Dhaka: A Bangladeshi court on Wednesday sentenced nine activists of a BNP-led alliance to death and 25 others to life imprisonment for attacking a train carrying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina 25 years ago when she was the Opposition leader. Thirteen other people were sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment by the Pabna court, according to media reports. On September 23, 1994, Hasina was leading a nationwide election campaign by rail and holding rallies at different stations. As her train reached Pakshey railway Station in Pabna’s Ishwardi, it was attacked with crude bombs and gunshots. The attack continued till Ishwardi railway station. Also Read – Turkey preparations for Syria offensive ‘completed’Hasina survived the assault carried out during Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) Chairperson Khaleda Zia’s first term as prime minister. Pronouncing the verdict in a crowded courtroom, additional sessions judge Rostom Ali sentenced nine people to death, 25 others to life imprisonment and 13 to 10-year jail term for attacking the train. Expressing satisfaction over the verdict, public prosecutor Akteruzzaman Mukata said, “After a long legal battle, the court punished all 47-charge sheeted accused according to proper witness and evidence.” Meanwhile, lawyers of the convicts rejected the verdict and said they will appeal to a higher court.
New Delhi: A 35-year-old radio jockey was arrested on Saturday in connection with an alleged hit-and-run case in which a man had died last week, police said. The accused, Ankit Gulati, a resident of East Patel Nagar, was arrested from his residence, they said. Gulati, who works at a private radio station, had allegedly ramped his SUV into a scooter near Le Meridian Hotel on Raisina Road in Lutyens’ Delhi on June 30, killing 37-year-old Dhiraj, the police said. “During investigation, police identified the car after scanning CCTV footage. Later, they got details of the owner of the vehicle and arrested Gulati,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma. During interrogation, Gulati said that on June 29, he met his friends at Rajender Nagar and went to a club in Nehru Place around 12:30 am where they consumed alcohol, Verma said. Thereafter, they reached another club in Chanakyapuri around 2:30 am and consumed more alcohol, the police said. He left the club at 5:15 am and was going towards Connaught Place when the accident took place, the DCP said. Gulati confessed that he was watching videos on phone while driving and could not see the victim on his scooter, they said. After the accident, he fled from the spot and reached his home. He sent his car for repairing at a workshop on July 1, the police said, adding that the vehicle has been recovered from the workshop.
SILIGURI: UNESCO has reprimanded the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway (DHR) and warned of revoking the heritage tag to the 140-year-old hill railway in Bengal over poor upkeep, DHR officials said on Monday. In a strongly-worded letter sent to the DHR recently, UNESCO said that the Indian Railways had failed to inform it of the poor upkeep of the facilities of the heritage railway between 2017 and 2019 and waste being dumped on the its tracks, they said. DHR officials have blamed recurring landslides through the year for the damage to the tracks of narrow gauge railway. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersThe landslips are the main obstacle in regular running of the DHR trains as repairing takes time, the officials said. The Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR), which manages the DHR, has also blamed the people residing along the tracks for the presence of the waste. “Residents of houses along the route sit on the DHR tracks and park vehicles on them obstructing the way of the trains,” said NFR general manager Sanjiv Ray. “We follow all procedures to keep the heritage tag intact. We hold regular meetings and keep a close contact with the UNESCO authorities,” he added. UNESCO had included the 140-year-old DHR in the list of World Heritage Monuments in December 1999.
New Delhi: India has made several requests to Russia since 2014 seeking information on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose, but Moscow has conveyed that it was unable to find any documents in the Russian archives pertaining to the Indian leader, the Lok Sabha was informed on Wednesday.In a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan said India sought information on Netaji such as whether he was in Russia anytime before or after August 1945 and whether he escaped to Russia in August 1945 or thereafter as reported by some researchers. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Indian government, in several requests since 2014, sought documents or material relating to Netaji, which may be in the custody of the Russian side, he said. “In its response, the Russian government has conveyed that they were unable to find any documents in the Russian archives pertaining to Netaji and even after additional investigations made based on request from the Indian side, they could not find any documents giving more information on the subject,” Muraleedharan said. Bose founded Indian National Army, commonly known as Azad Hind Fauj, in 1942 to fight British with the support of Japanese forces. Netaji is believed to have died in an air crash in Taiwan on August 18, 1945.
LONDON: England fast bowler Jofra Archer says he has fully recovered from a side strain and is raring to go as he looks poised to make his test debut in the second Ashes test against Australia at Lord’s on Wednesday. Archer, who missed the first test after picking up his injury during England’s World Cup triumph last month, proved his fitness when he took six wickets and scored a century for county side Sussex’s second XI last week. The 24-year-old was included in England’s 12 in the absence of record wicket taker James Anderson, who bowled only four overs in the first test at Edgbaston before injuring his calf again. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh”I’m probably more ready than I have ever been. I bowled 50 overs in one game for Sussex which I think was past the overs they told me to bowl, it was good practice,” Archer told reporters. “(My fitness) has never been better. (The side strain) just needed to settle and we couldn’t get that gap in the World Cup. After that, it settled in a matter of days. “Don’t expect any miracles, I can only come in and do what I can and give my best. I can’t work miracles but I will try to.” Australia coach Justin Langer had said the key to dealing with Archer, England’s leading wicket-taker at the World Cup with 20 victims, was to “keep wearing him down” and make him bowl more spells. “I think Justin Langer has another think coming,” Barbados-born Archer added.
New Delhi: Retail sales of passenger vehicles (PV) declined by 11 per cent to 2,43,183 units in July as compared to the same period last year, hit by weak demand across the country, automobile dealers’ body FADA said on Monday. According to Federation of Automobile Dealers Associations (FADA), PV sales stood at 2,74,772 units in July 2018. Two-wheeler sales declined by 5 per cent to 13,32,384 units last month as compared to 14,03,382 units in the year-ago period. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalCommercial vehicle sales dropped by 14 per cent to 23,118 units against 26,815 units in July last year. Three-wheeler sales, however, saw an increase of 3 per cent to 55,850 units last month from 54,250 units in the same period a year ago. Total sales across categories declined by 6 per cent to 16,54,535 units in July as against 17,59,219 units. “Consumer sentiment and overall demand continued to be quite weak across all segments and most geographies,” FADA President Ashish Kale said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostWith PV manufacturers reducing wholesale billings as well as regulating production, inventory levels is now very close to 21 days level. Average inventory for PVs currently ranges from 25-30 days, he added. “CV inventory continues to remain at high levels…FADA urges OEM’s to help regulate this inventory at the earliest by regulating wholesale supplies,” Kale said. Average inventory for CV ranges from 55-60 days. He also pointed out to high level of inventory in the two-wheeler segment which currently ranges between 60-65 days. “We would once again urge and request all our two wheeler OEM’s to help regulate this inventory to regular levels of three weeks and help our members avoid the perils associated with high inventory,” Kale said. FADA represents over 15,000 automobile dealers who run around 25,000 dealerships across the country.
Kolkata: The Regional Meteorological Centre in Alipore predicted light to moderate rainfall in various South Bengal districts, including the city, till Thursday.The weather office said that a low-pressure trough has formed over West-Central Bay of Bengal and it would gain some strength before advancing towards the South Bengal. It would bring moderate to heavy rainfall in the coastal districts of the state. An alert has already been issued to the coastal district administration. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaFishermen have been asked not to venture into the sea as the sea may remain turbulent till Thursday. The city may receive scattered rainfall in the next 72 hours. Various South Bengal districts received scattered rainfall on Monday, while the city and its adjoining areas mostly stayed dry. According to the weather office prediction, the situation will improve from Friday. It is also predicted that a strong breeze measuring around 45-50 km per hour may be sweeping through the coastal districts of East Midnapore and South 24-Parganas. There may be thundershower in the Western districts in the evening hours of Tuesday and Wednesday. All the North Bengal districts may also receive considerable amount of rainfall in the next 48 hours, predicted the weather office.
Mumbai: JSW Steel on Wednesday said its crude steel output declined 13 per cent to 1.253 million tonne during August 2019, mainly due to the planned shutdown at its Vijaynagar plant. The company’s crude steel production was at 1.448 million tonne in August 2018, it said in a filing to the BSE. Last month, the production of flat-rolled products declined 13 per cent to 0.851 million tonnes against 0.981 million tonne in August 2018, it said. Its output of long rolled products declined 5 per cent to 0.291 million tonnes from 0.305 million tonne in the same month last year, it said. “The production was lower due to planned shutdown at Vijayanagar works and severe monsoon impact at Dolvi works,” the company said. JSW Steel is a part of the diversified $ 13 billion JSW Group, which has a presence in steel, energy, infrastructure, cement, ventures and sports.
OTTAWA — The Senate ethics committee is recommending that disgraced Sen. Don Meredith be expelled for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl — the first such recommendation in the history of the upper chamber.It’s now up to the full Senate to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation.“He has brought disrepute to himself and to the instution,” the committee’s recommendation reads.“Your committee is of the opinion that Sen. Meredith’s misconduct has demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a senator. His presence in the chamber would in itself discredit the institution.“No lesser sanction than expulsion would repair the harm he has done to the Senate.”Meredith must be given five sitting days in which to respond to the committee report, should he wish, so a vote on his fate can’t occur before next Tuesday at the earliest.The recommendation follows an explosive report from Senate ethics officer Lyse Ricard earlier this year.She concluded that Meredith, a 52-year-old, married, Pentecostal minister, had begun a relationship with a 16-year-old girl that later became sexual; she also found that Meredith had abused his position as a senator to take advantage of the teen.Meredith has called the affair a “moral failing” but insists he did not have intercourse with the girl until after she turned 18 and has rejected fellow senators’ near-universal demand that he resign.The Senate has never expelled a senator. But the general feeling in the Senate — from senators to a number of female staffers — has long been that Meredith is no longer welcome.Prior to Tuesday’s report, experts said Sec. 18 of the Constitution says both the Senate and the House of Commons have the same powers as the British House of Commons, which can expel a member and declare their seat vacant.Meredith has publicly apologized to his family, his fellow senators, the woman in question — known only as Ms. M — and to all Canadians, hoping the contrition would be enough for him to hold on to his Senate seat.“This is a moral failing on my part,” Meredith said in March in an interview with The Canadian Press, with his lawyer in attendance. “As a human being, I made a grave error in judgment, in my interactions. For that I am deeply sorry.”The Senate ethics report found Meredith, 52, had sex with the woman once before she turned 18 and twice afterward, and also engaged her in explicit online chats.Ricard ruled that Meredith used his position as senator improperly, and that he failed to uphold the “highest standards of dignity inherent to the position of senator” in violating the Senate’s ethics code.
HALIFAX – Halifax firefighters got a surprise Thursday morning when flames started shooting from their own truck as they responded to a call.“Unbelievable — a fire truck actually caught on fire,” mused Deputy Fire Chief Roy Hollett.“It’s like a police car getting broken into.”Hollett said the truck was responding to a medical call in Lake Echo, about 26 kilometres east of downtown Halifax, at about 9 a.m. when it began to lose power and started making loud noises.“As (the driver) stopped the truck, the cab started to fill up with smoke. The captain directed everyone to get out immediately. When they got out, they noticed there was smoke and fire under the wheel well and the cab.”He said four people were in the truck, a 2003 Pierce. Some of the firefighters suffered minor smoke inhalation, but nothing that required medical attention, Hollett said.Crews quickly brought breathing apparatus and other equipment to safety, and then lifted the cab to attack the fire. They used an extinguisher to contain it to the engine itself, before a second truck put the fire out, he said.Hollett said it appeared some grease or oil on top of the engine was burning, and oily spots were seen on the ground nearby on West Porters Lake Road. The cause is under investigation.“We’ve had two fire stations catch fire … but fire trucks catching fire, I don’t recall and I’ve been with Halifax fire almost 18 years,” Hollett said.“There’s a degree of irony, yes. When I heard the call come in on the radio, and heard an engine fire, I figured it was a car fire. And when the dispatcher confirmed the address and said it was a fire truck on fire, I slowed down and turned the radio up and thought, OK, did I actually hear a fire truck on fire?”“So I made my way there … Thankfully, no one was hurt and I can laugh at it now.”Another truck continued to the medical call, while a spare truck picked up the stricken truck’s equipment and took over its duties.City spokesman Brendan Elliott said the road was shut down for three hours.“The truck was towed to our in-house mechanical garage, where it will be assessed and if it looks like we can’t fix it ourselves we’ll bring someone in to help us,” said Elliott.
KINGSTON, Ont. – A 37-year-old transport truck driver from Quebec is facing a number of charges in connection with a major highway crash in Ontario that killed four people.Ontario Provincial Police say they’re still working to identify the victims of Thursday’s crash, which took place along Highway 401 near Kingston, Ont.They previously said four people in the same car died when their vehicle caught fire during the crash.Theirs was one of seven vehicles involved in the pileup, which sent two people to hospital with serious injuries and involved another car, a commercial vehicle and four transport trucks.Police say truck driver Dunhill Tabanao of Vaudreuil-Dorion, Que. has been charged with four counts of dangerous operation of a vehicle causing death and two counts of dangerous operation causing bodily harm.Police say they’re continuing to investigate the crash.
VICTORIA – Highlights of British Columbia’s 2018-19 budget presented Tuesday:— Effective Wednesday, a tax on foreign homebuyers increases by $5,000 to $20,000 and expands from Metro Vancouver to include homes in the Victoria-area, the Fraser Valley, the central Okanagan district in the province’s Interior, and the Nanaimo Regional District.— A new speculation tax will be introduced in the fall aimed at foreign and domestic homeowners who don’t pay taxes in B.C., affecting properties in Metro Vancouver, the Victoria area, Fraser Valley, Nanaimo Regional District, Kelowna and West Kelowna.— The property transfer tax on homes with a fair market value of more than $3 million increases to five per cent from three per cent.— More than $6 billion will be spent over the next 10 years to create 114,000 housing units for families, seniors, students and women and children escaping domestic violence.— Medical service plan premiums will be eliminated on Jan. 1, 2020, saving an individual up to $900 a year and families up to $1,800 annually.— Starting Jan. 1, 2019, employers with payrolls of more than $500,000 will pay a new employer health tax, which is forecast to raise $1.9 billion in revenue in 2019-20.— Beginning April 1, funding will be provided to licensed care providers to provide a $350 a month cut in the cost of a child care space.— A new affordable child care benefit will start in September providing up to $1,250 a month per child.— An additional $1 billion will be spent over the next three years to expand access to licensed child care, which the province says is part of its plan to create more than 22,000 new spaces.— Fares will be frozen on BC Ferries’ three major routes and fares will be cut by 15 per cent on small routes.— A forecast surplus of $219 million, with projections for surpluses to continue through the 2020-21 fiscal year.— The government estimates it will spend $53.6 billion in the next fiscal year, up from an updated forecast of $51.8 billion for 2017-18.— Economic growth for 2018 is forecast at 2.3 per cent, down from 3.4 per cent in 2017.
EDMONTON – Edmonton’s annual Pride parade ground to a halt for more than half an hour on Saturday, when demonstrators upset that police officers were allowed to march in the event blocked its route.The demonstrators handed out leaflets calling for the parade’s organizers to uninvite city police, RCMP and military members from marching in future parades.The leaflets also demanded the Edmonton Pride Festival Society “restructure its board and staff hiring practices to have more representation from people of colour and trans folks.”The society, the city’s police and the RCMP announced last month that officers would take part in Saturday’s parade along Whyte Ave., but would wear T-shirts instead of their uniforms.One protester held a sign that said “Racism is a Queer Issue,” but some spectators grew impatient with the demonstration and chanted “We want Pride!”Alexis Hillyard, a spokeswoman for the protesters, says the parade resumed after Pride organizers agreed to their demands.“Yes, people were grumpy that the parade was stopped and I understand that. But the parade got to continue and it was a beautiful parade,” said Hillyard, who was participating in the parade as a marshal and then stopped to be in the protest.“The Pride society listened and accepted and pledged to meet all of the requests, which is a really huge win for everyone because that just means safer participation for all people, not just a certain type of people,” she added.The society said in a statement late Saturday afternoon that it agreed with the demands, and that police and military members would not march in the parade “until the community feels that they have taken the necessary steps for all community members to feel safe with their presence.”The decision to allow police officers to march, but not in uniform, followed meetings between the society, city police and RCMP that were initiated after police vehicles were restricted from participating in the 2017 parade.The society explained at the time that in many communities, police enforcement agencies were seen to make marginalized people feel unsafe.A news release on behalf of the protesters said that people of colour were invited to be parade marshals, but that when those marshals raised concerns about police participation in the parade, their concerns were repeatedly ignored.“The Edmonton Pride Festival Society views people of colour as decorations, to be seen and not heard,” the release stated.The demonstrators included in their demands that “mainstream Pride spaces clearly acknowledge and honour Pride’s history as a demonstration against police oppression,” and that “more well-funded spaces specifically designed for people of colour and trans folks be included in the festival.”The news release says all of the demands were met.Alberta Premier Rachel Notley and members of her NDP caucus marched in the parade. The premier posted numerous photos and video from the event on Twitter and Facebook, but did not mention the delay.The Edmonton Pride Festival Society said its board will hold community meetings to decide how to move forward with the demonstrators’ demands, and how to support communities suffering from systemic racism and oppression.
TORONTO – Bystanders leapt into action to rescue a blind man who accidentally fell onto the subway tracks in Toronto, a witness said Friday.Julie Caniglia said in an interview that a man on her eastbound train jumped down to the tracks Thursday afternoon and crossed over to the westbound platform to help the man.“You just don’t know if there’s another train coming. He didn’t even think about it,” said Caniglia, adding the man had “guts.”She said she was inside the stopped subway train at Broadview station when she and other passengers heard cries for help. They got out of the train, she said, and looked across to the westbound platform.“We noticed someone lying on the tracks … he had hurt himself,” she said.A man next her then ran to the end of the platform to shut down the power to the tracks, she said. The Toronto Transit Commission driver told the bystander to be careful, as he could get electrocuted.“The (driver) hit buttons to alert the oncoming train to stop and everything just shut down,” she said. “There was a lot of screaming about getting electrocuted.”Two other men, who arrived on the westbound platform, also jumped down to help the first bystander pull the man back onto the platform, she said. The man who fell looked to be in shock, she added.“Truly I was trembling. I just sort of walked out in a haze,” she said.But Caniglia said she wanted others to know who the good Samaritans were, so she posted a photo she took of them to social media. All three rescuers haven’t been identified.“It was amazing. We all need a bit of positive reinforcement that there’s some great people out there,” she said.Sheri Hebdon was also on the same train as Caniglia, heading eastbound when she heard the cries for help.“People’s first instinct was to run and help. It was clear people jumped down to the tracks, even before the power was off,” she said. “It was quite a dire situation.”Hebdon said it’s nice to see the good in people.“It can take an extreme moment to bring that out,” she said.The incident has left Caniglia, a co-owner of the Rashers sandwich shops in the city, concerned about accidental falls onto the tracks.“I have young kids, what if they accidentally tripped? We’re so vulnerable standing there on the platform,” she said.Hebdon agreed with Caniglia.“This idea of guards on the subway platform, hopefully that helps that along. The subway should be as safe as possible,” Hebdon said. “It’s worth considering.”The call for subway barriers to be installed on platforms has been renewed after a 73-year-old man was allegedly pushed to his death on June 18.At the time, the TTC said it would cost more than $1 billion to install the barriers at every station. The TTC has already commissioned a study on the issue that is set to be completed in 2020.A spokesman said the TTC was aware of Thursday’s incident, but have not identified the rescuers.Kadeem Griffiths said the man was transported to hospital soon after.He added that he recommends riders notify TTC personnel if there is an incident on track level.
TORONTO – A Toronto newspaper photographer said he opted to file a complaint with police about being attacked while covering a protest in order to raise awareness about the dangers of escalating anti-media sentiment.Longtime Toronto Sun staff photographer Stan Behal said what he experienced last weekend — which included being hit on the head — was different from other incidents over his 35-year career, alleging it appeared to be fuelled by animosity toward journalists.The occurrence, coupled with increasing anti-media rhetoric from south of the border, made him feel the need to put the matter before police, he said.“The public is getting the message that you can get away with this, especially when someone as high-profile as the President of the United States says that we’re the ‘enemy of the people,’” Behal said. “That’s scary. That really makes what we do very difficult.”Toronto police said in a news release Thursday they were looking for the public’s help in identifying the suspect in an alleged assault on a 63-year-old man in the city’s downtown last Saturday. A police spokeswoman confirmed the victim of the alleged incident was Behal. Police said the suspect is a man in his 20s, with a muscular build and short brown hair. He was wearing a grey T-shirt at the time.Behal said the incident took place while he was covering an anti-hate rally in downtown Toronto on Saturday.A coalition of religious, labour and social justice groups had convened to counteract a planned demonstration by the Worldwide Coalition Against Islam, which is open about its anti-Muslim and white supremacist agenda. That group ultimately did not go through with its rally but those against it gathered nonetheless.Behal said that while many espoused messages of tolerance, a specific contingent made him feel targeted as he accompanied a Toronto Sun columnist and snapped photos of the event.Those individuals, who covered their faces with bandannas, followed, photographed and challenged him as he tried to complete his assignment, he said.Suddenly, a man whose face was not covered lunged at him, Behal said.A video posted on the Sun’s website shows a man rush up to Behal, swat at his head, grab his arm and eventually yank off his cap. Several people, including police, look on as the incident takes place.“I think he meant to do damage,” Behal said. “It looks like he’s just swiping to try and get my hat, but his hand comes down pretty strongly on the top of my head … It was quite painful.”Groups organizing or endorsing the rally criticized what happened, saying it undermined the purpose of the event.United Jewish People’s Order spokeswoman Lia Tarachansky, one of the event organizers, apologized to Behal for his ordeal and said no one should ever feel unsafe at an event denouncing hatred.“We did not go there to be violent, but to unite Toronto against hate groups,” she said.Evan Balgord, executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, said hat-grabbing has become a feature of some protests and typically involves people removing the “Make America Great Again” caps that have become prevalent since Donald Trump launched his successful bid for the U.S. presidency.But Balgord said disrupting journalists in the course of their duties crosses the line.“The guy who did this should not have done this,” he said. “You do not lay hands on journalists at demonstrations.”At least one industry group said Behal’s experience raises alarms about the treatment of journalists in society at large.“In an era where epithets like ‘fake news’ are undermining the integrity of journalists around the world, we are seeing real, tangible effects of a concerted effort to establish distrust between the public and the press,” Cole Burston, the president of the News Photographers Association of Canada said in a statement.“The incident with Mr. Behal underscores the growing challenge our colleagues face in simply doing their jobs, and that’s not acceptable.”
HALIFAX – A mugger got the worst of it in downtown Dartmouth when a woman fought back, hitting and kneeing him and forcing him to flee empty-handed.Police say the man was hiding in the bushes as the woman walked on a path off Alderney Drive near the waterfront at about 7:40 p.m. Tuesday.They say he grabbed her and tried to take her purse.Halifax Regional Police say “the suspect fled the scene and did not get anything from the female.”Police described the suspect as white, between 45 and 55, and between five-foot-seven and five-foot-nine.Anyone with information is asked to contact police.
TORONTO – A new survey suggests Canadians of all generations are more likely to honour military veterans by attending a Remembrance Day ceremony this year.A poll commissioned by Historica Canada, the organization behind the popular Heritage Minutes videos, found a 10-per-cent spike in the number of respondents who planned to take part in a ceremony this year compared to 2017.The online poll, conducted by Ipsos, found 39 per cent of those surveyed had firm plans to attend a ceremony on Nov. 11 compared to 29 per cent the year before.The survey found plans were relatively consistent across demographics, with millennial respondents expressing the most consistent enthusiasm for attending Remembrance Day events. It found 41 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds polled planned to attend, compared to 40 per cent of respondents over 55 and 38 per cent of participants between 35 and 54.Historica CEO Anthony Wilson-Smith called the findings around millennials gratifying, saying the poll results challenge the theory that the generation with the fewest tangible connections to the two World Wars would be most likely to ignore Remembrance Day.“We are now at a point where we have to contemplate that the day will come when there aren’t any more World War Two veterans,” Wilson-Smith said in a telephone interview.“That leaves you to wonder if, when everyone is gone, will people still be able to grasp the significance of war, of sacrifice, of the causes that drove people to war, and the outcomes,” he said.“The answer would appear to be yes.”Wilson-Smith speculated that at least part of the surge in interest in Remembrance Day ceremonies stems from the fact that this year’s events will mark the 100th anniversary of the armistice that brought the First World War to an end after four years of strife.But he said the younger generation’s apparent connection to the day may also come from personal ties to those who served in more recent conflicts, such as the war in Afghanistan in which 158 Canadian soldiers and two civilians were killed.The poll found 95 per cent of those surveyed felt Remembrance Day ceremonies should honour veterans of recent conflicts. It also found 83 per cent of respondents planned to wear a poppy in the run-up to Nov. 11, with baby boomers showing the most enthusiasm for that idea.The online poll of 1,002 Canadians also surveyed how many respondents had visited a cenotaph or other war memorial in their community or elsewhere.Participants in British Columbia were most likely to have done so, the survey found, noting the provincial response rate of 64 per cent was well above the national average of 46 per cent.The Ipsos survey was conducted between Oct. 25 and Oct. 29, Historica said.The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population.
The Canadian Press VANCOUVER — Swallows are evolving smaller, more manoeuvrable wings to help them dodge buildings and vehicles.Some fish are growing mouths that are smaller and harder to hook.Large animals from caribou to tuna are disappearing.Meanwhile, it’s boom time for anything not too fussy about where it lives or what it eats.“It’s a reshaping of the tree of life,” said Sarah Otto, a University of British Columbia researcher, whose paper was published Wednesday by the London-based Proceedings of the Royal Society.Otto, a much-awarded and highly regarded theoretical biologist, says the activities and presence of human beings have become one of the largest drivers of evolutionary change everywhere on the planet.“Human impacts on the world are not just local,” she said. “They are changing the course of evolutionary history for all species on the planet, and that’s a remarkable concept to ponder.”Earth scientists have long discussed the idea of the Anthropocene — a period of Earth’s history defined by geological markers of human impact. Otto, after reviewing dozens of research papers, concludes the planet’s biology is becoming similarly marked as plants and animals respond to human pressure.Her paper is replete with examples from bird species slowly forgetting to migrate to mosquito breeds adapted specifically to underground subway tunnels.Backyard bird feeders are behind changes in the beak shape and strength of house finches. Different mammals are becoming nocturnal as a way to avoid human conflict. Introduced species change the ground rules for native plants and animals.It’s a mistake to think evolution requires millennia, said Otto.“Evolution happens really fast if the selection regimes are strong. We can see sometimes in plant populations evolutionary change in the course of years.”If the changes come too fast for evolution to keep up, there’s always extinction.Rates of species loss are now estimated to be 1,000 times higher than they were before human domination. More than one in five of all plant and animal species are considered at risk.Extinctions have always happened. But Otto said they’re happening at such a pace and in response to such similar pressures that they are reducing the ability of evolution to respond to change.“We’re losing the ability for evolution to bounce back.”Forcing species into a human-formed box reduces variability, leaving evolution less to work with in response to future changes. And wiping species out removes them forever.“If we’re eliminating the large-bodied mammals, even if humans went extinct on the planet, we’re not going to see an immediate return of ecosystems to have the right balance of small, medium and large species,” Otto said. “We’re cutting off options. We’re cutting off options both within species by eliminating variability, and we’re also cutting off options at the tree of life level by cutting off species.” Species that are doing well are generalists — crows, coyotes, dandelions.“The ones that can both tolerate and thrive in human-altered environments,” said Otto. “The pigeons and the rats.”The biggest single human-caused evolutionary pressure, Otto said, is climate change. “The No. 1 thing we have to do is tackle climate change. If we don’t do that, we’re going to lose a lot more species.”— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter
Andrew Scheer says he spoke with Ontario’s Conservative premier about the cancellation of a planned French-language university, but did not ask him to reverse the decision. Scheer told reporters at a news conference that he “expressed his concerns” about the cancellation while meeting with Doug Ford at the province’s Progressive Conservative party convention, but says the decision was the premier’s to make. Ford’s government announced the move on Thursday, in its first fiscal update since taking office.Plans for the university were announced in July 2017 by the province’s previous Liberal government.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he was “deeply disappointed” by Ford’s move, while Melanie Joly, the minister of official languages, tweeted that Ford and Scheer should know Francophones “cannot and will not be shortchanged.”Scheer says the Liberals are just trying to politicize something that has nothing to do with him.He says when voters go to the polls in next year’s federal election, they’ll be voting on federal issues, not provincial ones.The Canadian Press
FREDERICTON — The premier of New Brunswick says he believes he can convince Quebec’s skeptical premier of the benefits of reviving the Energy East pipeline project.Higgs, along with a number of premiers and federal politicians, are pressing for a restart of the $16 billion Energy East pipeline project to get oil from Alberta to refineries in Eastern Canada and to an export terminal in Saint John, N.B.The pipeline would have to pass through Quebec, but Premier Francois Legault has signalled he’s not interested.Higgs says he’s hoping to convince Legault that Energy East would benefit all provinces including Quebec when the two men are face-to-face this week at a first ministers’ meeting in Montreal.Alberta is cutting production and buying rail cars in an effort to address slumping prices for its oil.Higgs says he’s worried the level of transfer payments to provinces like his could be at risk if Alberta’s oil revenues aren’t addressed, and he believes a pipeline to move western crude to Eastern Canada and foreign markets could be the solution.TransCanada, the original proponent of the pipeline, has stated it has no plans to revisit the project.Higgs suggests that a holding company be formed to start the application process to the National Energy Board, and that TransCanada or another company could become interested then.The Canadian Press