16 Oct

The Elders Welcome UN SecretaryGenerals Commitment To Fight Sexual Exploitation

first_imgThe Elders welcomed the commitment from the new Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres to personally lead efforts to eradicate sexual abuse and exploitation by UN peacekeepers and civilian staff.Sexual abuse and exploitation of vulnerable women and children by United Nations personnel is a betrayal of trust and an assault of the victims’ human rights and dignity. The initiative by the Secretary-General and his Special Representative, Jane Holl Lute, to place victims at the centre of the UN’s strategy is a positive development.The Elders specifically welcomed the planned appointment of a Victims Rights Advocate within the UN system, and similar positions within peacekeeping deployments where serious incidents of abuse and exploitation have been reported. They also noted with approval the plans to end impunity for abusers through greater accountability, and to press troop-contributing countries to investigate and prosecute offenders.Lakhdar Brahimi, Elder and former UN diplomat, said: “Peacekeeping is a vital part of the work of the United Nations, but the disgraceful behaviour of some troops and other personnel is a stain on the organisation’s conscience. I am encouraged by the leadership shown by the new Secretary-General to tackle these crimes and end impunity, and hope all parts of the UN follow his example.”Hina Jilani, Elder and human rights defender, added: “The UN exists to defend human rights and dignity. It is offensive and unacceptable that any abusers within its own ranks are not held accountable for their actions. This damages the credibility of peacekeeping operations and the organisation as a whole. The new measures proposed in this report are a vital step to preventing further crimes of sexual abuse and exploitation.”last_img read more

16 Oct

Ayesha Curry Releases New Cheeky Kids Mealtime Collection in Partnership With No

first_imgMade for little tummies with a big appetite for change, Cheeky Kids expands its Mealtime Collection with new designs and whimsical characters to its line of reusable tableware for children ages three to eight years old.Ayesha Curry Releases New Cheeky Kids Mealtime Collection in Partnership with No Kid Hungry.Co-founded by Ayesha Curry, Cheeky Kids has established itself in the children’s mealtime space for its playful designs that make giving back cheerful and easy. For every Cheeky Kids item purchased, Cheeky will donate enough to provide one meal to a child in need in the U.S. through its partnership with No Kid Hungry.Designed to empower and educate children of all ages to make a difference, Cheeky Kids creates modern mealtime solutions with a witty spirit to help end hunger in the U.S. This is the second installment to the Mealtime Collection introducing new whimsical characters including unicorns, dinosaurs, mermaids and sharks designed in Cheeky Kids signature playful style and bright colors. The line features an assortment of BPA-free and dishwasher-safe straw bottles, bento boxes, divided and non-divided plates, tumblers, bowls, and cutlery, to make mealtime easier and more fun.As a mother, NY Times bestseller, and established cook Ayesha is thrilled to expand the Cheeky Kids collection with the launch of new cheerful characters. “I am so excited to partner with Cheeky Kids. It gives me a chance to combine my passions for parenting, cooking, and ending childhood hunger with No Kid Hungry. Together, we’re going to make a difference by offering parents beautiful products that make their lives easier and give back to make children’s lives better – the perfect combination,” said Ayesha Curry, Cheeky Kids Co-Founder.As reported by the USDA, one in six kids face hunger in the U.S. With this startling statistic, Cheeky CEO and Co-Founder, PJ Brice, is proud to continue its partnership with No Kid Hungry providing one meal to a child in need in the U.S. with each Cheeky item purchased to combat child hunger.“Childhood hunger is an immense problem in America, but it is one that is actually solvable. We hope to inspire change at dinner tables across the country by encouraging parents, and most importantly children, to take action and make a difference,” said Brice.The new Cheeky Kids Mealtime Collection is available at select Target stores and target.com/cheeky, and ranges from $1.99-$7.99.For further information, please visit /www.cheekyhome.com/kids.last_img read more

15 Oct

Lisa LeBlanc pushes past a breakup with wit and raucousness

first_img“I Love You, I Don’t Love You, I Don’t Know.” “Why Does It Feel So Lonely (When You Are Around).” “Eh Cher (You’ve Overstayed Your Welcome).” “Dump the Guy ASAP.”We’re cautious about probing too deeply into Lisa LeBlanc’s personal life, but it seems fair to ask, given certain recurring themes in the lyric sheet to — nay, roughly half the song titles on — her new album, Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen?, if perhaps these tunes were a means of working through and moving past a few things.“Oh, for sure. They always are,” she laughs over a midday meal on King West, waving off the notion that she might be inhabiting fictional characters in her songwriting. “I have to live it.” Twitter Advertisement Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement This isn’t to say that Runaway Queen, the banjo-toting Rosaireville, N.B. native’s second full-length record, is a maudlin affair. It’s actually a pretty raucous, rousingly bad-tempered little gem and a more polished realization of the raunchy folk-rock sound she pursued to much acclaim on 2014’s interstitial EP, Highways, Heartaches and Time Well Wasted. And, as breakup albums go, it’s a fairly good-humoured one. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

15 Oct

Kanye West a cowriter on Drakes Kid Cudi diss track

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Kanye West is listed as a co-writer on Drake’s controversial track which disses Kid Cudi.According to credits on streaming service Tidal, Kanye is listed as a writer and co-producer of the Canadian star’s song Two Birds, One Stone, in which he describes Cudi’s depression a “phase.”“My numbers are out of the world, no wonder they got me feeling so alienated/You were the man on the moon, now you go through your phases/Live for the angry and famous,” raps Drake in the track. But in a new curve ball, it has been revealed that Kanye is listed alongside Drake and frequent collaborator Noah “40” Shebib as a co-composer and co-lyricist on the tune.His involvement is especially interesting given his most recent support for his former GOOD Music label colleague and protege. Last month, Kanye called Cudi “the most influential artist of the last 10 years.” More recently, he asked his fans to sing Father Stretch My Hands Pt.1 in the singer’s honour during a recent stop on his Saint Pablo tour. Login/Register With: Twitterlast_img read more

15 Oct

Four major CRTC decisions that will impact your cellphone TV and Internet

first_imgAdvertisement Canadians pay some of the highest prices in the world for their cellphone, Internet and TV services, but those bills could change depending on how Canada’s broadcast regulator handles some major issues it’s expected to decide on next year.The CRTC has several important hearings, reviews and rulings expected in 2017. Here’s a look at four of them:Differential PricingIn the fall, the CRTC held a weeklong hearing examining differential pricing, which occurs when a company offers customers the same or similar products at different prices. Specifically, the regulator looked at how Internet service providers use differential pricing with their data plans. The review came following complaints that some companies were not including certain music and video streaming services toward customer data plans, thereby acting as gatekeepers, influencing consumption and making it difficult for some providers to enter the marketplace. OpenMedia, a consumer advocacy group, has been calling for the elimination of data caps on home and wireless Internet plans. Others, however, argue the practice gives customers more choice.The CRTC is expected to set out a policy governing differential pricing next year.Wholesale Internet RatesThe CRTC will set final rates for what Bell, Rogers, Telus, SaskTel, Shaw, Cogeco, MTS and Videotron must charge smaller companies for access to their high-speed networks. The smaller service providers rely on those networks to offer Internet, TV and telephone services.The regulator set interim rates in October that were mostly lower — in some cases by up to 89 per cent — than what many of the incumbents wanted to charge. The CRTC says it’s setting the fees to help foster competition.If the final fees remain close to the interim ones, the smaller companies could pass on the savings to consumers by lowering their prices. That could put pressure on the bigger companies to follow suit.However, some of the incumbents have warned that low fees may slow or halt their broadband network investment — a threat some experts take with a grain of salt.The final rates are expected in the first half of 2017.Wireless Code ReviewIn February, the CRTC will hold a hearing to determine whether the wireless code of conduct, which took effect in December 2013, needs to be improved.After hearing from the public, the regulator created the code in part to help consumers understand their plans better, prevent bill shock, shorten contract lengths and lower cancellation fees.The CRTC started gathering feedback on the effectiveness of the code in September and will accept more submissions from the public between Feb. 6 and 14.So far, it has heard complaints about high prices, surprise charges, phone unlocking fees and wireless data limits, among other issues. If the CRTC concludes the code needs to be updated, some of those gripes could be addressed.Basic Telecommunications ServicesLast year, the CRTC launched its review of basic telecommunications services. It sought to determine which ones Canadians need to have to be able to meaningfully participate in the digital economy, as well as what the CRTC’s role is in ensuring all Canadians have affordable service options available to them.OpenMedia argued high-speed Internet access should be redefined as a basic service. Currently, low-speed Internet, individual line touch-tone phone service, a printed copy of the current phone book on request, and a number of phone services, including emergency, fall into that category.It called on the CRTC to give all Canadians access to broadband Internet for $30 monthly, and to provide better, more affordable access to the country’s remote and rural communities where broadband investment has lagged.The review could determine sufficient upload and download speeds, and create funding mechanisms to support the ability to supply modern telecommunications services.A spokeswoman for the CRTC says a decision may come before the end of the year.The Canadian Press Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

15 Oct

Condé​ Nast drops photographer Terry Richardson after misconduct claims

first_img Facebook Condé Nast International says it is severing ties with Terry Richardson, the U.S. fashion photographer who has faced allegations of sexual misconduct.The company’s magazines include Vogue, GQ, Glamour and Vanity Fair.In an email published by the Daily Telegraph, executive vice president and chief operating officer James Woolhouse told Conde Nast country presidents that the company “would like to no longer work with” Richardson. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitter Terry Richardson has faced numerous allegations of sexual assaultIMAGE: REX FEATURESHis career took off in New York in 1994IMAGE: REX FEATURESHe has worked with hundreds of stars, including Rihanna – IMAGE: EROTEMEcenter_img He said completed but unpublished work “should be killed and substituted with other material.”Condé Nast confirmed the content of the email Tuesday, but declined to comment further.Richardson’s agent did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Richardson has previously denied mistreating models.Richardson has photographed stars including Beyoncé, Rihanna and Lady Gaga and directed Miley Cyrus’s Wrecking Ball video.The Associated Press Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisementlast_img read more

15 Oct

RACE RELIGION AND LOVE IN THE AGE OF MAGA

first_img Facebook Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment In short, In God I Trust holds a mirror up to the ugliness of the MAGA era, and the humanity and resilience that – somehow, despite the chaos and the noise – manage to survive.“We wanted to show why people are the way they are,” says Vancouver director Maja Zdanowski, who developed the In God I Trust script with Paul St-Amand. “We try to go into the psyche of, ‘Why do they do the things they do?’ We want people to watch the film, not take anyone’s side, and be moved.” The film In God I Trust was written in 2015, back when the concept of President Trump seemed like a delusion concocted by Fox News pundits.But there’s something about the feature film – which premieres this week at the 2018 Whistler Film Festival – that feels like it has its finger on the ailing but still beating heart of North American culture in 2018.It peers into white supremacy; it delves into religion and class constructs; it confronts gun violence and racial prejudice; it offers insight into people who seem intractably rooted on their own side of the great divide. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

15 Oct

STUDY SUGGESTS KIDS TELEVISION IN CANADA LACKS FEMALE REPRESENTATION

first_imgAdvertisement Advertisement Advertisement Researchers say the male presence is also dominant onscreen, particularly when it comes to non-human characters.The findings from a research lab led by Ryerson University’s Faculty Of Communication & Design and UCLA compared data with the results of a 2007 study on children’s TV.Prof. Colleen Russo Johnson, Toronto-based co-author of the new study, says not a lot changed in the decade between the studies.“In Canada we have not seen any change in the percentage of female representation seen onscreen,” Russo Johnson, co-director of the Center for Scholars and Storytellers, said in a phone interview.“We were at 35 per cent in 2007, and in 2017 we see that we were still at 35 per cent. That’s really disappointing to see.”In Canada, the study culled information from 595 programs and 154 hours of recording on seven television broadcasters.It found 62 per cent of children’s shows in Canada are created by men, 63 per cent of episodes are written by men, and 82 per cent are directed by men.“If we don’t get the representation behind the scenes, then it makes sense that we’re not going to see it reflected onscreen, because people often write to what they know,” said Russo Johnson, who led the Canadian data collection for the study.“It’s also really important that people are telling authentic stories. So if we want stories about diverse girls, they should be written by diverse girls.”When it comes to onscreen gender disparity, researchers found no difference in U.S. and Canadian public vs. commercial TV. Disney channel had the highest percentage of female characters of all channels with 51 per cent.The gender gap was greatest in non-human characters, particularly with robots/machines, of which only 15 per cent were female in Canada.Human characters in general are on the decline, said Russo Johnson, “which is unfortunate because there is some research that suggests that children actually learn better, especially prosocial lessons better, from human characters rather than anthropomorphic characters such as talking animals.”Non-fiction children’s programming is also on the decline, says the study, which found the majority of the content was fictional, and over three quarters of that was animated.The study found the majority of human characters on children’s TV are Caucasian — 65 per cent in the U.S., and 74 per cent in Canada. Other key findings from the report include a virtual absence of main kids’ characters with disabilities.Prof. Dafna Lemish of Rutgers University led the U.S. data collection and co-wrote the report with Russo Johnson, while Prof. Maya Gotz led the international study as a whole.They plan to publish the findings online and discuss it at events targeting students and content creators, especially those in animation, in Toronto and possibly New York and Los Angeles.“I am very assured that the future of kids’ TV is bright,” said Russo Johnson.“The producers and creators and writers I’ve already spoken to about this, they are just shocked about some of these findings. They’re like, ‘Well now that I know, I will be mindful and I can make changes.”‘By Victoria Ahearn ~ The Canadian Press Login/Register With: TORONTO — A new study suggests female representation is low in Canadian children’s television, both onscreen and off.The report from the non-profit Center for Scholars and Storytellers looked at a variety of areas of the children’s TV landscape in Canada and the U.S., using data from a sample of programs targeting children up to age 12 in November 2017.It found men dominate the professions behind the scenes, from directing to content creation and writing. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitter Facebooklast_img read more

14 Oct

The part about the interrogation II

first_imgFULL SPECIAL REPORTBy Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsDaniele Guarino couldn’t remember the name of the foreign affairs minister.The RCMP corporal sitting across from him in the interrogation room wasn’t much help either.Cpl. John Athanasiades, with the RCMP’s Integrated Proceeds of Crime Unit, floated the name “Helen,” which may be a reference to Helena Guergis, who was minister of state for foreign affairs at the time.Guarino, however, is sure that the minister is a man.“The foreign affairs minister of Canada, um, Frenchman,” said Guarino. “Bernard, ba, ba, something like that.”It’s March 26, 2008, the day of the Project Cancun raids. Maxime Bernier was the foreign affairs minister at the time.Guarino, dressed in jeans and a sweater, was arrested earlier in the day after police found four weapons in his Montreal home after executing a search warrant.Athanasiades, wearing a suit, had a list of things he wanted to probe during the interrogation. The guns were on the list, and so was the name of Michael Chamas.Police found the guns, including three semi-automatics, in the garage, inside a bag beside Guarino’s four year-old daughter’s tricycles.Guarino told Athanasiades the guns belonged to his brother who died in hospital after he was shot in a hit on March 9, 2007, while sitting in a Montreal bar called Caffe Albano, frequented mostly by “a bunch of Italian old men.”Guarino said his brother Carmeine Guarino lived in the house, which was bought by their father, and he couldn’t bring himself to touch his stuff since the death.“There are a few things that they found in my house that did not belong to me. They belonged to my brother,” said Guarino. “Those are my brother’s guns…Why would I keep guns in a house with a four year-old.”To prove the affection he had for his dead brother, Guarino turned around and pulled up his shirt to show Athanasiades a tattoo of his brother on his back.“This is my brother,” said Guarino, according to a video of the interrogation.“I see that you were very close to him,” said Athanasiades.Athanasiades said he was also dealing with a recent death, his father’s.At one point Athanasiades appears to choke up and quickly apologizes saying it was very “unprofessional.”Police also suspected Guarino of laundering money from individuals involved with the marijuana smuggling network operating out of Kahnawake and Akwesanse.They also suspected he used a tanning salon called Exotica to convert U.S. drug money into Canadian currency.They suspected that Guarino, along with two other people, invested some of this money into a company owned by Chamas, a businessman police believed was the organization’s “banker.”An RCMP investigation found that between April 2004 and October 2007 Garda Canada transported a total of about $36.6 millionUS from the Bronzage Exotica tanning salon, which Guarino said he managed.Garda Canada also transported a total of about $44.7 million in Canadian currency to the tanning salon over the same time period.The investigation also found that some of the American currency shipments included counterfeit U.S. bills. Garda discovered that one July 3, 2007, U.S. currency run included 56 $50 counterfeit bills, according to an RCMP affidavit obtained by APTN National News.An analysis by a U.S. Homeland Security official determined they were a high-quality counterfeits made in New York City, the affidavit said.During the interrogation, Guarino denied he knowingly laundered any drug money.“I never laundered anything,” said Guarino. “Where would I get the drug money?”When Athanasiades started to ask about Chamas’ businesses, Guarino couldn’t quite remember the name of one the companies, Global Village, and kept repeating the word “global” while rapping his fingers on a water bottle. He then made a surprising claim.“Something that has to do with the foreign affairs minister of Canada,” said Guarino.“He knows the foreign affairs minister of Canada?” said Athanasiades, who revealed no hint of surprise.Guarino, who never met the minister, then says that there is a link between Chamas’ company “global something” and the minister and a “gala.”“We (Chamas and Guarino) were speaking one night and he said he had a big gala with the foreign affairs minister and that is how it came to be,” said Guarino.last_img read more

14 Oct

Atleo Time to stop fingerpointing on Attawapiskat and smash the status quo

first_imgAPTN National NewsAssembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo is meeting with Prime Minister Stephen Harper Thursday afternoon as the political fallout over the housing crisis in Attawapiskat continues to escalate.The Conservative government has put Attawapiskat under third-party management, meaning an outside consultant will take over the administration of the band’s finances.Opposition politicians say the Conservatives are blaming Attawapiskat for its housing crisis instead of doing something to immediately improve the situation.Atleo said it'[s time to stop the blame game.“We need to move beyond the finger-pointing and blaming and first of all support the people of Attawapiskat,” said Atleo. “More broadly, we need to absolutely smash the status quo.”Harper is expected to meet with First Nations leaders in January for a historic First Nations-Crown summit.last_img read more

14 Oct

Mikmaq issue call for support in antifracking protest

first_imgAPTN National NewsIn New Brunswick dozens of people are gathered around a sacred fire along a rural highway.The fire was set to mark a peaceful protest against seismic testing in the eastern region of the province.Amy Sock recently put out a call for people to join in. Sock spoke to APTN about the ongoing protest.last_img

14 Oct

Who was Stony Stanley Bushie

first_imgAPTN National NewsStony Stanley Bushie grew up on the Little Grand Rapids First Nation.The chief of the First Nation told APTN Bushie was not homeless. He lived in Little Grand Rapids and was in Winnipeg for just two weeks before he was murdered.APTN’s Jaydon Flett has this story.last_img

13 Oct

American household income finally topped 1999 peak last year

first_imgWASHINGTON – In a stark reminder of the damage done by the Great Recession and of the modest recovery that followed, the median American household only last year finally earned more than it did in 1999.Incomes for a typical U.S. household, adjusted for inflation, rose 3.2 per cent from 2015 to 2016 to $59,039, the Census Bureau said. The median is the point at which half the households fall below and half are above.Last year’s figure is slightly above the previous peak of $58,665, reached in 1999. It is also the first time since the recession ended in 2009 that the typical household earned more than it did in 2007, when the recession began.Trudi Renwick, the bureau’s assistant division chief, cautioned that the census in 2013 changed how it asks households about income, making historical comparisons less than precise.Still, the Census data is closely watched because of its comprehensive nature. It is based on interviews with 70,000 households and includes detailed data on incomes and poverty across a range of demographic groups.Elise Gould, a senior economist at the Economic Policy Institute, said that adjusting for the change in methodology, median income still remains below its 1999 peak. Yet she added that the census report shows that American households have made significant economic progress in 2015 and 2016.“We are definitely pulling ourselves out of the deep hole of the Great Recession,” Gould said on a conference call with reporters.Median household income rose $4,641, or 8.5 per cent, from 2014 through 2016. That’s the best two-year gain on records dating to 1967, according to analysts at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.Yet that improvement comes after a steep recession and a slow recovery that left most American households with barely any income increases. The lack of meaningful raises has left many people feeling left behind economically, a sentiment that factored into the 2016 elections.The report also showed that income inequality worsened last year, extending a trend in place for roughly four decades. Average incomes among the wealthiest 5 per cent climbed 5.5 per cent to $375,088. Average incomes for the poorest one-fifth of households, meanwhile rose 2.5 per cent to $12,943.Other measures of Americans’ economic health improved. The poverty rate fell last year to 12.7 per cent from 13.5 per cent, Census said. The number of people living below the poverty line declined 2.5 million to 40.6 million.That brings the proportion of households living below the poverty line back to pre-recession levels, though it remains about one and half percentage points higher than its lowest point, in 2000.A family of four with an income below $24,563 was defined as poor last year.And the proportion of Americans without health insurance fell to 8.8 per cent, the report showed, down from 9.1 per cent. It is the lowest proportion on record.The Census report covers 2016, the last year of the Obama administration.Robert Greenstein, president of the CBPP, argued that the agenda being pursued by President Donald Trump and congressional Republican leaders would reverse those gains.The income gains reflect mostly a rise in the number of Americans with jobs and in people working full time, the agency said. That means households were more likely to include a full-time worker. It also suggests that pay raises for those who already had jobs remained meagre.About 1.2 million more Americans earned income in 2016 than in 2015, and 2.2 million more had full-time year-round jobs.Incomes rose for most demographic groups. African-American median household income jumped 5.7 per cent to $39,490 in 2016 from the previous year, the most of any group. Among Latinos, it rose to 4.3 per cent to $47,675. For whites, the gain was 2 per cent to $65,041.Asian-Americans reported the highest household incomes, at $81,431, which was little changed from 2015.Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the CBPP, said the gains among African-Americans typically occur later in an economic recovery as employers widen their searches and step up hiring among traditionally disadvantaged groups.“The solid economy is helping to close racial gaps,” he said. “It won’t make them go away, but it is headed in the right direction.”The report found that the gender gap in wages narrowed last year for the first time since 2007. Women earned 80.5 per cent of men’s earnings, up from 79.6 per cent in 2015.Still, underneath the broad improvements nationwide, pockets of hardship remain. Poverty rates fell in the Northeast and South in 2016 but were mostly unchanged in the Midwest and West.Una Osili, a researcher at the Salvation Army and a professor of economics at Indiana University, said the non-profit group reported a spike in requests for health-related assistance in the Midwest last year, driven mostly by demand for opioid addiction treatment.That happened even in states like Indiana, where the unemployment rate and poverty fell, she said.In Nevada and some other Western states, the economic recovery has raised housing costs, offsetting some of the benefit of income growth.In those states, “the recovery is a good thing, but your rent is now higher,” Osili said.last_img read more

13 Oct

Collapsed Mexico school raises questions about quake codes

first_imgMEXICO CITY – On paper at least, the Mexico City school appeared to be structurally sound and built to withstand a major earthquake. But it collapsed, killing 26 people, most of them children. And now authorities are looking into whether an apartment reportedly built on top of the two-story school was to blame.Claudia Sheinbaum, the borough president of the southern Mexico City district where the school went down in the 7.1 magnitude quake, told a news conference Tuesday that the school appeared to have its paperwork in order, at least according to documents filed by architects and engineers who supposedly inspected the structure. She said an investigation was being launched to look for any abnormalities not revealed in those documents.“We can’t stop just with the paperwork,” Sheinbaum said. “We are going to do a review of the building itself.”Authorities said that the owner of the privately owned Enrique Rebsamen school built an apartment for herself on top of the collapsed wing, which local media said included a Jacuzzi, and were looking into whether the extra weight may have played a role in the collapse.Sheinbaum said she didn’t know if that was true, but said the owner, Mónica García Villegas, had a permit dating back to 1983 to build a school and apartments on the lot, though it was unclear whether she had permission to add a third story to the section of the school that collapsed.The school was just one of dozens of buildings that collapsed in the Sept. 19 quake that killed at least 333 people, 194 of them in Mexico City. Questions have been raised about whether new building standards put in place after a 1985 quake that killed 9,500 people had been adequately followed.Although construction began on the school in 1983 — two years before the new codes went into effect — it was expanded over the next 34 years with no evidence of noncompliance, Sheinbaum said. She said the only immediately evident paper work problems during that time were two cases of unregistered expansion work, and Garcia Villegas paid a fine for not registering the work and was allowed to proceed.On Tuesday, Meyer Klip Gervita, head of the Institute of Administrative Verification, said that earlier this year authorities had asked the school to stop operating because no record of its zoning permit could be found. But the school appealed and remained open while the case made its way through court. The apparent violation was not enough to force the school’s closure. The institute was created to ensure compliance with city building ordinances among other responsibilities.Phone calls to a number registered to Garcia Villegas, who was pulled alive from the rubble, rang unanswered.Seismologists and engineers say the Mexico City buildings most at risk in a quake are those, like the school building, that were built atop an Aztec-era lake bed, where the muddy soil can amplify earthquake waves.But, although an architect signed a document certifying the school was structurally sound, experts questioned the method used to evaluate it, which Sheinbaum said involved piling sandbags on its upper floors to simulate 85 per cent of the structure’s maximum design-carrying weight, and then measuring the resulting floor sag.Kit Miyamoto, a structural engineer and California Seismic Safety Commissioner, said sandbags can’t test for earthquake resistance.“Seismic is a lateral force, so if you just put a whole bunch of sandbags it is not going to tell you the story of the seismic capacity of the building at all,” Miyamoto said. “You can do testing, to determine what kind of reinforcement” a building has, including ground-penetrating radar or exposing rebar.The school’s first wing was built in 1983, but other additions and floors were added over the years, said Francisco Garcia Alvarez, president of the Mexican Society of Structural Engineers, who evaluated the school site after its collapse.A third floor appeared to have been added recently to the original 1983 structure that was toppled in the quake, raising questions about what construction permits, if any, the school had obtained, how recently it had been inspected and what architectural plans were submitted in the first place. Paper work filed as recently as June by a private architect working for the school asserted that the parcel had not been modified in a way that would violate the permitted land use.The quake, whose epicenter was only about 100 miles from the capital, hit the city’s south side where the school is located with a force much stronger than the original school structure was built to withstand in the early 1980s, Garcia Alvarez said.That caused a failure in the building’s joints where the columns met the beams, he said, noting that the addition of a third floor would have added more weight to the structure. Still, he said, its possible role in the collapse needed further study.Sheinbaum, who is widely expected to run for mayor, faces heightened political scrutiny over the school’s collapse, which killed 19 children and seven adults, leaving behind a pile of wreckage still visible in a cordoned-off street of the leafy neighbourhood manned by soldiers.“We all just keep working, but then all of a sudden it hits you,” said Alfonso Martinez, one of hundreds of volunteers who have been ferrying shovels, hard hats, food and water to rescue workers since the earthquake struck last week. “People are going in and out of grief about all the lives that were lost.”Neighbours said that the school had grown quickly over the years and they had noted new construction. “We saw there was a third floor put on there but we didn’t suspect someone was living there,” said Juan Antonio Gudino. “I just thought it was an office.”Across Mexico City, some 40 buildings collapsed in the earthquake and some 500 others were so severely damaged they will either have to be demolished or receive major structural reinforcement, according to Mexico City Mayor Miguel Angel Mancera. Another 1,300 are reparable, and about 10,000 buildings inspected so far were found to be habitable.Still, experts stressed that reforms to building codes following the 1985 earthquake had lowered the number of casualties. But, they said, more needed to be done to ensure compliance.“From what we can tell the new codes worked well, and helped avoid more harm,” said Eduardo Miranda, a professor in Stanford University’s civil and structural engineering department, who evaluated buildings following the quake. “But some of these buildings may have failed because people did not follow the codes.”Unlike in the United States, where city engineers typically check architectural drawings for structural integrity, authorities in Mexico City perform an administrative check of submitted plans, but don’t vet structural calculations, he said.Two blocks from the school, bouquets of white chrysanthemums line a makeshift memorial with the names of those pulled from the wreckage — a reminder of the tragedy that befell the school.“We were all focused on following the code,” Sheinbaum said. “We are all asking ourselves if we could have done more.”___Associated Press writer Mark Stevenson contributed to this report.last_img read more

13 Oct

Suncor names shifts Mark Little to role of chief operating officer

first_imgCALGARY – Suncor Energy has named Mark Little as chief operating officer at the oilsands giant, shifting him from his current role as president of upstream operations.The company says he will be responsible for all operations and many of its corporate services as Suncor looks to push for efficiencies at both its own operations and at its majority-owned Syncrude facilities where he is chair of the board of directors.Suncor (TSX:SU) says Little has been with the company since 2008 in a variety of roles, including leading the integration between Suncor and Petro-Canada and more recently leading upstream operations including oilsands, conventional exploration, and production worldwide.The company says Little will assume the role on Dec. 1 as Suncor looks to achieve first oil at its Fort Hills oilsands mine.last_img read more

13 Oct

Toronto stock market near flat and loonie up with US markets closed

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s main stock index finished on a near flat note Thursday, as U.S. stock markets were closed for their Thanksgiving holiday.The S&P/TSX composite index scraped out 0.72 of a point to advance to 16,074.30.Earlier in the day, the materials and energy sectors had helped push the Toronto market up modestly, as the health-care and consumer staples groups lost ground.“The positive performance this morning was the result of the resource sector. Both energy and materials were stronger on the day,” said Candice Bangsund, vice-president and portfolio manager at Fiera Capital.“In energy markets we’re seeing encouraging signs toward the rebalancing of the crude market. So we saw energy prices soar to a two-year high this week after a report that indicated a decline in U.S. stockpiles, while there’s also been a disruption in the Keystone pipeline that has helped to sort of boost that optimism that the market is going to find a better balance.”In currency markets, the Canadian dollar was trading at an average price of 78.65 cents US, up 0.09 of a U.S. cent. That marked the loonie’s third straight day of gains.Key drivers of the currency’s recent upswing are the weakening U.S. dollar and bullishness around the price of oil, which rose $1.19 at the closing of markets Wednesday.Commodities markets were also closed for the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday.On the Canadian marijuana front, Aurora Cannabis Inc.’s (TSX:ACB) stock was up about five per cent amid news that the Vancouver-headquartered pot producer intends to use its ownership of greenhouse design firm Larssen Ltd. to pressure other cannabis producers to enter partnerships that will further its aggressive growth plans.In a news release, Aurora said Larssen is involved with more than 15 cannabis industry clients globally, including five Canadian licensed producers. Shares of Aurora gained 32 cents or about five per cent to close at $6.74 on Thursday.In economic news, Statistics Canada reported retail sales in September were up 0.1 per cent to $49.1 billion for the month, boosted by sales at gasoline stations as prices climbed due to disruptions caused by hurricane Harvey.Economists however said it appears consumer spending has cooled after a hot start to the year.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.last_img read more

13 Oct

AMC Theatres unveils 20amonth rival to MoviePass

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – AMC Theatres, the world’s largest movie theatre chain, on Wednesday unveiled a $20-a-month subscription service to rival the flagging MoviePass.The theatre chain announced a new service to its loyalty program, AMC Stubs, allowing subscribers to see up to three movies a week for a monthly fee of $19.95. That’s more expensive than the $9.95 monthly fee for MoviePass, but AMC’s plan gives access to premium format screenings like IMAX and 3-D.The new subscription model is the latest salvo in a heated battle for what the movie business most craves: frequent moviegoers. AMC, which has blocked MoviePass sales at some of its theatres, has been a vocal opponent of MoviePass’ model. But subscription services are popular among Millennials, who have proven difficult for theatres to attract.AMC Theatres chief executive Adam Aron pointedly noted Wednesday that AMC’s program was set at “a sustainable price.” Since MoviePass slashed its monthly fee, questions have mounted over the long-term viability of its economics.“AMC Stubs A-List is being taken to market at more than double the price of that charged by some of our competitors,” Aron said in a conference call with investors. “A good deal to consumers to be sure, but being done at a sustainable price point where we can be very confident that we will be profitable across the membership base and in turn, that we can share that increased profitability with our studio and premium format partners.”Added Aron: “Other discounters, by contrast, will continue to be hemorrhaging cash.”MoviePass has attracted 3 million members, but the stock price of the service’s parent company, Helios and Matheson, has dropped from $38 a share to 44 cents a share. MoviePass pays for full-priced tickets and sells them at a discounted rate in order to capitalize on user data.AMC Stubs A-List membership plan, which also features concessions discounts, will debut Tuesday. Unlike MoviePass, subscribers will be allowed to see all three movies on the same day, and can watch the same movie repeatedly. Movies won’t carry over if a subscriber sees fewer than three films in a week.AMC is estimating that subscription members will see an average of 2.5 movies a month. The theatre chain expects the service could cost the company $5-10 million in ticket revenue in the next six months, but that those losses are worth future gains.last_img read more

13 Oct

NEATs 2018 Community Can donates over 600 jars to Peace Region food

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Volunteers with the Northern Environmental Action Team were busy canning over the summer for members of the community who are in need.NEAT said that Fort St. John residents came together during two canning sessions to prepare 628 jars filled with applesauce, berry jam, pickled carrots and beans, stewed herbed tomatoes, relish, and other preserved foods that were donated to local food banks. Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team presenting Community Can donations to the Salvation Army. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team presenting Community Can donations to the Salvation Army. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team bringing Community Can donations to the Women's Resource Society. Supplied photo Members of the Northern Environmental Action Team bringing Community Can donations to the Women’s Resource Society. Supplied photo Food security is a growing concern in the Peace Region area where prices can be much higher than elsewhere across the country.NEAT says that teaching food preservation skills and providing healthy donations to outreach organizations can help shed light on these issues.NEAT extended thanks to the North Peace Savings & Credit Union and Enbridge for their support of its Community Can initiative, as well as to those members of the community who donated locally-grown fruits and vegetables, their time and their canning skills to make the Community Can a huge success this year.“The Community Canning Program has been a wonderful support to The Fort St. John Food Bank,” said the Salvation Army’s executive director Cameron Eggie. “It pleases our volunteers & staff to be able to give out a healthy-homemade product and it really makes our guests feel supported by their community. Thank you NEAT!”last_img read more

13 Oct

Thieves broke into Action Property and left empty handed

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – At 5:07 am, caught on surveillance camera what appears to be two thieves entering Action Property trying to rob the establishment.Wanda Smook shares with me they had just driven by the business 10 minutes prior to the break-in and there was no one there at that time.“The thieves broke in which immediately triggered our alarm system and Vivint called the RCMP. My maintenance man attended and determined that nothing was missing,” said Smook, “The thieves went straight to the lockbox so they were hoping to find money there I believe. Finding none and with the alarms going off they left.” If you have any information regarding this incident please call the Fort St. John RCMP a 250-787-8100. Should you wish to remain anonymous, please call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or submit a tip online.last_img read more

12 Oct

London Mayor Sadiq Khan named UK Politician of the Year

first_imgLondon: London Mayor Sadiq Khan has been named the Politician of the Year at an annual awards ceremony held in the UK’s House of Commons complex for his ongoing contribution to the political life in the British capital. The annual Political and Public Life Awards presented by Britain’s ‘Asian Voice’ weekly newspaper here on Thursday also recognised UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson as Cabinet Minister of the Year and Indian-origin politician Priti Patel as Conservative Party MP of the Year. “Our armed forces are made strong by being made up of people of every single community and background… contributing to keep us safe,” said Williamson, on receiving his award. “I continue to be your public servant,” added Patel, a former UK Cabinet minister. Khan, 48, whose grandparents were born in India and parents migrated from Pakistan to the UK, was named ‘Politician of the Year’ at an awards ceremony held in the UK’s House of Commons complex. Among other winners from the field of politics at the event, now in its 13th year, included Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader Arlene Foster, Labour Party MPs Dan Carden and Thelma Walker. The other award categories included International Hotel of Year which was won by India’s Leela International hotel chain. Comedian of Year award went to British Indian comedian Paul Chowdhry and Restaurant of the Year for London’s Delhi street food restaurant Hankies. “We are hosting the Asian Voice Political and Public Life Awards at a time when dissent is rife, and arguably unprecedented, in our political stage and the future of the economy hangs in the balance, perhaps perilously so,” said C B Patel, the Publisher and Editor of ‘Asian Voice’. “In the din and tumult of the current scenario, I believe it is important for us to recognise and honour leaders in our political and public life who make a tremendous contribution to preserving Britain’s enviable stature as one of the leading economies of the world,” he said. The awards are held annually to honour people who have made a special impact in the preceding 12 months, ranging from international politicians to individuals who make an impact in their local communities. Readers of the weekly ‘Asian Voice’ newspaper nominate potential winners and an independent panel of judges comprising eminent personalities from different walks of life in the UK, select the winners.last_img read more