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Despite heavy RCMP presence Mikmaq Maliseet continue antifracking protests in New Brunswick

first_img(Photo submitted by Sandra Belliveau to APTN National News’ Facebook page. RCMP blocking Route 126 in New Brunswick)By Tim FontaineAPTN National NewsIt was another day of protest in New Brunswick as Mi’kmaq, Maliseet and their supporters voiced their opposition to shale gas exploration in Kent County.About 100 people have gathered near the town of Birch Ridge, NB, where SWN Resources Canada and their subcontractors have equipment and vehicles used for shale gas exploration stored.SWN Resources Canada is one of the largest companies involved in shale gas exploration in the province. Many Mi’kmaq and Maliseet are opposed to the exploration, saying that it will eventually lead to ‘fracking’ and cause serious harm to the environment, especially water.First Nations also say there was insufficient consultation done by the province.Amateur video and photos show a heavy RCMP presence at the site of today’s protest, although the situation remains peaceful.This is the fourth day of protests in New Brunswick, sparked when members of the Elsipogtog First Nation seized a vehicle belonging to Stantec, which is a Fredericton-based company subcontracted to SWN Resources Canada.One of the protesters is Susan Levi-Peters, once Chief of Elsipogtog and former candidate for the provincial NDP. She says frustration is building with shale gas exploration and with the RCMP.Levi-Peters says with tensions running so high, the province’s Premier David Alward should halt further shale gas exploration until all sides can come together and discuss the path forward.But she and others warn that with opposition against shale gas exploration so high, it’s unlikely First Nations will agree to allow the industry to develop.Here’s a brief timeline of events:Tuesday, June 4Members of Elsipogtog First Nation in New Brunswick surrounded a vehicle owned by Stantec that was parked at a restaurant near the community. RCMP intervened and brought the vehicle to the local station. Community members followed and refused to allow the vehicle to leave. The vehicle was eventually returned to the company and no arrests were made. Following the incident, New Brunswick’s Energy Minister issued a call for protests to remain peaceful.Wednesday, June 5Around 100 people from Elsipogtog and surrounding communities gather on provincial route 126, at the SWN Resources Canada site. Witnesses say although the protest was peaceful, a large contingent of RCMP moved in and arrested 3, including a 16-year-old. The Chief of Elsipogtog, Arren Sock, issued a statement saying that the community is opposed to shale gas exploration and that Mi’kmaq voices must be heard. He also issued a call for calm among protesters, urging them to remain peaceful and lawful.Thursday, June 6Another afternoon of protests on route 126. Around 100 gather again and there was a heavy RCMP presence but no arrests are made.Friday, June 7Over 100 are gathered at the site on route 126, including St. Mary’s First Nation Chief Candice Paul. Chief Paul has been opposed to the shale gas industry since the province announced exploration would begin over the winter.tfontaine@aptn.ca@anishinaboylast_img read more

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Aboriginal actors say roles in The Revenant life changing experience

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt’s billed to be one of the best movies of the year.The Revenant features Hollywood heavyweights as Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, along with Oscar award-winning director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (Birdman).But it also features to Aboriginal actors from British Columbia who say the roles were a life changing experience for them.APTN’s Tina House has the story.last_img

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Former prime ministers comments on Attawapiskat touch a nerve with APTN viewers

first_imgDennis Ward APTN National NewsFormer prime minister Jean Chrétien’s comments on Attawapiskat stirred quite a few emotions this week.Chrétien, who as Indian Affairs minister in the late 1960’s, tabled the controversial “White Paper” that would end the special legal rights between Canada and status Indians.This week he was asked about the crisis unfolding in Attawapiskat and quipped that sometimes people have to move.And that got APTN’s viewers writing in.last_img

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APTN Investigates Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement

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BC asks court to affirm right to protect environment from heavy oils

first_imgTina HouseAPTN NewsBritish Columbia’s fight against the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion is heading to court with the New Democrat government seeking affirmation that it has the right to protect its environment from the threat of a heavy oil spill.The reference case to B.C.’s Court of Appeal throws further uncertainty on the project as cabinet ministers said Thursday it is unlikely a decision will be reached before Kinder Morgan Canada’s May 31 deadline for getting some assurance it can proceed without the threat of more delays.Premier John Horgan said the reference case is aimed at protecting the province’s coastline and economy from the harms of an oil spill.“By issuing this reference today we’re confirming we have the jurisdiction to ensure that if there was a catastrophic diluted bitumen spill we have the ability to take steps to protect our economy and our environment,” Horgan said.It’s the latest move in the escalating dispute over the $7.4-billion project that would double an existing pipeline from Edmonton to Burnaby, B.C., in an effort to sell more fuel to Asian markets.thouse@aptn.ca@inthehouse7-with files from the Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Nucleararmed North Korea profits from US EU seafood sales

first_imgHUNCHUN, China – The workers wake up each morning on metal bunk beds in fluorescent-lit Chinese dormitories, North Koreans outsourced by their government to process seafood that ends up in American stores and homes.Privacy is forbidden. They cannot leave their compounds without permission. They must take the few steps to the factories in pairs or groups, with North Korean minders ensuring no one strays. They have no access to telephones or email. And they are paid a fraction of their salaries, while the rest — as much as 70 per cent — is taken by North Korea’s government.This means Americans buying salmon for dinner at Walmart or ALDI may inadvertently have subsidized the North Korean government as it builds its nuclear weapons program, an AP investigation has found. Their purchases may also have supported what the United States calls “modern day slavery” — even if the jobs are highly coveted by North Koreans.At a time when North Korea faces sanctions on many exports, the government is sending tens of thousands of workers worldwide, bringing in revenue estimated at anywhere from $200 million to $500 million a year. That could account for a sizable portion of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs, which South Korea says have cost more than $1 billion.While the presence of North Korean workers overseas has been documented, the AP investigation reveals for the first time that some products they make go to the United States, which is now a federal crime. AP also tracked the products made by North Korean workers to Canada, Germany and elsewhere in the European Union.In addition to seafood, AP found North Korean labourers making wood flooring and sewing garments in factories in Hunchun. Those industries also export to the U.S. from Hunchun, but AP did not track specific shipments except for seafood.American companies are not allowed to import products made by North Korean workers anywhere in the world, under a law signed by President Donald Trump in early August. Importers or company officials could face criminal charges for using North Korean workers or materially benefiting from their work, according to the law.Every Western company involved that responded to AP’s requests for comment said forced labour and potential support for North Korea’s weapons program were unacceptable in their supply chains. Many said they were going to investigate, and some said they had already cut off ties with suppliers.John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, the largest seafood trade association in the U.S., said his group was urging all of its companies to immediately re-examine their supply chains “to ensure that wages go to the workers, and are not siphoned off to support a dangerous dictator.”“While we understand that hiring North Korean workers may be legal in China,” said Connelly, “we are deeply concerned that any seafood companies could be inadvertently propping up the despotic regime.”In response to the investigation, Senate leaders said Wednesday that the U.S. needs to keep products made by North Koreans out of the United States and get China to refuse to hire North Korean workers.“The administration needs to ramp up the pressure on China to crack down on trade with North Korea across the board,” said top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer.___EXPORTING LabourNorth Koreans overseas work in construction in the Gulf states, shipbuilding in Poland, logging in Russia. In Uruguay, authorities told AP, about 90 North Koreans crewed fishing boats last year. U.N. sanctions now bar countries from authorizing new work permits for North Korean workers but do not target those already abroad.Roughly 3,000 North Koreans are believed to work in Hunchun, a far northeast Chinese industrial hub just a few miles from the borders of both North Korea and Russia. Signs in this mercantile city are in Chinese, Korean and Russian. Korean restaurants advertise cold noodles, a Northern favourite, and Russian truckers stop into nightclubs with black bread on the menu.In an effort to boost the local economy, China and North Korea agreed several years ago to allow factories to contract for groups of North Korean workers, establishing an industrial zone with bargain-priced labour. Since then dozens of fish processing companies have opened in Hunchun, along with other manufacturers. Using North Korean workers is legal in China, and not considered forced labour.It’s unknown what conditions are like in all factories in the region, but AP reporters saw North Koreans living and working in several of the Hunchun facilities under the watchful eye of their overseers. The workers are not allowed to speak to reporters. However, the AP identified them as North Korean in numerous ways: the portraits of North Korea’s late leaders they have in their rooms, their distinctive accents, interviews with multiple Hunchun businesspeople. The AP also reviewed North Korean labourer documents, including copies of a North Korean passport, a Chinese work permit and a contract with a Hunchun company.When a reporter approached a group of North Koreans — women in tight, bright polyester clothes preparing their food at a Hunchun garment factory — one confirmed that she and some others were from Pyongyang, the North Korean capital. Then a minder arrived, ordering the workers to be silent: “Don’t talk to him!”Their contracts are typically for two or three years, and they are not allowed to go home early. The restrictions they work under make them very valuable employees. North Korean labourers are “more stable” than Chinese workers, said Li Shasha, a sales manager at Yanbian Shenghai Industry and Trade Co., a major Hunchun seafood processor.Chinese workers have job protections that give them the right to take time off, while North Korean workers complete their contracts with few complaints, rare sick days and almost no turnover.“They won’t take a leave for some personal reason,” said Li, whose company shipped containers of squid and snow crab to the U.S and Canada in July and August.They are also often considered cheaper. Li said that at the Yanbian Shenghai factory, the North Koreans’ salary is the same as for the Chinese, roughly $300 to $385 per month. But others say North Koreans are routinely paid about $300 a month compared to up to $540 for Chinese.Either way, the North Korean government of Kim Jong Un keeps anywhere from half to 70 per cent of their pay, according to scholars who have surveyed former labourers. It passes on to the workers as little as $90 per month — or roughly 46 cents per hour.The work can be exhausting, with shifts lasting up to 12 hours and most workers getting just one day off each week. At some factories, labourers work hunched over tables as North Korean political slogans are blasted from waist-high loudspeakers.Through dozens of interviews, observation, trade records and other public and confidential documents, AP identified three seafood processors that employ North Koreans and export to the U.S.: Joint venture Hunchun Dongyang Seafood Industry & Trade Co. Ltd. & Hunchun Pagoda Industry Co. Ltd. distributed globally by Ocean One Enterprise; Yantai Dachen Hunchun Seafood Products, and Yanbian Shenghai Industry & Trade Co. Ltd.They’re getting their seafood from China, Russia and, in some cases like snow crab, Alaska. Although AP saw North Korean workers at Hunchun Dongyang, manager Zhu Qizhen said they don’t hire North Korean workers anymore and refused to give details. The other Chinese companies didn’t respond to repeated requests for comment.Shipping records seen by the AP show more than 100 cargo containers of seafood, more than 2,000 tons, were sent to the U.S. and Canada this year from the factories where North Koreans were working in China.Packages of snow crab, salmon fillets, squid rings and more were imported by American distributors, including Sea-Trek Enterprises in Rhode Island, and The Fishin’ Company in Pennsylvania. Sea-Trek exports seafood to Europe, Australia, Asia, Central America and the Caribbean. The Fishin’ Company supplies retailers and food service companies, as well as supermarkets.The Fishin’ Company said it cut its ties with Hunchun processors and got its last shipment this summer, but seafood can remain in the supply chain for more than a year. Owners of both companies said they were very concerned about the North Korean labourers, and planned to investigate.Often the seafood arrives in generic packaging, but some was already branded in China with familiar names like Walmart or Sea Queen, a seafood brand sold exclusively at ALDI supermarkets, which has 1,600 stores across 35 states. There’s no way to say where a particular package ends up, nor what percentage of the factories’ products wind up in the U.S.Walmart spokeswoman Marilee McInnis said company officials learned in an audit a year ago that there were potential labour problems at a Hunchun factory, and that they had banned their suppliers, including The Fishin’ Company, from getting seafood processed there. She said The Fishin’ Company had “responded constructively” but did not specify how.Some U.S. brands and companies had indirect ties to the North Korean labourers in Hunchun, including Chicken of the Sea, owned by Thai Union. Trade records show shipments came from a sister company of the Hunchun factory in another part of China, where Thai Union spokeswoman Whitney Small says labour standards are being met and the employees are all Chinese. Small said the sister companies should not be penalized.Shipments also went to two Canadian importers, Morgan Foods and Alliance Seafood, which did not respond to requests for comment.Boxes at the factories had markings from several major German supermarket chains and brands — All-Fish distributors, REWE and Penny grocers and Icewind brand. REWE Group, which also owns the Penny chain, said that they used to do business with Hunchun Dongyang but the contract has expired. All the companies that responded said their suppliers were forbidden to use forced labour.___HIDDEN LIVESNorth Korean workers in China are under much more intense surveillance than those in Russia and the Middle East, experts say. That’s likely because Pyongyang fears they could follow in the footsteps of tens of thousands of their countrymen who escaped to China, or they could interact with South Koreans living in China.“If a North Korean wants to go overseas, China is his or her least favourable option,” said Andrei Lankov, a North Korea expert at Kookmin University in South Korea. “Because in China, (factories) have essentially prison-like conditions.”The vast majority of the workers in Hunchun are women in their 20s. Most are thought to be hired back home by labour brokers, who often demand bribes for overseas jobs. The labourers arrive in China already divided into work teams, each led by a North Korean overseer, and remain isolated even from their own employers.“They’re not allowed to mingle with the Chinese,” said a senior manager at a Hunchun company that employs many North Koreans. He spoke on condition he not be identified, fearing repercussions on his business. “We can only communicate with their team leaders.”In a sense, the North Korean workers in China remain in North Korea, under constant surveillance.“They only talk about what they need to,” said a medical worker who confirmed their nationality and had cared for some, and also spoke on condition of anonymity out of concern for angering Chinese authorities. “They don’t talk about what they might be thinking.”They live crowded into rooms often above or next door to the factories, in a world awash in North Korean rituals.“Let’s Follow the Ideas!” of North Korea’s leaders, urges a poster at the workers’ dormitory at Hunchun Pagoda. Portraits of the country’s first two rulers, worshipped as god-like in the deeply isolated nation, gaze down from otherwise-bare walls. Laundry is often hanging up to dry and potted plants — mostly what appear to be herbs, though one room at Hunchun Pagoda has bright yellow carnations — sit on many windowsills.It’s a world of concrete. The factory buildings and dormitories at Hunchun Pagoda are grey slabs of unpainted concrete. The yard where the women play volleyball in their free time is concrete. The street outside the front gate is concrete.At most factories the women prepare their own food and make tubs of their own kimchi, the spicy cabbage dish beloved in both Koreas. Their televisions cannot tune in Chinese programming, and they organize their own sports and singing contests on their days off.Nearly every compound has a workers’ garden. There are a half dozen rows of corn at Hunchun Pagoda, and kidney beans and melons at Yantai.A booming Chinese economy means money has come even to cities like Hunchun, where six-lane roads and factories bump up against cornfields that, a year later, often make way for yet another factory. Mercedes are now regular sights on the road and 30-foot billboards at malls show bone-thin models in fur coats.But when the North Koreans are allowed to leave their compounds, they go to the city’s working-class street markets, where vendors set their wares on plastic sheets or folding tables, or sell directly from the backs of trucks.Chinese merchants say most North Koreans are very careful about their finances. For instance, while they splurge on expensive spices imported from South Korea, they also buy Chinese noodles that cost less than half of the South Korean brands.On a recent morning, a group of about 70 North Korean women walked to a Hunchun street market from the nearby Hong Chao Zhi Yi garment factory. They asked about prices for watermelons and plums, browsed through cheap pantyhose and bought steamed corn-on-the-cob for 1 Chinese yuan (about 16 cents) apiece.As the late summer chill set in one evening, a dozen or so women from Hunchun Pagoda played volleyball in the quiet road in front of the compound’s gate, scrimmaging in the pool of light thrown by the street lamp.A train horn blew. The women shouted to one another while they played. As a car with a foreigner drove by, one laughingly called out: “Bye-bye!”___PROPPING UP NORTH KOREAEstimates vary on how many North Koreans work overseas and how much money they bring in.South Korea’s intelligence agency estimated in 2014 that 50,000 to 60,000 work in about 50 countries, most in China and Russia. That number may now be up to 100,000, according to Lim Eul Chul, a scholar at South Korea’s Kyungnam University who has interviewed numerous former labourers. Estimates that their labour brings in revenue of $200 million to $500 million annually to the North Korean government come from scholars, who base their findings on academic research papers, South Korean intelligence reports and sources in the Chinese business community.That has made the workers a significant and reliable source of revenue for the North Korean regime as it struggles beneath the weight of increasing UN sanctions, which the U.S. estimates could cost Pyongyang upwards of $1.5 billion each year in lost export revenues. In the last month alone, China has said it’s cracking down on North Korean exports, businesses and joint ventures, but it has a long history of not enforcing sanctions in practice.Despite the pay and restrictions, these are highly sought-after jobs in North Korea, a chance to move up a rickety economic ladder and see a bit of the world beyond the closed-in nation.Their monthly earnings in China are far more than many would earn in North Korea today, where official salaries often equal $1 per month. Experts estimate most families live on about $40-$60 a month, with much of their earnings coming from trading in the growing network of unofficial markets.And there are plenty of benefits to working overseas. The labourers can use their earnings to start businesses in these markets, and can buy the status symbols of the slowly-growing middle class — foreign-made rice cookers, watches, TVs, tableware — selling them back home or using them as bribes. Simply going abroad is so rare that returning workers can find themselves highly sought-after when it comes time to marry.Lim Il, a North Korean refugee, bribed a series of officials — with 20 bottles of liquor, 30 packs of cigarettes and restaurant gift cards — to get a job as a construction worker in Kuwait City in the late 1990s, when North Korea was still suffering through a horrific famine.“I felt like I had won the lottery,” he said. “People fantasized about getting overseas labour jobs.”Lim, a man in his late 40s who fled to South Korea in 1997 and now writes novels about the North, said that even though he was never paid his $120-a-month salary, he was happy to simply get beef soup and rice every day.“Unless you were an idiot, you wouldn’t give up such an opportunity,” he said. While he never thought of himself as a slave, looking back he says that is the right description: “These North Korean workers (today) still don’t know they are slaves.”The new law in the U.S. labels all North Korean workers both overseas and inside the country as engaging in forced labour. (While U.S. law generally forbids Americans from conducting business in North Korea, the AP employs a small number of support staff in its Pyongyang bureau, operating under a waiver granted by the U.S. government to allow the flow of news and information.)“There are not many countries that, at a government level, export their own citizens as a commodity to be exploited,” said an official at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.For years the State Department has blacklisted North Korea in its human trafficking reports, saying the overseas labourers and their families could face reprisals if the workers complain or try to escape, and criticizing Pyongyang for keeping much of the workers’ earnings. China, Russia and other countries hosting North Korean labour are all members of the United Nations International Labor Organization, which requires workers to receive their full salaries.Luis CdeBaca, former U.S. ambassador-at-large for human trafficking issues, said both federal law enforcement agents and importers should be making sure workers are treated fairly.“If you think about a company like Walmart, which is spending a lot of money, time and effort to clean up its supply chain, sending auditors and inspectors to factories, working with suppliers, all of that is thrown out the window if they are importing products made with exploited North Korean labour,” said CdeBaca. “It contradicts everything they are doing.”CdeBaca conceded the North Korean workers might like their jobs.“The question is not, ‘Are you happy?’ ” he said. “The question is, ‘Are you free to leave?’”___Associated Press journalists Leonardo Haberkorn in Uruguay, Han Guan Ng and researcher Fu Ting in China, Kelvin K. Chan in Hong Kong, Frank Jordans in Germany and Jon Gambrell in United Arab Emirates contributed to this report. Mendoza reported from California.___Read more in the series: https://www.apnews.com/tag/RepublicofKimlast_img read more

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Blazes light up California pot farms ahead of legalization

first_imgGLEN ELLEN, Calif. – Desperate to see if wildfires had damaged his farm, Marcos Morales gunned his four-wheel-drive station wagon along the hidden dirt roads that crisscross Sonoma County vineyards.After evading police roadblocks and passing vintners’ well-tended pools and houses, he finally arrived to a disheartening sight: Scores of his marijuana plants had been destroyed, and a barn that held 1,600 pounds of ready-for-market pot was a smouldering ruin.The same fires that destroyed Northern California wineries and threatened to taint grapes still on the vine also took a toll on the region’s marijuana farms, which were about to begin an important harvest less than three months before the nation’s largest recreational pot market opens for business in January.Morales and the workers who made it around the roadblocks Sunday worked to cut down 2,500 smoke-damaged plants, which will be worth far less than the top dollar he had hoped to get for premium bud.“It’s not good,” he said Sunday. “But we’ll be OK.”His operation in Glenn Ellen and other pot farms nearby were still in a fire zone that was off limits to all but emergency personnel a week after flames tore through the area.At least 31 marijuana farms were destroyed and many more damaged, according to the pot industry’s California Growers Association. That number is expected to rise significantly once evacuation orders are lifted and farmers are allowed back to their property.Unlike neighbouring wineries, marijuana farmers do not have crop insurance because the plant is still listed as an illegal drug under federal law. That keeps financial institutions out of the industry.The estimated losses do not count indoor grows, backyard greenhouses and converted garages lost to the fire in hard-hit Santa Rosa, the centre of Sonoma County’s blossoming marijuana industry.The figure also does not account for illegal growers who want no part of legalization and operate as far undercover as possible even in a region where toking up on the sidewalk is as socially acceptable as popping a bottle of red in a park.In Santa Rosa’s devastated Coffey Park neighbourhood, a half-dozen destroyed houses with obvious indoor operations were clearly visible in the ashen ruins. The smell of fresh bud overwhelmed the ever-present odour of smoke on one block.The fire damage was especially costly because most farmers were about to start harvesting.Many of the growers who suffered the greatest losses were working to obtain licenses to grow recreational pot once state regulators starting issuing permits on Jan. 1.Farmers with local permits to grow medical marijuana are expected to receive the first state licenses. But those damaged by fire are now concerned they may lose out if they don’t get back up and running quickly. Many of them have already paid fees and lawyers in their efforts to go legitimate.“I did everything right and by the book for the first time this year,” said Andrew Lopas, who lost 900 plants worth $2 million outside of Santa Rosa next to a popular wild animal park.Lopas obtained a Sonoma County permit to grow medical marijuana in anticipation of applying for a state license.“This was the first time I put a crop in the open,” he said. “This is the first time I put in that many plants.”In Mendocino County to the north, growers complained that law enforcement officials refused to escort them to their farms so they could water plants even though the same courtesy was extended to wineries.A day later, Sheriff Thomas Allman announced that marijuana growers “in good standing” with permits or applications for permits would be allowed to check on their farms in evacuation areas.Meanwhile, people in the industry now joke about renaming famous strains to “Campfire Pot” and “Hickory Kush.”The damage is expected to have little impact on the state’s overall marijuana economy because thousands of growers were unaffected by the fires, especially in the three-county region known as the Emerald Triangle.“The impact will be pretty modest statewide,” said association President Hezekiah Allen, who put the economic losses in the tens of millions of dollars. “Even though the timing could not have been worst.”last_img read more

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New Uber feature to force drivers to take a break after 12

first_imgTORONTO – Uber drivers in Canada trying to work for more than 12 hours straight will soon be forced to take a six-hour break before they can hit the road again.The new policy being rolled out at the beginning of next week will be enforced through the company’s ride-hailing app, which will block drivers from accepting customers after a half a day of consecutive work.Uber Canada’s general manager Rob Khazzam said the introduction of the feature follows similar moves made by the company in other countries, as part of an effort to curb driver drowsiness and make the platform safer.According to research conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, 26 per cent of all fatal and injury crashes are attributed to driver fatigue, and in 2006, as many as 167,000 Ontario drivers were involved in at least one crash due to fatigue or drowsiness.Similarly, an Insurance Corporation of British Columbia survey from 2014 found 30 per cent of respondents admitting to nodding off behind the wheel.Khazzam called Uber’s new feature “common sense.”“If you’re a rider, you don’t want to get into a car with a driver who has been driving more then 12 hours,” he said. “But positively on the drivers’ side, we continue to give them flexibility.”The feature does constitute a notable shift for Uber, which has long touted a hands-off approach with its employees, leaving work hours and locations up to the drivers to choose.But Khazzam said most Uber drivers won’t even encounter a block on accepting rides because the “vast majority” are behind the wheel for fewer than 15 hours a week.The forthcoming feature will allow drivers to check how much time they have before a mandatory break and will notify them when they have two hours, one hour and 30 minutes before they’ll have to rest.The app will not count periods when a driver is parked for more than one minute between trips — and doesn’t account for drivers who may also be working for a competitor like Lyft.Uber first experimented with stopping drivers from accepting fares after multiple consecutive hours in a handful of U.S. cities and Australia last fall. In January, it brought the feature to the U.K. and launched it nationally in the U.S. earlier this month.It comes on top of a separate 2017 initiative from the company that gave drivers access to data about their speeding and braking habits, in hopes of boosting safety.Though he couldn’t talk about any further safety features or policy changes that might be in the works, Khazzam said that “people should expect more from us on this front.”last_img read more

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Fort St John RCMP arrest suspect in connection with property theft

first_imgAt the time of arrest, the suspect was in possession of a knife, contrary to existing probation orders causing additional charges to be forwarded to court.The suspect remains in custody.The Fort St. John RCMP wish to thank the public for their assistance in identifying and locating this suspect. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After receiving multiple responses from the public, Fort St. John RCMP were able to identify a suspect wanted in connection to property theft.RCMP were investigating a Break and Enter, that occurred on March 17, at a multi-resident complex located at the 9800 block of 108 Ave.On April 25, a member of the public recognized the individual and called police, who subsequently arrested him.last_img read more

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Vancouver expected to headline long Canadian summer of high gasoline prices

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Gasoline prices are expected to remain just below record highs all across Canada this summer except in Vancouver, where a perfect storm of factors will likely ensure motorists continue to set new all-time records at the pumps.Fuel market analysts say average retail prices in Canada are within a penny or two of their year-ago levels, which were some of the highest on record for many markets.“Vancouver certainly is (at historic highs) but the other major markets we’re looking at, such as Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, Montreal, they’re not exceeding historical levels, they’re basically at historic levels,” said Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd. Prices in Canada will be supported over the summer by higher prices in the United States, where domestic demand is expected to be robust and where fuel exports are on the rise, Ervin said.Last week, the U.S. Energy Information Administration raised its forecast for nationwide average gasoline prices through September to US$2.92 a gallon, about seven cents more than last summer, partly due to higher margins for refining gasoline. The average price of gasoline in major Canadian markets last week was about $1.34 per litre, but it varied from around $1.23 in Calgary and Winnipeg to the high of $1.70 or more in Vancouver.Gasoline prices rise every spring due to factors including the higher cost of making summer gasoline, which requires an extra four or five cents per litre for additives to prevent evaporation, and supply interruptions as refineries shut down for routine maintenance, the analysts said.Prices have also risen in part due to the federal carbon tax on fuel that was applied to Saskatchewan, Ontario, New Brunswick and Manitoba on April 1.Analyst Dan McTeague of GasBuddy.com said demand will support fuel prices this year, but other factors could cause predictions to change if oil prices are affected.“Demand is really strong in the United States, it’s OK in Canada, but the signals are really going to depend on geopolitics and on whether or not the world finds itself in a trade war. All bets are off in that circumstance,” he said.The rising prices in the Vancouver area have put pressure on B.C. Premier John Horgan who last week asked the B.C. Utilities Commission to consider investigating why prices have risen by more there than in the rest of the country.center_img The analysts say there’s no mystery, British Columbians are paying more because the province’s two small refineries don’t produce enough to supply the market so they rely on imports from Alberta on the Trans Mountain pipeline, which is full, and U.S. refineries in Washington, which have been hit with longer-than-expected spring outages.McTeague said the cost of an average litre of gasoline in Vancouver breaks down to about 52 cents per litre for the oil, 33 cents for the U.S. refinery, four cents in wholesaler markup, about 12 cents in retailer margins, 52.5 cents in federal, provincial and municipal carbon taxes and 10 to 15 cents per litre due to B.C.’s low carbon fuel standard regulations.The last item is a hidden cost that’s difficult to measure, he said. It establishes a minimum renewable content and carbon intensity level in fuel, while requiring credit trading if those targets aren’t reached.Parkland Fuel Corp., which owns the 55,000-barrel-per-day capacity Burnaby, B.C., refinery, says it operated at a utilization rate of about 92 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 and that it started processing bio-fuels such as canola and tallow to help bump up its production of lower carbon intensity fuels.last_img read more

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I am not afraid to be forgotten as an actor

first_imgLife changed for Gajraj Rao with the success of Badhaai ho – biggest entertainer of 2018. Overwhelmed with all the attention and love he is receiving, Rao talks about the first time he witnessed hustle-bustle of movie promotions, and how he was apprehensive about participating in the interviews. “I was never called for movie promotions before Badhaai ho, and so I was clueless about the amount of effort and time that goes in the process. It’s a crazy scene where everybody is on their toes,” he says adding, “I was not confident about all of this, until I met people who were actually interested in talking to me. Thereafter I started enjoying every part of the promotions thoroughly.” Also Read – Hilarie Burton, Jeffery Dean Morgan tie the knotRao is currently at the peak of his acting career, but he has no fears of being forgotten by the audience. “Being a human, I might feel a little bad about losing this love and popularity. Having said that, I am aware of the fact that time changes everything.” Rao feels that he is getting all the attention because his performance in Badhaai ho is still fresh in people’s mind, but “one doesn’t know for how long it will actually last,” he states. “I am willing to do something as good as Badhaai ho, but if I don’t get such an opportunity again, I won’t be disappointed. All I know is that I am extremely happy at this moment because not everybody gets to enjoy what I am experiencing right now.” Also Read – ‘Vaastav’ gave me the real sense of being an actor: Sanjay Dutt on film’s 20-year anniversaryRao tries to come up with new responses every time he is interviewed. This time, he tries to explain his point with the example of rabbit and turtle. “The story of rabbit and turtle has always inspired me in some way or the other. I want to be that turtle who walks slowly but steadily. I prefer taking my time, making right choices, and leading a happy life. I don’t want to be in a race where you celebrate the momentary happiness and thereafter live in oblivion.” The actor has many substantial roles to his credit in critically acclaimed movies like Talvaar and Blackmail, but it was Badhaai ho which brought him into the limelight. Before that, all he was applauded with was the tag of an ‘underrated actor’. Does that bother him in any way? Rao says, “I take it very lightly because people who are giving me those tags are appreciating me and my work.” Ending conversation on a positive note, Rao says, “I strongly believe in destiny. I think that certain things in life are not in your control, no matter how hard you work to achieve it. Also, to be at the right place at the right time is what drives you to success. If few years back I would have got a film like Badhaai Ho, it would have been amazing. But I am not sure that success of the movie, back then, would have turned everything in my favour.”last_img read more

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Meghalaya mine mishap Trapped miners kin can get decomposed bodies recovered says

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court has sought to know from the relatives of miners, who were trapped in an illegal mine in Meghalaya three months ago, whether they wanted to recover the bodies which might have been “decomposed” by now. 15 miners were trapped on December 13 last year in an illegal coal mine at Ksan in East Jaintia Hills district of Meghalaya, about 3.7 km deep inside a forest, when water from the nearby Lytein river gushed into it. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details Only two bodies have been recovered from the mine so far. The top court is hearing a plea which had sought urgent steps for rescuing the miners trapped in the rat-hole mine. A bench of Justices S A Bobde and S K Kaul told the petitioner to ask the family members of the trapped miners as to whether they want to get the bodies recovered. “The petitioner is directed to ascertain from the relatives of the deceased if they wish to have the bodies recovered having regard to the fact that they may be already in a completely decomposed condition,” the bench said in its order. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The top court also directed Dr Sudhir Kumar, Hydrologist of Roorkee’s National Institute of Hydrologist to visit the site and after re-appraisal, submit a report pointing out if pumping of water being done there for de-watering is adequate. “The hydrologist may also suggest what needs to be done in the future for recovering the bodies,” the bench said and posted the matter for further hearing in first week of April. Last month, the apex court had said high-powered pumps of Kirloskar company be airlifted and installed immediately for de-watering of the mine. It had also issued show cause notice to the mine owner saying it would consider granting compensation to the family members of the victims as prime facie responsibility and liability of the mishap is of the mine owner. The Meghalaya government had earlier told the court that 11 crore litre of water was pumped out from the mine between February 8 and 16 but water was getting replenished from the nearby river due to the topography there. Rat-hole mining involves digging of narrow tunnels, usually three-four feet high, for workers to enter and extract coal. The horizontal tunnels are often termed “rat holes” as each just about fits one person. The Centre earlier told the court that it has to “believe in miracles” for the 15 miners to come out alive.last_img read more

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BJP chief Amit Shah hits out at Kanimozhi Karti Chidambaram

first_imgTuticorin (TN): BJP president Amit Shah Tuesday charged Congress nominee Karti Chidambaram contesting from Sivaganga Lok Sabha seat and DMK’s Kanimozhi seeking election from here with being tainted by corruption. Addressing a poll rally here, he hit out at National Conference leader Omar Abudullah for his “Prime Minister for Jammu and Kashmir,” line, and asked the people whether they supported the Kashmir leader’s remarks. “Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India, we will never compromise on the Kashmir issue,” he said. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The party chief alleged the candidates nominated by Congress and DMK – the likes of Karti Chidambaram, Kanimozhi and A Raja (from Nilgiris) – were tainted by graft. Shah, seeking votes for his party candidate and State unit chief Tamilisai Soundararajan said “when BJP-led government returns to power,” at the Centre it would continue contributing even more for the growth of Tamil Nadu. Shah said though BJP’s Pon Radhakrishnan alone had won from Kanyakumari in 2014 Lok Sabha polls, his party led NDA made two from Tamil Nadu –Radhakrishnan and Nirmala Sitharaman– as Union Ministers. He said the BJP government avenged the Pulwama attacks through air attacks on Pakistan. Citing the air strike to avenge the Pulwama attacks, he asked: “Should we not avenge the Pulwama attacks, on which the people at the rally responded positively.last_img read more

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Sebi comes up with system audit framework for AMCsMFs asks them to

first_imgNew Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi Thursday came out with revised guidelines for system audit to be conducted by mutual funds and asset management companies (AMCs). The guidelines come after “considering the importance of system audit in technology driven asset management activity and to enhance and standardise the system audit”, Sebi said in a circular. Besides, mutual funds (MFs)/ AMCs have been directed to constitute a technology committee entrusted with the task of reviewing the cyber security and cyber resilience framework for MFs and AMCs, Sebi said in a separate circular. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalSebi said the committee will comprise experts proficient in technology with at least one independent external expert with adequate experience in the area of technology in MF industry or BFSI, it added. The regulator has asked MFs and AMCs to conduct system audit on an annual basis by an eligible independent auditor. The audit should include the audit of systems and processes related to fund accounting system for calculation of net asset values, financial accounting and reporting system for AMC. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostMoreover, audit related to unit-holder administration and servicing systems for customer service, funds flow process, system processes for meeting regulatory requirements, prudential investment limits and access rights to systems interface shall also be done. Further, MFs and AMCs are required to submit a report regarding exceptions observed in the system audit to the technology committee for review in the prescribed format. The committee after reviewing the report shall place it before the AMC & Trustee Board. The report along with trustee’s comments should be communicated to Sebi within six months of the respective financial year, starting from 2019-20.last_img read more

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Alliance talks stuck List of Congress probables in Delhi sent to Rahul

first_imgNEW DELHI: With the nomination process set to close on Tuesday, a list of Congress probables for seven Lok Sabha seats in Delhi has been sent to party president Rahul Gandhi for his approval, a senior party leader said. The list of party probables, including Delhi Congress president Sheila Dikshit, was sent to Gandhi and party’s organisation secretary KC Venugopal on Friday, said AICC incharge PC Chacko. “The list is likely to be out on Saturday since Rahul Gandhi is out of Delhi for campaigning and will be back late Friday night,” Chacko said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAnother senior Congress leader said efforts to forge an alliance with the AAP in Delhi were stuck as there was an impasse on seat sharing in Delhi. “They (AAP) are coming out with new formulae instead of agreeing to contest four seats and leave three for Congress in Delhi. Time is running out for nomination and campaigning, so we are focusing on announcement of our candidates,” he said. Sources said AAP has proposed to withdraw its Chandigarh candidate in favour of Congress if it agreed to have two seats in Delhi. After several rounds of talks involving Chacko, AAP’s Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh and other leaders of two sides, disagreement prevailed on scope of tie up and seat-sharing formula. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsSources in Congress said the party has finalised its seven candidates but some adjustments could be made on 2-3 seats. Dikshit whose name was making the rounds as the party’s probable candidate from East Delhi has now shown interest on Chandni Chowk seat, they said. “If Dikshit is fielded from Chandni Chowk, former Delhi Congress president Arvinder Singh Lovely could be East Delhi candidate,” said a top leader associated with screening of names for the Lok Sabha polls. Former South Delhi MP Ramesh Kumar was considered on the seat. Olympic medal winner Sushil Kumar’s name was also under consideration from South Delhi. On West Delhi seat, the party was trying to field a prominent Purvanchali celebrity but the plan did not materialise. A former MP from the seat, Mahabal Mishra, is front-runner as party candidate on the seat due to his Purvanchali roots, sources claimed. The nomination process for Lok Sabha polls in Delhi will conclude on April 23; nomination will not take place on Sunday.last_img read more

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Bharati interrogated for 2nd time in a week

first_imgKolkata: Former IPS officer Bharati Ghosh was interrogated by the state Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on Monday. She was earlier questioned by the sleuths on Friday as well.Following Friday’s questioning, CID officials again went to Ghosh’s residence, that she had rented for the purpose of the ensuing elections, at Daspur in West Midnapore on Monday morning. After Ghosh’s name was announced by the BJP as their candidate from Ghatal, the state government had appealed to the Supreme Court to ban her from entering Bengal. Subsequently, the Apex Court passed an order last week, stating that Ghosh cannot be arrested but she can be interrogated in connection with the case in which she is an accused. The top court also directed Ghosh to intimate the state about her contact number and whereabouts. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAs per the direction, CID served a notice at Ghosh’s Naktala residence but as she was not there, her husband MAV Raju, refused to accept it. Later, sleuths were informed on Thursday by Ghosh that she could not go to Bhavani Bhawan for questioning as she was busy with election work. Following the communication made by Ghosh, CID went to her rented house in Daspur on Friday. She was reportedly grilled for several hours in connection with an extortion case lodged by a businessman at Daspur police station. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayCID sleuths went to Ghosh’s home in Daspur again on Monday. She was again interrogated in connection with the same case. Earlier, during March this year, Ghosh was granted protection from arrest by the Supreme Court. Following the stay on her arrest, Ghosh appeared before the Midnapore District Court, responding to a summon. CID raids were started following a case of extortion and criminal conspiracy which was initiated in Daspur during February last year after gold trader Chandan Majhi lodged a complaint.last_img read more

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Cong govt will listen to peoples maan ki baat Rahul Gandhi

first_imgSimdega (Jharkhand): Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday reminded people that neither Prime Minister Narendra Modi nor any other political leaders were their “maalik” (masters) rather they are the lords in democracy, asking them to tell his party’s government what to do and it will be done.He described mahagathbandhan of opposition parties as “voice of the people” and said he has not come to speak their maan ki baat but to listen to them. The “maan ki baat” was a montly radio programme of prime minister Narendra Modi as part of which he used to share his thoughts on different subjects with the countrymen. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra SinghThe Congress chief was addressing an election rally in Simdega, which is a part of Khunti Lok Sabha constituency where voting will take place on May 6. Speaking about NYAY scheme, Congress key electoral agenda, Gandhi said if voted to power, Rs 72,000 would be deposited in bank accounts of 5 crore people of the country within one year under it. The amount will be given under the NYAY scheme till a family earns Rs 12,000 per month on its own, he said. Also Read – Personal life needs to be respected: Cong on reports of Rahul’s visit abroad”This alliance (Mahagathbandhan) is the voice of people. I have not come to speak our maan ki baat but to listen to your maan ki baat and whatever you will tell us we will do it, Gandhi said. Dont forget that you are maalik (master). Narendra Modi or any political leader are not your maalik. You just tell us what to do and we will do, Gandhi said. The Congress chief made a blistering attack on Modi blaming him for working only for 15-20 people. Narendra Modi ji has not fulfilled his promises of providing two crore jobs. He did not deposit Rs 15 lakh in bank accounts of the people, Gandhi said. He (PM) only worked for 15-20 people, Gandhi said, apparently referring to industrialists. Appealing to the people to vote for Congress and Mahagathbandhan candidate Kalicharan Munda from Khunti, Gandhi further attacked Modi for not waiving farm loans while (the MSP) Rs 2500 is being given for rice in Chhattisgarh ruled by the Congress. Munda is facing BJPs Arjun Munda from Khunti LS seat. Munda, who is a former chief minister, had earlier won Jamshedpur Lok Sabha seat in a previous election. The Congress chief said the poor were hit by the GST and asserted that the Congress was committed to save tribal land. Unveiling his party’s future plans for Jharkhand, which was carved out of Bihar in 2000, he said free treatment in hospitals would be introduced and universities and technical institutions will be set up in districts if voted to power. Alleging that the Narendra Modi government had put Rs 5.55 lakh crore in the pockets of 15/20 industrialists, Gandhi said that if the Congress alliance came to power such things would not happen.last_img read more

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Hamid Chabat Benkiranes PJD Stole Moroccan Peoples Dreams

first_imgRabat- Secretary General of the Independence Party Hamid Chabat called Benkirane’s government of Benkirane “the Religion Dealers”, accusing them of stealing the dreams of the Moroccan people. Following criticism and a series of attacks against the government by the Independence Party, the party’s secretary general called the Justice and Development Party (PJD) “the religion dealers” while he was chairing the 5th Session of the Central Committee in Rabat.Chabat pointed his finger at the government, accusing the PJD of using the “Arab Spring” to take power and stealing the Moroccan people’s dreams, Assahah reported. According to the same source, Chabat claimed that the government is leading Moroccans to the “precipice.”Expanding on his theory, Chabat explained that the economic, social and political indexes give clear signs that Morocco’s situation is “worrying” and it will be “worse” in the future. In particular, the government diminishes  citizens’ ability to weather the economic crises by increasing the prices of staple goods.In this regard, Chabat accused the government of bowing to the orders of the financial institutions, “ignoring” the workers unions’ demands to increase staff wages, and increasing the prices of staple goods, including fuel and subsidized flour prices”. Chabat added that Morocco has become a “hostage” in the hands of international financial institutions, after the government strained the country’s resources with huge amounts of external loans. This has pushed Moroccans to “a precipice by causing a national economical crisis,” Chabat warned. The Secretary General of the Independence Party concluded that the Moroccan people still have the chance to take back their “stolen dreams” and hopes by following the “True Moroccan Spring” – referring his party’s campaign against the government – “that will continue until Moroccans take back their dreams.”Edited by Jessica Rohan© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributedlast_img read more

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6th national general census starts today

Rabat – The 6th national general population census started today, Sep. 1st, and will conclude on Sep. 20.More than 73,000 supervisors have been deployed across the country to take part in this operation, whose aims are to improve knowledge on the social, demographic and economic characteristics of the population of Morocco, as well as establish how fast the population is growing.The Moroccan government has allocated 897,082,984 dirhams to carry out this large-scale operation, which includes three major phases: cartographical works, data running and exploitation. 85 percent of the budget, that is 764m dirhams, will go to allowances for participants and transport charges.The legal population of Morocco, according to the different territorial subdivisions, will be published by the end of 2014. read more

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Paris Hilton Allegedly Got a Million Dollars to Fake Plane Prank

Rabat – Paris Hilton was recently the subject of a prank in Dubai in which she was made to think a plane she was on was plunging into ocean in a nosedive.In the video of the prank that has since gone viral on YouTube and other social media platforms, the 34-year-old heiress was seen weeping and screaming as she thought the plane giving her a tour of Dubai was about to crash.The American actress threatened to take legal action against the Egyptian company of the show “Ramez in Control” that pranked her. Hilton claimed she was not aware of prank before taking part, but it has been reported that she might have been aware of the whole thing and agreed to go with it. Gossip website TMZ claim they have obtained a document prepared by the production company behind TV programme Ramez in Control.According to the document, the company offered nearly a million dollars to Paris Hilton to take part in the programme.The document states, “We will act as if something is going wrong and ask all passengers to jump off the plane!!! Of course everyone will panic, we’ll be having skydivers in disguise with us on board.”“We will monitor the funny reactions from our celebrity guest when they fear jumping off the plane,” the document added.TMZ went on to claim that the local authorities of Dubai were also aware of the prank show and promised to provide security.“Dubai official authorities are monitoring this show and providing us with security. If you want to make sure, you can contact the office of crown prince of Dubai, his majesty Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum. He himself will be supervising the progress of the project,” read the document.TMZ quoted sources claiming that the production company offered money “in the million dollar range” to US celebrities willing to participate in the prank show. read more

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