IndiGo Q4 profit jumps 5folds to Rs 5896 cr

first_imgNew Delhi: InterGlobe Aviation, the parent company of IndiGo airline, Monday reported a five-fold jump in profit after tax to Rs 589.6 crore for the January-March quarter compared to Rs 117.6 crore in the corresponding period of 2017-18?. The carrier’s total income rose by 35.5 per cent to Rs 8,259.8 crore in the quarter ended March 2019 compared to Rs 6,097.7 crore in the year-ago period, the company said in a statement. The low-cost carrier said that its annual net profit for 2018-19 stood at Rs 156.1 crore, which was 93 per cent less than Rs 2,242.4 crore for the 2017-18 fiscal. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents IndiGo CEO Ronojoy Dutta said, “Fiscal 2019 was a tough year for the airline industry in India because of high fuel prices, weak rupee and intense competitive environment.” “However, it is a tale of two halves for IndiGo, with the first half of the year incurring losses and the second half of the year experiencing a sharp recovery,” he added. Dutta added that he is bullish about the future and sees plenty of opportunities for profitable growth in IndiGo’s network. The total debt as of March 31, 2019, was Rs 2,429.2 crore, which was “aircraft related”, said the airline.last_img read more

Court permits Robert Vadra to travel US

first_imgNew Delhi: A Delhi Court on Monday allowed Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s brother-in-law Robert Vadra, who is facing an Enforcement Directorate (ED) probe, to visit the US and the Netherlands for six weeks for his medical check-up. Special Judge Arvind Kumar’s order came on Vadra’s plea seeking to travel abroad for a medical check-up. Vadra has said a tumour has been detected in his large intestine and he needs to travel abroad for a medical check-up. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoC The court imposed certain conditions against Vadra while allowing his plea including a direction to submit address with contact numbers and to inform the court about his arrival in India within 24 hours. The court directed him neither to tamper with the evidence nor try to influence any witnesses in the case. The court also asked him to join the investigation within 72 hours if so informed by the investigating officer. The court also asked him to furnish a fixed deposit receipt (FDR) of Rs 25 lakh. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citations The ED had strongly objected his plea mainly for London, apprehending that Vadra might tamper with the evidence if he was allowed to go there. The case against Vadra relates to alleged ownership of overseas assets worth 1.9 million pounds. The charges against him pertain to undisclosed foreign assets and entities to evade tax. Vadra was granted anticipatory bail on April 1 on the condition that he would not leave the country without permission and join the probe whenever required. Vadra has submitted a medical certificate from Sir Ganga Ram Hospital here. He had told the court that his doctor had advised him to get a second opinion and therefore he wanted to go to London. Representing the ED, Solicitor General Tushar Mehta has told the court that the doctor had not essentially asked Vadra to take a second opinion in London but only mentioned he can take it “if he wishes so”. He said the investigation in the case was at a crucial stage and there were chances Vadra may not return. The ED argued that there were treatment facilities available in India. Countering the ED’s submission, Vadra’s counsel said Vadra will not go to those places where the agency has objections. The defence counsel said Vadra’s medical condition can worsen with the passing of time.last_img read more

Agencies razed 20 structures on Dwarka Expressway in 2 months

first_imgGurugram: In order to expedite the construction of Dwarka Expressway, the public agencies have expedited the work in getting over with the barriers. In two months there have been 20 structures that have been brought down.The public official also mentioned that construction is expected to begin as soon as all the litigations regarding the expressway have concluded. Following the announcement, there has been a hectic process that has been followed for allotment of the plots and razing all the structures. Also Read – Cylinder blast kills mother and daughter in Karawal NagarFor long the residents have been demanding for the completion of 28 kilometres of road that will lead to the growth of social infrastructure in the area. However, legal hurdles in land acquisition and inadequate compensation provided to villagers have resulted in the project prolonging since 2007. Even though it has been said that the Dwarka Expressway will be completed in 18 months various problems have resulted in the delays. In order to put pressure on the government, certain residents have taken an online route to put forth the difficulties faced by them. Also Read – Two persons arrested for killing manager of Muthoot Finance”In Dwarka Expressway we are living in a situation where the social infrastructure is non-existent. There is no light, no water, security, sewerage, roads and hospitals. Assurances have been given to the residents for long now we expect that the action will be done on the ground,” says Sushil Kumar. After a long struggle, ninety thousand families residing in Dwarka expressway got a reprieve after Nitin Gadkari provided assurance that all the legal hurdles were over and the construction on the Gurugram side will begin soon. As NHAI is expected to take over the reins of developing Dwarka expressway, residents are also demanding that the Kherki Dhaul toll should be removed and better streamline connectivity should be developed for Dwarka Expressway.last_img read more

Sajid Nadiadwala to return as Kick 2 director

first_imgMumbai: Sajid Nadiadwala will be directing “Kick” sequel, production house Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment confirmed on Monday after reports of the filmmaker’s exit from the project started doing the rounds on social media. As per reports, director Rohit Shetty was being considered to take over the directing duties from Nadiadwala for the follow-up to the 2014 film, starring Salman Khan and Jacqueline Fernandez. “Clearing the air, we strongly deny any reports of association of any other name as the director of ‘Kick 2’. “The next of the franchise, ‘Kick 2’ is with Nadiadwala Grandson Entertainment and will be directed by Sajid Nadiadwala,” the production banner said in statement on Twitter. Nadiadwala also served as helmer of “Kick”, which was his directorial debut.last_img read more

Angela Merkel suffers another trembling spell on eve of G20

first_imgBerlin: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday suffered another episode of uncontrolled trembling, a week after a similar incident that sparked questions about her health. The latest lapse came hours before Merkel was due to board a plane for the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan. The German leader began to tremble as she stood next to President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who was giving a speech at a ceremony to formally appoint a new justice minister. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonThe shaking went on for two minutes, according to a DPA photographer who was present at the event. Merkel folded her arms visibly in a bid to stop the trembling. She only finally brought it under control once she was able to take a few steps. She was offered a glass of water but turned it down. Her previous bout of shaking last Tuesday had been blamed on dehydration on a hot summer’s day. Despite the latest incident, a German government spokesman said Merkel would not be cancelling any appointments on Thursday and Friday. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassador”The chancellor is well,” he said, adding that she will be flying as planned to Osaka for the G20 summit. Merkel, frequently called the European Union’s most influential leader and the most powerful woman in the world, turns 65 next month. She has said she will leave politics at the end of her term, in 2021. There were brief concerns about her health in 2014 when she was taken ill during a television interview. The broadcast was briefly interrupted when she experienced a drop in blood pressure. Her spokesman Steffen Seibert explained at the time the leader did not feel well for a moment, then ate and drank something and continued the interview.last_img read more

4 Britons arrested in China two days after drugs bust

first_imgShanghai: Four Britons have been arrested in an eastern China province, the British embassy said Friday, two days after Chinese police announced a drug bust there involving 16 foreigners. Police in the city of Xuzhou in Jiangsu province said on Wednesday that a total of 19 people were arrested in a drugs case centring on a local branch of a language school. Those arrested included seven foreign teachers and nine foreign students, police said. Police gave no other details on specific nationalities or facts of the case. Also Read – Imran Khan arrives in China, to meet Prez Xi Jinping”We are in contact with the Chinese authorities following the arrest of four British people in Jiangsu province, and are providing consular assistance,” a spokeswoman with the British embassy in Beijing said. The spokeswoman said the embassy could not confirm whether the arrests were related to the drugs case. Swiss-based Education First, which operates a chain of language schools in China, released a statement this week acknowledging a suspected drug case at one of its branches in Xuzhou. Also Read – US blacklists 28 Chinese entities over abuses in XinjiangIt said the company was cooperating with police on the investigation and that employees found to be involved in wrongdoing would be dismissed. Drug convictions can attract long prison sentences in China, or the death penalty in cases of trafficking. China has already sentenced two Canadians to death on drug trafficking charges this year, as a diplomatic dispute with Ottawa rages. Beijing is furious over the Vancouver arrest of a top executive from telecom giant Huawei on a US extradition request related to Iran sanctions violations. The Canadian drug sentences have sparked questions over whether they were in retaliation for the Huawei arrest.last_img read more

Delhi Speaker disqualifies rebel AAP MLA Kapil Mishra

first_imgNEW DELHI: Delhi Assembly Speaker Ram Niwas Goel on Friday disqualified rebel Aam Aadmi Party MLA Kapil Mishra on the grounds of defection for his association with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The decision was taken on a petition received from Aam Aadmi Party MLA Saurabh Bharadwaj “seeking disqualification of Mishra on grounds of defection,” a Delhi Assembly order said.”Goel has, on Friday, decided…Mishra, an elected Member of the Legislative Assembly of Delhi, elected from Karawal Nagar, has become subject to disqualification under Paragraph 2 (1) (a) — a member of a House belonging to any political party shall be disqualified for being a member of the House, if he has voluntarily given up his membership of such political party — of the Tenth Schedule of the Constitution (Disqualification on ground of defection),” the order reads. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderIt says the disqualification of Mishra takes effect from January 27. “Consequently, the Karawal Nagar Assembly Constituency seat has fallen vacant,” it said. During the Lok Sabha election, Mishra had campaigned for the BJP and sought votes for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while the BJP and AAP both were contesting for the seven parliamentary seats in Delhi. The BJP bagged all the seven seats in the national capital, while the AAP came third. On July 1, Bhardwaj moved the petition seeking the disqualification Mishra for his association with the BJP.last_img read more

Adani Enterprises Q1 profit up 7fold to 570 crore

first_imgNew Delhi: Adani Enterprises on Thursday reported over sevenfold jump in consolidated net profit to Rs 570.14 crore for the quarter ended June 30, 2019 on the back of higher income. The Gautam Adani group company had clocked a profit of Rs 80.14 crore in the year-ago period, Adani Enterprises said in a BSE filing. The company in a statement said the net profit attributable to owners for June quarter 2019-20 increased to Rs 601 crore as against Rs 169 crore in the same period of 2018-19. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThis includes one-time income of Rs 328 crore recognized in the company’s MDO (Mine Development and Operations) business. Total income grew 39 per cent during the quarter under review to Rs 10,685.86 crore from Rs 7,664.20 crore in the year-ago period. Total expenses also rose to Rs 10,243.74 crore compared to Rs 7,739.04 crore a year earlier. About solar manufacturing, it said the company has established India’s largest solar cell and module manufacturing unit in Mundra SEZ.last_img read more

We realised rape and abuse not our fault

first_imgLondon: Veteran actor Jane Fonda believes the biggest take away from the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement has been that women have realised it is not there “fault” if they are sexually assaulted or raped. In an interview with Britain’s OK! magazine, the 81-year-old actor said she has gone through a lot in her life and is happy that finally women are being heard. “I’ve been raped, I’ve been sexually abused as a child and I’ve been fired because I wouldn’t sleep with my boss, and I thought it was my fault, that I didn’t do or say the right thing. ”One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realise that rape and abuse is not our fault” Fonda said. The actor confessed that it took her a ”long time to apply feminism” to her own life. ”I grew up in the 50s and it took me a long time to apply feminism to my life. The men in my life were wonderful but victims of a patriarchal belief system. ”I felt diminished.”last_img read more

Delhi Police constable dragged by car robbed of service pistol

first_imgNew Delhi: A Delhi Police constable was robbed of his service pistol and left injured after being dragged for a few metres by a car in Rohini’s Sector-20 allegedly when he was chasing a murder accused, officials said on Sunday. The constable, Kavinder, was on patrolling duty on the intervening night of Saturday-Sunday when the incident took place, police said. The murder accused, Sonu Dabas, who is a moneylender, and his accomplice Ashok were arrested while a juvenile, who accompanied them, was apprehended in connection with the incident, they said, adding that the pistol was also recovered. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder The three accused were conducting a recce to take revenge on one Sanjay Rana following a dispute with him, police said. Constables Kavinder and Rajesh posted at Aman Vihar police station were patrolling Sector 20 in Rohini when they got a tip-off about the presence of three persons, one of them a murder accused, who were driving around in a car in the area. The two constables located the car and were approaching it when the suspects sped away. As the two constables followed them, the car took a U-turn and came towards them, Deputy Commissioner of police (Rohini) S D Mishra said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchings Kavinder took out his pistol and signalled the suspects to stop the vehicle but the driver, identified as Lala, a local, tried to hit him, the officer said. Kavinder jumped aside and hit the window pane of the car, smashing the glass. The person sitting inside the car grabbed the hand of the constable who was holding a pistol, the DCP said. They dragged Kavinder along for four-five metres and snatched his pistol before releasing his hand. The constable sustained a cut on his hand, the DCP said. Dabas was nabbed from his village in Rasoolpur while his accomplice, Ashok was arrested from Pooth Kalan village, the officer said. The car used by the accused was recovered along with the robbed pistol and loaded bullets, the officer added. The third accused, a minor working in the office of Dabas, was also apprehended, the officer said. Dabas was arrested with two of his associates in 2010 allegedly for killing one Rahul, a resident of Kanjhawala. Rahul was killed allegedly after he failed to pay Rs 10,000 that he had borrowed from Dabas, the police said. The other accused, Ashok, has previous cases registered against him under the Excise Act and in connection with an accident, they added.last_img read more

25 places earmarked to set up fire stations in NB

first_imgDarjeeling: Twenty-five places in North Bengal have been earmarked where new fire stations will come up.This was stated by the Director General of Fire and Emergency Services who was on a tour of North Bengal. On Tuesday, Jag Mohan, the DG, reviewed the fire-fighting infrastructure and met fire officials in Siliguri. “The biggest problem on the fire fighting front are the high rises. Four regions have been earmarked where this problem is grave. These areas are Durgapur, Asansol, Haldia and Siliguri. New hydraulic ladders will be provided in these places and will be able to reach up to 20 stories,” said the DG. Fifteen new fire stations will be coming up within this financial year in West Bengal. Along with this 25 places have been identified in North Bengal where new fire stations will come up in the near future.last_img read more

Censured Patna HC judge reassigned judicial work after meeting with CJI

first_imgPatna: Patna High Court judge Rakesh Kumar, who was recently censured by a special bench for his stinging observations on alleged corruption in judiciary and stripped of judicial work, has been reassigned cases from Monday, according to court sources. A notice to this effect was issued by Registrar (List) of the High Court on Sunday, after Justice Kumar and Chief Justice A P Sahi returned from New Delhi, where they had a meeting with Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Controversy had erupted over an August 28 order of Justice Kumar, who had taken suo motu cognizance of the bail granted by a vigilance court to a retired IAS officer involved in a corruption case, a year after an anticipatory bail plea of the former bureaucrat had been dismissed by another court. In his 20-page-order, Justice Kumar had directed the District Judge, Patna, to conduct an inquiry into the bail granted to former bureaucrat K P Ramaiah, and directed the CBI to investigate alleged corruption in the civil court here, as claimed in a two-year-old sting operation by a private news channel. Besides, Justice Kumar had recounted a number of anecdotes to suggest that the higher judiciary in the state had been found wanting in the clampdown on corruption and favouritism. After his order, the High Court administration withdrew all cases listed for Justice Kumar. Taking a serious note of the matter, the chief justice constituted a bench comprising 11 judges.last_img read more

AAP appoints US volunteer as overseas unit coconvenor

first_imgNew Delhi: The Aam Aadmi Party on Wednesday appointed Sreekanth Kocharlakota, a US-based key party volunteer, as the co-convenor of its overseas wing to strengthen its support base.The AAP said in a statement that Kocharlakota, currently living in Los Angeles, has been associated with the party since its inception. He has been instrumental in strengthening the AAP in the US and worked extensively to engage and spread the message of good governance during Punjab and Delhi elections, party spokesperson Saurabh Bhardwaj said. “In the last 5 years, he has travelled various cities in the US to strengthen our base and build strong teams in these cities,” Bhardwaj said in the statement.last_img read more

Delhis wait for relief from sultry weather grows longer

first_imgNew Delhi: There is no respite in sight for residents of the national capital from sultry weather as only very light rain is expected in a few isolated pockets on Friday, according to the Meteorological (MeT) department. However, light rain is likely in the city on the weekend owing to a low pressure area over southwest Uttar Pradesh, the MeT said. Mahesh Palawat of Skymet Weather, a private forecaster, said a low pressure area has developed over southwest Uttar Pradesh and it may lead to rains in the national capital. Though not much precipitation is predicted, the temperatures may drop by a couple of notches. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder Delhi is witnessing an unusually long spell of humid weather and only light rains are predicted in the rest of September, the weather expert said. On Friday, the city registered a low of 27.8 degrees Celsius. Humidity levels were recorded at 84 per cent. The city has recorded 378.6 mm rains against the 30-year average of 596.4 mm from June 1, when the monsoon season starts, to September 12 — a deficiency of 37 per cent. In September, the national capital recorded 48.6 mm precipitation against the long-term average of 80.3 mm — a shortfall of 39 per cent. Palawat said multiple low-pressure areas have been developing over central India one after another, restricting the movement of the monsoon trough towards the northern region. Kuldeep Srivastava, a senior scientist at India Meteorological Department, said Delhi received less than expected rains in September this year.last_img read more

Tiny bubbles in our body to fight cancer better than chemo

first_imgResearchers have found that tiny bubbles in our body might potentially be used to treat cancer and could fight the disease better than chemotherapy. Healthy cells in our body release nano-sized bubbles that transfer genetic material such as DNA and RNA to other cells. It’s your DNA that stores the important information necessary for RNA to produce proteins and make sure they act accordingly. According to the researchers, these bubbly extracellular vesicles (EV) could become mini treatment transporters, carrying a combination of therapeutic drugs and genes that target cancer cells and kill them. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainThe study, published recently, focused on breast cancer cells in mice. “What we’ve done is improve a therapeutic approach to delivering enzyme-producing genes that can convert certain drugs into toxic agents and target tumours,” said the study’s lead author Masamitsu Kanada, Assistant Professor at the Michigan State University. These drugs or prodrugs start out as inactive compounds. But once they metabolize in the body, they are immediately activated and can get to work on fighting everything from cancer to headaches. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardAspirin is an example of a common prodrug. In this case, researchers used EVs, to deliver the enzyme-producing genes that could activate a prodrug combination therapy of ganciclovir and CB1954 in breast cancer cells. Minicircle DNA and regular plasmid – two different gene vectors that act as additional delivery mechanisms for DNA – were loaded into the vesicles to see which was better at helping transport treatment. This is known as a gene-directed enzyme, prodrug therapy.last_img read more

Six stories in the news today April 28

first_imgSix stories in the news for Friday, April 28———WHAT IS DONALD TRUMP UP TO ON NAFTA?First, U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to rip up NAFTA. Then he didn’t. This week he did again. Now, he’s saying he won’t. But maybe, he says, he’ll change his mind again and rip it up if he can’t get a good deal. What’s going on? Gary Hufbauer of the Peterson Institute, a top U.S. expert on the trade agreement, says it’s all part of a concept that negotiating clout stems from the power to walk away.———BOMBARDIER REJECTS BOEING DUMPING CLAIMBombardier is rejecting Boeing’s claim in a complaint filed with the U.S. government that it has dumped its new CSeries commercial jet into the United States at below cost. Seattle-based Boeing is calling on the Trump administration to issue an order against the sale of the plane in the American market. But Bombardier rejects the dumping claim, saying it complies with the laws and regulations of the countries where it operates.———ONTARIO BUDGET: BILLIONS PROMISED FOR HEALTH CAREOntario’s Liberal government is promising to inject billions of new dollars into health care in its first balanced budget in a decade, a fiscal plan designed to appeal to nearly everyone in the province ahead of an election next summer. The $141-billion budget tabled Thursday includes measures targeted at both young and old, people who access the health-care system and anyone who owns or rents a home and pays an electricity bill.———NOVA SCOTIA BUDGET: TAX CUT PROMISEDNova Scotia’s Liberal government has promised an average $160 tax cut for half the province’s population, in a surplus budget that seeds the ground for an election campaign that may begin within days. Premier Stephen McNeil touted the move as proof his restraint of public sector wages over the past year has permitted him to shift money back to taxpayers, even as he books a $26-million surplus in this year’s $10.5-billion budget.———MILITARY TO ISSUE REPORT ON SEXUAL BEHAVIOURThe Canadian Armed Forces will release its third progress report today on how it is addressing harmful and inappropriate sexual behaviour. This follows a scathing report in April 2015 in which former Supreme Court justice Marie Deschamps concluded sexual misconduct is “endemic” in the military and that the leadership has tolerated abuse. Defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance has called sexual misconduct in the ranks a threat to morale and operational readiness.———SEN. DON MEREDITH TO LEARN FATE SOONSen. Don Meredith could find out as early as next week what punishment he’ll face for having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl. The Senate’s ethics committee — which has been pondering a range of sanctions from reprimand to outright expulsion — is hoping to finalize its recommendations and table them in the upper chamber next week. The committee is to meet again Tuesday to go over its draft report.———ALSO IN THE NEWS TODAY:— Statistics Canada will release February data on the gross domestic product by industry and industrial and raw materials prices for March.— The Parliamentary Budget Officer will post a report entitled “Economic and Fiscal Outlook – April 2017.”— Provincial and territorial justice ministers meet with Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould to discuss delays in the criminal courts.— Sam Alec will be sentenced in Vancouver for killing three people, including two cyclists, in a drunk-driving incident in May 2015.— The annual East Coast Music Awards week continues in Saint John, N.B., through Sunday.last_img read more

Quebec lumber workers among the first to feel the pain of dutyinspired

first_imgMONTREAL – Hundreds of Quebec forestry workers are experiencing the first sour tastes from the softwood lumber battle with the United States as they prepare for the start of layoffs.Starting Monday, Resolute Forest Products is cutting shifts at seven sawmills and delaying the start of forest operations that will affect 1,282 workers.Pierrot Fortin, who experienced such heartache during the last impasse in the early 2000s, is again preparing for lost income and uncertainty.“Work stoppages like this are never easy,” said the truck driver who hauls wood from forests in the Lac-Saint-Jean region.“It has an impact on families and everyone is worried.”But the 48-year-old says he’s luckier than some — his house is almost paid and his two children are no longer babies.Fortin feels for young families and older workers who have few employment alternatives in one-industry towns.The big worry is that temporary curtailments will be extended as companies feel growing pressure from retroactive duties and the prospect of additional preliminary charges to be announced next month.During the last softwood lumber dispute, Canada shed 20,000 forestry jobs between 2000 and 2006, and about 400 sawmills closed entirely between 2004 and 2009.Unifor, which represents 24,000 forestry workers at 134 companies, fears duties this time will hurt 25,000 Canadian jobs.La Tuque mayor Normand Beaudoin says any downtime longer than two weeks currently planned for about 100 mill employees would be difficult for families in the small town about 200 kilometres south of the Lac-Saint-Jean region.“In the short-term I don’t have a lot of worries, but if it goes on for one or two years it will do a lot of harm,” Beaudoin said.Although workers were aware of the challenges facing the industry, they were surprised by the speed with which Resolute moved to cut costs — especially since the company’s preliminary duties are below the 20 per cent Canadian average with no retroactivity, said Daniel Leblond, president of the Unifor local at the Dolbeau-Mistassini sawmill.Resolute said the immediate impact on the industry is largely because of volatility in market pricing thanks to the duties, and the fact that some U.S. customers had built up some supply in anticipation of the duties.Still, it has created anxiety because there are no answers to questions if the layoffs will be extended.“These families are devastated, just like if they were struck by a hurricane,” said Leblond.He fears that more job cuts are coming at two paper mills if there’s no relief from punishing duties on supercalendered paper.The Quebec mills are among the first in Canada to feel the effects of softwood duties. However, a cedar mill in New Brunswick recently closed, affecting six workers.Danny Stillwell, owner of Hainesville Sawmill Ltd., northwest of Fredericton, said he’s closing for at least six months until a dispute over the new tariffs is resolved.There’s no word of any mill closures in Western Canada, but workers are very nervous, said Bob Matters, wood council chairman for the United Steelworkers union.“Many of the workers, probably most of them, have been through the last round of softwood lumber negotiations, and the uncertainty around how long this will last is what is causing the grief,” he said.With many families having several members employed in the forest sector, Matters added, any cuts cause widespread pain and have far-reaching ramifications for forest-dependent communities.“The major employer in town is the mill or manufacturing facility so it is a very big deal.”Follow @RossMarowits on Twitter.last_img read more

Thieves looking for big scores with stolen truck tailgates BC police

first_imgABBOTSFORD, B.C. – Truck owners in four Vancouver-area communities are being warned about thieves targeting vehicles for their pricey tailgates.Const. Ian MacDonald of the Abbotsford Police Department says over 80 tailgates have been stolen in the city since early 2016 as well as in Mission, Chilliwack and Langley.Charges have been laid against one man in connection to three thefts, and MacDonald says Abbotsford police are working with other jurisdictions to find more suspects.The bulky pieces of metal may seem difficult to steal, but MacDonald says the act of lowering a tailgate is unlikely to draw much suspicion from onlookers.He says once the gate is lowered, it’s relatively easy for someone to cut cables and lift the piece from a vehicle.MacDonald says thieves could sell the parts for up to $6,000 but replacing a tailgate can cost up to $10,000.“The ease and lucrative nature of it is really quite astonishing,” he says. “If every tailgate represents a $1,000 to $3,000 haul, it makes it a little bit more worthwhile to lug that very conspicuous item out of there.”Police say thieves seem to be targeting various truck models made between 2008 and 2016.Tailgates have gone missing in a variety of places, MacDonald says, including residential neighbourhoods and commercial areas where people have parked overnight.Truck owners are being urged to make sure their tailgates are locked to help prevent theft.last_img read more

Cuba mystery grows New details on what befell US diplomats

first_imgWASHINGTON – The blaring, grinding noise jolted the American diplomat from his bed in a Havana hotel. He moved just a few feet, and there was silence. He climbed back into bed. Inexplicably, the agonizing sound hit him again. It was as if he’d walked through some invisible wall cutting straight through his room.Soon came the hearing loss, and the speech problems, symptoms both similar and altogether different from others among at least 21 U.S. victims in an astonishing international mystery still unfolding in Cuba. The top U.S. diplomat has called them “health attacks.” New details learned by The Associated Press indicate at least some of the incidents were confined to specific rooms or even parts of rooms with laser-like specificity, baffling U.S. officials who say the facts and the physics don’t add up.“None of this has a reasonable explanation,” said Fulton Armstrong, a former CIA official who served in Havana long before America re-opened an embassy there. “It’s just mystery after mystery after mystery.”Suspicion initially focused on a sonic weapon, and on the Cubans. Yet the diagnosis of mild brain injury, considered unlikely to result from sound, has confounded the FBI, the State Department and U.S. intelligence agencies involved in the investigation.Some victims now have problems concentrating or recalling specific words, several officials said, the latest signs of more serious damage than the U.S. government initially realized. The United States first acknowledged the attacks in August — nine months after symptoms were first reported.It may seem the stuff of sci-fi novels, of the cloak-and-dagger rivalries that haven’t fully dissipated despite the historic U.S.-Cuban rapprochement two years ago that seemed to bury the weight of the two nations’ Cold War enmity. But this is Cuba, the land of poisoned cigars, exploding seashells and covert subterfuge by Washington and Havana, where the unimaginable in espionage has often been all too real.The Trump administration still hasn’t identified a culprit or a device to explain the attacks, according to interviews with more than a dozen current and former U.S. officials, Cuban officials and others briefed on the investigation. Most weren’t authorized to discuss the probe and demanded anonymity.“The investigation into all of this is still under way. It is an aggressive investigation,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said Thursday. “We will continue doing this until we find out who or what is responsible for this.”In fact, almost nothing about what went down in Havana is clear. Investigators have tested several theories about an intentional attack — by Cuba’s government, a rogue faction of its security forces, a third country like Russia, or some combination thereof. Yet they’ve left open the possibility an advanced espionage operation went horribly awry, or that some other, less nefarious explanation is to blame.Aside from their homes, officials said Americans were attacked in at least one hotel, a fact not previously disclosed. An incident occurred on an upper floor of the recently renovated Hotel Capri, a 60-year-old concrete tower steps from the Malecon, Havana’s iconic, waterside promenade.The cases vary deeply: different symptoms, different recollections of what happened. That’s what makes the puzzle so difficult to crack.In several episodes recounted by U.S. officials, victims knew it was happening in real time, and there were strong indications of a sonic attack.Some felt vibrations, and heard sounds — loud ringing or a high-pitch chirping similar to crickets or cicadas. Others heard the grinding noise. Some victims awoke with ringing in their ears and fumbled for their alarm clocks, only to discover the ringing stopped when they moved away from their beds.The attacks seemed to come at night. Several victims reported they came in minute-long bursts.Yet others heard nothing, felt nothing. Later, their symptoms came.The scope keeps widening. On Tuesday, the State Department disclosed that doctors had confirmed another two cases, bringing the total American victims to 21. Some have mild traumatic brain injury, known as a concussion, and others permanent hearing loss.Even the potential motive is unclear. Investigators are at a loss to explain why Canadians were harmed, too, including some who reported nosebleeds. Fewer than 10 Canadian diplomatic households in Cuba were affected, a Canadian official said. Unlike the U.S., Canada has maintained warm ties to Cuba for decades.Sound and health experts are equally baffled. Targeted, localized beams of sound are possible, but the laws of acoustics suggest such a device would probably be large and not easily concealed. Officials said it’s unclear whether the device’s effects were localized by design or due to some other technical factor.And no single, sonic gadget seems to explain such an odd, inconsistent array of physical responses.“Brain damage and concussions, it’s not possible,” said Joseph Pompei, a former MIT researcher and psychoacoustics expert. “Somebody would have to submerge their head into a pool lined with very powerful ultrasound transducers.”Other symptoms have included brain swelling, dizziness, nausea, severe headaches, balance problems and tinnitus, or prolonged ringing in the ears. Many victims have shown improvement since leaving Cuba and some suffered only minor or temporary symptoms.After the U.S. complained to Cuba’s government earlier this year and Canada detected its own cases, the FBI and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police travelled to Havana to investigate.FBI investigators swept the rooms, looking for devices. They found nothing, several officials briefed on the investigation said.In May, Washington expelled two Cuban diplomats to protest the communist government’s failure to protect Americans serving there. But the U.S. has taken pains not to accuse Havana of perpetrating the attacks. It’s a sign investigators believe that even if elements of Cuba’s security forces were involved, it wasn’t necessarily directed from the top.Cuba’s government declined to answer specific questions about the incidents, pointing to a previous Foreign Affairs Ministry statement denying any involvement, vowing full co-operation and saying it was treating the situation “with utmost importance.”“Cuba has never, nor would it ever, allow that the Cuban territory be used for any action against accredited diplomatic agents or their families, without exception,” the Cuban statement said.After half a century of estrangement, the U.S. and Cuba in 2015 restored diplomatic ties between countries separated by a mere 90 miles of water. Embassies were re-opened and restrictions on travel and commerce eased. President Donald Trump has reversed some of those changes, but left others in place.Mark Feierstein, who oversaw the Cuba detente on President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, noted that Cuban authorities have been uncharacteristically co-operative with the investigation.If the Trump administration felt confident Raul Castro’s government was to blame, it’s likely the U.S. would have already taken major punitive steps, like shuttering the newly re-established American Embassy. And the U.S. hasn’t stopped sending new diplomats to Cuba even as the victim list grows.“Had they thought the Cuban government was deliberately attacking American diplomats, that would have had a much more negative effect,” Feierstein said. “We haven’t seen that yet.”___Weissenstein reported from Havana. Associated Press writers Bradley Klapper, Eric Tucker and Lauran Neergaard in Washington, Rob Gillies in Toronto and Jake Pearson in New York contributed.last_img read more

NS asks for feedback on legal marijuana age of 19 sales at

first_imgHALIFAX – The Nova Scotia government is seeking feedback on a legal age of 19 for marijuana use, with sales through a Crown corporation like the Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation.The province launched an online survey Friday asking for input on marijuana restrictions ahead of its legalization next summer.It is also asking where recreational cannabis use should be allowed, and what to do on drug-impaired driving.Justice Minister Mark Furey says the province wants to hear from Nova Scotians as the government develops “a well-regulated legal market that encourages responsible use and minimizes organized crime.”He said the government’s top priority is protect citizens’ health and safety.The online survey runs until Oct. 27.The federal government tabled legislation in the spring to legalize recreational use of marijuana by July 1 and provinces have been consulting with the public or rolling out details of their cannabis plans.On Wednesday, Alberta proposed to make 18 the minimum age to use cannabis, with no decision yet on whether to sell cannabis through government-run stores or through private operators.Last month, Ontario announced it plans to set the minimum age at 19 and sell cannabis through government-run outlets. New Brunswick has said it will use a Crown corporation model, and a legislature committee has recommended a minimum age of 19.Ottawa has remained firm on the start date for the new laws liberalizing marijuana, despite pushback from provinces, territories and police organizations that say it might be too ambitious given the complexity of the regulations involved.last_img read more