Make way for catastrophe

first_imgThe Guardian, a British daily newspaper, has decided to change the language it uses for Climate Change. It will replace the term ‘Climate Change’ with terms like ‘climate emergency, crisis or breakdown’ and it will favour ‘global heating’ instead of ‘global warming’. Explaining this change, Editor-in-chief Katherine Viner stated, “The phrase ‘Climate Change’, for example, sounds rather passive and gentle when what scientists are talking about is a catastrophe for humanity.” The Guardian is not the only one that has decided to change its language and approach to climate change. Also Read – A staunch allyAcross the world, there is a groundswell of opinion that we have to do something drastic to avert the impending climate catastrophe. This all started with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, giving just 12 years for limiting warming to less than 1.5°C to avoid climate catastrophe. Since then, all scientific reports that have been published indicate that we are moving to the precipice. The latest report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), shows that the health of the ecosystems on which our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life depend, is deteriorating more rapidly than ever anticipated. Around one million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades — more than ever before in human history — and global warming is playing a significant role in this, finds the report. Also Read – Cuban pathosTaking a cue from these dire predictions, slowly, a grassroots movement is emerging in the developed world that is demanding drastic emissions cuts. Led by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish school girl demanding immediate action on Climate Change, thousands of school pupils in Europe have started abandoning classrooms since late last year, for a day every month, to protest against climate change. Extinction Rebellion, an international movement demanding radical changes, locked-down central London for ten days — their protest forced the United Kingdom parliament to declare a national climate emergency. Activists are now working with governments — from local to national — to declare a climate emergency and come out with plans to end the emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) that are heating the planet. Scotland has already declared a climate emergency and is setting targets to reduce GHG emissions to net-zero by 2045. The New Zealand parliament is likely to vote soon on this issue. But what about India? Is there a groundswell of public opinion in favour of drastic action on climate emergency? Unfortunately, no. There is a little recognition of climate emergency itself. The environmental non-profits and think-tanks are stuck in the politics of developed vs. developing countries, in the process, getting quite busy in their meaningless blame game. The bureaucracy likes nothing better than status quo and our political masters have remarkably little understanding of the concern. Their level of seriousness can be gauged by the fact that during the entire 2019 Lok Sabha election campaign, the term “Climate Change” was not even uttered by one among our many top political leaders. But, there is a climate emergency and there is little better than us recognising this quickly. Just look at the extreme weather conditions in the last month in different parts of India: The east coast was hit by Cyclone Fani in the beginning of May. Because of the exceptionally accurate predictions of India Meteorological Department (IMD), we saved thousands of lives. But the economic loss nevertheless caused in Odisha is estimated to be in excess of Rs 50,000 crore. It will take Odisha many years to reconstruct and pull people out of poverty. Maharashtra and Karnataka are reeling under drought, with 80 per cent of districts in Karnataka and 72 per cent in Maharashtra suffering from water scarcity and crop failure. Heatwave gripped different parts of the country and claimed lives in states like Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Telangana and Maharashtra. Dust and thunderstorms swept through the west, central and north India as a major weather disturbance pummelled the region, claiming the lives of at least 64 people (the same number as Cyclone Fani), a majority of them in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat. These are going to get worse as the global temperature rise inches towards 1.5°C in a few years. As I have written before, India is going to be the worst sufferer of the climate catastrophe. It is, therefore, in our interest to take the lead in reducing emissions and building resilience in our economy, infrastructure and ecosystems to withstand the onslaught of the changing climate and its extreme impacts. As a rejuvenated government has now taken office, it is imperative that it recognises the climate emergency and takes serious measures to address it. These are some of the key actions that the new government must take if it wants to seriously address the climate emergency: Move to electricity: Electricity currently meet less than 20 per cent of our final energy consumption. The remaining 80 per cent is met by direct burning of fuels, mostly fossil fuels, in industry, transport and for cooking food. We must put a roadmap to meet at least 80 per cent of our final energy needs in the form of electricity. This will mean that we will have to shift industry, transport and cooking to electricity. This has an added benefit of reducing air pollution significantly. De-carbonise the electricity sector: The electricity sector is at a critical juncture. The falling cost of renewable power and grid-scale storage point us to the fact that a 100 per cent renewable-based electricity supply is technically and economically feasible in the not-too-distant future. The country needs an ambitious goal to generate 100 per cent electricity from non-fossil fuel sources by 2050. Protect ecosystems: Our protection lies in the protection of all ecosystems. A healthy and vibrant ecosystem — from mangroves to forests to floodplains to rivers to land — will build our resilience to withstand the worst impacts of climate catastrophe. Institute safety nets: Millions of people will lose their crops, homes and businesses every year because of extreme weather events. There is an urgent need to put affordable and effective safety nets to save them from total ruins. For this, safety nets like agriculture insurance, home and business insurance or other compensation programmes must be strengthened. Monitor, Forecast & Warn: The changing weather pattern will require massive investments in forecasting and warning systems. From agro-meteorological advisory to warning farmers about inclement weather to predicting cyclones and extreme rainfalls — forecasting and warning systems will go a long way in saving lives and building resilience in our economy. Lastly, and most importantly, let us recognise that climate emergency is real and occurring — let us take this message to all and build a groundswell of opinion in favour of real action to prevent climate catastrophe. (The author is Deputy Director General, Centre for Science and Environment. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

AprilJune smartphone shipments slip marginally to 33 million units

first_imgNew Delhi: Smartphone shipment in India saw a marginal fall with 33 million units being shipped in the second quarter ended June, according to research firm Canalys.A total of 33.1 million units were shipped in the country in the second quarter of 2018, the data from Canalys showed. “Smartphone shipment slipped 0.5 per cent in India in Q2 2019 as feature phone users refrained from upgrading to smartphones,” it said. Chinese firm Xiaomi led the tally with 10.3 million or 31 per cent market share to mark eight straight quarters as market leader, followed by South Korean tech giant Samsung that saw a shipment of 7.3 million units (22 per cent share) in the quarter. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalVivo had 18 per cent share (5.8 million units), followed by Oppo with 9 per cent (3 million) and Realme at 8 per cent share (2.7 million), it added. “The decline in the market is not a cause of worry. However, the lack of growth is against the expectation of several major vendors. Feature phone users are not taking to smartphones as quickly as the industry had expected and the bulk of growth in the Indian smartphone market is now coming from users who are upgrading their devices to a USD 200 (about Rs 15,000) or even a USD 300 (about Rs 20,000) smartphone,” Canalys Research Director Rushabh Doshi said.last_img read more

Our heart was almost stopping ISRO Chief Sivan after lunar orbit insertion

first_imgBengaluru: “Our heart was almost stopping”, was how ISRO Chairman K Sivan described the tense moment when team Chadrayaan-2 attempted to inject the spacecraft into the lunar orbit on Tuesday.As ISRO scientists started firing Chandrayaan-2’s onboard liquid engine to put the spacecraft in an orbit around the Moon, Sivan said “our heartbeat increased”. “For 30 minutes, our heart was almost stopping,” he told a press conference after the Lunar Orbit Insertion (LOI) maneuver was completed successfully at 0902 hours as planned, using the onboard propulsion system. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’But Sivan said the proposed soft-landing on the Moon on September 7 is going to be a “terrifying” moment as it is something ISRO has not done before, whereas LOI maneuver had been carried out successfully during the Chandrayaan-1 mission. “Now the tension has only increased, not reduced,” he said. However, ISRO was confident about the soft-landing. “We have done enough tests, simulations…sub-systems, systems…sensor level…whatever humanly possible, we did,” he added. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KChandrayaan-2, launched on July 22 by GSLV MkIII-M1 vehicle, had entered the Lunar Transfer Trajectory on August 14. Chandryaan-2 comprises an Orbiter, Lander (Vikram) and Rover (Pragyaan). The mission life of Orbiter would be one year, whereas that of lander (Vikram) and rover (Pragyan) would be one Lunar day, which is equal to 14 earth days. According to ISRO, Chandrayaan 2 — India’s second lunar expedition — would shed light on a completely unexplored section of the Moon, its South Polar region. “This mission will help us gain a better understanding of the origin and evolution of the Moon by conducting detailed topographical studies, comprehensive mineralogical analyses, and a host of other experiments on the lunar surface”, the space agency had said. “While there, we will also explore discoveries made by Chandrayaan 1, such as the presence of water molecules on the Moon and new rock types with unique chemical composition”, it was stated.last_img read more

US experts hail Trumps decision on joining Modi in Houston for Howdy

first_imgWashington: Top American experts on India have hailed President Donald Trump’s decision on joining Prime Minster Narendra Modi for the mega diaspora event “Howdy, Mody!” in Houston on September 22 and jointly address a record crowd of more than 50,000 Indian-Americans. On Monday, White House announced that Trump will participate in the “Howdy, Modi! Shared Dreams, Bright Futures, event with Prime Minister Modi. The message will undoubtedly be one of strengthening the strategic partnership, as well as supporting Modi personally, the experts said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “It will be a great opportunity to emphasise the strong ties between the people of the United States and India, to reaffirm the strategic partnership between the world’s oldest and largest democracies, and to discuss ways to deepen their energy and trade relationship,” White House Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham said. “The decision by President Trump to attend the event in Houston sends a strong message that the issue of Kashmir is a bilateral issue between India and Pakistan and Article 370 is an internal issue for India. It also sends a message that the Trump administration is not bothered by the noise created by Pakistan and its Prime Minister Imran Khan,” Mukesh Aghi president of US India Strategic and Partnership Forum told PTI. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “It is a win-win for both the leaders: For Prime Minister Modi the fact that President Trump has agreed to come and show support to the Prime Minister and to India that he values this relationship. For President Trump that he gets a captive audience of Indian-Americans, a community that contributes significantly to political campaign,” he said. More than 50,000 Indian-Americans from across the US have already registered for the mega diaspora event to be held at the sprawling NRG Stadium in Houston. “It send a message globally that India-US relationship is important and critical and by Pres Trump attending the event shows the further strengthening of the partnership,” Aghi said. “Prime Minister Modi’s visit is an opportunity to take the US-India relationship to new levels. President Trump travelling to Texas, along with a bipartisan Congressional delegation, signals the importance that the United States places on our strategic partnership with India,” said Nisha Desai Biswal, president of US India Business Council (USIBC). “I do not have a sense of whether this is entirely without precedent or not (the fact of a foreign head of government addressing such a large crowd and the accompaniment of the US president). It does suggest a desire on the president’s part to put forward a show of support for Modi, coming on the heels of a tough period on the trade front, and tensions over Trump’s Kashmir mediation offer,” said Alyssa Ayres from the Council on Foreign Relations. “President Trump’s decision to attend Modi’s rally is a significant signal of the importance that this administration places on its relationship with India,” said Anish Goel from New America think-tank. This signifies a further strengthening of US-India ties and comes at a critical time for both countries in the realms of trade and mutual security, said M Rangaswami, an eminent Indian American from the Silicon Valley, a top venture capitalist and philanthropist. “It is frankly risky for any world leader to share a stage with President Trump. But Modi may well be able to use this event, and Trump’s participation, to smooth the way for some modest substantive agreement on trade, or to divert attention from the gradually rising chorus of American concerns over India’s policies in Kashmir,” noted Joshua White, a former White House national security official under the previous Obama Administration. Despite US-India tensions over a growing range of issues, President Trump respects Prime Minister Modi, said Rick Rossow from the Centre for Strategic and International Relations think-tank. “His decision to join Prime Minister Modi in Houston is significant, showing that the upside of our relationship still outweighs these short-term differences. Head-of-state engagements provide important opportunities to attempt to resolve differences, notably our long list of trade concerns,” he said. Ayres, however, noted that Modi will arrive in the US to concern about the long period over which Kashmiri politicians have been detained and communications blocked in the region, and the US media will likely have questions about why the world’s largest democracy has taken these harsh steps. “Personally, I hope the politicians will be released ASAP and communications restored to normal,” she said.last_img read more

Federal justice minister wants legal alcohol limit for drivers lowered

first_imgFederal Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould is considering lowering the legal alcohol limit for licensed drivers, according to a letter she sent to her Quebec counterpart.In the correspondence sent to Stephanie Vallee on May 23, Wilson-Raybould suggests lowering the limit to 50 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood from the current 80 milligrams.The federal minister said the change would “make it easier to fight the danger posed by drivers who have consumed alcohol.”She said the current rules were established after research indicated the risk of being involved in a car crash was twice as likely when a driver has 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood in his or her system.“More recent research indicates the initial data underestimated that risk,” she wrote.Wilson-Raybould said the risk is twice as high at 50 milligrams and close to three times as high for 80 milligrams, “and the risk increases exponentially after that.”The minister said in her letter to Vallee she was eager to hear her colleague’s thoughts on the proposed legislative change.Neither Wilson-Raybould nor Vallee was available for interviews Tuesday.last_img read more

First Nation wants controversial sculpture by New York artist taken down

first_imgCALGARY – A First Nation near Calgary is calling on the city to remove a controversial piece of public art that has previously drawn criticism from those who don’t like the $500,000 price tag as well as those who just don’t like its looks.On Tuesday, Kevin Littlelight of the Tsuu T’ina First Nation lambasted the sculpture by New York artist Del Geist, which is called “Bowfort Towers” and is located near Canada Olympic Park.Littlelight called the sculpture — consisting of steel beams and Alberta rundle stones — offensive, saying it appears to emulate Indigenous burial scaffolding.Littlefield said the First Nation believes that attempting to reflect Indigenous symbolism without collaborating with local artists and elders “is not reflective of other recent steps by Calgary City Hall to respect Treaty 7 Nations.”Geist, who grew up in North Dakota, has previously said he did speak with Blackfoot elders and has said the use of four towers in the piece is a nod to the traditional significance of the number, but has denied accusations of cultural appropriation.The use of rock and steel has long been a staple for the artist, whose work has been displayed around the world for more than 40 years.“As an artist, using the natural sciences as a palette, he has developed major site-specific artworks throughout the U.S. and Europe,” reads the biography on his website.“His environmental artworks elicit unique qualities inherent to a place, fostering a viewer’s direct sensory experience. The stone and earth, metaphorically, contain the natural history of a region and its geology, capturing the spirit and flavour of an area.”City councillor Sean Chu, a vocal opponent of public funding for the arts, called the sculpture “the worst kind of wasteful spending of tax dollars” while many on social media have criticized the look of the piece. One person suggested it belonged in a recycling bin.Indigenous artist Adrian Stinson argued it’s up to municipalities to do a better job of vetting art projects.“The artist needs to show the group what they’re working on so that people can actually give input to say, ‘oh you know, there’s a red flag — that’s too close to a brutal platform, you might want to rethink that because you’re going to offend people,’ ” he said.Littlelight said this could be an opportunity for the city to learn from its failures, adding the First Nation would like to see elders and cultural experts help in the next step moving forward.“There’s great artists that are Albertans, Aboriginal artists that are Albertans, southern Albertans, cowboys, Indians, that should be our focus and we should be pushing that,” he said. “Nobody comes to Calgary to look at New York art.”He said he has some empathy for Geist.“I can’t really speak for him but it is a strike out,” he said. “What do you do? You have to rebuild and if I was the artist I would reach out to the art community of Treaty 7 and redo things. Diego Rivera was a great artist, he had to redo art all the time, it’s no different here.”(CFFR, CTV Calgary)last_img read more

NATO hires Canadian as special representative on women peace on security

first_imgHALIFAX – The secretary general of NATO has chosen a Canadian to handle the alliance’s agenda on the role of women in conflict.Jens Stoltenberg has appointed Clare Hutchinson as NATO’s special representative for women, peace and security.Stoltenberg told The Canadian Press that the appointment speaks to Canada’s efforts to bring a feminist perspective to peacekeeping.Canada pledged $21 million last week to help double the number of women sent on peacekeeping operations around the world.Stoltenberg says Hutchinson has worked as a gender advisor in the United Nations for ten years, and has spent time in Kosovo and Lebanon.last_img

No winning ticket for Saturday nights 9 million Lotto 649 jackpot

first_imgTORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $9 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize was claimed by a ticket purchased in Ontario.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Jan. 17 will be approximately $12 million.last_img

Quebec City mosque hosts emotional gathering to mark anniversary of massacre

first_imgQUEBEC – Widows and loved ones of the victims of the Quebec City mosque shooting fought back tears on Saturday as they attended an emotional gathering in the place where six Muslim men lost their lives last January.Almost one year after the tragedy, many of the victims and their family members who gathered at the Islamic cultural centre said they’re still struggling to move on.Safia Hamoudi, whose husband Khaled Belkacemi was one of the men who died on Jan. 29, 2017, said her mourning period isn’t over yet.She said she has trouble talking about what happened, but decided to attend Saturday’s event because she knows people need to put a face to the victims.“I’ve been approached by a lot of media, but I just haven’t had the energy to respond,” she said in an interview.More than 100 people attended the open house at the mosque, where the walls were lined with cards and messages of support from all over the world.Thouria Nafa, the wife of one of the survivors, said her husband didn’t attend the gathering with her because it was still too overwhelming for him.“It’s really emotional. It’s really something,” she said with tears in her eyes.Mohamed El Hafid, who was at the mosque on the night of the shooting, said it was hard to be back in the same place a year later.“We lost the sense of security that we had before. Unfortunately, we are marked for life with that,” he said.The event was also attended by a few dozen members of the public, who were invited to look around the mosque and observe evening prayers.Anne Pouliot and Clement Roberge, who came to the gathering from nearby Levis, said they wanted to express their support to the Muslim community a year after the shooting.“The danger is that people forget quickly,” Roberge said.“It may not heal, it may not cure. But the moment, a year later, to commemorate, is certainly a relief for the community and the people involved,” he added.The gathering was part of four days of commemorative activities that have been organized to mark the one-year anniversary of the tragedy.The events, which began Friday, include prayer services, a seminar and a spiritual rally that will bring together members of the Muslim, Jewish and First Nations communities.The commemoration ends Monday evening — the anniversary of the shooting — when people are invited to bring flowers and candles to a vigil, which will take place outdoors close to the mosque.last_img read more

Scheer says free trade believers must stick together against Trump protectionism

first_imgOTTAWA – Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer says nations that believe in free trade need to present a united front against the protectionist moves coming out of the United States.Scheer was speaking from London, where he is travelling for a week of meetings with British officials and politicians including Prime Minister Theresa May, who he met with Thursday.The trip comes during a big week in trade: International Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne signed Canada onto the 11-member nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in Chile, then flies to Paraguay to launch free trade talks with the Mercosur trading bloc — the second-biggest in the Western Hemisphere after NAFTA, including South America’s two biggest economies, Brazil and Argentina.On the flip side Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced new steel and aluminum tariffs of 25 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively — a subject Scheer said came up in many of his meetings this week. Although Canada is being exempted from the tariffs pending the outcome of NAFTA talks.Countries like Canada and the U.K. that believe in free trade need to work together to convince the U.S. that protectionism is not the right path, Scheer said.“Countries that are committed to free trade need to help each other and work together to deal with these types of issues as they come out of the United States,” said Scheer.The world managed to avoid the temptation of protectionism following the 2008 global recession, and those who believe in its benefits need to change the minds of those that don’t, he added.Scheer met with a number of different members of the British cabinet since his arrival, including foreign minister Boris Johnson and trade minister Liam Fox. However, the matter of tariffs did not come up during Scheer’s conversation with May, where they stuck to the topic of free trade between Canada and the United Kingdom.The premise of Scheer’s entire trip is to promote his promise that establishing a free trade agreement with a post-Brexit Great Britain will be a top priority for him if he wins the next election in Canada in 2019.May and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau laid the groundwork for a post-Brexit trade deal between Canada and the U.K. last fall when May visited Ottawa. They plan to use the Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement, or CETA, as the template, tweaking it where needed. Britain is Canada’s biggest trading partner in the EU currently.May set up a working group to explore the work necessary for a seamless transfer of CETA into a Canada-U.K. trade agreement after Britain leaves the EU, currently scheduled to happen a year from now.Scheer says he isn’t in England to criticize the current government’s work on the file, but to stress how important it would be in a Conservative government in Canada.Scheer also said his party is very concerned about the status of NAFTA negotiations and while he says any Canadian government would be challenged to deal with the Trump administration, the Liberals could have eased some anxieties by putting contingencies in the recent budget in the case NAFTA talks go badly.— follow @mrabson on Twitterlast_img read more

Doctors billing patients for private services to face fines in BC

first_imgVANCOUVER – Doctors who bill patients for health-care services outside the public system could face criminal charges and fines in British Columbia as the NDP government enforces a law introduced by the Liberals over a decade ago.Health Minister Adrian Dix said that starting in October, patients will have the right to file a complaint against a doctor who has charged them for services covered by medicare, including surgery or diagnostic procedures such as MRIs.“It’s the government’s responsibility to strengthen the system and focus on improvements that prevent the need for parallel systems where people feel they need to buy their way to the front of the line,” Dix said Wednesday.Physicians who refuse to refund patients could be fined $10,000 for a first offence and $20,000 for a second infraction, he said, adding a criminal conviction could mean they’d be banned from billing the Medical Services Plan.Patients who do not get their money back would be refunded by the Medical Services Commission, which will handle complaints and try to recover the cash directly from physicians so people don’t have to launch legal action, the Health Ministry said.Charging patients for publicly paid health services is prohibited under the Canada Health Act and British Columbia’s Medicare Protection Act.“It’s our expectation that those providing health care in British Columbia follow the law and that our laws protect people, protect patients,” Dix said. “In British Columbia, we’ve had an approach, really, over a long period of time, of ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ with respect to these issues. And that approach, I think, has to end.”The changes will affect 56 private surgical clinics and 17 private MRI facilities in the province, and Dix said they will now be required to follow the law that prevents extra billing.“Previous health ministers, previous premiers, those I’ll name, Premier (Christy) Clark and Premier (Gordon) Campbell, had said they would act on this question, and they did not. Today, we are taking steps to protect patients and our public health-care system by bringing into force sections of the Medicare Protection Act that was passed unanimously by the legislative assembly in 2003.”Based on audits, Health Canada estimated extra billing in British Columbia came to $15.9 million in 2015-16. The federal government reduced funding to the province by the same amount this year.Dix said the province will be asking Ottawa to return the money, which could pay for 53,000 MRIs as well as thousands of surgeries.He said British Columbia’s laws against extra billing will now be brought to the same standard of those in Alberta and Ontario, where patients are repaid if they are charged for services.Dr. Michael Klein, a board member of Canadian Doctors for Medicare, said he’s pleased with the enforcement aspect of the announcement as well as increased funding already announced to allow for more hip and knee replacements through a centrally managed surgical wait list.“If you’re not providing sufficient money to keep operating rooms open and running diagnostic facilities, that becomes an incentive for entrepreneurs to do what they’ve done,” he said of private clinics.Orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brian Day, who launched a B.C. Supreme Court lawsuit to argue for patients’ constitutional right to pay for speedier surgery, said court proceedings that have been on hold for several months involving his Cambie Surgery Centre are set to resume on Monday.“If the clinics all close, which they could, those people would be added to the public wait lists,” he said.“We’re talking about children waiting for spinal surgery and people waiting for cataract surgery.”Day opened his clinic in 1996 when the NDP was in power. The clinic was among four that were recently audited by the federal government.— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version incorrectly reported trial resumes on Tuesday, in para 15.last_img read more

Kookies for Khloe Kardashian Manitoba cookie company gets custom order

first_imgWINNIPEG – A Manitoba cookie company is receiving praise from Khloe Kardashian for custom creations featuring her daughter True.The famous Kardashian posted a photo of the custom-order cookies made by Winnipeg’s Scientific Sweets on Instagram.“I have never seen cuter cookies in all my life,” Kardashian proclaimed in a video showcasing the cookies on social media.Scientific Sweets was created by Jenn Strauman and Mary Lou Vendivil a couple of years ago. Both work as laboratory technicians in a Winnipeg hospital.When they discovered they had a mutual love of baking, they started making their signature portrait sugar cookies for custom orders and to sell locally at markets.Last week, they received an email from someone claiming to be Kardashian’s assistant who spotted the duo’s work on Instagram.“At first we thought it was a joke. It can’t be legit,” Strauman said with a laugh. “So we did some fact-checking and it turned out to be legit.”“We couldn’t say no. It’s the Kardashians. How can you not do it?” Vendivil added.Kardashian and two-month-old True were heading back to Los Angeles for the first time since the baby’s birth in April. There needed to be very special cookies for the occasion.The Manitoba bakers and the assistant decided to go with a theme of pink, white and flamingos. The portrait cookies were also on order.After final touches of gold lettering and pink flowers were added, the cookies were shipped south where they became a big hit in the Kardashian home on the weekend.“Oh my God, my little baby,” Kardashian says in the video as she zooms in on the cookies.The two bakers were very excited when they saw their cookies on the celebrity’s Instagram account. Vendivil said she screamed so loud her husband was concerned something bad was happening. Strauman, who was at a store, started jumping.“We are just hobby bakers in Winnipeg and for them, our cookies, to land in a celebrity’s house is just insane,” Vendivil said.While they don’t plan on quitting their day jobs just yet — Scientific Sweets currently isn’t taking any other custom orders — Strauman and Vendivil say they’d happily get their aprons on right away if another certain celebrity happened to call.“If Adam Levine asked for cookies today, I would have them tomorrow,” Strauman said.last_img read more

One year after hiking injury Manitoba premier returns to the wilderness

first_imgWINNIPEG — A year after he was seriously injured on a wilderness hike in New Mexico, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister has apparently conquered the same trail.Pallister’s press secretary says the premier and his wife, Esther, completed the Rain Creek-Mogollon Trail on Tuesday and also  thanked first responders and hospital staff who helped him last year.A New Mexico media outlet, The Grant County Beat, has published photos of Pallister handing out a Canadian flag, a Winnipeg Jets jersey and other items to hospital staff this week.Last November, Pallister got lost on the same hike and fell down a ravine in the dark.He fractured his left arm in several places before he was rescued, spent the night in hospital, and had his arm in a sling for months afterward.Pallister had said he planned to return to the area to complete the hike in the Gila Wilderness — a remote protected area with limited roads, amenities and cellphone coverage.Unlike last year, the Pallisters walked together this time, the Grant County Beat reported.Last year, thinking the trail would be a short day hike, Pallister dropped his wife off at the north end, drove to the south end and started walking toward a meet-up point halfway.The trail was much harder than expected, Pallister later said. It was covered in some areas by downed trees and washed out in others by earlier flooding. As sunset came and the desert temperature dropped, Pallister got lost.His wife had passed him at some point and she made it to the trailhead where he had started and reported him missing.Eventually, Pallister said, he saw a police spotlight, called out and walked toward it.It was at that point he started sliding down an embankment out of the spotlight’s range and broke his arm.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Serial rapist shows no sign of controlling violent sexual urges court

first_imgTORONTO — An Ontario judge has ordered a serial rapist jailed indefinitely, saying the man’s refusal to receive treatment for his violent sexual urges means he is likely to harm more women if released into the community.Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy imposed the sentence last week after designating Andrew Medford as a dangerous offender, a label applied to Canada’s most dangerous violent and sexual predators.The 28-year-old Toronto man was convicted in 2016 of multiple charges, including sexual assault and assault, in two separate court cases involving violent sexual assaults against two women.In one case in October 2013, he choked a woman until she performed oral sex on him in October 2013, then broke into her home weeks later to attack and rape her repeatedly at knifepoint.Court documents say DNA evidence in that case later linked him to a 2011 incident in which he raped another woman at knifepoint and choked her until she became unconscious.The documents say a forensic psychiatrist who assessed Medford found he has a “sexual paraphilic disorder,” likely sexual sadism, and shows a strong preference for “coercive sex with violence.”While there is no cure for sexual paraphilia, Medford’s denial of his condition and his refusal to be treated for it suggest “his deviant conduct will continue unabated, and likely escalate, if he is released into the community,” Molloy wrote in a ruling released on Sept. 11.“He prefers coercive sex to sex with a willing and consenting partner. He is likely also a sexual sadist and, if not, at the very least is sexually stimulated by violence against women. He has demonstrated a failure to control those impulses,” the judge wrote.“If he does not accept treatment and learn how to place internal controls on his behaviour, then external controls are the only way to manage the risk.”GRAPHIC WARNING: The following details may disturb some readers.At his first trial, court heard Medford had known the complainant for about a year when he sexually assaulted her in her apartment.He first asked her to perform oral sex and when she refused, he grabbed her by the throat and pushed her against the couch to the point where she felt she could not breathe, court documents say.She then performed oral sex under duress, making several attempts to stop, while Medford secretly recorded the incident on his cellphone, the documents say. When he grabbed her by the throat again, she fought back and he left her apartment.Believing he would not return, the woman did not call police, court documents say. But weeks later, in the early hours of Nov. 24, 2013, Medford forced his way into her apartment, beating and sexually assaulting her “in numerous horrific ways over an extended period of time,” the judge wrote.He threw her on a table, punched her in the face, and choked her until she became unconscious, the documents say. He then made her remove her clothes and perform oral sex at knifepoint, again recording the assault, they say.Medford then raped her despite her attempts to fight back, court heard.At one point, the woman grabbed the hand in which Medford held the knife and he pulled the knife back through her hand, badly cutting her fingers, court heard. Medford left quickly afterwards but threatened to sexually assault the woman’s daughter if she told police.After his arrest, his DNA was entered into a database, where it matched with samples taken in a 2011 attack on another woman, the documents say. The assailant in that incident had not previously been identified.In a second trial, court heard an acquaintance Medford ran into at a bar agreed to perform oral sex on him in exchange for money. The encounter, which took place in a carport next to a seniors’ home, began consensually but Medford quickly became violent, court documents say.That woman attempted to return his money and walk away but Medford pulled out a knife and threatened her, then raped her and choked her until she lost consciousness, the documents read.The woman’s screams prompted a bystander to call 911 and Medford fled when someone yelled at him.Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Alyssa Milano Marks Sons First Birthday With Charity Campaign

Aung San Suu Kyi Visits Prince Charles

first_imgNobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was reunited with The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on a visit to Britain this week.The Burmese opposition leader made a special request to see Their Royal Highnesses on a tour which also sees her meet political leaders including Prime Minister David Cameron and Foreign Secretary William Hague. The Prince and The Duchess accompanied Ms Suu Kyi into the Garden Room at their official residence in London Clarence House.The Prince settled on one sofa and The Duchess and Ms Suu Kyi sat on another as The Prince and Ms Suu Kyi began talks which were expected to last 45 minutes.Ms Suu Kyi met The Prince for the first time at the same location in June last year.This week’s meeting took place shortly before the christening of three-month-old Prince George at nearby St. James’s Palace.Ms Suu Kyi has close connections with Britain having read philosophy, politics and economics at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, between 1964 and 1967, before settling in the university city with her late husband Michael Aris, a Tibetan scholar.His Royal Highness knew Mr Aris and the year the scholar died he became Patron of the Michael Aris Memorial Trust for Tibetan and Himalayan Studies.The Prince and Ms Suu Kyi have another connection apart from his links to her late husband. Lord Mountbatten, The Prince’s great uncle, and the campaigner’s father, General Aung San, were involved in important events leading up to Burma’s independence from British rule.At last year’s meeting with The Prince, Ms Suu Kyi planted a tiny black tulip magnolia sapling in the garden. It is near a “spectrum” magnolia planted by the Dalai Lama in 2008. The Prince escorted Ms Suu Kyi into the garden to see the tree, which has made good progress since. That part of her visit had depended on the weather, but the sun was shining brightly which enabled them to brave a strong breeze to inspect the tree.The Prince told Ms Suu Kyi: “I’m so glad it’s there.” And Ms Suu Kyi replied: “It’s looking very nice.”He then accompanied her to her chauffeur-driven vehicle, with the pair shaking hands warmly before she went off to her next read more

UN Launches 500 Days Of Action To Build A Better World

first_imgWith Malala Yousafzai by his side, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon yesterday marked 500 days of action until the deadline to reach the Millennium Development Goals, known worldwide as the “MDGs.”Ban Ki-moon with Malala Yousafzai and ABC News anchor Amy Robach Credit/Copyright: UN Photo/Mark Garten“Action now will save lives, build a solid foundation for sustainable development far beyond 2015 and help lay the groundwork for lasting peace and human dignity,” the Secretary-General said at a special event at the UN Headquarters in New York.He was joined by more than 500 young people, including Ms. Yousafzai, who became an education advocate after being attacked by the Taliban on a school bus.“The ideas and inspiration of young people have been especially critical in this effort and their role must grow even more,” Mr. Ban said, underscoring the progress made in development and the importance of youth involvement in national plans to accomplish even more.The eight MDGs, agreed by world leaders at UN summit in 2000, are described as a 15-year roadmap to fight poverty, hunger and disease, protect the environment and expand education, basic health and women’s empowerment.“Against the predictions of cynics, the MDGs have helped unite, inspire and transform,” Mr. Ban noted. He highlighted that poverty has been cut in half, more girls attend school, and fewer people are dying from malaria, tuberculosis and other deadly diseases.Inequality remains a challenge, however, as does childbirth, maternal mortality, universal education, and environmental sustainability, according to a report Mr. Ban presented to Member States in July.“Now is the time for MDG Momentum,” the UN chief stressed, noting that the international community now has many more tools at its disposal than when the targets were created, ranging from the expanding reach of technology to the growing understanding of what works and what does not.In recognition of the day, members of the UN Secretary-General’s MDG Advocacy Group – including Bob Geldof, Graça Machel, Jeffrey Sachs, Ted Turner and more – released the following statement:“The MDGs are the most successful global anti-poverty push in history, opening the doors of opportunity to millions of people around the world. Over the next 500 days, our mission is clear: Keep the MDG momentum going so we pave the path for an end to extreme poverty. While we’ve come far, we have farther to go. We have an opportunity in the next 500 days to accelerate action on issues such as poverty, health, access to education, hunger, water and sanitation, and gender equality. We also have the chance to lay a strong foundation for the development agenda that will follow the MDGs.“As MDG Advocates, our aim is to foster support for and commitment to these important goals among governments, civil society, and the private sector. We look forward to publishing our MDG Advocates report next month at the UN General Assembly, which will include the viewpoints of leaders from around the globe to help focus our efforts as we move toward the MDG target date. We will need the partnership of leaders from all sectors of society if we hope to continue to make the kinds of gains that we have seen in recent years.“While our commitment to addressing the world’s most pressing challenges will continue far beyond the next 500 days, we must use this moment to encourage the world to accelerate progress and work with unfailing determination to reach these important targets. Please join us by taking part in the worldwide movement for #MDGMomentum and learn more by visiting”last_img read more

Pink Named As UNICEF Ambassador

first_imgThe U.S. Fund for UNICEF today announced the appointment of the newest UNICEF Ambassador, GRAMMY Award-winning recording artist P!nk, who will build on her current role as the UNICEF Kid Power National Spokesperson to raise awareness about UNICEF’s lifesaving health and nutrition programs around the world.As a UNICEF Ambassador, P!nk will use her voice to encourage families across the United States to get active and save lives with UNICEF Kid Power, the world’s first wearable-for-good. She will also educate the public about UNICEF’s global health and nutrition programs, and highlight UNICEF’s role in fighting global malnutrition, which impacts 159 million children worldwide.“As a mom myself, it’s devastating to know that children are suffering because they don’t have adequate nutrition. All children should be able to grow up strong and healthy, with the opportunity to reach their full potential,” said P!nk. “As a UNICEF Ambassador, I want to use my platform to help end global malnutrition, which is why I’m so excited about UNICEF Kid Power – which gets kids and families involved in saving children’s lives.”By getting active with the UNICEF Kid Power Band, kids go on missions to learn about new cultures and earn points. Points unlock funding from partners, parents and fans, and funds are used by UNICEF to deliver lifesaving packets of therapeutic food to severely malnourished children around the world.In July 2015, P!nk traveled to Haiti with UNICEF to witness first-hand the transformative impact that therapeutic food can have on malnourished children, who can be successfully treated in their own communities, and see the progress that has been made for children since an earthquake devastated the country in 2010. She visited a health center for infant care where mothers can have their children vaccinated, as well as examined and treated for severe acute malnutrition and attend breastfeeding courses. P!nk was also introduced to other UNICEF programs, including education initiatives and polio, diphtheria and whooping cough immunizations programs.“We are thrilled to have P!nk join us as the newest UNICEF Ambassador,” said Caryl M. Stern, President & CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. “As a passionate advocate for children and healthy living, P!nk demonstrates a deep commitment to our mission to put children first. We are excited that she is shining a light on the critical issue of malnutrition – which affects 1 in 4 children around the world – while continuing to support UNICEF Kid Power, and encourage families across the country to be part of the solution.”In her new appointment as a UNICEF Ambassador, P!nk joins a roster of celebrities who have advocated for children on behalf of UNICEF, including Audrey Hepburn, Tea Leoni, Sarah Jessica Parker, Laurence Fishburne, Alyssa Milano and Selena Gomez.P!nk (Alecia Moore) is an American singer, songwriter, and actress. She has released 7 records, sold over 40 million albums, 74 million singles, and has had 14 top 10 singles in the Billboard Hot 100 Chart. She is the recipient of 3 Grammy Awards, 3 Billboard Music Awards, 6 MTV Video Music Awards, 2 MTV Europe Awards, 2 People’s Choice Awards, and was named Billboard’s Woman of the Year in 2013. Her 2012 album, The Truth About Love, debuted at #1 on the Billboard Top 200 as well as in 6 other countries. P!nk made her acting debut in Lionsgate’s Thanks For Sharing alongside Gwyneth Paltrow and Mark Ruffalo in 2012.In addition to her work as a UNICEF Ambassador, she is a supporter of various charities including the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Make-A-Wish Foundation, PETA, Autism Speaks, Human Rights Campaign, and No Kid Hungry.last_img read more

First Ever CanadaWide Costume Arts and Design Awards To Be Held in

first_imgAdvertisement Toronto, ON [February 28, 2018] — Alex Kavanagh, President of the Canadian Alliance of Film & Television Costume Arts & Design (CAFTCAD)announced today the inaugural Costume Design and Arts Awards ceremony. Joanna Syrokomla, past president of CAFTCAD, will be the Chairman of the event. The CAFTCAD Awards take place in Toronto in late winter 2019.The mandate of the CAFTCAD Awards will be to promote and celebrate Canadian Costume Arts and Design and to recognize the breadth of talent, the scope of contemporary, period or fantasy elements, differing media platforms, running lengths and budgets that exist within Canadian film and media costume design and arts.“A ceremony which honours the excellence in design achievements of Canadian costumers and artisans is long overdue,” said Event Chair, Joanna Syrokomla. “Their contribution to the evolution of the Canadian film and television industry cannot be underestimated and recognizing these immense talents with a proper event that allows for nation-wide eligibility is something I am very proud to be spearheading.” Advertisement Advertisement Costume designers and artisans who are either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada and have worked on projects (feature film, short film, television, music videos, web series, commercials), which have been produced within Canada (costumes must have been primarily built/created in Canada) will be eligible. The eligibility period for the 2019 CAFTCAD Awards is January 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 for projects that have been released theatrically, online, on streaming services, on television/cable, or participated in accredited film festivals.The final list of prize categories is still in development, but will include: Film: Contemporary, Film: Period, Film: SciFi/Fantasy, TV: Contemporary, TV: Period, TV: SciFi/Fantasy, Original Web Series, Commercials, Music Videos and Short Films.About CAFTCAD:Formed in 2008, CAFTCAD is an association of individuals interested in promoting costume design for film, television and media from both an artistic and technical perspective. Our goal is to enrich our community with a national organization that is inclusive of experience and talent. The Alliance provides an open forum for discussion, networking and knowledge sharing for our members through periodic seminars, workshops, exhibits and an online forum. We explore the areas of individual design approach, illustration, and advancements in film technologies. We celebrate the richness of historic and contemporary fashion and its relationship to our craft. Our vision is to increase awareness and the value of costume arts and design as a powerful element in the collaborative process of filmmaking; furthering international recognition of the creative talent we have in Canada.About Joanne Syrokomla:With 20 years under her sparkly belt as a costume designer, Joanna Syrokomla is one of the founding members of CAFTCAD. Acting first as Secretary, then Vice President and finally as President (2013-15), she produced the Canadian premiere of “A Conversation with Edith Head” at the Buddies in Bad Times Theatre, and she worked with CAFTCAD to create the Best Costume Design Award category for the Canadian Film Festival. Her film design credits include Nellie Bly, Little Italy, Love Jacked, and The Steps. TV design includes Bitten, The L.A. Complex and web series Whatever, Linda which garnered the Mejor Vestuario (Best Costume Design) Award at the Buenos Aires Web Fest. In 2014, Joanna was nominated for the Virginia and Myrtle Cooper Award, awarded to professional Canadian costume designers in Ontario in mid-career to further enrich their careers through research and travel. Twitter Login/Register With: Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more


first_imgWriters who want to work in animated comedies need to love animated comedies. This means watching animated series that they love, and also those they … love less.Animated comedies are often required to create episodes that have some serious genre tropes, such as a Christmas special, a Halloween episode, and the all-too-familiar birthday episode. Get inspired in your own writing by watching how other series approach these specials without falling into clichés – which requires a creative approach to the characters and their flaws, personalities and desires.A premise is a simple idea, which lays out a beginning, middle, and end. The intention behind a premise is to sell the story, while being short, simple and communicative. The premise should match the characters and the format of the show, but should also be unique and imaginative. Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook CFC and DHX recently teamed up to host a bootcamp for 25 CFC alumni on writing for animation, where participants learned from Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs series creators Mark Evestaff and Alex Galatis as they deconstructed their creative process on this Saturn Award-nominated series.Evestaff and Galatis shared inspiring and practical insights on writing for an animated comedy series learned throughout their years of experience. Here are a few of the great takeaways from the bootcamp that are especially helpful for creators looking to break into the animated comedy world: Login/Register With: ‘Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs’ Advertisementlast_img read more