Panaji: After reviewing the health scenario in Goa in view of the Nipah outbreak in Kerala, state Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Monday said there is no need for people in Goa to panic. Till Sunday, seven of the eight patients in Kerala suspected to have been infected by the Nipah virus were tested negative. Rane, who chaired a review meeting at the state Secretariat, said that since authorities are monitoring the situation in Kerala and have contained the virus to two-three areas, Goa should not have any impact of the outbreak. “We do not need to create panic in people. The Union Health Ministry team is in Kerala. They are monitoring the situation. The virus has been contained in two-three areas. There is no fear in Goa,” he told reporters. “The Health Secretary is reviewing the situation. There is no need to worry about it. We are reviewing and following the protocol as directed by the Central government,” he added.
Mumbai: Domestic equity benchmark BSE Sensex fell over 150 points in early trade Wednesday dragged by losses in banking and IT stocks amid negative global cues. The 30-share index was trading 158.33 points, or 0.40 per cent, lower at 39,792.13 at 0940 hours. Similarly, the broader NSE Nifty was quoting 44.95 points, or 0.38 per cent, down at 11,920.65. Top losers include Yes Bank, Bajaj Auto, Bharti Airtel, HCL Tech, HDFC twins, Kotak Bank, TCS and Infosys, shedding up to 2.55 per cent. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents On the other hand, Vedanta, Tata Steel, IndusInd Bank, Sun Pharma, Asian Paints, RIL and ITC fell up to 1.25 per cent. According to experts, market mood turned negative tracking weak cues from other Asian markets amid escalation trade war tension between the US and China. US President Donald Trump Tuesday said he was not interested in a trade deal unless China agreed to four-five major points. “We had a deal with China and then they went back on the deal. They said, ‘We don’t want to have four major points, five major points’. So we changed it. But we had a deal with China. Unless they go back to that deal, I have no interest,” he said. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chief Investors were also cautious ahead of the release of inflation numbers, scheduled for release later in the day, traders said. Elsewhere in Asia, bourses in China, Japan and Korea were trading on a weak note in their respective early sessions. On the currency front, the Indian rupee appreciated 7 paise to 69.37 against the US dollar. The global oil benchmark Brent crude futures were trading 1.36 per cent lower at 61.44 per barrel. In the previous session on Tuesday, the BSE gauge rose 165.94 points, or 0.42 per cent, to close at 39,950.46; while the Nifty gained 42.90 points, or 0.36 per cent, to settle at 11,965.60. Foreign institutional investors bought equity worth Rs 95.79 crore, while domestic institutional investors sold shares to the tune of Rs 151.01 crore, provisional data available with stock exchanges showed on Tuesday.
Walls displaying images of local ingredients and cookware used in a typical Garhwali kitchen welcome patrons at Garh Bhoj, a fine-dining establishment in Dehradun, Uttarakhand. Adding to the rustic charm is information on dishes made with finger millet or ragi, stinging nettle (Urtica dioica), red rice and barnyard millet (Echinochloa esculenta) that peep from under glass-topped tables. Manager Rajbir Bisht says an array of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes contributes to the soaring popularity of the restaurant set up two years ago. A typical Garhwali vegetarian platter, or thali, costs Rs 250 and the non-vegetarian variant is priced at Rs 350. Gulab jamun prepared using the millet kodo, laal bhaat made from local red rice, biryani prepared from jhangora or barnyard millet and buransh or rhododendron sharbat are a part of the menu. But Garh Bhoj also faces the challenge of drawing customers. Also Read – A staunch allyBisht says people prefer home delivery and tourists hesitate to try the local cuisine. But the profit is good enough for Bisht to think of ways of increasing the footfall. He is not the only one experimenting with traditional cuisines in restaurants. After winning a cookery competition, Aruna Tirkey established Ajam Emba in Ranchi in March 2017, serving Jharkhand’s tribal cuisine. In Kurukh language spoken by the Oraons, ajam emba means great taste. Also Read – Cuban pathosSome popular dishes here are wild rice kheer, ragi momos, country chicken, pitha and dumbu (rice balls made with jaggery). Other nutritious items served are sanei flower bharta or mashed Crotalaria juncea flowers, chutney made of beng (Bacopa monnieri) and mashed elephant foot yam. Today, despite high logistic and transportation costs and difficulty in finding trained chefs, Tirkey generates Rs 6,000- Rs 8,000 profit per day. On some days, the gross turnover touches Rs 12,000. Bengaluru-based Millet Mama also follows this strategy. The outlet is a hit and serves an average of 350-400 customers every day. Owner Abhishek Beeraiah has employed local women as chefs to popularise millets among the younger generation. The restaurant is a go-to place for health-conscious professionals. Millet Mama is now planning on two more outlets in the city. Mumbai-based Gitika Saikia is trying to popularise traditional food in a different way. Her venture, Pakghor, has a select clientele. She started her journey in 2014 to spread awareness about northeastern cuisine. In the initial years, she incurred heavy losses but slowly found her way out and now hosts food pop-ups for five-star hotels and restaurants. Every month, a menu is fixed and bookings are accepted through social media. In May, for instance, Saikia had planned a menu to mark Bihu, the harvest festival of Assam. She says that this year’s vegetarian platter will offer black chana (Bengal gram) with tender banana blossoms, stir-fried baby potatoes with Indian olive pickle, stuffed teasel gourd and black dal with rattan shoot accompanied by red lentils, pond fish chutney, coconut and peas salad and steamed rice. The non-vegetarian platter will serve red ant eggs, chicken cooked with tender banana blossom, smoked pork with leafy greens, coconut topped with fresh cream, puffed rice and liquid jaggery. The vegetarian platter is priced at Rs 1,200 and the non-vegetarian platter at Rs 1,500 per person. Saikia explains that though her profit margins are not too high, many of her partners either work on a profit-sharing basis or pay her a lumpsome. Hornbill Restaurant and Cafe in Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi, is very popular, especially among northeastern students, for serving authentic Naga cuisine. Set up in 2015, some of its popular dishes are smoked pork with sesame seeds, frizzled pork, pork cooked with seasonal vegetables, fish fry and liver fry. Pork thali, fish thali, chicken thali, pork with bamboo shoot, smoked pork with bamboo shoot and pork with khollar (kidney beans) are available every day. Hornbill has an outlet in Majnu ka Tila as well. This north Delhi outlet also serves Tibetan and Chinese dishes. A happy meal box is available in five variants and priced between Rs 200 and Rs 300. Raj Rai, a founding partner, admits the challenges. “To recreate authentic flavours, the ingredients have to be shipped from Nagaland,” he says. Indigenous restaurants also face a major operational challenge. “Steady supply chain is a problem,” says Sunil Kumar, director, food and beverage, JW Marriott Walnut Grove Resort and Spa based in Mussoorie. “We began serving Garhwali cuisine in 2017. Even for simple recipes such as aloo ke gutke, or potato tempered with jakhiya (Cleome viscosa), we have to think about the supply of jakhiya seeds. The hotel has adopted a community participation model where women from nearby villages bring farm-fresh ingredients,” he says. This model has been adopted by others too. Tirkey relies on local farmer markets or weekly haats for the ingredients. “I make weekly visits to markets within a 10-40 km radius and stock native varieties of grains like brown rice and finger millet,” she says. Beeraiah also works closely with farmers based in and around Bengaluru for sourcing organic vegetables, grains and condiments. He shops in weekly markets and provides free food to farmers. This is how he has established a network of farmers, who supply seasonal greens and vegetables. Saikia’s ingredients are also mostly local. “Back in my village, I have made arrangements with the farming community to grow food for me. For the May pop-up, I served baby potatoes and required 40-45 kg potatoes, so farmers had sown them early. Pakghor is not only reviving traditional flavours but also boosting the rural economy,” she says. (The author documents indigenous foods and works on nutrition and health issues. The views expressed are strictly personal)
Lucknow: Samajwadi Party (SP) patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav’s efforts to bring his son Akhilesh Yadav and younger brother Shivpal Singh Yadav together do not seem to be bearing fruit. Shivpal Singh Yadav categorically said that he had no plans to merge his Pragatisheel Samajwadi Party Lohia (PSPL) into the Samajwadi Party. “My party is building up and we are growing from strength to strength. I have no plan to merge my party with SP. It is too late in the day. However, if there is a proposal for an alliance, we may consider the same,” he said. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in Haryana Akhilesh, on the other hand, is said to be completely against the return of his estranged uncle to the SP fold. “With great effort, Akhilesh has managed to establish himself as the undisputed leader of his party and he naturally does not want his uncle to return and challenge his authority again,” said a supporter of the SP chief. Mulayam, who initiated a patch-up effort between his son and brother after the BSP called off its alliance with the SP, has warned the family that unless it unites, its political survival would be at stake. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah Three members of the Yadav family — Dimple Yadav, Dharmendra Yadav and Akshay Yadav — have lost the lok Sabha elections and the party’s tally rests at five members in the Lok Sabha. Akhilesh, too, is facing pressure from his cadres. Having failed in the 2014 Lok Sabha, 2017 Assembly and now 2019 Lok Sabha elections, his leadership is now being questioned and if he fails to put his act together, the voices of dissent may grow louder. The relationship between the uncle and nephew has deteriorated so much that recently when both visited the ailing SP patriarch at his Lucknow residence, when Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also happened to be there, the two failed to exchange even a word. Shivpal said he was open to alliances in the upcoming bypolls to 12 Assembly seats. Of the vacant seats, 10 belong to the BJP and one each to the SP and BSP. Mulayam, despite his poor health, is said to be in constant touch with Akhilesh and Shivpal and is persuading them to forgo their differences in the larger interest of the family and the party. It was on Mulayam’s insistence that the SP did not moved a petition seeking Shivpal’s disqualification from the membership of the state Assembly even though he has formed his own party. A senior leader close to Mulayam said: “Unless the SP unites, the future seems uncertain for all. Akhilesh has failed on the issue of alliance — 2017 with Congress and 2019 with the BSP. Shivpal, too, has not made much of an impact with his new party. It is Mulayam’s earnest wish to unite the two and he will continue in his efforts.”
Kottayam (Ker): The Kerala Congress (M), a key partner of the Congress-led UDF, suffered a split Sunday with a faction in the party electing Rajya Sabha MP Jose K Mani, son of its founder late K M Mani, as the Chairman. The development capped weeks-long infighting in the party between supporters of Jose Mani and working chairman P J Joseph following the demise of K M Mani in April this year. Jose K Mani was elected as the chairman of the party by the leaders supporting him at a meeting of the State Committee members here convened by him. Hours ahead of the meeting, the faction led by Joseph declared it as invalid and said it was against the party Constitution. After the meeting, ‘presiding officer’ K Z Kunjeriya announced to the party workers that Jose K Mani has been “elected unanimously” as chairman. Out of 437 state committee members of the party, as many as 325 attended the meeting, the faction leaders claimed. The Kerala Congress which has a history of splits since its inception in 1964, has a strong base in the central Travancore belt, especially among Christians. Expressing his gratitude to the party leaders for electing him as ‘chairman’, Jose K Mani said “K M Mani sir is with is in our forward journey. I will work hard to follow the path shown by him.” The party would function unitedly, he said in his speech in the presence of mediapersons. According to leaders of the Joseph faction, there are a total of 437 members in the Kerala Congress (M)s jumbostate committee. Senior leaders of the party, including former Rajya Sabha MP Joy Abraham, MLAs C F Thomas and Mons Joseph, did not attend the meeting, sources in the Joseph faction claimed. Out of five MLAs of the Kerala Congress (M), only two — attended the meeting. Jose K Mani’s followers said KC(M)’s Idukki MLA Roshy Augustine and Kanjirappally MLA N Jayaraj and lone Lok Sabha MP of the party, Thomas Chazhikadan, were the prominent leaders who attended the meeting. Trouble had been brewing in the party following the demise of K M Mani. Partys Organisational General Secretary Joy Abrahams letter to Chief Election Officer Teeka Ram Meena declaring Joseph asKC(M) chairman after the veteran’s death had been opposed by the faction headed by Jose K Mani.
New Delhi: Fiscal deficit for the month of April was at Rs 1,57,048 crore which is 22 per cent of the budgeted estimate for the year 2019-20, slightly lower than what it was in the same period a year ago and as a percentage to the GDP, the fiscal deficit is at 0.75 per cent, Department of Expenditure (DoE) figures showed. These are the fiscal situation of the Central government as seen from the accounts for April 2019 of the Controller General of Accounts (CGA). For 2019-20, the fiscal deficit has been set at 3.4 per cent of the GDP in the interim Budget. Also Read – Maruti cuts production for 8th straight month in Sep Fiscal deficit is Rs 1,57,048 crore — 22 per cent of budget estimate (BE) (corresponding period for previous year – COPPY 24 per cent). The receipts are sufficient to cover only 38 per cent of expenditure. As a percentage to GDP, fiscal deficit is 0.75 per cent and revenue deficit is 0.61 per cent, the figures of Review of Accounts of April of the CGA stated. For April, the total expenditure of the government was Rs 2,54,679 crore or 9 per cent of BE (COPPY 9 per cent), comprising revenue expenditure of Rs 2,24,091 crore — 9 per cent of BE (COPPY 8 per cent) and capital expenditure of Rs 30,588 crore — 9 per cent of BE (COPPY 16 per cent). Also Read – Ensure strict implementation on ban of import of e-cigarettes: revenue to Customs Total receipts were Rs 97,631 crore –5 per cent of the BE (COPPY 4 per cent). Gross tax was Rs 1,21,190 crore — 5 per cent of the BE (COPPY 5 per cent). The net tax revenue to the Centre was of the order of Rs 71,637 crore — 4 per cent of BE after deducting devolution to states (Rs 49,544 crore) and collections under National Calamity Contingent Duty (NCCD) to be transferred to National Disaster Relief Fund (NDRF) (Rs 9 crore). Total receipts include Net Tax Revenue to Centre (Rs 71,637 crore), Non Tax Revenue (Rs 23,293 crore) and other receipts (Rs 2,701 crore). During the month of May, the plan releases for various schemes to the tune of Rs 2,012.70 crore were made to the states. A sum of Rs 49,543.62 crore was devolved to states as their share in Central Taxes and Duties. In addition, releases of the order of Rs 3,850.57 crore were made to the states in May, as recommended by the 14th Finance Commission. NDRF allocation was Rs 788.75 crore and Post Devolution Revenue Deficit (PDRD) was Rs 2,850.57 crore.
NEW DELHI: The matter of alleged beating up of an auto driver by police in the city was raised in the Rajya Sabha on Monday by AAP member Sanjay Singh.Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, he said Delhi was emerging as the “crime capital” of the country and urged the Home Ministry convene a meeting to discuss the issue. Singh cited several incidents of crime in Delhi to stress his point. He alleged that 220 round of bullets were fired on Delhi roads during the past one month while 243 incidents of rape were reported during the past year. Incidents of murder too were on the rise, he said. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkThe AAP MP further alleged that auto driver Sarabjeet Singh was dragged on the road and beaten up. The incident that took place in Mukherjee Nagar earlier this month had triggered a public outcry, with members of a particular community taking to the streets demanding action against the police personnel involved. Singh suggested the Home Ministry immediately convene a meeting and the Delhi Chief Minister too should be called. The crime must stop, he added.
NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Tuesday granted bail to Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and his deputy Manish Sisodia in a criminal defamation complaint filed by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Vijender Gupta. Gupta had accused the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders of “maligning” his image by accusing him of attempting to kill the Delhi chief minister. Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal granted relief on a personal bond of Rs 10,000 and one surety of like amount. Vijender Gupta has claimed in the complaint that due to widespread circulation of tweets and news reports on the statement of the two AAP leaders, his reputation was harmed.
Cairo: Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met in Cairo Monday powerful Sudanese military General Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, whose forces have been accused of carrying out a brutal crackdown on protesters. In his first official visit to the Egyptian capital, the deputy chief of Sudan’s military council widely known as Hemeti, “presented the latest developments on the current situation in Sudan”, the Egyptian presidency said. Sisi, the former general turned president, reiterated Egypt’s “strategic support” in maintaining “the stability and security” of its neighbour Sudan, the presidency added. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USCairo has been a steadfast ally of Khartoum’s military leaders after long-time autocrat Omar al-Bashir was toppled on April 11 after months of protests. Hemeti, commander of the Rapid Support Forces — the feared paramilitary group accused of war crimes in Darfur under Bashir — has also shored up support from Gulf allies, meeting with Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in May. Triggered in December with the tripling of the price of bread, the protests in Sudan quickly transformed into a challenge to the Bashir regime, in power for 30 years. Demonstrations continued after his ouster to demand civilian rule. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsOn June 3, at least 127 protesters were killed and scores wounded in a raid on a sit-in at the epicentre of the demonstrations, according to doctors linked to the protest movement. A joint probe by prosecutors and Sudan’s ruling military council showed that security forces, including an RSF general, took part in the raid on the protest camp — despite having no orders from their superiors to do so. Hemeti has consistently denied that his men were involved in the crackdown, which triggered international outrage. The general’s meeting with Sisi comes a day after Sudanese police fired tear gas at scores of protesters demanding an independent probe into the June raid.
Kathmandu: Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli on Sunday left for Singapore for a health check-up. The prime minister’s aides said Oli, who underwent kidney transplant in 2007 in New Delhi, was going for a regular check-up at National University Hospital in Singapore. Doctors attending the prime minister had referred him to the National University Hospital in Singapore. An ultrasound-guided renal biopsy was conducted a few days ago on Oli to test the functioning of his kidneys. There were traces of protein in his urine. He had heart palpitations and fluctuating blood sugar. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USHe is going to Singapore not because he is sick, but because he has to undergo a routine check-up, said Kundan Aryal, PM Oli’s press adviser. He will undergo necessary medical tests, said Aryal. After his kidney transplant, Oli had regularly undergone routine health check-ups in different countries, including India. Oli had undergone treatment at the Singapore-based hospital where he was treated for an infectious swelling in his right hand in 2014.
United Nations: The UN Security Council will meet here on Friday to discuss India revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir after Pakistan wrote a letter on the issue to the world body. China, the closest ally of Pakistan, asked for “closed consultations” in the Council, which will meet at 10 am (7:30pm IST) to discuss the matter. A UN diplomat had told PTI that China had asked for closed consultations on the Security Council agenda item ‘India Pakistan Question’. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details “The request was in reference to the Pakistani letter to Security Council President,” the diplomat said. The Council’s schedule said “Security Council consultations (closed) India/Pakistan”, listed for 10 am. Closed meetings are not open to the public and no verbatim record of statements is kept. Consultations are informal meetings of the Security Council members and are not covered in the Repertoire. The Repertoire, mandated by the General Assembly, provides comprehensive coverage of the Security Council’s interpretation and application of the United Nations Charter and its own Provisional Rules of Procedure since 1946. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday Its primary purpose is to provide Member States, including those elected to serve on the Security Council, the United Nations system, academics and others with a source of information regarding the evolving practice of the Security Council. According to UN records, the last time “the Security Council addressed the dispute between India and Pakistan over the territories of Jammu and Kashmir under agenda item ‘The India-Pakistan question’ was in 1964-65. Then, by a letter dated January 16, 1964, the representative of Pakistan had requested the President of the Council to “convene an immediate meeting” of the Council to consider the Kashmir situation. India had asserted that the Pakistani request was “a propaganda move.” The issue of Kashmir was also raised under a separate agenda item ‘Situation in the India/Pakistan subcontinent’ in 1969-1971. Following India’s decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan formally called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss India, Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said. Qureshi has sent a formal letter to the president of the Security Council, Polish Ambassador Joanna Wronecka, through country’s Permanent Representative Maleha Lodhi to convene the meeting. Qureshi said the letter will also be shared with all members of the UNSC. Qureshi had air-dashed to Beijing for consultation with the Chinese leadership on the issue of raising the Kashmir issue at the UNSC. He had also said that China backed Pakistan on the issue and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang told him he believed “China will stand up for justice on the Kashmir issue”. During his bilateral meeting with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday in Beijing, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar conveyed that the decision to revoke the special status of Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter for India. He said the issue related to changes in a temporary provision of the Constitution of India and was the sole prerogative of the country. Jaishankar noted that the legislative measures were aimed at promoting better governance and socio-economic development and there was no implication for either the external boundaries of India or the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China. “India was not raising any additional territorial claims. The Chinese concerns in this regard were therefore misplaced,” he said. Jaishankar told Wang that these changes had no bearing on Pakistan as it was an internal matter. After India revoked Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5 and announced the bifurcation of the State into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, Pakistan announced that it will approach the UN Security Council against New Delhi’s decision. India has categorically told the international community that its move to scrap Article 370 of the Constitution removing the special status to Jammu and Kashmir was an internal matter and has also advised Pakistan to “accept the reality .
New Delhi: Hong Kong-based Transsion Holdings is set to launch a disruptive affordable smartphone under its brand Infinix Mobile for less than Rs 8,000 in India on September 4. Industry sources told IANS on Wednesday that the new device, named “HOT 8”, may sport a triple rear camera system with 4GB RAM and 64GB ROM. The new smartphone is the third launch in the popular “HOT” series. Taking cue from the leaked images, HOT 8 appears promising in the affordable price segment with cutting-edge features. The brand has witnessed many successful devices like Smart 3 plus, S4, HOT7 and HOT7 PRO. Infinix Mobile is present in 36 countries, including emerging markets like Latin America, Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, South and South-East Asia. It was recently listed among the top 30 most admired brands in Africa by the British magazine “African Business”.
New Delhi: Union Home Minister Amit Shah met a Kashmiri delegation at the North Block here on Tuesday. Twenty-two sarpanchs from Kashmir, who bravely contested the panchayat elections in spite of threat to their lives from terrorists, met Shah and other top officials of the Home Ministry. Shah will be listening to all of them and hold talks to bring normalcy in the valley, sources said. This is the first delegation from the Valley to meet the Home Minister after the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Sunday asserted that the county is going through a period of “Super Emergency” and appealed to the people of the country to protect the rights and freedom guaranteed by the Constitution.Banerjee urged countrymen to safeguard the constitutional values upon which the independent India was founded. September 15 is the International Day of Democracy. “On the #International Day of Democracy today (Sunday), let us once again pledge to safeguard the constitutional values our country was founded on.. In this era of ‘Super Emergency’, we must do all it takes to protect the rights and Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Pujafreedoms that our Constitution guarantees,” Banerjee tweeted. It may be mentioned that Banerjee in the recent past particularly before the Lok Sabha elections have time and again said that the country is going through ‘Super Emergency’ under the BJP-led NDA rule at the Centre. She had appealed to all like-minded parties to come together to ‘restore the democratic institutions of the country. In 2007, the United Nations General Assembly had resolved to observe September 15 every year as the International Day of Democracy to uphold and promote the principles of democracy.
OTTAWA – The Bank of Canada is expected to raise its key interest rate target for the first time in nearly seven years on Wednesday following signs the economy is well on the road to recovery after the crash in oil prices.Low interest rates have helped fuel the housing market in recent years, incentivizing Canadians to pile on record levels of debt — something that the central bank has noted as a significant risk for the economy.Rates for new fixed-rate mortgages have already started to rise in anticipation. A hike by the Bank of Canada will likely prompt the country’s big banks to raise their prime rates, a move that will increase the cost of loans such as variable rate mortgages and home equity lines of credit.James Laird, co-founder of interest rate comparison website RateHub, said the carefully crafted language the Bank of Canada uses Wednesday will be key in reading the tea leaves of future rate decisions.“Any additional comments for future increases will be the real trigger for more fixed rate increases following the announcement, rather than the rate change itself,” Laird said.The potential rise in the cost of borrowing comes amid signs the housing market, a key economic driver in recent years, is adapting to government changes meant to cool the real estate sectors of Toronto and Vancouver.Sales and prices have fallen in Toronto in the wake of new rules brought in by the Ontario government, including a tax on foreign buyers. Vancouver sales, where new measures including a similar tax were implemented last summer, also stalled in the months that followed, though there are signs the market may be rebounding.Speculation about an interest rate hike comes amid a flurry of strong economic news this year, with housing starts figures for last month released Tuesday by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. amplifying that.Scotiabank deputy chief economist Brett House said the difference between the actual and potential output of the economy is narrowing rapidly, so he expects the central bank will move now to keep inflation in check.“We do believe that this is the beginning of a gradual hiking cycle from the Bank of Canada,” House said.The Bank of Canada cut rates twice in 2015 in an effort to offset a dramatic drop in oil prices, bringing it to 0.5 per cent. Governor Stephen Poloz has said those measures appeared to have done their job.While inflation remains well below the central bank’s target of two per cent, Poloz said in a recent interview with a German newspaper that if the central bank only watched and reacted to inflation, it would never reach its inflation target and it would always be two years behind in the reaction. He said he has to look at other indicators in the models that predict inflation.Despite widespread expectations of a quarter-point hike — which would be the first since the rate was increased from 0.75 per cent to one per cent in September 2010 — those views aren’t unanimous.In a research note, TD said it was a “very close call” but it expects the Bank of Canada to remain on hold for now because conditions in the economy were still largely consistent with its projections.The C.D. Howe’s monetary policy council also recommends that the central bank not move its key rate. Six members of the group, which includes academic economists and those from the country’s big banks including TD, voted to keep the rate on hold, while five called for an increase to 0.75 per cent.Nick Rowe, a Carleton University economics professor and member of the C.D. Howe council, said inflation remains below the Bank of Canada’s target even though other areas of the economy seem to be doing well.“We simply haven’t seen the rise in inflation that you would have expected to have seen as the economy strengthens, plus there aren’t really much signs of expected inflation either,” said Rowe, who voted to keep the rate on hold.In addition to the rate announcement Wednesday, the central bank will release its latest monetary policy report, which will include its updated outlook for the economy.
KENTVILLE, N.S. – A reservist who allegedly made a racial slur towards a civilian kitchen worker and struck his superior officer is facing a court martial today in Nova Scotia.Retired Cpl. Garett Rollman is pleading not guilty to two charges of “conduct to the prejudice of good order and discipline,” and to the charge of striking a superior officer in February 2016, when he was still an active member, in Aldershot, N.S.During opening statements, the defence asked for the case to be adjourned to give time to find Earl Smith, who the military defence lawyer said was the sergeant who Rollman allegedly struck.The military prosecutor said Smith has left the military and he could not be located.The presiding military judge ruled that the case could proceed, noting a week has been set aside for the case.During the morning, the military court heard evidence from Cheryl Richard, a co-worker who testified that Rollman had used a racial slur in her presence and also said she’d witnessed Rollman striking Smith’s hand.
TORONTO – A revamped edition of “The National” will be more nimble, multiplatform and “truly national” when four new but recognizable hosts who vary in age and background take the helm of CBC’s flagship newscast this fall, the public broadcaster vowed Tuesday.Adrienne Arsenault, Rosemary Barton, Andrew Chang and Ian Hanomansing have been tasked with shepherding in the refreshed version of the “The National” as the network attempts to break free of the traditional solo news anchor following the retirement of Peter Mansbridge.All four journalists, who will be stationed at various locations across the country, have a storied history with the CBC and have contributed to “The National” over the years.Arsenault, 50, a senior correspondent, will be based in Toronto; Barton, 41, known for her hard-hitting interviews on “Power & Politics,” will remain in Ottawa; Chang, 34, will stay at the Vancouver studio; and Vancouver-based Hanomansing, 55, long considered a front-runner to replace Mansbridge, will relocate to Toronto.“If there are four of us, we’re not all going to be on the show every night all the same,” Barton said in an interview following Tuesday’s news conference to reveal the changes. “We are all going to be able to pitch things, go after breaking news, travel.”The CBC also plans to change some of the show’s format to make it feel more timely in a digital age when news breaks on social media.The new “National,” which will debut Nov. 6, will have a digital component and air live across all six time zones, allowing the hosts to track developing stories in real time. Traditionally, the newscast tapes at 9 p.m. ET and repeats the same broadcast for the West Coast, unless a major breaking story is unfolding.“I think what it means is the stories don’t get locked into the format. The stories dictate the format,” said Arsenault. “That’s where we’re really going to be able to be flexible, because depending on the nature of the story, we’re going to be able to shift and move just to give it the context that we need, and you can’t do that in a traditional cast.”Being spread out will also allow the hosts to jump in and anchor directly from the scene of breaking news in their respective areas.“To not simply report from there but to own a part of the program, that’s going to completely change the dynamic of what ‘The National’ is, it’s going to change the feel of it, it’s going to change the flavour of it,” said Chang.Arsenault added they’re not “playing with the format” but rather “realizing the culture of what people expect from their journalists now.”“They expect not just the news but they expect the context immediately, as thoroughly as they can get it and as widely as they can.”Mansbridge officially left his longtime post at “The National” on July 1, nearly a year after announcing his retirement.His replacements said they’d heard rumours there would be multiple hosts but didn’t know about each other until Friday.“There’s still a lot about the show we don’t know,” said Hanomansing. “We haven’t been able to publicly talk to our colleagues about this stuff. We need to be briefed and read-in and get active and be involved in the development of the program from here on in. And I need an apartment.”The CBC said it looked inside and outside of the organization to find new talent for “The National.”Editor-in-chief Jennifer McGuire said going live will cost more than the current delivery of the show, as will the digital pieces being added.But “the net budget is actually neutral in the context of news,” she added.“The National” managing editor Steve Ladurantaye was recently reassigned after what the CBC called “an inappropriate, insensitive and frankly unacceptable tweet” he made as part of a controversial debate over cultural appropriation. McGuire said they’ll reassess what happens to him in the context of “The National” in September.Manbridge offered his seal of approval in a tweet shortly after the announcement.“A great move into the future with four excellent journalists taking the anchor helm at the National,” he wrote.Members of the public gathered at Tuesday’s press conference seemed to agree.“I think it’s a good selection,” said Ursula Mausberg of St. Catharines, Ont.“I think it’s good because each one can concentrate on their area. I think it’s variety…. I’m looking forward to it. I like that they’ve selected a woman.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version misstated when Peter Mansbridge stepped down at ‘The National.’ He retired in July.
HALIFAX – More women have come forward to complain about abortion-access hurdles in Nova Scotia, as a national lobby group says it plans a renewed push in the province.One woman says she was a 23-year-old university student when she missed a period and suspected her birth control had failed. She confirmed it with a pregnancy test in a Starbucks washroom.“I was in this state of incredulity,” said the woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity. “But from the very beginning I absolutely knew what my choice was.”She made an appointment at an on-campus health clinic where a doctor repeatedly questioned her decision and made her feel uncomfortable.“I walked in and was extremely clear about what I wanted,” she said. “I didn’t expect a clap on the back but the doctor was completely unsupportive.”Although the doctor did eventually write a referral, she had to wait more than six weeks before obtaining an abortion.She’s not alone. Several women interviewed describe facing significant barriers to abortion services in Nova Scotia, with women requiring referrals for surgical abortions and waiting several weeks for the time-sensitive procedure.Compounding delays is a lack of provincial coverage for the abortion pill Mifegymiso, a two-step process that can be used to terminate a pregnancy of up to 49 days. Also, the province has no private or free-standing abortion clinics and the Halifax hospital that performs nearly 90 per cent of the province’s abortions will only book appointments for women who are at least eight weeks pregnant.“We’ve always pointed to the Maritimes as a huge problem for abortion access but now that P.E.I. and New Brunswick have improved access, Nova Scotia has been left behind,” Joyce Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada, said in an interview from Vancouver. “Nova Scotia will become more of a focus for pro-choice efforts to improve access.”She said one of the biggest problems in the province is the need for women to obtain a referral before being able to make an appointment for a surgical abortion.“Women are at risk of having to deal with anti-choice gatekeepers who will delay access even further or shame women and treat them inappropriately and unprofessionally,” Arthur said. “Eliminating the referral requirement bypasses all that politicization and anti-choice stigma.”It would also reduce wait times, she said. Nova Scotia does not appear to keep statistics on how long it takes women to obtain an abortion after a referral, but average wait times of women interviewed ranged from four to eight weeks.“It’s unconscionable the province would let that go on. Waiting a month or two for an abortion is hell,” she said. “It’s traumatic and damaging to women and violates the spirit of the 1988 Morgentaler decision and likely violates constitutional rights.”Arthur said the abortion pill could be a “a real game changer,” but said Mifegymiso must be made easily accessible and free in order to improve access.Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and New Brunswick have all said they would provide at least some coverage for the drug.Barb Shellian, president of the Canadian Nurses Association, said it’s essential for the abortion pill to be universally funded and equally accessible across the country.“This drug has been used safely in Europe and the United States for decades,” she said from Saskatchewan. “It gives the option for a medical intervention rather than a surgical intervention and at the end of the day it may actually be cheaper.”Shellian said Mifegymiso offers women another choice and can improve abortion access, especially in rural and remote areas.
YOUBOU, B.C. – A Vancouver Island elk is once again festooned in debris, the second year in a row the young male has inadvertently decorated itself during mating season.Conservation officer Scott Norris says the elk has managed to entwine a deflated inner tube in its antlers while wandering in bush near Youbou, west of Duncan.Norris says the elk had to be felled last year by a tranquilizer so officers could unwind some rope and a tarpaulin it had wrapped around its head, limiting its sight and preventing it from feeding properly.Norris says the deflated inner tube doesn’t seem to bother the animal and there’s hope conservation officers won’t have to intervene this year.Young bull elk can show aggression during mating season by beating their antlers on bushes, and Norris says that’s likely how this elk became entangled for a second time.Conservation officers and animal safety groups say the elk, this year dubbed Tuber, will be closely watched to ensure his rubber headgear doesn’t cause him any harm. (CFAX)
VANCOUVER – Manitoba’s sustainable development minister says a federal threat to impose a higher carbon tax on the province is misguided and reveals a breakdown of co-operative federalism.Rochelle Squires said her government is standing firm on its promise to bring in a carbon tax of $25 a tonne next year and to keep it at that rate, citing other climate measures her province has brought in.Ottawa has demanded provinces implement either a cap-and-trade system or a tax that would start at $10 a tonne in 2018 and ramp up to $50 a tonne by 2022.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has previously said his government will impose an increased carbon tax on Manitoba if the province doesn’t co-operate, and Environment Minister Catherine McKenna echoed his remarks Friday.McKenna, speaking to reporters after a meeting of provincial, territorial and federal environment ministers in Vancouver, said her government will review the provinces’ prices annually to make sure they’re consistent with the national standard.If not, the federal government would implement a “backstop” to bring the price up to the federal rate, she said.“We certainly hope that all provinces step up, but if not, then we do have our plan that we would have to take action on,” she said.Squires said this response was “very misguided.”“We’ve been clear all along that carbon pricing is one aspect of our very comprehensive, made-in-Manitoba climate and green plan,” she said in an interview.“What we’re seeing is an erosion of co-operative federalism. We started off with an agreed-upon goal of reducing our carbon footprint to this backstop.”Asked whether Manitoba was willing to go to court over the issue, Squires said the province did not want to spend money, taxpayer resources or time on the dispute.“All Canadians are expecting us to get the job done on climate. We want to get to work. We don’t want to have this lingering situation with Ottawa,” she said.She said Manitoba has been a climate leader, pointing to its development of hydroelectricity, and that the province’s plan would reduce emissions more than the federal government’s “backstop.”Most provinces have already agreed to follow Ottawa’s proposal. Saskatchewan is the only one threatening not to impose a carbon tax at all.British Columbia introduced a carbon tax in 2008 and increased it annually until 2012, when it reached $30 a tonne. The minority NDP government has said it will increase the tax by $5 a year until it reaches $50 in 2021, a year before Ottawa’s deadline.After their meeting the ministers released a new report, in the form of a publicly accessible website, which shows that Canada has made significant reductions in air pollutants, including smog and acid rain.The report says improved air quality was estimated by Health Canada to have prevented 4,100 deaths, 2,200 hospital visits and 770,000 asthma events in 2011, the most recent data provided.They also announced new air quality standards for nitrogen dioxide, which would reduce emissions that are linked to health effects such as decreased lung function, respiratory health problems and environmental impacts.— Follow @ellekane on Twitter.