosmos encourages you to listen to your instincts. You could link up with a promising opportunity if you do.

Capricorn Dec 23 - Jan 20

There is still a lot of activity in your sign, which could make the coming months rather intense. Even so, you’re the kind of person             strengths. This week, you might need to compromise with certain family members if you’re to move    #'      nice for them later in the week may be enough of an incentive.

Aquarius

Jan 21 - Feb 19 Your thoughts can run deep, and this soulful, spiritual stage looks set to last for some time  # (                                 #     # And with chatty Mercury moving through your sector of communication, this is very much the time to connect with people who can help you reach a personal goal. Tuesday can be a lovely day for a special date with your partner           #

Pisces

Feb 20 - March 20 The social side of your life continues to be busy and quite intense. In fact, the start of the week could leave you wondering if you’re spending too much time tending to community        #!              

              doing. It would also be helpful to keep a list of key dates this week. With sociable Venus angling toward dreamy Neptune, you might accidentally forget an important family gettogether or other event.

groovy party songs, Neha entered the stage and immediately connected with the audience by saying, “What’s up L.A., how are you guys doing? This is my very first time in L.A. and I am so happy to be here, and I thank all of you for coming to the show and I want you to enjoy the show.� Dressed in a black flowing gown with slits on either side, with a cape studded with pearls, the attractive singer charmed the audience with her megawatt smile and flowing black hair that she tossed stylishly while singing with attitude. From the get-go, she rocked the first half of the show and was warmly received by the audience. She started with the melodious number, “Tennu Meine Pyar Karaa,� and the soulful “Mahi Ve,� dedicating it to all the people who have had their hearts broken in love. Kakkar had the good fortune of singing the recreated song, originally sung by Richa Sharma, as a contestant on “Indian Idol,� which she attributed to God’s grace and people’s love, saying that the song is very close to her heart. She shared her musical journey from being a contestant on “Indian Idol� to being a judge for “Sa Re Ga Ma Pa Li’l Champs� and her upcoming

stint as a judge in the new “Indian Idol.� The singer wowed the audience with her sexy, husky voice by singing her party chartbusters, “Ladki Beautiful Kar Gayi Chul,� “Mein Tera Boyfriend Tu Meri Girlfriend,� and “Aaja Aaja Raja� from “Judwa 2,� in which she has sung all of the songs. The zesty Punjabi numbers, “Kudiya Toh Bachke Rahe� and “Ek Punjaban Kudi Punjaban,� had the audience dancing in their seats and aisles in groups. She followed it up with Pakistani chartbusters including “Jugni Ji,� “Mera Laung Gawacha,� and Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s “Teer Aisa Laga,� as her fans rushed to take pictures with her and dance in front of the stage. Before singing her most popular and romantic song, “Mile Ho Tum Hum Se,� composed by her brother Tony Kakkar, which is the most viewed and liked song on Indian YouTube, she asked the audience to turn on the flashlights on their smart phones and wave it in the air, creating a dreamy atmosphere in the arena. She then teamed up with Vivek Mishra to sing the nineties’ hit song “Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast,� and joked that if she were a man, she would be singing “Mujse Shaadi Karoge� to all the single girls and women, from 16 to 100, in the audience. On a poignant note, she sang “Tu Kitni Acchi Hai Oh Maa,� for all the mothers, noting that there is no higher force than mothers in the world and no other blessings than one’s own parents.

Pooja Bedi Pooja Bedi (born 11 May 1970) is a former Bollywood actress, television talk show host. She is the daughter of actor Kabir Bedi and the late Protima Bedi. Pooja was a contestant in the reality show Bigg Boss(season 5) in 2011. Pooja Bedi was born in Mumbai to the late Indian classical dancer      Bedi. She was brought up in what she calls a bohemian progressive artistic environment.[1] She received her basic education at Besant Montessori in Mumbai and then at Lawrence School, Sanawar. Bedi married Farhan Ebrahim Furniturewalla whom she met in 1990. She has two children, a daughter Aalia Furniturewalla born in 1997 and son Omar Ebrahim, born in 2000. From 1991 to 1995, Pooja Bedi        She has appeared in many commercials and campaigns. She is remembered for the Kama Sutra

condom campaign which she endorsed and used as a vehicle to raise awareness of AIDS. She appeared in plays such as Carry On Papa, Wow What a Girl and A Bengali Jatra.

She made       

   !!"# $     act in Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander (1992) with Aamir Khan for which she earned a nomination in the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1993.

Bollywood Stars’ Birthdays

POOJA BEDI MAY 11

SUNNY LEONNE MAY 13

ZARIN KHAN MAY 14

MADHURI DIXIT MAY 15


Bollywood

Saturday, May 12, 2018

FOR BEST BOLLYWOOD NEWS ALWAYS READ THE ASIAN STAR

Thank you, says Anil Yesterday, Anil Kapoor took to social media to thank all those who made daughter Sonam Kapoor’s wedding an affair to remember. The actor thanked the city’s cops and media personnel as well. But what got him tearyeyed is filmmaker Shekhar Kapur’s post. The Mr India (1987) director wrote, “So terrific and heartwarming to see the film community gathering together to bless the wedding of one of their own. Speaks so highly of Anil Kapoor’s incredible goodwill in the industry (sic).” Anil certainly has a reason to cheer.

No more green

While e-invites were sent for the Sonam KapoorAnand Ahuja wedding as an eco-friendly measure, the thank you cards for the guests were printed on paper. No going green to say thanks?

Trailer’s not yet ready!

5

Steering clear of controversies

There has been chatter about the trailer of Race 3. The thriller’s release is little over a month away, but there has been no first look yet. Last evening, Salman Khan cleared the air on Twitter, “Sach batau, we are not ready with the Race 3 trailer. Is liye itne posters banaye. But intezar ka phal meetha hota hai. The trailer is coming to you on May 15. I promise the wait will be worth it (sic).” Buzz is Sallu was unhappy with the trailer and sent it back to the editing table for an adrenaline-pumping one.

On the hotline

Print out

Remember Polish modelactor Angela Krislinzki? Last year, she created a stir when she spoke about Hrithik Roshan being her mentor. Early this year, she found herself mired in controversy as a contestant on the reality show, India’s Next Superstars, judged by

Karan Johar and Rohit Shetty. The show was mean to be for newcomers, but Angela had acted in Vikram Bhatt’s 1921 and in South films. She’s beginning anew with some interesting film But Angela and controversies always seem to go hand-in-hand.

Now, a back story about love

After setting the red carpet ablaze at the Met Gala, Priyanka Chopra seemed to be in a mood to chill yesterday. She stepped out in a printed Prince Narula has Emilio Pucci number. Fans found it inked fiancée ghastly and its price (over a lakh) even Yuvika more. But what they digged were the Chaudhary’s name cat-eye glasses. They wished she on his back. The had worn them and taken a duo, who exchanged long, hard look in the mirror rings in January this before stepping out. year, had announced their engagement on social media. The former Bigg Boss inmates met on the reality show. Prince had proposed to her with a heart-shaped roti on the show.

TELLY TATTLE During Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s reception, Ranveer Singh was spotted sitting on the hotel’s steps, away from the reception hall, for quite a while. The actor had an important call to attend. After chatting for a considerable amount of time, Ranveer kept messaging. The photo was posted by one of the actor’s fan clubs on Instagram. The caption read, “Bae spotted talking on his phone... guess with who? (sic).” Deepika Padukone responded to the post with a heart emoji. We assume it was her on the line.

Kissa kiss ka Prithvi Vallabh’s lead actors Ashish Sharma and Sonarika Bhadoria have locked lips on the historical show. Yesterday, some scenes of their intimate moments went viral. The actors had no qualms enacting the scene but the kissathon sent fans into a tizzy. While Bollywood has come to terms with kissing, telly producers still shy away from making their actors indulge in a liplock.

Beastly encounters in the wild After being part of mythologicals like Mahabharat and Hanuman, Nirbhay Wadhwa returns to the scene with Ekta Kapoor’s Qayamat Ki Raat. Nirbhay plays a wild beast, which has been inspired by Rahul

Roy’s character in Junoon (1992). Buzz is that Arpit Ranka was considered for the role but Nirbhay’s pumped up physique seale the deal. Karishma Tanna also features in the show. W assume she plays the beau


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Bollywood

Saturday, May 12, 2018

‘Will develop RK Studios across two phases’ After iconic site was gutted last year, Rishi says Kapoors discussing the way ahead, hints at “redevelopment” Continued from page 1

‘You build a studio and there are no returns on it. Nobody shoots in a studio anymore’ Rishi Kapoor

WHILE the family is keen to build a studio again, given the role it has played in their lives and that of cinema, they are also toying with the idea of redevelopment. Rishi candidly admits, “We are thinking of redevelopment.” The senior actor adds that the family is constantly in talks about the way ahead for the studio that was built in 1945 by the showman of the Hindi film industry, Raj Kapoor. “We are going to develop the place in two phases — one will have the facility of a studio, keeping the spirit of the studio alive. The rest will be developed [in the same way] that the other studios have done. There are few builders who we are in negotiations with, and we will develop it as a commercial place. It’s located in a strategic area, with the Mumbai-Pune highway close by. The new airport will also come up nearby. There are no hotels around in the area. So we are keeping all these factors in mind; we’re still in talks. ” Although aware that building a studio in this day and age may not be a feasible idea, Rishi says the

RK Studios; (below) Randhir Kapoor Kapoors will take the legacy forward. “You build a studio and there are no returns on it. Nobody shoots in a studio anymore. So, we have to balance our emotions with reality. But we’ll definitely keep Raj Kapoor’s memory alive by building a filming facility. ” Randhir says, “It is expensive to set up a new studio today. The entire film industry now operates on the western side of Mumbai as Film City is in Goregaon. No actor wants to travel to the eastern side.” However, he appears wary about roping in a third party for redevelopment. “If we bring in another party, they will demand a big slice of the cake. We have to decipher the cost of development and the returns. Our discussions have not reached that stage yet.” The RK Studio fire erupted on September 16 last year on the set of the television show, Super Dancer 2.

‘Intriguing to play real-life character’ Arjun on collaborating with Raid director, Raj Kumar Gupta, for thriller based on India’s 2012 secret mission to capture country’s most wanted terrorist SONIL DEDHIA sonil.dedhia@mid-day.com WITH Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar, Namastey England and Panipat, Arjun Kapoor will be seen straddling diverse genres of romantic thriller, romantic comedy and period drama. Now, the actor has given his nod to Raj Kumar Gupta’s next, India’s Most Wanted. The thriller is said to be inspired by a secret mission that was conducted between 2012 and 2014 to capture one of the country’s most dreaded ter-

rorists. Kapoor, who plays an intelligence officer, tells mid-day, “The film revolves around an event that transpired recently, but not a lot of people know about it. My character is straight out of a real-life incident.

‘Arjun is a sincere actor and the best choice for the role’ Raj Kumar Gupta

It intrigues me to play such a role.” The youngster believes that it will be exciting to collaborate with the Raid director who belongs to the school of gritty cinema. “He was the first director to call me after watching Ishaqzaade [2012]. He said he was looking forward to working with me some day. When he narrated the script of India’s Most Wanted to me, I felt proud of my motherland and its unsung heroes.” To be shot between Nepal and Delhi in a start-to-finish schedule in July, the movie is slated to hit

Wednesday.........................CLOSED

screens in May 2019. Gupta says, “I am looking forward to my collaboration with Arjun and producers Fox Star. He is a sincere actor and the best choice for the role.”

Big B keeps father’s legacy alive After Madhushala, megastar to lend his voice to Harivanshrai’s famed poems again SONIL DEDHIA sonil.dedhia@mid-day.com AMITABH Bachchan is no stranger to the recording studio. Given his deep baritone, the megastar has often found himself lending his voice to his film songs. Taking his love for singing forward, the veteran told mid-day that he is planning to go behind the mic to revive his father Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s celebrated poems. “I am planning to come out with a compilation of my father’s poems. I want to sing them exactly the way he would narrate them to us. It’s a tedious process, but I have already started recording for it. I will present it in a month’s time,” said Bachchan. It may be recalled that the megastar had attempted a similar venture in 2012 with his father’s famed work, Madhushala. That Bachchan is musically inclined has been evident in his previous works. “After I sang in Mr Natwarlal, a lot of directors started requesting me to sing in their films. I would often jam along with my dear friend Aadesh Shrivastav who is no more. We would casually compose a tune and then, he would record it in my voice. Say Shaava Shaava from Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham [2001] was composed in a similar way.”


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

The year’s best (thus far)! FILM REVIEW

MAYANK SHEKHAR mayank.shekhar@mid-day.com

Half-day notice for Angad-Neha’s guests Invitees spill the beans on what transpired at newly-weds’ intimate ceremony yesterday MOHAR BASU mohar.basu@mid-day.com

I GUESS if you’ve ever done something fishy (whether illegal or unethical) that you’d be petrified of getting caught for (God knows, to some degree, we’ve all been in such a position), the extreme fear/nervousness only hits you when you try it for the first time. The successful completion of which leads to subsequently higher levels of confidence, bordering on callousness, eventually. As it seems with the brazenness with which the lead character (Alia Bhatt; what a consistently dazzling talent) in this film goes about her work as an Indian spy, living as a housewife, operating right inside the Rawalpindi official residence of her father-in-law, a Pakistani top-brass military offi- ness in the air, even if slightly cer, deep within a claustrophobic, given that it’s cantonment, while being mostly set inside a palatial married to a young bloke home, surprises you, while (Vicky Kaushal) who, holding your like his brother, is a Pak attention all FILM: RAAZI through. Army man himself! And despite But you care so much U/A: Drama, a subject that for the girl, or perenni- history, thriller essentially ally hope that she stays deals with jinout of harm’s way that, DIR: Meghna for the most part, I Gulzar goism, or paended up watching this CAST: Alia triotism, if film with my hand on Bhatt, Vicky you may, all the forehead, often Kaushal characters veering towards closing (Indian or my eyes! It’s the texPakistani) on tured use of sound and the screen apsome superb, textbook pear human, camera-work that, exrather than perience wise, it almost tragedies feels like you’re going alone. through David Whether Fincher’s stellar mystery- that be the Pak husband, thriller Zodiac (2007), no less. who’s basically brought home This is director Meghna a fake-wife; or his father, a Gulzar’s first outing after Tal- full-on gentleman who, as var (2015), proving, without Brigadier, loyally lords over a doubt, she is at the top of lot of decision-making process in the well-oiled milher game. For a film so packed with itary machinery — the only plot twists, the gentle calm- Pak institution that hasn’t

4

failed, or perhaps the reason the other institutions have! Of course none of this collective connect would be possible if it weren’t for solid detailing, and some of the finest actors doing what they do best. In fact it doesn’t surprise me that Bhatt, along with others, performs the spy’s character so brilliantly. For if there is any profession where you can aptly apply great acting skills (outside of acting itself), it would be as a spy, isn’t it? That’s the other place you’re necessarily supposed to be someone else! Raazi, meaning, in this context, I guess, a keeper of raaz (secrets), is a fictionalised version of an actual story about an undercover Kashmiri girl in 1971. It’s based on ex-navy officer Harinder Sikka’s novel Calling Sehmat. I’m tempted to read the book, since the real-life Sehmat, I’m told, passed away recently. She would’ve been the most fas-

★YUCK ★★WHATEVER ★★★GOOD ★★★★SUPER ★★★★★AWESOME

cinating person to meet. The information young Sehmat managed to unearth, as an Intelligence Bureau operative, perhaps formed the basis of precious info on a massive submarine attack planned by Pakistan on India’s first aircraft carrier, INS Vikrant. If you want to know what really happened thereafter, you only have to watch Sankalp Reddy’s splendid war-film The Ghazi Attack (2017). This is a meditative version of a war film, subtly weighing in on human loss and ruthlessness, even as it seldom wavers from checking off all the crackling elements of an espionage thriller. Honestly, I felt a little numb in the head as Sehmat feels the same for her soul. Whether or not you’re sehmat (agree) with Sehmat, I suggest you should totally be raazi (willing) to catch her scintillating, untold story for sure (Eh? Told ya: feeling numb in the head!).

STILL feasting on the heartwarming images spilling out from Sonam Kapoor and Anand Ahuja’s recently concluded wedding, netizens did not expect to find themselves waking up to news of Angad Bedi and Neha Dhupia’s nuptials yesterday. The lovebirds took everyone by surprise by announcing their marriage by sharing pictures from their Anand Karaj ceremony held at a Vasant Vihar Gurudwara. A source, who attended the wedding told mid-day, “It was a quiet ceremony because that’s how they wanted it to be. It was an intimate affair, with only friends and family in attendance. They wanted to break the news to the world, so even we refrained from posting photos online.” The former cricketer’s friends from the field, Ajay Jadeja and Ashish Nehra, apart from actor Gaurav Kapoor and photographer Prasad Naik showed up for the ceremonies — starting with the mehendi rituals on Wednesday evening — at a half-day notice. The bride wore a blush chanderi embroidered lehenga designed by Anita Dongre. Apt

for a daytime ceremony the lehenga had exquisite zar dosi and resham work. Dhupia teamed it with a kundan choker and matching earring from Dongre’s jewellery collection. Another friend of the couple adds, “They are planning a Mumbai reception. They wil host a party to make up for no having invited us to the wed ding. But, they are in mos likelihood, leaving for the US tonight for a charity event, and will be back next week.” In a joint statement, the cou ple announced, “Marrying you best friend is one of the great est feelings in the world, and we are extremely fortunate to have found love in each other.”

Angad Bedi and Neha Dhupia tied the knot at a Delhi Gurudwara t d (t ) Dh i t th h di li


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Vol. 9 No. 15

Saturday - May 12, 2018

Tel: 604-591-5423

E-mail: ads@theasianstar.com

When buying a home is—and isn’t—a good investment For decades, homeownership as a path to wealth has been unquestioned conventional wisdom. In addition to appreciating home values, mortgages offer monthly security: Both principal and interest payments are locked in for 15 or 30 years, and aren’t subject to the whims of a landlord or hot rental market. So it’s easy to understand why we’ve been taught that homeownership is always better than renting. But that’s wrong. In reality, the smarter financial move depends on a list of variables that’s likely a lot longer than you realize. The oldfashioned argument against renting is that it’s “throwing money away.” After a year of paying $1,000 monthly rent, tenants have nothing to show for it, while landlords have $12,000—or so the thinking goes. But not every dollar spent is an investment for owners, either. You can “throw away” money on insurance, repairs, homeowners association fees—as well as property taxes and mortgage interest. Other, more subtle factors come into play, too. Buyers need a large down payment; renters could take that cash and invest it in something that appreciates faster than a home, like stocks. Keeping that cash also gives renters added flexibility, which is crucial in a dynamic economy. It’s easier for a renter to relocate for that great new job; owners can sell, but it’s complicated and closing costs add a large price tag. Advantage, renter.

There are also variable indirect costs to consider. Would an apartment be closer to work, thereby saving you commuting costs? Would a bigger home kitchen encourage you to cook more and save

calculator from the New York Times—to help you weigh the more straightforward financial factors. Let’s say you’re considering a $350,000 condo in a big city with $361 monthly fees,

on dining out? And don’t forget this one: Where will you be happiest? Can you rent a nicer place than you can afford to buy? Here’s all you need to do in your 30s for a great financial future We can’t help with the happiness equation, but there are tools—like this

and you’ll stay for five years. You get a 30-year mortgage at 4.03%, pay $5,670 in property taxes and $14,000 for closing costs. You’ll pay $1,610 for homeowners insurance and 1% of the home’s value for repairs every year. The housing and rental markets each appreciate 3% a year.

In this case, the break-even point is $1,909 in monthly rent—meaning that if you can find a similar place for $1,800, all other things being equal, you should rent. If rent runs $2,000 or more, the sound financial move is to buy. (You can run your own calculations on the calculator.) Over time, buying becomes the better deal. Stay for 10 years, and the break-even rent is $1,600. The reverse is also true: Sell within three, and the break-even jumps to $2,310. Home value appreciation is, naturally, another big variable. Say homes increase in value by 5% annually, while rents go up 3%. The rental break-even from our original calculation drops $1,383, thanks to gains in the value of your home. Predicting where home values will go is tough. But you can get an idea by looking at the pace at which prices have risen in the area (if they have), how quickly homes sell, how well-developed the area is (less inventory = lower supply vs. demand), the quality of the school district, proximity to parks and other amenities and other factors. Bottom line? The answer to the old renting vs. buying question is: It depends. That’s why being clear on your personal budget and priorities, and running through some hypothetical calculations before you spend any real money, is often the best way to figure out which route to take.

Vancouver luxury property cooling fast: Real estate report It’s tough times at the top for Vancouver’s priciest homes. Prices in the top end of residential real estate in the city have dropped 7.6 per cent over a six-month period to March, making Vancouver the second-worst performer during that period among global cities, according to the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, which monitors price growth of the top five per cent of the housing market in 43 cities. Only Stockholm performed worse than Vancouver, recording a nine per cent plunge in price while Seoul and Cape Town in South Africa topped the list with sixmonth price growths of 20 per cent and 8.6 per cent. Data from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show a similar downward trend for the single-family detached market. In April, the benchmark price for a single-family detached home in the west side, where Vancouver’s most expensive homes are located, was $3.4 million, a six per cent drop over a six-month period. Factors for the price drop include new

mortgage stress tests and hikes on the foreignbuyers tax and the property transfer tax, said Moore. “We’re starting to see the trend as these new government intervention policies come into play,” he said. Vancouver’s slower rate of growth is likely the outcome of the province’s “macro prudential measures” and the rising borrowing costs for investors, Kate EverettAllen, Knight Frank’s head of international residential research, said in an emailed response to questions. In Vancouver, the study looked at properties starting at about $3.5 million, she said.

The quarterly Knight Frank report shows prices in Vancouver for this top segment stayed relatively stable on a year-over-year basis, posting a modest 0.2 per cent increase and placing it 31st on the index. Steve Saretsky, of Sutton Group West Coast Realty, said the downward push on Vancouver’s detached home prices has been going on for a while. “Most people are just figuring it out now,” he said. “I think realtors know prices have been dropping for about a year. If you have a 30-year low in

sales, it’s no surprise prices are falling.” Saretsky said the trend started well before the NDP provincial government implemented its market-cooling measures. He believes the price drop has more to do with the introduction of the foreign buyer tax and stricter Chinese government capital controls which contributed to a reduction in foreign investment in Canada. He said the decline in price is a “good thing” for the long-term sustainability of the province and the city. “People may be a bit worried about equity but housing booms and busts are part of a real estate cycle. It is good to have pull backs,” he said. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called the decline “a necessary step” to restoring stability in the local housing market. “We welcome a more stable period now,” he said in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York Tuesday. “There’s some concern if values drop and impact homeowners’ equity, but the gains have been so massive for so many years that some softening was to be expected.”


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Saturday, May 12, 2018

Vancouver properties business performance update The party’s over for now for those sitting on Vancouver’s most expensive properties. Prices at the top end of the market plunged 7.6 percent in the six months to March, making it the world’s second-worst performer during that period, according to the latest global survey of prime properties by Knight Frank LLP. Only Stockholm did worse, falling

9 percent, while Toronto rose 6 percent and the top gainer was Seoul. The findings -- based on the top 5 percent of the housing market in each city -- lend support to anecdotal evidence of a slowdown in Vancouver’s luxury segment after the hike of a tax on foreign buyers to 20 percent from 15 percent in February, the introduction of a

speculation tax, and rising interest rates. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson called the decline “a necessary step” to restoring stability in the local housing market. “We welcome a more stable period now,” he said in an interview at Bloomberg News headquarters in New York Tuesday. “There’s some concern if values drop and impact h o m e o w n e r s’ equity, but the gains have been so massive for so many years that some softening was to be expected.” The Pacific Coast city’s slower rate of growth is likely the outcome of British Columbia province’s “macro prudential measures” and the rising borrowing costs for investors, Kate Everett-Allen, Knight Frank’s head of international residential research, said in an emailed response to questions. In Vancouver, the study looked at properties starting at about C$3.5 million ($2.7 million), she said.

Million-dollar-plus home sales in Calgary and Montreal have been picking up over the past year, and may even surpass the highend markets in Toronto and Vancouver in the months ahead in terms of fastest growth, according to a new report about the luxury home market from Sotheby’s International Realty. Sotheby’s Calgary Managing Broker Mary-Ann Mears said sales of Calgary homes priced over a million dollars in January and February are up 45 per cent from the same time last year. Most of those sales involved detached homes between one and two million dollars.

Lower Mainland condo prices soar but there are signs of softness at the top end Prices for condos are on a tear across the Lower Mainland but there are signs of an emerging peak at the top end of the market. The $1 million figure has earned a place in Vancouver real estate vernacular for being when observers give up on any semblance of prices being affordable. It’s been mostly reserved for describing detached homes, but that’s changing. A few weeks ago, an analysis by David Taylor, senior vice-president at Colliers International, of inventory on the Multiple Listing Service put the median asking price of apartments and condos in the City of Vancouver at $962,500, popping eyeballs for how close that comes to the $1 million mark. This week, condo sale prices from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show a strong upswing. The price for what the board considers a typical condo rose 26 per cent in Great Vancouver in March 2018, compared to a year ago. The Lower Mainland as a whole

clocked in with a 30 per cent gain. There were even higher increases in some communities. In Maple Ridge, a typical condo sold for $316,100 in March, a gain of 46 per cent gain in one year and 83 per cent in the three years. And to be clear, these numbers are for resales of existing condos, not presales of units that haven’t yet been built. In Burnaby, a condo near Government Road recently sold for $526,500, according to Sutton Group West Coast Realty agent Solomon Yasin. It’s a two-bedroom, one-and-a-half bathroom unit built in the 1990s that would have gone for about $350,000 to $400,000 two years ago, he estimates. “There were seven offers on it. When you have a lot of multiple offers, after the sale you have six other buyers waiting and wanting to buy, and the backlog keeps adding up,” he says. “Buildings that allow rentals, like this one, bring out a pool of investors too, which means more buyers.”

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Just two years earlier, Vancouver had topped global rankings in the same survey after surging 26 percent over a 12-month period and before the provincial government first imposed a foreign buyers’ tax in August 2016. At the height of the market, foreign money had flowed mostly into the milliondollar-plus segment of detached homes, according to Adil Dinani, a realtor with Royal LePage, a unit of Brookfield Real Estate Services Inc. “Those capital flows have shifted now,” Dinani said. “It’s actually refreshing -- you have some time to breathe, to negotiate like a regular transaction.”


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Community news South Asian Seniors - Muscle Pain, Joint Pain or Body Pain & Solutions, Dr. Nisha Dogra & Dr. S . Bhagat on April 29th 2018, 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. Vedic Seniors Parivar Center of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society Surrey invites South Asian Adults / Senior members and also nonmembers to attend a power presentation on Muscle Pain, Joint Pain or Body Pain & Solutions by Dr. Nisha Dogra Ph. DMHS & Dr. Sudershan Bhagat MD Pathology, on April 29th 2018 (Sunday) from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm at Shanti Niketan hall of Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple 8321 - 140th street Surrey BC. Dr. Dogra & Dr. Bhagat will answer all your questions on %     ' *  +  # Tea and light snacks will be served in the end. Project funded by Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program for Hindi speaking seniors. Please contact Surendra Handa Coordinator Tel. 604 - 507 - 9945 for further information.

South Asian Seniors Share My Experiences of Recent Visit to China, South Korea & Japan, April 22nd 2018 (Sunday), at Shanti Niketan hall, from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. Vedic Seniors Parivar Center of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society Surrey invites

South Asian adults/ Senior members and nonmembers also to attend a presentation to share my experiences of most recent visit to China, South Korea & Japan for 21 days. It has been a most spectacular experience to see the advancement in these countries and their warm culture. The presentation will be held on April 22nd 2018 (Sunday) from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm at Shanti Niketan hall of Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple 8321 140th street Surrey BC. I will try my best to answer your questions if you have about these countries. Tea & light snacks will be served after the presentation. Project funded by Government of Canada’s New Horizons for Seniors Program for Hindi speaking seniors. Please call Surendra Handa Coordinator Tel. 604 - 507 - 9945 for further information. ------------------------------------------------Dr. M.R. Rajagopal visit to Victoria and Vancouver April 9-10, 2018 See and hear 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee LIVE BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! The event is expected to sell out! A 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee from Kerala, India is coming to BC April 9-10, 2018.The BC Centre for Palliative Care and Victoria Hospice are honoured to be co-presenting the BC premiere of the feature-length documentary

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The Asian Star May 12 2018  
The Asian Star May 12 2018  
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