New Delhi: The Centre has removed the VIP security cover of several politicians and lawmakers, including RJD boss Lalu Prasad and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav, while it has scaled down the protection category of many others after reviewing over 130 cases, official sources said Tuesday. This is the first full-scale review of VIP protectees by the Union home ministry after the Modi 2.0 government took charge. Sources said the top level ‘Z+’ category NSG cover of former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, ‘Z’ cover of former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad, BJP MP and former minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, former BJP members Kirti Azad and Shatrughan Sinha, newly- appointed Himachal Pradesh Governor Kalraj Mishra, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, two granddaughters and a grandson of former President Pranab Mukherjee, daughter and grandson of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has been taken off from the central list or has been removed. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’These VIPs were being secured by the armed commandos of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) like the CRPF, CISF, the elite counter-terror force NSG and the Delhi Police. Others whose security has been withdrawn include minister in Uttar Pradesh government Suresh Rana, Member of Parliament from Bihar’s Vaishali seat Veena Devi, ex-MP from the state Uday Singh, Uttar Pradesh minister Brajesh Pathak, BJP politician Anupam Hazra, ISRO Chairman K Sivan, former scientific adviser R Chidambaram and Congress leader Deependra Hooda. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KBJP Rajya Sabha MP O P Mathur; Achrya Pramod Krishnam, who unsuccessfully contested from the Lucknow parliamentary seat on a Congress ticket; RSS leader Indresh Kumar; former BJP MP Udit Raj; and sitting BJP MP from Etawah Ram Shankar Katheria have also been taken off from the protection list of central security forces. The cover of Uttar Pradesh Deputy CM Dinesh Sharma, Congress leader Avtar Singh Bhadana, Punjab minister Rana Gurmit Sodhi, ex-Bihar MP Sabir Ali, Congress MP from Punjab, Pratap Singh Bajwa, VC of Manipur University Adya Prasad Pandey, space scientist T K Alex and few others have also been taken off the central list, according to latest orders issued by the Union home ministry. Separately, the security provided by the CAPF commandos to BSP MP Satish Chandra Mishra, former Jharkhand CM Babulal Marandi, BJP MLA from Uttar Pradesh Sangeet Som, Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan’s MP son Chirag Paswan, ex-MP Rajesh Ranjan alias Pappu Yadav and former CRPF Directors General (DG) K Vijay Kumar and Prakash Mishra has been scaled down. The security categorisation of Abhijeet Mukherjee, MP son of ex-President Pranab Mukherjee, Congress leader Anand Sharma, Raj Babbar, Digvijay Singh, A K Antony, Manish Tewari, Loktantrik Janata Dal Party leader Sharad Yadav, CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee’s foster daughter Namita Kaul Bhattacharya and former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha has also been downgraded. Former Congress MP Ravneet Singh Bittu, ex-Punjab minister Bikram Singh Majithia, NIA Inspector General G P Singh, Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath and Additional Sessions Judge in Delhi O P Saini are among others whose security categorisation has been downgraded under different heads. Some of those who have been removed from the central list will be taken care off by the police units of various state governments, they said. The home Ministry on Monday went through the threat perception reports of over 130 VIPs which were prepared by central security agencies after which the categories were either removed or reviewed, they said.
Karachi: Former Pakistan batsman Mohsin Khan Saturday threw his hat into the ring for the national team head coach’s job left vacant after the cricket board decided not to renew South African Mickey Arthur’s contract. Mohsin, who has remained a chief selector and also the interim head coach of the national team, said at a function here that the PCB could easily find a capable person from the country to coach the national team. “I have been offered positions twice thrice by the previous board set-up but I did not accept because I could not work with a corrupt set-up. But I am willing to work with this set-up provided they show respect to their own players,” he said. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Asked if he has applied for the head coach’s job, Mohsin said since it was a requirement he will do it but insisted the process was not necessary when appointing local coaches. He said Pakistan team does not need a foreign coach and foreign support staff. “What have these foreign coaches achieved when the board has hired them. What did Arthur achieve,” he questioned. Mohsin said if he is offered any position by the Board, he would make it clear he would not compromise on discipline. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later “Sometimes, I feel those people have not utilised my expertise as they know I am not corrupt and will not do any hanky panky,” said Mohsin who played 48 Tests between 1978 and 1986. Former Pakistan opener Aamir Sohail, who has also served as chief selector in the past, said the Cricket Committee headed by Wasim Khan had taken the right decision to give marching orders to Arthur and his support staff. “Yes, it was the right thing to do after three years but what is important is to see what happens now. I think we have enough capable people in our own country who can do a good job with the team,” Sohail said. He also noted that the PCB needed to change its priorities. “They have asked for coaches qualified to run so many software programmes to apply for the coaching positions and the funny thing is that what steps does the board take to educate its own local coaches in such programmes,” he said.
With the President’s assent to Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, two Union Territories: Ladakh and Jammu & Kashmir will officially come into existence on October 31, coinciding with the birth anniversary of the Iron Man of India. Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel was the first Home Minister of sovereign India and was instrumental in the integration of nearly 565 princely states into the Union of India following Independence. The Parliament had earlier footed the proposal of bifurcating the culturally and geographically diverse and politically sensitive state. This splitting up of Jammu and Kashmir state is definitely a very daring move which is bound to have far-reaching consequences as it will politically reconfigure the region. The purpose of this split is primarily to contain and eradicate the protracted militancy in Kashmir. But, on the less-talked-about side, there are more pragmatic reasons to have specific approaches to specific regions for optimal function. As it is in the case of Union Territories, law and order is the responsibility of the Central government. In the composite Jammu and Kashmir state inclusive of Ladakh, the valley-based (much smaller in proportion) politics unfairly dominated the politics and political status of the entire state; meaning thereby that visibility was virtually denied to the non-Kashmir entities of the state. Ladakh region was for long in want of the Union Territory status but could not assert its demand due to dearth of numbers. Now that the bifurcation has been mandated, a more methodical approach to the development and governance of India’s northern most region can be undertaken. It needs to be clarified that this spilt, in effect, has no pertinence with communal leanings. The Ladakh region is largely segregated as an ethnically distinct, Buddhist-dominated area with a particular concentration of Muslims in Kargil district. Yet, after the recent development, the Muslim-majority district of Kargil remains with the Buddhist Ladakh and Hindu-dominant Jammu stays administratively conjoined with Kashmir. Also Read – A compounding difficultyA glimpse into how the states were organised and reorganised in Independent India will be crucial to understanding the relevance of the Modi government’s bold and dramatic move. It was 1953 that the first linguistic state of Andhra Pradesh was created for Telgu-speaking populace in the expansive state of Madras. The government at that time was compelled to carve out a separate Telgu territory in the face of prolonged agitation and death of Potti Sriramulu after a 56-day hunger strike. This led to similar demands of carving out separate territories from the mainland on linguistic basis. In 1960, the state of Bombay was disintegrated to create the states of Gujarat and Maharashtra after violence and agitation made it necessary to take this step. In the Northeast, in 1963, Nagaland was born for the Naga people. The Shah Commission report of April 1966 materialised the Punjab Reorganisation Act, following which, Haryana got the Punjabi-speaking areas and the hilly terrains went to (the then Union Territory of) Himachal Pradesh. It was in 1971 that the state of Himachal Pradesh came into existence. Other Union Territories of Tripura and Manipur were also eventually converted to states. The disputed status of Sikkim region was accorded statehood in 1975 and Arunachal Pradesh in 1987. In November 2000, three new states were carved out of existing larger states, bringing into existence Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, and Uttarakhand (then Uttaranchal) from Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, and Uttar Pradesh respectively. Telangana is the latest addition to the list of Indian states since June 2, 2014. There is a reason for making language the basic criterion for division of states. With language as a common factor connecting people of a region, the participation of local people in the administration and order is better ensured since communication will not be a barrier. This will also lead to the development of vernacular languages and in turn preserve cultural heritages with some degree of exclusivity – something which was long ignored by the British rule. Along similar lines of reason, governance is made easier also when geographical features are shared. Cultural and social affiliations and necessary to take into account to connect effectively with the local people. This will subsequently lead to economic development which will open the doors to greater prosperity. Chattisgarh is an apt example, the state is witnessing remarkable overall development after it split from Madhya Pradesh because development in this region was ignored for decades together. Also Read – An askew democracyA good and prospering state is definitely a national asset. It makes perfect sense to create favourable conditions for the upliftment and betterment of a state or to take control of a region for this motive. With adequate opportunities for growth, a region thrives with prosperity. Additionally, for the sake of better representation, political entities tend to associate themselves with identity politics. This has its consequences with respect to exclusivity which is not ideal but with such specific approaches, less visible communities find voice and representation. Hence, if a political move results in safeguarding social and cultural identities, it is bold, it could be met with caustic criticisms, but, then, it is a right thing to do in the long run. As historical records inform, the political or constitutional status of a region is not permanent and can always change depending on how the state is run. Whether as a state or as a Union Territory, autonomy can always be earned if the government of the place performs well. With respect to the two new Union territories, here is hoping that Kashmir and Kargil wake up to a peaceful and happy Eid.
New Delhi: Around 12.19 lakh jobs were created in June, lower than 12.88 lakh added in the previous month, according to the latest payroll data from the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC). Gross enrolments of new subscribers with the ESIC were 1.49 crore during 2018-19, a report released by National Statistical Office (NSO) stated. The NSO report is based on the payroll data of new subscribers of various social security schemes run by ESIC, retirement fund body EPFO and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA). Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe NSO has been releasing the payroll data or new subscribers data of these three bodies since April 2018 covering a period starting from September 2017. The report showed that gross new enrolments with the ESIC during September 2017 to March 2018 were 86.73 lakh. It showed that a net of 12.36 lakh new enrolments with the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) were recorded in June, higher as compared with 8.56 lakh in May this year. During 2018-19, 61.12 lakh new subscribers on a net basis joined the social security schemes run by the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation. Similarly, the net new enrolments were 15.52 lakh during September 2017 to March 2018. It said that since the number of subscribers are from various sources, there are elements of overlap and the estimates are not additive.
Chandigarh: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday rejected a petition seeking parole for controversial Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh who is serving a 20-year jail sentence for raping two of his disciples. His wife, Harjeet Kaur, had sought his release on parole for three weeks for him to take care of his ailing mother Naseeb Kaur who is 85. The court was of the opinion that Ram Rahim could himself file the plea. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The parole was sought on the grounds that the convict had earned “good conduct remission reports”. The court reportedly rapped the petitioner saying Ram Rahim’s mother should be treated at the large hospital run by his sect. It also said that his family was already living with his mother to take care of her. Earlier, jail authorities in Rohtak, where Ram Rahim is serving his sentence, had refused to grant him parole to meet his ailing mother. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The decision not to grant parole was taken by Jail Superintendent Sunil Sangwan on August 9 after Justice Kuldip Singh of the Punjab and Haryana High Court directed the state to take a decision on the representation by Ram Rahim’s wife. She moved the parole plea saying that Ram Rahim’s mother was suffering from heart disease and she was not taking treatment in the absence of her son. Ram Rahim (51) is currently lodged at the high-security Sunaria jail in Rohtak, 250 kms from Chandigarh. Ram Rahim had withdrawn his parole plea in June at the last minute after the state BJP government was cornered by opposition parties for favouring the sect chief who had sought a parole of 42 days for tending to the sprawling fields in his sect’s headquarters in Sirsa town. Before that the high court had in May rejected Ram Rahim’s parole plea for attending the wedding ceremony of his foster daughters. Ram Rahim was sentenced to 20 years in jail in August 2017 for raping two women. A special CBI court in Panchkula this January also sentenced him and three others to life imprisonment for the murder of a journalist over 16 years ago. In jail Ram Rahim spends most of his time growing vegetables and fruits and daily earns Rs 20 for eight hours of farming which comes under the unskilled work category. As per the jail superintendent, Ram Rahim’s conduct in jail is like a “disciplined inmate”. His conviction on August 25, 2017 had led to violence in Panchkula and Sirsa, leaving 41 people dead and over 260 injured. Ram Rahim was patronised by political leaders and parties in Punjab and Haryana for nearly two decades due to his ability to influence the votes of his followers.
OTTAWA – The federal science minister says universities aren’t doing the heavy lifting to appoint more female research chairs, so she wants to force their hands.On her way to give a speech Wednesday to university presidents in Montreal, Kirsty Duncan was handed the latest statistics on the number of men and women among applicants for new Canada Research Chair positions.“They’re dismal,” Duncan said in an interview with The Canadian Press. “There were two times more men nominated than women.”The Canada Research Chairs program was implemented 17 years ago to create 2,000 research positions at universities across the country to push for excellence in engineering, natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. Canada spends $265 million a year on the program.As of December 2016, women held 30 per cent of the 1,612 filled positions.“The bar isn’t moving and that can’t continue,” Duncan said, noting that she even ad-libbed part of her speech because of it: “I let them know I was very disappointed with the results.”In 2006, the Canada Research Chairs Program settled a complaint with the Canada Human Rights Commission brought by eight women who complained about discrimination in the awarding of the positions. In 2009, universities set targets to try and increase the number of research chairs who are women, visible minorities, indigenous people and people with disabilities. In 2012, universities had to start reporting their progress on these targets annually.Duncan said if the voluntary program isn’t working, she is open to forcing the issue — but would not say how that would work. Last fall she required new equity reporting and planning reports to be submitted with new applications for the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program, after she discovered only one of the 28 chairs was female. That program focuses on science and technology research.University of Regina president Vianne Timmons said university administrators are very aware of the diversity issue and that it is a problem across university programs, not just the Canada Research Chairs. She said the presidents had already met to discuss the problem Wednesday before Duncan’s speech.“It’s a real challenge,” she said. “I hope the minister will recognize she doesn’t have to force the issue.”Timmons said part of the challenge is that women, for a number of reasons, are not applying for these roles in the same numbers as men. One of the answers is that university leaders, both men and women, have to be more assertive in recruiting women and other underrepresented groups.“I’ve been pretty aggressive in shoulder-tapping women and encouraging them to apply,” she said.Last fall, University of Ottawa professor Amir Attaran and University of New Brunswick professor Wendy Robbins made a submission to the Fundamental Science Review panel set up by Duncan, in which they recommended a number of improvements to the equity program. That included denying grants to universities who failed to meet the equity targets.Since there are no penalties for not meeting the targets, there is no incentive for universities to do anything, they argued. Robbins was one of the eight professors who brought the initial human rights complaint in 2006. Attaran filed a new complaint last year arguing there is evidence of systemic discrimination in the program, including against himself. His chair position was not renewed in 2015.That case is still pending, though the Tri-Agency Institutional Programs Secretariat which administers the program, denies all of Attaran’s allegations.Duncan said Canada lags behind other nations when it comes to women in science; only 36 per cent of PhDs in science in Canada are earned by women, compared with 49 per cent in the U.K. and 46 per cent in the United States.In 1987, just 20 per cent of the people working in science, technology, engineering and math fields were female, a number that has grown to just 22 per cent today.Follow @mrabson on Twitter
OTTAWA – Defence officials and fighter-jet makers have circled a date in late September as the make-or-break moment for the Liberal government’s plan to buy interim Super Hornets fighter jets from U.S. firm Boeing.The purchase has been largely in limbo since the Liberals threatened to cancel the planned purchase in May because of Boeing’s trade dispute with Canadian aerospace company Bombardier.Industry sources say there has been no contact between Boeing and the government for several months, and most now believe any purchase will be contingent on what happens on Sept. 25.That is when the U.S. Commerce Department will present the findings of its investigation into whether Bombardier sold its CSeries passenger jets at an unfairly low price with help from federal subsidies.A guilty finding could result in fines or tariffs being imposed on Bombardier, but could also prompt the Liberal government, which has criticized the investigation, to pull the plug on any deal with Boeing.Some of Boeing’s rivals are already positioning themselves to pounce if the government does back away from buying Super Hornets, and begins looking for other options.The president of defence giant Lockheed Martin, Marillyn Hewson, recently wrote to several Liberal cabinet ministers promising a good price and quick delivery of its F-35 stealth fighters.“We respectfully request the government of Canada consider the F-35 aircraft … that it can acquire for the same price and within the same schedule as (a Super Hornet),” Hewson wrote.Several other fighter-jet makers have made similar pitches in recent months.While the government has so far refused to offer any formal response to Boeing’s rivals, it has also left the door wide open should it decide to head in a different direction.“We continue to explore many options to provide an interim solution to supplement the CF-18s,” said Mary-Rose Brown, a spokeswoman for Jim Carr, the acting public procurement minister.“We have not yet made a decision. Discussions must demonstrate that the interim fleet is appropriately capable and can be obtained at a cost, schedule, and economic value that are acceptable to Canadians.”Work on a potential purchase of interim Super Hornets hasn’t ground to a complete halt, despite the lack of contact between Boeing and the government.Any sale of Super Hornets would actually go through the U.S. government, which has been collecting information from Boeing about how much the planes would cost and when they could be delivered.But while American officials were expected to provide that information to their Canadian counterparts by the end of next week, sources say that has been delayed until late September or early October.Neither Brown nor a U.S. State Department spokeswoman would not comment on the delay Friday.The Trudeau government announced in November its plan to purchase the planes to temporarily fill a critical shortage of fighter jets until a full competition to replace Canada’s aging CF-18s.The government said at the time that the Super Hornet was the only aircraft able to meet its immediate requirements, including being a mature design compatible with U.S. fighters.Many defence experts, including 13 retired air force commanders, have criticized the Liberals’ plan to purchase interim Super Hornets and called for an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.
OTTAWA – Retired Sgt. Toby Miller can easily remember the day he was injured by an improvised-explosive device in Afghanistan. It was April 2, 2011 — his 41st birthday, and the beginning of the end of his military career.Miller returned to duty a short time later, but he knew something wasn’t right. When a comrade noticed that he wasn’t doing well and suggested he seek help, Miller decided that might be best.“I went into that meeting and it was abundantly clear to the psychologist that I was probably in no shape to still be doing the job,” Miller recalled during a recent phone interview from his home in Comox, B.C.“I was eventually diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries. There are three dark spots on the left side of my brain that indicate some likely dead spots. And PTSD. I had nightmares for a long time. I still do.”Seeking help for PTSD and even leaving the military are hard enough for many service members, especially those who have never known anything else but life in the Canadian Armed Forces.But Miller faced some unique challenges. That’s because he was a member of the Canadian Special Operations Regiment, or CSOR, one of the country’s elite special forces units.Canada’s special forces often operate in the shadows, meaning many of their deeds may go unnoticed and unrecognized this Remembrance Day.But when the government unveiled its plan to combat suicide and improve the mental health of military personnel and veterans last month, it included four initiatives specifically aimed at the special forces.It was a public acknowledgment that Canada’s elite soldiers have different needs than the rest of the Armed Forces.The Canadian military currently has only about 2,000 special forces personnel divided among six different units, including Joint Task Force 2, CSOR, and a unit that responds to biological, chemical and nuclear incidents.The unique demands placed on that small community include continuous training; an emphasis on secrecy, even with family and friends; frequent deployments; and zero tolerance for failure.“You’ve got this higher tempo, you’ve got this smaller team dynamic, and the sense of self-expectation is extremely high,” said retired lieutenant-general Mike Day, a former commander of Canadian special forces.“All of that combines to make it a pretty stressful environment.”The military has established an elaborate selection process to identify those who can handle the demands and stress of a career in the special forces, which includes psychological testing and other screening.There is also already training to help special forces operators, as they are known, deal with potential stressors, and ready access to psychologists and other mental-health services.But Brig.-Gen. Peter Dawe, deputy commander of Canada’s special forces, acknowledged there was room for improvement, which is why the suicide prevention strategy included plans to study and improve resiliency.“We have an obligation that before we send our people into harm’s way, that we’ve given them the tools … to process what they’re seeing, what they’re doing in that kind of a stress environment,” he said in an interview.The military also plans to take a closer look at the unique challenges that special forces members face when they leave the Forces — either by choice or because of medical conditions — to ensure there are no gaps.For Miller, those challenges included the fact that he could not speak openly about his experiences as a special forces operator, even with other military personnel and family members.“It took a very long time for my wife to get everything out of me, and she was in the military,” he said. “So when you’re trying to go to counselling with a group of soldiers, you can’t just speak your mind.”Many of Canada’s special forces soldiers have done multiple tours to Iraq over the past three years, and between that and various other lesser-known missions, they have been busier than ever.That is part of the reason the government plans to add another 600 members to the command.Dawe acknowledged his soldiers are being worked very hard, but he said commanders are monitoring their people closely. And the new initiatives included in the suicide prevention strategy should help make the special forces even stronger.“Because,” he said, “we know that ultimately, the success of this command and the success of this institution are dependent on the welfare of our troops.”
LONDON, Ont. – The Trudeau government intends to create an independent body to organize leaders’ debates during federal elections — and hopes to have it in place in time for the 2019 campaign.Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould is inviting people to provide ideas for how an arm’s-length, election debate commissioner or commission should work.She’s giving them until Feb. 9 to provide online feedback.Over the next few weeks, she’ll also be holding roundtable discussions across the country with academics, media leaders and public interest groups, to be moderated by the Institute for Research on Public Policy.The issue is also currently being studied by a House of Commons committee.Gould says the goal is to have an independent commissioner or commission in place before the next federal election in 2019.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised during the 2015 campaign, when the issue became a political football, to create an independent body to organize future leaders’ debates.Until 2015, Canadian voters traditionally got at least two opportunities during each campaign to assess party leaders in televised debates — one French, one English — organized by a consortium of broadcasters.During each campaign, the format of those debates, as well as which leaders would be invited to take part, was negotiated among the consortium members and the parties, each of which would try to advance their own interests.The politicization of the debates got worse in 2015 when the Conservatives served notice that Stephen Harper, then the prime minister, would not participate in consortium-organized debates.A series of other debates, organized by a variety of media outlets, were held instead but reached a much smaller audience.
TORONTO – An obstetrician who admitted to inducing labour in numerous patients without their knowledge or consent violated core tenets of the profession and denied women in his care some of their basic rights, Ontario’s medical regulator ruled as it revoked the doctor’s right to practise in the province.The College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario said Dr. Paul Shuen routinely administered medication to induce labour without discussing the matter with his patients. An agreed statement of facts also said Shuen denied doing so on multiple occasions before confessing that he’d engaged in the practice for more than a decade.“The committee finds Dr. Shuen’s actions to be egregious, highly offensive, and intolerable,” the college said in a decision released this week. “His actions in placing patients at potential harm, his untruthfulness, and his placement of self-interest above his patient’s best interest are contrary to the fundamental values of the medical profession.”Lawyers representing Shuen declined to comment on the college’s ruling and disciplinary measures, which include revoking his certification and a fine of more than $40,000.Shuen, 69, had been an obstetrician with privileges at the North York General Hospital in north Toronto.According to the agreed statement of facts presented in the college’s decision, concerns first arose in 2013 when a nurse found a white, powdery tablet in the vagina of one of Shuen’s patients. The medication was suspected to be misoprostol, which induces uteran contractions, though analysis was not performed on the pill at that time.The same thing happened again in August 2015, the college said, adding Shuen denied administering the medication on both occasions.The 2013 patient’s medical chart did not indicate any orders for misoprostol, and the 2015 patient told the hospital she had not consented to having the medication administered.Further concerns arose one day in May 2016 when five of Dr. Shuen’s patients all arrived at the hospital with rapid labours. An incident report filed that day raised questions about whether labour was being induced at Shuen’s office, noting the surge of patients was unusual.One of the patients required an immediate cesarean section, the report noted, adding that if induction measures were being used at the office, the approach would fall “outside of best practices with respect to monitoring for patients.”Weeks later another patient came to hospital in advanced labour, a circumstance that surprised staff given it was the woman’s first birth. The hospital launched an investigation after a nurse completed an internal exam and found white pill fragments.The investigation involved conducting chemical analyses on the pills recovered from patients in 2015 and 2016, which determined the pills were misoprostol tablets.Shuen continued to deny administering the medication even after being confronted with the analysis evidence, the college said, adding he only admitted to the practice after learning he could have his hospital privileges revoked.At that time, the college said, he confessed to inducing labour in multiple patients for more than a decade. Shuen said he did not discuss this step with his patients, nor did he obtain their consent for the inductions, document his use of misoprostol in their medical charts, or monitor them after administering the medication.“The impact of Dr. Shuen’s behaviour on obstetrical patients who are particularly vulnerable when close to delivery cannot be minimized,” the college said in its decision. “No woman should ever have to question being treated surreptitiously and without consent … He denied them a fundamental patient right, the right to choose.”The college said Shuen offered several reasons for his actions, including a wish to bypass hospital bureaucracy as well as “financial gain.” One billing model prevalent in the province involves doctors being paid for each procedure they complete, though the decision did not specify whether this was the approach being used in Shuen’s office.The college also took Shuen to task for placing unnecessary stress and burden on hospital staff during the 2016 influx of rapid labours.In finding that Shuen had failed to maintain necessary professional standards, the college said revoking his certification to practice in Ontario was a necessary step.“Dr. Shuen has demonstrated by his actions that he cannot be trusted and is not worthy of the trust invested by the public in the medical profession,” the decision reads.“Revocation is necessary to uphold the reputation of the profession and to ensure that the public has confidence that physicians will follow accepted standards of practice and act with honesty and integrity.”
TORONTO – With less than a month before classes resume, Ontario school boards say they still have not received teaching materials related to the older sex-ed curriculum the province expects them to use this fall.A spokeswoman for the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association says that to her knowledge, the boards have also not received any instructions on the issue from the Progressive Conservative government.The government announced last month that it would fulfil its campaign promise to scrap a modernized version of the curriculum — which included warnings about online bullying and sexting — and temporarily reinstate an older version last updated in 1998 while it conducts consultations on the document’s future.But there has been confusion about what teachers will be expected to teach following conflicting messages from Education Minister Lisa Thompson, who told reporters last month that only a portion of the curriculum would be rolled back, only to reverse course hours later by saying the full document would be scrapped.A spokesman for the minister said Thursday that school boards would receive instructions and materials “in the near future,” but did not immediately respond when asked whether that would happen before school starts in September.The previous Liberal government had updated the sex-ed curriculum in 2015.Opponents, particularly social conservatives, objected to the parts of the plan addressing same-sex marriage, gender identity and masturbation, and Premier Doug Ford vowed during the spring election campaign that a Tory government would replace the document with a teaching plan that was “age appropriate.”Tory House Leader Todd Smith said Thursday that the government has been clear about its expectations when it comes to sex ed.“We have told the teachers that they should be teaching the curriculum that was taught in 2014 while we have these public consultations,” he said in a news conference highlighting the government’s actions over the summer.“They understand the situation that we’re facing in the province right now,” adding he expects teachers to be “professional.”The government has said the consultations for a new curriculum would begin in September but has given few details on how they will be carried out.The province’s two biggest teachers’ unions have spoken out against the switch to the older curriculum and vowed to defend any of their members who go off book in order to help their pupils.“We know that we have members who feel trapped between their obligation to follow employer direction and their ethical imperative to keep students safe,” said Harvey Bischof, president of the Ontario Secondary School Teachers’ Federation.“We will defend to the hilt any member who, in the good faith exercise of professional judgment, strays outside the confines of the 1998 curriculum in her or his students’ best interests.”
OTTAWA – Former NHL star Dave (Tiger) Williams is set to stand trial next year on sexual assault and assault charges over an alleged incident on a military morale-boosting trip last December.A lawyer for the former Toronto Maple Leaf and Vancouver Canuck, who holds the NHL record for most penalty minutes, says the trial will begin on June 10 and is scheduled to run seven days.Military police arrested and charged the 64-year-old Williams in February after he allegedly assaulted a steward on a military aircraft in December during a tour to meet with Canadian troops in Latvia and Greece.Williams denies the accusations.Military officials are also wrapping up a separate internal review into what happened on the flight that some media reports have said involved heavy drinking and partying.Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance ordered the second review after an initial probe by the Air Force soon after the flight, the results of which have not been made public.
HALIFAX – A year after the population of critically endangered North Atlantic right whales suffered devastating losses, Canadian officials say measures taken this season to protect the species have worked.With the summer fishing season in the Gulf of St. Lawrence drawing to a close, the Fisheries Department confirmed Friday that not one whale has died as a result of a ship strike or fishing gear entanglement — the main causes for most of the deaths last season.In all, 17 right whales died last year — 12 of them in Canadian waters — prompting concerns that the population might be on the fast track toward extinction.The federal government responded with a series of protection measures, which included speed restrictions for boats, increased surveillance and a series of closures of fishing areas where right whales were spotted.Some of the measures were unpopular with fishermen, but Fisheries Department spokesman Adam Burns said they were “extremely effective.”“We know that the measures we put in place this year have had real economic impacts on some communities,” he said. “But this is an important step forward for the management measures we put in place.”There are believed to be fewer than 450 North Atlantic right whales remaining and, of those, only about 100 breeding females.In all, 135 individual whales were spotted this summer in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, compared with 114 confirmed sightings last year. However, no calves were seen, a troubling development that has raised new concerns about the fate of these massive mammals.Meanwhile, the protection measures remain in place because some whales were recently spotted in the Gulf, as well as the Roseway Basin off southwestern Nova Scotia and the Grand Manan Basin in the Bay of Fundy.The restrictions won’t be lifted until the whales return to their wintering grounds farther south, Burns said.In June, a fishermen’s group took aim at a fisheries closure in the Bay of Fundy, saying the move was an overreaction because only one whale had been seen in the Grand Manan Basin.That closure and others affected fixed-gear fishermen with licences to fish for lobster, crab, groundfish, herring and mackerel. Snow crab fishermen in the Gulf were also affected.Burns said federal officials have already started getting ready for next season, with a series of consultations with fishing industry representatives planned for this fall in Atlantic Canada and Quebec.And in November, a committee of marine mammal experts will review scientific data that should provide a clearer picture of the whales’ distribution in the region.Fisheries officials are also taking part in pilot projects aimed at testing fishing gear that could reduce the number of entanglements.On Aug. 5, the Campobello Whale Rescue Team managed to free an entangled right whale that had been spotted in the Bay of Fundy a week earlier. The whale, identified as an adult male, had an orange buoy trailing behind it.
WINNIPEG – A Winnipeg man has won a $2-million lottery prize — five months after he won $1.5 million.Melhig Melhig, a double winner with a double name, says he’s amazed and happy by his good fortune.His first win came in April with a scratch ticket bought at a Winnipeg convenience store.The 28-year old African immigrant then moved his wife and children out of their small apartment and into a new home.Melhig continued to play the lottery and bought another scratch ticket from a Giant Tiger store in Winnipeg in August.He says he now plans to buy a business, such as a gas station or car wash, and go back to school.“I want to improve my English and communication. And I want to learn something useful, like carpentry,” he said in a press release.Western Canada Lottery Corporation says Melhig isn’t the first to win a second million-dollar lottery prize in the Manitoba.A woman who bought a ticket at her grandson’s hockey tournament in Winnipeg won $1 million in 2005, then claimed the same prize two years later after buying another ticket, again, at her grandson’s hockey tournament.
MONTREAL – The death of former Quebec premier Bernard Landry Tuesday prompted a stream of accolades from his former colleagues about his patriotism, his love of the Quebec people and his conviction that the province would inevitably become a country.But his passing also highlighted the fact that the pioneering generation of Quebec sovereigntists — those who were in the trenches when the Parti Quebecois was born — is dying without seeing its dream realized.And there are no obvious candidates to fill the role of such departed PQ greats as former premier Jacques Parizeau, who died in 2015, Lise Payette, who died Sept. 5, and Landry.“For right now, it’s clear that there is the impression that the ranks are thinning,” Louise Harel, a longtime friend of Landry who replaced him as interim PQ leader following his 2005 resignation, said Wednesday.Harel, 72, was among the many friends and former political allies who recently paid a final visit to Landry at his home in Vercheres, Que. as his health was slipping.Harel said in an interview that Landry, who was 81, remained optimistic about Quebec becoming a country. “For him, it was a project that was non-negotiable,” she said. “It was the project of his life.”Parizeau, in his later years, expressed frustration that the sovereignty movement had stalled and faced, in his words, a “field of ruin.”His comments came after the PQ government of Pauline Marois, pushing a charter of values that sought to prevent public-sector workers from wearing conspicuous religious symbols, was defeated in 2014. The charter stung the PQ, particularly among the younger generation, many of whom turned to the other sovereigntist party, Quebec solidaire.Landry, on the other hand, remained unswervingly optimistic about the movement’s future, even if he wasn’t shy about criticizing PQ leaders over policy.When several high-profile PQ members of the legislature quit the party before the 2018 election, he refused to see it as a harbinger of the movement’s demise. People come and go, but the party’s ideas “remained unscathed,” he told The Canadian Press.“Now, there are winnable ridings for young men and women who want to replace the ones leaving,” he said.In fact, in the Oct. 1 election, the PQ dropped to just 10 seats from the 28 it held before the vote.Monique Simard, a PQ member of the legislature from 1996 to 1998, produced a documentary about Landry’s 2003 election campaign as leader and incumbent premier.Simard, 68, said the former premier gave her full access to his campaign. Her crew was filming when he learned he had lost to Jean Charest’s Liberals, a defeat that would set in motion his eventual resignation as party leader in 2005.“We were right there. We saw all the emotion, all the sadness,” she said. “But within a few minutes, he was very cordial and he called Charest to concede. He was someone who was very solid and strong at the same time.”Despite two failed independence referendums in 1980 and 1995 and his 2003 electoral defeat, “he never wavered,” said Simard, who spoke to Landry on the phone last Friday.“His flame for the cause of his life never diminished.”That cannot be said for all the former sovereigntists who are now part of Premier Francois Legault’s Coalition Avenir Quebec team. Legault, a former PQ cabinet minister, has himself turned his back on the sovereignty movement.His administration, according to a report by Radio-Canada, includes 12 chiefs of staff out of 26 with strong ties to the PQ.Harel agreed with Simard that nothing could have made Landry change his mind.“For him, it was an absolute certitude,” she said. “His optimism wasn’t an optimism about the PQ, it was an optimism about sovereignty. He was absolutely convinced, that for a people to attain its dignity, their existence cannot be refused.”Landry will receive a state funeral next Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Montreal’s Notre-Dame Basilica, the government announced Wednesday.
OTTAWA — The backlog of asylum claims from irregular migrants awaiting a decision on whether they can stay in Canada has grown to over 28,000.New statistics from the Immigration and Refugee Board show over 5,000 new refugee claims were filed between July and September of this year.This was just over 1,100 fewer claims than the previous quarter.But despite a recent boost in resources and staffing from government, the board finalized only about 1,600 claims in the same period, so the backlog got longer.The Liberals promised $74 million over two years in the 2018 budget to address the major backlog of refugee claims, many of which are coming from “irregular” migrants crossing the Canada-U.S. border away from official crossings.Refugee claims from other groups have also been on the rise, which has led to a current total backlog of over 64,000 refugee claims at the IRB.Wait times have also grown — refugees who arrive in Canada today will wait almost two years before final decisions on their claims are reached.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan will gather with representatives from a dozen countries at an idyllic estate outside Ottawa on Thursday to discuss the next steps in the war against ISIL and the future of Iraq and Syria.The meeting, which Sajjan is co-hosting with U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis, comes as the federal government is weighing Canada’s future role in the region.A recent U.S. Defense Department report said ISIL appears to be morphing from a group aiming to control territory into an effective insurgency and there are fears it could be decades before Iraqis are able to fight it on their own. Canada earlier this year deployed 250 troops and assumed command of a NATO mission whose aim is to train the Iraqi military so that it can ensure security.The question facing the government is what to do with hundreds of other Canadian Forces members in Iraq and the region, whose mission is set to expire at the end of the March.Those members have been flying transport and refuelling aircraft, collecting and analyzing intelligence and providing medical assistance in support of U.S. and allied forces fighting ISIL.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — An evaluation of a federal benefit to help parents take time off work to care for critically ill children says fewer people have used it than expected because they didn’t know about it or didn’t understand how it worked.Annual applications for the benefit have been well below the 6,000 anticipated when the previous Conservative government introduced it in 2013.The evaluation posted online details months-late applications, call-centre agents who didn’t always understand all facets of the benefit themselves, and rejected applicants who tended to have lower levels of education and earnings.The Liberals morphed the benefit into a new program designed to be easier to apply for and receive.Employment and Social Development Canada, which oversees the program, says there were 4,900 claims for the new benefit between its introduction in December 2017 and December 2018.The department has also worked since November 2017 to improve understanding of the new benefit through social-media posts, online videos and rewriting a federal website.The Canadian Press
The sister of an American tourist says the father of one of the British Columbia men named as a suspect in the woman’s death isn’t accepting his share of responsibility for her family’s sorrow.Kennedy Deese, whose sister Chynna Deese was found dead along with her Australian boyfriend Lucas Fowler near a highway in northern B.C. in mid-July, posted a statement to Facebook on Saturday accusing Alan Schmegelsky of playing the victim.Deese also said Schmegelsky isn’t “cut from the same cloth” as her family, and that he doesn’t acknowledge his own hand in his child’s upbringing and ultimate demise.“Your sorrow is for yourself. You cannot relate to us, as we had no doings in the cause of your pain, when you’ve played a part in the cause of our pain,” Deese wrote.“To the murderers and their family, the appropriate action when mistakes are made is taking responsibility. The proper public response would have been a genuine apology. But we still forgive you and have mercy.”RCMP said Wednesday that they believe they found the bodies of Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, from Port Alberni, B.C., in dense brush in northern Manitoba following a massive manhunt that lasted close to two weeks.Police have said they’re waiting for the results of an autopsy before confirming the identities.The two men were named as suspects in the deaths of Deese and Fowler, and were charged with second-degree murder in the killing of Leonard Dyck, a university lecturer from Vancouver.Alan Schmegelsky told Australia’s “60 Minutes” TV program late last week that he won’t believe his son is a murderer until he gets facts, saying he knows how the families of the victims feel.“I’m so sorry for what’s happened. Whether it’s my son or whether it’s something else, we don’t know. I have just lost my son. I know exactly how you feel,” Schmegelsky told the program.“It hurts a lot. He was my only child. I’ll never get to hug him again. I’ll never get to tease him again. I’ll never get to spend a minute with him again.”“At least I know where he is. His troubles are over.”When reached via Facebook messenger on Sunday and asked about his response to Deese’s post, Schmegelsky said she could go on “60 Minutes” and that he could arrange it.“I manned up. I have nothing to hide,” he wrote.While police were still hunting for the pair, Schmegelsky sent a 132-page book to reporters about his own life. He described it as a novelization of his son’s troubled life and his numerous encounters with police and courts, and said he wanted to highlight how what he called a “broken system” shaped him and Bryer.Kennedy Deese shot back that her own family suffered challenges, but doesn’t “play the victim of a broken system.”“There is no white flag of surrender for my family. We are not defeated by divorce, mental health, violence, poverty and socioeconomic constraints, domestic disputes, alcohol or drugs, social media and bullying, feelings of loneliness, or disparities,” Deese wrote, noting that her sister rose to become the first generation of her immediate family to go to college.“We have the courage to ask for and offer help. We are strong, and stand strong together right now in the face of all of these adversities that have come upon us.”RCMP Assistant Commissioner Kevin Hackett told a news conference Wednesday that determining a motive will be “extremely difficult” if the identities are confirmed through autopsies because investigators can’t interview Schmegelsky or McLeod.He did not commit to providing details of the ongoing investigation.The Canadian Press
Experience the First Annual “Legends Beyond” Gala taking place on Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at a beautiful mansion estate located in the prestigious Beverly Hills, California.“Legends Beyond” proceeds and donations will benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, a disease that affects over 1.5 million people within the United States.This elite event will honor multi-Grammy winning group Earth, Wind & Fire’s founding member, Maurice White, Grammy winning artist Howard McCrary, and many others who have joined the fight against this disease. The First Annual Legends Beyond also celebrates the birthday of legendary Jazz vocalist Freda Payne as well as the anticipated release of her newest jazz album from Mack Avenue Record label.The event will consist of a vintage glamour themed evening including a premium cocktail hour, silent auction, live musical performances from some of the most celebrated acts of our time, as well as those from our future. There will be a tribute segment honoring the legacy of Earth, Wind & Fire’s Maurice White, Freda Payne, and Howard McCrary with Lifetime Achievement Awards. Catering will be provided by Celebrity Chef KAY, Fashion Show by Celebrity Designer to the stars “M” for Mthemovement, Jonathan A. Logan and newbie Bentlee Wear with flowing champagne throughout the evening.This is an Elite Red Carpet event which will be hosted by Denise Richards and Charlie Sheen. Invited celebrities include: David Foster, Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson, Katy Perry, Nicole Kidman, Kevin Hart, Jane Seymour, Johnny Wright, Berry Gordy, Jr., Clint Eastwood, Steven Segal, Paris Hilton, Kathy Hilton, Priscilla Presley, Michael J. Fox, Montel Williams, Slash, Russell Simmons, Marc Anthony, Quincy Jones, Wayne Brady, George G1 Archie, Rodney Peete, Holly Robinson-Peete, Cheryl Burke, Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, Randy Jackson, Levar Burton, Nene Leaks, Toni Braxton, Darius McCrary… and more.About Team Fox: Team Fox started in 2006 as the community fundraising division of The Michael J. Fox Foundation. Currently, Team Fox has over 1500 active members and has raised more than $22 million toward accelerating a cure for Parkinson’s disease and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The Michael J. Fox Foundation, the largest private funder of Parkinson’s Research, pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted research program, and has invested more than $313 million in research to date.Over five million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease, a chronic, degenerative neurological disorder whose symptoms typically progress from mild tremors to complete physical incapacitate. In the United States, an estimated 60,000 new cases will be diagnosed this year alone. There is no known cure for Parkinson’s disease. Current treatments mask symptoms but do not alter or slow disease progression.Source:PR Newswire