Vol 17 - Issue 10
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Aao ji, it’s time to celebrate. The Vaisakhi Family Bundle is here from Shaw.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
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www.theasianstar.com Vol 17 - Issue 10
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Salman Khan jailed 5 years for killing black buck Bail hearing on Saturday AJodhpurcourtonThursdaysentencedactorSalmanKhantofiveyears in jail for violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act, killing two blackbucks at Kankani village, near Jodhpur, on the night of October 1, 1998, during the shooting of “Hum Saath Saath Hain”. The actor was fined Rs 10,000. The court acquitted his colleagues Saif Ali Khan, Tabu, Neelam and Sonali Bendre, giving them the “benefit of doubt”. Local resident Dushyant Singh was let off too. The case remained under spotlight with the media monitoring every development. Salman’s legion of fans tuned in to social media and television and trade analysts watched anxiously to know the fate of the superstar who has an estimated Rs 600 crore riding on his next ventures — “Race 3”, “Bharat” and “Dabangg 3”. Crowds with phone cameras lined up along the 2-km route from the court as the 52-year-old actor, clad in a black shirt and denims, was whisked away in a Bolero to the Jodhpur Central Jail. He was lodged in barrack number 2 in a heavily protected cell. This is Salman’s Continued on page 6
Salman Khan inside the Jodhpur Central Jail after he was awarded jail term in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case on Thursday.
South Asian political fixer leaves Ontario Conservatives
91-year-old Sikh man attacked in hate crime in Calgary
Over the last seven years, the Ontario legal system has kept Snover Dhillon (pictured) busy. The Toronto-area businessman was convicted of fraud in two different jurisdictions during a single month of 2011, one prosecution netting him a 41-day jail term. Among his crimes, Dhillon passed himself off as a credit counselor, then siphoned $10,000 from his clients’ accounts using their own debit cards and ATMs. Regulatory agencies have twice fined him for acting as a real estate or mortgage broker without a licence, and have warned the public Continued on page 6
Federal government promises $4.1-billion over next decade for BC infrastructure Ottawa has announced a new multibillion-dollar infrastructure deal with British Columbia, just a week after a report found the federal government was falling behind on the spending program. Federal Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi and B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevana signed an agreement Monday that will see $4.1-billion doled out over the next decade for transit, green infrastructure, recreation facilities, and projects in rural and northern communities across the province. “Partnerships like this are going to have an immense effect on people’s lives Continued on page 7
A family in northeast Calgary is stepping up and demanding justice after an elderly member of their family, a turban-wearing Sikh, was allegedly attacked last month. While on a visit to the No Frills grocery store near Temple Drive N.E. on March 16, Harjit Singh Rai, 91, was accosted by a man in his 40s who pushed him and yelled obscenities at him. “He was getting out to go to the grocery store. There were no issues at all when he was in the parking lot. He opened up his door and he came out and he was confronted by a white male of the age of approximately 45 who then pushed him,” said Calgary MP Deepak Obhrai, Continued on page 7
Vancouver home sales fall Vancouver home sales dropped by around 30 per cent in the month after the BC NDP government introduced a plan to tackle housing affordability. But the losses look even more dramatic on a quarterly basis, according to calculations by a major bank. There were 2,517 home sales in March 2018, representing a 29.7 per cent drop from last year, when there were 3,579 sales, according to unadjusted data released by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV). Sales, however, went up by 14 per cent from February. Quarterly data provided by the REBGV showed sales dropping right across the region in every housing type. This chart shows how sales have changed across Greater Vancouver between the first quarters of Continued on page 7
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Electric vehicle adoption for low-income British Columbians An open letter on electric vehicle adoption for low-income British Columbians To whom it may concern, Electric vehicles are here and already many British Columbians are benefiting from the savings on fuel and maintenance costs that they offer. The average British Columbian could save about $2,340 per year on fuel and maintenance costs by driving an EV compared with an internal combustion engine vehicle.* These savings would be most beneficial to low-income households who tend to live paycheque to paycheque but unfortunately an electric vehicle is often out of their reach due to the upfront costs, even for a used EV. Because people in this demographic often cannot get a car loan, they tend to buy the cheapest (and dirtiest) used vehicles because that is what they can afford. A program to getthem into used EVs would keep money in their pocket every month and keep a
used gas vehicle nearing the end of its life and producing high levels of air pollution and greenhouse gases off the road. The current situation is an example of the poor getting poorer because they cannot afford to buy a more efficient electric car. An effective program to help low-income families purchase a used EV could be implemented by modifying some or all of the following programs: a. Increased provincial funding to adapt SCRAP-IT to support EVs for low income households. b. Increase or rework the provincial Clean Energy Vehicle (CEV) incentive specifically for new and used EVs for low-income households. c. Provinciallysupported interest free or low-interest loans for EVs for low-income households. This could be modelled after the BC Home Owner Mortgage and Equity Partnership Program. d. Possibly removing PST on new or used
EVs for low-income households. e. Enhanced public awareness and education (e.g., through the Emotive campaign) on the affordability of EVs. We look forward to your feedback on this topic and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. Sincerely, Ryan Logtenberg, Director 2 Degrees Institute Bruce Sharpe, President Vancouver Electric Vehicle
BC nurse disbarred for sexual misconduct of elderly woman A B.C. nurse has been disbarred from the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. after being accused of sexual misconduct by an elderly woman. Up until late last year, Gary Dromarsky was a home and community nurse with Island Health in Victoria and also maintained a private foot care practice. It was during an in-home visit in September 2017 that he improperly touched a 73-yearold woman. In a consent agreement with the CRNBC that outlines the facts of this incident, Dromarsky admitted he acted “out of scope” when he put his hand under his client’s underwear and massaged her buttocks. While giving the massage, Dromarsky may have touched her genitals — the client described the touch as being in her vaginal area. He received two complaints about the incident and was barred from working as a registered nurse in the province last December. A panel committee determined that Dromarsky’s conduct fell at the most serious end of the spectrum. The matter was reported to police and to the college, but no criminal charges have been laid. Dromarsky also signed a letter requiring him to stop all private nursing care, remain in the sole employ of his current employer, and see female clients only with a chaperone. Shortly afterwards he provided private foot care to two clients in their homes, breaching the terms.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
SIMPSON, THOMAS & ASSOCIATES
Saturday, April 7, 2018 From page 1
fourth stint in the jail, which also houses controversial preacher Asaram Bapu. He had spent 18 days in the jail in 1998, 2006 and 2007, all in poaching cases. Salman’s lawyer Anand Desai said the Sessions Court would hear their appeal for suspension of sentence/bail at 10.30 am on Friday. “The actors were in a Gypsy on the night of October 1, 1998, with Salman at the wheel. He spotted a herd of blackbucks and killed two of them,” prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi had told the court during the final arguments on March 28. “The accused is a popular actor whose deeds are followed by people. Despite this, the accused hunted two blackbucks,” Chief
Salman Khan jailed 5 years for killing black buck Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri wrote in his judgment. Salman’s career and personal life have been peppered with controversies, including a pending manslaughter charge in a hit-and-run case. (With PTI inputs) Q a i d i No. 106 given dal-roti in jail Salman, a heartthrob of millions, is just Qaidi No. 106 at the Jodhpur jail where he was served simple dal-roti, which he did not eat.
His morning meal will include khichdi. Jail Superintendent Vikram Singh said the actor would be treated as a normal prisoner and no special treatment would be given to him. He will have a simple wooden bed, a rug and a cooler in his cell. In a major drawback for Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s family and Bollywood industry, the Jodhpur trial
court convicted actor Salman Khan. Poaching case: Salman convicted, other actors acquitted In a major drawback for Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s family and Bollywood industry, the Jodhpur trial court convicted actor Salman Khan. On January 18, 2017 Khan was acquitted by a Jodhpur court in an Arms Act case linked to the killing of a blackbuck in Rajasthan. Khan pleaded “not guilty” to charges of violating the law by keeping unlicensed weapons and using them. Acquitting the actor, the court said that the prosecution failed to submit enough evidence against him. On 5 April 2018, Jodhpur court convicted Khan in the blackbuck poaching
South Asian political fixer leaves Ontario Conservatives From page 1 the public to steer clear of his business. But in the backrooms of the Ontario Progressive Conservative party, Dhillon was until recently a sought-after commodity — and an intriguing face of the problems the party’s new bosses have vowed to eradicate. In a Facebook post late last month, Dhillon announced he was quitting the party and the board of the Oakville-North Burlington riding association — in protest, he said, over how what he called the “coup crew” had toppled former leader Patrick Brown and canceled the nominations of the ex-leader’s “supporting candidates.” “I appeal to all Patrick Brown supporters who love and respect him to revoke their memberships and to NOT vote for PC,” he wrote. A Brown ally, Dhillon played a controversial role in a number of the candidate-nomination votes that have resulted in accusations of voter fraud, ballot stuffing and other irregularities. A leaked email exchange among top party officials suggests Dhillon was paid $22,000 by a man vying to be the candidate in a Hamilton riding. Sources say the money was meant to buy memberships, so those people — or their substitutes — could then vote for the potential nominee. While paying somebody to recruit voters and bring them to the polls is neither illegal nor against party rules, that nomination is now under police investigation after one of the losing candidates complained to police, who have said only that they are looking for possible “criminality” in the election. Four Ontario PC sources — who would only speak on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity surrounding internal party matters — told the National Post that Dhillon provided similar services in other ridings as well. They said they personally observed him at different nomination elections, sometimes ushering in busloads of newly minted party members to cast ballots under controversial circumstances. Dhillon with new Conservative leader Doug Ford, who has overturned several contentious nominations, citing “indiscretions.” Handout For those trying to win a party nomination, it is crucial to sign up members willing to vote for them. But in some cases, candidates allegedly bought memberships themselves, new Tories voted outside their own ridings or individuals cast ballots using other people’s identities.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Vancouver home sales fall From page 1 2017 and 2018: The deepest decline was noticed in detached homes in the Port Moody/Belcarra area, where they dropped by 57.1 per cent in the first quarter compared to last year. Quarterly sales declines are even more pronounced in seasonal adjustments crunched by TD Economics. Taken together with pull backs in January and February, first quarter sales were down by 38.5 per cent from a peak in December 2017, according to the bank’s calculations. “In fact, the current pace of sales is effectively at a five-year low,” Michael Dolega, a senior economist at TD Economics, wrote. The bank had initially projected that sales would drop by 15.4 per cent in its provincial economic forecast; instead, sales are doing much worse than expected. “It would appear that the impact of the Homes for B.C. 30-Point Plan has been more front loaded than we anticipated,” Dolega wrote. A speculation tax aimed at absentee property owners that was targeted at homeowners who don’t pay much income tax in B.C. A hike to the foreign buyers’ tax from 15 to 20 per cent, and expanding it to areas including Victoria, Nanaimo, the Fraser Valley and the Okanagan When it introduced these measures, the BC NDP said it was targeting a drop in home prices. TD Economics noted that prices have held up “relatively well” in March, though they did mark the “first monthly decline in prices in over a year.”
Federal gov’t promises $4.1-billion over next decade for BC infrastructure From page 1 throughout the Lower Mainland and across the province,” Trevana said. “It’s going to mean better transit for everyone. It’s going to mean that local infrastructure can be upgraded and work for people.” The federal government is investing in infrastructure because wellmaintained and efficient infrastructure is the foundation of strong communities, Sohi said. “We believe that this investment will help us achieve the vision we have for Canadian communities,” he said, adding the projects will create jobs and support a green economy. The new agreement between B.C. and Ottawa follows a report last week from parliamentary budget officer Jean-Denis Frechette’s office, which found that only half of the money the Liberals earmarked for their infrastructure spending program had been allocated. The report said 10,052 projects with a combined cost to federal coffers of $7.2-billion have been approved for funding across 32 departments, agencies and Crown corporations since 2016, when the Liberals unveiled the first phase of their infrastructure program. An additional $7.2-billion had not yet been allotted. Speaking in Vancouver on Monday, Sohi said the issue comes down to getting a bill. “This is not about holding back on projects or construction activity not happening,” he said. “It’s just a matter of cash flow for us, where we just have to wait until we get the invoices to pay out the federal contribution to our partners.” Sohi vowed that “every single cent” of the $180-billion the federal government has promised for infrastructure spending over 12 years will be invested in Canadian communities. For B.C., that will include a “massive investment” in public transit, Trevana said. The federal and provincial governments have already reached a deal to fund a $7-billion transit expansion in the Lower Mainland over 10 years, including increased bus service.
From page 1
91-year-old Sikh man attacked in Calgary parking lot
whose constituency the assault allegedly took place in. Obhrai says the attack continued with Mr. Rai being pushed so violently that he fell to the ground and his turban fell off his head. Suritam Rai, the victim’s son, says that that is a very serious insult to the Sikh religion, but he is much more concerned with the assault, because he and his family feel it was a hate crime. “We thought about this after discussing it with the family and we feel that he was attacked because he was a Sikh. He was the only turban-wearing Sikh in the parking lot and there were no other issues at all other than what happened in the parking lot after he parked his car.” Rai says his father works very hard and has never been involved in any kind of assault before. Obhrai said that the victim is a highly
respected member of the Sikh community and of Calgary as well. “He has been involved in community work, he himself has been involved politically as well so it is a very sad thing for all of us when I heard this occurred.” The senior is now at home, recuperating after suffering some injuries to his hand, shoulder and head. The man who attacked him was caught at the scene and has since been charged by Calgary police. “We as a family are very thankful to the police who have caught the assailant. I don’t know who he is, I have never met him. We are also very thankful to the people who assisted at the spot,” said Rai. Obhrai says that this sort of incident has never happened in his constituency before and it is very troubling to hear about.“The issue here is very concerning to us; that Mr. Rai was targeted because he was a Sikh. That
shows again that intolerance and hate crimes are still prevalent in our city,” he said. “For that reason, it is absolutely important that when these incidents happen that we highlight it and that we expose it so that we can then address the issue on how to tackle this intolerance that exists.” Rai says his family has lived in Calgary for the past 35 years and they call Canada their country and their home. He also wants to make sure that this never happens to anyone else. Calgary area Conservative MP Deepak Obrahi, said “It is very sad and disappointing that a respected man like Mr. Rai was attacked because he is a Sikh. This incident shows that intolerance and hate ideology is prevalent and is present in our city and community. All Hate Crimes must be exposed and highlighted, so we can address this issue,” concluded Obrahi.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Lower-caste fury shakes India, and hints at fiery elections ahead
A Dalit man was surrounded and struck by police officers on Monday in Ahmadabad, India
Hundreds of thousands of India’s Dalits — once known as Untouchables — skipped work and poured into the streets this week, waving the dark blue flags of Dalit resistance. The protesters were connected through WhatsApp groups and fired up about a recent court ruling that many Dalits felt eroded some of their hard-fought gains. It soon turned ugly. Young men barricaded railroad tracks, burned buses and hurled bricks at police officers. Caught off guard, the Indian authorities did what they often do. They sent phalanxes of club-wielding officers charging into the crowds. And in several states, they shut down the internet. By the time the Dalit 2 in a heavily protected cell. This is Salman’s fourth stint in the jail, which also houses controversial preacher Asaram Bapu. He had spent 18 days in the jail in 1998, 2006 and 2007, all in poaching cases. Salman’s lawyer Anand Desai said the Sessions Court would hear their appeal for suspension of sentence/bail at 10.30 am on Friday. “The actors were in a Gypsy on the night of October 1, 1998, with Salman at the wheel. He spotted a herd of blackbucks
mutiny had been quelled, at least 11 people were dead — most of them Dalits. Dozens more were hurt, and hundreds were arrested. The demonstrations showed two things. The Dalits, at perhaps 250 million strong (almost 20 percent of India’s population) will be a potent force in next year’s national elections. And their anger at India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, and his governing party is growing. In recent decades, India’s historically disadvantaged Dalit community has made impressive strides in terms of economic prosperity. Just a generation ago, many people would move out of the way to avoid touching a Dalit.
Rs 400 crore to Rs 600 crore riding on Salman Khan, say trade analysts Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, who was on Thursday sentenced to five years in jail in the 1998 blackbuck poaching case by a Jodhpur court, has Rs 400 crore to Rs 600 crore riding on him in the industry and the verdict would affect three major film projects, according to trade analysts. The 52-year-old actor was in the middle of shooting ‘Race 3’ but it is not clear whether his work is complete on the film, being directed by Remo D’Souza. “Whatever is left of ‘Race 3’ will have to be completed soon because the film is releasing in June. ‘Kick 2’, ‘Dabangg 3’ and ‘Bharat’ were yet to start so there isn’t much monetary loss. It is a huge loss to the industry and trade as he is a big star who guarantees big success,” trade analyst Komal Nahta told PTI. “‘Race 3’ has Rs 125 crore-150 crore riding on it. For other films, not money but maybe time has gone. He has not started any other film so it isn’t that films will be stuck. He may have planned it like that knowing that April
Salman Khan jailed 5 years for killing black buck and killed two of them,” prosecution lawyer Mahipal Bishnoi had told the court during the final arguments on March 28. “The accused is a popular actor whose deeds are followed by people. Despite this, the accused hunted two blackbucks,” Chief Judicial Magistrate Dev Kumar Khatri wrote in his judgment. Salman’s career and personal life have been peppered with controversies,
including a pending manslaughter charge in a hit-and-run case. (With PTI inputs) Qaidi No. 106 given dal-roti in jail Salman, a heartthrob of millions, is just Qaidi No. 106 at the Jodhpur jail where he was served simple dal-roti, which he did not eat. His morning meal will include khichdi. Jail Superintendent Vikram Singh
5 is the date of the judgment,” Nahta added. Trade analyst Girish Wankhede also maintains that it is a big blow to the industry as Salman has been extremely profitable as a brand with back-to-back blockbusters to his credit. “All his films make a minimum of Rs 200 crore. Three films have already been announced. ‘Race 3’ is the biggest Eid release. So approximately Rs 600 crore is riding at the box office,” Wankhede told PTI. The trade insiders believe that besides the films, the actor’s endorsement deals and TV appearances will also be negatively affected. “There is about Rs 400 crore riding on him, including Rs 150 crore on ‘Race 3’ and signing amounts and rights of films such as ‘Bharat’, ‘Dabangg 3’ etc and the TV show ‘Dus Ka Dum’ and TV commercials,” Amod Mehra, trade analyst, told PTI. “‘Race 3’ is almost complete, only dubbing is left so I don’t think any of the films would be affected by the verdict...As other films have just been announced,” Mehra said.
said the actor would be treated as a normal prisoner and no special treatment would be given to him. He will have a simple wooden bed, a rug and a cooler in his cell. In a major drawback for Bollywood actor Salman Khan’s family and Bollywood industry, the Jodhpur trial court convicted actor Salman Khan. Poaching case: Salman convicted, other actors acquitted
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Surrey RCMP arrest ‘top 10 most wanted’ auto crime suspect
Surrey RCMP say they’ve arrested a man on B.C.’s “top 10 most wanted auto crime offenders” list. Alexander Eaton of Surrey, 25, is facing six charges after his arrest on April 3 when police found an Acura EL sedan that had been reported stolen earlier that day. The stolen Acura was “mobile” when it was located, according to a release. With help from Surrey RCMP’s Property Crime Target Team and the BC RCMP’s Air 1 helicopter, police followed the vehicle until it stopped. The sedan made it to Coquitlam Centre Mall, where the driver was arrested. During the investigation police also seized multiple doses of suspected narcotics, a replica pistol and numerous knives. Eaton faces several charges including theft of motor vehicle, possession of stolen property, resisting arrest, breach of recognizance,
possession of controlled substance and possession of controlled substance for the purpose of trafficking. “Surrey RCMP greatly benefits from the public’s help in combatting auto crime. We encourage the public to report stolen vehicles and suspicious activity immediately,“ said Corporal Elenore Sturko in a release. “Be vigilant when it comes to protecting your vehicle and belongings.” April is Auto Crime Enforcement Month in B.C. For more information on auto crime prevention please visit surrey.rcmp-grc. gc.ca. Anyone with information that will help the Surrey RCMP in its efforts to put the breaks on auto crime is asked to contact police at 604-599-0502, or to remain anonymous, contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS or solvecrime.ca.
Two Surrey realtors found guilty of professional misconduct Two Surrey real estate agents have been found guilty of professional misconduct recently by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia. Satinderpal Singh Dhaliwal’s licence has been suspended for 21 days, from April 4 to April 24, and he was ordered to pay a discipline penalty of $6,000 and $3,000 in “enforcement expenses.” Dhaliwal has been licenced since 2008, and was “at all relevant times” licensed as a representative with Century 21 Coastal Realty Ltd. A Consent Order dated March 1st indicates Dhaliwal’s suspension is related to his involvement in the sale of strata units in a new development in Surrey. Details of the townhouse development, including location and number of units, has been blacked out in the Real Estate Council of British Columbia document, as have other details. According to the discipline summary, Dhaliwal provided real estate services outside of his brokerage and received remuneration for those services, didn’t deal with a late deposit, and provided real estate services to, or on behalf of, a real estate development company in his capacity as development manager when he was in charge of land acquistion and assembly, which amounted to a “trade in real estate” under the Real Estate Services Act. He also, according to the summary, “did not disclose the nature of the representation
he was providing to the developer, in that he held himself out as an employee when he was acting as a designated agent for the developer” and “he did not keep his managing broker informed of the real estate services he was providing, and other activities he was performing for the developer.” “In one transaction,” the summary continues, “Mr. Dhaliwal wrongly assumed that the developer received the buyer’s deposit in accordance with the contract, and sent confirmation of receipt to the buyer’s agent. He did not take further steps to confirm whether the deposit had been received until almost a year later, when it was discovered that the buyer’s bank draft was missing. Mr. Dhaliwal did not notify his managing broker that a deposit was not recieved in accordance with the contract.” Ammabelle Basco, a representative of Team 3000 Realty in Surrey, acted as the buyer’s agent in a transaction but “failed to act with reasonable care and skill, and did not use reasonable efforts to discover relevant facts respecting the property her client was considering acquiring,” a discipline summary posted Feb. 27 stated, “when she did not ensure that a term requiring the seller to give legal notice to an existing tenant to vacate the property was included in the Contract of Purchase and Sale; ask for a copy of the existing tenancy agreement from the listing agent,
Continued on page 10
Classes starting from May 14, 2018
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Trudeau promises that pipeline won’t get approved without proper environmental clearances Hundreds of protesters opposed to the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline demonstrated Thursday night outside a Vancouver hotel where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed a Liberal party fundraising dinner. They chanted “Kinder Morgan has got to go” as they marched several blocks through downtown to a hotel where the Liberals were meeting. Emma Pullman, campaign manager with SumOfUs, said the protest is intended to show Trudeau that there is a lot opposition to the project and the Liberals stand to lose seats in B.C. if the pipeline is built. “In a time when we need to be talking about a transition and talking about reconciliation the prime minister is talking about building a pipeline that’s going to be in the ground for 30 years,” she said.
“There’s literally thousands of people who are opposed to it, many of whom are voters.” Chief Bob Chamberlin, vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said he wants a joint consultation with all the communities on the pipeline route through British Columbia. “This does not have First Nations consent and we value the environment more than money,” he added. Trudeau’s speech to the fundraising event was interrupted by Cedar George-Parker, a young Indigenous leader from the TsleilWaututh First Nation who shouted: “The
pipeline is not happening, the youth will stand up and stop it. … You lied to the people, you lied to our people.” As George-Parker peacefully left the room, Trudeau said: “If you were to stick around you could hear me talk about how the environment and the economy go together. … We know that building a strong future requires a broad range of voices.” It was a similar theme used by Trudeau earlier Thursday in Victoria, where he said his message of support for environmental protection and the pipeline are the same as he visits British Columbia and Alberta this week. The federal government needs to build a strong economy and protect the environment at the same time, Trudeau said, adding that he has faith in his government’s ocean protection and emergency preparedness plans. “I would not have approved this pipeline had I not been confident of that,” he said. “It’s precisely because of these
stringent measures that we can stand behind our approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion with confidence. This project will be safe, jobs will be created and this pipeline will be built.” About 100 protesters chanted “Leave it in the ground” not far from where the prime minister was getting a tour of a Canadian Coast Guard ship in Victoria. Trudeau said such decisions aren’t made by “those who shout the loudest,” but are taken on the basis of facts, science and evidence. About 200 people have been arrested near Kinder Morgan’s marine terminal in Burnaby, B.C., during recent protests against the project. The pipeline, which would triple the amount of oil flowing from Alberta to Burnaby, was approved by the federal government in 2016. Protesters say it will raise the risk of oil tanker spills in the Burrard Inlet and it can’t be completed if the government is to meet its climate change commitments to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions another 200 million tonnes a year by 2030. Trudeau is to travel to Fort McMurray, Alta., on Friday to tour a new Suncor oilsands facility.
Two Surrey realtors found guilty of professional misconduct From page 9 information about the tenant occupancy verbally; and ensure that details of the existing tenancy were included in the Contract of Purchase and Sale to ensure her client would have vacant possesssion.”
Basco was ordered to pay a $3,000 fine, complete the Real Estate Trading Service Remedial Education Course through UBC’s Sauder School of Business, and also pay $1,500 in “enforcement expenses.”
Saturday, April 7, 2018
South Asian driver faked evidence, lied in court in attempt to fight $220 in fines Jeevan Gill started out as a teenage driver disputing two traffic tickets for violating the terms of his novice driver’s licence. Two years and three levels of justice later, the fight has turned him into a seasoned court veteran — but he’s nowhere closer to winning his battle over the ticket. In fact, Gill was criminally charged and convicted for lying in court along the way — a conviction that means he’ll likely have trouble travelling to the U.S. or getting his dream job as a police officer. On Monday, that court threw out his most recent attempt to appeal, with a B.C. Court of Appeal justice describing Gill as “a person to whom the truth is a stranger.” At one point, Justice David Frankel compared an explanation Gill wrote in a sworn court document to something the character of Humpty Dumpty would say to Alice in Wonderland. The legal back-and-forth began after Gill was slapped with about $220 in traffic fines for violating conditions of his novice driver’s licence — also known as an “N” licence in B.C. — on March 28, 2015.
Court documents say the “N” driver had been driving his dad’s car along the Sea to Sky Highway near Squamish, B.C., when he was pulled over by RCMP. Four people got out of the car during the roadside stop: Gill and three passengers. In B.C., drivers with “N” licences aren’t allowed to have more than one non-family member as a passenger at a time, unless one is a supervisor. The drivers are also required to display a green “N” magnet on the back of the car. RCMP wrote Gill a ticket for breaking both rules. Each violation comes with a $109 fine — $218 total — plus one penalty point on the driver’s licence. Gill, who was born in 1997, unsuccessfully disputed the violations in court in 2016. He filed an appeal almost immediately after he lost. As part of that appeal, he submitted an affidavit — a written statement under oath — saying he did have a supervisor in the car and no extra passengers. A police investigation found that sworn statement to be lie, and Gill was charged with obstruction of justice for his dishonesty on Aug. 16, 2016.
Vancouver drivers could get digital traffic tickets You could end up with a digital traffic ticket the next time you’re pulled over in Vancouver. The Vancouver Police Department (VPD) has joined a provincial pilot project to issue eTickets for common traffic violations. The system works by allowing officers to swipe a driver’s licence into a computer that automatically fills out the boxes on a ticket form. Police can then print out a copy on the side of the road and immediately share the information with ICBC. The VPD has outfitted 20 patrol cars and 10 motorcycles with the new ticketing technology. Are you curious how our new eTicketing system works? Check out this short video that shows you how quickly & easily our officers can now issue violation tickets. “The new streamlined system should
speed up the ticketing process and decrease the number of cancelled tickets due to administrative errors,” VPD Supt. Steve Eely said in a media release. Paying your fine will also now be easier, though an online portal at the PayBC website. Delta Police were the first department in B.C. to ditch the pen and paper for traffic violations, joining the pilot project early last month. Prince George and North District RCMP officers will follow suit in two weeks, while Victoria-area officers are expected to have the tools in place to issue eTickets by the end of the month. The pilot project is expected to end in midMay, with the province using the data collected to help shape potential provincial eTicketing policy going forward.
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Metro Vancouver board plans to reverse pay raises after public ‘outrage’ The Metro Vancouver board of directors could scrap a pay increase they voted to give themselves after public outcry over the move. Regional district board chair Greg Moore said Tuesday he will bring forth a motion to reverse a sweetened compensation package for directors that gives them a retroactive retirement bonus and a pay bump starting in 2019. “We listen to our residents and citizens and obviously over the last week or so we’ve had a lot of ... comments about this remuneration bylaw and a lot of people upset about it,” Moore said. “I think it’s important for us to listen and reconsider it and bring it back and hopefully defeat it.” In March, Moore and other directors of the Metro Vancouver board voted in favour of the increased pay. The board consists of local politicians from the 21 municipalities that make up the regional district, plus a representative from Tsawwassen First Nation and, on parks matters, a representative from Abbotsford. When asked if there’s a way to increase the salaries of politicians without drawing the ire of voters, Moore sighed and said, “I’m not sure.” As
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mayor of Port Coquitlam, he said he has gone through the process of increasing his and his council’s pay several times. In some instances, his city relied on outside experts to weigh in on pay increases; in another, an advisory group of business leaders has put forward advice. “Not once have citizens ever agreed, ‘hey, that was a great process!’” he said. “There have always been people that were upset that we had to make the decision about our own remuneration. I think it’s just part of the job.” “But the other part of our job is to listen to our citizens,” he added. “If they are as outraged as they are with this one, then we change our minds.” Port Coquitlam Mayor Greg Moore announces he won’t be seeking re-election He says one option used in other provinces is to simply let the provincial government decide if municipal politicians should get a raise. However, he added, that can let local politicians off the hook for “tough decisions.” Moore said the motion to scrap the pay increases will be introduced April 27. He expects it to pass.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
BC to crack down on extra fees billed by health-care providers The B.C. government is planning to fine doctors who charge extra user fees and reimburse patients who are improperly billed, Health Minister Adrian Dix announced Wednesday. The province will make it an offence to charge extra fees for publicly insured services, and introduce fines of up to $10,000 for a first offence and $20,000 for a second offence for anyone convicted, Dix told reporters. “Our public healthcare system is meant to provide high quality healthcare to everyone, based on need, regardless of where they live or their ability to pay,” he said. Private B.C. clinics accused of charging patients improper fees The news comes after a Health Canada audit of three private clinics in B.C. Based on that audit, the federal government estimates
that $15.9 million in extra fees were charged to British Columbians in the 2015-2016 fiscal year. This year, federal health-care funding to B.C. was reduced by the same amount. The Canada Health Act specifically forbids patient payments for “medically necessary” services covered by the public health-care system. In response, Dix says the province will bring into force the full Medicare Protection Amendment Act, which was passed by the legislature in 2003 but not fully implemented. The full act would have given government the authority to take action against clinics and doctors charging illegal fees. “We’ve had this system of don’t ask, don’t tell, ever since,” Dix said. Documents show B.C. government ignored illegal health billing: nurses
Transit police awarded 10% pay increase TransLink’s transit police officers will have a wage increase totalling more than 10 per cent awarded by an independent labour arbitrator . The four-year collective agreement is retroactive to Jan.1, 2016 and includes a 2.5 per cent increase as of April 1 of this year. Arbitrator Stan Lanyon’s binding decision also awards transit police officers the same wage increase next year as a first class Vancouver police department constable. The pay hike is part of the Transit Police Professional Association’s efforts to achieve parity with the Vancouver Police Union. Lanyon’s ruling makes clear the union and TransLink are sick of being the butt of jokes. “Both parties expressly reject what they see as an unfortunate public perception that the transit police officers are simply “highly
paid farecheckers,” the decision said. The union represents 238 employees. About 70 per cent are sworn police officers holding a rank below inspector, 15 per cent are clerical and support staff and the remaining 15 per cent are dispatchers. Transit police used to be represented by the Canadian Office of Professional Employees, but B.C.’s Labour Relations Board certified the Transit Police Professional Association to represent them in June 2014. In a statement, TransLink said the new contract will bring transit police salaries in line with the province’s other police agencies. The organization stressed transit police have received no wage increase since their contract expired at the end of 2015. The arbitrator’s decision says transit police officers expressly reject an unfortunate public perception of them as ‘highly paid farecheckers.’
Vision Vancouver still doesn’t have mayoral candidate for fall election Gregor Robertson’s Vision Vancouver party says it’s not looking for a candidate for mayor at this time. In a statement, the current majority party at city hall said it is “not formally opening a nomination process for the mayoral race” leading up to October’s municipal elections. Vision has only opened the nomination process for council, the park board and school board. Heated Vancouver council meeting may be harbinger of nasty election campaign “There has been a lot of talk about the need for Vancouver’s progressive parties to work
together to keep the NPA out of office,” said Vision Vancouver’s co-chair Sheena Sargeant. “With this in mind, we’re creating an opportunity to collaborate with other parties for an independent or partisan mayoral candidate to seek the support of our members.” Vision mainstays Kerry Jang, Andrea Reimer and Tim Stevensen all announced they won’t be running in the Oct. 20 election. In January, Mayor Gregor Roberston announced he would be stepping down, calling it one of the hardest decisions of his life. Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson makes ‘bittersweet choice’ to not
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Trials back on for accused drug dealers freed in sheriff showdown B.C.’s Court of Appeal has overruled a pair of judges who handed judicial stays to two accused drug dealers because of a lack of sheriffs needed to hold their trials. The ruling means that Richard Anthony D’Allesandro and Michael John Dubensky will have to stand trial after all. “While the judges were right to be concerned — and, it would appear, frustrated — over the unavailability of sheriffs and the effect a lack of sufficient sheriffs can have on the Supreme Court’s ability to carry out its functions, how they chose to address that problem in dealing with the cases before them was both procedurally inappropriate and extreme,” read the unanimous Appeal Court ruling. The decision marks a dramatic turnaround for two men unwittingly caught in the middle of a political firestorm in February 2017. After a pair of B.C.-Supreme-Court-stayed charges against them in quick succession, thenNDP Public Safety Critic Mike Farnworth called the situation “outrageous.” And former B.C. Liberal justice minister Suzanne Anton promised action to address the sheriff shortage. D’Allesandro is charged with possessing cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and Dubensky is accused of possessing heroin for the purpose of trafficking, as well as possessing a dangerous weapon — bear spray. D’Allesandro’s trial was set for Feb. 17, 2017 and
Dubensky’s was scheduled the next week. But in both cases, sheriffs were not available to sit in the courtroom during the proceedings. “I will say that more and more frequently in this building, and it is a matter of great distress to not only myself, but my fellow judges, criminal matters, important criminal matters, are delayed starting because of a lack of staff, whether it’s sheriffs, clerks, or otherwise,” Justice Robert Johnston wrote in ordering a stay of proceedings for D’Allesandro. The Crown appealed the decisions. D’Allesandro didn’t respond, but Dubensky fought the appeal vigorously. Writing for the appeal court majority, Justice David Frankel noted that a stay of proceedings has been called the most drastic remedy available for circumstances that might bring the justice system into disrepute. B.C. justice system ‘heading towards a crisis,’ in need of reform: report He said Justice Jacqueline Dorgan made no effort to determine whether or not the lack of sheriffs “irremediably prejudiced Mr. Dubensky’s right to a fair trial, or adversely affected the integrity of the justice system.” “In my view, it was incumbent on the trial judge to ask the parties what they wished to do and, if necessary, give them time to consider their positions,” Frankel wrote. “If Mr. Dubensky decided to apply for a stay, then arrangements to schedule that application could have been made.”
2 charged after alleged assault of 61-year-old on Surrey bus Two Surrey residents face multiple charges after a violent incident on a bus last month left a 61-year-old Burnaby woman with a broken arm, a cracked sternum and a minor head injury. Dylan Miranda, 34, has been charged with assault, theft, and mischief, and Cristina Ponce, 28, has been charged with robbery, assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm and theft. Ponce turned herself into police on Tuesday and remains in custody. Miranda turned himself into police last week and was released after promising to appear in court. However, according to Metro Vancouver Transit Police, a warrant has now been issued for Miranda’s arrest for a Wednesday court appearance on an unrelated matter. Transit police say more than a hundred tips from the public poured in after they released details of the alleged attack and photos of the suspects a few days after the
incident. “I really want to thank the public and the media, I think, for their help on this. First off, we got a flood of tips, which helped us identify them but also put pressure on the individuals to do the right thing and turn themselves in,” said Metro Vancouver Transit Police Sgt. Clint Hampton. At the time, police described an early-evening incident on the 96B bus, beginning at the Surrey Central SkyTrain station. Police allege Ponce was trying to save a seat for her husband and physically forced the 61 year old out of the seat. When the alleged victim tried to take a photo of the suspects, police accuse Ponce of grabbing the woman’s cell phone and after a struggle, throwing the phone to the ground. Police allege Ponce then grabbed the victim by her hair, pulling her over the back of a seat, while verbally threatening her. The two suspects allegedly made off with the phone, but Miranda threw it on the ground
Woman sexually assaulted while taking out the garbage RCMP are urging residents to be vigilant after a woman was grabbed from behind as she was putting out the trash around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday in Aldergrove. “She was grabbed from behind and she was forcibly taken into her own residence and once inside she was sexually assaulted,” said Cpl. Holly Largy with the Langley RCMP. Police say the attacker took bedding from the woman’s bedroom, along with her purse, which is described as grey with silver trimmings. Officers are withholding personal information about the woman to protect her identity but say she was taken to the hospital where forensic evidence was collected. “Quite obviously she is traumatized both physically and emotionally. We have our victim services people working with her to support her and will continue to
do so, as we go through the long process of this investigation,” said Largy. Officers are canvassing the neighbourhood and asking residents to report any suspicious activity following this “alarming and quite disturbing” crime. “It’s all about safety and security of people living within the community. Unfortunately, now everyone will be on edge. “We are asking them to remain vigilant and be very cognizant of their surroundings and always report if they see any individual in their neighbourhood they believe is suspicious, so hopefully we can find a way to identify this individual and make an arrest,” she said. Anyone with information is asked to call the Langley RCMP detachment at 604-532-3398.
Canada-wide wireless emergency alert system now in place
Canadians with LTE-compatible phones can now receive public alerts and safety information in the event of life-threatening emergencies. The National Public Alerting System, known as Alert Ready, provides a standardized system that sends out localized alerts. “By adding smartphones to our emergency alert system, we will be able to reach more Canadians, faster, in times of crisis,” said Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale. Provincial testing of the system will begin in May. Users in Ontario and Quebec will get test alerts May 7, and in the rest of the provinces a test will take place on May 9. Yukon and Nunavut have yet to announce testing dates.
Wireless alerts will appear like a text message and will be have a distinct sound and vibration meant to reinforce the alert message. According to Public Safety Canada, wireless public alerting is geo-targeted and can be very specific to a limited area of coverage, unlike radio and television broadcasting, which often has broad areas of coverage. A wireless device that is turned off will not display an alert until it is turned back on, if the emergency alert is still active in the area. Wireless users can’t opt out of the system, and the CRTC has said wireless providers cannot charge a separate fee on consumers’ bills for participating in the alert system.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Straws, coffee cups may be banned in Vancouver to reduce plastic garbage Vancouver is the latest city in western Canada to stir up opposition to plastic drinking straws, but it’s not calling for an outright ban. Instead, they would be optional under the city’s proposals, so servers would ask customers whether they want a straw with their cocktails. Vancouver decided against abolishing straws because some people need them to drink, said Albert Shamess, the city’s director of waste management and resource recovery. “We heard loud and clear from the disabled community that a ban would not facilitate their needs. We’ve also heard from other health services providers that it’s important to them to have access to the plastic straws as well,” Shamess said in an interview. “Over time, I think there will be a change in the types of straws that are available and the types of materials that they’re made of.”
The proposal is part of a draft strategy to cut down on plastic and Styrofoam waste, which also includes restrictions on plastic bags, takeout containers and disposable cups. The strategy will be considered by council in May. The city says it costs about $2.5 million per year to collect single-use items from public green spaces and waste bins. Plastic straws and stir sticks make up about three per cent of shoreline litter in Vancouver, while Canadians throw out about 57 million straws every day, it says. Vancouver’s plan follows other cities that have taken aim at plastic waste. Victoria is set to ban plastic shopping bags in July, after Montreal abolished them in January. Vancouver would require businesses that use disposable cups and shopping bags to develop reduction plans for them, with options to stop using them altogether or charge customers a fee.
BC nurse practitioners can now prescribe drugs for opioid addiction Nurse practitioners in British Columbia now have the power to prescribe drugs used to treat opioid addiction. The provincial government says the College of Registered Nurses of B.C. has expanded its standards so nurse practitioners can prescribe medication like injectable hydromorphone, methadone and suboxone. Cynthia Johansen, the college’s registrar and CEO, says the change will help nurse practitioners to better meet the increasing demand for opioid substitution treatment.
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Judy Darcy says the change to prescribing standards will help address gaps and tackle barriers that people living with addiction often experience. Nurse practitioners who want to prescribe the medication have to undergo training with the B.C. Centre on Substance Use, and the province says more than 60 nurses have started the program so far. The Ministry of Mental Health and Addictions says in a news release the possibility of allowing nurse practitioners to prescribe prescription heroin is being looked at.
Abbotsford car chase ends with man’s arrest for allegedly attacking, abducting woman Abbotsford police say a man was arrested after allegedly assaulting a woman, dragging her into a car and speeding off with her. In a release, the Abbotsford Police Department says the suspect was seen attacking a woman just before 12:30 p.m. PT Wednesday near the 33300 block of Hawthorne Avenue, a suburban, residential street in Abbotsford. Police were called to the scene, and Police say the victim was left with non-life-threatening once they arrived, the suspect drove off injuries after the alleged attack and a brief chase ensued. The suspect each other and both are from the Fraser Valley, was captured after officers laid down a spike belt and boxed him in at Wheel Avenue police say. The victim, said Sgt. Judy Bird, is cooperating with the investigation. and Townline Road, close to Highway 1. Police say the suspect faces charges of They say the suspect, driving a red 2005 Chevy Malibu, crashed into a police truck forcible confinement, assault with a weapon, before his arrest. Officers and the suspect were dangerous operation of a motor vehicle, uninjured, but the woman was taken to hospital threatening and breach of a no-contact order. He also had outstanding warrants for assault with non-life-threatening injuries. The suspect, 22, and the woman, 23, know and threatening.
Two-thirds of B.C. overdose victims spent time in prison, report finds Two-thirds of British Columbians who died of drug overdoses in recent years were at some point in their lives in custody or under community supervision, highlighting the need to improve access to treatment behind bars and connect inmates with health care upon release. That’s one of the findings in a report released on Thursday by a panel struck last fall to examine British Columbia’s significant increase in overdose deaths. Four people die of overdoses every day in B.C., the report said, and all of these deaths are preventable. “More individuals died over this [review] period of an illicit-drug overdose than died as a result of a motor vehicle incident, suicides and homicides combined,” panel chair Michael Egilson said.
The report found that 66 per cent of those who died interacted with BC Corrections at some point. Of 1,854 people whose deaths between January, 2016, and July, 2017, were reviewed, 18 per cent had died while under community corrections supervision (in prison or on parole) or within 30 days of release from a correctional facility; 25 per cent died while under supervision or within a year of release; and 30 per cent while under supervision or within two years of release. Inmates in B.C. can request opioid agonist treatment with methadone or buprenorphine-naloxone (Suboxone) upon admission, but some have reported delayed access, or no access at all.
Driver fined for clocking 161 km/h during test drive A 46-year-old man from Vancouver has been ticketed after driving more than 70 km/h above the speed limit while test driving a car. West Vancouver police said the driver was stopped by a traffic officer on Highway 1 on Sunday afternoon after driving at 161 km/h in a 90 km/h zone.
A representative from the dealership, which police are not identifying, was also in the four-door sedan. Police said there’s no evidence that the vehicle’s owner directly encouraged or consented to the speeding. The driver is now facing a $468 fine and the vehicle was towed for a seven-day excessive speed impound. Police said that the vehicle owner would be initially responsible for the tow and impound costs, but that they could consider civil proceedings to recover any losses resulting from the impound.
LOCAL / NATIONAL
Saturday, April 7, 2018
More than 600,000 Canadians caught in Facebook data scandal
More than 600,000 Canadian Facebook users had their personal information harvested by Cambridge Analytica, the political consulting firm that used that data to sell services to political campaigns in the United States and Britain. FacebookCanadasaidWednesday they estimate 622,161 Canadians had their data “improperly shared” with Cambridge Analytica. The U.K.-based firm, which had ties to both the Trump presidential campaign and Brexit, used data harvested through a personality quiz app that collected personal information about users and their social network.
In total, Facebook believes that as many as 87 million users — mostly in the U.S. — had their personal information shared with Cambridge Analytica. That’s significantly more than the 50 million previously reported. CEO Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged users’ expectations were “broken.” “Knowing what I know today, clearly
Doctors who bill for services outside BC public health system will face fines Doctors billing patients for health-care services outside the public system will face sanctions in British Columbia. Health Minister Adrian Dix says doctors and other healthcare providers who break the law by billing patients against the principles of medicare will face tough consequences, including fines and refunding patients. The fines will start at $10,000 for a first offence, $20,000 for a second infraction and the possibility of being dropped from the Medical Services Plan. The changes will take place in
October and affect 56 private surgical clinics and 17 private MRI facilities in the province. Based on audits, Health Canada estimated that extra billing in B.C. came to $15.9 million in 2015-16 and the federal government reduced funding to the province by the same amount this year. Dix says the government is correcting the previous government’s failure to act on contraventions of provincial and federal laws governing medicare.
Refugee shot by her husband meets PM Trudeau An Afghan refugee to Canada whose husband shot her in the face when she was 17 met with the prime minister Thursday. Shakila Zareen met Justin Trudeau at an event at Vancouver’s Fairmont Pacific Rim Hotel. “I [could] not believe it. I was so excited,” Zareen said. “He’s very, very kind.” Zareen now lives in Vancouver after
escaping her husband in 2012 and spending several years in India, where she had a series of surgeries. She was originally expecting to settle in the United States as a refugee, but after U.S. President Donald Trump suspended that country’s refugee program, her acceptance was overturned, and the UNHCR referred her file to Canada. She arrived in Vancouver on Jan. 30 of this year. ‘What type of man could hurt somebody like me?’ Woman shot in face in Afghanistan settles into life in B.C. Profile: Erbil, Seattle, Vancouver: why one asylum seeker walked across the border into B.C. Speaking outside the hotel through a translator Thursday evening, she said it was her dream to meet Trudeau to thank him for helping her and other women around the world. When she was 17, Zareen was forced into marriage to a much older man by her brother-in-law. She
says the man beat and raped her and in 2012 shot her in the face. She says she hopes to one day be able to sit down with Trudeau and tell him her story. She also says she wants to discuss with him the importance of women’s rights. As Trudeau left the hotel for a fundraiser, Zareen stood outside in the cold Vancouver rain and excitedly waved goodbye to his motorcade. Zareen said through a translator it was her dream to meet Trudeau. (Adam Scotti/Prime Minister’s Office)
we should have done more, and we will moving forward,” Zuckerberg told reporters on a hastily convened conference call Wednesday afternoon. “We understand ... we’re not just building tools, but we need to take full responsibility for the outcomes for people who use those tools as well.” He confirmed he’ll testify at U.S. Congress
next week about how Facebook handles personal information and privacy. Zuckerberg said Facebook only finalized the scope of the impact a few days ago. The ubiquitous social media company has been under fire in recent weeks over allowing third parties to harvest data not only from Facebook users who used their apps, but those users’ friends and family members.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
New BC taxes and fees go into effect from April 1 B.C.’s new carbon tax kicks in on Sunday and that means more pain at the gas pumps. Prices are expected to jump by just over one cent per litre, the first of four annual carbon tax increases. The tax will add to fuel prices that were already as high as $1.57 per litre in some parts of Metro Vancouver. According to Gasbuddy.com, Metro Vancouver is home to North America’s most expensive gasoline and the second-highest fuel taxes on the continent. “I don’t believe that British Columbians begrudge that penny a litre when they know it’s going towards making sure that future generations have an environment that’s sustainable and a world that we can all live in,” Premier John Horgan said. The increase, coupled with a more expensive summer-grade gasoline, has experts predicting prices could climb to more than $1.60 per litre by the end of the week.
The carbon tax isn’t the only change kicking in today. BC Hydro is going ahead with its promised three per cent rate hike, despite an NDP promise to freeze those prices. That equals roughly $4 more per month. Tax on tobacco will cost 27.5 cents per cigarette, an increase of 2.8 cents. Home inspectors will face a 36 per cent increase on their licensing fees. If you are in the market for a high-end car in B.C, get ready to pay a little more. The province has doubled the tax on the purchase of cars worth more than $150,000 to 20 per cent as of April 1. The measure will bring in an estimated $10 million. Starting April 1, fares for the major BC Ferries routes will be frozen. While no date has been given for rolling back fares on minor routes, the Ministry of Transportation said those changes will be made, along with reinstating free tickets for seniors travelling between Mondays and Thursdays.
Mountie charged with manslaughter in 2015 traffic stop shooting death A Mountie in West Kootenay region has been charged with manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a father of four during an attempted traffic stop in January 2015. Const. Jason Tait was officially charged on Tuesday, even though the Independent Investigations Office (IIO) wrapped up its investigation and issued a report on the shooting in December 2016, according to the B.C. Prosecution Service. “The investigation and charge assessment process were protracted due, in part, to the complexities of the evidentiary issues in the case and the requirement for further investigation and analysis,” a statement from the service said. Tait was a member of an RCMP traffic unit at the time Waylon Edey, from Yahk, was shot near Castlegar. The officer had gone to the area after police received a call about an impaired driver on Highway 3. Edey’s mother, Deborah, told CBC News that she was satisfied with the charge. “I was very happy. I think his kids were very happy,” she said Tuesday. “It has been a long three years, so we’ll take what we can get.” Lawsuit filed in Supreme Court Allegations about what happened on the night of the shooting are outlined in documents filed in civil proceedings in B.C. Supreme C o u r t . Deborah Edey filed suit in December 2016 on behalf of her grandchildren, who range
in age from 14 to 22. She alleges her son was unarmed at the time he was shot and that the use of deadly force was unwarranted. Those named in the suit include the province’s minister of public safety and Canada’s attorney general, as well as the RCMP officer who shot Edey, who is referred to as John Doe in the civil claim. In a response to the civil claim, filed in April 2017, the defendants say that the incident began after RCMP received a report of an impaired motorist driving a pickup truck through the drive-thru of a local restaurant. It alleges an RCMP officer drove his police vehicle past Edey and stopped in the westbound lane of Highway 3 outside Castlegar. “Once the RCMP member stopped his police vehicle, he stepped out of his vehicle, got out on foot onto the eastbound portion of Highway 3 and motioned for the driver of the suspect vehicle to stop,” the document says. “The suspect vehicle continued to drive towards the RCMP member as the RCMP member was attempting to stop the suspect vehicle.”The claim alleges Edey’s truck struck the police cruiser and then continued toward the officer. “The RCMP member discharged his service pistol once at the driver of the suspect vehicle while the suspect vehicle was in the eastbound lane of Highway 3,” the claim says. The response to the civil claim maintains the officer was justified in defending himself and members of the public from harm. None of the allegations in the lawsuit have been tested in court. No monetary damages were specified. Tait is scheduled to make his first appearance in provincial court on the manslaughter charge on April 30.
Police warn public after man breaks into Surrey home, sexually assaults girl Police are warning the public after a man broke into a home and sexually assaulted a girl in Surrey early Thursday morning. RCMP say it happened at about 4 a.m. in the 10700 block of 132A Street. They say the man ran out the back door after being confronted by another resident of the house. Police say the victim was not injured but is “understandably shaken.” Police have not released the age of the victim. Surrey RCMP say the suspect is described as a Caucasian or light-skinned Indigenous male in his 20s or 30s, who is about 5’5” to 5’6” tall and very thin, with short wavy black hair. He was wearing baggy blue jeans and a grey zip up hoody at the time of the offence. The suspect may also have facial injuries or markings. This comes just days after a woman was attacked and sexually assaulted after taking out the garbage Tuesday night in Aldergrove. The victim told Black Press she couldn’t provide a description of her attacker as she was unable to get a look at him. However, on Thursday night, Surrey RCMP said in a release that the two incidents are not believed to be related, as the “descriptions of the suspects are different.” Asked Friday morning why police believe the two cases are unrelated, Corporal Elenore Sturko said “when looking for linkages in crimes, investigators review many aspects of an incident, including descriptions, to determine if they are related or not. “Based on the information available in this investigation, the two incidents are not believed to be linked,” Sturko told the Now-Leader. “This investigation is active and on-going, we won’t be releasing any further information at this time. If there are developments which we can share with the public we will do that at the earliest.” Anyone with more information is asked to contact the Surrey RCMP at 604-599-0502.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Mother of two ordered extradited to the UK to face abduction charges A B.C. judge has ordered a mother of two to be committed for extradition to the United Kingdom to face charges she abducted her children and brought them to Canada. The mom, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, wept after B.C. Supreme Court Supreme Court Justice Heather Holmes delivered her ruling in the case Thursday. A dual citizen of Canada and the U.K., she had been divorced from her husband in July 2014 after being married and living in England for 14 years. After the divorce, the couple’s two boys, who are now 16 and 14, lived with their mom in Southport, England, with the dad sharing
parental responsibilities. In July 2015, the mom applied to a family court in Liverpool to have the boys move with her to Canada but was denied permission to do so. The court also ordered that the boys were not to be removed from the U.K. without their dad’s permission unless it was for a period of less than a month. On Oct. 18, 2015, the mom and her two sons flew from Manchester to Calgary without the dad’s prior knowledge or consent and have remained in Canada since then. The dad successfully applied to a court in Alberta to have the boys returned immediately, with an appeal of that decision by the mother being dismissed.
Judge slams immigration officer’s ‘overzealous approach’ in Tamil refugee case A federal judge has overturned detained and tortured by Sri an immigration officer’s decision Lankan authorities in 2009 and 2012, and accused of being a and criticized him for imposing a virtually “impossible standard” supporter of the Liberation in assessing the danger faced by Tigers of Tamil Eelam. He fled to Canada for asylum in 2013 a failed Tamil refugee if he were to be deported to Sri Lanka. The via India and the United States, case involves Suresh Nagarasa, but his claim was denied the same year after a refugee judge a Toronto-area man who claims Suresh Nagarasa he was tortured by Sri Lankan concluded he lacked credibility authorities on two occasions, a statement and failed to establish he was subject to backed up by letters from a Sri Lankan torture by Sri Lankan authorities. Fearing legislator and justice of the peace. According for his safety, the court said, Nagarasa did not to the court, Nagarasa fled to Canada for appear for his initial deportation and went asylum after he claimed he was arrested, “underground” for almost three years. In an interview with the Star, Nagarasa said he moved from safe house to safe house with the help of a large network of extended family and spent most of the time holed up indoors in the Toronto area. Last April, tired of hiding, he said he consumed an industrial cleaning agent to try to kill himself after meeting with an immigration lawyer and being advised to surrender to immigration authorities. “I didn’t see any hope. I was depressed. I was scared to go back to Sri Lanka,” said Nagarasa, who was studying journalism at Jaffna University when his family got him out of the country with the help of a smuggler. “The (civil) war in Sri Lanka is over but the problems are not.” Actors Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum announced Monday they are separating nearly nine years after meeting on the set of the 2006 movie ‘Step Up.’ Twitter mourns as Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan’s marriage ends in separation Law enforcement officials have identified Nasim Najafi Aghdam, a 39-year-old from San Diego, as the person who opened fire with a handgun on Tuesday at YouTube headquarters in California wounding several people before fatally shooting herself.
Vast majority of Canadians support Net Neutrality, but split over whether current regulations are sufficient While the internet has grown in scale, influence and importance in the lives of most everyone on the planet over the past few decades, it has largely maintained the governing principle of freedom and openness. Recently, however, many people have been wondering how much the future of the internet will resemble its past. A new study from the Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians overwhelmingly supportive of a key concept in the ongoing debate over internet openness – net neutrality. And, while they’re supportive of equal treatment of data and ensuring no unfair advantage for one web company over another, Canadians are divided on how best to safeguard this principle in Canada. Nearly half of Canadians say current protections from the CRTC are enough, while the same number say new legislation is necessary to enshrine net neutrality into Canadian law. Just onein-ten say no net neutrality protections are needed in Canada. Canadians are also decidedly against a recent decision by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in the United States that reversed the Open Internet Order. Eight-in-ten Canadians say the FCC made the wrong choice in reversing the 2015 order that sought to enshrine net neutrality regulations in that country.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Smoke alarm helps save day for three Surrey fire victims A smoke alarm helped save the day for three men and a cat who escaped from a blazing house fire Whalley early Friday morning. The fire was reported at 7:15 a.m., at 10823 140th St. Surrey Battalion Chief Brian Carmichael said that when firefighters arrived the house was fully When firefighters arrived the house was fully ablaze on both ablaze on both floors at 10823 140th Street in Surrey. floors. “The fellows and Carmichael told the Now-Leader it’s were alerted by their smoke detector. They too early to say if it should be considered all got out with minor smoke inhalation,” suspicious or not. “It’s under investigation Carmichael said. “They were treated at the is all I can tell you,” he said. “We have an scene then all refused medical care, to be investigator there right now, checking it transported to the hospital, so I’d say they’re out. When the crews arrived the house all doing pretty good.” was heavy smoke, flames coming out all “The cat’s fine. The crew gave it a little sides and they upgraded it to a second oxygen. It was singed a bit but the cat is going alarm — we had approximately 25 to be fine.” The Surrey fire department is still personnel on scene.” trying to determine what caused the fire
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor appealing sexual assault conviction they appeal, particularly if they A former Pitt Meadows city were not in custody prior to councillor is appealing his their sentencing. conviction for sexually assaulting a teenage girl more than 20 years Murray’s former lawyer, ago and is seeking bail. David Bob Robertson, had argued Murray was scheduled to be in for a six-month conditional court Friday morning to appeal sentence, or house arrest, but both his conviction and sentence. the judge agreed with Crown He has also applied to be released counsel Wendy Wakabayashi’s from custody until his appeal is position – that a sentence of heard. nine to 12 months of “real jail” Murray was sentenced to nine time was appropriate. Judge months in jail on March 21, and David Murray Deirdre Pothecary said in her has been incarcerated for the 16 days since. He was found guilty in October decision that sentences have been rising for 2017, when he was still on council, of having sexual assaults against children “as society molested a 13 or 14-year-old girl he employed recognizes the horrific consequences.” Murray in 1992. Murray has hired a new lawyer, is also appealing sentencing terms that include Matthew Nathanson, and was scheduled to a “no go” order for Pitt Meadows, which say have a bail hearing in the Court of Appeal in he is only allowed in the city where the victim resides to drive through or pass through on Vancouver on Friday morning. Crown media spokesperson Dan transit. Crown agreed in sentencing that McLaughlin explained it is not unusual for Murray is not a risk to reoffend, and his crime people convicted of crimes to seek release while “seems to be a singular incident.”
Three friends win record 50/50 draw on #ThankYouSedins night The Sedins gave the whole city of Vancouver a gift on Thursday night, leading the Canucks to an overtime victory in the final home game of their NHL careers. But three fans got a little more out of it than the rest of the crowd. Make that a lot more. Late in the third period, the Canucks announced a record jackpot of over $1 million for the 50/50 draw.The total amount was $1,014,555. With the Canucks For Kids Fund happily taking half, that means one lucky fan went home with $507,278, the largest 50/50 raffle prize in North American sports history, according to ESPN sports business reporter Darren Rovell. It turns out several buddies will be splitting the prize. Derek Kai, a Vancouver realtor with Rennie and
Associates, said that he was super excited about the 50/50 win. Kai declined an interview, but said, in an email, that he and some friends bought about $650 worth of tickets. He said the winning ticket was split with two other friends for about $169,000 each.“We are all, of course, thrilled and will be meeting this weekend to discuss our plans,” he said. “I have been a long time Canucks season ticket holder and always buy tickets for the 50/50 draw,” he said. Kai, who was at the game Thursday night with his girlfriend, said the energy in the arena was “absolutely electric” and reminded him of attending playoff games. “We couldn’t have asked for a better send off for two of the Canucks’ best players.”
Saturday, April 7, 2018
The Canada Day 150 show in Ottawa bombed with Canadians, government survey shows Awful logistics, terrible weather and underwhelming entertainment meant the big Canada Day show in the nation’s capital last year received disastrous ratings from those who attended, according to a newly-released internal government survey. The July 1 show should have been the glamorous centrepiece of the year-long Canada 150 celebrations, which had a budget topping $200 million. But the chaotic and interminable security lineups, combined
with persistent thunderstorms, wrecked the experience for thousands of people — and it shows in the survey commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Compared to a survey on the Canada Day show in 2015, satisfaction with the overall festivities plummeted from 86 per cent to 54 per cent. The organization got the worst reviews, going from 90 per cent to 37 per cent. Even the entertainment and performances — which oddly featured Irish rock band U2, but also
Canadian names such as Alessia Cara, Chantal Kreviazuk and Gordon Lightfoot — were largely panned by attendees, with satisfaction dropping from 83 per cent to 51 per cent. Alessia Cara performs during the evening ceremonies of Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation, in Ottawa on Saturday, July 1, 2017. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS The responses show an explosion in the “very dissatisfied” category, which was negligible in 2015. In 2017, 32 per cent were very dissatisfied with the organization of events, while 18 per
cent were very dissatisfied with the overall event. It also shows significant drops in the number of people agreeing that the show made them proud to be Canadian and that they felt more connected to the country’s capital. The survey by Quorus Consulting was conducted in two phases, with face-toface interviews on site and then follow-up questions online. 1,534 people aged 16 or over participated in the interviews, and 679 subsequently completed the online surveys.
Gurratan Singh hopes to follow in his brother Jagmeet’s footsteps for the NDP in Brampton The Ontario New Democrats’ star candidate in Brampton is a telegenic lawyer with a passion for social justice and a penchant for stylish tailored suits and colourful turbans. Not federal NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, 39, but his younger brother Gurratan Singh. Gurratan
Singh, 33, has been nominated for the NDP in the newly redrawn riding of Brampton East for the June 7 provincial election. Decades of Conservative and Liberal governments have slashed hospital funding, closed hospital beds, and fired front-line
health care providers,” Singh said Monday night. “I know it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s time for universal pharmacare and dental care for everyone — and a premier that will deliver,” he said, referring to NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “Gurratan will be a fantastic representative for this riding and the people of Brampton, and I’m proud to have his voice be a part of our movement for change for the better in Ontario,” said a delighted Horwath, who had made Jagmeet Singh her deputy leader when he was an MPP. “He’s a part of this community, and he knows how critical it is to tackle the issues that matter to Brampton families — like the overcrowding at Brampton Civic Hospital and sky-high auto insurance rates,” she said. “The NDP is running to win, and Gurratan will be part of an NDP government.” Gurratan Singh, right, who is a close adviser to his big brother, Jagmeet, previously ran for a Peel Regional Council seat in Brampton in 2014. Last month, Gurratan Singh told the Star that he would like to “continue that legacy” of his older brother, who represented
the former constituency known as Bramalea-GoreMalton for six years. “I love this riding, I love the people in the riding, and I’ve been connected to it for so long. I know the issues that they face, and I think I could be the voice to really advocate for them.” A close adviser to his big brother, he previously ran for a Peel Regional Council seat in Brampton in 2014, narrowly losing to John Sprovieri. Gurratan Singh is a criminal defence lawyer who graduated from Osgoode Hall. He now has his own practice, but in 2015 he worked with famed Toronto lawyer James Lockyer, who is renowned for helping the wrongfully convicted. He chairs the city of Brampton’s inclusion and equity committee. The Liberal candidate in Brampton East is Parminder Singh, a medical doctor and the founding host of CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada in Punjabi broadcast, while the Progressive Conservative candidate is realtor Simmer Sandhu.
The Canada Day 150 show in Ottawa bombed with Canadians, government survey shows Awful logistics, terrible weather and underwhelming entertainment meant the big Canada Day show in the nation’s capital last year received disastrous ratings from those who attended, according to a newlyreleased internal government survey. The July 1 show should have been the glamorous centrepiece of the year-long Canada 150 celebrations, which had a budget topping $200 million. But the chaotic and interminable security lineups, combined with persistent thunderstorms, wrecked the experience for thousands of people — and it shows in the survey commissioned by the Department of Canadian Heritage. Compared to a survey on the Canada Day show in 2015, satisfaction with the overall festivities plummeted from 86 per cent to 54 per cent. The organization got the worst reviews, going from 90 per cent to 37 per cent. Even the entertainment and performances — which oddly featured Irish rock band U2, but also Canadian names such as Alessia Cara, Chantal Kreviazuk and Gordon Lightfoot — were largely panned by attendees, with satisfaction dropping from 83 per cent to 51 per cent. The responses show an explosion in the “very dissatisfied” category, which was negligible in 2015. In 2017, 32 per cent were very dissatisfied with the organization of events, while 18 per cent were very dissatisfied with the overall event. It also shows significant drops in the number of people agreeing that the show made them proud to be Canadian and that they felt
more connected to the country’s capital. The survey by Quorus Consulting was conducted in two phases, with face-toface interviews on site and then follow-up questions online. 1,534 people aged 16 or over participated in the interviews, and 679 subsequently completed the online surveys. Of those who completed the survey, 60 per cent had travelled to Ottawa for the occasion and, of the travellers, 92 per cent were from elsewhere in Canada. The event was plagued by enormous security lineups, and stories emerged of people who joined a line to access Parliament Hill early in the morning and were still in line by mid-afternoon with no end in sight. Some stood in line for hours only to discover it was a “false line,” and they had wasted their whole morning. The survey by Quorus Consulting was conducted in two phases. National Post Through an access-to-information request in September, the Ottawa Citizen received a trove of angry letters written to Canadian Heritage from people who had attended. “We waited five and a half hours in the rain,” said one. “Thousands lined up for hours and never got to set foot on Parliament Hill. Why were there lines going nowhere?” said another who had travelled from Alberta. “I have never seen such a poor, chaotic display,” said another letter from an outof-towner. “Shame on you Ottawa. You actually ruined Canada Day for many thousands of people visiting Ottawa.”
Saturday, April 7, 2018
NAFTA ministers meet in Washington hoping to reach a deal Top trade officials from Canada, the U.S. and Mexico are meeting in Washington, DC today as part of what could be the final stretch of NAFTA renegotiation talks. A meeting of trade negotiators was postponed to allow U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Mexican Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo and Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland to meet for these high-level political talks unencumbered. Arriving at the negotiations Friday, Freeland sounded upbeat when peppered with questions by reporters. “We’re going to have good conversations. It was a good supper last night with Bob and Ildefonso and I’m looking forward to productive meetings today and I’ll be able to tell you how the meetings go, after the
meetings,” she said, referring to a working dinner the three had in D.C. last night.\ Lighthizer, who was picked by U.S. President Donald Trump for the job largely the strength of his protectionist credentials, has said there must be progress on the deal before Mexico and the U.S. become entangled in potentially fractious election campaigns later this year. The Mexican presidential election is in July — an anti-Trump candidate in leading in public opinion surveys — and Americans head to the polls for midterm elections in November. Trump, who has repeatedly threatened to pull his country out of the negotiations if he cannot secure major concessions from Canada and Mexico, said yesterday during a stop in West Virginia that a deal could be imminent.
Trudeau tweet caused influx of refugee inquiries, confusion within government, emails reveal When Prime Minister Justin Trudeau used Twitter to welcome refugees to Canada last winter, it prompted a spike in inquiries from would-be refugees to Canadian embassies abroad, and resulted in confusion within the federal government, newly released emails reveal. “To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada,” Trudeau said on Twitter Jan. 28, 2017, the day after Trump put out an executive order banning refugees and visitors from Muslimmajority countries Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. It was widely seen as a comment on Trump’s policy. To date the message has been retweeted over 400,000 times and liked more than 750,000 times. International commentators wondered whether Canada was announcing it would take in all those banned from entering the U.S. Some Canadian officials wondered about that too, according to records the National Post obtained through an access-to-information request. To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Noting that Trudeau’s message had been picked up by the New York Times, an Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada official anticipated in an email to
colleagues, the same evening as the tweet, that “there will be more pressure” to respond the following day. Two days later, officials stickhandling media requests were worrying about overloading spokespeople. “I’m sorry, I’m trying to figure out how not to max you out,” one said in an email. In addition to requests from media there were queries from Canada’s own officials posted abroad. Concerns from the embassy in Mexico appear in an email chain with the subject line “Guidance required on how to respond to increasing number of refugee enquiries in the region following change in US administration and Prime Minister’s tweet.” The first secretary and “risk assessment officer” at the embassy, whose name is redacted, sent an initial message on Feb. 1, 2017, four days after the tweet. “I am seeking official guidance/ response from Ottawa on how to address refugee enquiries following all the publicity around the US ban on some nationalities, and our Prime Minister’s tweet on welcoming refugees,” the email began. “We are receiving an increasing number of enquiries from the public about requesting refugee status in Canada, and a number clearly having links with our Prime Minister’s tweet this weekend.
It just got tougher to take Quebec’s back door into Vancouver and Toronto real estate Quebec just made it a little harder for wealthy immigrants to walk through a back door into Vancouver and Toronto real estate. On Wednesday, the provincial government announced changes that make it a touch harder to qualify for the Quebec Immigrant Investor Program (QIIP), a program that offers permanent residency in exchange for making an investment in the province. The program once required applicants to hold net assets of $1.6 million and make an interest-free investment of $800,000 that would be returned to them after five years. Those requirements have been tweaked, according to the Gazette Officielle du Quebec, which announces new laws and regulations. The Gazette states that applicants must now have net worth of $2 million and make an interest-free investment of $1.2 million — which is still returned to them five years later.
Other requirements — that applicants must intend to reside in Quebec, that they must have management experience, that they be 18 years old and qualify to immigrate to the province under its points system — stay the same. If applicants meet these qualifications, they may receive a Quebec Selection Certificate (CSQ), and then obtain permanent residency from the federal government. But these are just the latest tweaks to a program that has come under fire for creating a “trampoline effect” that has seen wealthy immigrants arrive in Quebec, obtain permanent residency and then move to other parts of the country, mainly Vancouver and Toronto. More than 46,000 applicants have already taken this route to these cities, and their housing markets. This chart shows where immigrant investors who came to Canada via Quebec
Saturday, April 7, 2018 Commonwealth Games 2018
Sanjita Chanu wins Gold medal while Deepak Lather claims Bronze medal at Commonwealth Games Indian weightlifters (59th) scored for India. impressed again as However, India’s campaign Sanjita Chanu won gold in Men’s singles squash in Women’s 53 kg and event came to an end after Deepak Lather won Vikram Malhotra lost 1-3 bronze in the Men’s 69 kg to England’s Nick Matthew on the second day of the in Round-of-16 match. 2018 Commonwealth In boxing 91 kg category, Games in Gold Coast, Naman Tanwar cruised to Australia. In other a 5-0 victory and advanced Sanjita Chanu won gold in Women’s sports, the India women’s to the quarter-finals after 53kg category hockey team, after losing defeating Tanzania’s Haruna their first match against Mhando. India beat Samoa Wales, bounced back in style to beat Malaysia 26-4 in Lawn Bowls Men’s pairs sectional 4-1 in a Group A match. Gurjit Kaur (6th, play. In swimming, Kiran Tak finished last 39th minutes), Rani (56th) and Lalremsiami in the Women’s S9 100m Backstroke Final
India to buy Russian missile system, despite US sanctions India’s defense minister is visiting Moscow this week to finalize the purchase of a Russian missile defense system, Indian officials say, in a weapons deal that would violate American sanctions against Russia. The potential $6 billion deal comes at a time when the Trump administration is both weighing more extensive sanctions against Russia and trying to forge a military alliance with India. Indian officials say the agreement could be finalized as soon as this week, with India purchasing five S-400 Triumf systems, an antiaircraft missile array that can also intercept missiles. If the purchase goes through, the Trump
administration would have to choose between punishing India for violating the sanctions or granting an exemption to avoid souring the relationship. The United States has been trying to cultivate India as a strategic ally and a hedge against Chinese military expansion. Washington has typically dangled defense deals as a way to improve military ties with countries, and it has courted India aggressively. Lockheed Martin offered last summer to move the production of F-16 fighter jets from Texas to India if India agreed to buy the plane.
21st Commonwealth Games
Weight-lifter Gururaja claims first silver Weightlifter P Gururaja opened India’s medal account on the first competition day of the 21st Commonwealth Games, claiming silver in the men’s 56 kg category here on Thursday. The 25-year-old Gururaja, making his CWG debut, equalled his personal best of 249kg (111+138) to finish second in a field where Malaysia’s three-time Commonwealth Championships medallist Muhammad Izhar Ahmed (117+144) broke the Games record for snatch and overall lift. “I am very happy to have opened India’s medal account in the
Games. It was nowhere close to being my best performance but I am glad that it was enough to get me a silver medal,” a grinning Gururaja said after the effort. Gururaja was third after snatch, pulling off a best of 111kg after two good lifts before surviving a few nervy moments in clean and jerk. The Indian failed in his first two attempts before managing a good lift off his last chance to zoom to the top half of the table. “I didn’t quite understand why my second lift was not declared valid.
India backs down over plan to ban journalists for ‘fake news’ The Indian government has scrapped a plan to blacklist journalists judged to be writing “fake news” less than a day after it was announced to widespread criticism. India’s information and broadcasting ministry said late on Monday that journalists or agencies accused of creating or spreading fake news would be referred to the Press Council of India and another statutory body for broadcast media. The notice, which cited “the increasing instances of fake news” but did not define it, said journalists would have their official accreditation suspended as soon as any complaint was registered even before it was judged whether it was valid. Sign up to the Media Briefing: news for the news-makers Journalists in India can report and publish without official accreditation but the card is
usually required for access to government buildings, events and press conferences. The accreditation of a journalist or agency confirmed to have been producing fake news would have been suspended for six months in the first instance, for a year the second time, and permanently if they were found guilty again by the press council, a body that includes several members of the ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP). But in a U-turn on Tuesday, the office of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, withdrew the notice, saying the response to the fake news issue should be dealt with by the press council alone. The announcement had been widely criticised by Indian journalists and opposition figures. Press associations had called an emergency meeting for Tuesday afternoon to coordinate a response.
28 million apply for 90,000 jobs with India’s railway company Billed as the world’s largest recruitment exercise, Indian Railways has advertised for thousands of new drivers, trackmen and porters. India’s biggest employer is undergoing a €105-billion modernization. India’s publicly owned railway network says it has received 28 million online applications for its biggest ever recruitment drive, which ends on Saturday. The Times of India reported that railway officials expect the number of applicants for the 90,000 positions to climb even higher as the deadline approaches. The jobs advertised include 26,502 train driver and technician posts, and
62,907 vacancies for less-skilled positions including trackmen, welders and porters. The world’s eighth largest employer, Indian Railways has some 1.4 million staff and has begun a massive modernization program costing some €105 billion ($130 billion).
India is considering a smart phone tax India is exploring new duties on the import of a key smartphone component, according to two government sources, the latest in a series of moves aimed at boosting domestic manufacturing in the world’s second-biggest smartphone market. India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has mooted a proposal to levy a 10 percent duty on the import of populated printed circuit boards (PCBs), two government officials told Reuters this week, declining to be named as the matter is not public.
A PCB is a bed for key components such as processors, memory and wireless chip sets that are the heart of an electronic device. Once populated with components, PCBs account for about half the cost of a smartphone. Currently, most manufacturers of smartphones import PCBs which are already loaded with components to India and then assemble them locally. If India’s finance ministry clears the recommendation on new duties, these could be levied in a matter of days, say government and industry sources.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Chief Minister orders cabinet committee to control sand prices Chief Minister Capt. Amarinder Singh directed the Cabinet SubCommittee on Mining to expedite its report on reforms in the trade, while ordering the Mining Department to take urgent steps to ensure that all legal mines function to full capacity in order to control the escalating prices of sand. The Chief Minister issued the orders during a meeting with the Departments of Mining and Water Resources as well as the three-member Sub-Committee
set up last month to review the Mining Policy. An official release said the CM had also asked the Water Resources Department to ensure timely dredging of about 50 lakh tonnes of sand from the rivers. Capt Amarinder said he was keen to streamline the business so that the genuine bidders and contractors did not suffer, while reiterating his government’s resolve to wipe out the mining mafia from the state.
Onus on affluent farmers to forgo free power: Govt The Punjab Government has told the Punjab and Haryana High Court that it’s the rich farmers’ prerogative to forgo free electricity, and the State would not order it. “The state government shall not discriminate between poor and rich farmers in the matter of grant of free electricity to agricultural pumpsets. However, the rich farmers can voluntarily give up subsidy
Will waive farm loans from commercial banks too: CM Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh distributed debt waiver certificates worth Rs 156 crore among 26,998 farmers of six districts at a function here on Thursday. The CM stated that debt relief to the tune of Rs 457 crore had been disbursed so far to about 1.02 lakh farmers in three phases, covering 16 districts. Capt Amarinder added that after completing debt waiver of cooperative loans, the government would soon begin writing off farm loans taken from commercial banks, which, too, would be completed by the end of this year. “The government has also decided to give financial assistance worth Rs 50,000 each to landless labourers to bail them out of the agrarian crisis,” he said. Earlier, PPCC chief Sunil Jakhar accused the Centre of overlooking the interests and rights of SCs and referred to the 10 per cent reduction in the scholarship budget. Accepting a demand of the locals, Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday announced the setting up of a medical collegecum-hospital in Gurdaspur.
Former gangster, Dal Khalsa leader booked for defacing signboards The Bathinda police on Wednesday booked former gangster Lakhbir Singh, alias Lakha Sidana, and Dal Khalsa leader Baba Hardeep Singh Khalsa in four cases regarding smudging English and Hindi signboards. They had allegedly blackened signboards in English and Hindi outside the district administrative complex, income tax office, PNB and the post office situated in the Civil Lines area. Three cases were registered under Section 3 of the Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act, 1984, and Section 5 of the Punjab Defacement of Property Ordinance Act, 1997, against unidentified persons on the complaints of the Income Tax Department, head post master of the local post office and branch manager of Punjab National Bank. One case was already registered under same sections. On the other hand, two teams of the Bathinda police on Wednesday conducted raids for the arrest of Sidana at his native village
without any pressure from any quarter,” the government told the court. The stand came in response to a PIL filed by advocate Hari Chand Arora for directions to Punjab to exclude rich farmers from the purview of free power for agricultural pumpsets.
SGPC plans 1,000-room serai near Golden Temple With a view to accommodate the increasing number of devotees at the Golden Temple, the SGPC intends to build a multi-storey serai (inn) with ample parking space at its land located in the adjoining Akali Market. Spread in five acres, a new inn with 1,000 rooms has been proposed to be built in the market owned by the SGPC. An amount of Rs 10 crore has been kept aside in the 2018-2019 budget to carry out the first phase of the project. The proposal was mooted earlier too, but it could not take off as a dispute arose with the tenants that have moved court. The SGPC’s additional secretary Diljit Singh Bedi said the tenants of the shops were informed to vacate and the matter would be resolved out of court. “The talks are on with the shopkeepers to vacate the premises. The new inn would have a shopping arcade. The affected shopkeepers can be accommodated in the new setup. We
have already got a number of shops vacated and staff quarters too have not been allotted further to pave way for the upcoming plan of
raising accommodation for devotees,” he said. The site is behind Akal Takht. On its entry, a heritage structure in the form of a gate is also situated. It has been learnt that the SGPC has already prepared the blueprint, including map and design, of the proposed project, which was approved in the executive meeting.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Government plans 14,000 bunkers to shield civilians from Pakistan fire The government will build 13,029 bunkers for individual households in five border districts in Jammu & Kashmir - Samba, Poonch, Jammu, Kathua and Rajouri - who face the wrath of shelling from Pakistani forces. Another 1,431 large community bunkers will be built, each of which can accommodate 40 people in these districts. The state-owned National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) will build these bunkers in areas that lie within 3 kilometres from the border and are first in line of sight from international border or line of control (LoC). While each individual bunker of 160 sq feet will be enough to accommodate 8-10 persons, every community bunker can
provide shelter to about 40 persons. In 2017, in addition to the 15 Army soldiers and four BSF jawans who were killed in ceasefire violations, 12 civilians also lost their lives and 79 were injured. The ministry of home affairs has given the work worth Rs 416 crore to NBCC. “Pre-cast construction methodology shall be used for this. Strategically located casting yards will be used to fabricate RCC components, which shall be transported by trailer/ tractors and the bunkers will be erected by cranes and labourers. We will plan in such a way that each bunker is completed in maximum 2-3 days,” NBCC chairman and managing director A K Mittal told TOI.
India, Russia review military relations Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on a three-day visit to Moscow, has discussed a “range of military-to-military ties” and reviewed the ongoing roadmap of military cooperation with Russia. Indo-Russia talks were on expected lines even as 23 other countries, largely NATO allies, have expelled Russian diplomats over the spy-poisoning row in the UK. Russia is the single largest supplier of weapons and military equipment to India. Moscow accounted for 62 per cent of New Delhi’s arms import, says the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) recent annual report “Trends in international arms transfers”, which makes an assessment of a five-year block (2013-2017). Sitharaman also met her Chinese
counterpart General Wei Fenghe on the sidelines of a conference in the Russian capital. This was an important ministeriallevel contact with the Chinese since the 73-day Doklam standoff (June 16 to August 29, 2017). In December, Sushma Swaraj had hosted her counterparts from Russia and China in New Delhi. Sitharaman is in Moscow to attend the VII Moscow Conference on International Security. She met her Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoygu for a bilateral meeting. Talks were aimed at reinforcing defence cooperation between the two countries with a specific focus on military-technical cooperation.
NDA MPs won’t take pay for 23 wasted days Amid the blame game between the government and the opposition over the near washout of the Parliament session, minister for parliamentary affairs Ananth Kumar on Wednesday announced that no BJP or NDA MP will take salaries or allowances for the 23 days that were wasted. Two NDA leaders told TOI that this was the unanimous view in a Cabinet meeting. This would send out a message that the opposition was responsible + for the washout, they said. NDA MPs may also demonstrate at the Mahatma Gandhi statue on the last day of the session on Friday to register their stand, sources said. Blaming Congress for the stalemate, Kumar tweeted, “We, @BJP4India-NDA MPs have decided to forego salary & allowances for 23 days as #Parliament was not functional. Salary
is to be given only if we serve people through work. Congress’s undemocratic politics has made LS & RS non functional, in spite of our willingness to discuss.” He told reporters that no bills getting passed had led to a “criminal wastage” of the taxpayers’ money. “We discussed the issue with the Prime Minister, BJP president and NDA constituents... The money is given to us to serve the people. Since no issue of public interest was discussed and no legislative business could be transacted, we are returning the money to the people,” he said. Minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution and Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan told TOI, “It was a unanimous decision. Opposition is not allowing the House to function and crucial bills which will impact people’s lives could not be taken up.”
Tantrik gets 25 yrs in jail for raping woman to ‘cure stomach pain’ A local fast track court has sentenced an occultist to 25 years imprisonment for criminally assaulting and raping a married lady in his Vrindavan-based ashram. “The learned Additional Distt judge, fast track court one, Vivekanand Sharan Tripathi, has also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000; and on its non-payment the accused would have to undergo further imprisonment of 27 months,” Additional district counsel Praveen Kumar Singh said. The case was transferred from the District Judge’s court to this court and was decided in a duration of four months, the official said. To get rid of her persistent stomach pain, a
lady from Hathras had reached the accused’s ashram in Vrindavan with her husband and four-year-old daughter in July last year. She was told by a disciple of the accused tantrik (occultist) to stay in a room on the second floor as the treatment of evil forces would start at 10 PM, Singh said narrating the victim’s complaint. At 10 pm, the woman’s husband was given a kindled earthen lamp with the instruction that he would take it down stairs and return only after the lamp was extinguished. The accused, Baba Dwarkadas, molested the victim and despite her protestations, raped her, according to the
Petition against MoS status to 5 ‘sadhus’ in MP Two days after Madhya Pradesh government accorded Minister of State (MoS) rank to five religious leaders, a petition has been filed in an Indore court against the decision. Ahead of the Assembly elections later this year, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has accorded MoS (Minister of State) status to five sadhus— Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj
and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. Appointed to a panel for Narmada’s conservation on March 31, two of them have cancelled their proposed campaign against the alleged scam in the Narmada conservation programme. Computer Baba, who had announced a ‘Narmada Ghotala Rath Yatra,’ in each district to expose the alleged scam, announced the campaign had been cancelled.
Data of 5.6 lakh Indians shared with Cambridge Analytica: Facebook Two days after Madhya Pradesh government accorded Minister of State (MoS) rank to five religious leaders, a petition has been filed in an Indore court against the decision. Ahead of the Assembly elections later this year, the BJP government in Madhya Pradesh has accorded MoS (Minister of State) status to five sadhus— Narmadanand Maharaj, Hariharanand Maharaj, Computer Baba, Bhayyu Maharaj
and Pandit Yogendra Mahant. Appointed to a panel for Narmada’s conservation on March 31, two of them have cancelled their proposed campaign against the alleged scam in the Narmada conservation programme. Computer Baba, who had announced a ‘Narmada Ghotala Rath Yatra,’ in each district to expose the alleged scam, announced the campaign had been cancelled.
Shah equates Oppn with animals; Cong calls his remarks ‘shameful’ BJP president Amit Shah on Friday made stinging remarks against the Opposition parties trying to unite to take on the BJP in next year’s Lok Sabha polls by equating them with ‘snakes’, ‘mongoose’, ‘dogs’ and ‘cats’. Later, he said his intention was not to equate Opposition parties with animals. Addressing a rally here, he also asserted that the Modi government will not scrap the reservation policy nor allow anyone else to do so. “The countdown for 2019 (polls) has begun. Attempts are being made for Opposition unity. When huge floods occur, everything is washed away. Only a ‘vatvriksha (banyan tree) survives and snakes, mongoose, dogs, cats and other animals climb out to save themselves from the rising waters. “Due to Modi flood, all cats, dogs, snakes and
mongoose are getting together to contest polls,” Shah said. He was apparently referring to the efforts being made by various parties like the TRS, the Trinamool Congress and the TDP to sew up a coalition to take on the Modi-led BJP in the next General Election. Later, addressing a press conference, Shah said, “What I meant was political parties having no ideological similarities are coming together out of fear of Modi.” He was responding to questions over his remarks. “Snake and mongoose have nothing in common. Let me take names: The Samajwadi Party and BSP, the Trinamool Congress and Congress, Chandrababu Naidu and the Congress; they have nothing in common and no ideological similarities.
India to get 110 fighter jets from global makers Eleven years after India went scouting for a foreign fighter jet, it on Friday invited global military aviation companies to make fighter jets in India. The Tribune was the first to report this in its edition dated February 22 this year as to how India would float a fresh tender and scout for foreign firms to come and make in India. The Ministry of Defence invited global plane makers to send in their initial proposals. Termed as the request for information (RFI), this is the first step in the tendering process and is expected shortly. It was in 2007 that tenders for the 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) were floated. An intensive flight trial process later, two planes--Eurofighter Typhoon and French
Dassault’s Rafale–were selected in 2012. Price negotiations followed, but the deal couldn’t be completed and was scrapped. In April 2015, the Government announced a move to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets in an off-the-shelf condition from French major Dassault. India’s move comes as the Indian Air Force is now down to 31 squadrons against the need of 42, as mandated by the Cabinet Committee on Security. Each squadron has 16-18 planes. The MoD and the IAF have kept their options open and are not restricted to, say a “single engine” fighter jet. The option will be to get a “fighter jet” and it will not specify the number of engines as that restricts the options.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Parliament adjourned sine die; 250 working hours wasted by disruptions Both Houses of Parliament were on Friday adjourned sine die, with unabated protests virtually washing out a tumultuous Budget Session that saw a total of nearly 250 working hours wasted. Merely five of 19 starred questions were replied to orally by Ministers in the Rajya Sabha, while 17 of the 580 such questions were answered in the Lok Sabha during the 29 sittings. The notices of noconfidence motion moved by the Opposition against the government could not be taken up in the Lok Sabha that witnessed protests by various parties. While Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu asked the protesters not to make the Rajya Sabha a “clog in the wheel” of progress, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said they should keep in mind the larger interests of the nation. The disruptions and adjournments were caused by protests over issues like special status to Andhra Pradesh, bank scams, demand for Cauvery water management board, vandalising of statues, review of the recent Supreme Court order on SC/ST Act
and law and order situation in Kasganj in Uttar Pradesh. The second leg of the session, which started on March 5, had 22 sittings that were mostly disrupted. In her summary report, Speaker Sumitra Mahajan said the House functioned for a total of 34 hours and 5 minutes during the 29 sittings. A total of 127 hours and 45 minutes were affected by “interruptions and forced adjournments”. Around 9 hours and 47 minutes went in to transact urgent government business in the Lower House, Mahajan said. Of the 580 starred questions, answers were given to only 17 of them on the floor of the House, which translates into 0.58 questions being answered on an average each day. Written replies for remaining starred questions and 6,670 unstarred questions were tabled in the House. Just five Bills, including the crucial Finance Bill 2018 for which the Budget Session is convened, were passed and five were introduced during the Budget session in the Lok Sabha.
Court defers Salman Khan’s bail plea till Saturday After hearing prosecution and defence arguments on the suspension of five years’ sentence to actor Salman Khan granted by the lower court, the District Sessions Court on Friday deferred the case till Saturday. District and Sessions Judge Ravindra Joshi also sought the file of the case from the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Jodhpur, to review it, Salman’s counsel Hastimal Saraswat said. Salman’s case was listed for late in the afternoon, but the judge entertained the case
first by hearing the arguments of defence and prosecution lawyer Pokar Ram Vishnoi. “First, the petition for suspension of the sentence would be decided by the court. If it is approved, the defence would move Salman’s bail application and argue on it,” Saraswat said. Salman is lodged in the Jodhpur Central Jail after CJM Dev Kumar Khatri on Thursday convicted him of killing two blackbucks in October 1998.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
Europe may halt flights in bid to get Maldives gov’t to return to democracy In what might be a strong punitive measure against the government of Abdulla Yameen, large European airlines may suspend flights to Maldives this summer as the international community piles on pressure for the restoration of democratic functioning in the archipelago. German ambassador to Sri Lanka Joern Rohde, concurrently accredited to Maldives, tweeted on Friday, “We hear big airline carriers from Europe will suspend their Maldives flight for the summer season.” The reason for this, he continued, was that despite the apparent lifting of emergency by the Yameen government, “democratic rights remain curtailed as MPs remain jailed on politically motivated prosecutions. The economy and thus the people suffer since tourists continue to stay away.” India has also demanded that jailed opposition leaders and judges of the Supreme
Court be released and expects Yameen to pave the way for the normal functioning of Parliament and eventually fair elections. So far, Yameen has not paid much heed to calls to mend his ways, flaunting a growing proximity with China to deter efforts to pressure him. The demonstrations against him in Male, though infrequent, indicate continued opposition to his regime. Cautioning the Yameen government, Rohde concluded his tweet by saying “Solution: Only a return to democracy will bring back stability and the positive image of the wonderful Maldives now tarnished by the ongoing undermining of democratic rights.” Europe remains the biggest source of tourism to the island nation, although the Chinese now account for almost 20% of Maldives’ tourists.
Afghanistan pledges October date for parliamentary election Long-delayed Afghan parliamentary and district council elections should be possible this year despite major security and logistical challenges, Afghan election authorities said on Sunday as they confirmed October 20 as the date of the vote. President Ashraf Ghani, his credibility on the line with both Afghan voters and increasingly impatient international partners, has vowed to hold the elections before presidential elections next year. But the elections, now three years late, have been repeatedly postponed and have been again pushed by from a July date announced last year as political disputes and wrangling over voter registration have blocked progress. “Today the Independent Election Commission officially announces to the
people of Afghanistan that the election will be held on (Oct. 20),” IEC Chairman Gula Jan Abdul Badi Sayad told a news conference. International partners, desperate for signs of progress 17 years after the ousting of the Taliban, have exerted heavy pressure on the Kabul government and political groups to ensure the success of the elections. But the vote, seen as a dry run before the even more important presidential election next year, has faced repeated delays and questions over the commitment of the Afghan political class to its success. An ambitious biometric registration system originally envisaged as a means of avoiding the massive voter fraud that marred previous ballots including the 2014 presidential election was abandoned last year.
Malaysia set to intercept boat said to be carrying Rohingya refugees Malaysian authorities said on Monday that they have stepped up patrols to intercept a boat thought to be carrying dozens of people from Myanmar’s beleaguered Rohingya Muslim minority seeking refuge in the country. Meanwhile, an expert on the plight of the Rohingya said the sighting of the boat people does not portend a new exodus by sea. The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said it has increased patrols in the Malacca Straits and Andaman Sea, especially near Langkawi island, after hearing of Sunday’s stopover of a fishing boat with 56 people at an island in southern Thailand’s Krabi province.
Rohingya refugees The boat stopped at the island because it had been damaged in a storm. Thai officials said it was repaired and supplied with food and fuel, and sent on its way to predominantly Muslim Malaysia, the destination sought by those aboard.
‘No alternative to excellent ties between India & Nepal There is no alternative to excellent bilateral relations between Nepal and India despite some twists and turns in the recent past, Nepalese foreign minister said today, ahead of Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli’s maiden foreign trip to India this week. Admitting that ties between Nepal and India had reached a historic low during the previous tenure of Oli as the prime minister following the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2015, foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said, “This is an appropriate time to improve and further the relations between the two neighbouring countries.” “There is no alternative to excellent bilateral relations between Nepal and India despite some twists and turns in the recent past,” he said. He said that Nepal and India share historically close and deep-rooted relations and
there are a number of areas in which both the countries can cooperate for mutual benefits. “As both Nepal and India currently enjoy strong political leadership with popular mandates from people, this provides us a good opportunity to review and improve the bilateral ties,” he said. “The current Left Alliance government has made economic development and prosperity as its main agenda, which provides an opportunity for further strengthening our relations,” he pointed out. Interacting with media-persons here, Gyawali expressed confidence that the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) of Nepal and India formed earlier will be able to recommend concrete measures to improve Nepal-India relations. The term of EPG comprising experts from both the countries is set to expire in June.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Dawood Ibrahim, Hafiz Saeed and 137 Pakistani entities on UNSC terror list In the United Nations Security Council’s consolidated list of terrorist individuals and entities, at least 139 are from Pakistan. The list, updated by the UNSC on Tuesday, highlighted the names of terrorists who have lived in Pakistan and used Pakistani soil for their operations or have been collaborating with terror groups operating from within Pakistan. It includes names of globally designated terrorists such al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahiri, Tehreek-e-Taliban chief Maulana Fazlullah, Lashkar-e-Taiba chief Hafiz Saeed and notorious mafia don Dawood Ibrahim and the Haqqanis. Dawood also has Interpol warrants issued against him. According to UNSC data, he is an Indian national holding several Pakistani passports issued in Rawalpindi and southern port city of Karachi. The UN said that he owns a “palatial bungalow in the
hilly area of Noorabad, Karachi”. Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden’s heir apparent, tops the list. The UN list states that Zawahiri is still hiding somewhere “in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area”, along with his associates, some of whom have also been named. He is followed by Yemeni national Ramzi Mohammad bin al-Sheibah. He was arrested in Karachi and handed over to the US authorities. Lashkare-Taiba’s media contact, Haji Mohammed Yahya Mujahid and Hafiz Saeed’s deputies, Abdul Salaam and Zafar Iqbal, are also included in the list and wanted by Interpol. Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, the LeT chief of military operations who has also been associated with al Qaeda, is placed on the terror list and has an Interpol warrant issued against him.
Sri Lankan PM survives no-confidence vote Sri Lankan Prime Minister the government Ranil Wickremesinghe voting for the prime minister. Some 26 on Wednesday survived a no-confidence vote in legislators, many from parliament after a majority of the SLFP, were absent. “We can have legislators voted to support his coalition government but a fresh start from the instability caused may tomorrow,” Harin Fernando, a minister damage its reform agenda. Sri Lanka PM Ranil Wickremesinghe with the UNP told The opposition, eyeing fractures within the ruling alliance, the parliament during the debate. But many UNP legislators urged had sponsored the trust vote against Wickremesinghe blaming him for failing Wickremesinghe to sack the SLFP ministers to prevent an alleged scam here in the who had expressed no confidence in him bond market, and for failing to stop anti- suggesting the unity of the coalition was fraying. Sacking the ministers would dent the Muslim riots here that occurred last month. Wickremesinghe, who leads Sri Lanka’s government’s stability in parliament and United National Party (UNP), won the affect Wickremesinghe’s plans to pass key laws support of 122 members of the 225-member aimed at attracting more foreign investment. The SLFP and UNP agreed on a parliament, with 76 voting against him. President Maithripala Sirisena’s Sri Lanka coalition government after the last Freedom Party (SLFP) was split over the vote, parliamentary elections in August 2015. with the only 16 of its 42 lawmakers who support
Malaysian PM announces dissolution of parliament for tough election Hundreds of protesters opposed to the expansion of the Trans Mountain oil pipeline demonstrated Thursday night outside a Vancouver hotel where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed a Liberal party fundraising dinner. They chanted “Kinder Morgan has got to go” as they marched several blocks through downtown to a hotel where the Liberals were meeting. Emma Pullman, campaign manager with SumOfUs, said the protest is intended to show Trudeau that there is a lot opposition to the project and the Liberals stand to lose seats in B.C. if the pipeline is built. “In a time when we need to be talking about a transition and talking about reconciliation the prime minister is talking about building a pipeline that’s going to be in the ground for 30 years,” she said. “There’s literally thousands of people who are opposed to it, many of whom are voters.” Chief Bob Chamberlin, vice-president of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, said he wants a joint consultation with all the communities on the pipeline route through British Columbia. “This does not have First Nations consent and we value the environment more than money,” he added. Trudeau’s speech to the fundraising event was interrupted by Cedar George-Parker, a young Indigenous leader from the Tsleil-Waututh First Nation who shouted: “The pipeline is not happening, the youth will stand up and stop it. … You lied to the people, you lied to our people.” As George-Parker peacefully left the room, Trudeau said: “If you were to stick around you could hear me talk about how the environment and the economy go together. … We know that building a strong future requires a broad range of voices.”
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Tropical Cyclone Josie devastetes Fiji Four dead, major flooding as tropical storm hits Fiji islands Schools in the West from Rakiraki to Nadroga, Navosa will remain closed till 9th of April
Even Cyclone Josie was relatively weak as category one when it passed to Fijiâ€™s southwest coast over the weekend, it brought heavy flooding to the main island of Viti Levu. According to the Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), authorities have urged people to take precautions after four people were confirmed dead in the floodwaters.
No time frame given on when water supply will be fully restored in the Western Division There is no time frame as to when water supply will be fully restored in the Western Division as the Authority is working around the clock in conducting repair works and trying to normalize water supply. The Authority says that they have installed a temporary solution to the Ba, Balevuto Dam outlet which was washed out during the flooding. The Authority has confirmed that water has been restored in 45% of the affected areas in Ba because there are more damages in Ba and more repair works are needed. In other areas, there is 95% of water restoration in Rakiraki, 85% in Tavua, 97% in Nadi and 85% in Sigatoka.
FEA restores power to majority of people in the Western Division
The Water Authority of Fiji is urging residents from the Western Division to call them and request for water carting if they are experiencing water disruptions. Members of the public can call 3346777
18 houses damaged while 265 houses partially damaged in Ba after the flooding 18 houses were damaged in the floods over the weekend in Ba while 265 houses were partially damaged. This is based on the preliminary findings released by the National Disaster Management Office. So far, 304 houses were surveyed in the Ba district and the areas covered include Natunuku village, Bilolo, Varavu, Nadari, Navia, Vatiyaka, Sasa, Koroqaqa, Saravu, Nailaga, Savusavu, Nabouwalu, Wailailai, Qasevakatini Settlement, Mataniqara, Sigane Access Road, Vatulaulau, Maururu, Yalalevu, Namosau and Vutuni. Meanwhile, National Fire Authority officers continue to clean up at Ba Muslim College and Xavier College. So far the places cleaned up after the floods include Ba Bus Stand, Ba Municipal Market, Ba Market Taxi Base, Carrier Stand,
Schools in the Western Division from Rakiraki to Nadroga Navosa will remain closed at least until Monday 9th April given the serious impacts of Tropical Cyclone Josie on schools, homes and communities throughout Viti Levu. The Ministry of Education says damage assessments and rehabilitation work will continue to be carried out to clean-up schools, restore access to essential services, and ensure that affected students and teachers are able to safely return to wellequipped schools. The ministry will provide regular updates on the status of the rehabilitation process.
The Fiji Electricity Authority has managed to restore electricity services for over 75% of the homes in Tavua. 99% of the homes in Lautoka also have access to electricity. 75% of the homes in Sigatoka, 65% of homes in Nadi, 60% in Ba while 95% of the homes in Rakiraki also have access to electricity. Fiji Electricity Authority workers are working extended hours to ensure power supply is fully restored for the customers in the Western Division that were affected by the flooding last weekend. The Authority says their workers are continuously checking power lines before restoring services to ensure that there are no broken live wires. Fiji Electricity Authority is also urging people to contact them if they see any broken
power lines or low sagging power lines on their emergency line 913. Fiji Electricity Authority has not stated when supply would be fully restored, however, their workers are working extended hours in order to restore services as soon as they can.
SChools in Labasa area remain closed due to heavy rain & flooding
Main Street, Central Car Park and Nailaga Kindergarten. Meanwhile, 150 RFMF officers are currently engaged in various relief works in the West. This includes cleaning of Ba Town, Ba Muslim Primary School and finishing works at Xavier College, packing of relief food items and delivery of rations to 2,500 families today.
All schools in the Labasa area will remain closed tomorrow due to heavy rain and extensive flooding in the area. The Ministry of Education and disaster officials will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates as to when schools can be safely reopened for students and teachers. All parents in the Northern Division are advised to cautiously assess the weather and use their discretion before sending their children to schools tomorrow.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Geo television temporarily goes off air
Four christians killed in Quetta by ISIS Family of four minority Christian community, who were gunned down in militant attack in Quetta, has called for justice. “The killers should be apprehended and made to suffer the same fate,” said Shama Perveen who lost her husband and two brothers in the terrorist assault on Monday evening. Pervez Maseeh’s widow, Shama Parveen, told media that her brothers Imran and Tariq had come to Quetta after 12 years from Punjab to celebrate Easter with the family. Shama’s husband, Pervez Masheed was an auto rickshaw driver and the sole bread winner for the family of nine. “Pervez has left behind seven kids. I request the government to help the family,” another relative of deceased said. Islamic State terrorist outfit claimed responsibility for the attack, a claim which was yet to be verified by investigators.
Balochistan Chief Minister Abdul Qudoos Bizenjo expressed grief over the killings and ordered a probe. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) says it was behind the terrorist attack one day after Easter on Sunday. The relatives had been riding in a rickshaw when motorcycleriding gunmen opened fire on them. Three men and a woman died in the attack.
Former PM Sharif, opposition leader Imran Khan under threat from Taliban: report TTP is biding to departments concerned for target former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, taking preventive his brother Shahbaz steps, the paper added. It said Sharif or opposition leader Imran Khan a separate intelligence report media report said on was also received Wednesday. “We have received stating that the Pakistan Tehreekmultiple intelligence Former disqualified PM Nawaz Sharif addresing a e-Insaaf chief reports, submitted by public rally under bullet-proof security Imran Khan faced the premier intelligence agency, that the TTP may attack the family a serious threat to his life. Citing its source, the members of Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz paper said the information about the threat Sharif,” a senior interior ministry official was had also been communicated to Imran Khan and his associates on the directions of Interior quoted as saying by media. Following the intelligence reports, the Minister Ahsan Iqbal. The intelligence report National Counter Terrorism Authority was received a couple of days before Imran (NACTA) dispatched a formal threat letter to Khan’s visit to Pind Daden Khan, Jhelum the police and law enforcement agencies, the district, on March 14, the source said. Fawad Hussain Chaudhry, the party’s paper said. The reports were received on April 1 central spokesman and a close associate of and the same day an alert was issued to the Imran Khan, confirmed the threat.
Geo television temporarily went off air across Pakistan after moving to newly commissioned satellite service called ‘Paksat’. According to the Geo website, the media group with the help of the Paksat Technical Network Center shifted all its channels to Paksat from March 31 and despite informing the cable operators, the channel was informed by Pakistani officials that it can be taken off-air. The media group claimed that its satellite contract with its existing satellite provider ended this month, and they moved to Paksat.
The channel’s employees, especially the news and talkshow hosts tweeted about the channel’s closure. The channel’s website protested what it called the ‘discriminatory’ attitude of authorities regarding Geo TV, adding that the channel has already incurred a loss of billions of rupees as it’s distribution system on the cable network had not been made fully operational by the government. However, independent reports and tweets later confirmed that the channel is back normal on television sets.
Hundreds stage sit-in supporting radical cleric About a thousand supporters of Khadim Hussain Rizvi leader of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYP) staged a protest demonstration in Lahore after Court declared him a fugitive over violent rallies in capital
Islamabad, forcing former law minister to quit over an omitted reference to Islam’s Prophet Muhammad in a parliamentary bill. That protest disrupted life in Islamabad for three weeks and ended with an accord with the government following clashes with police. Authorities then assured Khadim Hussain Rizvi that action would be taken against those responsible for mistakes in the bill. Khadim Hussain Rizvi was born in Attock, northern Punjab, Pakistan. He founded a political party called Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), a political front for Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYP). He is active Khadim Hussain Rizvi leader of Tehreek Labbaik Ya Rasool supporting blasphemy laws. Allah (TLYP) with his supporters. In November 2017, Khadim city Islamabad last year, in which five people Hussain Rizvi also organized a long march were killed. Wednesday’s sit-in was organized from Lahore to Islamabad against present by Khadim Hussain Rizvi, who led rallies in government policies.
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H-1B application process to begin tomorrow; to face unprecedented scrutiny The process of filing petitions for H-1B, considered as the most sought-after work visa among highly skilled Indian professionals, begins on April 2 amidst unprecedented scrutiny by the Trump Administration. A strong indication is coming from US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), the federal agency which is responsible to process all H-1B visas, that there will be zero tolerance by it for even minor errors.Chatter at various social media platforms and groups
indicate that immigration attorneys this time expect a much high rate of rejection. The H-1B visa is a non-immigrant visa that allows US companies to employ foreign workers in speciality occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise. The technology companies depend on it to hire tens of thousands of employees each year from countries like India and China. The H-1B visa has an annual numerical limit cap of 65,000 visas each fiscal year as mandated by the Congress. The first 20,000 petitions filed on behalf of beneficiaries with a US master’s degree or higher are exempt from the cap.
Days ahead of the start of the H-1B visa application process for the fiscal year 2019, beginning October 1 this year; USCIS warned that all duplicate applications would be subject to rejection. In previous years filing of duplicate petitions, by companies, so that applicants could have greater chance in getting through the lottery had become a normal practice. USCIS has also said that it will reject H-1B petitions requesting an earlier employment start date or a start date of “As Soon As Possible” or “ASAP.” Expecting a huge rush of application beginning tomorrow and greater scrutiny of all petitions, which would require much more man hours, USCIS has also temporarily suspended premium processing. “We will announce the start date for premium processing in the near future,” USCIS said. As of now, USCIS has not indicated if it plans to go for a computerised draw of lots as has been the case in previous years after receiving several times more than the Congressional mandated cap of H-1B visas. “Complete all sections of the form accurately...The petitioner should include a copy of the beneficiary’s valid passport,” USCIS said.If the applicant is seeking an extension of stay or change of status, he/ she should include evidence to establish that the beneficiary will maintain a valid nonimmigrant status through the employment start date being requested, USCIS said in its filing tips. Given the general campaign against highly skilled Indian professionals, the applications by Indian companies are likely to face a greater scrutiny of all these petitions. As in the previous years, Indian companies would have to pay much more fee per application than those from other countries.
SEC charges Indian-origin man, business associate with fraud An Indian-origin man and his business associate have been arrested and charged by federal authorities for masterminding a fraudulent initial coin offering (ICO) that raised more than $32 million from thousands of investors last year. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) yesterday charged Sohrab “Sam” Sharma and Robert Farkas, co-founders of a purported financial services start-up Centra Tech. In a parallel action, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York also slapped criminal charges against the duo. The agency charged that Sharma and Frakas masterminded a fraudulent ICO in which Centra offered and
sold unregistered investments through a “CTR Token.” The two allegedly claimed that funds raised in the ICO would help build a suite of financial products and promised to offer a debit card backed by Visa and MasterCard that would allow users to instantly convert hard-to-spend cryptocurrencies into US dollars or other legal tenders. In reality, however, Centra had no relationships with the credit card companies. The SEC also alleges that to promote the ICO, Sharma and Farkas created fictional executives with impressive biographies, posted false or misleading marketing materials to Centra’s website, and paid celebrities to tout the ICO on social media.
Indian-origin US doctor to partner with USAID to fight TB The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) today announced a partnership with United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to end tuberculosis (TB) in India. The AAPI signed a Memorandum of Understanding in this regard with USAID in New Delhi a few days ago, its functionaries said in a press conference.
“The programme will engage AAPI’s network of private charitable clinics for awareness, detection and treatment of TB. It will explore opportunities for collaboration between US and Indian medical schools to exchange cutting-edge healthcare solutions,” said Dr Naresh Parikh, president of AAPI.
Indian woman dies of ant bite in Riyadh An Indian woman has died after being bitten by a poisonous ant in Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia, according to a media report. Soosy Jeffy, 36, from Adoor in Kerala, died on Tuesday during treatment. She was bitten by the ant on March 19 at her
residence in the Saudi Arabian capital and was undergoing treatement, it said. There are a few species of ants that can inflict poisonous bites that can prove fatal even for a full-grown adult.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Saturday, April 7, 2018
With Projects Over Rs. 600 Crore Riding on Salman Khan, Bollywood Shudders at His Sentencing With an upwards of Rs. 600 crore worth of major film projects under his belt, Bollywood shudders at the prospect of superstar Salman Khan spending five years in jail after the April 5 verdict in a 1998 blackbuck poaching case by a Rajasthan court. For Khan, affectionately known as â€˜Bhaiâ€™ in the film fraternity, everyone is keeping their fingers crossed over April 6 morningâ€™s court hearing on the actorâ€™s bail plea. A popular, high net-worth superstar, the 52-yearold is either acting in or producing through his family production houses, several major upcoming films with a potential to be blockbusters, Bollywood insiders said. In the past decade or so, Khan has had mega hits like â€œEk Tha Tigerâ€? and its sequel, â€œTiger Zinda Hai,â€? â€œDabanggâ€? and â€œDabangg 2,â€? besides â€œSultan,â€? and â€œBajrangi Bhaijaan,â€? among several others to his credit. Currently, there are
around half a dozen big-budget films lined up to go on floors or at advanced planning stages, including â€œRace 3,â€? which is almost complete, â€œDabangg 3,â€? â€œPartner 2,â€? â€œKick 2,â€? â€œBharat,â€? â€œNo Entry
Mein Entry,â€? â€œSher Khanâ€? and â€œLoveratri,â€? said K. Ramji of Krishnamurthy Films. Produced by his brother Arbaaz Khan, â€œDabangg 3â€? is being directed by Prabhudheva, with Arbaaz and Sonakshi Sinha, besides Salman, in the main roles. â€œLoveratriâ€? is again an in-house family production in which Khan is launching his brother-in-law Aayush Sharma.
Anushka makes it to forbes under 30 Asia list for 2018 Bollywood actress-producer Anushka Sharma features in the Forbes 30 Under 30 Asia 2018 list, which includes innovators and disruptors who are reshaping their industries and changing Asia for the better. Anushka one of Indian film industryâ€™s highest paid actresses, is all of 29. She started out her career as a model in 2007, making her acting debut in 2008 in the hugely successful â€œRab Ne Bana Di Jodi,â€? which won her a Filmfare award for Best Actress. She has since acted in movies like â€œBand Baaja Baaraat,â€? â€œJab Tak Hai Jaan,â€? â€œPK,â€? â€œBombay Velvet,â€? â€œDil Dhadakne Do,â€? â€œAe Dil Hai Mushkilâ€? and â€œJab Harry Met Sejal.â€? As a producer, Sharma, who is married to ace cricketer Virat Kohli, has made films like â€œNH10,â€? â€œPhillauriâ€? and â€œPariâ€? under her banner Clean Slate Films. She herself starred in all three films.
The Forbes list highlights 300 young individuals driving change in Asia. In 2016, she featured on The Times of India â€˜s â€˜Most Engaging on Twitterâ€™
list of Hindi film actors. Filmfare magazineâ€™s fashion poll of 2015 voted her as being â€œAmazing with Androgynyâ€? and said that â€œ...[she] has carved a niche for her easy breezy high street style.â€? She also featured on Verve magazineâ€™s â€œBest Dressed 2015â€? list. In 2018, Sharma appeared in the Forbes Asia 30 Under 30 List and was the only Bollywood celebrity listed for the year.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
HOROSCOPE Aries -!7S; with someone who has a very inclusive attitude, Aries. Perhaps he or she encourages
you feel, but make sure you have the facts to back up your point and prepare for a counter argument. A great deal of fantasy is tossed around as truth, so itâ€™s important that you not add to it.
Taurus ;7S- Take care of your friends by supporting their ideas, Taurus. Be careful that you donâ€™t automatically encourage a plan or viewpoint that you know is wrong or doomed to fail. Even though you might want
what they want to hear, this isnâ€™t really doing them any favors. People come up with some wild schemes, so itâ€™s important to bring a levelheaded perspective to the table.
Gemini -SG7 You could be teetering between the real world and a fantasy realm, Gemini. The fantasy world is more than likely the one that wins out, but that doesnâ€™t mean you should lose all touch with reality. If anyone can bridge ! "" yourself drawn to art, which can wonderfully bridge the two. Indeed, your creative juices are gushing like a waterfall today.
Cancer GSG2 Nurture your loved ones, Cancer. Tonight feel free to escape into a fantasy world with the object of your desire. Make plans to set your wildest fantasy into motion. Let your imagination lead the way. Youâ€™ll never get where you want to go until you head in that #
your dreams into reality. Donâ€™t waste another day doing things that donâ€™t contribute to your long-term plans.
Leo GS5 2 Regardless of your situation, Leo, youâ€™ll want to take the easy way out. Thereâ€™s a laziness sweeping over you, and you could be trying to
! " to get you into some trouble later. Be wary of
Virgo 5 S; You might be frustrated with romance because it seems to be causing more tension than !%&
! it doesnâ€™t have to be miserable. The key is to not get too stressed out about the little things. Know
" over some aspects of a relationship - the other !
Libra ;SU! Your imagination is your best friend, Libra. You arenâ€™t about to let anyone disturb your perfectly into this place, and everything is wonderful in your head. Implementing this plan and making it work in the real world are
! ' vision, but donâ€™t be unrealistic about it.
Scorpio U!2SMH Aggression in your world of !( you or your close partner, the tension is there and canâ€™t be ignored. Keep in mind, however, that itâ€™s possible that much of it stems from something that isnâ€™t even true. Perhaps there was a misspoken word or misunderstanding of some sort thatâ€™s now causing confusion. Do your best to clear the air of any misconceptions.
Sagitarius MH2S! " ! ) romance are most certainly in your favor right now. It isnâ€™t surprising that you feel brave. Be careful, however, about getting so carried away with your self-assurance that you distort the truth of the situation. Thereâ€™s an element of " * you to see the whole picture.
Capricorn !2SG Although you generally like to keep both feet on the ground and proceed in a stable, organized manner, Capricorn, thereâ€™s a strong force encouraging you to spread your wings. Incorporate more fantasy into your day, and practice the art of dreaming. Liberate yourself from reality for a while and feel the weight lifted from your shoulders. Let your imagination run wild. This will bring a greater sense of balance to your life.
Aquarius G7S?7+ You might be pegged as the wise guy whoâ€™s unable to take anything seriously, Aquarius. Regardless of the situation, you can turn it into a joke of some sort. Your humor likely lifts the spirits of everyone around you. Be careful of taking this too far, however. There could be some people who are uncomfortable with your constant jesting. Let them know that you do have a serious side, too.
Pisces ?S-! +
your imagination running wild, Pisces. Perhaps youâ€™re suddenly transported back to when you were dating someone you adored. Once your
! * to slow it down. Your fantasy world is likely to be the safest place to hide, so donâ€™t worry about avoiding reality. Keep playing in the past if thatâ€™s where youâ€™d rather be today.
Google doodle celebrates Nazia Hassanâ€™s 53rd birth anniversary Google doodle celebrates the birthday of the famous pop singer Nazia Hassan on her 53rd birthday anniversary, on April 3. Like Always, keeping up the tradition Google changed its doodle to honour the late pop singer. Nazia Hassan, a pop star, singer-songwriter, lawyer and social activist. She died at the age of 35 due to lung cancer in London on 13 August 2000. Nazia Hassan started her music career at the age of 10 and became one of the most prominent singers in Pakistan. Nazia Hassan enjoyed widespread popularity across South and Southeast Asia and has been termed as the â€œQueen of Popâ€? in South Asia. Nazia Hassan along with her brother Zoheb Hassan, went on to sell over 65 million records worldwide. Aap jaisa koi, Disco Deewane , Boom Boom and Taali de tallay were among the
many popular hits by Nazia Hassan . Nazia Hassan was born 3 April 1965 â€“ 13 August 2000) Nazai a famous pop singer-songwriter, lawyer and social
activist. She started her music career at the age of 10, and became one of the most prominent singers in Pakistan and India. She enjoyed widespread popularity across South and Southeast Asia and has been called the â€œQueen of Popâ€? in South Asia. She, along with her brother Zoheb Hassan, went on to sell over 65 million records
Ayesha Takia yesha Takia (born April 1986) is an Indian former actress who appeared The Wonder Car for which she won the Filmfare Best ! "#$% & ! ! & ! "'! $% * "+$ , - ./ & - 023 & 4 . 5 !% ' , 5 ! as a model when she 7:% ;;5 the â€œI am a Complan < =4 ' ; .<> ! ;50:3 ?5 @,4 D- ' E
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Bollywood Starsâ€™ Birthdays
JAYA BACHCHAN APRIL 10
AYESHA TAKIA APRIL 9
BHUPINDER SINGH APRIL 8
JATENDRA APRIL 7
Saturday, April 7, 2018
‘‘Baaghi 2’ shatters box office with phenomenal opening’
Tiger Shroff ’s last two debacles are now an inconsequential memory. And the concept of franchises even with unrelated plots just got a new booster dose. Shroff is currently (st) riding high on the mind-blowing success of his action film “Baaghi 2.” The actor took to social media to thank his fans for the love and support showered on him and the entire team. (Watch video here) Sajid Nadiadwala’s film that released on Mar. 30 has shattered the box-office with its phenomenal opening that has surpassed the wildest positive expectations. The young star has been roaring at the box-office. Collecting a whopping Rs. 25.10 crore on its opening day (no GenY star has come even near), “Baaghi 2” seemed unstoppable. While Saturday recorded Rs. 20.40 crore, Sunday saw a growth with Rs. 27.60 crore, making the total collection reach Rs. 73.60 crore at the box-office, next only to “Padmaavat” this year. Defying popular
theories, it did well across mass and class demagogues – that is, in both single-screens and multiplexes. Overwhelmed by the stupendous response, Shroff took to Twitter to express his gratitude towards the audience. The young actor posted a video thanking his fans for all the love and support: “With love #forevergrateful #baaghi2.” In the video, he said, “Hi everyone, I just wanted to thank you all for all the love and support you’ve given me and the whole team of Baaghi. Thank you so much. I can’t thank you enough. It just feels so surreal, and I feel like I’m still dreaming because this was really something that I could never even dream of in my wildest dreams or even dare to dream of. I’m just so thankful for all that’s happened.” He goes on, “Like I said on behalf of Baaghi 2 team, we are so so grateful and thankful, and I don’t think I can say enough in this video to you all, Thank you so much. I’m sort of speechless right now; I can’t tell you how I’m feeling. I don’t know what to say honestly speaking, but I can’t stop saying thank you. Thank you to all those of you who tweeted in support and Thank you audiences, Thank you, friends,, family for just showing all of your love.” While such figures were only seen with industry veterans, Shroff is seen changing the face of the Indian box-office. Theatres across the nation have witnessed a mass hysteria over the release of the film. Shroff ’s idol Hrithik Roshan and Akshay Kumar also could not stop raving about the
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How Kareena lost 16 kg Kareena is on weight loss spree for past few months and her recent pictures are a proof that hard work pays well. The actress gave birth to son Taimur Ali Khan in December last year and gained around 18 kgs during her pregnancy. Well, thanks to all hose ghee and parathas. Reportedly, Bebo has already shed nearly 16 kgs of her post-pregnancy weight in past three months. Kareena is often spotted outside her gym and yoga classes with BFF Amrita Arora and the duo hits the gym together. It is always good to have a partner in the gym. Amrita often shares some of their workout videos on Instagram that clearly show how much hard work Kareena is putting in to get back in shape. From trying her hand at Kick Boxing, Battle Ropes, Yoga and many other forms of exercises to keeping a strict
tab on her diet, Kareena is leaving no stone unturned to lose those extra kilos. In 2016, Kareena took on a starring role opposite Arjun Kapoor in Ki & Ka, a romantic comedy about gender stereotypes from the writer-director R. Balki. She was cast as the ambitious and career-oriented Kia Bansal, and was particularly drawn to the project for its relevance and novel concept. Critics were divided in their opinion of the film, but it emerged a financial success grossing over ₹1 billion (US$15 million) worldwide. According to media reports Kareena as “terrific” and Sukanya Verma considered the actress to be the film’s prime asset noting her ease at “smoothly transition[ing] between fragile and volatile to reveal a woman comfortable in her own skin, unapologetic about living life on her terms and never missing an occasion to mince words.”
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Rani Mukerji felicitates winners of Camlin-‘Hichki’ contest A hit is a hit is a hit. Rani Mukerji a.k.a Naina Mathur, the idealistic teacher of “Hichki” has always had a fan following among kids, and this has been heightened by her role in her newest (one can call it) home production. Mukerji visited KidZania, an Indoor Global Theme Park at R-City Mall in Mumbai Apr. 4 for a Meet & Greet with winners of the Camlin-“Hichki” contest. The contest, “My Hichki Moment,” was something wherein the participants had to talk about an experience or a difficult situation that they overcame in life with #MyHichkiMoment in the form of a sketch or a video. It concluded on the Facebook page of Kokuyo Camlin, leading manufacturers of art materials. This contest saw active participation and some interesting stories of students overcoming their hurdles and proving themselves. Mukerji gave away
Kokuyo Camlins gift hampers to five social media contest winners as well. After the felicitation, Mukerji answered some questions by some budding journalist kids at KidZania! Along with the social media contest, there were other contests held too, one at Camlin Arts & Crafts Studio at KidZania wherein kids made greeting cards and wrote few beautiful thoughts about their teachers and colored them. Also, at the Camlin Painting Studio, the kids painted the new KidZania logo. KidZania is an interactive city made for children from the ages of 1 to 14 years that combines inspiration, fun and learning through realistic role-play, making it one of the fastest growing global learning and entertainment brands in the world. Kids can independently explore a scaled indoor city of over 7,000 square meters with more than 100 exciting careers that they can try.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Shah Rukh Khan’s wax figure unveiled at Madame Tussauds museum in Delhi
u p e r s t a r Shah Rukh Khan is the latest celebrity whose wax figure has been unveiled at Madame Tussauds here in Delhi on Wednesday, Apr. 4. Khan’s detailed figure has been created in his classic romantic pose with his arms wide open. The wax figure sports a blue sherwani. “Given Shah Rukh’s immense popularity and stature, the figure called for a special unveiling. We will introduce more such additions in the future. Keep visiting us,” said Anshul Jain, General Manager, and Director, Merlin Entertainments India Pvt Ltd. The figure was also taken on a tour around parts of central and old Delhi for the fans. In Rahul Dholakia’s crime-drama film Raees (2017), Khan took on the part of the titular anti-hero—a bootlegger turned mobster in 1980s Gujarat. In a typical mixed review, Pratim D. Gupta of The Telegraph thought Khan’s performance to be “inconsistent, intense and power-packed at times, but often slipping out of character into his usual mix of stock mannerisms”.
Commercially, the film was a modest success, earning over ₹2.6 billion (US$40 million) worldwide. Khan returned to the romantic genre with the role of a tourist guide who falls in love with a traveller (played by Anushka Sharma) in Imtiaz Ali’s Jab Harry Met Sejal (2017). Writing for Mint, Uday Bhatia criticised Khan’s pairing with Sharma, 22 years his junior, writing that Khan had performed “similar gestures of love decades ago to actors his own age”. The film proved to be a box office flop. Khan will next reunite with Sharma and Katrina Kaif in Aanand L Rai’s comedydrama Zero, in which he plays the part of a dwarf. Khan appeared alongside Kajol, Varun Dhawan and Kriti Sanon in Rohit Shetty’s comedy-drama Dilwale (2015). The film garnered negative reviews, though it was financially profitable with a gross of ₹3.9 billion (US$60 million). Namrata Joshi of The Hindu commented, “With Dilwale, Rohit Shetty goes hopelessly wrong despite much that he had at his disposal, including a powerpacked cast and producer”. Joshi also felt that the attempt to repackage Khan and Kajol had backfired. He then took on dual parts of a superstar and his doppelgänger fan in Maneesh Sharma’s thriller Fan (2016).
Know what’s healthy tiffin from Shilpa
hilpa Shetty Kundra got along with kids on a recent reality show like a house on fire. The actress, who is a wellness entrepreneur and helms causes dedicated to fitness, has been now approached by schools to deliver a talk about good health, balanced diet and the importance of exercise. After speaking at reputed institutes and corporate events about wellness, she will now interact with kids to impress good eating habits upon them. According to her, a healthy tiffin-box is the only way to make certain that the kids’ nutritional needs are met. Kundra has received requests from various schools to address children and their parents about the emphasis of eating healthy. And she practices what she preaches. The actor keeps her son Viaan away from junk food or aerated drinks and makes sure he eats nutritious food. As she said, “Fitness, overall wellness and encouraging people to live better and healthier lives has always been my endeavor. Prevention is better than cure. So when a child is taught this at a young age, they start making wiser choices both in terms of the food they eat and in making it a point to stay active.” The diva has always stood up to the cause of public health, stressing on the revival of the ancient discipline of yoga and a typical Indian
diet through her books, DVD and YouTube channel, which makes her a credible authority on the subject. Shilpa Shetty was born on June 8, 1975, also known by Shilpa Kundra, She is and actress, businesswoman, producer, model and writer. She is the winner of the British reality television series Celebrity Big Brother 5. Primarily known for her work in Hindi films, she has also appeared in Telugu, Tamil and Kannada language films. One of India’s most popular and high-profile celebrities, Shetty is the recipient of numerous accolades, including four Filmfare Award nominations. As teenager, Shetty did a few modelling assignments and appeared in several television commercials. She later made her acting debut in the 1993 thriller Baazigar that earned her nominations for the Filmfare Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Lux New Face of the Year. She subsequently earned wide recognition with dual roles in the 1994 action comedy Main Khiladi Tu Anari. After this initial success in her career, Shetty’s films fared poorly at the box office for the next five years and garnered her negative reviews. The 2000 box office hit Dhadkan marked a turning point in her career, earning her praise and Best Actress nominations at several award ceremonies.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
have you heard?
Though there is no clarity on its release, Rajinikanth-starrer Kaala THE WAIT has ﬁnally been censored. The Tamil ﬁlm received a U/A certiﬁcate IS OVER? with 14 cuts. Nana Patekar and Huma Qureshi also star in the drama
ON THE SET
Years later, memories still linger
Yesterday marked the 25th death anniversary of Divya Bharati. The Shola Aur Shabnam (1992) and Deewana (1992) actor passed away in tragic circumstances at 19. Filmmaker Sajid Nadiadwala, who was married to Divya, shuts himself off every year on April 5 as a mark of respect to her. Nadiadwala still considers Divya’s family his own. He plans outings and celebrations with them and invites them for previews of his films.
Priyanka Chopra has been sharing several pictures on Instagram from the set of Quantico. This is part of the actor’s countdown to the new season of the show, which kicks off on April 26. After wrapping up a schedule in Ireland, PeeCee is now shooting in Italy.
Independence Day clash Buddies Akshay Kumar and John Abraham have paired up in films like Desi Boyz (2015), Housefull 2 (2012) and Garam Masala (2005) among others. The two will now be clashing at the box office. Reema Kagti’s Gold, starring Akki, is slated to release on August 15. The makers of Milap Zaveri’s Satyameva Jayate, which features John, are also eyeing the same day. As the two films have patriotic overtures, they feel it is an apt date.
Yesterday, Ananya Pandey was spotted at Mumbai airport enroute to Dehradun. Student Of The Year 2 director Punit Malhotra accompanied her. This has fuelled speculation that it was for the shoot of the ﬁlm. PIC/YOGEN SHAH
SHOT IN THE DARK
Willow talk Cannes and the wedding
Raking in the moolah in China
A double dealing This leading actor is known for playing the field. Tongues have been wagging about his affair with a co-actor during his recent overseas shoot schedule. Last year, he sprung a surprise after news about his secret rendezvous with an actor went viral. Those in the know say he is two-timing them, but they prefer to turn a blind eye. He has had two high-profile relationships, which went kaput. But old habits die hard.
Parineeti to skip IPL opening
Saket Chaudhary’s Hindi Medium (2017) starring Irrfan Khan and Saba Qamar released in China on April 4. It recorded a first day collection of 24.31 crore, surpassing the opening day collection of Salman Khan’s Bajrangi Bhaijaan (14.61 crore) and Aamir Khan’s Dangal (12.99 crore). The film, which takes on the education system, opened across 18,000 screens. Bajrangi Bhaijaan had released in a mere 9,000 screens. Dubbed Chinese versions of B-Town flicks are a big draw. Producers are keen to release their films in the neighbouring country.
Though there has been buzz about Sonam Kapoor getting hitched to entrepreneur Anand Ahuja in May, the actor has apparently given the nod to attend the Cannes Film Festival 2018, which runs from May 8 to 19. So does this mean the big fat wedding will be post her festival outing? As ambassador of a beauty brand, Sonam has been making a sartorial statement on the red carpet for the past several years. Her film, Veere Di Wedding, releases on June 1. The Cannes outing followed by the wedding and the film’s publicity blitzkrieg — it will be Sonam all over the place!
Lipstick Under My Burkha (2016) actor Aahana Kumra is hosting a travel-cumcricket show. She will be crisscrossing the country and striking a conversation with Indian Premier League fans during the tourney, which runs from April 7 to May 27. In 2016, Aahana had anchored the Pro-Kabaddi league matches.
After Ranveer Singh, Parineeti Chopra is also giving the opening ceremony of the Indian Premier League at Wankhede Stadium on April 7 a miss. She was shooting non-stop for Namaste England in Patiala and had back-to-back endorsement commitments. Pari did not have time to rehearse for her act. So she preferred to bow out instead of putting up a lacklustre performance. Well, well.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
‘Can associate with heartbreak’ Vikrant Massey says he can connect with character of Broken, his upcoming web outing, because he has dealt with a failed romance LETTY MARIAM ABRAHAM firstname.lastname@example.org EVERYBODY can associate with heartbreak, right?” asks Vikrant Massey, who is set to slip into the role of a distressed lover in Alt Balaji’s upcoming offering, Broken. The venture reunites Massey with Ekta Kapoor after the duo collaborated in the latter’s acclaimed film, Lipstick Under My Burkha (2017). Massey promises the storyline — of a failed romance and the subsequent finding of love — is novel. “I haven’t come across a show that has dealt with heartbreak like this one. While it is intense, the project is also layered with situational and subtle humour, the kind that can leave you surprised. When I read the script, I could relate to my character, because I have endured this. Besides, everyone can relate to break-ups, and drama is my forte,” the actor says, justifying his decision to greenlight the venture. Evidently excited to collaborate with Kapoor again, the
Harleen Sethi and Vikrant Massey in a still from Broken actor heaps praise on the producer for enabling a healthy working atmosphere on set. Penned by Reshu Nath of Bose: Dead / Alive fame, Broken sees Massey romance Harleen Sethi, who is set to make her web debut with this venture. Massey describes his on-screen lady love as one who is “beautiful, talented and a fine actor”. Sethi, on her part, credits the actor for the experience he brings to the table. “With a co-actor like Vikrant, who comes with so much credibility, shooting every scene is exciting,” she says.
Kalki launches line of bags KALKI Koechlin, who has created a line of bags in association with a luxury brand, says she wanted the range to be a reflection of her personal style. Koechlin, known for her fierce, unconventional identity in the industry, brought the same qualities to her work when she began crafting the line. “It was important to strike a balance between my ‘ideal creation’ and the market demand. Even though the line offers different styles, it has an underlying theme, which is based on what I’ve learnt to value in life — being different. I wanted every bag in this collection to reflect some aspect of me,” Koechlin said.
Comparison with Kareena not intimidating: Manushi MISS World Manushi Chhillar says that as someone who is living up to a lot of expectations, she didn’t feel scared about being compared to Kareena Kapoor Khan. Chhillar found herself battling questions on the comparison after she was announced as ambassador of a diamond brand. Khan is also the face of the line.
Chillar said, “There are a lot of expectations [from me] after people have seen actors like Kareena Kapoor Khan. But, I wasn’t scared. I was excited, not nervous. What Kareena has been doing, and will keep doing, is different from what I will do while endorsing this brand.” Agencies
Esha Deol gets a taste of Kolkata Esha Deol Takhtani started shooting for her comeback (short) film “Cakewalk” in Kolkata. Directed by Ram Kamal Mukherjee and Abhra Chakraborty, the shooting of the film has been executed under strict security, to safeguard Deol’s look.
CIBC celebrates Vaisakhi with Unique Commemorative Gold & Silver Coins Just in time for Vaisakhi, CIBC is exclusively offering Canadians limited edition unique festive Gold and Silver coins to commemorate this year’s celebration. CIBC is the only bank in Canada to offer Vaisakhi coins, which are available for purchase online and at select banking centres. They can also be ordered at any banking centre in Canada for pickup. CIBC is offering a selection of commemorative coins again this year, with two separate silver designs, and one gold design. The coins are offered in both 24 karat gold and pure silver and are of the highest industry standard purity. The one ounce silver coins are available at $59.95 and the 10 gram gold coin is priced at $625. These limited-edition Vaisakhi coins have images of Khanda and Ikk Onkar, key symbols within the Sikh religion. Packaged in a black clamshell CIBC case, the coins are a thoughtful and timely gift during this time of year. CIBC clients can also take advantage of special offers for CIBC Global Money Transfer. New clients get $50 when you open a new CIBC account
and send your first global money transfer between April 2 and 22, use promo code GMT25. Existing CIBC clients get $25 when you send your first global money transfer between April 2 and 22, also using promo code GMT25. In celebration of Vaisakhi, from April 13 to 15 Canadians can take advantage of the special rate offered by CIBC Global Money Transfer service to send money to India. CIBC Global Money Transfer™ service makes it easier and more affordable for Canadians to send money to loved ones worldwide by eliminating the transfer fees. This $0 fee money transfer service is now available to more than 50 countries like India, UK, USA, Australia and many European countries. About CIBC CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 11 million personal banking and business clients. Through our three major business units – Retail and Business Banking, Wealth Management and Capital Markets – CIBC offers a full range of products and services through its comprehensive electronic banking network, banking centres and offices across Canada with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/ca/media-centre/ or by following on Twitter @CIBC, Facebook (www.facebook.com/CIBC) and Instagram @CIBCNow. For more information contact Rekha – email@example.com
PICS break down barriers to youth employment Surrey’s Progressive Intercultural Community Service Society (PICS) is helping youth with challenges get workplace skills and experience. SIYEP – the Social Innovative Youth Employment Program – will provide six weeks of paid, in-class training and up to 16 weeks of paid work placement. Registrations are open now for the next class that begins on Monday, April 9th. The program is open to young people from 15 to 29 years: Unemployed and not eligible to receive Employment Insurance or who have not received EI in the past 3 yearsA Canadian citizen, permanent resident or who has been granted refugee status
and has a work permit -Not a full-time student and not participating in any other governmentfunded training program -Good English language skills -Who may have self-identified disabilities This program is funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Skills Link program. PICS is offering drop-in information sessions today and Friday from 10 am to 3 pm. Those interested can call Edwin Reichmann at 604-596-7722 or email Edwin.Reichmann@pics.bc.ca Contact: Satbir Cheema, CEO, PICS 604-596-7722
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Ranbir Kapoor best to play Sanjay Dutt, says Suniel Shetty
anbir Kapoor is the best fit to play Sanjay Dutt onscreen, says the latter’s Rudraksh co-star Suniel Shetty. Shetty was present at the semi-final of the Wheelchair Cricket Series between India and Bangladesh on Tuesday. As Dutt’s biopic is in the making, Shetty was asked if there will ever be a film on his life. “I don’t think its worthy, but Sanjay’s biopic is happening and I think nobody else would do a better job at playing Sanjay than Ranbir. I saw Ranbir’s pictures and he looks exactly like Sanjay,” said Shetty. The actor was happy about supporting a tournament for the differently abled. “I think cricket on a wheelchair is an amazing concept, I would like to congratulate the organisers and NGOs those have made it happen. We should take more initiatives like these. By God’s grace we have everything and still if we look at their spirit and energy we will be able to learn a lot,” said Shetty. “So when I was told such a tournament was going to take place between two countries [Bangladesh and India], I thought it is important that I become a part of this. I always think God has given us so many privileges, so it is important that we can do as much as possible for others,” he added. He said people are trying to do their bit for the speciallyabled people. “I run an NGO myself. It is called Save the Children India. They work really hard for specially-abled kids. They also organise sports tournaments for them and we get around 18 to 19 teams from Maharashtra. Just looking at them and their spirit makes you feel like you have to do more and more for them,” said Shetty. On the big screen, the actor was last seen in a negative role in the 2017 release A Gentleman, directed by Raj Nidimoru and Krishna DK.
Sanya Malhotra’s ‘Badhaai Ho’ Junglee Pictures’ “Badhaai Ho,” starring Ayushmann Khurrana and Sanya Malhotra, wrapped up the shoot Mar. 21. This is Junglee Pictures’ next outing with Ayushmann Khurrana after the 2017 sleeper success, “Bareilly Ki Barfi.” The team celebrated the wrap by indulging in a small celebration, with lead actors Khurrana and Malhotra having a gala time by dancing their heart out. “Badhaai Ho” is a coming-of-age story of a family as it grapples with some unexpected news. The film is directed by Amit Sharma, who has helmed over a 1000 ad films, including one on Google Reunion and a short film for Kashmir Tourism, and made his feature film debut in 2015 with “Tevar,” starring Arjun Kapoor. Ayushmann Khurrana was born 14 September 1984) is an Indian film actor, singer and anchor. He is the recipient of two Filmfare Awards. In
2012, Khurrana made his film debut in Shoojit Sircar’s romantic comedy Vicky Donor, which touched on the topic of sperm donation in India, and received Filmfare Award for Best Male Debut.  He rose to prominence with romantic comedies Dum Laga Ke Haisha (2015) and Bareilly Ki Barfi (2017), and comedy-drama Shubh Mangal Savdhaan (2017), all of which received critical and commercial success. He hosted 63rd Filmfare Awards with Shah Rukh Khan, Parineeti Chopra and Karan Johar. In Chandigarh born to Poonam and P. Khurrana, He studied at St. John’s High School and DAV College in Chandigarh. Then Panjab University, in Chandigarh.] He did work theatre for five years. He was also the founding member of DAV College’s “Aaghaaz” and “Manchtantra”,
Classifieds / Jobs
Saturday, April 7, 2018
CNC Machine Operators in Surrey email resume to firstname.lastname@example.org Please mention AS subject line when applying
Metro Standard Insulation Ltd is hiring experienced or inexperienced insulation installer, LMIA work permit available. Good pay, ride available. Please call: 778-927-1005 - 778-838-6447 E-mail: email@example.com
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Community news Dr. M.R. Rajagopal visit to Victoria and Vancouver April 9-10, 2018 See and hear 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee LIVE BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW! The event is expected to sell out! A 2018 Nobel Peace Prize nominee from Kerala, India is coming to BC April 9-10, 2018.The BC Centre for Palliative Care and Victoria Hospice are honoured to be co-presenting the BC premiere of &S5 ! % Hippocratic: 18 Experiments in Gently Shaking the World, based on the extraordinary life and work of Dr M.R. Rajagopal. The movie will be followed by a Q&A with Dr. Rajagopal, who will be in attendance. This is a mustsee event for anyone interested in the power of the human spirit, human rights and social justice, and essential viewing for anyone working in health care.Dr. Rajagopal is a: 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. 2018 recipient of the Government of Indiaâ€™s Padma Shri Award â€“ one of the highest civilian honours. Often called the â€œGandhi of Modern Medicineâ€? and the â€œFather of Palliative Care in India.â€? â€œThe inspirerâ€? for the internationally recognized model for Compassionate Communities in Kerala, India. Founding Chairman of Pallium India Palliative Care physician VICTORIA EVENT DETAILS DateMonday, April 9, 2018 Time6:30 â€“ 8:30pm Location Cineplex SilverCity Victoria, 3130 Tillicum Road Tickets $16 per person, available at: ; ÂŠÂŠ!, ÂŠHÂŠ2Â‹7 VANCOUVER EVENT DETAILS
Date Tuesday, April 10, 2018 Time 6:30 â€“ 8:30pm Location Park Theatre, 3440 Cambie St Tickets $16 per person, available at: ; ÂŠÂŠ!, ÂŠHÂŠ2Q+ Media Contact: Ariela Friedmann Manager of Communications BC Centre for Palliative Care firstname.lastname@example.org 605-553-4866 ext 225 Please note that Interviews with Dr. Rajagopal can be organized ahead of his travel to British Columbia, either for radio, print or TV (via skype or other means). ------------------------------------------------------
South Asian Seniors Bingo On The House March 25th 2018 ( Sunday ) from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm. Vedic Seniors Parivar Centre of Vedic Hindu Cultural Society Surrey invites South Asian Adults / Senior members and non members also to come and play Bingo for the sake of entertainment and make some new friends, on March 25th 2018( Sunday ) from 2.00 pm to 3.30 pm at Shanti Niketan hall 8321 - 140th street Surrey B.C. Please bring only two dollars with you to play 2 games, do not worry if you do not know how to play, members will explain you the game just for the sake of fun. Tea & light snacks will be served after the game is over. Please contact Surendra Handa Coordinator # S :Q S ++: & & Project funded by Government of Canadaâ€™s New Horizons for Seniors Program for Hindi speaking Seniors.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Vol. 9 No. 10
Saturday - April 7, 2018
Condo owners make big gains? Condo owners make big gains, but nearly half aren’t making enough rent to cover costs About half of the newly completed condos in the GTA last year were bought as rental investments and these investors likely realized a return of about 155 per cent before closing costs Nearly half of all investors who bought condominiums completed in the Toronto area last year aren’t making enough rent to cover their holding costs, despite chalking up exceptional gains on the value of their properties, a new study finds. No less than 44 per cent of investors who took possession of new units in 2017 were in negative cash
flow — that is their rental income fell short of the amount needed to cover their mortgage payments and condominium fees, according to the study by CIBC and Urbanation, a market analysis firm. Though 45 per cent of those investors were short by less than $500 per month, another 20 per cent were short between $500 and $1,000 per month. And 34.5 per cent were in the hole for more than $1,000 per month. “We know now that many of them are in negative cash flow, but they also made very nice money on their investment,” said Benjamin Tal, deputy chief economist at CIBC World Markets Inc. “The question is will they begin to sell?” Investors who bought condominiums for the purpose of renting accounted for 48 per cent of all newly completed units in the Greater Toronto Area in 2017. The resale price of those units – most of which were bought between 2011 and 2013, before the market boomed – was an average $817 per square foot in 2017, up 51 per cent from their average pre-sale price of $541 per square foot. An average of five years elapsed between when the units were pre-sold — or purchased from the developer ahead of construction —
Continued on next pages
Condo owners gaining big profits? From page 13 and when they were completed. Assuming a down payment of 20 per cent or $75,000 — the average paid out — these investors realized a return of 155 per cent before closing costs, the study found. “The return is stronger than it has been historically and that’s largely due to the price increases we saw over the last couple of years,” said Shaun Hildebrand, Urbanation’s senior vice-president. “But when you peel back all the layers you find some weak spots.” Indeed, investors also paid higher rates on their mortgages, with 30 per cent of those studied paying an interest rate that is greater than 6 per cent and 16 per cent of investors paying more than 9 per cent. “It is these investors who are up against rising interest rates and now rent controls that create some vulnerabilities for the market,” said Hildebrand. “The risks seem to be contained at this point but the economics of investing is likely to become more challenging in the coming years.” The current boom in condo prices — driven by tight supply and soaring demand — won’t last forever, he cautions. Roughly 60,000 new units are currently under construction in the GTA and 20,000 new units are expected to be completed annually between now and 2021.
“No doubt there’s going to be more deliveries over the next three to four years than there has been over the previous four to five years,” Hildebrand said. “So in that sense, the market
is up against more supply and it’s unlikely the growth in price and rents we’ve seen over the last three to four years is going to repeat itself.” To cover carrying costs of units pre-sold this year and scheduled for completion in 2021, investors with a 20 per cent down payment would need to raise the rent by 17 per cent over the next four years if there were no change in mortgage rates, the study finds. If mortgage rates increase by 100 basis points, rents would need to increase by 28 per cent over the period and by 39 per cent if rates increase by 200 basis points.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Lower Mainland condo prices soar but there are signs of softness at the top end Prices for condos are on a tear across the Lower Mainland but there are signs of an emerging peak at the top end of the market. The $1 million figure has earned a place in Vancouver real estate vernacular for being when observers give up on any semblance of prices being affordable. It’s been mostly reserved for describing detached homes, but that’s changing. A few weeks ago, an analysis by David Taylor, senior vice-president at Colliers International, of inventory on the Multiple Listing Service put the median asking price of apartments and condos in the City of Vancouver at $962,500, popping eyeballs for how close that comes to the $1 million mark. This week, condo sale prices from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver show a strong upswing. The price for what the board considers a typical condo rose 26 per cent in Great Vancouver in March 2018, compared to a year ago. The Lower Mainland as a whole clocked in with a 30 per cent gain. There were even higher increases in some communities. In Maple Ridge, a typical condo sold for $316,100 in March, a gain of 46 per cent gain in one year and 83 per cent in the three years. And to be clear, these numbers are for resales of existing condos, not presales of units that haven’t yet been built. In Burnaby, a condo near Government Road recently sold for $526,500, according to Sutton Group West Coast Realty agent Solomon Yasin. It’s a two-bedroom, oneand-a-half bathroom unit built in the 1990s that would have gone for about $350,000 to $400,000 two years ago, he estimates. “There were seven offers on it. When you have a lot of multiple offers, after the sale you have six other buyers waiting and wanting to buy, and the backlog keeps adding up,” he says. “Buildings that allow rentals, like this one, bring out a pool of
investors too, which means more buyers.” “Essentially, it proves that supply is an issue even in resales (of condos),” says Michael Ferreira of Vancouver-based Urban Analytics, which provides data about new condos for developers, planners and bankers. “Listings are still down and we’re in a situation here where people are not forced to sell, so they’re going to hold on.” When it comes to presales, which are not captured in the real estate board’s statistics and are not subject to the foreign-buyers tax, the price gains have been significant too, according to Ferreira. Between 2015 and 2017, the per square foot presale condo price went up by 57 per cent in Burnaby, by 60 per cent in Port Coquitlam, by 61 per cent in Richmond and by 66 per cent in Surrey. Recently, Ferreira updated these figures to include presales made in 2018, showing the price increases for Burnaby and the west side of Vancouver are between 70 and 80 per cent. Ferreira says it will be interesting to see if there will be an easing of prices in areas such as the Burquitlam / North Road corridor and Brentwood in Burnaby, where several new projects will hit the market. Ferreira says it’s still early days in terms of seeing how the more recently unveiled set of taxes (including a widened foreign-buyers tax and a surtax on higher value properties) will impact the condo market, but he says the speculation tax on empty or lightly-used properties will not address the speculation linked to prices gains in presale condos. “True speculation is when buyers assign a unit (to another buyer for a higher price) before it’s even completed and the deal isn’t closed.” Despite a feeling of ever rising price gains, there are signs that some buyers are reaching “a cause for pause when looking at some of the prices,” especially at the top end of the market, says Ferreira.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Billions in BC assets caught up in high-profile China says the former chairman of Beijingbased Anbang Insurance Group defrauded mom-and-pop retail investors of more than US$10 billion and the company used that money to buy trophy assets overseas, including prime office towers in downtown Vancouver and a major B.C. seniors’ care company. The allegation puts these B.C. deals, which each exceeded $1 billion, into the world of what is emerging as one of China’s biggest financial crime trials, with pundits trying to parse out Beijing’s desire to crack down on rising debt levels versus its political motivations for going after Wu Xiaohui and Anbang. “It’s so interesting,” says Christine Duhaime, a Vancouver-based lawyer. “Goodness knows what it means for the Vancouver assets other than there will be a fire sale to get rid of them.” She’s been watching Anbang’s activities in Vancouver since it first got the green light from the federal government in 2016 to buy the Bentall Centre office towers and retail mall in two transactions for over $1 billion, even though it wasn’t clear how Ottawa was able to tick off basic ownership questions about Anbang when no one else in the world could. She also drew attention to the speed at which Anbang’s $1 billion-plus purchase
of Vancouverbased Retirement Concepts, a seniors’ care company, was approved by the federal government in 2017, considering the layers of ownership and the sheer task of translating verifying supporting documents from Chinese to English. Now, the visual of what is being suggested by the Chinese government’s allegations against Wu and Anbang should be a wake-up call, according to Alesia Nahirny, executive director of Transparency International Canada. Nahirny says she wouldn’t categorize Anbang’s funds as necessarily being illicit. That’s normally a description reserved for money that is tied to nefarious and organized crime, but she says it’s a problem if Anbang has been diverting funds into deals in Canada that it raised by aggressively promoting
risky wealth-management products to unsophisticated investors in China. “(Money from) practices that happen elsewhere is coming to us. We are connected to it. If we are not putting the proper measures in place, we are complicit,” says Nahirny. Since a 2015 exposé in The New York Times about “hidden global wealth” pouring into Manhattan’s most elite condo buildings, there has been some attention on a “growing proportion” of wealthy foreigners, who have been the subject of government inquiries in their home countries for cases involving whitecollar housing or environmental violations and financial fraud, buying assets in North America with few questions asked.
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Saturday, April 7, 2018
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