Page 1 Vol 17 - Issue 2

Saturday, February 10, 2018

ICBC my cap minor pain and suffering claims at $5,500 In an effort to reduce legal costs, disputes about what constitutes a minor injury will be moved out of the court system and directed to an independent dispute resolution process, Eby said. The changes, which take effect in April 2019, are expected to save ICBC $1 billion a year, he said. The average payout for a minor body injury is $30,038, a 365 per cent increase from $8,220 in 2000. Pain and suffering makes up the bulk of that payout, with an average payment of $16,499. Someone who suffers minor injuries in a crash, such as whiplash, cuts, bruises or sprains, will still be able to access medical services such as physiotherapy and be compensated Continued on page 7

BC to raise minimum wage to $15.20 by 2021 BC will raise the minimum wage in the province to $15.20 by 2021. Premier John Horgan made the announcement on Thursday morning, saying the increase would be in place by June of that year. “It’s long overdue that workers in B.C. be on the same pay scale as other provinces like Ontario, Quebec and Alberta,” Horgan said. “This is long overdue.” Horgan said the minimum wage will rise to $12.60 this June and will continue to rise every June until it hits $15.20. The premier was joined by Minister of Labour Harry Bains at a JJ Bean café in North Vancouver for the announcement. The NDP government campaigned on raising Vancouver’s minimum wage to from Continued on page 6

On the eve of Trudeau’s India trip, Liberal ministers deny sympathizing with Sikh separatists


Trudeau heads to India next month NDP’s Jagmeet Singh proving to be challenge for media, Sikh activists say Sajjan, meanwhile, says the accusation is “ridiculous” and says Canada is being “sucked into” internal Indian politics. “I’ve been a police officer, I’ve served my country and any allegations like that is absolutely ridiculous and I find it extremely offensive as well,” Sajjan said following a caucus meeting Wednesday. Some 16 MPs of Sikh origin were elected in 2015, says the magazine, which also blames Canada’s allowance for free speech about human rights for giving “free reign” to more fundamentalist language that has led to the “radical capture of key gurdwaras.” The subhead on the cover reads: “Sikh religious successionism threatening the Indian Constitution assumes proportions of official policy status in Ottawa as Punjab

efence Minister Harjit Sajjan calls it “ridiculous” and “offensive” that a magazine in India is accusing Canada of being complicit in a rise in Sikh terrorism. Sajjan and fellow Sikh minister Amarjit Sohi are making it clear they neither sympathize with nor espouse the Sikh nationalist movement, which is bent on creating a separate country called Khalistan within India’s Punjab region. The latest edition of Outlook India features a photo of Trudeau and a headline on the cover that reads, “Khalistan-II: Made in Canada.” Inside, a number of articles describe alleged connections between Canada and the movement, accuse Sikh Canadians of exploiting the country’s political system and blame free speech for allowing fundamentalist language to flourish. Sohi, who is infrastructure minister and represents an Edmonton riding, says he does not sympathize with the cause, nor does he hear much talk about it in the Sikh community.

Continued on page 8

Foreign buyers’ influence on Toronto and Vancouver housing markets is rising: report Mortgage data from Canada’s five largest banks suggests a rising influence on housing markets by foreign buyers – many of them young people funded by their parents. In Toronto and Vancouver, non-permanent residents represented nearly 10 per cent of buyers under the age of 25 who were issued mortgages in 2016, suggesting some “may be receiving parental support,”

according to a report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Agency. Ontario followed in Vancouver’s footsteps last year when it introduced a foreign buyers tax as part of a package of measures designed to cool an overheated housing market. Prices in both cities – which had posted record increases that sparked fears of a housing bubble – soon cooled.

The CMHC study of Canada’s five largest cities found that in Toronto, foreigners held 2.7 per cent of mortgages issued in 2016, up from 2 per cent in 2014. In Vancouver, 3.9 per cent of mortgages issued in 2016 went to foreigners— a 3.3 per cent increase compared to 2014.

Continued on page 20



Saturday, February 10, 2018



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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Drugs, cash and vehicles seized in arrest of 19-year-old South Asian gang member in Abbotsford Abbotsford police have seized drugs, thousands of dollars in cash and two vehicles in the arrest of a 19-year-old gang associate. Abbotsford police arrest high-level drug traffickers, seize ‘significant’ amount of drugs 5 people die of overdoses in Abbotsford within 9 hours Police said Sukhjit Malhi is in custody after being charged with breaching a court order and possession for the purpose of trafficking fentanyl. During the investigation leading to Malhi’s arrest, Abbotsford police seized cocaine, fentanyl, cell phones,

$2,500 in cash and two vehicles. “We believe that disruption of the Lower Mainland Gang Conflict and their drug trafficking at all levels is a top priority and is crucial to improving our public’s safety,” said Sgt. Vic Gamboa of the Abbotsford Drug Enforcement Unit in a statement. Police said at the time of his arrest, Malhi was on bail for trafficking fentanyl, cocaine, heroin and meth, as well as firearms-related offences.

Canada sheds 88,000 net jobs in January The number of jobs in Canada fell by 88,000 in January to give the labour market its steepest one-month drop in nine years, Statistics Canada said Friday. The overall number was dragged down by a loss of 137,000 part-time positions in what was easily the category’s largest one-month collapse since the agency started gathering the data in 1976. Statistics Canada’s latest jobs survey said the net decline helped push the national unemployment rate up to 5.9 per cent in January, from a revised 5.8 per cent the previous month. But on the other hand, the agency said the economy generated 49,000 full-time positions last month. “Overall, a mysterious mix of good and bad, with the latter’s impact blunted by how strong job gains were in the lead-up to these figures,” CIBC chief economist Avery Shenfeld wrote in a research note to clients.

“January saw an (88,000) drop in employment, reversing about half of the spectacular gains we registered late last year. But the details also looking wonky, with all of the job losses in part-time work.” Even with the overall decline in January, Canada has been on a strong run of job creation that has seen the country add 414,100 full-time jobs over a 12-month period. The growth represents an increase of 2.8 per cent. Over that same period, the number of less desirable part-time positions declined by 125,400 or 3.5 per cent. The January reading marked the end of a 13-month streak of job gains, however, about half of those positive numbers were within the survey’s margin of error. A closer look at the numbers revealed that the number of paid employee positions also experienced a significant loss last month by shedding 112,000 positions.

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BC’s move to raise minimum wage to $15.20 by 2021 is too slow: Says Federation of Labour B.C. is raising the province’s minimum wage to $15.20 by 2021, but some employers and the B.C. Federation of Labour are not happy with the details of the raise. Premier John Horgan made the announcement on Thursday morning, saying the increase would be in place by June of that year. “It’s long overdue that workers in B.C. be on the same pay scale as other provinces like Ontario, Quebec and Alberta,” Horgan said. “This is long overdue.” Horgan said the minimum wage — currently $11.35 — will rise to $12.65 on June 1. It will continue to rise on that day every year until it hits $15.20: June 1, 2018: $12.65 an hour ($1.30 increase) June 1, 2019: $13.85 an hour ($1.20 increase) June 1, 2020: $14.60 an hour ($0.75 increase) June 1, 2021: $15.20 an hour ($0.60 increase) The premier said the gradual raise was implemented partly because small business operators wanted time to adjust to the new pay scale — although the slow rise is front-loaded with this year’s jump. But later on Thursday afternoon, the move was criticized both for being too sudden and too slow. Restaurants Canada, which represents the country’s restaurant and food services industry, says the annual increases are significantly higher than inflation. It hopes talks will continue to maintain the lower liquor server wage and introduce a youth wage. On the other hand, the B.C. Federation of Labour, which has long advocated for a $15-an-hour minimum, called the phased increases “disappointing.” “Making 500,000 low-paid workers who currently make less than $15 wait until


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June 1, 2021 to climb above poverty wage rates is not fair,” president Irene Lanzinger said in a statement. Lanzinger added she wants to end the exemptions the food service industry wants preserved. A lower minimum wage rate exists for liquor servers because they can earn tips on top of their regular pay. “Those exemptions exist for liquor server wages and farmer workers and it’s time that everybody earned the minimum wage,” she said. Barista Scott Thompson, who earns minimum wage, was also hoping for a faster raise in pay. “I was hoping for a result that addressed a bit more of the urgency that a lot of minimum wage workers are facing,” Thompson told On The Coast host Gloria Macarenko. The artist and performer says he needs the flexibility found in many minimum wage jobs, but that flexibility comes at a cost. Thompson says it’s been a long time since he’s seen a dentist, and in emergencies he has to borrow money from friends and family. “I’ve been very lucky in that way. There are a lot of people like me who don’t have the same safety net,” he said. Like Lanzinger, Thompson wants to see the server’s wage eliminated because he feels it makes employees beholden to the generosity of customers’ tips. “It’s an exploitative way of operating a business.” In January, the Ministry of Labour said the Fair Wages Commission was working to determine how and when the minimum wage in B.C. will rise. The NDP government had campaigned on raising Vancouver’s minimum wage from $11.35 an hour to $15 by 2021, though it initially abandoned that deadline.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Ballooning federal deficit will only worsen if economy sours By: Jason Clemens, Milagros Palacios and Niels Veldhuis, The Fraser Institute

An end-of-year poll by the Angus Reid Institute showed increased concern among Canadians about government spending and deficits. It’s a well-founded concern. Government spending and the economy share top spot as the chief issues of concern. Notably, federal finances remain in the red despite a growing economy. A key risk of running deficits during times of economic growth is that the budget can’t be balanced regardless of economic conditions. That’s because a permanent imbalance develops between how much the government spends and the amount it raises from taxes. This is exactly what Canada experienced throughout the 1970s, ‘80s and early ‘90s. It didn’t matter if the economy was growing, slowing or in recession. The federal government couldn’t balance its budget. Prior to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government taking office in late 2015, the budget plan

of the previous government called for a small surplus in 2018-19 of $2.6 billion. Upon assuming power, the new government increased budgeted federal program spending by $8.1 billion from 2015-16 to 2019-20. Less than six months later, in its first full budget, the government increased budgeted program spending by an additional $65.9 billion over the same five-year period. The most recent update indicates a deficit of $15.7 billion for 2018-19. But what would happen to the federal deficit if a recession or economic slowdown were to occur? In recent history, a recession or at a minimum an economic slowdown - has occurred roughly every eight years. Given that the last recession was in 2008-09, Canada is due for a slowdown in 2018 or perhaps 2019 if this historical pattern persists. The implications of an economic slowdown or recession on federal finances help illustrate why it’s bad policy to purposefully operate in deficits during times of positive economic growth. Slowdowns or recession automatically increase the deficit without any action by government. The cause lies in programs that are referred

to as ‘automatic stabilizers.’ These programs automatically take in less revenues and spend more money without any change in policy when the economy slows (and vice versa when it’s growing). For example, spending on employment insurance increased from $14.1 billion in 2006-07 to $21.6 billion in 2009-10, an increase of 53.3 per cent during a period that included the 2008-09 recession. Governments often also enact discretionary measures that further reduce revenues and/or increase program spending in response to recessions. The Conservative government of Stephen Harper, for instance, introduced large stimulus spending in the 2009 budget in response to the 200809 recession. The result of the automatic revenue declines and spending increases, coupled with potential discretionary policy changes, is larger deficits. Let’s imagine that the conditions of the economic slowdown of 2000-01 were repeated in 2019-20 - that the economy repeats the 2000-01 circumstances and the government responds exactly the same way. Revenues would decline by $14.3 billion while spending would increase by $14.0 billion, resulting in a deficit of $42.7 billion, rather than the currently planned $14.4 billion. And the federal government would accumulate $75.7 billion in extra debt compared to its current plan over the 2019-20 to 2022-23 period. And the numbers would be significantly worse if a more serious recession like 200809 happened. Running deficits in times of economic growth - even slow economic growth - risks much larger deficits when the inevitable recession occurs. Given the current level of deficits, the risks to federal finances from even a mild recession are substantial and should be addressed. The government needs to move more purposefully towards a balanced budget in the next two years. Jason Clemens, Milagros Palacios and Niels Veldhuis are economists with the Fraser Institute and co-authors of a recently released study on federal deficits. # 202 - 8388, 128 St., Surrey, BC V3W 4G2 Ph: 604-591-5423 Fax: 604-591-8615 E-mail: Editor: Umendra Singh Associate Editor: Chhavi Disawar Marketing and Sales: Ravinder S. Cheema........604-715-3847 Shamir Doshi....................604-649-7827 Harminder Kaur...............778-708-0481 Parminder Dhillon..........778-859-9234 Layout: Avee J Waseer Pre-Press: Iftikhar Ahmed Contributing writers: Jag Dhatt, Akash Sablok, Kamila Singh, Jay Bains

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New address: # 202 - 8388, 128 St., Surrey, BC V3W 4G2 All advertising in The Asian Star is subject to the publishers’ approval and the advertiser agrees to indemnify the publishers against claims arising from publication of any advertisement submitted by the advertiser.

Saturday, February 10, 2018




Saturday, February 10, 2018

BC to raise minimum wage to $15.20 by 2021 From page 1 from $11.35 an hour to $15 by 2021, though it initially abandoned that deadline. In January, the Ministry of Labour said the Fair Wages Commission was working to determine how and when the minimum wage in B.C. will rise. On Thursday, Bains said the government drew from the commission’s recommendations when it decided on the figure of $15.20. “The commission report included many stories of people who work on minimum wage,” Bains said. “These people work hard; they should be able to support themselves and their families.” Minister of Labour Harry

Bains, pictured here at the B.C. Legislature in June, joined the premier in North Vancouver for the announcement. JJ Bean Coffee Roasters gave its Vancouver employees a $14 minimum wage to match Ontario’s new minimum level set on Jan. 1, saying it was only fair to pay western staff the same as their eastern counterparts. The company, which has stores in Toronto and Vancouver, raised its prices to offset the cost. Ontario’s minimum wage will rise to $15 an hour on Jan. 1, 2019. In Quebec, it will rise to $12 an hour on May 1.

Ontario sheds 59K part-time jobs in Jan. as new $14 minimum wage begins Ontario shed some 59,300 part-time jobs in January — the same month the province hiked minimum wage some 20 per cent to $14 an hour, but experts say it may be too soon to know how much the two are correlated. The province shed 50,900 jobs total from December 2017, according to the Statistics Canada report. It gained approximately 8,500 full-time positions but lost roughly 59,300 part-time gigs, according to data provided by the agency, which noted the figures are rounded.

That means there was 3.4 per cent or 46,100 fewer part-time posts in January 2018 than the same time the previous year. Some economists said it’s possible Ontario’s minimum wage increase played a role in those declines, but noted it’s important not to read too much into one month of data. The province hiked minimum wage by $2.40 per hour to $14 per hour at the beginning of the year, a move some economists warned could result in mass job losses as employers look to reduce costs. Overall, economists are divided on how minimum wage increases play out. Some research has suggested a reduction in hours or jobs follow mandated wage bumps, while other studies suggest no long-term connection between wage increases and dips in employment rates. The 59,000 figure is a “whopping” one, said Matthieu Arseneau, senior economist at National Bank Financial Markets, in a note. It “may be a sign of adjustments made by corporations coping with a minimum wage surge,” he said, noting young people ages 15 to 24 lost 24,000 part-time positions. However, economists also pointed to possible connections between Ontario’s minimum wage and Canada’s stronger average wage growth of 3.3 per cent in January. “One of the positives in today’s release was the fact that wage growth picked up, said Craig Alexander, chief economist at the Conference Board of Canada. “Now part of that might be reflecting the increase in minimum wages in Ontario because that increase in minimum wage is impacting more than 20 per cent of all the workers in Ontario.” The board’s modelling suggests the increase will reduce the number of jobs created in Ontario this year by roughly 40,000. Ontario’s mandatory minimum hourly rate is set for another bump in January 2019, when it will rise to $15. The province of British Columbia announced Thursday it too plans to raise rates for its lowest paid employees over several years. It aims to reach at least $15.20 by June 2021. Its current minimum wage is set at $11.35 and will rise every June, starting this year when it moves to $12.65, until it reaches at least $15.20. Some have already criticized the increase as being too fast, noting it may be difficult for small business owners to adapt to the increased labour costs.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

From page 1


ICBC my cap minor pain and suffering claims at $5,500

for time off work. If the injury persists beyond a year and has an impact on the person’s work, it will no longer be considered minor. ICBC will work with doctors to develop a clear, legal definition of minor injury. Minor injury claims now represent 60 per cent of injury claims, up from 30 per cent in 2000. An unintended consequence of the $5,500 cap, a Victoria lawyer said, is that impaired drivers will have to pay less to the people they injure. Impaired drivers are not covered by ICBC and are responsible for paying all costs. “We’re making it cheaper for drunk drivers to injure other drivers,” said Paul Pearson, a criminal defence lawyer who deals with motor vehicle accidents and impaired driving. The cap is arbitrary and unfair to those whose pain and suffering extends long after they return to work, said Pearson. There seems to be an attitude that some people involved in car crashes are milking the system, he said. “If they are messing around, it quickly becomes obvious to everyone involved and they don’t get anything. The system doesn’t reward people who aren’t injured.” The government is doubling the medical care and recovery allowance available to anyone seriously injured in a crash to $300,000. That will be retroactive to Jan. 1, 2018. Those benefits have not been increased since 1991. “There is no reason why someone who is seriously injured in a car accident should have to live in poverty because they can’t afford to pay out of pocket,” Eby said. “Without today’s announced reforms, ICBC will not have the money to increase these miserly benefits.” Disability Alliance B.C. has been pushing for improvements to accident benefits for 12 years, said Jane Dyson, alliance’s executive director. “The doubling of the overall allowance for medical care and recovery is a significant improvement,” Dyson said. “We welcome these long-overdue changes that will mean that people who are catastrophically injured in motor vehicle accidents have better supports available to help them rebuild their lives.” ICBC will also cover a wider suite of treatments such as counselling, massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractors. It will increase compensation people can receive for lost wages to $740 per week. Giovanna Boniface, national director of professional affairs for the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists, said B.C. occupational therapists have seen a decline in access to necessary treatments for injured drivers trying to recover after a crash. “By raising the amount covered, and expanding the variety of treatments that are eligible, these changes will allow more people to have access to the treatment and adaptive equipment they need, thereby fostering quicker recovery and return to meaningful daily activities,” she said. The government is also working on

changes to make bad drivers pay higher insurance premiums to more accurately reflect the strain they put on the system. Those changes will come after ICBC consults with customers to ensure ratepayers get a say, Eby said. Last month, Eby called the situation at ICBC a “financial dumpster fire” as the company posted a net loss of $935 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year and a projected a $1.3-billion loss by the end of the fiscal year. He warned that drivers could face premium increases of about $400 or more if nothing was done. “For too long, difficult decisions have been

put off and growing financial problems at ICBC hidden from the public,” Eby said Tuesday. While there’s no “silver bullet” for fixing

ICBC, Eby said, major changes over time will prevent a massive hike in insurance premiums. A third-party review of ICBC, submitted to the NDP government in July, found that the number of crashes and claims has risen in recent years. Despite improvements to road and car safety, there was a 23 per cent increase in the number of collisions on B.C. roads between 2013 and 2016. More people involved in crashes are filing injury claims, even for minor injuries, resulting in a 28 per cent jump between 2012 and 2016. British Columbia is the only province in Canada that operates a litigation-based insurance model where drivers who are not at fault in a crash can sue the at-fault driver for financial loss and suffering.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

On the eve of Trudeau’s India trip, Liberal ministers deny sympathizing with Sikh separatists From page 1 Punjab Police books four Canadian residents for gun-running and terror-funding.” The issue comes just as India prepares to welcome Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for his first state visit later this month. The goal of the trip is to focus on trade and cultural ties, but a successful visit would surely be a re-election boon for Trudeau, who already enjoys a high degree of popularity among Canada’s 1.2 million Indo-Canadians. Trudeau seems to have a friendly relationship with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the two have met on the sidelines of almost every international meeting they attended in the last two years, including just last month at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland. But some political forces in India are less enthusiastic.

‘Claims are very damaging and defamatory’ The articles accuse the Canadian government of allowing Sikh separatist movements to flourish and list four Canadians Indian authorities are said to want for allegedly supply weapons and funding terrorism in India. The magazine also includes a Q and A

segment with Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh, who says there appears to be “Khalistani sympathizers in Trudeau’s cabinet.” That allegation meant last April Singh refused to meet with Sajjan when Sajjan was in India. There are four Sikhs in the federal cabinet, including Sajjan and Sohi. “If there is a small segment of people in Canada who talk about separation, who talk about the creation of Khalistan, if they do that in a peaceful way that is their right to do so but this is not an issue that I hear in the community,” Sohi said after Wednesday’s meeting. “From my point of view this is not an issue for the Canadian population, this is not an issue for the Indo-Canadian community within Canada, and I don’t feel it necessary to be engaging in something that is completely irrelevant from a Canadian’s point of view.” In the Outlook interview, Singh said he hadn’t been contacted about a meeting, but that he would “be happy to meet Justin Trudeau or welcome him as per the protocol accorded to any state guest of his stature.” Trudeau’s office won’t say if a meeting with Singh is on the agenda.

Balpreet Singh Boparai, lawyer for the World Sikh Organization of Canada, called Singh’s claims “ludicrous.” The latest edition of Outlook India features a photo of Trudeau and a headline on the cover that reads, “KhalistanII: Made in Canada.” “These claims are not borne out by any sort of facts,” he said. “These claims are very damaging and defamatory.” Boparai said Indian media are always claiming outlandish things about Canada’s Sikh community which are never proven to be true. The sentiment that Canada is sympathetic to the separatist movement is not new. However, some recent events have brought the allegations to the fore again, including an April 2017 motion in the Ontario legislature labelling as a genocide the 1984 anti-Sikh riots following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. An official in the Prime Minister’s Office, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter, played down the impact the issue is going to have on Trudeau’s trip, saying it will come up but will not be a focus. If pressed, the official said, Trudeau — who leaves for India next week — will stand up for free speech and also reiterate Canada’s policy in favour of a united India.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

BC Family Day moving one week later starting in 2019 The B.C. government has announced that this year’s Family Day will be the last time it falls on the second Monday of February. Starting from 2019, the holiday will be on the third Monday of February, moving it in line with other provinces in Canada. Earlier this week, John Horgan hinted the date would change. “Happy Family Day weekend everybody. It may well be the last one on the second weekend,” Horgan told a crowd Thursday. B.C.’s Family Day falls on Monday, Feb. 12 this year. Most other provinces observe the statutory holiday on Feb. 19. B The province has been an outlier since 2012, when the Christy Clark government passed into law that the province’s Family Day take place on the second Monday of February each year. The Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a motion last year asking for public consultation to move it forward a week. ‘We should be in alignment’: B.C. looks to shift date for Family Day The province’s tourism industry had urged the government to keep the date. The second weekend of February generates about $10 million for B.C. ski areas alone, the Tourism Industry Association of B.C. said last month in a letter to Horgan. The letter was signed by 60 businesses and tourism organizations. “Having two consecutive weekends virtually sold out means that our industry benefits tremendously, especially during a time of the year where you’re in the ski

industry or have a resort,” Walt Judas, CEO of the Tourism Industry Association of B.C., said on B.C. Almanac. He said B.C. residents have also benefited from cheaper prices and lighter crowds. The third weekend of February — Presidents Day weekend in the U.S. — is one of the priciest periods as out-of-province tourists and Americans flock to B.C. Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, praised the switch. “The misalignment of Family Day causes inconvenience, increased costs and lost opportunity for businesses of all sizes and in various industries,” she said in a statement. “The economic benefit from this change will greatly assist our members, and especially small- and medium-sized businesses, across the province.” A petition backing the date change had gathered more than 22,000 signatures since 2015. Andrew Johns is a financial advisor who started the petition. He said the social impact of the change outweighs the economics. A student living in Alberta, for example, won’t be able to visit their family in B.C. this weekend, he said. “If the whole spirit of Family Day is to bring as many family members together as possible, then logically, we don’t all live in the same province and work in an environment where we can take this Monday off,” Johns said. His job in the finance sector has prevented him from taking the day off with his wife and kids.

Old economy pains holding back Trudeau’s quest to remake Canada as a tech leader Justin Trudeau is caught between two economies, and his visit to San Francisco on Thursday showed why. The Canadian leader zigzagged through the city for a series of tech meetings, hailed the benefits of immigrants to an industry thirsty for talent, had a private chat with Inc.’s Jeff Bezos, pitching Toronto for the retail giant’s second headquarters, and even picked up investments from Inc. and AppDirect Inc. It’s in keeping with Trudeau’s aspiration to remake Canada as a tech leader — with mixed results so far. Dogging him, though, were some very immediate problems for Canada’s economy. They include divisions over an oil pipeline and questions about ongoing NAFTA talks where the U.S., Canada and Mexico are digging in on distinctly analog industries that feel miles away from Silicon Valley, like manufacturing plants and dairy cows. Trudeau even took a veiled old school shot at Amazon, saying he’d defend brick-andmortar retail amid calls from his own central bank to rein in powers of “superstar” tech firms. Canada just lost the most jobs in nine years, with biggest drop on record in parttime work It all underscores core tension for Trudeau, trying to spur a new economy while defending the one he has from, among other things, Donald Trump’s threats to walk away from NAFTA and opponents at home of new resource projects. “Our focus is very much not just that the economy is good next week, but how could we make sure it’s good a decade from now, for the next generation,” Trudeau said Thursday. Canada’s economy has been hot, leading the Group of Seven in growth in 2017 though it’s forecast to slip to third place this year as risks mount, including a slowdown in spending by the nation’s highly indebted consumers and the country’s struggle to build the infrastructure to get its oil to market.

This week, a trade war even broke out between two provinces over a pipeline Trudeau has pledged to get built as he attempts another balancing act — cutting emissions for a greener economy without kneecapping the lucrative oil sector that has driven much of Canadian growth in recent decades. Another major risk is NAFTA, with Trump regularly threatening to walk away if he doesn’t get a bigger deal. Chrystia Freeland, the minister leading talks on Trudeau’s behalf, told lawmakers in Ottawa on Thursday that significant differences remain. Trudeau said as much himself. “Any deal has to be a win-win-win and that means that we’re going to have to ensure we’re standing up for Canadian interests as we move forward on a deal that works for everyone,” he said. Trudeau nonetheless received fawning praise from Silicon Valley tech leaders, who have clashed with Trump over political differences.’s chairman and chief executive officer Marc Benioff hosted Trudeau for a round-table discussion with corporate leaders on the importance of diversity and equality, held at Salesforce’s headquarters, in San Francisco’s tallest building. The company announced a US$2-billion investment in Canada, a pledge Trudeau said would yield thousands of jobs. “You have a real friend in San Francisco,” Benioff said to a smiling Trudeau. “As a city we love you, we connect with you on your values. Like you, we are a city that values diversity, equality, and we also value innovation.” The panel discussion’s other attendees included Bernard Tyson, chairman and chief executive officer of Kaiser Permanente; Dan Schulman, chief executive officer of PayPal Holdings Inc.; Geisha Williams, chief executive officer of PG&E Corp.; and Diane Greene, chief executive of Google Cloud.





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Province injects cash into education programs to address teacher shortage Teacher shortages across British Columbia have prompted the government to invest in

training and recruitment programs. Education Minister Rob Fleming says the government is investing $571,000 to train more than 100 teachers in the highest demand fields such as special education, French, math and physics. He says the extra funding comes in response to a task

force appointed to identify challenges facing school districts across the province. As teacher shortage bites, B.C. school district hires non-certified ‘replacements’ ‘We’re still working out the kinks’: Teacher shortage top concern 1 year after Supreme Court decision Teacher shortage puts popular Mandarin program in danger, parent warns

The task force report determined 54 school districts had difficulty finding and retaining learning assistance teachers, teacher librarians, counsellors, and science, math and French teachers. B.C. moved last year to hire 3,500 teachers following a Supreme Court of Canada decision that ruled former Liberal

government legislation that stripped teachers of the right to negotiate class sizes and composition was unconstitutional. The B.C. Teachers Federation says in a statement that 16 years of under-funding education by the former government cannot be made up overnight and investing in more teacher programs is only one necessary step toward a solution.

Bank of Canada warns of dangers of leaving ‘superstar’ tech giants unchecked A top Bank of Canada official is warning about the risks related to the growing dominance of only a handful of big firms in the digital economy — and, more specifically, their monopoly over user data. Senior deputy governor Carolyn Wilkins says policy adjustments should be a priority for governments concerned about the negative economic impacts of leaving the market power of large tech companies unchecked. In prepared remarks of Wilkins’s speech today in Montebello, Que., she says the rise of so-called superstar firms can lead to fewer jobs than those created by conventional companies and make it easier for some to avoid taxes because production isn’t tied to a fixed location. Wilkins says the access and control of user data could easily enable companies to drive out their rivals and weaken the healthy, economic benefits of competition. She lays out several possible solutions like modernizing anti-trust and competition policy as well as exploring dataownership rules.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Andrew Wilkinson defends BC Liberal land sales Newly elected leader of the opposition in BC Andrew Wilkinson is downplaying the price the province received for land sold under his watch while in government. Andrew Wilkinson was the minister responsible when the provincial government sold hundreds of millions of dollars of land between 2013 and 2015 under the “Release of Assets for Economic Generation” (RAEG) program. The land sold for a total of $493-million, but would have been worth more than $860-million had the province waited just a few years. The map below shows precisely where

those deals happened in the 2013/14 and the 2014/15 fiscal years: “There’s something called the market,” said Andrew Wilkinson, adding that it’s not fair to assess land sales in the past by current prices. “If you put your car on the market and you sell it and three years later it’s worth a little bit more, a little bit less, you don’t cry over spilled milk,” Wilkinson

Andrew Wilkinson wins BC Liberal leadership BC Liberals have chosen VancouverQuilchena MLA Andrew Wilkinson as their new leader, but party members in Powell RiverSunshine Coast had Todd Stone and Dianne Watts as their top choices through most of the five rounds it took to settle the race. Detailed vote breakdowns released by the B.C. Liberals show Stone had 65 votes and Watts 62 of the 229 votes cast in the riding in the first round. Wilkinson had 46. Those numbers remained fairly stable with Stone, Watts and Wilkinson finishing 1-2-3 in Powell River-Sunshine Coast through the third round when Stone dropped off the ballot. In the final two rounds of voting, Watts remained ahead of Wilkinson. The Liberals used a ranked voting system, with ridings being assigned an equal weight of 100 points that would be awarded to the candidates based on their vote percentages in each round. Mathew Wilson, the party’s

candidate in the last election, and his father Gordon, a former party leader who still lives in the riding, came out in support of Stone early in the race. Wilkinson said; “I’m one of just a couple of candidates in this race who I think could be ready to take on John Horgan on day one, and ready to take on the NDP in the spring,” “No one knows when the election will be, and we have to be ready for a snap election that the NDP could call if they see the opportunity.” Wilkinson also said that he believes it’s vital to give young people training and opportunities to allow them the option of staying instead of moving to urban centres. He also spoke of the need to improve ferry service. “The level of activity on the Coast and the population is starting to warrant a significant upgrade to the ferry service. The question isn’t does it need to happen, it’s when and what needs to be done.”

Traffic police nab driver with realistic dummy in passenger seat using HOV lane Traffic police have nabbed a dummy speeding in the HOV lane on Highway 1. Officers with Port Mann traffic services were on

the officer’s eye. Police say the vehicle changed lanes without signalling and crossed over the solid white line into the HOV lane. Officers then stopped the vehicle. That’s when police noticed the man’s girlfriend looking a little stiff and glassy-eyed in the passenger seat. The man was driving with a mannequin, a trick used by some drivers to cheat and drive in the HOV lane. The driver of the vehicle was issued several tickets and the passenger — who exercised her right to remain silent– was taken to the police station. Police are reminding RCMP traffic officers pulled over a driver who was using a mannequin in motorists that one of the the passenger seat in order to travel in the HOV lane restrictions when using the routine patrol Tuesday on Highway 1 around the HOV lane on that stretch of Hwy. 1 is they must Langley-Surrey border when a vehicle, allegedly have a minimum of two people in their vehicle. traveling well over the posted speed limit, caught

Bacon trial on counselling to commit murder charge postponed until September The trial for gangster Jamie Bacon on a charge of counselling to commit murder has been delayed from April until September. Bacon, who lost a bid in January to be released on bail pending the upcoming trial, will now remain in custody even longer before getting his day in court. Dan McLaughlin, who speaks for the B.C. Attorney General’s criminal justice branch, confirmed Thursday that the case is now set for jury selection on Sept. 4. “The adjournment of the Bacon trial was ordered when it became apparent that the April trial date was no longer viable,” McLaughlin said in an email. “The scheduling issues that precipitated the adjournment were discussed in camera and cannot be reported.”

Bacon had been facing murder and conspiracy charges in connection with the Surrey Six slayings until last Dec. 1 when a B.C. Supreme Court judge stayed both counts after a secret pretrial hearing. The Crown is appealing that ruling. But he is still facing one count of counselling someone to commit murder in connection with the failed attempt to kill a former associate in December 2008. Bacon has been in jail since April 3, 2009, when he was arrested at his parents’ former Abbotsford home in connection with the Surrey Six case. He was originally charged with plotting the murder of gang rival Corey Lal, as well as Lal’s first-degree murder on Oct. 19, 2007 in a Surrey high-rise.

added. “You say at the time the decision was right and I got the market price. That’s how the world works and the government is subject to market forces just like everyone else.” A Global News investigation found that the province failed to put some of

the lots on the market — instead selling them to neighbours — and that others didn’t have proper bidding processes. The then-opposition NDP took particular issue with the $85-million sale of 14 lots on Coquitlam’s Burke Mountain to a BC Liberal donor. The property had been appraised at a value of $128-million and a later appraisal in 2015 valued it at $107-million. The Liberal government of the day did make money through the RAEG, which helped boost asset sales to $601-million in 2013/14, and $135-million in 2014/15, according to an auditor general’s report. At the time, the government said the sales helped create thousands of jobs and incentivize hundreds of housing units.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Kamloops man in hospital after being shot multiple times A man from Kamloops is in hospital after being shot multiple times early Friday morning. RCMP responded to a 911 call from a neighbour, saying shots had been fired in the 5000 block of Dallas Drive in east Kamloops at 1:30 a.m. They arrived to find a man who had been shot multiple times below the waist, police said. Officers gave the man first aid until

ambulance services arrived and took the man to hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery from his injuries. Police believe this was a targeted attack. The investigation is ongoing. Kamloops RCMP Cpl. Jodi Shelkie said the victim is cooperating with the investigation.

Report shows ‘large economic development potential’ for Vancouver-Seattle rapid rail An ultra-high-speed rail line between Vancouver and Portland would create hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in economic benefits for the Vancouver-Seattle corridor, according to an economic analysis. The analysis, which was paid for by Microsoft and trade unions, was recently added to a rail line study that was conducted by Washington state’s department of transportation and released in December. The state’s report looked at three potential technologies and three possible routes for an ultra-high-speed rail line. The economic analysis focused on a seven-stop route between Vancouver International Airport and the Rose Quarter station in Portland which has the highest potential ridership of about two million annually by 2035. The analysis assumes the use of maglev technology, which uses magnets to lift a train off its tracks and move it along a guideway at more than 400 km/h, reducing the time

it takes to get from Vancouver to Seattle to under an hour. It pegs the project cost at around $40 billion. FILES – A file picture taken on 31 December 2002 shows Shanghai’s commericial magnetic levitation train built and designed by German engineering giants Siemens and ThyssenKrupp. The memo focuses on the effects in the nine-county corridor in Washington state and in B.C., and looks at the employment and labour income impacts from construction and operation of the service, along with some wider economic spinoffs. During the nine years (2025-2034) it’s expected to take to construct the rail line, the study estimated that 38,000 jobs would be created each year and there would be $29 billion in annual labour income. Lindsay Meredith, professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University’s Beedie School of Business, said there is unquestionably value in creating temporary construction jobs, but the key is to look further into the future.

Former NDP MP Stoffer apologizes five times for his ‘touchy’ behaviour Former New Democrat MP Peter Stoffer (pictured) issued a series of public apologies Friday for behaviour he acknowledged was perceived as demeaning or inappropriate, saying he never intended to insult anyone or make them feel uncomfortable. Stoffer’s acknowledgment came a day after allegations of inappropriate touching and kissing were levelled against him by women who worked with him on Parliament Hill between 2006 and 2009. The popular former politician and well-known veterans advocate held a news conference in Halifax, where he said he was “deeply apologetic and regretful” for what happened when he was the member of Parliament for the suburban riding of Sackville-Preston-Chezzetcook. Stoffer, who served as a Nova Scotia MP from 1997 to 2015, specifically denied sexually assaulting or physically abusing anyone. However, he admitted that his actions as a “touchy” and “very gregarious, fun-going person” may have led to behaviour that was perceived as inappropriate.

“By some of the comments that I’ve heard recently, from some people in the past, they’re saying that some of my demeanour, some of my comments were inappropriate,” he said. “For that I humbly apologize without reservation. If there is any man or any woman that at any time felt uncomfortable … because of my demeanour in any way shape or form, for that I apologize and I humbly regret that I put them in that type of situation.” In allegations made public Thursday, one of the complainants, Lauren Dobson-Hughes, accused him of grabbing and kissing her without her consent on two separate occasions in 2006 and 2009. Dobson-Hughes, who was an NDP staffer at the time, told the National Post that several MPs and senior staff were present at the second alleged incident “but nobody batted an eyelid.” Stoffer said he has not been in contact with Dobson-Hughes, but he said he was willing to talk to her.

Interior BC hit hard by record-breaking snowfall Parts of B.C.’s Interior have been hit hard by snowfall over the last few days. Williams Lake, in particular, is struggling to keep up with snow removal. On Monday morning, Williams Lake woke up to a record-breaking 25 centimetres of new snow. “February has definitely started off as a very interesting month,” said Lisa West, meteorologist with Environment Canada. West said the entire month of February normally sees about 21 centimetres of snow. This year, there’s already been 34 centimetres.

“We’ve received a lot of snow in the past years,” said Matt Sutherland, acting director of municipal services for Williams Lake. “Never to that amount.” School buses were cancelled Monday and Wednesday because of heavy snowfall. Crews are working around the clock to clear snow from roads and sidewalks using their five sand trucks, two loaders with blades on the front, a snow blower and a grader. “I don’t think you ever expect stuff like this. All you do is just bear with it,” Sutherland said.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

BC eliminates prescription deductibles for people earning under $30,000 British Columbia has announced plans to eliminate or reduce prescription-drug deductibles for lowincome earners. Health Minister Adrian Dix says single people and families with a net household income under $45,000 will benefit from changes to the Fair PharmaCare plan starting Jan. 1, 2019. Families earning between $15,000 and $30,000 will no longer pay any deductibles for medication.

Dix says people with a net annual income of $15,000 have paid deductibles of $300, and those earnings $30,000 have had to shell out $900 a year. He says the cost means people have sometimes not filled prescriptions in order to pay for other essentials such as groceries. Green party spokeswoman Sonia Furstenau says the $105-million investment

BCLC staff unable to properly use $7-million, anti-money-laundering software program In the middle of a money-laundering crisis, B.C. Lottery Corp. analysts are stuck manually digging for data on risky gamblers and large transactions because of problems with a new, $7.3-million, anti-money-laundering software system, Postmedia News has learned. For years BCLC casinos in Metro Vancouver have been targeted by a transnational moneylaundering operation that has used VIP gamblers recruited from China to launder hundreds of millions in suspected drug cash, RCMP and government documents allege. In 2014, as so-called whale gamblers flooded Metro casinos with suspicious cash, BCLC’s executive approved a plan to buy a high-tech software system to flag suspected moneylaundering transactions, at a budgeted cost of $7.4 million. These expensive data-crunching systems are used by big Canadian banks, and they’re programmed to automatically collect indicators of potential money-laundering and fraud transactions, so that the institutions can meet their legal requirements to report to Canadian regulators. BCLC’s new software was expected to “eliminate many manual processes,” and “support a detailed view of a customer’s risk profile … in order to identify circumstances which need the direct attention of BCLC investigators,” according to a February 2017 BCLC memo, obtained by Postmedia in a freedom-of-information request. Investment in the software would result in a system, the memo says, “that automates most aspects of customer and transaction monitoring for money-laundering risks. It will allow BCLC to better risk-assess money-laundering threats and allow more sophisticated and timely responses.” But four years after the new

high-tech system was planned, the program, called Statistical Analysis Software, is barely functioning, according to Postmedia’s probe. And BCLC analysts claim they don’t have the ability to use the system and produce reports regarding large and potentially risky transactions, without manual efforts. In response to Postmedia’s questions about BCLC’s delayed implementation of the system, the Ministry of Attorney-General stated: “Upon request from the attorneygeneral, Dr. Peter German is investigating Statistical Analysis Software as part of his independent and thorough review of British Columbia’s anti-money-laundering policies and practices in relation to B.C. casinos.” The 2017 memo explains reasons for the system’s delayed launch. Through a collaborative effort by BCLC and the contracted supplier, the software program was supposed to “monitor player transactions and trends against a series of risk scenarios, developed specifically for the gaming industry.” But even though the software was designed for BCLC, it hasn’t been functioning to meet BCLC’s needs. The system was supposed to be running in 2016, but its launch was expected to be delayed until later in 2017, according to the 2017 memo “Currently, most of BCLC’s customer and transaction monitoring is done manually by BCLC investigators and analysts,” the memo says, “using a variety of global databases to confirm the details provided by patrons.” The memo says “BCLC is the first gambling jurisdiction in North America to adopt this technology … (and) extensive work has been required to customize this software for the unique needs of BCLC’s gaming environment.”





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Federal government will intervene if needed on Trans Mountain pipeline, minister says Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said the federal government will step in when necessary to ensure the Trans Mountain expansion project gets built, but is giving few details on how it plans to do so. “The government of Canada, as this process plays through, will be absolutely alert to any attempts to delay this project,” Carr said Thursday at an announcement regarding the restructuring of the National Energy Board. “If there is an attempt by any government to infringe on federal jurisdiction in the national interest, then the government of Canada will intervene.” Last week, the B.C. government created more uncertainty for the future of the $7.4-billion pipeline project to the West Coast by announcing plans for more consultations on oil spill readiness and a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it’s confident in response measures. The Alberta government has taken a strong stance against B.C.’s proposal, suspending electricity talks and halting B.C. wine imports in protest. Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, as well as Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. CEO Ian Anderson, have called on the federal government to ensure the project gets built. Carr said Ottawa has already intervened on delays through the National Energy Board, which exempted Kinder Morgan from

some delayed permits in Burnaby, B.C., and approved a dispute resolution process for future permitting issues. He said the federal government continues to talk with the provinces, including meetings today between officials from Ottawa and deputy ministers in B.C., but that no specific intervention is yet necessary from the B.C.’s proposed consultations. “The government of British Columbia is free to consult, the government of British Columbia cannot infringe on federal jurisdiction that impacts the national interest.” Meanwhile, Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is working with her counterparts in Alberta and British Columbia to try to find a solution to the trade war emerging between the two provinces over the pipeline expansion. McKenna says she made separate phone calls this morning to Alberta Environment Minister Shannon Phillips and B.C. Environment Minister George Heyman to make clear that the federal government had clear authority to approve the Trans Mountain project and will exert that authority to make sure it gets built. A spokeswoman for McKenna adds that the minister made clear the federal government won’t stand down and allow a provincial government to infringe on Ottawa’s constitutional authority

Victim says her time with Vancouver pimp was ‘experience from hell’ “My emotions were so A young woman who was lured into prostitution at the age raw after this event and the flashbacks were so intense, of 17 by a Vancouver pimp has my family didn’t know described it as an “experience from hell.” In a victim impact how to respond to them,” S.L. said in a victim impact statement read into court statement read in court by Wednesday, the young woman, who is now 20, said that she Crown counsel Geordie Louisa Russell Proulx during Bannon’s suffers from severe anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and panic attacks as sentencing hearing. “Physically, this was an experience from a result of being exploited by Michael William Bannon. The victim, who cannot be identified hell. I was so dehydrated in the hospital, the IV due to a publication ban imposed by the court, had to go between my toes. I had cold sores all met Bannon, now 35, in March 2015 after he over my mouth and face. I was sore all over.” contacted her unsolicited on Facebook. The girl’s mother also provided a victim He picked her up near her home in Surrey impact statement read by Proulx at the hearing and took her to a hotel in Vancouver. Over the presided over by B.C. Supreme Court Justice course of a weekend, she had between 25 and Gregory Bowden. The mother said that when 28 sexual encounters, with at least three males her daughter went missing on the weekend in not wearing condoms, one of them the accused. question, she didn’t know that her child was in At one point, Bannon provided her with drugs the presence of “such a dangerous man.” after she had serviced a client. After taking the When her daughter came home, she felt drugs, she lapsed into unconsciousness for relief and then dread, as well as anger and several hours. On her way home in a taxi, she helplessness. “There was nothing I could do to was intercepted by police. She was wearing a make this better. I couldn’t heal her or protect her from this monster.” thin dress and appeared tired and disheveled.

Pipeline protesters move to Port Moody to stop workers from taking boats to Kinder Morgan site About 20 pipeline protesters shifted their operations to Port Moody Thursday morning, after learning that the company had been transporting its workers by boat. Demonstrators, who oppose Kinder Morgan’s plans to expand the Trans Mountain oil pipeline, have been blocking the company’s Westridge Marine Terminal construction site in Burnaby for several weeks. However, protester David Mivasair says they learned that the workers have been driving to the Reed Point Marina in Port Moody and taking boats to the Westridge site. He says it takes the company time and money to do that, but they “manage to circumvent our blockades and get their workers into the work

site.” Mivasair says they believe the protest at Reed Point will be a more effective way to intervene and they will continue to engage in non-violent protest. He adds that they are blocking the workers in response to Kinder Morgan Canada CEO Ian Anderson saying construction delays cost investors $90 million per month in lost revenue plus tens of millions more in direct costs such as salaries, rentals, and equipment, which can make the entire project “unviable.” Shortly after 6 a.m., Vancouver resident Brad Hornick said they were blocking access to the Reed Point Marina and there had been no confrontation. He said one Kinder Morgan worker appeared to be waiting in a truck but was not trying to get through their blockade.

Several protesters were out on the water in canoes in a bid to stop any employees from leaving in boats. The group, made up of mainly Burnaby and Vancouver residents, oppose the $7.4-billion expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline. The project, which would triple pipeline capacity, includes a tunnel through Burnaby Mountain. Protesters who oppose Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion moved operations to Port Moody early Thursday morning in a bid to stop workers from taking boats to the company’s Westridge terminal in Burnaby. When the original pipeline was built in 1953 there was little development along much of its route through the Lower Mainland, but now the planned route runs underneath roads and near homes and buildings.

In an email, Kinder Morgan said construction activities were continuing Thursday at the Westridge Marine Terminal. “We support the right to peacefully and lawfully express opinions and views about our project, and we understand that not everyone supports the expansion. But, we’re confident we can build and operate this project in a way that respects the values and priorities of Canadians and in respect of the environment.” The company did not respond to an inquiry about how the workers got to the site, but Mivasair, who was out on the water in a canoe Thursday, said he observed employees taking “small water taxis” from another unknown location.

Richmond red-light runners were undercover cops, police say death ruled a homicide A Richmond driver has shared footage of what appears to be shockingly brazen behaviour on local roads. A video posted by YouTuber am0s.x shows four vehicles running red lights in the span of ten minutes last week in Richmond’s east Cambie neighbourhood, and these aren’t just vehicles on the wrong side of a yellow light. In each of the instances, the drivers go well out of their way to cross an intersection, completely ignoring the visual command to sit tight and wait for the green light. Beginning at the intersection of Bridgeport and Simpson road at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 31, the dash-cam footage shows a dark grey sedan bypass a line of idling vehicles by turning into the oncoming lane, then cruising through the intersection against the red light. But it’s not an isolated incident. Just ten minutes later at Shell Road and Cambie Road, three more vehicles — a silver Toyota Highlander, a grey Honda Accord and a black Honda Pilot — decide the red light is just a suggestion, making wide turns to avoid oncoming traffic before once again crossing the intersection against the red light.


Saturday, February 10, 2018


Eight BC properties ranked among top 15 hotels in Canada


ight of the top 15 hotels in Canada are located right here in B.C., according to a new ranking released this week.

US News & World Report this week released its 2018 rankings for the best hotels around the world, and British Columbia properties snagged eight of the top 15 spots in Canada. Vancouver’s Rosewood Hotel Georgia took first place in the consumer ranking, while Tofino’s Wickaninnish Inn came in third. Vancouver’s Wedgewood Hotel was in fourth place and the Fairmont Pacific

Rim was sixth. The consumer ranking looked at more than 24,000 luxury hotels in 200 destinations across the U.S., Europe, Canada, Mexico and Bermuda to create area-specific lists. The rankings are created by scoring the hotels using a methodology that combines each property’s industry awards with expert and guest reviews. Only luxury hotels – those with four stars or more – are included in the ranking. See the full list below.

Teen struck by car during police traffic stop in Coquitlam British Columbia’s police watchdog has taken over an investigation of a Monday night collision on Highway 1 that involved a person on foot. A 17-year-old boy is in hospital listed in serious condition after RCMP say he fled a traffic stop on and then was struck by a vehicle travelling eastbound. Police say a member with Port Mann RCMP traffic services pulled over a westbound vehicle for excessive speeding in the HOV lane. While the officer was completing paperwork, the RCMP say an occupant of the car, believed to be the driver, left the vehicle, hopped over a concrete barrier and was struck by an

eastbound semi-trailer. The collision near the King Edward interchange happened shortly after 8 p.m. Highway 1 was closed east of the Brunette Avenue interchange to eastbound traffic for four hours Monday evening. Traffic was backed up as far as the Gaglardi Way exit for hours. Anyone who witnessed the collision and who has yet to speak to police is asked to contact Port Mann RCMP Traffic Services at 604-526-9744 and IIO B.C. at 1-855-4468477.

BC seeks to confiscate $100,000 in cash seized from Vancouver apartment The BC government wants to confiscate more than $100,000 in cash that was seized from a Vancouver apartment where police also found an arsenal of weapons and a large quantity of drugs. On Oct. 17, 2017, police dispatched officers to the Hotel Empress at 235 East Hastings after receiving a 911 call that a resident was throwing items out of a window into the lane below, according to a notice of civil claim filed in BC Supreme Court. After arriving at the scene, police found that a vehicle in the lane had been damaged by items thrown from the suite and that items were still being tossed from the window, says the court document. Police went up to the suite and arrested a man named Trevor Taylor for mischief. During the arrest, they noticed an AK-47 assault rifle, according to the document. Entering the suite to check the safety of other people inside and to confirm the presence of the weapon, police found that the rifle was loaded with a round in the chamber. Also inside the suite, police observed many other firearms, money strewn about, and large amounts of drugs and cutting agents. Police arrested Taylor for firearms possession and being in breach of a firearms prohibition order. After executing a search warrant,

police found $105,044 in cash, 336 grams of heroin / fentanyl and its derivatives, i n c l u d i n g carfentanil, 106 grams of cocaine.

1) Rosewood Hotel Georgia, Vancouver 2) The Ritz-Carlton Montreal, Montreal 3) Wickaninnish Inn, Tofino 4) Wedgewood Hotel & Spa, Vancouver 5) Auberge Saint-Antoine, Quebec City 6) Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver 7) Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver 8) Four Seasons Resort and Residences

Whistler, Whistler 9) The Hazelton Hotel Toronto, Toronto 10) Fogo Island Inn, Joe Batt’s Arm 11) Magnolia Hotel & Spa, Victoria 12) Four Seasons Hotel Toronto, Toronto 13) The Ritz-Carlton Toronto, Toronto 14) Manoir Hovey, North Hatley 15) Loden Hotel, Vancouver



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Airbnb tax won’t change Victoria’s plans to regulate short-term rentals, councillor says Airbnb’s agreement to collect taxes for the B.C. and municipal governments received measured praise on tourism-dependent Vancouver Island this week as the ubiquitous vacation rental booking service shed some of its black-market reputation. Victoria Coun. Ben Isitt still opposes the presence of the online booking service in the Victoria rental market, but said the deal is a step forward. However it won’t stop the city’s plans to regulate the shortterm vacation rental industry, he told On the Island host Gregor Craigie. Airbnb to collect provincial, municipal taxes on short-term rentals in B.C. “Rather than have a complete

regulatory vacuum, I think it is a good step that the province has moved forward with taxation of these companies,” Isitt said, though he would prefer to see vacation rentals booked through a local online service. Minister of Finance Carole James announced the agreement Wednesday in Victoria. It will see Airbnb collect 11 per cent in provincial sales tax and municipal tourism marketing levies. James said the move will help fund housing affordability initiatives in B.C. Finance Minister Carole James and Alex Dagg, Airbnb public policy manager, announced an agreement Feb. 7 for the online vacation rental company.

‘Tragic outcome’ as remains of missing woman The human remains said in a news release. Human discovered in an Abbotsford field remains found in Abbotsford field Family offering $10K for this week belong to a woman who went missing nine months information about missing ago, police say. Debbie Hycha, woman Hycha was last seen May 10, and her family reported her 52, was found dead Monday on Riverside Road near King missing in June. In September, her family offered a $10,000 Road, and her identity has been confirmed through forensic reward for information about her whereabouts. Hycha grew analysis. Investigators do not Debbie Hycha, 52 believe her death is suspicious. up in Smithers, B.C., and moved “This is a tragic outcome for this missing to the Fraser Valley shortly after high school. person investigation. The Abbotsford Police She had worked in the past as a hairdresser Department extends its condolences to the and in costume design, and her sister has family and friends of Deborah,” the APD described her as a “creative genius.”

Man linked to murder of BC teen set free on statutory release A South Asian family is outraged after a man found guilty of being an accessory in the murder of a 19-year-old university student was released from prison six months early under the province’s statutory release law. On Jan. 27, 2017, Gursimar Bedi received a 22-month sentence, minus time already served, for his role in the 2011 slaying of Maple Batalia, who was an aspiring model and actress. That credit for time served ultimately reduced his sentence to 18 months. Bedi, who was friends with Batalia’s killer, Gurjinder Dhaliwal, rented the getaway vehicle that was used after Batalia was shot three times and slashed in the head with a knife. Maple Batalia is seen in an undated handout photo. The 19-year-old was murdered in 2011. Described by Crown lawyers as a “jealous ex-boyfriend,” Dhaliwal was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 21 years in March 2016 after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Although Bedi’s prison term worked out to being 18 months, he was released less than a year after being sentenced. Lawyer David Albert, who represented Dhaliwal at the beginning of the trial, says it’s standard to release someone after they’ve

served two-thirds of a sentence. “That would be his statutory release,” Albert said. “The legislation is such that he is mandatorily released after serving two-thirds of his sentence.” Bedi has served 12 months, or two-thirds, of his 18-month sentence. “In most cases, offenders sentenced to a federal correctional centre are automatically released from custody to serve the last third of their sentence in the community,” the provincial government’s criminal justice website says. Batalia’s family learned of Bedi’s release a week ago in an email from B.C.’s Victim Services. That email was sent the same day as his release. The family has until Feb. 9 to object to the release. After that, the case will be closed. In an interview the victim’s sister expressed her family’s anger. “She was innocent,” Rose Batalia said via Skype from California. “(Bedi) did not even know her, had nothing to do with her, and he was the last voice of reason that could have prevented this cold-blooded murder from happening. He was Mr. Dhaliwal’s best friend. If someone was a great person, they would have talked their friend out of doing something this stupid.”

New PICS Child Care Centre in Cloverdale Progressive Intercultural Community Services (PICS) Society is opening a Child Care Centre at 6050 – 176 Street within Cloverdale Rodeo Grounds premises on March 5th, 2018. After surveying the community of child care needs in Cloverdale, PICS decided to provide these services to the needy families. We encourage all families to register their children at the earliest convenience. These children should be between the ages of 3 to 5 years. Fees are very reasonable and may vary according

to the children’s care schedule. Please call Eva Touzard, Community Connections Coordinator, at 604-596-7722, ext. #138 or Devinder Chattha, Director, Language Studies, Settlement & Social programs at ext. #107 to register your child or for any other information. Major Capital Funding for this project has been made possible by the Province of British Columbia.

Mandatory prison for mentally disabled sex offender ‘cruel and unusual,’ Judge says The mandatory minimum sentence for a child sex crime amounts to “cruel and unusual punishment” and breaches the Charter rights of an offender with significant mental disabilities, a BC judge has ruled. Twenty-six-year-old Dylan Scofield pleaded guilty in 2015 to two counts of sexual interference related to his relationships with a pair of 15-year-old girls,

according to a B.C. Supreme Court decision from Vernon. Canadian law mandates that he be sentenced to at least a year behind bars for that crime. But Justice Gordon Weatherill wrote last month that the law “requires me to impose a sentence that is not only excessive or disproportionate to what Mr. Scofield’s sentence should be but grossly disproportionate to what is fit and proportionate.” He went on to say that the mandatory sentence is, “therefore inconsistent with and violates Section 12 of the Charter as amounting to cruel and unusual punishment.” Scofield, who was 22 at the time of the offences, has an IQ of 59 — or “extremely low” in the most recent classification system — according to the judge’s decision. Cognitive testing has placed his intellectual function in the extremely low to borderline range. He met both of the victims online in 2013, and had sexual relationships with one and then the other between May and October of that year. The mother of one of the girls reported Scofield to the police. In a victim impact statement, one of the girls said she struggles with depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts as a result of the abuse, and gained so much weight she was bullied at school. Weatherill said it was clear Scofield’s actions had a big impact on his victims, but the offender’s own circumstances made this a “difficult case” to decide. The judge has given Crown prosecutors a chance to argue that the infringement on Scofield’s rights is justified. A court date for those arguments has yet to be set. The previous Conservative government introduced the new mandatory minimum sentence for sexual interference as part of an omnibus crime bill passed in 2012.

Saturday, February 10, 2018





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Woman sues ex-boyfriend for half of $6M lottery prize A Chatham, Ontario woman is hoping a jury will help her claim more than $3 million that has been stuck in legal limbo since her ex-boyfriend cashed in a winning lottery ticket half of which, she says, belongs to her. Denise Robertson filed a statement of claim against Maurice Thibeault in a Windsor court on Tuesday, for breach of trust, unjust enrichment, conversion, deceit and general damages. Man claims $3M half of lotto prize, while ex-girlfriend fights for other half Her lawyer, Steve Pickard, said Robertson is also seeking a declaration that she is the owner of half of the winnings, plus $500,000 in

damages and that Thibeault covers her court costs. “I think it’s more appropriate that this kind of case is heard by a jury because it is something that touches on... what the standards of morality are and what the community wants their law to be,” he said. Robertson and Thibeault have been fighting over the winnings since late last year, after a ticket he bought won $6.1 million. Thibeault did not tell her and moved out days later. She maintains they had an agreement to share any lottery winnings, a claim he denies. “This is no more complicated than a game

Two Vancouver men convicted of pimping and human trafficking Two Vancouver men have been convicted of multiple counts of human trafficking and pimping-related offences involving their exploitation of three young women, one of them an underage girl. Tamim Albashir, 26, and Kasra Mohsenipour, 25, were found guilty of 17 of 19 charges in connection with offences committed against the victims in Vancouver, Coquitlam and Edmonton. The crimes occurred from May 2013 to April 2016. The accused were also convicted of attempting to obstruct justice by conspiring to influence, pressure, or bribe one of the victims in an effort to get her to recant her

statement to the police. This ruling, B.C. Supreme Court Justice David Masuhara concluded that the accused had acted in a “common enterprise” to lure the victims into prostitution. The Crown’s theory at trial was that the purpose of the joint venture was to make money for the accused and to finance their own lifestyles which included designer clothes, regular gym workouts, rental of luxury downtown condos, expensive cars and delivered meals. The youngest victim, who can only be identified by the initials N.V. due to a publication ban, was a vulnerable 15-yearold girl when the accused charmed and persuaded her to work for them, using the lure of a downtown Vancouver condo and the promises of lots of money. Court heard that they controlled her behaviour, imposed rules about what she could and could not do, and directed her on how to provide sex to the clients. They controlled when and where she could work and took the money she earned from prostitution. She was told she couldn’t have boyfriends and couldn’t leave the apartment without telling them where she was going. The trial also heard that the two men used violence and the threat of violence to intimidate N.V., including Albashir at one point holding a gun to her head and telling her that she belonged to him. On another occasions, the accused hurt her dog and threatened to throw the animal off the balcony. Both men raised their voices to her, yelling at her and calling her names and swearing at her to keep her under control.

Police warn public after convicted sex offender moves to Vancouver For the second time in a year, Vancouver police are warning the public about a convicted sex offender who poses a “significant” risk to young women. Cameron Eugene Ratelle, 39, has been convicted of sexually assaulting a minor as well as university students in Ontario. Police said they were notified Thursday he’s moving to a halfway house in Vancouver. Corrections Canada said Ratelle, who is on statutory release, has been assessed as a moderate to high risk for violent and sexual reoffending. H e ’ s bound by several conditions, including: Not to go on any schools’ property, including university campuses. Not to be with any minors without a parole officer’s permission. Not to possess, buy or consume alcohol or non-prescription drugs. Not to possess, buy or access pornography. Not to access a computer or the internet. Ratelle is also under curfew from 10 p.m. to 8 a.m. and has to live in a community correctional centre or community residential facility. Last May, Vancouver police issued a similar warning when Ratelle moved to the city. He was arrested a few days later for breaching a “non-violent” condition of his release.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

Saskatchewan Premier accuses BC of putting hundreds of Regina jobs at risk in Trans Mountain dispute Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is accusing the B.C. government of potentially threatening hundreds of jobs in Regina over its proposal to restrict new shipments of bitumen into the province. B.C Premier John Horgan and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley are involved in a standoff over the proposal, which threatens the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline. A spokesperson for Evraz North America suggested Thursday that there could be layoffs at the company’s Regina plant if the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is halted. The trade dispute escalated this week after Alberta banned imports of B.C. wine into the province. Moe issued a statement supporting Alberta when the dispute began, but declined to join in Alberta’s ban of B.C. wine. “These jobs employ real people with families whose livelihoods depend on them,” Moe said in a statement posted to Facebook Thursday. “The B.C. NDP is threatening those jobs with obstructionist attacks on the

federally-approved Trans Mountain Pipeline. “It’s time for the prime minister and the federal government to step up and join us in standing for common sense and Canadian jobs by ensuring this pipeline gets built.” Transmountain Facility Kamloops 20170327 Evraz North America won the contract to produce approximately 275,000 tonnes of pipe for the Trans Mountain project in its Regina plant. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press) Last year, Evraz won the contract to produce 257,000 tonnes of pipe for Trans Mountain at its Regina plant. About 1,400 people work throughout the plant. This dispute casts doubt on the future of the $7.4-billion pipeline expansion that would nearly triple the capacity of the current pipeline system to 890,000 barrels a day. Federal regulators approved the expansion and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said building the pipeline is of national interest.


Former Manitoba cabinet minister apologizes after staff allege he tickled them A former Manitoba cabinet minister is apologizing after women came forward alleging he touched and tickled them and made inappropriate remarks while he was in government. Stan Struthers, who was in cabinet for more than a decade while the New Democrats were in power, says he recently learned his behaviour made former colleagues and staff feel disrespected. “I am sorry,” he said in a statement Thursday. “I apologize for any interactions I have had that have been inappropriate and that have caused any person to feel disrespected or uncomfortable. “My intention was never to treat women as anything other than equal and respected.” Joelle Saltel-Allard said he used to touch her when she worked for Struthers as his press secretary between 2009 and 2011. “I would be working with him in his office and he would come and touch me or tickle me,

often in front of other people,” she said. SaltelAllard said that during a car ride to a news conference, Struthers put his hand on her knee and talked about sex acts he would enjoy. That prompted her to lodge a complaint with her boss who took it up the chain of command. “It was relayed back to me that I basically had to shut up and suck it up,” she said. “They weren’t going to do anything. There was an election coming up and nobody was going to take any action in regards to my complaint.” SaltelAllard said she became stressed and anxious, and eventually took a three-month mental-health leave. She decided not to return to the legislature. “I really felt like I was insignificant and my complaints weren’t respected or even acknowledged. You really don’t feel like working in that type of environment,” she said. “It becomes very toxic — just the fact that nobody would even acknowledge what I had to say or what I was going through.

North American stocks fall further after Thursday’s rout North American markets headed lower on Friday afternoon, failing to bounce back from a steep sell-off on Thursday that sent the three U.S. benchmark indexes into correction territory. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 1.99 per cent, or 474 points, at 23,386.29, while broader barometer S&P 500 lost 1.76 per cent, or just over 45 points, to slide to 2,535.66. The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite was down by two per cent, or 136 points, to 6,640.74. The Dow had plunged more than 1,000 points on Thursday, pushing it, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq to fall more than 10 per cent from their record highs on Jan. 26. That means all three indexes are now in what is considered a “correction” in the markets. Dow plunges 1,000 points as stock market swoons again Meanwhile, the Dow is heading for its worst week in nine years. The yield on the benchmark 10-year treasury note hovered at 2.80 per cent — near the fouryear high of 2.885 hit on Monday. The bond is considered to be the global driver of borrowing costs.As interest rates rise, the value of existing bonds falls, and borrowing to invest becomes

jobs in that province will no doubt feed debate on whether large minimum wage hikes took a toll on employment, but proving causality may remain contentious,” said Derek Holt, economist at Scotiabank in a note. “It’s possible the Bank of Canada dismisses most of this report as a transitory adjustment to

more expensive. “The fact that Monday’s lows were breached on Thursday signals more trouble ahead, and rallies are likely to give way to rising bond yields,” Peter Cardillo, economist at First Standard Financial in New York, told Reuters. The CBOE Volatility index, which is the main gauge of expected volatility on Wall Street, rose to 38.51 in the afternoon — but still well below over 50 hit on Tuesday, which is a 2½-year high. The Canadian market headed lower as oil prices fell and Statistics Canada released disappointing jobs data. Economic data on Friday showed the economy had lost a surprising 88,000 jobs in January, hitting its biggest one-month decline in nine years. “The concentration of the job loss in Ontario and the focus upon lost part-time

higher minimum wages,” he added. The Canadian dollar traded at 79.23 US cents, down from Thursday’s average of 79.46 cents. The loonie has been facing weakness from the strength of the U.S. dollar as investors fled to the safety of the reserve currency amid volatility. Oil falls below $60



Saturday, February 10, 2018

CMHC report shows lots of bidding wars for condos and big price hikes It’s what CMHC is calling the “most thorough examination of house price patterns” ever done of the housing market in the country’s five largest cities, including Vancouver. Canada Housing and Mortgage Corp. on Wednesday released a 225-page report called Examining Escalating House Prices in Large Canadian Metropolitan Centres. It was completed to better understand how much prices rose between 2010 and 2016 (in Vancouver, a lot), factors that drove the hikes, why the hikes are important and what can be done about them. 1. Housing got more expensive House prices jumped 48 per cent between the 2010 Winter Olympics and 2016 in Vancouver, the leader in increases among Toronto (40 per cent), Montreal, Edmonton and Calgary. CMHC said its analysis showed that demand was driven by conventional economic factors — a strong economy, growing population and low mortgage rates. The report said between

five and 10 per cent of Vancouver’s market is owned by non-resident investors. “Foreign investment increased demand,” said CMHC deputy chief economist Aled ab Iorwerth. He also said “The supply response (to the rising overall demand) has been relatively weak in Vancouver and Toronto.” But there were “data gaps” that precluded researchers from determining why. Calgary and Edmonton responded to their demand by “sprawling horizontally,” said Iorwerth. 2. What were first-time buyers buying? In Metro Vancouver, the study found that firsttime buyers were spending on average almost $550,000 on their first homes. That compared to $957,000 for buyers who weren’t buying for the first time. Meanwhile in Toronto, the amount first-time buyers were spending was almost $595,000 and in Montreal it was $308,000. 3. Survey shows lots of bidding wars

For the first time, CMHC sent out a survey to gauge Canadian homebuyers’ “behavioural economics,” or what social pressures and influences they felt to buy real estate. The questionnaire was sent out to 30,000 homebuyers in Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto who had purchased a home in the previous 12 months and it was completed by more than 2,200, enough for a “statistically sound analysis.” That is, how they’re influenced to buy (family and friends was tops, followed by realtors, builders, media and government), how much they think the market will grow in the short term (not one thought the value of their purchase would fall within the first year) and long term (long-term price expectations are in line with past market returns) and how willing they were to get into a bidding war. It found that 53 per cent of buyers in the Vancouver market got in a bidding war for their purchase (mostly condos). And 47 per cent of Vancouver buyers paid more for their home than they intended. 4. Demand for investment properties is up The report also found an increase in investor

demand for condos, which has increased rentals but the newer units “tend to be more expensive than units from existing purpose-built rentals.” Ab Iorwerth said “all levels of government” have to work on solutions to the lack of affordable housing. The Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations called or a review of tax policy “and how it favours home ownership over renting,” its president, John Dickie, said in a release. “And second, (governments must) address the need for more purpose-built rental housing for the people who cannot afford the rising price of home ownership,” he said. Dickie said Ottawa needs to implement “financing alternatives, tax reforms or other incentives.” 5. Number of females reporting rental income rises In 2010, more males than females reported rental income on their tax returns, although it was just marginally so in Vancouver, with 51 per cent of males reporting rental income. But the growth in the number of females reporting rental income rose rapidly between 2010 and 2014, particularly by 28 per cent in Vancouver, according to CMHC.

Annoyed with Canada, US trade czar floats idea of separate NAFTA deals, lawmaker says The United States trade czar is expressing frustration with Canada in the NAFTA negotiations. That’s according to a U.S. lawmaker who attended a meeting with him today. Congressman Ron Kind says U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer is even talking about finishing NAFTA negotiations with Mexico first, then doing a separate negotiation with Canada later. Kind is a Democrat and one of numerous lawmakers who attended a rare briefing with the U.S. trade representative on Capitol Hill. Three other congressmen who participated in the meeting didn’t confirm or deny Lighthizer’s

comments. Lighthizer himself also refused to comment afterward. But some say Lighthizer’s remarks might be tactical — to simply up the pressure on Canada. Some Democrats called it strange to say things are going smoother with Mexico — when key issues related to labour costs and outscourced jobs have yet to be sorted out. British Columbia thinks it can kill pipelines because it knows Ottawa doesn’t care:… David Tkachuk says the federal government has emboldened opponents of Trans Mountain with inaction and inconsistent policies that have netted…

Foreign buyers’ influence on Toronto and Vancouver housing markets is rising: report From page 1 In Montreal non–permanent residents held the smallest proportion of mortgages at 1.9 per cent, up from 1.6 per cent in 2014. The study — which defined non-permanent residents as international students, foreign workers, in-land refugee claimants and others – found the proportion of mortgages held by non–residents also increased between 2014 and 2016. The new data comes as Montreal home sales continued a torrid pace of growth in January while Toronto’s housing market slumped. The total number homes sold in the Greater Montreal Area rose 13 per cent compared to a year ago as the inventory of active listings shrank by 14 per cent, according to the Greater Montreal Real Estate Board (GMREB). The squeeze on supply pushed prices higher with the average home price in Montreal rising 8 per cent to $371,061. Single-family homes fuelled the bulk of that increase, as prices climbed 9 per cent to $375,940. The average price of condominiums edged up 2 per cent to $294,513. “There are fewer and fewer properties for sale in the Montreal area and demand remains strong,” said Mathieu Cousineau, president of GMREB’s board of directors. “As a result, the resale market is, generally speaking, more advantageous for sellers.” Toronto’s market swung to a different extreme during the month, as home sales plunged 22 per cent compared to a record month the year before and new listings swelled 17.4 per cent. As the supply of available properties climbed in the Greater Toronto Area during the month, the average sales price for homes slid to $736,783, a 4.1 per

cent decline. Most of those losses were on the back of detached home prices, which fell by 3.9 per cent to $1,283,981 in the city of Toronto. Prices for detached homes in the surrounding 905 region fell 12 per cent to $879,048. The January declines were particularly stark in comparison to the opening months of last year, when prices soared 30 per cent and the supply of listed properties dwindled. Prices and sales in Toronto fell after the provincial government introduced a package of reforms in April that were designed to cool the housing market, including rent controls and a foreign buyers tax. “It is not surprising that home prices in some market segments were flat to down in January compared to last year,” Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis, said in a statement. “At this time last year, we were in the midst of a housing price spike driven by exceptionally low inventory in the marketplace. It is likely that market conditions will support a return to positive price growth for many home types in the second half of 2018.” Unlike Toronto and Vancouver, Montreal has not introduced a tax on foreign buyers. Nevertheless foreign buyers likely have little to do with Montreal’s market run, said Paul Cardinal, manager of market analysis at the Quebec Federation of Real Estate Boards. “Generally speaking it is a phenomena that is a little more important than a few years ago but not as important as in Toronto or Vancouver,” he said. He attributed the market’s strength to low unemployment rates in Montreal, increased migration and consumer confidence now at its highest levels since 2002. “People are confident and when they are confident, they buy,” he said.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Philippines president says he wants to axe $233M deal to buy Canadian helicopters Philippines president says he wants to axe $233M deal to buy Canadian helicopters Canada calls President Rodrigo Duterte’s comments ‘troubling’ President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops during the 82nd anniversary celebration of the armed forces of the Philippines. Duterte said Friday he wants to cancel a deal to buy helicopters from Canada. President Rodrigo Duterte addresses the troops during the 82nd anniversary celebration of the armed forces of the Philippines. Duterte said Friday he wants to cancel a deal to buy helicopters from Canada. “So from here on now, I am directing the armed forces of the Philippines, since most of the guns, bullets and whatever, weapons of war ... invariably to be used against the rebels and the terrorists, do not buy any more from Canada. Or from the United States, because there is always a condition attached,” he said. Earlier this week, Reuters reported the Philippines inked a $233-million deal to buy Montreal-built Bell helicopters. The Canadian Commercial Corporation, which facilitated the deal, wouldn’t confirm the cost. The Liberal government had defended the deal, which is being facilitated by the Canadian Commercial Corp., arguing the Montrealbuilt Bell helicopters would be used during search-and-rescue missions and disaster relief.

But International Trade Minister FrancoisPhilippe Champagne announced Wednesday he had ordered a review of the deal, which was finalized in December, after a senior member of the Philippines military said the aircraft would also be used in “internal security operations.” “The president’s troubling comments only underscore the confusion and contradictions that have emerged recently on the intended end use of the helicopters,” said a spokesperson for Champagne on Friday. “That is precisely why the minister ordered a review and that process will continue.” The sale was denounced by human rights activists who warned that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government was cozying up to some of the more dubious regimes in the world. They pointed to an ongoing deal to sell light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a move the Liberals criticized the Conservative government for arranging but went ahead with when Trudeau came to power. “The Liberal government had pledged to uphold higher standards after the terrible Saudi arms deal but instead it is selling to the worst and most repressive regime in Asia where the president brags about personally shooting drug users and throwing people out of helicopters,” said Steve Staples, vice president of the Rideau Institute in Ottawa.

Democracy Watch asks lobbying watchdog to probe Trudeau’s trip to Aga Khan’s island Democracy Watch is calling on the Federal Court to overturn former lobbying commissioner Karen Shepherd’s decision not to investigate the Aga Khan in connection with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s visit to his private island in the Bahamas. The group is arguing that Shepherd erred in law when she ruled in September 2017 that the Aga Khan didn’t violate the lobbying rules because he is not paid to lobby on behalf of the foundation that bears his name. “Democracy Watch is challenging the Lobbying Commissioner’s ruling in court, because it is legally incorrect, violates the spirit and purpose of the Lobbyists’ Code of Conduct and opens up a huge loophole that big businesses and other organizations will exploit by having their unregistered board members or staff do favours for, and give gifts to, government officials they are lobbying as a way of unethically influencing their policy making decisions,” Democracy Watch cofounder Duff Conacher said in a statement. Democracy Watch also alleges in court documents that there is “a reasonable

apprehension of bias” on Shepherd’s part, because her mandate was temporarily renewed by Trudeau’s government. Shepherd’s decision not to investigate the Aga Khan was obtained by CBC News in December. She has since finished her term and was replaced by Nancy Bélanger in December. The Aga Khan, believed to be one of the wealthiest individuals in the world, is the spiritual leader of millions of Ismaili Muslims and is listed as a member of the board of directors of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada. The foundation, which has received millions of dollars in federal government development aid over the years, is registered to lobby several federal government departments, including the prime minister’s office. A search of the lobbyist registry shows the foundation has filed 132 reports since 2011 outlining its meetings with government decision makers. However, none of those reports list any meetings with Trudeau — despite the meetings the prime minister has had with the Aga Khan and his officials.

Full implementation of legal cannabis could be delayed beyond July 1 The full implementation of legal cannabis could occur later than July 1, government officials told CBC News Tuesday. While the Liberal government is still hoping its legislation will pass Parliament before July — even though it faces entrenched opposition from some Conservative senators — it recognizes it may take some provinces 8 to 12 weeks of further work after the law passes before consumers can purchase legal, recreational marijuana from storefronts. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor, during an appearance before a committee of the whole inside the Senate Tuesday, said she has heard from lower levels of government that more time might be required. “As a practical matter — they told us they need 8 to 12 weeks following royal assent for preparatory activities to occur, such as lawful

movement of product from license producers to distribution and retail outlets.” “Before legislation comes into force and Canadians can legally buy cannabis, Health Canada continues to engage national and community partners to share information related to implementation and ensure all levels of government are prepared for the prospective coming into force of bill,” she said. Based on that timeline, the Senate would have to pass the bill by end of May if the government is to meet its July timeline for full legalization. That scenario seems unlikely as the legislation, Bill C-45, is currently only at second reading in the Red Chamber, meaning it still has to be studied at committee — where many witnesses are expected to be called for testimony — before the bill is sent back to the chamber for further debate at third reading.





Saturday, February 10, 2018

Hunt for fake doctor who infected more than 21 people with HIV A fake doctor treating poor villagers Villagers complained that he would in northern India for colds, coughs give injections for almost all ailments and diarrhea has infected at least 21 of for meager payments, Choudhury said. them with HIV by using contaminated A sudden spurt in HIV cases in and around syringes and needles, a health official said. Bangarmau detected in December last year Fake doctor Rajendra Yadav, who alerted state authorities. “An investigation fled Bangarmau, a small town in Uttar showed that almost all of them had taken Pradesh state, after the HIV infections were injections from one person,” Choudhury said. detected in December last “This was an important year said Sushil Choudhury, lead. We set up special the official who also said medical camps in villages police were looking for him. in the area and checked The villagers said they 566 people, and 21 were rarely saw Yadav changing found to be HIV positive.” the needles. Choudhury Mehtab Alam, a said that probably led project manager for to the spread of HIV. Raza Hussain Memorial With India’s health care Charitable Trust, said system facing a massive that fake doctors do Indian fake doctor injects atleast 21 shortage of doctors and not use disposable patients with HIV contamination hospitals, millions of poor syringes, instead using people seek fake doctors for cheap treatment. glass syringes and one needle to inject India had 2.1 million people living with HIV hundreds of patients. The group works at the end of 2016, according to a UNAIDS with HIV and AIDS patients in the region. report. Of those, 9,100 were children under HIV — or the human immunodeficiency age 15. India has registered a 20 percent virus — is transmitted through blood annual decline in new infections over the transfusion, use of infected needles and past few years, according to the report. syringes, unprotected sex, or from mother to Yadav would visit villages on his child. It weakens the body’s immune system, bicycle and treat patients outdoors. making it susceptible to various infections.

Punjab sex ratio up due to changing mindsets: Harsimrat Badal Both the low sex ratio and child sex ratio in Punjab have improved over the last decade due to sustained civil society efforts to change the mindset, Food Processing Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal said on Friday. Inaugurating the One Globe Forum on digital economy, Badal said that besides government efforts, it was the work of the civil society including many NGOs like her own which had succeeded in reversing the alarming decline in sex ratio in the state which was beginning to take on apocalyptic implications. “There is a bias in our nation in the attitudes towards women, which is reflected in dismal statistics showing that a women is molested every four minutes, raped every 12 minutes and dowry deaths take place at the rate of one every hour,” the minister said. “Millions of lives are snuffed out at birth,” she said, in a reference to the scourge of female foeticide.

“Looking at trends from schools, colleges, we see that among those who score top marks, 70 per cent are women... Yet still we see very few women in leadership roles in industry, government, politics, for instance, because challenges are much in India,” she added. The mindset, however, is changing, Badal said, pointing to the fair number of women present at the event. “Rural India, above all, is changing... Women are going out into the world shedding their past diffidence and fear,” she said, speaking from her own experience of Punjab where rural mothers are encouraging daughters to go longer distances to study if their own villages lack a school. Declaring that deep rooted cultural attitudes made the issue a difficult one, Badal said that the changing mindset was being reflected on the ground. “The mindset has started changing.

Oppn MPs meet President to demand SIT probe into Judge Loya’s death Pirates have released 22 Indian nationals taken captive after their oil tanker was boarded off the coast of West Africa last week. The vessel, Marine Express, was carrying more than 13,000 tons of gasoline when it went missing in the Gulf of Guinea, according to a statement from the Anglo Eastern,

the ship’s managing company, which said it lost contact with the vessel on Thursday. “(The managers of) Marine Express, which was the subject of a pirate attack and seizure on February 1st are pleased to report that the vessel was back under the command of the Master and Crew,” Anglo Eastern said in a statement.

Pirates release crew of oil tanker hijacked off the coast of West Africa Pirates have released 22 Indian nationals taken captive after their oil tanker was boarded off the coast of West Africa last week. The vessel, Marine Express, was carrying more than 13,000 tons of gasoline when it went missing in the Gulf of Guinea, according to a statement from the Anglo Eastern, the ship’s managing company, which said it lost contact with the vessel on Thursday. “(The managers of) Marine Express, which was the subject of a pirate attack and seizure on February 1st are pleased to report that the

vessel was back under the command of the Master and Crew,” Anglo Eastern said in a statement. All crew members, as well as the cargo, are “safe and well,” the company said. “A full investigation will take place into the hijack of the vessel and Anglo Eastern wishes to express its gratitude to the officers and crew of the Marine Express and their families for their courage and fortitude in dealing with this difficult situation over the past 6 days,” the statement said.

No records of Mallya’s loans: Govt The finance ministry has told the Central Information Commission (CIC) that it does not have information about the loans given to industrialist Vijay Mallya, prompting the transparency panel to remark that the response was “vague and not sustainable as per law”. Chief Information Commissioner RK Mathur, while hearing the matter of one Rajiv Kumar Khare, told the finance ministry official that the Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the applicant should be transferred to the proper public authority. The finance ministry official may have claimed that the ministry does not have information on the loans sanctioned by different banks to Mallya or the details of the guarantee given by Mallya against those loans, but the ministry had responded to questions in this regard in Parliament in the past. Union Minister of State for Finance Santosh Gangwar had responded to a question on Mallya on March 17, 2017, stating that

the person, whose name was mentioned (Mallya), was given a loan in September 2004 and that it was reviewed in February 2008. The Rs 8,040 crore loan was declared a non-performing asset (NPA) in 2009 and the NPA was restructured in 2010, he had said. “As reported by PSBs, an amount of Rs 155 crore has been recovered by conducting a mega online auction by selling from the seized properties from defaulting loan borrower Vijay Mallya,” Gangwar had told the Rajya Sabha on March 21. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, during a debate on demonetisation in the Upper House on November 17, 2016, had termed the loan issue of Mallya a “terrible legacy” that the NDA government had inherited from the previous UPA regime. But as Khare failed to get a response from the finance ministry to his RTI application, seeking details of Mallya’s loans, he had approached the CIC.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

CM Punjab helps Rahul revamp PPCC Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh today met AICC president Rahul Gandhi and discussed party reorganisation in the state to prepare in advance for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. A major revamp at the district Congress level is on the cards with the party gearing for a big fight. Amarinder also discussed with Rahul the possibility of holding the AICC plenary in Mohali though no final decision has yet been Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh with AICC president taken on the matter. Present also in the meeting were Sunil Jakhar, Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi Today’s discussion centered around Punjab Congress chief and AICC incharge of Punjab affairs Asha Kumari. revamping of the PPCC organisational State Cabinet expansion discussions structure in order to strengthen the Punjab unit were deferred until later with Amarinder of the party and prepare it better for next year’s saying these will be taken up once parliamentary elections, a party release said. A the Ludhiana MC elections conclude. tentative AICC plenary schedule is March-April.

Punjab govt to create district cadres for teachers Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Friday said the government is mulling the creation of district cadres for teachers to ensure that they remain posted in the same area, thus leading to social pressures on them to perform. He stated this during discussions with researchers and professors of the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID) here on a range of issues, including education and skill development, raising farm incomes and crop diversification.

Manpreet’s relative behind ‘goonda tax’ regime: SAD The issue of “goonda tax” on transportation of goods to and from Bathinda refinery has taken political overtones, with Akali Dal president Sukhbir Singh Badal accusing a close relative of his estranged cousin and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal of heading a consortium that is collecting “protection money”. He alleged: “This protection money or goonda tax should be called JST — Jojo Service Tax — after Jojo, the brotherin-law of Manpreet, who is leading the cartel of Congressmen demanding this unlawful tax from transporters. It is being done under the protection of the Finance Minister.” Talking to The Tribune here, Sukhbir said Rampura Phul MLA Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Faridkot MLA Kushaldeep Singh Dhillon, and another local Congress leader Khushbaz Jattana, were involved in this racket of collecting protection money from the transporters. “They have even roped in the Talwandi Sabo AAP MLA, Baljinder Kaur,” he alleged. All these leaders, when contacted, have denied the allegations and demanded a fair investigation to find out who was actually involved. Earlier this week, the transporters associated with Guru Gobind Singh Refinery had approached the Bathinda administration and complained about being forced to pay “goonda tax” by the local truck union. These transporters are reported to have told the administration that the local truck union was working at the behest of leaders associated with the ruling Congress. The issue of “goonda tax” on transportation of goods to and from Bathinda refinery has taken


Gas station owned by Sikh in US vandalised with racial slurs A gas station owned by a Sikh in the US state of Kentucky has been vandalised by a masked man with racist slurs and vulgar phrases, according to media reports. The station in Greenup County was hit by vandals last weeks, sending shock waves among community members. The vandals spray-painted vulgar phrases and symbols such as “white power, wastikas, and language too vulgar to air”, the local WSAZ TV said. Store owner Gary Singh said he was shocked by the incident. Kentucky State Police is investigating the incident. The TV channel said security footage showed a person wearing a ski mask approaching the store just after 11:30 pm. “I was really nervous about that. It happened to me for the first time in this store in four years time. I’ve never done wrong to the community here. I try to help

the community all the time,” Singh said. According to local Daily Mail, there were obscenities and other crudely-lettered markings on the store that appear to say “leave”. Singh says he came to America from India in the early 1990s to pursue the American dream, but what happened at his store is more of a nightmare. Kentucky State Police say they are investigating the case as criminal mischief but they do plan on working with county prosecutors to discuss a hate crime charge on those responsible. I am positive that this is a case of mistaken identity. The rednecks routinely mistake the brave, hardworking and honest Sikh people to be Holy Prophet followers due to their unique headgear, and ta... Read Moreandy jorgensen Customers hope the disturbing images and hateful act do not reflect on their community.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

PM Narendra Modi tears into Congress for partition, dynasty, corruption In what sounded like a warm-up speech for the 2019 elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi+ hit out at Congress as a poor loser who wanted another chance after being bowled out and said its sermons on democracy sounded trite and hollow given the monopoly of one family on power. Clearly stung by continuous heckling by Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday, Modi said, “Ye democracy ki baat aap ke mooh mein shobha nahin deti (Talk of democracy ill-suits you).” He went on to accuse the party of a tradition of undemocratic rule that began with Sardar Patel being denied the Prime Ministership to favour Jawaharlal Nehru to the election of Rahul Gandhi as party chief. Coming against the backdrop of BJP’s setbacks in Rajasthan bypolls and Congress’s new-found confidence, the

Prime Minister’s remarks pointed to an escalation of confrontation between the rivals during the ensuing state elections and the forthcoming test in Karnataka. Modi had to face heckling by Congress MPs in the Lok Sabha. But he more than matched the aggression by recalling the allegations of corruption, especially in defence purchases, promotion of the interests of one particular family at the cost of everyone else and intolerance for dissent. The PM also highlighted jump in NPAs and high rate of inflation under UPA even as he listed NDA’s achievements. Continuing his scathing attack against Congress a little later in the Rajya Sabha, the PM said the party which had turned the country into a large jail during Emergency hankered after “Old India” of the Emergency, scams and massacre of Sikhs,

PM ducked questions, gave ‘campaign speech, alleges Rahul Gandhi Calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech in Parliament as a “campaign speech”, Congress president Rahul Gandhi accused the BJP mascot of ducking questions on joblessness among youth, farm crisis, threat to security from Pakistan and China, and alleged corruption in Rafale fighter deal. Mocking Modi’s aggression against Congress, Rahul said, “The truth is the PM does not know how to take India forward. That is why he always reaches into the past... We expected a vision. Instead, we got a visionless election speech. It did not have the gravitas or maturity you would expect of the PM.” Rahul said the speech was “an attempt at diverting the nation’s attention from these problems”. According to the Congress chief, Modi dodged the Rafale deal that he had personally inked and issued a red herring of providing bamboo and honey bees to farmers in place of talking about their demand of better support price and debt waiver to farmers.He said in Parliament, Modi should be answering questions being asked by the

citizens and cannot pose questions to the country. “We are happy with the PM to be obsessed with the Congress. but it is a disservice for our PM to spend so much time on Congress and so little on the future of the nation. The nation expects the PM to respond with seriousness towards its problems.” Pappu, did Congress PM Maun Mohan Singh answer any of the questions asked by opposition? You and your mother made him merely a puppet for 10 years and looted the country. And now you want the account... Read Morebjopks66213 For the second day running, the Gandhi scion focussed on alleged corruption in Rafale purchase. “In the Rafale deal, there has been corruption and the PM is protecting those who have done corruption,” he said, adding, “The PM talked for one hour but did not utter a single word about the Rafale deal.” “We had three clear questions - You changed the contract in Paris, did you ask the cabinet committee on security and what price have you paid for the aircraft,” he said.

Srinagar central jail is a paradise for terrorists The security lapse that led to the escape of Pakistani Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorist Naveed Jat from Srinagar Central jail on Tuesday was waiting to happen. From smartphones with internet data packs to Kashmiri ‘wazwan’ mutton delicacies, all luxuries of the free world are available to inmates in the jail where several dreaded terrorists have been lodged. Jail sources said that every rule in the book is brazenly flouted in the prison, with little or no intervention from higher authorities in the state government. For example, Kashmir media regularly gets press releases of Qasim Faktu alias Ashiq Faktu, who is undergoing conviction in Srinagar Central jail for the killing of human right activist H N Wanchoo. One of the top terrorist undergoing life imprisonment is often visited by dozens of devotees who consider him a godman and receive ‘taveez’ (amulets) from him, sources said. Convicted militant leaders openly use cell phones to keep in touch with their associates in other jails and their organizations both in Kashmir and across the border in Pakistan. The 2010 unrest, according to sources, was also orchestrated from within the Central jail by the dreaded anti-India Islamist separatist Masarat Alam using mobile phones. Official sources revealed that a pharmacist, Mansoor Ahmad, has been posted in Central jail for the last ten years and developed a close rapport with the inmates. Mansoor, according to sources, helps the jailed terrorists with medical consultation and check-ups in various Srinagar hospitals. Dr Zeenat Nizami, the medical officer who

referred Naveed Jat and five other inmates for a medical check-up in SMHS hospital, has been on the jail duty for over three years. Along with her, the health department has also posted Dr Sajjad Ahmad, who is supposedly sick and remains on leave often, sources said. The militants are also known to get ‘wazwan’ (Kashmiri cuisine) mutton dishes inside the jail. Almost ten years ago, CRPF conducted a crackdown on the jail and recovered mutton choppers and knives for mincing and making ‘kebabs’ and dozens of cell phones. However, the crackdown did not change anything in the jail. Sources said such lavish treatment of militants in Central jail was extended under the patronage of the jail superintendent Hilal Ahmad Rather. However, the superintendent, who has risen from ranks, denied the charges and said, “We follow the jail menu strictly. There is no question of allowing the use cell phone inside the jail premises,” he said. Srinagar central jail, however, is not an exception where jailed terrorists enjoy all the facilities. Last year in August, police recovered twenty cell phones and some incriminating material from Baramulla sub-jail. Jammu and Kashmir health minister Bali Bhagat said that he would inquire as to how the pharmacist had been working in the jail for over a decade and the female doctor for last three years. “All the medical staff deputed to the central jail would be shifted,” the minister said. A top police officer said that prima facie it appeared that there is connivance between the entire jail staff including the doctors and paramedics that led to escape of Naveed from the jail. Investigations will reveal everything soon, he said.

Driving licence to be linked with Aadhaar The Centre is in the process of linking driving licences with Aadhaar number to weed out fake licences and a software to cover all the states on a real-time basis is under preparation, the Supreme Court was told today. A Bench comprising Justices Madan B Lokur and Deepak Gupta was informed about the process by a courtappointed committee on road safety headed by former SC judge Justice KS Radhakrishnan. This assumes significance as a five-judge

Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra is currently hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme and the enabling 2016 law. The committee, in its report filed in the SC, said it had held a meeting on November 28 last year with the Joint Secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to discuss several issues, including procurement of fake licences and measures to eliminate them.


Saturday, February 10, 2018


Hindu men go to jail as well for triple talaq offences: PM Modi Replying to the debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Motion of Thanks for the President’s address, PM Modi was particularly scathing on Congress and other opposition parties for opposing the Triple Talaq bill, saying a strange argument is being put forward that men of a certain community will go to jail and this will hurt their families. He said, Hindu men

too go to jail for offenses and there might be some discomfort for that reason. Anti India people, new christian converts, commies will find anything to criticize modi even when they know that in the end Modi is their savior but it kills them to accept and admit that.MrBoobs He also blamed Congress for delaying the bill to accord constitutional status to the OBC

What’s wrong with ‘one nation, one identity’ idea, Supreme Court The Supreme Court asked on Wednesday what was wrong with the ‘one nation, one identity’ idea in response to a statement by counsel for West Bengal and senior advocate Kapil Sibal that the apex court must decide constitutional validity of this idea, the driving force behind mandatory Aadhaar. Sibal had said that forcing citizens to get Aadhaar and its linkage to each of their social interactions was to empower the government with the right to information about people and the driving force behind making Aadhaar mandatory+ . “The real issue to be tested by the Supreme Court is the one nation, one identity idea,” he had said on Tuesday. Justice Ashok Bhushan, part of the

five-judge Constitution bench which is hearing marathon arguments on petitions challenging the validity of Aadhaar on the ground that it violated citizens’ fundamental right to privacy, asked Sibal: “What is wrong with the one nation, one identity idea? After all, we are all Indians and proud of that identity.” Sibal reacted with sarcasm, saying everything is fine with the idea. But not this to be mistaken as his acquiescence, he said: “Everything is wrong with the idea of one nation, one identity. Let us not get into a debate on that issue in court. I had said that yesterday as a legal argument and not as a political statement. To be Indian and being proud of it is fine, but

Children of soldiers ask NHRC to protect thier fathers against stone-throwers in Kashmir At a time when FIR against Armymen and withdrawal of cases against stone-pelters is a subject of hot debate in J&K, children of two Army officers took an unprecedented step to move the National Human Rights Commission, asking it to protect army personnel’s human rights being violated daily by stone-pelters. Preeti, Kajal and Prabhav, children of two Lt Colonels and a retired Naib Subedar, presented NHRC chief Justice H L Dattu with a complaint, which complimented the apex human rights body and Amnesty International for zealously protecting the human rights of locals in disturbed areas of J&K but complained that they are turning a blind eye towards the plight of Army personnel who face threat to life daily from stone-pelters. They said a suboptimal war was being waged in J&K since independence and the state as well as the Centre have decided to enforce AFSPA to require Army to assist the ‘failed state machinery’. “The Army has been deployed in J&K since the state machinery was incapable of handling the law and order situation. But the irony is that the very administration which the Army seeks to assist and support has

failed to safeguard the human rights of the armed forces personnel,” their petition said. “Do personnel of armed forces, facing grave and serious violations of human rights, not deserve the attention and empathy of the custodians of human rights? As young Indians and citizens of this great country, especially as children of Army personnel, we are concerned about the state of affairs of the troops serving in disturbed areas,” the petition said and sought urgent intervention of NHRC to hold inquiry into stone-pelting incidents and protect human rights violations of armed forces personnel. Referring to the Shopian incident of Army personnel firing in self-defence and registration of FIR against them, they asked why no FIR has been registered against stone-pelters and only against soldiers who were acting in self defence. The petitioning children told NHRC that Shopian was not an isolated incident and recounted five such FIRs lodged against armed forces personnel for taking action to secure the area from militants and stone-pelting crowd. They said neither the state government nor the Centre did anything to protect them.

Commission.”Look at what all you mocked - Swachh Bharat, Make in India, surgical strikes, Yoga Day. You are free to mock as you please but why are you blocking the bill for OBC Commission? Why are you blocking Triple Talaq Bill. Are you not sensitive to the aspirations of OBCs,” he asked.

The Prime Minister also called for a “constructive discussion” on holding of simultaneous elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies for the greater good of the country. He also sought suggestions from all parties for his government’s new healthcare programme ‘Ayushman Bharat’.

SC cancels 88 mining leases in Goa In a major setback to mining companies, the Supreme Court today cancelled 88 mining leases in Goa, holding these were given in violation of environmental norms and its orders. A Bench headed by Justice Madan B Lokur ordered the setting up of an SIT and a panel of chartered accountants for the recovery of amount from mining companies that extracted ores illegally. It ordered the Goa Government to “take all necessary steps to expedite the recovery of the amounts said to be due from the mining leaseholders pursuant to the showcause notices issued to them and pursuant to other reports available with the state of Goa, including the report of the special investigation team and the team of chartered accountants.” Terming the state government’s decision as hasty and illegal, the top court ordered the mining companies to close their operations from March 16. “The sole motive of mining leaseholders seems to be to make profits (no matter how) and the attitude seems to be that if the rule of law is required to be put on the backburner, so be it. “Unfortunately, the state is unable to firmly stop violations of law and other illegalities, perhaps with a view to maximise revenue, but without appreciating the long-term impact of this indifference,” said the Bench, which also included Justice Deepak Gupta. “The state of Goa should take all necessary steps to grant fresh mining leases in accordance with the provisions of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. The Ministry of Environment and Forest should also take all necessary steps to grant fresh environmental clearances to

those who are successful in obtaining fresh mining leases,” the Bench said. “The exercise should be completed by the state of Goa and the Ministry of Environment and Forest as early as reasonably practicable,” it added. Noting that development must be sustainable and equitable, it said the Ministry of Environment would have to grant fresh environment clearance to companies that get to exploit these mines. The top court set aside the Bombay High Court’s August 13, 2014, order in view of its earlier order that Goa was required to grant fresh licences in terms of the decision of this court in Goa Foundation. “The high court proceeded on the erroneous basis that it could direct the state of Goa to grant a second renewal of the mining leases notwithstanding the direction in Goa Foundation,” it said. In 2015, the Goa government had renewed 88 mining leases for the second time for 20 years with retrospective effect from 2007. The order came on a PIL filed by Goa Foundation, an NGO, which had challenged the government’s decision, alleging many of these leaseholders were involved in illegal mining of iron ore. The top court held the state government’s decision to renew the mining lease of the companies was in violation of law and its earlier order. The state government had renewed the mining leases in 2015, a few days before the Mines and Minerals (Regulation and Development) Act—which mandated the auction of mining leases—came into force.

India hopes everyone plays constructive role in Maldives turmoil India on Friday hoped that all countries, including China, could play a constructive role amid the ongoing political turmoil in Maldives. The Ministry of External Affairs responding to queries on media reports about Maldives seeking support from China to maintain security for Chinese investments issued a statement late evening. “We note that China has said that Maldives Government has the ability to protect the security of Chinese personnel and institutions in Maldives. We hope that all countries can play a constructive role in Maldives,

instead of doing the opposite,” said India. This came amid arrest of two journalists, including an Indian citizen, reporting for news agency AFP in Maldives on grounds not clear. Meanwhile, Maldives received backing from “friendly countries” where President Abdulla Yameenhaddispatchedoffspecialenvoysearlier. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in his meeting with the Maldivian special envoy reportedly assured him of Beijing’s backing in what is viewed as an “internal affair” and that “Yameen government is capable of handling it”.



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai urges sanctions against Pakistan Afghanistan’s former president lashed out at both the United States and Pakistan today, accusing them of using the Afghan war to further their own interests and calling on Washington to sanction Pakistani military and intelligence officials. In an interview with The Associated Press, Hamid Karzai said his country is in “terrible shape” 16 years after the USled invasion that toppled the Taliban. Karzai became president shortly after the fall of the Taliban and held office until 2014. In recent weeks Kabul has been battered by a wave of attacks claimed alternately by the Taliban and a rival Islamic State affiliate, which killed scores of people and brutally exposed the USbacked government’s failure to secure the capital.

“The US cannot tell us ‘well if I am not here, you will be worse off.’ We are in a terrible shape right now... We want to be better. We want to have peace. We want to have security,” Karzai said. Karzai said Washington wants to establish permanent bases in Afghanistan to project power in the region, while Pakistan wants to turn Afghanistan into a client state. He said US forces are not in Afghanistan “to stop extremism.” “In my view their intention is to keep us divided and weak so they can carry on their objectives in this region,” Karzai said. “They have their global politics and rivalries. They have China as a great rising power. They have Russia as a revitalized, reenergized great power on the world scene and they feel threatened and challenged.”

All-out assault on democracy’ in Maldives: UN rights chief The UN human rights chief today called the declaration of a state of emergency in the Maldives and the resulting suspension of constitutional guarantees an “all-out assault on democracy.” Political turmoil has swept the Maldives since a surprise court ruling last week that ordered the release of jailed opposition leaders, including many of President Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s main political rivals. He imposed a state of emergency on Monday. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al- Hussein said the restrictions “create a dangerous concentration of power in the hands of the president.” Maldives became a multiparty democracy 10 years ago but lost much of those

gains after Yameen was elected in 2013. Zeid said in a statement issued by his office in Geneva that Yameen “has, to put it bluntly, usurped the authority of the state’s rule-of-law institutions and its ability to work independently from the executive.” What is happening now, he said, “is tantamount to an all-out assault on democracy.” Zeid’s criticism came a day after three Maldives Supreme Court justices annulled their earlier order to free the imprisoned opposition politicians after two of the court’s justices were arrested. The annulment came after Yameen declared the state of emergency, which gives officials sweeping powers to make arrests, search and seize property and restrict freedom of assembly.

Tension grips Bangladesh ahead of corroption case verdict against former PM Khaleda Zia Bangladesh tightened security amid mounting tensions over an impending corruption trial verdict against ex-prime minister and main opposition BNP chief Khaleda Zia that may disqualify her from contesting the next general election slated for December. Elite Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and armed police were called out to guard Dhaka streets while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s ruling Awami League said their activists would be ready to “assist police” if the BNP tried to foment any unrest over the verdict. According to media reports, police in the past several days arrested over 1,000 BNP activists, including some senior leaders, suspecting they could spearhead a violent campaign if Zia is convicted. A Dhaka court is set to deliver the

judgement in the trial in which Zia, 72, and five others, including her expatriate elder son Tarique Rahman, stand accused of embezzling 21 million takas ($252,000) in foreign donations meant for the Zia Orphanage Trust. The prosecution said the charity, named after Zia’s slain husband military dictator-turned-president Ziaur Rahman - existed only on paper. Legal experts said Zia, who served as premier for three terms, could face life imprisonment if found guilty of the charges while a conviction would simultaneously disqualify her from contesting the next general election slated for December. Zia, meanwhile, in a press conference ahead of the verdict, blamed the government for unleashing a “reign of terror” ahead of the verdict and claimed she was implicated in a “false case” but said she was ready to face any fate.

US asks Pakistan to expel terrorists operating from its soil The United States has asked Pakistan to expel terrorists, especially the Taliban leaders, operating from terror safe havens within its soil, a top Trump administration official today said. “We’ve had a number of discussions with our Pakistani partners on expectations for change and expelling terrorists from areas in which they’ve been allowed to operate,” deputy secretary of state John Sullivan told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a Congressional hearing on Afghanistan. He was responding to questions from

lawmakers expressing concerns over Pakistan’s approach fighting terrorism. “They (Pakistan) understand what we expect...Our suspension of security assistance continues until we see more evidence that they are in fact taking action,” Sullivan said. He said the US has been in discussions with Pakistan but there has been not a “sufficient amount of action” from it against terrorists. Senator Bob Corker, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, supported the South Asia Policy of the Trump administration.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

In Pakistan, long-suffering Pashtuns find their voice


Trump, Modi discuss situation in Maldives over phone call US President Donald Trump and Prime Minister Narendra Modi had expressed concern about the political situation in Maldives over a phone call, as they also discussed the situation in Afghanisthan and enhancing security in Indo-Pacific region, the White House said. “Both leaders expressed concern about the political crisis in Maldives and the importance of respect for democratic institutions and rule of law,” the White House said in a readout of the phone call between Trump and Modi, the first in this year. Maldives plunged into a political chaos on last Thursday when the apex court ordered the release of nine imprisoned opposition politicians, maintaining that their trials were “politically motivated and flawed”. Maldives’ Supreme Court Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed and another judge, Ali Hameed, were arrested hours after Yameen declared a state of emergency. The White House said the two leaders also pledged to continue working together to enhance security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. “Affirming President Trump’s South Asia strategy, they reiterated their commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s security

At first, the killing last month of Naqeebullah leading the Islamabad protests. “We want all Mehsud — an aspiring model shot by police these young men to be produced before a in Karachi who claimed afterward that he court of law and concrete evidence presented was a Taliban militant — seemed merely the that they have committed any crime.” “This is one of our major demands: Stop latest in a long series of abuses carried out by authorities against ethnic Pashtuns in Pakistan. this stereotyping of Pashtuns as militants,” Ali But Mehsud’s case has proved different. The said. “Stop imposing curfew in our areas every 27-year-old’s killing, in what appears to have time there is any untoward event in another been a staged gunbattle, has prompted a protest part of the country. Let us live in peace, please.” The demonstrators, who have set up tents movement led by young Pashtuns from the tribal areas in the country’s northwest, where they outside the National Press Club in Islamabad, have long been the targets of military operations, are also demanding the arrest of Rao Anwar, a internal displacement, ethnic stereotyping Karachi police commander who has been accused and abductions by the security forces. of killing Mehsud and who is now on the run. They also say they want the army to clear Last week, a social media-savvy group of young Pashtuns organized a sit-in in Islamabad, land mines from the tribal areas, particularly the capital, promoting it with the hashtag the South Waziristan district. Ali said that #PashtunLongMarch. As of Tuesday, the since 2009, more than 35 people had been demonstration’s sixth day, at least 5,000 Pashtuns killed by land mines in South Waziristan. “I wanted to do something with my life, I wanted from the tribal areas and other parts of the country had joined, and members of all major Pakistani to become someone, but look at me,” said Islam political parties had declared their support. Zeb, from South Waziristan, who took part in the “Certainly, this kind of organized struggle for Islamabad protest. Zeb said he had been blinded Pashtun rights, reforms and resources has not in a land mine blast that cost his brother his hand. “If a soldier is wounded in a land mine been seen in years and years,” said Rahimullah Yusufzai, the Peshawar-based editor of The News, explosion, entire families are arrested, people a Pakistani newspaper. “The people of the tribal disappear without a trace,” Zeb added. The Pakistani army’s media wing denied areas have had pent-up feelings of resentment and anger at their treatment by the state for that the army had ever laid mines in the decades,” he added. “Naqeebullah’s killing was tribal areas, saying that militants had done so. just the tipping point.” The Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan, which border Afghanistan, are governed under regulations dating from the era of British colonial rule. Pakistani courts and Parliament have no jurisdiction there; instead, they are ruled by a “political agent” appointed by the central government. Pashtuns and others living in the tribal areas have few rights and can be exiled, their N NDEP PENDENT CHOOL AP PPROVED AND A FUNDE D BY homes and businesses razed, and members TR REET URR REY arrested en masse over minor transgressions.

and stability,” the White House said. As of now, there are some 680,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh putting enormous pressure on the economy of Bangladesh. Recently, Myanmar and Bangladesh agreed on a roadmap of return of these refugees to their homes in Myanmar. The US believes this is not the right time for the return of Rohingya refugees. According to the White House, during the call, Trump and Modi discussed further steps to ensure d e nu c l e a r i s at i o n of North Korea. “Finally, the leaders agreed to strengthen security and economic cooperation as they look forward to the ‘2+2’ ministerial dialogue between their defence and diplomatic officials in April,” the White House said. The ‘2+2 dialogue’ was announced after the White House meeting between Modi and Trump in June 2017. The dialogue would involve External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman from India along with their American counterparts Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis.

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After the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the tribal areas — particularly South Waziristan, where Mehsud was from, and North Waziristan — became a front line of the war on terrorism, as al-Qaida and other groups took refuge there. Pashtuns in the tribal areas suffered both from militant attacks and from crackdowns by the army, and those who fled to other parts of Pakistan — like Karachi, in Mehsud’s case — say persecution followed them. “Thousands of young Pashtun boys have disappeared in the last decade and a half, picked up from their homes and universities and streets in the name of curbing militancy,” said Farhad Ali, the 24-yearold vice chairman of the Fata Youth Jirga, one of the organizations

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

High chance of tropical cyclone developing in Fiji Another significant tropical disturbance, currently to the far North West of Fiji, near Vanuatu, is expected to move towards Fiji, gradually intensify into a tropical depression and then there is a high chance of it becoming a tropical cyclone. The Nadi Weather Office says this will bring heavy rain and strong winds gusting to about 65 kilometres per hour from Tomorrow. Director, Ravin Kumar says this will continue to be assessed and people need to listen to the weather bulletins and take necessary precautions. Kumar says the path that the weather system will take is uncertain at this stage and more information will be released based on all the

data this afternoon. He says if the system develops into a cyclone, then there is a possibility that it will become a Category 1 Tropical Cyclone near the Fiji group. A heavy rain warning remains in force for Vanua Levu, Taveuni, Kadavu and nearby smaller islands and Lau group. A heavy rain alert remains in force for the rest of Fiji. A flood alert remains in force for all low lying areas and small streams for Vanua Levu and Taveuni. Meanwhile the other tropical depression continues to move South away from Fiji. Police will charge people who are posing with the severed limb of taxi driver who died in Davuilevu this morning

Ashok Dutta passes away A well known Fijian community member Ashok Dutta passed away on January 27. He was a father, grandfather, brother Dutta, was born in Flagstaff Suva, Fiji on September 29, 1938, and passed away quietly on January 27, 2018 at his home in New Westminster. He is survived by his three sons Robert (Fiona), Thomas (Anna), Glen and granddaughter Kalinda. A private viewing was held exclusively for the immediate family, followed by privately arranged cremation of Ashok’s body. The cremation has now been completed. A Memorial Service in his honour: Memorial Service for Dutta will be held on Tuesday, February 13, 2018 At 2:00 pm at the Celebration Hall at Mountain View Cemetery, 5455 Fraser Street, Vancouver, BC A statement from the family said tha,t ‘’We understand your wish to express your concerns, thoughtfulness and sympathy at these sad times of grieving for Ashok’s children and their family. However, the family truly appreciates your affording them considerable amount of privacy and solitude in the days leading to the Memorial Service.” “Please be assured that you will have opportunities to share your

thoughts and stories with them at the day of service. Please forward any logistical questions, concerns and requests for information first to Amherst Funeral and Cremation Services’ staff at 604.831.3023 or scott@amherstcremation. com, before contacting the Family. We thank you in advance for your kind consideration at these times. Meanwhile, condolence messages to the family may be left at Ashok’s memorial page ( memorials/dutta.html), as well as thoughts, stories and photos you may want to share with the family and others.” In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations in loving memory of Ashok to Diabetes Canada foundation ( Otherwise, flowers for his memorial service can be delivered to the Celebration Hall at Mountain View Cemetery at the above address by 12:00 Noon on the day of the service. donations in loving memory of Ashok to Diabetes Canada foundation (www.diabetes. ca). Otherwise, flowers for his memorial service can be delivered to the Celebration Hall at Mountain View Cemetery at the above address by 12:00 Noon on the day of the service.

Former CEO and a senior manager of Post Fiji Limited charged FICAC has charged the former CEO of Post Fiji Limited and a senior manager of the company with corruption-related offences. Former CEO of Post Fiji Wing Ham Wong is charged with one count of Aiding and Abetting False Misleading Documents and one count of General Dishonesty Causing a Loss while current Supply Chain Manager Abdul Irshad Ali is charged with one count of Producing False

or Misleading Documents. It is alleged that between the 1st of July to the 1st of October, 2016, Wing Ham Wong caused a risk of loss to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority and provided an underrated value for an LG LED TV purchased for his own use knowing that a loss will occur to the Fiji Revenue and Customs Authority.

Lawyer’s tweet may suggest that Gov’t party FijiFirst was behind the Hindu temple attacks Suva lawyer Richard Naidu has today said that he did not imply that the FijiFirst was behind the recent desecration of temples in the country. Naidu had tweeted quote “Temple vandalized; Fiji Sun screams temple terror. This is about scaring Indo Fijian voters back to the arms of the FijiFirst Party” end quote. When questioned by Fijivillage on whether he meant that the FijiFirst was behind the desecration of temples, Richard Naidu says this was not the case and he believes that there are no legal issues relating to what he had tweeted.National Federation Party Leader, Professor Biman Prasad had retweeted Naidu’s comments and he has said that his retweets do not mean that he is endorsing the tweet. Meanwhile, Fiji Labour Party’s Assistant General Secretary Aman Ravindra Singh has publicly alleged on Facebook that the Prime Minister and Attorney General are behind the temple attacks. When questioned by Fijivillage on his allegation, Singh said that he has to comment later as he was travelling. He has not answered his phone despite numerous calls this afternoon. We have also sought comments from the FijiFirst. SODELPA parliamentarian Mosese Bulitavu has already said that that he does not know the source of a video which he shared on Facebook, that shows a doctored interview of Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama. The video

has been clearly edited and it is different from the original interview that was broadcast on Fiji One back in 2014. It has parts where Bainimarama talks about the politics of fear and then certain parts are removed resulting in him only saying that if FijiFirst wins, after the elections you won’t be able to pray to Jesus. The same is being done when he says that they will get rid of the chiefs and forget about the rights of the Itaukei. Bainimarama has continued to stress that the constitution guarantees freedom of religion and the state will not favour one religion over another, the chiefs continue to be chiefs in their villages and there are no changes and the land rights of the Itaukei are fully protected under the constitution. When questioned by Fijivillage on the issue of sharing the doctored video, Bulitavu says he did not know that it was a fake video and he stresses that he has done nothing wrong. He says he is not a source of the video, he did not reproduce it and he is only part of the group that shared the video. Bulitavu also says that people should not just pick on him as other people also shared the video. Neither the FijiFirst nor the Fiji Police Force have said anything today in relation to comments made in the social media about the Prime Minister and the Attorney General

MP Chand cleared of any criminal charges Opposition Member of Parliament Parmod Chand will not be charged for an alleged case of sedition. A statement issued by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution said DPP Christopher Pryde had decided that no charges would be laid against Mr Chand. There is insufficient reliable evidence to support any criminal charges against Mr Chand

and, therefore, the docket has been returned to Police, Mr Pryde said. Mr Chand was arrested by Police and interviewed under caution on December 8 last year on suspicion of committing seditious offences. He is alleged to have made seditious comments at a shop in Delailabasa on August 14 last year.

High Court jails duo for murder of Nadi man Two men were found guilty - one for murder and the other for manslaughter - in relation to the death of Nawaicoba, Nadi, man Vasuwedan Naidu in April, 2014. Mataiasi Ului, 34, was found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment by the High Court in Lautoka this morning. Maikeli Loko, 35, was found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to three years in

prison by Justice Paul Madigan. Ului will serve a minimum term of 15 years and Loko three years before being considered for parole. The two were charged along with Rakesh Kumar and Vinod Segran in April 2014, in relation to the death of Mr Naidu. Mr Kumar and Mr Segran were acquitted of all charges by the High Court in Lautoka.

Student reports school principal to Police A SCHOOL principal in the Western Division is being investigated by the Fiji Police Force on allegations of sexual assault on a student. The student is believed to have filed a report with Police.

When contacted this afternoon, Police spokesperson Ana Naisoro confirmed that a report had been lodged and investigations into the matter had begun.


Saturday, February 10, 2018

China has commercial and military interests in Pakistan’s southern port city of Gwadar: US lawmakers China has both commercial and military interests in the Pakistani port city of Gwadar, the US think-tank community has told lawmakers while lauding the Trump administration for strengthening its partnership with India across all the services — political, civilian and military. At the same time, recent developments indicate the Pakistani leadership has increasingly been realising that Chinese investment is more about the latter’s economic and strategic interest, members of the community told lawmakers during a Congressional hearing on Pakistan by the House Foreign Relations committee. “Going back a decade, a lot of Indian strategists were concerned about and publicly complaining about the possibility China would build a string of pearls of port facilities and logistics facilities along the Indian Ocean rim and those concerns were sort of downplayed at the time,” said Jeff Smith, research fellow for South Asia at the Heritage Foundation. “But I think they may have just come a decade too early, because what we have seen in recent years is that China does have plans for military facilities and installations,” he said in response to a question

from Congresswoman Ann Wagner. Smith commended the Trump administration for its efforts to strengthen partnership with India. “That, in some ways, we see India as a net provider of security in the Indian Ocean and that partnership has made really dramatic progress over the past 10 years,” he said. Smith said The US has a unique relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Trump administration is “very bullish” to move it forward. “A strong US-India partnership more than anything will secure our interests in the Indian Ocean,” he said. Noting that last fall Pakistan refused to capitulate to China’s demand to accept Chinese currency within the Gwadar free zone, Ann Wagner asked if they see Beijing’s funding conditions for the ChinaPakistan economic corridor becoming a wedge issue that inhibits cooperation between the two countries. “President Trump has advocated for 350-ship Navy, given that China seems to have designated Gwadar a future PLA naval base, are we doing enough to prepare for China’s creep westward?” she asked.

US imposes sanctions against Pakistan-based terrorists Trump administration imposed sanctions against three individuals allegedly linked to Pakistan based terror networks as it called on the Pakistani government to deny sanctuaries to “dangerous” individuals and organisations. US department of treasury designated the trio as “global terrorists” for their links to terror outfits like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and The Taliban. This has been done as part of our efforts to disrupt South Asian terrorist support networks, the treasury said. The three include Rahman Zeb Faqir Muhammad, Hizb Ullah Astam Khan and Dilawar Khan Nadir Khan. As a result of today’s designation, all property and

interests in property of the trio subject to US jurisdiction are blocked and the US citizens are prohibited from engaging in transactions with them. “The treasury continues to aggressively pursue and expose radicals who support terrorist organisations and run illicit financial networks across South Asia,” said Sigal Mandelker, treasury under secretary for terrorism and financial intelligence. He said they were targeting operatives who provide logistical support, improvised explosive devices and other technological assistance to al-Qaeda, LeT, the Taliban and other terrorist groups.

Valentine’s Day celebrations banned in Pakistan Pakistan electronic media regulatory authority directed local media outlets to refrain from promoting or showing Valentine’s Day celebrations as such activities were against the Islamic teachings. High Court in a verdict passed on a petition submitted by a citizen February in 2017, had prohibited the celebration of Valentine’s Day , February 14 in public spaces and government offices across the country “with immediate effect”. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) issued the directives in the light of the HC verdict passed in February last year.

“In the meanwhile, respondents are directed to ensure that nothing about the celebration of Valentine Day and its promotion is spread on the Electronic and Print Media,” the PEMRA said in a statement. “No event shall be held at official level and at any public place. Chairman PEMRA directed to ensure that all the TV channels shall stop the promotion of Valentine Day, forthwith,” it said. Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) directed countrywide broadcast media to “desist” from promoting the day.

Anti terrorism court orders death sentence to one of 25 for killing student who was falsely accused of blasphemy A Pakistani anti terrorism court on Wednesday awarded death sentence to one person, life sentences to five people and jail term of four years to 25 others for last year’s lynching of a 23-year-old university student who was falsely accused of blasphemy. A student of mass communication, Mashal Khan, was beaten and shot to death in the hostel of Abdul Wali Khan University in northwestern Mardan district in April for allegedly posting “blasphemous content” on Facebook. His half-naked body was later thrown out of the building where dozens of men started kicking and hitting it with

sticks and planks. The incident shocked the nation and sparked a debate over misuse of Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws. A total of 57 accused were indicted in the case. Three suspects, including a tehsil councilor of the Imran Khanled Pakistan Tehreek-eInsaf, are still absconding. Talking to media, Mashal Khan’s father, Iqbal said he felt justice had not been delivered as the court acquitted 26 suspects despite video evidence. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa CM Pervez Khattak said his government would appeal against the acquittal of 26 people. “The police is trying to arrest three absconders,” he said

15-year-old boy held for raping and murdering girl, 4 Police arrested a 15-year-old for allegedly raping and murdering a four-year-old girl last month in Mardan, a district in the country’s northwestern province. Police chief of Khyber Pakhtun-Khwa (KPK) province, Salahuddin Mehsud, said the suspect was traced by DNA samples obtained from a single drop of blood found on a leaf near the crime scene. “The suspect was arrested despite

the fact that the case was completely blind. There were no CCTV footages as well,” Mehsud said, claiming that the accused has confessed to his crime. Mardan police chief, Alam Shinwari, said the juvenile offender was a close relative of the victim. The accused — a daily wager at a local restaurant — didn’t go to work on January 13, the day he had raped and murdered the fouryear-old child.

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

High-skilled Indian workers rally for Trump’s ‘merit-based immigration plan About 200 Indians rallied in front of the White House on Saturday in support of a Trump administration plan for a “meritbased� immigration system that they argue would benefit thousands of high-skilled visa holders who’ve waited years to become legal permanent residents. The demonstrators, many of them software engineers and other technical workers from South Asia who hold H1-B visas, said a backlog in green card applications has kept them in limbo while their children face the risk of becoming too old to benefit from the immigration process as dependents. At the rally, organized by the Illinois-based Republican Hindu Coalition, they urged President Trump to cut through the backlog and place a higher priority on the problems faced by immigrants in the United States legally. “When I came here, my daughter was 6 years old,� said Nandu

Konduri, 45, a software engineer in North Carolina who has been waiting for his green card application to be processed since 2007. “Many kids have already aged out. We feel stuck.� Indians are among the country’s fastestgrowing immigrant populations, with about 3.5 million people nationwide and nearly 137,000 Indian immigrants in the Washington region, according to U.S. Census estimates. With Trump also believed to be considering reforms that would prevent H1-B holders from extending their three-year visas, some anxiety has rippled through that community as well as others with large numbers of high-skilled workers in the country. Some groups have found hope in a Trump proposal, announced last month, that calls for assigning points to green card applicants based on such factors as age, education and English skills.

Indian-origin man jailed for life for murdering ex-wife in UK An Indian-origin man in the UK has been sentenced to life in prison for killing his ex-wife following an argument at their home. Ashwin Daudia, 51, was on a trial for killing Kiran Daudia, 46, and then stuffing her body in a suitcase. He had denied the murder charge, claiming he lost his temper during an argument with Kiran at their home in Leicester last January and did not attack her deliberately. But

the jury did not accept his version of events and found him guilty of killing Kiran, a call centre worker. Ashwin was caught on CCTV dragging his ex-wife’s body in a suitcase before dumping it in an alleyway. “I was angry, I lost control,� he told the Leicester Crown Court, adding that Kiran had initially assaulted him and to silence her he put his hand over her mouth and then forcefully squeezed her neck.

Bid to enact ‘Sherin’s Law’ in Texas gaining momentum Efforts to have a new law in the US state of Texas which would make it a felony to leave a child alone at home is gathering steam and has won the support of a lawmaker in whose constituency 3-year-old Indian girl Sherin Mathews was found dead in a culvert, a media report said. The decomposed body of Sherin

was found in Richardson city in suburban Dallas on October 22, over two weeks after she was reported missing by her Indian-American foster father, Wesley Mathews. The proposed ‘Sherin’s Law’ would make it a felony to leave a child at home alone, US media reports quoted activists involved in the move as saying.

Indian-American lawyer wrote Republican memo critical of Indian-American lawyer Kashyap “Kash� Patel is the author of the controversial Republican memo critical of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and some Justice Department officials that is roiling the American political landscape, according to media reports. Patel drafted the document that asserts that there were improprieties in the FBI probe into alleged connections between President Donald Trump’s campaign and the Russian government. The memo prepared on behalf of the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee was made public on Friday after Trump cleared its release despite opposition from the FBI and the Democrats. Patel is on the staff of Representative Devin Nunes, the Republican who is chairman of the committee. Quoting sources according “familiar with

the memo,� Daily Beast said that Patel “read the highly classified intelligence it’s based on (something the Justice Department indicates Nunes has not done), drafted the memo, and then dealt with FBI and Justice Department efforts to keep it from being released to the public.� He formerly worked for the National Security Division of the Justice Department, the Daily Beast reported. He joined the committee as a senior counter-terrorism counsel last April. The crux of the Republcian memo is the allegation that the FBI relied on investigations of Trump that was paid for by the Democratic National Committee and lawyers linked to Hillary Clinton’s campaign when applying to a court for permission to wiretap a Trump adviser, Carter Page, and that the FBI did not disclose this fact to the judge.

Rise in hate crimes against South Asians, Arabs in USA A year after President Donald Trump won the election, there has been a substantial increase in hate violence against South Asian, Muslim, Sikh, Hindu, Middle Eastern, and Arab communities in the US, a report said on Friday. Between November 9, 2016 and November 7, 2017, the not-for-profit group South Asian Americans Living Together (SAALT) said in a report that it recorded 302 incidents of hate violence and xenophobic political rhetoric aimed at these communities. This is an over 45 per cent increase from its previous analysis in just a year, SAALT said adding that this has not been seen since the year after the attacks of September 11, 2001. This breaks down further into 213 incidents of hate violence and 89 instances of xenophobic political rhetoric -- of which 248, or an astounding 82 per cent, were motivated by anti-Muslim sentiment, it said. One in

five perpetrators of hate violence incidents referenced President Trump, a Trump policy, or a Trump campaign slogan, underlining a strong link between the president’s anti-Muslim agenda and hate violence post- election, SAALT said. Suman Raghunathan, executive director of SAALT alleged that through its policies and rhetoric, the Trump administration’s incessant demonisation of Islam has created an environment of hate and fear-mongering for Muslims and those perceived to be Muslim. “Deadly shootings, torched mosques, vandalised homes and businesses, and young people harassed at school have animated an acutely violent post-election year. This administration must break eye contact with white supremacy if our nation is to live up to its highest ideals of religious freedom,� Raghunathan said.


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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Esha Gupta shows you how to rock the bikini top with pants f you go through Esha Gupta’s Instagram feed, you would understand why one could definitely use all the synonyms of beautiful, hot and seductive for the actress. Recently, the actress took to her Instagram to share another smouldering picture of herself in a floral bikini top paired with mustard yellow pants and an elegant neckpiece. The perfectly toned hot bod, the alluring look on her face and the tousled beachy waves will make go weak in your knees. On the work front, the beauty is working on her next film ‘Paltan’ helmed by J P Dutta. In the film, she will be reuniting Arjun Rampal after their

last flick together, ‘Chakravyuh’. Esha Gupta (born 28 November 1985)is an Indian film actress, model, and the winner of the Miss India International title of 2007. She has established a career in Bollywood films. Gupta entered the Femina Miss India contest in 2007, where she placed third and won the Miss India International title, and later represented India at Miss International pageant. She soon received offers for film roles, and made her acting debut in the 2012 moderately successful crime thriller Jannat 2, that fetched her a nomination for the Filmfare Award for Best Female Debut. Gupta received praise for her portrayal in the political drama Chakravyuh (2012),

Amitabh Bachchan hospitalised eports of A m i t a b h Bachchan’s illhealth have been doing rounds for a while now. According to latest reports, the megastar has been admitted to the hospital today on February 9 at Mumbai’s Lilavati hospital. The veteran actor has reportedly been complaining of pain in neck and spine and was admitted to the hospital as part of routine check-up. Big B was admitted at around pm and a team of doctors have been examining his health. His immediate family members are reportedly present at the hospital. Bachchan had also suffered a shoulder injury recently owing to which he skipped the birthday celebrations of his son Abhishek in Australia. On the work front, the trailer of his latest movie ‘102 Not Out’ released today which also stars

Rishi Kapoor in lead role. The duo will be reuniting after 27 years. In 1983, he played a triple role in Mahaan, and starred in the top-grossing film of that year, Coolie. On 26 July 1982, while filming Coolie, in the University Campus in Bangalore, Bachchan suffered a near fatal intestinal injury during the filming of a fight scene with co-actor Puneet Issar. Bachchan was performing his own stunts in the film and one scene required him to fall onto a table and then on the ground. However, as he jumped towards the table, the corner of the table struck his abdomen, resulting in a splenic rupture from which he lost a significant amount of blood.













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HOROSCOPE Aries March 21 - April 20 Your social life continues to blossom, and with lovely Venus aligning with electric Uranus on February 6, an unexpected encounter could prove quite delightful. However, if you want this to develop into a supportive friendship, you will need to nurture it. Tuesday can be an opportunity to clarify              completed. Doing so can help ensure success, Finally, with sociable Venus moving into Pisces on Saturday, you may be eager to help with a

Taurus April 21 - May 20 With the sun in the topmost               in the spotlight. This, along with other aspects, encourages you to come forward and showcase your best qualities. If you get an intuitive nudge to connect with someone, listen to it. It could help you move further along your path to greater success. On Saturday, delightful Venus, your ruling planet, moves into Pisces and your social zone. This can enhance your love life and add a sparkling quality to any key events.


May 20 - June 21 Are you looking for adventure? If so, this week’s backdrop could coincide with an encounter with someone who has an engaging idea. They may suggest a trip or an opportunity to explore new ideas or traverse fresh terrain. On another note, getting support from someone for an idea of yours can be         Be sure to talk to him or her about it.

Cancer June 22 - July 23 You could be tempted to put money into a brilliant idea. However, it might be wise to               a waste of money should you lose interest. When it comes to romance, you might be tempted to try to hurry the progress of a budding relationship. This could be wise, but a quarter moon in Scorpio suggests that doing so could hinder rather than help you.

Libra $ <# = > <<       the chance to indulge in a favorite hobby. With a lively focus on your leisure zone, time spent in fun pursuits can act as a restorative, especially if you have a lot of responsibilities at home. A quarter moon in Scorpio on Wednesday might encourage you to keep an eye on the costs, though,            

Scorpio > <? = &5 << The stellar backdrop for this                 and taking the chance to step back from life and see things in perspective. However, with lovely Venus aligning with electric Uranus, you might be eager to purchase a gadget for the home that can save time and make life easier. If it improves your diet or gets you exercising more, so much the better.

Sagitarius Nov 23 - Dec 22 The midweek quarter moon suggests that unresolved issues could be the reason youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re holding back from making a move or beginning         !            would be worthwhile to take the time to resolve it. Once you do, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll have a lot more energy to put into any plans youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been mulling over.

Capricorn Dec 23 - Jan 20                 expensive groups or clubs, even though Wednesdayâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quarter moon may be urging you to invest in your social life. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best to do a little research on prices before you go ahead. In addition, if someone asks to borrow money, it might be wise to say no for now. On another note, the move of convivial Venus into your communication zone


Leo June 24 - August 23 Your relationships can be upbeat and vibrant this week, with one encounter proving exceptionally exciting. You may be tempted to go on an impromptu trip or break, and if you do

        time for teamwork and cooperating with others rather than going it alone. You stand to gain more by assisting in rather than directing key


Virgo   <# = $ <# The current blend of energies could certainly keep you busy, which is why itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so helpful to look after your well-being. With an intense focus on your sector of creativity, you could be              you. Therefore, eating well and working out on a regular basis can help you stay upbeat and positive, as well as enable you to feel really good.

Jan 21 - Feb 19 With lovely Venus in your sign aligning with electric Uranus in your sector of communication, unexpected news or an impromptu invitation could bring a pleasant surprise. However, the midweek quarter moon suggests youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to consider your priorities before you make any decisions. The choice between running with goals and plans that pertain to your career or those that are meaningful to you

Pisces Feb 20 - March 20 This week could bring an opportunity to make a key decision regarding your spiritual path. The quarter moon on Wednesday might encourages you to learn to meditate, take up yoga, or connect with others who share your ideas and ideals. Even so, beliefs inherited from childhood              "    the ideas youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re eager to adopt. Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to resolve this in whatever way seems best

Salman and Katrina No. 1 on Times Celebex Launched in September 2012, Times Celebex is a monthly rating index based on several measurable parameters, including the starsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Box-Office performance, their ability to stay in the news across print, TV and online, their brand endorsements, and their popularity among fans on the Internet and social media. These are taken cumulatively to assign the actors a final rank called the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;T Scoreâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Times Celebex is a scientific and robust ranking system based on data collected from 60+ publications and 250+ TV channels, making it the first ever

ranking system for Bollywood. We have put together the starsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; ranking for the month of December 2017. Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif top the Times Celebex powered by Zoom list for the month of December 2017. Salman Khan rocked the box office with â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Tiger Zinda Haiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; the sequel to his 2012 hit â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Ek Tha Tigerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Bhaiâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; was back in his elements as RAW agent Tiger. Significant gainers in the month of December 2017

Madhubala - 14 February 1933 Mumtaz Jehan Begum, Madhubala was born on 14 February 1933 in Delhi. Her father was an ethnic Pathan Attaullah Khan.     Basant (1942), and it was     

  acted as the daughter to a mother played by actress     year old Madhubala, then a child star often tottered around various studios of Bombay in search of work and made several friends there. Around the same time, another child artist â&#x20AC;&#x153;Baby Mahajbeenâ&#x20AC;? also visited these studios and was known to Madhubala. This child artist, later on, became one of the most sought after stars and one of her contemporaries such as Meena Kumari. Actress Devika Rani was also impressed by her performance and potential, and advised her to assume the screen name â&#x20AC;&#x153;Madhubalaâ&#x20AC;?,literally meaning â&#x20AC;&#x153;honey         ! "#   $  %   when he cast her opposite Raj Kapoor in & % '"*#+- /      in which she was credited as Mumtaz before assuming her screen name 0  5    popularity in 1949 when she was cast

- 23 February 1969

as the lead in Bombay Talkies studioâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mahal â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a role intended for wellknown star

    7   Madhubala, with established actresses, screen-tested for the role !     7     %   /            in 1949 India Following the success of Mahal,  $$       hits Dulari (1949), Beqasoor (1950), Tarana (1951) and Badal (1951). ;    Mughal-e-Azam that marked what many consider to be Madhubalaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greatest achievement

Bollywood Personalitiesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Birthdays






Saturday, February 10, 2018

Film: ‘Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety’


ver since reports came out that Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat will released and lock horns with R Balki’s Pad Man, there has been a ripple effect on other upcoming films, with some even pushing their dates. Sidharth Malhotra’s Aiyaary has been postponed from January 26 to February 9, and horrorthriller Pari, which stars Anushka Sharma, will now release on March 2 instead of February 9. But one film that seems unaffected by all the chaos is Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety, released on February 9.

“My film is safe,” says Ranjan, “because in today’s time, with the number of theatres and shows running in a single day, two weeks is a long time. If there is an audience that wants to see both Pad Man and Padmaavat, they are not going to wait till the third week to watch it.” The director, known for Pyaar Ka Punchnama (2011) and Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 (2015), adds that since people would have already watched two films on a weekend, they might want a break before watching the next one. However, when asked if the clash with Aiyaary will eat into his film’s business, Ranjan says he is not worried at all. “Aiyaary is a thriller and mine is a fun comedy, and I don’t see people shunning one for another. Yeah, if there was a rom-com or a comedy coming out on the same day, I would have felt that the business might get divided. But thankfully, there’s no comparison here,” he clarifies. Ranjan also points out that none of the two films is going to be released across all 3,000 screens. “So, if two films of the right size and different genres are releasing on the same date, the coexistence is quite easily manageable.” Actors Sunny Singh, Nushrat Bharucha, and Kartik Aaryan in Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety. Talking about the fuss around re-scheduling a film’s release date, the filmmaker states that it is bound to happen with limited Fridays and so many more movies being made.



Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety

*ing: Kartik Aaryan, Nushrat




*ing: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor

New Released Bollywood Films Jan


PADMAAVATI *ing: Deepika Ranvir Singh




*ing: Amit Kumar, Priti Sharma, Vashishth



KAALAKAANDI *ing: Saif Ali Khan and Sobhita Dhulipala




Saturday, February 10, 2018

Yami Gautam gets into action mode


he may be known for her stunning looks and delicate demeanour, but Yami Gautam is all set to change that perception through

an upcoming film. We hear that the actress will unleash her action avatar in her next and will be seen kicking some butt. A source close to her reveals, “She is prepping for her next, which requires her to perform a few action scenes for the first time. Yami has hit the gym and has been actively

undergoing weight training. While she was always athletic, the film requires her to sport a toned body.” Kangana Ranaut, Yami Gautam and Rithvik Dhanjani spotted at the airport Kangana Ranaut, Yami Gautam and Rithvik Dhanjani spotted at the airport. a m i Gautam was born in a Himachali family in Bilaspur, Himachal Pradesh and was brought up in Chandigarh. Her father Mukesh


Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone’s alleged love life After the much-innews wedding of Anushka Sharma and Virat Kohli, one Bollywood couple that fans have been waiting to see hitched is Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone. If reports are anything to go by, Ranveer may have just spilled the beans on his marriage plans, allegedly admitting that he does have “marriage” on his “mind”, though there is “nothing decisive” yet. The actor has reportedly confessed that he has a lot on his mind with several work commitments as he is currently shooting for ‘Gully Boy’ besides having ‘Simmba’ in hand and ‘83’ yet to be worked upon. Meanwhile, reports are rife that the alleged lovebirds are looking forward to a

destination wedding and given their fascination for the beaches, they may even end up having an intimate beach wedding. Excited much? Ranveer Singh Bhavnani (born 6 July 1985) is an Indian film actor who appears in Hindi films. He is the recipient of several awards, including two Filmfare Awards, and is among the highest-paid actors in the country. After completing a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University Bloomington, Singh returned to India to pursue his career in films.

Film : ‘Padmaavati’

Rani Padmavati (Deepika Padukone) the wife of Maharawal Ratan Singh (Shahid Kapoor), is known for her beauty and valour in 13th century India. She captures the fancy of the reigning Sultan of Delhi, the tyrant Alauddin Khilji (Ranveer Singh), who becomes obsessed with her and goes to great lengths to fulfill his greed. Based on a Sufi poem of the same name written in 1540 by Malik Muhammad Jayasi, Sanjay Leela Bhansali has added his own flair and interpretation to ‘Padmaavat’, giving it a fairy-tale sheen. This makes

all the controversy pointless, and pale in comparison to the spectacle that unfolds. Bhansali reunites with two of his favourite leads in recent times - Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh, but adds Shahid Kapoor to complete this trio of commendable acting talent. Shahid is steadfast and unflappable as Maharawal Ratan Singh - the ruler of Mewar, brimming with Rajput pride. He brings a regal aura to the character that warrants him winning the confidence and loyalty of the Mewar kingdom and more importantly, Rani Padmavati’s heart.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

‘Dil Juunglee’ paves the way for ‘Aiyaary’, will now release on March 23


he Saqib Saleem and Taapsee Pannu-starrer ‘Dil Juunglee’, which was slated to release on February 16 along with ‘Aiyaary’ that features Sidharth Malhotra and Manoj Bajpayee, will now avoid the clash and hit the screens

on March 23. Talking about the musical chairs that films have had to play, with regards to release dates since Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Padmaavat released on January 26, Jayantilal Gada, one of the producers of ‘Aiyaary’, told BT, “Aiyaary was all set to release on Republic Day. However, when the makers of ‘Padmaavat’ announced their release date as January 26, we respected the decision and changed our release date to February 9. Then, the makers of ‘Padman’ shifted their release date to February 9 to avoid the clash with ‘Padmaavat’. Even though ‘Aiyaary’ was scheduled to release on February 9, there was a delay in getting a clearance from the CBFC. We got the certificate only on February 6 and that’s why we had to change our date of release to February 16. Neeraj Pandey (director of ‘Aiyaary’) and I requested Vashu Bhagnani (producer of ‘Dil Juunglee’, which was also scheduled to release on February 16), to move the release date forward. It was a mutual decision.” Neeraj added, “In this industry it is crucial to help each other

Now, Karni Sena after Kangana film The Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which has strongly protested against the release of periodic drama “Padmaavat”, has decided to back the Sarv Brahmin Mahasabha’s protest against the “historical tampering” of Queen Laxmi Bai, also called Jhansi Ki Rani, in the film “Manikarnika” starring Kangana Ranaut. The film is based on the life of ‘Jhansi ki Rani’ and allegedly shows the relationship of the queen with a British officer. Shree Rajput Karni Sena founder Lokendra Singh Kalvi, asked if his outfit is lending support to the Brahmin Mahasabha in its fight against the film, said, “Agar Brahmin ka khoon bahega to Rajput kya chup rahega, jab Rajput ka khoon baha to Brahmin kabhi chup nahi raha (Rajputs will never keep quiet if Brahmins are affected, and vice versa).” He

claimed that 10,000 letters were signed with blood by Brahmins to protest the release of “Padmaavat”. Asked if there is any chance of the film being released in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat, Kalvi said the “Supreme Court cannot dictate to cinema halls to release the film and depute paramilitary forces outside cinema halls”. The four states had earlier decided against releasing the film. Sarva Brahmin Mahasahba on Wednesday urged the Governor of Rajasthan to ban ‘Manikarnika’ from being shot in the state In a memorandum submitted to Governor Kalyan Singh, the Mahasabha apprehended that the film was based on the controversial book, Rani, and it was going to distort the history of the queen of Jhansi .

Bollywood out and solidarity goes a long way. We appreciate that Vashuji has decided to move the release of ‘Dil Juunglee’. All films need the right space in theatres to flourish and nobody understands and appreciates that more than filmmakers.” According to Vashu Bhagnani, it’s easier for individual producers to make changes in release dates of films, as opposed to bigger studios, which involve a large number of decision-makers. He said, “Nowadays, there are fewer individual producers. For us, it is easier to pick up the phone and speak to each other and come to a decision. Corporate studios don’t have the authority to make such decisions. When two films release on the same day, the damage is borne by both. A producer should be able to


have a solo release, because the effort put into making a film is huge. Dates have to be announced beforehand because that’s how the business works, but if the dates can be adjusted, then it benefits everybody. Since I have cooperated with the producers of ‘Aiyaary’, it will benefit me in the future. ‘Aiyaary’ has already had to change the date twice, so it’s only fair that I change the date of my film to avoid the clash.” Jayantilal Gada added, “Considering there are only 52 weeks in a year and the minimum number of films releasing is close to 200, if it is possible to adjust dates for your other friends from the industry, you should do it. If I didn’t know the producer, it would have been difficult. As a businessman I look at this as a part of trade, but why should the creative people involved in the process of filmmaking fall prey to this date conundrum? I believe that even in the future, producers will help each other.”



Saturday, February 10, 2018


When Rohit ironed Tabu’s sarees Not many know that Rohit Shetty was a spot boy before picking up the directorial baton. When Tabu was shooting for Haqeeqat (1995), he was assigned the task of ironing her sarees. While shooting with Kajol for a project, his job was to touch up her hair for an entire schedule. The filmmaker got candid on India’s Next Superstars, the reality show he judges. The Golmaal Again (2017) director said this is the reason he respects people who work under him on the set, especially the spot boys. Karan Johar’s twins Roohi and Yash celebrated their firs birthday on Wednesday. Buddy-turned-foe-turned-pal Kajo was conspicuous by her absence. It is said that she was shooting for Pradeep Sarkar’s Ela, so gave it a skip. She was too tied up to attend the birthday party even for a short while. Kareena Kapoor Khan with Taimur, Rani Mukerji, Alia Bhatt, Shweta Bachchan Nanda Shah Rukh Khan with AbRam, Kaajal Anand, Varun Dhawan, Sonaksh Sinha and Sidharth Malhotra were among the guests. Sid, Shweta and Kaajal wore T-shirts with Roohi and Yash written on them

Dharmendra is shooting for the last leg of Yamla Pagla Deewana Phir Se. The 82-year-old is keen to up the fun quotient and is also penning the funny lines.

Altered to suit Abhi-Ash Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan were to team up for Shailesh R Singh’s production last year. There was a lot of curiosity about the project as they were to play a cop couple in the thriller. The latest is that the makers have tweaked the script on Ash’s suggestion. The duo will be given a joint narration soon. The makers are hopeful that they will give their final nod and the film rolls later this year.

Kajol missing from KJo’s bash

Is something brewing? Go for gold This is supposed to be Katrina Kaif’s look in a song sequence in Thugs Of Hindostan. The actor’s online fan groups have been sharing leaked pictures from the set. Kat is dressed in a shiny gold outfit. Knowing how guarded the makers are about the film, someone will has a lot to answer about how the pictures went viral. In the past, when coactor Aamir Khan’s look was leaked, he had insisted on stringent security and ensured cell phones and visitors were banned on the set.

Even before rumours of her liking for Brahmastra co-star Ranbir Kapoor manage to gather steam, it appears that Alia Bhatt has found love elsewhere. Hike Messenger founder Kavin Mittal, son of billionaire entrepreneur Sunil Mittal, is speculated to have caught her attention. The two met at the World Economic Forum in New Delhi in October 2017 where they spoke about following one’s passion. A source says, “They want to take time to let their friendship evolve. Given their commitments, they see little of each other. But it’s certainly a friendship that can go a long way.”

Divine cal Yesterday, Kangan Ranaut and Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi producer Kamal Jain visited the Karni Mata Templ Bikaner. Looks lik Kangy was keen to seek divine intervention after facing protests from the Sarv Brahman Mahasabha. The Rajasthan-based group is concerne about the way Ran Laxmibai is being portrayed.


Saturday, February 10, 2018 ,


his way out of of taking the stairs, on ad te ins or flo st fir e rs to jump off th the big screen? Ishaan Khatter prefe r restrict his stunts to te gs un yo e th t es gg the gym. Might we su


Shilpa Shetty offers a product she is launching to a lensman. Talk about hard selling


Kriti Sanon, Diana Penty, Ayushmann Khurrana and wife Tahira Kashyap attend the special screening of a film

ENGROSSED Shabana Azmi reads in rapt attention as Jaaved Jaaferi shows her something on his phone

WHAT’S COOKING? Harshvardhan Kapoor is spotted on a night out with musician Monica Dogra


Saturday, February 10, 2018

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Reflecting The South-Asian Lifestyle

Saturday, February 10, 2018



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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Name change I, Manveer Singh, son of Maninder Pal Singh Bumrah, holder of Indian Passport No. N6895227 issued at Vancouver Canada , on 08/04/2016, permanent resident of H. No.2, Street 12, Ajit Nagar, Jalandhar ,Punjab, India, and presently residing at 6520 123 A Street, Surrey BC Canada V3W 1P7, do hereby change my name from Manveer Singh to Manveer Singh Bumrah with immediate effect.

Name change I, Maninder Pal Singh Bumrah father of Harkirat Kaur holder of Indian Passport No. H6155365 issued at Jalandhar , on 08/01/2010, permanent resident of H. No.2, Street 12, Ajit Nagar, Jalandhar ,Punjab, India, and presently residing at 6520-123 A Street, Surrey BC Canada V3W 1P7, do hereby change the name of my daughter from Harkirat Kaur to Harkirat Kaur Bumrah with immediate effect.

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Community news South Asian Seniors - Manage your Health & Control your Anxiety, Swami Ashwini Prajnaa on 11th Feb. 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 an important Presentation on - Manage your Health & Control your Anxiety - by Swami Ashwini Prajnaa a Yoga expert from 1st Humanity Fellowship New Brunswick Canada on 11th February 2018 (Sunday) from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm at Shanti Niketan hall of Lakshmi Narayan Hindu Temple 8321 140th street Surrey BC. All yoga related questions about Your general health will be answered by Swami Ashwini Prajnaa.

Tea and light snacks will be served after the presentation. Project funded by Government of Canadaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s New Horizons for Seniors Program for Hindi speaking seniors. Please contact Surendra Handa Coordinator Tel. 604 - 507 - 9945 for further information. ---------------------------------------------------Lohana Cultural Association of BC cordially invites all to the occasion of Shree Jalaram Bapaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 13 7th Punya tithi on Saturday February 17, 201 8at Shiv Mandir, 5600 Dorset St Burnaby. Priti Bhojan will be served at 5.30pm onwards followed by Satsang and Kirtan from 7.00pm to 8.30pm . For more info: Vasant Lakhani (604) 987 -1925 ----------------------------------------



Saturday, February 10, 2018

Science Fair held at Gobind Sarvar Elementary School in Surrey - a huge success This yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Science Fair at Gobind Sarvar Elementary School in Surrey was a huge success as hundreds of parents and guests attended the event and appreciated hard work of Students. Congratulations to all students. Some projects worth mentioning are Burns in the world, Colour of a heartbeat, Magical magnetism and Impact of video games on Blood Pressure.

Vol. 9 No. 2

Saturday - February 10, 2018

Vancouver housing: The view from Singapore Paul Robinson was visiting Singapore for business in mid-January and decided to drop by a sales and marketing “road show” for the opulent new condo tower, the Butterfly, to be built in downtown Vancouver. The Butterfly is one of the last designs by Vancouver’s legendary architect Bing Thom, who died last year. When the 57-storey skyscraper is completed by 2022, it will be one of Vancouver’s iconic structures, centrally located at 969 Burrard St., with the city’s best views. It will also be one of the city’s most expensive. To live in one of the units on the upper floors of the beautiful building will cost a buyer millions of dollars.

Mr. Robinson, a 36-year-old engineer from Ohio, has been renting an apartment in the West End for eight years with his fiancée. He can’t afford to buy in Vancouver and even if he could, he doesn’t trust the market. He wanted to see first-hand what it’s like to be a foreign buyer purchasing a Vancouver condo. He had to be in Singapore anyway, so he set up an appointment and went to the sales presentation at the Four Seasons Hotel there, which was entirely devoted to sales of the Butterfly. Story continues below advertisement A poster advertises Vancouver at a Singapore sales presentation for the city’s Butterfly condo tower. Paul Robinson In the hallway, Mr. Robinson saw a poster advertising Vancouver as having “a low vacancy of 0.9 per cent” and “capital appreciation of 13.5 per cent,” selling points for investors. Another poster titled Why Vancouver cited the city as one of the top five most livable cities in the world, because of quality of life, infrastructure and livability. It cited a strong economy, migration, “supply of homes below required inventory” and “rapid increase in home prices.” He also spotted a poster for Westbank Corp.’s Vancouver House, another striking condo building

Continued on next pages

Tel: 604-591-5423



Real Estate

In Vancouver, a ‘single family’ house often isn’t Fifty three per cent of Vancouver residents rent their homes and it would be easy to assume that those renters are living in dense, central and mid-rise neighbourhoods such as the West End. You might also assume that the so-called “single family home” areas are pretty much exclusive to homeowners. But new data shows that renters are distributed around the city at levels that go against stereotypes. West Point Grey, with its big, expensive detached houses, is 38 per cent renter households. Kerrisdale is 36.8 per cent renters. Shaughnessy, with its stock of old and new mansions, is made up of 30 per cent renters. Urban planner Andy Yan, director of Simon Fraser University’s City Program, analyzed the new 2016 census data and charted his findings. “Before I did this, I would have guessed 10 per cent tops, in some of these neighbourhoods, because you do have these clusters of rentals scattered around. I wouldn’t have guessed the minimum is 22 per cent, never mind way more than that in West Point Grey.” The data serve to remind us that residential zoning doesn’t necessarily reflect the way people are living in those neighbourhoods, Mr. Yan says. For example, he says 24 per cent of all renter households are living in the so-called “single family home” areas that provide an “invisible affordability often ignored by development pundits.” That means that in terms of planning,

we should be sensitive to how people are actually using housing types, he says. Zoning changes can be the ruin of an established community. It’s not enough to rezone without examining how that housing is being used, and by whom – not if the goal is to create affordable housing while keeping people within the community. “There’s the city on a zoning schedule and there’s the city that is lived by people,” Mr.

Yan says. “Do you really know your city, or do you base your opinions on stereotypes instead of what is happening on the ground, and who is actually living there?” No matter where people stand on Vancouver’shousingcrisis,everyoneagreeswe need a lot more purpose-built rental housing. However, Mr. Yan argues that simply aiming to increase density of market housing could cause more harm than good in vulnerable neighbourhoods and there’s evidence that it already has.

Saturday, February 10, 2018 From page 13

Vancouver housing: The view from Singapore under construction down the street from his apartment in Vancouver. “I’m sure it’s going to be a really nice building. I wouldn’t mind living there,” he says. “But what’s hilarious is, I’m seeing it on a poster in Singapore.” Mr. Robinson told the salespeople he was an American who wanted to invest in a condo in Vancouver. He was told that there were one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments available at the Butterfly, as well as subpenthouse and penthouse units, starting at $1.22-million. A worksheet shows the rough calculations for the purchase of a unit at a new Vancouver high-rise. Paul Robinson Mr. Robinson spent about an hour talking to a salesperson and watching other interested investors stream in. While there, he began to see the appeal of Vancouver through their eyes. Mr. Robinson was shown the floor plan for a two-bedroom unit on the 21st floor of the Butterfly for $3,029,900. He also looked at a unit on the 29th floor for $4,039,900. He was told the building would include an Olympic-size swimming pool and fleet of BMWs for resident use. He showed me a work sheet that broke down the fees, including a refundable “booking fee” of $5,000, a 10-per-cent deposit due within seven days and a second deposit of 15 per cent within six months. “These are just folks looking at investment property,” he says. “It’s similar to [Canadians] buying a timeshare in Florida – there’s nothing inherently wrong with any of this,” he says. “Everything there was above board. I could totally understand why everybody would want to buy property in

Vancouver. It’s not weird to me at all.” However, Mr. Robinson says he was encouraged by the salesman – who worked for a global real estate marketing company – to purchase a unit as a speculative investment, flipping the property before the building completes, thereby dodging some taxes - 5 per cent for GST, a 3-per-cent property-transfer tax and the 15-per-cent foreign-buyers tax - which only kick in at completion. (He was told Westbank takes a 3-per-cent fee when presale owners assign contracts. Charging a fee for assignments is a fairly standard practice in the development community. Westbank confirmed the fee.) The work sheet shows that if he did take possession of the unit, he’d owe the 5 per cent for GST, a 3-per-cent property-transfer tax and the 15-per-cent foreign-buyers tax. CIBC offered loans of up to 65 per cent of the value. He was told he could rent the unit for about $8,000 a month. “The guy definitely stated that the purpose of the investment, as he saw it, was capital appreciation and not to hold onto it and rent it out. Clearly, that is the way it was being pitched,” Mr. Robinson says. “Although he talked a lot about how nice the building is going to be, he wasn’t even pitching it as a pied-à-terre – although maybe he would pitch that angle more to wealthy jetsetters.” He takes issue with speculative purchases that he sees as driving up prices for permanent residents such as himself and other working locals who want to live and work within the Vancouver region, put down roots and raise families.

Vancouver vigilantes take housing matters into their own hands Freedom of Information request to determine what enforcement is being taken. Mr. Smecher’s is only one type of activism. Others vigilantes seek to spread information about fraudulent behaviour, map out empty houses or petition government. They share a common sense that things have gone wrong in Vancouver and government inaction means they’ve got to act. Mr. Smecher wonders whether politicians fully comprehend the situation. Unless you’ve searched for housing in the past couple of years, he says, you wouldn’t really see how dire it is. “I’ve been living in a one-bedroom with my five-yearold daughter, looking for years now for suitable long-term housing. I want to play in my band, show my art, I want to set down long-term roots and I’m constantly bounced around units, with a feeling of uncertainty about where I’m going to live next year,” he says. “Everyone is in the same boat, unless you happened to hit the lottery two decades ago. My kind of activism is what people have to do, but in their own way. “People are feeling a frustration, an inability to act, and really, a bottled up anger that they aren’t finding an outlet for. And that’s got to go somewhere. I really fear for the election coming up, if people aren’t given a sense that things are changing.” Mr. Smecher, who’s in his 30s, lives in his one-bedroom apartment near Commercial Drive, an area he’s lived in his entire adult life – although it’s becoming increasingly difficult. His daughter’s bed is a nook in the living room, partitioned off with a curtain. As she grows older, he knows he’ll

need a bigger space and he worries he won’t be able to find one. His previous rental was a nice $2,250-a-month basement unit that was sold after he’d lived in it for 10 months. He’s been on a co-op waiting list for several years. He’s got his challenges, he says but he sees others who are worse off, such as people living in cars and vans around a nearby industrial area. They’re the ones getting bumped out entirely. Raymond Wong, a 42-year-old technologist who lives in Burnaby, launched a petition demanding the provincial government set up a 2-per-cent speculation tax, create a special task force on corruption, work with Canada Revenue Agency to tackle tax evasion and money laundering and ban developers from marketing overseas, among several other measures. Mr. Wong is a member of citizen group Housing Action for Local Taxpayers. He has about 900 signatures on his change. org petition so far, which he plans to present prior to the February provincial budget. A lot of people have high expectations for the budget, he says. “It’s not right, it’s almost like the whole system is rigged against local taxpayers … I don’t know how it even came to this,” says Mr. Wong, who’d just come from a radio interview. “It motivated me even more … You hear one story and think, ‘This is bad.’ But then there are more. “I believe because they hear these stories, there are more people taking action. That being said, a lot of people have given up on government because government policies have failed us. They have turned a blind eye. They’ve accepted the money laundering, the speculation. They wanted to collect more taxes and didn’t care.”

Real Estate

Saturday, February 10, 2018


Average price for detached homes in downtown Toronto fell 4% in past year The closely watched Toronto housing market showed signs of a slowdown last month, as the price of benchmark detached homes fell by almost four per cent in the past year, although condos appreciated by more than three times that amount. The Toronto Real Estate Board said Tuesday the average selling price of a detached home in the 416 area code was $1,283,981 in January, a decline of 3.9 per cent from the same month a year earlier. Stress tests, foreign buyers and higher rates likely to impact housing market in 2018 New mortgage stress test rules will block 50,000 people from buying: mortgage group

Prices for other types of housing, however, were higher. Semis changed hands for an average price of $936,623, townhomes sold on average for $712,186 and condominiums went for $543,279 — increases of 3.7, 8.2, and 15.1 per cent, respectively, over the past 12 months. Across all types of housing, the average property sold for $736,783 last month. All in all, that’s a decline of 4.1 per cent over the past year. “It is not surprising that home prices in some market segments were flat to down in January compared to last year,” said Jason Mercer, TREB’s director of market analysis. In January 2017, “we were in the midst of a housing price spike driven by exceptionally low inventory in the marketplace.”

Toronto-area home sales set record high in 2016, average selling price soars Tight supply a year ago pushed up prices to a deceptively higher level than they would otherwise have been, which makes annual comparisons to such a strong month look worse than they are. But “it is likely that market conditions will support a return to positive price growth for many home types in the second half of 2018,” said Mercer. The volume of homes being sold is also sharply lower. January is not typically a busy month for home sales, but the number of properties sold across all types of housing in the city was down by roughly 20 per cent compared to last year. Still, January 2017 was the busiest-ever January for home sales in the

Latest property assessment data shows big increases for many condo and townhouse Condominium and townhouse owners throughout Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will likely get a shock when they open their property assessment notices this week, thanks to a region-wide increase in strata property values. On Tuesday, B.C. Assessment released its 2018 property assessment data, that showed across Greater Vancouver there were assessment increases in the five- to 35-per-cent range between July 1, 2016 and July 1, 2017. In the Fraser Valley, the increases ranged from 10 to 40 per cent. “The strata market is quite different. It’s been very robust — it’s really outstripped the single-family market,” said B.C. Assessment spokesperson Tina Ireland. Last month, the authority sent warning letters to 67,000 homeowners, telling them to expect above average increases on their 2018 property assessment notices. According to B.C. Assessment data, Vancouver strata homes went up on average 15.2 per cent over the previous year’s assessment, while in Surrey they went up 23.8 per cent. The City of Langley saw an even bigger jump — 26.2 per cent. A typical strata townhouse in Whistler Village went up 30 per cent, while a townhouse in Squamish’s Garibaldi Estates saw a 20-per-cent increase. “I think the extent to which things really cooled down in single family but not in condos was very, very striking because we tend to think of condos as something where you can add more supply, and single family it’s harder to add more supply,” said Tsur Somerville, professor and director of the University of B.C.’s Centre for Urban Economics and Real Estate. Since the assessments took place on July 1, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver president Jill Oudil said the trend has continued. “Detached has calmed a bit, although it’s still what we consider a balanced market,” she said. “Condos and townhomes

haven’t changed as far as both being in high demand.” Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore, who also chairs the Metro Vancouver board of directors, said it’s not a surprise to see condo and townhouse assessments going up. It happened in Vancouver a number of years ago, and now the suburbs are catching up. Strata residential values went up about 20 per cent in PoCo, and a typical low-rise condo in the city’s downtown saw a 28 per cent increase. “What I hear most about is not necessarily the assessment percentage going up, it’s how unaffordable it is for people to now even afford a condo in the suburbs,” Moore said. Somerville agreed that the affordability of condos and townhomes is “worrisome.” “When you see a lot of price appreciation in the thing that’s really the entry level product, then you’re really more concerned about people being shut out, particularly when you see these kind of increases out in the Fraser Valley,” he said.\ The single-family home market was “really quite stable, especially in the core areas of Vancouver — Vancouver, Richmond, North Shore, Burnaby,” said Ireland. Urban areas of Greater Vancouver saw changes that ranged from a decrease of five per cent to an increase of 15 per cent. Rural areas of Greater Vancouver saw a similar range, with the upper end hitting 25 per cent. For example, in Vancouver single-family home assessments went up on average 1.6 per cent, Richmond went up 2.5 per cent and Burnaby went up 2.6 per cent. “We start moving out to the Fraser Valley — so even out Coquitlam way, into Surrey and Abbotsford — seeing more in the 10- to 20-per-cent range for the 2018 assessment,” Ireland said. Detached homes in the Fraser Valley saw anything from a decrease of five per cent to an increase of 25 per cent.

#106 - 7565 132 St. Surrey, BC 604.572.3005

city, with 5,155 properties changing hands. The past year has also seen two major policy changes that have had a significant impact on the market. Last spring, Ontario implemented new rules, including changes to rent control and a new tax on foreign buyers. And federal banking regulator the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions (or OSFI) now forces lenders to stress test buyers’ finances at tougher levels, which is limiting their purchasing power. Toronto home sales dip 18 per cent over ‘psychological’ effects of Fair Housing Plan: TREB TREB blames both moves for cooling the market, but said the impact of both should lessen over time.


Garry Grewal

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The Asian Star February 10 2018  
The Asian Star February 10 2018