By Jorge BarreraAPTN National NewsIt started with a Tweet here, a blog posting there.Then, on Wednesday, a blogger for a Saskatchewan newspaper reposted the Wikileaks hoax about Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan’s imagined diary and things went a little crazy.The original posting was made by The First Perspective, a First Nations news website, on Friday. It was titled “What the Wikileaks says about the Minister and Indians” and written by “Obidiah, Investigative Reporter.”The posting claimed that Wikileaks, the whistle-blower website, had uncovered Duncan’s diary and proceeded to list the entries in an obvious tongue-in-cheek tone, but without any indication it was a joke.“Aug. 9, 2010: It was bad enough being secretary under (former Indian Affairs minister Chuck) Strahl, now I gotta suck up to all those chiefs…Some of whom make a hell of a lot more than I’m gonna make on this job,” the posting said. “The annual pow wow at Black Sun Dog is coming up. I really don’t look forward to sitting cross-legged for an hour….”A search on The First Perspective website showed that Obidiah is classified under “humour, satire,” but it seems the joke was lost as it started to spread.On Monday, a user named Nanauq Tweeted, “anyone else read this about INAC Minister John Duncan?”At least one blogger, Little Miss Kwe, wrote a point by point analysis of the faux-Wikileaks story.“I think the writer deserves a big credit for sharing the ‘leak,’” wrote Miss Kwe. “Thank you First Perspective.”It may have faded into background cyber noise if not for Chris Tyrone Ross, blogger for the Regina Leader-Post blog RezXtra, which republished the original item Wednesday morning as a straight news story.Suddenly, mass emails began flying, some forwarded to reporters, and Facebook users began sharing it on their pages. Outrage spewed from comment strings.While the buzz began to grow, The First Perspective pulled its original posting. Shortly after 9 a.m. local time Wednesday, the website said it had removed the item “at the request of the Minister of Indian Affairs.”One Facebook user, Cal Amyotte, claimed it was a censorship.“Canada is a fascist police state. Ordering an article removed that reveals the truth,” wrote Amyotte.The story was then a click away from going nuclear.Kevin Blevins, deputy editor of the Leader-Post, said the Duncan diary story was in line to get cycled to the front of the newspaper’s website when he received a call from an APTN National News reporter.“It was on a list to be put on our homepage this afternoon, and then I got another call from a person at APTN,” he said.The story remained online, but was amended with a large editor’s note indicating the piece was meant to be humorous.Ross blamed The First Perspective for not being clearer about its intent. He also issued an apology to Duncan.“I ran it on-line only because I believed The First Perspective was a legitimate newspaper and in that original article it didn’t mention anywhere it was a satirical article,” wrote Ross, in an email to APTN National News. “My apologies to Mr. Duncan.”Despite numerous attempts, The First Perspective publisher James Wastasecoot did not return phone calls.Prominent alternative media website Censored News also posted the item briefly before pulling it, according to its publisher Brenda Norrell.“I got it sent to me through a contact who saw it from an email list they are on,” wrote Norrell, in a Facebook message. “So this is all over the place now… Many times, with the Internet, people never read the rest of the story. Some people will go on thinking forever that he said these things.”Duncan’s office issued a statement Wednesday saying the “article in no way reflects the thoughts or feelings of Minister Duncan.”Spokeswoman Michelle Yao said “the article is completely incorrect and not true…I have written the site administrator to clarify to its readership that the article is pure fiction.”Duncan underwent heart surgery in December and was briefly replaced by Heritage Minister James Moore.Duncan is recovering well and has assumed his responsibilities, said Yao.email@example.com
APTN National NewsThe federal government is revising their plans for the Nanisivik research station on Baffin Island in Nunavut.Nanisivik was originally proposed in 2007, when debate about Canada’s Arctic sovereignty was in full force. Now, the project has been scaled back dramatically, and one MP is saying it was little more than political opportunism to begin with.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier talks to MP Dennis Bevington about the hopes for Nanisivik and what this says about the state of arctic sovereignty.
InFocus on APTN National NewsInFocus sharpens its lens on a new bill for First Nation education and overhauls to Canada’s Citizenship Act.Guests: Sino General, Niigaan Sinclair and Eliyana Angelova
(Truth and Reconciliation Commission Chair Murray Sinclair speaks during the opening day of the TRC’s seventh national event in Edmonton. In foreground is the Brentwood Box.)By Jorge Barrera APTN National News EDMONTON–After viewing a black and white photograph of a group of boys from an Indian residential school, Katie Saulteaux split her canvas diagonally, from corner to corner, and painted one side all in red.Saulteaux, 14, said she used red to signify the worry she felt for the boys in the historical photo.“All those little boys are going through harm, being traumatized and abused,” she said.Saulteaux is from Paul First Nation, which sits about 80 kilometres west of Edmonton where the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) is holding its seventh and final national event.She was among several dozen students sitting around tables in the basement of the Shaw Conference Centre Thursday trying to translate what they learned into art. The theme of the opening day of the four-day event was, “Fostering Reconciliation Through Education.”About 2,200 hundred students from across Alberta attended the day’s events which featured panels, throat singing, fiddling, a hip hop performance and other musical acts.Alberta had the highest number of operating residential schools with 25 and is currently home to about 12,000 residential school survivors.Students paints their reactions to historical Indian residential school photos Eyeing her half-painted canvas, Salteaux said she planned to add blue paint to her artwork.“It represents sadness about how the boys had been treated,” she said.Saulteaux said she knew little about residential schools before today. She said she didn’t know why she was never taught about what happened.“I am kind of disappointed I didn’t know about it before,” she said.Megan Russell, 16, also said she didn’t know a lot about residential schools. The Grade 10 student from Lloydminster, Alta., said she know felt a responsibility to tell others about what she learned.“I didn’t know too much about it and it’s really changed my state of mind,” said Russell, who is Gitxsan from British Columbia.Isadore Alexis-Paul, 13, from Alexis Nakota Sioux First Nation, said the TRC event gave him knowledge he lacked.“It’s cool actually hearing about this history,” he said. “I find it interesting learning this because I didn’t know….I think it probably will change the way I see things.”Residential school survivor Satoe, 65, said it didn’t surprise him that children from First Nation communities knew little about such a dark chapter in history.“Some people don’t want to talk about it because they’re too ashamed,” said Satoe, who is from the Blood Tribe and went to the St. Mary’s residential school for five years beginning in 1955.Satoe described his time at residential school as “really awful” and most of what he remembered involved forced labour.“You can’t forgive ever, though people ask for forgiveness,” he said. “I don’t think there will ever be reconciliation.”TRC Chair Murray Sinclair said that while reconciliation is one of the aims of the commission’s work, it will be up to the youth to finish that task.“We will not achieve reconciliation within the term of this commission. We will not achieve reconciliation in our lifetime,” said Sinclair.With one year left in the commission’s mandate, Sinclair said the work will transfer to other hands.“The obligation of all this work goes back to the people of this country, to you,” said Sinclair. “This is not an Aboriginal problem, it’s a Canadian problem.”Throughout the over century-long existence of residential schools, 150,000 Indigenous children were processed through about 130 schools. Thousands never made it home and many died from disease or violence.The TRC was created as a result of a multi-billion dollar, class-action settlement agreement between residential school survivors, Ottawa and the churches which ran the schools.The TRC has already held national events in Winnipeg, Inuvik, NWT, Halifax, Saskatoon, Montreal and Vancouver.The TRC will also be holding a closing ceremony in Ottawa.firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
APTN National NewsA play by a Winnipeg homeless shelter is being featured at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival.The Siloam Mission hopes that by showcasing its theatrical skills, it can raise cash for programs.APTN’s Matt Thordarson email@example.com
APTN National NewsDuring the election, APTN will be profiling 51 ridings the Assembly of First Nations say Aboriginal voters can make a difference.Riding: LabradorCandidates:Incumbent: Yvonne Jones, LiberalConservative candidate: Peter PenashueNDP candidate: Edward RudkowskiGreen candidate: Mary Lou Harley Quick Facts: Prior to being elected MP for Labrador, Yvonne Jones, Metis, served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly in Newfoundland and Labrador from 1996-2013. She was Minister of Fisheries in the provincial politics under former premier Roger Grimes.Peter Penasue was the first Innu elected to the House of Commons in the 2011 General Election from Labrador and the first Innu cabinet minister in Canadian history.Penashue served as the minister of Intergovernmental Affairs and president of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada.In March 2013, Penashue stepped down over ineligible campaign donations accepted in the 2011 campaign.NDP candidate Edward Rudkowski, Inuk, was born in Labrador City and raised in Wabush and works in the financial industry.Green candidate Mary Lou taught chemistry at the University of New Brunswick Saint John campus. She has published scientific papers in the fields of chemistry and biology and has particular experience addressing contradictory information in controversial industrial issues.
Tom FennarioAPTN NewsAn Algonquin community in Quebec is facing a political crisis that may force a new band election.“People are not happy with the leadership in the community,” said Velma Stanger, a member of the Timiskaming First Nation.Stanger has 193 signatures on a petition calling for a vote.According to the band’s election code, that’s enough for a new election.Stanger said 53 per cent of the community has signed her petition, but there’s a problem.Nobody has the records of who voted in the last election – only that 364 ballots were cast.According to the electoral officer, all the records from the last election were destroyed.“We needed that list in order to visit all the people who voted,” said Stanger.Velma Stanger of the Timiskaming First Nation in Quebec. Photo: Tom Fennario/APTNThe petition states that by signing, signees confirm that they voted.But the band council said that’s not enough.They asked community members to come sign the same petition again at council, this time as a sworn legal statement, or affidavit.“We left it open for a month for people to come in and sign,” said Chief Wayne McKenzie.“Like I said, we weren’t against the petition, we’re letting people have their freedom of speech and freedom to do as they want to do, nobody signed that petition.”McKenzie said that many people who signed the petition were misled by Stanger.And the petition itself is retaliation for the band council doing its job.“The only reason they’re doing it is to try to save HRSD, the corporation on the reserve,” he said.McKenzie is referring to the Algonquin Nation Human Resources and Sustainable Development Corporation.ANHRSD is mandated to help train Algonquin in employment skills.McKenzie said when he asked for justification for certain expenses, they refused.“They came out swinging when we started asking about this, and then they throw this petition,” he said.As the director for ANHRSD, Stanger said the expenses have been explained to council.She added that the petition is born out of community frustration.Conrad Polson is a former chief. He said he doesn’t like where the council is heading.“My concern is the impacts on our children and grandchildren,” he told APTN News. “Those are going to be the ones footing the bill for the next little while.”Polson pointed to the looming sale of Steve’s Gas Bar as an example.He said there’s something fishy about council wanting to buy a gas station from one of it’s councillors for $350,000.Polson said he thinks the money spent buying and fixing the gas station can be better spent.“If you do the math, we could build a couple of gas stations, maybe even a little mall,” he said.McKenzie agreed the station is a fixer upper, but counters that it is profitable and in an excellent location.“We’re not going to get into a deal unless all the environmental studies are done, feasibility studies business plan, if it’s not feasible, we’re not going to get into it,” McKenzie said.Nearly a year after the petition was submitted, the petitioners have called for an election on April 21.“I’m just hoping that we get a lot of people out to vote, because that will say…that message will be a good one to the chief and council here that maybe it’s time to go,” said Stanger.McKenzie said the current council will not recognize any election.He said according to the code, only the council can call an election.And they have no intention to do so before the end of its current mandate in firstname.lastname@example.org
This story is part of the APTN News series Power Failure: The impacts of hydro dams on Northern Manitoba.Justin BrakeAPTN NewsDouglas Kitchekeesik points to the spot on the beach where he found the bones.It was late July, and he was out on the land at his family’s camp on Split Lake.“We found other remains going down to the water and after we flagged them, marked them on GPS, then continued a little further up the shore,” he recalls. “That’s when we found the skull. We knew what it was right away.”It was the latest unsettling find on the shores of Split Lake by a member of Tataskweyak Cree Nation.For years their ancestors’ remains have been washing out along the banks of the once clean and bountiful lake in Treaty 5 territory, some dating back millennia.Split Lake is part of the Nelson River watershed and sits about 150 kilometres upstream from where the river empties into Hudson Bay.A couple weeks prior to Kitchekeesik’s find, more remains were discovered about a 15-minute boat ride away.They were about 1,900 years old, he says.Kitchekeesik has a calm demeanor and exudes a wisdom common among those who spend as much time on the land as he does.(Douglas Kitchekeesik on the shores of Split Lake. Photo: APTN)He’s one of only a handful of remaining fishermen who harvest from Split Lake.A few decades ago, prior to the wave of hydro development that dammed the Nelson River in multiple places and altered the local ecosystems, the Split Lake fishery was alive and well.But Kitchekeesik is hanging on to his people’s traditional ways, trying to preserve them or future generations.He sometimes brings community members, including youth, to his camp, where they speak Cree and learn how to live off the land.“Our waterways, it’s the most important thing to teach our young people,” he says. “What’s in the water and how to navigate that water.”But working to preserve that way of life isn’t easy.A few winters back, Kitchekeesik’s cousin went through the ice and plunged into the frigid water beneath.“He was still alive when he got here, we pulled him out of the water,” he recalls, explaining he got his cousin back to the camp, where he died of hypothermia.Kitchekeesik attributes his cousin’s death to the “high water going up and down” due to the hydro dams upstream on the Nelson River.“The community was self-sufficient”The Clean Environment Commission’s recent report on the cumulative effects of hydro development in the region describes a woman who showed up to the community hearing in Tataskweyak.She said prior to hydro development the people of her community “had everything they needed.“Fish were abundant, the water was healthy, and the land was teeming with wildlife,” the report reads. “The community was self-sufficient.”The woman “felt that Manitoba Hydro played with people like a ‘predatory animal,’” and that “all it had brought was destruction and deceit.”Tataskweyak was hit doubly hard by hydro development in the 1970s.The Churchill River Diversion impacted the waters of the Burntwood River, which flow from the west into Split Lake. And the Lake Winnipeg Regulation altered the waters of the Nelson, which empties into Split Lake from the south.Several dams control the flow of waters that eventually make their way into Split Lake.Now, 60 kilometres downstream, another is being built.(The massive Keeyask dam in northern Manitoba. Photo: Ashley Brandson)Kitchekeesik fears once the Keeyask dam is complete it will back water up into Split Lake and further erode the shorelines and impact the fisheries.Incidentally, Tataskweyak is a partner on the Keeyask project.After decades of destruction and dispossession at the hands of Manitoba Hydro, the crown utility has made First Nations whose lands stand to be impacted partners on the first two dams of the 21st century.Tataskweyak, Fox Lake, War Lake and York Factory are all partners on Keeyask, with a 25 per cent stake in the project.But Robert Spence, a band councillor, and until recently, one of the last remaining commercial fishermen harvesting from Split Lake, says his people’s traditional economy isn’t going to get any better.Spence says Keeyask is “going to change the dynamics of the whole system.”He says Hydro once promised the people of O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation at South Indian Lake, a few hundred kilometres northwest of Split Lake, that their waters “would recover in 50 years.”Spence says it’s been almost 50 years since Hydro built the Missi Falls dam, which controls the flow of water out of South Indian Lake into the Churchill River — “and South Indian still hasn’t recovered,” he says. “It’s still getting worse to this day.“So do you think we’re going to believe Manitoba Hydro when they tell us that Gull Lake and Split Lake will recover in 50 years?”(Erosion along the shores of Split Lake contributes to the amount of trees and other debris in the water. Manitoba Hydro pays community members to clean up the debris and pile it along the shores, creating a safer environment for those who still fish and use the lake. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)Spence says he has watched the “demise of the fish population on Split Lake,” and that his community’s fishery is “slowly collapsing.”“There’s only six fishermen on the lake right now,” he explains. “There was 12 of us in 2005, and it’s 2018 now and there’s only six fishermen on the water now.”Spence doubts he’ll return to fishing after his time on council comes to an end. He laments that Split Lake “is going down the same path as South Indian Lake did.”And he doesn’t have hope that being a partner on Keeyask will do much good for the community’s long term well-being.In addition to the continued impacts on the Split Lake fishery, Spence says “the partnership that [Hydro] talks about isn’t so much of a partnership when the majority partner, the owner, doesn’t even include you on any of the major decision-making that takes place.”He points to a series of protests by members of his community in 2014, when they blockaded provincial route 280, a long dirt road that connects Tataskweyak and Fox Lake Cree Nations to the paved provincial highway system.Heavy traffic to and from the Keeyask worksite had made the road impassable for community members, including patients who regularly needed to get to the hospital in Thompson for dialysis treatment and other medical needs, Spence explains.He says the Keeyask traffic was a “safety issue” for his community when large trucks would get stuck in the mud. Other times trucks would unload cargo in the middle of the road when they couldn’t pass due to the poor road conditions.“It was like playing Russian roulette with your life going on that road,” he says. “There was no restrictions on the traffic there.”In the end, the province agreed to repair the gravel road, but as partners on Keeyask, Tataskweyak would have to foot part of the bill.Spence says the council wasn’t made aware of this at the time.Meanwhile, as partners on the project, Tataskweyak members were promised good jobs.But reports of racism on the construction site and in the worker’s camp have repeatedly made their way back to the community, says band councillor Robert Garson.He says the council has “put pressure” on Hydro to address racism on site, and that while they “have done a few things about it, it’s not enough.”APTN News requested an interview with Manitoba Hydro for this series, but they declined.Instead, spokesperson Bruce Owen forwarded a statement that outlined a number of measures the utility has taken to “ensure all workers feel safe and welcomed at our project sites,” including “cross-cultural training” and a mandatory two-day cultural awareness workshop for supervisors and managers.The statement claims “almost 50 per cent of our staff in the north” is Indigenous, and that “respect and support of Indigenous peoples in all aspects of our business is a critical priority for us.”The 695-megawatt Keeyask project was originally estimated to cost $6.5 billion, but the price tag has since risen to $8.7 and, according to some analysts, could reach $10 billion by the time construction is complete.Peter Kulchyski, a professor of Native Studies at the University of Manitoba and co-founder of the Wa Ni Ska Tan alliance who is leading the visits to the hydro-impacted communities, says Tataskweyak “invested their own money in the hope of windfall profits,” but “they may be investing in a losing proposition.”The destruction of South Indian LakeO-Pipon-Na-Piwin Cree Nation at South Indian Lake was once a thriving community with one of the healthiest fisheries in the region.The Indigenous presence along the 100-mile long lake dates back 6,000 years.But by the late 1960s the community’s 500 residents who were living on a small island just off the lake’s north shore found themselves in the way of Manitoba Hydro’s master plan for development.The Churchill River Diversion (CRD) would raise water levels by 10 metres and transform the lake into a massive reservoir.(Erosion along the shores of South Indian Lake. Photo: Justin Brake/APTN)To make way for CRD, the O-Pipon-Na-Piwin people were paid to burn their own houses down in a forced relocation off the island where they lived, onto the lake’s shore.“In some instances, the RCMP had to come in and take the people out, ‘cause they didn’t wanna move,” recalls Steve Ducharme, a fisherman and former community leader who is helping lead the Wa Ni Ska Tan members on a tour of the lake.O-Pipon-Na-Piwin Elder and educator Hilda Dysart has lived in South Indian Lake her entire life.She says South Indian Lake “was once a self-sufficient community prior to the flood,” adding there was a total of “three people on social assistance” before the Churchill River Diversion.She estimates 95 per cent of the people now rely on social assistance.The flooding “made a drastic change,” she says, adding her people “have a lot of social problems, which we didn’t have before.“You can’t even find words to explain how much destruction there’s been done to the beautiful environment that we used to live in.”Hydro “a major contributor to the assimilationist agenda”Kulchyski says while assimilation of Cree in Treaty 5 territory may not have been an explicit goal of hydro development, the government and Manitoba Hydro were aware it was certainly a consequence.“The intention was to make money, basically, but one of the elements of hydro development, and any development really, is it impedes the ability of people to make a land-based living,” he says.“And that therefore is a major contributor to the assimilationist agenda.”With residential schools, the Cree were subjected to “government policies that are specifically designed to—through education and everything they’re doing—assimilate Aboriginal people.“And on the other hand,” with hydro development, he explains, “you have economic development…presuming that being menial wage labourers is the best possible future for them, and [which] is destroying the land base that allows a degree of independence and is the material basis of their culture.”Kulchyski says today Manitoba Hydro could be “doing a lot more to support traditional culture in the communities” as a mitigation of its ongoing damming of rivers.Most of the agreements Hydro has signed with First Nations in the region include monetary compensation to fishers and trappers whose activities are impacted.But that type of compensation is missing the point, Kulchyski says.“Hydro thinks its impacts are wrecking nets, and it’s compensating people for [lost or damaged] fish nets,” he says.But Hydro is “not willing to think about the impact of their dams on people’s language, people’s ability to pass down their cultures.”Intentional or not in 2018, the perceived necessity of assimilating Cree to facilitate hydro development on their lands has long existed.A 1967 report from a group of University of Manitoba researchers who were commissioned to study the South Indian Lake and report back to Manitoba Hydro and the government advised against flooding the lake.They said relocation “would be unjust to the present inhabitants and unworthy of the Province, although it might be in keeping with much past treatment of the Indians.”Manitoba Hydro Chair Donald Stephens rejected the report and ultimately worked with the province to determine an amount of monetary compensation they felt was adequate.A few months later, in May 1967, another report was released, this one by a the law firm Ginkel and Associates. It was commissioned by the Manitoba Development Authority to produce an “exhaustive examination of the settlement and the problems at South Indian Lake,” according to a report on the Clean Environment Commission’s website outlining the history of hydro development in Manitoba.The report concluded that flooding South Indian Lake would “move forward in time the breakup of this community and way of life,” and help them to make a “substantial contribution” to Manitoba’s growing economy.APTN requested an interview with Manitoba’s Minister of Indigenous and Northern Relations, Eileen Clarke, but she declined.Instead she emailed a statement saying that “Manitoba is working to build better relationships with northern First Nations affected by hydroelectric development, including the Keeyask Hydro project partnership.”Ducharme, standing on the shore of South Indian Lake, says “the Manitoba government and Manitoba Hydro have succeeded [in] what the church and the federal government have been unable to do for the last 500 years. And that is the total economic, cultural and social genocide of our people.“That’s what happened. That’s literally what happened,” he continues, “because our culture’s gone. You can’t live off the land anymore because it’s been totally destroyed.”email@example.com@firstname.lastname@example.org@ashleybrandson
Ashley BrandsonAPTN NewsThe Metis National Council (MNC) is encouraging the federal government to continue its work on the Indigenous rights framework agreement that was announced by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Valentine’s Day.“The simple answer is yes, the Metis Nation can go it alone,” President Clement Chartier told those gathered in Winnipeg. “There’s no reason why Canada cannot pass the same legislation and make it Metis nation specific.”According to the government, the framework will “provide clarity and certainty on Canada’s responsibilities toward engaging with Indigenous Peoples.”But while Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett has been travelling the country meeting with Indigenous leaders, many First Nation chiefs and grassroots people want the government to put the framework legislation on hold.A B.C. chief told APTN News that Canada may have already decided to delay tabling legislation before the end of year.“I haven’t been told that it’s not going to proceed to try to meet the deadline for passage before the next election,” Chartier said.Tom Isaac, who was federally appointed by Bennett as the minister’s special representative on reconciliation with Metis said the framework is a unique opportunity for the Metis Nation to have their rights acknowledged by the federal government.“What’s important is, is that the framework that’s being proposed is there’s nothing that hurts, negatively impacts or limits the rights,” said Isaac. “It’s all about acknowledgement and moving forward and that’s what’s critical.”Chartier said he remains optimistic that the framework will proceed for the Metis – but is worried about the timeframe.“If it’s not tabled relatively soon it’s not going to meet the deadline prior to the next election,” he said. “At that time it becomes kind of irrelevant, if it’s going to be dealt with after the election because we would need to wait until the outcome of that election and so gets into power.“If liberals get re-elected the we would continue to press them to move forward on that legislation, if the conservatives form government, I don’t think we’d have much of an opportunity to even have that dialogue.”email@example.com@ashleybrandson
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s pick to oversee chemical safety at the Environmental Protection Agency withdrew his nomination Wednesday after bipartisan opposition made his Senate confirmation unlikely.Officials at the White House and the Senate told The Associated Press that Michael Dourson had sent a letter asking his name to be removed from consideration to serve as head of the EPA’s Office of Chemical Safety and Pollution Prevention. The two officials were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity.North Carolina’s two Republican senators, Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, said last month they would vote against Dourson’s nomination after The Associated Press and other media outlets detailed his past work as a toxicologist hired to defend major chemical companies.The Senate’s 48 Democrats were united in opposition, meaning only one more GOP defection would be needed to defeat Dourson’s nomination.In his letter asking the president to withdraw his name from consideration, which was obtained by the AP, Dourson said his stepping aside “avoids unnecessarily politicizing the important environmental protection goals of Administrator Pruitt.”“I sincerely and deeply appreciate all the love and support by my family, friends and colleagues during this ‘surprising’ confirmation process,” he went on to say.Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the top Democrat on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said his staunch objections to Dourson’s nomination were never a matter of partisanship.“I sincerely believe he is the wrong person to hold this important position, and it’s become clear that, even with a Republican majority in the Senate, he could not be confirmed,” Carper said. “Dourson, an individual who has spent most of his career promoting less protective chemical safety standards, had no business overseeing our nation’s chemical safety laws.”The EPA’s press office did not respond to requests for comment Wednesday evening. Dourson has already been serving at the agency as a senior adviser to EPA administrator Scott Pruitt. It was not immediately clear whether he will continue in that role, which does not require Senate confirmation.The AP reported in September that Dourson has for years accepted payments for criticizing studies that raised concerns about the safety of his clients’ products, according to a review of financial records and his published work.Past corporate clients of Dourson and of a research group he ran include Dow Chemical Co., Koch Industries Inc. and Chevron Corp. His research has also been underwritten by industry trade and lobbying groups representing the makers of plastics, pesticides, processed foods and cigarettes.Burr and Tillis, both of whom are considered reliably pro-business conservatives, cited Dourson’s past work and worries among their home-state constituents about tainted drinking water in opposing his nomination.Marine veterans and their families have blamed decades-old contamination of wells at a North Carolina base with solvents and dry-cleaning chemicals for infant deaths and serious health problems, including cancer.More recently, concerns have been raised about undisclosed discharges of chemicals used to manufacture Teflon and GoreTex into the Cape Fear River, a source of municipal drinking water for Wilmington and other southeastern North Carolina communities.Dourson worked at the EPA for more than a decade, leaving in 1994 as the manager at a lab that assessed the health risks of exposure to chemicals. The following year, he founded Toxicology Excellence for Risk Assessment, a private, non-profit organization that tests chemicals and produces reports on which chemicals are hazardous in what quantities.Dourson’s views toward industry are consistent with others Trump has selected as top federal regulators. Among them is Pruitt, who in March overruled the findings of his agency’s own scientists to reverse an effort to ban chlorpyrifos, one of the nation’s most widely used pesticides.Court records show Dourson and his work have also often been called on when his corporate clients are seeking to fend off lawsuits.Dourson’s withdrawal was first reported Wednesday by Bloomberg News.___Follow Associated Press environmental reporter Michael Biesecker at http://twitter.com/mbieseck
EDMONTON – Alberta Premier Rachel Notley says she will attend a meeting about the Trans Mountain pipeline in good faith and with an open mind, but the bottom line is the expansion project must get built without delay.Notley also says she will bring in legislation next week that would allow her to curtail oil shipments to British Columbia — regardless of the outcome of her Sunday meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and B.C. Premier John Horgan.Such action is expected to cause gas prices and other costs to spike in B.C.Trudeau has called the meeting for Ottawa amid increasing public pressure to resolve the impasse over Kinder Morgan’s pipeline from Edmonton to the port at Burnaby, B.C.The $7.4-billion expansion would triple the amount of oil headed to the coast, which Notley says is critical to ease transportation bottlenecks that are causing Canadian heavy oil to sell at a deep discount.The project already has federal approval, but Kinder Morgan says delay tactics and court challenges by B.C. have put the financial viability of it in jeopardy.(Companies in this story: TSX:KML)
BlackBerry Ltd.’s shares soared Friday after its latest financial results topped expectations and it outlined plans for growth in autonomous driving, a push into health care and intentions to add significant engineering talent.The company beat expectations through growth in its enterprise software and services business, as well as in its fast-growing automotive division, John Chen, BlackBerry’s executive chairman and chief executive, said in an interview.“Transportation, especially when it comes to autonomous driven vehicles and connected car, that unit had done the best in the last quarter,” he said.The company, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, said it earned US$43 million or eight cents per basic share in its latest quarter, more than double earnings of $19 million or four cents per basic share a year ago.On an adjusted basis, BlackBerry said it earned four cents per share for the quarter, beating the penny per share profits analysts on average had expected according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The company’s shares were up $2.20 or 16.6 per cent to $15.49 in late-morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.While overall revenue dropped to $210 million from $238 million last year, the automotive division saw 29 per cent revenue growth with more to come, said Chen.“It will continue to grow double-digit for the next couple quarters, so we think that is a big growth opportunity for BlackBerry.”The company recently announced a partnership with Ottawa-based technology accelerator L-SPARK to help small- and medium-sized businesses bring new products to market using its BlackBerry QNX automotive software.Chen said the company also plans to ramp up efforts in autonomous driving and other divisions.“You ask our own people, who are much more bullish than I am, they’re talking about adding a thousand engineers,” he said.“It’s going to be multi-years, I mean you can’t find a thousand engineers because there’s such high demand and short supply. But we do have the advantage that a lot of our development organization is in Canada, so we’re very closely tied to the university programs. So we’re going to hire a lot of engineers I’m sure.”But while technology development is ramping up on the automotive side, Chen said he’s more cautious than his colleagues as to when we’ll see fully autonomous vehicles take hold.He said the technology should be available and affordable in the next few years, but thinks infrastructure and policies on safety and other issues will push back a widespread rollout.“I’m encouraged for the future, I just think that most people think it’s going to happen faster than I think it will.”Companies in this story: (TSX:BB)
BANGKOK — Microsoft, Google and other major technology companies have promised to help provide training in digital skills for around 20 million people in Southeast Asia by 2020 to make sure the region’s burgeoning working-age population is a fit for the future job market.The World Economic Forum announced Monday its “ASEAN Digital Skills Vision 2020” initiative to improve the technological capacity of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations with training, funds for scholarships, internships and shaping the curricula of technology and computing courses, among other measures.Southeast Asia is seeking to increase the digital skills of its workers as the shift to greater use of robots and other automation threatens to rob those without technological savvy of opportunities for employment, even in manufacturing and service industries.The Associated Press
TOKYO — Nissan Chief Performance Officer Jose Munoz, who took a leave of absence a week ago, is leaving, the first high-profile departure at the Japanese automaker publicly acknowledged as related to the arrest of former Chairman Carlos Ghosn.Munoz said in a statement on LinkedIn Saturday he made the decision because the company was “involved in matters that have and will continue to divert its focus,” referring to Ghosn’s case.Munoz is among several executives media speculated might succeed Ghosn, who led Nissan for two decades.Nissan confirmed the resignation, effective immediately.Ghosn, arrested Nov. 19, has been charged with breach of trust and falsifying financial reports and remains detained in Tokyo. He rebutted each allegation and asserted his innocence in a Tokyo court earlier this week.The Associated Press
The City says work on both Park Site Plans will be conducted at the same time for efficiency.Following the creation of both Park Site Plans, the upgrades will be included in future Capital Budgets for consideration.The Park Site Plans Open House will be taking place at the North Peace Cultural Centre on Tuesday, May 28 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for Kin Park and 6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. for Surerus Park.For more information, and to provide input, you can visit letstalk.fortstjohn.ca. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of Fort St. John will be holding an Open House in regards to the future of Kin and Surerus Parks.According to the City, as part of the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, it was identified that both Kin and Surerus are in need of upgrading.As part of the upgrading process, the City is seeking public input on the current state of the parks and what the future vision should include.
New Delhi: To grab the parental property, a woman with her paramour hatched the dramatic plot to kill her parents by smothering them to death in Outer Delhi’s Paschim Vihar area. Police have found that the daughter was the main conspirator who mixed sleeping pills in their parent’s tea and later killed them with her lover.An investigator told this newspaper that the daughter during interrogation showed no remorse for killing her parents. “The duo hatched the plan to grab a property owned by the elderly couple at Deepak Vihar’s Nilothi extension. Roughly the cost of property estimated at Rs 50 lakh,” police said. Police identified the accused as Davinder Kaur alias Sonia (mastermind) and Prince Dixit alias Vikram. The investigation agency said that the accused wanted to sell the property so they have contacted few property dealers. “They wanted to flee Delhi at the earliest,” police said. The case came to the limelight on March 8 around 4.30 pm after information was received to police that a female body was found in the drain near village Sayed in Nangloi. “Apparently, it seemed that the deceased was murdered by someone and the dead body was thrown into the drain,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) Seju P Kuruvilla. During the investigation, the body was identified as that of Jageer Kaur (47). On further enquiry, it was found that her husband Gurmeet Singh was also missing. During the search on March 9, a male body was found by the police team which was later identified as Gurmeet Singh. “During questioning, the statements of Davinder Kaur were found to be suspicious and contradictory with the facts and circumstances. After sustained interrogation, she finally revealed that she herself was involved in the murder of her parents,” said the DCP. Davinder told police that she had left her husband and was in the relationship with Prince Dixit for the last one year. “Davinder and Dixit wanted to grab the property at Deepak Vihar in Nilothi extension so the duo hatched a conspiracy to kill her parents and grab the property,” the officer said. Jageer Kaur left for Jalandhar on February 10. “On February 21, the accused intoxicated her father by mixing sleeping pills in his tea. At night, Dixit came to the house with two more people and smothered Gurmeet Singh to death. “They then packed the body in a suitcase and threw it in a drain near Sayed Nangloi village,” he added. Dixit fled to Lucknow the next morning along with the two other accused, the officer said. Dixit was informed a day before that Jageer Kaur would return Delhi from Punjab on March 2. “He came back to Delhi with one of his friends. The same day, her daughter gave sleeping pills to her mother and once she fell asleep, Kaur was smothered to death by the accused duo who then disposed of the body in the same drain after stuffing it inside a suitcase,” Kuruvilla said adding that Gurmeet was a carpenter by profession.
New Delhi: In a bid to improve the Congress’ position in south India, party president Rahul Gandhi will contest from Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency in Kerala besides his traditional stronghold of Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.Veteran Congress leader from Kerala and former Defence Minister A K Antony made this announcement at a press conference here Sunday, saying Gandhi had consented to fight from Wayanad following requests from the party’s state unit. The decision is seen as an attempt by the Congress to consolidate its electoral base in south India, especially Kerala which has 20 Lok Sabha seats. Tamil Nadu has 39 Lok Sabha seats and Karnataka has 28. “This is a message to the southern states that they are deeply valued and respected. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said he will represent Amethi but will also represent southern states as they are an important part of India’s way of life”, Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said. He said Gandhi has said Amethi is his ‘karmabhoomi’ and he will never leave it. The announcement evoked sharp reactions from both the Left and the Right of the political spectrum. Reacting to the development, CPI(M) Politbureau member Prakash Karat said that the decision of the Congress to field Rahul Gandhi from Wayanad shows that the party wants to take on the Left in Kerala. BJP chief Amit Shah also took a sharp dig at Gandhi contesting from two seats at a rally in Uttar Pradesh. “Congress’ vote bank politics has worked on playing with the security of the country. It is the result of this that Rahul Gandhi has left Amethi and run away to Kerala because he knows that voters will seek account from him in Amethi this time,” Shah said. Senior Congress leader Antony said Wayanad is situated in Kerala but also surrounded by Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. “In a way, it’ll satisfy the requests of three southern states,” he said. There were many requests from Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the former defence minister said, adding that one of the major reasons for consideration was that it is a trijunction of the three southern states. “Amethi and Rahul do not have a political relationship. Amethi ke mann mein Rahul baste hain. It is a family relationship and cannot be broken by BJP’s politics,” Surjewala said. Congress had won eight Lok Sabha seats in Kerala in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, besides two by its ally Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) and one by Kerala Congress (Mani) and one by Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP). Wayanad district is in the northeastern part of Kerala and houses various tribal groups of the state. The area was badly affected due to last year’s floods.
Summer is full of wonderful things – but melting makeup, smeared eyeliner, and super-sticky lipstick are not among them. Here one need to adopt best tips for keeping makeup looking fresh and pretty, even when the weather is working against you. So here is the checklist of skin care habit to adopt in this summer to prevent melting makeup. Slather the sunscreen Skipping the sunscreen is a cardinal sin on any given day. But the effects of it are even harsher on days when the sun is at its brightest. Look for sunscreen with SPF 30 at least and make it a part of your daily skincare routine before you step out of the house. Also Read – An income drop can harm brainHack to ensure you apply sunscreen everyday is to find a moisturiser that has a generous amount of SPF in it. Apply It generously not just on the face but also neck, arms, and chest or any part of the body that may be exposed to the sun. Scrub with care It’s during warmer months that your skin need exfoliation the most. Gentle exfoliation during the warmer months saves you from clogged pores and removes blackheads and whiteheads, which in turn gives your skin a chance to breathe. As with any skincare product, it’s best to scan the label beforehand for red flags such as fragrances and alcohol. For sensitive skin, explicators with micro-beads work best. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma Award Lighten the lotion Moisturisers don’t have to be banished to the back ends of your beauty drawer with the dawn of spring. In fact, using light, water-based moisturisers will keep your skin soft and nourished during these months. This holds especially true for these with sensitive skin as water-based moisturisers get absorbed easily and don’t leave a tacky layer behind the same theory applies to body lotions. Using oil- or glycerin-based body lotions can cause acne on your back and upper arms bringing your noodle strap top dreams to a resounding halt. Chuck out your old make-up We all have a soft corner for that limited edition blush or that perfect shade of lipstick we bought a few years ago even though our minds tell us to bin it. But you need to start listening to your logic and follow the expiry dates.This includes filtering the stash and getting rid of lipsticks that smell wired, foundations that have separated and blushes that have damaged bristles. (inputs by Yashu Jain, MD, Mattlook cosmetics)
Mumbai: The fast-moving consumer goods industry is likely to grow at a slower pace of 11-12 percent in 2019, almost 2 percentage points lower than in 2018, primarily driven by the steeply falling rural demand due to the lingering farm distress, says a report. The industry is also expected to grow at 12-13 percent in the June quarter, market research agency Nielsen said in a report Wednesday. The sector grew at 13.6 percent in the first quarter. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalBut there is a softening of volume growth to the tune of 100- 200 basis points, still helping to grown in double-digits in the first half. More importantly, the second half will see more strain leading to high single-digit growth, it said. The volume growth which peaked in 2018 to 11 percent is expected to be healthy but lower at 8.5-9.5 percent in 2019, the report added. It said this is not surprising as similar fall is seen in the economy as a whole which grew at a lower 6.6 percent in the December quarter, against an expected 6.8 percent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostInflationary pressure is also seen mounting in recent months from a little over 2 percent in January to 2.9 percent in March 2019, the report added. While there is only a slight drop in urban volumes, there is a significant softening of demand trend in rural markets which has been dampening the overall industry growth from the third quarter of 2018 to the first quarter of 2019. Historically, rural markets has been growing 3-5 percentage points faster than their urban counterparts and the recent slowdown in rural growth has brought growth rate closer to the urban level, the report added. The overall drop witnessed in rural growth is majorly driven by slowdown in packaged food category, it noted.
Mumbai: Budget carrier SpiceJet on Monday said it has inked an initial pact with Gulf-based Emirates for code-share partnership, a move that will give wider connectivity to its passengers on the latter’s network across the US, Europe, Africa and Middle East. In turn, Emirates’ passengers will enjoy unhindered access to SpiceJet’s 51 domestic destinations — 10 through direct connectivity and rest 41 through connecting flights, the airline said in a release. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalSpiceJet’s first code-share partnership with Emirates, which is subject to regulatory approvals, assumes significance in the back drop of the temporary grounding of domestic carrier Jet Airways, which has investment from Emirates’ rival carrier Etihad. Before grounding all its flights to and from Etihad’s hub Abu Dhabi on March 18, Jet Airways had sizeable operations to the UAE capital city. “I am delighted to announce that as part of SpiceJet’s international expansion strategy, we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a code-share agreement with Emirates. This new partnership should immensely benefit passengers travelling on both airlines,” SpiceJet chairman and managing director Ajay Singh was quoted as saying in the release.