APTN National NewsVANCOUVER–A proposed refinery to handle Alberta bitumen pitched by a British Columbia businessman is just “another pipe dream” and a “ruse” to increase support for the Northern Gateway pipeline according to a spokesperson for an all alliance of First Nations along the province’s northern and central coast.Art Sterritt, executive director of Coastal First Nations, says the refinery, pitched by newspaper tycoon David Black is a “shot in the dark” to try and revive flagging support for the Enbridge’s Northern Gateway Pipeline.“All kinds of people are having pipe dreams out here,” said Sterritt. “We look at it as another ruse to try to get support for Northern Gateway.”Black, who owns Black Press Ltd., announced Friday he would be willing to pay for the environmental assessment of a $13 billion refinery, but needed financial backers to make the project a reality. The proposed refinery would be built near Kitimat, B.C., which is the endpoint for Enbridge’s proposed $5.5 billion pipeline.Black told the Vancouver Sun that the refinery would solve concerns over having bitumen-laden tankers moving through the environmentally sensitive Douglas Channel. He said the proposal would soften First Nations opposition to the pipeline by erasing the environmental threat to the coast of B.C.Sterritt, however, said Black never really consulted with any First Nations about the project before announcing it on Friday and the proposal would do nothing to mitigate the threat of a ruptured pipeline which would still cross several major watersheds on its trip from Alberta’s tar sands.Sterritt said already existing refineries in the Vancouver area have reduced their capacity because it’s more lucrative to ship raw product overseas. The existing Kinder Morgan pipeline was constructed 40 years ago on the promise of jobs created by refining activities.“We already have a pipeline that is going to the Vancouver harbour, but those people shipping bitumen and other crude oil have decided they can make more money overseas than refining and they have shut down refining in B.C.,” he said. “Historically, this pipeline was built on the back of the refineries, so the people of B.C. said, ‘We’ll allow the pipeline to go through, we need refined product in B.C.’ Since then, they’ve backed off.”Haisla First Nation Chief Councillor Ellis Ross said Black contacted one of his advisors on Thursday to inform the Haisla about the planned announcement. Ross said Black has toyed with the proposal for some time, but the Haisla have never been consulted on the issue or seen anything official on paper about the refinery project.“It was unofficial contact, there was nothing on paper, no consultation it was just a concept,” said Ross. “What I made clear is the idea that our people have mandate to have absolutely no bitumen or crude oil on Haisla territory.”Ross, however, said he hoped Black’s proposal would finally focus the debate about the Enbridge pipeline on the lack of existing refining capacity in the country versus shipping off raw product overseas only to buy it back later at a higher price.“It’s the white elephant in the room. The focus has entire been to get the product to Asia,” said Ross. “It’s like shipping raw logs to Asia and buying back the product at 10 times the price.”email@example.com
APTN National News OTTAWA–Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan said Thursday the Harper government would be putting money on the table to go along with contentious plans for new legislation governing First Nations education.Duncan issued a statement following a late afternoon meeting with Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and three other chiefs, including Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador regional Chief Morley Googoo.Duncan said the Harper government would meet its obligation to consult under the Constitution.“Our approach will be consistent with our obligations … and will include intensive consultation with First Nation parents, students, leaders and educators, as well as provinces,” said Duncan’s statement. “We will also explore mechanisms to ensure stable, predictable and sustainable funding for First Nation education.”The Harper government’s plan to pass legislation that would provide a framework for on-reserve, K-12 education is one among several of the irritants that led Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario chiefs to try and enter the House of Commons Chamber on Tuesday.Duncan told the chiefs he had a cabinet mandate directing him to proceed and begin consultation on new legislation.The Atleo-led delegation told the minister that issues of treaty rights and funding needed to be addressed. The two sides agreed to meet again in the New Year.“All issues were put squarely on the table and we will follow-up by transmitting the resolutions along with our national action plan once it is confirmed by us,” said Googoo in an email sent to chiefs and band officials at about 6:35 p.m. following the meeting. “Key issues included the urgent need for fair, equitable and stable funding, regional diversity including the absolute need for respectful implementation of our rights and Treaty implementation and support for First Nations controlled systems supportive of our languages and cultures.”The meeting began sometime between 4 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., moments after Atleo’s speech to wrap up a special chiefs assembly when he declared “now was the time for action.” Its time was set while chiefs were still gathered in the assembly.The AFN’s chiefs committee on education had sent a letter to Duncan last week requesting the meeting.There were some questions immediately after the AFN and the minister issued their statements as to why Duncan didn’t meet with all the chiefs at the assembly.Treaty chiefs from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario have said federal education legislation would infringe on their constitutionally-protected treaty right to enact sovereign laws over how they teach their children.The Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations distributed a pamphlet with a stark warning about Ottawa’s plans.“The last time Canada introduced federal legislation in education for our people,” says the pamphlet above two photos of Cree child Thomas Moore before and after he entered an Indian residential school in Regina. In one photo Moore has his long hair in braids and wears traditional beaded clothing and in the next photo his hair is trimmed short and he wears a tight fitting suit.The FSIN has passed three resolutions demanding the AFN stop working with Ottawa to develop federal education legislation.Under then-Aboriginal Affairs Minister Jim Prentice, a minority Harper government passed B.C. specific legislation in late 2006 that allowed for harmonization between provincial and on-reserve education systems.Treaty chiefs don’t want provinces at the table.
APTN National News OTTAWA–The Harper government uses inflammatory rhetoric to “alarm the public” against Indigenous rights, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said during a speech Monday at the UN’s Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues in New York City.Bellegarde’s speech focused on how nation states, including Canada, continue to try and dilute the impact of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Domestically, Bellegarde said the Harper government is using misleading rhetoric against a private member’s bill, C-641, introduced by Cree NDP MP Romeo Saganash to ensure federal laws comply with the declaration.“Government statements of C-641 follow a pattern when spokespersons are addressing the rights of Indigenous peoples. While claiming to support Aboriginal rights, the rhetoric is designed to alarm the public. Little regards is accorded to accuracy or justice,” said Bellegarde.Bellegarde said Ottawa’s favorite tactic is to use the word “veto” when describing why it continues to oppose the full implementation of the declaration in Canada. The Harper government has claimed, in its argument against supporting Saganash’s bill, that the declaration gives First Nations veto power over legislation and development impacting its rights and territories.“The term veto is not used in the UN Declaration. Veto implies an absolute right or power to reject a law or development that concerns Indigenous peoples, regardless of the facts and law in any given situation,” said Bellegarde. “Canada then builds on this imagined frenzy of absolute power and declares: ‘It would be irresponsible to give any one group in Canada a veto.’”Bellegarde said the Harper government is ignoring Canada’s own Constitution and Supreme Court decisions, including last summer’s Tsilhqot’in decision, in continuing its opposition to any real implementation of the declaration domestically.“The (Supreme Court in the Tsilhqot’in decision) repeatedly referred to the constitutional right of Aboriginal title holders to give or withhold consent. Such title holders have the right to use and control the land and enjoy its benefits…In (the Tsilhqot’in decision) the Supreme Court ruled that, in absence of Aboriginal consent, ‘legislation may be rendered inapplicable going forward to the extent that it unjustifiably infringes Aboriginal title,” said Bellegarde. “It is disturbing that the government of Canada claims to uphold the Aboriginal rights of Aboriginal peoples and Canada’s Constitution, but ignores key rulings of Canada’s highest court that favour such peoples.”firstname.lastname@example.org@APTNNews
APTN National NewsA group of Aboriginal people were blocking motorists along the Trans-Canada Highway at the Manitoba/Ontario border any time someone refused informational flyers on missing and murdered Indigenous women Friday.Some people sat in their cars and refused to take the flyers, which sometimes led to shouting matches.Dennis Ward/APTN PhotoWhen a flyer was refused the group sometimes blocked both lanes.Dennis Ward/APTN PhotoThe group vowed to remain at the border until they handed out at least 1,181 flyers – the number of Indigenous women missing or murdered between 1980 and 2012 according to an RCMP report last year.The RCMP updated its report Friday and the rally was meant to coincide with its release.APTN’s Dennis Ward has the story.
The Canadian PressManitoba’s children’s advocate will gain new powers next week to work on behalf of more young people and to make more of her findings public.The Progressive Conservative government says portions of a law passed last year are to take effect March 15.The changes expand the role of Daphne Penrose beyond child welfare to examine youth services in areas such as education, health and justice.Another change will allow her to publicly release findings from her investigations into the deaths of children in government care.The additional powers were recommended in 2013 by the inquiry into the death of Phoenix Sinclair, a five-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her mother and mother’s boyfriend after social workers closed her file.The advocate’s office is currently finishing a review into the death of Tina Fontaine, whose body was found in a Winnipeg river in 2014 after she had run away from a hotel where social workers had placed her.“This (change) will ensure greater public accountability for a range of key public services that protect Manitoba’s most vulnerable children and youth, and aim to make those services more effective and responsive,” Families Minister Scott Fielding said Tuesday in a written statement.The children’s advocate is an independent office of the legislature that has been forbidden from publicly releasing reports into child deaths. The advocate releases general findings in annual reports and appears every year before a legislature committee.
Brittany Hobson APTN NewsAn annual Winnipeg concert to honour missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls turned 10 years old this weekend.No Stone Unturned began as a way to raise money to help with the search for Claudette Osborne-Tyo who went missing in July 2008.As Brittany Hobson shows us, it has now turned into a way for families to support each email@example.com
Tina HouseAPTN NewsA documentary about mother and daughter activists who have dedicated their lives to continuing traditional ways of life is making its premier at the Women in Film Festival in Vancouver.Told through archival footage and shots of modern day, Warrior Women tells the story of Madonna Thunder Hawk and her daughter Marcella Gilbert.“When I was young the government built a series of dams all along the Missouri River,” said Gilbert. “We lost almost a million acres of our land the cotton woods and willows and all the natural foods.“It all went under our whole lifestyle changed overnight.”firstname.lastname@example.org@inthehouse7
Chris StewartAPTN NewsA man in Montana First Nation can barely walk after being attacked by a pack of dogs.Henry Rabbit needed 50 staples to close a wound in his leg after the attack.“I fought off as best as I could. I swung, I fell and landed on one knee and that is where they attacked me,” he said.“They bit my leg. I don’t know if I was bit twice. To me, I only seen one.”(Rabbit is still recovering from the attack. Photo: Chris Stewart/APTN)Rabbit said he was out for a walk on Aug 31 when a group of dogs approached him and attacked.He said he’s not the only this has happened to.“Before me, there were two others who were bitten before me,” he said. “We thought someone would do something. No. Still no bylaws or anything, which we should have by now.”He said he’s waiting to hear back from leadership on what they plan to do about the problem.Rabbit is worried that other people will be attacked.“I was lucky to have a vehicle come by and I jumped in that vehicle right away. They took me to a friend’s house and that’s where they helped make me feel better. They took care of my wound. They made sure I wasn’t bleeding much,” he said.“All the first aid procedures they did.”(Rabbit required 50 staples to close the wound in his leg. Photo courtesy: Henry Rabbit)APTN News asked Montana band leaders about dock attacks but no one has responded.Rabbit hopes that no one else gets hurt.“I’m just worried that a kid will get attacked or an elder because they can’t defend themselves,” he said.“Like what I tried to do.”email@example.com@aptnchris
TORONTO – Canada’s main stock index continued trading lower Wednesday amid slumping commodities prices, while U.S. markets also receded further into the red.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 34.65 points to 15,878.48, with the base metals and energy sectors leading decliners.It’s the sixth negative session in a row for the commodity-heavy TSX after hitting a record high last week.“When you look at the TSX, it’s just a continuation of the weakness we’ve seen over the past week,” said Macan Nia, senior investment strategist at Manulife Investments.“The weakness has been driven mainly by the sell-off in the commodity complex from oil, to base metals to really gold as well.”On Wednesday, the December crude contract retreated 37 cents to US$55.33 per barrel and the December natural gas contract was down two cents to US$3.08 per mmBTU.The December gold contract fell US$5.20 to US$1,277.70 an ounce and the December copper contract gave back two cents at US$3.08 a pound.Nia linked depressed commodities prices to a host of factors, particularly a slowing Chinese economy that has performed weaker than the markets have expected. “And as goes the Chinese economy so follows the commodity complex, and so follows the TSX,” he said.A report from the International Energy Agency pointing to strong production growth in the years ahead, particularly in the U.S., has also weighed on oil prices this week.“Despite the equilibrium between demand and supply coming closer over the past couple of months, there are more signs that we’ll get more supply coming on and that will tilt the balance to more supply than we need,” Nia said.On the Canadian corporate front, shares of Home Capital Group Inc. (TSX:HCG) were up 3.34 per cent to $14.85 at the closing of markets after the struggling mortgage lender reported third-quarter net income of $30 million, about half of what it earned in the year-ago period before it was hit with allegations it misled investors.Obsidian Energy Ltd. (TSX:OBE) also got a boost, with its stock up 6.08 per cent to $1.57, after the oil and gas company said it had reached a US$8.5-million settlement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission over fraud-related charges filed earlier this year.Meanwhile, Loblaw Companies Ltd. (TSX:L) saw a meagre increase in its shares after the grocery and pharmacy giant announced plans to close 22 unprofitable stores by the end of the first quarter in 2018.South of the border, U.S. stock indices were also negative on Wednesday as investors watched a batch of economic data, while keeping an eye on Washington as lawmakers began to push a tax cut bill through Congress.The U.S. Labor Department said that consumer prices edged up 0.1 per cent last month, the smallest gain in three months. The Commerce Department said retail sales rose 0.2 per cent in October. And a closely watched report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed manufacturing expanded at a slower pace this month in New York, but remained at a healthy level.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average tumbled 138.19 points to 23,271.28. The S&P 500 index gave back 14.25 points to 2,564.62 and the Nasdaq composite index dropped 31.66 points to 6,706.21.“In the U.S. the markets are just taking a breather. We’ve had a very good return profile in 2017 and we haven’t had volatility this year,” noted Nia.“I think that if we do not see a pullback from the peak of greater than five per cent by the end of the year, this will be only the second year in 30 years that we haven’t had at least one five per cent pullback.”In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at 78.29 cents US, down 0.25 of a U.S. cent.– With files from The Associated Press.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
OTTAWA – China says it deplores a controversial new clause in the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement that calls on the countries to notify each other if they enter into trade talks with a “non-market” economy.In a scathing statement, the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa says section 32.10 of the new USMCA amounts to an act of political dominance by the U.S., which it blames for inserting the clause some argue gives the Americans a veto over Canada and Mexico pursuing free trade with China.The Trump administration is embroiled in a trade war with China and has slapped tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars worth of Chinese goods, prompting retaliation from Beijing.Now, China says the White House is using the contentious clause in the new agreement with Canada and Mexico to prevent those countries from trading with it.While the clause does not mention China specifically, the provision is being widely seen as an attempt to single out Beijing.China has no doubt it is the target of the clause, which requires an USMCA member country to provide notice and information to the other two partners if it plans free trade talks with a “non-market” economy. It also gives the other partners a say in the text of such a deal.In a statement to The Canadian Press, Chinese Embassy spokesman Yang Yundong calls the move “dishonest behaviour” that blatantly interferes with the sovereignty of other countries.China disputes that it is a non-market economy, saying it is a member in good standing of the World Trade Organization.“China firmly supports the multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organization (WTO) at its core and props up an open world economy,” said Yang.“We oppose to fabricating the concepts of ‘market country’ and ‘non-market country’ outside the framework of WTO, which in essence is the excuse made by some countries to shirk their obligations and refuse to meet their international commitments.”China will continue to pursue commerce with other countries in the face of “trade restrictions,” added Yang.“China will consistently pursue opening-up at its own pace and continuously carry out mutually beneficial and win-win economic and trade co-operation with countries worldwide treating it in an equal-footed and friendly way.”In an interview with Reuters published Friday, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the USMCA pact’s “poison pill” provision to deter deals with China was a move to try to close loopholes in trade agreements that have served to legitimize China’s trade, intellectual property and industrial subsidy practices.Conservative MP Michael Chong accused the Liberals of giving up a significant degree of sovereignty in the USMCA deal.“We now have to ask for Washington’s permission to enter into trade negotiations with certain countries that the U.S will designate as non-market countries,” he said Friday.“It literally makes us a vassal state of the Americans.”A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland repeated the government’s view that nothing in the new trade agreement would prevent Canada from deepening its trade ties with other countries.Jim Carr, the international trade diversification minister, also played down concerns about China’s comments.Derek Burney, a veteran of Canada’s continental trade wars, blames Peter Navarro, one of U.S. President Donald Trump’s top trade advisers, for pushing China considerations into the text of the USMCA.“He is mercantilist, protectionist hawk in the administration with strong anti-China convictions,” said Burney, who was a key player in the Brian Mulroney government that negotiated the original Canada-U.S. free trade deal and the follow-up NAFTA that included Mexico.Burney said he’s not convinced the controversial clause has any teeth to prevent Canada from moving forward economically with China “as assertively” as possible.
CALGARY — The National Energy Board says crude-by-rail exports from Canada rose to a record 269,829 barrels per day in September.That’s up more than 17 per cent from 229,544 in August and just over double the 134,132 barrels per day recorded in September 2017.Total crude exports reached 3.47 million bpd in September, up from 3.31 million a year earlier. Pipeline export constraints are being blamed for a glut of oil in Western Canada that caused the price discount to peak at more than US$50 per barrel in October for Western Canadian Select oilsands blend versus New York benchmark West Texas Intermediate.The province has called on Ottawa to help increase crude-by-rail shipments, estimating the discounts are costing the Canadian economy as much as $80 million per day.Meanwhile, oilsands producers such as Cenovus Energy Inc. and Imperial Oil Ltd. are ramping up crude-by-rail volumes to get barrels to markets where they will receive better prices.Cenovus has called on the province to impose production cuts to reduce the oil oversupply in Alberta but the suggestion has been panned by rivals who are insulated from discounts because they have firm pipeline contracts or use their oil in their own refineries. Companies in this story: (TSX:CVE, TSX:IMO)The Canadian Press
LONDON — Prime Minister Theresa May is set to condemn calls for a second referendum on Britain’s departure from the European Union, saying it would do irreparable damage to trust in democracy.In remarks released ahead of her speech in the House of Commons on Monday, May says that staging another referendum “would say to millions who trusted in democracy that our democracy does not deliver.”She’s also expected to argue that such a ballot would exacerbate divisions rather than heal them.May’s supporters distanced themselves from media reports that senior figures in her government held talks with opposition Labour lawmakers aimed at holding another vote.With time growing short toward Britain’s scheduled March 29 departure, it remains unclear whether the country will leave with a deal or crash out with no deal.The Associated Press
NEW YORK (AP) _ Citigroup Inc. (C) on Monday reported fourth-quarter net income of $4.31 billion, after reporting a loss in the same period a year earlier.The bank, based in New York, said it had earnings of $1.64 per share. Earnings, adjusted for pretax gains, were $1.61 per share.The results surpassed Wall Street expectations. The average estimate of seven analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of $1.55 per share.The U.S. bank posted revenue of $23.98 billion in the period. Its revenue net of interest expense was $17.12 billion, falling short of Street forecasts. Three analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $17.48 billion.Citigroup shares have increased nearly 9 per cent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has climbed almost 4 per cent. The stock has fallen 26 per cent in the last 12 months._____This story was generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on C at https://www.zacks.com/ap/CThe Associated Press
“We continue to work with Indigenous groups and women in trades to expand apprenticeship and employment opportunities,” said Sigurdson. “Under a Community Benefits Agreement, these initiatives will translate directly into apprenticeship completions, which, in turn, will allow B.C. residents to support their families, to invest in their communities, and to build the B.C. economy.”The Independent Contractors and Businesses Association meanwhile denounced the government’s announcement. ICBA President Chris Gardner held a press conference immediately following the Premier’s announcement.“For years, John Horgan has promised his political allies in the old-fashioned Building Trades unions that he would tilt the playing field in their favour. Today, it appears he will try and force that to happen through a restrictive and regressive PLA model for tendering government projects,” said Gardner. “Unfortunately for the taxpayers paying for provincial projects, this will mean much higher costs and it will give 15 percent of the construction workforce – the ones who gave millions of dollars to the NDP – a monopoly on work.” The Province says that the Agreement will implement a targeted approach to maximizing apprenticeship opportunities on major public infrastructure projects, with a focus on priority hiring and training of Indigenous workers and women.The government also says that priority hiring will be given to qualified individuals who live within close proximity of the projects, while contractors will be given flexibility by requesting named hires.The first projects to be delivered under the new community benefits framework are the new Pattullo Bridge and the four-laning projects on the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Alberta.“British Columbians deserve the opportunity to work on major government projects being built in and near their communities,” said Claire Trevena, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure. “This Community Benefits Agreement will put local people first in line for good jobs building the roads, bridges and other infrastructure we need.”Signatories to the Community Benefits Agreement are BCIB, and the Allied Infrastructure and Related Construction Council, which represents many of B.C.’s building trades. The government also said that contractors representing B.C.’s construction industry played an important advisory role as the agreement was developed.The government’s announcement was received with praise from B.C. Building Trades Council executive director Tom Sigurdson, who spoke about the positives of Community Benefits Agreements during a keynote presentation to the Fort St. John & District Chamber of Commerce earlier this year. BURNABY, B.C. – B.C. Premier John Horgan announced today that the provincial government has launched a new Community Benefits Agreement landmark agreement for key public-sector infrastructure projects in B.C.At a press conference at BCIT’s Ironworkers Training Campus in Burnaby, Horgan also announced that the Province has launched BC Infrastructure Benefits Inc. – a new Crown Corporation that will oversee public construction projects in B.C. Transportation Minister Claire Trevena was named as the minister responsible for BCIB.“British Columbians rightfully expect B.C. projects to benefit B.C. workers, families and communities. Our new Community Benefits Agreement will help deliver those benefits,” said Premier John Horgan. “With this agreement, we’re not just investing in roads, bridges and other infrastructure, we’re investing in good jobs and new opportunities for people who live in B.C. And with our focus on expanding apprenticeships for young British Columbians, we’re helping build B.C.’s next generation of construction workers.”
The CBSA says that the proceeding was launched after Woodfibre LNG, a potential importer of those components filed an application with the CBSA.The CBSA says that the proceeding should be concluded by November 23rd at the latest. OTTAWA, O.N. – The Canada Border Services Agency announced on Thursday morning that it is launching a scope proceeding to look at whether fabricated steel LNG modules made in China and South Korea can be exempted from anti-dumping tariffs announced last year by the federal government.Last April, the federal government announced that anti-dumping tariffs would be applied to fabricated structural steel and plate-work components from China, South Korea, and Spain. Chinese components are also subject to countervailing duties. The components listed on the CBSA’s website as being subjected to the duties include those for use in oil and gas extraction, mining extraction, industrial power generation facilities, petrochemical plants, cement plants, fertilizer plants, and industrial metal smelters.The scope proceeding is being conducted in order to establish whether or not liquefied natural gas modules are subject to the Canadian International Trade Tribunal’s injury finding issued on May 25, 2017, concerning the dumping of certain fabricated industrial structural components from China and South Korea, and the subsidizing of those components from China.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John has rescinded the evacuation alert for the City’s South Sewage Lagoons.The alert was issued on October 10 as a precautionary measure due to the proximity of the area to the Peace River Regional District Evacuation Orders.The Peace River Regional District also downgraded some areas of the Old Fort from an evacuation order to an evacuation alert. The majority of the community remains under an evacuation order.
The three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to apply agri-technologies, expand the emerging agritech industry, and increase access to fresh and healthy food.The Task Force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by December 31, 2019.Public comments and engagement can be made online by visiting the Province’s website. SURREY, B.C. – The Province of British Columbia has set up a Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector.According to Minister of Agriculture, Lana Popham, the Task Force will look at new ways to help farmers expand production and develop thriving businesses.“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians. We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”
Aurangabad: The popularity of the ‘Modi jacket’, a rage during the 2014 elections, is on the wane, with orders of the apparel recording a drastic fall, garments traders in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra said Tuesday. The ‘Modi jacket’ is a half-sleeve coat often worn by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. A local trader said there was a time when around 35 such jackets used to be sold from his outlet per day. Now the number is down to one per week, he added. Another city businessman Gurvinder Singh said factors like the GST, demonetisation and drought-like situation in the state have impacted the sale of these jackets, like all other apparels. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!Many traders in Gulmandi, Tilak Path, Aurangpura, Sarafa, Osmapura and Cidco areas here echo similar views. Cloth merchant Rajedra Bhawsar, who used to keep a stock of these jackets along with other readymade ethnic wear, says since since the last one year not more than 10 pieces were sold from his outlet. “I now face a problem as the unsold stock is more and I invested a big amount, but there is no profit,” he said. Local tailor Dilip Lokhande, popular as Haroon Master, says with summer just around the corner, people are now showing more interest in khadi, linen and cotton shirts.
New York: Special Counsel Robert Mueller who investigated Russian interference in US President Donald Trump’s 2016 election has concluded that there was no collusion between him or his campaign and Moscow, according to a summary of the report released by Attorney General William Barr. While the probe found that Moscow had meddled in the 2016 election, the “investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities”, Barr said in the summary he said to Congress on Sunday afternoon. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US Trump declared that it was a complete exoneration and said the probe was an “illegal take down that failed”. On another key matter, if Trump had tried to obstruct justice by interfering with investigations into Russian interference, Barr’s summary of Mueller’s report was less certain. He said that in this regard Mueller’s “report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.” He added that he and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein found the evidence “not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offence”. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “While this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”, Barr’s summary said. The summary of the report was unlikely to quell the controversy over Russia’s interference and Trump campaign’s role that has divided the nation. The White House and Trump’ supporters exulted that it was an exoneration of the president, whose legitimacy was attacked for two years, but his opponents were questioning if the wording was ambiguous. “The findings of the Department of Justice are a total and complete exoneration of the President of the US”, his Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. However, the Democrat head of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, asserted that there were “very concerning discrepancies” and “Mueller did not exonerate the President”. He added that he would be calling Barr to testify before the Congressional panel. The Democrats demanded the entire report be published and threatened to use Congressional powers to acquire the full report and supporting documents. Legally, the Special Counsel’s report is submitted to the attorney general who has the power to withhold it or release only parts of it. Trump has also supported its release. Before deciding its release Barr will have to determine if there are any matters of national security that has to be blacked out. Mueller’s investigation conducted away from public view interviewed more than 500 witnesses, executed 500 search warrants and issued 2,800 subpoenas (demands of appearance of production of documents) over 22 months. Five important members of the Trump team, including campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, his personal lawyer Michael Cohen and former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, have been convicted as a result of the Mueller probe on various charges, some of lying during investigations and some like tax and financial fraud unrelated to the Russian link. The Mueller investigation was definite that there was Russian interference in the election, but in an insidious and indirect manner. Barr said that Mueller found two main Russian efforts to influence the election. “The first involved attempts by a Russian organisation, the Internet Research Agency (IRA), to conduct disinformation and social media operations in the US designed to sow social discord”, his summary said. The other was Russian government hacking of the computers and emails of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party presidential candidate, and disseminating the information through WikiLeaks and other sources. Barr noted that Mueller brought criminal charges against several Russian citizens and entities in connection with these activities.
Vijayawada-Kalyanadurg (AP): Congress President Rahul Gandhi Sunday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for ‘not fulfiling’ the promises to Andhra Pradesh and YSR Congress chief Y S Jaganmohan Reddy on alleged corruption, even as he flayed Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu over ‘mismanagement’ of the state. At the same time, Rahul repeated his promise of according Special Category Status and building a strong AP the moment the Congress came to power at the Centre. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Special category status was the central point of his campaign rallies in the two places even as he touched upon other national issues like the proposed Nyay scheme, attacks on dalits and minorities, making doing business easy for youngsters, economic frauds, farm loan waiver and education reforms. You know the mismanagement that has taken place in AP. You know the state is struggling, the Congress president said, addressing his first election campaign meeting in Vijayawada in the morning. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K He also spoke about the ‘corruption’ of Jagan Reddy, without elaborating. At the campaign rally at Kalyanadurg in Anantapur district late in the evening, Rahul spoke about the travails of farmers in the state, particularly in this parched district, and said 600 farmers had committed suicide in the last two years. Cultivable land reduced by half in Anantapuramu district, he pointed out, but avoided directly mentioning the Telugu Desam Party government. On the special category status (SCS) issue, however, the Congress chief found fault with the TDP as well for ‘failing to exert pressure’ on the Centre. Five years have gone-by and the current Prime Minister did not fulfil the promises made by the people of the country. And it is sad that neither of the two parties in AP had put pressure on the PM to take this decision. TDP was in alliance with Narendra Modi and they should have put pressure on him and forced him to give SCS, Rahul remarked. And I understand that Jaganmohan Reddy has a lot of cases on him. I understand that the Prime Minister can put a lot of pressure on Reddy. But this is not the question of an individual. This is the question of the future of people of AP, he added. He observed that SCS was important for the future of AP and that was what people of India owed to the state. There should be no confusion that the moment the Congress comes to power in 2019, one of the first decisions we will take will be giving SCS to AP. Because we are absolutely convinced that AP needs SCS, the Congress chief said. Criticizing the Prime Minister for ‘failing to honour’ the promises made to AP (post-bifurcation), Gandhi recalled that Modi himself promised SCS and also said the state needed a world-class capital. Truth is neither did he give SCS, Central University, Kadapa steel plant or the Polavaram project. What has been promised by PM has to be delivered. We will give it to you, he promised. The Congress president also assured to positively look into the demand for granting Scheduled Caste status to the Vaddera community and Scheduled Tribe status to the Valmiki community. He promised to take up categorization of the SCs in an amicable manner.