APTN National NewsTsawwassen First Nation near Vancouver is facing opposition to its multi-billion dollar gateway development project.The opposition is coming from area farmers.APTN National News reporter Wayne Roberts has this story.
APTN National NewsDid the staff at the department of Aboriginal Affairs breach privacy laws?That’s what child advocate Cindy Blackstock hopes to find out.Last week, APTN National News reported that Aboriginal Affairs bureaucrats were keeping a very close watch on Blackstock.So how unusual is it for a government to keep such close tabs on a citizen?APTN National News reporter Annette Francis finds out.
APTN National NewsThirty-seven people, including elders and children, were displaced after their homes flooded in Lower Post, B.C. last month.Now, they have a new hill to climb: rebuilding their lives, and their homes, in the aftermath.APTN National News reporter Shirley McLean speaks with the victims of the flood, and the workers helping them rebuild. She files this report.
By Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe snowmobile smuggling her across the frozen St. Lawrence River broke down before reaching the other shore.The woman, identified as “Confidential Source 2” or “CS-2” in a federal U.S. court document, was briefly stranded on the ice until someone arrived to make repairs. When the snowmobile again started purring it travelled to a white house near the shore in St. Regis Village, Akwesasne. The village is in Quebec, within Canadian territory, but is only accessible through the U.S.It had already been a long journey for the woman, described in the court document as hailing from a country in the Caribbean, and it was about to get worse, eventually leading her to a stay at the Great View Motel in Fort Covington, NY and then a cab ride into the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents.Her story, and that of a group of Polish nationals who were also caught on U.S. soil after being smuggled across the St. Lawrence River in February, is detailed in documents filed in August with the U.S. federal court’s Northern New York District. The documents offer a revealing glimpse into the human smuggling networks that pass through Akwesasne with tendrils stretching from Toronto to New York City, from Philadelphia to New Jersey.Akwesasne straddles the Canada-U.S. border and is also divided by the boundaries of New York State, Quebec and Ontario. The St. Lawrence River flows through this complicated multi-jurisdictional area. Two sections of Akwesasne, St. Regis Village and Snye, sit in Canadian territory and hug the river, but both are only accessible by road through the U.S. The roads from both areas cross an unguarded international border with only speed limit signs, switching from kilometres to miles, indicating a change in country.CS-2’s journey across the river began in Toronto, 437 km west of Akwesasne. According to an affidavit supporting a criminal complaint against Akwesasne residents John Benedict and Angela Johnson, who were eventually indicted on conspiracy to bring aliens into the U.S., she flew in to Pearson International Airport on Feb. 1 and stayed with friends in the city.The affidavit, signed by U.S. Border Patrol agent Jay Stiles, states that CS-2 wanted to visit family in a “large city in the Eastern Coast of the United States.” It also states that her friends put her in touch with an “alien smuggler” in the U.S. who charged her $9,000 US for the trip across the border.She was allegedly picked up in Toronto on Feb. 23 by two men who drove a gold coloured van. The men picked up two other women in the city and then drove East on Hwy 401 to the Monte Carlo Motel in Cornwall, Ont., which sits across the river from Akwesasne. Once they were all booked into one room, the men demanded payment.The next day, the three women were picked up in same gold van and driven to a mall parking lot in Cornwall where they were taken by taxi to a lighthouse on Cornwall Island, which sits in the St. Lawrence River and is part of Akwesasne Mohawk territory in Canada.A blue van arrived at the same spot at around the same time carrying four men and one woman. Then, several snowmobiles appeared. The man who was driving the gold van handed one of the snowmobile drivers an envelope with cash, the affidavit alleges.The five people from the blue van were put into a sled towed by a snowmobile and taken across the frozen river. The three women were then told to hop onto the back of the other snowmobiles and they crossed the ice.Once at the white house in St. Regis Village, the three women were told by a “heavy-set Native American” woman who lived there to get down into the basement.While the women waited in the house, another load arrived on shore. This time it was a group of four Poles who were also being smuggled into the U.S. from Canada.The Polish connectionA man, identified as “Confidential Source 1” or “CS-1” in the affidavit, was at the house when the Poles arrived. The man driving the snowmobile offered CS-1 $800 US to drive the Poles from the house to a Wal-Mart parking lot in Massena, NY.A Mitsubishi Galant with New Jersey license plates and two men inside was circling the parking lot when CS-1 arrived with his carload of Poles, who quickly switched vehicles. It was 7:55 p.m. on Feb. 24. The Galant pulled out onto State Route 420 and headed west, only to be stopped five minutes later by a U.S. Border Patrol agent.A separate “confidential source” had tipped off authorities about the movement of “illegal aliens” and the area was under surveillance.The car was allegedly driven by a man from Belarus named Mikita Palaukov who was allegedly accompanied by Oleh Solomon, originally from the Ukraine.Solomon allegedly said he was being paid by a “friend” in Philadelphia who wanted him to transport the Poles to Brooklyn in New York City.Two of the four Poles had previously been deported from the U.S. They both pled guilty to “unlawful re-entry into the U.S.” One of the four was old and ailing and agents decided against charging him. The fourth had no record of having been deported from the U.S. and pleaded guilty to entering the U.S. without inspection.Things fall apartBack at the house, things were going wrong for CS-2. The three women faced a demand for an extra $900 US which was handed over. The basement was “filthy, dirty, cold and had soda bottles that appeared to be filled with urine on the floor as well as human feces.” CS-2 told investigators “the stench was horrible and she felt claustrophobic.” She wasn’t allowed to open the basement door. It was slammed in her face, the affidavit states.“CS-2 had to urinate in a cup in the basement because there was no bathroom. No food or water was provided to three women in the cold basement until the next day,” said the affidavit.At about midnight on Feb. 25, a second “Native American” woman told them they would be taken to a warehouse and picked up by a blue van. No blue van appeared at the warehouse and they went back to the white house and down into the basement. CS-2 was eventually allowed to make a phone call and she contacted “her American smuggler.” But she had been cut loose. The smuggler told her that “she could not pick her up due to a death in the family.”CS-2 wanted to return to Canada, but was told she didn’t have enough money for a return journey and that the river was melting.At 7 p.m. they were finally driven by a young man aged about 21 to the Great View Motel in Fort Covington, NY, along Route 37. They were told to lie down in the back for the 15 minute journey. One of the women booked a room in the motel and called a taxi from Malone, NY. They wanted to go to Albany, NY.Unbeknownst to the women, U.S. Border Patrol agents received a tip a female “illegal alien” was staying in room 124 of the motel, which overlooks a field.Agents were waiting as the taxi pulled out of the motel and headed south. Agents pulled the taxi over at about 11 p.m.“All three women admitted that they were travelling together. Due to their inability to produce documents confirming their claims of citizenship as well as their difficulty in answering basic questions regarding their residences and related information, all three women were transported . . . for further questioning and additional record checks,” the affidavit said.CS-2 did not have “an immigration history that could be accessed.” One of the women was a confirmed Canadian citizen. The affidavit is silent on the third woman.Pleadings and chargesAkwesasne resident Ian Tarbell pleaded guilty to “bringing aliens to the United States for commercial advantage and private gain” as part of a plea agreement in connection to the smuggling of the four Poles.He was released, detained after violating his conditions, and released again at the end of August. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Oct. 27.Benedict, Johnson and Solomon are scheduled for jury trial for Nov 4 in Utica, NY.Benedict and Johnson both face a two count Grand Jury indictment on conspiracy to bring aliens into the U.S.Solomon faces one count in the same indictment on conspiracy to bring aliens into the U.S. and one count of transporting aliens.The indictment is dated Aug. email@example.com@JorgeBarrera
APTN National NewsEnough is enough says Quebec’s Atikamekw Nation.The chiefs reaffirmed in a Quebec City press conference Monday they had never sold, ceded or exchanged their territory.They declared their sovereignty.APTN’s Danielle Rochette has the story.
Dennis Ward APTN National NewsThe family of an Alberta man says they have video evidence of their loved one allegedly being brutally beaten by RCMP.Trent Angus, 27, from Lloydminster, Alta., was a wanted man at the time with a long history with police.But his cousin, Darryl Angus, said that is no reason for the treatment he received during his arrest.Lloydminster RCMP Inspector Suki Manj said Angus was wanted on outstanding warrants.When police attempted to approach him, Manj said Angus tried to escape by driving a stolen vehicle into a police car.Manj said Angus then backed into a fence, fled on foot and broke into a nearby residence.Additional police resources were called in and a K-9 unit was engaged. RCMP officers then found Angus at another residence where the arrest was conducted.The residence where the arrest was conducted was equipped with a home security system. The video it recorded of the arrest is now in the possession of police and the Angus family.Darryl Angus said watching the video was “traumatizing.” He said it showed his cousin “getting into the fetal position as a dog starts ripping him up. He said his cousin was then tasered and beaten up.The family admits Trent Angus had an extensive criminal record and was a known drug dealer.However, they believe excessive force was used and should not have been.Manj said officers take into account a suspect’s history and risk to the public among other things when determining the level of force to use.Manj said pictures don’t always tell the story and that sometimes it looks worse than it is.Manj said Angus was arrested in February, resisted arrest and had a loaded weapon on him at the time of that arrest.The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT) investigates incidents involving Alberta’s police that have resulted in serious injury or death to any person, as well as serious or sensitive allegations of police misconduct.An ASIRT spokesperson confirms the Director of Law Enforcement has directed them to review this investigation.All of the officers involved in the arrest remain on active duty.Manj said he’s confident the system in place will show what happened and if mistakes were made they will be corrected and dealt with.The Angus family say they plan to release the surveillance video to the public once they hire a lawyer to look into the firstname.lastname@example.org
MONTREAL – Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. says it won’t return to growth for another year as it continues efforts to turnaround the business and further lower its massive debt.“We expect reported revenue to grow beginning in 2019 versus 2018, and for growth to accelerate as our new product launches take hold,” chief financial officer Paul Herendeen said Wednesday.The Quebec-based company said it expects revenues to grow four to six per cent annually through 2021 and adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) to grow at five to eight per cent annually.Valeant’s shares took a hit Wednesday, falling $2.74 or 11.54 per cent to $21.01 by the close of markets, after the company issued its 2018 guidance that was below analyst estimates.The company said it expects revenue of US$8.1 billion to US$8.3 billion and full-year adjusted EBITDA in the range of US$3.05 billion to US$3.2 billion.That’s down from US$8.72 billion in revenues and US$3.64 billion in EBITDA posted in 2017.Much of the decrease follows the sale of several companies, continued loss of patent exclusivity on some drugs and currency fluctuations.Chief executive Joseph Papa said he still believes that Valeant is a “turnaround of a lifetime.”“I do think it takes some time and we have to demonstrate the performance and what we’re trying to do right now,” he told analysts.Valeant cut its debt by 15 per cent in one year to US$25.7 billion.Since the first quarter of 2015, it has reduced total debt by more than US$6.7 billion, partially from the sale of non-core assets.With few further large sales of non-core assets available, industry analysts believe Valeant has to take further action to reduce its leverage.Valeant said it recently filed a shelf prospectus that raises the prospect of an equity raise, said Neil Maruoka of Canaccord Genuity.“We believe an equity raise is a strong possibility given the challenges of debt reduction through divestitures and the slow de-levering from operating cash flow and future EBITDA growth,” he said in a report.Reporting in U.S. dollars, Valeant said it earned $513 million or $1.45 per diluted share attributable to shareholders in its latest quarter, compared with a loss of $515 million or $1.47 per share a year ago.The profit was the highest since the fourth quarter of 2014, before its share price collapsed on allegations of improper conduct by former senior executives.“After working to stabilize the company, we’re now well into the second phase of the plan turnaround to where we’re taking steps to drive shareholder value,” Papa said during a conference call.Valeant said it launched more than 100 products last year while reducing the number of manufacturing sites by 23 per cent and discontinued more than 1,900 individual items.The company said it resolved 80 lawsuits and investigations from issues involving former executives. It said insurance policies should cover settlement costs and legal fees.On Wednesday, it announced the payment of $58 million to settle the Solodyn antitrust class action.On an adjusted basis, the company said it earned $347 million or 98 cents per diluted in the quarter. That’s in line with analyst forecasts but is down from $443 million in the fourth quarter of 2016.While it will continue to eye opportunities for more divestitures, Papa said Valeant spins off lots of cash, some of which will be used to further cut debt.Revenue for the three months ended Dec. 31 totalled $2.16 billion down 10 per cent from $2.4 billion a year earlier.Nine percentage points of the lower revenues came from sold assets.Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.Companies in this story: (TSX:VRX)
The future of Ontario’s partially privatized utility is again uncertain after political intervention prompted the resignation of the company’s board 16 years after another mass departure.Hydro One’s 14-member board resigned en masse last week after the sudden retirement of chief executive officer Mayo Schmidt, labelled “the six-million-dollar man” on the campaign trail by Premier Doug Ford for his hefty compensation.The premier made it clear that he wanted changes, including reduced electricity rates and lower compensation for the CEO — even though 92 per cent of shareholders other than the province supported Hydro One’s executive compensation approach.However, the move will come with costs of its own.Political interference and a lower pay package will make it more difficult to attract a quality chief executive and directors willing to serve, said Jeremy Rosenfield of Industrial Alliance Securities.“It’s clearly going to have to be somebody who will be able to work with the province and I believe many CEOs will not accept the level of potential political interference that would be required to take this role.”A Ford spokesman declined to confirm a published report that the government threatened to rip up the board’s executive employment contracts unless they negotiated their departures.In addition to dealing with a large activist investor, the new board faces uncertainty about what the new government actually intends to do with its investment, since no strategy was outlined in the campaign, Rosenfield added.Schmidt, who earned a $6.2-million salary last year, became a lightning rod for resentment during the election over rising electricity rates in the province. He would have been entitled to at least $10.7 million in severance if he were to be removed from his job by the board of directors, according to the company’s annual shareholders report released on March 29.According to a statement from Hydro One, Schmidt will not be entitled to severance, and will instead receive a $400,000 lump sum payment in lieu of all post-retirement benefits. But he still stands to earn millions from deferred stock options.Schmidt’s compensation was comparable to the heads of large private utilities like Fortis Inc., Atco Ltd. and Emera Inc. but more than 10 times the payout to Canadian electrical utilities in Quebec and British Columbia.The government will select four board members. A committee of the outgoing board, working with its largest shareholders, will name six others with the new CEO making up the 11th member. The transition to a new board is expected to be completed by Aug. 15.Changing Hydro One’s board alone won’t reduce electricity rates, which are set by the provincial energy regulator.To remain a viable public company, Hydro One has to charge rates to recover costs and be able to make long-term investments, said Rosenfield.“Hypothetically, the government could install a CEO of its choosing who would choose to argue in favour of much lower hydro rates, but it would have to build a business case that would support much lower hydro rates.”While questions about Hydro One’s future remain unanswered, there is a precedent at the power company itself.“We’ve seen this movie once before,” said University of Waterloo professor Jatin Nathwani.In 2002, the utility’s board quit before Ontario’s Progressive Conservative government fired CEO Eleanor Clitheroe over alleged personal spending.“To the extent that the board resigned and there was CEO compensation (issues) it’s similar,” said Radcliffe Latimer, a former board member.“But at the time our board resigned we were a Crown corporation and totally at the pleasure of the minister. Hydro One now is a public corporation so I suspect there are significant governance differences that apply in the two cases.”Hydro One was partially privatized in November 2015, and by December 2017 the province had sold off 53 per cent of its stake.The former Liberal government said privatization would raise $9 billion to fund transit and infrastructure projects. Privatization was also aimed at driving down costs by spinning it off into the hands of private investors.“The whole purpose was to say if we run this as a profit-oriented business then we could cut costs and we can save money for customers in Ontario,” said Nathwani.Investors responded to the latest resignations by sending its shares to an all-time low of $18.57 on Thursday before closing the week down 1.8 per cent to $19.17 in Friday trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.“It will take a hit on its valuation for sure with this kind of chaos,” Nathwani said.Some of the concern is whether leadership turmoil at Hydro One could prompt U.S. regulators to hesitate about the planned $6.7-billion takeover of U.S. utility Avista Corp.A series of analysts including Rosenfield downgraded the company after the move despite its stable earnings, healthy earnings growth and attractive yield.“The heightened potential for further political interference in the province’s electricity market and regulated utility framework represent key risk factors that are likely to outweigh Hydro One’s fundamentals over the near term.”Companies in this story: (TSX:H, TSX:FTS, TSX:ACO.X, TSX:EMA)
BEIJING — China said Thursday that 15 foreign ambassadors, including the envoy from Canada, exceeded their diplomatic roles by issuing a letter expressing concern about the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of members of the country’s Muslim minorities in re-education camps.Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying told reporters at a daily briefing that it would be “problematic” if the diplomats were attempting to put pressure on local authorities in the northwestern region of Xinjiang, where the detentions have taken place.Hua said the letter violated the terms of the Vienna Convention governing diplomatic relations and that the ambassadors should not “interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.”“As ambassadors, they are supposed to play positive roles in promoting mutual understanding, mutual trust and co-operation … rather than making unreasonable requests to the countries where they are based,” Hua said.She said the letter issued this week and reportedly spearheaded by Canada was based on hearsay, despite widely distributed reports from detainees, relatives and officials documenting the sweeping and seemingly arbitrary detentions.Inmates and relatives say the camps impose military-style discipline and punishments and force detainees to renounce their religion and culture while swearing fealty to President Xi Jinping and the ruling Communist Party.Asked about the letter, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he had “highlighted the questions and concerns that we have” surrounding the issue in his bilateral meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on the sidelines of the annual summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations in Singapore.“Canada will continue to look for ways to advance and promote human rights in partnership with our likeminded allies everywhere around the world,” Trudeau said at a news conference Thursday.The letter to the Chinese government has not been made public, but the Reuters news agency said it was signed by 15 Western ambassadors, including the Canadian, British, French, Swiss, European Union, German, and Australian envoys.Diplomats from the countries named in the report either did not reply to requests for confirmation or said they had no comment.Hua’s comments came as a bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is bringing a measure to urge President Donald Trump to help Chinese Muslims respond to the crackdown.The legislation would urge Trump to condemn “gross violations” of human rights in Xinjiang, where the U.N. estimates that as many as 1 million Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities are being held in arbitrary detention.It would also support an existing push for sanctions against Xinjiang Communist Party chief Chen Quanguo and other officials under the Magnitsky Act, which prevents foreign officials from entering the U.S. and freezes any assets they have in U.S. banks.Other sanctions raised for consideration by the act include a ban on sales of U.S.-made goods or services to Xinjiang state agents such as those that could be used for surveillance and suppression.Chinese authorities have denied that the internment camps exist, but say petty criminals are sent to “employment training centres.” The Xinjiang government has revised regulations to officially permit the use of “education and training centres” to reform “people influenced by extremism.”The rules direct the centres to teach the Mandarin language, occupational and legal education, as well as “ideological education, psychological rehabilitation and behaviour correction.”Xinjiang’s native Uighur and Kazakh ethnic groups are culturally, religiously and linguistically distinct from China’s Han majority and the region has been home to a low-intensity rebellion against rule from Beijing. Many of the region’s natives say their culture is under threat from Chinese policies aiming to assimilate them and that they face disadvantages in education and employment from Han migrants from other parts of China.Members of the Muslim Hui ethnic group — culturally and linguistically closer to the Han — have also been ensnared in the campaign that has drawn comparisons to Mao Zedong’s radical 1966-76 Cultural Revolution.Also on Thursday, China’s Cabinet released a report entitled “Protection and Development of Xinjiang Culture,” that stressed the importance of adopting Mandarin Chinese among ethnic groups and referred to their Islamic faith as “religious culture.”“Xinjiang adheres to the historical tradition of the Sinosization of religion and actively adapts religion to socialist society,” the report said.___McNeil reported from Singapore.Christopher Bodeen And Sam McNeil, The Associated Press
Stocks finished solidly higher on Wall Street Monday as investors welcomed news of a 90-day truce in the trade battle between the U.S. and China.Technology stocks, automakers, retailers and industrial companies powered the broad rally. The price of oil jumped, sending energy stocks higher, amid expectations OPEC will cut production.On Monday:The S&P 500 index climbed 30.20 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 2,790.37.The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 287.97 points, or 1.1 per cent, to 25,826.43.The Nasdaq composite rose 110.98 points, or 1.5 per cent, to 7,441.51.The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks picked up 15.69 points, or 1 per cent, to 1,548.96.For the year:The S&P 500 is up 116.76 points, or 4.4 per cent.The Dow is up 1,107.21 points, or 4.5 per cent.The Nasdaq is up 538.12 points, or 7.8 per cent.The Russell 2000 is up 13.45 points, or 0.9 per cent.The Associated Press
BEIJING — China’s exports decelerated in November amid a tariff battle with Washington and cooling global demand.Customs data on Saturday showed shipments to the United States rose by a relatively robust 12.9 per cent over a year ago to $46.2 billion, down from October’s 13.3 per cent.Overall, China’s global exports rose 5.4 per cent to $227.4 billion, a sharp decline from the previous month’s 12.6 per cent increase.Chinese exports to the United States have held up despite President Donald Trump’s tariff hikes in a dispute over technology. That is due partly to exporters rushing to fill orders before more possible duty increases.The Associated Press
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Peace River North School Board is intending to sue the developer that sold the property on which the new Margaret ‘Ma’ Murray School is being built for allegedly not disclosing nearly $200,000 in future capital project costs due to the City of Fort St. John.According to the Notice of Civil Claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court on March 15th, School District 60’s Board of Education is seeking judgement against the defendant, Peace Holdings Inc., for $196,919.50 in undisclosed charges. The notice alleges that the School District was not made aware when it bought a piece of land on the City’s west side from Peace Holdings that it would have to pay $11,583.50 every year until 2033 for a sewer project in the area. The suit is also seeking damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation, interest, and legal fees.The notice states that the School District bought the property on March 31, 2015, for $2,820,000. In the purchase agreement dated six days prior, it was stated that the “Seller has no present or future obligation to construct or provide, or to pay any amount of any person in connection with, off-site roads, services, utilities or similar services in connection with the Property, and there are no local improvement charges or special levies against the Property nor has the Seller received any notice of any such proposed local improvement charges or special levies.” The School Board says that contrary to the Representations and Agreements in the sale contract, the property was subject to a local area service charge that would be levied against the property, subject to an agreement between Peace Holdings and the City. The School Board alleges in its notice that it only found out about the charges in May of 2016, when it received a tax notice from the City for a sewer project near the property.The City’s Communications Coordinator Ryan Harvey explained that a local area service project is a capital project that can be initiated by residents or by Council. “This type of capital project is primarily used to improve roads including any of the following: paving, street lights, gutter, catch basins, sidewalks, and boulevard restoration,” said Harvey. “It may also be used in sewer projects. Local area service projects split the cost between the City and residents directly benefitting from the improvement, with a 20 year payback term.”Peace Holdings Inc. has not yet filed a response to the civil claim. The full Notice of Civil Claim can be read below.
“I look at how and why Site C progressed at this time. Why this project, why now,” said Cox. “It goes and does extensive fact-checking with scientists, asking the question over and over again: is this project in the public’s best interest?”Cox said that she’s also spoken with several well-known residents of the Peace River Valley, including Ken and Arlene Boon, who have had their land expropriated by BC Hydro to make way for the dam’s reservoir.The book launch will be taking place at the North Peace Museum in Fort St. John beginning at 6:30 p.m. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The Fort St. John North Peace Museum will be hosting a book launch of a book chronicling the ongoing saga of the Site C dam.Victoria-based journalist and author Sarah Cox will be launching her debut book “Breaching the Peace” at the Museum tonight. Cox said that she became interested about the history and the current story of the third dam on the Peace River after former Premier Gordon Campbell made an announcement in 2010 that the provincial government would be proceeding with construction of the project. She said that after travelling to the Peace Region, she decided that the rest of the province should hear about the story of the dam, and the people who would be affected by Site C’s construction.
“Keep your friends and your family close, because they will provide the best connections and network of your life.” said FraserMLA Dan Davies was on hand trying to inspire the children with the words of Walt Disney.MLA Davies. Photo by John Luke Kieper.“In the words of Walt Disney all of our dreams can come true if we just have the courage to follow them.”After a plethora of guest speakers it was valedictorian Alissa Minard’s turn to speak to her grad class.Valedictorian Allisa Minard. Photo by John Luke Kieper.“Academics are certainly important, but thats not what high school is about. Its about the lunch times, the Friday nights, the first jobs, and the best friends. Its the successes that we celebrated and the failures we learnt from. Its about the moments in which we realized who we are, what we love and what we want to do for the rest of our lives.”The event concluded with the students receiving their diploma’s and tossing their cap and tassels.The full 2018 NPSS grad class graduation can be seen below. Mayor Lori Ackerman as well as city of Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser were both on hand to address the students.Mayor Lori Ackerman. Photo by John Luke Kieper.“Graduates I want you to enjoy today, but more so I want you to make it so this isn’t the best day of your life.” said Ackerman, “When you come back to your class reunion I want you to have days that are better than today because you have an opportunity to make the best of your life.”Taylor Mayor Rob Fraser. Photo by John Luke Kieper. The event started with NPSS’s own Brittany Welsh singing the National anthem. The first speaker of the event was Blueberry River First Nation’s Chief Marvin Yahey who spoke words of wisdom to the students.Brittany Welsh singing the National Anthem. Photo by John Luke Kieper.“Do not follow where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and lead a trail. Congratulations to the class of 2018.” said Chief Yahey.Up next was School District #60 Superintendent David Sloan who gave his input on the class.Superintendent David Sloan. Photo by John Luke Kieper.“Your days in public school are coming to an end, but learning never stops, and it doesn’t just happen in school.” Said Sloan, “Where and what you learn next is really up to you, so make good choices. Take some risks but be considered of the safety of yourself and others.” FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – North Peace Secondary School students gathered at the North Peace Arena to celebrate their high school graduation today.The school saw approximately 370 students walk across the stage and handed out $350,000 in scholarships. Jessica Telizyn won the Loran Scholarship worth $100,000, the first time an NPSS student has ever received the honour.Jessica Telizyn receiving her Loran Scholarship. Photo by John Luke Kieper.
“The Opposition is welcome to filibuster all they want … the legislative session will be primarily around platform promises and we’re not going to bend on that,” Nixon said last week.A filibuster, delaying legislation through endless speeches and other procedural motions, may well be in the cards.Notley is staying on as official Opposition leader and her 24-member caucus has many former cabinet ministers who know their way around debate.Notley has said the NDP recognizes the UCP won a mandate to kill the carbon tax, but the bill on labour issues is another matter. EDMONTON, A.B. – Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s government heads to the legislature this week to make noise with an ambitious legislative agenda while trying to keep a hush on daily affairs.Kenney has promised what he calls a “spring of renewal” in the first sitting since his United Conservatives beat Rachel Notley’s NDP in the April 16 election.He and his 62 fellow UCP caucus members are to be sworn in as legislature members Tuesday, followed by a throne speech Wednesday and introduction of a bill that would abolish the provincial carbon tax by May 30. “Should it … do something like roll back youth wages and roll back the minimum wage, should it be something that guts overtime for working people, should it be something that goes directly at unions with respect to their free speech, then, yeah, we’ll dig in,” said Notley.Her government raised the minimum wage by one-third to $15 an hour, which some employers say is crippling business. Kenney has proposed reducing the wage to $13 an hour for those 17 and under.Another debate may be a noisy one on keeping quiet in the house.Kenney is expected to move to ban the tradition of legislature members banging on their desks to show their approval.Kenney, a former federal MP and cabinet minister, has said desk-thumping, cross-aisle heckling and shouting are unseemly and undignified.Nixon confirmed change is coming.“I suspect you’ll see a standing order that changes desk-thumping not to be allowed in the house,” he said.Notley said the silence edict is a House of Commons affectation that doesn’t respect the legislature’s traditions or the nature of vigorous debate.“In Alberta, we have pounded on the desks as long as I remember and I see no need to transport Ottawa traditions into our legislature,” she said. The UCP won a majority on a platform to galvanize Alberta’s oil- and gas-based economy with cuts to taxes, rules and regulations.Kenney has appointed a panel to come up with ways to reduce spending in the budget this fall. The Opposition is warning Albertans to brace for big cuts to health and education.The spring of renewal could also be called the season of repeal as Kenney has promised to roll back signature pieces of legislation enacted by the NDP.Besides eliminating the carbon tax on home heating and gasoline bills, he has said the UCP will reduce the minimum wage for youth, change rules for overtime and holiday pay and restore mandatory secret ballots for union certification votes.Corporate income tax is to be cut to eight per cent from 12 per cent by 2022.Government house leader Jason Nixon said the plan is to introduce and pass between 10 and 12 bills in the sitting. It’s to run until the end of June, but could go into July if the NDP decides to delay passage of any bills.
TAYLOR, B.C. – At a District of Taylor Council meeting, on Tuesday, Council took a look at the Open Air Burning Bylaw.The purpose of the Bylaw is to regulate open air burning within the District to ensure it is done in a safe and responsible manner.After reviewing the Bylaw, Council made the decision to send it back to the Protection Committee for further review. When it comes to Class One Campfires, Council felt that the required parameters of six metres between the fire pit and objects, such as buildings and fences, was too great of an area and would automatically ban most residents from having a small fire in their backyard.Council felt that this kind of restriction would best apply to Class Two and Three fires, not for Class One.District Fire Chief, Steve Byford, says the Bylaw is modelled after what other municipalities within B.C. have in place for open air burning.Once reviewed, the Bylaw will go through three readings before being adopted.
NEW DELHI: Two days after the Delhi High Court directed a stay on further sealing at Mayapuri till the next hearing, the Delhi Pollution Control Committee on Wednesday observed that after assessing law and order situation any further sealing will happen. The DPCC also said that they will follow HC and NGT order on the matter. “DPCC is committed to enforcing all directions of NGT and Judicial Courts and taking effective steps for controlling pollution in Delhi,” noted a statement.”The sealing operations were hampered by the outbreak of violence. SDM Delhi Cantt. and DC West Zone (SDMC)/ Nodal Officer STF have informed that further decision on sealing operations may be taken after assessing the law and order situation,” a DPCC press statement noted. It added that five teams for undertaking the sealing operations on were constituted, consisting of officials from Revenue Department, MCD, Delhi Police and DPCC. “DPCC has issued directions to SDMC, DSIIDC, Delhi Police and Divisional Commissioner to take necessary action to remove encroachments and to close illegal dismantling unit immediately so as to comply with directions of NGT,” it noted. It added that In compliance of the directions passed by National Green Tribunal (NGT) DPCC had issued an order constituting Special Task Force (STF) headed by Deputy Commissioner, West Zone of South DMC. “Nodal officer of the survey team was SDM , Delhi Cantt. As per the survey, 85 to 95 % occupiers were found engaged in commercial activity and it was observed that illegal activities were taking place on public land or roads, directly or indirectly in connivance of the occupiers thereby causing health hazard and extreme pollution in the area,” noted the statement. DPCC has issued closure directions and got physically sealed 24 industrial units out of total 47 which were operating without valid consent to operate from DPCC, irrespective of the fact whether they were involved in illegal vehicle scrapping inside or outside their premises. Clashes broke out between locals in Delhi’s Mayapuri and police officials during a drive to seal illegal scrap factories following an NGT order on Sunday.
New York: An Indian American researcher-led team has found that giving human touch to chat bots like Apple Siri or Amazon Alexa may actually disappoint users. Just giving a chat bot human name or adding human-like features to its avatar might not be enough to win over a user if the device fails to maintain a conversational back-and-forth with that person, according to S. Shyam Sundar, Co-director of Media Effects Research Laboratory at Pennsylvania State University. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “People are pleasantly surprised when a chat bot with fewer human cues has higher interactivity,” said Sundar. “But when there are high human cues, it may set up your expectations for high interactivity – and when the chat bot doesn’t deliver that – it may leave you disappointed,” he added. In fact, human-like features might create a backlash against less responsive human-like chat bots. During the study, Sundar found that chat bots that had human features — such as a human avatar — but lacked interactivity, disappointed people who used it. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India However, people responded better to a less-interactive chat bot that did not have human-like cues. High interactivity is marked by swift responses that match a user’s queries and feature a threaded exchange that can be followed easily. According to Sundar, even small changes in the dialogue, like acknowledging what the user said before providing a response, can make the chat bot seem more interactive. Because there is an expectation that people may be leery of interacting with a machine, developers typically add human names to their chat bots — for example, Apple’s Siri — or programme a human-like avatar to appear when the chat bot responds to a user. The researchers, who published their findings in the journal Computers in Human Behavior, also found that just mentioning whether a human or a machine is involved — or, providing an identity cue — guides how people perceive the interaction. For the study, the researchers recruited 141 participants through Amazon Mechanical Turk, a crowd-sourced site that allows people to get paid to participate in studies. Sundar said the findings could help developers improve acceptance of chat technology among users. “There’s a big push in the industry for chat bots,” said Sundar. “They’re low-cost and easy-to-use, which makes the technology attractive to companies for use in customer service, online tutoring and even cognitive therapy — but we also know that chat bots have limitations,” he added.
New Delhi: The Supreme Court constituted three-member mediation committee, tasked with exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement in the decades-old, politically sensitive, Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, has submitted its interim report in a sealed cover.Sources aware of the development said the interim report was filed with the apex court Registry on May 6, and the matter has been listed for hearing on Friday. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe apex court on March 8 had referred the matter to mediation for exploring the possibility of an amicable settlement. It had appointed former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, spiritual guru and founder of Art of Living foundation Sri Sri Ravishankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu, a renowned mediator, as members of the mediation committee. A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde, D Y Chandrachud, Ashok Bhushan and S Abdul Nazeer will now peruse the report and decide the future course of action. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroadThe matter will come up for the first time on Friday since the March 8 order of the top court. It had said that the mediation process would commence within a week and the panel would submit the progress report within four weeks. The panel was asked by the apex court to hold in-camera proceedings and complete them within eight weeks. The Constitution bench had said that it does not find any “legal impediment” to make a reference to mediation for a possible settlement of the dispute. The bench was told earlier by Hindu bodies, except for Nirmohi Akhara, and the Uttar Pradesh government that they oppose the court’s suggestion for mediation. The Muslim bodies supported the proposal. While opposing the suggestion of mediation, Hindu bodies had argued that earlier attempts of reaching a compromise have failed and provisions of Civil Procedure Code (CPC) require public notice to be issued before the start of process. The top court had directed that the mediation proceedings should be conducted with “utmost confidentiality” for ensuring its success and the views expressed by any of the parties including the mediators should be kept confidential and not be revealed to any other person. However, it had refrained from passing any specific restrain order at this stage and instead empowered the mediators to pass necessary orders in writing, if so required, to restrain publication of the details of the mediation proceedings.
New Delhi: Delhi Metro train services will begin from 4 am, two hours earlier than regular timing, on May 12 so that the staff deployed for election duty can avail the facility for travelling, officials said Thursday.DMRC train services otherwise begin at 6 am. “On the day of the Lok Sabha elections in Delhi on Sunday, May 12, the Delhi Metro train services on all lines will start from 4 am, so that the staff deployed for election duty can avail the facility,” the DMRC said in a statement. Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesThe trains will run with a frequency of 30 minutes on all the lines till 6 am. Later, metro trains will run as per the normal Sunday timetable throughout the day, it said. However, trains on the Blue Line, going from Dwarka Sector 21 towards Vaishali, will begin operations at 4:30 am. Delhi Metro’s current span is 373 km and 271 stations, including the Noida-Greater Noida Aqua Line, and its average daily ridership is about 30 lakh.