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NDP leadership contender rejects endorsement from alleged Holocaust denier

first_imgOTTAWA – Federal NDP leadership contender Niki Ashton is rejecting an endorsement from a supporter who’s been accused of holding anti-Semitic views, including denying the atrocities of the Holocaust.Ashton says she “in no way” supports such views and does “not accept support from people who hold such views.”Ashton posed for a photo with Nazih Khatatba at a fundraiser in Mississauga, Ont., earlier this month hosted by the Palestine Aid Society.Khatatba subsequently used the photo in an endorsement of Ashton on Facebook; she also got a front page endorsement in an Arabic language newspaper edited by Khatatba.B’nai Brith Canada, which is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, drew Ashton’s attention to what it says is Khatatba’s long history of anti-Semitism.The group says Khatatba has called Jewish suffering “a fairy tale” and has denied the extermination of millions of Jews by Nazis during the Holocaust.B’nai Brith also says the newspaper Khatatba edits has supported acts of terrorism, including a 2014 massacre at a Jerusalem synagogue in which one Canadian citizen was among those killed.last_img read more

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Cannabis activists say they still have work to do after legalization

first_imgCannabis activists say that while they’ve succeeded in helping to push for marijuana legalization across the country, their work is far from over.The federal government has committed to making recreational cannabis legal by July 1, 2018, but has tasked provincial governments with establishing their own business and regulatory models that will make the new legislation a reality.Activists say they need only look at the early versions of provincial plans to find targets for future campaigns.They say provinces such as Ontario, which plans to levy fines of up to $1 million on businesses that illegally sell recreational weed, are wrong to try and monopolize marijuana sales and should allow storefront dispensaries to operate.Others say they plan to crusade for medical marijuana users, who they feel are being left behind as legalization moves ahead.Still more say their efforts will involve pushing for relaxed consumption rules, such as marijuana licenses for restaurants and other public spaces.While nearly all see the proposed legislative frameworks as flawed, they do believe legalization will allow a previously marginalized group a more prominent place in the conversation around cannabis use.Lisa Campbell of the Ontario Cannabis Consumer Retail Alliance said marijuana activists were once shunned for the cause they championed and were even actively excluded from governmental consultation processes.Once recreational cannabis is legal, however, she said she and others will push to work directly with government to shape more effective policies on everything from dispensaries to the availability of edible products.“I think we’re seeing a lot of potential for engaging policy-makers so that whatever the next government is in Ontario, they have some sound, evidence-based policy to move forward.”Campbell said she and others have already teamed up with official lobbyist organizations to ensure they have a seat at the table the next time policy matters come up for discussion.For Abi Roach, owner of a cannabis lounge in Toronto, the fight will centre on an effort to create safe public spaces for cannabis consumption.Ontario’s current proposals ban the use of recreational marijuana in public spaces or workplaces, shutting the door on the possibility of licensing establishments to offer cannabis on the premises.Roach takes exception to the approach, fearing it will put cannabis users at risk. Lounges and other such businesses can educate customers on safe cannabis use and steer them toward safer consumption alternatives such as using vapourizers, she said.Opportunities to educate customers are plentiful, she said, since lounges typically don’t sell cannabis and focus instead on helping customers enjoy the product in comfort and safety.She said she and like-minded advocates will be pushing the harm-reduction aspects of their cause once cannabis is legalized. For now, though, she said she sees her day job running the Hotbox Cafe as the best form of advocacy she can perform.“The biggest activism that I do is opening the door to my shop every morning and serving my first customer,” she said.Medical marijuana use will be the focus for Toronto-based advocate Tania Cyalume, who feels emerging legislation has overlooked their needs.She said storefront dispensaries staffed by knowledgeable employees are essential for medical patients, adding a government-controlled cannabis retailer, like the ones proposed for Ontario and New Brunswick, won’t be able to address the clientele’s more complex needs.Cyalume said she plans to push for looser regulations on dispensaries, which the Ontario government has “officially put on notice,” but said she also hopes to speak up for cannabis users who can’t often advocate for themselves.“It’s really hard for sick people, for example with anxiety or agorophobia, they’re not going to come and advocate for their own use,” she said. “I feel they’re misrepresented in terms of advocacy.”Activism efforts may be confined to the grass-roots level in the early days of legalization, but Vancouver-based advocate Dana Larsen said he foresees more public efforts in the years ahead as people adjust to the new regulations and stake out new battlegrounds.“By 2019, I expect that there will be several cases in the court trying to change the cannabis laws,” he said.Court proceedings will only be one piece of the puzzle, he said, adding those bent on change can also lobby governments, stage civil disruptions or run for public office themselves.last_img read more

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Canadian taxevasion fight zeros in on transactions involving Israeli bank

first_imgOTTAWA – The Canada Revenue Agency is seeking information from three Canadian banks about customer transactions linked to a major Israeli financial institution as part of a federal crackdown on offshore tax evaders.Newly filed court records reveal the agency wants to see account records associated with Bank Hapoalim to determine whether Canadians are hiding income or assets.The Federal Court of Canada filings come amid renewed public pressure on the government to show it is taking steps to find and penalize Canadians who improperly use offshore accounts to avoid taxes.Like many foreign banks, Bank Hapoalim has correspondent accounts in Canada to conduct Canadian dollar transactions on behalf of its customers, the revenue agency says. The bank operates in Israel and is affiliated with other financial services companies in Switzerland, Luxembourg, the United States and the Cayman Islands.The agency is asking the Bank of Montreal, Royal Bank and Toronto-Dominion Bank for records of deposits, cheques and electronic funds transfers associated with Bank Hapoalim’s correspondent accounts from April 1, 2011, to Sept. 30, 2017.The records will be reviewed and analyzed under the direction of the agency’s offshore compliance section and, where warranted, lead to formal audits.Stephanie Henderson, manager of the section, says in an affidavit the agency is aware of Canadian taxpayers who have previously used Bank Hapoalim “to conceal income and assets,” shielding offshore activities from the taxman.Through one audit, the agency became aware of a Canadian taxpayer who maintained bank and investment accounts for over 10 years at Bank Hapoalim in U.S., Canadian and Israeli currencies, Henderson says. “This taxpayer failed to report the interest income earned on account balances and neglected to disclose assets held offshore totalling approximately $11 million.”In another case, a Canadian had bank and investment accounts with Bank Hapoalim and failed to report $1.5 million in income and approximately $5 million in reportable offshore assets.The agency has also learned of offshore activities in Bank Hapoalim through the federal voluntary disclosure program, which gives people a second chance to file a tax return and ask for relief from penalties.From April 1, 2015, through March 31 of this year, 114 Canadian taxpayers made voluntary disclosures involving the Israeli bank, Henderson says. The disclosures covered $59 million in unreported income — such as interest, dividends and capital gains — resulting in $17 million in federal taxes.Since January 2015, the agency has been able to tap into a new stream of information through mandatory reporting of international electronic funds transfers of $10,000 or more.Some of these transactions entailed Canadian taxpayers closing their accounts at Bank Hapoalim’s subsidiary in Switzerland and transferring the funds to other financial institutions outside Canada, Henderson’s affidavit says. Other dealings involved Canadians moving funds from the bank in Israel to accounts in Canada or other Bank Hapoalim branches internationally.In a number of these instances, the individuals “may not have reported sufficient income or disclosed sufficient offshore assets in Canada” to justify the size of the transactions, she adds.The revenue agency wants to see whether other, as yet unidentified, Canadian taxpayers have similarly used Bank Hapoalim’s correspondent accounts to transfer funds to or from Canada.Last year, the Federal Court approved the revenue agency’s requests for seven years’ worth of transaction information from the Royal Bank and Citibank, N.A., related to accounts in the name of Cayman National Bank Ltd.Henderson’s affidavit says the information led to audits that uncovered attempts to avoid paying tax in Canada.— Follow @JimBronskill on Twitterlast_img read more

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Muslims at home in Quebec Couillard discusses mosque shooting a year later

first_imgSHANGHAI – It was 8 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2017, and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard was at home in Saint-Felicien when he received a phone call about a shooting at a mosque in the provincial capital.A gunman had entered the Islamic cultural centre of Quebec City during evening prayer and killed six men while injuring 19 other people, five seriously.“I immediately assumed there was an element there of a hate crime, or a terrorist act, given the context,” Couillard said in an interview Thursday in Shanghai, China, where he is on a trade mission.Couillard, speaking just days before the one-year anniversary of the shooting, said he quickly understood the immensity of what had happened.“I realized it would be major, not just for Quebec, for Canada, but also that it would have ramifications beyond our borders,” he said. “I absolutely needed to reassure the population.”He headed to Quebec City that night and held a news conference.“It seemed to me excessively important to send a message to all Quebecers, first to Muslim Quebecers, who are certainly still traumatized today,” he said.“And the words I chose told them they were at home here, and I think that message needs to be repeated today.”The premier reiterated in the interview he opposes a Canadian Muslim organization’s call for the federal government to designate Jan. 29 — the anniversary of the shooting — as a national day against Islamophobia.Couillard said the state shouldn’t pick and choose which minority groups on which to focus when it comes to discrimination.“I think it’s preferable to mobilize around a day or a week of action, as is often done, to tackle racism and discrimination of all kinds,” he said. “There isn’t a kind of racism that is better or worse than another.”And on that point, Couillard said he doesn’t believe Quebec is worse than other societies or that Quebecers are more racist than other people.He did say Quebecers might be more “passionate” on the identity question.The one-year anniversary of the shooting will be commemorated over four days, beginning Friday.Events include a seminar, a film screening, an open house at the mosque where the tragedy occurred, and a vigil Monday evening.last_img read more

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PEI premier says homophobic graffiti spraypainted on church is sickening

first_imgSTRATFORD, P.E.I. – The premier of P.E.I. says the damage caused by vandals who recently spray-painted a local church with homophobic slogans is sickening.Wade MacLauchlan posted a brief message on Twitter saying the graffiti on Our Lady of Assumption Church in Stratford, P.E.I., shakes the Island’s “sense of safety.”The RCMP issued a statement saying they believe the Roman Catholic church was vandalized during the overnight hours of Feb. 9.Messages spray painted on the church include “666 Satan Lives” as well as a message using a derogatory term for homosexuals saying God hates gays.The Mounties are appealing for anyone with information about the crime to call the Queens District RCMP or Crime Stoppers.MacLauchlan, the province’s first openly gay premier, says he first heard about the graffiti last Friday when he was visiting Phinley’s Diner and Dairy Bar in Stratford.“These actions are sickening and take away from the sense of safety of our Island communities,” he tweeted.last_img read more

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Mass held in LacMegantic to mark fifth anniversary of tragedy

first_imgLAC-MEGANTIC, Que. – A commemorative church service was held in Lac-Megantic on Friday to mark the five-year-anniversary of the train derailment that killed 47 people and destroyed part of downtown.Church bells rang out later to remember the victims who lost their lives on July 6, 2013, after a runaway train hauling tanker cars loaded with volatile crude oil barrelled into the town of 6,000, derailed and exploded.The service was part of a series of events being held through Sunday to commemorate the tragedy.The ceremonies kicked off on Thursday evening with a concert and a silent march that ended at the graveyard where many of the victims are buried.Laurence Roy, who has lived in Lac-Megantic for 25 years, said it’s hard to commemorate the anniversary because the memories of the event are still so painful.“It’s important to have events to underline (it), but not all the time,” she said at the march.“It brings back a lot of emotions for those who lost loved ones.”She noted many of her fellow citizens were still suffering from the effects of the tragedy, even five years later.The town has been slowly rebuilding since the derailment, but many in the area still suffer from post-traumatic stress, according to a 2017 government study.Lise Vigneault, who attended Thursday’s concert, said some citizens have moved on while others still struggle.“Each of us grieves in our own way,” she said. “Myself, I went to get help because I had an emptiness inside.’Some citizens say some of their stress will be alleviated now that the federal and provincial governments have agreed to fund a 12.8-kilometre bypass track that will take rail traffic away from the downtown area, hopefully by 2022.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued a statement Friday to offer support to citizens marking the grim anniversary of the deadliest rail disaster in modern Canadian history.“Today, we remember the victims, and our thoughts go out to all those whose lives were forever changed,” Trudeau said.“The tragedy left scars that cannot be erased — but in the weeks, months, and years that followed, Lac-Megantic became a symbol of hope, determination, and solidarity. Today, the people of Lac-Megantic continue to show resilience and courage as they rebuild their community.”But back in Lac-Megantic, not everyone was planning to participate in commemorative events.Yannick Gagne, the owner of the bar that was at the heart of the disaster, said he would be spending the anniversary in his restaurant with friends and family.“We always say that the years go by and that it gets easier, but it’s harder,” Gagne said Thursday.The Musi-Cafe became a symbol of resilience after it reopened in December 2014, some 17 months after three of its staff members and a number of clients died in the explosion.Now the business is up for sale, and Gagne acknowledges that, in hindsight, he may have reopened too soon.“Five years later, I realize I wasn’t ready,” he said. “I shouldn’t have jumped back into this madness.”— With files from Ugo Giguerelast_img read more

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Studentled mental health initiatives shifting how schools provide supports

first_imgAs Canadian universities and colleges face increasing pressure to provide better mental-health services on campus, students are looking to give schools fresh ideas on how to tackle the issue.That’s how 24-year-old Ryan Golt became involved with working alongside Montreal’s McGill University to support students. But before he got there, he faced his own mental-health crisis.After his first year of undergraduate studies, Golt says he began to feel lonely, isolated and irritable. The psychology student started to have issues with his interpersonal relationships, and ultimately, he says he couldn’t function.“Eventually, it just became too much and the negative emotions started to overcome me,” said Golt.That was in 2014, when he experienced his first bout of depression. It’s a mental illness that impacts about 14 per cent of students at McGill, and close to 20 per cent of students nation wide, according to recent data from the National College Health Assessment, a survey that presents the health data of students so schools know where to target their services.Golt spent six months after his diagnosis keeping to himself, and not sharing what had happened with anyone.After reading other students’ posts on social media groups about their own challenges with mental illness, something switched in him, he said.“For the first time, I felt like I wasn’t alone, like I was a part of a community,” he said. Sharing his personal story online led him to a community of young people who were talking about mental health, and supporting each other through recovery for mental illness.Golt said the social aspect of his healing process inspired him to create several mental-health initiatives on the McGill campus, including his own blog called WellMTL. The blog features candid personal stories by students who share their full names, with some discussing anxiety attacks, family troubles, and past issues with suicidal ideation.“The amount of passion from the students who want to support mental health is incredible, so right off the bat, the students really care,” he said.Other initiatives the McGill administration introduced recently include an online therapist, which is an easier way to fit access to care into students’ schedules.Golt said he’s also worked on a project with the school that is still under wraps but involves finding ways to reach students who are stuck on wait lists to see counsellors, he said.Golt, who recently received a graduate degree from the school, said students across the country have been more vocal to combat stigma.“If you’re not going to give us (support), then we’re going to go out and do it ourselves,” he said.The lack of availability of full-time jobs after graduation, increased competition and the need to acquire multiple degrees has been tough on students, he said.Although they face added pressures, the post-millennial generation — defined as iGen or Generation Z, born approximately between the mid-90s and late-aughts — feels more empowered to speak about their needs, said Dr. Joanna Henderson, executive director of Youth Wellness Hubs Ontario and director of the Margaret and Wallace McCain Centre for Child, Youth and Family Mental Health.As a result, universities are being held to a higher standard when it comes to mental-health services, and they’re under a microscope from incoming students, she added.“Young people see there’s more opportunity to be influential in the mental-health realm,” she said, adding that student-led organizations are vocal on social media, and students are connecting with each other about personal struggles with mental illness.For some students, changes can’t come fast enough, with thousands of young people reporting that they are facing stress, anxiety and depression to a degree where their academic performance has suffered and getting through the day seems impossible.In 2016, about 44,000 Canadian students across 41 post-secondary schools responded to a survey that found about a fifth were dealing with immense anxiety, depression, and other mental-health illnesses, according to the National College Health Assessment.Those figures saw an increase from the previous survey in 2013. Three to four per cent more students reported they’d experienced mental illness that’s impacted their performance at school.The demand for counselling services and mental-health support at many post-secondary institutions has never been greater. A survey conducted by The Toronto Star and the Ryerson School of Journalism across 15 universities and colleges last year saw that almost all the schools had increased their mental-health budget by 35 per cent.Late-night panic attacks used to plague Tina Chan, a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, preventing her from sleeping.That experience led Chan to create a mental-health support kit that will be given to each first-year student at the school this year. Called the PASS Kit, which stands for panic, anxiety and stress support, it contains flash cards with steps to take when experiencing anxiety, along with a squeezable stress star, ear plugs, sleeping mask, and a pack of gum. Every item is designed to bring a student down from a panic attack, said Chan.“Students were saying that it helps them start a conversation around stress,” she said.The University has purchased 7,100 of her kits, to be given to first-year students this fall.“There is a lot being done in the university. We have workshops and support groups, and they are effective, especially in the peer-support sense,” said Chan. “But I think the university should promote the existing tools they have….there are small things that can be changed.”“It could be just making professors’ office hours at convenient locations…just little changes in the student environment could help stress in general…to promote a culture of wellness,” said Chan.In a statement, the University of Waterloo said they are increasing the number of mental-health professionals on campus along with the introduction of Chan’s kits, and they are implementing recommendations from a review of their services that came earlier this year, including increasing the number of mental health professionals on campus to 70.The school also said they provided 19,500 hours of counselling services to about 4,000 students in 2016-2017 — an 11.4 per cent increase over the previous year.But the school understands there’s still an issue with wait lists, said Walter Mittelstaedt, director of campus wellness. He said the school is encouraged to keep pushing for new ideas, since students are consistently voicing their opinions.“We experienced tremendous engagement,” he said, adding more than 300 students came out to discuss the release of the mental-health recommendations with administration. “It’s encouraged us to keep our eye on the ball with this issue.”Students like Chan have been vocal in recent years when they’ve felt schools haven’t met their expectations.The University of Toronto faced criticism from student groups about a new policy passed at the end of June that could place students with mental-health issues on mandatory academic leave. The policy stipulates that a student could be placed on leave if they pose a risk of harm to themselves or others in relation to mental illness.At the time, the school said the measures aren’t meant to be punitive, and that it would only be in extreme cases if accommodations have been exhausted.“It’s a compassionate approach to supporting students when they’re really unwell, and it removes them from the disciplinary process,” said Janine Robb, executive director of the health and wellness centre at the school. “Prior to this policy we had to use the student code of conduct. Mental health and mental illness shouldn’t be a conduct issue, it’s a health issue.”Students claimed the policy could deter students from being open about mental illness and seeking help.“Trying to talk to administration about putting resources into mental health…we’ve already faced a lot of traction,” said Priyanka Sharma, a graduate student and recent president of the arts and science students union at U of T.“Because (students) are able to band together and talk about these things, we are trying to hold the administration more to account,” she said.Dr. Henderson says her recent initiatives with the Youth Wellness Hubs involved consulting with students directly. It’s something she recommends schools do.“This generation feels more empowered to speak up about their needs, but I do think there’s a shift in the kinds of stressors that young people are experiencing relative to the past,” she said, adding that system needs to adjust to those changes.last_img read more

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Huge crane drapes across container ship after accident in Port of Vancouver

first_imgVANCOUVER — A large crane used to load containers onto ships in the Port of Vancouver has collapsed across a loaded container vessel, shutting down operations at one dock of the busy port.A spokeswoman for Global Container Terminals Vanterm says the ship was coming in to berth early Monday morning when it made contact with a ship-to-shore crane on the dock.The ship, identified on a marine traffic website as the 300-metre-long Ever Summit, doesn’t appear damaged but footage from the scene shows the boom of the crane draped across the vessel along with several crushed containers stacked at the ship’s stern.Stairways and walkways at the top of the crane have been torn from their mounts and a large tubular “arm” is folded like an elbow, but facility spokeswoman Louanne Wong says no one has been hurt.Wong says in a news release that a damage assessment is continuing and two tugs are holding the ship against the dock to ensure it does not shift, possible causing further damage.She says vessel operations have been shut down and an exclusion zone has been set up to manage the scene.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Mental health at work The cost of boys being boys

first_imgWhat constitutes chronic mental stress in the workplace? Anxiety, depression, and PTSD stemming from years of verbal and physical abuse from coworkers? Taking a sick leave and eventually being forced to leave the job you love entirely? These are all things Margery Wardle faced as one of the only women in public works for the city of Napean. But when she went to Ontario’s Workplace Safety & Insurance Board, her claim was denied. The board called the events she endured “unwelcome” and “upsetting”, but said they weren’t considered bullying or harassment. Her case isn’t unique. Last year, an internal WSIB audit found that between January and May, 94 per cent of chronic mental stress claims were denied.Why is mental health still not being taken as seriously as physical health, especially by a provincial workplace compensation board? How, after everything Margery went through, is the toxic behaviour she endured from her male coworkers being dismissed as “boys being boys”? What message does this send to anyone else looking for help, and what can we do to make sure they feel safe coming forward?HOST: Maureen Halushak (Editor-in-Chief, Chatelaine) / GUEST: Sara Mojtehedzadeh (Work and Wealth Reporter, The Toronto Star)Audio Playerhttp://media.blubrry.com/thebigstory/s/radio.pmd.rogersdigitalmedia.com/podcasts/thebigstory/tbs_03062019.mp300:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.You can subscribe to The Big Story podcast on iTunes or Google Play.You can also find it at thebigstorypodcast.calast_img read more

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BC Speaker apologizes for speech that says Hells Angels Mafia successful

first_imgThe Canadian Press VICTORIA — The Speaker of British Columbia’s legislature says a speech he gave this week about leadership went sideways and he is apologizing for offending people.Darryl Plecas says the point he was trying to make in the speech before about 160 local government politicians was that crime bosses and some politicians are considered successful by many, but they don’t pass the leadership test.The Speaker says when he mentioned the Hells Angels, Mafia and U.S. President Donald Trump as examples of leaders considered successful, some people attending the Lower Mainland Local Government Association gathering objected to his comments because they thought he was endorsing those leaders.During his speech, Plecas criticized politicians for not meaningfully consulting with Indigenous people about decisions, comparing it to someone who was sexually assaulted and then telling them they were consulted first.But he said what he meant was that unless consultations involve genuine input, some Indigenous people say governments use the term consult as if consent were given.He says the comparison came directly from an Indigenous woman who made the same point to him.A report by Plecas earlier this year about overspending allegations at the B.C. legislature resulted in the clerk and sergeant-at-arms being placed on indefinite suspension pending an RCMP investigation.Plecas was re-elected as a Liberal in 2017, but was ejected from the party caucus and now sits as an Independent after he accepted the Speaker’s position in the minority New Democrat government.(CHNL)last_img read more

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Alberta realestate sellers get safety app after Calgary agent assaulted

first_imgCALGARY — An association representing Alberta real-estate agents is providing its members with an emergency response app to help keep them safe when they’re working alone.The move comes after a female agent was sexually assaulted by a man at an open house in Calgary last month.The Alberta Real Estate Association is including a subscription to the LifeLine Response app at no additional cost to its membership dues.The not-for-profit association has more than 10,500 members.The app allows Realtors to alert their personal support network or summon emergency responders to their GPS location.Users can also view threat notifications in their area.“Realtors love helping their clients with the largest and most important purchases of their lives, but the job requires us to sometimes work alone in unfamiliar locations and with relative strangers,” association chairwoman Jennifer Gilbert said Tuesday.“The LifeLine Response app is an important tool in improving Realtor safety.”The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Kim Basinger Urges Russian President To Release Captive Whales

first_imgFollowing a recent landmark decision by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to stop the Georgia Aquarium and its SeaWorld affiliates from importing 18 Russian beluga whales, Kim Basinger has sent an urgent appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin – whose official website touts his advocacy for marine mammals – asking him to release the whales from captivity.The Georgia-born actor and long-time PETA supporter has been a leading voice on this issue, also publicly pushing NOAA last year to let the whales stay in Russia. As Basinger explains in her letter to Putin, the next step for the whales should be to rehabilitate and return them to their ocean home, from which they were taken years ago.NOAA’s decision is just one of many recent developments contributing to the decline of cruel marine-mammal captivity. The highly anticipated documentary Blackfish, which explores the debilitating effects of constant confinement on the orcas at SeaWorld, was also released last month to widespread acclaim.“I was thrilled to learn that the 18 beluga whales who were slated to be transported from the Utrish Marine Mammal Research Station to a U.S. aquarium will remain in Russia and out of my home state of Georgia,” she wrote. “The whales would have had a bleak life if they had been shipped to Georgia for public display. At least four belugas and two whale sharks have already died at the Georgia Aquarium in recent years. As an ardent supporter of marine life, I commend you for your efforts to preserve this magnificent species. Now that these whales will not be transferred to the U.S., I urge you to take the next step and ensure that they are returned to their rightful ocean home.“The long-term survival of belugas increases dramatically in their natural habitat. U.S. officials, in making the decision to prohibit the importation of these belugas, determined that the live-capture trade may have contributed to the species’ decline and that allowing belugas to be shipped for public display would only increase demand for these animals to the detriment of the species. The U.S. documentary Blackfish has also generated international criticism of marine parks such as SeaWorld and aquariums that continue to confine whales and dolphins to small concrete tanks, despite our knowledge of how painful and harmful such confinement is to these complex animals.“The plight of these whales has the whole world watching to see what will happen next. I urge you to help return these belugas to their families in the ocean. Will you take a strong unequivocal stand in favor of marine animals by initiating the rehabilitation-and-release process?”last_img read more

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Inspirational Photo Campaign Advocates the SelfEsteem of All Children

first_imgIn commemoration of Women’s History Month and as part of their ongoing commitment to provide children of all backgrounds a platform to learn their diverse and rich heritage, Because Of Them We Can announces its expansion by honoring women of achievement such as Susan B. Anthony, Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, Anne Frank, Frida Kahlo, Michelle Obama, Malala Yousafzai and many others.Because Of Them We Can Celebrates Women’s History Month With Children Re-Imagined As Iconic Women Of AchievementBy releasing a series of images of children depicting these iconic women, past and present, the campaign’s goal is to introduce young people of all hues to examples of excellence, while building their self-esteem along the way and teaching them that greatness also exists within them.“The Because of Them We Can campaign was inspired by my own two sons and the desire to create imagery for them and children like them that would refute stereotypes and build their self-esteem by connecting them to heroes past and present who have and continue to pave the way,” says Because Of Them We Can creator Eunique Jones Gibson. “There is a battle going on in each neighborhood, school and home and it is for the self-esteem of our young people. Our goal is to create a banner of excellence for all children to live by. There are numerous issues that divide us, however, wouldn’t it be great if we worked together to inundate children all over the world with these messages of excellence, accomplishment and responsibility.”Founded by social activist, photographer, wife and mother of two, Eunique Jones Gibson, the Because Of Them We Can campaign originally started out as a Black History Month project in February 2013 and has since evolved into a 365-page self published coffee table book, as well as dream journals, calendars, t-shirts and more. To date, Eunique has received numerous accolades for her work including being named one of the White House’s Champions Of Change. In addition, the Because Of Them We Can campaign has drawn support from the likes of Kerry Washington, Soledad O’Brien, Janelle Monae, Common, Tom Joyner, Russell Simmons, Kevin Hart, and many others.After traveling the country engaging parents and capturing images of over 650 children in less than a year, Eunique is not finished yet. The mom-preneur has made it her mission to depict heroes and heroines that every child, of every hue, can relate to beginning with new images to commemorate Women’s History Month.For more information on Because Of Them We Can, visit www.becauseofthemwecan.com.Source:PR Newswirelast_img read more

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Stars Call To End Animal Experiment Secrecy

first_imgThe National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS) has welcomed support from Ricky Gervais and Paul O’Grady, who have joined the NAVS campaign to end secrecy in animal experiments in the UK.They are among 24 celebrities who have signed up to a statement urging the repeal of Section 24, the animal experiment ‘secrecy clause’ which is currently under review by the Government. Members of the public have until June 13th to have their say.The NAVS President Jan Creamer, “The repeal of Section 24 is long overdue and a growing number of voices, including the Government themselves, agree that action must be taken. The situation as it stands is untenable. Please join the NAVS campaign to end animal experiment secrecy by responding to the Government’s public consultation before June 13th.”The NAVS campaign to repeal Section 24 is supported by 24 celebrities, including Ricky Gervais, Paul O’Grady, Chris Packham, Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, Brian Blessed, Colin Baker, Annette Crosbie, Gemma Atkinson, Meg Mathews, Alexei Sayle, Sadie Frost, Benjamin Zephaniah, Eddie Izzard, Jenny Seagrove, Lynsey de Paul, Peter Egan, Julia Peasgood, Samantha Womack, Wendy Turner-Webster, Martin Shaw, Prunella Scales, Julian Clary and Ann Widdecombe, who has written an article on the need for openness in animal experiments.The celebrities join over 30 organisations, companies and eminent individuals who have signed the NAVS statement of support to date, including Sir Jonathon Porritt, Peter Tatchell, Campaign for Freedom of Information, Voice for Ethical Research at Oxford and The Kennel Club. MPs from all parties have supported motions calling for reform and Minister Lord Taylor of Holbeach has stated that the provisions in Section 24 are “out of step with government policy on openness and transparency”.Over 4 million animals are experimented on in the UK each year, and the use of animals in research is an issue of considerable public concern. Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act – the legislation governing the use of animals in research – prevents details of animal experiments being revealed; to do so would be a criminal offence carrying a two year prison term, even with the researcher’s consent. The clause has constrained public debate and inhibited scientific and ethical scrutiny of the use of animals in research.The NAVS is leading the call to remove Section 24 and is also urging the Government to allow licence applications for research projects using animals to be made public before experiments are given the go-ahead. Opening up the application process for animal experiments would allow organisations to help identify duplicate experiments and highlight where non-animal technology can be used to benefit humans and animals alike.The NAVS has produced postcards to enable members of the public to take part in the Government consultation which can be ordered by calling the NAVS on 020 7630 3340. You can also complete the consultation online, using the NAVS guide. The consultation closing date is Friday, 13th June.last_img read more

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Burnaby a hidden hero in Vancouver film industry study finds

first_imgAlthough Hollywood refers to Vancouver as its go-to Canadian production centre on the West Coast, a new study says Burnaby is the site of a booming trade in the industrial real estate where films and TV series are actually being produced.The B.C. Film Industry and Industrial Real Estate study, prepared by the Colliers International Group and released Tuesday, found that 48 per cent of the 2.1 million square feet of Metro Vancouver studio space – a mix of purpose-built studios and former industrial spaces – is actually in Burnaby, to the east of Vancouver. Just 19 per cent is in the city of Vancouver.The new study from the global real-estate services company offers a rare overview of how industrial real estate is being used for productions, largely funded by Hollywood, in an industry that employs more than 20,000 British Columbians. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisementcenter_img Login/Register With: Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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And the 2017 AMPIA Rosies film and television winners are …

first_img Facebook Twitter Advertisement Advertisement The 2017 Rosie finalists are in and Edmonton prizewinners include three nods for Niobe Thompson and Rosvita Dransfeld’s organ-transplant documentary Memento Mori, three for NFB short documentary 19 Days about refugee families, and the gender binary best performance categories being taken by locals Carlee Tyski in On the Rocks and Jesse Lipscombe for his role in It’s Not My Fault and I Don’t Care Anyway.In 2015, Thompson won five Rosies for his The Great Human Odyssey, which ran on CBC’s The Nature of Things.The National Film Board’s Memento Mori, which was filmed in part in Canada’s busiest transplant centre at the University of Alberta Hospital, saw the film crew privileged with tremendous access to literally life-and-death situations, at times emotionally harrowing.center_img Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

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TIFF director Piers Handling looks forward to time off when post ends

first_imgAdvertisement TIFF’s board of directors says it will begin searching for its new CEO in the coming months. “The film that won the prize today may well be that film,” said Handling in reference to “Les Affames.” “It’s a quarter of a century running an organization. I’ve loved every single of it,” Handling said in an interview on Sunday following the TIFF awards ceremony. He will have been CEO for 24 years by the time he steps down next year. “I will have had eight years as CEO in the building, too. I wanted to see us in the building and very successful. So, I just felt it was time. It was right for me emotionally, and I think probably it’s right for the organization,” he said. Advertisement But the long-serving executive says while he has relished his role in leading TIFF, the time has come to step aside. Login/Register With: Facebook The director and CEO of the Toronto International Film Festival still has another year to go before he steps down from his post. When asked about a potential Canadian contender for the foreign-language film prize at the upcoming Oscars, Handling said he didn’t think there was a clear frontrunner. TORONTO — Piers Handling says he is looking forward to enjoying a luxury he hasn’t had in 35 years — a summer break. “(Director) Francois Girard’s “Hochelaga” perhaps. We had that here this year,” he said of the Montreal historical drama screened during the festival. “But that’s a bit of a mystery this year, I think. It will be a surprise for all of us.”By: Lauren La Rose LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Handling said he was happy to have been able to help establish the TIFF Bell Lightbox, which is a central hub for TIFF programming during the festival and throughout the year. “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was the big winner at the TIFF Awards capturing the People’s Choice prize at the Toronto International Film Festival. The $30,000 Canada Goose Award for best Canadian feature film went to Robin Aubert’s zombie film “Les Affames.” Twitter “It’s been so demanding. It’s taught me so much, matured me as an individual, allowed me to fulfil my dreams. But after that period of time, I just want a little bit of my own life back, my own freedom to do other things.“I’ll be 69 when I step down next year and obviously I’m thinking about other things. I’m a big outdoor person, I want to enjoy summer,” Handling added. “Seriously, I have not had a summer for 35 years. You’re in dark screening rooms, you’re travelling, you’re trapped by the festival.” Artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival Cameron Bailey, left, and director and CEO Piers Handling introduce the winners of the TIFF Awards in Toronto, Sunday, Sept.17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Donovan He suggested one potential candidate could be “Ava,” from Iranian-born, Montreal-based Sadaf Foroughi, which captured the Discovery program prize and earned an honourable mention for best Canadian first feature film. Handling has been working for the festival since 1982.last_img read more

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SPOTLIGHT KIM COATES

first_imgAdvertisement Kim Coates is not afraid of failure. In fact, from the outside, it would seem that failure is afraid of him. At the very least, it seems to respectfully avoid him. But the boy who has done Saskatoon so proud can’t help but taunt failure every now and again just to keep things interesting. He is returning to the stage, after a twenty-seven-year absence, to tackle one of the most demanding roles written in the last twenty years: Johnny “Rooster” Byron in Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem.I first worked with Kim Coates—or Coatsey, as a lot of his friends call him—around 1986. It was quite brief, in some movie you’ve never seen, where I was credited as Husky Man. Husky Man was using a payphone (something you youngsters may have to Google) that Kim’s character wanted to use, and Kim either grabbed me and threw me out of the booth or put a gun to my head and told me to get lost, I honestly forget. That was my entire part. Maybe one or two lines. I didn’t have much to do with him on the day but I noted how electric and dynamic an actor he was and how excited everyone on set seemed to be that he was there. I knew he was a guy whose career I was going to keep an eye on and one I hoped I’d get to do some real scenes with one day.So, who IS Kim Coates? Or rather, who WAS he before he became the Kim Coates we know now? LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With:center_img Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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INK ENTERTAINMENT ANNOUNCES TOYBOX

first_imgJanuary 3, 2018 (Toronto, ON) – INK Entertainment is proud to announce Toybox will open early 2019 in Toronto’s King West neighbourhood.From the same team behind Rebel, Toronto’s largest nightlife and concert venue, luxury outdoor daylife destination Cabana Pool Bar, Queen Street West’s swanky Cube Nightclub and Niagara Fall’s go-to party place Dragonfly, guests can be sure Toybox will join the ranks of INK Entertainment’s other coveted nightlife destinations.With a two room, two sound format, weekly events include the city’s biggest dance night on Fridays, a Top 40 open format music party on Saturdays, and opportunities for live music performances every night of the week. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: For updates on opening date and events, visit www.toyboxtoronto.com and @toyboxtorontoAbout INK EntertainmentINK Entertainment is Canada’s leading lifestyle and entertainment company. Operating since 1982, INK Entertainment has demonstrated an enviable ability to read the pulse of ever-changing cultural times and tastes, responding with a host of successful enterprises, including critically acclaimed global restaurant brands Byblos (Toronto & Miami), Weslodge (Toronto & Dubai), FIGO, Estia, La Société (Toronto & Montreal), Patria, Sofia, and STORYS Building; Canada’s largest Dance Music Festival VELD Music Festival; a number of trendy clubs, including REBEL, Uniun, CUBE, Cabana Pool Bar and Dragonfly Nightclub; and Taglialatella Galleries first Canadian location.Headquartered in Toronto and helmed by visionary entrepreneur Charles Khabouth, INK Entertainment’s innovative approach, fusing dining, lifestyle, entertainment and design has led the company to team up with several significant industry partners including Loews Hotels & Resorts and Lifetime Developments for Bisha Hotel & Residences, the newest private label hotel and residence brand to originate in Toronto since The Four Seasons in the 1960s. For more information, visit www.inkentertainment.com or connect with INK Entertainment on Facebook and Twitter. Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

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QA HIGHWAY 61S VALERIE BUHAGIAR WRITES A NEW CHAPTER OF CHALLENGING FILMS

first_img Login/Register With: Twitter Buhagiar is forever cemented with Canadian cinema and the rock ‘n’ roll road films of Bruce McDonald. She portrayed memorable, independent and robust lead characters in Roadkill (1989) and Highway 61 (1991). Buhagiar became fascinated with the process of filmmaking and creating her own stories, beginning in 1993 with the short film, The Passion of Rita Camilleri (based on the tragic death of a close friend)Now, mere days after releasing her second feature film, It’s Hard to Be Human, Buhagiar leaves for Malta to begin shooting a third feature.Valerie talked to Original-Cin’s Thom Ernst about the root of her passion for filmmaking and It’s Hard to be Human. There is much to admire and muse about in Valerie Buhagiar’s ethereal, out-there latest film, It’s Hard to be Human. The film opens on the beat of emergency lights, pulsatingly illuminating bodies strewn across a damp road. A fatal accident has occurred, although how and why and who are not yet revealed.From there Buhagiar introduces Agnes (Nina Gilmour), a young waif-like teen caught in what seems to be scenes from her past and her present, living in a vortex between life and death. Agnes wakes to find herself in a pristine but (save for a few wandering souls and one dog) an abandoned hospital. The film weaves an intriguing narrative imagining what it’s like, as the title suggests, to be human in a world where God, if he exists, is an elusive parent and the Virgin Mary is a medicated out-patient. Nina Gilmour in a hospital/holding-area between life and death after a car accident in It’s Hard to be Human Advertisementcenter_img Advertisement Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img read more

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