Bhopal: BJP candidate Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur is leading in early trends received after counting of postal ballots in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal constituency. Thakur is contesting against former Chief Minister and Congress candidate Digvijaya Singh.Counting of ballots started at 8 a.m. in 51 district headquarters of the state’s 29 parliamentary constituencies. Some 9,000 security personnel have been deployed for the security of the vote count process in which around 15,000 government employees are involved. Counting of votes in the EVMs begins after postal ballot count.
New Delhi: For the Delhi Fire Services (DFS), it was a tough job to take out both the workers from the tank in North West Delhi’s Keshavpuram area. The DFS said that during the rescue operation, they had to crawl inside the tank to reach out to both the persons trapped over there.According to DFS official Ashok Kumar Jaiswal, when the fire personnel tried to get inside with their equipment, they get also stuck. “The tank was so small that with oxygen cylinder, fire personnel could not be able to get inside,” said Jaiswal. He further said that the whole rescue operation took more than one hour. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar”Later, with the help of equipment, we broke the tank wall. Once it was broken, some toxic gas was released,” said Jaiswal. He further added that with the help of oxygen masks, which they took from an ambulance, they went inside the tank. “It was a total risk for the fire personnel who was going inside. We tied belt on his waist to make sure if he get unconscious after inhaling poisonous gas inside they can pull him out quickly,” added the fire official. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceHe further said that at first, they tried to go inside wearing clothes in the face but it didn’t work well. “The rescue was very much tough just because there was confined space inside the tank. When the fire personnel went inside, he tied the rope on both the workers and they were taken out,” added the official. The DFS tried everything for the earliest rescue but the situation was not cordial. “We were seeing the victims lying unconscious but we were not able to get inside. The walls were made of concrete, it took time to break,” said Kumar.
New Delhi: Since 2018, the Delhi Police have arrested 30 persons under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA). The law enforcement agency has initiated 17 proposals under MCOCA.Police sources told Millennium Post that the Delhi Police Commissioner in the recent meeting reviewed the action taken by districts and units under MCOCA. The meeting was held in May. Sources further revealed that as many as 26 persons were nabbed in 2018 whereas till May 15, the city police arrested four persons. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar”One of the units nabbed 19 persons last year under the act whereas two districts nabbed seven persons,” added sources. More than a dozen cases were registered by city police last year. Sources further stated that the law enforcement agency has identified four snatchers, 18 robbers and 13 other criminals who may be booked under MCOCA. As many as 17 proposals have been initiated against criminals. In a press statement, Delhi Police said that special cell, in order to curb illegal activities and to contain violence by criminals indulging in criminal activities in Delhi, has booked them under MCOCA in the recent past. “MCOCA was initially enacted by the Maharastra Govt in the year 1999 to contain the criminal activities of the underworld criminals, which was adopted in Delhi in the year 2002,” said Delhi Police.
Seoul: India is a big aviation market and Air India provides the important domestic network for our members but opportunities in the market are narrowing with Jet Airways being non-operational, Star Alliance CEO Jeffrey Goh said Sunday. Star Alliance is a grouping of 28 airlines, including Air India, which became a member in July 2014. Emphasising that Air India is an important representation for the alliance in the Indian sub-continent, Goh said the airline provides very important domestic network for its members to connect into. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents “Indian market is a big market and is a very fast growing market… clearly things are changing very fast in the Indian market in connection with what has happened with Jet Airways. I think certainly to that degree possible, it will help (that)… Air India will have higher capacity and better yields because there is less capacity in the market,” he said here. Full service carrier Jet Airways, which had a significant number of international flights, temporarily suspended operations in April after running out of cash. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chief To a query on whether there could be a second Indian carrier such as low cost carrier IndiGo as a Star Alliance member, Goh said the grouping is positioned for having a full member as well as a connecting partner model. “We also have the ability to integrate less traditional airlines whether they are hybrid, regional or low cost airlines. We are positioned to address both the situations. We are not closed for business, whether an airline in India is interested in full membership or connecting partner model. It is more a question of value proposition that you can bring to the network,” he said. Talking on the sidelines of an IATA (International Air Transport Association) event here, he stressed that an airline should prove its business case if it has to be a member or connecting partner. “The challenge obviously is that there is IndiGo but in the Indian market there isn’t such a credible portfolio of opportunities with Jet Airways not operating anymore… The market is narrowing in terms of opportunities but we are going to be convinced that if we have a member or another connecting partner they are bringing something that Air India doesn’t. “At this time, how fast the Indian aviation market is going to grow… We have got to be mindful how that market is trending and not integrate a member just for the sake of integrating,” he said. IndiGo is India’s largest domestic airline with a market share of nearly 50 per cent. Star Alliance was founded in 1997, with the aim to offer worldwide reach, recognition and seamless service to international travellers.
NEW DELHI: The water woes of the residents of Tughlakabad will go promised Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday. Delhi Chief Minister held a review padyatra at Tughlakabad area on Sunday to talk to the people about the development works and progress. The residents complained about the unavailability of tap water and the CM promised to deal the matter within a week. “Pipelines have been laid. You will get water in your taps within a week. There’s no need for water tankers now”, he said. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarKejriwal Saturday kicked off a public outreach campaign, under which he will take out foot marches in all 70 Assembly constituencies in the national capital. The residents of Tughlakabad told the chief minister that though Delhi Jal Board water tankers reach them regularly, they would like to get water directly in their taps. The CM said that they will no more need to take water from the tankers as in a week’s time they will start getting water at their homes through the pipeline. He apprised the residents that the order for the same has already been given to the Delhi Jal Board. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceChief Minister undertook a padyatra in the Deoli assembly constituency on Saturday morning. He received complaints of unavailability of DJB tankers, private tankers mafia and theft of water through private bores during his interaction with the local residents. He took immediate action and directed the DJB officials to lodge FIR against the private tanker mafia and private borewell operators. He also ordered the DJB to start laying of pipeline in Deoli area and start the supply of Sonia Vihar water in Deoli within four months. On Saturday, CM Kejriwal told the residents of Deoli that they will get steady water supply through DJB pipelines in four months. “Once the pipelines are laid, you will start getting water from Sonia Vihar… I have got to know that DJB tankers don’t come here regularly and you have been buying water from private tankers,” the chief minister, who is also the utility’s head, had said. In the recent Lok Sabha poll, the Aam Aadmi Party led by Arvind Kejriwal witnessed an enormous defeat. Party sources said that after rigorous meetings with the top leaders and workers the party learned that to win the coming Vidhan Sabha poll in 2020 the party should reach out to the public in the older fashion which would be door-to-door with the presence of Arvind Kejriwal. According to the senior leaders, Delhi CM would continue such small padyatras what he used to do before the AAP came to power in Delhi.
New Delhi: Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday took charge of the tourism ministry and said his endeavour would be to take forward the work done in the sector in the last five years and break the stereotypes associated with Bundelkhand region of Madhya Pradesh to promote it as a travel destination.Patel, a BJP MP from Damoh in Madhya Pradesh, who has also managed the party’s affairs in Manipur, said more tourism opportunities are now opening up in Northeast region with “insurgency being reigned in”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCHe was interacting with reporters at his office in Transport Bhawan here, after taking charge as the Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge). Asked what would be his priorities, Singh said, “I have just taken charge and will decide on that after assessing all the status of all the tourism circuits, religious or cultural, and then frame policies”. “But, as a minister I would endeavour to take forward the work done in the tourism sector by the previous Modi government and try to finish projects on or before stipulated time,” he said.
Kolkata: Three persons have been arrested following the recovery of a Trinamool Congress leader’s body from West Bengal’s West Midnapore district but there was no political motive behind the murder, police said on Wednesday. The body of Ganesh Bhunia, 40, a Trinamool block leader from Narayangarh, was found on Monday in a roadside bush and bore injury marks. “Three persons namely Sujoy Maity, 32, Janmenjoy Maity, 30 and Laxmikanta Maity, 45 have been arrested for beating Ganesh Bhunia to death and they are being produced before the court on Wednesday,” an officer of Narayangarh police station said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers Refuting allegations of a political connection behind the murder, he said: “These people are related to the deceased and there was enmity between the families”. There was no political motive behind the murder, he added. Earlier, the Trinamool Congress had accused “BJP-backed miscreants” of involvement in the murder, while BJP leaders refuted the charges levelled against them and claimed that Bhunia was murdered due to infighting within the Trinamool leadership.
Ahmedabad: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday batted for promoting nationalism to deal with challenges like terrorism and said the country now has both vision and leadership, which were lacking in the past causing it to lag behind other nations. Addressing a gathering of BJP supporters here, the former foreign secretary praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “vision of new India”, stressing things were changing under his leadership. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu Jaishankar, who on Friday won the Rajya Sabha election from Gujarat, was here to participate in the BJP’s nation-wide membership drive along with Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and other party leaders. “If we look at India’s history, our internal disputes have been our weakness, from which others have benefited. We should promote nationalism and increase national security for challenges like terrorism. For that, we need leadership and persistency seen in the last few years that were lacking earlier,” he said. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps, 20 launch pads along LoC As a career diplomat, Jaishankar said, he worried about India lagging behind countries like China, which he said was due to shortcomings in vision and conviction. “You know that I worked for 40 years in the service of the nation as India’s diplomat and foreign secretary. During this period, when I looked at the world, I found there are some countries which have progressed a lot in 20-30 years. “To tell you frankly, there are also countries which have moved ahead of us even when they were at our level 30 years back, like China,” he said, adding it was due to lack of vision and conviction. “Today, both have changed. There is a vision of new India that our prime minister has put before us. And there is also commitment due to the vision,” he said. Jaishankar said he was drawn towards the party due to the commitment shown by the government. He said that only those countries have progressed where people take it as their responsibility to take their nation forward. “And this is possible only when we all consider participating in issues and policies concerning public. Country will grow if this enthusiasm grows,” he said. “This new vision, new commitment, is what made a man like me to come into public life, to join this party,” he said. He said there was need to collaborate with other countries. “If we have to progress further, our collaboration with other countries, in terms of technology, investment, and support we can give to our people (living abroad), can make a lot of difference. If we work for this together, our country can reach another level,” he said.
Kolkata: West Bengal Education minister Partha Chatterjee has said that state-run and aided colleges should inform the government before appointing any guest lecturer. Authorities in state-run and state-aided colleges should apprise the Higher Education department before appointing any guest lecturer and not proceed on their own, Chatterjee told reporters here on Friday evening. “We will shortly issue an order asking state-run and state-aided colleges not to issue advertisements recruiting guest lecturers without the knowledge of the department. Often they (colleges) do so and the department is kept in the dark about the recruitment,” the minister said. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellers He said the government was assessing the ratio of guest lecturer with full time teacher and the total number of guest and full time teachers in all colleges. “After judging the figures we will be able to determine wherever there is real need of more recruitment (of a new guest lecturer) and if so then inform the Chief Minister’s Office and Finance department accordingly ,” he said. Chatterjee said the government has already undertaken steps for regularisation of those guest lecturers who are eligible as per UGC norms. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja “We are working towards regularisation of services of those guest lecturers who meet the UGC criteria. We will give weightage towards regularising their services through College Service Commission”, he said. However, those guest teachers, not meeting UGC criteria, will also be given a hearing at a meeting at Nazrul Manch, a state-run auditorium, by this month. “We will consider what can be done with their cases (guest lecturers not meeting UGC criteria) after the meeting with the representatives (of such guest lecturers not meeting UGC criteria) as the CM is sympathetic to their situation.” The government will do whatever can be done while keeping in mind its own financial condition, he said. “We are being told by the representatives of guest lecturers that they are made to do many important work in colleges and not just take classes. If their claims are true we need to do something for the deserving ones,” Chatterjee said. The minister was talking to reporters after meeting representatives of guest lecturers and representatives of state-run Sishu Siksha Kendras (SSK).
London: Fast bowler Liam Plunkett believes England were destined to win the World Cup, admitting that the lucky overthrow in the last over changed the tide in the home team’s favour in the nerve-wrecking final against New Zealand here. In a high drama encounter on Sunday night, the pendulum swung viciously in the final over with England needing nine from three balls when Ben Stokes hit Trent Boult to the deep. The return throw from Martin Guptill hit Stokes’ bat as he dived to make his ground for the second run, with the ball rebounding to the rope for additional four runs. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football together It impacted the equation to the extent that the heart-stopping contest stretched to the Super Over and eventually the hosts lifted their maiden World Cup trophy on boundary counts at the iconic Lord’s here. And Plunkett said: “I don’t believe in the stars and all that stuff, but it was the first time that I felt: ‘This is meant to be.’ “We have played together as a group for the last four years and we have played different countries and we have dominated teams. I just felt we did deserve it as a bunch of guys. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open “We are good mates but we also work hard. Everyone else does but I felt it was meant to be. Especially when those overthrows went, that changed the tide,” he added. Plunkett played a crucial role in England’s World Cup win as he claimed big wickets throughout the tournament. On Sunday, he dismissed New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson before removing opener Henry Nicholls and Jimmy Neesham. “Kane is a massive player and to get a crucial wicket is what I do pride myself on. So it was nice to get that,” he said. “As soon as I came up the hill (from the Nursery End) I felt comfortable attacking the crease, it felt a lot better. “To get that wicket and close up and not go for many wickets. I was satisfied but I knew the job was half done.” Plunkett ends his World Cup campaign on unbeaten note, considering he wasn’t part of the playing eleven which suffered losses in the three group-stage matches. “The old lucky charm thing, I was riding with it! I was hoping the coach thinks that so I can get a game,” he said. Plunkett, who took 11 wickets in seven games this World Cup, was selected way back for the 2007 World Cup. “The last four years playing for England was the best time of my life,” he said. “You cannot be too bitter (if you are out the team), you can be bitter and upset inside that you are not playing. Especially if you feel like you are doing well. “But look at TC (Tom Curran), he has done nothing wrong, his stats have been class. You can be disappointed but you have to turn up and keep training. And when you get the nod, you have got perform,” Plunkett said. The 34-year-old seamer hoped England’s World Cup glory will be remembered like the first Ashes win of 2005 that inspired a nation. “Even if we didn’t win the World Cup it would have still be a journey. We have been amazing, we have changed the culture of cricket in England. People expect us to win which is a lot different from a few years back,” he said. “To watch guys like Jos (Buttler), freaks like Jofra (Archer) step up to the plate, it’s amazing for me to just watch it. “What a day, it has changed the history of English cricket and everyone got to watch that. I hope everyone gets involved and loves it like when we won the Ashes. It was a special day,” Plunkett signed off.
Gurugram: The Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) is developing a 20 MLD common effluent treatment plant (CETP) in Sector 34 to make sure that the sewage does not enter into the stormwater drains. The authority has already invited agencies to prepare the detailed project report (DPR) of the plant.According to sources in the GMDA, there are a number of polluting industries in Sector 34 without a functional treatment plant. A few months earlier, GMDA had also found some industries releasing waste into the drains from the area. “The plan will help us address releasing of industrial waste into the stormwater drains,” said a GMDA official. He added that the land for the project has already been earmarked and will be provided by the Haryana State Industry and Infrastructure Corporation. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Since GMDA is the agency responsible for the master sewage and stormwater drains, we have decided to take up this project. The cost and time required to complete this project would be known only after the DPR has been prepared. The project was also discussed during the previous authority meeting held by GMDA in June in Chandigarh,” the official added. Many industries in Gurgaon-Manesar industrial areas have been fined by the Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) for releasing untreated water into the drains. While HSIIDC already has a 55 MLD CETP in Manesar, there is no CETP in Udyog Vihar industrial areas. “Most of industries in Udyog Vihar are non-polluting industries and the ones that require a plant have an individual one,” he added.
San Francisco: Known Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo has claimed in his latest research note that Apple may be gearing up to introduce its all-new iPhones design in 2020.Kuo’s note includes his prediction of the biggest selling points for the 2020 iPhone line-up. He lists three key improvements: “All-new form factor design, 5G support, and camera function upgrades,” 9to5Mac reported on Friday.As per the report, Kuo expects these changes with next year’s iPhones would improve YoY growth of the company. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this yearThe Cupertino-based company is also planning to incorporate Time of Flight (ToF) 3D sensing rear camera system in 2020 iPhone models.In addition, the iPhone maker would use Vertical-Cavity Surface-Emitting Laser (VCSEL) in the cameras of the 2020 iPhones.VCSEL is a key component of Apple’s TrueDepth camera that also powers features like Face ID, Animoji and Portrait mode selfies.Apple is reportedly mulling to resurrect the cheaper iPhone SE for emerging markets, especially India and China, early next year.The new model would be Apple’s first low-cost smartphone since the launch of the iPhone SE in 2016, which started at $399.
Stockholm: Swedish prosecutors have interviewed two new witnesses over a 2010 rape allegation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Prosecution Authority said Monday. It said a total of seven witnesses had been interviewed over the summer. “We have mainly re-interviewed those individuals who were interviewed in 2010, although two of the persons interviewed have not previously been interviewed,” the deputy director of public prosecution, Eva-Marie Persson, said. The Swedish investigation concerns events which took place in August 2010 when a Swedish woman accused Assange of rape, after meeting him at a WikiLeaks conference in Stockholm. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USAssange, 48, has always denied the allegation. The statute of limitations in the case expires in August 2020. “Once we have analysed the interviews, I will decide how to proceed with the case. The investigation may then be discontinued or I may decide to conduct further inquiries,” she said. “If I make the assessment that the next step is to interview Julian Assange, I will issue a European Investigation Order, in which case I shall write to the British authorities with a request to conduct an interview,” Persson said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsAssange has been held at a top-security British prison since April after police sensationally dragged him out of the Ecuadoran embassy in London, where he had been holed up since 2012 to avoid a extradition order to Sweden, where he was wanted for questioning. Assange was subsequently sentenced to 50 weeks in prison for breaching bail conditions when he took refuge in the embassy. Following his arrest, Swedish authorities reopened their 2010 rape investigation, which had been closed in 2017 with the argument that it was not possible to proceed with the probe as Assange could not be reached. Prosecutors then asked a Swedish court to order Assange detained in Sweden in order to facilitate their investigation. But the court refused the request, saying he was already imprisoned in Britain and their investigation could proceed in other ways. Assange is currently also the subject of a US extradition request, where he is facing a total of 18 charges, most of which relate to obtaining and disseminating classified information over the publishing of military documents and diplomatic cables through the website WikiLeaks. He could be sentenced to 175 years in prison if convicted on all 18 counts.
TORONTO – Travellers at Canada’s busiest airport will get to enjoy live music this summer as part of the country’s 150th birthday celebrations.The YYZ Live performance series at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport features 150 free live shows by 75 artists on two stages.The series, produced by the airport and the City of Toronto, began Monday and runs daily until Sept. 15, with amplified sets beginning at 7 p.m. in the international arrivals area of Terminal 1 and acoustic sets beginning at 8 p.m. on the platform of the airport’s Terminal Link train.The first week of performances will include soul, jazz, folk, bluegrass, indie rock and international music.Bands are paid an honorarium of $600 for two performances and the city says Toronto-based artists of all genres are encouraged to apply through the city’s website to perform later in the summer.Toronto Mayor John Tory says it’s an ideal tribute to Canada’s 150th birthday.“YYZ Live supports and showcases Toronto artists while enhancing Toronto’s image and reputation as a music city to visitors and residents,” he said.Greater Toronto Airports Authority President Howard Eng said the performances will enhance the airport experience for many travellers.“For many people, their first experience of Canada is here at the airport, so it is fitting that we’ll be presenting performances from so many Canadian artists in celebration of this great country,” said Eng.
HALIFAX – A judge has acquitted a former Halifax cab driver accused of sexually assaulting a female passenger, saying he believed the woman but the Crown failed to prove the identity of her assailant.The Crown alleged Houssen Milad kissed a female passenger on top of her head when driving her home to the Spryfield neighbourhood in June 2016, and groped her buttocks before she got out of the vehicle.But Judge Gregory Lenehan said Thursday the Crown did not come anywhere near proving its case against Milad beyond a reasonable doubt, and did a “disservice” to the complainant and to the community.“The investigation in this matter lacked a real critical analysis and amounted to a disservice to (the complainant),” Lenehan said. “She deserved to have her complaint given a more thorough investigation.”The judge — who is under investigation for a ruling he gave in a different sexual assault case involving a taxi driver earlier this year — said Thursday the 26-year-old passenger in the Milad case was a credible witness, and he believes she was sexually assaulted.“She was sexually assaulted. There can be no doubt about it,” he told the court. “But, do I have a doubt about the identify of the taxi driver that assaulted (her)? Absolutely.”The judge’s not guilty verdict Thursday hinged on what he described as two holes in the case against Milad.The first revolved around the route the taxi took from downtown Halifax to the woman’s neighbourhood.Yellow Cab, the dispatcher, provided the GPS map of Milad’s taxi route on the night the woman was assaulted, but that route was different than the directions the complainant testified the taxi took after she flagged it down, Lenehan said.The routes were “markedly different,” the judge said, with one heading north of the Halifax Citadel and passing the Scotiabank Centre and Emera Oval, while the other passed the new library on Spring Garden Road.“It’s more than just the street names being different,” Lenehan said. “The landmarks are so strikingly differently it would be almost impossible to think (the GPS route supported the passenger’s evidence).”The other flaw in the Crown’s case was that the complainant’s debit transactions weren’t analyzed to see if there were any from Milad’s cab, he said.“Did anybody think to check the debit transaction?” the judge asked, pointing out that the investigation failed to track down whether her payment was credited to Milad’s account.Defence lawyer Thomas Singleton called the judge’s decision “detailed” and “thorough.”He said the police in the case had tunnel vision, focusing on his client and ignoring other possibilities, and didn’t track down other leads.“The judge was quite critical of the way the police investigated the matter,” Singleton said. “If the police had done their work properly, they probably could have gotten the right person.”The key evidence put forward by the Crown was a business card the complainant obtained at the end of the ride.But the judge suggested that the perpetrator may have “impersonated” Milad, using one of his business cards.“That could explain the rather curious act of a driver giving her a business card with his name on it after kissing her without permission and then groping her bum,” Lenehan said. “The Crown speculates that Mr. Milad is so devious as to turn off his meter early but readily hand out his business card.”While the judge acknowledged that he was speculating, he said the case is built on “circumstantial evidence” and reminded the court that the onus is on the Crown to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused is guilty.The complainant was not present for the verdict.The judge said the woman gave clear, cogent answers and offered thoughtful, careful and consistent testimony.“Her assailant was discoverable,” Lenehan said. “He should have been identified properly.”Milad testified in his own defence, denying through an Arabic interpreter that the woman was ever in his vehicle.He broke down in tears Thursday as the judge told him he was “free to leave” Halifax provincial court.“His life has been on hold for the past year,” Singleton, his lawyer, said, adding that he now plans to finish his doctoral thesis in engineering. “He was extremely relieved.”The decision is the latest in a series of court rulings against Halifax taxi drivers accused of sexual assault. Police said last year there had been 14 reported sexual assault cases involving cab drivers in the city over the previous four years.In March, Lenehan acquitted another taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting a passenger, Bassam Al-Rawi, in a decision that is now the subject of an investigation by a three-member review committee appointed by Nova Scotia’s chief justice.Lenehan’s choice of words in the Al-Rawi case set off a storm of social media criticism, a letter-writing campaign calling for a judicial council investigation and two public protests.Lenehan said the Crown in the Al-Rawi case had failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman, who had been drinking and had no memory of what happened, did not consent to sexual activity with the driver. He said that “clearly, a drunk can consent.”The Crown is seeking an appeal of Lenehan’s decision in the Al-Rawi case. A hearing is scheduled before the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal for Nov. 22.
OTTAWA – An undercover FBI agent who helped convict two men of plotting to derail a passenger train in Canada did not see the arrests as a triumph, because he feared another extremist had eluded his grasp.In a new book published under his cover name from the operation, Tamer Elnoury reveals how gaining the confidence of the would-be rail saboteurs led to knowledge of an apparent al-Qaida sleeper terrorist in the United States.Elnoury is still haunted by the thought of the jihadi who got away.“Every time I hear about someone committing a terrorist act on U.S. soil, I wonder if that was the American sleeper,” he writes.“My biggest regret is that I couldn’t find him.”Elnoury is among the small number of highly valued, Arabic-speaking Muslim agents doing undercover counter-terrorism work for the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.“American Radical” traces his involvement in the investigation that led to terrorism convictions and life sentences in 2015 for Chiheb Esseghaier, a Tunisian citizen doing doctoral research in Montreal, and Raed Jaser, a stateless Palestinian who had come to Toronto as a teenager with his family.Esseghaier “popped up on the FBI’s radar” after he made contact with some al-Qaida operatives online, Elnoury writes. The FBI alerted Canadian officials, who opened their own investigation. Esseghaier had travelled to Iran twice in two years, arousing concern he was there for terrorist training.Canadian intelligence tried to “bump” Esseghaier — stage a casual meeting that seemed random — during a 2011 conference in Mexico, the book says. “The Canadians didn’t have a Muslim, so they used a Peruvian Christian. Chiheb’s English wasn’t that good. The hope was a native Arabic speaker would have a better chance.”Elnoury posed as a globetrotting American real estate magnate who despised western ways and funnelled his profits to his overseas uncle, a financier for al-Qaida.In June 2012, Elnoury managed to ensure he and Esseghaier were seated together on a flight to California. They quickly became friends and Esseghaier was soon openly talking about shooting down planes with a portable missile launcher, the book says. Elnoury believes Esseghaier saw him as a like-minded ally with the money to help fund his operations.Early that September, Elnoury, who had become close to Esseghaier, was called to a meeting in New York. A senior Canadian Security Intelligence Service official had flown in to hear what Elnoury knew about Esseghaier’s plans to go fishing with someone.Elnoury scoffed at the notion the intense Tunisian would ever go fishing, and advised that Esseghaier “is here to hurt us.”CSIS learned the fishing trip turned out to be a mission with Jaser to scout a railway bridge they planned to sabotage, sending a train that travels from New York to Toronto hurtling into the river below, killing many passengers.The file, now a criminal matter, was handed to the RCMP and Elnoury was enlisted to gather evidence. He paid a visit to his friend in Montreal.Elnoury portrays Esseghaier as zealously devoted to the extremist cause, but also someone who had a crush on a female colleague and enjoyed eating lobster and stopping in at Tim Hortons.During a drive to Toronto to meet Jaser, Esseghaier confided details of the operation: al-Qaida planners in Iran ordered him to cut a hole in the train tracks. He and Jaser would use jackhammers to cut the track, while Elnoury would be needed to act as lookout.Esseghaier told Elnoury he emptied his bank account in the spring of 2011, buying a one-way ticket to Tehran and planning to drive to Afghanistan, where he would die in battle. But in Zahedan, a town in southeastern Iran, he was recruited by al-Qaida. He returned the next year for training and was briefed on the train plot.Esseghaier also said something that made Elnoury’s heart race: there was a “soldier” in the U.S., an al-Qaida sleeper agent known as Al-Amriki, the American. Esseghaier expected to meet him one day.“We needed to rethink the case,” Elnoury writes. “Chiheb was our only link to the American sleeper. There was no way we could arrest him before we identified the other sleeper.”Planning for the train attack continued. But Elnoury pressed Esseghaier about meeting the sleeper. A key Iranian contact finally agreed it would be a good idea, and invited Esseghaier and Elnoury for a talk in Dubai.Elnoury wanted to go, but he was skeptical the Canadians would let Esseghaier travel overseas at this point. In April 2013, Eric Holder, then U.S. attorney general, flew to Ottawa to discuss the Dubai idea, the book says.However, the RCMP executed arrest warrants, ending the operation.Elnoury understood the decision. The rail plot case was over. And just a week earlier, bombs had exploded at the Boston Marathon, killing three and injuring hundreds.“Everyone was on edge,” he writes. “No one wanted to let a terrorist slip out of our grasp.”But mostly Elnoury was angry. “I felt like the Canadians and the FBI wasted all of our hard work.”Elnoury did not consider the arrests a victory. “Best case, we tied. But really you could say we failed,” he writes.“Chiheb was a lot of things, but he was never a liar. Personally, I have no doubt that there was an American sleeper.”— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitter
HALIFAX – Amid rising tension at Dalhousie University, a former student interrupted a panel discussion about campus diversity Tuesday to accuse the school of “white supremacy.”“The myth that you share is that Dalhousie is doing a good job about equity and inclusion,” said Ifo Ikede, a former computer engineering and computer science student at the Halifax university.“We’re swimming in a sea of white supremacy,” he said. “The only people who are free to speak are white men and women.”His comments come as the university faces mounting criticism over its handling of recent incidents involving female students of colour.Last week, an Indigenous member of Dalhousie University’s board of governors said she was subjected to institutionalized racism.Now the university is investigating political comments by a student leader — a Muslim woman who wears a hijab — who could face possible sanctions.The incidents have sparked outcry both on campus and beyond.A group of 25 law professors at Dalhousie’s Schulich School of Law called on the university not to “police and censor” the tone of political speech, while the Ontario Civil Liberties Association accused the university of censoring political speech.On Tuesday, a seminar at Dalhousie open to the public about the under-representation of non-white faculty at Canadian universities appeared to only accept pre-approved questions, prompting Ikede to interrupt concluding remarks.Although the panellists responded to his comments before ending the lecture, the incident highlights the growing controversy engulfing the campus.Ikede said he was upset about disciplinary action being taken against Masuma Khan, a member of the student council executive.The fourth-year student could face possible sanctions for social media comments related to the Dalhousie Student Union’s decision to abstain from Canada 150 celebrations in a show of solidarity with Indigenous Peoples.In a Facebook post responding to criticism of that decision, she questioned why she should be proud of colonization and “over 400 years of genocide.”She used profanity in her post, signing off with hashtags that criticized “white fragility” and said “your white tears aren’t sacred, this land is.”Diane Obed, an Indigenous graduate of Saint Mary’s University, said she attended the lecture on Tuesday to ask about the senate discipline committee hearing into Masuma Khan’s comments.“I couldn’t even ask a question. I’m glad someone spoke up,” she said about Ikede’s comments. “I was very disappointed. It’s typical of how they are going to tone-police and prevent people from having meaningful dialogue about this current issue that is at the forefront right now for Dalhousie.”Obed, who is originally from Labrador, said the reaction against Khan seems out of proportion with the discipline doled out to Dalhousie dentistry students involved in an online scandal a few years ago.“They are taking disciplinary action towards a person of colour for speaking out about colonialism,” she said. “But they didn’t even really discipline the dentistry students who posted harassing and misogynistic comments.”Dalhousie’s vice-provost of student affairs, Arig al Shaibah, issued a message to the university community Monday saying the senate discipline committee will hear the complaint after an “informal resolution” was turned down.She said Khan allegedly breached a section of the code of student conduct against “unwelcome or persistent conduct that the student knows, or ought to reasonably know, would cause another person to feel demeaned, intimidated or harassed.”Meanwhile, Khan has received threats about her comments, prompting her lawyer to ask Dalhousie on Twitter for guidance on how to “respectfully” respond to warnings against her that attack her identity.Dalhousie president Richard Florizone said a memo to the university community Monday that “at Dal we abhor racism, gendered violence and Islamophobia.”“We know we have to strive every day to challenge these,” he said. “Our essential values are equal dignity of all persons, freedom of expression and inquiry, intellectual integrity and respectful relationships.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misquoted part of the Dalhousie student’s social media post.
DELTA, B.C. – Poor ventilation at a Delta, B.C., greenhouse is to blame for sending dozens of workers to hospital for carbon monoxide exposure, a fire chief said.Delta fire battalion chief Neil Shuster said an emergency call came in Saturday afternoon that at least 12 people at Windset Farms were suffering from inhalation of a suspected cleaning product.Three fire crews and a hazmat crew were dispatched along with police and BC Ambulance Services.Once on scene, Shuster said crews determined there were high levels of carbon monoxide in the building.Approximately 43 people required treatment on site.The workers had been inside a greenhouse while a gas-powered pressure washer was running without adequate ventilation, he said.“I believe they were working at the time and it was maintenance, regular maintenance I guess they were doing at the time,” he saidRepresentatives from Windset Farms did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Provincial workplace safety officials are investigating the incident.Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas that’s produced whenever fuel is burned.It can cause health problems — and eventually death — because breathing it reduces the body’s ability to carry oxygen in the blood.BC Emergency Health Services tweeted that 13 ambulances responded to “a major incident” with 10 in serious to critical condition and 32 others in stable condition.Linda Lupini, the services’ executive vice president, said on Sunday that response to the incident was swift and followed protocols for mass casualty events with those most seriously injured receiving priority care.Those exposed to carbon monoxide were treated with oxygen and given blood tests to ensure they were recovering, she said.No additional crew or other staff were affected by carbon monoxide.“The entire event as we know could have had a very different ending,” she said. “There’s no doubt this was an incredibly well executed response.”She said everyone who was taken to hospital has been released. She added that a few people who were more seriously affected may need follow up treatment such as being placed in a hyperbaric chamber to replenish their oxygen levels.
TORONTO – Former Conservative cabinet minister and provincial police commissioner Julian Fantino has accused a Canadian judge, lawyers and several police forces of acting improperly and even illegally in the conviction and jailing of a man for contempt of court.In an extensive affidavit in which he raises the allegations, Fantino describes himself as a member of the Queen’s Privy Council and an expert who, in speaking for regular Canadians, can shed light on what he essentially posits as a possible judicial conspiracy involving secret backroom dealings.Fantino filed the affidavit in an unsuccessful effort to intervene in a recent Federal Court review of whether the Canadian Judicial Council properly dismissed a complaint by Donald Best, a former Toronto police officer and businessman, against Ontario Superior Court Justice Bryan Shaughnessy.“A more thorough investigation by the (judicial council), now that all the facts are known, may show that the judge was wilfully blind,” Fantino asserts. “It may very well be that the record belies the mischief that was being achieved simply because the judge had total control over the process.”In 2013, Shaughnessy found Best in civil contempt. The finding was the culmination of a convoluted battle started in 2007, when Best’s corporation unsuccessfully sued 62 defendants and he failed to pay their court-ordered legal costs.Shaughnessy’s rulings were upheld by Ontario’s top court and left undisturbed by the Supreme Court of Canada.Best turned to the Canadian Judicial Council in January 2016 to complain about the judge. Shaughnessy, he asserted, had engaged in “egregious” misconduct by, among other things, “secretly” changing a critical document.The council’s executive director rejected the complaint out of hand, prompting Best to ask Federal Court to review that decision. He named the government and judge as respondents.Fantino, who could not be immediately reached for comment, explains in his 33-page affidavit filed along with 100 exhibits why he wanted to get involved. The “abuses,” he said, could undermine public confidence in the administration of justice.“I notice that, in this matter, no one represents the people of Canada,” Fantino states. “No one speaks for me and other Canadians who believe in and rely upon fairness, courtesy and honourable treatment within the justice system.”In his submission, Fantino maintains that Shaughnessy convicted Best “upon the presentation by lawyers of provably false evidence.” He also argues that “disturbing” evidence suggests police resources and personnel were “improperly retained, used and co-opted” to help one side in the private civil dispute.“The court also convicted Mr. Best based upon affidavit evidence that was the product of illegal actions by a serving officer of the Ontario Provincial Police at the time that I was OPP commissioner,” Fantino states. “Had I known about it at the time, I would have immediately ordered an investigation to gather all evidence…with a view to possible provincial and/or criminal charges.”In October, a Federal Court official dismissed Fantino’s motion to intervene in the review of how the judicial council handled Best’s judge complaint. Fantino, a former minister for veteran’s affairs, chief of police, and now an executive with a medical marijuana company, had raised issues that were out of bounds, the official decided.Fantino appealed his exclusion but the court nevertheless went ahead in the fall with its long-scheduled review of the judicial council’s actions.For his part, Shaughnessy urged the court to defer to the council, arguing in part that Best’s complaint was manifestly “without substance” or “an abuse of process.” He also argued Best had tried to “impute bad faith into a decision he disagrees with, so as to define it as sanctionable conduct.”This month, Federal Court Judge Keith Boswell agreed with Ottawa and Shaughnessy that the judicial council’s decision was reasonable. Boswell dismissed Best’s application and ordered him to pay the federal government and the judge $30,000 in legal costs.Best did not want to discuss Fantino’s involvement when reached on Friday. In a recent statement on his website, he did say Boswell’s decision contained “gross errors.” He filed notice of appeal this week.In an unusual decision in June 2016, the Ontario Court of Appeal ordered Best’s prominent Toronto lawyer Paul Slansky to pay $84,000 in legal costs for his client’s failed legal fights.The court found Slansky had wasted time and money unnecessarily by “acting on unreasonable instructions from, or providing unreasonable advice to, his client.” The court also ordered Slansky to pay another $30,000 in costs.
TOFINO, B.C. – Jae Valentine woke to the sound of wolves howling and cries for help early Friday morning after a boat sank off the coast of Tofino, B.C., prompting an exhaustive search for three missing men that has now been scaled back.The Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre reduced rescue efforts 18 hours after responding to the call for help and has handed the case over to Tofino RCMP, which is treating it as a missing persons case.Two of the five people aboard the tin boat were rescued within two hours, but volunteers and search technicians continue to scour the shoreline and sea for the remaining three.Valentine, who owns the Cable Cove Inn, says she heard someone yelling “help me” over and over again beginning at 2:45 a.m. on Friday. She couldn’t tell where the calls were coming from because her property sits between an ocean and harbour. She got dressed and went outside to find her neighbour yelling back, “What kind of help do you need?”Her neighbour had already phoned the Canadian Coast Guard and asked her to call 911.About 40 minutes later, she watched rescuers drop one person off at a dock where an emergency vehicle was waiting. Then, she said she heard a second voice calling out, “Where are you, I’m coming, where are you, buddy?”Valentine believes the second voice was another person who had been on the sunken vessel, searching for the first man who was rescued.Since then, she said community members have come together to help look for the men or are waiting for news.“We’re all sort of standby, I think,” she said. “I know a number of people in the local stores, when they’re off shift from their employment, they’re all down at the docks just awaiting information.”Details continue to emerge in the wake of the incident. There were five people aboard the open, six-metre boat that sank without a mayday call, the JRCC said.One person was found in the water south of Felice Island, half an hour after rescuers received the call for help. Almost an hour after that, a second person swam ashore to Duffin Cove.Both were taken to hospital.One of the survivors is a member of a southern Ontario First Nation.Chief Ava Hill of the Six Nations of the Grand River said she wrote a letter to WestJet verifying he is a community member so that he could board a plane to return home.Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne said the three missing men are fishermen from the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.Osborne said while nobody ever wants accidents to happen, she’s struck each time that they do by the way the community comes together with “all hands on deck.”In 2015, five Britons and one Australian died after a rogue wave capsized a 20-metre whale-watching vessel.Last spring, Calgarian Alvin Beckley and Edmontonian Mike Cutler died when their sport fishing charter capsized.“Something that always sticks with me each time is the way people come together and just kind of the sheer humanity in it, of people gathering and feeding each other, supporting each other and loving each other. It’s kind of the very human side of tragedies,” Osborne said.Navy Lt. Melissa Kia, spokeswoman for the Joint Rescue Co-ordination Centre, said the search has involved hundreds of people from the Canadian Forces, Canadian Coast Guard, Parks Canada, Emergency Management B.C., RCMP and Emergency Health Services — plus community members who have gone out in kayaks and other small crafts.But after 18 hours, she said the JRCC had to scale back its role in the search.“We really threw everything we’ve got at it and to come up empty handed is really heartbreaking,” Kia said.Kia said community members and volunteers are continuing the search, but could not speak on behalf of their efforts.Rescuers determine a “survivability” time frame, which was 18 hours in this case, using computer modeling that considers many factors, Kia said.Factors may include what the individuals were wearing, how they came to be in distress, water temperature, winds, tides and whether they had life vests, she said.“What we do is we take that number, it’s not hard and fast in every case, and we will stretch it to the maximum and throw everything we’ve got at it, as was the case in Tofino,” she said.Kia said it’s not uncommon for RCMP to classify a search and rescue case as a missing persons file, once the case is handed over to them.She said the community response to the disaster has been “overwhelming.”“We would like to thank the countless volunteers from the community surrounding Tofino and Ucluelet and all of our First Nations partners. The response was really quite overwhelming, there were hundreds of people who took to the water and to scour the coastline,” she said.“Our thoughts go out to the families of the loved ones; it’s very heartbreaking to turn this case over unresolved.”