Los Angeles: Benedict Cumberbatch and Claire Foy are teaming up for the biopic on English artiste Louis Wain in the eponymous film. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the drama will follow the story of the real-life Victorian painter known for his paintings and drawings of anthropomorphised big-eyed cats and kittens. In his later years, it is believed he had schizophrenia, the effects of which, according to some psychiatrists, are visible in his works. Wain died in 1939. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka Cumberbatch will essay the title role, while Foy will play his wife, Emily. The film marks the first collaboration between the “Avengers: Endgame” star and “The Crown” star. BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Will Sharpe is attached to direct from a script he co-wrote with Simon Stephenson. The project is being produced by Showbox Films alongside Cumberbatch’s production banner SunnyMarch, with support from StudioCanal and Film4. The film goes on floors next month at London’s famous Ealing Studios.
New Delhi: The CBI was on Friday granted seven-day custody of aviation lobbyist Deepak Talwar by a special court here after the court denied him anticipatory bail in the matter earlier the same day. The probe agency had sought custody of Talwar in connection with a UPA-era aviation scam, two years after the agency had registered an FIR in the case.The lobbyist, who was already in judicial custody, lodged at Tihar Jail, in a PMLA case, is the first person the agency will question in custody, in connection with the case. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The case pertains to allegations that during senior Congress leader Praful Patel’s time as the Civil Aviation Minister, several profitable air routes and timings were given to private foreign airlines, causing huge losses to the national carrier. While neither Talwar nor any other person is named in the CBI’s FIR, the agency had moved an application in a special court here, seeking custody of the aviation lobbyist, who is also named as an accused in the Air Asia scam and the Advantage India NGO case. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KAs Talwar was produced in court on Friday morning, his counsel moved an anticipatory bail plea before special Judge Anil Kumar Sisodia, who denied the plea and dismissed the application after hearing arguments. The CBI then presented an arrest memo, with the court deciding to announce whether Talwar will be sent to police custody or judicial custody after lunch. The defense had argued that the probe agency’s arrest memo did not fulfill all requirements as prescribed by the Supreme Court of India. However, granting CBI Talwar’s custody, the court added that he can meet his lawyers and family members between 5 to 6 pm on alternate days, rejecting the request to meet family members every day. Special judge Sisodia also said that a prescription for his daily medicines must be provided to the CBI’s investigating officer, with a medical check-up to be done every 48 hours. He is to appear before the court again on August 2 at 2 pm. The case that CBI has sought Talwar’s custodial interrogation for pertains to a PIL filed in the Apex court in 2012, which alleged large-scale corruption in the Civil Aviation Ministry during the UPA regime. The Supreme Court had then directed the central agency to register cases to probe these allegations, after which three FIRs and one Preliminary Enquiry were registered by the CBI. This case alleges that “foreign airlines were given unrestricted entry into India and major routes were given to them without taking any reciprocal benefits for Air India”. The CBI goes on to allege that despite warnings of huge losses to the national carrier, Civil Aviation Ministry officials had dishonestly given pecuniary benefits to private, domestic and foreign airlines. Specifically, the CBI alleged that up to four international air routes and nine domestic air routes were awarded to private airlines such as Jet Airways, Kingfisher Airlines, Go Air, Indigo, Spicejet, Paramount Airways, and others, while Air India withdrew its services from these routes. Taking cognizance of this FIR, the ED had registered a money-laundering probe against Talwar, who was earlier questioned and arrested by the financial probe agency in connection with the case. The ED’s probe had revealed that Talwar was paid Rs 272 crore to secure air traffic rights for airlines such as Emirates, Qatar Airways, and Air Arabia. The ED had also questioned Patel with regards to this case, after allegedly finding a link between him and Talwar.
Shanghai: US and Chinese envoys met Wednesday for talks aimed at ending a tariff war after President Donald Trump accused Beijing of trying to stall negotiations in hopes he will not win re-election in 2020. Economists say quick breakthroughs are unlikely because the two governments face the same disagreements over China’s technology policy and trade surplus that caused talks to break down in May. Trump and President Xi Jinping agreed in June to resume negotiations but neither side has given any sign it might offer big concessions. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The dispute over U.S. complaints that Beijing steals or pressures companies to hand over technology has battered exporters on both sides and disrupted trade in goods from soybeans to medical equipment. US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and their Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, smiled and shook hands but said nothing to reporters as they began a meeting at a government guesthouse in Shanghai. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls That followed an official dinner Tuesday at the elegant Peace Hotel on the waterfront Bund. Trump has raised tariffs on USD 250 billion worth of Chinese imports. Beijing responded by taxing USD 110 billion of US products. Chinese leaders are resisting U.S. pressure to roll back plans for government-led development of industry leaders in robotics, artificial intelligence and other technologies. Washington complains those efforts depend on stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology. For their part, American negotiators have resisted Chinese demands that punitive U.S. tariffs be lifted immediately. Trump wants to keep some penalties in place to ensure Beijing carries out any agreement. Rhetoric on both sides has hardened, prompting some economists to suggest U.S. and Chinese leaders are settling in for a “war of attrition.” In Washington, Trump accused Beijing of wanting to stall through the 2020 presidential election in hopes of being able to negotiate with a more malleable Democrat. He said that if re-elected, he would get “much tougher” with Beijing. “China would love to wait and just hope,” Trump told reporters Tuesday. “They’ll pray that Trump loses,” he said. “And then they’ll make a deal with a stiff, somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing.” Separately on Twitter, Trump warned that if he wins in 2020, “the deal that they get will be much tougher than what we are negotiating now … or no deal at all.” Negotiators in Shanghai are also expected to discuss the fate of telecom equipment giant Huawei Technologies Ltd. Washington put the company, China’s first global tech brand, on a security list in May that blocks purchases of U.S. components and technology. The United States say Huawei is a national security threat, an accusation the company denies. Trump has said it could be a bargaining chip in the trade dispute.
New Delhi: A 22-year-old man died after he was hit by a car in North Delhi’s Wazirabad area. Police said that they have arrested the accused in the case.According to police, the incident was reported on July 29 when the deceased identified as Rishab with his friend Rishab was sitting at divider of Jagartpur flyover when a rashly driven car hit Rishab. The impact of the hit was such that he was thrown at another side of the road. “The car also turned turtle after the incident. Near the flyover, a police vehicle was standing. The deceased’s friend alerted them about the incident. Rishab was taken to hospital,” police said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe complainant in the case told police that two persons were found sitting inside the vehicle which hit his friend. “They were drunk at the time of the incident,” the complainant told the police. According to police, the car, before hitting the deceased, had lost the control and hit Rishab. Police said that the accused identified as Arbaz Khan (21) and Mustafa (21) have been arrested in the case. In another case reported from East Delhi’s Preet Vihar area, police are probing a case in which a lawyer was being blackmailed by a few persons including women. Police said that they were trying to extort money by giving legal notices.
The second edition of India International Hospitality Expo (IHE) will be the biggest hospitality expo event in South Asia till date with its astounding line up of trade discussions, conferences, gastronomic demonstrations, awards night and more.The 4-day exposition will be held from August 7 – 10, 2019 at India Expo Centre & Mart, Greater Noida Expressway. Rakesh Kumar, Chairman, India Expo Centre & Mart made an official announcement in the press conference about the event in Delhi NCR. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe event will witness biggest exposition spread over 28,000 sqm of exhibition space, and over 20,000 business visitors are expected at the expo. IHE 2019 promises to be bigger, better and grander by having speakers from across the world and MSME company owners from North East showcasing their work as part of Make in India initiative. Also a robust conference programme with top hospitality professionals as speakers, a series of Master classes by world-renowned chefs from India and abroad, wine sommelier training by a renowned Italian sommelier, a hospitality-inspired fashion show and an FSSAI conclave on Food Safety makes IHE’ 19 the most expansive hospitality platform with stimulating knowledge sessions and a great networking opportunity for its participants. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardHimachal Pradesh is the ‘Focus State’ at the expo with a number of events being organised by the Tourism Department of the Government of Himachal Pradesh and Himachal Tourism Development Corporation. Celebrity chef Manjit Gill will be presenting Himachali cuisine along with Chef Nand Lal Sharma of Himachal Tourism at three special occasions during the Expo. The event will also witness Celebrity Indonesian chef Gupta Sitorus, Kevindra Soemantri, Yuda Bustara and Primo Rizky. It will be a gala celebration of hospitality sector and the organisers will be giving away first IHE hospitality awards to more than 70 hospitality professionals from across India. IHE 2019 will act as an impactful platform for all the hospitality stakeholders to come, network and rub shoulders with the very best in the industry. Speaking about IHE 2019 Rakesh Kumar, Chairman, India Expo Centre & Mart says, “There was a need for this sort of an event in India’s burgeoning hospitality sector. We have tried to bring together every aspect which serves hospitality players under one roof, for a show which would meet every demand that the industry may have, from material goods to intellectual enlightenment.” Kumar further elaborated that large number of members of EPCH from Moradabad, Jaipur and Jodhpur are talking part in the IHE displaying products from handicrafts sector related to hospitality industry.
New Delhi: Muslims may have offered prayers at the disputed Ayodhya site but that does not give them the right to lay claim over it in the backdrop of the fact that structure, pillars, motifs and inscriptions are primarily Hindu, the Supreme Court was told on Friday by the lawyer representing the deity Ram Lalla Virajman. “Just because prayers are being offered on a street (by Muslims) doesn’t mean a claim of ownership over it can be made,” senior advocate CS Vaidyanathan told the five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Friday. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Vaidyanathan told the judges that the structure was never in the true sense considered a mosque. “The images (inside the Babri structure) are contrary to Islamic belief – Islam does not have image in their place of worship, whether of a human being or animals,” he told the bench led by Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. The senior lawyer also placed photographs before the bench that he said, were taken in 1990.The top court is holding daily hearing into the contentious Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid title dispute case. At the hearings over the past few days, Vaidyanathan has argued that the Babri mosque was built on the ruins of the temple and it was wrong to say that the land does not belong to anyone. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday “If it is built on the ruins of a temple, it can’t be a mosque, as this is contrary to Shariat law,” he told the court this week. Vaidyanathan has argued that there were indeed two versions on the demolition of temple in Ayodhya. One that it was done by Mughal emperor Babar and the second version that holds Aurangzeb responsible for it. But the undisputed fact was that the temple was demolished and a mosque built over it. He has also cited Faizabad’s Commissioner report of 1950 which records that there were 14 pillars at the disputed site “with illustrations of Hindu gods and symbols”. “And there cannot be a mosque which has pillar with images of Hindu gods,” he had added.(Inputs from Hindustan Times)
Hyderabad: The Centre’s Mines Tribunal has kept in abeyance the cancellation of the mining lease of Donimalai iron ore mine by the Karnataka Government extended to the state owned NMDC Limited . The Karnataka government had earlier withdrawn the extension of the mininglease granted to the mine in November 2018 for a 20 year period. Challenging the state governments decision, the PSU moved the Mines Tribunal, which heard the petition on August 21 and stayed the Order. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”The said Stay Order would prohibit the Government of Karnataka to take any furtheraction regarding mining lease or initiate auction process of Donimalai mine,” the National Mineral Development Corporation said in a statement last night. NMDC was earlier in legal battle with the Karnataka government over the issue of imposition of 80 per cent premium on the sale price of the iron ore extracted from Donimalai Mines. However the Karnataka High Court last month set aside the governments move. Iron ore deposits in the Donimalai mine are estimated at 143 million tonnes (MMT) and worth around Rs 40,000 crore. NMDC had leased the mine in 1968 for a period of 50 years. The lease expired on November 3, 2018.
Mumbai: Mrunal Thakur on August 22 said that she has finished shooting for the first season of ‘Baahubali: Before the Beginning’. The actor is starring as a young Sivagami in Netflix’s ambitious live-action series based on Anand Neelakantan’s 2017 book ‘The Rise of Sivagami’. “We are done with season one. I can’t wait for the audience to experience the Mahishmati kingdom before ‘Baahubali’ film series in two-three months,” Mrunal said. The series, co-directed by Deva Katta and Praveen Sataru, will trace the dramatic rise of Queen Sivagami and her empire. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaSouth star Ramya Krishnan played the role in the blockbuster Baahubali franchise, directed by SS Rajamouli. The actor said the role of Sivagami attracted her to the project. “Everybody knows what happened later (in the films). People are more curious to know what must have happened earlier. I think the mystery is all about that, which I’m sure people will enjoy,” she added. Mrunal, who recently featured in films such as Batla House and Super 30, said she wants to do a dance-based project that would involve Kathak. Also Read – Salman Khan remembers actor Vinod Khanna”Before doing Super 30 I had this mental blockage that I will never be able to dance, especially Kathak. So that one barrier is broken. I am looking forward to doing a project which has a lot of Kathak. If there is a Devdas 2, I’d love to be a part of it.” The actor walked the ramp at the LFW for Aavaran Udaipur. The label presented its new collection, ‘An Ode to Dabu’, at the fashion gala. Mrunal said she likes how the brand is about getting back to the roots. “There’s this traditional vibe and at the same time there is no age bracket and for any occasion.”
New Delhi: In only the second instance of providing funds for a gas pipeline, the government is considering shelling out about Rs 5,400 crore in viability gap funding for a proposed Northeast gas grid, officials said. The 1,656-km North-East Natural Gas Pipeline Grid will connect Guwahati in Assam to major cities in the region such as Itanagar, Dimapur, Kohima, Imphal, Aizwal, Agartala, Shillong, Silchar, Gangtok, and Numaligarh. However, in the absence of anchor customers, the Rs 9,000 crore pipeline is not economically viable. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”A viability gap funding of 60 per cent of the project cost has been sought,” an official. The oil ministry is supporting the proposal and it is likely to be considered by the Cabinet soon, he said. The Northeast pipeline grid is to be implemented by Indradhanush Gas Grid, a joint venture of state-owned GAIL India, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC), Oil India Ltd (OIL) and Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL). The consortium has pitched for a 60 per cent funding support from the government and would raise the rest via equity and debt, the official said. Without the government support, the pipeline would not be viable. This is a second time that a gas pipeline project in the country would be funded by the government. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIn 2016, the government provided a capital grant of Rs 5,176 crore, or 40 per cent of the project cost, of the 2,655-km Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra (JHBDPL) gas pipeline project, which GAIL is currently executing. GAIL is also laying a 750-km line from Barauni to Guwahati as part of the Rs 12,940 crore JHBDPL project, which is also known as the ‘Pradhan Mantri Urja Ganga’ project. This is proposed to be connected to the Northeast via the Indradhanush grid. All other pipelines in the country have been funded by public or private sector companies. The official said oil companies will not be able to execute the Northeast grid project without the viability gap funding. The project is critical towards implementing the government’s Hydrocarbon Vision 2030 for Northeast. The Vision envisages the development of the region by leveraging its hydrocarbon potential, enhancing access to clean fuel and accelerating the growth. This is a part of a broader goal of the government to raise the share of natural gas in the country’s energy mix to 15 per cent by 2030 from current 6.2 per cent. The government has envisaged developing the National Gas Grid. At present, about 16,788 km natural gas pipeline is operational and about 14,239 km gas pipelines are being developed to increase the availability of natural gas across the country.
Kolkata: Mystery shrouds the death of a police personnel, whose body was found hanging from a room inside the Alipore Bodyguard Line. Police have started a detailed probe into the incident, which has triggered tension in the area on Saturday morning.According to the preliminary investigation, police suspect that the victim might have committed suicide following prolonged mental depression. However, the investigating officers are yet to ascertain the exact reason behind the death of the person. The deceased Pijush Chakraborty used to live on the first floor of the police barrack and had been posted with the armed post. His body was found hanging on late Friday night. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaPolice recovered the body and sent it for post-mortem examination. The investigating officers are waiting for the post-mortem report, which might throw some light onto the mysterious death. The investigating officers are interrogating the other inmates of the bodyguard line, as well as the family members of the deceased, to know if he had been under any mental stress. They are looking into all possible angles which might have led to his death. It may be mentioned that a few days ago, a youth was found dead near the bodyguard line.
HUMBOLDT, Sask. – The Humboldt Broncos hockey club says it has received so many applications to become the team’s new head coach and general manager that it needs more time to review them all.The new hire will replace Darcy Haugan, who was one of the 16 people who died as a result of the April 6 crash involving the team bus and a truck in rural Saskatchewan.Thirteen others were injured.The Broncos’ organization announced last month that it will have a team ready to hit the ice in time for the 2018-19 Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.Humboldt Broncos’ president Kevin Garinger says the club is humbled and overwhelmed by the sheer volume of applicants for the head coach and general manager position.He says there are so many good people they need more time.“We are thrilled with the exceptional experience, background and competencies of all of the candidates who have applied, and because of that level of interest, and given the complexity of the situation, we are committed to taking the necessary steps to ensure that we select the very best person,” Garinger said Friday night in a release.“The successful candidate will have the skills, abilities, knowledge and personal attributes to lead our organization into the next season, and we are prepared to take the additional time required to get there.”Garinger says since the crash the club has signed players who attended a free agent camp and selected others in various drafts.He says the Broncos continue to fill the team player list and will hold an August training camp.“As we undertake the monumental task of rebuilding our team, one of our main priorities remains, as it has from the very beginning, on supporting our families,” Garinger said.“We appreciate the interest in our organization and the support we continue to receive from across the globe.”
MONTREAL – An arraignment was postponed Thursday in the case of a man charged after a nationalist, far-right group stormed the Montreal newsroom of Vice Quebec.Raphael Levesque, the leader of the group known as Atalante, was arrested at his home in June and released on a promise to appear.The case was put off until Sept. 28.Levesque faces charges of breaking and entering, mischief, criminal harassment and intimidation.The charges stem from an incident in May when about a half-dozen members of the anti-immigration group gained entry to Vice’s newsroom in an apparent effort to intimidate journalists.Vice Quebec reported most of the protesters wore masks, dumped clown noses on the floor and threw leaflets around the newsroom.Quebec’s federation of journalists and Premier Philippe Couillard denounced the group’s actions as a form of intimidation.A number of anti-fascist protesters were outside the Montreal courthouse Thursday in the event Atalante members showed up.
TORONTO – Ryan Halladay was 39 when he began noticing blood in his stool. Doctors he visited over the next few months weren’t too concerned, dismissing the bleeding as likely being caused by hemorrhoids. A trip to the ER for pain caused by severe constipation was also brushed off. He was given a laxative and sent home.Had he been a decade or more older, his symptoms likely would have sent up a red flag. But because he was a young adult, a much more serious possibility wasn’t recognized.It turned out the married father of two young girls had colorectal cancer — a disease most commonly seen in people over age 50, but one that is increasingly occurring in adults in their 20s, 30s and 40s.“I was 39 years old — nothing is going to happen to you. You’re healthy, you’re invincible,” said Halladay, who was shocked to learn he had colon cancer.His diagnosis in late 2015 sent the Mississauga, Ont., family down a path they could never have imagined: he had radiation and chemotherapy to shrink the large tumour, then surgery to remove the remainder of the mass, followed by months of additional chemo.But in early 2017, doctors discovered the cancer had spread to his liver, leading to a third of the organ being removed. Followup scans over the next several months showed no sign of cancer and the family heaved a collective sigh of relief.The relief was short-lived: last November, Halladay started to experience back pain. Tests showed he had a new tumour on the outside of his colon. The surgeon told him and his wife, Christina, that it was unlikely more could be done.“We assumed from that that if the surgeon couldn’t do it, we were coming home so I could live it out until I died,” he said. “That day was tough and that night was tough.“And then we woke up the next day and said there’s got to be something.”The couple got in touch with Colorectal Cancer Canada, which directed them to the Young Adult Colorectal Cancer Clinic at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.Halladay had radical surgery — called a pelvic exenteration — to remove his bladder, prostate and rectum. He now wears two ostomy bags.“I always say they gutted me like a deer,” said the upbeat and positive Halladay, who has returned to work as a financial adviser while undergoing chemo.Surgical oncologist Dr. Shady Ashamalla, head of colon cancer surgery at Sunnybrook, said Halladay’s story is all too common; about 40 per cent of the 250 to 300 patients he operates on each year are under age 50.While the rate of colon cancer in North Americans over 50 is declining, likely due to screening programs, incidence of the disease is rising “exponentially” among younger adults, he said.A recent U.S. study found incidence has been going up by about one per cent per year for people in their 40s; 2.5 per cent annually for those in their 30s; and seven per cent a year among those in their 20s, he said.“Your chances of getting colon cancer as a young adult now is many times greater than it was at the same age in 1990, for example,” Ashamalla said. In fact, those born in 1990 have double the risk of colon cancer and quadruple the risk of rectal cancer compared to people born around 1950.Doctors aren’t sure why some people are developing the malignancy earlier in adulthood, but they point to such risk factors as diets high in red meat, sedentary lifestyles, excess alcohol intake, obesity and in some cases, family history.Barry Stein, president of Colorectal Cancer Canada, said about 1,500 young adults in this country are diagnosed each year with colorectal cancer, and too often many are dealing with advanced disease because either they or their doctors didn’t recognize symptoms for what they were.Stein and Ashamalla both stress that certain signs — rectal bleeding or blood in the stool; changes in bowel habits, including diarrhea or constipation, or a change in stool consistency; and persistent abdominal discomfort — should be scrutinized without delay to rule out cancer.“It behooves health-care practitioners, now with what we know, to really take any of these symptoms very seriously in all patients, regardless of age,” said Ashamalla. “And it’s important that patients bring these things to their family doctor or nurse practitioner to make sure they’re being investigated and not to just write things off.”It’s all about raising awareness, he said.That’s why the Halladays have thrown themselves into efforts to raise money for Colorectal Cancer Canada’s Never Too Young program, which is putting on an event in Toronto this Sunday called Bowl’n For My Colon. As of Thursday, participants had raised nearly $170,000 in pledges.For Christina Halladay, the goal is to make the fundraiser an annual event across Canada, with a longer-term objective of seeing Never Too Young clinics across this country, “because that is the only way that we are going to diminish the number of people who die of this disease.”She also wants to get the message out to young adults that they are not immune to colon cancer and to pay attention to any suspicious symptoms.Halladay doesn’t want others to go through the experiences her family has — including having to tell daughters Madeline and Lauren, now 12 and 14, three times about their father’s cancer diagnoses, seeing them “literally crumble” each time at the news.With her husband soon to finish his last round of chemo, Halladay hopes that his post-treatment scans will come back cancer-free and continue that way, “so that we can start to put this behind us.”“And instead of living every day waiting for the shoe to drop, we start to just live our lives.”Online: https://www.colorectalcancercanada.com/— Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
The Canadian Press Five stories in the news for Monday, Dec. 24———THOUSANDS STILL WITHOUT POWER IN B.C.Crews continue to repair broken transformers and retstring hydro lines after last Thursday’s fearsome windstorm in southwestern B.C., but officials say some customers will remain without power for several more days. Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands were among the hardest hit areas and hundreds of downed trees have left some roads impassable, which means BC Hydro hasn’t been able to complete full damage assessments. As of early Monday morning more than 25,000 hydro customers were still waiting for reconnections to the power grid.———STANDOFFS PROMPT RCMP ‘CALL FOR ACTION’ IN IQALUITMounties in Nunavut have issued a “call for action” asking people to secure their guns after two recent standoffs, including one where a man opened fire on officers. Iqaluit RCMP say a man barricaded himself in a home on Saturday, and during an ensuing three-hour standoff opened fire on police and vehicles passing by. The standoff ended with the arrest of a suspect, and no one was injured. But police say it’s the second critical incident in Iqaluit in a week, and they’re urging gun owners to take immediate action to secure firearms and ammunition.———SINGH PLANS A JANUARY FULL OF CAMPAIGNINGIt will be a busy January for NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh as he looks to get a much-needed seat in the House of Commons. Singh plans to hunker down next month in the B.C. riding of Burnaby-South as he tries to check “elected” off his to-do list for a critical campaign year ahead. The byelection, expected in February, will mark Singh’s biggest political test to date while he also tries to calm party fears about weak fundraising, slumping poll numbers and a growing list of veteran MPs who say they won’t be running in 2019.———PEOPLE’S PARTY RUNNING FULL SLATE: BERNIERThe People’s Party of Canada says it has reached its goal of setting up 338 riding associations as it focuses on being a force in the next federal election. In an email to supporters, leader Maxime Bernier says attaining the goal amounts to a “gift of hope” for Canadians seeking to bring back freedom, responsibility, fairness and respect to the country. Bernier was a Conservative MP for more than a decade before he left to launch his own party. He says his one Christmas wish is for members of his new party to fill its coffers with financial contributions.———INVASIVE SPECIES COST ECONOMY BILLIONSFor two decades experts have been nursing a community of endangered northern leopard frogs in B.C.’s Kootenay region. But invasive bullfrogs and fish threaten to muscle in, potentially swallowing years of work. Bullfrogs are native to parts of Central and Eastern Canada, but they have overtaken parts of southern B.C. and are known to eat native fish, frogs, salamanders, snakes, birds and turtles. Experts say the plight of the spotted frog is one of many examples of how invasive species can leave a lasting scar on the landscape, at a huge cost to Canada’s economy.———
BEIJIN, China — China is rebuffing the latest broadside from Canada over its detention of Canadian citizens, rejecting the assertion that China’s behaviour poses a threat to all nations.Instead, foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said today that people from China could be at risk following Canada’s detention of a Chinese telecom executive for “no reason.”The remark was triggered by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s comment Wednesday that “the arbitrary detentions of Canadians … represent a way of behaving which is a threat to all countries.”Hua said Freeland may have spoken without thinking, and that such remarks won’t help settle the issue.China detained two Canadians in what Western analysts see as an attempt to pressure Canada to release Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, who was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the U.S.The back-and-forth accusations intensified after China sentenced Canadian Robert Lloyd Schellenberg to death earlier this week for alleged drug smuggling.– With files from APThe Canadian Press
OTTAWA — A shortage of experienced pilots is forcing the Royal Canadian Air Force to walk a delicate line between keeping enough seasoned aviators available to train new recruits and lead missions in the air.Air force commander Lt.-Gen. Al Meinzinger described the balancing act during a recent interview with The Canadian Press in which he also revealed many pilots today are likely to have less experience than counterparts in similar positions 10 years ago.Much of the problem can be traced back to veteran aviators leaving for commercial jobs, or other opportunities outside the military, forcing senior commanders into a juggling act over where to put those still in uniform.The dip in experience as veteran aviators leave for commercial jobs or other opportunities has forced senior commanders to juggle where to put those still in uniform.“In order to (support) your training system … you’ve got to pull experienced pilots into those positions, but you have to have experienced pilots on the squadrons to season the youth that are joining the units,” he said.“So it’s a bit of a delicate balance. And when you’re in a situation where you don’t have as much experience, broadly speaking, you’ve got to balance that very carefully. Hence the idea of retaining as much talent as we can.”Fixing the problems created by the shortage will become especially critical if the air force is to be ready for the arrival of replacements for the CF-18s.Meinzinger said such transitions from one aircraft to another are particularly difficult — the RCAF needs to keep the same number of planes in the air to fly missions and have senior aviators train new pilots, while still sending seasoned pilots for training on the incoming fleet.“Ideally you want to go into those transitions very, very healthy with 100 per cent manning and more experience than you could ever imagine,” Meinzinger said.While he is confident the military can address its pilot shortage in the next few years, especially when it comes to those responsible for manning Canada’s fighter jets, the stakes to get it right are extremely high.The federal auditor general reported in November that the military doesn’t have enough pilots and mechanics to fly and maintain the country’s CF-18 fighter jets. Air force officials revealed in September they were short 275 pilots and need more mechanics, sensor operators and other trained personnel across its different aircraft fleets.There are concerns the deficit will get worse as a result of explosive growth predicted in the global commercial airline sector, which could pull many experienced military pilots out of uniform.“That’s the expectation, that Canada will need an additional 7,000 to 8,000 pilots just to nourish the demands within the Canadian aerospace sector,” Meinzinger said. “And we don’t have the capacity as a nation to produce even half of that.”Within the military, there also hasn’t been enough new pilots produced to replace the number who have left. The auditor general found that while 40 fighter pilots recently left the Forces, only 30 new ones were trained.The military is working on a contract for a new training program that will let the air force increase the number of new pilots trained in a given year when necessary, as the current program allows only a fixed number to be produced.Meanwhile, Meinzinger said the loss of more seasoned pilots means others are being asked to take on more responsibility earlier in their careers, though he denied any significant impact on training or missions. He said the military is managing the situation through the use of new technology, such as simulators, to ensure the air force can still do its job.“There’s no doubt commanding officers today in RCAF squadrons, they have probably less flying hours than they did 10 years ago,” he said.“What that (commanding officer) has today is probably an exposure to 21st-century technology and training. So I think that certainly offsets the reduction of flying hours.”Meinzinger and other top military commanders are nonetheless seized with the importance of keeping veteran pilots in uniform to ensure those climbing into the cockpit for the first time have someone to look to for guidance — now and in the future.New retention strategies are being rolled out that include better support for military families, increased certainty for pilots in terms of career progression and a concerted effort to keep them in the cockpit and away from desks and administrative work.Other militaries, notably the U.S., that are struggling with a shortage of pilots have introduced financial bonuses and other measures to stay in uniform. Meinzinger couldn’t commit to such an initiative, but did say that “nothing is off the table.”The situation may not represent an existential crisis, at least not yet, but officials know it is one that needs to be addressed if Canada’s air force is to continue operating at top levels for the foreseeable future.“Experience is what allows us to (transfer knowledge) and grow for the future,” Meinzinger said. “And that’s why I talk about it as being kind of the centre of gravity. In the extreme, if you lose all your experience, you can’t regenerate yourself.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — A tree described as one of the true giants of the herbaceous plant world is bringing some tropical warmth to British Columbia.The Vancouver Park Board says a plant native to the Canary Islands and rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park.The tree echium, also known as snow tower, produces white flowers on a spike up to 4.5-metres high, but horticulturalists say the blooms will only last about two months.A news release from the park board says staff acquired some seeds from the endangered plant about two year and nurtured the plant from the seedlings.The park board says common names for the stunning plant range from tower of jewels, to pine echium and even giant viper’s bugloss.Whatever the name, park board chairman Stuart Mackinnon expects the exotic, beautiful and very tall plants will excite plant lovers.“Flower buds will continue to unfurl and expand over the bloom phase, making the flower stalk wider and more impressive over time,” Mackinnon says in the release. The snow tower is expected to continue flowering into June before completing its life cycle and then dying.The park board has also acquired seeds of several other varieties of echium that aren’t as tall as the snow tower but are considered just as lovely.Tree echiums with blue flowers are already growing in another part of Queen Elizabeth Park, in Morton Park near the Laughing Men statues in downtown Vancouver and at the entrance to VanDusen Botanical Garden on Vancouver’s west side. The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Tech giants will be in the hot seat this week as politicians from Canada and 10 other countries gather to consider how best to protect citizens’ privacy and their democracies in the age of big data.The international grand committee on big data, privacy and democracy is meeting in Ottawa for three days, starting today.It will hear from experts on how best governments can prevent the use of social media to violate individuals’ privacy, spread fake news, sow dissension and manipulate election outcomes.Committee members will also grill representatives from a host of internet giants — Facebook, Google, Twitter, Microsoft, Amazon and Mozilla — on what they’re doing, or not doing, to prevent abuse.The grand committee is made up of politicians from Canada, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Ireland, Latvia and Singapore.This week’s meeting — the second since last year’s inaugural gathering in the U.K. — is being hosted by the House of Commons committee on access to information, privacy and ethics. The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The search for a missing Quebec businessman and his teen son who haven’t been heard from in a week continued today as search and rescue teams focused on a narrowed search area.Businessman Stephane Roy and his 14-year-old son Justin were reported missing after failing to return home from a fishing trip as planned last Wednesday aboard a Robinson R44 helicopter.Capt. Trevor Reid of the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Trenton, Ont., says a 4,000-square-kilometre area northwest of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was targeted based on cellular phone data obtained by Quebec provincial police.The pair were reported missing last Thursday after they didn’t return from a chalet in Lac de la Bidiere, a remote area in the upper Laurentians regions west of La Tuque, Que.Helicopters and two Hercules aircraft are in the air today, but Reid says searches will likely be hampered by stormy weather expected later in the day.Roy is the founder and owner of Les Serres Sagami Inc., which produces greenhouse-grown tomatoes and other produce under the Sagami and Savoura brands.The Canadian Press
A Toronto woman has launched legal action against two titans of the fashion world, alleging misapplied makeup has caused the “complete loss of her enjoyment of life.”Tracey Dunn’s complaint against designer Gucci America Inc. and luxury retailer Saks Fifth Avenue alleges an aggressive salesman applied eyeliner against her will during a 2016 trip to New York City.The encounter, Dunn alleges, has ravaged her physical appearance by causing her to lose her eyelashes, compromised her vision and permanently changed her life.“The plaintiff’s eyelashes and vision was (sic) affected and the plaintiff suffered serious injuries, a permanent disability, pain and suffering, lost wages and medical expenses,” reads Dunn’s complaint filed in the Supreme Court of New York earlier this week.Neither Dunn, Gucci nor Saks Fifth Avenue responded to a request for comment on the legal action. None of the assertions contained in Dunn’s filing have been tested in court.The complaint alleges Dunn’s contact with Gucci and Saks began on July 31, 2016 while she was enjoying a surprise birthday weekend in New York City with various family members.Dunn, a real estate agent, said she and her relatives went to the Saks flagship location in Manhattan that morning and encountered a person positioning himself as a representative for Gucci.Dunn alleges the man began applying eye liner without her consent and without cleaning or sharpening the applicator.“He proceeded suddenly, forcefully and vigorously…with the application of the eyeliner to the inside and outside of her eyelids,” the complaint reads. “Immediately the plaintiff’s eyes began hurting and watering.”Dunn’s filing said she returned to the hotel to try and remove the eyeliner, only to find it had clumped and stuck along her eyelids and lashes.She consulted with various doctors including an ophthalmologist once she returned to Toronto, but Dunn alleges the misapplied eyeliner ultimately led to the permanent loss of her eyelashes. The filing does not disclose details on how her lashes sustained lasting damage.In addition to the physical “disfigurement” that she says has shattered her confidence and curtailed her professional activities, Dunn claims she struggles with ongoing physical and emotional symptoms as well.“The plaintiff still suffers with blurry vision, an inability to read for long periods of time, pain, soreness and sensitivity,” the complaint reads. “The plaintiff’s self-esteem has been dramatically altered. She has suffered from weight gain and complete lack of self-confidence because of the disfigurement caused her by the defendants.”Dunn’s complaint said her professional prospects have suffered as well, alleging her lost confidence and compromised vision have left her unable to attend the galas and social events she described as necessary for her real estate business. The court filing shows Dunn is seeking $2.25 million in lost income and various damages as a result of the encounter. Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press