Teenager who died in care was under the age of two when

first_imgBrittany HobsonAPTN NewsThe life and death of a 17-year-old First Nations girl is the subject of a new ‘disturbing’ report released by the Manitoba Advocate for Children and Youth.The report titled In Need of Protection: Angel’s Story documents the teen’s, who is only referred to by her first name, involvement with Child and Family Services beginning at the age of one and ending with her tragic death in 2015.“From the time she was an infant Angel was exposed to persistent abuse, neglect and violence,” Daphne Penrose told reporters Thursday.The report provides a harrowing timeline of Angel’s involvement with the child welfare system.It paints a picture of a short and tragic life grounded trauma and the series of systems who failed her.The first time Angel was sexually assaulted she was just 21 months old.The assaults would continue until her death.By the age of 12 she was apprehended 14 times, and she went through 46 different placements in her life.The report documents she used drugs and alcohol to numb the pain.She was 11 when she first attempted suicide.In fall of 2015 Angel died from an accidental drug overdose.She was in care at the time of her death.“Her story as you read it is one that stands out as a shocking reminder that too many children and youth in our communities are subject to immense trauma and are taken too soon,” said Penrose.Throughout her life Angel was allowed to return to live with her mother but Penrose’s investigation found the mother was not provided any supports to help care for Angel as she was suffering from her own traumas.“There wasn’t enough assessment done to determine whether or not mom had the capacity to safely parent and then to find an alternative permanent family placement or alternative placement for her,” said Penrose.Penrose makes six recommendations in the report including the need for specialized mental health and addiction supports for youth.She said her office found 24 instances where outside agencies determined Angel required mental health support but found child welfare workers didn’t follow through.She also expressed the need for more protection for youth at risk of being sexually exploited as it is a ‘right now’ problem.Her investigation found Angel started seeking help when she was eight-years-old but everyone around her were unable to recognize the signs.The report also featured the stories of seven exploited youth Penrose’s office is currently dealing with.“It wasn’t a situation that happened just to Angel. This is happening to hundreds of young girls in our province right now,” said Penrose.Penrose said she presented her report and recommendations to department officials a few weeks ago but the office of Manitoba’s Families Minister Heather Stefanson said they weren’t “privy to those discussions.”In a statement Stefanson wrote, “MACY’s recommendations require a whole of government response and senior officials from multiple departments will develop responses and discuss options to collaborate on a sexual exploitation public awareness campaign.”“They plan to meet with the advocate to discuss ways to collaborate.”This is the second child death report publicly released after the province made changes to the child welfare legislation allowing the advocate to release her reports.The advocate’s office is working on another eight cases.bhobson@aptn.ca@bhobs22last_img read more

Toronto stock index begins 2018 hitting new record high loonie strengthens

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index cruised to a new record high in its first day of trading for the year, as the loonie gained ground on the U.S. dollar.The S&P/TSX composite index surged 100.86 points to 16,309.99 on Tuesday, with energy and mining shares among major advancers on the commodity-heavy index.The February crude contract was down five cents to US$60.37 per barrel. A rally late in December sent oil to its highest price since June 2015.“Oil, up where it is right now, is maintaining that $60-plus level and at that price there are a lot of shale producers that are quite profitable,” said Craig Jerusalim, portfolio manager of Canadian equities at CIBC Asset Management.“And with the profitability of those shale producers we’re likely to see the supply response come on at this point. So it will be tough for prices to be maintained at these levels.”Elsewhere in commodities, the February natural gas contract was up 10 cents to US$3.06 per mmBTU, as the cold snap that continues to blanket many parts of North America is driving short-term natural gas prices higher.The February gold contract added US$6.80 to US$1,316.10 an ounce and the March copper contract was down two cents to US$3.28 a pound.South of the border, technology and health-care companies jumped as U.S. stocks started 2018 the same way they spent the last one: rising steadily and setting records.“This time of the year the prognostications are often for the continuance of the trend and it’s going to continue until there’s some sort of hiccup,” said Jerusalim.“But for the time being people are still optimistic…. It’s almost that fear of missing out where investors are chasing returns. At some point there’s going to be a catalyst that changes that sentiment.”In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average advanced 104.79 points to 24,824.01. The S&P 500 index was up 22.20 points to 2,695.81 and the Nasdaq composite index gained 103.51 points to 7,006.90, both record highs.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of $79.89 cents US, up 0.18 of a U.S. cent.Jerusalim said the loonie’s strength has been surprising given the divergence of macro data coming out of North America.“The United States has been stronger as of late. Combine that with interest rate policies where people are expecting interest rates to move higher south of the border where they’re expected to say flat in Canada,” he said.“That should suggest that the stronger loonie is not going to be sustainable in the medium term.”Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

Walmart offers way to turn leftover opioids into useless gel

first_imgWalmart is helping customers get rid of leftover opioids by giving them packets that turn the addictive painkillers into a useless gel.The retail giant said Wednesday that it will provide the packets free with opioid prescriptions filled at its 4,700 U.S. pharmacies.The small packets, made by DisposeRx, contain a powder that is poured into prescription bottles. When mixed with warm water, the powder turns the pills into a biodegradable gel that can be thrown in the trash.The move by Walmart is the latest precaution being taken to cut down on opioid abuse. Around 4 million Americans are addicted to prescription painkillers, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. The agency says these drugs are often obtained from friends and family who leave them in home medicine cabinets.Research has shown that surgery patients often end up with leftover opioid painkillers and store them improperly at home. Authorities say opioid painkillers should be kept in their original packaging and locked inside a cabinet out of the reach of children.DisposeRx says its disposal packets also work on other prescription drugs and for pills, tablets, capsules, liquids or patches.Walmart says its pharmacy customers can request a free packet at any time. The company also will offer a packet every six months to patients with a regular opioid prescription.Painkiller maker Mallinckrodt PLC has a similar program. It said last fall that it has donated about 1.5 million drug disposal pouches across the country and will increase that total to 2 million early this year.Some drugstores chains like CVS and Walgreens also collect unused medications at many of their stores. People can also take leftovers to hospital pharmacies or police stations.Unused prescriptions also can be thrown in the trash. But the U.S Food and Drug Administration recommends mixing them first with something unpalatable like Kitty Litter or used coffee grounds and then sealing the mixture in a plastic bag.___This story has been corrected to show that the information about the types of drugs on which the packets can be used came from DisposeRx, not Walmart.last_img read more

Swedens ruling party hits election low as far right grows

first_imgSTOCKHOLM – Voters handed Sweden’s ruling party its worst-ever election result Sunday and delivered a parallel lift to a far-right party with white supremacist roots, leaving the ideological outline of the Scandinavian country’s next government uncertain.After a campaign dominated by debates over immigration, the centre-left Social Democratic Party emerged with the greatest share of the vote — 28.4 per cent as the count neared completion — yet looking at holding fewer parliament seats and having its mandate to govern questioned.The potential for an immigration backlash to result in a big boost for the far-right Sweden Democrats inspired fear among many Swedes before the election. It received a little more than one in six votes, or 17.6 per cent. Its showing was not as strong as the one-in-five polls had predicted, but good for a third-place finish that had the party’s leader telling supporters, “We won.”Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who brought the Social Democrats to power in 2014, said he intended to remain in the job. The leader of the Moderates party that came in second, Ulf Kristersson, already had called on Lofven to resign and claimed the right to form Sweden’s next government.Sounding sombre and firm, Lofven told his supporters the election presented “a situation that all responsible parties must deal with,” adding that “a party with roots in Nazism” would “never ever offer anything responsible, but hatred.”“We have a moral responsibility. We must gather all forces for good. We won’t mourn, we will organize ourselves,” he said.Final election returns were expected later in the week. The preliminary results made it unlikely any party would secure a majority of 175 seats in the 349-seat Riksdag, Sweden’s parliament. It could take weeks or months of coalition talks before the next government is formed.Both the left-leaning bloc led by the Social Democrats and the centre-right bloc in which the Moderates is largest of four parties have said they would refuse to consider the Sweden Democrats as a coalition partner.Sweden — home to the Nobel prizes and militarily neutral for the better part of two centuries — has been known for its comparatively open doors to migrants and refugees. Sunday’s general election was the first since the country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 as mass migration to Europe rose dramatically.Lofven eventually said Sweden no longer could cope with the influx and immigration laws were tightened.Like other far-right parties in Europe, the Sweden Democrats worked to soften its neo-Nazi image in the lead-up to the election. The party symbol was switched from a flaming torch to a flower. Members known for making pro-Third Reich statements were pushed out.It made its first mark in politics with municipal council seats in 2006, and since then slowly helped revise long-accepted social norms for what Swedes could say openly about foreigners and integration without being considered racist.At the Swedish Democrat’s election eve rally Saturday, party leader Jimmie Akesson criticized Lofven’s government for “prioritizing” the needs of new immigrants the ones of Swedish citizens.Akesson was jubilant as he addressed supporters a day later, declaring the estimated 14 parliament seats the Social Democrats picked up a victory other parties could not ignore in coalition negotiations.“This party has increased and made the biggest gains. Everything is about us,” Akesson said. “I am ready to talk with others”Turnout in the election was reported at 84.4 per cent, up from 83 per cent in 2014.___Olsen reported from Copenhagen, Denmark. Jeff Schaeffer and Philipp Jenne in Stockholm, Jari Tanner in Helsinki and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw contributed.___This version corrects the description of the Sweden Democrats’ former party symbol.last_img read more

UKs Treasury chief says Brexit deal doable by November

first_imgLONDON – Britain’s Treasury chief said Tuesday that striking a divorce deal with the European Union over the next two months is “doable,” while the boss of Jaguar Land Rover warned that tens of thousands of jobs could be lost if the country crashes out of the EU with no agreement.With Brexit a little more than six months away, concerns have grown that the sides will not reach a deal because the British Parliament and the governing Conservative Party are divided on what Britain’s future relationship with the EU should be.In that event, Jaguar Land Rover CEO Ralf Speth said a so-called “hard Brexit” could result in the “worst of times” for the U.K. He said the U.K. is the company’s “home” but that a hard Brexit would cost Jaguar Land Rover, which is owned by India’s Tata Motors, more than 1.2 billion pounds ($1.6 billion) a year.“It’s horrifying, wiping our profit, destroying investment in the autonomous, zero-emissions (technologies) we want to share,” he told a Zero Emission Vehicle Summit in Birmingham, England.He said the loss of jobs would be “counted into tens of thousands if we do not get the right Brexit deal.”Hopes are fading that Britain and the EU can strike a deal at an EU summit in October as originally planned, but there are growing expectations that the EU is planning another meeting for November.Treasury chief Philip Hammond told a House of Lords committee that he agreed with the EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, that a deal was possible in six to eight weeks if both sides are realistic.“I think it is doable,” Hammond said.Business groups and civil servants say a “no-deal” Brexit could cause disruption to shipping, barriers to trade with the bloc, a fall in the value of the pound and even shortages of essential goods.Hammond said that “if we leave the European Union without a deal … we could expect a period when there would be some turbulence.”He said it was “very welcome” that Bank of England Governor Mark Carney had agreed to delay his departure date from June 2019 to January 2020 to help navigate any Brexit-related economic bumps.Hammond spoke hours after leading bankers downplayed the immediate impact of Brexit on London’s role as the hub of the financial services industry in Europe and on jobs.“There’s no question this has been an unsettling event, but our industry is in a state of constant flux,” Mark Garvin, vice chairman of JPMorgan’s corporate and investment bank divisions, told a parliamentary committee. “We have been involved in far more significant tumult than this.”Garvin said the jobs of only “hundreds” of JPMorgan’s 16,000 staff in the U.K. would be immediately affected by Brexit, though that could rise to around 4,000 in the years to come depending on the settlement reached between Britain and the EU.In the immediate aftermath of Britain’s vote to leave the EU in June 2016, many experts warned that Britain’s financial services industry — a huge tax source for the government — would see hefty job losses as businesses relocated to EU cities such as Dublin, Frankfurt and Paris, to retain benefits related to Europe’s single market.However, the number of jobs lost has not matched the doomsday predictions, and with just six months to go until Britain officially leaves, there are few signs that banks are panicking.A group of pro-Brexit politicians and economists, meanwhile, argued Tuesday that Britain will be better off, not worse, if it leaves the EU without a deal on future trade.Economists for Free Trade held a news conference in Parliament Tuesday alongside several leading pro-Brexit lawmakers, including former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.The group argued that reverting to World Trade Organization rules, which can lead to the imposition of tariffs on certain goods, “would boost the U.K.’s trade with the rest of the world including Europe, lower domestic prices and boost inward investment.”Critics say that assessment relies on overly optimistic assumptions, particularly on the extent to which trade would be boosted if Britain unilaterally abolished tariffs.Hammond said the model used by Economists for Free Trade “are wildly out of line with assumptions that are used by other economic modelers, and frankly, I believe, are not sustainable.”last_img read more

The Latest EU court adviser says Britain can stop Brexit

first_imgLONDON — The Latest on Brexit (all times local):8:30 a.m.A top official at the European Union’s highest court is advising that Britain can unilaterally change its mind about leaving the EU.Advocate General Manuel Campos Sanchez-Bordona has told the European Court of Justice that a decision by the British government to change its mind about invoking Article 50 would be legally valid. The advice of the advocate general is often, but not always, followed by the full court.The court is assessing the issue under an accelerated procedure, since Britain is due to leave the bloc on March 29. The final verdict is expected within weeks.Since Article 50 of the EU treaty of Lisbon dealing with departing members is scant on details — largely because the idea of any country leaving the bloc was considered unlikely — a group of Scottish legislators wants to know whether the U.K. can pull out of the withdrawal procedure on its own.The case comes as pressure builds from Brexit opponents for a second referendum on the decision to leave the bloc.___7:50 a.m.British Prime Minister Theresa May is putting the fate of her Brexit deal in Parliament’s hands, saying lawmakers must back it to deliver on voters’ 2016 decision to leave the European Union and “create a new role for our country in the world.”May is due to address Parliament Tuesday, opening five days of debate before a Dec. 11 vote on the divorce agreement.Defeat would leave the U.K. facing a chaotic “no-deal” Brexit on March 29 and could topple the prime minister, her government, or both.Before the debate, May’s government faces another showdown with lawmakers over legal advice about the Brexit deal. Lawmakers are voting on a motion finding the government in contempt of Parliament for refusing to publish the full guidance from Attorney General Geoffrey Cox.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Snowfall warning issued for the BC Peace and Pine Pass

first_imgPlease continue to monitor alerts and forecasts issued by Environment Canada. To report severe weather, send an email to BCstorm@canada.caor tweet reports using #BCStorm.More details on the alert are available here. See the full warning below.Issued at 2018-12-20 11:50 UTC by Environment Canada:Snowfall warning issued for:B.C. Peace River, B.C. (087300)Current details:Snowfall with total amounts of 10 to 15 cm is expected.An approaching Pacific low pressure system will drop 10 to 15 cm of snowfall accumulation over Williston, Pine Pass, McGregor and the B.C Peace. Over the Peace lesser amounts will occur away from the Rockies.Snow will begin this morning and end late this evening or overnight tonight, as the low moves into Alberta.Be prepared to adjust your driving with changing road conditions. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Environment Canada has issued a snowfall warning for the B.C. Peace and the Pine Pass.The warning says our region could see anywhere from 10 to 15 cm.  More snow will fall if you live closer to the Rocky Mountains.The snow is expected to start Thursday morning and end later in the same day.last_img read more

Northern Development to assist local businesses affected by mill closures and curtailments

first_imgNorthern Development Initiative Trust CEO, Joel McKay, says this program will help to offset the impacts from mill closures.“The Trust is very aware of the potential economic impacts mill closures and curtailments may have on communities and businesses in our service region. This program seeks to help offset those impacts and sustain our communities during this difficult time.”For more information on the rebate program, you can visit Northern Development’s website. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Northern Development has announced on Monday that it will be stepping in to help local businesses affected by the mill closures and curtailments.According to Northern Development, through the Forestry Affected Business Rebate, they now are offering a consulting rebate, of up to 75 percent or $15,000, to small and medium-sized businesses in its service region for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business efforts.Northern Development says this newly introduced program is an offshoot of the Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program, which offers rebates to businesses in the industrial supply and services sector.last_img read more

Short circuit Tokyo unveils chatty roboteers for 2020 Olympics

first_imgTokyo: Tokyo Olympic organisers on Friday rolled out a pair of chatty robots they will put to work to assist wheelchair users at the 2020 Games as they continue to plug Japan’s cutting-edge technology. Billed as distant relations to beeping Star Wars drone R2D2, Toyota unveiled its human support (HSR) and delivery support robots (DSR), which are set to act as seat ushers and will fetch food and drinks for disabled fans at next year’s Olympics. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open In an Olympic first, the waist-high, robotic “volunteers” will breezily introduce themselves to customers, who can then place orders on a tablet. “Hello, everyone. I’m a lifestyle support robot,” the fully rotating HSR said in a demonstration. “I’ll fetch things for you. I also have an extendable arm that can pick things up if you drop them,” it added. In reality, the DSR “deli-bot” — with its built-in drinks tray — rather more closely resembles a moving dustbin with blinking lights, but Toyota insisted the technology would ensure a more comfortable Games experience for wheelchair users. Also Read – Fast bowler Behrendorff to undergo spinal surgery “It will be much easier and more convenient to interact with robots,” Minoru Yamauchi, general manager of the 2020 robot development department, told AFP. “In the run-up to the Olympics we will work on other useful functions that they can carry out.” Toyota are currently planning to deploy 16 units of each droid at the 2020 Olympics. Games organisers also unveiled a Panasonic-developed exoskeleton suit to help with a range of Olympic-related chores, such as delivering or loading heavy baggage brought to Japan by athletes and officials. – Science fiction – =================== “We want to go beyond the 1964 Tokyo Olympics in terms of legacy,” said Hideyo Hirata, deputy executive director of technology services for the 2020 Games. “Often robots have not been seen as our friends,” he added, invoking dystopian science fiction. “But in Japan, people actually want to know how robots can help with and be part of our daily lives.” Driverless cars, facial recognition and ultra high-definition TV are just a few of the other ways Japan Inc. hopes to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to show the world it has regained its touch for innovation and technology. The last time Japan hosted the Olympics, in 1964, it launched the iconic bullet train — a sleek symbol of the country’s recovery from World War II. This time around there is speculation a flying car will be used to light the Olympic flame, although 2020 organisers are keen to stress the practical use of technology. Panasonic’s powered body suit went on sale last year at a cost of a little over USD 6,000 each, with more than 200 units already ordered. They have attracted interest in the farming sector, but similar products have been used for years in hospitals, helping caregivers lift injured or elderly patients. “Japan has a shrinking population, and an ageing one,” said Panasonic’s Yoshifumi Uchida. “We want to contribute to a society where people are not concerned about age or gender difference. These products are designed to help create a better future.”last_img read more

NASA spacecraft explored edges of Martian sea in 1997

first_imgWashington DC: NASA’s first rover mission to Mars, the Pathfinder, may have explored the edges of an early Martian sea in 1997, according to scientists who say that images from the probe could yield evidence of habitability on the Red Planet. The landing site is on the spillway of an ancient sea that experienced catastrophic floods released from the planet’s subsurface and its sediments. Nearly half a century ago the Mariner 9 spacecraft returned images of some of the largest channels in the Solar System. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangOrbital observations of the gigantic channels suggested they were formed approximately 3.4 billion years ago by cataclysmic floods, much larger than any known to have occurred on Earth. The prospect that abundant flowing water once sculptured the Martian landscape ignited renewed interest in the possibility that life may have once thrived on the planet. To test the Martian mega-flood hypothesis, NASA deployed its first Martian rover; the Sojourner, on board the 1997 Mars Pathfinder spacecraft that journeyed to the Red Planet. Also Read – Want to bring back US forces engaged in endless wars: TrumpNASA spent a total of USD 280 million on the mission, including the launch vehicle and mission operations. The terrain within the rover’s visual range includes potential fluvial features suggestive of regionally extensive flooding. However, those features suggest floods that were at least 10 times shallower than those estimated using images obtained from orbit. Hence, the mission was not able to exclude still disputed alternative views sustaining that debris or lavas flows could have in fact dominated the channels’ formational history without significant water discharges. “Our paper shows a basin, with roughly the surface area of California, that separates most of the gigantic Martian channels from the Pathfinder landing site,” said Alexis Rodriguez, lead author of the study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports. “Debris or lava flows would have filled the basin before reaching the Pathfinder landing site. The very existence of the basin requires cataclysmic floods as the channels’ primary formational mechanism,” he said. “The basin is covered by sedimentary deposits with a distribution that precisely matches the inferred extent of inundation from potential catastrophic floods, which would have formed an inland sea,” Rodriguez said. “This sea is approximately 250 kilometres upstream from the Pathfinder landing site, an observation that reframes its paleo-geographic setting as part of a marine spillway, which formed a land barrier separating the inland sea and a northern ocean,” he said. “Our simulation shows that the presence of the sea would have attenuated cataclysmic floods, leading to shallow spillovers that reached the Pathfinder landing site and produced the bedforms detected by the spacecraft,” Rodriguez said. The team’s results indicate that marine spillover deposits contributed to the landscape that the spacecraft detected nearly 22 years ago, and reconcile the mission’s in situ geologic observations and decades of remote-sensing outflow channel investigations. The sea bears an uncanny resemblance to the Aral Sea on Earth in that in both instances they lack distinct shoreline terraces. Its rapid regression over shallow submerged slopes resulted in rates of shoreline front retreat too fast for the terraces to form. The same process could partly account for the long-recognised lack of northern plains shorelines.last_img read more

Mamata slams UP CM for calling Indian Army Modi ji ki sena

first_imgHowrah (WB): West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee lashed out at her Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanath for reportedly referring to the Indian Army as “Modi ji ki sena”, saying it was an “insult” and humiliation for the force. Describing the Indian Army as the an asset of the nation, Banerjee said it belongs to the countrymen, and called upon the people to “stand up and reject” Adityanath’s statement. “It is shocking to hear the UP CM saying that the Indian Army is the ‘Modi Sena’. Such blatant personalisation and usurping of our beloved Indian Army is an insult and a humiliation,” the Trinamool Congress supremo tweeted. “We are proud of our Army. They belong to all. They are a great asset of our nation, and not a cassette of the BJP. People of this country must stand up and reject this statement,” she said.last_img read more

The inheritors protest

first_imgGreta Ernman Thunberg is a 16-year-old Swedish school girl who is rocking the world with her protest against inaction on Climate Change. In August 2018, as Sweden was gearing up for its national elections, she decided not to go to school but instead sit outside to raise the flag on the need to do more, much more, to combat the deadly Climate Change. At first, it is said, she was alone but as she persisted and persisted, her voice got louder and louder. Now she sits in protest every Friday outside her school urging the world to act. And with her, at the last count, Friday of mid-March some 1,650 strikes were on in over 100 countries. Also Read – A special kind of bondWhat Greta and her fellow youth are asking is simple and straight, “If Climate Change happens, as predicted and now more or less certain, then what is our future?” This is a fact. The inheritors are asking, what are you leaving for us? What are you doing? I don’t know how far Greta’s organic movement will go — will it get exhausted, irrelevant or just disappear as the youngsters get older and the reality of livelihood takes over. But I hope it will not go away. I hope it will continue to rage and rant and spread across our world. I hope it will capture the imagination of the young; gather their desperation and all this will make its way into their parents’ company boardrooms and ministerial offices. I hope it will not shush down. I hope it will not become like the old — like us. Also Read – Insider threat managementBecause there is one more chance for us to make this work. The fact is if we reconfigure our measurement of progress so that it is built on measuring the wellbeing of our children, then the Planet may just survive. We know today that children are not just the inheritors of the future warmer world. We also know that environmental destruction and toxification has the worst impact on their lives. So, make them the centre of the universe of development. Measure growth through their well-being. We know that the lack of access to safe sanitation impinges on children’s lives, not just wellbeing, and leads to malnutrition, stunting and high disease burden, including death. We make this our way to understand if sanitation is improving or not, not just counting toilets. Then we know that the availability of the toilet is not enough, human excreta has to be taken back and made safe for reuse. If not, it will pollute water and spread diseases, including vector-borne. So, let’s start measuring pollution through data on the growth of malaria or diarrhoea. Similarly, the lack of clean energy in homes is another wicked problem; women cooking on biomass fuel suffer from killer respiratory disorders. Lower respiratory tract infections remain the top causes of children and adolescent mortality in the world. Even as the world needs to re-invent its energy system to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions that cause Climate Change, it also needs to do much more to provide energy to the poorest in the world. Then there is the challenge of toxification because of air in cities, which is showing up in the increased disease burden, particularly of children. So, let us measure progress to clean energy or clean air through the health of our children. There is also no doubt that education — ideally good and meaningful — changes lives. There is also enough evidence that educating the girl child is the beginning of the change in the fertility and population trajectory of a country. Their empowerment is real power as an educated young woman is the first to take charge of her mind and her body. It’s also clear that education will build more informed consumers — the inheritors cannot take on the same lifestyle and expect to save the planet. It is also clear that livelihoods are critical — the insecurity of the young comes from their lack of jobs in this increasingly automated world. What will they do? What are the skills that will build the new world, which will not add to the crisis of Climate Change? Have we built jobs that are in the green economy? This is the question that will work, not just to build futures but also correct the present. In this way, we will measure the health of the planet through the health and wellbeing of our young. We will build hope that we are working towards a new future—the one Greta Thunberg and millions like her are calling us to ensure. Today, not tomorrow. (The author is the editor of Down To Earth Magazine. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Kangana vs Alia Family joins the war of words

first_imgMumbai: If actor Kangana Ranaut’s tirade against Alia Bhatt wasn’t enough, the former’s sister Rangoli Chandel entered the ‘war of words’ zone, as did the Raazi actor’ mother Soni Razdan and co-actor Randeep Hooda. Kangana has been calling out Alia since earlier this year for not supporting her film Manikarnika: The Queen of Jhansi. But in a recent interview, Alia merely said: “I respect Kangana’s work a lot and I respect her opinion. If she feels a particular way she must have reason to feel that way. I would rather remember how much she had praised me after watching Raazi. And I’d just like to focus on my work. Maybe she will appreciate me again if I work hard enough.” Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaThe controversy took a different turn with Kangana’s sister hitting out at Alia and her mother Soni Razdan, calling them “non Indians who are living off this land, using and abusing its people and its resources, lying about intolerance and spreading hatred”. Soni finally broke her silence over the issue. In a now-deleted tweet, she wrote: “Mahesh Bhatt is the man who has given her a break…She goes on to attack his wife and daughter. Daughter over and over again. What is left to be said then about abusing and hatred I wonder. Apart from character of course. Agenda. What’s hers?”last_img read more

SPBSPRLD alliances prospects to improve in next 2 phases polls Maya

first_imgAzamgarh (UP): Rubbishing the BJP’s claim that it was doing good in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, leaders of the opposition BSP-SP-RLD alliance in Uttar Pradesh said on Wednesday that on the contrary, its prospects were improving day by day.”Our (electoral) prospects are improving…the prospects of the opposition alliance will further improve in the remaining two phases of Lok Sabha polls,” BSP chief Mayawati said at joint rally with SP chief Akhilesh Yadav here. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghRLD chief Ajit Singh also addressed the rally at the Azamgarh Muslim Education and Welfare Trust ground. The BSP supremo said ever since the ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) was formed, “BJP leaders have lost their sleep”. Mayawati appealed to the voters to ensure a historic win for Yadav, who is the joint opposition candidate from the seat held by the SP in the outgoing Lok Sabha. Hitting back at the BJP, the BSP chief said, “We are not ‘mahamilawati’, it is Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is ‘mahamilawati’ (highly adulterated).” Modi has often labelled the opposition alliance as “‘mahamilawati”. Dubbing the Congress and the BJP as two sides of the same coin, she said, “Dono kaa chaal charan ek hai (both have same nature and character).” She said Modi would try to create more confusion in the days to come and appealed to the voters not to fall prey to his designs. PTIlast_img read more

JU eyes Central grant of Rs 125 cr for highend research centre

first_imgKolkata: The Jadavpur University is one of the eight educational institutes short-listed by Union Human Resource Development Ministry for a grant of Rs 125 crore, which will be provided to only four institutions, for setting up a centre for Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facilities (SAIF).The Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, a premier engineering institution in the state, is also in the race. “We had already made a presentation in the end of April in Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaDelhi showcasing we have the necessary infrastructure for the centre for Sophisticated Analytical Instrument Facilities. The centre will have high and sophisticated instruments facilitating high-end research. The centre will function in 365 days in a year and if we figure among the beneficiaries it will surely be a big boom for research in the Jadavpur University,” said Chiranjib Bhattacharjee, dean of engineering at the Jadavpur University. Pravas Chandra Chakrabarti, professor of metallurgical and material engineering has been chosen as the SAIF coordinator. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe recurring cost and maintenance of the centre will depend on earnings from the service fees that will be charged for using the facilities of the centre. If Jadavpur University gets the grant approval, the tests carried out by the researchers in the university will be chargeable. If other educational institutions avail the JU SAIF facilities, they will have to pay twice the amount paid by Jadavpur University researchers or professors and if industries use the SAIF facilities at JU, they will be charged ten times. Sources in JU said a number of leading industries in Bengal such as Haldia Petochemicals and Tata Steel have shown interest in availing the facilities of SAIF. The names of the four institutions, which will get the Central funds, are expected to be announced by the end of this month after the elections are over. A senior professor in the varsity said a space in the Technology Bhavan on the main campus of the varsity has been earmarked for setting up the Centre. A three-member team from the HRD ministry had visited the JU campus in April to assess whether the university has the infrastructure for setting up the centre. The team had also visited the site that has been selected by the varsity for SAIF.last_img read more

The air we breathe

first_imgMonday evening showers brought respite to the National Capital Territory which has been enduring the scorching summer heat. Mercury dipped and a cool breeze blew past the streets as millions cherished the occasional summer chill. But more than heat, the respite, though not evident, was regarding the air quality. While the statistics still portray the Air Quality Index (AQI) as poor, if not very poor, rains definitely settled the dust which only adds to the problem. AQI has been specifically poor during winters with Delhi experiencing a blanket of smog and health complications in locals. Graded Response Action Plan was constituted to tackle alarming levels of AQI but the city required a cure anyway. Preemptive measures will yield tremendously but less has been done regarding those. While worsening AQI was largely restricted to winters, spiked AQI in summer is a cause of worry. AQI on Monday was “very poor”, aggravated by westerly winds bringing dust from neighbouring states, stubble burning in parts of Punjab and Haryana, and forest fires in Uttarakhand. The debate regarding meandering levels of AQI, though between poor and very poor and not average or good, has done its rounds with National Green Tribunal and neighbouring states over their unintended contribution into Delhi’s air pollution. Authorities have taken up the issue several times and activists have mentioned how stubble burning and westerly winds are a cause of trouble bringing in dust and smoke in the NCR atmosphere. However, vehicular emission has still not been adequately addressed though it remains to be one of the top air polluters. Even if we put the mark at one crore vehicles, which is an understated figure, the emissions from one crore vehicles are finding its way into the atmosphere, making us breathe poor air while we tend to other imminent events – elections. Also Read – A strong standpointGeneral elections have definitely swung the mood of the nation which has 14 of its cities in the list of top 15 most-polluted cities in the world as per a UN survey released in 2018 which also states that Air pollution contributes to hundreds of thousands of premature deaths each year in India. People do actually die of complications caused due to PM 2.5 particles which enter the respiratory system. It is not a fluke. But it has not been able to reverberate as an alarming issue across masses simply because minimal awareness has not let it. Discourses on nationalism have been more prevalent than Air Quality and that alone shows the mood of the nation. It is because of additional emphasis paid on the entire national security issue since Balakot Air Strike that environment, though present in manifestos of political parties, could not be as vehemently discussed as nationalism and national security were. And, that, is just pitiful. It makes us sad humans with narrow mindsets and depleted humility. It is often said that people’s thoughts reverberate across the corners of the nation which are often steered by politicos who run the government on our behalf. They utter what matters to us. And, if they have been uttering a lot of nationalism and national security, then that is only because it matters to us. Only a fool would incessantly speak of an agenda which anyone seldom supports. How, then, can we blame our politicians or leaders for lack of environmental concern when we ourselves are less concerned about the same. Today we have the liberty to discuss air pollution with ease since it has not wreaked havoc yet. Human tendency, somehow, has always been to ignore unless forced to walk the precarious line. Rubbishing reports of deaths due to air pollution is only in line with that mindset as was done by the Union environment minister Harsh Vardhan who argued that “No death certificate has a cause of death as pollution” despite the Lancet Commission’s report on Pollution and Health which said that 25 lakh Indians died from pollution-linked ailments in 2015, the highest in any country. Also Read – Development misconstruedWe protest whenever we see the water going above the head. And, why not since protests are very much part of a healthy democracy. Be it for reservations, justice, government support, corruption, et al, the agenda has been clear that masses are capable of influencing government machinery. Why not then have masses reached a consensus to protest regarding the failed attempts in tackling the rising air pollution? It is because worsening AQI has not yet impacted the masses. Public Interest Litigations (PILs) have surely made it to the apex court over environmental concerns but even those have failed to garner grand attention towards this perpetual, and now a perennial problem. IIT Delhi has put in concerted efforts through The Centre of Excellence for Research on Clean Air (CERCA), stressing on the need of data gathering, raising awareness and role of democracy and law to resolve the issues related to air quality. AAP government’s odd-even rule for regulating vehicular traffic in the city was also a novel idea towards controlling and curbing air pollution but residents still lie in wait of another run, which, in fact, should be made a norm for NCR. Pollution is not just a local problem but a global one and cities across the globe have initiated measures and undertaken activities to curb it. London’s congestion charge levied on drivers entering the city centre, has been around since 2003. Madrid’s selective entry to city areas for cars apart from environmental labels on cars is a method to check the polluting cars and deal appropriately. Paris’s norm to make public transport free of cost during peak periods, encouraging people to use public transport and leave their cars at home is a good incentive to bring down vehicular emissions. But classic Indian argument would be whether Delhi can emulate these cities owing to its own logistical challenges amidst a humongous populace. Well, efforts in this direction will yield answers and all we need to do is urge the authorities to act. Waiting for them to wake up might cost us. The city evidently chokes with vehicular emissions. And, with raised metro fares are not helping. A person traversing from the metro and paying 100 rupees might as well take out his bike or car and utilise 100 rupees in petrol. Convenience is always attractive. And, not to forget that it is the convenience of travelling, of slow impact on health through air pollution, of waiting for authorities to do something about pollution and of not being directly responsiblefor the rising pollution that has spiked the average AQI to “very poor” quality in the first palace. When UN adamantly advocates for SDGs and environmental activists speak up on environmental degradation, only then it is brought to our notice that our environment is suffering. A budget for the environment would have been a remarkable way to showcase one’s concern for the same but Kisan budget suited the current appetite more this election season. Promises are aplenty but none speak of an issue whose proximity covers every living thing. Maybe someday, some election will see the pollution concerns and bring it up strongly in their manifestos and promises. And, maybe then, some concrete action will be taken to repair what could have been prevented long ago i.e., today!last_img read more

France ready to fight terrorists who killed 2 journalists in Mali

first_imgBordeaux – A crisis meeting was held in the Presidential Palace this morning and an investigation into the journalists’ death is to be launched.French President Hollande held a crisis meeting on Sunday morning at the Elysee in the aftermath of the murder of two journalists from Radio France Internationale, Claude Verlon and Ghislaine Dupont, who were kidnapped and killed in northern Mali yesterday.The Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Justice, Laurent Fabius and Christiane Taubira attended the meeting. The hour long meeting consisted in looking at the judicial follow-up to these killings and assessing the strength of the “Serval”operation in Mali. After the meeting, Laurent Fabius confirmed the journalists were shot dead. “The murderers are the ones we are fighting, terrorist groups who reject democracy and refuse elections,” said the Foreign Minister.According to RFI, our colleagues’ driver was held at gunpoint by a turbaned man speaking a Tuareg dialect. Meanwhile, the attackers tied up the journalists and took them into their vehicle. The kidnappers then fled, and the bodies of the journalists were found less than two hours later, a dozen kilometers away.The circumstances of their death, however, are still unclear. The Tuaregs are not the only suspects since Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) is still present in the region, despite the presence of French troops. “Kidal is the only region where the sovereignty of the state is not effective,” declared Soumeilou Boubeye Maiga, Mali’s Minister of Defense on Sunday. “The situation is so complicated that everything is possible,” he added.Paris’ prosecutor opened an investigation regarding kidnapping followed by murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise.Francois Hollande and his Malian counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita talked on Saturday, and both “expressed their willingness to relentlessly pursue the fight against terrorist groups that are present in northern Mali, “stated the Elysee. “The heinous murders in Kidal can only strengthen the determination of both countries to continue and win this common fight against terrorism,” the leaders stated.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

Morocco Made Progress in Gender Equality Minister

Rabat – Morocco made considerable progress in gender equality with the promotion of women participation in national bodies and institutions, Minister delegate to the Head of the government in charge of civil service and the modernisation of administration, Mohamed Moubdii said on Thursday in Rabat.The 2011 constitution provides for measures to implement gender equality and non-discrimination and parity particularly in public bodies and institutions, Moubdii said at a conference held by the Franco-Moroccan civil service Forum.The minister added that women represent 17% of elected members in 2011, he said. The participants at the conference discussed issues relating to governance and women participation.In this respect women panellists from Morocco, France, Algeria and Tunisia pondered on the place of women in political life and proceeded to an exchange of experiences and views on the issues facing women. read more