New Delhi: E-commerce major Amazon.in Thursday said it has expanded its ‘Pantry’ service to over 110 cities in the country as it bets big on the grocery category to drive growth in business. Amazon Pantry has been aggressively expanding its presence to smaller cities in the country. The service was available in 40 cities in November last year. “Consumables is a fast growing category for Amazon.in. Amazon Pantry has become popular with customers… We have now added more than 70 cities and towns in the last six-seven months to take the total number of cities covered by Amazon Pantry to 110,” Amazon India Director Category Management Saurabh Srivastava said in a statement. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsCustomers even in smaller cities like Ichalkaranji in Maharashtra, Kaithal in Haryana and Belgaum in Karnataka now have access to Amazon Pantry, he added. Through Amazon Pantry, customers get access to about 5,000 products from over 500 brands across categories like staples, household supplies, personal care, and others. In select cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune, it allows customers to choose time slots to schedule order deliveries. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefAmazon is betting heavily on the grocery segment in India. The company has also committed $500 million to its food retail venture. The grocery segment accounts for a significant portion of the unorganised retail segment in the country. With people becoming comfortable buying even milk and bread online, the e-grocery market is projected to witness a strong growth over the next few years in India. Walmart-owned Flipkart as well as players like Grofers and BigBasket have also been strengthening their presence in the segment. In March, BigBasket raised about $150 million, while Grofers said it has raised $200 million funding earlier this month.
Rio de Janeiro: A Brazilian police document says an unidentified woman has accused soccer star Neymar of raping her in Paris last month. After the revelation, the player used Instagram to publish a 7-minute video that includes WhatsApp messages he says he exchanged with the accuser in a friendly way days later. Neymar calls the incident “a setup” and insists it is an attempt of extortion against him. The document obtained by The Associated Press on Saturday says the incident took place May 15 at 8:20 p.m. in a hotel. The woman went to police Friday in Sao Paulo. Also Read – We don’t ask for kind of tracks we get: Bowling coach Arun Sao Paulo state’s Public Security Secretariat, which oversees police, confirmed in a statement that the complaint was registered, but did not offer details. Once more involved in an incident off the pitch, Neymar said he fell in a trap and will learn from the incident. “There was a relationship between a man and a woman between four walls. On the next day nothing happened,” the striker said. “I hope investigators read the messages and see what happened.” Also Read – Bastian Schweinsteiger announces retirement, could join Germany set-up The first messages in Neymar’s video are dated March 11. The video includes multiple erotic photos and messages he said he exchanged with the accuser. The last date that appears on the video is of May 16, with no reference to the alleged crime. Earlier his father and agent, Neymar da Silva Santos, said his son had consensual sexual relations with the accuser and was blackmailed by her lawyer after they broke up. “This is a tough moment. If we can’t show the truth quickly it will be a snowball. If we have to show Neymar’s WhatsApp messages and the conversations with this lady, we will,” Santos told TV Band. Neymar’s father said he has evidence that his son was blackmailed, including pictures and witnesses, but did not show either in the interview. He also said his son is already preparing his defense for a legal case if needed. The Paris police and the city’s prosecutors’ office said through spokesmen that they were unaware of any complaint. The woman says she and the Brazil star met in France after exchanging Instagram messages. She told police a representative of the Paris Saint-Germain player named Gallo allegedly bought her tickets to Paris and booked her a hotel room. She said Neymar arrived apparently drunk at the hotel. The woman described to police that they “touched each other, but in a given moment Neymar became aggressive and, with violence, had sexual intercourse against the victim’s will.” The text also says the woman left Paris two days later and said she did not file her complaint in Paris because she was shaken. The police document says the woman will go through medical exams as part of an investigation. Neymar is in Brazil preparing for the Copa America starting next week. He arrived at the Granja Comary training ground outside Rio de Janeiro 10 days after the alleged incident. Brazil players had a day off Saturday. Neymar left the training ground with other teammates in his helicopter earlier in the day. On Sunday, an event named after the player is expected to take place in Rio, but his presence is not assured. The 27-year-old Brazilian has had problems on and off the pitch. One week before the accusation of rape became known, he lost Brazil’s national team’s captaincy for the Copa America to veteran Dani Alves. Coach Tite did not lay out the reasons for the move, but he was under pressure to punish Neymar for his disciplinary problems at Paris Saint-Germain. After PSG lost the French Cup final to tiny Rennes on April 27, Neymar had altercation with a fan and publicly criticized teammates he didn’t name for not listening to him enough. That was one of his first matches since January, when he once more picked up a fifth metatarsal injury in his right-foot. That was the same problem that affected his performances in the last World Cup, a tournament he prefers to forget because of an image disaster caused by his constant diving. Brazil’s fitness coaches say he will be in better shape once the South American tournament begins. This week Neymar skipped two Brazil training sessions in Copa America preparations because of pains in his left knee. Brazil’s soccer confederation said Friday he was fully recovered. Fan love for the player has also been stained because of politics after his showing of support to far-right Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has made a series of racist, misogynistic and anti-gay statements. As Neymar prepared for his return after the injury, Brazilian media reported his father had met Bolsonaro and Economy Minister Paulo Guedes to discuss the player’s tax problems, which didn’t help him with fans that will pressure him more than ever to win a Copa America on home soil later this month.
New Delhi: In view of the rising incidents of deaths due to AES/JE in Muzaffarpur and adjoining areas in Bihar, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan has issued instructions for deployment of eight advanced life-support (ALS) ambulances in the affected districts.Accordingly, eight additional ALS ambulances were pressed into service for transportation of critical patients under the National Health Mission (NHM), a statement issued by the health ministry said. The central teams comprising 10 pediatricians and five paramedics each had started working on the ground, in coordination with the state government, it added. The teams were sent to Bihar on Wednesday. Vardhan further informed that 16 senior district officials and medical personnel were sent to the vulnerable blocks for monitoring and early identification of cases and ensuring daily reporting. Also Read – Cong may promise farm loan waiver in HaryanaTheir headquarters were also shifted to these blocks, he said, adding that the district collector was involved in the process now and was personally taking responsibility for the same. The collector had deputed senior deputy collectors (SDCs) or district-level officers to lead various block teams, Vardhan was quoted in the statement as saying. These teams would be assisted by a district-level medical officer and a medical officer in-charge (MOIC) to do the overall work at the block level, the statement said. It added that the authorities in Bihar were given instructions to switch to daily surveillance and monitoring for detecting early warning signs of the disease. “The state government has started a social audit, along with an active case-finding campaign through a house-to-house survey, and is moving the prospective patients to the nearest PHC for early intervention. Surprise checks are also being conducted at the PHCs by SDCs. Also Read – Modi formed OBC commission which earlier govts didn’t do: Shah”Additionally, the early morning inspection of anganwadi centres is also being undertaken by SDCs and child development project officers (CDPOs). They are also giving ORS to each house in the affected villages,” the statement said. The auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) and accredited social health activists (ASHAs) were directed to visit every house to raise awareness on Acute Encephalitis Syndrome/Japanese Encephalitis (AES/JE) by distributing pamphlets and brochures, it said, adding that awareness was also being created through other measures such as announcements through microphones and inter-personal communication. Also, a team of experts from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) was deployed at the Sri Krishna Medical College and Hospital (SKMCH) in Muzaffarpur for making the virology laboratory operational at the earliest, Vardhan was quoted as saying in the statement. He added that the multi-disciplinary team deployed earlier was reviewing all the case records of the AES patients admitted to the hospital in 2019. Expressing serious concern over the “deplorable public health infrastructure” in the country, the NHRC Thursday issued notices to the Centre and all states and Union Territories, underlining loss of lives in various parts of the country in recent times, including of over 100 children in Muzaffarpur. The National Human Rights Commission has also directed that teams comprising doctors on the panel of the NHRC, along with its officers, will visit hospitals, primary health centres and other health facilities in “vulnerable” states one by one, starting with Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab to conduct on-the-spot fact-finding investigation, officials said.
New Delhi: Star Indian sprinter Hima Das won the women’s 200m gold, while national record holder shot putter Tajinder Pal Singh Toor bagged a bronze in the Poznan Athletics Grand Prix in Poland. Hime, the world junior champion and national record holder in 400m who has been struggling with a back problem for the past few months, clocked 23.65s on her way to the 200m gold. This was Hima’s first competitive 200m race of the year. She has a personal best of 23.10s, which she clocked last year. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherAnother Indian, V K Vismaya finished third with a personal best time of 23.75s in the race at Poznan on Tuesday night. Asian champion Toor won the men’s shot put bronze with a best effort of 19.62m. His national record while winning Asian Games gold last year stands at 20.75m. Muhammed Anas, the 400m national record holder, was third in the men’s 200m race with a timing of 20.75 seconds. K S Jeevan won the men’s 400m bronze in 47.25s.
Tehran: Twitter has blocked accounts of some major Iran news agencies over alleged harassment of people who follow the Baha’i faith.The agencies speculated the blocking of their accounts occurred after British-flagged oil tanker was seized by the country in the Strait of Hormuz amid heightened tensions in the Gulf.Persian language Twitter accounts of the official Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), Mehr News agency and the Young Journalists Club (YJC) news outlet were suspended due to Twitter rule violations, Sputnik News reported on Sunday. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this yearSome media reports said the accounts were suspended for targeted harassment of people associated with Baha’i — a minority faith in Iran.According to the English edition of Mehr News, the two agency’s accounts (@MehrDiplomacy and @MehrNews_FA) were blocked for unknown reasons.Twitter users noted that state-run media IRNA (@irna_1313) and the YJC (@yjcagency) accounts have also been suspended.Twitter was yet to issue an official statement on this.The accounts were blocked after Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps seized the tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz for violating international maritime regulations.In June, Twitter pulled down almost 5,000 accounts suspected of being directly run or linked to the Iranian government.The micro-blogging site said all the account sets were originated in Iran.Twitter cracked down on a total of 4,779 pages and it took down at least 1,666 accounts in set one that originated in Iran. Cumulatively, these accounts tweeted nearly two million times.
New Delhi: IAS, IPS and other central service officers of J-K cadre will continue to serve in the two successor Union Territories (UTs) while new recruits of these services will be allocated the AGMUT cadre.According to the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Bill, 2019, the provincial service officers will continue serving in their current positions till a new order is issued by the Lt Governor for the two new UTs of J-K and Ladakh. “In future, the All India Service officers to be posted to Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir or Union territory of Ladakh, as the case may be, shall be borne on the Arunachal Goa Mizoram Union Territory cadre, and necessary modifications in corresponding cadre allocations rules may be made accordingly, by the central government,” according to the Bill introduced by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Rajya Sabha on Monday. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Bill provides for creation of two UTs– J-K and Ladakh. The Arunachal Goa Mizoram Union Territtory is popularly known as the AGMUT cadre. The Bill added that the cadres of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFoS) for the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir, on and from the appointed day, shall continue to function on the existing cadres. The Lt Governor, the Bill said, will decide about the provisional strength, composition and allocation of officers once the two new UTs are formed and notified. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KTalking about these provisions for “other services”, the Bill said “every person who immediately before the appointed day is serving on substantive basis in connection with the affairs of the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall, on and from that day provisionally continue to serve in connection with the affairs of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir and Union territory of Ladakh, by general or special order of the Lieutenant Governor of Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.” It added that state government employees will be able to “seek option” to serve in either of the two UTs of J-K and Ladakh and this transfer will be “determined” by the Lt Governor. The Bill added that the “Central government shall have the power to review any of its orders issued under this section.” It also talked about the future of the public service commission that will function in the two UTS and recruit provincial service officials for the government. “The Public Service Commission for the existing state of Jammu and Kashmir shall, on and from the appointed day, be the Public Service Commission for the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir.” “The Union Public Service Commission, with the approval of the President, shall serve the needs of the Union Territory of Ladakh.” The government on Monday revoked some provisions of the Article 370 to take away Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, and proposed bifurcation of the state into two UTs– Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
New Delhi: Rajya Sabha MP and senior Trinamool Congress leader, Derek O’Brien was on Friday questioned by the Central Bureau of Investigation in connection with the Saradha chit fund case at the agency’s offices in Bidhannagar.Sources familiar with developments said that the TMC politician was questioned about certain payments that were received by his party’s official newspaper, Jago Bangla. It is alleged that O’Brien was operating the account of the Bengali weekly, where the payments were received. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The Rajaya Sabha MP was earlier asked by the probe agency to join the investigation into the Saradha chit fund case. However, O’Brien had asked for more time as parliament was in session. Speaking to the Millennium Post, the sources added that the money paid into the newspaper’s accounts had originated from proceeds of the sale that came through selling some paintings by the West Bengal Chief Minister. Earlier, the CBI had examined Shibaji Panja, a businessman, in connection with the chit fund case, and it was alleged that he was the one who organised the exhibitions where paintings by the CM were sold. Sources in the know had at the time said that several hit fund companies had purchased paintings from his exhibitions, including the Saradha Group.
New Delhi: From biodegradable plastics to humanoid robots, a new wave of emerging technologies is on the horizon that have the potential to provide major benefits to societies and economies in the years to come, a new World Economic Forum (WEF) report said. An international Steering Committee of leading technology experts identified this year’s “Top 10 Emerging Technologies” — humanoid (and animaloid) robots designed to socialize with people; a system for pinpointing the source of a food-poisoning outbreak in seconds and minuscule lenses that will pave the way for diminutive cameras and other devices, among others. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year “Technologies that are emerging today will soon be shaping the world tomorrow and well into the future – with impacts to economies and to society at large,” said Mariette DiChristina, Editor-in-Chief of Scientific American, and chair of the Emerging Technologies Steering Committee. Bioplastics are advanced solvents and enzymes that are transforming woody wastes into better biodegradable plastics. Like standard plastics derived from petrochemicals, biodegradable versions consist of polymers (long-chain molecules) that can be moulded while in their fluid state into a variety of forms. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India “However, the options currently available – mostly made from corn, sugar cane, or waste fats and oils – generally lack the mechanical strength and visual characteristics of the standard kinds,” emphasized the report. Recent breakthroughs in producing plastics from cellulose or lignin (the dry matter in plants) promise to overcome those drawbacks. In an added boon for the environment, cellulose and lignin can be obtained from non-food plants, such as giant reed, grown on marginal land not suitable for food crops, or from waste wood and agricultural byproducts that would otherwise serve no function. Worldwide sales of consumer robots reached an estimated $5.6 billion in 2018 and the market is expected to grow to $19 billion by the end of 2025, with more than 65 million robots sold a year. “A wave of robots is lining up to take the place of defunct robots, including BUDDY (Blue Frog Robotics), a big-eyed mobile device that plays games in addition to acting as a personal assistant and providing home automation and security,” said the report. Like most robots, social robots use artificial intelligence (AI) to decide how to act on information received through cameras and other sensors. The ability to respond in ways that seem lifelike has been informed by research into such issues as how perceptions form, what constitutes social and emotional intelligence, and how people can deduce others’ thoughts and feelings. Another promising emerging tech of 2019 is tiny lenses. It is hard to make tiny lenses with traditional glass-cutting and glass-curving techniques, and the elements in a glass lens often need to be stacked to focus light properly. “Engineers have recently figured out much of the physics behind much smaller, lighter alternatives known as metalenses. These lenses could allow for greater miniaturization of microscopes and other laboratory tools, as well as of consumer products,” the report mentioned. In the next few years, the tiny lenses will probably make their way into smaller, easier-to-manufacture sensors, diagnostic tools such as endoscopic imaging devices and optical fibres. Those potential applications are appealing enough to have attracted research support from government agencies and such companies as Samsung and Google. Disordered proteins as drug targets will herald new possibilities for treating cancer and other diseases, said the report. These “intrinsically disordered proteins” (IDPs) looked different from the proteins with rigid structures that were more familiar in cells. IDPs were shape-shifters, appearing as ensembles of components that constantly changed configurations. This loose structure allows the IDPs to bring together a wide variety of molecules at critical moments, such as during a cell’s response to stress. “It is increasingly likely that in the next three to five years, these once “undruggable” proteins will end up in the crosshairs of pharmaceutical development,’ said the WEF report. Other emerging technologies on the list are: Smarter fertilizers that can reduce environmental contamination; collaborative telepresence where participants can be seen in virtual gatherings; advanced food tracking and packaging; safer nuclear reactors, DNA data storage; and utility-scale storage of renewable energy.
Kolkata: Amid a number of incidents of actresses and models getting harassed in Kolkata, celebrities feel the eastern metropolis is not “what one would call safe” and fear the situation might worsen over time. The latest incident of Bengali television actress Brishti Roy getting obscene calls asking about her “rate”, and escort service details after unscrupulous elements pasted posters all over Kolkata suburban trains and railway stations, with the actress’s name, mugshot and mobile number, has horrified citizens. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja The traumatised actress told IANS: “Today this is happening to me, tomorrow it can happen to any other girl. It has become so easy to malign a girl these days. That’s why I will fight till the culprits are nabbed.” Over the past few months, a range of celebrities including former Miss India Universe Ushoshi Sengupta were attacked and harassed on the city streets. A group of bike-borne youths vandalised and beat up the driver of Sengupta’s cab after one of their two wheelers bumped with the car. The youths then followed her, pelted stones at the cab and tried to snatch her phone to delete the video she had taken of the incident. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highway Nearly a month later, a popular Bengali television actor Swastika Dutta had a harrowing experience. She alleged on Facebook that an app cab driver “pulled” her out of the vehicle, threatened and “abused” her when she was going for a shoot. A week back, a Bengali television actress Juhi Sengupta alleged that she along with her parents was harassed and heckled by employees of a petrol pump. Her father, a senior citizen, was even pushed by the employee during the altercation. The actress, known for her stint in TV serial “Bhojo Gobindo”, in her social media posts said “the city is no longer safe for anyone”. Popular film and television actress Anjana Basu agreed that celebrities and actresses were getting harassed in City of Joy. Underscoring the fear factor that haunts her, Basu conceded she doesn’t confront anyone nowadays even if someone crashes into her car consciously. “Yes, yes, I agree that celebrities and actresses do get harassed on the streets of Kolkata but I personally haven’t faced a situation as such. “I don’t like being on my toes all the time when I’m walking on the streets or am in my car but I have to. Even in incidents where someone crashes into my car consciously, neither I nor my driver confronts the individual due to safety reasons,” Basu, now on a trip to the US, told IANS. Basu, known for her acting skills which she has displayed in a wide variety of roles over the past one and a half decade, rued that “present day Kolkata is not exactly what one would call safe for celebrities and citizens in general”. “This is the current scenario of safety and security in the city of Kolkata and I fear that it will worsen over time,” added Basu, who has acted in Bengali films like “Bye Bye Bangkok”, “Byomkesh Fire Elo”, “Anghsumaner Chobi” and also in Hindi serial “Krishna kali” and film “Dum kata” – both directed by Amol Palekar. Another Bengali film actress Parno Mittra, best known for playing the title role in Anjan Dutt’s national award winning film “Ranjana Ami Ar Asbo Na”, said her concern was more for the ordinary people than the celebrities. “You see all this news is cropping up because we are celebrities. It is true that celebrities are being harassed. But if such things can happen to known faces, imagine what the common public is going through. “There are commoners who are probably facing these things, and being harassed. But we are not paying attention to it because they are not celebrities,” said Mittra, whose other notable films include “Bedroom”, “Ami Aar Amar Girlfriends”, “Maach Mishti More” and “Ekla Akash”. Mittra said she was “really scared” for her 24-year-old sister who commutes by public transport. “That is the main area of concern for citizens of West Bengal,” she told IANS. To a query whether the situation has now deteriorated in Kolkata, once considered one of the safest cities for women, she said: “Over the past ten years, it has not been that safe, sorry to say that.” Asked about the reasons for the present situation, she said: “You should ask the government why there is no security for women. In fact it’s just not about women, it is about males also. The other day, a male celebrity, some television actor, was harassed on the road.” Mittra said the remedy lay in government and administration taking strict measures to increase security for people. Mittra also recalled that the complaint of model-turned-actress Ushoshi Sengupta, wasn’t being taken by the police station initially. “My point is if people who are known faces are facing these issues, imagine what the commoners go through.” But Mittra said she did not foresee any problem for celebrities during next month’s Durga Puja festival. “During the puja, security is very tight on the streets of Kolkata, to be honest. Whenever we move out, we generally go for pandal judging and like that, then we have security with us,” she said.
Islamabad: Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered into the second phase after completion of key projects in the first stage. The envoy, while addressing the Rawalpindi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (RCCI) on Monday, said that the (CPEC) projects in energy and infrastructure sectors have either been completed or are near completion, The Express Tribune reported. Completion of phase-I of CPEC had set a strong foundation for the second phase, which would focus on the development of Special Economic Zones (SEZ), strengthening trade and cultural ties through joint ventures and exchange of delegations, he said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US CPEC is a unique model of connectivity, trade, and development, which is an important part of the Belt and Road initiative, Yao added. The CPEC, launched in 2015, is the flagship project of the multi-billion-dollar Border and Road Initiative (BRI) launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping that aims to link Southeast Asia, Central Asia, the Gulf region, Africa and Europe with a network of land and sea routes. The Chinese envoy said that the private sector should come forward and help in strengthening trade links between the two countries. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls He also pointed out that Pakistan could act as a bridge between the East and West. SEZ development has already entered an important phase and efforts are underway to ensure successful Pakistan-China industrial cooperation, he said. Yao highlighted that China had granted duty-free access for export of 313 goods under the second phase of China-Pakistan free trade agreement (FTA). This will help increase exports by tapping Pakistan’s potential in agriculture, textile, food, minerals, engineering, and other sectors, he added. Praising RCCI’s role in promoting trade between the two countries, he said that the Chinese embassy would ensure cooperation to enhance the partnership between the Chinese trade agency and the RCCI. China and Pakistan are not only friendly neighbours but are also two major ancient civilisations, which have maintained close ties in cultural exchanges and mutual learning, he added.
COPENHAGEN – Canada will compete for a medal at the world hockey championship for the fourth straight year.Ryan O’Reilly scored the game winner on a 4-on-3 power play with 4:57 into overtime Thursday as Canada beat Russia 5-4 and punched its ticket to the semifinals in Copenhagen.Colton Parayko and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored power-play goals while Kyle Turris and Pierre-Luc Dubois added third-period markers.Canada came into the quarterfinal as the lower seed after a somewhat lacklustre preliminary-round performance in small-town Herning. The change of scenery seemed to agree with the Canadians in their first period of action at Royal Arena in Copenhagen.Canada controlled the play, outshooting Russia 12-4 in the opening frame and taking a 1-0 lead when Parayko fired a massive slapshot to the glove side of Igor Shestyorkin at 4:45.The power-play goal snapped a 0-for-16 drought that had stretched over four preliminary-round games for Canada. It was the first of the tournament allowed by Shestyorkin, who had been perfect in seven periods of action against Slovakia, Belarus and Austria during preliminary-round play.
MONCTON, N.B. – Staff at a New Brunswick zoo are mourning the loss of a rare tiger cub who died more than a week after she was born with three siblings.The Magnetic Hill Zoo announced in a Facebook post that the young female tiger passed away Sunday despite efforts by her mother, Anya, and a veterinarian to help her survive.Officials at the Moncton zoo said it became clear on Saturday that she was failing and would likely not improve.“She was the smallest animal and was not putting on the same weight gain as the other animals,” Jill Marvin, director of the municipally owned zoo, said Tuesday.“On the weekend it was her temperature — when they’re not maintaining temperature, that’s when we feel they’re in a much more critical situation.”The cub was born as part of a litter of four to the zoo’s Amur tiger on May 11. This was the second litter for the mother, who arrived there in 2013 and had three cubs in 2016.It’s estimated there are only about 400 Amur tigers left in the world, with most found in northern Russia.Marvin said a necropsy would be done to try to determine the cause of death, but that it could have been anything from a birth defect to an inability to absorb nutrients.The Facebook post had received 800 responses Tuesday morning and was shared more than 150 times, with most expressing their sadness at the loss.“RIP little one,” one woman wrote. “My thoughts are with the wonderful staff and all involved in caring for her during this difficult time.”In the post, the zoo said the mother and three remaining cubs showed no signs of complications and are thriving. The survival rate in the wild and under human care for the tigers is about one in three.It said the mom and cubs will not be on exhibit for several weeks, “as they bond together and get through the difficult stages of early development.” Marvin said it’s not yet clear what will happen to the cubs, but that the zoo would likely talk to other similar facilities that might be interested in acquiring them.“They’ll stay with the mom until we feel they’re suitably developed and growing and then we’ll consider our options based on other institutions that may be interested in our animals,” she said.A photo posted on its page last week showed the two brown and black-striped females and two males lined up side by side on a white sheet, with one appearing smaller than the others.“While she was not with us for long, she made a huge impact on staff,” the zoo’s Facebook post said.
OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says Pinnacle Foods Canada Corporation is recalling Aunt Jemima Frozen Waffles and Frozen French Toast Slices due to possible Listeria monocytogenes contamination.The CFIA says distributors, retailers and food service establishments such as hotels, restaurants, cafeterias, hospitals and nursing homes should not sell or use the recalled products.The CFIA says the recalled products were sold to food service accounts nationally, but there have been no reported illnesses.The recalled items are Aunt Jemima Waffles, 144 count, 3.57 kilograms, with UPC code 1 00 19600 43575 1; Aunt Jemima Original Thin French Toast, 144 count, 6.1 kilogram, with UPC 0 00 19600 05870 0; and Aunt Jemima Thick French Toast, 72 count, 4.86 kilogram with UPC 0 00 19600 43560 0.Food contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes may not look or smell spoiled. Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness.The CFIA says the recall was triggered by a voluntary recall in another country.
WAWA, Ont. – The giant honking Canada Goose in Wawa, Ont., that has quietly greeted countless travellers for more than five decades is set to fly its concrete roost ahead of the formal arrival of a replacement on Canada Day.Hundreds of townsfolk and dignitaries are expected to be on hand for the lifting of a parachute shroud that will mark the unveiling of fowl’s latest incarnation.“It’s our identity, so it’s been important for us,” said Chris Wray, Wawa’s chief administrative officer.Even though everyone already knows what Goose III will look like, excitement is mounting in the town, which plans an array of festivities to mark the occasion, including drummers and a performance by Fred Eaglesmith, the alternative country singer-songwriter known for his songs about the quirky folk of rural Canada.The new bird — essentially a clone of its immediate predecessor — was made of stainless steel in Trenton, Ont., based on detailed drawings of the older one for about $300,000. It’s about 8.5 metres tall with a wingspan of about six metres and comes in pieces that are to be assembled on site on a refurbished plinth.“We’re hoping that they’re going to be able to put most of it together under the parachute so that we don’t ruin the big reveal,” Wray said.The popular goose, visited by about 50,000 people a year, has appeared on a Canada Post stamp, inspired the song “Little Wawa,” appeared in the Hollywood movie “Snowcake,” and has been photographed countless times. It was the brainchild of local businessman Al Turcott, the prime mover behind “Operation Michipicoten” in the early 1950s.That scheme involved recruiting four young men to trek through the bush to Montreal River — pretending to get lost along the way — to press home to governments the need to fill in a missing stretch of the Trans-Canada Highway. However, when the highway was completed almost a decade later, Turcott realized passing motorists would need a reason to make the turn into the town, whose name in Ojibwe means “wild goose.”Townsfolk, skeptical of his notion, were pretty sure Turcott would end up with egg on his face. History shows he didn’t.Made of plaster-and-mesh, Goose I was erected in time for the opening of the nearby highway on Sept. 17, 1960. But within a couple of years, it was in such poor condition, the story goes, residents awoke one morning to finds parts scattered around. Much fuss and feathers ensued. The search for a sturdier replacement began.But Goose I wasn’t about to fade away without a squawk. Turcott moved it to an attraction he had out of town on the Michipicoten River called Fort Friendship. After he died and the property sold, vandals swooped down upon the hapless bird.“The goose was like in terrible shape, bullet holes, everything, it was horrible,” Anita Young, 69, owner of Young’s General Store, recalls.A local prospector, Mickey Clement, salvaged the bedraggled bird — it bears little resemblance to its progeny — and moved it to a motel on the Trans-Canada just east of town. About 16 years ago, Clement asked Young if she would take it. She agreed — as long as she could pay it off in instalments.“They had two fork lifts that brought it from the motel up the highway to this place. It was pretty exciting, I thought,” Young said of the April 2001 transport. “I have it now (and) I’m really proud to have it on my property. A lot of tourists don’t realize.”Goose I, badly in need of a spruce in the form of paint, now perches quietly beside her store, a little more than a kilometre from where Goose II, more rusty than rustic, is counting down the last days of its 50-plus years of welcoming visitors.One lingering question is why, in the 1980s, Goose II seemed to cross the road — although the answer appears to be “to get to the airport.” Puzzled locals remember finding huge goose footprints one morning leading from the statue, across the parking lot, and down the highway to the airport. An old newspaper report says crews from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., were called out for the cleanup.Young’s son Allan Young said last week the prints were the handiwork of his late father Bill Young and buddy Fern Provost.“They never admitted to it,” Allan Young told The Canadian Press. “But we still have the stencil they used.”As has been the case for decades, Goose I has lived in the shadow of its successor and, not surprisingly, will be largely ignored amid the focus on the formal welcoming to town of Goose III on Canada Day.One of those expecting to be on hand for the unveiling is Ken Lee, 83, of B.C.’s Salt Spring Island, who stood next to the original metal bird at the opening of the Trans-Canada back in 1960. As a Wawa councillor, it was Lee who proposed his wife’s idea of a contest — with a $50 prize — for a design for Goose II. Council went for it.Dutch ironworker, Dick van der Cliff, was the winner — his scale model still adorns council chambers. Council agreed to pay $5,000 for the big bird. Van der Cliff ran out of money but council refused to cough up more.“It was a real bargain,” Lee said.Like Goose I, Goose II will live on — in some form. Pieces, such as the head and a few intact feathers, will go to large donors. Other bits might be turned into stamped miniatures and sold, with a certificate of authenticity. Money raised would go toward maintenance of Goose III, which is expected to last at least 50 years.In recognition of the bird’s importance, both the federal and provincial governments kicked in about two-thirds of its cost.
BARRIE, Ont. – An Ontario police force is looking for help finding a man they allege used bear spray and a stun gun in a case of road rage.Barrie police say two men had been driving on Highway 400 on Sunday night when they had passed a burgundy, four-door Chrysler.They allege the driver became irate at being overtaken and then flashed his lights and rolled down his window to yell.Police say the man followed the two men as they got off the highway and went to their house.They allege the man then got out of his car, shot bear spray at the two men who were trying to get inside the house before attacking one of them with a stun gun.Police say the man got back into his car and took off.
OTTAWA – Long-standing problems with Canada’s military procurement system are threatening to undermine the Trudeau government’s vaunted defence policy, warns a new report.The study, published by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute this week, says the government is on track to spend billions less on new equipment this year than was promised in the Liberals’ policy.The main reason, says the report’s author, defence analyst David Perry, isn’t that the money isn’t available; bottle necks in the procurement system have slowed progress on a variety of projects, meaning the money can’t be spent.That has been a recurring theme in military procurement for the past five years, as the actual amount of money spent on new equipment has steadily declined because of delays and other snarls in the system.And while the Liberals’ defence policy, released last June, promised to dramatically increase year-over-year spending on new equipment over the next decade, it did not include any major new measures to address those problems.The short-term fear is that the military will have to wait longer than expected for new equipment; the bigger concern is that the Liberal government’s ambitious plan to revitalize and expand the military won’t materialize as promised.The first year of the 20-year defence policy, entitled “Strong, Secure, Engaged,” was supposed to see federal officials buy about $6-billion worth of new equipment for the Canadian Forces.Perry, however, found that barring a major surprise in the last quarter of the federal government’s fiscal year, officials will purchase between $3 billion and $4 billion in equipment.“The first fiscal year of Strong, Secure, Engaged is already providing evidence that the policy’s spending plans will not be achieved as outlined unless significant changes (to the procurement system) are made,” he wrote.The policy did include some planned reforms to the system, which has been the subject of years of criticism and controversy for failing to deliver much-needed equipment on time and on budget.And while some federal procurement officials have already acknowledged the challenge they face, they insist that efforts are underway to streamline the system and hire more specialized staff.“Financially, we’ve been very well resourced through the defence policy, and now we have to deliver on it,” Maj.-Gen. Jean-Marc Lanthier, who is responsible for managing National Defence’s corporate strategy, said in October.“The money is coming and our feet are being held to the fire to do what we said we could do.”But many experts and industry representatives worry those reforms will have only a limited effect, an assessment that Perry echoes, saying that a “paradigm shift” will be required to make sure the policy doesn’t go off the rails.That’s because the policy includes a plan to quadruple spending on new military equipment over the next seven years — an astronomical increase unparalleled in recent Canadian history.“While the procurement changes outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged are all sensible and likely to have some positive impact on procurement,” Perry wrote, “they are unlikely to support the paradigm change required.”Perry points to the way the defence policy was crafted as one of the main culprits for the current situation, noting that it was drafted in secret by a small group of defence officials without input from other departments.“This limited ability to realistically validate the hundreds of individual project schedules and their spending forecasts that comprise the capital spending plans of Strong, Secure, Engaged,” he wrote.“This is important because a project’s schedule dictates when DND will actually spend money. If schedules slip, funds are not spent as intended — a dynamic that has occurred repeatedly over the last 10 years.”— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter.
MEDICINE HAT, Alta. – Premier Rachel Notley says it’s hypocritical for Alberta’s United Conservatives to encourage more women to enter politics but then take aim at a woman who left their movement due to what she said was abuse.Notley says driving away Sandra Jansen, who is now NDP infrastructure minister, in such an ugly, public fashion still resonates.“That probably has had the biggest negative impact on women being involved in politics for many, many years,” Notley said after an announcement Wednesday.“Actions speak louder than words and it’s a bit hypocritical.”Notley was responding the day after former Conservative MP Rona Ambrose and Laureen Harper, wife of former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper, announced a non-profit foundation that will work to mentor and assist more women to run for Alberta’s United Conservatives in the spring provincial election.Laureen Harper told a crowd in Edmonton on Tuesday that she lives in Jansen’s Calgary North West riding. She said her husband told her that no matter who wins the United Conservative nomination, he will be going door to door in that constituency to make sure that person wins.Jansen did not reply to a request for comment but responded on Twitter.“If the UCP are sending the Harpers to door knock Calgary NW, then I assume my poll numbers are pretty good. See you guys in the hood today. Happy to buy any unemployed politician a coffee.”The two-term legislature member is a former rival to and bitter foe of United Conservative Party Leader Jason Kenney.She was a lifelong conservative elected as a Progressive Conservative in the 2015 election and ran against Kenney for leadership of the party in late 2016.But Jansen dropped out of the race, then quit the party altogether. She said harassment and abuse from Kenney supporters had become intolerable, particularly at a November 2016 party event in Red Deer.An investigation by the party found both Jansen and Kenney had been the target of abuse, but said there was no evidence specific campaigns had directed the attacks. Kenney called for civil discourse in debate.Jansen later crossed the floor to join the NDP and was eventually elevated to cabinet.Kenney’s PCs went on to merge with the Wildrose party to become the United Conservatives, which Kenney now leads.All parties are recruiting and nominating candidates ahead of the spring election. United Conservatives have nominated 19 candidates to date for the province’s 87 constituencies, including four women.Kenney has said 65 women are vying for nominations in the remaining races. Laila Goodridge has also joined caucus after winning a byelection in Fort McMurray-Conklin earlier this month.The parties are also fighting over fundraising. New numbers released Wednesday by Elections Alberta show the United Conservatives lead all parties by raising over $1.5 million in the first six months of 2018.The NDP is second at almost $1.2 million. The Alberta Party raised almost $255,000 and the Liberals just over $57,000.Notley dismissed concerns the NDP trailed the UCP in fundraising.“In the last election the Progressive Conservatives outspent our party (by) about 10 to one-ish, and yet we all saw the results.”Notley noted her government has since capped political donations and banned corporate and union donations.“It’s not going to be money that wins this election. It’s going to be ideas, and I am certainly happy to engage in a very robust contest on that platform,” she said.“It’s really a great feeling to know about the reception that our new party is getting from Albertans,” Janice Harrington, the UCP’s executive director, said in an interview.“It’s an indication that they’re ready for change and eager to get the province back on track.”— By Dean Bennett in Edmonton
HALIFAX – A Prohibition-era law that has for decades required “dry” Nova Scotia communities to hold plebiscites on whether to change their liquor rules is coming to an end.Nova Scotia’s Liberal government announced the change to its Liquor Control Act on Tuesday, making it the last jurisdiction in the country to end the unusual ritual.The law had called for votes when a business wanted to make or serve alcohol in a dry town, or the Nova Scotia Liquor Corp. sought to open an outlet in communities where the sale is restricted.There are about 100 communities — mostly in rural areas and some too small to support a bar — where the dry laws remained in place since the 1920s.As of Jan. 1 of next year, their municipal governments can quickly end this status if a brewery or liquor store wants to set up.Nova Scotia has been the only province that restricted where liquor can be sold or produced through provincial legislation. Other provinces have long relied on municipal zoning or bylaws to impose restrictions.The list of communities that were considered dry has been based on an old map in a government office in Halifax that is supposed to show which ones are still locked in Prohibition.But the names are so faded that the document is of little use.When an application is made for a rural liquor licence, research is often required to determine if the area is still dry because the electoral boundaries have been redrawn many times over the years.There’s also a different list of officially dry communities when it comes to the operation of liquor stores.Since taverns were first legalized in Nova Scotia in 1948, over 280 plebiscites have been held by the province’s alcohol and gaming division.As Finance Minister Karen Casey made the announcement on Tuesday, she noted recent plebiscites have had poor turnouts and have seen lopsided victories to end the liquor restrictions.It has also been two decades since any area voted against allowing the loosening of liquor restrictions.“The requirement dates back to Prohibition, and has become outdated,” said Casey.“They can be costly and they can add months in the time it takes to obtain licences and permits.”The province has seen a flourishing of wineries and small craft breweries in recent years, adding impetus to the Liberals’ desire to eliminate the plebiscite practice.Earlier this year, the community of North River, N.S., voted heavily to go “wet.”Similar one-sided victories occurred in Annapolis County’s District 3 and in District 4, according to Elections Nova Scotia results.Follow (at)mtuttoncporg on Twitter.
Canadian air traffic controllers have bought hundreds of pizzas for their American counterparts over the past few days in what has become an industry-wide show of support during the U.S. government’s partial shutdown.Peter Duffey, the head of the Canadian Air Traffic Control Association, said the initiative began Thursday when employees at Edmonton’s control centre took up a collection to buy pies for controllers in Anchorage, Alaska.Other facilities across Canada decided to join in, and the idea snowballed.“The next thing we knew, our members were buying pizzas left, right and centre for the colleagues in the U.S,” Duffey said Sunday in a phone interview.“As it stands right now, I believe we’re up to 36 facilities that have received pizza from Canada, and that number is growing by the hour.”Duffey estimates that as of Sunday afternoon, some 300 pizzas had been received by American controllers, many of whom took to social media to express their gratitude.Duffey said many union members had been looking for a way to show solidarity with their American colleagues, who have been working without pay due to the partial shutdown.“Air traffic control is a very stressful job,” he said.“They say you have to be 100 per cent right, 100 per cent of the time. People just don’t need to be reporting to work with the added stress of worrying about how to pay their mortgages and grocery bills on top of it.”He said one anonymous Canadian donor contributed $500 to the pizza fund, while another single-handedly bought lunch for two facilities in Phoenix, Arizona, to thank them for “taking care of all the snowbirds from Western Canada who go down for the winter.”Ron Singer, the national media manager for Nav Canada, which manages the country’s civil air navigation, says Canadian and American air traffic controllers interact “on a daily basis” as they manage North American airspace.“There’s a bond there, automatically,” he said in a phone interview.He said that as of Sunday afternoon, Nav Canada employees from all of Canada’s seven control centres and many of its towers have bought lunch for their U.S. counterparts.Some 10,000 air traffic controllers in the United States have been working without pay since late December due to the ongoing government shutdown.Their union filed a lawsuit in federal court in Washington on Friday, asking for an order compelling the government to pay them what they’re owed.
OTTAWA — Federal officials are set to blitz seniors in the coming weeks with letters to remind them to file their taxes on time hoping to get more low-income seniors enrolled in federal benefit programs.Tens of thousands of letters will go out to Canadians over 65 years old, as well as soon-to-be-seniors, explaining that they could be eligible for the low-income supplement on top of old age security.The government says many low-income seniors who could use the extra cash often don’t apply for it because they think they earn too much to qualify.Employment and Social Development Canada documents show more than one in 10 seniors who are eligible for the guaranteed income supplement didn’t receive it in 2016-17.What makes the initiative interesting is that federal officials are going through all the work now in order to never have to do it again.ESDC says the size of the mailings will shrink over time as more seniors are automatically enrolled in the program and will be instantly evaluated to see if they need the federal income supplement.The Canadian Press