New Delhi: Adani Enterprises Wednesday reported a 46.87 per cent jump in consolidated profit to Rs 266.09 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 31, mainly driven by higher income. The company had posted a consolidated profit of Rs 181.17 crore in the corresponding quarter of the previous fiscal, Adani Enterprises said in a BSE filing. The consolidated income of the company during the quarter under review rose to Rs 13,472.97 crore, from Rs 10,577.21 crore in the year-ago period. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsThe total expenses also grew to Rs 12,975.30 crore, compared to Rs 9,601.26 crore. “The PAT (profit after tax) attributable to owners for the fourth quarter of 2018-19 is Rs 283 crore vs Rs 188 crore in the corresponding quarter of 2016-17,” the company said in a press statement. “Adani Enterprises continues to focus on incubating businesses of national importance, building second generation infrastructure and utilities. With stable government and emphasizing policy initiatives paves way for growth opportunities across sectors,” Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani said. The company has signed coal mining agreement with Andhra Pradesh Mineral Development Corporation for Suliyari Coal Block on March 8, 2019. Adani Group is the country’s leading integrated infrastructure conglomerate with interests in resources (coal mining and trading), logistics (ports, logistics, shipping and rail) and energy (renewable and thermal power generation, transmission and distribution), among others.
New Delhi: Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman reviewed the state of the economy and discussed various budget-related suggestions and proposals at a meeting with financial sector regulators here on Wednesday. Sitharaman will present the first budget of Modi 2.0 government on July 5 against the backdrop of India’s economy hitting a five-year low growth of 6.8 per cent in 2018-19. Financial sector regulators, including RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, Sebi Chairman Ajay Tyagi, and IRDAI chief Subhash Chandra Khuntia, and top finance ministry officials were present in the meeting of the Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC) headed by the finance minister, an official release said. “As discussed in the other FSDC meetings, there was a general review of the current state of the economy, of the overall macro-economic situation, global developments, and there was a discussion on the forthcoming budget and various budget-related suggestions and proposals,” the RBI governor said after the meeting. The regulators and the concerned secretaries of the government were present in the meeting, he said. The FSDC is the apex body of sectoral regulators. Finance Secretary Subhash Chandra Garg, Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Kumar, Revenue Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey and Expenditure Secretary G C Murmu attended the meeting along with IBBI chairman M S Sahoo, and Corporate Affairs Secretary Injeti Srinivas. Asked about the outlook for the economy, Das said current situation has already been spelt out after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting earlier this month. “In the post MPC press conference, I have personally elaborated on the risks to global growth. On the outlook for India, for the current year, we have projected 7 per cent. We have also flagged the other issues in the MPC resolution, and in the statement which I made after the MPC. Beyond that I have nothing to add,” he said. Concerns with regard to focus on financial stability have been the underlying theme of all monetary policy decisions, he said. “It is not explicitly stated. Should it be explicitly stated, the jury is still out, and a view has to be taken,” he said. Asked if any stimulus is required to prop up the economy, the governor said, “It is for the government to decide, and its the finance minister’s prerogative to take a call on such matters.” The RBI governor further said that the Bimal Jalan committee, which is looking into the size of capital reserves that the RBI should hold, is likely to submit its final report by June-end. The 20th meeting of the FSDC reviewed the current global and domestic economic situation and financial stability issues including, inter-alia, those concerning Banking and NBFCs, an official statement said. The Council was also apprised of the progress made towards setting up of the Financial Data Management Centre (FDMC) to facilitate integrated data aggregation and analysis as also a Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-Fin) towards strengthening the cybersecurity framework for the financial sector, it said. The Council also held consultations to obtain inputs and suggestions of the financial sector regulators for the Budget, it said, adding, all the regulators presented their proposals for the Union Budget 2019-20. The Council also took note of the activities undertaken by the FSDC Sub-Committee Chaired by Governor, RBI and the action taken by members on the decisions taken in earlier Meetings of the Council. Others who attended the meeting included Chief Economic Adviser Krishnamurthy V Subramanian, Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India chairman Subhash Chandra Khuntia and Ravi Mital, Additional Secretary, Department of Financial Services & in charge, Chairperson, Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority.
New Delhi: The telecom department is learnt to have asked state-owned BSNL to put all tenders and purchase order on hold, as the company is facing financial crisis. The finance department of BSNL issued order in this regard on June 2, directing all its circle head to take prior approval of corporate officer located in Delhi before floating any new tenders for capital expenditure, according to official sources. “The order issued to circle heads on June 12 says that BSNL is passing through a temporary financial stress and is not in a position to clear the accumulated liabilities,” a BSNL official on the condition of anonymity said. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in SepHe said the BSNL’s Finance Department received the direction from finance wing of the DoT to put on hold all capital expenditure. The order has asked BSNL officers to put in abeyance advance purchase orders, and purchase orders of tenders that have been already finalised till further instruction. BSNL posted operating profit of Rs 672 crore in 2014-15, Rs 3,885 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 1,684 crore in 2016-17. Like other telecom companies, BSNL too has been facing stress in revenues after new entrant Reliance Jio entered the market. Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to CustomsBSNL Director – Finance, S K Gupta last month shot off a letter to all Chief General Managers of telecom circles, flagging the “fiercest ever competition” being faced by the telecom sector and said “predatory tariff offerings by the competitors” has triggered a sharp decline in revenue from services. While promoters of private telecom operators, including Jio, are investing thousand of crores, BSNL is awaiting government decision on allotment of 4G spectrum to compete in the market. The company is estimated to have largest optical fibre cable network of 7.5 route kilometer that can help it build high speed network. However, it needs to purchase equipments to expand services. BSNL has sought government approval to monetise its real estate. However, the decision is pending with the government.
Chandigarh: A Haryana bureaucrat, who played a crucial role in unearthing a post-matric scholarship scam of nearly Rs 19 crore, has been transferred from the department which is under the scanner. Officer Sanjeev Verma was shifted on Thursday from the Department of Welfare of Schedules Castes and Backward Classes and posted as the Special Secretary and Director, Archives Department. According to the government, Verma’s transfer is a routine affair. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah Taking the lead from Verma’s investigation, Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar last month asked the State Vigilance Bureau to probe the multi-crore post-matric scholarship scam. The bureaucrat revealed how the funds meant for the Scheduled Caste and Backward Class students were fraudulently diverted by changing Aadhaar numbers of beneficiaries to the others who were not eligible for the scholarship. Officials said Verma initially unearthed the scam in Sonipat district where Rs 3.53 crore was illegally transferred to other accounts. Later, this amount swelled to Rs 18.45 crore. Also Read – Prohibitory orders lifted from Mumbai’s stir-hit Aarey Colony Verma, who is currently on leave, has been demanding a special audit by the Accountant General as Rs 236 crore has been disbursed under post-matric scholarship in the three years. Last month he threatened to sit on fast outside the Chandigarh Police headquarters here as it was taking much time to register a case based on his report. Subsequently, a case was registered on May 13. The report pointed out misappropriation of funds to the tune of Rs 14.92 crore in Sonepat, Rohtak, Panipat and Fatehabad districts in connivance with officials.
Too little sunlight, specifically ultraviolet B exposure, in pregnancy may lead to a higher risk of learning disabilities in child, according to a study. The study conducted by researchers at University of Glasgow found that there was a statistically significant relationship between lower ultraviolet B (UVB) exposure over the whole of pregnancy and the risk of learning disabilities. The researchers looked at more than 422,500 school-age children from across Scotland and found that low UVB exposure during pregnancy was associated with risk of learning disabilities. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain”Learning disabilities can have profound life-long effects on both the affected child and their family. The importance of our study is that it suggests a possible way to prevent learning disabilities in some children,” said professor Jill Pell, Director of the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Health and Wellbeing and lead author of the study. “Clinical trials are now needed to confirm whether taking vitamin D supplements during pregnancy could reduce the risk of learning disabilities,” Pell said. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardUVB, the chief cause of skin reddening and sunburn, exposure from sunlight is linked to the production of the essential nutrient vitamin D in the body. During the antenatal period, the foetus undergoes rapid development and growth, making it susceptible to environmental exposures, with the potential of long-term consequences. Maternal UVB exposure promotes the production of vitamin D, which is important for normal brain development of a foetus. The researchers also found a slightly stronger relationship with low UVB exposure in the first trimester, suggesting that early pregnancy may be the most vulnerable to the effects of insufficient UVB. As a result of low levels of UVB radiation from sunlight, vitamin D deficiency is common over winter months in high latitude countries such as Scotland, with Scottish residents twice as likely to be vitamin D deficient than people living in other parts of the UK, the researchers said. Of the 422,512 schoolchildren included in the study, 79,616 (18.8 per cent) had a learning disability, 49,770 (23.1 per cent) boys and 29,846 (14.4 per cent) girls. The percentage of children with learning disabilities varied by month of conception, ranging from 16.5 per cent among children conceived in July, to 21.0 per cent among those conceived in February, March and April. “Our study linked routinely collected health and education data with environmental data enabling us to study a very large number of children in a way that would not be possible using traditional methods,” said Claire Hastie, who did the analysis. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.
Chennai: Tamil Nadu government on Saturday said K. Shanmugam, Additional Chief Secretary in Finance Department has been transferred and posted as Chief Secretary. Shanmugam will replace incumbent Girija Vaidyanthan who retires on June 30. The government also said it has appointed J.K. Tripathy as the Director General of Police (DGP) and Head of Police Force in place of T.K. Rajendran, who retires on Sunday, as well, after completion of two years of his tenure.
London: Britain on Thursday ordered its navy to escort UK-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz after Iranian soldiers seized a tanker in the flashpoint entrance to the Gulf. “The Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz, either individually or in groups, should sufficient notice be given of their passage,” the defence ministry said in a statement. The week-long standoff over the British-flagged Stena Impero and its 23-member crew has inflamed tensions between the Islamic republic and the United Kingdom. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USBritain responded on Monday by proposing a European-led mission that could secure the passage of vessels through the world’s busiest oil shipping lane. But France said Thursday it was not willing to send extra military assets to the Gulf, but would share information and coordinate its currently deployed assets. Iran had earlier warned Britain that it intended to retaliate for UK marines’ involvement of the seizure of its own supertanker near Gibraltar on July 4. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsBritain currently has the HMS Montrose warship in the Gulf and a handful of smaller naval vessels. The Montrose had tried to rush in to rescue the Stena but arrived too late to the scene. Britain has already raised its security level in the region to the highest level and advised all boats in Iranian waters not to enter the strait. Its guidance before Thursday was for ships to notify the navy and receive instructions on “the safest way to transit” into the Gulf. “It is not possible for the Royal Navy to provide escorts for every single ship,” now-former foreign secretary Jeremy Hunt told parliament on Monday. The UK department of transport had earlier advised British-registered ships not to sail through the area. Hunt told parliament that two to three UK-flagged ships pass through the strait daily. He added that the Montrose had escorted 30 merchant vessels through the strait in 17 separate transits as of Monday.
Bangkok: Top Indian shuttler P V Sindhu has withdrawn from the Thailand Open but compatriot Saina Nehwal will return to the circuit in the BWF Super 500 event here after missing out back-to-back tournaments. Sindhu, who reached the final in Indonesia Open but lost in the Japan Open quarterfinals last week, will not take the court in the Thailand Open main draw, which begins on Wednesday. She had lost to Akane Yamaguchi of Japan in both the previous tournaments. The reasons for her withdrawal from the event here are not clear yet. Saina, seeded seventh, will open her women’s singles campaign against a qualifier on Wednesday. She was forced to withdraw from both the Indonesia and Japan Open on medical grounds.
NEW DELHI: All India Gem and Jewellery Domestic Council (GJC) Vice-Chairman Shaankar Sen has clarified about misrepresentation of his comment on Gold Monetization Scheme and certain media reports carrying the incorrect versions in the mention of quantum of Gold proposed to be deposited under revised GMS “The Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) was introduced by the Prime Minister in 2015 to turn gold holdings into an earning asset by allowing residents to deposit physical gold- bars, coins or jewellery — into a Gold Savings Account — the idea being to mobilize domestic gold to be channelized for productive use in the system,” said Sen. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal” However, the total deposits accumulated by the banks under the GMS are 11.1 tonnes, which is a meagre number as compared to the estimated holdings of 23,000-24000 tonnes,” he added. Also, making the GMS more effective is important to address the widening current account deficit (CAD) issue, Sen explained. “In such a scenario, it becomes imperative to understand the reason for the non-participation in the GMS,” he said. “One of the major reasons is the lack of clarity as regards the minimum quantity of Gold an individual can deposit without any scrutiny or questionability from the Income Tax department,” added Sen. “We urge that Government must give exemptions to a married woman of 500 grams gold & a family of 900 grams gold as accepted in IT Act of gold deposited under GMS.,” said Sen.
Gurugram: A person with a known criminal record was beaten to death on Saturday afternoon near Shivaji Nagar, when he stepped out of his home to meet his acquaintances. The man, identified by police as Deepak, allegedly had 11 criminal cases against him for assault and under the Arms Act. The police here said that the deceased was declared as a “bad character” by the Shivaji Nagar police station.The deceased, a resident of Shakti Park, Sector 10 A, was allegedly beaten to death with sticks by at least four men and the police claim that all four suspects have been identified. According to them, Akash, Praveen, Dhilu and Bhupi were part of the group that killed the 24-year-old Deepak. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe police said that at least two more suspects are yet to be identified and that they were all acquaintances of Deepak. Assistant commissioner of police (ACP), crime, Shamsher Singh said, “Deepak had an altercation with the suspects. He was severely beaten and succumbed to his injuries later on Saturday. We have identified four of the suspects. At least two more are unidentified.” Police officials added that after the incident, Deepak’s friends rushed him to a hospital in the city where he died while undergoing treatment for the past two days. The victim’s cousin said that he had left home saying that he would be back in 10 minutes. “The incident took place near our house. His friends got involved in a fight. Deepak tried to sort out the argument but he was beaten with sticks and rods.” A case has been registered against the suspects under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 506 (criminal intimidation), 302 (murder), and 34 (common intention) of the IPC at the Shivaji Nagar police station.
New Delhi: Five-star hotels charging exorbitant rate for food items like bananas and eggs is ‘unfair trade practice’ and the government will seek explanations from them, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Tuesday.The minister asserted that provisions will also be made while framing rules and regulations under the recently enacted Consumer Protection Act to crack down on such cases. Paswan was referring to a video that recently went viral in which actor Rahul Bose was seen complaining about five-star hotel JW Marriott, Chandigarh for billing two bananas for Rs 442. One more complaint of charging Rs 1,700 for two boiled eggs by another 5-star hotel has also gone viral on social media. “There are complaints and reports in social media and media about overcharging by some five-star hotels for items like bananas and eggs. This is a serious and unfortunate matter,” Paswan told reporters here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The minister wondered how five-star hotels could charge Rs 442 for two bananas and Rs 1,700 for two eggs when these items were sold in the open market at very cheap rates. “How much they (hotels) will charge for services offered,” he quipped. Paswan said the department will seek explanations from the fiver-star hotels concerned on what basis they have charged such huge amounts. “We will not allow dual MRP (maximum retail price),” he said, adding that the government will make rules to check such practices under the Consumer Protection Act that was recently passed by Parliament. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KSpeaking on the sidelines after the minister’s press conference, Consumer Affairs Secretary Avinash K Srivastava said, “Prima facie it is an unfair trade practice. As the minister has directed, we will seek explanations from these hotels.” He further said that action would be taken against such hotels if they are found indulging in such unfair practices. The Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) had however defended JW Marriott, Chandigarh when the controversy broke out saying the hotel did not do anything “illegal” and asserted it did the right thing by charging 18 per cent GST on food and beverages served in the hotel premises. The FHRAI had argued that unlike a retail store where bananas could be purchased at market price, a hotel offers service, quality, plate, cutlery, accompaniment, sanitised fruit, ambience and luxury, and not just the commodity alone.
New Delhi: Former Kolkata top-cop Rajeev Kumar, against whom the CBI has levelled serious allegation of evidence tampering in the Saradha case, was on Friday questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation, but this time in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund scam. Kumar, who is currently the Additional Director General (CID) in the state, was summoned to appear before agency officials on Friday, in connection with the Rs 15,000 crore Rose Valley collective investment scam. Sources in the know here said that Kumar arrived at the agency’s offices in Bidhannagar around 2:00 pm and was questioned by investigators till 5:30 pm. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Kumar’s alleged role in the chit fund cases came to light, when earlier this year, CBI officials had arrived at his residence in Kolkata purportedly to take custody of him. In a dramatic turn of events, the Kolkata Police had detained the CBI officials after which Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee sat on a dharna, protesting the alleged overreach of the federal agency. Kumar had earlier been granted protection by the Calcutta High Court from any coercive action by the CBI against him in connection with the Saradha ponzi scam. Kumar had later been granted protection by the Calcutta HC from any coercive action by the CBI against him in connection with the Saradha ponzi scam. The former Police Commissioner has also filed an application before the HC, pleading for a similar kind of protection in connection with the Rose Valley chit fund case.
Indore: A total of 2,480 cases of fraud involving a huge sum of Rs 31,898.63 crore rattled 18 public sector banks in the first quarter of this fiscal, an RTI query has revealed. The country’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) remained the biggest prey to frauds with 38 per cent share, Neemuch-based activist Chandrashekhar Gaur told PTI on Sunday quoting an official of the RBI who furnished him replies to his RTI application. As many as 1,197 cases of cheating involving Rs 12,012.77 crore were detected in SBI in the first quarter, according to the RTI reply. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalAfter SBI, Allahabad Bank faced the heat with 381 cheating cases involving Rs 2,855.46 crore. Punjab National Bank stood third in the list with 99 sham cases worth Rs 2,526.55 crore. However, the information provided by the RBI does not give specific details of the nature of banking fraud and the losses suffered by banks or their customers. On losses suffered by PSU banks due to frauds, the RBI said it did not have figures available as to how much amount was lost by theses banks during the period under review. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostA total of 75 cases of fraud involving Rs 2,297.05 crore were reported in Bank of Baroda in the first quarter, while 45 cases of fraud amounting to Rs 2,133.08 crore in Oriental Bank of Commerce, 69 cases worth Rs 2,035.81 crore in Canara Bank, 194 cases worth Rs 1,982.27 crore in Central Bank of India, 31 cases of fraud of Rs 1,196.19 crore in United Bank of India were witnessed. Likewise, Corporation Bank detected Rs 960.80 crore worth fraud in 16 cases, Indian Overseas Bank Rs 934.67 crore in 46 cases, Syndicate Bank Rs 795.75 crore in 54 cases, Union Bank of India Rs 753.37 crore in 51 cases, Bank of India, Rs 517 crore in 42 cases and UCO Bank detected Rs 470.74 crore fraud in 34 cases. Other banks, which fell victim to fraud included Bank of Maharashtra, Andhra Bank, Indian Bank and Punjab and Sind Bank.
BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – The case of a Nova Scotia police chief accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl has been set over until a pre-trial consultation Aug. 9.At that time, it’s expected a trial date will be set in Nova Scotia Supreme Court for John Collyer.Collyer of the Bridgewater Police Service was placed on administrative leave in August 2016 after the province’s Serious Incident Response Team confirmed it was investigating the alleged assault.The 26-year veteran of the force was suspended in May 2017 after the independent police watchdog charged him with one count of sexual assault and two counts of sexual exploitation.The girl was 17 at the time of the alleged offences in Bridgewater between April and July of 2016.In July 2017, Collyer elected to have the case heard by judge alone in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
VANCOUVER – Here are some facts on the wildfire situation from April 1 to July 7 in British Columbia:Total fires: 463Total area burned: About 113 square kilometres.Total fires by region: Coastal 50; Northwest 30; Prince George 126; Kamloops 68; Southeast 59; Cariboo 130.Total area burned by region: Coastal 1.69 square kilometres; Northwest 1.44 square kilometres; Prince George 9.2 square kilometres; Kamloops 45.64 square kilometres; Cariboo 54.53 square kilometres; Southeast 83 hectares.Fort McMurray wildfire: The wildfire that swept through Fort McMurray, Alta., was just under 5,900 square kilometres in size when it was considered under control on July 5, 2016, about two months after it started.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says “next summer,” and not July 1, is the date cannabis will become legal across the country.Excerpts of an interview Trudeau gave the TVA network in Quebec were broadcast Tuesday, with the full interview to be shown Wednesday night.Trudeau shook his head when interviewer Pierre Bruneau asked him why he was so obsessed with July 1 as the date for the cannabis legislation to become law.The prime minister said it “would not be July 1,” but that it would be “for next summer.”“The date will not be July 1, I can assure you of that,” Trudeau said. “I don’t know where that date came from.”Several provinces have asked the federal government to delay passing the legislation in order to give them more time to prepare.A statement issued by the Health Department last month said, “as previously indicated, the government of Canada intends to bring the proposed Cannabis Act into force no later than July 2018.”Related stories:Liberals introduce long-awaited bills to legalize marijuana by July 2018Ontario introduces pot legislation with steep fines for illegal dispensariesMore than one third who consumed pot drove within two hours: Health Canada surveyStatistics Canada estimates the cannabis market in 2015 worth as much as $6.2B
A global study shows animals are moving distances two to three times shorter in areas disturbed by humans than in the wilderness.The study, which is to be published Friday in the journal Science, brought together GPS data on 803 animals from 57 different mammal species on six continents and compared it with a human footprint index.It involved a total of 114 scientists — including some who study wildlife in Western Canada — who used an animal-tracking database to archive material.One of those scientists, Mark Hebblewhite, said the study brings information together to make the big-picture conclusion that animals are changing their day-to-day and migratory movements because of people.“We’ve got elephants. We’ve got bushy-tailed opossums, and animals in Barro Colorado Island in Panama,” said Hebblewhite, a professor of wildlife biology at the University of Montana. “Yet, across all of these different species, the overwhelming effect of human activity is to reduce their movements.”Another co-author, Adam Ford, said it’s concerning that animals are moving less in areas disturbed by humans.“What makes animals unique and special is that they move,” said Ford, an assistant professor in biology at the University of British Columbia Okanagan. “They need to move to get food. They need to move to get shelter and to find mates.”He pointed to research by Hebblewhite that shows wolves couldn’t get to parts of the Bow Valley in Alberta, which changed the entire ecosystem in the area.“Those barriers to movement were caused by people, even in an area such as Banff National Park,” said Ford.Hebblewhite and Evelyn Merrill, a professor of biological science at the University of Alberta, have been studying wolves and elk in and around the national park since 2001.They’ve had similar findings in research on elk in Alberta and B.C.“The road networks, highway fragmentation, dams, reservoirs, fences — all of these things — are making it more difficult to migrate in the first place,” said Hebblewhite.“The second thing we’re doing is supplementing them with food,” he said pointing to animals on golf courses.Hebblewhite said lower population numbers result when animals move less.“Studies have shown that if the Serengeti wildebeests didn’t migrate, there would be 50,000 to 100,000 of them instead of 1.5 million,” he said.Work on elk has had similar results.“Twenty years ago, 90 per cent of the population was migratory; 20 years ago, there were 2,000 elk,” said Hebblewhite. “Now, 30 to 40 per cent of the population is migratory and we have 500 elk.”Fewer elk means less food for hunters and predators such as wolves and grizzly bears.“The loss of elk are leading to declining wolf and grizzly bear populations in places like Banff.”Merrill, also a co-author on the study, said the latest results support earlier findings.“The fact we can do this at the global scale now is really the significance of this paper,” she said. “It reinforces that what we are finding at the small scale is happening more globally.”All of the researchers said the paper is important because it shows the importance of wildlife to be able to move freely.“Our efforts in terms of conservation are important,” said Merrill. “It’s important not only for the persistence of the species, but also for the role in the ecosystem that they play.”
TORONTO – New research suggests that failing to make accessibility for people with disabilities a higher priority for Canadian businesses would cost the country billions of dollars in lost economic growth.The findings from the Conference Board of Canada focused on people with physical disabilities, a population group comprising an estimated 2.9 million Canadians that’s expected to grow to 3.6 million by 2030.The Conference Board says consumer spending from that demographic currently contributes about 14 per cent to Canada’s Gross Domestic Product, but adds that figure could be much higher if people with disabilities faced fewer barriers to participating in the workforce.They say if businesses were to make a concerted effort to become more inclusive, both by making physical environments accessible and adjusting their attitudes towards the disabled, the economic impact for the country would be significant.The research estimates the number of people with physical disabilities in the workforce could climb by 15 per cent, which could add $16.8 billion to Canada’s GDP by 2030.Advocacy groups say governments and businesses should view the findings as a call to action, adding that bolstering the bottom line through greater inclusion will also address fundamental human rights.“Wake up, Canada,” said Rick Hansen, the paraplegic athlete and advocate whose eponymous foundation commissioned the Conference Board research. “This is an opportunity that we can’t afford to miss, and we need to do it now.”The Conference Board said it arrived at its findings by combining its own original research with the Statistics Canada survey on disability, last released in 2012.To supplement Statistics Canada’s work, the board had polling firm Leger survey 497 Canadians with disabilities in an online questionnaire conducted between Feb. 15 and 24, 2017. The polling industry’s professional body, the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association, says online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error as they are not a random sample and therefore are not necessarily representative of the whole population. Leger is an accredited member of the association.The research said Canada’s physically disabled population is currently on track to grow at double the pace of the national average, highlighting the potential spending power of a group that’s chronically underemployed. Figures from various bodies including Statistics Canada consistently show that only about half of eligible people with disabilities are able to find work compared to roughly 80 per cent of able-bodied peers.The Conference Board said removing barriers to employment would not only tackle this problem, but increase the amount of money available to this rapidly growing demographic and give newly empowered consumers more places to spend it.Increasing accessibility in workplaces would benefit not only the people who work there but the people who patronize the businesses, Hansen said, adding the research figures would be even higher if people with neurodevelopmental or mental health disabilities were included in the tally.Matthew Stewart, study co-author and Conference Board director of economics, estimated that companies that step up their accessibility efforts could not only contribute to Canada’s prosperity, but address a persistent problem plaguing the business world.“We keep talking about labour shortages, how companies are having more and more difficulty finding qualified staff,” he said. “This is a group that is underemployed and can make a significant contribution to the economy.”That’s been the case for Sedexo Canada Ltd., a global food and facilities management company with 10,000 employees in Canada.Vice-president of corporate affairs Katherine Power said ever since the company committed to hiring and supporting more people with disabilities roughly eight years ago, they’ve seen concrete improvements such as lower turnover rates, client satisfaction and workplace safety. Sedexo is hoping to hire an additional 200 disabled employees this year, she said, adding that target will keep increasing for the foreseeable future.“I’d like to say we’re doing it out of the goodness of our hearts because it’s the right thing to do, and it is all those things, but that’s not what drives a private-sector company to make a decision like this,” she said. “We’re really doing it because it makes total sense from a business perspective and we see that in our results.”Stewart noted that businesses have historically balked at the perceived cost of upgrading physical premises or implementing staff training, but said the numbers indicate the financial benefits would ultimately outweigh those expenses in the end.Kyle Rawn, senior consultant with Accessibility Professionals of Ontario, agrees. As an adviser to businesses hoping to improve their accessibility, Rawn frequently encounters reluctance to shell out for upgrades.But not all solutions need to be expensive, said Rawn, who is totally blind.While retrofitting buildings with ramps and handrails can add up, he said other steps such as ensuring adequate lighting and removing obstacles from high-traffic areas can all contribute to a more inclusive environment.He said some businesses will resist the call to action, adding enforceable government legislation and accountability measures will be key to ensuring lasting change.For businesses that get on board, however, Rawn said they must also look beyond physical environments and ensure the people who work there understand what accessibility means.“You could have the most accessible buildings in the world, but yet if you have people who are working there providing goods and services who have poor attitudes or don’t realize what they need to do to be an inclusive business, then it’s kind of all for naught.”
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A star-struck high school choir dissolved into screams of joy when children’s musical super group the Wiggles stopped by their rehearsal — and then invited the teens to join them on stage.The Holy Heart of Mary high school choir in St. John’s had recorded a video performing a Wiggles song, inviting the Australian icons to visit their rehearsal before their performance Tuesday at the Holy Heart Theatre.The Wiggles members commented on the Instagram post, and choral director Robert Colbourne reached out to management formally inviting the group, but hadn’t heard back by the time Tuesday rolled around.“I was starting to lose out hope that our little goal of getting the Wiggles to come to our rehearsal wasn’t going to happen,” Colbourne said Thursday.Colbourne told the kids to wear the group’s signature block colours to rehearsal, just in case.The students and their teacher were floored when the Wiggles trotted in unannounced and listened to the teens perform Newfoundland songs.After posing for a photo with the excited students, blue Wiggle Anthony Field asked Colbourne if the kids would like to perform on stage with them.“I was shocked. Are you serious? These kids are going to lose their minds,” Colbourne recalled.Colbourne captured the heartwarming moment he told the students about the Wiggles’ invitation in a 21-second video posted to Facebook.“It was almost like the Beatles were here, it was huge for them,” Colbourne said with a laugh.Colbourne said he never imagined the outcome, but was happy to see his students have the unforgettable experience of performing with their childhood musical icons.The proud teacher was also impressed to see his teenage students’ enthusiasm for performing in costumes to the Wiggles’ music, which is geared at a younger audience.“Even though these are 16- and 17-year-old teenagers, they’re still children at heart and they really enjoyed getting to meet people that they’d watched on TV when they were very little — kind of their musical mentors, in a way,” Colbourne said.“It created a memory they’ll never forget. I’ll never forget it either.”By one estimate, the Wiggles had sold more than 23 million DVDs and videos, 7 million CDs and 8 million books as of 2013. Their TV show has been broadcast in more than 100 countries and they have performed more concerts than the Rolling Stones.On the web:https://www.facebook.com/robertcolbourne/videos/pcb.10156336736935932/10156336728965932.
MONTREAL — A court has awarded a Quebec woman who was violently attacked by her longtime partner $315,000 in damages in a decision her lawyer hopes will provide victims of domestic violence another avenue to obtain justice.The woman, whose identity is not revealed in the court documents, testified that the attack took place while she was confined for three days in September 2012.Court documents says she was beaten and bruised by Craig O’Brien, with whom she had been in a common law relationship for seven years — a union that became increasingly toxic over time.O’Brien testified that he was extremely intoxicated and could not remember the extent of the injuries he inflicted, which included a broken finger, multiple contusions and lacerations. He also prevented her from eating, and she testified that she was certain she was going to die.She managed to escape when O’Brien went on the balcony to smoke, and she called police in the Montreal suburb of Laval.He pleaded guilty to charges including unlawful confinement, assault and aggravated assault. He was sentenced by a Quebec court judge to eight months in jail, serving just a few months.In 2015, the woman decided to sue for damages in Quebec Superior Court.“She was outraged that after everything that had been done to her, this fellow would only spend three months in jail,” said lawyer Daniel Romano. “She wanted justice. She wanted to be compensated for what she’d actually lost, and she wanted to serve as an example to other women.”In a decision dated Nov. 20, Justice Pierre Journet agreed she was entitled to compensation.While she’s now gone through counselling and has began rebuilding her life, the court ruling described the lasting psychological impact of the hold he had on her.The judge noted in his ruling O’Brien did not express remorse and instead argued his partner could have left if she had been fearful.“All of the violent assaults during these days left her with post-traumatic stress that still affects her,” Journet wrote.“He controlled her, satisfied his war-like instincts on her, threatened her with reprisals during their life together and wounded her in a savage and unforgivable assault.”Louise Riendeau, who heads an organization that represents shelters for abused women, said cases awarding damages are rare — she’s only heard of a handful in recent years.Not all women will have the resources to go to court, she said, but the ruling sends a strong message.“It’s a way for them to have recognized the hardship they went through,” she said. “It’s a way for women to retake power in those instances, to have the sentiment that they were victimized.”The damages include $113,000 plus interest to compensate for lost salary, dental benefits, pension contributions and to reimburse credit card debt from a card she’d let him use.O’Brien is ordered to pay an additional $125,000 in damages and $75,000 in punitive damages — $25,000 for each day she was unlawfully confined.“In this case, we wanted to set a very, very clear precedent,” Romano said. “We’ve accomplished that, it’s a very positive step forward.”Sidhartha Banerjee, The Canadian Press