Modis Himalayan warning

first_imgKedarnath: Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his two-day visit to Kedarnath, Uttarakhand, on May 19, 2019. (Photo: IANS)Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Kedarnath temple and his meditation at 12,000 ft above sea level in the Garhwal Himalayas was an extraordinary event. It will probably go down in history as the highest level of meditation ever performed by any head of government. The fact that it happened just after the campaigning ended in the marathon 40-day Indian elections, and just before the counting of votes, made it singularly curious. Also Read – A staunch allyWrapped in traditional Garhwali outfit, Modi was seen walking on the snow-shovelled path with the backdrop of the majestic and imposing wall of the snow-clad Himalayas. Many termed it a serious and inspiring spiritual expedition; others found it full of political motives and even politically unethical. The real hidden message, however, was missed by the Indian media. That message is embedded in the Himalayan background that was clearly visible in the images appearing in media. That showed receding snowlines exposing the rocky walls of the Himalayas due to climate change. Also Read – Cuban pathosThe memories of the havoc caused six years back at the temple site by melting glaciers and flash floods in river Mandakini are as fresh as images of Modi trekking around the Kedarnath temple in May 2019. The Chorabari lake that overflowed and the eruption of the ferocious flow of the river in 2013 were certainly manifestations of global warming. A review by Modi of the rehabilitation efforts started soon after that climate tragedy conveyed a strong message about the cost and the time needed to rebuild and redevelop the area. That is the message about the damage that could be caused by climate change which was lost on the media which saw everything through a political prism. Indeed, during the fierce cacophony of the campaign trail and heated debates of a fiercely fought election, the heating of the planet took a back seat. Himalayan meltdown will result in unparalleled human sufferings in the world’s most populated region fed by the Himalayan rivers. No estimate has yet been made of how much snow has been lost in the Himalayas, the way it is done for Antarctic and Arctic, but the risk of a Himalayan meltdown currently poses an existential threat to India’s people, development, faith, and spiritualism. No amount of farm loan waiver, free electricity and free doles promised during election would address that threat of climate change. The report published by The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) in 2019, just a couple of months before the announcement of the Indian national election, was revealing. That was the report on Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) Assessment, the first such assessment of impacts of climate change on the ecologically important but fragile region. The HKH is often called the world’s ‘third pole’ as it contains the most ice outside of theAntarctic and Arctic regions. The report stated that the HKH region-spread over 3,500 square km across eight countries including India and China, is warming faster than the global average. The HKH also provides essential resources, especially water, to over a billion people and feeds the grain baskets of Asia. A third of the glaciers in the HKH ranges will melt by 2100 due to climate change, irreversibly affecting the population of nearly half a billion people in the north and northeast India that depends on the water from rivers originating from Himalaya including the Ganges. The dark side of the conclusion of ICIMOD report is that any changes in the HKH region would have a bearing on the Indian monsoon that already shows signs of changes in spread and distribution and, in turn, on the livelihoods ecological systems dependent on it. A ray of hope lies in drastically cutting global emissions in order to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels. Though Paris climate agreement aims for limiting the temperature to 2 degrees centigrade, world leaders agreed to attempt a highly ambitious target to limit temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. To achieve that, the world would have to curb its carbon emissions by 50 per cent of 2017 levels by 2030 and then achieve 100 per cent reduction by 2050, according to a summary of IPCC report, released late in 2018. The grim fact emerging from ICIMOD’s report is that even if carbon emissions are cut, succeeding in limiting global warming to 1.5 degree Celsius, 36 per cent of the glaciers in the HKH will be gone by 2100. If, the world does not act at all on reducing Green House Gases (GHGs) emissions, two-thirds of all glaciers could be gone by the end of the century. About 15 per cent of the glaciers have already disappeared. Once the glaciers have melted and the resultant devastating floods have receded, the rivers will run dry. The worst news came on the day when Modi was trekking around the Kedarnath temple. The concentration of carbon dioxide, one of the major GHGs in the earth’s atmosphere crossed the historic level of 415 parts per million (ppm) for the first time since the ancient dawn of humanity. That signalled the inaction by the world community to achieve the target set out in the Paris climate agreement. But the good news came on the eve of counting of the votes. In the meeting of the council of ministers on May 21, Modi discussed the priorities like inclusive development, nationalism, national security as well as climate change. It is not just the countdown of climate change that Modi is signalling through his walk and talk. He is signalling the button to be pushed for a ‘surgical strike’ to decimate the enemy of humanity i.e. GHG emission. (The author is Director, TERRE Policy Centre and former Director, UNEP. The article is in special arrangement with South Asia Monitor. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

GNIDA rolls out Rs 426040 cr budget for 201920

first_imgGreater Noida: The Greater Noida Industrial Development Authority (GNIDA), on Friday, held its 114th board meeting and sanctioned a budget of Rs 4,260.40 crores for the fiscal year 2019-20 which will be spent on various infrastructural and other developmental works.The authority has also allocated its share of Rs 300 Cr for the development of Noida International Airport at Jewar. As per officials, the Greater Noida authority has it’s 12 percent share in the first phase development of the airport project which amount to 500 crores to GNIDA. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal Nagar”This year the GNIDA’s budget is 17 per cent more than the last year. We have kept on priority the upcoming International Airport at Jewar and have allocated a major portion of the budget for its development. The airport project, after being fully operational, will be the largest airport in the country while the city will definitely wear wings of development” said Anup Chandra Pandey, GNIDA Chairman and Chief Secretary of Uttar Pradesh Government. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot FinanceThe decision came a day after Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) floated global bidding and has announced to share its funding. The YEIDA board has also sanctioned Rs 425 crores for the development for the airport project on Thursday. Apart from this, the GNIDA board has also decided to construct 10, 000 houses under the Prime Minister Awas Yojana (PMAY). “The state government has set up a target to construct 10, 000 houses under PMAY scheme while the board has approved the plan to implement the target. We will float tenders while the allotted builders will be given 2.5 lakh rupees as subsidy under the scheme” added Pandey.last_img read more

Americas cyberattacks on us have failed Iran

first_imgTehran: Iran said Monday that no cyber attack against the Islamic republic has ever succeeded, after American media reported the US launched one last week amid a standoff between the two countries. “The media are asking about the veracity of the alleged cyber attack against Iran. No successful attack has been carried out by them, although they are making a lot of effort,” telecommunications minister Mohammad Javad Azarari Jahromi said on Twitter without referring to any US attack. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonMeanwhile, US President Donald Trump has said he is imposing hard-hitting new sanctions on Iran, including on the office of the country’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Mr Trump said the additional sanctions were in response to the shooting down of a US drone and “many other things”. He added that they would “continue to increase pressure on Tehran”, saying “never can Iran have a nuclear weapon”. US media on Saturday said Washington launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network this week after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorThe Washington Post said that after the drone shooting US President Donald Trump authorised US Cyber Command to carry out a retaliatory cyber attack on Iran. The attack crippled computers used to control rocket and missile launches but caused no casualties, according to the Post, which cited people familiar with the matter. Yahoo cited two former intelligence officials as saying the US targeted a spying group responsible for tracking ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian telecommunications minister acknowledged that Iran has “been facing cyber terrorism — such as Stuxnet — and unilateralism — such as sanctions”. The Stuxnet virus, discovered in 2010, is believed to have been engineered by Israel and the US to damage nuclear facilities in Iran. And Tehran is believed to have stepped up its own cyber capabilities in the face of US efforts to isolate the Islamic republic. “We foiled last year not one attack but 33 million attacks with Dejpha shield,” Azari Jahromi said referring to a new internet defence system. Tensions between Iran and the United States have been high since Trump last year unilaterally withdrew from the multinational 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran. The accord sought to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief. After leaving the accord Trump imposed biting sanctions on Iran to choke off its oil sales and cripple its economy, and his administration is expected to announce more sanctions on Iran later Monday. The tensions between Iran and the US were exacerbated in recent weeks after Washington accused Tehran of being behind a series of attacks on tankers in the strategic Gulf. Iran has denied any involvement.last_img read more

Captain Virat Kohli happy to let deputy Rohit Sharma take World Cup

first_imgManchester: He has always been a quintessential hero of Indian batting line-up but skipper Virat Kohli is happily playing a protagonist, who does not mind letting his deputy Rohit Sharma take the World Cup centre-stage. While Kohli’s five half centuries have been effortless, Rohit has overshadowed everyone with record five hundreds. The Indian skipper is so used to getting one ton after another, it is a surprise for his legion of fans to watch him go century-less for eight games in a row. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in JammuAsked if it bothers him, the ‘run-machine’ emphatically said: “not at all.” “It’s been a different kind of role that I’ve had to play in this World Cup and as the captain of the team, I have been open to playing any kind of role that the team wants me to,” the skipper said. Rohit’s dominance is giving him and others a chance to control the middle-over phase. “It’s great that Rohit is scoring so consistently. It means that coming in the latter half of the innings, you have to play a different role, which is controlling the middle overs and letting guys like Hardik, Kedar, MS in the past few games, and now Rishabh, come out and express themselves.” Also Read – Shashi Tharoor writes to PM Modi: Don’t let your ‘mann ki baat’ become ‘maun ki baat’Kohli the aggressor is now playing the role of sheet anchor and he is perfectly happy with it. “So I have understood that roles can vary a lot in One-day cricket, depending on the time you step into bat. I have been very happy with holding one end and letting guys express themselves striking at 150, 160 or 200 if the team needs and I can accelerate in the end.” The skipper feels that this World Cup has actually given him a chance to rediscover some of the other facets of ODI batting. He has often played at number four and that has also helped him analyse situations.last_img read more

Deadpool 3 will totally happen says creator Rob Liefeld

first_imgLos Angeles: “Deadpool” creator Rob Liefeld has promised the third installment of the popular comic book series will definitely happen.Liefeld, who co-created the Merc With a Mouth with Fabian Nicieza, held a Q&A session with his followers on Twitter on Thursday.A worried fan asked him if a third movie, fronted by Ryan Reynolds, in the franchise was in the works post Disney-Fox merger.”Since we’re desperate and you’re our last hope for answers… do you have any news on a third Deadpool film from Marvel Studios?” the fan asked. Liefeld assured the follower, simply saying, “It will totally happen! Soon!” A third film has not yet been confirmed by the studio.The second part, “Deadpool 2”, released in 2018.last_img read more

WhatsApp building desktop version that works without phone

first_imgSan Francisco: Facebook-owned WhatsApp is reportedly working on a desktop version of the app that would allow users to use the messaging app on a PC without having to connect their phone to the Internet. In 2015, WhatsApp released a web version that mirrored the conversation from the mobile app, but to use it, one needed to have their phone connected to the Internet. Reliable WhatsApp leaker account WABetaInfo tweeted on Friday that the company might be developing a Universal Windows Platform (UWP) app along with a new multi-platform system that would work even when your phone is off. In addition, WhatsApp is also reportedly working on a multi-platform system that would allow users to access their chats and profiles on more than one device with the same account. The multi-platform system would also work in synchronisation with WhatsApp’s UWP, which is also in the works, to offer the standard chat interface on different devices with the same account.last_img read more

IOA proposes boycott of 2022 CWG for dropping shooting

first_imgNew Delhi: In an unprecedented move, the Indian Olympic Association Saturday proposed boycott of the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games for dropping shooting from the roster, and sought the government’s approval. In a letter to Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju, IOA president Narinder Batra requested him for an early meeting to deliberate on the proposal. The development comes a day after the IOA pulled out of the Commonwealth Games Federation’s (CGF) General Assembly, to be held in Rwanda in September, protesting the dropping of shooting from the 2022 CWG roster. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhThe IOA had also withdrawn the nomination of its secretary general Rajeev Mehta for the election of a regional vice-president as well as that of Namdev Shiragaonkar for sports committee member. While proposing a boycott of the 2022 CWG, Batra lashed out at the CGF leadership for having an “India bashing mindset” and for “trying to change rules” whenever the country does well in the Commonwealth Games. He even went to the extent of saying that India is no longer a colony of any country. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”We want to express our protest by not taking part in 2022 CWG in the UK to make the CWG understand that India is not prepared to take India bashing anymore and the people with a particular mindset in CWG need to understand that India got its Independence in 1947 and India is not a colony of anyone anymore and is now the fifth largest economy in the world and by far the fastest growing economy in the world,” the IOA chief said in the letter. “We have been noticing over a period of time that wherever India seems to be getting grip of the game and performing well, then somehow we find that either the goal posts are shifted or rules are changed. We feel it is time for us in IOA/India to start asking tough questions and start taking tough positions,” he said. Batra said the IOA cannot take a decision of this magnitude with such far-reaching implications by itself and requested the sports minister to grant an early meeting to discuss the boycott proposal. “We realise and understand that such decisions have to be taken by keeping in mind the political sensitivities (sic) and we in the IOA are not the experts in the field and that is why we vide through this letter seek appointment for IOA President along with IOA office bearers and few other members to meet with your good self to deliberate further on the issue of the proposed boycott of 2022 CWG by India.” In its Executive Board meeting last month, the CGF left out shooting from the 2022 Birmingham Games while recommending the inclusion of three new sports. Mehta had then said that India would not be averse to taking the unprecedented step of pulling out of the Games. The decision to leave out shooting has dealt a big blow to India which had won as many as 16 medals out of 66 in the 2018 Gold Coast CWG. The sport has featured in every Commonwealth Games since 1966 with the exception of Edinburgh 1970. The CGF, however, had taken the position that it was the host nation’s prerogative to decide the fate of shooting, which has always been an optional sport in the CWG. In Saturday’s letter to the sports minister, Batra pointed out that without shooting, India’ medal tally as well as ranking is expected to come down. “By removing shooting from 2022 CWG, the medal ranking of India will go down from 3rd in 2018 to anywhere between 5th to 8th in 2022 CWG and the total number of medals won will also come down from 66. “Even though the government, NSFs and IOA will be working hard for 2022 CWG but the impression that will go down is of bad performance because overall number of total medals may come down along with the overall ranking based on medals won,” he said. Batra also pointed out that such a big country like India does not have a single member in the CGF Executive Council as well as in any functional committee. “CWG has 53 countries across all continents and the total population of 53 countries is 2.4 billion out of which India alone comprise of 1.26 billion that is 52.5 percent. “It will be very interesting to note that India does not have even a single member in CWG Executive Council and not does it have a single member in any of the functional committees of CWG.”last_img read more

LG inaugurates Van Mahotsav and Rose Garden in Dwarka

first_imgNEW DELHI: Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal on Monday inaugurated Van Mahotsav and Rose Garden developed by the Delhi Development Authority at Dwarka.”DDA is poised to cover more area of Delhi as Green Carpet by planting 4 lakh indigenous species this year keeping in view its sustainable environment. As a new initiative, the DDA has associated the children of various Delhi schools of Class VI and above to plant and adopt a tree and to place name plaque on the adopted tree to inculcate the sense of belongingness,” said the LG. He also said that the DDA has developed 11.5 acres of green area in Sector-16C, Dwarka for Rose Garden, Fruit Garden and Herbal Garden. The Rose Garden spreads over an area of 6.5 acres with 90 different varieties of roses.last_img read more

Over 180 kids benefit after opening of Anganwadi scheme in Shahdara

first_imgNew Delhi: More than 180 children and 18 pregnant women are now getting benefits of Anganwadi scheme, which was opened after the intervention of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) in one of the areas in Shahdara. DCPCR member Ranjana Prasad told Millennium Post that they received a complaint on May 14 from a resident of Shahdara. “The complainant told us that there was no Anganwadi in the area,” said Prasad.She added that a DCPCR team was sent to the spot to inspect the area. It was revealed that there were 186 children (0-6 years) and 18 pregnant women. “Some of the kids were malnourished,” DCPCR official said. According to child rights body, they informed the concerned Delhi government authority regarding the issue which turns out to be fruitful. Recently the commission enquired the complainant about the current status of the project. They came to know that the locality now enjoys the basic facilities of the Anganwadi. In July, two more anganwadis were opened in Delhi after the intervention of the commission. “Poor people are not aware that government has a scheme for the good health and free education of their children. If children are connected to Anganwadi, we can prevent the problem of malnutrition,” said Ranjana Prasad.last_img read more

Next Apple Watch may come with sleep tracking feature

first_imgSan Francisco: Apple is working on a sleep tracking feature called ‘Time in Bed tracking’ for its new range of Apple Watch wearables. The new feature will give users the option to wear the Apple Watch in their sleep and if they do, data such as heart rate, motion, and noise, will be used to monitor the sleep quality, news portal 9TO5MAC reported on Monday. Sleep tracking has been available via a variety of third-party apps but Apple has never provided its own sleep tracking feature. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The Cupertino-based company is expected to launch the new feature as early as next week when the company is expected to announce new iPhones along with Apple Watch Series 5. Apple Watch Series 5 model is expected to use OLED screens supplied by Japan Display, according to analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. According to Kuo, Japan Display would gradually increase its proportion of OLED display orders for the Apple Watch, starting with 15-20 per cent of orders in 2019 and reaching 70-80 per cent in 2021. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India He believes that Apple would also gradually increase the proportion of LG’s supply of OLED displays for iPhones and tap Chinese manufacturer BOE as an additional supplier, in a bid to diversify its supply chain. Recently, Brazilian site iHelp BR spotted graphics hidden in the beta code of watchOS 6 that points to ceramic and titanium casings quite possibly for the Apple Watch 5, alongside stainless steel for the Apple Watch 4.last_img read more

Gym trainer arrested for killing his father in Dwarka

first_imgNew Delhi: A 27-year-old gym trainer was arrested for killing his father in Dwarka district. Police said that during interrogation accused claimed that his father was very abusive.Police identified the accused as Amit, a resident of Jafarpur Kalan. On August 27, an information was received at the police station that one person has been shot in village Khera Dabur. The deceased was identified as Ashok Kumar (52). It was ascertained that his son had shot him dead on some domestic issues. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderDeputy Commissioner of Police (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse said that raids were conducted at several places in Haryana/Rajasthan/UP and Delhi to trace the accused. On September 3, Kumar was arrested from Surheda Mod. The arrest was made by special staff team under Inspector Naveen Kumar. On interrogation, Kumar stated that his father had lost his right hand a few years back in an accident. His father had not been working after amputation of his hand and mostly stayed at home. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings”The accused claims that his father was very abusive, even in front of his children and women of the family and often curse the whole family. This abusive routine of the deceased lead to arguments daily in the family,” police said. On August 27 deceased confronted the accused on some domestic issue but accused avoided and did not give much attention. It irked the deceased and he started abusing and cursing the accused and his minor daughters. Accused, took out the pistol and shot his father when he was playing cards with his friends in the neighbourhood. “He was planning to meet some friend on September 3 to arrange for some money so that he could escape to Nepal,” police said.last_img read more

Ottawa fasttracking wouldbe immigrants with French skills siblings in Canada

first_imgOTTAWA – The federal Immigration Department is changing its express entry system to give more points to would-be newcomers who have siblings already in Canada and for those with strong French-language skills.The department says the new rules go into effect on Tuesday.It says the changes are aimed to help support the integration of skilled workers and increase growth, vitality and prosperity of in Francophone minority communities across the country.Studies show that newcomers with siblings in Canada integrate more quickly, the department says.Programs managed through the express entry system seek to attract high-skilled foreign workers and former international students who want to live in Canada permanently and whose skills are in high demand by employers.Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen announced the changes today during an event at an immigrant centre in Markham, Ont.“As the improvements are implemented, I’m pleased that Canada will welcome more skilled immigrants with siblings in Canada who can help them quickly integrate into their new life here and that we’ll continue to see francophone minority communities flourish,” Hussen said in a statement.last_img read more

LacMegantic residents mark fourth anniversary of rail tragedy in Quebec town

first_imgLAC-MEGANTIC, – Residents in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic will mark the fourth anniversary today of the train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed much of the downtown core.There is expected to be a church service, an outdoor vigil and an activity at the town’s train station.The disaster on July 6, 2013, led to hundreds of millions of dollars in clean-up and reconstruction costs as well as the bankruptcy of Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, the company that owned and operated the tracks.As they rebuild, townspeople aren’t dropping their calls for a bypass that would steer trains away from the town’s core.The Quebec and federal governments have financed a feasibility study on the matter, and the province’s environmental review agency began public hearings on the issue in May.But while policy-makers continue to look for ways to improve rail safety, Lac-Megantic is well into the reconstruction process.Sonia Dumont, a spokeswoman for the town’s rebuilding committee, says construction on several new projects, including a new park, pedestrian walkway and multi-functional community space, will begin this fall.The town is also developing new “human infrastructure,” including a new greeters program where citizens act as guides for tourists.Meanwhile, three ex-railway employees are awaiting trial after pleading not guilty to 47 counts of criminal negligence causing death stemming from the tragedy.Their trial is to be held in Sherbrooke instead of Lac-Megantic and is set to last from Sept. 11 to Dec. 21.Conviction on a charge of criminal negligence causing death carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.Montreal Maine and Atlantic Railway was charged with the three men and has pleaded not guilty to similar charges.It will face a separate trial at a later date.last_img read more

Poor security controls led to camera breach at Nova Scotia school report

first_imgHALIFAX – A lack of basic security measures led to Cape Breton schoolchildren being live streamed on the internet via school surveillance cameras, Nova Scotia’s information and privacy commissioner says.Catherine Tully says the video system at the Rankin School of the Narrows was breached when one camera’s live feed was picked up by insecam.org, a Russian website that specializes in linking non-secured surveillance cameras.In her report Thursday, Tully says a technical vulnerability enabled viewers to access the Iona, N.S., school’s other two cameras as well.It happened because “straightforward” security measures were not implemented, Tully said in an interview. That’s a widespread problem across the province, affecting cameras in homes, public buildings and businesses and people need to pay attention to it, she said.“As part of the investigation we went on the insecam website … and discovered there are at least 50 cameras in Nova Scotia live streaming on the Internet.”The report says the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board changed its cameras’ passwords once it learned of the breach, but Tully found the board still hasn’t implemented adequate technical or administrative controls.Video surveillance needs to be properly secured, she said, adding it’s clear from her investigation that the technology is being handled by people who aren’t familiar with security systems.“You have to have a security expert help you if you are not a security expert. People are constantly looking for ways to access information and technology is constantly under threat.”Tully began her investigation in May after it was revealed that detailed images of pupils at the school, aged five to 18, were appearing on the website, which bills itself as the world’s largest directory of online surveillance security cameras.“The camera feeds showed when students entered and exited the school, and when male students entered the washroom, alone or in groups,” the report says.“This information, streaming unsecured to the Internet, created a risk to student safety. It also exposed them to potential embarrassment or humiliation.”Tully’s report recommends several changes to the school board’s technical security practices.They include the development of a privacy breach policy, the securing of cameras behind a firewall, the replacement of two exterior cameras, and the immediate disabling of a video surveillance camera outside the boys’ washroom at the school.Tully said she was told the washroom camera was installed in response to a specific incident in 2015 that was later resolved.“Well the purpose was served, it’s over and there’s no longer any authority for that camera, so my recommendation is that camera should come down.”Beth MacIsaac, superintendent for the Cape Breton-Victoria Regional School Board, said the washroom camera has since been taken down and new secure passwords and firewalls have been added to the two remaining cameras.“I think there’s a lesson for everybody in this on how vulnerable we all are with video cameras on our computers and everywhere else,” MacIsaac said.Tully found that the board hadn’t established whether its system is legally authorized under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. She said all school boards in the province had implemented video surveillance without conducting a privacy impact assessment to ensure compliance with the law.Tully’s office plans a privacy impact assessment workshop for school boards in the coming months.“It is essential that school boards conduct a thorough privacy impact assessment of their video surveillance systems in order to find the proper balance between ensuring the safety of children while respecting their privacy,” Tully said.Education Minister Zach Churchill said it could be time for his department to look at a province-wide policy on school video surveillance: “This incident demonstrates I think that we do need to have more of a provincial scope with this.”Tully’s recommendations are not binding, and Premier Stephen McNeil said he doesn’t see the need for the privacy commissioner to have such power.“We believe the current structure is working and we’ll continue to operate that way,” said McNeil.last_img read more

Too late in the game Concerns hurt bear near Calgary cant weather

first_imgCOCHRANE, Alta. – A wildlife biologist says a young injured black bear that has been wandering alone west of Calgary for weeks has not built up enough body fat or grown a thick enough fur undercoat to survive the winter without help.The small bruin was spotted hobbling in a field in late September with an apparent injury to one of its back legs. That prompted calls for the Alberta government to allow a wildlife rehabilitation charity to intervene.The province has said the animal should be left alone and has suggested it could heal while it hibernates. Anyone who approaches the bear risks being charged and fined.More than 6,700 people have signed an online petition urging the government to allow the bear to be treated.Biologist Lisa Dahlseide says the bear was seen as recently as Sunday, when it attracted a crowd of onlookers near the small community of Redwood Meadows.She says the animal has been able to move over greater distances than it had been several weeks ago, when it stayed mostly in the same spot.“It’s great news because it shows that he’s healing,” Dahlseide said Monday.“However, I feel that it was a bit too late in the game for this time of year. He had such a long period of time when he wasn’t mobile, where he lacked getting the nutritional content that he needed to prepare for hibernation.”Alberta Environment and Parks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Bears need to consume 20,000 calories a day in preparation for their winter slumber, Dahlseide said.“He’s very skinny. He’s still very much underweight.”The Cochrane Ecological Institute, which has been rehabilitating and rescuing wildlife for a half-century, has for weeks wanted the bear to be brought to its facility for care.But provincial rules in place since 2010 prohibit the rescue, rehabilitation and return to the wild of a number of animals, including black bears.Institute president Clio Smeeton said she wrote to the province last month to ask for a temporary shelter permit, which would allow her organization to look after the bear for a limited period of time. She also asked to borrow a bear trap.Smeeton said the bear would be given veterinary treatment at no cost to taxpayers. The bear would be fattened up as much as possible for the next few weeks and would be given a safe place to hibernate until spring.“We have been collecting vast amounts of apples, all donated for him, should we ever get him.”Smeeton said she doesn’t understand why the province hasn’t taken her up on the offer.“It’s not difficult. It’s clean, it’s ethical and it’s morally right to do,” she said. “It won’t cost the government a penny and by doing something like that, they look good, the animals are looked after and everybody’s happy.”Dahlseide said Smeeton’s proposal is the best option, but the biologist has been exploring an alternative.Dahlseide said a den insulated with straw bales could be built for the bear on the private property it has been roaming on, since it’s not clear whether the animal has the strength to build one itself. She said the landowner has expressed an eagerness to help, but wants to ensure doing so doesn’t cause any legal trouble.The downside would be that the bruin would be more vulnerable to predators than if it were at the wildlife institute — but it’s better than nothing, Dahlseide said.“We have built the den, so as soon as we get the OK, it’s just a matter of putting it on the back of a pickup truck.”— By Lauren Krugel in Calgarylast_img read more

Loblaw criticized for personal information requests in gift card roll out

first_imgLoblaw Companies Ltd. isn’t providing details as to why some Canadians have been singled out with requests to hand over additional personal information to secure their $25 gift card related to the alleged bread price-fixing scandal.Customer outrage has fomented online as Canadians take to Twitter to express privacy concerns about the company’s decision to ask some to provide a scan of their driver’s licence or utility bill in order to receive the card. Some have also commented on the perceived irony of Loblaw’s apparent fraud prevention measure, given that the gift cards are a gesture of apology for deceiving the public.“Wait. @LoblawsON wants me to send a scan of my driver’s licence to prove I am who I say I am to get that $25 gift card?? Wasn’t it you guys who committed the fraud,” tweeted a user with the handle Paul D’Hondt.Such concerns are shared by privacy experts including Ann Cavoukian, expert-in-residence at Ryerson University’s Privacy by Design Centre of Excellence.“I just think that is so outrageous. First of all, they’re at fault, they’re doing this to correct their misbehaviour,” she said.She said a copy of a driver’s licence should not be requested for a gift card meant to appease customers for wrongdoing, given the card contains a licence number, photo, signature and other personal details.“They’re asking you to give them a copy of your drivers license, which is the ultimate for identity theft.”Cavoukian, who previously served as the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, said that there were an estimated 1.1 billion cases of identity theft globally in 2016 and it’s expected that number could double for 2017, so companies and individuals need to increase their vigilance around personal identification.The company is only collecting the information for verification purposes and will then destroy it, Kevin Groh, Loblaw vice-president of corporate affairs and communications said in a statement Tuesday.“We are in the process of issuing tens of millions of dollars in Loblaw Cards to Canadians. We think it’s sensible to have safeguards in place, and to make sure the interests of our customers are protected.”The vast majority of customers won’t be required to make the additional step, Groh added, without providing details as to how they are choosing to single out some people.The gift card offer faced an earlier privacy controversy after some early visitors to the sign-up page expressed concern that the it did not initially include text about user privacy and the company’s use of the email addresses it collects.It was later updated with a privacy policy that included how the company planned to use email addresses.In December, Loblaw and its parent company George Weston Ltd. admitted their participation in what they say is an industry-wide arrangement to co-ordinate the price of bread for at least 14 years. Days later, Loblaw offered customers a $25 gift card as a goodwill gesture.“This is what Loblaws is doing to make up for their mistake?” Cavoukian said.“I mean, it is the height of irony.”last_img read more

Health Canada tests 27 sunscreens after skin reactions reported finds no problems

first_imgOTTAWA – Health Canada has not identified any serious concerns with the quality of sunscreens, which were tested after a higher than expected number of reports last summer about skin reactions linked to the use of Banana Boat products.The issue received public attention when several mothers complained that their babies suffered burn injuries after using a Banana Boat sunscreen. A woman in B.C. said her 12-year-old son developed severe blisters following use of one of the products.Health Canada says it has tested 27 sunscreens from various companies in its laboratories, 18 of them intended for children or infants and nine aimed at use by adults.The federal department says all products were found to have a pH range close to the skin’s natural level and all contained the amount of active ingredient listed on their labels.None of the sunscreens contained preservatives known to cause skin reactions nor had microbial contaminants that exceeded allowable levels.The 27 sunscreen products tested included six Banana Boat sprays and lotions, six Coppertone preparations, and three Ombrelle lotions for children.Health Canada says it strongly encourages the use of sunscreens to protect against harmful UV radiation, which can lead to burns, premature aging and skin cancer.“Although reactions observed are not the result of product quality issues, other factors that could have contributed to the reported reactions are under review,” said Health Canada, which is completing a comprehensive scientific and clinical safety assessment of sunscreens and their risk of causing skin reactions.A summary of the safety review will be released later this summer.last_img read more

Crew members hurt when Via Rail passenger train derails in Saskatchewan

first_imgHUDSON BAY, Sask. – Via Rail Canada says two locomotives and a baggage car on a train going from Winnipeg to The Pas in northern Manitoba derailed overnight in a remote area of east-central Saskatchewan.The Crown rail company said Train 693 was carrying 16 passengers and five crew members when the accident happened shortly after 3:00 a.m. Thursday, 37 kilometres north of the town of Hudson Bay.Marie-Anna Murat, a Via spokeswoman, said the engines and baggage car in the eight-unit train ended up on their side.“All (five) passenger cars remained upright,” she said.Preliminary information showed two crew members suffered minor injuries. It also indicated no passengers were hurt.Via said everyone aboard was taken to the Hudson Bay Health Care Facility to be assessed and treated, if needed, and had all been discharged.Via was offering trauma counselling to passengers and crew, and set up a telephone hotline (1-877-747-0707) for people wanting information on family members who were on the train.Alexandre Fournier, a spokesman for the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, said the train was going about 50 km/h when it hit a section of track that had washed out.Murat said Via couldn’t confirm a washout.“I know there was flooding in the area, but the accident is under investigation and as of now we don’t know the cause. The area is very remote,” she said.Passenger rail service between Winnipeg and Gillam, Man., has been suspended until further notice.Fournier said TSB investigators were on their way to the scene.last_img read more

Heat warnings issued for parts of southern Ontario and Quebec

first_imgWednesday will be another scorching day in parts of central and eastern Canada.Environment Canada has issued several heat warnings for southern Ontario and southern Quebec with highs expected near 31 C and a humidex exceeding 40 C.The warnings stretch from Windsor to Hamilton in Ontario and from Gatineau to the Eastern Townships in Quebec.Environment Canada says a very hot and humid southeasterly airmass is slowly moving through the region.It says strong thunderstorms are possible.The weather agency says a cold front will return temperatures back to seasonal levels beginning in Ontario late Wednesday night and in Quebec by Thursday morning.last_img read more

Man who jumped into Toronto shark tank wanted for assault police

first_imgTORONTO – Police say a man who stunned patrons and staff at a popular Toronto aquarium when he stripped naked, hopped a security barrier and jumped into a large shark tank is wanted in connection with an earlier assault.The man spent several minutes swimming in the tank with sand tiger sharks, sawfish and moray eels at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, located beside Toronto’s CN Tower, around 10:30 p.m. Friday as a crowd looked on.Police say they are looking for David Weaver, 37, of Nelson, B.C., who is also wanted in connection with an alleged assault at another location earlier Friday evening that seriously injured a man.At one point, according to officials and videos posted online, the man briefly paused his swim and appeared to be getting out at the urging of security guards. A moment later, he dove backwards into the tank as onlookers let out a cheer.The aquarium said the man was with a woman when he entered and exited the facility, but left behind his jacket and T-shirt as he scrambled to leave before police officers arrived.“It was premeditated and intentional,” the aquarium’s general manager Peter Doyle told The Canadian Press on Monday. “He wasn’t here to enjoy jazz night because he was only here for 20 minutes.”The aquarium — which said it is “willing to press all appropriate charges” over the incident — said the incident took place during a bi-weekly event called Friday Night Jazz, which features live music and cash bars.The facility’s surveillance footage shows the man and a woman bought tickets to the event at 10 p.m. and made their way directly to the “dangerous lagoon,” the 2.9 million-litre tank that is the centrepiece of the tourist attraction, Doyle said.The man jumped into the pool at 10:26 p.m. and was out five minutes later, the general manager said.“It seems crazy he’d spend $70 coming for 20 minutes,” Doyle said.At 10:31 p.m. on Friday night, Ripley’s called police for an “indecent exposure incident.”“We arrived on scene within seven minutes and he was already gone,” said Toronto police spokeswoman Katrina Arrogante.Doyle said it’s unclear if the man was intoxicated, and noted that he did not appear to have a drink at the aquarium.Videos posted online show a bald man swimming in the tank as sharks and other fish pass underneath, with a security guard yelling at him to get out of the water. As he gets out of the tank, the videos show a woman in a leopard-print outfit handing him his clothes before he walks away.“We’ve never had an incident like this before,” Doyle said. “I’ve never seen this in my 25 years working in aquariums.”In the earlier incident, police allege a 34-year-old man was approached by an unknown man, who assaulted him and then fled the area.Police say the victim sustained serious injuries and was treated in hospital.They say Weaver is wanted for assault causing bodily harm and mischief related to interfering with property.He is described as five feet 10 inches tall, weighing 220 pounds, with a heavy build, shaved head, goatee, and missing a front tooth. Police say he is believed to be driving a green Dodge Caravan with B.C. licence plate PL120G.last_img read more