The Canadian Press WINNIPEG – The man accused of killing an Indigenous teenager and dumping her body in the Red River told police he didn’t do it, and urged them to search for a suspect who looked like the lead singer of rock group Led Zeppelin.“Don’t focus on me,” Raymond Cormier told police during a 90-minute videotaped interview from Oct. 1, 2014, part of which was played in court Wednesday.“What happened to Tina was wrong.”Cormier has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Tina Fontaine, a petite 15-year-old girl whose body was found in the Red River, wrapped in a duvet cover and weighed down by rocks, on Aug 17, 2014.She had spent most of her life on the Sagkeeng First Nation and travelled to Winnipeg in late June of 2014 to reconnect with her birth mother. Court was told she became a sexually exploited youth.Cormier, 55, said he met Tina several times that summer and sometimes provided her and her boyfriend a place to stay overnight.In the video interview, Cormier told police he last saw Tina sometime in August after her boyfriend had left the city to return to a northern First Nations community.Tina had come to a home where Cormier was staying with friends, he said, and got upset when Cormier took a bicycle she had and sold it for marijuana. The two argued outside, he said, and he followed Tina as she walked away down the street.“She’s just yelling and screaming and I’m yelling and screaming and … I got pissed off and threw her weed at her feet and – gone, see you later,” Cormier sajd in the video.“And then I went back to (the house).”Cormier told the two officers interviewing him that there was a man walking in the same direction as Tina on the other side of the street, a little bit behind her.Cormier told police they should seek the man out as a person of interest, and then gave a description – a white skin, middle-aged man with shoulder-length dirty blonde hair who looked like a famous singer.“Robert Plant,” Cormier said.“Led Zeppelin?,” one of the officers asks.“Yeah.”The man had not said anything, Cormier added.Cormier said he couldn’t recall the date, but felt it was on a weekend just before Tina’s body was found.Court has already been told Tina’s boyfriend flew to St. Theresa Point on Aug. 6 – a Wednesday two days before she was last seen by social workers.Earlier in the day, court heard from Sgt. Shauna Neufeld of the Winnipeg Police Service’s missing person’s unit. She said Child and Family Services got involved with Tina after her great aunt, who raised the girl in Sagkeeng, couldn’t find her and asked for help.Tina ran away from hotels and a youth shelter four times in the summer of 2014. The last time was on Aug. 8.Tina had fallen asleep that morning in a parkade and was taken to hospital. The doctor who treated her said Tina had told paramedics she had taken the prescription drug Gabapentin, along with marijuana and alcohol.A urine test found evidence of amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine and alcohol. The doctor was concerned Tina might have been sexually exploited and offered a gynecological exam which Tina refused, she said.Tina was released into the custody of social worker Kim Chute, who took her to a downtown hotel.On the way, Chute said, Tina described having an older male friend who was going to give her a bicycle.“She said she was hanging out with a 62-year-old man named Sebastian who was a meth user,” Chute testified.Tina’s boyfriend, Cody Mason, has testified Cormier went by the name Sebastian at the time.Chute dropped off Tina at the hotel under the care of a private company employee who monitored Child and Family Services kids housed there.But Tina immediately left for a nearby shopping centre, saying she wanted to meet up with friends.“Did she tell you who those friends were?,” Cormier’s lawyer asked Chute under cross-examination.“No, she didn’t,” Chute replied.The next day, Tina was reported missing. Eight days after that, Tina’s body was found.
TORONTO – The CEO of Hudson’s Bay Co. will leave the company and return to his consulting firm next month, the company says — less than two months after he helped bring the Canadian department-store chain to an international market.Gerald Storch, who joined the Toronto-based retailer in January 2015, will return to Storch Advisors effective Nov. 1, the company said in a statement.“I’m looking forward to returning to my advisory firm to work with a range of companies during this transformational time for the retail industry,” Storch, who also once held the top job at Toys “R” Us, said.Richard Baker, whom Storch succeeded in the top role, will resume the CEO’s duties on an interim basis, while the company searches for a permanent replacement.Baker said he and the board are grateful for Storch’s work, which included leading cost-cutting efforts and addressing the challenges for the company’s multiple banners in a fast-evolving retail environment.The team at HBC (TSX:HBC) is focused on delivering a strong holiday season and looking forward at getting the most value from its retail and real estate assets, Baker said.The retailer, which owns Saks Fifth Avenue and Lord & Taylor, has been struggling in a shifting retail landscape where consumers are increasingly turning to online shopping.This summer, the company announced it was cutting 2,000 jobs and faced pressure from an activist investor to unlock value in its real estate holdings.HBC has remained focused on its European expansion, with the first Hudson’s Bay store opening last month in the Netherlands.At the time, Storch said there was a big gap in the Dutch market between a very-high end luxury player and discount chains, and he expected the company to be welcomed with open arms.Storch’s departure was announced after the Toronto Stock Exchange closed Friday. The stock was at $11.96 in Toronto prior to the announcement.
BEIJING, China – China have signed a series of multibillion-dollar business agreements during President Donald Trump’s visit in a tradition aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing’s trade policies.Commerce Minister Zhong Shan said agreements signed Thursday at a ceremony attended by Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, totalled $253.4 billion, though many were memoranda of understanding or other arrangements that were less than firm contracts. Commercial sales announced appeared to total about $65 billion, many involving goods Chinese companies routinely buy.Such contract signings are a fixture of visits to Beijing by foreign leaders and are meant to defuse foreign complaints about China’s trade surpluses and market barriers. They often represent purchases already made by Chinese mobile phone makers, airlines and other customers that are collected for the visit, which means they have little effect on the trade balance.The contracts give Trump the opportunity to claim a rare political win following a first year in office marked by little legislative progress on health care and taxes. Trump has made narrowing the U.S. trade deficit with China — $347 billion last year — a priority. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said that was a “central focus” of his talks with Xi.The American Chamber of Commerce in China said ahead of Trump’s visit it welcomed such contracts but expressed concern his focus on trade in goods might mean the president paid pays less attention to equally important issues such as complaints about restrictions on access to finance, health care and other industries in China’s state-dominated economy.Following the signing ceremony, Xi promised a more open business environment for foreign companies after Trump vowed to change unfair trade relations.“China will not close its doors and will open even wider,” said Xi. He promised a “more open, more transparent and more orderly” market.Previous administrations have celebrated similar market-opening promises only to be left disappointed.Both governments appeared to be doing their best to report the biggest total for contract signings for political benefit.The biggest agreements Thursday included a deal to co-operate on a gas project in Alaska valued at $43 billion and a shale gas demonstration project in West Virginia valued at $83.7 billion. There was no indication of how much money, if any, would change hands.Firmer contracts signed Thursday included the Chinese purchase of 300 Boeing Co. jetliners for $37 billion mobile phone chipsets from Qualcomm for $12 billion, General Electric Co. jet engines for $2.5 billion and soybeans for $1.6 billion.Ford Motor Co. committed to have its China joint venture import vehicles and auto parts worth $9.5 billion over three years and General Motors Co. made a similar commitment valued at $2.2 billion.That was on top of agreements signed Wednesday totalling $9 billion. Those included a pledge by China’s biggest online retailer, JD.com, to buy American beef and pork worth $1.2 billion and a separate memorandum of understanding on possible soybean purchases worth up to $3.4 billion.The U.S. Commerce Department said the Alaska gas project would create 12,000 jobs during construction.Other agreements included memoranda of understanding, or a promise to discuss the possibility of firmer deals, on liquefied natural gas sales and industrial development co-operation.China’s trade surplus with the United States in October widened by 12.2 per cent from a year earlier to $26.6 billion. The total surplus with the United States for the first 10 months of the year rose to $223 billion.China is the No. 3 export market for the United States after Canada and Mexico. U.S. exports to China rose 77 per cent from 2007 to 2016 but Washington reported a $347 billion trade deficit with China last year.Trump’s administration also is investigating whether Beijing improperly pressures foreign companies to hand over technology.Xi said China is willing to expand imports of LNG, crude oil and other U.S. energy products and would explore “the potential” of more imports of American beef, cotton and other agricultural products.It was also unclear if these pledges extend beyond a U.S.-China trade agreement announced in May that featured LNG and beef exports to China, which trade experts called a modest fulfilment of past assurances made by China.
CALGARY – The new CEO of Cenovus Energy Inc. (TSX:CVE) says he will focus on paying down debt through asset sales as he works to regain the trust of investors.Alex Pourbaix, 52, says he wants to ensure the Calgary-based company produces oil and gas that’s cost competitive with any other region of the world to ensure ongoing profitability.The lawyer who retired last spring as chief operating officer of pipeline company TransCanada Corp. (TSX:TRP) says supporting new energy pipelines to ensure growing market access remains a priority for him in the new role he began last week.Cenovus shares have tumbled by more than 20 per cent since the company announced in March it had agreed to buy out its Houston-based oilsands partner, ConocoPhillips, for $17.7 billion.The move was criticized by analysts who said Cenovus lacked the experience to operate ConocoPhillips’ northern Alberta and B.C. Deep Basin conventional assets included in the deal but Pourbaix says time will prove it was an astute move.Cenovus has struck deals to sell four major asset packages for a total of $3.7 billion to help pay for the purchase. Pourbaix says his priority is to close those transactions and sell an additional package of non-core Deep Basin assets.“(The) number one urgent priority is to get the divestitures done … to get the debt leverage in this company down to an acceptable and sustainable level,” Pourbaix said.“From the perspective of the board, they were looking for someone who was going to have a great passion for continuing to drive efficiencies in this organization, driving accountability and driving shareholder returns. Those are my priorities.”
TORONTO – It was another record close for Canada’s main stock index despite a sharp drop in the health-care sector, which includes some of the country’s biggest marijuana companies.The S&P/TSX composite index was up 41.39 points to 16,412.94, gaining ground throughout the day after flatlining earlier on Thursday amid a free fall in cannabis stocks.Pot stocks were pummelled after The Associated Press reported that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions will rescind an Obama-era policy that generally barred federal law enforcement officials from interfering with marijuana sales in states where the drug is legal.“That’s added huge volatility today to the marijuana stocks. They all sold off huge in the morning, came back part way during the day and seemed to be cooling off again,” said Norman Levine, managing director of Portfolio Management Corp.“It just shows the unbelievable volatility of these groups because there aren’t really fundamentals in valuations behind it. These are emotionally driven stocks. It shows that even though the vast majority of these stocks have little to do with the United States, it doesn’t take much to set them off one way or another.”Shares of major licensed Canadian cannabis producers such as Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) and Aphria Inc. (TSX:APH) were down 9.97 per cent and 13.79 per cent at the close of markets Thursday.South of the border, Wall Street indices also hit consecutive all-time highs as the Dow Jones industrial average breached the 25,000 mark for the first time, just five weeks since its first close above 24,000. It climbed 152.45 points to settle at 25,075.13.The S&P 500 index added 10.93 points to 2,723.99 and the Nasdaq composite index advanced 12.38 points to 7,077.92.Strong global economic growth and good prospects for higher company earnings have analysts predicting more gains for the Dow, although the market may not stay as calm as it has been recently.The Dow has made a rapid trip from 24,000 points on November 30, partly on enthusiasm over passage of the Republican-backed tax package, which could boost company profits this year with across-the-board cuts to corporate taxes.“For a long while in 2017 I would say the biggest driver was excitement and anticipation over tax reform, but at a certain point I think there was a handover to global economic growth really helping to carry the stock market,” said Kristina Hooper, chief global markets strategist at Invesco.In currency markets, the Canadian dollar closed at an average trading value of 79.90 cents US, up 0.11 of a U.S. cent.On the commodities front, the February crude contract gained 38 cents to US$62.01 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was down 13 cents to US$2.88 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$3.10 to US$1,321.60 an ounce and the March copper contract added one cent at US$3.26 a pound.– With files from The Associated Press.Follow @DaveHTO on Twitter.
MINNEAPOLIS – Minnesota regulators on Thursday granted key permits to the long-planned PolyMet copper-mining project that’s opposed by environmentalists who fear it could someday foul waters, including Lake Superior.The state Department of Natural Resources issued permits to PolyMet Mining Inc. for the company’s proposed NorthMet project in northeastern Minnesota. The project still needs permits from other agencies, and likely faces court challenges.“No project in the history of Minnesota has been more thoroughly evaluated,” DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr said in announcing approval of permits for the project, first proposed in 2004.Environmentalists have opposed the mine for fear it could pollute pristine waters and destroy habitat for grey wolves and Canada lynx. The project would be located near tributaries feeding the St. Louis River, 175 river miles upstream from Lake Superior.Duluth for Clean Water said the proposed mine “would create permanent, toxic pollution in the headwaters of Lake Superior, putting our communities and lives in constant danger.”“The massive open-pit mine would destroy huge swaths of the Superior National Forest and significantly increase annual CO2 emissions in Minnesota at the worst possible time,” the group said.PolyMet contends it can operate the proposed mine near Hoyt Lakes and Babbitt without harming the environment while creating hundreds of badly needed jobs on Minnesota’s Iron Range.“We look forward to building and operating a modern mine and developing the materials that sustain and enhance our modern world,” PolyMet President and CEO Jon Cherry said in a news release. “Responsibly developing these strategic minerals in compliance with these permits while protecting Minnesota’s natural resources is our top priority as we move forward.”Paula Maccabee, an attorney for environmental group WaterLegacy, said environmentalists will likely appeal if permits are granted, or they could request that the DNR reconsider its decision.The agency issued a permit to mine, six water appropriation permits, two dam safety permits, a public waters work permit and an endangered species takings permit for the project. The permit to mine includes a financial assurance plan — designed to provide enough money so the DNR can reclaim and close the mine and plant site in case PolyMet does not — and a wetland replacement plan. The project still requires water and air quality permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency and a wetlands permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.Landwehr said the DNR is “confident that the project can be built, operated, and reclaimed in compliance with Minnesota’s rigorous environmental standards.”“Yes, there will be an environmental impact,” Landwehr told reporters. “Our job is to ensure those environmental impacts are within state standards, and whenever required, they are mitigated.”Maccabee and other environmentalists questioned why the DNR did not conduct a contested case hearing for an independent review before issuing the permits. But Landwehr said the project did not meet the standards under state law for such a trial-like hearing.“These permits should be reviewed by an independent administrative law judge to establish the facts before permit decisions are made,” Kathryn Hoffman, chief executive of the Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy, said in a statement, noting that such hearings are routine for pipelines and power plants. “It is special treatment for PolyMet to skip this vital step for the first copper-nickel mine to apply for permits in Minnesota.”Minnesota Republican legislative leaders hailed the DNR’s decision.“This new mine will create many good-paying jobs in Northeastern Minnesota and provide a real boost to the state’s economy,” House Speaker Kurt Daudt, a Republican from Crown, said in a statement.The project would cost an estimated $945 million to construct. PolyMet said site preparation and rehabilitation of the former LTV Steel plant for a copper-nickel processing plant will continue through the winter and early spring. The company said the bulk of work is expected to start in the 2019 construction season and last about 24 to 30 months.___Follow Jeff Baenen on Twitter at https://twitter.com/jeffbaenen .
MADRID — Spain has rolled out the red carpet for visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is seeking global allies amid souring trade clashes with Washington.Xi and King Felipe VI have reviewed Spain’s guard of honour at the Royal Palace in the Spanish capital while Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan and Spanish Queen Letizia observed the ceremony from a podium.Xi is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez later Wednesday and both will preside over the signing of around 20 government and business agreements, including a deal to export on-the-bone legs of Iberian ham to the Chinese market.The Chinese leader follows his two-day visit to Spain by flying to Argentina on Thursday for a G-20 leaders’ summit the next day, and visits to Panama and Portugal until Dec. 5.The Associated Press
Kolkata: The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) has started conducting costly blood tests free of cost for the treatment of kidney ailments, diabetes and heart and thyroid related problems.A senior civic official said costly tests like the liver function test, kidney test, thyroid test, lipid profile and fasting and PP sugar tests are done at KMC laboratories situated in the boroughs, free of cost. KMC has set up urban primary health centres in every ward, where treatment is done by specialised doctors. There are full-time and part-time doctors at the centres. A senior KMC doctor said the number of people suffering from diabetes and heart ailments has gone up sharply over the past few years. To combat the situation, special diabetic clinics have been opened in every borough where endocrinologists offer treatment to the patients. The clinics are being run once a week. The doctors treating diabetics in the wards refer critical patients to the special clinics. He said what is most alarming is that children are often found to be suffering from diabetes because of sedentary lifestyle and wrong food habits. He said in many cases, the parents bring the children to the clinics but suddenly stop medicines when the sugar level comes under control. However, many of these children are found to be suffering from total renal failure when they grow up. He said if the children are found to be suffering from diabetes, the parents should sit with the doctors separately and know about the disease as well as the treatment. He said heart diseases are going up among people coming from economically weaker sections. Heart treatment is very costly and state-run hospitals are overcrowded. In KMC clinics, the patients are examined by expert doctors, who treat them. In addition to this, patients suffering from respiratory distress are also treated there. It may be mentioned that KMC has set up 16 dengue clinics in Kolkata, where the patients are given medicines free of cost. The civic official regretted that as the tests are conducted free of cost, people prefer private laboratories to KMC labs. He said KMC will soon launch a campaign, urging pople to come to the KMC clinics and urban primary health centres.
New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to drop five social science chapters from class 10 syllabus from this academic session, according to the new curriculum.The dropped chapters, including three on political studies and two on environment, will only be part of internal assessment, but not the final board exam. The chapters are — Challenges to Democracy, Democracy and Diversity, Political Struggles and Movements, Forest and Wildlife and Water Resources. “The chapter will be assessed in the periodic tests, but will not be evaluated in the board examination,” the brief attached with the syllabus sent to schools read. The board had last month issued a circular to schools, saying it wanted to align its assessment patterns with future needs as the Ministry of Human Resource Development has decided to participate in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in 2021. “Countrywide consultations were held with CBSE stakeholders, including teachers, students, heads of institutions and experts in the field to suggest ways to strengthen the assessment and evaluation practices of the board,” the circular read. “It was agreed upon that the school-based or internal assessment needs to be strengthened by incorporating more diverse strategies,” it added.
Washington DC: In a move that could have implications on India’s energy security, US President Donald Trump on Monday decided not to grant sanctions exemptions to any oil customers of Iran, further squeezing Tehran’s top export commodity. “President Donald J. Trump has decided not to reissue Significant Reduction Exceptions (SREs) when they expire in early May. This decision is intended to bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe US re-imposed sanctions on Iran last November, after President Trump pulled out of the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The US’ move which is seen as an escalation of President Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” on Iran comes after it last year gave temporary 180-days waiver to eight countries, including India, China, Turkey and Japan among others. As a result of this decision all countries including India would have to bring down its import of oil from Iran by May 2. Greece, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan have already heavily reduced their oil imports from Iran. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostIran is India’s third-largest oil supplier behind Iraq and Saudi Arabia. Iran supplied 18.4 million tonnes of crude oil during April 2017 and January 2018 (first 10 months of 2017-18 fiscal). The US, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, three of the world’s great energy producers, along with its friends and allies, are committed to ensuring that global oil markets remain adequately supplied, Sanders said. “We have agreed to take timely action to assure that global demand is met as all Iranian oil is removed from the market,” she said. In a statement, Sanders said the Trump Administration and its allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime’s destabilising activity threatening the United States, its partners and allies, and security in the Middle East. “The President’s decision to eliminate all SREs follows the designation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a Foreign Terrorist Organisation, demonstrating the US’ commitment to disrupting Iran’s terror network and changing the regime’s malign behaviour. We welcome the support of our friends and allies for this effort,” Sanders said. China and India are currently the largest importers of Iranian oil. If they don’t go along with Trump’s demands, that could cause tensions in both bilateral relationships and spill over into other issues, like trade, the Washington Post reported.
Srinagar: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Wednesday led a protest march of her party activists in Jammu and Kashmir’s Pulwama district against the suspension of cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade and ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI). The protest march was taken out from Town Hall Pulwama to deputy commissioner’s office. Mehbooba demanded the revocation of the decision to suspend the cross-LoC trade and sought immediate release of Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman Mohammad Yasin Malik from custody. She also sought revocation of ban on JeI and an end to the ban on civilian traffic on Srinagar-Jammu National Highway. Malik is not in good health. I want to tell the Government of India that if God forbid, his health worsens, then the situation here will deteriorate further which will be very difficult to control. Our fight is against militants, but you should not harass their families, she told reporters.
New Delhi: Just when the industry through innovation in the smartphone business had hit stagnation, Samsung wowed us with its first foldable device “Galaxy Fold,” worth a whopping $2,000. A super-premium phone that took almost a decade in the making and opens like a book when unfolded, shouted everything next-generation. However, the expectations took a beating when reports of the Galaxy Fold issues surfaced. The units given to international tech reviewers encountered display distortion and screen flickering issues, forcing the South Korean giant to postpone its launch in Hong Kong and Shanghai on April 23 and 24 respectively, and issue a recall of review units. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The big question lingers: Will the “Foldgate” make a dent in Samsung’s image like the Galaxy Note 7 with exploding batteries did in 2016? According to CyberMedia Research (CMR), the smartphone major has been mature and pragmatic enough by postponing its launch and sorting out all the issues before its general availiability. “All said, for Samsung, there is no race for first past the post with its foldable smartphone. It is more imperative for the company to focus on not delivering a flawed product, but rather ensuring highest consumer experience when the device goes on sales,” Prabhu Ram, Head, Industry Intelligence Group (IIG), CMR, told IANS. Also Read – New HP Pavilion x360 notebook with in-built Alexa in India Defending its devices just days before its roll-out, a Samsung spokesperson assured that the firm would “thoroughly inspect” the units. According to market research firm Gartner, foldable phones would make up 5 per cent of high-end phones sales by 2023 with around 30 million units. According to Faisal Kawoosa, Founder and Principal Analyst of market research firm techARC, from a technology-rich company like Samsung, “one would expect things out only after reliability of desired levels are achieved”. The Galaxy Fold is expected to be priced around Rs 1,40,790 in India. “Nevertheless, the lab and real-world conditions play differently. I don’t see it as a big issue as the product has not exchanged hands with consumers yet. They have time to correct this aberration,” Kawoosa told IANS. Some units of the Galaxy Fold, which became the first phone with a foldable OLED display, is encountering two primary issues: the foldable screen seems to have a layer of protective layer that is similar to a cheap screen film. Several units reportedly failed after the layer was taken off. Few other screens failed because the hinge exposed areas which allowed debris to get inside of the display, thus, damaging the unit. “We expect that users will use a foldable phone as they do their regular smartphone, picking it up hundreds of times a day, unfolding it sporadically and typing on its plastic screen, which may scratch quickly depending on the way it folds,” Roberta Cozza, Research Director at Gartner had earlier said. However, according to market research firm techARC, this is primarily a material issue than a design. “I think till the time it’s a plastic-based screen, the chances of such mishaps remain high. I would certainly like to see a glass display, that too from credible makers like Corning, to have a reliable foldable screen,” stressed Kawoosa. Moreover, there’s no denying that the second-generation of foldable devices would be better that the experimental and ambitious first generation iterations. “The first generation of an innovation is always experimental, and which over successive iterations achieves perfection. Let’s’face it. The Galaxy Fold was just a mistake in timing. It does not take away anything from its manufacturing capabilities,” Ram noted.
Mumbai: Actor Nawazuddin Siddiqui is all set to make a special appearance in Akshay Kumar-starrer “Housefull 4”. Producer Sajid Nadiadwala has roped in the “Photograph” actor to play a pivotal role, which will make an interesting twist to the plot of the film, sources close to the development said. “We will be shooting a song with Nawaz along with all the six actors. The song will have a major gravity in the movie in which Nawaz will have a pivotal role to play. It will be a grand song with 500 dancers and Ganesh Master setting the choreography,” the sources said. “We have a 5 day schedule for the same. Director Farhad Samji along with the team was working on this development for over 2 weeks and finally we shall shoot in end of May for the same,” they added. The fourth instalment of the comedy franchise is set to release in Diwali this year. The film will also feature Riteish Deshmukh, Bobby Deol, Kriti Sanon, Kriti Kharbanda and Pooja Hegde along with Rana Daggubatti.
New Delhi: BJP president Amit Shah has slammed the Congress over its leader Sam Pitroda’s “so what” remarks on the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, saying they have “exposed” its mindset and asserted it is under the Narendra Modi government that culprits were punished and families of victims compensated. “Thousands of Sikhs were killed mercilessly. The then prime minister Rajiv Gandhi justified it. No one was punished. Manmohan Singh was made (by the Congress) to apologise. What Sam Pitroda has said exposes the Congress’ mindset,” he told PTI. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework On Thursday, Pitroda, had dismissed questions about 1984 riots, saying “hua to hua” (so what), triggering a political furore that led to Congress president Rahul Gandhi denouncing his comments followed by an apology from him on Friday. Shah spoke to PTI before Pitroda tendered the apology. The BJP president said several Congress governments at the Centre did little to go after those behind the communal violence and added that they were punished by the Modi government. Also Read – Trio win Nobel Medicine Prize for work on cells, oxygen The riots, which had left thousands of Sikhs dead, remain an emotive issue, especially in Delhi, which was the worst affected city, and Punjab, where the community live in very large numbers. The BJP has sought to corner the Congress over the carnage, as both Delhi and Punjab head for the Lok Sabha polls. Elections in the national capital will take place on Sunday and in Punjab on May 19. To a question about the BJP’s controversial decision to field Malegaon blast accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur from Bhopal, Shah strongly defended the decision. He said she may be still an accused but the conspiracy she has been charged with has already been rejected by courts in other cases of terror in which right wing Hindutva elements were blamed. Accusing the Congress of manufacturing “fake Hindu terror” cases to defame Hindus for its “vote bank” politics, Shah said courts have already rejected the theory and the BJP’s decision to field Thakur was the saffron party’s “satyagrah” against the opposition party. Thakur has been pitted against veteran Congress leader Digvijay Singh. Targeting the Congress, Shah said people – allegedly linked to terrorist outfit LeT- arrested in Samjhauta train blast case were released by the UPA government and compensated as well, after investigators later claimed that Hindutva elements were behind the terror. A court, however, acquitted all accused, including Hindutva activist Swami Aseemanand. Shah expressed confidence that the BJP will win more than 282 seats it had won in 2014, saying its number of seats and victory margins will increase with the party set to do well in regions where it had been traditionally weak.
CAIRO – An Egyptian court sentenced 12 supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi to 17 years in prison on Wednesday for taking part in a violent protest, state media reported.The official MENA news agency reported the protesters were convicted of attacking the headquarters of the Islamic Al-Azhar institution during the protest.The men were arrested after protesters in October tried to storm Al-Azhar’s offices, which supported the military’s overthrow of Morsi. More than 1,000 people, most of them Morsi’s supporters, have been killed in clashes with police since his ouster in July.Thousands have been arrested, with many going to trial.Morsi himself is on trial for alleged involvement in the killings of opposition protesters outside his palace.
ALGIERS – President Abdelaziz Bouteflika told Algerian television Monday he has registered as a candidate for reelection, in his first public remarks since he suffered a mini stroke in April 2013.“I came to officially submit my application in accordance with article 74 of the constitution and the electoral law,” said the 77-year-old who is bidding for a fourth term in the April 17 election.Article 74 says the “president of the republic is reelectable,” and effectively removed limits on the number of terms in office the head of state could serve, allowing Bouteflika to stand for win a third mandate in 2009. In the footage broadcast by Algerian television, Bouteflika appeared sitting in an armchair facing the head of the constitutional council, Mourad Medelci.His voice was barely audible as he made his statement, and quickly cut to the president adding his signature to the declaration of his candidacy.Bouteflika has not made any public addresses since returning home from France in July after treatment for a mini stroke. He has also received only a few foreign dignitaries and chaired just two cabinet meetings.He is the fifth candidate to have registered to run in the presidential elections ahead of the midnight Tuesday deadline.The other candidates to register before him were Moussa Touati of the Algerian National Front (FNA), Abdelaziz Belad of the El-Moustakbel Front (FM), head of the Algerian Rally Ali Zaghdoud, and the Workers Party’s Louisa Hanoune.
Madrid – The first secretary of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces party (USFP) Dridd Lachgar met, on Thursday in Madrid, with secretary general of the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba.The talks touched on several issues of shared interest, mainly the Moroccan-Spanish ties, means to boost bilateral cooperation in all areas, and coordination between the USFP and the PSOE in regional and international matters.In a statement to MAP, Lachgar said that the meeting is part of contacts between the two political parties, noting that Rubalcaba underlined the strategic and priority aspect of ties with Morocco, saying that developing cooperation with Morocco is a priority for Spain’s foreign policy regardless of the government in power. The PSOE leader expressed the wish to see cooperation relations with Morocco getting stronger to serve the interests of the two countries’ peoples, Lachgar added.
Rabat – The appropriation draft bill for 2015 is not an austerity budget and does not include any cuts or new taxes, said Thursday in Rabat Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Boussaid.“The 2015 finance draft bill is not an austerity budget and does not provides for new taxes or cuts,” Boussaid told journalists at a press briefing dedicated to the presentation of the draft bill.On the contrary, added the minister, “the public investment budget increased to reach 189 billion dirhams compared to 186.6 billion dirhams in 2014.” The public investment budget is expected to reach 189 billion dirhams, including more than 2.4 billion dirhams to strengthen the general budget investment (54 billion dirhams), he pointed out, noting that public investments will focus on accelerating projects related to the improvement of the living conditions of citizens.These funds concern large-scale infrastructure projects and sectorial development strategies aimed at diversifying productive sectors, creating jobs and boosting export capabilities.
Rabat – Brussels – On the backdrop of the embezzlement disclosures involving the Polisario and their mentor Algeria, several members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from different EU member states urged, on Monday night, the EU to halt sending humanitarian aid to the camps of Tindouf until a census of the population held in the camps is conducted.The MEPs submitted a draft resolution requesting the European Commission to immediately stop sending humanitarian aid as long as the exact number of the camps’ population is not established through a census by the UN refugee agency (UNHCR).The draft resolution slams Algeria for refusing to cooperate with the UNHCR to conduct a transparent census that would help curb the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario. The signatories of the resolution decried that the embezzlement network has been taking advantage of the generosity of the EU for years.Recently, the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) released a report disclosing the fraudulent practices of massive aid embezzlement by Algeria and the Polisario.The report disclosed that a large part of the humanitarian aid sent to the population in the camps of Tindouf gets diverted in the port of Oran. Only a small part of aid reaches the camp while the rests is often sold in markets in neighboring countries.This embezzlement is mainly ascribed to the inflation of the number of the population in the Polisario-run camps in south-western Algeria.
MONTREAL — Unifor’s Quebec director Renaud Gagne is calling on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to follow in Ontario Premier Doug Ford’s footsteps by pledging support for General Motors workers faced with a looming plant closure.Some 300 Unifor members, including about 60 retirees from the now-demolished GM plant in Sainte-Therese, Que., showed their support for Oshawa GM workers on Friday, taking advantage of the Montreal Auto Show now underway.Demonstrators were visible throughout the exhibition. Many wore blue T-shirts with the slogan, “GM to sell here, build here,” and chanted the slogan, “Say-say-say-save GM,” both in French.The General Motors plant in Oshawa, Ont., is slated to shut down at the end of 2019, resulting in an expected 2,600 job losses at the factory.Gagne cited a union-commissioned study that forecasts that by 2025, the closure will have prompted 14,000 job losses in Ontario and 10,000 in the rest of Canada.Gagne noted that some 10,000 people work in the auto parts sector in Quebec.The Canadian Press