Raipur: The Congress government in Chhattisgarh approved a proposal to introduce 10 per cent reservation for the economically weaker section (EWS) of the general category in jobs and education.The state cabinet, in a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on Tuesday late evening, approved the proposal, a government spokesperson said, adding that a commission will be constituted to gather information related to population statistics in this connection. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Union government earlier this year introduced 10 per cent reservation in EWS segment of general category and since then the opposition BJP had been demanding its implementation in Chhattisgarh. The cabinet also approved the proposals to increase reservation for Other Backward Class (OBC) and Scheduled Castes in the state and to set up Lemru Elephant Reserve in the northern part of the state. These two announcements had been made by the chief minister during his Independence Day address. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe cabinet gave its nod to Chhattisgarh Public Service (Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe and Other Backward Class reservation) Act amendment ordinance. It effects a hike in reservation for OBCs to 27 per cent from the existing 14 per cent while that for the SCs to 13 per cent from 12 per cent. The Lemru elephant reserve will be set up on an area of 1995.48 sq km and will include parts of Korba, Kathghora, Surguja and Dharamjaigarh Forest Divisions, the government spokesperson said.
Riveria Beach (US): Hurricane Dorian battered the Bahamas with ferocious wind and rain on Sunday, the monstrous Category 5 storm wrecking towns and homes as it churned on an uncertain path toward the US coast where hundreds of thousands were ordered to evacuate. There was no immediate word on casualties in the low-lying islands. Packing sustained winds of 185 miles per hour (295 kph), Dorian crashed onshore in the Abacos Islands, in the northwest of the Bahamas, as the strongest storm ever to hit the Caribbean chain. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US It was tied for the second most powerful hurricane ever in the Atlantic basin, the US National Weather Service said — with footage on social media showing major destruction from howling gusts of wind and pounding seawater. Parts of the Abacos were under water as forecasters warned they faced a towering 18 to 23 foot storm surge. Winds were gusting over 220 mph with no sign of weakening as the storm barreled west over the island of Grand Bahama, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Video posted on the website of the Bahamian newspaper Tribune 242 showed water up to the roofs of wooden houses in what appeared to be a coastal town. Capsized boats floated in muddy brown water dotted with wooden boards, tree branches and other debris. In other social media footage of what appears to be an inland area, cars were smashed or turned over, telephone poles and trees were snapped like twigs and debris filled the yards of severely damaged homes. AFP could not immediately confirm the authenticity of the footage. After days of nerve-wracking uncertainty surrounding the storm’s path, the southeastern US states of Florida, Georgia and South Carolina finally ordered coastal residents to evacuate in a mass exodus set to affect hundreds of thousands of people. The NHC said the storm will be “dangerously close” to the Florida coast Monday night through Tuesday. On Sunday night, the eastern part of Grand Bahama was experiencing the eye wall of the storm. The NHC said the situation on that island was life-threatening and would only worsen overnight. “Do not leave your shelter as the eye passes over, as winds will rapidly increase on the other side of the eye,” the NHC warned in its 0200 GMT update. Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis broke down in tears as he addressed a news conference, calling it “probably the most sad and worst day of my life,” the Nassau Guardian reported. “We’re facing a hurricane… one that we’ve never seen in the history of the Bahamas,” he said. As of 0200 GMT, the storm was 60 miles (95 kilometers) east of Freeport on Grand Bahama and moving slowly west. “It feels like we are standing in a line waiting for a beating,” Yasmin Rigby, a resident of Freeport, the island’s main city, told AFP. A seemingly frantic post on the Facebook page of the fire department of Hope Town, a district of Abaco island, reported widespread destruction. It read in part like this: “Abaco inn lost villas G and H additional damage to inn as well Hope Town harbour lodge collapsed. Dan Sullivan house top of hill by inn lost roof sea spray gone house called tip of Tahiti gone.” NHC director Ken Graham said the Bahamas would be under major hurricane conditions for a punishing 30 hours or more — enduring roaring winds and torrential rainfall of 15 to 20 inches, even 30 inches in places. In Washington, President Donald Trump met with his emergency management chiefs and declared “this looks monstrous.” “We expect that much of the eastern seaboard will be ultimately impacted and some of it very, very severely,” he said. Florida issued its first evacuation orders in parts of Palm Beach, home of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, and Martin Counties. South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster followed suit Sunday ordering mandatory evacuations of the state’s coast — affecting some 800,000 people — while Georgia gave orders to evacuate six coastal counties. Both orders take effect Monday at noon. “Given the strength and unpredictability of the storm, we must prepare for every possible scenario,” McMaster said. Neighboring North Carolina has also declared a state of emergency. Kevin McAleenan, acting homeland security secretary, said hurricane force winds could hit Florida, followed by a prolonged rain event combined with a storm surge. “That’s going to be very difficult as the storm starts to move northward,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” Trump has declared a federal state of emergency in Florida, authorising US assistance to supplement state and local efforts. In southern Florida’s Jensen Beach, a mobile home park visited by AFP stood all but empty — its rickety dwellings boarded up with thin wood or metal sheets. Joe Lewis, a 61-year-old navy veteran — who is diabetic and disabled — was trying to prop up his air conditioner with a wooden post as he prepared to flee the storm’s path. “When I come back, this place may not be here,” he told AFP. “Mother Nature can be hell. I’ve seen it.” “There’s only one thing that’s important. It’s not what you own, it’s who you are, and your life. It doesn’t matter if I’ve got a million dollar home, I leave it. My life’s more important.”
NORRISTOWN, Pa. – When Andrea Constand takes the stand in the coming days to break her decade-long silence about Bill Cosby, jurors will hear from a free spirit who devotes her life to family, her French poodle, and her work treating cancer patients and others as a massage therapist.The Canadian will be the star witness when the comedian dubbed America’s Dad goes on trial Monday in suburban Philadelphia on charges he drugged and sexually assaulted her. Cosby, 79, could get 10 years in prison if convicted.When they last met, in 2004, Constand was wrapping up a life in basketball that had taken her from the Toronto suburbs to a national title with the University of Arizona to a pro league in Europe and finally a job on the coaching staff at Temple University in Philadelphia, Cosby’s alma mater.Constand, now 44, has never spoken publicly about the TV star under the terms of a confidential settlement they negotiated in 2006. And her deposition from that lawsuit remains sealed. Yet friends say she is ready to face Cosby and the crush of media in the courtroom.“Andrea is not focused on the outcome. She is not emotional. She’s the opposite. She is so centred and focused. She does yoga, she meditates,” said Donna Motsinger, 75, a fellow Cosby accuser who has become close to Constand since the Canadian woman reached out to her two years ago. “She lives a beautiful life.”Constand, an athletic six-footer with colourful arm tattoos and a wild mane of brown curly hair, is the only Cosby accuser whose complaint has led to criminal charges. About 60 women have accused him of similar conduct, most of them coming forward in Constand’s wake.“She’s the only one who found the fortitude to press charges against him within the statute of limitations. I think that’s not a coincidence. She’s so strong and courageous,” said Lili Bernard, who said Cosby sexually assaulted her before giving her a one-time role on “The Cosby Show” in 1992, the eighth and final season of the top-ranked sitcom.Constand has visited Motsinger during trips to the Southwest, an area she loves from her college days in Arizona. They hike, talk about their spiritual journeys and share the occasional margarita. One thing they don’t talk about is Cosby, the older woman said. Constand also visited Bernard in Los Angeles last year, where they happened upon his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame while taking in the sights. They kept walking, Bernard said.Cosby, Temple’s most famous booster and trustee, first spied Constand from across the school gym in 2002. He had a friend introduce them. When she mentioned having back pain, he led her into the locker room to engage in a back-to-back, two-person stretch.They became friendly over the next two years, discussing sports, health tips and Constand’s career. Cosby, according to his deposition in her lawsuit, once invited her to a dinner with local college presidents and also took her to Foxwoods Resort Casino in Connecticut to talk career options with an executive.Cosby called some of their time together “romantic,” describing a few occasions when he said he made advances toward her or lay next to her on his bed during the 2003 casino trip. He insists the encounter at the heart of the criminal case was consensual.Constand’s lawyer, Dolores Troiani, considers that ludicrous, since the 30-year-old Constand was dating a woman at the time.The Associated Press does not usually identify people who say they are the victims of sexual assault, but Constand’s lawyer has said her name can be used.On the night in question, in early 2004, Cosby summoned her to his gated estate near Philadelphia to discuss her job search. In his deposition, he said he gave her three unidentified pills to ease her stress. She said she thought it was an herbal remedy. Cosby, 36 years her senior, then put his hand down her pants, according to his deposition.She later told police she was drifting in and out of consciousness, unable to fend him off.Constand left Temple when the basketball season ended, returning home to become a massage therapist like her father. During her training, she learned about the professional boundaries involving touch and started having nightmares, according to court documents. She told her mother in 2005 that something had happened. They went to the police.Prosecutors in Pennsylvania at the time deemed the case too weak to prosecute.Constand then filed the first sexual battery lawsuit against the Hollywood star, a case he settled for an undisclosed sum after giving four days of lurid testimony about his sexual conduct with Constand and other young women. He acknowledged giving some of them pills and alcohol and at least one woman quaaludes.After that testimony became public in 2015, more women came forward and a new set of prosecutors took another look at the case and arrested Cosby.The trial is expected to last about two weeks.“Andrea was a basketball player. She would prepare for a championship game like no other,” Motsinger said. “That’s what she’s done here.”
TORONTO – With the crack of the bat, an umpire’s call and the hustle and bustle on the basepaths, baseball boasts a soundtrack all its own.At a Toronto Blind Jays practice, the collection of sounds also includes a beeping ball and buzzing bases.In preparation to represent Canada at the upcoming NBBA Beep Baseball World Series in Florida, the Jays went to work at Maryvale Park in Toronto’s east end earlier this week. Most of the squad is made up of players who are completely blind or have less than 10 per cent vision.“We’re all just passionate about the sport,” said Canadian general manager Arthur Pressick. “A lot of these people never even tried baseball until beep baseball and they just love it.“To be able to hit a ball and crank it out into the field, it’s a fantastic thing.”Beep baseball is similar to the traditional pastime in some ways. The goal is to hit the ball and score runs but the general setup is quite different.Eye shades are worn to negate any potential vision advantage. Players use their hearing to track the ball, which starts beeping once its pin is pulled as play begins.Players also rely on audio to determine the location of the bases, represented by two padded four-foot cylinders on opposite sides of the field that start to buzz when a ball is in play.The pitcher, catcher and spotters are sighted and work with batters — they’re all on the same team — to co-ordinate pitch timing and help guide players in the outfield.If a ball is hit into fair territory, the race is on as the batter tries to reach base before the fielder locates and picks up the ball. A spotter calls out a number — for example, a two for a shallow ball or a three if it’s deep — to give the fielder an idea of where the beeping ball might be.“Sometimes it’s really scary because the ball is not always on the ground,” said Cassie Orgeles of Fort Erie, Ont. “It could be going over your shoulder.”If the batter reaches base before the ball is secured, a run is scored. If the fielder gets to the ball first, it’s an out.Pressick, a videographer from Meaford, Ont., became interested in the sport after shooting documentaries on beep baseball. He helped put a Canadian squad together for the 2015 tournament in Rochester, N.Y., and while that team later dissolved, a core group of players got together last fall and the 2017 Blind Jays’ roster, which is co-ed, was filled out in the spring.Most of the players have other athletic pursuits. Orgeles, 27, who competed at the Paralympics in goalball, found the transition to beep baseball was a smooth one.“We’re all a very active group and we decided we really want to try this,” she said.Beep baseball bases are in foul territory to avoid player collisions and the ball must clear a line behind the pitcher to be deemed in play. In addition, there are four strikes instead of three, a game lasts six innings, and fielders use their hands instead of baseball gloves.Even though the Canadian team is in its infancy, camaraderie and team spirit were evident on a sunny afternoon in the city’s east end. A 90-minute practice was the second session for the full squad and the first with new blue and white Toronto uniforms and red Canada hats — a welcome donation from Baseball Canada.The players already have their celebratory handshake routines down pat. There was even some good-natured chirping among the teammates.“Keep your eye on the ball, Wayner!” one outfielder shouted in the direction of home plate to chuckles all around.A sponsor is on board to help with costs and the team has received some donations on its GoFundMe page. To keep accommodation costs down, the 12-player team plans to drive 24 hours straight to Florida with Pressick at the wheel.“I’m a GM, coach, pitcher, driver, chef, masseuse and waterboy,” he said with a smile. “All in one.”Orgeles said it can take a little while to get the hang of things on the beep baseball field. Finding a rhythm at the plate is one of the biggest challenges.Standing about 20 feet away, the pitcher uses a four-beat sequence with a ‘Set, ready, pitch,’ declaration before the batter swings.“When you click with your pitcher, it’s the greatest feeling to hit (the) ball,” Orgeles said.Effective communication is critical. And when the team has great spirit and energy, it’s a nice bonus.“It’s a stronger bond I think with this group than traditional baseball,” Pressick said. “They’ve all gone through stuff in life that have brought them together to this point so right there, they have a lot of things in common just off the beginning.”Canada finished 18th at the 2015 tournament. Pressick is hoping for bigger things this time around at West Palm Beach’s Village Park.“I can’t wait to get this team down there and win a World Series,” he said.The tournament starts Sunday and runs for a week.The Jays roster also includes Joey Cabral of Toronto, James Kwinecki of St. Catharines, Ont., Wane St. Denis of Toronto, Ben Ho Lung of Aurora, Ont., Meghan Mahon of Timmins, Ont., Aaron Prevost of Cornwall, Ont., Mark DeMontis of Toronto, Paul Kerins of Toronto (coach), Mike Tweddle of Toronto (coach) and John Harding of Toronto (coach).—Follow @GregoryStrongCP on Twitter
TORONTO – An Ontario judge will decide by next week if a fitness assessment is required for a Toronto-area woman facing terror charges in an alleged attack at a Canadian Tire store.A lawyer appointed by the court to assist Rehab Dughmosh recommended at a court hearing Monday that the 32-year-old woman undergo the assessment to see if she is fit to stand trial.A Crown prosecutor agreed with that request.Dughmosh is facing a total of 21 charges, including attempted murder of at least three people for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.She appeared in court by video link after a judge ordered her to be brought from her cell by force. Dughmosh had previously refused to appear in court on multiple occasions.Ingrid Grant, the court-appointed lawyer designated to assist Dughmosh, said the recommendation for a fitness assessment was based on Dughmosh’s refusal to engage with the court.During Monday’s hearing, Dughmosh, speaking through an Arabic translator, called those in the court “infidels,” and said she doesn’t worship what they worship.The judge presiding over the case said she’ll have decided by next Monday — at Dughmosh’s next scheduled court hearing — whether a fitness assessment should take place or not.Terror-related charges against Dughmosh were laid by the RCMP in early July.Some of them relate to carrying several weapons, such as a knife and a bow, for the benefit of or in association with a terrorist group.Dughmosh is also charged with leaving Canada for the purpose of committing a crime, an incident that is alleged to have taken place in April of last year.She is also charged with other offences that include assault with a weapon and uttering death threats.Police allege Dughmosh swung a golf club at Canadian Tire employees and a customer on June 3 and threatened them. They allege she then pulled a large knife from under her clothes but store staff pried it out of her hands and restrained her.Media reports have said Dughmosh pledged her allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group during a previous court appearance.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s cabinet is getting shuffled Monday afternoon.Canada’s Governor General will be at Rideau Hall for a swearing in ceremony at 12:30 p.m. ET.The changes do not come as a surprise.With Judy Foote announcing last week that she is leaving cabinet and leaving politics altogether, it left a gap in public works and procurement.Foote was the only Newfoundland MP in cabinet, and there are reports Seamus O’Regan may get a bump up.O’Regan is reportedly going to become the minister of Veteran Affairs.If this happens, Calgary MP Kent Hehr will be pushed out.It’s still unclear who will be taking over Foote’s old post.
ST. CATHARINES, Ont. – All charges have been dropped against a St. Catharines, Ont., veterinarian who was facing 16 criminal counts of animal cruelty.Skyway Animal Hospital owner Dr. Mahavir Rekhi was facing eight counts of causing unnecessary pain or suffering to an animal and eight counts of failing to provide suitable and adequate care for an animal.A Crown lawyer told St. Catharines court Friday that the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals started the investigation and received a warrant without a complaint.For that reason, the Crown says Rekhi should not have been charged regardless of public outrage surrounding the case and since the College of Veterinarians of Ontario already took disciplinary action that should be all he gets.The college launched an investigation after four former employees filed a complaint about Rekhi’s treatment of animals in his care, and they submitted a dozen surveillance videos as evidence of the animal abuse.OSPCA officer Kevin Strooband with the Lincoln County Humane Society says the media alerted him to videos and he acted.Strooband told radio station CKTB the situation is comparable to a police officer who would launch an investigation after stumbling across a body.
EDMONTON – Gender and vocabulary are clashing on the floor of the Alberta legislature.Premier Rachel Notley, one day after accusing a male opponent of mansplaining, is calling out another for “hepeating.”It came Wednesday during question period after United Conservative member Jason Nixon lauded Notley for taking his party’s advice on the fight to get more pipelines built, but also suggested Notley needs to do more.Notley rejected that statement, then added: “Can I just introduce a new word into the legislature, the definition of which is as follows: Hepeat, when a person who might be a man repeats what you say and takes credit for it.”A day earlier in question period, Notley sarcastically thanked Alberta Party Leader Greg Clark for “mansplaining” to her that there are environmental benefits to pipelines.Clark and other opposition members asked Notley be sanctioned by Speaker Bob Wanner. They suggested the term mansplaining is not only inaccurate but also prejudicial and unparliamentary.Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, speaking for the government caucus in the house, defended Notley’s remarks. She said Clark was acting within the dictionary definition of mansplaining, which is to explain something to a woman in a condescending manner.On Wednesday, Wanner refused to sanction the premier. He said he did not find the comments unparliamentary in the context of the debate, but cautioned all members to watch not only their language but the tone of their questions.“Like our society has changed, so has this house,” said Wanner. “Tone can be as disrespectful as are certain singular words.”The male-female dynamic has been a cornerstone issue for Notley’s government, which has gender parity in caucus and cabinet and is working to get more women involved in politics and public life.The debate also reopened wounds from March when Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, answering detailed questions on the power grid, replied to opposition member Don MacIntyre: “I do not need people from the other side mansplaining to me about electricity.”McCuaig-Boyd, echoing Wanner’s comments, said the issue goes beyond vocabulary.“(On) a number of the questions (in the house) it feels like if it’s to one of the women it’s in a condescending manner — and it gets to be annoying, to be honest,” she said.“Usually I try to ignore it, but once in a while you get tired of the tone.”Environment Minister Shannon Phillips, who was forced to withdraw a remark in March when she called an opponent a “snowflake,” said: “It’s politics and it’s politics in Alberta.“I’ll put the things that I’ve heckled in the house up against the things that get said to me and to my colleagues in politics over the last 2 1/2 years any day.”Clark said it’s wrong to attribute motives, such as sexism, to another member of the house that aren’t there and aren’t true.“I think my record speaks for itself,” he said outside the legislature.“I don’t think anyone could really legitimately question my views.”Nixon said language in the house needs to be treated as a tool, not a weapon.“We need to treat each other with respect,” he said.“We also have got to make sure that the opposition is comfortable to be able to ask questions. That is their responsibility in this system.”
HALIFAX – Halifax police are investigating a new allegation of a taxi driver sexually attacking a female passenger.The woman suffered facial injuries in the attack at around 10 p.m. Tuesday while she was being driven to a Dartmouth home, police said Friday.A police spokeswoman said no arrest has been made, and investigators currently have limited details about the incident, which was reported to police on Wednesday.“We have spoken to her … the investigation is in the very early stages,” said Const. Dianne Penfound.“We would normally wait until we have more information to put out a release but felt at this point it was an appropriate time to put this out to the public.”Penfound said sexual assault investigations are complex, and police work closely with victims to ensure they’re willing to proceed with a police investigation.“At this point the investigators are reaching out to multiple cab companies to determine who this driver may have been,” she said.“What I can say from a police perspective is that the cab companies are always fully co-operative with us, and very helpful.”The probe comes after a series of sex charges against Halifax cabbies, although Penfound said there had been no new allegations since the summer of 2016.Police reported seven alleged sexual assault cases involving Halifax cab drivers between 2015 and the summer of 2016, although one charge had been dropped at the request of the complainant.In July 2016, Dave Buffett, president of the Halifax Taxi Drivers Owners Association, said the city’s taxi industry was in crisis after four alleged sexual assaults by drivers in three months.The acquittal last March of a Halifax taxi driver accused of sexually assaulting an intoxicated female passenger sparked national outrage.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous story said the alleged attack occurred Wednesday when it occurred on Tuesday.
MIAMI – The United States Coast Guard rescued a 12-year-old Canadian boy who was suffering from symptoms of appendicitis while on a cruise ship.Coast Guard officials said in a news release that a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew from Air Station Clearwater transported the boy and his father to Miami on Tuesday night. They were on board the Caribbean Princess cruise ship, which was about 230 miles (370 kilometres) southeast of Miami.The agency did not list the name or hometown of the boy.No further details were immediately available.
When they moved to Owen Sound 10 years ago, John Johnson and his family were the only non-white people in his church.Over the years, a few other non-white members joined Rockcliffe Pentecostal Church, which Johnson describes as “one big family.”The father of two finds the church so welcoming that he’s introduced many reluctant Indian friends to Rockcliffe.“I tell them my story,” he says. “They all come to this church and they have positive experiences.”Many church leaders want to give minorities a similar welcome. The immigrant and minority population is expanding beyond big cities, and leaders believe their churches must do a better job of serving an increasingly diverse population, especially as attendance plummets.According to a 2017 Ipsos survey, only 40 per cent of Canadians attend church compared to 63 per cent in 2006.Meanwhile the nation’s immigrant population is growing. Foreign born individuals will make up 30 per cent of Canada’s population by 2036, according to Statistics Canada, and the bulk of them will be in Ontario.“Cultural diversity is definitely growing year on year,” said Cid Latty, a congregational development associate of the Canadian Baptists of Ontario and Quebec. “Some of the churches have 20, 30, 40 different nations worshipping in the same context.”Last year, 25 of the association’s churches sponsored 119 refugees, Latty said.Diversity is integral to the Christian community, church leaders say.“From a theological perspective, we’d say that reflects heaven. Heaven’s a place where every people is present — every tribe, every tongue, every nation,” said Merv Budd, senior minister at North Burlington Baptist Church in Burlington, Ont.The 170-member congregation is predominantly white, but there is a growing population of Indian, South Asian, Caribbean and African members.It’s the same story in Kitchener, Ont., at Highland Baptist Church. Pastor Das Sydney says that 10 years ago, the church was 95 per cent white, and now roughly 80 of the 200 attendees are non-white. They include people from Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Sudan, Romania and Burma.“The diversity that we have is a microcosm of the kingdom of God,” said Sydney.Sydney says his church also seeks unity with the First Nations community and hosted a Baptist conference aimed at reconciliation two years ago.In Thunder Bay, Ont., Italian, Portuguese, Filipino, Chinese, Syrian and First Nations parishioners worship at St. Anthony’s Parish, said Rev. Luigi Filippini.“The church is like a mama in welcoming all the children. We serve the community as much as we can.”Faith unites the different cultures, Filippini says.“There’s also a strong flavour of identity because they are all Roman Catholics.”The church has masses in Italian, Portuguese and English to better serve its members.Churches that don’t have comparable diversity are striving to meet the needs of their cities’ various ethnicities. In Cambridge, Ont., for example, pastor Dan Fietje said the church should represent the larger community’s diversity.After noticing that the ethnic makeup of the 150-member Cambridge Community Church did not reflect the city’s ethnic makeup, Fietje raised the issue with the church board and the church is now re-evaluating aspects of its culture.“Every church has a culture, whether they know it or not. Is that culture welcoming?” Fietje said, “I’m sure we think we are, but maybe we do things that aren’t welcoming at all.”“I try to think about this when I do slide shows. Is every single person that I have in my photos white? Are they mostly male?” he said.Other church leaders have sought out formal training. Last fall, 35 students enrolled in an inaugural class for the Certificate in Ministry and Organizational Leadership, offered by the Tyndale Intercultural Ministries Centre in Toronto. The certificate trains Christian leaders to better serve multi-ethnic churches and improve the interactions between different cultures, said Tim Tang, the centre’s associate director.“Traditions are hard to change; a lot of church practices are built around norms and cultural biases that we are not aware of,” Tang said.For example, Tang said, many sacred hymns were written to drinking melodies.“If they were based on European drinking games from centuries of old, how relevant really are they today for us?”Involving other races in church leadership is critical to a truly integrated church body and a culture that represents all members of the church, said David Seljak, professor of religious studies at University of Waterloo.“When ethnic minorities are not involved in decision making, they risk not being represented,” he said, “You are relying on the good will of the dominant community. This model still creates inequality.”Budd said he’s seen this model silence minorities.“The problem with white people when they are a majority is because they are comfortable they assume everyone else must be comfortable, so they don’t go out of their way to make sure that’s the case.”He’s recruited qualified minorities for leadership and volunteer positions.“Often what I have found is that people of a different ethnicity who have those gifts and talents are sometimes overlooked because of that ethnicity.Churches should also make sure that songs and prayers don’t represent just one race, said Latty.“You can now download a song from Ethiopia,” he said, “There’s absolutely no reason that a monoculture culture cannot learn from and glean from another culture.”There are other challenges as churches embrace new cultures. Socioeconomic differences between new immigrants and established Canadians continue to divide and prevent full integration, said Sydney.“So even though there are good efforts to bridge the gap, it’s not happening that easily.”Tackling this and other obstacles to welcoming other ethnicities is critical to the survival of the church.As Budd puts it: “The western church is dying, but around the world it’s growing and expanding, so we are wise to listen. We are wise to make room and be putting ourselves in a position to learn and humble ourselves.”— Dr. Tola Afolabi is a plastic surgeon and reconstructive surgeon praticising in southwestern Ontario who is also a fellow in global journalism at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
OTTAWA – Canada’s top military judge is facing five additional charges following an independent investigation, the Department of National Defence said Monday as it announced that his case is now proceeding to a formal court martial.The military justice system was rocked in January after Col. Mario Dutil was charged with one count of fraud under the National Defence Act, one count of wilfully making a false entry in an official document and one count of conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline.The new charges include one count of wilfully making a false statement in an official document, one count of fraud under the Criminal Code and three counts of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline.The new charges include one count of wilfully making a false statement in an official document, one count of committing an act of a fraudulent nature under the National Defence Act and three counts of neglect to the prejudice of good order and discipline.All of the charges relate to allegations that Dutil engaged in a consensual but inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, and that he knowingly signed a travel claim containing false information in September 2015, according to the military.A charge sheet indicates that the claim was for $927.60.None of the charges have been proven in court and a date has not been set for the court martial.Military police first started investigating Dutil in November 2015 after receiving a complaint that he had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate.The alleged relationship is believed to have lasted from November 2014 to October 2015 and while consensual, was not permitted under military regulations.It was during the course of their investigation into that relationship that military police uncovered evidence to suggest Dutil knowingly signed a travel claim containing false information in September 2015.It’s believed Dutil is the first person to be charged while serving as the chief military judge, and the case will now proceed through the military justice system in which he serves as a prominent member.Only the federal cabinet can appoint or remove a chief military judge, and a military official confirmed that Dutil remains in his position but has not been hearing any cases since he was initially charged in January.Given the unprecedented nature of Dutil’s case, it remains unclear exactly how it will proceed, including whether one of the three other military judges over which he presided will end up hearing the case against him.However, the decision to bring in Poland as a special prosecutor was made to ensure that there was no perception of bias.This isn’t the first time that Dutil, who took over his current role in 2006, has been accused of violating the military’s rules on personal relationships.But a special committee of three judges dismissed a complaint in April 2016 on the basis that it did not have any impact on Dutil’s conduct as a judge. Military police did not lay any charges at that time.Officials would not say whether the complaints related to the same alleged relationship.A conviction for committing an act of a fraudulent nature carries a maximum penalty of two years less a day in prison while wilfully making a false entry or statement in an official document carries a penalty of three years less a day.The maximum penalty for prejudicing good order and discipline is dismissal from the military with disgrace.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously said Dutil was previously charged with fraud under the Criminal Code and the new charge is under the National Defence Act. In fact, the new charge is under the Criminal Code and the previous charge was under the National Defence Act.
KUGAARUK, Nunavut – A pair of Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers are responding after a passenger ship ran aground in the Far North.The coast guard says in a tweet that the vessel ran aground near Kugaaruk, Nunavut, but is in stable condition, and no injuries or immediate danger have been reported.In a media release, One Ocean Expeditions says the Akademik Ioffe became grounded in the western Gulf of Boothia on Friday morning.It says all passengers are safe and that there has been no report of environmental concern.The tour company, which has a mailing address in Squamish, B.C., says the captain has reported the incident to the relevant federal and territorial agencies.It says the nearest vessel, the Akademik Ioffe’s sister ship the Akademik Sergey Vavilov, is providing support and assistance.“We regret the inconvenience to our passengers and are working closely with the captain, ship owner and all relevant agencies to resolve the situation as quickly and safely as possible. We will provide updates as they become available,” Catherine Lawton, general manager of One Ocean Expeditions, said in the statement.On its website, the tour operator describes the 117-metre Akademik Ioffe as a “modern, comfortable, safe and ice-strengthened” vessel that can host 96 passengers and 65 staff and crew.The company says its three vessels were purpose-built to conduct sensitive hydro-acoustic research and science in the polar regions.
Calgary Stampeder’s receiver DaVaris Daniels described Tuesday how a confrontation outside a bar escalated to a glass being thrown and then the shooting of his friend and teammate Mylan Hicks.Daniels, who caught seven touchdowns for the Canadian Football League team this season, told the court that he, Hicks and another player were standing outside the Marquee Beer Market after closing on Sept. 25, 2016.He said two people were in Hicks’s face, and one of the people escalated the situation even further.“There was a glass thrown by him. After that, I remember watching him take a few steps to the left and pulling out a gun. I don’t know where he pulled it from,” Daniels recalled.“I saw it in his hand. I saw him come around. I saw him shoot at the ground first.”Nelson Lugela, 21, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in Hicks’s death. Hicks was a member of the Stampeder’s practice roster and court has already heard the team was out celebrating a win over Winnipeg when the shooting happened.Daniels said he was just a few feet away from the gunman and described Hicks’s reaction.“I remember when it happened, the first shot kind of froze him. I don’t think he expected it to get to that point. He was trying to run but he was kind of like frazzled for a second and then I remember him taking off,” said Daniels.“I went the opposite direction into the parking lot trying to get away from the gunman as fast as I could. I wasn’t sprinting because at the time I didn’t think it was that serious … that he was just trying to scare people. I just went into the parking lot and I heard more shots.”Daniels said when he thought everything had calmed down, he ran into another player, Roy Finch, who told him Hicks had been shot.“He’s telling me that ‘They shot him, they shot him.’ I’m like ‘No way. It’s not happening. It’s not true’ … As soon as I got around the corner, I saw Mylan,” Daniels said.“He has one shoe off and his pants had fallen to the ground. I remember Jamal (Nixon), my roommate, was holding him, covering up whatever wound he had. He was kind of gasping.”The shooter and two other young men jumped into an SUV and sped away. Police arrested three people about 45 minutes later when they returned to the scene.Both Daniels and Derek Dennis, who testified Monday, spotted the suspects while being driven to the police station to give a statement.The trial, which is scheduled to last two weeks, was purposely delayed until after the recent Grey Cup game which Calgary won.— Follow @BillGraveland on TwitterBill Graveland, The Canadian Press
MISSISSAUGA, Ont. — Police west of Toronto say an 11-year-old girl has been found dead after she was allegedly abducted by her father.Peel regional police issued an Amber Alert for Riya Rajkumar at about 11 p.m. Thursday after she was not returned to her mother.Police say the girl was found dead at a residence in Brampton, Ont., and her father, Roopesh Rajkumar, has been arrested.More to come.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a B.C. byelection win for the Green party shows Canadians are “preoccupied” by climate change.Trudeau says it will be really important for Canadians to pick a government in the upcoming federal election that is committed to “climate action,” adding his party will be making this point during the fall campaign.Monday night, voters in the federal riding of Nanaimo-Ladysmith elected Paul Manly of the Green party as their new MP, taking the seat away from the NDP and leaving the Liberals a distant fourth.READ MORE: Federal Green Party wins seat in byelection upsetManly called the victory a “historic” win, saying people want to see action on climate change.He will be the second Green party member in Parliament, along with leader Elizabeth May.The byelection was prompted by the departure of the NDP’s Sheila Malcolmson, who quit to become a provincial politician in B.C.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — As Toronto and Vancouver struggle to keep housing affordable for anyone but the wealthy, Montreal says its new, first-on-the-continent development model will help it succeed where other big cities have failed.Montreal led big Canadian cities in 2018 with economic growth of almost 3 per cent, while its real estate market outperformed Toronto and Vancouver’s for the first time since 1998.As home prices continue to climb, the city is getting ready to table a bylaw this month requiring condo developers to build a certain number of off-market units for every shiny new residential tower they want to erect.The city promised the new rules will be flexible enough so as to not stymie the building boom, but developers are worried Mayor Valerie Plante’s administration will make future projects unprofitable.“It will be a first in North America,” Robert Beaudry, city councillor for economic development and housing, said about the new policy. “It was fundamental for us to be pioneers … We will deliver and I am convinced it will inspire other big cities across the country.”The city had initially planned to table its new policy months ago but negotiations with developers have taken longer than anticipated. Plante remains undaunted, however, and is determined to go ahead with her major campaign promise to increase housing affordability.Montreal’s rules are being introduced to help people like Richard Martin, a 54-year-old man who was paying almost 85 per cent of his monthly welfare check on a $495-per-month apartment before he moved into social housing in January 2017.“I used to have to go to a food bank every month,” Martin said in an interview at his community housing centre in the city’s east end.Now his rent is subsidized 75 per cent, primarily by the provincial government. He lives in a new co-operative housing project where all the residents are co-owners and manage the building together.Paying 85 per cent of his monthly income was unsustainable for Martin, who remains on welfare. But that is the reality in Vancouver, according to RBC Economics in its March 2019 housing report.Vancouver’s housing prices increased so dramatically in such a short time the provincial government slapped a 15 per cent foreign-buyers’ tax in 2016 — but the measure has not solved the problem. RBC’s research revealed home resales in the city have dropped 58 per cent since early 2016 but home ownership costs still represent 85 per cent of the average household income.In Toronto — where a provincial foreign buyers’ tax was instituted at the end of 2017 — the average-income household spends 66 per cent of revenues on housing costs. Montreal is still far behind — the percentage is 44.5, according to RBC.Plante’s policy would apply to residential towers containing a yet-to-be-determined number of units, said Beaudry, who wouldn’t give too many details because of ongoing negotiations. But Plante had campaigned on a promise known as “20-20-20.”For example, if a developer wanted to build a 100-unit building, 20 per cent would need to be considered “social” — subsidized in full or in part by the government. Beaudry said the 20 social units wouldn’t need to be within the project itself, but could be built on nearby land ceded to the city.The rules would also require the tower contain 20 units considered “affordable.” The city’s housing authority would advance prospective buyers most of the down payment, which would be reimbursed when the owner sold.Finally, Plante also wanted projects to contain 20 per cent “family” units — or condos with three or more bedrooms.How flexible the Plante administration will be with her campaign promise remains to be seen.Beaudry said his office created a detailed map dividing the city into various sectors according to property values. It put together a software program that will allow promoters to plug in their project’s data and come away with a list of the social, affordable and family units needed.Roger Plamondon, president of the real estate arm of Broccolini, a major developer in Montreal and Toronto, said the Plante administration must understand the “20-20-20” policy can’t be applied uniformly across the city.Land prices and demand for condos downtown are not the same as further out, he said, and the city shouldn’t apply the same policy. Following meetings with the city, he said he’s “confident” the administration appreciates his point of view.Plamondon said he recognized the need for a “balanced market,” where high-end apartments co-exist with social and affordable housing. But the developer warned the city needs to understand that “capital in the market is very mobile.”But so far capital in the city is staying put — and growing. Montreal benefits from the fact it doesn’t have a foreign buyers’ tax like Vancouver and Toronto. And the city’s luxury real estate market broke records in 2018 and is projected to do the same this year, according to Sotheby’s International Realty.The city is hoping the good times can be shared by more than the wealthy.Martin said his co-operative is sometimes hard to manage because some residents don’t fulfil their duties on certain committees, or don’t pay rent.But he is thankful he can live in a new, clean apartment in the city, because many people in his situation aren’t as lucky. “The city’s plan is good because we need more social housing,” he said. “The waiting lists are long.”Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The family of former Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles Duceppe is seeking $1.14 million from the luxury seniors’ residence where their 93-year-old mother perished after being trapped in a courtyard during a false fire alarm last January.Helene Rowley Hotte Duceppe died of hypothermia on Jan. 20, on a morning when it was a bitter minus 35 degrees outside and snowing.The three-page letter says the death could have been avoided and alleges irresponsibility, negligence and carelessness on the part of the residence.The family is seeking damages for each of Rowley Hotte Duceppe’s seven children, her estate and reimbursement of her funeral costs.A coroner’s report last month said video surveillance showed the woman trapped in the courtyard for six hours trying to get back inside the building to no avail since her access card wouldn’t let her back inside and no one noticed her absence.In a lawyer’s letter dated Wednesday, the family gave Lux Gouverneur Montreal some 10 days to respond or the Duceppe clan would take legal action.The Canadian Press
GILLAM, Man. — The deputy mayor of a northern Manitoba community at the centre of a massive manhunt says it will be a long time before things return to normal.John McDonald says there were a lot of questions but not a lot of answers for people in Gillam during a town meeting last night, after RCMP announced they believed they had found the bodies of two murder suspects from British Columbia.Autopsies are being performed in Winnipeg today to confirm the remains located near the Nelson River are of 19-year-old Kam McLeod and 18-year-old Bryer Schmegelsky.The men were suspects in the killings of a Vancouver man and an American woman and her Australian boyfriend travelling in northern B.C.McDonald says people may never know whether the fugitives had planned to come to the dense and unforgiving landscape of northern Manitoba, or if they just took a wrong turn.He adds that it will be a long time before people in the town feel fully relaxed and their quiet lives return.The Canadian Press
Following her Born This Way Ball concert in Lima, five-time Grammy Award-winning singer and songwriter and UNICEF supporter Lady Gaga paid a surprise visit to a UNICEF-supported school in Ventanilla District, Peru, on the outskirts of Lima.The school, Francisco Bolognese, is located in Pachacútec, one of the poorest areas of Ventanilla District, where poverty, violence, mistreatment, gang activities and drug use contribute to keeping many children out of school. In response, UNICEF has been working with the government and partners to implement Child Friendly School initiatives that help keep children in school and provide them with a protective environment. The Child Friendly School model, which UNICEF has helped develop, includes working with parents and the community to provide children and youth with a safe and supportive environment for learning.Lady Gaga emphasized the importance of initiatives that help children and youth develop to their fullest potential: “All children have the right to feel valuable, and everybody has a shot – but not everybody has a fair shot. So, I think that what UNICEF does is try to make the shot a little more equal.”To read the full report of Lady Gaga’s visit and watch a video, visit UNICEF.org.Source:UNICEF