Pipe dream Pilot project shows Delhis ambitious 24×7 water supply scheme a

first_imgNew Delhi: The Delhi government harbours a dream of providing 24×7 water supply to city residents and has been long exploring possibilities in this regard, but if a pilot project is anything to go by, it may take decades for the scheme to become a reality, owing to the massive size of the distribution network and monumental challenges. On an average, each household in Delhi gets around four hours of water supply per day. The Delhi Jal Board (DJB) supplies around 935 million gallons of water per day (MGD) against the demand of 1,140 MGD. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in Denmark To cover the deficit, the utility has a number of plans in the pipeline, including setting up new water treatment plants and storing water in floodplains of the Yamuna, river but that too will take time. In a city where lakhs of people rely on illegal borewell and private tankers, and 42 per cent of water gets stolen or leaked, providing continuous water supply is a long shot. The DJB first discussed the ambitious idea of continuous water supply in 2009 and started a pilot project, in a partnership with Suez Group, in January 2013, aiming at providing 24×7 water to every consumer in Malviya Nagar and Vasant Vihar. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic items According to officials, the deadline for completing the work was December 2014. Around six and a half years later, the pilot project has covered only around 800 houses in two small pockets — Navjeevan Vihar and Geetanjali Enclave — in Malviya Nagar and 450 houses in West End Colony of Vasant Vihar, according to senior engineer Virender Kumar, who heads the project. The entire work relates to covering 50,000 connections in Malviya Nagar and 8,000 in Vasant Vihar, he said. The pilot project got delayed due to lack of permission from land-owning agencies, including the municipal corporations, the Delhi Development Authority and the Forest Department, Virender Kumar claimed. The pilot project is stuck because the utility does not have enough water to ensure 24×7 supply in the entire project area. “In the project area, we are getting around 65 million gallons of water per day (MLD) against 80 MLD required to ensure continuous supply. Currently, 24×7 water supply is available only in these three small pockets,” Virender Kumar said. “We cannot draw water from the quota of neighbouring areas as that would be unfair. People start asking questions — why they are getting three hours of supply while others get water 24×7,” he said. On Saturday, Chief Minister and DJB chairman Arvind Kejriwal chaired a meeting of senior officials of the board and discussed issues related to the pilot project. The officials told him that the aim of round-the-clock water supply in Malviya Nagar “was never achieved”. The chief minister directed them to take corrective measures in this regard and to report back to him. DJB member Shalabh Kumar said the round-the-clock supply project requires more water in initial phases because people generally don’t believe it and start storing water. In the areas covered by the pilot project, people started storing water in underground and overhead tanks. These tanks have leakages, and a lot of water flows out through them, he said. “When the 24×7 supply started, people kept their taps open all the time. But when the hefty bills pinched them, they minimized the use of water,” Shalabh Kumar said. The pilot project has succeeded in bringing down non-revenue water (NRW) from 62 per cent initially to 36 per cent and the consumption from 600 litres per capita per day (LPCD) to around 200 in two pockets. In the third pocket, it is still around 350 LPCD. The reason — a lot of big houses and gardens and thus, the consumption is more. As per the Bureau of Indian Standards, a minimum water supply of 200 LPCD is needed for domestic consumption in cities with full flushing systems. NRW means water lost due to leakages or theft before it reaches the consumer. “One of the major challenges is creating awareness about the judicious use of water. People use drinking water in their gardens and to wash their cars. You can educate them, but you cannot force them. Those who have the paying capacity need to know money cannot create water,” another DJB official said. “People need to learn resource management. Water is a natural resource. The DJB, which currently provides around 900 MGD, cannot suddenly supply 10,000 in two years,” the official said. Experts said to ensure 24×7 supply, a leakage-proof pipeline network, constant water pressure, sensors and metred connections are musts to prevent leakages and theft. In the existing infrastructure, the DJB supplies water at high pressure. So, whenever the supply exceeds the demand, say on rainy days, the pipelines burst at weak points, an expert said. Virender Kumar said before starting the pilot project, the DJB surveyed its existing infrastructure and carried out replacement works to improve the water supply network. “We replaced 30-35 years old pipelines. Around 60 per cent of the network in Malviya Nagar and 80 per cent in Vasant Vihar had to be changed,” he said. Most of the leakages are found in house-service connections. These pipes have a lifeline of 8 to 15 years. So, all the household connections have been changed, the DJB engineer said. “Over the next two months, we will hire a consultant, who will study the entire DJB network and tell us about the improvements required. We are in the process of awarding the tender,” he said, adding the feasibility report will be submitted by year-end.last_img read more

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NCLAT drops plea to auction goods of a firm under moratorium period

first_imgNew Delhi: The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) has dismissed a petition of customs authority seeking auction of confined goods of a company, which is under the corporate insolvency proceedings, saying the assets cannot be alienated during a moratorium period. Upholding the orders of the Kolkata bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), the appellate tribunal said that after order of ‘moratorium’ is passed by the adjudicating authority (NCLT), the customs department cannot issue auction notice despite the fact that the goods in question are lying in their possession for years. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepA two-member bench headed by Chairman Justice S J Mukhopadhaya said that Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code mandates “during the period of moratorium, the assets of the ‘corporate debtor’ cannot be alienated, transferred or sold to a third party”. The NCLAT’s order came over an appeal filed by the customs department against an order passed by the NCLT’s Kolkata bench, which had directed Commissioner of Customs, (Preventive) West Bengal, to handover the machinery imported by Ram Sarup Industries Ltd and submit their claims before the resolution professional of the company. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsRam Sarup Industries – maker of wires, TMT bars and steel – had imported two consignments of machineries from Italy in April 2009. The assessment of goods were confirmed by the Assistant Commissioner of Customs, ICD Durgapur, and the Kolkata-based firm was asked to pay duty of Rs 1.39 crore with applicable interest. In 2012, Ram Sarup Industries paid Rs 11 lakh to the customs department and then moved to the high court of Calcutta against the departmental action initiated for disposal of uncleared imported cargo, which was dismissed. In 2016, the customs department attempted thrice to auction the imported goods in question but it could not be fructified as it failed to find any buyer. Later, it granted three months time on February 16, 2017 to Ram Sarup Industries asking to clear the cargo from the custody of the customs authorities after paying the duties. Commissioner of Customs in August 2017 reinitiated the process for disposal of the uncleared cargo by way of auction for the fourth time. Meanwhile, the NCLT on January 8, 2018, allowed the insolvency plea filed by Ram Sarup Industries moved under section 10 of the IBC and declared ‘moratorium’. On the other side, this time the customs department has found a winning bid of the consignment in the auction conducted on January 19, 2018. However, a day after that on January 20, 2018, the department received the copy of the letter dated January 16, 2018, sent by Ram Sarup Industries and another letter dated January 17, 2018, by the RP of the company conveying the NCLT order. Later, the RP approached the NCLT to stay the auction process, which allowed the application. This was challenged by the customs department before the NCLAT contending that corporate debtor’s ownership rights in the imported goods have been relinquished by Section 48 of the Customs Act, 1962. It is also submitted that Section 48 of the ‘Customs Act’ allows customs authorities to dispose unclaimed, uncleared, non-duty paid imported goods after providing the importer with thirty-day notice.last_img read more

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Budget not for common man AAP Delhi BJP welcomes it

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday said the Union Budget 2019-20 does not offer much to the common man or address the major economic challenges faced by the country at the moment. However, the Delhi BJP welcomed the budget. Attacking the Central government in a series of tweets, AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh said the Budget has no mention of women security. “The Budget was a huge disappointment for senior citizens, women and the working class,” he said. AAP leader Raghav Chadha said the Budget does not address any of the major economic challenges faced by the country at the moment. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsFormer Delhi chief minister and Delhi Congress president, Sheila Dikshit termed the annual budget 2019 as “disappointing” and “devoid of” substance. Meanwhile, Delhi BJP’s Leader of Opposition Vijender Gupta said that the Budget presented by the Finance Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman is the essence of PM Modi’s vision for the nation. “It lays a foundation for socio-economic transformation aimed for the coming years. It takes care of all classes, especially the economically weaker and deprived sections. It brings hope and respite to the common man. It lays a solid foundation for India’s growth towards 5 trillion economies,” said Vijender Gupta. Gupta said that the budget envisions an expansion of Metro and implementation of Delhi-Meerut Rapid Regional Transport System through public-private partnership (PPP Model).last_img read more

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June PV retail sales slide 46 on liquidity woes monsoon delay

first_imgNew Delhi: Automobile dealers’ body FADA Tuesday said retail sales of passenger vehicles (PV) in June declined by 4.6 per cent to 2,24,755 units as compared to the same period last year, hit by liquidity issues and delayed monsoon. According to Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), PV sales stood at 2,35,539 units in June 2018.PV wholesales, on the other hand, declined by 17.54 per cent to 2,25,732 units in June from 2,73,748 units in the year-ago period. Two-wheeler retail sales declined by 5 per cent to 13,24,822 units last month compared with 13,94,770 units in the year-ago period. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepCommercial vehicle sales dropped by 19.3 per cent to 48,752 units against 60,378 units in June last year. Three-wheeler sales saw a dip of 2.8 per cent to 48,447 units last month from 49, 837 units in the same period last year. Total sales across categories declined by 5.4 per cent to 16,46,776 units in June as against 17,40,524 units in the same month last year. “Despite starting the month with a positive outlook and hope, the monthly sales ended in a de-growth due to continued liquidity tightness and a much-delayed monsoon,” FADA President Ashish Harsharaj Kale said in a statement. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsEven with inquiry levels being reasonably strong, retail sales got affected as consumer sentiment continued to be weak and purchase postponement was seen across all segments, he added. In the April-June quarter, passenger vehicle sales declined by 1 per cent to 7,28,785 units against 7,36,290 units in the same period of the previous fiscal. Two-wheeler sales declined by 6.4 per cent to 40,64,903 units in the April-June period as compared with 43,44,827 units in the same period of 2018-19 fiscal. Sales across categories declined by 6 per cent to 51,16,718 units as against 54,42,317 units in April-June period of the last fiscal. Kale said that due to delayed monsoon in June and uneven spread in the first half of this month so far, the near-term outlook of four-six weeks remains negative.last_img read more

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87 villages in AP affected by Krishna floods toll rises to 2

first_imgAmaravati(AP): Tens of villages and hundreds of acres of farm land remained under a sheet of water in Krishna and Guntur districts even as the flood fury in river Krishna was abating, while the toll in the deluge climbed to two with the death of an 11-year-old girl. The body of the girl who drowned in the swollen river in Krishna district on Friday was recovered by NDRF personnel. A farmer too met with a watery grave in Guntur district on Friday, the State Disaster Management Authority said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ After touching a maximum of 8.21 lakh cusecs in the early hours of the day, the flood discharge at Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada has fallen to 7.99 lakh cusecs at 10 am while the inflow remained steady at 7.57 lakh cusecs, the State Real-Time Governance Centre said. Even the discharges from upstream reservoirs showed a declining trend but the travails of more than 17,500 people in 87 villages under 32 mandals in Krishna and Guntur districts may continue for the next two days. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K In the two districts, 24 villages were completely inundated by the flood. In all 11,553 people in the two districts have been moved to 56 relief camps where food and drinking water are being provided. In the lanka villages along the river course, people are reluctant to move out of their houses despite the flooding, reminding of the scenario during the massive floods in 1998 and 2009. According to the State Disaster Management Authority, a total of 4,352 houses in the two districts remained marooned. Agriculture crops in 5,311 hectares and horticulture crops in 1,400 hectares remained submerged in the flood in these districts. In river Godavari, there was a marginal drop in the flood intensity with inflow at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowaleswaram falling to 7.46 lakh cusecs. At Polavaram project site, water stood at 26.36 meters but flood flow from upstream Bhadrachalam showed a declining trend, the SDMA said. Meanwhile, the Tadepalli mandal tehslidar served a notice on Leader of Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu asking him to vacate the rented bungalow on the Krishna river bank at Undavalli in view of the heavy flood. Naidu was away in Hyderabad and, as such, the notice was handed over to the security personnel at the bungalow. State Governor Biswabhusan Harichandan conducted an aerial survey of the flood-hit areas of Krishna while ministers visited the marooned localities in Vijayawada city and supervised the relief measures.last_img read more

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Arun Jaitley on life support

first_imgNew Delhi: Several politicians including Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Union minister Piyush Goyal, and Congress leaders Abhishek Singhvi and Jyotiraditya Scindia visited AIIMS here on Saturday to enquire about the health condition of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who has been put on a life support system, sources said.Others who visited the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to inquire about his health are Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, BJP’s Satish Upadhyay and Air Chief Marshal Birender Singh Dhanoa, the sources said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsThe 66-year-old leader has been put on the life support system and a multidisciplinary team of doctors is monitoring his condition, they said. BSP chief and former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati also visited the hospital. Vardhan had said on Friday, “Doctors at AIIMS are doing the best they can.” President Ram Nath Kovind, Union Home Minister Amit Shah and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had visited AIIMS on Friday to check on the leader’s health. The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has not issued any bulletin on Jaitley’s health condition since August 10. Jaitley was admitted on August 9 after he complained of breathlessness and restlessness. In May this year, he was admitted to AIIMS for treatment.last_img read more

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Confusion prevails over removal of freedom fighters bust from DUs North Campus

first_imgNEW DELHI: Confusion prevailed on Saturday over the overnight removal of busts of Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose from outside the Arts Faculty of Delhi University’s North Campus. While the RSS-affiliated ABVP, in a statement, claimed it was removed by Delhi University Students’ Union, the student outfit’s member and outgoing president Shakti Singh accused the varsity administration of removing the busts.A senior functionary of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, however, said the outfit wants that the busts should be installed with due permission and with pomp and show and not silently. “We will install statues of freedom fighters, including Veer Savarkar, across campuses in India but with due permission and letting people know,” the functionary said. Singh, meanwhile, said, “Late last night, DU removed the idols installed by the students. This is obviously an insult to the martyrs and I am opposed to this. The Delhi University administration is intent on killing the student union here.” Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderHe alleged “some students” in collusion with the administration were behind this move and he will protest against this. “I wanted to resolve the issue through dialogue but the administration has not left the space for it,” he said. The ABVP-led Delhi University Students’ Union has removed the busts of V D Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose from the campus, the student outfit said in a statement on Saturday morning. The ABVP, however, claimed the Delhi University has assured them that the busts will be reinstalled in accordance with the procedure after the DUSU polls are concluded on September 12. The busts of the three freedom fighter were installed on August 20 by Singh without taking permission from the varsity authorities. They were removed on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday around 1.30 am. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”ABVP-led DUSU has removed the busts of Veer Savarkar, Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose till permission is obtained from the DU Administration. The busts have been kept (at a) safe (place) by the varsity,” the RSS-affiliated outfit said in a statement. Earlier, the ABVP had asked DUSU office-bearers to install the statues as per the procedure, it claimed. The students’ body also demanded “stringent legal action” against members of the Congress-affiliated National Students’ Union of India (NSUI) for allegedly blackening Savarkar’s bust on Thursday. The ABVP claimed the Left-affiliated student organisations along with AAP’s CYSS and the NSUI had “stooped to a low level” and were harming the “the culture of debate and discussion, prevalent in the university”. “The ABVP strongly believes that the Left, AAP and the student organisations affiliated to the Congress should stop insulting freedom fighters to meet their trivial political interests,” it said. ABVP Delhi’s state secretary Sidharth Yadav said, “It is very unfortunate that the DU administration turned a deaf ear to DUSU’s demand for installation of busts of freedom fighters, for a very long time. The university should restore these idols, as per their assurances, at the earliest.”last_img read more

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Deadline of filing ITRs not extended do it by Aug 31 IT

first_imgNew Delhi: The I-T department on Friday dismissed social media reports which claimed that the government has extended the due date for filing of income tax returns (ITRs) by a month and advised taxpayers to complete the process by the set deadline of August 31. “It has come to the notice of CBDT that an order is being circulated on social media pertaining to extension of due dt (date) for filing of IT Returns. It is categorically stated that the said order is not genuine. Taxpayers are advised to file Returns within extended due dt (date) of 31.08.2019,” the Income-Tax department said on its official Twitter handle. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The handle, @IncomeTaxIndia, is operated by the Central Board of Direct Taxes that frames policy for the I-T department. The clarification came after a fake order dated August 29 started doing the rounds on various social media platforms, including Twitter and WhatsApp groups, claiming that the government has extended the due date for filing income tax returns for individuals (financial year 2018-19) by a month till September 30. The I-T department also put up a photo of the fake order on its Twitter handle and put a red cancellation cross across it making clear that the contents are not genuine. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday On July 23, the government had extended the due date for filing income tax returns by individuals for financial year 2018-19 by a month till August 31. The earlier deadline was July 31. Individuals, including salaried taxpayers, and entities- who do not need to get their accounts audited – are required to file their ITRs for fiscal 2018-19 (assessment year 2019-20) by Saturday, August 31.last_img read more

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Rupee tumbles 67 paise to 7209 against US dollar in early trade

first_imgMumbai: The rupee tumbled by 67 paise to 72.09 against the US currency in early trade on Tuesday, tracking weak opening in domestic equities amid strong dollar demand from banks and importers. Forex traders said the US tariffs on imports from China took effect on Sunday and were followed later by Beijing’s retaliation. Following this the domestic currency was under pressure. The rupee had appreciated by 38 paise to close at a two-week high of 71.42 against the US dollar on Friday led by a rally in domestic equities and renewed hopes of the US-China trade talks. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal The forex market was closed on Monday on account of Ganesh Chaturthi. At the interbank foreign exchange, the rupee opened at 72.00 then fell to 72.09 against the US dollar, showing a decline of 67 paise over its previous closing. The Indian rupee on Friday had closed at 71.42 against the US dollar. Traders said strengthening of the greenback vis-a-vis other currencies overseas and weak opening in domestic equities weighed on the local unit. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost Foreign institutional investors (FIIs) remained net buyers in the capital market, putting in Rs 1,162.95 crore on Friday, provisional data with the exchanges showed. The 30-share index was trading 371.23 points or 0.99 per cent lower at 36,961.56 and the broader Nifty fell 136.90 points or 1.24 per cent to 10,886.35. The dollar index, which gauges the greenback’s strength against a basket of six currencies, inched up 0.37 per cent to 99.28. Brent crude futures, the global oil benchmark, eased marginally by 0.02 per cent to USD 58.65 per barrel. The 10-year government bond yield was at 6.52 per cent in morning trade.last_img read more

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Carbon court Saskatchewan seeks Court of Appeal ruling on federal carbon tax

first_imgREGINA – The Saskatchewan government is asking the province’s Appeal Court to rule on whether Ottawa can impose a carbon tax but the federal government says it is confident it will prevail.Saskatchewan wants to know whether Ottawa’s plan to bring in a carbon price for provinces that don’t have one violates the Constitution.Premier Scott Moe’s government has consistently fought against the carbon tax, arguing the province’s own climate-change plans are sufficient to reduce emissions.“Our constitutional challenge asserts that the provincial government, not the federal government, has the constitutional authority to set our policy in this area,” Moe said at a news conference announcing the challenge Wednesday.“Provinces are not subsidiaries of the federal government and in Saskatchewan we have a plan. Our plan reduces emissions without a carbon tax.”The province said it wants a ruling by the end of the year and is prepared to go to the Supreme Court if needed.The federal climate plan calls for the taxing of greenhouse gas emissions starting at $10 per tonne this year, rising $10 a year to $50 a tonne in 2022. It leaves it to the provinces to decide how to do that either through a tax or a cap-and-trade system.Saskatchewan is the lone holdout. Its climate plan includes performance standards for large emitters, better building codes and a freight delivery strategy, but not a broad-based price on carbon.Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said in Ottawa that her government is confident it has the legal authority.“We are disappointed to see this news because we’re all in this together,” McKenna said. “We want to have a price on pollution across the country and every province has an opportunity to design a system that makes sense for them.”“There are still people out there who think there’s a choice to be made between what’s good for the environment and what’s good for the economy,” added Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.But Saskatchewan Justice Minister Don Morgan said his government’s constitutional lawyers believe Ottawa’s plan can be successfully challenged because it imposes a tax at different rates depending on how each province responds to the federal demands.“We recognize the federal government’s right to levy a tax,” Morgan said. “If there was a total uniform rate, such as GST, it would be a different argument, but that is not the way this is structured.”However, University of Ottawa law professor Nathalie Chalifour feels that the courts will rule the constitutionality of the measure valid.The province’s decision to challenge the carbon tax was met with praise from both the Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities and the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.“It would be disastrous to agriculture especially now when we’re facing such high fuel prices as it is,” said SARM president Ray Orb. “And we certainly wouldn’t be able to tolerate any kind of a tax on top of that.”Saskatchewan also won an ally in the Opposition United Conservative Party next door in Alberta. Leader Jason Kenney tweeted that his party would seek intervener status and support Saskatchewan.But Amir Attaran, a law professor at the Ecojustice Environment Law Clinic at the University of Ottawa, said Saskatchewan will not win.“It’s doomed,” he said. “They may win at the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal, but if they go up to the Supreme Court of Canada, I have very little belief that they will win.”— With files from Terry Pedwell in Ottawa. Follow @RyanBMcKenna on Twitter.last_img read more

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Iraqi Kurds want same right to selfdetermination as Quebecers Diplomat

first_imgOTTAWA – A senior representative for Iraq’s Kurdish region is defending her people’s plan to hold a referendum on independence, saying they simply want to exercise the same right to self-determination as Quebecers.Tensions in Iraq are mounting after the country’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government in Erbil announced earlier this month plans to hold the long-promised referendum on Sept. 25.Planning is now underway, despite fierce objections from Iraq’s central government in Baghdad, as well as varying degrees of opposition from the U.S., the European Union and most of Iraq’s neighbours.Bayan Sami Abdul Rahman, the Kurdish government’s top diplomat in Washington, said her people have tried to live and work with the rest of Iraq, but Baghdad has chosen not to co-operate.She cited a number of examples to illustrate the point: recent reports of the central government cutting off supplies of medicine to the Kurds, restrictions on Kurdish oil exports and a failure to resolve long-standing land disputes with Erbil.“We have done our best to be partners in Iraq; it has not worked,” Rahman said in an interview with The Canadian Press.“We believe this is the right time to allow the people of Kurdistan to exercise their democratic right, a right that people across the world have, to express their self-determination.”She also cited what she called historic injustices perpetrated upon Iraqi Kurds, including the killing of thousands of Kurds by Saddam Hussein, as well as forced displacements and disappearances.Canada has said little about the planned referendum, despite the fact Canadian soldiers have partnered almost exclusively with the Kurdish peshmerga in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.Asked about the issue last week, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said: “A unified Iraq is what we believe is the long-term solution. But ultimately these decisions have to be made by the Iraqi people, and the Kurds themselves.”Rahman linked Canada’s reticence to weigh in on Kurdistan’s aspirations for independence to the fact it offers an uncomfortable echo of the on-again, off-again debate about sovereignty in Quebec.“As a state that has its own province of Quebec that has exercised the right to hold a referendum, I think it would be difficult for Canada to deny that right to the people of Kurdistan,” she said.Yet she also cautioned against comparisons between the two,, calling Iraq’s situation “a different kettle of fish” because of the tense relationship between Erbil and Baghdad.“Ottawa would never think to cut off the medicine supply to one of its provinces, even if it was a province that was a thorn in its side,” she said. “We’re trying to have an amicable divorce from Iraq. But this is not the same as Quebec having an amicable divorce from Canada.”Many observers say it is past time the world’s 30 million Kurds had their own country; some even say they have earned it with their efforts in the fight against the Islamic State group.But while the U.S. and the EU are among those that have recognized the Kurds’ legitimate aspirations for self-determination, there are fears a vote now would detract from the anti-ISIL effort.Part of the reason is because the vote will be held in Iraq’s so-called disputed territories, which includes the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, and whose ownership is claimed by both Baghdad and Erbil.Iraq’s neighbours, meanwhile, worry that any move towards independence by Iraq’s Kurds, who number about 8 million, will lead to similar demands by the Kurdish populations within their borders.Rahman dismissed suggestions the referendum be delayed until after ISIL is defeated, saying there is no guarantee the international community would support it even then.And while confident, like many observers, that Kurds would vote overwhelmingly for independence from Iraq, Rahman said any actual split from the rest of the country would come through negotiations.To that end, rather than simply standing by and watch, she said Canada could help oversee a peaceful divorce between the two sides.“We believe that the best way to reach our desired goal is to have a negotiated settlement with Baghdad, and a negotiated settlement means dialogue,” she said.“Encourage Baghdad to talk to us. Encourage us to talk to Baghdad in such a way that both sides can have a win-win result. If Canada can play that role, of course we would welcome it.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitterlast_img read more

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Jimmy Carter returns to Winnipeg charity project after hospital stay

first_imgWINNIPEG – Former United States president Jimmy Carter has been released from a Winnipeg hospital a day after he became dehydrated while volunteering with a Habitat for Humanity home-building event in the city.A statement from the Habitat organization says Carter, who is 92, was released this morning and attended the daily devotional at the build site.Carter was helping to construct a set of stairs Thursday morning when he began to feel weak after two hours in the sun.He required assistance to walk to a nearby trailer and was taken soon afterward by ambulance across town to St. Boniface General Hospital.Jonathan Reckford, chief executive officer of Habitat for Humanity International, said at the time that the former president received medical attention as a precaution, but was fine.Carter, who served as president from 1977 to 1981, was in Edmonton earlier this week helping Habitat, which builds affordable housing for low-income earners.last_img read more

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Serial killer guilty of professional misconduct by nursing college

first_imgTORONTO – The actions of a nurse who killed vulnerable patients in her care were the “most egregious” Ontario’s nursing regulator has ever seen, the body said Tuesday as it revoked Elizabeth Wettlaufer’s certification and found her guilty of professional misconduct.But the College of Nurses of Ontario defended itself when asked if it could have done more to flag Wettlaufer as a concern, saying it had not found evidence of her intent to harm patients when it previously investigated two incidents involving her.Wettlaufer was found guilty of 14 counts of professional misconduct after a hearing before a disciplinary panel that came nearly two months after she pleaded guilty to murdering eight seniors in her care.The 50-year-old — who is currently serving a life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years — was not present at the hearing.“This is the most egregious and disgraceful conduct this panel has ever considered,” said Grace Fox, the chair of the five-person panel that deemed Wettlaufer’s conduct unprofessional, dishonourable and disgraceful.In June, Wettlaufer pleaded guilty to the first-degree murder of eight seniors, attempted murder of four others and aggravated assault of two more people, all by way of insulin overdoses, between 2007 and 2016.She confessed to the murders while at a psychiatric hospital in Toronto last fall before detailing the crimes to the college and ultimately to police in Woodstock, Ont.The college has previously said little about Wettlaufer’s case. Its role as a regulator came under the spotlight at Tuesday’s disciplinary hearing.The college knew Wettlaufer was fired from the Caressant Care nursing home in Woodstock for a medication error in 2014, but she continued to work — and harmed patients and killed another — until she resigned as a nurse in September 2016.The disciplinary panel heard Wettlaufer had given one patient insulin that belonged to another patient and was fired for that incident, which came after three other medication errors. Caressant Care told the college about the firing, but the college decided not to conduct a formal investigation after interviewing the facility’s nursing director.The college was satisfied that Wettlaufer owned up to the errors and that there was no evidence of intent to harm her patients, Mark Sandler, a lawyer representing the college said after the hearing.By not doing an official investigation, the incident remained private, which meant the public, and other nursing employers, didn’t know about the termination.Questions about the college’s role will be addressed in an upcoming public inquiry into the matter that has been called by the province, Sandler said.“One of the issues that will undoubtedly come up at the inquiry is whether notices of termination are publicly posted or not,” Sandler said. “There are very compelling reasons why they’re not — on the other hand in light of this case that that will be a legitimate systemic issue that the commissioner will wrestle with.”Doris Grinspun, the CEO of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario, wants firings to be disclosed to future employers.“It should be mandatory that the employer has an obligation to disclose termination to the next employer if it has to do with matters related to patient safety,” Grinspun said.The disciplinary panel also heard about an incident in 1995 when Wettlaufer was found “dazed and disoriented at work” and required hospitalization after illicitly taking lorazepam, a drug used to treat anxiety and sleeping disorders.The college investigated and found that Wettlaufer had not tried to harm patients, but was recommended for treatment and to practise nursing with conditions that included avoiding drugs and alcohol for one year. She completed that term without issue.That incident remained public for six more years, Sandler said.“The bottom line is that we’re very comfortable in the way in which the college responded in its two interactions with Ms. Wettlaufer,” Sandler said.Earlier in the day, Megan Shortreed, another lawyer for the college, presented an agreed statement of facts from Wettlaufer’s guilty plea and her confession to police in the criminal case as the basis for the college’s findings of misconduct.Shortreed noted that Wettlaufer’s psychiatrist informed the college about her confession on Sept. 29, 2016.The college started an investigation immediately, Shortreed said, but was told to back off by police and the Crown attorney to allow their own investigation to proceed.The disciplinary panel heard that Wettlaufer then emailed and called the college on Sept. 30, saying she was no longer fit to practise as a nurse and wished to resign.She told the college’s intake investigator that she had given 14 patients insulin overdoses on purpose, although she wasn’t sure if the eight deaths were directly or indirectly related to her actions, the panel heard.“She said she would never again practise nursing,” Shortreed said. “Wettlaufer had no explanation as to why she had done these things.”last_img read more

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NAFTA US wants to insert 5year termination clause in the agreement

first_imgWASHINGTON – The United States wants to insert a so-called sunset clause in NAFTA, which would terminate the agreement after five years unless the three member countries agree to extend it.Wilbur Ross, Donald Trump’s commerce secretary, says the constant threat of termination would force a permanent, systematic re-evaluation of the deal.He says he and the U.S. trade czar agree that the new NAFTA should include such a termination.Ross made the remarks at a summit organized by the website Politico, which first reported news about the U.S. pushing for a sunset clause.He says it’s unclear whether Canada and Mexico, the other NAFTA countries, will go for the idea.He also says he wants a deal by the end of the year and would rather not terminate the agreement as Trump has threatened.last_img read more

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FBIs first blows Trump campaign boss charged aide flips into Russia witness

first_imgWASHINGTON – The Russia investigation struck its first blows against Donald Trump’s presidency in a one-two punch Monday: his former campaign manager was arrested on numerous charges, and a lower-level adviser has admitted to communicating with intermediaries of the Putin government about stolen emails, has pleaded guilty to lying about it, and is now co-operating with authorities.The day began with ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort surrendering to authorities as he and another senior campaign aide were slapped with a dozen criminal charges, including conspiracy against the United States; money-laundering; failing to register as a foreign agent; and lying to police.The president seized on the fact that most of the alleged crimes occurred before he announced his presidential run in 2015: “Sorry, but this is years ago, before Paul Manafort was part of the Trump campaign,” he tweeted. “Why aren’t Crooked Hillary (Clinton) & the (Democrats) the focus?????”A moment later, the next shoe dropped.A subsequent announcement from special investigator Robert Mueller’s office was about events that indeed occurred during the campaign, that did pertain to contacts with Russia, and specifically involved conversations about high-ranking officials and illicitly obtained Hillary Clinton emails.The office announced that a foreign-policy campaign adviser to Trump was arrested three months ago, confessed this month as part of a plea deal, and is now co-operating with federal authorities as part of the expanding probe.“Special counsel Mueller appears to have a co-operating witness,” tweeted former New York prosecutor Preet Bharara, recently fired by Trump.“That is significant. Time will tell how significant.”That witness is George Papadopoulos.He has pleaded guilty to lying to police about events from the spring of 2016. They involved communications with a Russian professor with high-ranking ties to the Putin government, and with a woman he described in an email as “(Vladimir) Putin’s niece.”Papadopoulos held meetings in Europe and repeatedly communicated with these people. Some of the communications involved setting up a Trump visit to Moscow in the hope of improving U.S.-Russia relations.But some involved more shadowy political co-operation.Papadopoulos said the professor offered to deliver dirt collected by Russians on Clinton in the form of emails — several months before sites like Wikileaks began mass-releasing emails that upended the American election.According to the settlement sheet released Monday, Papadopoulos said: “(The Russians) have dirt on her,” and “the Russians had emails of Clinton,” and “they have thousands of emails.”It is unclear from the settlement document what emails he was referring to — whether they might be unreleased messages from Clinton’s time at the State Department, other personal emails, or the ones ultimately released months later by Wikileaks, belonging to the Democratic party and to Clinton campaign chair John Podesta.The 14-page statement concludes with a cryptic line that portends potential storms ahead: “Following his arrest (on July 27, 2017), defendant Papadopoulos met with the government on numerous occasions to provide information and answer questions.”Legal observers believe he might now try to flip Trump’s former campaign chair. Manafort and fellow senior campaign aide Richard Gates were hauled in by the FBI early Monday after being charged with 12 crimes.Those two have pleaded not guilty.Manafort is accused of allegedly laundering $18 million into the U.S., from work on behalf of the pro-Russia faction in Ukrainian politics, and of using more than three dozen shell companies to avoid paying taxes on this money, based in Cyprus and elsewhere.He allegedly used the proceeds to fund a lavish lifestyle that included purchases of more than $1 million in antique rugs, and more than $1 million in clothing at stores in New York and Beverly Hills.Manafort also worked as an unregistered lobbyist for a foreign power through 2014, authorities allege. It is illegal to work in the U.S. as a lobbyist for foreign interests without filing disclosure forms.Furthermore, he and his co-defendant conspired in November 2016 and February 2017 to lie to federal investigators, according to the indictment sheet.The 31-page indictment sheet appears to suggest one way federal investigators can exert pressure on Manafort to talk. It concludes by stating that if Manafort is convicted on these charges, he could be forced to forfeit his assets — which include four houses, and one life-insurance policy.Manafort was released on bail, and placed under house arrest, for $10 million.The White House played down the developments as a non-event.A spokeswoman for Trump noted that the allegations against Manafort date back years. As for the low-level aide, she said Papadopoulos’ legal troubles don’t involve political collusion with Russia, but stem from his lying to police.Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said: ”It has to do with his failure to tell the truth. That doesn’t have anything to do with the campaign or the campaign’s activities.” She called Papadopoulos a low-level volunteer acting on his own.In recent days, Trump and his supporters have launched a pre-emptive strike on the special prosecutor. They have aggressively pushed for prosecutors to shift the focus of the Russia investigation onto Hillary Clinton, and cast aspersions on Mueller.That was reflected in the tone of coverage from friendly news outlets. Fox News covered Monday’s developments less extensively than other cable outlets, and took a shot at Robert Mueller in a segment Monday titled: “Credibility In Question.”Democrats warned the president to leave the prosecutor alone.”The president must not, under any circumstances, in any way, interfere,” said Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer. ”If he does, Congress must respond swiftly, unequivocally, and in a bipartisan way to ensure that the investigation continues and the truth, the whole truth, comes out.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version incorrectly said Manafort and Gates had pleaded guilty.last_img read more

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Baloney Meter How much is the government going to collect from tax

first_imgOTTAWA – “Our investments have already yielded results. We are on track to recuperate $25 billion from our efforts against tax avoidance and tax evasion.” — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.——-There are two certainties in life, and one of them the government doesn’t want you cheating on.The depth of Canada’s tax evasion and avoidance problem erupted in overwhelming detail last week with the release of a trove of documents about offshore accounts and trusts, dubbed the Paradise Papers, that delivered a broadside to the prime minister’s oft-repeated mantra of creating a fairer tax system for the middle class and its hard-working aspirants.Trudeau responded with a haymaker of his own: The government had identified and was on track to collect $25 billion in unpaid taxes over the last two years. His intended message was clear: Canada won’t turn a blind eye to those who cheat on — or otherwise go to extreme lengths to avoid paying — their taxes.But did the government cheat on its numbers?Spoiler alert: The Canadian Press Baloney Meter is a dispassionate examination of political statements culminating in a ranking of accuracy on a scale of “no baloney” to “full of baloney” (complete methodology below).This one earns a rating of “a lot of baloney.” Here’s why.THE FACTSThe prime minister made two statements on Nov. 6, the first day that the fallout from the Paradise Papers hit the House of Commons. During question period, Trudeau first said the government had “identified $25 billion in unreported income.” A few minutes later, he said the government was “on track to recuperate $25 billion from our efforts against tax avoidance and tax evasion.”In the 2016-17 fiscal year, which ended March 31, the agency targeted $8 billion in forgone taxes from large businesses, including about $1.8 billion flagged as stemming from tax avoidance or evasion. There was also $2.6 billion identified as unpaid GST and HST, and a further $1.6 billion in possible unpaid taxes from small businesses.The combined value was $12.2 billion. The agency’s annual report from the previous fiscal year noted virtually identical figures in each category, and a similar total: $12.2 billion, for a two-year total of $24.4 billion — nearly all of the $25 billion cited by Trudeau.The figure represents the extra revenue the government should have collected, said Ted Gallivan, assistant commissioner of international, large businesses, and criminal investigations branch. It usually crosses multiple tax years and can be calculated upon existing taxpayer balances, he said.For really high-value balances, the CRA may make accommodations to collect the balance over time so a business doesn’t go bankrupt, meaning the debt lasts for a while, Gallivan added.The figures for the last two fiscal years are not out of line with the preceding two-year period. Agency reports show auditors identified $20.5 billion in unreported tax between April 2013 and March 2015.In their 2016 budget, the Liberals gave the Canada Revenue Agency $444.4 million over five years to go after tax cheats, expecting it to result in the collection of $2.6 billion in previously unpaid taxes. This year’s budget added $523.9 million over five years, aimed at recouping $2.5 billion in revenues.The net result: the government expected to come out of all that spending $4.13 billion ahead.THE EXPERTSWhen the government cites the $25-billion figure, they’re referring to how much auditors have identified as problematic — not how much officials will collect in the end, said Dennis Howlett, CEO of the advocacy group Canadians for Tax Fairness.It includes years of unpaid taxes that were only recently identified. What’s more, the final figure can change, since the government can settle out of court and discount any penalties without making the details public.Hussein Warsame, an accounting professor and the CPA Fellow in Taxation at the University of Calgary, said the government will likely collect about half of what it expects, or even less once the cost of employee time, legal fees and other expenses are factored in.“That $25 billion is not what the government is going to get,” Warsame said.Well over 90 per cent of the approximately 80,000 appeals of Canada Revenue Agency audits filed each year are settled before they ever go to court, said Geoffrey Loomer, a tax law professor from Dalhousie University in Halifax.Most of the $25 billion in question would likely be wrapped up in those appeals, he said. Of that amount, overseas tax evaders are a small percentage; most are people like restaurant owners who neglect to collect GST, or contractors who fudge their income on their tax returns, Loomer saidTHE VERDICTThe government is no doubt recouping some of its losses from tax cheats and avoiders who hide their money offshore. But are they going to collect all $25 billion? Unlikely, say experts.“There is definitely some truth to what they’re claiming, but they’re prone to exaggerating a bit and they are fuzzy about different terms,” Howlett said.That’s why this statement receives a rating of “a lot of baloney” — the $25-billion number might be accurate, but the chances the government will recoup all of it are remote at best, contrary to Trudeau’s claim the government is “on track” to recover all of it.The prime minister was largely correct when he characterized the $25 billion as “unreported income,” but he overreached moments later by declaring the government was planning to recover the same sum.METHODOLOGYThe Baloney Meter is a project of The Canadian Press that examines the level of accuracy in statements made by politicians. Each claim is researched and assigned a rating based on the following scale:No baloney — the statement is completely accurateA little baloney — the statement is mostly accurate but more information is requiredSome baloney — the statement is partly accurate but important details are missingA lot of baloney — the statement is mostly inaccurate but contains elements of truthFull of baloney — the statement is completely inaccurateSOURCEShttps://www.canada.ca/en/revenue-agency/corporate/about-canada-revenue-agency-cra/departmental-performance-reports.htmllast_img read more

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Canadian financial companies funding overseas coal plants as feds push phaseout

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s national pension fund manager is among a group of Canadian companies that are undermining the federal government’s international anti-coal alliance by investing in new coal power plants overseas, an environmental organization says.Friends of the Earth Canada joined with Germany’s Urgewald to release a report today looking at the top 100 private investors putting money down to expand coal-fired electricity — sometimes in places where there isn’t any coal-generated power at the moment.The report lists six Canadian financial companies among the top 100 investors in new coal plants in the world. Together, Sun Life, Power Corporation, Caisse de depot et placement du Quebec, Royal Bank of Canada, Manulife Financial and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board have pledged $2.9 billion towards building new coal plants overseas.Urgewald tracks coal plants around the world and reports there are 1,600 new plants in development in 62 nations, more than a dozen of which don’t have any coal-fired plants now.While Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is claiming to be a global leader on phasing out the dirtiest of electricity sources, private investors are “undermining that commitment,” says Friends of the Earth senior policy adviser John Bennett.Canada and the United Kingdom last month teamed up to launch the Powering Past Coal Alliance, trying to bring the rest of the world on side with a campaign pledge to phase out coal as a power source entirely by 2030 for the developed world and 2050 for everyone else.Twenty national governments and at least seven subnational governments — five of them from Canada — signed onto the alliance last month. The hope is to grow the number to 50 by the time the United Nations 24th climate change conference takes place in November 2018.McKenna will meet with leaders and officials from the alliance this week in Paris, where French President Emmanuel Macron is hosting a climate change meeting to mark the two year anniversary of the Paris climate change accord. This meeting is largely focused on international climate finance as the world tries to meet the goal to have $100 billion a year to invest in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in the developing world by 2020.The accord commits the world to keeping the average global temperature from rising more than two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial levels by the end of the century. To do that, scientists suggest global carbon emissions have to start dropping in less than three years, and the only way that is going to happen is by shutting down coal plants.Coal is responsible for almost half of global carbon dioxide emissions.McKenna’s office did not respond to a request for comment.Last week, McKenna was in China where she said she was talking about phasing out coal. While China is trying to cut its own coal use, it uses more coal to make power than the rest of the world combined. Hence, McKenna said it’s currently impossible to expect China to commit to eliminating it.McKenna said she wasn’t planning to raise the issue of China investing in new plants outside its borders. Urgewald’s data show Chinese-owned companies are behind about 140 new coal plants in development outside China.Turns out Canadian money is also financing international coal plants, through private investors.Dale Marshall, national program manager for Environmental Defence, said the Paris meeting this week has a lot of work to do trying to figure out how national governments can increase their commitments but also leverage more from the private sector.Erin Flanagan, director of federal policy for the Pembina Institute, said Canada can do more to discourage Canadians from investing in coal and encourage investments in clean energy. That could include a national requirement for investment companies to include climate change risks when publishing decisions about investment opportunities.— follow @mrabson on Twitter.last_img read more

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World junior hockey on 660 NEWS

first_imgCanada booked its semifinal spot at the world junior hockey tournament with an 8-2 quarterfinal victory over Switzerland.You’ll be able to hear Thursday’s Canada versus the Czech Republic semifinal meeting live on 660 NEWS at 6 p.m. We’ll still provide traffic, weather and news updates throughout the hockey broadcast.The winner will advance to the gold medal game and play either the USA or Sweden.The Canadians defeated the Czechs 9-0 last month in exhibition action.last_img

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Auto shop owner says police investigated Bruce McArthur since October

first_imgTORONTO – The owner of an auto parts shop says police had been investigating alleged murderer Bruce McArthur since early October, when they first came looking for a vehicle he sold.McArthur was arrested and charged with first-degree murder last week in the deaths of two missing men from Toronto’s gay community, Andrew Kinsman and Selim Esen, and police believe there are more victims.Investigators may have been on McArthur’s tail as many as three months ago, according to Dominic Vetere, owner of Dom’s Auto Parts in Courtice, Ont., just east of Toronto.He said police first came to his shop on Oct. 3 when they were canvassing auto parts businesses to try and find McArthur’s vehicle, a Dodge Caravan.“They said it was a high-profile case, but they didn’t tell us that it was related to these missing gentlemen in particular,” said Vetere.He said he only connected the dots when police announced McArthur’s arrest last week.Vetere said two plainclothes officers asked him to run a vehicle identification number to track down the van, and they were “excited” when they found it intact.Vetere said police towed away the vehicle, and many more visits followed.He said officers interviewed his staff and copied surveillance video that showed a man who appeared to be McArthur visiting the shop.Vetere said officers told him they found blood in the vehicle in the weeks following.“It was a trace amount of blood,” said Vetere. “None of us even noticed it, even the dismantler didn’t notice it.”Vetere said police are fortunate the van was sold to his shop, since a scrap shop would’ve disposed of it immediately, and many others don’t bother recording vehicle identification numbers.Many in Toronto’s gay community have expressed frustration with how police have handled the investigation into the disappearances of several men from the city’s gay village, including Kinsman and Esen.Others who live, work or spend time in the area have expressed relief that an arrest has been made, but said they’re angry police didn’t heed their concerns about a possible serial killer earlier.Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders has defended his force’s handling of the case, saying officers worked with the evidence they had at the time.When reached by The Canadian Press on Sunday, police declined to comment on the specifics of the case.last_img read more

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Federal government will intervene if needed on Trans Mountain Carr

first_imgCALGARY – Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr says the federal government will step in when necessary to ensure the Trans Mountain expansion project gets built, but is giving few details on how it plans to do so.Carr, speaking in Calgary at the announcement of a new project assessment process, says Ottawa continues to talk with both the B.C. and Alberta governments as it looks to ensure the federally approved project gets built.Last week, the B.C. government created more uncertainty for the future of the $7.4-billion pipeline project to the West Coast by announcing plans for more consultations on oil spill readiness and a limit on increased diluted bitumen shipments until it’s confident in response measures.The Alberta government has taken a strong stance against B.C.’s proposal, suspending electricity talks and halting B.C. wine imports in protest.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, as well as Kinder Morgan Canada Ltd. CEO Ian Anderson, have called on the federal government to ensure the project gets built.Carr says the federal government is alert to attempts to delay the project, but that so far B.C. has yet to take any action that requires a direct response.last_img read more

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