Kargil seeks to shrug off its war zone tag claim place as

first_imgLeh: Keen to shrug off its “war zone” tag, around 500 families in Kargil are looking to the Centre to pump funds and promote the region as a tourist destination internationally after the move to accord it Union Territory status.During the tourism minister’s three day visit to Leh last week, tour operators and hoteliers from the region appealed to him to focus on Kargil, which they claimed is still living in the shadow of the 1999 Kargil war between India and Pakistan. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Even 20 years after the war, if you type Kargil in a search engine, the first result that pops up is Kargil war. That is so unfair to the people of the region whose mainstay is tourism. Because of the war zone tag, we have never realised our potential of being a tourist destination despite the region having various places of interest,” said Ashraf Ali from the All Kargil Travel, Trade Association. The Kargil war lasted for nearly three months, killed more than 500 Indian and nearly 400 Pakistani soldiers, and ended with India pushing back Pakistani fighters to the other side of the LoC successfully. While Pakistan called its operation to take over the control of Indian posts along the LoC as Operation Badr, India called its offensive Operation Vijay. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KWith the Narendra Modi government according Leh and Kargil Union Territory status on August 5, both these previous districts of Jammu and Kashmir hope to come out of the shadow of violence associated with the Valley. However, for Kargil, the focus is now to ensure that it gets its share from the union government and is not overshadowed by Leh, which, they claimed was now the Centre’s darling. “In all the discussions that are going on, it is Leh and not Kargil that is in focus. We have the Aryan Valley, the Suru Valley, Drass, Zanskar Valley which could be promoted as tourist destinations. Also, we have three Buddha rock carvings which are the last such carvings after the Bamyan statues were destroyed in Afghanistan by the Taliban. These statues have been left unprotected and unpreserved,” said Md Hasnen Rangyul, a hotelier who was part of the delegation from the region. While Kargil gets around 1.25 lakh tourists every year, it is usually treated as a “transit camp”, they said. Kargil is placed midway between Leh and Srinagar and thus used by tourists as a resting point before their onward journey. “All we get are tourists who stay the night at our hotels and leave the next morning after breakfast. That’s not tourism, its like treating the region as a transit camp. Around 3000 foreigners from Japan, Korea come to Kargil to see the Buddha carvings and also enjoy the apricot blooming season. We want the government to promote us internationally and include us in its various circuits,” said Ali. However, surprisingly, it is Bollywood that is giving them some solace, specially Karan Johar’s Dharma Productions. While parts of Johar’s earlier film, Kalank was shot here, it is ironically a film on Capt Vikram Batra who was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India’s highest and most prestigious award for valour, for his actions during the 1999 Kargil War, which is giving the region some succour. “The entire team is shooting there for months. So, as this news comes, we want to tell the international community and the domestic tourists to come to Kargil and stay here. We have around 30 hotels, beautiful peaks which are covered with snow for 12 months and people who are immensely hospitable. Kargil’s area is 15000 sq km, bigger than Kashmir Valley and is as beautiful,” appealed Ali. The government on its part has promised equal distribution of opportunities and funds for Leh and Kargil, assuring the stakeholders in both the regions that the focus is on boosting tourism. Come November 1, when the PM is expected to announce the modalities for the two regions as UTs, Kargil will be hoping it gets enough to resurrect and reinvent itself as one of India’s prime tourist destinations. PTIlast_img read more

Trudeau Notley welcome BCs Horgan despite Trans Mountain pipeline rift

first_imgVANCOUVER – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Alberta Premier Rachel Notley have welcomed British Columbia’s new premier-designate John Horgan despite simmering tensions over the Trans Mountain pipeline project.Horgan, a New Democrat, has promised to use every tool available to halt the $7.4-billion expansion of the Alberta-to-B.C. pipeline. The project has been approved by the federal government and is seen as crucial to revitalizing Alberta’s oilsands.During the B.C. election campaign, Notley, who leads the NDP in Alberta, banned her staff from working to elect Horgan due to their disagreement over the project. Trudeau, at a stop in Metro Vancouver last month, suggested the B.C. NDP’s position was “wrong.”But on Friday, a day after Christy Clark’s Liberal government was defeated in a non-confidence vote in the provincial legislature, both Notley and Trudeau issued statements that avoided the touchy subject of the pipeline.“I look forward to working closely with premier-designate Horgan to deliver real results on the issues that matter to British Columbians and to all Canadians,” Trudeau said.“By coming together in a spirit of co-operation, I am confident that we can grow the industries and sectors at the heart of the province’s prosperity, while promoting clean growth and innovation and investing in public transit and green infrastructure.”The prime minister also said he looked forward to working with Horgan to implement the recommendations from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.Trudeau thanked Clark for her work as premier and her public service contributions to the province and the country.Horgan told Vancouver radio station CKNW on Friday that stopping Trans Mountain was not his top priority. He said he will focus his attention first on other issues including the opioid crisis and housing.He has not said which tools he will use to try to stop the pipeline, apart from saying legal and regulatory options are available.In her statement, Notley offered “heartfelt congratulations” to Horgan and appreciation and thanks to Clark.“Alberta and British Columbia share more than a border. We are bound together by deep personal and economic ties and a commitment to building strong communities with good jobs, strong public services and a clean environment,” Notley said.“I know that premier-designate Horgan is a champion for these values. I look forward to working with him and his new government to advance our shared interests and to make life better for the people of our two provinces.”last_img read more

Social ABCs program aims to give autistic children their voice researchers

first_imgTORONTO – Alex Munro and his mom Jenn Potenza swoosh down a slide side-by-side, the six-year-old grinning at her with delight and chattering non-stop as the pair dash from one part of the brightly coloured playground to the next.This parent-child interaction may not seem like anything out of the ordinary — but for Potenza, every smile and every word from her son is a treasured gift.Alex has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and at age three, he didn’t speak and rarely made direct eye contact with his parents, common symptoms of the neurological condition that affects an estimated one in every 68 children.“They told me in the beginning that he may never learn to talk, he may never be able to go to a regular classroom,” Potenza recalls doctors saying after Alex was diagnosed with a relatively severe form of ASD at age two.But thanks to an innovative program being studied at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto, Alex has found his voice.Known as the Social ABCs, the program teaches parents strategies to help toddlers with ASD to talk or vocalize in more meaningful ways and to smile more with their caregivers.The 12-week intervention, developed by clinical researchers at Holland Bloorview and IWK Health Centre in Halifax, uses objects that grab a child’s attention and motivates them to verbally interact with their parents.“I remember specifically Alex was motivated by food and snacks like ice cream and cookies,” says Kate Bernardi, a research co-ordinator at Holland Bloorview’s autism research centre and a parent coach for the Social ABCs program.“And so we just started with that at first and we would give Jenn the cookies and let Alex see them and wait for a signal from him that he wanted one,” she says.“And then I would coach Jenn to hold onto those cookies while she was showing them to Alex and model the word ‘cookie’ for him to say, so that he would know what he was supposed to do to get one of those cookies from Mom.“It was mostly getting something he really, really wanted,” Potenza adds, “like a Popsicle or juice or a cookie, and showing him what the expectation was and then just waiting until we got either that eye contact or he had said the words that we were looking for before he got the reward.”It took a little time, with Alex initially making little “cuh” sounds for cookie, but eventually as Potenza practised with her son, he graduated to full words and then to whole sentences.“There was a lot of crying involved, but once he understood ‘OK, I get rewarded after,’ it almost forced him to just say the words to get what he wanted,” says the Toronto mom. “There were little words coming maybe within a week and a half — very small words — but it started happening with consistency.”Potenza will never forget the moment Alex finally spoke.“Hearing his voice for the first time was absolutely phenomenal…. You have this little person you love so much and you don’t get the opportunity to really know what they’re thinking or they can’t tell you anything or express their needs or their wants,” she says, her eyes tearing up at the memory.“When they have no language and you hear it for the first time — whether it be for a cookie or a glass of juice — it doesn’t matter what it is. Just to hear them talk to you about something is probably the best feeling in the world.”Once completely non-verbal, Alex now can’t seem to get the words out fast enough as he discloses how he loves frolicking with his dog Lucky — “He was born on St. Patrick’s Day” — and playing the online game “Minecraft.”“So on ‘Minecraft,’ you build a city and then you can live in any building. I can build roads,” he says with a gap-toothed grin, the result of recently losing his front baby teeth.Potenza and Alex, who enters Grade 2 in September, were part of a recently published study at Holland Bloorview and the IWK Health Centre that enrolled 62 children with ASD, aged 12 to 30 months, and their primary caregivers. Half the families were randomly assigned to immediately receive the Social ABCs, while the other half waited six months to begin the program.“What we found was that for the babies and families who received the Social ABCs initially, if you followed the development over that first six-month period, we saw significant gains in the amount of time the babies spent looking at their primary caregiver … and an increased amount of time that the parents and babies were smiling together,” explains psychologist Dr. Jessica Brian, co-lead of Holland Bloorview’s autism research centre.Researchers also saw increased verbal responses to parental prompts and gains in their functional language, as well as how often they initiated a verbal connection on their own, says Brian, who co-developed the program with Dr. Susan Bryson, an autism researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax.“So the babies were approaching their parents more and initiating social contact. We’re very excited about the finding of initiating because it’s not something we taught specifically and it’s something we know is often very impaired in children with autism spectrum disorder.”However, babies and toddlers in the delayed-program group made minimal progress, she says.The researchers will soon begin a followup study — taking place in Toronto, Halifax and Edmonton — that will give caregivers training in how to better attract the attention of babies and toddlers with ASD or suspected ASD before starting the standard components of the program.“We’re hoping that boosting that ahead of time will give the children an even bigger response to the Social ABCs,” says Brian.For Potenza, who also has a nine-year-old daughter, the program was a lifeline that means her youngest child’s future will be much brighter than originally predicted.“I will never forget the day he first said, ‘Mom, I love you.’“I just started crying. I said, ‘I love you too,’ and it honestly was one of the best moments of my entire life.”– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.last_img read more

Blast at Irving Oils Saint John refinery unlikely to hit gas price

first_imgThere were as many as 3,000 workers at the refinery on Monday, which produces more than 320,000 barrels of energy products per day.The company says crews working to maintain the refinery will be back on site this evening after it was determined there are no lingering air quality or safety concerns after the explosion Monday.“Through our continuous air monitoring, we have determined that there are no concerns with regards to air quality,” Irving stated.“Accordingly, we are currently planning to have our turnaround team back on site this evening for the night shift. Our plans for returning to full turnaround mode will be discussed at that time.” ST. JOHN’S, N.B. – The explosion that rocked Irving Oil’s Saint John refinery on Monday is unlikely to affect the price of gas in Canada, according to experts.Fuel market analysts say the quick return to the facility and the fact that fuel storage tanks are likely full means the refinery shutdown should have little short-term impact on consumers.In a tweet, the company says the refinery as a whole is safe and the site of the incident is “isolated and contained.”Dan McTeague, senior petroleum analyst at GasBuddy.com, says gasoline prices in the key New York Harbour market were actually trending lower on Tuesday morning as storage levels in the northeastern U.S. are 20 per cent higher than they were a year ago.Michael Ervin, senior vice-president at the Kent Group Ltd., says even if Irving’s refinery maintenance shutdown is extended because of damage from the explosion, the fact it is on the ocean means alternative supplies of fuel can easily be brought in from offshore to ensure there are no shortages and resulting price increases.WATCH: Irving Oil refinery fire leaves 5 hurt, no serious injurieslast_img read more

Coyote attacks on children dampen fun at Alberta citys Christmas festival

first_imgAIRDRIE, Alta. — Warning signs have been set up and patrols have been increased in an Airdrie, Alta., park after two children were bitten by a coyote during a Christmas season festival.Officials are also in talks with Alberta Fish and Wildlife about whether the coyotes should be destroyed following attacks that happened days apart at the conclusion of the event’s evening program.They say a boy was bitten on the neck on Monday, but wasn’t seriously hurt because the animal’s teeth could not penetrate the child’s winter clothing.A staff member tagged the coyote with a paintball gun for possible future identification.The other attack happened last Friday when a child was bitten on the leg, but again heavy winter clothing prevented any injury.It’s not known if the same coyote is responsible for both attacks.“It’s a concern,” said Lorne Stevens, Airdrie’s director of community infrastructure.“The Festival of Lights draws a number of families and small children and folks walking their dogs. Nose Creek Park is a central park in our community and the pathways lead into here.”The City of Airdrie said hazing methods have been attempted in recent months in an effort to instill fear of humans in the emboldened coyotes. Workers have fired guns, spread bear urine and baited live traps after several encounters between wild animals and pets.For the remainder of this year’s festival, staff will remain in the park each night until all guests have left.“We want to make sure that visitors to Airdrie who come out to the festival, as well as our residents, are safe and protected from attacks,” said Stevens. (CTV Calgary)The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Quebecs plan to reduce immigration levels wont help newcomers study

first_imgMONTREAL — A Quebec think tank says the province’s plan to cut immigration levels is misguided and will not accomplish its intended goal of better integrating newcomers.The Institut de recherche et d’informations socio-economiques published a study today concluding from publicly available data that immigrants are faring better in Quebec than the government claims.Researcher Julia Posca says the employment rate among immigrants has risen steadily over the past decade, and almost 60 per cent of immigrants who arrive in Quebec are fluent in French.While Posca says the employment rate for immigrants still lags behind that of the general population, part of that is attributable to how the province recognizes newcomers’ work and education experience.The institute says it is in favour of maintaining 50,000 as the number of immigrants accepted annually by the province, citing the province’s aging population as one factor. The government plans to reduce immigration to about 40,000 this year.Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled Bill 9 in February, which lays down a legal framework that would overhaul the system for selecting newcomers to the province and allow it to be more selective.Jolin-Barrette said at the time the new approach would better match applicants to the needs of the labour market and ensure immigrants speak French and respect Quebec values.A spokesman for Jolin-Barrette says the government is acting on a clear mandate given to it on Oct. 1 when the Coalition Avenir Quebec was elected after campaigning on the issue.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Brazil president suggests NGOs setting Amazon fires gives no proof

first_imgRIO DE JANEIRO – Brazil’s official monitoring agency is reporting a sharp increase in wildfires this year, and President Jair Bolsonaro suggested Wednesday, without citing evidence, that non-governmental organizations could be setting them to make him look bad.Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, a federal agency monitoring deforestation and wildfires, said the country has seen a record number of wildfires this year, counting 74,155 as of Tuesday, an 84 per cent increase compared to the same period last year. Bolsonaro took office on Jan. 1.“Maybe — I am not affirming it — these (NGO people) are carrying out some criminal actions to draw attention against me, against the government of Brazil,” Bolsonaro told reporters.When asked if he had evidence, the president did not provide any.“There is a war going on in the world against Brazil, an information war,” Bolsonaro said.Earlier this month, the head of the space research institute was forced to leave his position after standing up to the president’s accusations that deforestation data had been manipulated to tarnish the image of his administration.The states that have been most affected by fires this year are Mato Grosso, Para and Amazonas — all in the Amazon region — accounting for 41.7 per cent of all fires.“It is very difficult to have natural fires in the Amazon; it happens but the majority come from the hand of humans,” said Paulo Moutinho, co-founder of the Amazon Environmental Research Institute.Moutinho, who has been working in the Amazon forests for nearly 30 years, said fires are mostly used to clean up vast areas of land for farming or logging.The fires can easily get out of control, especially now during the Amazon’s dry season, and spread to densely forested protected areas.This year, the Amazon has not suffered from serious dryness, Moutinho said. “We’re lucky. If we had had droughts like in the past four years, this would be even worse.”Bolsonaro, who once threatened to leave the Paris climate accord, has repeatedly attacked environmental nonprofits, seen as obstacles in his quest to develop the country’s full economic potential, including in protected areas.Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles are both close to the powerful rural caucus in Congress and have been urging more development and economic opportunities in the Amazon region, which they consider overly protected by current legislation.Some NGOs, environmentalists and academics have been blaming the administration’s pro-development policies for a sharp increase in Amazon deforestation shown in the latest data from the space research institute.The government is also facing international pressure to protect the vast rainforest from illegal logging or mining activities. The Amazon is often referred to as the lungs of our planet because it is a major absorber of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.Citing Brazil’s apparent lack of commitment to fighting deforestation, Germany and Norway have decided to withhold more than $60 million in funds earmarked for sustainability projects in Brazil’s forests.French and German leaders have also threatened not to ratify a trade deal between the European Union and Mercosur countries to pressure Brazil into complying with its environmental pledges within the Paris Climate Agreement.But experts say Brazilians and particularly farmers could be the first victims of excessive deforestation, as it could affect the regional climate, bringing higher temperatures and less rain.Meanwhile, the environment minister was booed Wednesday as he took the stage at a five-day U.N. workshop on climate change in the northern state of Bahia — an event he had tried to cancel earlier this year.Some in the audience shouted while waving signs reading, “Stop Ecocide” or “The Amazon is burning.”Salles spoke briefly, saying climate change needs to be addressed.“People are asking for more and more actions. … There is an acknowledgment that we are in a situation of crisis and emergency,” said Manuel Pulgar Vidal, former environment minister of Peru, who attended the event.Vidal, who now works for the non-profit WWF, said the criticism directed at Salles could eventually prod the administration into taking action on climate change. “There is no room for negationism,” Vidal said.Associated Press journalist Victor Caivano in Salvador, Brazil, contributed to this report.last_img read more

Company to remove pro Maxime Bernier billboards that criticize mass immigration

first_imgTake Our PollAccording to a filing with Elections Canada, the third-party group behind the ads is run by Frank Smeenk, the chief executive of a Toronto-based mining exploration company.The group filed interim financial returns with Elections Canada that show it spent $59,890 on billboards in “select cities in Canada” and received $60,000 from Bassett & Walker International Inc., a company that specializes in the international trade of protein products.Smeenk declined to comment and messages left at Bassett & Walker were not returned.Polls suggest the People’s Party of Canada has around four per cent of voter support heading into the October election, and thus far, Bernier has been excluded from the official leadership debates.On Sunday, Bernier was greeted by hundreds of raucous supporters who cheered his every word as he pitched his case for inclusion in the debates and repeated promises to eliminate the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission and corporate subsidies.But at a grocery store down the road from the partisan gathering, some citizens expressed doubts about whether they would support their longtime MP under his new party’s banner.Martin Roy, a resident of St-Isidore, said he worried that casting a ballot for Bernier could pave the way for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals to win a second term.“If our vote divides, what good is it?” he mused.Others at the store expressed admiration for the Conservative candidate, Richard Lehoux, a dairy producer supporting the supply management system Bernier has vowed to abolish.Bernier acknowledged on Sunday that the race in his riding could be tight, and said he planned to campaign heavily there ahead of the election.But for fans like Daniel Bouchette, who drove from Quebec City to attend the launch, Bernier’s willingness to take political gambles is among his greatest strengths.“He could have rested on his laurels, sure of re-election, but he had the courage to launch a new party to do things differently,” he said.The Canadian Press OTTAWA — The owner of billboards currently showcasing ads that seek to promote the People’s Party of Canada’s controversial stance on immigration reversed course on Sunday, saying the company would take the material down in response to “overwhelming” criticism.The ads, featuring a photo of party leader Maxime Bernier, the slogan “Say NO to mass immigration” and a call to vote for his party, started popping up across the country late last week. They were criticized nearly immediately as promoting anti-immigrant rhetoric.Petitions have since sprung up calling on billboard owners Pattison Outdoor Advertising to take the ads down, arguing that they violate the company’s own code of conduct.The company released two statements on Sunday, the first of which said that people who have a problem with the ads should take it up with the advertiser, True North Strong & Free Advertising Corp. The statement suggested they reviewed the ad content and it did not violate the Ad Standards of Canada (ASC) code or their own policies.“We take a neutral position on ads that comply with the ASC code as we believe Canadians do not want us to be the judge or arbiter of what the public can or cannot see,” the company said in a statement circulated on their social media accounts.“Should advertising elicit a public debate, we encourage Canadians to voice their opinions directly to the advertiser who placed the message as it is our policy that their contact information must be a legible part of the ad.”But later in the day, the company issued a second statement saying that while the billboards didn’t violate any policy, they would come down nonetheless.“It was never my or Pattison Outdoor’s intention to offend, alienate or in any way insult the public by allowing this ad to be run,” company president Randy Otto wrote, adding that the company would review its advocacy guidelines.Message from Randy Otto, President Pattison Outdoor Advertising. pic.twitter.com/rEYJRndHbL— PATTISON Outdoor (@pattisonoutdoor) August 25, 2019He said that neither he nor anyone else at the company endorses the message of the advertiser.Otto wrote that Pattison will inform True North Advertising Corp. of its decision on Monday, and the ads will come down as soon as possible.At the People’s Party national campaign launch Sunday in Sainte-Marie, Que., Bernier said he agreed with the ad’s message, though noted they were placed by an outside group.He said the current number of immigrants Canada accepts annually – 350,000 – is too high and needs to be scaled back.“For me, mass immigration is 350,000 a year so yes we’re against mass immigration,” he said.The phrase, however, is associated with more than just numbers.Critics of the term often consider it a synonym for opposition to visible minority immigrants on the grounds they pose a threat.Critics of the ad were interpreting it that way. The premier of Nova Scotia called the tone “negative, divisive,” while one Calgary resident who posted a petition calling for their removal said the ads are hurtful to newcomers and don’t recognize their contribution to Canadian culture.The People’s Party of Canada platform says specifically that “mass immigration” is used as a tool by mainstream parties to buy immigrant votes and that it drives up housing prices.The party also says immigration “should not be used to forcibly change the cultural character and social fabric of our country. And it should not put excessive financial burdens on the shoulders of Canadians in the pursuit of humanitarian goals.” Do you agree with an advertising company’s decision to take down billboards that read: “Say NO to mass immigration”?NoYesVoteView Resultslast_img read more

Hilary Duff Supports March Of Dimes

first_imgHilary Duff, new mother to 22-month-old son Luca, is volunteering her time to help the March Of Dimes raise funds to help give more babies a healthy start in life.Hilary Duff for March Of Dimes“As a mom, I’m proud to support the March of Dimes helping more women have full term pregnancies and healthy babies. That’s why I walk in March for Babies,” she says in a new public service advertisement. “The money we raise funds research and local programs that help babies overcome the challenges of premature birth and birth defects. Together we can help make healthier babies possible for thousands of families.”Ms. Duff plans to participate in the Los Angeles March for Babies Saturday, April 26. March for Babies will take place in nearly 700 communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico the last weekend in April. In the PSAs, Ms. Duff invites people to join her in supporting March for Babies by visiting marchforbabies.org and signing up to march for babies.Ms. Duff is best known for her role in Disney Channel series Lizzie McGuire and its motion picture The Lizzie McGuire Movie. She also appeared in feature films including Agent Cody Banks, Cheaper by the Dozen, A Cinderella Story and Cheaper by the Dozen 2 and she has three platinum-selling albums.The print magazine advertisement has been published in People and is expected to be included in several other national magazines. The television spot has begun airing in major markets nationwide.The March of Dimes is the leading nonprofit organization for pregnancy and baby health. For more than 75 years, moms and babies have benefited from March of Dimes research, education, vaccines, and breakthroughs. Find out how you can help raise funds to prevent premature birth and birth defects by walking in March for Babies at marchforbabies.org. For the latest resources and information, visit marchofdimes.com or nacersano.org. Find them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. The 2014 March for Babies is sponsored nationally by the March of Dimes number one corporate supporter Kmart, Macy’s, Famous Footwear, Cigna, Sanofi Pasteur, Mission Pharmacal, United Airlines, and Actavis.Source:Multivu.comlast_img read more

Bill Clinton To Match Every Dollar Donated To Clinton Foundation This Week

first_imgUntil midnight on June 17, Bill Clinton will match every dollar donated to the Clinton Foundation.“Nothing we do is more powerful than changing a life, ” he wrote to supporters. “That’s why I need your help.“The Clinton Foundation is working every day to find lasting solutions to the world’s greatest challenges – providing families with a sustainable path out of poverty, helping communities fight the effects of climate change, increasing opportunity for women and girls, and reducing the prevalence of preventable diseases and childhood obesity.“All of our initiatives are based on our belief that when we empower individuals, we create lasting change.“And once we find a solution that works, we scale projects by bringing together partners, removing barriers, and taking action. But it is only with your support that we can transform more lives and communities from what they are today to what they can be tomorrow.“Donate $5 or more today, and I will personally match every dollar you give – up to our goal of $100,000 – before June 17.“Your gift will go twice as far: When you give $5, it’ll become $10. $10 will become $20, and $25 will become $50. And no matter what you give, that adds up to more lives changed.“I believe that together we can accomplish more than any of us can on our own.”To make a donation, click here.last_img read more

Sir Roger Moore And Friends Join Forces For GivingTales

first_imgSome of the world’s leading actors have today joined forces in a new children’s educational project called GivingTales.Giving TalesIt aims to produce engaging and entertaining versions of popular children’s fairy tales while helping to teach and educate children worldwide. As part of the company’s mission to educate and support children, GivingTales kft is committing 30% of its revenue to Unicef UK to help children around the world.Video: GivingTales – Behind The ScenesDeveloped in association with Sir Roger Moore, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, GivingTales features the voice talents of world-renowned actors including Ewan McGregor, Unicef UK Ambassador, Stephen Fry, and Dame Joan Collins. Hans Christian Andersen’s timeless fairy tales have now been modernised, condensed and paired with vivid illustrations that capture the universal and timeless life lessons synonymous with Andersen’s stories.“I’ve been a long time admirer of Hans Christian Andersen’s work, and I think it’s a wonderful collection of fairy stories for children and adults alike,” said Sir Roger Moore.Many of the themes in Hans Christian Andersen’s stories have relevance for children today, such as bravery, selflessness, and compassion.“The Ugly Duckling is the primal story about bullying and self-belief – it is a marvelous tale,” said Stephen Fry, actor, screenwriter and author.Available for free download starting today on Apple, Android, and Windows Phone 8 mobile devices, the app comes with The Princess and the Pea (Sir Roger Moore, KBE). Each additional story is available for download at $3.99 each. Three additional stories are available in the first series: The Emperor’s New Clothes (Dame Joan Collins, DBE), The Little Match Girl (Ewan McGregor, OBE) and The Ugly Duckling (Stephen Fry).Today’s children are increasingly accustomed to consuming content in one short sitting. While paper books may be giving way to digital versions, classic fairy tales never grow old. There’s a big need to adapt traditional stories into shorter, animated versions, so they can captivate and inspire another generation of young readers.“Taking care not to lose the essence of what makes Hans Christian Andersen’s stories so great, GivingTales has condensed the stories down so they can be enjoyed in minutes, not hours. Using the voices of renowned actors gives them new life in a memorable and entertaining way,” Jacob Moller, CEO of GivingTales.“We’re overwhelmed by the initial support we’ve received, both from the celebrities affiliated with our project, as well as our ongoing relationship with the Unicef UK. Together, we hope to make a difference in the lives of many of children around the world,” said Klaus Lovgreen, Chairman, GivingTales.GivingTales was developed by an award-winning team of illustrators and producers. The company’s founders have a history of developing digital entertainment content, having developed Top Ten apps for both Apple App Store and Google Play. GivingTales is currently available in English with plans for additional stories, actors, and titles being made available over the coming months.last_img read more

Kerry Cahill To Perform In An Evening Of Cabaret For Charity

first_imgActress Kerry Cahill (Terminator Genisys, Zoo, Hours) will be performing in An Evening of Cabaret to benefit The Kristin Brooks Hope line and its program VET2VET.Cahill said, “This program is near and dear to my heart and I wanted to do something very special for them. I have put together an amazing cast of people that are equally as supportive of the VET2VET program. It will be a fun night for all involved.”An Evening of Cabaret for Hopeline will take place at Oak 81118 Oak St. New Orleans on September 27, 2015. Doors will open at 6pm and the performance will start at 7:30pm. Tickets are $50 per person and include heavy hors d’oeuvres and two drinks. There will also be a silent auction and raffle to benefit VET2VET.Several well known actors will be taken part in An Evening of Cabaret along side Kerry Cahill. Nell Nolan, who is well- known for her thirty-years of journalistic coverage chronicling all the movers and shakers of New Orleans at the Times-Picayune and for the Advocate; Broadway and television actress Leslie Castay (NCIS; New Orleans, American Horror Story); Mandi Zirkenback; Katherine McClain, otherwise known as Judy Garland at the WWII museum, award-winning playwright and writer, John Biguenet, and Brooklyn Schaffer. Cahill said, “An Evening of Cabaret will be full of singing, performances, readings, and so much more. It will be an exciting place to be and all for a great cause.”Veterans Crisis Hotline is a program that 1) Trains veteran peer counselors 2) maintains a resource database for use by crisis centers to provide local services to veterans and 3) helps returning veterans navigate the VA mental health system. They receive about 35,000 calls per month from veterans and their families. Cahill said, “Our service men and women need someone who they can talk to without feeling like they will have a consequence for letting people know they are hurting. This is an approach to healing that works.”Kerry Cahill is an award-winning actress who grew up in a military family in rural towns of Montana, Oregon and Texas. She studied drama at Loyola University in New Orleans, the British American Drama Academy Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast. Cahill’s film break came under the director Werner Herzog in Bad Lieutenant. Today, she has been cast in blockbusters such as Terminator Genisys and the new television show Zoo. For more information about An Evening of Cabaret for Hopeline please click here.last_img read more

Veterans Honored At Suzanne DeLaurentiis Gifting Suite

first_imgProducer, Suzanne DeLaurentiis, hosted a gifting suite on February 27th at Dungarees Boutique in Studio City, CA.Eric Roberts with Sergeant First Class Martha Leone Assistant Inspector General, and Master Sergeant Kieon Womble Assistant Inspector GeneralCredit/Copyright: Misty SchwartzThe suite was held to benefit her Operation Hollywood Program, which trains and employs returning veterans for careers in the entertainment business. Sergeant First Class Martha Leone, Assistant Inspector General, and Master Sergeant Kieon Womble, Assistant Inspector General, were the honored guests at the event, accompanied by Irene Mink, VP of New Day Talk Radio and Media Center.Sergeant First Class Martha Leone Assistant Inspector General, and Master Sergeant Kieon Womble Assistant Inspector General, Louis Gossett Jr., Suzanne DeLaurentiisCredit/Copyright: Misty SchwartzMany VIP and celebrity guests attended the suite to show their support including actor, Eric Roberts, and Lou Gossett Jr.Guests were treated to an array of gifts including tanning, teeth whitening, body scrubs, jewelry and hair care products. Gary Friedman, the owner of Dungarees Boutique, was gracious enough to co-host the event, as well as provide a beautiful venue.Some of the gifting sponsors of the event were Dr. Nader Nikman of the Brentwood Center for Cosmetic Dentistry, Le’ Beach Club Tanning Resorts, D S Laboratories, Vivian’s Boutique, and Erica’s Organics. The bags that guests received were provided by BLVD Couture.For more information on Operation Hollywood, click here.Copyright ©2016Look to the Starslast_img read more

Leonardo DiCaprios climate change doc shows the world Alberta oilsands

first_img“He called me and he said: ‘Hey, man, the planet’s getting worse and I want to make another climate-change movie, and I want you to do it with me’” recalled Stevens, an actor and filmmaker whose past environmentally focused projects include “Mission Blue” and “Racing Extinction” and working as a producer on the Oscar-winning documentary “The Cove.”“He said: ‘Yeah, I’m willing to be in this one.’ And I think he regretted that for sure — at first. He wasn’t used to having the cameras in his face like that, and he was quite uncomfortable at times, not having lines, not playing a character — just being Leo.“He’s a wonderful person,” Stevens added. “(I said to him): ‘You’re the guy. If ever we can use a movie to move the needle, you’re the guy.’”The timing of the documentary’s release is no coincidence. The duo was determined to have it completed in advance of the looming U.S. election.“The Senate and the Congress, as you see in the film, is full of people on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry, and (who) are worried that they’re going to lose their seats if they push the climate agenda,” said Stevens.“We’re going to have some swing state screenings (and) get rid of these people if we can. It’s really time. It’s finally time that people wake up.”Stevens said he was haunted by images of burning forests in Indonesia, where palm oil is produced for use in a vast range of products including cosmetics, food and household items.“Very few people are profiting off of a huge part of the population being affected, and that’s kind of like a theme in climate change.”But Stevens remained buoyed by positive trends that have emerged, pointing to renewable energy becoming more affordable, U.S. President Barack Obama speaking out on climate change, as well as Pope Francis’s encyclical on the environment.“We’re not trying to preach to the converted. That wasn’t our interest. We want to make a cool film, a film that people really drink in.”BY Lauren La Rose – The Canadian Press Advertisement Login/Register With: DiCaprio is a producer on the film, which sees the actor travel to several continents and the Arctic, meeting with political and religious leaders, scientists and activists.The Oscar-winning actor has been a longtime advocate for environmental issues, and was designated a United Nations Messenger of Peace with a special focus on climate change in 2014. Still, Stevens said DiCaprio was initially hesitant to appear onscreen, despite his passion for the film and the cause. Facebook Advertisementcenter_img Canada features prominently in Leonardo DiCaprio’s new climate-change documentary Before The Flood and director Fisher Stevens said he was “really horrified” by scenes in the oilsands of northeastern Alberta.“It does employ a lot of people,” said Stevens of the oil industry, during an interview at the Toronto International Film Festival, where Before the Flood had its world premiere. The documentary will be screened in 171 countries, in 45 languages, when it debuts on the National Geographic Channel on Sunday.“Look, we all want work, we all need jobs — God knows. And it would be great if it was like: ‘Now, we take all of these people and we replant all of that forest.’ Wouldn’t that be amazing?” Advertisement Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

NOTABLE TV MOMENTS IN THE YEAR OF TRUMP

first_img LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Justin Theroux in The Leftovers, whose three seasons were the most audaciously imagined, brilliantly written and beautifully acted work Johanna Schneller has ever seen. (BEN KING/HBO) Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement Late Night Comedians: By doing astute takedowns of Trump, Stephen Colbert surged ahead, as did Seth Meyers. Trevor Noah found his voice. Samantha Bee stepped fully into her role as avenger of female anger. But the most interesting change, for me, was the politicization of Jimmy Kimmel, as he cited his infant son Billy’s heart problems as a plea to keep the Affordable Care Act. I knew it would be bad, but it is worse than I thought. U.S. President Donald Trump and his gang of thieves are real-life versions of Dr. Evil’s henchmen, sitting in their underground lair, rubbing their hands together as they cackle, “Let’s kill elephants!” and “Let’s make the lowest-income people pay for tax breaks for the highest!”Television in 2017 is arguably the best it’s ever been, but the things I watched that affected me the most all seemed to relate, one way or another, to what was happening in the White House and how that impacted North America’s psyche.Trump Himself: There were a couple of funny moments. Melania slapping Donald’s hand away. The Mooch. Angela Merkel shrugging after the handshake that wasn’t. Anthony Atamanuik’s eerily accurate impression on The President Show, which captures that unfillable maw of need at Trump’s core. Trump slurring “God blesh the Uni-ed Shash,” because he was too vain to take a sip of water. There was even one heartwarming moment: the December night that Alabama did not vote for alleged pedophile Roy Moore for U.S. Senate. But as the year wore on, I felt like my soul was being dragged over broken glass and I lost my sense of humour. There were so many low points, but the lowest had to be Trump’s post-Charlottesville Nazi march news conference. “On many sides” is a phrase that will live in infamy.Jimmy Kimmel is keeping the pressure on U.S. politicians, appearing on his late-night show with son Billy in his arms, writes Johanna Schneller.  (RANDY HOLMES/ABC)   Twitterlast_img read more

CANADIAN ACTRESS ELLEN PAGE AND DANCER EMMA PORTNER ARE MARRIED

first_imgAdvertisement Twitter Facebook Login/Register With: Advertisement Ellen Page is now a married woman.The 30-year-old star of “Juno,” ”Inception” and the recent remake of “Flatliners” wed Emma Portner, who teaches contemporary jazz at the Broadway Dance Center in New York.The Juno star announced on social media Wednesday that she tied the knot … alongside a photo of the newlyweds’ wedding bands the actress wrote, “Can’t believe I get to call this extraordinary woman my wife.” Portner also announced the surprise marriage on her Instagram page, writing, “@ellenpage I LOVE YOU.”Page posted the news Wednesday on Instagram in a photo of the couple’s hands showing off wedding bands on their ring fingers. Her publicist later confirmed the union.The actress first began posting photos with Portner on social media over the summer.In 2014, Page came out as gay at a Human Rights Campaign event in a rousing speech that earned her a standing ovation. The actress said she was ready to come out in hopes that her experience would help other people struggling with their sexuality.The actress previously dated artist Samantha Thomas. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img read more

TREVOR NOAH RETURNING TO MONTREAL FOR 2019 JUST FOR LAUGHS FESTIVAL

first_imgFor the second year in a row, Montreal comedy fans will be treated to the musings of The Daily Show host Trevor Noah, who’s returning to perform at the Just For Laughs festival.Noah is bringing his arena tour, Loud and Clear, to the Bell Centre July 26. The South African comedian hosted two galas at the festival last year.Also performing at the 37th edition of the festival: Australian standup comedian Jim Jefferies, who will host two galas, British comedian Jimmy Carr, whose latest Netflix special debuted on Tuesday, and Cristela Alonzo, who will host the Ethnic Show. Login/Register With: Advertisement Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show, is the first big-name comedian attached to the 2019 Just For Laughs festival. (Evan Agostini/Invision via AP) Advertisement Twittercenter_img More acts will be announced in the coming weeks. The festival runs from July 10 to 28.In 2018, Howie Mandel and a Los Angeles-based talent and literary agency bought the struggling festival.Its future was uncertain after sexual assault allegations involving co-founder and president Gilbert Rozon emerged during the #MeToo movement.Rozon is facing one count of indecent assault and one count of rape, charges that were part of the Criminal Code when the alleged events occurred in 1979.His case will be back in court April 25, when a judge is expected to decide whether his trial will be held in front of a jury or a judge alone. Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Carson eyed role for Enviro Min Kent to land water deals

first_imgBy Kenneth Jackson and Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsDays before the RCMP were called in by the Prime Minister’s Office to investigate, Bruce Carson planned to enlist another political heavy-weight to clear the “log-jam” in the Indian Affairs bureaucracy he believed was stymieing his efforts to land First Nations water contracts for an Ottawa-based company that had a deal with his escort fiancee.For months, Carson had been trying to land water deals that would see Michele McPherson, 22, stand to rake in millions of dollars based on a secret contract obtained by APTN Investigates.In a wide-ranging interview on March 6 with APTN, Carson, 65, a former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, said he was in the process of setting up a meeting between Environment Minister Peter Kent, Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan, Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo and Patrick Hill, owner of H2O Global Group.“Where we are going next with this, and this is nobody’s business but mine, is to sit down with Duncan, Kent, Atleo and myself and probably Patrick to try to figure out a way to break through the log-jam,” said Carson.A spokesperson for Kent said the minister met with Carson once on Feb. 7 to talk about the environment and clean energy. Carson, at the time, was the head of the Canada School on the Environment and Energy. During the conversation the subject of First Nations water came up.“Mr. Carson did raise general water issues on First Nations, but did not name any specific company or companies during the discussion,” said Bill Rogers, Kent’s director of communications. “The issues are the responsibility of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada. As such, no follow-up was required by (Kent) and the two men have not discussed the matter since.”For the man nicknamed “the mechanic” and known as Stephen Harper’s fixer, what he was witnessing with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was all too familiar, he said. Carson said it had been the problem from the beginning for the Conservative government. He made no secret of his allegiance to the Conservatives and called Harper one of his best friends.While praising the work of the last three Clerks of the Privy Council, the most powerful bureaucrat in the government and essentially the deputy minister for the prime minister’s central department, Carson said it was always the mid-level bureaucrats who seemed to throw up roadblocks to getting things done.“One of the guys told me if you read (former British prime minister) Tony Blair’s book, it’s a terrible book, there is a part there where Blair talks about trying to get the bureaucracy to think the way he thought,” said Carson. “And that is the same way here.You have a really good idea, you are trying to put it forward, a lot of people think it’s a really good idea…but in the end it is just someone sitting somewhere saying, well we’ll just put it on ice.”Carson and the company also planned an end-run on the department and were trying to convince bands to pass band council resolutions stating they wanted to do business.“If we can work with the band itself and have the work with them, it will be easier having the band work with (the department) rather than ourselves,” said Carson. “Each of the communities gets a stream of money for capital projects and if we can tap into that kind of money coming through the band rather than making some huge application to (the department).”They convinced one Manitoba band to send a letter of intent but Indian Affairs said the community could not qualify for money set aside for water projects because its water was not dirty enough.Carson and the water company believed the Mohawk community of Tyendinaga was close to signing on the dotted line.APTN was told by a band official involved in talks with the company that the deal seemed too good to be true.Carson said Indian Affairs officials informed him that the department would pay directly for a project worth over $1.5 million. He also said the department would be willing to fork over training money. The company planned to train two people on each reserve to change filters. All the bands had to do was sign and all their water problems would be fixed, said Carson.“(The department) has represented to us that they will actually pay for this out of the $330 million that the government put aside to handle this, to deal with clean drinking water,” he said.Despite his “frustration,” Carson, through his connections to Atleo and the political levers of power in the central agencies of the federal government, had pushed the company into a place it never thought it could reach, according to Hill. Even Carson said the work he was able to do in just months was pretty good.Hill believed the water deals would have pushed his company into the stratosphere.“This can turn very big. This can turn Global Group into an international company,” said Hill, who created Global Group to deal with the department and First Nations on the water deals. Carson and Hill initially tried to use Hill’s other water company H2O Pros but created Global Group in October. Hill said Global Group had been around for three years.Hill had tried to land water deals on his own but didn’t get far.“I felt like I wasn’t getting anywhere…We expressed our frustration with Bruce. This has been very difficult,” said Hill. “I was there before in the same meetings before Bruce was there, and they were, yeah okay, that sounds great, do a couple of (trade) shows.”If it wasn’t for Carson they’d still be a company looking in, banging on the door, said Hill.Carson, however, seemed to sense he was on shaky ground in terms of his lobbying. At one point, Carson said he was worried the Lobbying Commissioner could start looking into his activities.When asked if the thought he could slip through under the rule that allows someone to lobby without registering if it makes up less than 20 per cent of their work, Carson said he thought he would.“I really don’t want the Lobbying Commissioner sort of going crazy over my involvement in this,” he said. “This would be like one-tenth of one per cent of my time so we’re all right.”The Conservative government also brought in new rules forbidding former political staff from being registered lobbyists for five years.Carson also said his frustration with the pace of talks with Indian Affairs bureaucrats was shared by Duncan’s staff.“I met with John’s (Duncan) staff and they know (about the water company). They are trying to be helpful and quite frankly it’s a frustration for them too,” said Carson, in the interview. “There is a certain amount of frustration, and everybody knows this, but I haven’t made a secret about it, of trying to deal, trying to get this moving along in the department.”Duncan’s office has admitted officials met with Carson.Indian Affairs has also confirmed it met with Carson and company representatives at least four times.An APTN investigation into Carson’s activities uncovered months of email correspondence between the political insider and company representatives, Indian Affairs officials and Atleo along with AFN staff.The emails all centered on finding ways to get First Nations water contracts for the company. They also offered a glimpse of Carson’s reach into the centre of political power.In one email, Carson said he discussed the appointment of Duncan to the Indian Affairs portfolio the day before the Aug. 6 announcement.Carson also sat with APTN for two candid conversations where he offered a peek behind the curtains shrouding the power rooms of political Ottawa.Then on March 13, APTN confronted Carson with the information. APTN then contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for comment.After reviewing APTN’s documentation, the PMO asked for the RCMP to probe Carson.Carson is also facing an investigation by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner and the Commissioner of Lobbying over his activities around trying to land First Nations water deals for the water company.The company also had signed a deal with McPherson, who also went by the name Leanna VIP, guaranteeing her 20 per cent of gross sales revenues from potential water contracts. Sources say a second contract was signed earlier this year. She was supposed to be the face of the company but during APTN’s investigation she was nowhere to be found.Carson met McPherson March 15, 2010 while she was working as an escort. She continued to work full time until at least the middle of August when she wrote on an online escort site she would be only working part-time. Carson began pushing the company in July according to emails.Carson and McPherson also own a home together. They bought it in December and when they turned the tap on for the first time in their newly purchased, nearly $400,000 home with a pool, they were disgusted by the smell of the water.“We were a couple of amateur house buyers, because we just loved the house…We never turned the tap on…and she turned it on and it…just smelled of rotten eggs, it had sulphur and all kinds of stuff,” said Carson of the house that sits on a two acre lot, about 60 kilometres south of Ottawa.That brought them into contact with Patrick Hill.kennethbrianjackson@gmail.comjbarrera@aptn.calast_img read more

Layton slams Harper for ignoring FNs issues

first_imgAPTN National NewsNDP leader Jack Layton blasted Prime Minister Stephen Harper for failing to address First Nations water, housing and education issues in the Conservative’s last, dead-on-arrival, federal budget.Layton said the NDP has taken on a strong stand on First Nations and Metis issues.Layton said the NDP was not yet ready to release its platform.The Liberals have promised to increase funding for First Nations education in their platform, released this past weekend.last_img

Saskatchewan chiefs blast Atleo

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations winter assembly is underway.Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn Atleo was at the Dakota Dunes casino on the Whitecap First Nation where the gathering is held.As APTN National News reporter Delaney Windigo reports, Atleo was on the in the line of fire from chiefs.last_img