Jerusalem: The US ambassador has said Israel has the right to annex at least “some” of the occupied West Bank, in comments likely to deepen Palestinian opposition to a long-awaited US peace plan. The Palestinians have rejected the plan before it has even been unveiled, citing a string of moves by US President Donald Trump that they say show his administration is irredeemably biased. They are likely to see the latest comments by US ambassador to Israel David Friedman as new nail in the coffin of a peace process that is already on life support. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’In the interview published by the New York Times on Saturday, Friedman said that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. “Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said. Senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat has said any such policy would be tantamount to “US complicity with Israeli colonial plans.” The establishment of a Palestinian state in territories, including the West Bank, that Israel occupied in the Six-Day War of 1967, has been the focus of all past Middle East peace plans. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaNo firm date has yet been set for the unveiling of the Trump administration’s plan although a conference is to be held in Bahrain later this month on its economic aspects. The public comments made by administration officials so far suggest the plan will lean heavily on substantial financial support for the Palestinian economy, much of it funded by the Gulf Arab states, in return for concessions on territory and statehood. “The absolute last thing the world needs is a failed Palestinian state between Israel and Jordan,” Friedman said in the Times interview. “Maybe they won’t take it, maybe it doesn’t meet their minimums. “We’re relying upon the fact that the right plan, for the right time, will get the right reaction over time.” Friedman, a staunch supporter of the Israeli settlements, told the Times that the Trump plan was aimed at improving the quality of life for Palestinians but would fall well short of a “permanent resolution to the conflict.” He said he did not believe the plan would trigger Palestinian violence. But he said the United States would coordinate closely with Arab ally Jordan, which could face unrest among its large Palestinian population over a plan perceived as overly favourable to Israel.
Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee came down heavily on the BJP accusing them of trying to engineer riots in the state by spreading rumours and hatching conspiracy to topple her government.”If they think that they will conspire to topple our government and send me behind bars to throttle my voice as I have been vocal against them, they must remember that an injured tiger is more dangerous than a dead one. I will thwart all efforts to demean Bengal by any means,” Banerjee told reporters at Nabanna on Monday. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaShe alleged that the saffron party is spending crores of rupees to spread fake news through various social networking sites and are thus trying to incite violence in the state. “Rumours about violence in Bengal have been spread through social media to defame the state. There were two, three post-poll incidents due to BJP, who are trying to incite violence in Bengal,” she added. Banerjee maintained that the Central government has an equal responsibility as the state in case of any violence or riot in any state. “If there are instances of riot or violence in any state, then the Central government cannot shrug off its responsibility,” she said hitting out at the Centre for sending an advisory to her government in the wake of the Sandeshkhali killings. Also Read – Centuries-old Durga Pujas continue to be hit among revellersA clash broke out between Trinamool Congress and BJP workers in Sandeshkhali’s Hatgachi area over the removal of the saffron party’s flags on Saturday. The police have so far confirmed deaths of three political workers — two from BJP and one from TMC in the incident. “They (BJP) want to wash their hands off the incident and that’s why they have sent an advisory to the state government. But I will not speak on it because the Chief Secretary has already given his reply. A letter has also been sent to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” she said. Banerjee also accused the saffron party of telling lies about deaths of their workers in the incident. “They are also telling lies about the number of deaths. Two (BJP) persons died (in Sandeshkhali) but they claimed three of their supporters were missing without mentioning details of their identities,” Banerjee alleged. Reiterating that she would not allow any sort of hooliganism in the state, Banerjee stated: “I have received information that some OC and SI in the police ranks are not discharging their duties properly in three to four districts in the state. We are looking into the matter and we will handle such incidents strongly.” Commenting on results of the general elections, Banerjee asserted her doubts on the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). “Will you believe that CPI(M) would transfer all its votes (in favour of the BJP)? Can anyone control all the votes? They should look into this. I have heard that the CPI(M) got no votes in two booths in Siliguri. It means their polling agent did not vote for the party. Is it “an outcome of pre-planned) programming,” Banerjee claimed.
New Delhi: A couple and their maid were found dead with their throats slit inside a house in Vasant Vihar in south Delhi, police said on Sunday. The deceased couple were identified as Vishnu Mathur and Shashi Mathur and their maid as Khushbu. The police said they were tipped off about the murders at 8.40 a.m. “Another domestic help of the couple revealed that when she came in the morning, she found the doors bolted from the outside. When she entered the house, she found the couple and their help sprawled on the floor in a pool of blood,” said a senior police officer. Police said the entire house had been ransacked. “Further investigation is underway,” the officer added.
Jaitu (Punjab): A prison cell in Jaitu town of Punjab’s Faridkot district where Jawaharlal Nehru and two other Congress leaders were lodged in 1923 has collapsed due to incessant rains, a senior police official said on Thursday. During the Independence movement, Nehru and his colleagues were briefly lodged there for violating prohibitory orders banning their entry into the then princely state of Nabha. One wall and the roof of the historical 240 square-ft jail room in which Nehru, K Santhanam and A T Gidwani were kept on September 22, 1923 collapsed on Wednesday following heavy rains, Faridkot Senior Superintendent of Police Rajbachan Singh Sandhu said. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity! Nehru along with the two Congress leaders had arrived at Jaitu to participate in ‘Jaitu Ka Morcha’ launched by the Akalis against the Britishers. The SSP said the condition of the room was not good and nothing was done to maintain it for the past several years. Nehru had come to Jaitu after a resolution was passed in the Congress session in 1923 supporting the morcha. Nehru along with the two Congress leaders were sent by the party to get information about political developments. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killed After remaining in the cell for a day on September 23, 1923, the Congress leaders, including Nehru, were shifted to Nabha jail after the court handed them a two-year jail term on October 3. During his Punjab visit in 2008, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi had on September 23 visited the cell, where the country’s first prime minister once stayed. The cell is adjacent to the Jaitu Police Station. Punjab Congress general secretary Pawan Goyal said the then Congress government at the Centre had sanctioned Rs 65 lakh for the maintenance of the cell. “The state tourism department has taken the jail room for its maintenance for the past 10 years, but nothing has been done to develop it as a tourist destination,” he said.
New Delhi: Markets regulator Sebi has revised the disclosure requirements for listed banks regarding divergence in provisioning of assets. The changes made in the disclosure norms are “in line with the revised RBI requirements,” the regulator said in a circular dated July 17. As per the circular, listed banks will have to disclose to the stock exchanges divergences in the asset classification and provisioning if “the additional provisioning for NPAs assessed by RBI exceeds 10 per cent of the reported profit before provisions and contingencies for the reference period.” Earlier, this threshold was 15 per cent. Besides, the disclosure will be mandatory in case “the additional gross NPAs identified by RBI exceed 15 per cent of the published incremental gross NPAs for the reference period,” Sebi said.
Madrid: Gareth Bale’s move to Chinese side Jiangsu Suning has been cancelled by Real Madrid, a source close to the Wales forward told AFP on Sunday. Bale, 30, who has been in the Spanish capital since 2013, was expected to join the Chinese Super League outfit on a three-year-deal worth ?1 million ( 1.1 million) a week. The 77-time international had been told by Real coach Zinedine Zidane he does not form part of his future plans at the Bernabeu. The former Tottenham Hotspur winger came off the bench to play half an hour in Real’s record 7-3 defeat to rivals Atletico Madrid on Saturday. The source dismissed reports by Spanish daily Marca which said the player’s family had blocked a potential move to Asia. Marca said those close to Bale had asked his representatives to look for clubs in Europe “before definitively saying yes to Jiangsu Suning’s offer”. The Chinese transfer window closes on Wednesday.
New Delhi: Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR) has asked Directorate of Education (Delhi Government) to direct all government and public schools to visit their nearby police stations along with the students for celebrating friendship day with cops.The DCPCR letter accessed by Millennium Post reads that it is hereby requested to the Director Education to give direction/advisory amongst all the government and public schools to make a plan for the visit of their nearby police stations with school children to celebrate Friendship Day by tying friendship band made by the children only. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”This will be an effort to help children get familiar with the police personnel and make them understand the support and help extended by the cops at time of need, emergency and threat,” reads the letter written by Jyoti Duhan Rathee, member DCPCR. “In some cases, we have found that children hesitate to approach the police. Through the initiative, we want to remove the fear or hesitation from children and make them comfortable,” said Jyoti Duhan Rathee. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsPlan to meet Police Chief Another letter was written to the Commissioner of Delhi Police regarding the children’s visit at Delhi Police Headquarters on Friendship Day. The letter reads that the DCPCR had planned to conduct one hour visit at Delhi Police Headquarters to interact with police chief on the occasion of Friendship Day with the group of government school children consisting both boys and girls and all the children above 13 years of age. “They will come along with their teachers. This will be an effort to get them familiar with the police personnel and make them understand the support and help extended by them at the time of need, emergency and threat,” wrote Jyoti Duhan Rathee. Recently a study conducted on 100 child rape victims by DCPCR found that 52 percent of the total child victims are currently studying in schools and the corresponding shares of school-goers among girls and boys are 51 percent and 67 percent respectively. “There is, however, a huge gap in educational attainment, as could be noticed in the share of dropped out children, who form 42 percent of the total sample,” revealed report.
Paris: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday addressed the Indian community in France during the first phase of his three-nation tour, which will be followed by visits to the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. In a veiled reference to the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, Modi said that there was no “provision for temporary” in his administration. “We have a population of 125 crore, it’s the land of Gandhi and Buddha, Ram and Krishna,” the Prime Minister said in a speech at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization headquarters in Paris. “It took 70 years to remove ‘temporary’. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.” He also listed out the work done by his newly-formed government such as the Triple Talaq Bill and claimed that the country would achieve its climate change goals in the next year-and-a-half. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details”We did away with practice of triple talaq; injustice cannot be done to Muslim women in new India,” he said. “The country is moving fast on the path of development.” Modi also said that New Delhi had fought imperialism, fascism and extremism not just in India but in France as well. “The character of the two countries is built on the values of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity,” he said. In the last five years, Modi claimed India had eradicated several evil social practices, adding that a “campaign against looting of public money, nepotism and terrorism” was launched in the new India. The Prime Minister also said that the mandate given to him in the general elections this year was “not just to run India but to create a new India”.
Islamabad: Pakistan on Thursday said that a technical meeting on the opening of the Kartarpur Corridor will be held on August 30 at the Zero Point. The corridor will connect Darbar Sahib in Pakistan’s Kartarpur with Dera Baba Nanak shrine in Gurdaspur district and facilitate visa-free movement of Indian Sikh pilgrims, who will have to just obtain a permit to visit Kartarpur Sahib, which was established in 1522 by Sikh faith founder Guru Nanak Dev. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US “A technical meeting on the Kartarpur corridor is set to take place at Zero Point tomorrow (Friday),” Foreign Office Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal said while addressing the weekly briefing. “India concurred to Pakistan’s proposal and the technical meeting on Kartarpur Sahib corridor is being held on August 30 at Zero Point,” he said. Zero point is the point at which the Indian side of the corridor and the Pakistani side of the corridor will be converging. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls “Pakistan remains committed to completing and inaugurating the Kartarpur Sahib corridor as announced by our prime minister,” he added. Pakistan and India are still discussing the modalities regarding opening of the corridor at Narowal, some 125-km from Lahore, for Indian Sikhs on the occasion of 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak on November 12. The corridor will also be the first visa-free corridor between the two neighbours since their independence in 1947. Pakistan is building the corridor from the Indian border to the Gurdwara Darbar Sahib while the other part from Dera Baba Nanak up to the border will be constructed by India. Tension between India and Pakistan has escalated after New Delhi revoked Article 370 of the Constitution which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories on August 5. Reacting to India’s move on Kashmir, Pakistan downgraded diplomatic ties with New Delhi.
New Delhi: There is nothing to despair, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday as ISRO lost contact with its moon lander.ISRO’s plan to soft land Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram module on the lunar surface did not go as per script in the early hours of Saturday, with the lander losing communication with ground stations during its final descent.”There is nothing to despair. ISRO only lost communication with the Lander & not the hopes of 1.3 billion Indians,” Naidu’s secretariat tweeted.The vice president said the orbiter with its payloads is performing its mission.”I salute @isro scientists, engineers & everyone else associated with Chandrayaan-2 for their hard work & dedication in trying to conquer new frontiers in space exploration,” he said.Naidu also extended his best wishes for the Indian Space Research Organisation’s future endeavours, saying the country is proud of them.
New Delhi: States will have to become key agents of growth to help achieve India’s target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy, Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer Amitabh Kant said on Saturday.Speaking at an event organised here by industry chamber PHDCCI, Kant said states have to work together and learn from each other to radically transform India.Kant said one of the things which Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been focusing on in recent times is the target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 and subsequently a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”…therefore, our challenge really is that it will not be possible for India to achieve this till states do not aim to double and triple their GDPs. And this would require major structural reforms and structural reforms over a vast range of sectors,” he said.He underlined sectors like agriculture and labour where structural reforms are required.The current size of the Indian economy is estimated at USD 2.7 trillion. The central government has announced and initiated several steps to make India a USD 5 trillion economy over the next few years.PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PHDCCI) organised the ‘States’ Policy Conclave 2019′ conceptualised with the mission of empowering states to strengthen India’s federal structure of governance and contribute in making India a USD 5 trillion economy.
New Delhi: Journalist Priya Ramani told a Delhi court on Monday that her “disclosure” of alleged sexual harassment by former Union minister M J Akbar has come at “a great personal cost” and she had “nothing to gain” from it. Ramani said her move would empower women to speak up and make them understand their rights at workplace. The scribe made the submission before Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Samar Vishal while deposing as a witness in her defence in the criminal defamation case filed against her by Akbar. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”Many of us are brought up to believe that silence is a virtue. In all my disclosures pertaining to Akbar, I spoke the truth in public interest and for the public good. “I hope that these disclosures that were a part of the ‘MeToo’ movement would empower women to speak up and better understand their rights at workplace. This case has come at a great personal cost to me and I had nothing to gain from it,” Ramani said. She said it is not easy for any women to make such disclosures. “By keeping silent, I could have avoided the subsequent targeting. But that would have not been the right thing to do,” Ramani deposed. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe court will further hear the matter on October 24. Ramani worked at the Asian Age from January to October in 1994 and had accused Akbar of sexual misconduct around 20 years ago when he was a journalist. Akbar has denied the accusations. The former Union minister had earlier told the court that allegations made in an article in the ‘Vogue’ and the subsequent tweets were defamatory on the face of it as the complainant had deposed them to be false and imaginary and that an “immediate damage” was caused to him due to the “false” allegations by Ramani. Several women have come out with accounts of the alleged sexual harassment by him while they were working under him as journalists. Akbar has termed the allegations “false, fabricated and deeply distressing” and said he was taking appropriate legal action against them.
Lucknow: Former Uttar Pradesh chief minister Kalyan Singh rejoined the BJP on Monday after completing his term as Rajasthan governor, a constitutional post which offered him immunity from trial for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case.The 87-year-old leader accepted the party’s membership in the presence of UP BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh. His son Rajveer Singh, Lok Sabha MP from Etah, and grandson Sandeep Singh, minister of state for finance in Uttar Pradesh, were also present at the party office here. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Kalraj Mishra was sworn in as Rajasthan governor on Monday after Singh completed the five-year term as governor of the state. Singh could face trial for criminal conspiracy in the Babri Masjid demolition case as the immunity he enjoyed while holding the constitutional post does not now exist. On April 19, 2017, the Supreme Court had ordered revival of the criminal conspiracy charges against senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders L K Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and Uma Bharti. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KIt also clarified that Kalyan Singh, who was the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh when the Babri Masjid was demolished in 1992, could not be brought in as accused to face trial as governors enjoyed immunity under Article 361 of the Constitution. However, the Supreme Court told the Cental Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to call Kalyan Singh as an accused as soon as he ceases to be the governor. Article 361 of the Constitution confers immunity to the President and governors from criminal and civil cases during their terms of office. Singh may have to face trial unless the Centre appoints him to another constitutional post, it is argued. According to the CBI case against Kalyan Singh, he had given an assurance before the National Integration Council as the then Uttar Pradesh chief minister that he would not allow the demolition. The Supreme Court had permitted only a symbolic kar sewa at the disputed site. But he allegedly acted contrary to his assurances, according to the 1997 order of the special judge, Lucknow, subsequent to a CBI charge sheet against him in 1993.
WestJet Airlines said it is severing ties with airfare finder app Hopper due to confusion over the developer’s announcement the airline would offer “secret fares” on its app.Montreal-based Hopper announced Wednesday that WestJet and Air Canada were among its first global partners to unload some of their seats via “secret fares” at discounts of up to 35 per cent.But both airlines have disputed the claim that they would offer secret fares with Hopper and said they were offering the same discounts available to their travel agencies partners.“Due to the confusion this has created in the marketplace, WestJet is severing ties with Hopper,” company spokeswoman Lauren Stewart said late Thursday.WestJet said Hopper will still be able to sell the company’s published fares, comparable to those available on its website, but that it will no longer provide the private, discounted fares it offers to travel agents and other partners.Air Canada spokesman Peter Fitzpatrick said Thursday the airline doesn’t offer fares with Hopper that are not provided to its other partners.“From time-to-time we offer tactical fares on select markets to travel partners in the normal course of business and to remain competitive,” he said, adding that such fares offered by Hopper were not available in Canada.The company did not say whether it would end its partnership with the app developer along with its rival.In its release Wednesday, Hopper said other “secret fare” airline partners include LATAM, Turkish, Copa and Air China, adding they will be joined by other carriers in the coming weeks.But the company clarified Thursday night that its “secret fares” were a “Hopper-specific marketing strategy and not a unique class of airfare.”“Airlines offer distinct fares to specific types of agencies, in our case online travel agencies, and they are marketed under a range of different brand names,” Hopper spokeswoman Brianna Schneider said in an email. “We are currently contacting relevant parties to clear up any confusion.”
LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – Iron Ore Company of Canada workers in Labrador City, N.L., have ratified a new five-year contact to end a strike that lasted nine weeks.The United Steelworkers Union says about 80 per cent of the workers who voted cast ballots in favour of the new agreement.The union says more than 1,300 members of two locals will return to work over the next several days.More than 300 other workers at the company’s port and railway operations in Sept-Iles, Que., will vote on a similar offer on Tuesday.The five-year agreement includes wage increases averaging 2.4 per cent annually, including cost-of-living allowances.Ron Thomas, the president of USW Local 5795 says the deal also includes increases in medical benefit coverage and pensions, as well as an increase in the cap on medical benefits.“It is time to get IOC back up and producing so that our members and our communities can get some normalcy back into their lives,” added Local 6731 president Tony Record.The Labrador City strike began on March 27 after workers turned down an earlier offer from the company, and remained on strike after rejecting another offer in mid-April.
MONTREAL – Police say a 33-year-old woman is facing multiple charges after allegedly assaulting her mother during a family dispute in Montreal.Emmanelle Tremblay appeared in court via videoconference Saturday and was charged with attempted murder, armed assault, assault and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.She will remain in detention until her next hearing.Montreal police say an altercation began at around 8 p.m. Friday in an apartment in the Rivieres-des-Prairies borough.Witnesses told investigators the fight turned violent and a 60-year-old woman was struck in the upper body with a sharp object.Police say the alleged victim is out of danger.
OTTAWA – A national coalition of anti-poverty groups is asking the Trudeau government to boost the basic amount it provides in child benefits in hopes of cutting child poverty rates in Canada in half by the end of the decade.The coalition wants the government to change the rules so those earning less can keep more of the benefit, and to increase payments with the cost of living, retroactive to when the new benefit was first introduced last July.The goal would be to reduce child poverty rates by 50 per cent by 2020, the group Campaign 2000 says in a written submission to the Trudeau government as part of federal consultations on a national anti-poverty strategy.Anita Khanna, the group’s national co-ordinator, also wants the government to consider more lucrative employment insurance benefits, including for new parents, and further expand job training programs.Such measures, among others, would help to rework the social safety net to help more people climb out of poverty and contribute more to the economy, Khanna said in an interview.“Any time spent in poverty in childhood is too long. It does have detrimental effects through the life cycle,” she said. “This is a real cornerstone piece for us and the government has hung a lot on the (Canada Child Benefit) as well.”The government is spending roughly $23 billion on the benefit, billed as a key weapon in the fight against child poverty. The average family receives about $2,300 more per year compared to the tax credits and benefits it replaced, the Liberals say.The parliamentary budget watchdog has warned that fewer families will qualify for the benefit unless its levels are tied to inflation, which would ensure its buying power — the so-called “real value” — doesn’t erode over time.The government’s internal calculations show the child poverty rate this year would drop to between 11.7 and 13 per cent as defined by the low-income measure — less than half of the median national household income. That measure is used internationally to compare poverty rates between countries.In absolute terms, that means 213,000 fewer children would be living in poverty than in 2013, or 199,000 fewer children based on 2014 data, says a November briefing note to Social Development Minister Jean-Yves Duclos.Those impacts are below the estimates of almost 300,000 children the Liberals have touted using a different benchmark, the low-income cut-off.“This is normal because the (low-income measure) is a measure of poverty relative to how the rest of the population is doing,” the briefing note says in explaining the difference.“The (Canada Child Benefit) not only increases the income of low-income families, but also increases the median household income from which the (low-income measure) poverty threshold is established.”The Canadian Press obtained a copy of the briefing note under the Access to Information Act.The actual impact of the benefit won’t be known until 2019 — the year of the next federal election — when official figures become available.Campaign 2000’s report also urges the government to take a second look at eligibility requirements to ensure immigration status doesn’t act as a barrier to support. Permanent and temporary residents who have been in Canada for at least 18 months can receive the child benefit, but not so for some sponsored spouses.“There’s no real logic to the current practice,” Khanna said.“If the principle is that money should go to children who require it, there are some who are being arbitrarily denied it based on their parents status.”— Follow @jpress on Twitter
ABBOTSFORD, B.C. – A public service will be held on Nov. 19 for an Abbotsford, B.C., police officer who was killed while on duty.The celebration of life ceremony for Const. John Davidson will begin with a procession of law enforcement officers at noon leading to the Abbotsford Centre, where the event will be held at 1 p.m.The Abbotsford Police Department says in a statement that overflow seating will be available at the University of the Fraser Valley Envision Athletic Centre.Fifty-three-year-old Davidson was fatally shot Monday when he responded to a suspected stolen vehicle call.A 65-year-old man from Alberta has been charged with first-degree murder.Davidson is survived by his wife and three adult children and a release from the department says those wanting to share their condolences with the family can send emails to apdhero386(at)gmail.com.BC Ferries announced Friday that it is offering free vehicle and passenger travel for all emergency first responders attending the ceremony.“We want to show our support and appreciation for all officers and first responders in B.C. who work incredibly hard to keep our communities safe,” said Corrine Storey, BC Ferries’ vice-president and CEO.“This is a small gesture to show we are thankful for their service.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version reported officer was shot on Wednesday.
MONTREAL – Police say two women, aged 55 and 75, are dead after an overnight stabbing in Montreal.Investigators say they were called to an apartment in the city’s east end at about 3:15 a.m. on Sunday.They say the younger woman was found dead at the scene and the older woman was taken to hospital with serious upper body wounds.Police say she was pronounced dead in hospital.They say a 35-year-old man, who was the son of the younger woman and grandson of the older, was arrested in connection with the case.There’s no word on charges.
It’s 1979. A 20-year-old student misses her period.“I was in my third year of university. I used oral contraceptives but I got pregnant,” the woman, now in her late 50s, said in a recent interview from Montreal. “I hadn’t finished my degree. I wasn’t ready for a family.”She avoided the French-language Catholic hospital where she lived in Moncton, N.B., and instead booked an appointment with a gynecologist at the city’s English-language hospital.“If you were early enough, I heard he would perform an abortion. It’s where all the French girls went,” she says.But there was a catch: she was told she had to be suicidal to obtain the procedure.“I had to say I would kill myself. It had to be a life-or-death situation,” she recalls.She declared herself mentally ill, but says now she felt lucky considering the difficulty some women had getting abortion services at the time.“I was in a safe environment in a hospital. It wasn’t a back-alley office somewhere,” she says. “I didn’t die and I wasn’t left infertile.”***This January marks 30 years since the Supreme Court of Canada struck down the country’s abortion law as unconstitutional.The Jan. 28, 1988, Morgentaler decision overturned a law that criminalized abortions unless a panel of doctors agreed a woman’s life or health was threatened by the pregnancy — likely the rule that compelled a Moncton gynecologist in the 1970s to require a woman to declare herself suicidal.The country’s highest court found the criminal law violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms’ guarantee of life, liberty and security of the person.“Bravo for the women of Canada!” Henry Morgentaler, doctor and abortion rights advocate, said outside the Supreme Court chambers. “Justice for the women of Canada has finally arrived!”Three decades later, the landmark abortion ruling still stands as the country’s touchstone on abortion rights.But the issue continues to be a source of polarizing debate, and voices on both sides have called for legislation: Anti-abortion groups want a criminal law banning or restricting abortion, while advocates of women’s right to choose say legislation is needed to improve abortion access and curb harassment against doctors and patients.“Even though 30 years have passed since the abortion law was struck down in Canada, we unfortunately are still dealing with the same issues,” says Arlene Leibovitch, Morgentaler’s widow and owner of the Toronto and Ottawa Morgentaler clinics.Anti-abortion groups rally outside abortion clinics, wielding graphic placards and intimidating doctors and patients, she says.“The Morgentaler clinic in Ottawa has been subjected to some of the most vicious protesting in the province and women’s rights to privacy have been grossly compromised,” Leibovitch says. “It’s extremely stressful for both the staff and the patients to get basically attacked by a barrage of very vivid posters and signs and people yelling at them as they’re coming into the clinic.”Ontario’s so-called bubble zone legislation — aimed at creating safe access zones outside abortion clinics — is expected to take effect soon. But she questions why it’s taken three decades for the province to act.“How could this still be happening in this day and age when abortion has been legal for 30 years?”***The Supreme Court’s watershed 1988 decision made Canada one of a handful of countries without a law either restricting or ensuring access to abortion.It’s a legislative void some anti-abortion politicians and advocates have tried hard to fill. They argue that the intention of the court was not to remove all limits on abortion, but rather to ensure those limits didn’t violate a pregnant woman’s right under the charter.But attempts to re-criminalize abortion have failed.As justice minister in Brian Mulroney’s Progressive Conservative government, Kim Campbell introduced a bill in the late 1980s that would have made abortion a criminal offence unless performed by a doctor who believed the health or life of the woman was threatened.The bill, which replaced the opinion of a hospital committee with one physician, was approved by the House of Commons only to be defeated in the Senate following a tied vote in 1991.Since then, successive federal governments have sidestepped attempts to criminalize abortion. Several private members’ bills have attempted, and failed, to make aspects of abortion illegal, including a bill to criminalize inducing an abortion after 20 weeks gestation and a bill to make it an offence to injure an unborn child while committing an offence against the mother.Abortion rights advocate Joyce Arthur argues that granting legal rights to a fetus is a slippery slope that could lead to restricting the rights of pregnant women in the future.“We need to make sure anti-choice (advocates) have no grounds to build on,” says Arthur, executive director of the Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada. “Without any restrictions, they don’t have a framework to build on.”In other countries, Arthur says criminal laws that make abortions illegal after certain gestational ages are used as a foothold by anti-abortion activists to try to further limit abortion access.Yet abortion opponents argue the Supreme Court’s Morgentaler decision left the fetus unprotected.“We literally are a lawless nation with respect to abortion,” says Jack Fonseca with Campaign Life Coalition, a group that opposes abortion. “A woman could legally abort her unborn child at any point before going into labour, right up to the moment of birth.”The Toronto-based organization wants an outright ban on abortion with few exceptions.Natalie Sonnen with LifeCanada, an anti-abortion group, says “any law at this point would be better than the current situation where abortion can be obtained throughout all nine months for any reason.”But Joanna Erdman, Dalhousie University’s MacBain Chair in Health Law and Policy, says those claims are false.“It’s really a red herring. It’s a total falsehood that someone just walks into a clinic in Canada and asks for a late-term abortion and gets it,” says Erdman, an associate professor at the university’s Schulich School of Law.While there is no criminal law restricting abortion, she says it’s treated like any other medical procedure and is regulated by medical policies, codes of ethics and protocols.“We have no unique criminal law provision on abortion because there are lots of laws that regulate abortion as a medical procedure,” Erdman says. “Suggesting that women are regularly accessing late abortions just doesn’t at all reflect the reality of abortion practice.”In 2015, the Canadian Institute for Health Information recorded a total of 100,104 abortions across Canada in both clinics and hospitals.Only hospitals, where about one-third of abortions are performed, report gestational age. About 2.5 per cent of abortions were induced at a gestation over 20 weeks, according to the federal agency’s figures.However, Arthur says hospitals do the vast majority of late-term abortions. As most clinics only do abortions up to 12 or 16 weeks, she estimates just over 0.5 per cent of abortions are done after 20 weeks.“In practice, almost all abortions over 20 weeks are done for lethal fetal abnormalities. The fetus is not viable and won’t survive after birth,” Arthur says. “A small minority are done for other compelling reasons, such as a girl abused by her stepfather.”Erdman adds that for the most part, late-term abortions are “absolutely tragic cases of wanted pregnancies in which there is a diagnosis. It’s absolutely cruel to force a woman to carry a stillbirth to term and not have a way to intervene.”Meanwhile, finding a physician who is trained and willing to perform late-stage abortions makes them largely inaccessible.Lianne Yoshida, medical co-director of the Termination of Pregnancy Unit at the QEII Hospital in Halifax, says abortions later in pregnancy are limited for many reasons.“The main one is surgical expertise. The procedure is more complicated and requires different equipment and skill set for the doctor to be able to do them safely,” she says.The recurring anti-abortion stance that the lack of a criminal law will lead to women aborting a nine-month-old fetus is one Arthur calls “misogynistic and insulting.”“It’s been refuted over and over again but they keep saying it,” she says. “It’s based on the assumption that women are so stupid and callous that they are going to have an abortion at nine months for any trivial reason and a doctors will do it. It’s nonsense and it’s infuriating, and it’s a form of hate speech against women and doctors.”Arthur adds: “We’ve had no restrictions on abortion for 29 years so that itself is proof we don’t need any.”***Early in his career, Morgentaler turned women seeking abortions away. It was illegal, and he didn’t want to break the law.But it gnawed at his conscience, Leibovitch says, and in 1969 he opened his first abortion clinic.“For Henry, the fact that women were dying was wrong and unnecessary. It’s a very simple procedure,” she says, noting that abortions up to 12 weeks take about two to three minutes.Morgentaler was repeatedly arrested and thrown in jail for performing abortions. But juries repeatedly acquitted him, refusing to enforce a law perceived to be unjust.Even after the landmark 1988 ruling, Morgentaler continued to advocate for abortion funding and access across the country despite death threats and the bombing of his Toronto clinic.“Young people today have a hard time understanding how incredibly hard the fight was to achieve the rights that they have,” Leibovitch says. “Women were trying to self-induce abortions from unqualified doctors with devastating results. They were often subjected to perforation and a lot of them bled out or ended up with massive infections unable to have children in the future.”While access to abortion has improved significantly since the Morgentaler decision, women in rural areas are often forced to travel some distance for the service.“I think access has absolutely made huge strides but there are still barriers,” says Sarah Hobbs Blyth, executive director of Planned Parenthood Toronto.Only one in six hospitals in Canada performs abortions and some provinces have no standalone abortion clinics at all. New Brunswick, meanwhile, continues to refuse to fund abortions at the province’s only clinic.“We have had a significant and long-standing lack of leadership within executive branches of government to actually make access to abortion a barrier-free reality,” says Sandeep Prasad, an Ottawa-based lawyer and activist with Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.For example, Mifegymiso, the two-step abortion pill, became available in France and China in 1988 — the same year Canada decriminalized abortion.Health Canada didn’t approve Mifegymiso until July 2015, and barriers still remain to its use — it can only be prescribed up to nine weeks, and can be subject to a requirement for an ultrasound.“It’s been available for 30 years and it’s just reaching the Canadian market now,” Prasad says, noting that while an ultrasound is recommended, there are other safe methods to rule out ectopic pregnancy and confirm gestational age.“In many areas of sexual reproductive rights, we have a long way to go as a country.”***It’s been almost 30 years since that cold January day when the country’s highest court struck down the criminal law against abortion.While there continues to be opposition to abortion, multiple polls in recent years suggest Canadian attitudes have shifted towards a woman’s right to choose.Leibovitch credits much of the progress in the area of women’s reproductive rights to Morgentaler, who passed away in 2013.“Henry Morgentaler was an extremely brave and courageous man who fought for what he believed in and for the rights of the people of Canada,” she says.“He suffered through the Holocaust, lost almost his entire family, pursued a medical degree despite anti-Semitic climates that were still ongoing in Europe and he arrived in this country as an immigrant and struggled for decades so others could have rights.”