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first_imgAkshay Kumar is on a roll. The actor has one more release this year, and three lined up for next year. After wrapping up Padman, the 49-year-old actor has begun shooting for Reema Kagti’s Gold.The film is the tale of the first gold medal that India won as a free nation in the 1948 London Olympics. While the details about Akshay’s character have been kept under the wraps, a leaked picture from the film set has gone viral. The photo shows Akshay in a dhoti-kurta, while his co-actor Mouni Roy, who is making her Bollywood debut with Gold, is in a saree.And now a report in Mumbai Mirror reveals that Akshay will essay the role of a Bengali, and the actor is learning Bengali from a language coach on the film set.A source was quoted as telling the daily, “A dialect tutor and a special trainer to explain traditional Bengali mannerisms have been working with Akshay, who has been prepping for the part since May. The costume team has been working with fabrics that reflect the designs from Kolkata in the ’40s and have been tailored to enhance Akshay’s character.”The film will see Mouni making her big screen debut. “Mouni plays Akshay’s love interest in the film and will also be seen speaking in Bengali. She will wear bright sarees in shades of red with puffy blouses and roses in her hair to be in sync with the showcased era. It’s a small yet prominent part,” added the source.advertisementThe film will hit the screens on August 15, 2018.ALSO READ | Gold first look: All you need to know about independent India’s first Olympic gold ALSO READ | Akshay Kumar’s Gold: Akshay Kumar and Talaash director Reema Kagti team up for sports drama ALSO WATCH: Akshay Kumar wins National Award – How the actor became Sabse Bada Khiladilast_img read more

first_imgMLS LA Galaxy decline option on USMNT midfielder Jones in roster purge Thomas Floyd @thomasfloyd10 Last updated 1 year ago 10:37 11/28/17 FacebookTwitterRedditcopy Comments(0) Jermaine Jones LA Galaxy USA Today MLS LA Galaxy The MLS side enters the offseason with just 12 players under contract for 2018 after a slew of roster moves Monday The LA Galaxy have declined the contract option on U.S. national team midfielder Jermaine Jones, the MLS club announced Monday.Jones, 36, is set to leave the Galaxy after just one season at StubHub Center, during which he recorded one goal and four assists in 20 MLS matches.In addition to Jones, the Galaxy declined options on 12 further players: goalkeepers Jon Kempin, Brian Rowe and Clement Diop; defenders Pele Van Anholt, Nathan Smith and Bradley Diallo; midfielders Rafael Garcia, Raul Mendiola and Jaime Villarreal; and forwards Jose Villarreal, Jack McBean and Jack McInerney. Article continues below Editors’ Picks Lyon treble & England heartbreak: The full story behind Lucy Bronze’s dramatic 2019 Liverpool v Man City is now the league’s biggest rivalry and the bitterness is growing Megan Rapinoe: Born & brilliant in the U.S.A. A Liverpool legend in the making: Behind Virgil van Dijk’s remarkable rise to world’s best player Defender Ashley Cole and midfielder Baggio Husidic, meanwhile, are out of contract at year’s end.Monday’s announcement leaves the Galaxy with just 12 players under contract for 2018, representing a substantial overhaul for a club that went a league-worst 8-18-8 this past season.last_img read more

first_imgChelsea have three signings lined up for Januaryby Paul Vegas5 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea have three potential signings lined up ahead of the January transfer window.The Blues are still serving a two-window ban, but are planning to bolster their ranks IF their transfer suspension is lifted.Gazzetta dello Sport says Chelsea have their sights set on Chievo midfielder Emanuel Vignato, Atalanta star Ruslan Malinovskiy and Bournemouth’s 22-year-old Lewis Cook.Chelsea boss Frank Lampard is eager to bolster his ranks having been unable to make any signings since his appointment. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more

first_imgMinister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the Ministry’s disaster preparedness plans are in high gear, as the country braces for an overly active hurricane season.“As it stands now, we are beefing up our non-perishable supplies and our meetings continue with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to ensure the training of (our field personnel),” he informed.The Minister was addressing journalists on Thursday, June 6, at the weekly Jamaica House press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister.He informed that the Ministry is always ready to work with its various partners, including the Salvation Army, Jamaica Red Cross and ODPEM, to ensure that relief supplies are available to those residents, who have been affected.“We are also ready to assist with the recovery process as it relates to damage to houses and property,” he stated.Meanwhile, the Meteorological Service is predicting an above average hurricane season, with some 20 storms on the horizon.Head of the Weather Branch at the Meteorological Service, Evan Thompson, informed that forecasts show a 50 per cent above normal chance for the development of a tropical cyclone this year.“Normally where we would see about 12 systems developing, this year. We are likely to have as many as 20 tropical storms develop during the hurricane season,” he informed.Additionally, Mr. Thompson said there is a 100 per cent above normal chance of the development of a major hurricane this season.“So, whereas we would normally have maybe two to three of the hurricanes developing into major hurricanes – Category three, four or five – this year, we could have as many as six developing,” he said.Mr. Thompson said there is a very strong likelihood that the Caribbean will be directly impacted by a major hurricane and is therefore urging Jamaicans to ensure that they are properly prepared to mitigate any disaster,” he said.Last year, which was considered the third most active hurricane season on record, there were some 19 tropical storms. The 2005 season was the most intense season on record, with five of the season’s seven major hurricanes – Dennis, Emily, Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, causing significant damage.In Jamaica, Hurricane Dennis caused flooding and landslides and severely impacted the agricultural sector and road infrastrucure.The 2013 hurricane season, which officially began on June 1, ends on November 30.Contact: Athaliah Reynolds-Bakerlast_img read more

first_img To learn more about the application process, eligible costs, and guidelines, go to Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund at www.nsbi.ca . -30- Quick facts: Nova Scotia Business Inc. announced two newly approved productions through the Nova Scotia Film and Television Production Incentive Fund today, March 8. The documentary Body Language Decoded, produced by Body Language Films Inc., has received a funding commitment of $134,421. The television pilot Mi’kmaw Customary Law Circle, produced by Houston Productions Inc., has received a funding commitment of $15,492. More information on the incentive fund can be found at www.nsbi.ca/filmfunding .center_img the fund applies to eligible costs such as labour, goods or services purchased from a Nova Scotia–based supplier when an application is approved NSBI issues a commitment letter which can be used for bank financing and when the applicant enters the official incentive agreement, the agreement can also be used for the financing process once a production is approved for a funding commitment, the funds are placed in reserve when the production is complete the applicant submits a final claim to NSBI for processing and disbursement all applications and claims are processed and approved by NSBI. last_img read more

first_imgWINNIPEG – Winnipeg residents are voting today on whether the city’s most famous intersection will be opened to pedestrians.The story of Portage and Main began when Henry McKenney purchased a low and swampy parcel of land to build a store in 1862.It morphed into the corner of commerce for decades but, unlike most other famous corners around the world, it lacks a market square or place for people to gather. In 1976, the city opened an underground concourse and infamous barriers blocking foot traffic were erected a few years later.Here are five things to know about the intersection:MUSICPortage and Main has inspired multiple musicians but most famously it was featured in the chorus of the 1992 Randy Bachman and Neil Young song “Prairie Town.” The chorus which says “Portage and Main, 50 below” references the two roads meeting in Winnipeg. It’s not the only time musicians have looked to the intersection for inspiration. Stompin’ Tom Connors’s song “Red River Jane” takes place at the corner and Burton Cummings had a CBC-TV special named after the intersection.COLDIt has a reputation as the coldest and windiest corner in Canada, but that claim is not proven, although “Prairie Town” probably has something to do with it. The average temperature in Winnipeg for January is -16.4 C, but it dropped to -30 C or colder six times last January.STAMPTo mark Canada 150 last year, about 3,600 people gathered at Portage and Main to create a living flag which will be featured on a stamp. The majority of people wore red and crowded together to create a giant maple leaf. A handful of people dressed in white were used to spell out “150” below the leaf. The downtown Winnipeg business improvement zone said the human display was the largest living Canadian flag and largest living maple leaf. There is also a 1974 eight-cent stamp featuring the corner.BOBBY HULLThe corner not only has strong connections to music — it’s also linked to some big moments in hockey. On June 27, 1972, Bobby Hull stood at Portage and Main and signed the largest contract in hockey history at that time. The player, known as the Golden Jet, joined the Winnipeg Jets for almost $2.8 million over 10 years, but he was paid $1 million up front. It made him the first player to sign a million-dollar contract.JETSThe corner has always held a special place for Winnipeg Jets players and their fans but the latest round of so-called “whiteout” street parties captured the attention of the world. When the Jets clinched a spot in the second round of the NHL’s Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time in franchise history last spring, thousands of Winnipeggers shared their excitement by descending on the intersection. The excited cheers of fans dressed in blue and white, some wearing wigs and others holding up giant Jets flags, filled the corner and echoed through neighbouring blocks. Each time the Jets played a game, people continued to gather until the Vegas Golden Knights knocked the team out of the Western Conference final.last_img read more

first_imgThe dance-opera is a production of Canadian-based theatre company Signal Theatre, and has a deeply personal connection for show co-creators and co-directors Michael Greyeyes and Yvette Nolan, both of whom had parents in residential school. “Our method of creation, therefore, mirrors a way hopefully we can have conversations like this openly and through policy, and actually moving forward as a country.” Facebook “Bearing” will have its world premiere on Thursday during the Luminato Festival in Toronto. Advertisement Advertisement “We wanted to make a piece that talks about how it’s not only indigenous people who are affected by the residential school system but all of Canada,” said the Winnipeg-raised Nolan, who was born in Prince Albert, Sask., to an Algonquin mother and Irish immigrant father. “Really, it’s a system that’s existed for most of the country’s history.” The first act sees the dancers — dubbed “The Canadians” — putting on costumes scattered throughout the space as they inhabit various memories and experiences attached to roles including clergy, lawyers and a residential school uniform. In contrast, an indigenous family remains barely seen by the Canadians. Login/Register With: “Bearing” includes music from Johann Sebastian Bach and Montreal composer Claude Vivier. The third act features “Sojourn, a work commissioned from Anishinaabe librettist Spy Denomme-Welch and Catherine Magowan. Marion Newman, a mezzo-soprano with Kwagiulth and Sto:lo roots, is also featured in the production. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment “I think that’s sort of the beauty and the power of the arts when we’re dealing with these really heavy and important topics.” The show then transitions to the Canadians taking their places within the residential school classroom while the indigenous family watches them live the experience. The third act is about “moving forward,” said Nolan. For Aria Evans, the process and the production itself are not “necessarily a history lesson” but very much a part of the modern-day conversation. “That’s always a conversation that I have been a part of, but some of the people that we’re collaborating with have never known the true history of this nation that we’re a part of,” said Evans. TORONTO — It’s been more than two decades since the doors closed on the last Canadian residential school, but a new indigenous-led production explores the enduring effects of its legacy on the country. Advertisement The dancer, whose heritage is Mik’maq, African and British, said the residential school system has been a point of discussion for her family. Her mother was a social worker and worked as a volunteer during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. “What I love about the way we’ve created ‘Bearing’ is that everyone has a really significant, authorial voice…. It’s much more of a conversation,” said Greyeyes, who is Plains Cree from the Muskeg Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan. “I think that if we can start these conversations through the arts, and we can start these conversations beside people that are willing to be allies, these conversations will trickle out into the larger community and we will slowly effect change. “Bearing” is onstage at the Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre in Toronto until Saturday. The Luminato Festival concludes Sunday.By:  Lauren La Rose Co-creators Yvette Nolan (right) and Michael Greyeyes are shown in a handout photo for the indigenous dance opera “Bearing.” THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO Twitterlast_img read more

Skhirate – The 13th Fikr conference of the Arab thought forum, held under the patronage of King Mohammed VI opened on Wednesday in Skhirate.The King addressed a message to participants in this conference themed “Arab integration: the dream of unity and the reality of division”.Intellectuals, thinkers and experts are taking part in the conference together with business operators and decision-makers from the Arab world. Based in Amman, the Arab Thought forum is an Arab non-governmental organization established in 1981 at the initiative of a group of Arab intellectuals and decision-makers, including Prince Al Hassan Ibn Talal, president of the Forum. read more

Rabat – Tunisian activists have launched an online campaign under the hashtag #MouchBessif (“we are not forced”), intended to promote the right to freedom of people who do not want to fast during Ramadan.Mouch Bessif activists are also calling for a demonstration on June 11 in front of Tunisia’s Municipal Theater in the capital Tunis, in order to protect the rights of those who do not want to practice fasting during Ramadan.“We are not forced to fast,” is the main point of Mouch Bessif activists. Since the second day of Ramadan, they have been urging owners of restaurants and cafes across the country to open ahead of sunset. During the holy month, most restaurants and cafes shut down their doors before Iftar. Despite being a Muslim country, Tunisia has no specific law that forbids people from eating in public during Ramadan, a controversy that is present in the country every year.On Thursday a court in Bizerte, a town in Northern Tunisia, sentenced four men to one-month in prison. The men had been detained for eating and smoking in a public garden ahead of Iftar timing, something that is considered a religiously  provocative act during Ramadan.The court’s decision has however been criticized by many non-fasters and local residents. read more

Rabat – The word “feminism” in Muslim countries often raises tensions. Many people believe that Muslim women cannot be both religious and feminist, claiming that the fundamentals of feminism are absolutely opposed to those of Islam.According to prominent Malaysian Muslim feminist Zainah Anwar, nothing could be further from the truth. Morocco World News met with Anwar, who is also the executive director of Musawah, a Malaysia-based global movement for equality and justice in the Muslim family, in Rabat to discuss gender equality within Muslim communities.What do you think about the idea that women cannot be both feminists and Muslims? This is actually a common problem in many Muslim countries, where many people will tell you that you cannot be both, a Muslim and a feminist. Musawah is trail blazing in telling the world, and especially young Muslim women today that indeed they can be both – Muslim and feminist. It is because so much of the discrimination against women today and the resistance to demands for law reform is justified in the name of Islam that led me and my friends to engage with the religion, to find if it truly is unjust to women. For Sisters in Islam (SIS) the organization that I co-founded some 30 years ago in Malaysia, polygamy was one of the first issues we had to deal with. As Muslim women, we were led to believe that Islam allows men to marry 4 wives. But we know how much unhappiness and injustice polygamy brings. It did not make sense to us that this could be what God, the Just, intended for women. We decided to go and read what the noble Quran is saying about polygamy. And for the first time we realized that the same verse that allows men to marry four, states clearly that “if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many wives) then marry only one.”Thus, how come marrying two, three or four women is universally acknowledged as a man’s right, while the command to marry only one wife if the man is not able to be fair, is not? Who decided that marrying two, three, or four is the law of Islam, while marrying only one is not? I think the real issue is the question of who has the right to decide which verse should become a source of law and practice and which one should be pushed aside and ignored. In this process, whose interest is promoted and protected, and whose denied?Obviously, it is men who are in power and in authority who choose polygamy over justice and kindness, who use their own interpretation of the Quran to justify their desire for multiple sexual partners. This led us to think about the issue of authority. Who has the right to interpret the Quran?  Who has the right to choose which interpretation will be used to govern our lives. Do you think that women’s voices are heard regarding this issue?In every democratic Muslim country where Islam is used as a source of law and public policy, everyone has the right to speak out and to contribute to how Islam is understood and how it is used to regulate our lives. We all have the right to debate, to question, and to challenge whatever causes injustice in our lives, what more when it is Islam that is used to justify that injustice. This is one of Musawah’s main objectives: to come up with a rights-based understanding of Islam that is rooted in the principles of justice and equality and kindness, all universal principles entrenched in Islam. Anything that is done in the name of God must be just. Any interpretation that leads to injustice for me cannot be Islam.Do you believe that Islam is a misunderstood religion?Absolutely. On one side, we face Islamophobia, with non-Muslims saying Islam is a religion that promotes terrorism, violence and discrimination against women. On the other side, we have Muslims themselves who reinforce these stereotypes by proclaiming their unjust actions in the name of Islam. They loudly claim that women and men are not equal, and that men are always superior to women. In reality, some men are better than some women and some women are better than some men.Women are not genetically programmed to be inferior to men.Can you explain your point?The patriarchal misogynistic “Islam” that has been taught to us doesn’t match reality and does not make sense to women’s lives. There is a disconnect between the ideology, the law, and the reality of women’s lives. Women today are educated, they work, they are leaders, they are financially independent. And yet, we still hear on television, radio, and in mosques that women are inferior to men. This does not make sense. Muslim family laws still discriminate against women on the basis of this ideology. But the reality is that women today are also providers and protectors of their families. Families today need more than one income to survive. And yet the law does not recognise this reality and still assume that only the man is the provider and on that basis he is privileged and accorded rights women do not get. And when the men fail to provide and to protect, he does not lose any of his privileges. What we are struggling for is not for women to take over from men and be the dominant person in a relationship. What we want is marriage as a partnership of equals. What is your message to non-Muslim people who claim that Islam encourages domestic violence against women?The challenge that we are facing is that many Muslim countries reinforce this patriarchal misogynistic understanding of Islam. I do not blame non-Muslims for having this misconception about us when we have leaders who oppose women’s efforts to criminalise domestic violence by saying this is against Islam. We need the Muslim world to take the lead in promoting gender justice, instead of being behind the rest of the world and then justifying it in the name of Islam. If we are true to our faith which granted women revolutionary rights that did not exist in the seventh century, we really today should be at the forefront of the women’s movement.  What measures should be taken to diagnose these common misconceptions?We need to bring to the foreground scholarship and activism that stand for the possibility and necessity of equality and justice for women in Islam.  In the Muslim world today, women are at the forefront of reform, pushing for a new understanding of Islam. This is exactly what Musawah is doing: producing new rights-based knowledge in Islam, and questioning the patriarchal assumptions that men are superior to women and have more rights, that they are our guardians and are entitled to our obedience. That they can beat their wives and get away with it. All these misogynistic ideas that we have been fed are now being challenged by scholars and activists in the Muslim world.Do you believe that some Qur’anic verses are inferior to women in terms of inheritance?There are a few verses in the Qur’an that are used to justify women’s inferior status. But there are differences in opinions and interpretations regarding any verse in the noble Quran, like what I have mentioned before regarding the issue of polygamy. In the end, it is about who has the power to decide and to interpret the verses. There are incredibly empowering verses in the Quran about justice and equality and compassion between men and women, that men are women are each other’s friend and protector. Why can’t these verses be the source of values to frame the relationship between men and women. Those interpretations used to justify discrimination against women are man-made decisions. So far it has privileged men because it was interpreted by men. Do you think that women are on the move to challenge these issues?Women’s lives today have changed. They are no longer passive recipients of knowledge. Women are now challenging these issues. They read the Qur’an for themselves, learn about the construction of knowledge in Islam to understand the legal tradition in order to fight misconceptions. It is sad that until today, so many positive principles and values in Islam are still being ignored, such as love and compassion (mawaddah wa rahmah), serenity (sakinah), dignity (karamah), consultation and mutual consent (tashawur wa taradi), justice, fairness, and equity (‘adl, qist, insaf), kindness (ihsan), and that which is commonly known to be right (ma‘ruf).Why aren’t these principles used in law and practice? How can beating women be a principle of Islam? How can supporting child marriage be a principle of Islam? I totally find it outrageous that so much harm is caused in the name of Islam. How did you become interested in feminism?I never understood why men are treated differently than women, just because they are men. That did not make sense to me. For instance, at home when we were children, my brother never had to do housework. And I have never understood why. I was taught by mother to cook, to make beds, and to clean the house, while my brother did not do any of that. I always protested that this was not fair. From young, I always   questioned whatever did not make sense to me. So when the discrimination against women is justified in the name of God, I felt compelled to question this as well. I grew up believing in a just God and a just Islam. Discrimination against women was culture and tradition. To say that it is Islamic is an affront to my belief in a just God. What do you think of Morocco’s stance regarding women rights?Morocco’s Mudawannah (personal status code or family code) is regarded in the Muslim world as a very progressive piece of legislation. The Moroccan family code was inspiring for Musawah as it grants both men and women equal rights in the family with both being responsible for the wellbeing of their family. If Morocco can reform the family law in such a way, why can’t other Muslim countries do it? Morocco’s Mudawannah is a milestone. The campaign and the framework used by women groups in Morocco to ground their arguments for equality between men and women in Islamic teachings, human rights principles, constitutional framework and the lived realities of today inspired Musawah’s Framework for Action.  If you have to deliver a message to women around the world, what would be this message?I always ask women to stand up and speak out because if we do not speak up and stand up to face the challenges confronting us, nobody else will do it for us. I also stress the importance of acquiring knowledge. It is knowledge that will give us the courage to stand our ground when we are attacked. For we will be attacked as going against Islam. But this is the 21st century. There can be no justice without equality in today’s world.  It’s as simple as that. What are Musawah current and future projects?We have just completed a knowledge building project on rethinking the concept of  men’s authority over women in Muslim legal tradition, with several publications to push for the possibility of reform towards equality and justice. We continue to  strengthen  women’s voices at the regional and international levels with our short course on Islam and Gender Equality and Justice (I-nGEJ). And we engage critically with the UN system to hold governments accountable to their treaty obligations, in particular on their commitments to CEDAW. We are excited about our work and the hope it brings to many people, especially young women. We believe that we represent what it means to be Muslim in today’s world. read more

Rabat – Morocco’s Ministry of Human Rights has firmly rejected Amnesty International’s  recent analysis of a trial in a Casablanca court which sentenced 53 people involved in the Hirak protests in 2016 and 2017 in Al Hoceima province.The court handed four activists heavy sentences of 20, including the prominent leader of the movement, Nasser Zefzafi.Amnesty said in its analysis of the trial on December 17 that it had“serious flaws.” “The first trial proceedings resulted in a gross miscarriage of justice,” said Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa Director Heba Morayef in a statement, ahead of the appeal hearing set for December 17.Read Also: Al Hoceima Court Sentences Pardoned Hirak Activist to 2 YearsIn a statement from the Moroccan ministry yesterday, authorities “expressed their absolute rejection of the statement made by the organization because of its lack of objectivity and neutrality.”The statement added that the analysis did not comply with the organization’s international standards.The ministry said that Moroccan authorities are “very surprised” by Amnesty’s position that “Morocco’s judicial authorities must ensure the appeal trial does not descend into another charade marred by torture complaints and other fair trial violations.” The ministry said that the position is “blatant interference” and a “clear violation of the most basic international standards.”Morocco’s Ministerial Commission on Human Rights will issue a detailed response to Amnesty’s allegations in the coming week. read more

14 May 2009WomenThere are women around the world suffering violence or the oppression of poverty who remain silent and invisible, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today told the opening of an international documentary filmmakers’ forum aimed at bringing their stories into focus. “Over the next two days you will watch and discuss documentaries on women and the Millennium Development Goals [MDGs],” Mr. Ban said at the inaugural Envision: Addressing Global Issues through Documentaries forum in New York.Among the screenings are films showing how a Liberian woman “braved the tide of hate that was sweeping over” her war-torn country by bringing women together to sing for peace; how micro-credit is helping women climb out of poverty; and the struggles of girls and women in strongly patriarchal and traditional societies.“We will also experience the suffering of a young girl in South Africa, victim of a vicious rape,” noted Mr. Ban. “We will witness the healing support she received, how she was encouraged to give voice to her pain, and how that helped to identify her attacker.”The Envision forum, co-sponsored by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), gathers the global movie-making community, entrepreneurs, activists, journalists, public policy makers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with UN experts. This year’s discussions will focus on the MDGs, a set of eight internationally agreed anti-poverty targets with a 2015 deadline, and their impact on women.“Declaring these goals has galvanized an unprecedented level of support,” noted Mr. Ban. “We have made considerable progress, but there is still much work to do.”Underscoring the need to increase awareness about MDGs, the Secretary-General recently launched the UN Creative Community Outreach Initiative, which acts as a liaison between the Organization and producers, directors, writers, and new media professionals who want to inform the public about critical global issues.The Secretary-General called on the “many gifted storytellers in our community to help us tell our stories,” and to help the UN “shine a light on these important issues.”He added that the Envision film and discussion series is one of his initiative’s first projects and that he was confident it would make an impact. read more

In recent weeks, personnel from the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) have been the target of protests and attacks by villagers in the south in response to routine military exercises carried out by the mission.Michael Williams, UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, said that he expressed “our satisfaction that calm has been restored” during his talks today with Samir Geagea, head of the Lebanese Forces party.“But everyone has to work very hard to maintain that stability and that is absolutely vital now and in the coming weeks and months,” the UN official told reporters following his meeting with Dr. Geagea.Mr. Williams said he briefed the Lebanese politician on the latest Security Council meeting on resolution 1701, which ended the conflict between Israel and Hizbollah that erupted in 2006, as well as calls for respect for the so-called Blue Line separating the Israeli and Lebanese sides, the disarming of all militias operating in Lebanon and an end to arms smuggling in the area.During the Council meeting earlier this month, the envoy said that while the resolution has helped to ensure stability, the parties must do more to meet their commitments.“Stated commitment is good, implementation in practice is better,” he told journalists following that meeting. In his talks with Dr. Geagea today, Mr. Williams said that he welcomed President Michel Sleiman’s meetings with all key domestic players in the past two weeks.“I also take this opportunity to welcome the intensive regional diplomacy involving key Arab parties to help defuse the tensions of recent days,” the UN official said. 29 July 2010The calm that has returned to southern Lebanon following recent violence was among the topics discussed in today’s meeting between a senior United Nations official and the head of one of the country’s political parties. read more

A number of high ranking defence officials were also present at the discussion. The Secretary also had talks with top officials of the Federal Services of Military and Technical Cooperation, Russian Federation and JSC- Rosoboronexport. The Secretary also visited the Museum of the Great Patriotic War in Moscow.Additional Secretary (Defence) RMS Sarath Kumara accompanied the Secretary during the visit. On the sidelines of the expo Waidyaratne had talks with the Russian Deputy Minister of Defence Alexander Fomin, the Defence Ministry said. Russian and Sri Lanka held talks on defence cooperation on the sidelines of an international military and technical forum in Moscow.Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Kapila Waidyaratne attended the opening ceremony of ‘Army-2017 Expo’ held from 22nd to 27th (August) at the Patriot Expocenter in Moscow, Russia. The ‘Army-2017 Expo’ is organized by the Russian Defence Ministry and is one of its major annual events. Representatives of large Russian and foreign companies of the military industrial complex, leading research and development institutes as well as project and design offices take part in this expo. (Colombo Gazette) During his visit to the exposition Waidyaratne was received by Russian officials and was accompanied to the expo pavilions where the latest technical aspects of defence and military technical related industries were showcasing their products. Later he witnessed a demonstration at the Alabino demonstration range. read more

Grammy nominated Professor Louie & The Crowmatix will be hitting the stage tonight at Valley Heights Secondary School.The band is visiting Valley Heights in between stops in neighbouring American cities.“We are able to have them perform on a non-traditional concert night, a Monday, at an early time so that we can all have an early night and be ready for school or work the next day,” said Sara Moody Veldhuis, head of music at Valley Heights.Professor Louie & The Crowmatix will be performing Monday afternoon for the students, and for the public at 7 p.m.Waterford singer-songwriter Amber Banks will open the evening.“I first came to know of Amber through her dad, Bobby Banks of local blues band favourites The Shoe Shine Boys”, said Moody Veldhuis.  “Amber has been posting YouTube videos for a while now, and I have been quietly following her.”Moody Veldhuis knew she had to find a place to showcase Amber after hearing her rendition of Queen’s “Love of My Life.”Some music students at Valley Heights will have the opportunity to perform alongside the Crowmatix in the evening.The proceeds from this event will be going towards the school’s music program and Aging Instrument Campaign.“The costs to run a music department, by nature, are quite high”, said Moody Veldhuis. “This is a chance for us to not only experience and enjoy some fantastic musicians, but to be able to contribute funds back into the program, just by attending.”Tickets can be purchased at Cashmere and Cobwebs, and C-Squared Home & Décor at both their Port Dover and Port Rowan locations.staylor@postmedia.com read more

During a wide-ranging Security Council debate on Iraq today, States from across the globe agreed on the need for Baghdad to comply with United Nations resolutions on disarming the country but offered divergent views on the best way to enforce the measures.Speaking on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), which requested the meeting, the Permanent Representative of South Africa, Dumisani S. Kumalo, stressed that Iraq must abide by its obligations under all Security Council resolutions, and welcomed Baghdad’s announcement that it would allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors. “We believe this offers the prospect for a peaceful resolution of this matter,” he said in leading off the Council’s debate.At the same time, he reiterated the NAM’s “firm rejection of any type of unilateral action against any Member State of the United Nations” and voiced hope that the Council members shared the Movement’s confidence in the abilities of the UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspections Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). “We would urge that the Security Council allow the UN inspectors to return to Iraq to resume their important work without delay.” The Council must not prejudge the work of the inspectors, he stressed, expressing hope that their return would pave the way for lifting the sanctions, which “have brought endless suffering to the ordinary people.”Iraq’s Ambassador, Mohammed A. Aldouri, said the United States was unabashedly declaring its plans for a military invasion and occupation of Iraq, and even for “changing the map of the region by force and putting their hands on the sources of energy therein.” The US wanted a “blank cheque” from the Council to occupy Iraq as part of its plan to subject the entire world to American hegemony. Using its “tremendous” propaganda mechanism, the US was disseminating “one lie after the other” about Iraq’s supposed ownership of weapons of mass destruction. Baghdad, which possessed no such weapons, had implemented all disarmament requirements contained in the Council’s resolutions, he asserted.Iraq’s decision to re-admit inspectors would prove that the country no longer owns weapons of mass destruction, and would foster a comprehensive solution, including an end to the sanctions which had caused such suffering for the Iraqi people, he said. In talks earlier this month, Iraq, UNMOVIC and the IAEA had agreed on practical arrangements for the return of inspectors, and had chosen 19 October as the date when the first team would arrive, but the US had tried to hamper the agreement, increasing its threats. The US was calling for the imposition on Iraq of “unfair and impossible” conditions that were “an insult to the international community, the UN and international law.” This position must be rejected, he stressed, adding that there was “absolutely no need” for a new Security Council resolution on the matter.Also taking part in the debate, which saw the participation of several dozen speakers, Kuwaiti Ambassador Mohammad A. Abulhasan spoke out against unilateral action. “Kuwait feels especially strong about the importance of action within the UN framework simply because without such a framework, Kuwait would probably not have been liberated from Iraqi occupation.” He expressed hope that the current international momentum would be maintained to ensure Iraqi compliance with Security Council resolutions and said Baghdad’s decision to re-admit weapons inspectors was a positive development.Kuwait opposed military force against Iraq “out of fears of the serious negative implications that would exacerbate the suffering of the brotherly people of Iraq,” he said. The Baghdad Government must save the Iraqi people by fully implementing all Security Council resolutions, “without a la carte selectivity or procrastination, and by putting the welfare of the population ahead of all narrow interests.” Any use of force must be employed as a last resort, within the UN framework and only after all other available means have been exhausted. In the effort to secure Iraqi compliance, special attention should be paid to the question of Kuwaiti and third-country detainees held in Iraq, he said, adding that the issue must be a “key element” in any new Council resolution on Iraq.Speaking for the League of Arab States, Yahya Mahmassani said Iraq had agreed to the return of inspectors, and they must go back as soon as possible in order to fulfil their tasks so that the Council could lift the sanctions. “There is no reason for the delay in the work of the Council and there is no reason to prejudge the results of the inspections.” The League of Arab States completely rejected any strikes against Iraq. Council resolution 687 [known as the ‘ceasefire resolution’ because it set the terms for ending the Persian Gulf war] stipulated that the Middle East become a nuclear-weapon-free zone – a goal which Israel rejected. “Why doesn’t the Security Council adopt a resolution to force Israel to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction?” he asked. Israel had violated scores of Council resolutions and should be forced to comply.“The imposition of a new military conflict on the Middle East would be a grave mistake,” Mr. Mahmassani said, warning that war against Iraq would open a Pandora’s box. “Violence and civil wars would sweep the entire country, and the entire Arab region would be undermined.” War against Iraq would go against the UN Charter and international law, exposing States to the danger of attacks under the pretext of preventive measures. “Upholding the Charter, international legitimacy and the solidarity and unity of the international community is the only means to face up to the crises of the 21st century, to maintain international peace and security, and ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,’” he said.Ellen Margrethe Loj, the representative of Demark, speaking on behalf of the European Union and associated States, said Secretary-General Kofi Annan had worked to persuade the Iraqi regime to re-admit weapons inspectors, and under strong international pressure, Baghdad had agreed. UNMOVIC and the IAEA should resume inspections as soon as possible on the basis of a reinforced mandate. The existing Security Council resolutions, agreements reached between UNMOVIC and the IAEA with Iraq, as well as “any new rules the Security Council may deem necessary” should constitute the new governing standard for inspections. “The Government of Iraq should make no mistake about the fact that non-compliance with this inspection regime would have serious consequences,” she warned.“The European Union supports a new Security Council resolution strengthening the rights of inspectors to ensure that they can, as effectively as possible, carry out the disarmament required by the relevant resolutions,” she said. The European Union stressed “the vital importance of safeguarding and respecting the crucial role of the Security Council – present and future – in maintaining international peace and security in accordance with the UN Charter in any solution of an international conflict.” She encouraged Council members to maintain strong pressure on Iraq based on the widest possible support. read more

The Security Council must be overhauled because the current structure allows some “hegemonic powers” to impose their policies on others, undermining its credibility and fostering global mistrust, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told the United Nations General Assembly today.“It must be acknowledged that as long as the Council is unable to act on behalf of the entire international community in a transparent, just and democratic manner, it will neither be legitimate nor effective,” Mr. Ahmadinejad said in an address to world leaders gathered for the Assembly’s annual general debate.He accused the United States and the United Kingdom, which are both permanent members of the Council, of being able to commit “aggression, occupation and violation of international law” with impunity.“Can a Council in which they are privileged members address their violations? Has this ever happened?” he asked.The Iranian President cited several examples of what he said were situations where “nations are not equal in exercising their rights recognized by international law. Enjoying these rights is dependent on the whim of certain major powers.”He listed Iran’s nuclear activities, which he described as “transparent, peaceful and under the watchful eyes of IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] inspectors”; the recent conflict between the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and Hizbollah in Lebanon; the situation in the occupied Palestinian territory; and the continuing violence and presence of foreign troops in Iraq.“In all these cases, the answer is self-evident. When the power behind the hostilities is itself a permanent member of the Security Council, how then can this Council fulfil its responsibilities?”Mr. Ahmadinejad called for the General Assembly, “as the highest organ of the UN,” to lead the task of reforming the UN system as a whole and the Security Council in particular.In the interim, he said, the Non-Aligned Movement, the Organization of the Islamic Conference and Africa should each have a permanent, veto-wielding representative on the Council.“The resulting balance would hopefully prevent further trampling of the rights of nations.” read more

by Ian Bickis, The Canadian Press Posted Jan 24, 2017 2:00 am MDT Last Updated Jan 24, 2017 at 5:00 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, centre, speaks at a wrap-up news conference following a Liberal cabinet retreat in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2017.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh CALGARY – Justin Trudeau edged his way across a political tightrope Tuesday, doing his level best not to glance down at the perils lurking below.Shattered credibility on climate change and women’s rights, two of his policy cornerstones. Alienated voters in Alberta’s hard-hit oilpatch. An agitated Donald Trump barring the door on cross-border trade.Trudeau’s Liberal high-wire act was on full display, whether it was as he cheered a widely hated pipeline project that’s bound to aggravate environmentalists, or contemplated how best to avoid calling the U.S. president a misogynist.First up, Trump’s conditional approval of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline, which he said would bring badly needed jobs to the energy sector without blowing up Canada’s commitments on greenhouse gas emissions.“We can continue to support good jobs, including in the fossil fuel industry, while we improve our emissions standards, while we innovate and develop renewable resources, while we manage the long-term transition, that the planet needs to go through,” Trudeau told a news conference.The federal government is implementing a pan-Canadian climate change framework that includes a price on carbon, he said. Alberta has put a cap on emissions, he added. Plus, pipelines are a safer option than rail cars.And he promised that his Liberal government would show leadership on the environmental front — as well as the equality demanded by the tens of thousands of Canadians who took to the streets Saturday on behalf of women’s rights.“They expect me to continue to demonstrate opportunities, and they expect me to stand strong for the values that make Canada this extraordinary country we love so dearly.”Then came the question about Trump’s outsized unpopularity among women. Asked a reporter: Is he a misogynist?Trudeau paused, momentarily off-balance. The cabinet ministers behind him, fresh from their two-day strategizing effort at a Calgary hotel, almost seemed to gasp audibly, fearing a fall.“It is not the job of a Canadian prime minister to opine on the American electoral process,” he finally said.“It is the job of the Canadian prime minister to have a constructive working relationship with the president of the United States, and that’s exactly what I intend to do.”Trump signed an executive order Tuesday that appears to clear the way forward for the Alberta-to-Texas Keystone XL pipeline, although it appears highly conditional; he said he wants to renegotiate the terms, and also wants it built with U.S. steel.Former U.S. President Barack Obama quashed the Keystone project in late 2015 because he said it was not in the best interests of Americans, citing the potential impact on the environment.Environmental groups pounced.Patrick DeRochie at Environmental Defence called on the Canadian government to revisit its 2010 approval of the pipeline, because it didn’t factor in Canada’s climate commitments.“The National Energy Board evaluated KXL under a flawed process that lacks credibility,” DeRochie said in a statement.Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr said that the regulatory approvals won’t be revisited, since the government decided it wouldn’t be fair to force projects to go back to square one as they look to modernize the approval process.Carr said the government continues to maintain its twin pillars of the economy and the environment and Keystone XL doesn’t sway that balance.“We believe that it is possible to have sustainable economic growth, creating important jobs in the energy sector, while at the same time maintaining our commitments to a lower carbon economy in the long term.”The project would be very positive for Canada, creating 4,500 construction jobs and deepening relations with the U.S., he added.Not everyone is buying what the Liberals are selling, however.“The prime minister can’t keep saying he will lead on climate while building three new tarsands pipelines,” said Greenpeace Canada’s Mike Hudema.“Alternative facts may work in the U.S. administration, but they shouldn’t be tolerated here.”Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, who met the federal cabinet this morning to discuss the challenges facing his city, cheered the Keystone news. His city, like the province, is hurting, he said.“We have the highest unemployment rate of any major city in Canada,” Nenshi said.“One of the best ways for us to approach that is to continue to build these projects. These projects create good, decent jobs here in Calgary, as well as in the field and they are a great way to help our economy recover.”He said the $8-billion project, which would take oil from Alberta to the Gulf Coast, is also needed to increase market access for the country as a whole.“It is important for Canadian energy to have access to global markets,” Nenshi said. “It’s important for the prosperity of our nation for that to happen.”Follow @ibickis on Twitter Trudeau navigates perils of energy, climate, Trump as Liberals wrap retreat read more

For families aiming to eat healthy meals now and in the long term, Wendy Ward, Canada Research Chair in Bone and Muscle Development, has some great advice.“Get kids cooking early,” she says. “Sit them down at the island, give them some carrots or beans to chop, and they’ll just start chatting away, telling you about their day, and I can tell them more about my day.”Ward, kinesiology professor at Brock University, joins Kim Oullette in tackling the question: How do we boost healthy eating in Niagara?That it is vitally important to consistently eat whole foods rich in vitamins, minerals and other nutrients is without dispute.“Healthy eating supports healthy growth and development and avoidance of disease and (disease-)like conditions throughout the life cycle,” says Oullette, a registered dietitian in the Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention unit of Niagara Region’s Public Health Department.“There are some linkages showing that, if Vitamin D deficiency is occurring in mothers during pregnancy, there are long-term implications to the bone health of the infant,” says Ward, adding these impacts can be seen in adulthood.But eating well is easier said than done, given our busy schedules, heavy-duty advertising campaigns of the fast food industry, and, in some cases, the expense of fresh foods.In their podcast, Ward and Ouellette explore the meaning of “nutrition,” what constitutes a healthy diet and the impacts that various foods and nutrients have on our bodies.They also explain the Canada Food Guide and highlight supports – such as EatRight Ontario, which operates a 1-877-510-5102 hotline where callers can speak to a registered dietitian for free – to help families and individuals make better food choices.The podcast also describes several Niagara-specific initiatives to educate Niagarans or provide greater access to healthy foods. Some of these include: Good Food Box Niagara; You’re the Chef; and Community Food Advisor. read more