Berlin: Tens of thousands of young climate activists rallied in Germany on Friday in the latest mass protest demanding urgent action against global warming, ahead of the weekend’s European Parliamentary elections. At least 5,000 students boycotted classes and demonstrated at Berlin’s iconic Brandenburg Gate in what was expected to be one of the largest of protests planned in more than 120 countries. Large crowds also gathered in Hamburg, Frankfurt and other German cities, mirroring protests across Europe and the world. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’In Berlin, they carried signs with messages such as “Climate now, homework later!” and “There is no planet B”, while teenage activists chanted: “What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? now!” The initiator of the “Fridays for Future” protests, 16-year-old Swedish school girl Greta Thunberg, again passionately called on youths in Europe and around the world to join the movement. “It is time for all of us to resist on a massive scale,” she wrote in a text co-authored with German activist Luisa Neubauer in the newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China”We have the feeling that many adults have not yet fully understood that we young people cannot stop the climate crisis on our own,” they wrote, calling the challenge “a task for all of humanity”. While many previous protest movements have started on university campuses, the “Fridays” rallies emerged from among school students — a generation that has grown up with predictions of ecological doom yet witnessed what they see as only glacial political change. “Climate change doesn’t respect borders, climate change will at some point become irreversible,” said one protester, Berlin student Aaron Langguth, 21. “That’s why we have to do something now. “The students realise that there’s no point going to classes if they don’t have a future.” Many of the banners, posters and protest cries reflect a rising sense of frustration and anxiety about inheriting a warming planet with melting ice caps and glaciers that is battered by worsening droughts, floods and storms. “You are running out of excuses, we are running out of time,” read one message directed at politicians, while another demanded: “The climate is changing, why aren’t we?” Many messages addressed the serious issue in a more light-hearted way, including signs that read, “Make the world cool again,” “Make love, not CO2” and: “Don’t blow it – good planets are hard to find”.
Patna: RJD supremo Lalu Prasad on Tuesday termed Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s offer to resign as suicidal and said it would amount to “falling into the BJP’s trap”.Gandhi’s offer to step down as Congress president would not only be suicidal for his party but for all the social and political forces battling against the Sangh Parivar, Prasad said in an analysis of the Lok Sabha poll results, published in an English daily, the link of which he shared on his Twitter handle. Any new president of the Congress would be considered as a puppet of Rahul and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the perception would continue till the next general election, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) president said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCThe moment someone outside the Gandhi-Nehru family replaced Rahul Gandhi, the Narendra Modi-Amit Shah brigade would paint the new leader as a “puppet” remote-controlled by him and his mother Sonia Gandhi, he said. Why should Rahul Gandhi give such an opportunity to his political detractors, Prasad asked. “Rahul’s offer to resign suicidal. Opposition parties had the common goal to dislodge BJP but failed to build a national narrative. The result in a particular election can never alter the reality in as diverse and plural a country as India,” he said in a tweet. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsAfter his party’s Lok Sabha poll debacle, Rahul Gandhi had offered to resign on May 25 during a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), which had unanimously rejected his offer and authorised him to overhaul and restructure the party at all levels. The CWC meeting was held in the backdrop of the Congress winning just 52 Lok Sabha seats and drawing a nought in 18 states and Union Territories. Gandhi himself lost from the family bastion of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh, though he won from Wayanad in Kerala. Prasad, who was lodged in a Ranchi jail following his conviction in several fodder scam cases, is currently under treatment for blood pressure, sugar and kidney ailment at the Ranchi-based Rajendra Prasad Institute of Medical Sciences since December, 2017. On the opposition parties failing to build a national narrative, the RJD chief said, “All across northern, eastern and western India, they (opposition) fought it as though it was a state election.
New Delhi: Delhi woke up to a hot Wednesday morning, with the maximum temperature expected to hover around 44 degrees Celsius. The minimum temperature settled two notches below the season’s average at 24.1 degrees Celsius, said a MeT department official. “Heat wave conditions are expected in some pockets of the city with temperature soaring up to 45 degrees. Such conditions exist when the maximum temperature goes up five degrees above the season’s average,” said the official. According to the Safdarjung weather station forecast, considered representative of the city, the maximum temperature is expected to hover around 44 degrees Celsius. Dry conditions are also setting in with rise in temperatures. The relative humidity at 8.30 AM was 34 percent, said the official. The city recorded a high of 41.8 degrees Celsius and minimum 23 degrees Celsius on Tuesday.
New Delhi: The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has written to Directorate General of Health Services (Delhi Government) related to starting a pilot project on a child-friendly room in one of the city hospitals.The letter was written by DCPCR official Rita Singh. “Being a monitoring agency in the field of child rights, a large number of cases of children in distress are being reported in DCPCR from different parts of the city. In some cases, difficulties being faced by such children rescued from different situations have been brought to the notice of the Commission,” reads the letter. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarIt further reads,” A sizable number of grievances of children are related to treatment being meted out to them in the environment in the hospital where they are taken to the examination daily in attending to them by the hospital authorities is very common.” The commission would, therefore, suggest that for providing child-friendly environment to such children, a room dedicated to the children by designed where the rescued children and the team escorting to them to the hospital can stay. Such an arrangement would go a long way in ensuring the safety and security of the rescued children besides providing them with an environment in the hospital where he/she can feel comfortable, reads the letter. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance”On the pilot basis, the scheme of designing a designated room for rescued children and the team escorting them can be started in Rohini based hospital,” added the letter. Rita Singh stated that they have chosen the area where crime against children is regularly reported. Earlier DCPCR said that it studied the situation of crimes against children in Delhi and identified over 25 areas. A comprehensive study was conducted by the child rights body from 2015 to 2017 and found that Ranhola, Narela, Samaypur Badli, Shahbad Dairy, Jaitpur, Neb Sarai, Khajuri Khas, Sagarpur, Jahangirpuri, Bhalswa Dairy, and Mehrauli were among the 20 areas prone to missing children cases. Whereas areas like Aman Vihar, Nihal Vihar, Mangolpuri, Begumpur, Kalyanpuri, Narela, Anand Parbat, New Ashok Nagar, Malviya Nagar and Ghazipur are among the 20 places where child abuse cases are high.
Lucknow: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati Thursday expressed concern over the high unemployment rate in the country. In a statement issued here, she said, “The Union Labour Ministry, in its data released after the Lok Sabha election, has confirmed that joblessness in the country was 6.1 per cent of total labour force, highest in the last 45 years. For the victims of poverty and unemployment, there is no point of regretting now.” She also said the dip in growth rate “is result of fall in agricultural and industrial output”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC”The point of concern is that how true welfare will be done for the poor people of the country,” Mayawati said. On May 31, the government confirmed the unemployment rate projected in a pre-election leaked report and said joblessness in the country was 6.1 per cent of total labour force during 2017-18, the highest in 45 years. The data released by the Labour Ministry on a day when Modi 2.0 Cabinet took charge, showed 7.8 per cent of all employable urban youths being jobless, while the percentage for the rural was 5.3 per cent. The joblessness among male on all India basis was 6.2 per cent, while it was 5.7 per cent in case of females. India’s economic growth rate slowed to a five-year low of 5.8 per cent in January-March 2018-19 due to poor performance in agriculture and manufacturing sectors, according to official data.
A new study has emphasised the role of better education than wealth in tackling cardiovascular diseases. The study explored the association between education and wealth, on the one hand, and cardiovascular diseases and mortality due to them, on the other, to assess which marker was the stronger predictor of outcomes and examined whether any difference in socioeconomic status influenced the levels of risk factors and how the diseases are managed. Also Read – A staunch ally”How much money you have tends to be a strong predictor of health outcomes, but education seems to be a far more robust measure to use across countries,” says Scott Lear, Simon Fraser University, Canada. In this cohort study, the researchers looked at 367 urban and 302 rural communities in 20 countries –India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, China, Canada, Sweden, Poland, Malaysia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Colombia, Iran, South Africa, Turkey, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, and occupied Palestinian territory. Also Read – Cuban pathosThese countries include low-income, middle-income and high-income categories. They recruited adults aged between 35 and 70. They prepared two questionnaires to collect data on families and households and a third to get information on cardiovascular risk factors. Physical examinations supplemented the exercise. Over a mean follow-up duration of seven and a half years, there were 7,744 deaths due to cardiovascular diseases and 6,936 cases of major cardiovascular diseases. Mortality varied substantially by education and country income, with the highest mortality in low-income countries and in those with the lowest levels of education, across country income categories. The group with lowest level of education in low-income countries had cardiovascular mortality five times that of people with the highest level of education in high-income countries. The study has highlighted that education was an important factor as being educated, it gives a person the ability to obtain effective care in several ways. The individual was able to seek timely help or information on how and where to obtain care and overcome the various barriers that exist both through formal channels and social networks. For instance, a person with lower level of education is more likely to live in a neighborhood with reduced access to health-care facilities. “Education is actually what we consider as a modifiable factor, whereas wealth is not as modifiable. If we give people money they don’t suddenly become healthy, but if we strive to better educate our population, that will result in improved health because there is a more direct link between education and health outcomes,” Lear says. He noted that the study’s strength lay in its range and variability achieved from different geographical settings. “One of the unique aspects (of the study) is bringing together countries from different parts of the world that have a wide range of development. That allows us to look at factors that would vary to a greater extent than they would if we just looked exclusively at western countries.”(Courtesy: India Science Wire The study was led by Simon Fraser University, Canada and several institutions across the world were involved. The findings of the study have been published in journal The Lancet: Global Health)
London: For years, Indians were the second-largest international student population in Britain, after China. However, there has been a slight dip in students opting for the UK in recent years after strict student immigration laws were introduced in 2011. This figure fell by almost 30% between 2013 and 2017. Brexit hasn’t helped either as the UK was suddenly the fourth choice, down from being the second most preferred destination for Indian students. Also Read – Turkey preparations for Syria offensive ‘completed’Analysing the above statistics, the UK government recently introduced post-study visa opportunities as part of a new “International Education Strategy”. This strategy is aimed at increasing the enrolments of international students in UK universities from 460,000 to 600,000 each year by 2030. It will offer students the chance to stay in the UK on a work visa for six months after graduation. In an effort to attract Indian students, UK universities are recruiting more overseas students. According to a recent report by the Times, Glasgow University is also likely to increase its composition of overseas students to make up half of the total admissions while University College London (UCL) will also up the foreign intake to 50% and reduce its domestic enrolments. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi JinpingHema Ramachandran, Country Adviser, Sheffield Hallam University explains how the university’s unique course offerings are attractive for students from South Asia. She says: “The number of students opting to study at SHU from the South Asia region has been on a steady rise. In addition to the UK government’s new policy to offer work visas, our university presents a unique offer for students to work for a year in the UK by opting for sandwich courses.”
Mumbai: Actor Anil Kapoor, who recently met Apjit Bindra, says he is excited to play the father of Abhinav Bindra, an Olympic gold medallist shooter, and that the journey of the sports personality is worth telling on the big screen.”Great stories deserve to be told and we had the pleasure of understanding the family’s journey and Abhinav Bindra’s career graph. This is a film that we’re all really excited to bring to the silver screen,” Anil said in a statement.The biopic will be directed by Kannan Iyer and will have Anil’s son Harshvardhan Kapoor playing the character of Abhinav in the film.Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian sportsperson to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics, when he won the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 games held in Beijing.
Chennai: As Chennai grapples with the water crisis, the city metropolitan water supply and sewerage board might probably be looking at out-of-the-earth options, literally!The Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) board congratulated ISRO after its Chandrayaan-2 success and sought information from the space agency about water resources on the lunar surface. “Congrats @isro for #Chandrayaan2theMoon. We are in the process of augmenting new water resources for our city. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’If you find any water on the Moon, you know whom to call first,” the Metro Water tweeted. A team handling social media for the board told PTI that the move was part of efforts to engage with public. “We want to break barriers and get in touch with people of Chennai in a lively manner, instead of issuing mechanical replies and statements,” a member of the team said. Chennai Metro Water has been desperately tapping water resources all across Chennai. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KOn Tuesday, Metro Water officials received a second rake comprising 50 wagons of water from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore district, around 200 kms from the city. The city had received the first rake containing 50 wagons, each carrying 50,000 litres of water, on July 12. From both the trains, Chennai would receive around 5.5 MLD of water, metro water officials said, adding two more such rakes have been sought from Southern Railway to supply about 10 MLD as promised by the State government.
New Delhi: A law which allowed the Reserve Bank of India to circulate Rs 1000 denomination notes to tide over the shortage of currency in the late 1990s has been scrapped.The High Denomination Bank Notes (Demonetisation) Amendment Act, 1998 is one of 58 “redundant” laws repealed last week. Parliament passed a bill to repeal 58 laws from the statute books on Friday. The then finance minister, Yashwant Sinha, had moved bill in December 1998 to allow RBI circulate Rs 1000 denomination notes. “To eliminate the shortage of currency notes and to ease the pressure on other denominations, it is proposed to amend section 2 of the High Denomination Bank Notes (Demonetisation) Act, 1978. This will facilitate the Reserve Bank of India to issue notes of Rs 1,000 denomination immediately,” read the amended Act which came into force in 1999. On 8 November 2016, the government announced demonetisation of all Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 banknotes of the Mahatma Gandhi series. It also announced the issuance of new Rs 500 and RS 2,000 notes. The Rs 1000 denomination notes are no longer in circulation. The 58 laws repealed last week would now be removed from the statute books
Jammu: The Army has launched “Mission Reach Out” in Jammu to ensure basic necessities and essential services are available in the region post the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and reorganisation of Jammu and Kashmir, officials said on Sunday. A high level “Mission Reach Out” conference to review the prevalent situation in the region was held in the Nagrota Military Station on Saturday which was chaired by White Knight Corps Commander Lt Gen Paramjit Singh, they said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The Corps commander lauded the absolute synergy between the Army, civil administration and other security establishments in maintaining peace, harmony and a conducive environment, the officials said. It was attended by Jammu Divisional Commissioner Sanjeev Verma, members of the civil administration, representatives of the J&K Police, CRPF, BSF and intelligence agencies, they added. “The prevailing security scenario and preparedness of security agencies and civil administration were discussed during the conference. It emerged during the conference that the situation in the Jammu region had been peaceful with no untoward incident taking place post the revocation of Article 370 on 5th of August,” a Defence Spokesman said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K The Corps commander informed about the numerous initiatives undertaken by the Army under ‘Mission Reach Out’. Among these are mobile medical care units with essential medicines and lady medical officers, wherever necessary, providing water in locations where the supply was disrupted, provision of essentials, including rations, assistance in transportation of patients to hospitals, facilitating people to speak to their near and dear ones through Army exchange and creating a safe environment for ATMs, banks and hospitals to function, the spokesperson said. During the conference, the divisional commissioner assured of adequate availability of all basic necessities and essential services to meet the requirements of the people. He further informed that due to normalcy in the region, the general public had requested for opening of schools and educational institutes, which was agreed upon and schools in the city were opened from August 10. The Corps commander assured the civil administration of full support to reach out to the populace to providing all basic necessities.
Kolkata: India is working on bridging the coal import gap by about 50 per cent in the next three years, Coal India Chairman A K Jha said on Friday. In the 2018-19 fiscal, the country produced 730 million tonnes (MT) of coal, while 955 MT was consumed, leading to a gap of 230-235 MT. “Coal imports were 235 MT last year. The country cannot avoid imports of around 120 MT due to lack of options… and imports by power plants in the coastal belt. “We will bridge the remaining coal (115-120 MT), which is imported in the next three years with higher production and better evacuation,” Jha said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalHe, however, said that availability of land and proper law and order situation are necessary for a “quantam” jump in production. Jha was speaking at the media briefing for the 8th Asian Mining Congress and IME Exhibition, scheduled to be held on November 6-9. He said Coal India plans to produce 53 MT of more coal to 660 MT in the current fiscal, and a similar 50-55 MT incremental production every year will bridge the 115-120 MT gap. Coal India had earlier pushed back its 1-billion-tonne production vision to 2025-26. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe miner, which caters to 80 per cent of the country’s energy requirement, is also executing rail network from its mine pitheads worth Rs 6,000-7,000 crore for high coal evacuation. Meanwhile, Coal India on Friday also said that it is optimistic about the company’s financial performance despite softening international prices. Average international coal price has gone down from $75 per tonne to $48 in just a few months. E-auction price realisation for Coal India was Rs 2155 a tonne, a slump of nearly Rs 600 per tonne in the first quarter ended June 2019, compared to the preceding quarter (Jan-Mar 2019) average realisation of Rs 2754 a tonne. “Our price is still 40 per cent lower than international prices,” Coal India chairman A K Jha said when asked about easing coal prices. The profit for 2018-19 was Rs 17462.18 crore, up from Rs 7038.44 crore in the previous year. Coal India was planning to produce 660 million tonne in the current fiscal, an incremental production of 53 million tonne over 2018-19. However, law and order issues will hold the key for production performance in some of its subsidiaries. Mahanadi Coalfields and Bharat Coking Coalfields were facing issues related to law and order. “Issues pertaining to South Eastern Coalfields had been resolved,” Jha said. SECL is the largest coal producing subsidiary of the company. He expected coal production will increase but monsoon may have some disruptions. Coal India has also started pushing higher supply to non-power. Meanwhile, Australia’s Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matthew Canavan, will visit India from 26 -29 August beginning from Kolkata. He will meet state Finance and Industry Minister Amit Mitra.
Los Angeles: Actor Kirsten Dunst says she feels like a “nobody” in Hollywood as she has never received award recognition despite several critically-acclaimed performances. During an interview on SiriusXM’s “In-Depth with Larry Flick”, the 37-year-old actor listed such as films “Drop Dead Gorgeous” and “Mary Antoinette”, which were all panned by the critics but loved by the audiences. “Remember ‘Marie Antoinette’ — y’all panned it — and now you all love it. Remember ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’? Panned. Now, you all love it. It’s, like, interesting for me. I feel a lot of things I do people like later… I’ve never been recognised in my industry,” Dunst said. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: Priyanka “I’ve never been nominated for anything… Maybe like, twice. For a Golden Globe (one) when I was little, and one for (TV series) ‘Fargo’. I always feel like a nobody… I don’t know, maybe they just think I’m the girl from ‘Bring It On’,” she added. Dunst, who received widespread recognition for her portrayal of Mary Jane Watson in Tobey Maguire’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, said part of the reason could be her lack of participation. “I am so chill. Maybe I don’t play the game enough. But then I do, I mean, I do everything I’m supposed to. It’s not like I’m rude or like, not doing publicity or anything,” the actor added.
London: Singer Ellie Goulding has tied the knot with fiance Caspar Jopling in a lavish wedding ceremony. Goulding, 32, and Jopling, 27, got married at the gothic York Minster Cathedral in Yorkshire, England, reported BBC. Among the guests who attended the ceremony were celebrities like Katy Perry and Orlando Bloom, James Blunt, Sienna Miller, Jo Wicks, and comedian Jimmy Carr. Goulding wore a white custom Chloe gown. She pulled up in a flower-adorned blue Volkswagen minivan to cheers with her long veil over her face. The singer started dating Jopling, the New York-based art dealer, in April, 2017.
Kolkata: The state government has decided to create a tourist hub by developing the infrastructure and communication involving four tourist spots under Basirhat constituency in North 24-Parganas. This was decided at a high-level meeting at Nabanna on Tuesday which was chaired by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. It was held with an aim to boost safety and security in and around Kachua Loknath Temple near Basirhat where five persons were killed and about 20 injured in a stampede-like situation in the wee hours on August 23. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”Several decisions have been taken in the meeting. The Tourism department will develop a tourist circuit connecting Kachua and Chakla temples, Chandraketugarh and Dhanyakuria Rajbari. The Public Works Department will do the necessary work for road widening as part of strengthening communication. There will be bus services from Chakla to Howrah via Kachua and vice versa and they will pass Sealdah on way,” said Jyotipriya Mallick, the state Food and Supplies minister who is also the district president of the Trinamool Congress in North 24-Parganas. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayA 10-member committee has been constituted with trustee members from Kachua and Chakla temple and police Superintendents of North 24-Parganas and Basirhat police district that will work in coordination with the District Magistrate. “There will be ring system in Kachua temple similar to the pattern followed in Tarapith, Kalighat and other temples to regulate the movement of devotees. A buffer zone will be created where the devotees can have ‘prasad’,” a senior official present in the meeting added. The gates of both Kachua and Chakla temple will be widened and the lighting facilities will also get a facelift. “There is a house located on a 10 cottah land just beside the Kachua temple that has been lying under lock and key for several years. Our government will take over the house and develop facilities like toilets, refreshments and the like for devotees. The temple committee has been asked to take up renovation of the temple,” the official added. The state government will take over the waterbody beside the shrine on lease and will put galvanized iron bars on its bank to prevent any sort of untoward incident. On the fateful day, some people fell in the waterbody and sustained injuries. The Chief Minister had announced compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of the deceased, Rs 1 lakh for those seriously injured and Rs 50,000 for those with minor injuries in the incident.
TORONTO – Grief over the deadly van attack that took place on the streets of Toronto is truly sinking in as the public learns more about the 10 people killed in the rampage, mourners said Thursday.Three days after a van careened down a stretch of Yonge Street, striking pedestrians in its path, city residents were still gathering at the site to lay flowers, shed tears and pay tribute.One of them was Kristi Wing, who works in the area and had seen paramedics treating patients and covering those who were beyond help in the moments after Monday’s incident. The tragedy feels more real now that victims’ personal stories are coming to light, she said.“I saw bodies and now there are names and faces to them,” she said.The makeshift memorial to those who lost their lives in the incident continued to grow Thursday as bouquets, candles and written notes were added. The messages, written in numerous languages, included the sentiments “rest in peace” and “spread love, not hate.”Nil Adjei, another visitor to the memorial, said he used to live in the area years ago and was drawn to the site after the attack.“I felt it’s my duty to come over and pay tribute,” he said.Authorities have not named any of those killed, saying identifying the victims will take time given the size of the crime scene and the scope of the probe.But other sources have identified some of the dead. They ranged in age from their 20s to their 90s, hailed from as far away as Jordan and South Korea, and are remembered for everything from their passion for cooking to their devotion to their young children.Social media posts from various co-workers identified one of the victims as Chulmin (Eddie) Kang, a chef at a downtown Toronto steakhouse.“It hurts knowing I won’t be able to see your bright smile every weekend, or hear you say ‘Hi’ to everyone in your energetic voice,” coworker Mailee Ly wrote in a Facebook post.“I don’t think you knew the touch and influence you had on everyone … simply because of your kind nature and passion for cooking. Times like this, it goes to show that by simply being a kind person, you can have a further reach than you ever know.”On Thursday evening, the University of Toronto confirmed one of its students was among the deceased, though it did not release a name.“We are deeply saddened that a member of our community has died as a result of this terrible incident,” university president Meric Gertler said in a written statement. “We mourn the loss of our student and want those affected to know that they have the support of the university.”Others killed include Renuka Amarasingha, a Toronto school board employee who was the sole caregiver for her seven-year-old child, and Betty Forsyth, believed to be in her 90s, who was described as a lively person who loved to feed animals on her walks through the neighbourhood around the scene of the attack.The victims also include Jordanian citizen Munir Alnajjar, who had recently travelled to the city to visit his son; Anne Marie D’Amico, an investment company worker with a love of volunteering; and Dorothy Sewell, an 80-year-old grandmother who was passionate about local sports.Two unidentified Korean nationals and an unnamed student from Seneca College were also killed.At least one not-for-profit group said it’s mobilizing to meet the diverse needs of mourners with direct ties to Monday’s attack.Victim Services Toronto offers emotional and social supports to those impacted by crimes or other tragedies, according to Executive Director Bonnie Levine.She said establishing a sense of community around a person in mourning is a critical first step.“One of the things that we really want to do very quickly is to mobilize the person’s natural support system,” she said. “So we’ll say, ‘Is there family or friends or neighbours that we can call for you? Is there anything that we can do?’”The organization’s volunteers speak 35 languages between them, she said, ensuring supports are available to immigrants or visitors from outside the country if necessary.In addition to the 10 people who died, police say 14 others were injured in the attack allegedly carried out by 25-year-old Alek Minassian of Richmond Hill, Ont.Minassian has been charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 13 counts of attempted murder, with police anticipating a 14th count in the coming days.Toronto police did not provide updates Thursday on the ongoing investigation into Minassian’s activities, though Chief Mark Saunders issued a statement lauding the force’s response to the attack.Monday’s events have prompted unprecedented interest from international law enforcement agencies, he said.“I am contacted almost daily from other police executives from around the world as they express interest in what is happening here,” Saunders said. “This week, record numbers of calls have been pouring in to offer support, express condolences and compliment the actions of all emergency service personnel.”A city fundraiser dubbed TorontoStrong had raised more than $893,000 to support the victims and their families by Thursday evening.
OTTAWA – Conservatives and New Democrats are joining forces in a bid to pressure the Trudeau government to reveal its priorities for the imminent renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.Four MPs from both parties sent a joint letter Tuesday to the clerk of the Commons international trade committee, requesting that an emergency meeting be held to grill three cabinet ministers on Canada’s negotiating objectives and “expected positive outcomes” of the renegotiation, which is to begin in mid-August.The committee, on which Liberals hold the majority, is now scheduled to meet Friday to decide whether to accede to the request.If members agree, the ministers could be called to testify immediately.Insiders said that Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, the lead minister on NAFTA negotiations, is willing to appear before negotiations start next month but is unlikely to be available as early as Friday.The request comes one day after the United States disclosed its negotiating objectives, as is required under American law.There is no equivalent requirement in Canada and the Trudeau government has so far refused to go into any detail about its priorities, maintaining that it’s not helpful to negotiate in public.But the opposition parties want to force the government’s hand by inviting three key ministers to testify at an emergency committee meeting — Freeland, International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.As well, they’re asking that Canada’s chief NAFTA negotiator, Steve Verheul, be present.Conservative MP Randy Hoback, one of the four committee members requesting the emergency meeting, said the meeting is necessary to make sure the government has a game plan for negotiations, that they’ve identified the issues Canadians want to see on the bargaining table and those they don’t want on the table.“We’re not asking them to negotiate in public,” he said in an interview.“But we definitely want to see that they’ve got a process in place. We know they’ve been out talking to Canadians … that they’ve got an idea what they would like and not like in these negotiations.”Hoback said the government could at least identify “what are the do-not-touch items.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took a step in that direction Tuesday, indicating that he won’t bargain away Canada’s supply management system for dairy and poultry products, which U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly targeted as unfair subsidization.“We have always defended supply management. It’s a system that works,” Trudeau said during a visit to Quebec.“We have signed significant trade deals with Europe, with North America, elsewhere, protecting our supply management system and we are going to continue to do that.”Hoback said he understands the government’s reluctance to give away its negotiating strategy. But when there’s too much secrecy, he argued that “assumptions can be made that aren’t necessarily true” which can shake investor confidence and create instability for business.Moreover, he said it allows the U.S. to drive the agenda.Among other things on the U.S. wish list revealed Monday, the Trump administration wants better access for U.S. agricultural exports, freer trade in telecommunications and online purchases and an overhaul of the dispute resolution mechanism.Morneau said there were no surprises in the list.“As you know we’ve been in pretty regular contact with our American counterparts,” the finance minister said in an interview.“We, as a result of that, had a good sense of what they’re trying to achieve. There wasn’t anything in there that was a big surprise from my perspective.”Morneau acknowledged that there will be “significant negotiations ahead and we shouldn’t expect that we’re going to agree on everything.”But he expressed optimism that the relationships the Trudeau government has built with the Trump administration, Congress, state legislators and American business and labour leaders will help Canada negotiate a new deal that is an improvement for all three countries.
TORONTO – It’s hard to believe that a single small study could cause such a hullabaloo, but that’s been the case with a research paper that looked at the effectiveness of using stents to open up clogged coronary arteries in patients with chest pain known as angina.The U.K.-led study published last week in The Lancet has sparked a heated international debate among doctors about how best to treat such patients — by inserting a mesh tube into their blocked artery to improve blood flow or by prescribing anti-angina pills?“I think there was a lot of hysteria here,” said study co-author Dr. Justin Davies, a professor of cardiology at Imperial College London, pointing to the headline on a New York Times story about the study: “‘Unbelievable’: Heart stents fail to ease chest pain.”Dr. Rasha Al-Lamee, an Imperial College interventional cardiologist who led the study, was somewhat more circumspect in her reaction to how the findings were interpreted by some heart disease experts quoted by various media outlets.“I think that perhaps some of their statements were an overreach of the results,” she said from London. “In America, it has been quite incredible.”The 2014-17 ORBITA study enrolled 230 patients with one blocked coronary artery — there are three such major vessels — who were experiencing chest pain and reduced exercise capacity on speed-modified treadmill stress tests.Patients were treated over six weeks with increasing doses of anti-angina medications, such as heart rate-reducing beta blockers and blood thinners, then randomized half and half to undergo either insertion of a stent or a sham procedure that left their blocked artery as it was. In what’s called blinding to prevent biased results, patients were not told which procedure they received.Despite which group the patients were in — stent or no stent — both reported some improvement. But researchers said the difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.“We found, to our surprise, that while the stents improved the blood supply to the heart in this population of people with disease in just one artery … we didn’t significantly improve how they felt in terms of symptoms or how they did in terms of walking on an exercise path, more than a placebo (sham) procedure,” said Al-Lamee.“It probably means that stable angina is quite complex and fixing narrowing you see with stents doesn’t probably fix everything, because these people may have disease in the small arteries we don’t see (with imaging),” she said.“They might have chest pain for other reasons, they may be limited because of other factors that are not their heart.”However, some heart specialists interpreted the findings to mean that the long-used practice of stenting — known medically as percutaneous coronary intervention, or PCI — to treat angina should be re-assessed.Among them were Dr. David L. Brown of the Washington University School of Medicine and Dr. Rita F. Redberg of the University of California-San Francisco, who prepared an editorial review of the study for The Lancet.“The results of ORBITA show unequivocally that there are no benefits for PCI compared with medical (drug) therapy for stable angina,” they wrote. “Based on these data, all cardiology guidelines should be revised to downgrade the recommendation for PCI in patients, despite use of medical therapy.”But Al-Lamee disagreed with that interpretation, saying international practice guidelines recommend first starting patients on a variety of anti-angina drugs, with stenting reserved for those who get minimal or no relief from the medications. But it doesn’t mean never using the devices in such patients, she said.Stents are widely used internationally. They are considered first-line treatment for people having a heart attack, and an estimated 500,000 PCI procedures are performed each year worldwide for stable angina.“The results have been a total surprise and they probably need to make us stop and think, but I don’t think they need to be used to change all that we do,” she said.Dr. Christopher Overgaard, an interventional cardiologist at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre in Toronto, said the New York Times headline is what initially “got my blood pressure up,” because it reflected what he characterized as an “irresponsible” inference from the study.Given that the patients were relatively healthy, with only a single blocked artery, and had been on weeks of intensive drug therapy, “it’s not really a surprise that the main finding of the study was that their exercise tolerance didn’t change,” said Overgaard, who was not involved in the study.“So the interpretation in my opinion should not be stenting doesn’t work. The interpretation, I think, should be that medical therapy in healthy (angina) patients that already had a good exercise tolerance is probably sufficient and we may not need to open those arteries in the first place.”Overgaard, director of the catheterization lab at Peter Munk, said Canadian doctors commonly stent patients with chronic coronary disease who have significant chest pain after minimal exertion, such as those who can only walk a couple of minutes before becoming breathless. And he doesn’t think the study will change practice in Canada.“But I think the message from this study is that if somebody has a blockage, but they’re doing really well, it may be sufficient to just treat them with pills.”Still, he agreed with both Davies and Al-Lamee that many patients prefer what they see as a quick fix with a stent over taking medications for life with their attendant side-effects. Beta blockers, for instance, may cause drowsiness and, in men, erectile dysfunction.“I see a lot of patients in clinic and it’s very common for patients not to take their medications or not to want to take their medications,” Overgaard said.“So that’s the caveat. Human nature is to get something treated that will eliminate the need for ongoing pills.”– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
Seven stories in the news for Wednesday, Feb. 14———MURDER SUSPECT MCARTHUR DUE IN COURTAlleged killer Bruce McArthur will appear in a Toronto court today via video. He faces five first-degree murder charges linked to the disappearances of men believed to have had ties to the LGBTQ community. Investigators have said they expect to lay more charges against the 66-year-old in the coming days.———SENTENCING TODAY IN ALBERTA TRIPLE MURDERAn Alberta judge is expected to decide today whether two men who murdered three family members and burned their bodies should spend at least 75 years in prison. Jason Klaus, 42, and Joshua Frank, 32, were found guilty last month on three charges of first-degree murder. The bodies of Klaus’s father and sister were found in a burned-out farmhouse in 2013 — his mother’s body was never found.———BYELECTION TODAY FOR EX-PREMIER’S B.C. SEATVoters head to the polls in Kelowna, B.C., today to replace former premier Christy Clark. She left politics last summer, quitting as Liberal leader and resigning her seat in Kelowna West. Five people are vying for the job, including B.C. Liberal Ben Stewart, who won the riding in the 2013 election, but bowed out to allow Clark to run after she lost the Vancouver-Point Grey riding to the New Democrats.———FEDERAL BUDGET COMING FEB. 27Finance Minister Bill Morneau will table his next budget on Feb. 27 as the country faces persistent uncertainty on trade. Economists generally agree that he should proceed with caution given the still-unknown impacts of the drawn-out renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement and the U.S. move to slash corporate taxes.———VERHEUL: TRUMP HAMSTRINGS U.S. SIDE IN NAFTA TALKSThe effort to rescue NAFTA has made limited progress because U.S. bargainers find themselves hamstrung by the Trump White House and the fact talks are taking place too quickly, Canada’s chief negotiator says. Steve Verheul also says the U.S. strategy is to strengthen its position by weakening Canada and Mexico — a tactic that could end up having dire consequences for all three countries.———MISSING ONTARIO FIREFIGHTER FOUND IN CALIFORNIAA Toronto firefighter who was the subject of a six-day search at a New York ski centre has been found safe in California, leaving officials mystified as to how the 49-year-old managed to get across the country. Constantinos (Danny) Filippidis was reported missing Feb. 7 at Whiteface Mountain near Lake Placid during a ski trip. The search ended Tuesday when Filippidis was found near Sacramento.———FEDS TO STUDY POT HABITS BY TESTING SEWAGEThe federal government is taking a somewhat noxious approach to studying just how much pot Canadians are consuming: researching our sewage. Statistics Canada will spend up to $600,000 a year for a contractor to regularly test waste water from 15 to 20 municipalities across the country for traces of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, and other drugs.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— The family of Colten Boushie will make a statement in Ottawa accompanied by Sen. Kim Pate.— The Senate human rights committee will hold a special meeting focusing on Black people in federal prisons.— The Alberta government will hold a session to hear from survivors of the ’60s Scoop.— The Canadian Taxpayers Federation releases its annual Teddy Waste Awards.—