Rajasthans Churu sizzles at 5080 C as heat wave persists

first_imgNew Delhi/ Jaipur: Monsoon rains, which usually arrive on the southern tip of Kerala around June 1, are expected to arrive on the country’s southern coast on June 6, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said on Saturday. “At present, monsoon has covered some extreme southern part of Arabian Sea and parts of southwest-southeast-east central Bay of Bengal, Andaman sea and Andaman Nicobar islands. In the next two-three days, it’ll cover more parts of the Arabian sea,” IMD’s M Mohapatra told news agency ANI. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twistMeanwhile, on Saturday, Rajasthan reeled under intense heat with Churu sizzling at 50.8 degrees Celsius, 9 degrees above normal. Ganganagar, Bikaner, Jaisalmer and Kota recorded maximum temperatures of 49 degrees Celsius, 47.9 degrees Celsius, 47.2 degrees Celsius and 46 degrees Celsius respectively, the MeT department said. On Friday, the state-run weather office had predicted that the country will see average monsoon rains this year. Monsoon rainfall is expected to be 96 per cent of the long-term average (LPA), the weather office said in a statement. The IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 per cent and 104 per cent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres for the entire four-month season beginning June.last_img read more

Cry of the children

first_imgIt is time to remember Elizabeth Barrett Browning for her poem ‘The Cry of the Children’ dedicated to the condition of children in England who were made to clean chimneys and work in the hazardous industry. As a result, many would catch serious diseases and eventually die an early death. The poem examines children’s manual labour forced upon them by their exploiters. It was published in August 1843 in Blackwood’s Magazine. But since then England has moved far ahead. Children there go to school, get proper nutrition and healthcare required of them. But where do we stand today? Also Read – A special kind of bondDeath of over 125 children in Muzaffarpur due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome is very shocking. At this tender age, many of these children would not even know what is happening to them. Timely action could have prevented many deaths and such a big catastrophe. These children come from low-income group families and are poorly nourished. Even though the exact cause of this disease is not clear but one thing is certain that a malnourished child does not have enough resistance to fight any disease. For the last about 25 years, such epidemics occur in the area off and on, but no specific measures have been taken to date. It is to be noted with deep anguish that announcements made in 2014 about improving the infrastructure in health facilities in the district have still not been met with even after five years. There is a serious lack of infrastructure. The number of doctors is less than 25 per cent of what is required. Similar is the situation of the paramedical staff. The technical facilities are in extreme shortage. There is a need for immediate measures to save the lives of all those who are still alive but ill and also to prevent healthy children from falling sick. The situation should be declared as a calamity – an emergency situation. The central government should send immediate financial/medical aid for speedy action. Also Read – Insider threat managementSuch events are a reflection of total apathy on the part of central and state governments towards the poor people of the region which is known for such epidemics. Only two years back similar incident happened in Gorakhpur where 125 children died due to lack of oxygen. That also drew a lot of media attention ensuing promises. Good nutrition forms the primary basis of good health. It is even more important at the tender age of the first five years of life. But we are one of the worst performers as far as nutrition is concerned. Our hunger index is 103 among 118 countries. It is even worse than some of our neighbours. Despite economic growth, the nutritional status of our children is alarmingly below required standards. In India 44 per cent of children under the age of five are underweight. 72 per cent of infants and 52 per cent of married women have anaemia. Research has conclusively shown that malnutrition during pregnancy causes the child to have increased risk of future diseases, physical retardation and reduced cognitive abilities. Malnutrition in our country is both lack of calories as well as lack of intake of nutrients in proper proportion. All these issues have to be sorted out through a comprehensive healthcare policy with budgeting enough to meet the needs of the people. To ensure the good health of our children we have to: Ensure proper nutrition to all the children; healthy nutrition to all women in the reproductive age group; compulsory regular health checkup and basic investigations of children in the school to know about their health status; health education to children in schools and to prospective mothers; ensure universal compulsory education; raise family income by ensuring sufficient remuneration to meet their nutritional needs; provide a healthy environment, proper housing, clean drinking water supply and sewerage facilities; strengthen the mid-day meal scheme; economic measures have to be taken for inclusive growth. These are the minimum measures needed to be taken to prevent such happenings in future. Public health spending has to be increased immediately to three per cent and subsequently to six per cent of the GDP in the coming years. (Dr. Arun Mitra is an ENT surgeon. Views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

GRP deploys 10 upgraded motorcycles at rly stations

first_imgNew Delhi: In order to enhance safety and security of passengers, the Delhi Railway Police (GRP) has deployed 10 numbers of upgraded motorcycles to intensify patrolling in and around the railway stations. The newly-deployed motorcycles have been upgraded with revolving flashers, blinkers, public announcement system, sirens, flashlight, two helmets and cruiser side box, Deputy Commissioner of Police (GRP) Dinesh Kumar Gupta said. “These motor cycles have been provided to give speed to policing at Railway Stations. The policing on Motor Cycle at Railway Station will also reduce the reaction time and also certainly give an impression of security to general public,” said DCP Gupta.last_img read more

Doing whats right

first_imgChange received an unassailable pole position worldwide in 2008 when Obama won the US Presidential race with his trumpeting war-cry change. Thereafter, everyone wanted a change. The direction of the change was immaterial–and be damned. Often then–as much in Obama’s case as in others’–such change for change’s sake leads nowhere. Change simply becomes the new status quo. The French with their ‘mot juste’, have a nice way of putting it. ‘Plus ca change, plus ca meme chose’, meaning that the more we change things, the more it is back to the same old thing. Also Read – A special kind of bondThe Kasturirangan Committee that drafted the New Education Policy (NEP) would have faced a quandary. Since a New Education Policy must be new, the existing policy must be changed. So the draft NEP, perforce, had to change many aspects of schooling as we know it. But many of these changes seem to be just that: change for the sake of change. For example, the NEP seeks to rename some of the existing terms we have been familiar with. Grades 3, 4 and 5 would no longer be primary classes in a primary school. They would be called Latter Primary. Presumably, Classes 1 and 2 would be Former Primary. But no, they are just Primary. Also Read – Insider threat managementChildren in the age group of 3-8 would henceforth form a new sub-set of which children between 3-6 would continue to be in Anganwadis and pre-schools, while children between 6-8 would be in Grades 1 and 2. From 8-11 they would be in Grades 3-5 in–yes–Latter Primary, while children from 11-14 would be in Grades 6-8 in Upper Primary. Secondary School would be from Grades 9-12 of which children between 14-16 would be in Grades 9-10 which would continue to be called Secondary School while children between 16-18 would be in Grades 11-12 and would continue to be called Higher Secondary School. A bit confusing altogether? Indeed, that is what would happen, when change is brought in for the sake of change. What is more tragic, however, is that while the draft speaks of bringing in quality education, it does not quite spell out how that quality education would reach the poorest of poor children. The bane of India’s education system has been that while we have highly subsidised centres of higher education, where a student who has done very well in school, has a plethora of opportunities for a professional or university education–scholarships, quotas, subsidies, bank loans, grants, etc–nothing even remotely so, exists for poor children to get a good quality primary education in our schools. Across the country, children of poor parents are continually denied quality primary education. The tallest barriers we have put for the children of our poor is in providing them good quality primary education, which is possible only in privately-run Public and International Schools where they have to spend copious sums of money as fees, donations, deposits and for buying books, uniforms, etc. Thus, children of our poor are condemned to attend government schools that provide terribly poor education. Worse, government schools push out children–endearingly called drop out–from schools. The pushout is so gross that while the Gross Enrollment Ratio in 2016-17 for Grades 1-5 was 95.1 per cent, it was a mere 51.3 per cent in Grades 11-12. It almost appears to be a conspiracy to keep the poor uneducated and thereby keep them poor through generations. Our schooling system is an inverted pyramid, where it is most difficult to enter the system in the early stages, i.e., in a good school. But if you get through these strong barriers at the very early stages of a child’s education, it becomes easy to enter a University. The system is so built that the difficulty is surmountable only if as a young parent of a 5-year-old, you are rich enough to admit the child in a ‘convent’ or Public School. In keeping with the draft’s emphasis on changing names, the NEP stipulates that Public Schools should no longer be called Public Schools but called Private Schools. Good that another Macaulayan aberration is killed off. But such changes will not make an iota of difference if today’s government schools are not brought up to the level of such private Public Schools. Else, the rich will continue to send their children to the newly named Private Schools while the poor will languish in government schools. NEP’s section on school education seems obsessed with the language issue. There is a strong undercurrent in it to root-out English from our schools. At one point the document even goes on to say, ‘we further observe that English has not become the international language that it was expected to become back in the 1960s’! And that specious argument is used to kill off English. The argument for replacing English is ostensibly for promoting education in local and regional languages. But, if English is replaced, can the imposition of Hindi–across crores of non-Hindi speakers–be far behind?Interestingly, there is a lot of emphasis in the draft NEP on the 3-language formula. But the 3-language formula has always been an insidious but successful attempt to teach and use Hindi in the South and East but nowhere teach–let alone use–a non-Hindi South or East Indian language in the Hindi belt. So while you will find Railway Stations with their names written in English, Hindi and the local language in all the South and the East Indian States–Tamil Nadu being a continuing exception–you will never find any South or East Indian language in any name board in any Railway Station in the Hindi belt. The 3-language formula has been mostly used to spread Hindi in the non-Hindi speaking states with no successful attempt ever made in the reverse direction to spread non-Hindi languages in the North. And so, all of us South Indians, continue to be Madrasis. With the draft NEP focused on suppressing English, the dominance of Hindi will only increase, grievously wounding–if not altogether killing off–India’s multi-lingual heritage. Obsessed with language, the draft also has many areas where it tries to revive Sanskrit, which is an enormously good thing since Sanskrit is the root of many Indian languages. My tongue Malayalam has many more words of Sanskrit origin than even Hindustani. Indeed, when speaking in Hindi, if I am hard-pressed for a Hindi word or phrase, I simply use its Malayalam equivalent and I find my listener appreciating my Shudh Hindi. While it is important to focus on reviving Sanskrit which is otherwise a dead language, the draft policy makes no attempt to expand the use of Tamil which is a living language and is as old–or even older–than Sanskrit and used across many nations of the world. This step-motherly treatment of Tamil and other Classical Languages–and that includes Malayalam, also spoken today by a diaspora across the world–is not quite understandable. That is a danger latent in the draft NEP that needs to be addressed. Lest I give the impression that the draft NEP has nothing much to offer on school education, let me point out some of the good that the draft offers. Perhaps one of the most significant initiatives of the NEP is its attempt to seamlessly weave vocational skill education into academic education in schools. This would hopefully break down the mental barriers that the middle class–not to speak of the upper and rich classes–in India have towards vocational education. By insisting that at the upper primary and secondary levels every student should compulsorily take a vocational subject, the draft NEP goes a long way in wiping from our middle-class minds the thought that skills and vocational education are somehow inferior to academic learning. No country can become great without sufficient focus on teaching a vocational skill or trade to the majority of its young. A country full of engineers and IAS officers would be a very weak country indeed. Taking up at least one art for deeper study in schools is another innovation in the NEP. The NEP also focusses on the incorporation of basic ethical and moral reasoning. Students will be taught the importance of “doing what’s right”. This is indeed important. However, with the government now bent on re-defining what is right and wrong, and telling us that things that we thought were right, are wrong, and things we thought wrong, are right, don’t blame me if a frisson of fear, passes down my spine. School students will also be taught current affairs, courses in critical issues facing the community, the country, and the world. The innate talents of every student–the NEP promises us–would be discovered, nurtured, fostered, and developed. Most importantly assessments or exams would shift from one that primarily tests rote memorisation to one that is more formative, promotes learning, and tests higher-order skills. All good. But the lingering thought at the end of the day is that the NEP draft on School Education is less focused on fundamentals than on re-grouping and renaming. There is really no need for that. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet. (The author is a former Indian and UN Civil Servant. He belongs to the 1978 batch of the IAS and worked with the ILO in India and abroad for 20 years. This is the second of a three-part analysis of the Government’s draft New Education Policy. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Rohit Krunal lift India to 1675 against West Indies

first_imgLauderhill: Krunal Pandya’s two last-over sixes after Rohit Sharma’s characteristically sublime 67 lifted India to 167 for five against West Indies in the second T20 International here on Sunday. Rohit scored his runs off 51 balls, setting India up for a challenging total before Pandya and Ravindra Jadeja propped up the innings by smashing 20 runs in the final over, which was bowled by Keemo Paul. In the process, Rohit became T20 internationals’ most prolific six-hitter, going past Chris Gayle with 106 maximums. He struck six fours and three sixes in the match. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhSent into bat, India were off to a quick start as they reached 50-run mark in the seventh over, with Rohit doing the bulk of scoring. Rohit found the gaps with ease, clipping Paul off his pads for a six over deep midwicket. The World Cup highest scorer then swept him for a four as the Indians upped the tempo. Keemo Paul gave West Indies their first breakthrough when he bowled Shikhar Dhawan with the Indian scorecard reading 67 for one in the eighth over. Two quite overs followed as Indian captain Virat Kohli joined Rohit, who broke the shackles with a six over deep midwicket, Sunil Narine being the bowler, and then brought up his 17th half-century in this format with a single to long-off. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterNicely getting underneath the flight of left-arm spinner Khary Pierre, Kohli got going with a neat six. Well settled at the other end, Kohli’s deputy Rohit then smashed Carlos Brathwaite for a six and four as India’s hundred came up in the 13th over. It took a fine catch from Shimron Hetmyer to bring an end to Rohit’s stay in the middle — he hit one high up in the air off Oshane Thomas with just over six overs left in the Indian innings. Rishabh Pant (5) perished quickly, top-edging Oshane into the hands of third man fielder Kieron Pollard. Sheldon Cottrell then had the big one, sending Kohli’s middle stump cartwheeling for a 23-ball 28 with a perfectly-executed yorker and performing his trademark salute celebrations. By that time tough, Kohli became the highest run scorer among Indians in T20 cricket, including domestic tourneys.last_img read more

TV shows that empowered women

first_imgIndian Television shows oscillate between content driven shows that mirror our society to those that help create a new narrative to ones that perpetuate old mind-sets. Enough has been written about ‘Saas-Bahu drama’ shows that are responsible for strengthening archaic mind-sets. But all is not lost. There are some shows that have in fact helped in changing mind-sets while being entertaining. Here are four top Indian TV shows that inspired change through powerful stories. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainUdaan: Based on the true story of IPS Officer Kanchan Choudhary Bhattacharya, Udaan is one of the first Indian TV shows aired in the late 80s and early 90s that focused on women’s empowerment. The show narrates the tale of a young girl named Kalyani Singh who becomes an IPS officer while battling gender discrimination at every level. The show came at a time when it was uncommon to see women in uniform and acted as a catalyst for many to follow their dreams. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardRajani: Aired in 1994 on national broadcaster Doordarshan, Rajani became the face of every Indian housewife as well as the voice for her problems. The lead character Rajani portrayed the day to day problems of housewives and the ingenious solutions she found to survive them. Rajani became a household name and gave homemakers a new sense of empowerment. Shaanti: Ek Aurat Ki Kahaani: Shaanti, portrayed by Mandira Bedi, narrates the fight for justice by a mother-daughter duo after the daughter is raped by two influential and wealthy brothers hailing from the film industry. Despite being a victim, Shaanti showed how women can fight battles single-handed and win. Main Kuch Bhi Kar Sakti Hoon: Reflecting the mandate of national broadcaster Doordarshan to educate and empower, the show revolves around the journey of Dr Sneha Mathur, a young doctor, who leaves behind her lucrative career in Mumbai and decides to work in her village Pratappur. The show tackles deep-set social norms and difficult issues like sex selective practices, sexual and reproductive health of young people with utmost sensitivity.last_img read more

Vinesh qualifies for Tokyo Olympics targets bronze at Worlds

first_imgNur Sultan (Kazakhstan): Vinesh Phogat became the first Indian wrestler to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics after holding off world number one Sarah Ann Hildebrandt with some superlative defensive display in the World Championship here on Wednesday. At least, five times Sara had got hold of Vinesh’s right leg but with her immense upper-body strength, the Indian did not let her rival take advantage and won 8-2 in her second repechage round. After being placed in an extremely tough 53kg draw, Vinesh had lost to reigning champion Mayu Mukaida in the second round. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details In her first repechage round, she had easily dispatched Ukraine’s Yuliia Khavaldzhy Blahinya 5-0. While it has been a spectacular career for Vinesh with gold medals at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, none of her three attempts at the world championship resulted in a podium. Competing in her fourth Worlds, she is one win away from her maiden medal and standing in her way is Greek wrestler, Maria Prevolaraki. “I am happy and relieved that I am going to Tokyo but it’s not over yet. I have a medal bout and I don’t want to miss that,” Vinesh said as she walked into the training area. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Navjot Kaur gave her a hug and the Indian camp, which has endured tough initial days, was gleaming. There were handshakes but coach Woller Akos was still not smiling. He was still seriously discussing something with Vinesh, probably what she needs to do in her next bout. “Her motion was not at best but the defence was. We had asked Vinesh to move right and block Sarah’s right hand. “What it did was that it put Vinesh further away from Sarah, not letting her attack. It also meant that Vinesh could go for her attacks,” explained Akos about they plotted the fall of the American world number one. At the beginning itself, Vinesh put pressure on Sarah, taking 2-0 with a take-down on double leg attack. The American thrice attacked Vinesh’s right leg in the first period and twice in the second but the Indian kept her on the ground, using all her power. That is what clinched it for Vinesh. Whenever she got the opportunity, she converted attacks into take-down points. Countering the wrestler from USA was not new for Vinesh, who had beaten Sarah at the beginning of the season at Dan-Kolov tournament in Bulgaria, immediately after switching to 53kg category from 50kg. In the first repechage, the Ukrainian largely went for head-locks but Vinesh not only defended well but also timed her double-leg attacks to log take-down points. Seema Bisla though missed Olympic qualification in 50kg after losing her second repechage round 3-11 to Russia’s Ekaterina Poleshchuk. In the 76kg, Kiran had rattled her German opponent Aline Rotter to lead 4-0 but lost five points in a row in the second period to lose the opening bout 4-5. She paid the price for being over-defensive. Much was expected from Sarita Mor after her shock victory over 2018 World Championship bronze medallist Pooja Dhanda in the trials but she was far from her usual aggressive self. Up against Moldova’s Anastasia Nichita, she remained defensive, losing the 57kg qualification bout 1-5.last_img read more

Manitoba junior football executive resigns after post about PK Subban

first_imgWINNIPEG – The president of the Winnipeg Rifles of the Canadian Junior Football League has resigned after writing a Facebook post that made reference to Nashville Predators defenceman P.K. Subban.Todd Wilson posted an image Saturday night of a beer vendor working at Winnipeg’s Bell MTS Place as the Jets were playing the Vegas Golden Knights in the opening game of the Stanley Cup Western Conference final.The vendor appears to be black; Subban is black.The caption reads: “Two nights ago he was in game 7. Tonight PK Suban (sic) is selling me beer” in reference to the Jets’ downing of Nashville in the second round of the playoffs.Wilson, who is also the league’s deputy commissioner, apologized in a statement on the league’s website, saying it was a poor attempt at humour and that he took it down right after the game.The Rifles football club said in a statement issued Sunday on its website that Wilson’s resignation was effective immediately.“It appears that some people interpreted the post as something other than it was intended,” Wilson said in his statement. “I sincerely apologize for the post and please understand that my comments do not represent any of the organizations that I volunteer with.”League commissioner Jim Pankovich said in a statement on the same website that Wilson’s comment offended several individuals and groups, and is not consistent with the values of the junior football league.“The CJFL does not support or stand by the comments and we want to offer our apologies to anyone who was hurt by the immature behaviour,” he said.Rifles vice-president Dale Driedger, who has taken over as president, said in a statement on the team’s website that the culture of Winnipeg’s amateur football community is about diversity and that the posting is out of step with what the team instills in its players.“Ours is and will always be a welcoming environment for any young person wanting to become involved in minor football,” said Driedger, who has served on the Rifles board since 2015.This is not the first time Subban has been the subject of racial comments during the playoffs.In 2014, the Boston Bruins denounced fans who posted comments on social media targeting the then-Montreal-Canadiens defenceman after he scored in double overtime.Earlier this year, his father, Karl Subban, wrote a letter in support of efforts to have Willie O’Ree, the first black player in the National Hockey League, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.Subban said O’Ree, who stepped onto the ice with the Boston Bruins in 1958, was a “pioneer and a trailblazer” whose story must not be forgotten.“Willie achieved in the face of adversity. He changed the game and he changed society and he changed minds,” he wrote. “He has made it possible for my boys to have the NHL dream and to believe they could achieve it. He changed hockey which is now for everyone. Hockey needed him and so does the Hockey Hall of Fame. The time is right!”Besides P.K., Karl Subban has two other sons who play professional hockey — Malcolm, a goalie with the Vegas Golden Knights and Jordan, a defenceman in the American Hockey League.(The Canadian Press, CTV Winnipeg)last_img read more

By the numbers looking at Canadian immigration rates and income levels

first_imgOTTAWA – At look at the latest Conference Board of Canada report on immigration, by the numbers:— As part of its 2018-20 immigration levels plan, Canada will welcome 310,000 new permanent residents in 2018, 330,000 in 2019 and 340,000 in 2020.— Economic-class immigrants have typically made up the majority of newcomers to Canada at around 60 per cent of total admissions.— Family-class immigrants have accounted for about 27 per cent of the annual immigration admissions, while refugees comprise about 12 per cent.— Employment rates for family class immigrants are at about 52 per cent.— Even after a decade of living in Canada, family class immigrants earn only 61 per cent of the average Canadian wage. After 23 years, they earn about 81 per cent of the average wage.— Refugees have the lowest earnings among immigrants. They reach only 50 per cent of the average Canadian wage 10 years after arriving in Canada.last_img read more

New Brunswick payforplasma clinic opens aims for 1000 weekly donors

first_imgMONCTON, N.B. – The head of a company that pays people to donate blood plasma says he’s hoping to get at least 1,000 donors a week at a newly opened clinic in New Brunswick.Canadian Plasma Resources CEO Barzin Bahardoust said he’s confident they can reach that target within two years at the clinic in Moncton, which opened last Monday.“We can achieve our target of 1,000 donations per week with a donor base of approximately 2,500 people. People can donate as often as once a week but we don’t expect everyone to do that,” he said.Bahardoust said he expects most will donate every couple of weeks, or about 20 times a year.Blood plasma is the yellowish fluid that remains after red and white blood cells and platelets are removed.Donors are given $30 for each donation, but he said that’s upped to $50 if they donate more than five times per quarter.“We want the donors to give as frequently as their time allows,” Bahardoust said.But a coalition of labour groups is pressing Health Minister Victor Boudreau to enact legislation banning pay-for-plasma clinics.Danny Legere, vice-president of CUPE New Brunswick, said the province should look west for guidance.“We’d like to see the New Brunswick government do what Quebec, Alberta and Ontario did, and bring in a piece of legislation that simply bans remuneration for blood or blood products,” he said Thursday.Legere said the group — known as the New Brunswick Health Coalition — plans to make it an issue during next year’s provincial election.Boudreau has said he welcomes Canadian Plasma Resources as long as it meets all the regulations set by Health Canada.But Legere said the concern is the impact on the public system of blood collection by Canadian Blood Services.“You will see a migration from voluntary donors to paid donors, especially those who find themselves in a vulnerable position, because you can give every week,” Legere said.He said the clinic’s location near the University of Moncton could exploit students and the poor.But Bahardoust said about 85 per cent of the plasma products used in Canada come from the United States, where donors are paid. He said it’s contradictory for opponents to say that’s acceptable in the U.S. but not in Canada.“Do we want to do this here at home and bring the jobs and benefits to the economy to Canadians and have direct oversight by Health Canada on the collection of plasma, or do we want to just rely on another jurisdiction?” Bahardoust said.Canadian Plasma Resources currently sends the plasma from Moncton and their other clinic in Saskatoon to a fractionation plant in Germany for processing into a variety of pharmaceutical products.Bahardoust said they’d like to be able to sell the finished product back into Canada and are hoping to win a tender from Canadian Blood Services.Provinces currently fund and get blood products from Canadian Blood Services, a non-profit agency that takes volunteer donations. The exception is Quebec, which has its own blood agency, Hema-Quebec.— By Kevin Bissett in Frederictonlast_img read more

School dress codes a contentious issue for some parents as academic year

first_imgWhen Karen Green sends her two daughters, aged nine and 12, back to school in September, she knows she’ll have to contend with their school’s dress code.The rules prohibit tops with straps narrower than the width of three fingers; skirts, shorts or dresses shorter than the length of extended fingertips when a student’s arms are extended down the sides of their body; and abdomen, back and shoulder-baring tops, among other things.Green believes the dress code unfairly targets girls in a certain age group — those in Grades 6 through 9, who are likely going through puberty.“It’s not my child’s issue to make sure that nobody knows she’s wearing a bra. It’s everybody else’s issue to accept what a growing girl’s body looks like, and to not be distracted by it,” says Green, whose children attend a school in Chatham, Ont.The message such dress-code rules send, she argues, is that as soon as girls start to develop, their bodies must be policed.“It is something that they must be completely aware of covering at all times,” says Green, adding that girls who develop earlier are not allowed to wear the same clothes as their friends. “It instills a sense of shame.”Every year stories surface of girls being told to go home to change into clothing that adheres to local dress codes.In one expert’s view, telling girls how to dress implies that it’s their job to make sure that boys aren’t distracted by their bodies, which is insulting to both sexes.“Boys are basically represented as prisoners of their hormones. (They) just can’t help it and it’s not their fault. Girls, on the other hand, are seen as the gatekeepers of morality,” says Shauna Pomerantz, a Brock University child and youth studies associate professor and author of “Girls, Style and School Identities: Dressing the Part.”Schools have used dress codes to “control” students, she added.“In many people’s minds, how you look equates to how you act,” Pomerantz says.Mark Sherman, the superintendent for the Lambton-Kent District School Board, where Green’s children attend school, says dress codes help create a “modest, business-like” atmosphere.He notes that principals are the ones who establish dress codes, which reflect community standards, and that the process includes consultation with parents.“(Dress codes) are defined by the communities that the schools operate in. It’s a process designed to get input from parents through the school council,” Sherman says. “They want to have a safe, respectful learning environment.”The Toronto District School Board also said their dress code policy is developed through “a conversation with the whole school community.” Spokesperson Shari Schwartz-Maltz acknowledged, however, that some schools haven’t updated their dress code in many years.For some parents, dress codes help create an environment where everyone can be comfortable.Toronto parent Terry Perdue, a single mother of five, recalls a November 2016 incident when one of her daughters was told by a teacher that her V-neck sweater was too low-cut to be worn on its own. Perdue also received a phone call from the teacher during the school day.“It was awkward,” she says. “The teacher explained to me that (her cleavage) was distracting the male children in the classroom.”Perdue says her daughter was in Grade 9 at the time, at a school that’s part of the Toronto District School Board. The school’s dress code, among other things, states that it is unacceptable for cleavage and undergarments to be showing.Her daughter’s undergarments weren’t exposed, but the teacher suggested she wear a T-shirt underneath the sweater, Perdue says. He also mentioned that her daughter was one of three girls in the class.Despite the fact that her daughter was embarrassed and offended by the incident, Perdue says she understood where the teacher was coming from. She describes her daughter as a bigger girl who developed early.“I think you should be able to wear whatever you feel comfortable in as a (girl), but you got to think of other people too, especially teenagers and all their hormones,” Perdue says. “You can’t be judgmental.”But one former school board chair rejects an argument often made in support of dress codes — that certain clothing that girls wear might make boys uncomfortable.“We need to raise (and educate) our boys to respect and not sexualize the clothing that (girls) choose to wear,” says Patti Bacchus, a former Vancouver School Board chair and trustee, who believes it’s important to include students in discussions about dress codes.Schools should focus on supporting students and ensuring they have the best learning opportunities available instead of policing the width of a shoulder strap, she says, arguing that she doesn’t see how dress codes improve learning.“I question the need for them,” Bacchus says. “We need to teach students to respect other students’ bodies, their individual rights and diversity.”last_img read more

No wild Atlantic salmon found in NB river conservation group says

first_imgST. ANDREWS, N.B. – Not a single wild Atlantic salmon was found in a New Brunswick river that was once home to a healthy population of the species, alarming conservationists who link their disappearance to the proliferation of aquaculture sites in the area.The Atlantic Salmon Federation said in a new report released Thursday that for the first time since it began monitoring the Magaguadavic River fish ladder in 1992, no wild salmon had returned from the sea.“Really this run is now extinct in this particular river,” said Jonathan Carr, the group’s executive director of research.He said the bleak finding signals a “rapid drop” in the populationDespite a stocking program going back to 2002, the Fisheries Department says the population had been dropping steadily since estimating it at 900 wild salmon in 1983.“We’re fighting against a losing battle,” Carr said from St. Andrews, N.B. “We have had a few fish return over the last few years, but we’re just looking at handfuls and this is the first year where we haven’t seen any wild fish return.”Carr said the wild salmon population in the southern New Brunswick river has been declining steadily since aquaculture companies started setting up open net salmon pens in the 1980s in the bay where the river empties. The federation now says the area has one of the highest concentrations of industrial salmon farms in the world, leading to concerns that farmed fish are escaping their pens and interbreeding with wild salmon.In a statement Thursday, the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association said the salmon federation is floating “hypothetical assumptions as science.”It said farming companies have found no containment breaches to explain the recent discovery of farmed fish, and says it has offered to perform genetic tests to pinpoint their source but the federation has not supplied samples.It said about 5 million salmon swim in secured farms in southwest New Brunswick, and escapes are rare, mostly caused by extreme weather.“The regulations that oversee salmon farming are rigorous. They are being followed,” it said in the statement. “To point the finger at aquaculture based on hypothetical assumptions is ridiculous and ignores the cumulative effect and realities of warming oceans and river systems.”The fish farmers association said many issues affect wild salmon populations, including climate change, acid rain, seal predation, unhealthy watersheds, hydro dams, habitat loss and over fishing.The Atlantic Salmon Federation said it found that in almost every year since 1994, more aquaculture escapees than wild fish were counted at the Magaguadavic fishway.Carr says the danger for wild stock is that the farmed salmon pass on “less fit genes” to them, degrading their health and limiting their chances of survival. It’s a phenomenon conservationists say has been seen at aquaculture sites in Maine, Norway and Scotland.“There’s a lot of interbreeding going on and they can really disrupt the gene pool and harm the overall fitness of wild salmon in these rivers,” he said. “It only takes one or two aquaculture escapees entering these other rivers and that could really add another nail to the coffin of the wild salmon.”The federation said 15 farmed salmon that escaped were recently removed from the trap at the top of the Magaguadavic fishway.Carr said there is also little monitoring of rivers like the Magaguadavic, suggesting the problem of interbreeding could be far more widespread than thought.Carr’s group has formed a multi-party committee aimed at coming up with best containment practices for the industry, increasing transparency and pushing to standardize rules around escape notifications.“The Magaguadavic should be a cautionary tale,” salmon federation president Bill Taylor said in a release. “Throughout North America no new open net-pen salmon aquaculture sites should be allowed in proximity to wild salmon rivers.”Salmon spawning usually takes place in late October, with the eggs hatching the following May or June. Juveniles stay in the river for several years, then go out to sea in spring before migrating to waters off Labrador or Greenland. They stay in ocean and then return to their river of origin.– By Alison Auld in HalifaxNote to readers: The is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously reported that the salmon stocking program started in 1983.last_img read more

Decision on challenge to legislation cutting Toronto council expected Monday

first_imgTORONTO – A ruling on Toronto’s legal challenge of the province’s decision to cut the size of city council from 47 to 25 members is expected on Monday.City of Toronto spokeswoman Beth Waldman says the city has been notified that Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba will send his decision to legal counsel on Monday morning.The legislation, which passed last month, aligns the city’s ward map with federal ridings in time for the Oct. 22 municipal election, a move Premier Doug Ford has argued will improve decision-making and save $25 million.It also cancels planned elections for the head of council position in the regional municipalities of Muskoka, Peel, York and Niagara, turning them into appointed roles.Lawyers for the City of Toronto argued that reducing the number of councillors in the middle of an election is “discriminatory and arbitrary,” and violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.Belobaba had said he plans to rule on the case by the second week of September because of the looming municipal election, and acknowledged he expected the losing party would likely appeal.“As one of the parties in this case, the City of Toronto has been notified that the judge will send his decision to legal counsel on Monday at 8 a.m.,” Waldman said Saturday in an email.The province argued that municipalities are “creatures of the Legislature” and have no recourse when it comes to the powers of the province over their affairs.Lawyers for the Progressive Conservative government also said the legal challenges of the legislation have “no merit” and have asked for the cases to be dismissed and the province awarded costs.A spokesman said Mayor John Tory was looking forward to the decision.“The mayor fully supported this legal action because he believes the province’s process, which lacked any public input whatsoever, was wrong and unacceptable,” Don Peat said in an email Saturday night.The deadline for candidates to register in the municipal election is Sept. 14.last_img read more

How Donald Trump boosted Nova Scotias lucrative lobster industry

first_imgHALIFAX — Canada’s largest and most lucrative lobster fishery is slated to get started Saturday off Nova Scotia’s southwest coast, where about 5,200 fishermen are geared up for what is expected to be another profitable season — thanks in part to Donald Trump. “The market keeps increasing, especially in China,” said Bernie Berry, president of the Coldwater Lobster Association, based in Yarmouth, N.S. “From a fisherman’s perspective, we’re expecting a good shore price … It looks like a very positive outlook.”Berry, a fisherman for 39 years, has plenty of reasons to be optimistic.Demand from Canada’s largest export market, the United States, remains strong, thanks to a healthy U.S. economy and a weak Canadian dollar.As well, the industry is benefiting from the American president’s ongoing trade war with China, which prompted the Chinese government in July to impose a 25 per cent import tariff on many U.S. goods — including lobster.“It makes it very hard for the Americans … to get their product into China,” said Berry, whose group represents fishermen aboard 970 boats in Lobster Fishing Area 34, which extends off the western edge of Nova Scotia.His group decided Thursday to start setting their traps Saturday after rough weather delayed the start of the season, which was supposed to open on Monday. Another 700 boats from LFA 33, which extends from the Halifax region to the province’s southwestern tip, are also ready to drop their traps on Saturday.In economic terms, it’s difficult to overstate the value of the industry, which tops every other Canadian seafood business in terms of landed value. It employs about 30,000 harvesters in the Atlantic provinces and Quebec, where there are about 40 lobster fishing areas.However, the two zones off southwestern Nova Scotia are by far the biggest producers.Together, they accounted for 35 per cent of the $1.4-billion worth of Canadian lobster harvested last year.They hauled in 31,800 tonnes in 2017-18, generating a landed value of $502 million — the second-largest landed value on record. In 2015, they caught 39,000 tonnes valued at a record $567 million.In 2016, auto dealerships in southwestern Nova Scotia reported strong sales, with at least one dealer saying it wasn’t unusual to see lobster fishermen paying $65,000 in cash for a new pickup.As well, local boat builders have reported a growing backlog on orders for vessels worth upwards of $500,000.Even though landings in southwest Nova Scotia have doubled since the late 1990s, demand for the tasty crustaceans has kept pace and the lobster population appears to be in good shape — thanks in part to a lack of predators, like cod.Last year, Canada exported 21-million kilograms of live lobster to the United States, and about 10-million kilograms to China.Geoff Irvine, executive director of the Lobster Council of Canada, said the Chinese tariff on U.S. lobster has provided a big boost for the Canadian industry.“The Chinese, basically, stopped buying U.S. lobster,” said Irvine, whose advocacy group represents harvesters, live shippers, processors and First Nations. “They needed lobster, and they started buying (more) from Canada. That has caused quite a dramatic jump.”Published reports have suggested some American lobster buyers are shipping their lobster into Canada, where they are being labelled as a Canadian product to avoid the Chinese tariff.Meanwhile, Canada’s year-old free trade deal with the European Union, which reduced an eight per cent tariff on live lobster to zero, has led to a 55 per cent increase in exports to Europe, according to federal figures.“In Europe, we have a very strong advantage over the Americans,” said Berry, noting that the tariff remains in place for U.S. lobster.Amid all of this good news, fishermen in southwest Nova Scotia are expecting a good price at the dock for their catches. When two other lobster fishing areas opened in the Bay of Fundy earlier this fall, fishermen were getting at least $7 per pound, Berry said.“That bodes well for us,” he said, adding that prices at this time last year were hovering around $5.50 — a price that allows fishing boat captains to turn a profit.Earlier this month, Nova Scotians were reminded of the growing importance of live lobster exports to China when a Boeing 747 cargo jet operated by SkyLease Cargo overshot a runway at Halifax Stanfield International Airport. No one was seriously injured, but a 120-tonne shipment of live lobster had to find another flight to Asia.In August, airport officials announced SkyLease would be operating two flights a week for First Catch, a Chinese-owned seafood freight forwarding company.Michael MacDonald, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

NDP legislators urge Ottawa to provide stable funding to Indigenous Theatre

first_imgFollow @dfriend on Twitter. David Friend, The Canadian Press New Democrat legislators are calling on the Liberal government to reconsider a decision that denies funding to the National Arts Centre’s Indigenous Theatre.Five NDP members of parliament signed a letter on Friday to Heritage Minister Pablo Rodriguez urging a commitment to stable funding for the Indigenous theatre project, which launches its inaugural season this year.The letter says while the federal government has pledged to protect and promote Indigenous cultures and history, it “must go much further” and that includes acknowledging Indigenous cultures “as a foundational pillar of Canadian culture.”Playwright Kevin Loring, the first-ever artistic director of the NAC’s Indigenous program, posted a note on Facebook earlier this month lamenting a lack of support for the project from Canadian Heritage in the 2019 federal budget.He said it will have a tangible impact on the first season, leaving the Ottawa-based performing arts centre to rely on fundraising efforts. The scope of any subsequent seasons remains in question.The NDP MPs say the new theatre was created as a space for Indigenous people to share their stories “in the heart of our country’s capital for all to see and hear.”“Support for such a vision is key to reconciliation,” the letter added.New Democrat MP Niki Ashton asked the Liberals during question period on Monday why the government isn’t supporting the theatre program. Gary Anandasangaree, parliamentary secretary to Heritage Minister Rodriguez, responded saying the Liberals are working on reconciliation efforts.  The first season’s lineup of NAC’s Indigenous Theatre is scheduled to be announced on April 30.last_img read more

Former foster child remembers BC shooting victim as loving and supportive

first_imgSALMON ARM , B.C. — A former foster child of a Salmon Arm, British Columbia shooting victim is remembering Gordon Parmenter as the man who helped him discover his potential.The foster child, who can’t be named, has identified Parmenter as the man shot to death Sunday at a church in Salmon Arm, about 100 kilometres north of Kelowna.Salmon Arm RCMP confirm the shooting, which also seriously injured a second man in the church before other parishioners wrestled a 25-year-old man to the ground and held him until police arrived. In a statement to The Canadian Press, the former foster child says he lived with Parmenter and his wife Peggy from 2012 or 2013 until he aged out of the system in 2017.The statement says without Parmenter’s help, he would never have completed high school, discovered his love of music or continued to college, adding that he wept for an hour upon learning of the death.Charges are pending and police say the suspect knew at least one of the victims, but they note that the attack was not religiously motivated, nor has it created any ongoing risk to public safety.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Victoria aims to eliminate public transit fares to encourage more riders

first_imgVictoria wants to eliminate public transit fares for everyone in the region as a way to reduce the impacts of climate change.Mayor Lisa Helps will bring a motion to the regional transit commission Monday, asking it to embrace a policy of phasing out user fees and expand bus service to meet an anticipated increase in demand.Coun. Ben Isitt, who introduced the motion that was passed Thursday by council, says it would begin with the elimination of fares for youth under 19 next year and the broader community would be phased in.He says the transit system currently depends on $40 million in annual revenue from fares but is primarily funded through taxation in the form of provincial subsidies, gas taxes and property taxes.He says the proposal would see fares eliminated and the existing taxation formula expanded.The policy is already in place in jurisdictions like Luxembourg and Estonia, while youth ride free in Kingston, Ont.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Robin Roberts Celebrates Life With Be The Match

first_imgCalling it her “one-year birthday wish,” ABC’s “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts is asking people to join the Be The Match Registry® in celebration of the life-saving bone marrow transplant she received last September.This appeal for registry members, captured in a new public service announcement (PSA), is Roberts’ latest effort to raise awareness about Be The Match®, the nonprofit organization dedicated to helping patients with blood cancers like leukemia receive life-saving bone marrow and umbilical cord blood transplants.The new PSA premiered on “GMA” on Sept. 20. It builds on a series of PSAs, outdoor advertisements and more that Roberts has embarked on since partnering with Be The Match in 2012.Roberts began her crusade to recruit bone marrow donors shortly following her announcement on national television that she was battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) and would need a bone marrow transplant to survive. Though her sister Sally-Ann was a perfect match, Roberts has worked tirelessly to raise awareness, hoping that other patients may find their perfectly matched donors.These efforts have ignited an incredible, and unprecedented, outpouring of support for Be The Match, with tens of thousands of people joining the registry as potential bone marrow donors. To recognize Roberts for all that she has done to help blood cancer patients everywhere, Be The Match recently honored Roberts with its Rod Carew Leadership Award—an award reserved for individuals who have made a profound difference in the lives of patients and their families through their leadership and commitment to Be The Match’s mission.Be The Match Honors ABC’s Robin Roberts with its Rod Carew Leadership AwardCredit/Copyright: PRNewsFoto/Be The Match“I was fortunate to receive a life-saving bone marrow transplant from my sister. But when I learned about the great need for bone marrow donors, especially in the African American community, I knew there was an important message to spread,” Roberts said in accepting the award via video on Sept. 21, during the sixth annual Be The Match Tribute fundraising event in Minneapolis. “I’ve been humbled by those people who’ve gone on to donate after hearing about my experiences, and it’s an honor to receive an award that bears Rod’s name and legacy.”Rod Carew, the baseball Hall-of-Famer, has been a leading advocate for a diverse donor registry since losing his daughter, Michelle, to leukemia in 1996. No one in Michelle’s family could provide a match, and their many efforts to find a suitable unrelated donor were unsuccessful.“Robin is a symbol of leadership and courage. She overcame incredible obstacles and continues to advocate on behalf of blood cancer patients,” said Jeffrey W. Chell, M.D., chief executive officer of Be The Match. “We are grateful for her support, amazed by her grace and honored to present her with the Rod Carew Leadership Award.”Robin Roberts’ Prayer For Protection wristbands at ShopBeTheMatch.org and Sephora – Time Square.Credit/Copyright: PRNewsFoto/Be The MatchIn addition to Robert’s awareness efforts, more than 325,000 “Robin Roberts’ Prayer for Protection” wristbands—designed by Roberts’ friends—have been sold to-date. One hundred percent of the net proceeds support the Be The Match mission to save lives through bone marrow transplants. The wristbands are available for purchase in packs of five for $5 at ShopBeTheMatch.org and two Time Square Sephora locations in New York City. Starting in mid-October, the wristbands also will be available for purchase online on the “Good Morning America” page at the official ABC TV Fan Store.About Be The MatchFor people with life-threatening blood cancers—like leukemia and lymphoma—or other diseases, a cure exists. Be The Match connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord blood transplant. People can contribute to the cure as a member of the Be The Match Registry, financial contributor or volunteer. Be The Match provides patients and their families one-on-one support, education, and guidance before, during and after transplant.Be The Match is operated by the National Marrow Donor Program® (NMDP), a nonprofit organization that matches patients with donors, educates health care professionals and conducts research so more lives can be saved. To learn more about the cure, visit BeTheMatch.org or call 1 (800) MARROW-2.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

Anna Eastedens Kaunis Launch Party To Benefit Toys For Tots

first_imgOn Sunday November 24, 2013 Anna Easteden is hosting the launch party for her brand Kaunis to benefit Toys for Tots at Coast Anabelle Hotel.Kaunis Facial MaskGuests are invited to bring a toy to donate to Toys For Tots, indulge in facials by Anna, cupcakes by Cupcake Wars Winner: Bubba Sweets, gift bags by Lisa Kline and photos on the “pink” carpet. The Toys For Tots Marines will be on site collecting toys and available for photo opportunities.Kaunis started when creator, Anna Easteden, had really dry, flaky skin with acne that would last for weeks. She felt she had tried pretty much every single skin care product out there, ranging from cheaper drugstore brands to the most expensive and high-end products. This lead to the beginning of extensive research of different products, ingredients, vitamins, supplements and much more. Her persistence eventually lead her to improved skin that was beautiful, glowing, clear and younger-looking. Kaunis values great ingredients, which is why their products contain ingredients that are certified organic. They also value animals, so none of their products are tested on animals and all the products are vegetarian formulas. Kaunis is a Finnish word that means “beautiful”… For more information please visit www.shopkaunis.com.Anna Easteden is a Finnish–born farmer’s daughter, an international model and a Los Angeles based award nominated actress. She started her career as a teenager after receiving a large modeling contract with a Japanese modeling agency. In Tokyo she modeled for: Kanebo, Sony, Nissen, Wacoal, Oricom, NEC and Lux, among many others. US work includes: Salvatore Ferragamo, Calvin Klein, XOXO, Hermes, Diesel, Pony, T-Mobile, Toyo Tires, Michael Antonio, and Jockey. Anna has acted notable TV-shows, such as: “Two and a Half Men”, “Bones,” “Days Of Our Lives” and “Passions.” Her award nomination came from the Method Fest Film Festival from her portrayal of Nina in the film by Mika Kaurismäki, “The House of Branching Love”, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In Finland, Anna is the host of “Wipeout”, the same show as in America, but in Finnish, on FOX. For more information on Anna please visit www.AnnaEasteden.com.KAUNIS LAUNCH PARTY:DATE: Sunday, November 24, 2013EVENT TIME: 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.PRESS/MEDIA CHECK IN: 12:45PINK CARPET: 1:00 p.m. –1:30p.m.LOCATION: Coast Anabelle Hotel, 2011 W. Olive Ave. Burbank, CAPress/media/celebrity RSVP: mistyepr@gmail.comFind out more here.Copyright ©2013Look to the Starslast_img read more

Piper Perabo Shares Experiences Of Visiting Syrian Refugees In Greece

first_imgPiper Perabo – in partnership with WhoSay and the International Rescue Committee – recently visited Syrian refugees in Greece, and has written about her experiences.Piper Perabo meets refugees who have landed on the Greek island of LesbosCredit/Copyright: ZEpaminondas/IRC“A few weeks ago, I went to Greece with the International Rescue Committee — (the IRC) — a global humanitarian aid , relief, and development nongovernmental organization — to help out in any way I could,” she wrote. “The Greek island of Lesbos is the closest to the shores of Turkey, so thousands of people arrive on these flimsy, rubber boats each day. On Lesbos, both refugees and inhabitants need all the help they can get.“During the few days I was there, the IRC staff, along with local officials and volunteers, helped register more than 15,000 people. But that’s not all they did. They greeted incoming boats, organized buses for people traversing the mountain roads, cleaned the transit camp, and provided shelter and assistance to the most vulnerable — all the while treating people with dignity and humanity.“What stood out to me most was just how incredibly patient and full of good will the Greek people and the refugees were after all they have been through. I got to know dozens of them during my time on the island and was moved by their kindness, sheer determination, and concern for one another.”To read the full blog, click here.last_img read more