New Delhi: Indian opener Rohit Sharma feels Yuvraj Singh, who has announced his retirement from international cricket, deserved a better farewell. Taking to social media after Yuvraj announced his retirement, Rohit said: “You don’t know what you got till it’s gone. Love you brotherman. You deserved a better send off.” On Monday, the stylish southpaw announced his retirement, saying “it’s time to move on”. “Only if I could articulate what cricket has done for me, to me! But let me tell you this, cricket has given me everything I have and it is the reason why I sit here today,” Yuvraj said in a press conference in Mumbai. Also Read – We don’t ask for kind of tracks we get: Bowling coach Arun The 37-year-old, who played a crucial part in India’s successful campaigns at the 2007 World T20 and the 2011 World Cup, is among the Indian greats who did not get a farewell game after contemporaries Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Gautam Gambhir. He also revealed that the BCCI had promised him a farewell game provided he failed the ‘Yo Yo’ fitness test. However, he passed it and therefore, the swansong never happened. With a career that spanned over 304 ODIs, 58 T20s and 40 Tests, Yuvraj imprinted his place in the echelons of cricket as a player who could pretty much win matches for his side either through his electric fielding, deceiving bowling or fierce batting. Unlike many, the Punjab lad won’t be a part of the Indian Premier League (IPL) post his retirement from all forms of the game, saying he is now open to playing outside the country, in other T20 leagues.
New Delhi: The NIA has alleged that its probe into terror financing in Jammu and Kashmir has revealed that hardline separatist leaders received funds from abroad and utilised them for personal gains — from amassing properties to paying for foreign education of their kin.The agency has interrogated several top leaders of Hurriyat Conference and other organisations and claimed that they had confessed to receiving funds from Pakistan to fuel separatist sentiments among the people of Kashmir Valley. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaIn a statement issued Sunday, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said the firebrand leader of Duktaran-e-Milat, Asiya Andrabi, was grilled by it about the educational expenses of her son in Malaysia incurred by Zahoor Watali, who was arrested in a terror funding case. “During interrogation, Asiya Andrabi admitted that she had been collecting funds and donations from foreign sources and Duktaran-e-Milat had been organising protests by Muslim women in the valley,” it claimed. The NIA has already approached the relevant authorities for providing evidence relating to certain bank accounts used by Asiya Andrabi’s son Mohammad bin Qasim while he was in the university, it said. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: ShahAnother hardline separatist leader, Shabbir Shah, had to face some tough time when he was confronted about his businesses, including a hotel in Pahalgam which is allegedly funded through foreign funds received by him from Pakistan, the statement said. “During the custodial interrogation, Shabir Shah was confronted with evidence relating to transfer of money by Pakistan-based agents and representatives of APHC (All Parties Hurriyat Conference) factions to parties affiliated to Hurriyat in J and K. He was also confronted about his investments in various hotels and businesses in Pahalgam, properties in Jammu, Srinagar and Anantnag,” the NIA said. The NIA had registered a case in May, 2017 against terrorists belonging to Jammat ud Dawah, Duktaran-e-Millat, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen and other separatist leaders in the state for raising, receiving and collecting funds to fuel separatist and terrorist activities and entering into a larger conspiracy for causing disruption in Kashmir Valley and for waging war against India. The agency has so far charge-sheeted 13 accused, including leader of Jammat-ud Dawah Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, head of proscribed organisation Hizb-ul-Mujahideen Syed Salahuddin, seven separatist leaders, two hawala conduits and some stone-pelters. Watali is one of the main hawala conduits who used to generate and receive funds from Pakistan, ISI, UAE and had floated various shell companies to disguise foreign remittances for further transfer to separatist leaders and stone pelters in the valley, it said. The agency said these funds were used to fuel unrest in the Kashmir valley and organise violent agitations and anti-India activities which resulted in large scale violence leading to numerous injuries and deaths of civilians and security forces. Evidence relating to funding of these separatist elements through Pakistan and UAE-based businessman, ISI, High Commission of Pakistan in Delhi has been collected and presented to the NIA Special Court in the charge sheets, it said. Watali’s bail was rejected by the Supreme Court, on a plea by the NIA, as the apex court observed that the Delhi High Court has not appreciated the material which found favour with the designated court to record its opinion that there are reasonable grounds for believing that the accusations are prima facie true.
Los Angeles: Ryan Murphy has roped in names like Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, James Corden and Ariana Grande for his “Prom” adaptation. The feature take of the Tony-nominated stage musical, set at Netflix, will also see Awkwafina, Keegan-Michael Key and Andrew Rannells in key roles. Sources told Deadline, Murphy will direct and produce the Broadway hit, set to undergo production in December. Streep will play Dee Dee Allen, a two-time Tony award winner who collaborates with Barry Glickman (Corden) in a flop musical about Eleanor Roosevelt. Also Read – Rihanna to release 500-page ‘visual’ autobiography After disastrous reviews, they decide, along with Broadway newbies Angie Dickinson (Kidman) and Rannells as Trent Oliver, to attach themselves to a cause to resurrect their careers. Emma, a high school senior in Indiana who isn’t allowed to take her girlfriend to the prom, becomes their cause to champion. Casting director Alexa Fogel is on a nationwide search to find an actor to play Emma. While Grande plays Alyssa, a popular daughter of the head of the PTA, Awkwafina plays the group’s publicist Ms Sheldon. Key is set to essay the role of Streep’s love interest and Emma’s ally, Principal Hawkins. Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knot Alexis Woodall, Bill Damaschke, and Dori Berinstein are also attached to produce. Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin are working on the script, with music and lyrics Beguelin and Matthew Sklar, based on the original concept by Jack Viertel. Murphy is also attached to produce the soundtrack along with Grande and her manager, Scooter Braun. The makers are eyeing a 2020 autumn release in theatres during the awards season before it airs on the streaming service.
Jammu: All necessary arrangements are in place as the first batch of Amarnath pilgrims are scheduled to leave for Kashmir from here amid tight security on Sunday, a day ahead of the formal commencement of the annual pilgrimage in the Valley.Over 1.5 lakh pilgrims from across the country have so far registered themselves for the 46-day long yatra, which takes place from the traditional 36-km Pahalgam track in Anantnag district and 14-km Baltal route in Ganderbal district, officials said. Hundreds of pilgrims, including sadhus (saints), have started arriving in Jammu and are enthusiastic about undertaking the pilgrimage. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey ColonyDivisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Verma said all necessary arrangements, including security, have been put in place to facilitate the pilgrims and ensure their safety during the yatra, which will be conducted under the surveillance and close coordination of various security agencies. As many as 2,85,006 lakh pilgrims had paid obeisance at the 3,880-metre high holy cave, housing the naturally formed ice-shivlingam, in south Kashmir Himalayas last year, while the number of pilgrims was 3,52,771 in 2015, 3,20,490 in 2016 and 2,60,003 in 2017. The yatra is scheduled to end on August 15 coinciding with the Raksha Bandhan festival. Inspector General of Police, Jammu, M K Sinha said adequate security arrangements have been made all along the yatra route right from Lakhanpur — the gateway to Jammu and Kashmir bordering Punjab — besides base camps, lodgement centres, halting stations and community kitchen sites in view of threat perception.
Jammu: At least 81,630 pilgrims have performed this year’s Amarnath Yatra since it began on July 1, while another batch of 4,773 pilgrims on Sunday left Jammu for Kashmir Valley, officials said.The yatris left Bhagwati Nagar Yatri Niwas in two escorted convoys.”Of these, 2,022 yatris are going to Baltal base camp while 2,751are going to Pahalgam base camp,” a police officer said.The 45-day long Amarnath Yatra started this year on July 1 and will conclude on August 15 coinciding with the Shravan Purnima festival. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in JammuThe regional Met Office has forecast generally cloudy weather along the two routes to the cave shrine on Sunday with possibility of rain/thunderstorm in the afternoon.The Met department has installed special weather forecasting equipment along Baltal and Pahalgam routes for accurate forecast.The cave shrine is situated 3,888 metres above the sea-level in Kashmir’s Himalayas. It houses an ice stalagmite structure that symbolises mythical powers of Lord Shiva, according to the devotees.The ice stalagmite structure waxes and wanes with the phases of the moon.Local Muslims have historically lent a helping hand to ensure that their Hindu brethren are able to perform the pilgrimage with ease and convenience.Two pilgrims have so far died of natural causes while performing the yatra.
New Delhi: The Enforcement Directorate (ED) Monday moved a Delhi court seeking bail cancellation of Rajeev Saxena, a middleman-turned-approver in a money laundering case related to the AgustaWestland chopper scam, for allegedly not cooperating in the probe. Special Judge Arvind Kumar issued notice to Saxena and put up the matter for hearing on July 18. The court had earlier allowed Saxena to turn approver and his plea for grant of pardon on the condition that he will fully disclose all information in the case. Saxena, director at two Dubai-based firms — UHY Saxena and Matrix Holdings, is one of the accused named in the charge sheet filed by the ED in the Rs 3,600-crore AgustaWestland scam.
New Delhi: The CISF on Tuesday said that they have nabbed four passengers with fake passports and handed over to immigration officials at IGI Airport.According to CISF on July 23, four persons were taken to the random checking point for thoroughly checking of their documents and bags. According to CISF on checking of their travelling documents and passports, it came to light that the serial number of their passports engraved on passport covers were different with the serial numbers mentioned in the passports. All were apprehended as the case was related to fake passports.
Bengaluru: In a significant milestone for India’s Moon mission, ISRO will fire Chandrayaan2’s liquid engine on Tuesday to insert the spacecraft into a lunar orbit. “It’s tomorrow morning (tentatively between 8.30 am and 9.30 am). It’s challenging,” Chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation K Sivan told PTI on Monday on the operation to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon. Following this, there will be further four orbit manoeuvres to make the spacecraft enter into its final orbit passing over the lunar poles at a distance of about 100 km from Moon’s surface, ISRO has said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Subsequently, the Vikram lander will separate from the orbiter on September 2, according to the Bengaluru-headquartered space agency. Two orbit manoeuvres will be performed on the lander before the initiation of powered descent to make a soft landing on the lunar surface on September 7, ISRO said. Chandrayaan2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14 after final orbit raising manoeuvre of the spacecraft was successfully carried out. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The health of the spacecraft is being continuously monitored from the Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking and Command Network (ISTRAC) in Bengaluru with support from Indian Deep Space Network (IDSN) antennas at Byalalu, near Bengaluru. All systems on board Chandrayaan2 spacecraft are performing normal, ISRO said on August 14. According to ISRO, Chandrayaan2 India’s second lunar expedition will shed light on a completely unexplored region of the Moon, its South Pole. “This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface,” the space agency has said. “While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition,” it said.
Bengaluru: A 30-year-old man was stabbed to death by a gang in full public view during Ganeshotsav festival at Puttur in Dakshina Kannada district allegedly over personal rivalry, police said on Wednesday. The three accused were at large, they said. Karthik Merla, who is the secretary of Hindu Jagaran Vedike, was attending the Yakshagana programme during Ganeshotsava in the town Tuesday night when the gang allegedly stabbed him to death near the Sampya police station. “The accused are absconding. We are searching them,” a police officer told PTI. Situation turned tense in the communally sensitive district after news of the murder spread like a wildfire.
Kabul: The Afghan government expressed doubts Wednesday about a prospective deal between the US and the Taliban, saying officials need more information about the risks it poses. US special envoy Zalmay Khalilzad was in Kabul this week, when he shared with Afghan officials an agreement “in principle” that Washington has forged with the Taliban and would lead to a pull-out of American troops. The prospect of a US-Taliban deal has caused much concern among many Afghans, who feel sidelined from the process, worry the hardline Islamists will return to power, and see a beaten America selling out their interests in a bid to escape Afghanistan after 18 years of gruelling war. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USSediq Sediqqi, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s spokesman, said that while the Kabul administration supports any progress in an eventual peace process, it wants to prevent any negative consequences. Kabul is “concerned, therefore we seek clarification about this document so that we can carefully analyse the risks and potential negative consequences, and prevent any danger it may cause,” Sediqqi said on Twitter. The statement is Kabul’s first such reaction to the prospective deal, which Khalilzad presented on Monday. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsGhani and his government have until now been largely sidelined in negotiations between the US and the Taliban, who see the Afghan president as illegitimate and have insisted on dealing first with the Americans. Kabul’s concerns build on a position expressed Tuesday by former US ambassadors to Afghanistan, who warned in a joint statement against a major troop withdrawal without a comprehensive peace accord. “A major withdrawal of US forces should follow, not come in advance, of (a) real peace agreement,” the former envoys wrote. According to parts of the deal made public so far, the Pentagon would pull thousands of its 13,000 or so troops from five bases across Afghanistan by early next year, provided the Taliban hew to their security pledges. The insurgents have said they will renounce Al-Qaeda, fight the Islamic State group and stop jihadists using Afghanistan as a safe haven. Ultimately, though, Kabul has no say on whether the US and the Taliban make a deal, and can only hope the insurgents honour a pledge to sit down with the Afghan government to build a separate accord. Afghans have been on tenterhooks for weeks while the US and the Taliban flesh out what are thought to be the final details of their deal. President Donald Trump was due to look at the proposed pact this week. If he and Taliban leaders approve, it could be signed and announced any day. But even as negotiations for an accord have entered an apparent end phase, violence has surged across Afghanistan. On Monday, the Taliban launched a massive attack in Kabul, where they targeted a fortified compound used by foreign aid groups and agencies. At least 16 people were killed, with more than 100 wounded. On Saturday, the Taliban attempted to seize the provincial capital of Kunduz in the north, and on Sunday, they launched an operation in the city of Pul-e Khumri, the capital of neighbouring Baghlan province.
New Delhi: After the Income-Tax department and the Enforcement Directorate, the CBI will now also start investigating Congress leader DK Shivakumar, according to submissions made by Additional Solicitor-General KM Natraj at a Special court here during the Congress troubleshooter’s remand proceedings, which resulted in him being sent to ED custody till September 13.But given the investigative agencies’ recent approach with respect to the arrest of first P Chidambaram and then Shivakumar, the central agencies’ approach towards prosecuting politicians and leaders like BS Yeddiyurappa and Janardhana Reddy, however, seems to be decidedly different. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’In a case similar to the one against Shivakumar, the I-T department had in searches at premises of Yeddiyurappa discovered documents, allegedly hand-written by him, detailing payments made by him to senior leaders and politicians at the Centre. Not only did the ED not initiate a similar money-laundering case in the matter, but after months of ‘looking into’ the documents, the Income Tax department had also issued a statement claiming that the documents could not be analysed for handwriting because they were photocopies and not original ones. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe I-T department’s statement had cited a letter from the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, which essentially said the handwriting analysis on the documents was inconclusive and original documents were required. This despite, several officials who have worked with the CFSL acknowledging that the laboratory has previously conducted handwriting analyses on photocopied documents and even built cases on them. Moreover, in the case of mining baron G Janardhana Reddy, while he did face the heat of investigators, including the ED in a mining-related corruption case, the Karnataka High Court, had in 2017, quashed the ED’s attachments worth over Rs 800 crore in the case. Reddy, who was often referred to as the king of Bellary, where his say was the law, had allegedly generated a revenue of nearly Rs 5,000 crore from illegal exports. The CBI had arrested him in the large scale illegal mining case that spanned all over Karnataka in 2011 and also filed a chargehseet against him, but he was granted bail in the case, with investigation continuing. Since then, while Reddy has come under the financial probe agency’s scanner in a Rs 600 crore Ponzi scheme case, investigators seem to be in no rush to take it to its logical conclusion. Interestingly, the allegation against Reddy in the Ponzi scheme case is that he had taken Rs 20 crore from Ambidant Marketing, the chit fund company, to ‘settle’ a case ED was probing against it. Reddy and his brothers have also been accused of several counts of amassing wealth beyond their declared sources of income. In fact, Reddy had reportedly spent exorbitant amounts of money on his daughter’s wedding in Bengaluru, which also seem to have escaped investigating agencies’ radar.
Tokyo: A man has been found dead inside a capsized fishing boat off northern Japan, with seven other crew members missing. The 29-tonne Keieimaru No.65 with eight Japanese fishermen on board lost communication on waters some 640 kilometres (400 miles) east of Cape Nosappu in Hokkaido on Tuesday, a coastguard spokesman told AFP on Wednesday. The boat was later found capsized, and inside the boat a man was found “in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest”, he said, using the Japanese expression suggesting death but without a doctor’s confirmation. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “Six of our divers are continuing the search for the rest of the crew members,” he added. The boat was fishing for sauries in the high seas as they could not find them in coastal waters, public broadcaster NHK said. Fishermen across the country are struggling this year to catch sauries, a delicacy during this time of year in Japan, and experts point to higher water temperature as a reason behind it.
NATUASHISH, N.L. – The deputy grand chief of the Innu Nation is pleading for help after two boys were burned in a known hangout for gas sniffing in Labrador.Simeon Tshakapesh says the two suffered burns when the house burned to the ground in Natuashish.RCMP say the two boys — aged 11 and 17 — were seriously injured and are being treated in hospital.It’s the third such fire in the community in less than a month.Tshakapesh says solvent abuse among children and young people in the community has become “an epidemic,” and there is nothing in place to address it.Natuashish was established in 2002 as a new community for the Innu of Davis Inlet, which had been beset by a lack of running water and social problems.
TORONTO – The roots of the Sino-Forest saga stretch back more than 20 years. Formed in 1994, it grew to become the most valuable forestry company on the Toronto Stock Exchange. It was also the first and biggest foreign-owned forestry firm in China and conducted most of its business there, even though it was based in Ontario. That was before its collapse in 2012.Here is a timeline of the Ontario Securities Commission’s case against Sino-Forest:June 2, 2011: Muddy Waters Research releases a report that accuses Sino-Forest of exaggerating its timber assets and fabricating sales transactions.June 3, 2011: Sino-Forest shares lose nearly two-thirds of their value, or about $2.3 billion. Company executives say the allegations in the Muddy Waters Research report are unfounded and they’re confident an independent investigation will conclude as much.June 8, 2011: The Ontario Securities Commission says it is investigating Sino-Forest.Aug. 26, 2011: The OSC accuses Sino-Forest Corp. of fraud and stops trading of the company’s shares on the TSX.Aug. 28, 2011: CEO Allen Chan resigns.Nov. 10, 2011: The OSC refers Sino-Forest fraud allegations to the RCMP.Nov. 15, 2011: Sino-Forest says an interim report from an independent investigation refutes allegations that it is fraudulent. But the report also raises concerns about the challenges of verifying timberland holdings in China.Jan. 31, 2012: Final report from independent investigation is released. It leaves several key questions unanswered, including the value of Sino-Forest’s forestry assets.March 30, 2012: Sino-Forest files for bankruptcy protection and puts itself up for sale.May 9, 2012: Sino-Forest shares are delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.May 22, 2012: The OSC formally accuses Sino-Forest and five executives including Chan of lying to investors and attempting to mislead investigators.July 21, 2014: David Horsley, former chief financial officer of Sino-Forest, agrees to pay $6.3 million to the OSC and to settle class-action lawsuits. In exchange, he agrees to testify against other former company executives.Sept. 2, 2014: The OSC Sino-Forest case begins. OSC lawyer Hugh Craig says even though its main operations were based in China, the company should be judged by Canadian standards. Chan’s lawyer says while some of Sino-Forest’s business practices may seem peculiar to North Americans, they were “workarounds” that the firm had to employ because they were operating in a country where they were prevented from registering businesses, opening bank accounts and exchanging money freely.April 18, 2016: Closing arguments begin. Craig says Chan was the “controlling mind” behind alleged frauds that robbed shareholders of value.July 14, 2017: The OSC releases its decision that Sino-Forest, Chan and several other executives defrauded investors, misled investigators and “engaged in deceitful and dishonest conduct.”
Six stories in the news for Friday, Oct. 20———POT ON THE TABLE AS HEALTH MINISTERS MEETIt’s cannabis day today at a meeting of federal, provincial and territorial health ministers in Edmonton. Federal Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is to deliver an update on progress to have marijuana legalized as of next July 1. The premiers and some police agencies have said the timeline is too ambitious and Canada won’t be ready by next summer. During Thursday’s session, the ministers floated the idea of an electronic prescription database to help fight the opioid crisis.———ONE OF 3 VICTIMS OF ARENA AMMONIA LEAK IDENTIFIEDOne of the three men who died following an ammonia leak at an ice rink in southeastern British Columbia has been identified as Lloyd Smith, an off-duty part time paramedic. BC Emergency Health Services said Smith, who began his career as a paramedic with the agency in 1996, was working “at his other job with the City of Fernie when he died.” Former prime minister Stephen Harper’s wife, Laureen, tweeted Thursday night that Smith was a childhood friend.———MEN HURT IN SASK. WILDLIFE FIRE STILL IN HOSPITALA father and son who were badly burned while fighting a grass fire on their land in southwestern Saskatchewan are still in a Calgary hospital’s intensive care unit. The family of Ron Wedrick and his son Evan says they are being treated by a team of burn treatment specialists. Grass fires whipped up by high winds gusting to more than 100 km/h threatened several towns and villages in southern Alberta and Saskatchewan earlier this week.———SENTENCING HEARING EXPECTED TO WRAP AT LA LOCHE TRIALFinal submissions are expected today at the sentencing hearing for a teenager who shot and killed four people and injured seven others at a home and a high school in northern Saskatchewan. The teen has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder in the January 2016 shooting in La Loche. The hearing is to determine whether the teen is sentenced as an adult or a youth.———MICHAEL PITFIELD DIES AT 80Michael Pitfield, a former Senator, clerk of the Privy Council, and close confidante to former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, has died at the age of 80. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the death last night, calling Pitfield’s contributions to public life “far-reaching and enduring.” Following his time with the Privy Council and as secretary to the cabinet, Pitfield joined the Senate in 1982 and sat as an independent until his retirement in 2010.———BEDBUGS ON PLANES? NOT SURPRISING SAYS EXPERTA Vancouver entomologist says it’s no surprise bedbugs are hitching rides on commercial flights, given the spread of the insects and a rise in global travel. UBC professor Murray Isman says bedbugs do get into luggage, but it’s rare to hear of the insects bothering passengers. One a recent British Airways flight from Vancouver to London, Heather Szilagyi says she and her family landed to discover they were covered in bites.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will tour Resolute Forest products in Alma. Que.— Bombardier CEO Alain Bellemare and Airbus CEO Tom Enders speak to the Montreal Board of Trade.— Statistics Canada will release the retail trade figures for August and the consumer price index for September.— Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer will visit Burlington, Kitchener and Cambridge in southwestern Ontario.— Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca will make a transit announcement in Oshawa.
VANCOUVER – Adventurers are being warned to use caution in the mountains north of Vancouver as a winter storm sweeps through the region, increasing the avalanche risk.Joe Lammers, a forecaster with Avalanche Canada, says as much as 50 centimetres of snow is expected to fall on mountains in the South Coast by Friday.Environment Canada has issued snowfall and winter storm warnings for Metro Vancouver, saying a frontal system will bring flurries and freezing rain to the area.Lammers says the snow and strong winds could create unstable slabs in the mountains, and the avalanche danger rating is likely to climb to the considerable level or even to a high rating in the alpine.He says anyone venturing into the backcountry should be trained in avalanche safety, know how to recognize dangerous terrain and carry appropriate equipment, including shovels, beacons and probes.Lammers says even experienced back country users should stick to conservative terrain and lower-angle slopes, and be aware of overhead hazards.Anyone without proper gear or training should stay within bounds at ski resorts, he added.“It’s all about choosing terrain that’s appropriate for the conditions,” Lammers says.Avalanche Canada’s danger ratings for the Sea to Sky region north of Vancouver and the South Coast Inland region to the east are also set to go up to considerable by Friday as wintry weather moves across the province.Unstable snow in British Columbia’s mountains is known to be deadly.In April, five hikers crossing an unstable snow ledge in the mountains north of Vancouver fell 500 metres to their deaths. Rescuers said it appears the group stepped out on the ledge and the snow collapsed beneath them.
MONTREAL – Workers at the ABI aluminum smelter in Becancour, Que. said Friday they expected to be locked out of work for a long time.The United Steelworkers Local 9700 said the facility’s 1,030 employees were suddenly locked out at 3 a.m. Thursday, less than 24 hours after they voted against the company’s latest contract offer by more than 80 per cent.Union leaders said they think the company’s owners are looking to increase the price of aluminum.Workers picketed outside the Becancour smelter Friday afternoon.Alain Croteau, head of the Quebec section of the United Steelworkers, said the facility’s owners have a “hidden agenda.”“We think that financial interests are behind (the lockout),” he said. “When a big smelter such as Alcoa here in Becancour doesn’t produce, it takes aluminum off the market and drives up prices.”The ABI smelter, a major private employer in the region, is 75 per cent owned by Alcoa and 25 per cent by Rio Tinto Alcan.“We think the lockout will last two or three months, minimum,” Croteau said. “It could go to six, seven, eight months, maybe more, we don’t know. It’s sad for the population. It’s sad for the families and the workers here.”Local union president Clement Masse agrees his members will be out of work for a while.“Just stopping the tanks and re-started them, we’re talking about many millions of dollars,” he said. “If the employer took the decision to close two series of tanks, it’s because they don’t think they are going to settle this next week.”The union says the key issue is a company plan to introduce a new member-funded pension plan instead of a defined benefit plan.ABI said it will use management to continue one production line out of three for the duration of the lockout.
TORONTO – A packed Toronto courtroom erupted into cheers and a standing ovation Monday after the judge announced two men convicted of murdering a young woman would not be eligible for parole for 50 years.Dellen Millard is “profoundly amoral and dangerous” while his partner in crime, Mark Smich, “enthusiastically” participated in the murder of Laura Babcock, 23, whose body was never found, Justice Michael Code said.Millard, 32, of Toronto, and Smich, 30, of Oakville, Ont., were convicted in December of murdering the Toronto woman in the summer of 2012 and burning her body in an animal incinerator.“Justice has been served to the murderers of our cherished daughter, Laura,” Clayton Babcock, the victim’s father, told reporters outside court. “Somehow life in prison seems lenient when Laura didn’t even get to see her 24th birthday.”Millard and Smich had previously been convicted in the murder of Tim Bosma, a 32-year-old Hamilton father who went missing in May 2013 after going on a test drive with two men interested in buying his pickup truck. That murder trial in 2016 heard the pair burned Bosma’s body in an animal incinerator — called the Eliminator — that belonged to Millard.“This repetition of two planned and deliberate murders also arguably requires separate punishment to deter potential serial murderers who are thinking of going on to commit a second murder after successfully committing a first murder,” Code told the sentencing hearing Monday as he ordered the life sentences in the two murder cases be served consecutively.“Millard unsuccessfully attempted to prove that there is a good side to his personality,” Code said. “In my view, Millard is skillful and clever in delivering pro-social behaviour when it is to his advantage. The overwhelming weight of evidence from text messages to his criminal behaviour is that he is profoundly amoral and dangerous.”Smich, the judge said, was just as culpable.“I am satisfied he was pleased and enthusiastic to be a part of the murder,” Code said.First-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.The Babcock trial heard the young woman struggled with mental health and drug use, and was working as an escort in the months leading up to her disappearance in July 2012.Babcock had become infatuated with Millard and had also become transient, bouncing from place to place after deciding to move out of her parent’s home in Toronto’s west end.By early July, she and Millard had texted or called each other more than 100 times over three days until Millard picked Babcock up from a subway station and took her back to his house on July 3.The trial heard Millard and Smich burned Babcock’s body in The Eliminator — located at Millard’s hangar at the Region of Waterloo International Airport — days after she went missing.That was the first time the two friends used the incinerator to burn a body.Ten months later, the pair shot and killed Bosma and got rid of this body by also burning it in the incinerator.The Crown in the Babcock case concluded the true motive for her death was to satisfy the pair’s urge to kill.“They killed Ms. Babcock and Mr. Bosma for the thrill they needed,” Crown attorney Jill Cameron said at the sentencing hearing.The eyes of both Millard and Smich welled up as they were handcuffed and led out of court.But Babcock’s father said he had no sympathy for his daughter’s killers.“We must admit that it was satisfying to see the two cuffed and shuffling off to the prison shuttle, to a life that for most of us would be unbearable,” Clayton Babcock said.
MONTREAL – Quebec provincial police say they handed out more than 300 tickets during a weekend Hells Angels biker gathering that was largely incident-free.Police say about 500 people passed through checkpoints, including some 300 biker gang members who set up near St-Charles-sur-Richelieu, southeast of Montreal.The full-patch Hells members and their associates were in the rural Quebec town for the biker gang’s annual Canada Run, which takes place in a different province each year.Police say most of the tickets were for minor road safety infractions such as riding without a helmet or riding on the shoulder.A 52-year-old biker from Ontario was arrested for uttering threats against a police officer during a checkpoint.Police spokesman Guy Lapointe said the weekend event went off relatively well from the perspective of authorities in that order was maintained and the law respected.“The vast majority of individuals who participated in the event collaborated,” Lapointe said late Sunday.
TORONTO – A rare overnight session at the Ontario legislature that saw protesters and politicians gather for debate on a bill slashing the size of Toronto’s council moved the government closer Monday to passing the legislation, which has thrown the municipal election in Canada’s largest city into chaos.The Progressive Conservatives, who’ve been rushing to push through the reintroduced bill after a judge ruled an earlier version unconstitutional last week, said they expected to bring the matter to a final vote on Thursday — about a month before Toronto goes to the polls.Premier Doug Ford said the overnight session was an indicator of the government’s commitment to passing the controversial legislation, which shrinks Toronto’s electoral map to 25 wards from 47 before the Oct. 22 election.“We were here last night, like tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people around this province — the police officers who have to work at night, the nurses who have to work at night and factory workers who have to work at night,” he said. “We were fighting for the taxpayers of this great city.”The midnight session had drawn crowds of protesters to the legislature.Some heckled Progressive Conservative politicians with cries of “shame, shame,” inside the house until the Speaker cleared the public galleries. Others protested outside, chanting “Let us in!” and “Our city, not Ford’s!” as police officers stood in front of the doors.By midday Monday, the majority had left, but protest signs remained scattered on the grounds outside the legislature.Ford, who has drawn much criticism for invoking a rarely used constitutional provision to forge ahead with his council-cutting plan, maintained that the majority of Ontarians supported him.“We are the only ones listening to the people — not the disruptors, not the professional activists that we’ve seen over the last few days. And when you stand up for the people, the people will stand with you,” he told the legislature. “The people are behind us, and I can tell you my friends, we will never, ever back down.”Later in the day, the government downplayed suggestions there hadn’t been enough debate on the bill, which is dubbed the Efficient Local Government Act.“We feel like we’ve heard from all sides,” said government house leader Todd Smith. “We want to provide that certainty to the City of Toronto and the clerk there as quickly as we possibly can.”The New Democrats, meanwhile, said the protests at the legislature indicated many oppose the government’s move.“I would prefer to be here even longer debating this bill,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath. “But the government is going to ram it through because, just like they didn’t want to hear the voices of those hundreds of people through the wee hours of the morning, they’re not interested in hearing our voice either.”Horwath briefly left the overnight debate to speak to protesters gathered outside the legislature and told them she was proud to see so many rally to defend charter rights at such an unusual time.“Interfering in ongoing elections has … a chilling effect on our democracy,” she said later inside the house. “The reality is this government behaved inappropriately, rammed this change forward without any kind of consultation while the elections were already underway.”Last Monday, an Ontario Superior Court Judge ruled that an earlier version of the bill violated the freedom of expression rights of voters and candidates because it reduced Toronto’s wards in the middle of an election campaign.Ford said his government would appeal the decision and reintroduce the legislation with the notwithstanding clause, which allows his government to override the court ruling.The premier’s use of the notwithstanding clause has been denounced by the opposition parties, prominent Canadian politicians and hundreds of legal professionals.The province has also applied for Ontario’s Court of Appeal to stay last week’s ruling. That case will be heard on Tuesday and if a stay is granted, it would mean last week’s decision will be put on hold until an appeal is heard, and a 25-ward vote would proceed.“All of this is driving more chaos, more uncertainty and more costs,” Liberal legislator Mitzie Hunter said of the added confusion caused by the stay application.Green Party Leader Mike Schreiner said the premier’s actions have put the municipal election in jeopardy.“This premier has manufactured a crisis by meddling with elections and trampling on local democracy,” he said. “The Conservatives are acting with impunity, trying to suspend people’s Charter rights under the cover of darkness while Ontarians are asleep. “Evangeline Cowie and Ana Buzdugan, two Grade 12 students from Toronto, had watched the overnight debate for a short time before the public galleries were cleared. The pair said they felt it was important to show their opposition to the bill — even on a school night.“It’s going to send a message that everyone is ready, is prepared to do whatever it takes to go against that decision,” said Cowie, who attended with her parents.“History is kind of going to be made today so I feel like it’s important to be here, especially for something that concerns Toronto and its citizens so much,” Buzdugan added.Frank Griggs expressed similar motivations.“I hope this sends a message to some of the Conservative MPPs that might at least consider voting against this bill based on the feelings of their own constituents and also just their own sense of decency and their own idea of what democracy should be,” Griggs said.The Tory government has maintained that its actions are necessary and within its rights.Last week, City of Toronto clerk Ulli Watkiss said that with each passing day it’s becoming “virtually impossible” to ensure a fair election.