Curiosity rover finds clay cache on Mars

first_imgWashington: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has unveiled the highest amounts of clay minerals ever found during its mission on the Red Planet, the US space agency said. The rover recently drilled two samples at rock targets called “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie” in a region of Mars called the “clay-bearing unit”. Both drill targets were unveiled in a new selfie taken by the rover on May 12, the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, NASA said in a statement. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’This clay-enriched region, located on the side of lower Mount Sharp, stood out to NASA orbiters before Curiosity landed in 2012, the US space agency said. Curiosity is exploring Mount Sharp to see if it had the conditions to support life billions of years ago. Clay often forms in water, which is essential for life. The rover’s mineralogy instrument, called CheMin (Chemistry and Mineralogy), provided the first analyses of rock samples drilled in the clay-bearing unit. CheMin also found very little hematite, an iron oxide mineral that was abundant just to the north, on Vera Rubin Ridge. Other than proof that there was a significant amount of water once in Gale Crater, what these new findings mean for the region is still up for debate, according to the US space agency.last_img read more

Delhi court allows Robert Vadra to travel abroad

first_imgNew Delhi: A Delhi court on Monday allowed Robert Vadra, accused in a money laundering case, to travel abroad for six weeks for health reasons.Special Judge Arvind Kumar allowed him to travel to the US and the Netherlands and directed him to submit his travel schedule. It also imposed various conditions on him. The court, however, did not allow Vadra, brother-in law of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, to go to United Kingdom (UK).During the arguments, Vadra’s counsel KTS Tulsi told the court that Vadra will not go to the UK, as per his earlier prayer, “in view of objections raised by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) regarding his UK visit”. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCSolicitor General Tushar Mehta and advocate Nitesh Rana, appearing for the ED, had opposed Vadra’s plea in which he had sought permission to travel to the UK and other countries citing health reasons. The agency had expressed apprehension that the accused may destroy the evidence if allowed to go to UK. Vadra is facing allegations of money laundering in purchase of a property in London at 12, Bryanston Square, worth 1.9 million pounds. In its order, the court directed Vadra to submit the address of his stay abroad, along with his contact numbers, to the court before his departure. The court also directed him to furnish a bank guarantee for Rs 25 lakh, and inform the court about his arrival in India within 24 hours. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations”He shall not tamper with the evidence nor try to influence any witness in any manner and shall not use the permission granted to him contrary to the rules. The applicant shall join the investigation within 72 hours of so informed by the investigating officer (IO),” the court said. Vadra had told the court that as per Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, he has a “small tumour in the large intestine for the further management of which he can take a second opinion in London if he wishes so”. ED had opposed the application, saying the medical condition was merely a pretext to go where laundered money is parked.last_img read more

Creating art out of waste

first_imgWith a view to create awareness and to take timely action to protect the environment, the employees of Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) came together to celebrate World Environment Day with a difference.An exhibition organised by the Centre was recently inaugurated at IGNCA premises by Dr Sachchidanand Joshi, Member Secretary of IGNCA. Special highlights of the show that will continue till June 14, 2019 are artworks made out of waste material in stock on the campus of IGNCA. Also Read – Pollution makes you more aggressiveThe project was conceptualised by Kaladarsana Division with an effort to work at an institutional level to bring a change amongst the employees working here. Visual imagery in the form of photographs, paintings, installations with the theme on the environment were invited from staff members. IGNCA also invited an installation artist Niraj Patel to create artworks out of waste. In four days, the artist has created huge installations using metal frames and woods that would have otherwise been auctioned as waste. Imagery signifies a vertical lifeless city and symbols that signify existence such as trees, birds, and fishes. The artist has tried to draw the attention of the people to how concrete development is continuing without understanding the importance of eco-system and our dependence on nature. Unconventional in its medium, the works are strong in their message given the raw material that has been used in their structure. The other sections of the exhibition are a commentary on the hazards of pollution, the damage to monuments, water bodies, habitat and the co-existence of nature with man-made structures. Old bamboo structures, pedestals from previous shows, etc. have been used in their display to draw attention to reuse and recycle.last_img read more

25 consumers prefer to view content on OTT platforms for free

first_imgMumbai: Nearly 25 per cent of the Indian consumers prefer to watch content on the over the top (OTT) platforms for free, says a report. OTT refers to film and television content provided via internet connection rather than a cable or satellite provider. As many as 25 per cent of Indian respondents want to pay nothing and watch ads as a trade-off to consuming content while 25 per cent selected to pay a lower fee with limited ads, according to 2019 Asia OTT Research Report by Brightcove, a global provider of cloud services for video. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepThe report, conducted with online market research and data analytics firm YouGov. The report surveyed 9,000 participants from across Asia, including 1000 Indian consumers noted that 14 per cent of Indian respondents would like to pay a higher fee to be free from ads and 14 per cent would like an option where they can customise their price and ad packages. On the ads per break, 22 per cent Indians found two ads as an acceptable advertising load while 13 per cent were open to view three ads per break. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsIt observed that nearly 80 per cent of the Indian respondents are open to a hybrid model of reduced price subscription video on-demand (SVOD) services with some ad funding. “Thirty-five per cent of respondents said they might be open to a reduced monthly subscription package that serves adsdepending on the price, whereas 44 per cent said they would definitely sign up, representing a potential market size of 79 per cent of respondents polled favouring this hybrid option,” it said. In India, it found that 48 per cent are current users, while 19 per cent had their subscription lapsed. The report found that 60 per cent of lapsed consumers plan to sign-up for OTT services again in the future. It noted that 37 per cent of Indian respondents were willing to pay less than $1 per month, while 27 per cent said they would pay $1-4 per month, and 16 per cent would pay $5-9 per month. Content is the primary driver for subscribing to multiple OTT services in India, it found, with 42 per cent of respondents stating that they wanted more content options, content which satisfied the needs of an entire family and content not being available on any single OTT service. Offline downloads (42 per cent), access on mobile (42 per cent), and using less data on mobile while streaming (40 per cent) were the top three OTT service features most Indian consumers wanted.last_img read more

PM lauds policies on infrastructure housing for all

first_imgNew Delhi: Four years into NDA’s initiatives on infrastructure, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said that the government has ushered a new paradigm in development and “no stone will be left unturned to fulfil the dream of housing for all”. Modi tweeted: “Four years ago today we started important initiatives PM Awas Yojana, AMRUT, Smart Cities with the aim of #TransformingUrbanLandscape in India.” The tweet elaborated that the infrastructure initiatives have not only helped the nation to usher in a new paradigm of urban development “but have also transformed crores of lives”. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana Elaborating, he said: “These initiatives have seen record investment, speed, use of technology and public participation.” He emphasized that the government had an incremental view on further improving the urban infrastructure and no stone will be left unturned in this pursuit, “which will give wings to crores of aspirations”. The BJP said separately that a total investment of Rs 4.83 lakh crore was made for construction sector in projects under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana during 2015-19. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah The Centre approved assistance accounted for Rs 1.26 lakh crore, it tweeted. Under the scheme, 26 lakh houses have been completed, 81 lakh have been approved for construction and 13 lakh houses were being built using new technologies. The BJP said that PM Awas Yojana had recorded a massive success over its predecessor, Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission. Under the Smart Cities initiative, the BJP said, the government had promoted citizen friendly infrastructure – 897 projects in 72 cities. Another 1,896 projects were under implementation in 95 cities.last_img read more

Sisodia challenges Nadda to compare govt schools run by BJP and AAP

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi’s Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia on Sunday challenged senior BJP leaders J P Nadda and Vijay Goel to compare the top 10 government schools in BJP-ruled states with the ones under the AAP government and then debate. The challenge by Deputy CM Sisodia comes in response to BJP working president J P Nadda’s claims, on Saturday, that the ruling AAP in Delhi had become “a laughing stock”, as he exuded confidence that his party will form the next government in Delhi as the city needs a leadership with “serious vision”. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsIn retort, Deputy CM Sisodia said the BJP’s working president was ridiculing the people of Delhi, by calling the AAP-led Delhi government a laughing stock. “I challenge @JPNadda & @VijayGoelBJP to choose top 10 govt schools of BJP education model from any BJP state. I’ll choose top 10 govt schools of Kejriwal education model. I’ll visit your schools, you can visit ours. Let’s then debate- what’s laughing stock and what makes one cry,” the Deputy CM tweeted. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderAddressing BJP Delhi leaders on Saturday on the second day of the state working committee’s meeting, Nadda asked them to work together for the Delhi assembly elections due early next year. Referring to the 2015 Assembly election results, where the Aam Aadmi Party had won 67 of the 70 seats, Nadda claimed the people of Delhi were now realising what the leaders had actually done. “They (AAP) have become the laughing stock. Delhi, being the national capital, needs leadership which has a serious vision for the city,” he said. Reacting sharply to Nadda’s words, the Delhi deputy minister said, “By calling the choice made by the people of Delhi a subject of ridicule. I want to remind him about what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his maiden speech in the new Lok Sabha. He said that when some people make fun of the elected government, they are making fun of the people of the country. Perhaps Nadda-ji’s views differ from the prime minister’s.” Stating that the BJP has governments in a number of states and in a few for decades, Sisodia sought to compare the schools being run by the BJP and the AAP governments. “Delhi schools posted the best result in Delhi’s history this year with 94 per cent pass rate. What is the best result in your states? Delhi has the highest portion of the budget (for education), at 26 per cent, do any of your states have such a high allocation for education? Show us even one state run by the BJP where the school infrastructure has been developed, which can be compared with the CM Kejriwal model,” he said.last_img read more

3 commit suicide by jumping into water body in Rajasthan

first_imgBarmer: An 18-year old boy, along with his cousin and sister-in-law, allegedly committed suicide by jumping into a water body in Rajasthan’s Barmer district, police said Tuesday. Preliminary investigation revealed that Punmaram was in a relationship with his cousin Avli (18) and her sister-in-law Deu (22), Jetha Ram, the SHO of Sindhari police station said. They tied themselves together with a piece of cloth and jumped into a water body on Monday night, he said. “They all went missing from their homes at 10 pm last night. When family members searched for them, their bodies were seen in the water body,” he said. Avli and her sister-in-law Deu lived together, while Punmaram lived in a separate house, the SHO said. The bodies were shifted to a nearby hospital for postmortem, he added.last_img read more

At least 10 killed as three blasts rock Kabul

first_imgKabul: At least 10 people — including several women and a child — were killed and scores more wounded by a series of blasts that rocked the Afghan capital Thursday ahead of the election season. The three blasts came amid a wider surge in violence in Kabul and around Afghanistan, where nine family members were killed in an eastern province Thursday while driving to a wedding. The Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate claimed responsibility for the first two blasts, while the Taliban claimed the third. US and Afghan security officials, however, blamed the Taliban for all three explosions. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USThe attacks came just days before the official campaign season for the September 28 presidential election gets underway. Previous polls have been marred by violence and bloodshed from the Taliban and other insurgent groups who refuse to recognise Afghanistan’s fragile democracy. According to security officials and high-resolution surveillance footage seen by AFP, the first blast came around 8:10 am (0340 GMT) when a suicide bomber targeted a bus as it slowed to turn a corner in an area just east of central Kabul. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsCivilians could be seen scrambling to help stricken passengers off the bus and carrying the body of a small child from the vehicle as smoke poured out the rear window. Other bodies could be seen pooling blood onto the road. About 30 minutes later, a secondary explosion from a device that had been hidden at the scene hit civilians and Afghan security forces as they responded. A third blast, apparently targeting some sort of convoy, came later on in the morning also in eastern Kabul. Interior ministry spokesman Nasrat Rahimi said a total of 11 civilians were killed, including five women and a child, and 45 more wounded. Health ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said the toll was at least 10 dead and 41 wounded. The attacks come as the US is negotiating for a deal that would see foreign forces pull out of Afghanistan in return for a ceasefire and various Taliban guarantees, including a pledge the country will not become a safe haven for terror groups. Some observers say the insurgents are increasing attacks to gain greater leverage in the talks.last_img read more

293 big dams in country over 100 years old

first_imgNew Delhi: As many as 293 big dams in the country are more than 100 years old, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Monday as he introduced a bill on dam safety in Lok Sabha.The bill seeks to set up the National Dam Safety Authority for proper surveillance, inspection and maintenance of specified dams as well as address unresolved issues between states. Besides the National Dam Safety Authority, the government has proposed setting up a National Committee on Dam Safety to prevent dam failure-related disasters. According to the bill, the committee would maintain standards of dam safety and also evolve policies for ensuring the safety of dams.last_img

Firhad Hakim inaugurates Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority building

first_imgKolkata: A prominent Information Technology firm that has its campus in Bantala is all set to be shifted to Sector V, said Firhad Hakim, the state Urban Development and Municipal Affairs minister, on Tuesday.He inaugurated the newly built office of Nabadiganta Industrial Township Authority (NDITA) at Sector V. Sujit Bose, Minister of State for Fire and Emergency Services was also present at the inaugural ceremony. Hakim said Bantala will be earmarked only for leather and leather goods manufacturing industry. “Sector V and Silicon Valley in New Town will come up as a major IT hub soon,” he said. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaNDITA has been functioning from Unnayan Bhavan, headquarters of the Kolkata Metropolitan Development Authority (KMDA) in Salt Lake since its inception 23 years ago. Hakim also inaugurated a pocket park with a fountain and adjoining sitting arrangements. NDITA has chalked out elaborate traffic management scheme for Sector V, the state’s biggest IT hub. Pocket parks have been set up for the IT professionals who can visit them to take a break from the busy working schedule and relax.last_img read more

GNIDA sets up special counter for builderrelated queries

first_imgGreater Noida: The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), on Wednesday, started a dedicated counter which will help homebuyers to get all the needed information about any builder which will help them in right investment. Officials said that the property buyers can visit the counter or call on the helpline number to fetch any required details.As per a senior GNIDA officer, the dedicated counter has been set up at authority’s office for buyers to get information such as allotment of lands, map approval, completion certificate etc. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDeep Chandra, Additional Chief Executive Officer (ACEO), GNIDA said that the move will help prevent cheating of buyers by unregistered builders in unauthorized areas. “The new facility is aimed at curbing the sale of illegal properties in the city which is rampant these days and we advise them to cross check with the facts before buying any residential or commercial property. Through the new facility, a person can easily get all the property related details in which they want to invest and choose a trusted developer which will prevent them from getting cheated,” said Deep Chandra. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsFor this purpose, the authority has set up counter number 9 at authority’s office while a helpline number has also been circulated. “Buyers can get information related to the properties by registering their queries at the counter and by dialing – 0120-2336046,47,48 and 49. The authority will revert within three working days regarding the status and authenticity of the project,” he added. The officer further advised that the buyers must also cross check the details from the Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) for which they can visit the website– www.up-rera.in. The authority, through an advisory, appealed people to avoid investing in illegal properties which can be available to them at cheaper rates and lucrative offers. The advisory further stated that if any person invests money in a property which is illegally constructed and is not authorised by the authority, he/she is responsible for the decision and the authority should not be blamed for this.last_img read more

Footage shows Bangkok bombing in mall minutes from ASEAN summit

first_imgBangkok: Footage emerged Saturday of the moment a bomb exploded in a Bangkok mall as the city hosted a major summit, the device apparently hidden inside a cuddly toy animal. There were nine successful or attempted bomb blasts on Friday throughout Bangkok which left four wounded as the city hosted a regional summit attended by top diplomats, including US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Footage showed an explosion in a shopping mall minutes from the summit venue in the early hours of Friday morning, after it was apparently planted by a man dressed in a student’s uniform about 12 hours earlier. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The man, wearing a fedora and face mask, entered a store in Siam Square mall at around 3:30 pm on Thursday, according to time stamps on the footage obtained by AFP. Milling around the store, he stopped at a shelf full of cuddly toy seals and polar bears and fiddled with one of them for a few seconds before placing it back on the shelf. The next video recordings showed an explosion in the store originating from the shelf around 4:45 am on Friday morning, which caused a fire and a swirl of smoke as the store’s sprinkler system was activated. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls No one was injured and police confirmed the bomb blast. “The staff from the … store filed a complaint with the police about the blast yesterday,” Colonel Thammanoon Boonruang told AFP Saturday, declining to comment on whether it was one of the nine explosions authorities confirmed. The store remained closed on Saturday. Speculation swirled in Thailand about the motive behind the bombings, with many linking them to retaliation from the insurgency-hit south for the recent arrest of a rebel suspect who was left in a coma after arriving at a notorious army camp. A preliminary army-led probe showed that Abdulloh Esormusor, 34, could have been suffocated. Thailand has a grim history of political violence, and remains deeply divided after a controversial March election which returned junta chief Prayut Chan-O-Cha to power as a civilian premier. Its three southernmost provinces bordering Malaysia, which are predominantly Muslim-Malay, are also in a grip of a 15-year conflict, where a shadowy rebel group has agitated for more autonomy outside of the Buddhist-majority Thai state. So far, two men linked to the conflict-hit region were arrested hours after wires and ball bearings were found in an inactive device outside Thai police headquarters late Thursday. But police said it was “too early” to clearly tie them to the rebellion.last_img read more

Dispatches from Charleville

first_imgThe highlight of the week-long 26th Joint Civil-Military Program (JCM) at the Academy was the keynote address by Union Minister for Petroleum and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan on India’s energy policy in the context of National Security and global geopolitics. The Academy which trains the ‘Steel Frame of India’ was indeed privileged to have the Steel Minister address the distinguished cohort of 45 officers drawn from all the defence and civil services of the country, many of whom were the alumni of this institution. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn a comprehensive commentary on global geopolitics and its impact on India’s economic development, more so in the context of energy security, Dharmendra Pradhan pointed out that if India had to become a $5 trillion economy by 2024 and continue with this trajectory, India would be the world’s largest energy consumer by 2035, and this certainly could not be based on imported fossil fuels–both from the point of ecological sustainability as well as the economic parameters. In fact, the current mix of India’s energy–coal contributing 55 per cent, oil and gas 35 per cent and renewables at 10 per cent–had to be reversed. Renewables and fuels derived from biomass had to play a major role not just from the point of ecology but also equity. Livelihoods for farmers had to be transformed from annadatas–providers of food–to urjadatas–providers of energy–not just through the setting up of solar panels on every available strip of land but also on account of bioethanol, jatropha, conversion of paddy straw into energy units, and other ‘state-of-the-art’ innovations. Moreover, the next spurt of energy demand is likely to come from the rural and semi-urban sectors as young people move from cycles to motorcycles, which is why for the first time in several decades, the growth in consumption of petrol is rising faster than that of diesel. Over time, both will give way to EVMs but the point to note is that we have to take a look at ‘energy’ and not examine petroleum, coal, hydro, thermal and renewables in separate silos, which indeed has been the dominant practice in the current discourse. In fact, while India was not as well endowed with conventional fuels, it had abundant sunshine and a very large coastline–both of which should be factored in our strategic dialogues. Thus, India could become the global leader in solar energy and spread the shine and cheer across Asia and Africa which were endowed with good sun. Our coastline gave us a natural advantage on the High Seas–our navy can certainly provide the logistical support for our trade and commerce with the Middle East and Africa. India could not lose out in the next Industrial Revolution and the minister explained quite succinctly how in the first, our contribution was that of our plantation labour and as supplier of raw materials; in the second, we provided supervisory level support; in the third we were content to pride ourselves in import substitution and later in capturing exports in which we had a competitive advantage on account of our raw materials, cheap labour and geographical location. However, as we’re on the cusp of the fourth industrial revolution, we had to look at technologies in which we were in the forefront, and our energy policy had to play a critical role in this. In fact, wars were also becoming very energy-intensive and the quest for energy itself was a causative factor in war. Also Read – Insider threat managementPrior to this, we had sessions on India’s neighbourhood in which both Pakistan and China were discussed threadbare. The Pakistan sessions were by Tilak Deveshar and TCA Raghavan, who has just brought out his third book on Pakistan in which he covers the history, the despair and the disaffection in energy-rich Balochistan, which is the terminal part of the CPEC. However, the Baloch, which constitutes 6 per cent of the population occupying 44 per cent of the country with a tenuous border is in a state of continuing insurgency for the same reason that affects all of Pakistan: the domination of the Army, and within it the Punjabi elite. TCA Raghavan explained that almost all engagements with neighbours were problematic, and though there was cynicism on both sides, there was also a sense of realism, even in Pakistan that they were in an asymmetrical position vis a vis India, just as in many ways, India understood that this was their position with respect to China. One must also make a mention of a brilliant engagement which Gen PJS Pannu, Deputy Chief of Staff had with the JCM participants on Fighting War: A National Effort. He explained quite candidly that wars were not just fought on the frontiers but they were fought in the mind, and that the economic, diplomatic, academic and soft power of a nation also played a crucial role. He also explained the subtle but certain differences between Doctrine, Strategy and Tactical Operations, and his frank engagement with the participants on an entire range of issues made it a very interesting session. Before closing, its important to share with readers the fact that the JCM had been conceptualised on recommendations of the Kargil review committee which suggested that the Academy should organise a program of the key stakeholders in the government system on national security; not just to understand the myriad dimensions of national security but more importantly to foster a sense of camaraderie and mutual appreciation of the myriad roles that each one–from field commanders on the LAC to captains on the high seas, diplomats projecting India’s soft power and the bureaucrats manning mysteries ranging from home to finance to energy–has to perform to perfection to ensure that India is secure from all possible threats–both internal and external.(Dr. Sanjeev Chopra is Director, LBSNAA, Mussoorie, and Honorary Curator, Valley of Words: Literature and Arts Festival, Dehradun. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Fire at AIIMS forces evacuation of patients

first_imgNew Delhi: A fire broke out at the teaching block of the AIIMS here on Saturday, destroying samples and medical reports and forcing evacuation of some patients, though no one was injured, officials said.Patients from some floors of the AB ward, close to the Microbiology department where the blaze started at around 5 pm, were evacuated along with those in operation theatres above it as the smoke spread, they said, adding the fire was doused within two hours. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsA Delhi Fire Services Department (DFS) official said 22 fire tenders were rushed to the site after they received a call. The Microbiology department’s virology unit on the second floor of the teaching block has been completely gutted, sources said. Former finance minister Arun Jaitley is admitted at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the cardio-neuro centre, housed in a different building in the complex. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, “I appeal to everyone to maintain calm and allow the Fire Services personnel to do their work.” Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from ThursdayA fire department official said there was no casualty in the blaze. Dark plumes of smoke and flames were seen billowing out from the affected building of the premier health institute. Sources said the fire spread to the Emergency Lab in the department of Lab Medicine, which is adjacent to the Microbiology department’s virology unit, where electricity work was going on for some time and cable and wire being used were kept, they said. The fire moved down to the first floor – and also upward to the third and the fourth floor of the building, they said. Some parts of the fifth floor were also affected, they added. “The fire was brought under control within two hours,” said a fire department official. Patients’ samples come to the virology unit and Lab Medicine department for testing. Sources said it is suspected that a large number of samples and patient records have been destroyed as the virology unit has been completely gutted. However, there were no casualties and the cooling process is underway, a fire department official said.last_img read more

NL village looking to get rid of massive longdead humpback whale

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A tiny Newfoundland village is hoping to quickly remove the massive body of a humpback whale that has been stuck there since last fall, fearing the impending odour and mess as warmer weather approaches.The whale’s body was frozen and covered with snow for the winter months in Nameless Cove, but has become an urgent issue for the village.“The warmer temperatures are coming and you obviously know what’s gonna happen next,” Hank Diamond, a member of the local service district committee, said Wednesday.“You won’t be able live in that community in the summer, probably, if you don’t move it.”Nameless Cove is waiting on a price quote from contractors, and Diamond said the community is hoping for provincial assistance to remove the sizable creature that he estimates to be 25-30 feet.“It would take a fairly fair sized vessel to move that off the beach even at high tide, you know, and it seems to be settling in the sand more, so it’s gonna be harder and harder to get outta there, and it’s starting to rot.”The body is in close proximity to some residences, wharves, and is less than 100 metres from a graveyard.The beach is also a tourist attraction for its proximity to Flowers Island. The whale’s body is currently in the line of vision for anyone hoping to snap a photo of the island’s famed lighthouse.Diamond reached out to Service NL after Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) told Nameless Cove the removal of the whale carcass is the municipality’s responsibility.In an e-mailed statement, Service NL said it is working with the district and “the whale will have to be moved and disposed of, either by towing it to a more secluded location to decompose or by burial.”Dead smelly whales are not uncommon an issue for seaside Newfoundlanders: Last June, a dead humpback was lifted by crane in Outer Cove, N.L., and taken to a disposal site.But small communities like Nameless Cove, armed with tiny boats and a population under 100 people in northern Newfoundland, are faced with a difficult task when whales wash ashore.Diamond said DFO officials visited the site last fall to assess the beached whale, leading many locals to believe they would return to remove the body in the spring. Then villagers were surprised and upset when DFO told them it fell outside the department’s responsibility.“It’s like Russian roulette, whatever community it lands on, it’s on you,” Diamond said.So far, Diamond said the response from Service NL has been encouraging. But the town needs to move fast on the difficult removal, with or without the government’s help.“If they support it or if they don’t, it’s got to move,” said Diamond. “We’ll see to it I guess.”last_img read more

New Brunswick working group suggests 19 as minimum age to buy cannabis

first_imgFREDERICTON – The legal age limit for recreational marijuana use in New Brunswick should be set at 19, a provincial working group recommended Wednesday in a report that also calls for sales to be handled by something similar to a Crown corporation.Health Minister Victor Boudreau said the province’s Liberal government will consider the recommendation, but he said the actual age limit could be pushed higher.The New Brunswick Medical Society has already recommended the legal age should be at least 21.Before a final decision is made, a select committee of the legislature will spend the summer gathering public input before reporting this fall, Boudreau said.“It’s a tight time frame,” he said. “We want the select committee of the legislature to be doing their things over the next several months to be able to report back to government in the fall because we need to be ready by July 2018.”That’s when new federal rules kick in.Boudreau said he supports the idea that a Crown corporation, similar to NB Liquor, should handle all sales.“This is essentially a brand new industry starting in New Brunswick, and to make sure that there are tight controls and oversight and supervision, a Crown corporation model is the model that is being recommended,” he said.However, Boudreau said cannabis would not be offered for sale within liquor stores.“I think there have been very strong arguments made that they should certainly be different points of sale. It wouldn’t be within liquor stores, even if it was a Crown corporation and even if it was managed by NB Liquor. It would be a different store front,” he said Wednesday.Green party Leader David Coon said NB Liquor promotes the sale of alcohol, and he worries it might also do the same with cannabis.“We need a significant effort to discourage use of cannabis among youth and those with mental illness,” he said. “We need to see an education campaign that strongly takes on the issues of public health risks, especially targeted at youth.”New Brunswick’s medical society has said the government needs to approach any public education programs with caution.“While the public certainly needs education on cannabis, including driving while high and the co-use of cannabis and alcohol, it must take such education to the public in a way that does not unintentionally encourage its use,” the society said in a report released earlier this year.Boudreau said cannabis sales could be good for the provincial economy, but his main concern is dealing with health and public safety.He said the cost of health and safety measures may actually offset what’s gained through cannabis sales.“Yet on the economic development side, on the job creation side and on the private sector investment side, I think there is some potential there to see some benefits for the province of New Brunswick,” he said.last_img read more

Running afoul of the law Alberta RCMP pluck stuck ducks from sewer

first_imgFORT MCMURRAY, Alta. – RCMP in northern Alberta stepped in when some ducklings ran afoul of a Fort McMurray sewer over the weekend.Police say they got a call about the stuck ducks early Sunday morning.When officers arrived, they saw a mother on the road and could hear the ducklings in the sewer below, so they got quacking on a rescue.The officers popped off the manhole cover and climbed down.They were able to pluck the seven ducklings from the sewerThe birds were returned to their grateful mother.last_img

Quebec barber praised for getting on floor to cut hair of young

first_imgROUYN NORANDA, Que. – The photo shows a bearded, tattooed barber lying on his side on the floor, using a pair of clippers to trim the hair of the young boy lying facedown beside him.Francis “Franz” Jacob says it’s just part of a day’s work, but the barber from Rouyn-Noranda, Que. has become an unlikely celebrity after the boy’s mother posted the photo online to thank him for going out of his way to accommodate her son Wyatt, who has autism.Jacob owns an old-fashioned barber shop that specializes in 1920 to 1950’s-style punk and rockabilly haircuts, but he says he’s also developed a connection with special needs clients like Wyatt.“Each time I’m doing Wyatt’s hair, he’s always going on the ground, moving around, sitting on his mom’s lap, standing beside the chair,” said Jacob, 45.“That’s why I have a wireless clipper now, because at first I had to follow Wyatt around and plug my clipper into (different outlets).”Jacob opened his salon two years ago in the mining city some 600 kilometres northwest of Montreal.Wyatt was his first client with autism, but since meeting him he’s taken on others.“Each one has different needs and reactions, so each time it’s about adjusting to the client,” he said.He also occasionally cuts hair for clients who are terminally ill.The boy’s mother, Fauve Lafreniere, told CBC News that haircuts are a challenge for Wyatt because he moves a lot and can be hypersensitive to touch.She said she posted the picture online in the hopes others would follow Jacob’s example in finding “other ways to approach differences.”Jacob says he’s received countless messages and phone calls since the photo began to make its way around the Internet.Since most of the photos taken at his shop are of slick rock-style haircuts, he’s glad people are getting to see another side of what he does.“In this case you can see the extra mile that the barber is doing,” he said.“I don’t mind going on the floor, I don’t see any difference between musicians or an autistic kid, it’s the same extra mile.”– with files from Morgan Lowrie in Montreal.last_img read more

Former prime ministers gather in Commons to mark Parliaments 150th anniversary

first_imgOTTAWA – Moments from Canada’s colourful — and sometimes dark — past came back into focus Monday as federal politicians and former prime ministers of all partisan stripes gathered in the House of Commons to mark the 150th anniversary of Canada’s first Parliament.House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan encouraged current members of Parliament to imagine what it was like on Nov. 6, 1867, when the country’s first lawmakers gathered in Ottawa.“Imagine the enormity of the task before these first parliamentarians … facing the monumental challenge of governing a vast and sprawling country still in its infancy,” Regan told the Commons.“Any democracy worthy of its name is always a work in progress, and it is our duty as parliamentarians to build on the foundations laid by those first members of Parliament who established the country that it is our privilege to serve.”Prime Minister Justin Trudeau reminded former and current parliamentarians of several noted events since that time — both good and bad — that have shaped Canada into what it is today.“Within these walls, Canada has been reborn countless times,” Trudeau said as he recalled how previous governments made strides in human rights, introduced universal health care, abolished the death penalty and gave same-sex couples the right to marry.The prime minister also acknowledged some “dark and shameful moments” in Canada’s history, such as the introduction of the residential schools program that aimed to assimilate Canada’s Indigenous Peoples.“Let us be women and men of principle and of humility, for we have been bestowed the responsibility to serve and we must do so honourably,” Trudeau said.“Let’s never lose sight of the fact that we’re all here for the same reason, to make our country better, to improve the lives of the people were serve. We may have different ideas on how to get there, but there is always common ground — and if we work together, we will find it.”Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer called the Parliament of Canada much more than merely bricks and mortar. And while Scheer also acknowledged some dark moments in Canada’s past, he said there were more good moments than bad over the last 150 years, culminating in a country that is the envy of the world.“That we who have been entrusted with the governance of Canada have sometimes failed should not be surprising,” said Scheer.“This chamber may be made of wood and stone but the men and women who give it its life are hewn from the crooked timber of humanity…. These chairs have supported patriots and heroes, but also a few rogues.”Former prime ministers John Turner, Joe Clark, Brian Mulroney and Paul Martin were among those who watched and listened from the Commons visitor’s gallery as tributes were read into the official record to mark the anniversary. Earlier in the day, the four men sat together and shared a few memories with Regan and former Commons speakers as they celebrated the moment.“This room is not about us as members of Parliament; this room is about democracy, it is about Canada,” said Green party Leader Elizabeth May. “We are very tiny in this space because our role is to represent something far bigger than ourselves. We are here for Canada.”last_img read more

Femalefocused Medieval Times show bound for Toronto this year

first_imgTORONTO – After nearly 25 years of entertaining audiences with jousting and a meal with the king, Toronto’s Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament will soon undergo a “sea change” with a new female-centric storyline.The new show with the queen in the lead role is already in three U.S. cities and will launch in Toronto later this year. The company says the story is cast in a matriarchal realm with the queen in charge and sole ruler of the land.“This is going to really motivate and inspire young women to show that there are strong female role models out there,” Monet Lerner, the inaugural queen of the new show, says in a promo video.Toronto is the only Canadian location for Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament, which was founded in 1977 in Spain and launched in North America in 1983, with the Toronto “castle” opening in 1993.For the past 34 years, the show has always featured a king as the protagonist and female characters in supporting roles.“Having a queen in charge probably sends a message,” Leigh Cordner, the creative director and writer of the show, says in the promo video.“It’s certainly a sea change for us. Just generally in entertainment and media and stuff, it’s a popular theme. I don’t feel like we’re jumping on a bandwagon. I think it’s certainly given us the confidence that now is the time to be able to do that.”The queen is “a firm but kind ruler respected throughout the kingdom who inherited the throne at the passing of her father, the previous king,” says a news release.Her “authority is sometimes challenged, but she quickly rises to the occasion as a strong leader, squelching opposition,” it adds.The show — which still features the usual elements of jousting and horsemanship — has already been rolled out in Dallas, Chicago and Lyndhurst, N.J.The company says it made the change after guests expressed interest in seeing women in more significant roles.Other changes include new music, new costumes and new suits of armour, shields and helmets.“I think there’s probably a benefit to young women, grown women, little girls who come to the show to see this women who’s empowered, who’s in charge,” says Cordner.last_img read more