APTN National NewsMONCTON,NB.-The federal government is willing to explore scrapping the Indian Act and the department of Aboriginal Affairs if that is the will of First Nations chiefs, according to Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Peter Penashue.Assembly of First National national Chief Shawn Atleo made the call to scrap the Indian Act and the Aboriginal Affairs department on the first day of the organization’s gathering.The AFN released a document Tuesday broadly outlining a plan to replace the department and the Indian Act with a new agreement between First Nations and the Crown that would create a new way to deliver services to First Nations citizens.Penashue, who was asked by the prime minister to attend the Assembly of First Nations’ annual gathering, said the federal government was currently focused on improving and amending the Indian Act to better the dire situation facing many First Nations communities.The former Innu leader and lone Conservative MP from Newfoundland and Labrador, however, said the government would explore Atleo’s ambitious goals.“(Atleo) is the national chief and he has the assembly of chiefs working under him and if that is the direction he is looking to go then obviously it has to be explored,” said Penashue. “From a governmental point of view, the most important thing is that we work toward supporting and improving what is in the Indian Act, and amendments to the Indian Act, so we can make the process work more effectively for First Nations right across the country.”Penashue said he was involved in plans to hold a historic gathering between First Nations leaders and the prime minister.Atleo has indicated he believes the meeting will be pivotal moment in the relationship between First Nations and Canada and he expects the meeting to be a major step toward his stated mission to radically alter the structural and political relationship between Ottawa and First Nations.Penashue said he expects Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Aboriginal Affairs Minister John Duncan will be open to Atleo’s proposals.“That the national chief is proposing a different route and a new initiative, that is something that has be looked at and I am sure the prime minister and the Aboriginal Affairs minister will look at it in that context,” said Penashue. “The assembly will decide what their national strategy is, their national chief says he is interested in abolishing the Indian Act, that is the assembly’s position (and) the government will take it and see how we can best deal with the Constitutional responsibilities.”Penashue spoke briefly to the chiefs on Wednesday, delivering a prepared message on behalf of Duncan, who was unable to attend.Atleo, playing a single beat on a drum, sang Penashue a prayer song.“I find it remarkable that in minister Penashue we have a former grand chief and deputy grand chief who is now a minister of the Crown and we welcome him and invite and welcome him back to the assembly that also belongs to him as an Innu man,” said Atleo.
APTN National NewsThe school board of the Northlands School Division was dissolved in 2010, after seeing graduation rates fall to 20%. But a new deal with the Kee Tas Kee Now Tribal Council could inject new life into the school division.The council will share educational resources and programs with Northlands, and the focus will be on improving the Northlands graduation rates, as well as enabling a smoother transition to provincial schooling.As APTN National News reporter Keith Laboucan tells us, the revival can’t come quickly enough.
APTN National NewsHunters in Nova Scotia have killed an Albino moose, a rare animal considered spiritual by First Nations people.Outrage was expressed by Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people.Now the hunters have offered to give back the hide of the animal while Chief Bob Gloade is pushing for a ban on shooting white moose and deer.
The Canadian PressEDMONTON – Beatrix Massee is a Cree woman from Alberta but she speaks with a slight Tennessee twang – a legacy of the foster homes she grew up in after being taken from her mother by government authorities in the ’60s Scoop.“I was placed in a home that was full of abuse, moved around from home to home to home,” Massee, 45, recalled Thursday.“Wouldn’t it have been better if I’d been with my family?”Massee was one of dozens of Scoop survivors who gathered at an Indigenous school in Edmonton for a sixth and final meeting with provincial officials. Alberta has been gathering input to craft a meaningful “sorry” for the thousands of children who were taken from their parents and culture and adopted into non-Indigenous homes.“We’re estimating it could be anywhere from 20,000 to 25,000 people in Alberta,” said Adam North Peigan of the Sixties Scoop Indigenous Society. “I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of survivors that have come out.”Massee was two when she was taken from her mother, who she said was drinking and living in poverty. Her sister was taken at birth.“I had to protect her and take care of her. I didn’t have a childhood, didn’t get to learn anything, because it was all about survival,” she said. “Nobody wanted us and it just messed me up.”The Scoop happened to Indigenous families across Canada between 1951 and 1991. Children were taken from their homes and communities and placed as far away as New Zealand.Manitoba was the first province to deliver an apology in 2015. Former Saskatchewan premier Brad Wall promised one, but resigned before it was fulfilled.In October, the federal government announced it had reached a $750-million settlement with about 20,000 people. The agreement, which is yet to be finalized, would see survivors each receive between $25,000 and $50,000.North Peigan said any apology from Alberta will have to include action.“Resources need to be put on the table to allow survivors to come together and be able to begin the healing process. We’re looking for a long-term commitment from the government, both federally and provincially.”Children’s Services Minister Danielle Larivee said there’s no timeline for a statement and plan.She says Alberta has reduced the number of Indigenous children in government care, although they still make up two-thirds of caseloads despite being only 10 per cent of children in the province.Officials are finalizing recommendations from a 2016 report on how to improve care for those kids.“We haven’t been waiting (for those recommendations),” Larivee said. “We’ve been doing tremendous work to make sure we’re developing the relationships and creating the partnerships to make sure we can move forward.”Massee said it’s been a tough road, with sad detours into drugs and alcohol and prostitution. A reunion with her birth family didn’t go so well. There was a suicide attempt.But she’s doing all right. Coming home to Alberta was a big part of it.“It was the ancestors who brought me back here. I started connecting with my culture and my identity and I started healing.”She’s been sober for three years. She’s got a job. She’s reconnected with her daughter, who’s about to deliver a grandson.Her sister is married and still lives in the United States.“I’m OK,” she said, dabbing away tears.“I wouldn’t be where I’m at right now if it wasn’t for my culture and my identity and my people. They’re the only ones in my whole life that showed me that they loved me.”
Kent DriscollAPTN NewsPaul Quassa has been voted out as premier of Nunavut during a recall motion Thursday.Under Nunavut’s consensus government system, regular members can remove a premier with a majority vote.Now that Quassa is out, the Members of the legislative assembly will meet later Thursday afternoon to discuss the next steps.Given Nunavut is not allowed to be without a premier, a leadership forum is likely to follow soon.While previous premiers in Nunavut have faced similar leadership reviews part way through their term, this is the first time a recall vote has been debated in the territory’s assembly.It is also the earliest a premier has faced such a challenge – Quassa only took office in November 2017.Quassa’s government has faced questions on spending throughout this term, the highest profile one being the Northern Lights Trade Show spending.The Nunavut Government spent $570,000 to send 73 staff and officials to the bi-annual trade show in Ottawa.Part of that tab was a $7,000 car service to shuttle the Premier around Ottawa.Regular members, the de facto opposition under Nunavut’s consensus system of no political parties, have questioned the spending.Quassa defended the expense in the assembly, saying “you have to spend money to make money” and calling the meetings in Ottawa important for the government to establish relationships and pursue funding.He defended the car service by pointing out that in order to access Parliament Hill by car, you need a service with a level of security clearance.Another spending issue has been front and center in this recent assembly sitting, this one about money not spent.The current government pulled funding for a proposed road connecting Grays Bay, Nunavut to an existing mining road in the Northwest Territories.While initially claiming that the federal government denied funding first, it has come out in the assembly that the Nunavut government was the first to reverse course on the 227 km all season road.The project had moved ahead under Peter Taptuna’s time as premier, but died under Quassa’s.Taptuna is from the Kitikmeot region in western Nunavut where the road would be created.Quassa is from Baffin Island in the east, and western MLAs have become frustrated with what they perceive as the abandonment of a vital economic driver for the region.Finance Minister Joe Savikataaq defended the decision as the new government sticking to its priorities, saying in the Assembly, “all our money comes from one pot. If we spend here, we have none for there.”The motion to remove was made Tuesday morning by Arviat MLA John Main, on behalf of the Regular Member’s Caucus. There are 13 members of that caucus, and only 8 members of the cabinet including Premier Quassa.While those numbers may be daunting to Quassa, Nunavut politicians have a history of letting them continue.Nunavut’s three previous premiers, Paul Okalik, Eva Aariak and Peter Taptuna, have all faced leadership reviews at the request of the assembly.All three held on as premier.The difference, in this case, is that those reviews were held halfway through their term as a legislated part of the consensus system.This review is unique as it is the earliest and the first ever presented as a recall vote.If successful on Thursday, the vote would trigger an immediate leadership forum where a new premier would be chosen.
NEW YORK, N.Y. – Video streaming pioneer Roku hopes to raise just over $252 million in an initial public offering as it tries to expand into more households.The Los Gatos, California, company on Monday said it would offer about 18 million shares of stock at $14 apiece.The company had 15.1 million active accounts as of June 30 and claims that its users streamed more than 6.7 billion hours over the six-month period ending June 30.Roku is still unprofitable and has amassed $244 million in losses since it was founded in 2002. The company generates most of its revenue from selling its streaming players, but it’s increasingly bringing in money from advertising and commissions from subscriptions and other transactions made on its devices.Roku’s growth strategy also includes boosting its content offerings.Increasingly, Roku is competing with Amazon, Google and Apple as streaming video becomes a more popular option among people looking to cut the cord and move away from traditional cable service. Roku has emerged as the U.S. market leader in streaming players, with a 37 per cent share during the first three months of this year, according to the market research firm Park Associates. Amazon Fire TV ranked second with a 24 per cent market share, followed by Google’s Chromecast at 18 per cent and Apple TV at 15 per cent.Most of Roku is currently owned by Anthony Wood, its founder and CEO, and Menlo Ventures, a venture capital firm. Wood, who previously invented one of the first digital video recorders, owns a 28 per cent stake in Roku and Menlo Ventures has a 35 per cent stake.
HUMBOLDT, Tenn. – Tyson Foods Inc. plans to build a new chicken production complex in Tennessee, a $300 million project that is expected to create more than 1,500 jobs when the facility begins operations in late 2019, the company said Monday.The new plant in Humboldt will produce pre-packaged trays of fresh chicken for retail grocery stores nationwide, the Springdale, Arkansas-based company said in a statement and a news conference. The plant will help it meet strong consumer demand for its chicken, the company said. Construction is expected to begin within three to six months.Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and U.S. Sen. Bob Corker attended the news conference and praised Tyson for choosing Humboldt, a rural city of about 8,200 people located about 85 miles (135 kilometres) northeast of Memphis. Tennessee competed with other states for the project. Doug Ramsey, group president of poultry for Tyson, would not discuss which other states were in the mix.Officials said the local agriculture community will benefit from the project, providing supplies and feed for the plant, which will feature a hatchery, processing facility and feed mill. Tyson’s project will be built at a 500-acre (200-hectare) Gibson County industrial park that’s been seeking a tenant for about 20 years, county mayor Tom Witherspoon said.“It’s rare that you get a manufacturing project that has such an impact on our agriculture community,” Witherspoon said. “That’s what’s made it such a good project for Gibson County.”Ramsey said the existing industrial park, availability of labour and access to feed grains produced in the region, were reasons why Tyson chose Gibson CountyHaslam said that while unemployment in Tennessee is low — at 3 per cent as of September — “it’s no news that some of our rural counties have struggled.” He called the plant a “big deal” for the state.“Agriculture is a big part of who we are,” Haslam said. “So we combine our farmers’ ability to contribute to this facility with the jobs that will be located here.”Tyson currently operates four facilities in the state, employing about 5,000 people. The company says it paid Tennessee farmers more than $61 million in the 2016 fiscal year.The announcement marks the second major economic development project Tyson has begun this year in Tennessee. In August, the company announced an $84 million expansion of operations in Union City. That project is expected to create about 300 jobs.The company’s portfolio of products includes Tyson chicken, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm and Ball Park.
ST. ANDREWS, N.B. – Canada’s First Ministers should stand united in the face of a mounting trade war with the United States, New Brunswick’s premier said ahead of this week’s meeting of provincial premiers.Despite rising tensions over carbon pricing, equalization and trade, Brian Gallant believes the primary focus should be to find ways to work together to grow the Canadian economy.“With some of the uncertainty that we see with our largest trading partner the U.S., it’s going to be important that we as premiers do everything we can to advance the trade agenda, which is so important to the economic prosperity of our country,” Gallant said in an interview Tuesday.The Council of the Federation — the alliance of Canadian premiers that sets the agenda for the provinces in Ottawa — will meet Thursday and Friday in the seaside town of St. Andrews.The provincial leaders are expected to tackle a range of topics, including the U.S. trade dispute, interprovincial alcohol sales and the skirmish between Alberta and British Columbia over the Trans Mountain pipeline project.Gallant said a multifaceted discussion is needed on how to bolster Canada’s trade case with the U.S., including finding ways to reach out to decision makers south of the border and to Americans as a whole.Gallant said the discussion should also explore ways provinces can help diversify export markets, while also improving interprovincial trade.“We as premiers should discuss in my opinion how we can expedite the implementation of the Canadian free trade agreement. This is a way to help in an uncertain time with our largest trading partner and it’s also a way to drive innovation and increase choices for consumers.”Gallant said he believes progress on internal trade can be made, given the external trade pressures posed by U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminium.“I believe the appetite will be there,” he said. “Now the proof is always in the pudding . . . but I sense from my colleagues that there’s a willingness to take concrete action.”During a stop in Nova Scotia on Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said both he and Canadians find it frustrating to see continued barriers to internal trade at a time when the federal government is trying to expand Canada’s international trade through deals with Europe and Asia-Pacific countries.“We as a government will continue to put pressure on premiers to move forward in real and tangible ways on internal trade,” said Trudeau. “There is a tremendous amount of good will by many premiers to do that.”In a letter to provincial counterparts last week, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said the provinces should remove limits on the interprovincial transportation of alcohol for personal use.He said the idea has broad public support and would show progress in the effort to reduce interprovincial barriers on other items.Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil agreed, saying the provinces need to do a better job of reducing trade barriers.“We’ll be talking about free trade, not only with the United States but internally,” he told reporters last week, noting the premiers will discuss how to continue “modernizing trading arrangements” within Canada.McNeil said he also expects a discussion on equalization, the transfer payments from Ottawa to the provinces.He cautioned that the program cannot be examined in isolation, and that any request to review the equalization formula should be “holistic” and include other federal funding programs.Nova Scotia suffered when the country’s health-care funding model became divided among the provinces on a purely per capita basis. McNeil said the formula punished provinces with older populations like Nova Scotia, while benefiting younger provinces like Alberta.Meanwhile, although it’s not on the formal agenda, provincial leaders are expected to discuss the federal deadline for a carbon-pricing system — a policy intended to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.The Ontario government has said it would end the province’s cap-and-trade program, joining a faction of provinces opposed to a carbon-pricing regime.The upcoming meeting will mark the first time newly elected Ontario Premier Doug Ford will get to advance his case against the plan on the national stage.“The premier is keen to discuss how every Canadian province and territory can stand together to create and protect jobs during the current trade dispute with the U.S.,” said a statement from Ford’s office.“The premier is also looking forward to identifying ways provinces and territories can work together to oppose the federal government’s plan to impose a punishing carbon tax on Canadian families, and to having discussions with provincial counterparts to ensure the federal government pays their share when it comes to illegal border crossers.”Daniel Schwanen, vice-president of research at the C.D. Howe Institute, said he expects climate change and pharmacare to be hot topics, but believes it will be international trade that dominates.“One that they have to come out unified on — it’s no question that it’s the international trade issues,” said Schwanen. “I also suspect that they won’t come out unified on much else, but that doesn’t mean that these meetings can’t be an opportunity for a greater understanding.”The premiers are also scheduled to meet with national Indigenous leaders on Wednesday in Bouctouche, N.B.– By Keith Doucette and Brett Bundale in Halifax
TORONTO — A battle between Rudy Giuliani and one of his ex-wives has cast a spotlight on an issue affecting a growing number of Canadians. The former New York City mayor’s efforts to cut spousal support to one of his ex-wives because his income shrunk this year has sparked some interest among older divorcees facing similar battles, says a Toronto family lawyer.“I think this is becoming a pervasive issue as we see things like grey divorces,” says Diana Isaac of the Shulman Law Firm.Celebrities, athletes and well-paid professionals who end longstanding marriages often face obligations to pay significant sums to their former spouses. Spousal support — distinct from child support —is most likely to be paid when there is a large discrepancy between the spouses’ incomes after they separate and if one spouse is the primary caregiver of young children. As incomes change, pressure can mount to alter those agreements.However, changing spousal support isn’t just done on a whim. Courts only entertain alterations if the change in income — either higher or lower — is so significant and unforeseen that would make the original order unfair or unreasonable, Isaac said.Particulars about the relationship are considered: Did one spouse not work because they stayed home to care for the children or household? How long was the marriage? Was that spouse’s earning power affected because they were out of the job market for many years?The main reasons for seeking a change in spousal support include a large increase in an ex-spouse’s income; one of the parties being forced into early retirement; bankruptcy; and when one enters into a new relationship with support obligations to a new partner and/or children.Some agreements have terms while others only end at death.A couple married for 30 years where one person is highly dependent on the breadwinner likely wouldn’t see spousal support terminated because the prospect of them becoming economically self-sufficient in their 50s is remote, she said.With more people marrying at an older age after accumulating their own assets, pre-nuptial agreements or marriage contracts are often entered into regardless of gender, Isaac said.One Canadian woman who spent years battling with her ex-husband over spousal and child support said in hindsight that a marriage contract would have saved heartache and huge legal bills.“It was the worst waste of money ever,” said “Arlene” in an interview, on condition she not be identified because she fears for her safety for talking publicly about her situation.Arlene estimates she spent more than $500,000 over the past six years in legal fees and the spousal and child support she was required to pay her ex-husband even though their three children lived with her full-time.Both spouses went through years of hearings, family psychological testing and evaluation trying to get orders changed.Arlene said she tried to get the court’s order changed by arguing her ex-husband’s stated income was underreported, while he sought to be absolved of final payments he was required to make, before they recently came to a final agreement.“I thought I was a smart businesswoman but I did not see it coming and I was definitely not prepared,” she said.The cost of changing a spousal agreement varies widely depending on the complexity of finances, how much work is required to prove income and the combativeness of the ex-spouses.“Trials can end up being six figures,” Isaac says, adding in some cases seeking a change in support costs more than the original divorce.Cases involving very high-income earners or high-profile people can be contentious, but often the parties don’t want to go to court to air out their private business. The alternative can be mediation or arbitration.In Canada, where spousal support rules are set out in the federal Divorce Act, payers of spousal support can claim a tax-deduction if it is paid monthly but not if paid in a lump sum, while payments are taxable for recipients. More than 2.5 million Canadians were classified as divorced or separated according to the 2016 census.Common-law partners may be entitled to spousal support across Canada except in Quebec. With Canada’s no-fault divorce law, the reasons behind the marriage’s collapse doesn’t affect a spouse’s financial obligations to the other spouse.Ross Marowits, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index was up sharply in the first trading following a two-day holiday, while U.S. markets plunged again after shooting upward on Wednesday.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 260.01 points at 14,040.20 in the first 30 minutes of trading at the Toronto Stock Exchange following the Christmas and Boxing Day holidays.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 295.83 points at 22,582.62. The S&P 500 index was down 31.13 points at 2,2,436.57, while the Nasdaq composite was down 84.56 points at 6,469.80.On Wednesday, the Dow and S&P 500 were up nearly five per cent while the Nasdaq rose 5.8 per cent.The Canadian dollar traded at 73.30 cents US, down compared with an average of 73.59 cents US on Monday The January crude contract was at US$45.42 per barrel, down 80 cents from Wednesday but up from 42.53 on Monday while the January natural gas contract was at US$3.41 per mmBTU, down 4.8 cents from Wednesday but up one cent from Monday.The February gold contract was at US$1,277.80 an ounce, up $4.80 from Wednesday and up $6 from Monday, while the March copper contract traded at US$2.67 a pound, down three cents from Wednesday and one cent from Monday. Index and currency in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)The Canadian Press
ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A Canadian oil and gas company says it’s working to reassure regulators that they can resume safe operations, two months after a massive oil spill at one of their offshore oil production sites.Work at the site of Husky Energy’s SeaRose production vessel has been halted since an estimated 250,000 litres of oil spilled into the ocean on Nov. 16 at the White Rose oilfield, about 350 kilometres off the coast of St. John’s, N.L.In a release on Friday, Husky says the company could begin flushing and leak testing of the central drill centre as early as this weekend, weather depending.Husky says it’s working with the coast guard, the Canada-Newfoundland and Labrador Offshore Petroleum Board, and other bodies to finalize a plan to recover the platform’s flowline connector and plug the flowline.The company submitted a preliminary report to the board in December, saying the initial release of oil occurred over 20 minutes when crews were troubleshooting a drop in flowline pressure, and a retest led to a second release lasting about 15 minutes.The spill, considered the largest in Newfoundland and Labrador’s history, has renewed calls for the government to take a fresh look at how the province regulates the offshore industry.The Canadian Press
Experts suggest in the time of an emergency using a cell phone would be more productive for than a traditional phone, as cell phones provide your location information.E-Comm 911 provided the following information on their website about VoIP calls.Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)If you are using a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service, there are a few things you should know:VoIP calls to 9-1-1 do not go directly to 9-1-1 centres. If you dial 9-1-1 from a VoIP phone, your call will go to a third-party call centre and an operator will re-direct your call to the appropriate 9-1-1 centre.VoIP phones do not provide location information. It is crucial that your location information is up to date with your VoIP service provider as the operator may assume that you are at the last registered address if you are not able to speak during a 9-1-1 call.To read more from Ecomm CLICK HERE To read more about VoIP CLICK HERE Saluk said she could hear the original 911 operator while they searched for the correct fire dispatch. “Trying to find the right department/person for me to talk to I could hear them, the people he (911 operator) was connecting too, and it was “Hi, I am Operator ‘whatever’, There is a fire in Fort St. John, I am looking for the dispatch” then the reply would be “You have reached the wrong place try this number” again, you have reached the wrong place, so this number. (Saluk implies this is the course several times as 911 Operator tries to connect) “They were shuffling around like nobody had any idea who I was actually supposed to be talking to.”“It was absolutely heartbreaking because if you are in an emergency and you call 911 you might not get the help you need in the time you need it,” said SalukAfter some investigation with E-Comm, the company hired by the Peace River Regional District to answer 911 calls, it turned out the call was never routed to E-Comm in Vancouver. Since Saluk called from her office and her office used a VoIP phone system, the call was sent to a third party service provider.E-Comm explained because VoIP is digital, the exact location of the call is unknown and isn’t routed to the proper dispatch. The other problem that arises with emergency calls being placed on a VoIP line is that the call is directed to a third party that transfers the call which is where Saluk’s phone delay took place.VoIP is an acronym for Voice Over Internet Protocol, which is a phone service that uses the internet, rather than a traditional provider like Telus.It is important to know if you are using a VoIP phone service as this can affect an Emergency call. Unless you have been told, it is hard to tell by picking up the receiver of the phone if the connection is through the internet or a landline. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – January 8th, Veronica Saluk called 911 for help and ended up waiting for close to 9 minutes to be transferred to the correct 911 dispatch centre all because her office used a VoIP phone system.As the City Centre Trailer Park was engulfed in smoke, Veronica Saluk made a call to 911 from her office phone after her co-worker directed her that a building across the parking lot was on fire.Saluk looked out the window and immediately called 911 “He (the operator) tells me to stay on the line, and he would put me through to the right dispatch.” Saluk said she was then on hold for nine minutes. “You could actually see flames by the time I got through to a FSJ dispatch person; it was already in flames.”
New Delhi: Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das has said the gross fiscal deficit has adhered to budgetary targets, and that the current account deficit is expected to be around 2.5 per cent of the GDP in 2018-19. Das said this earlier this week while speaking at the “Governor Talks” event organised on the sidelines of the World Bank-International Monetary Fund (IMF) Spring Meetings in Washington DC. The Governor’s statement is the first official confirmation at a senior level of the government achieving the fiscal deficit target of 3.4 per cent in the previous fiscal 2018-19. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe Controller General of Accounts (CGA) normally releases the fiscal deficit figures of the previous fiscal by May 15. Das also said the country’s current account deficit (CAD) in 2018-19 is expected to come in at around 2.5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP). According to the government, India’s balance of payment situation eased mainly on account of falling global oil prices. RBI, while deciding its rate of interest, also takes into account these macro data indicators of the Finance Ministry. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostEarlier this month, the RBI cut the repo, or its short-term lending rate for commercial banks, by 25 basis points to 6 per cent, and lowered the current fiscal’s GDP growth forecast to 7.2 per cent. “The rate cut is in consonance of achieving the medium term objective of maintaining inflation at the 4 per cent level while supporting growth,” the statement, announcing the RBI’s first bi-monthly monetary policy review of the fiscal, said.
New Delhi: Saudi Aramco, the world’s largest oil exporter, is in talks to buy stake in Reliance Industries’ oil refineries and petrochemical complex, sources privy to the development said. Aramco opened talks with Reliance as $44-billion mega refinery-cum-petrochemical complex, where it was taking a 50 per cent stake along with UAE’s ADNOC, got delayed after ruling BJP-government scrapped plans to acquiring land for the project in coastal Maharashtra. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe sources said talks have been going on for few months now but there is nothing concrete that has materialised just as yet. Reports suggested Aramco may take 25 per cent stake for $10-15 billion but sources discounted such a valuation saying market capitalisation of Reliance at Tuesday’s closing price on BSE was over Rs 8.5 lakh crore, at least half of which or Rs 4.25 lakh crore (about $60 billion) would be coming from refinery and petrochemical business. A 25 per cent stake would translate into $15 billion without even considering any premium of giving a firm a foothold into a well-established business in the world’s third largest energy consuming nation, they said.
Gangtok: Nearly 300 yaks have died due to starvation following heavy snowfall in North Sikkim district since late last year, an official has said. The North Sikkim District Magistrate Raj Yadav confirmed the death of around 300 yaks due to starvation during heavy snow fall in Mukuthang and Yumthang regions since December 2018. While carcasses of around 250 yaks were found in Mukuthang region, 50 yak carcasses were found in Yumthang recently, Yadav said Saturday. Also Read – 2019 most peaceful festive season for J&K: Jitendra Singh “It appears that these dead yaks had got nothing to eat during the prolonged period of snowfall since December last year,” Yadav said. The animal husbandry department’s medical team has reached Mukuthang, he said. The team carried feed and fodder for the yaks which are still alive, he said, adding, the yaks will also be examined by the medical team. The yaks belonged to 15 families in Mukuthang and 10 families in Yumthang, he said. The affected families will get compensations on the basis of a report that is being prepared by the district administration and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, he added.
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court Wednesday took suo moto cognizance of the Bandipora rape case of a three-year-old girl and directed Inspector General of Police (Kashmir zone) to file a status report by Friday. A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Tashi Rabstan, taking notice of reports about the rape case, directed the IGP to file a status report about the investigations before 10 am on Friday. A three-year-old girl was allegedly raped last week by her neighbour, leading to widespread outrage and protests against the incident. The accused has been arrested by police and a special investigation team constituted for a speedy investigation of the incident.
Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Wednesday strongly condemned the violence “perpetrated” by the BJP in Kolkata on Tuesday. The Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief alleged that after desperately trying to destabilise the West Bengal government through the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Enforcement Directorate and the Income Tax Department, the BJP was now resorting to direct violence which shows its true colours. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “Vandalising the statue of a great reformer like Sri Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar is an indication of the pseudo-nationalism practiced by the BJP. This incident underlines the need for all the opposition parties to stand united against the destructive tactics of Amit Shah-led BJP,” Naidu tweeted. The TDP leader, in his tweets in Telugu, alleged that Amit Shah during his rally in Kolkata used vandals to create violence. He said in the past people of the country saw how Narendra Modi used Amit Shah to create hatred among people in Gujarat. He said in West Bengal where BJP has no strength, the party is trying to create disturbances targeting a senior woman leader like Mamata Banerjee and maligning her government.
BRUSSELS- Justice and Home Affairs (JHA) Council of the European Union concluded Friday its two-day meeting in Brussels on combating hate crime. The Council invited member states to consider the experience of other EU countries in extending the scope of punishable hate crime offences within their criminal legislation, and the inclusion of other bias motives behind these offences, and ensure prompt and effective investigation and prosecution of hate crimes ensuring that bias motives are taken into consideration and throughout criminal proceedings.The council also invited EU members to take appropriate measures to facilitate the reporting of hate crimes by victims and as far as possible also associations supporting them, including measures to build trust in police and other state institutions; collect and publish comprehensive and comparable data on hate crimes, the number of convictions, the bias motives behind these crimes, and the punishments handed down to offenders. EU countries are also invited to ensure that victims of hate crime are assisted, supported and protected; and steps are taken to educate the public on the values of cultural diversity and inclusion, and aiming for all sectors of society to have a role in combating such intolerance.The council also invited the European Commission to assess current legislation of the union and submit the report to the council, whereas the Fundamental Rights Agency is invited to continue assessing the extent of racism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and other forms of hate crime through EU-wide surveys.
CAIRO – A regional cold snap spread to Egypt on Friday, with some Cairo suburbs seeing snowfall for the first time in years, a weather official said. The Middle East has been hit by a fierce winter storm, with temperatures in Egypt plummeting over the past two days as torrential rain also lashed parts of the country.“It is the first time in very many years” that it has snowed in the suburbs of Cairo, said Ali Abdelazim, an official at the meteorological centre. “The whole garden was white,” Karim Kheirat told AFP by telephone from the new town of Medinati northeast of the capital.“It’s the first time in my life that I have seen it like this.”Other suburbs of the capital also saw light snow showers, residents said.In the Sinai Peninsula, the storm deposited a blanket of snow several centimetres (inches) thick in the mountainous area around Saint Catherine’s monastery for the first time in decades.Mokhtar Hussein, who lives in the area, said he had not left his house since Thursday because of the weather.“We aren’t leaving the house at all because the whole town is covered in snow,” he said.On the Mediterranean coast, gardens, streets and houses in the town of Ras al-Bar were covered by a layer of white after heavy snow, resident Rania al-Mubashir said.The northern coastal city of Alexandria only received light snowfall, but authorities shut the port for the third consecutive day because of the bad weather and strong winds.
Rabat – Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, met Thursday in Rabat, in the presence of Minister-delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mbarka Bouaida with Mayra Arosemena, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama.The two officials discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations to the level of a multidimensional strategic partnership, welcoming the decision of Panama to open its embassy in Morocco.The Moroccan diplomat also welcomed Panama’s decision to withdraw its recognition of so-called SADR and its willingness to work together with the UN efforts to reach a solution to the artificial conflict over the Moroccan Sahara. He stressed that Morocco has made every effort at the UN Security Council in order to reach a final and lasting political solution to this conflict by proposing the Sahara autonomy initiative that was hailed by the international community, and by launching development programs in the southern provinces of the Kingdom.For her part, the Panamanian official welcomed Morocco’s role in the stability and development of Africa, thanks to its strategic geographical position.She highlighted the economic potential of the Kingdom, including its expertise in economic and financial matters, as well as the role of the Moroccan private sector in Africa.