Blott investigators make serious allegations

first_imgBy Paul Barnsley and Kathleen MartensAPTN National NewsVANCOUVER–After six days of hearings in Vancouver Supreme Court, the decision on what to do with Calgary law firm Blott & Company now rests in the hands of Justice Brenda Brown, one of nine judges across the country who oversee the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.In the meantime, thousands of former residential school students are waiting to find out what will happen with their Independent Assessment Process (IAP) claims for compensation for physical and/or sexual abuse they suffered in the schools as children.The judge ordered an investigation into Blott & Company on Nov. 10, 2011 after complaints were filed by four of the law firm’s clients.Starting April 30, Crawford Class Action Services, the Ontario-based firm that monitors the IAP on behalf of the court, presented the findings of its four-month, $3 million investigation in court.Crawford employed former police detectives, lawyers and forensic accountants to go through the material that was obtained during the investigation.APTN National News and Current Affairs was provided with a copy of the report to the court submitted by Michael Mooney, the vice president of Crawford.The 51-page report expands on the results of the APTN Investigates report first broadcast last November. It contains allegations that have not been proven in court. Justice Brown is now assessing the court monitor’s submissions and other testimony. She did not say when she will render her final decision.Looming over this waiting process is the Sept. 19 deadline for submitting IAP applications to the government.The report reveals that investigators obtained more than 200,000 documents. More than 800 Blott & Company clients were interviewed. Computer hard drives and documentation was taken by investigators at a variety of locations in Alberta and Saskatchewan.Mooney wrote that “those interviews and documents clearly show that a substantial number of the claims of the Blott claimants are not being administered in the manner contemplated by the settlement agreement and related court orders, directions and protocols.”“The resulting harm to the Blott claimants is both emotional and financial,” he added.While disputed by Roy Millen, the lawyer who represented David Blott, principle partner of Blott & Company, during the Vancouver hearings, if accepted as credible evidence by the judge, the monitor’s report – and the thousands of pages of supporting documentation – would represent a scathing indictment of the people involved with Blott & Company.Mooney told the court that 1,159 claimants who filled out application forms for the IAP had not been submitted to the IAP Secretariat, the federal government agency set up to administer the IAP process.Those people believed their files were active but they were not, Mooney wrote.“Given the age of many Blott claimants, a delay of, in some cases, more than a year in submission of a completed application is contrary to the aims of the settlement and not at all in the best interests of the claimant,” Mooney wrote.Mooney and his investigators have concluded that the many companies and corporate entities created by Blott and others are connected to each other, with the goal being to take as much of the residential schools compensation money as possible. The monitor’s report alleges that illegal and unethical means were employed.The relationships between form-filler company Honour Walk, loan companies Settlement Lenders and BridgePoint Financial, Funds Now, Hands Free Office Services and Blott & Company is a complex mix of corporations, including several numbered companies.But the investigators say those companies share “common directorships, investors, financial transactions, ownership details and other interactions showing the nature of the relationships between the parties and the involvement of Blott & Company and David Blott in the processes.”“Although a number of separate corporate entities appeared to be involved in each step of the activity (recruitment, form filling, legal representation, lending) the relationships between the parties is such that on an ongoing basis there are clear issues of conflict of interest, improper access to personal information and unauthorized access to privileged legal files by non-lawyers,” the report also states.The IAP application form is a complicated document that has great importance to the eventual decision on the compensation amount. Some law firms only allow lawyers or paralegals to fill out the forms. Honour Walk, the company that filled out IAP forms for Blott and Company, mostly employs people with little or no legal training, Crawford attorney Lou Zivot told the court.Honor Walk was paid $200,000 a month by Blott & Company, Mooney’s report alleges. The report also says that Honour Walk president Thom Denomme was provided with a vehicle and a credit card by the law firm.The investigators say they found evidence that Honour Walk form fillers falsified IAP applications at the direction of Blott & Company lawyers.“The monitor’s investigation reveals that the Blott & Company lawyers provided guidance to form fillers to make changes to applications already completed by Blott claimants so that the applications submitted . . . did not accurately reflect the information provided by the Blott claimant despite the certification on the application by the Blott & Company lawyers,” the report states.The monitor’s report also alleges that Blott & Company and Honour Walk stockpiled clients, falsifying documentation to disguise that fact, to the detriment of the clients.“In one instance, the back dating of an application form by David Blott led to an application being submitted that was ‘certified’ by David Blott more than two months after the claimant had in fact passed away and that particular application was then submitted to the IAP Secretariat by David Blott several months later,” Mooney wrote. Investigators reported to the court that in 10 boxes of applications seized from David Blott’s main office, they found the files of 63 people who had died.The average settlement under the IAP is just over $120,000. The federal government pays an additional 15 per cent of that amount to lawyers to cover legal fees and expenses. For cases that require more than the usual amount of work, the settlement agreement allows lawyers to charge a maximum of an additional 15 per cent. That additional legal cost is deducted from the clients’ settlement payment.But the Crawford investigators reported to the court that they discovered that Blott & Company and the allegedly affiliated companies found other ways to increase the amount of money they could charge the clients.Funds Now, a company owned by Calgary businessman David Hamm was created to locate companies that would loan money to survivors in advance of them receiving their settlement cheques, the monitor alleges.  Mooney wrote that Funds Now was charging a 20 per cent finders’ fee, above and beyond the interest charges that the loan companies charged. That fee was eventually reduced to 10 per cent.In court, Zivot called the combination of high interest rates and fees charged for the loans “criminal.”Zivot told Justice Brown the loans are “a very serious matter.”He said the monitor had auditors analyse numerous loans. He alleged they discovered that BridgePoint Financial exceeded 60 per cent once all fees were charged, including arrangement fees, interest and finder’s fee charged by Funds Now.He told the court it was an “astonishing” thing to do when they knew clients had an award coming in, adding there was a “predatory nature” to this.Zivot alleged that David Blott participated in the assignments that led to the loans, something that is prohibited by the settlement agreement and federal law.And Zivot also told the court that many of the clients did not receive the full amount of their loans.Auditors retained by Crawford analyzed the loans of six claimants and compiled a chart of loans and fees to see what was actually disbursed to the claimants. These six did not receive the full value of their loans, Zivot told the court, adding that one of the complainants is owed $7,000 plus fees. He said the total shortfall for the six loans was $80,000.Mooney’s report includes a chart entitled “Known relationships (prior and current) between individuals and parties involved.”Five members of the Blott family are listed on that chart, along with 26 others: David Blott, Sherry Blott, Barbara Blott, Randy Blott and Shaun Blott. At least one of those people was involved in making a loan to an IAP client.The monitor concluded its report with a series of recommendations to the court. The main decision it urges the judge to make is to decide whether Blott & Company should be removed from the IAP process or, as the Law Society of Alberta has done, left the law firm in place to complete the files so that the many Blott & Company clients are allowed to complete their claims without interruption.kmartens@aptn.capbarnsley@aptn.calast_img read more

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Winnipeg mother speaks out about bullied son

first_imgAPTN National NewsIt’s been a year-and-a-half since British Columbia teen Amanda Tood committed suicide after being victimized through cyber bullying.Now another high profile suicide of a young girl in the Maritimes has hit the news.APTN National News reporter Shaneen Robinson says bullying is an everyday reality for one Winnipeg boy and his mother is speaking out.last_img

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Algonquin First Nations want consultation on huge Ottawa development

first_imgAPTN National NewsA federal government agency that manages thousands of hectares of Ottawa and Gatineau land is being slammed for not having an official protocol for consulting Indigenous communities about land use.The agency, called the National Capital Commission, has been spearheading the development of a huge plot of downtown land called the LeBreton Flats.As the development moves forward, the Algonquin communities whose unceded territory it rests on are worried about being left out of consultations.APTN’s Rachel Gilmore has the story.last_img

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Debate swirls around whether to release young bear back into Albertas wild

first_imgChris StewartAPTN NewsA seven-month old black bear in Alberta is at the centre of a battle on whether she should be released to the wild.The bear named Maskwa (Cree for bear) was found near death by the side of the road.She has now recovered and the province of Alberta wants to release her back to nature next month.But the Cochrane Ecological Institute says at eight months, Maskwa will still be too young and the bear will not be able to survive on its own.cstewart@aptn.ca@aptnchrislast_img

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Users transferring between TTC and GO Transit to receive reduced cofare

first_imgTORONTO – Commuters in Toronto who use both GO Transit and the city’s public transportation network will be getting a discount on their fares.A spokesman for Toronto Mayor John Tory says that when the co-fares come into effect, people who ride the Toronto Transit Commission and transfer to GO will receive $1.50 off of their GO fare when they use a Presto card.If they transfer from GO to the TTC with their Presto card, the same discount will be taken from their TTC fare.Don Peat says the change will likely come into effect by the end of this year or early next year.He says the province has agreed to reimburse the Toronto Transit Commission for the cost of the reduced fares.Anne Marie Aikin, a spokeswoman for Metrolinx, says GO already has co-fares with 12 transit agencies in the province.last_img read more

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Alberta Labour inspectors find no infractions at Lethbridge Burger King

first_imgLETHBRIDGE, Alta. – Alberta Labour says it found no violations at a Lethbridge Burger King where an earlier public health inspection found evidence of foreign workers sleeping in the restaurant.Last week, Alberta Health Services ordered the franchise to remove all mattresses and furnishings and no longer let people stay, live or sleep on the premises.Alberta Health Services says the owner has complied with the order, which also flagged issues around cleanup from a burst pipe and storage of unused equipment.The provincial labour ministry says it received no formal complaint, but investigated when it learned of the workers’ reported living arrangements.Spokesman Andrew Hanon says there was a site inspection on Thursday and no occupational health and safety or employment standards issues were found.He says an employee at the restaurant who was in Canada on a work permit was confirmed to be living elsewhere.“All Albertans deserve workplaces that are safe, fair and family-friendly and we take all reports of this nature very seriously,” Hanon said in an emailed statement Friday.“Alberta’s workplace laws apply equally to everyone and any accusation of an employer potentially taking advantage of workers or putting worker safety at risk is completely unacceptable, and will not be tolerated.”Burger King said in an emailed statement earlier this week that it had spoken with the independent owner of the location and had no new information to provide Friday.“He has confirmed that the accusations regarding accommodations are not true,” said the company. “However, we will continue to ensure compliance with our high operational standards.”Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version said there was a temporary foreign worker at the Burger King based on information from Alberta Labour.last_img read more

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CMHC reports annual pace of housing starts in Canada jumped higher in

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. says the annual pace of new home building increased in June, boosted by a jump in multi-unit projects.The federal housing agency says the seasonally adjusted annual rate of housing starts increased to 248,138 units in June, up from 193,902 in May.The increase came as the seasonally adjusted annual rate of urban starts climbed 29.9 per cent in June to 228,844.Multiple urban starts increased 46.4 per cent to 172,845, while single-detached urban starts fell 3.5 per cent to 55,999 units.Rural starts were estimated at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 19,294 units.The six-month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates was 222,041 in June, up from 216,701 in May.In a separate report, Statistics Canada said Tuesday the value of permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 4.7 per cent to $8.2 billion in May.The value of residential permits increased 7.7 per cent to $5.5 billion, the second-highest value on record, following the $5.7 billion worth of permits issued in October 2016.Meanwhile, the value of non-residential building permits fell 0.7 per cent in May to $2.7 billion.last_img read more

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Unemployment rate dipped in September on big parttime job gains StatCan

first_imgOTTAWA – Canada’s job market gained 63,000 positions in September, edging the unemployment rate lower to 5.9 per cent, and offsetting job losses in August, Statistics Canada reported Friday.September’s increase in employment was largely driven by gains in part-time work, with part-time jobs up by around 80,000, the agency said in its monthly labour force survey.Economists had estimated the country would add 25,000 jobs in September, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The job gains were also almost entirely in Ontario and British Columbia, with little change in the other provinces.The latest monthly report from Statistics Canada indicates the jobs market remains volatile, after August saw a decline of more than 51,000 positions, raising the unemployment rate to 6.0 per cent, after two months of increasesOn a year-over-year basis, Canada gained 222,000 jobs since September 2017.South of the border, the unemployment rate in the United States dropped more than expected, to 3.7 per cent in September from 3.9 per cent the previous month, as 134,000 jobs were created, well below analyst predictions of a 185,000 jobs surge.Statistics Canada also reported the Canadian international merchandise trade balance improved in August, recording a surplus for the first time since December 2016.It said imports fell by 2.5 per cent and exports declined 1.1 per cent, producing a surplus of $526 million compared with July’s $189 million trade deficit.Taken together, the jobs and trade reports paint a rosier economic picture than anticipated, increasing the likelihood that the Bank of Canada will increase its trend-setting interest rate later this month, said BMO Financial Group chief economist Doug Porter.“The big picture is that the economy overall is looking a bit better than anticipated, with the bias now squarely to the upside on growth,” Porter headlined in a note to clients.But the fact that the job gains were part-time, and the trade surplus was the result of declines in both imports and exports, takes some of the shine off the numbers, said Royce Mendes at CIBC Capital Markets.Statistics Canada’s monthly labour force survey found that all of the job gains in September were made by workers in the core 25-to-54 age range with virtually no change in youth employment. September’s youth unemployment rate stood at 11.0 per cent, up by 0.1 percentage points from the previous month.Men in the core age bracket gained the most, with 34,000 jobs while women also saw increases of 20,000 positions.The agency said the number of self-employed Canadians declined by 35,000 after recording an almost equal total increase over the past twelve months.Many of the jobs were found in construction, up by 28,000 in September, reversing two previous monthly declines.Around 13,000 jobs were added in finance, insurance, real estate and rental and leasing, mostly in Ontario and Alberta.Employment increased by about 12,000 in the public sector, which has seen a rise of about 20,000 jobs overall since last September.The agriculture sector also saw gains of about 9,000 jobs, offsetting continuous declines seen since May.Statistics Canada also released third quarter employment numbers for the territories, reporting gains of 500 and 900 jobs in Nunavut and the Northwest Territories respectively while 400 job losses were recorded in Yukon. The numbers were compared with the second quarter and based on a three-month rolling average.last_img read more

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General Motors Newell and Twitter jump Campbell Soup dips

first_imgNEW YORK — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Monday:General Motors Co., up $1.72 to $37.65The automaker said it will lay off up to 14,000 factory and white-collar workers and could close five plants.Newell Brands Inc., up $1.78 to $23.52The consumer products company named former Revlon and Procter & Gamble executive Chris Peterson as its new chief financial officer.Campbell Soup Co., down $1.51 to $39.02The company is adding two board members, settling a dispute with an activist investor.JPMorgan Chase & Co., up $2.61 to $109.26Banks and other financial stocks rose with interest rates Monday.Marathon Petroleum Corp., up $2.45 to $64.18Shares in energy companies rose as oil prices surged following huge losses last week.Macy’s Inc., up 55 cents to $32.56Stocks of retailers and travel companies climbed on the first full trading day of the holiday shopping season.Plantronics Inc., down $4.46 to $46.48The headset maker and computer accessory maker Logitech said they are no longer in talks about a possible deal.Twitter Inc., up $1.70 to $32.82Technology, internet and retail stocks made big gains Monday after plunging in recent weeks.The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Eli Lilly buying Loxo Oncology for about 8 billion

first_imgSTAMFORD, Conn. — Eli Lilly is buying Loxo Oncology for about $8 billion, broadening its lineup of cancer treatments.Loxo Oncology Inc., based in Stamford, Connecticut, is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers.Eli Lilly and Co. said Monday that it will pay $235 for each Loxo share. That’s a 68 per cent premium to the company’s Friday closing price of $139.87.The deal is expected to close by the end of the first quarter.Shares of Eli Lilly, based in Indianapolis, fell 2.7 per cent in Monday premarket trading.The Associated Presslast_img

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March is Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Month

first_imgFORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – March is Distracted Driving and Occupant Restraint Month.Throughout the month of March, Fort St. John RCMP would like to remind you of the importance of not driving distracted and wearing the proper restraint while riding in a vehicle.According to Police, distracted driving is the second leading contributing factor in traffic fatalities, behind speed and ahead of impaired driving and contributes to more than one in four deaths on B.C. roads. RCMP say all of which are fully preventable if drivers were to slow down, leave their phone alone while driving, and refrain from driving impaired.Distracted driving includes:using an electronic device,listening to music using both earbuds,having your dog loose in your lap or arms,eating/drinking,personal grooming such as shaving or putting on makeupSince 2010, the Distracted Driving legislation has been in place and there is not a lot of leniency exercised by police or the courts.You can expect a starting penalty of $368 plus four penalty points for a minimum of $578 and further fines going up from there for using an electronic device while behind the wheel.Police say seatbelt enforcement is also a focus for the month of March.They say while people have become more diligent in wearing their seatbelts, there are still fatal collisions that occur that could have been prevented if their seatbelts had been worn. Fines for not wearing a seatbelt are $167. Additional fines can be issued for children who are unrestrained or improperly restrained with tickets for $109.For more information on distracted driving and occupant restraints, you can visit ICBC’s website.last_img read more

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SEBI mulls reducing rights issue listing time

first_imgKolkata: After reducing time to list shares on the stock exchanges post-closure of initial public offerings (IPOs), markets regulator SEBI is aiming to cut down the time for listing of rights issue shares, an official said. In September last year, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) decided on reducing the time to list shares on the bourses after IPO to 3 days from the present 6. The SEBI directive is likely to come into effect from July this year. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal SEBI had cited mitigating external risks such as market volatility and uncertainty of financial markets as the reason behind the move. “SEBI aims to reduce the listing of IPO shares to 3 days from 6 days now. It is supposed to be introduced for IPOs from July 2019 onwards. Now, the regulator is working on simplifying the rights issue process,” Central Depository Services (India) Ltd (CDSL) VP (operations) Nitin Ambure told PTI. “I hope the number of days for listing the rights issue shares may come down to 8-10 days from about a month now. This may happen in phases, also depending on the regulator’s final decision,” he said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boost Ambure was in the city to participate at a discussion on demat of unlisted shares at the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce here. The markets regulator has involved stakeholders such as depositories and transaction advisors in the rights issue listing simplification process, just like it engaged exchanges and depositories for IPO shares, he said. From April onwards, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) will be introduced as an alternative payment option for retail investors and SEBI has already cleared a proposal on it. National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is also being tested. Analysts said the new payment mechanisms will make Applications Supported by Blocked Amount (ASBA) mechanism less attractive to investors. ASBA was introduced by the regulator so an investor does not lose out interest component on the application money. Earlier, the process of normal allotment of shares for IPOs took almost a month. Ambure said SEBI had granted relaxation for processing Demat Request Number from the current 15 days to 30 days in the wake of unusual surge in requests for dematerialisation in recent months. As of now, the transfer of shares in the demat form is mandatory.last_img read more

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Gold in mind as Mary Kom prepares for 2020 Olympics

first_imgNew Delhi: It is said that champions are made and not born. The struggle, effort and the determination to keep trying till you succeed is what makes a champion stand out and none would know this better than champion boxer MC Mary Kom. The only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the seven world championships, there is no stopping her. Even though the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is more than 15 months away, Mary Kom is already planning for the biggest event in sporting history. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhMary Kom said that 2019 held special significance for her as this was the qualification year for the Tokyo Olympics and she must ensure that she plans the road ahead with precision. “2020 is very close. This is one of the most important year for me as I look to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. We have already figured out the plan ahead. Without a plan or strategy you cannot move forward. The most important thing is to stay injury-free as that will help me give it my all as I prepare for 2020,” she said. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced laterHaving recently competed in Germany and won all her fights, one would expect her to be happy with the start to the season. But Mary Kom is already looking at areas she needs to improve on just like a true champion athlete. “I have already tested my body as the fight in Germany was my first in the 51 kg category and that was a great experience. I think I have to improve a bit in certain areas like strength, power and stamina and I noted that and will figure these things out with my trainer,” she explained. At the training trip in Germany, Mary Kom defeated Ukraine’s Daria Sierhieieva, Germany’s Ursula Gottlob and Norway’s Veronica Losvik. Even though her victories were unanimous 5-0 verdicts, Mary Kom wants to keep working hard and plan for different situations that may challenge her as she dreams of a gold in the 2020 Games. “I have already been planning on ways to tackle opponents in the 51 kg category and I have had a bit of an experience on competing in this category in the past year. I now have some idea of the opponents and that helps me to plan the moves to get better,” she said. Asked about the next tournament she would be competing in, Mary Kom said: “I think the India Open will be the next competition that I will be competing in. Rest I have to see the calendar and only then I can tell you.” Even as pundits keep asking if age is catching up with the superstar boxer, Mary Kom is happy about her fitness level and her association with Puma means she is right up there with the best. “I am so happy and excited to be associated with a sports brand like Puma. It is No.1 in India and I am enjoying myself.”last_img read more

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SC seeks details on detenues release in Assam

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the Assam Chief Secretary to file an affidavit before April 25 recommending better measures for the release of detenues in the state detention centres. The Bench, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, observed that the centres were in a dilapidated condition. The court directed the government to come up with possible methodology to release the alleged illegal foreigners, especially those who have been held up for long. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c details The Bench took into consideration the government plea that observations made during the hearing of the case could impact the parliamentary elections in the state, and therefore, the plea should be heard after April 23, when Assam goes to the polls. The petition will be heard on April 25. The court discarded the government’s claims that the detention centres were “not in extremely bad shape” and said it was not a place where anybody would like to be. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday The court was informed that 915 people were in the detention centres. The CJI directed the Chief Secretary to conduct a meeting with all stakeholders in the case and file an affidavit on or before April 23, with all the details of releasing the detenues. During the hearing, advocate Prashant Bhushan suggested the detenues could be released on the assurance or surety of being Indian citizens, and in case of criminals, technology could used to keep a track of them. Bhushan mentioned radio tagging the people with criminal background.last_img read more

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Shaw own goal gives Barca advantage over tame United

MANCHESTER: Barcelona overcame a punchless Manchester United to take the upper hand in their Champions League quarter-final after Luke Shaw’s own goal gave them a 1-0 first-leg victory at Old Trafford on Wednesday. Shaw deflected a Luis Suarez header into his own net after 12 minutes, handing the Catalans a vital away goal that will make them clear favourites in the return leg. After United’s comeback against Paris St Germain in the previous round, Barca will take nothing for granted, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team will struggle to repeat the trick against a side with a fearsome home record. “We played a good team,” said Solskjaer. “We know you have to defend a lot without the ball and you might be tired when you get the chance yourself. We go there with one thing in my mind, we have to score.” Barca have not lost at home for 30 games in the Champions League since 2013 and while United can take credit for staying in the tie, they produced little that will overly worry the Spanish side. Barcelona’s first win at Old Trafford in European competition was relatively comfortable with their keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen not having a single shot to save. With Paul Pogba failing to impact the game, United were left trying to hit Barca on the break or from set-pieces and too often they lacked the precision to make the most of the few openings that fell their way. The crucial away goal was well-worked. Sergio Busquets found Lionel Messi with a clever ball into the area and the Argentine carved out space on the left to deliver a lofted cross to former Liverpool striker Suarez at the back post. The Uruguayan’s header deflected off the shoulder of a scrambling Shaw and beat David De Gea to give the visitors the lead and although the linesman initially flagged for offside, the goal was given after a VAR video review. United had De Gea to thank for keeping the difference down to a single goal as he saved superbly with his feet to keep out Philippe Coutinho in the 36th minute. read more

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Apex court irked over Assams response on illegal foreigners

first_imgNew Delhi: The Supreme Court was irked Thursday over unsatisfactory response of the Assam government on deportation and conditional release of illegal foreigners and cautioned the state’s Chief Secretary, saying that it would issue a contempt notice against him.The top court, on April 9, had asked state’s Chief Secretary Alok Kumar to apprise it of the measures which could be adopted for release of detenues, who are now lodged in detention centres for a long period, after a “full and complete discussion with concerned authorities” of the state and the Central Government. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjiv Khanna, after perusing the affidavit, was critical of the fact that out of over one lakh persons who have been declared foreigners by tribunals in Assam, only four have been deported so far and above 900 are lodged in detention centres. “You (state government) have failed to catch illegal migrants in the state as more than one lakh foreigners are living in the state but the government has managed to detain only over 900 of them,” the bench said. These foreigners have “mixed with the local population and they might have voted in the Lok Sabha elections. You have kept 900 people in the detention centre…this is how your government has been functioning,” the bench said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe apex court took serious objection to the averments made in the state government’s affidavit on details of proposed conditions on which foreigners would be released and that the state government was not bound by the order of the tribunals declaring a person an illegal foreigner. “You (Chief Secretary) have no right to remain in the office and we will issue contempt notice to you for making slanderous statement against the law and the Constitution of the country,” the bench said. The court then asked the top officer of the state as to whether there was any meeting between the state government and the Centre on the issue. “Yes, two meetings have taken place,” the Chief Secretary replied. The bench then asked the officer to provide the minutes of those two meetings and got irked when the top officer said that he did not have them at the moment and other officer would come to the court with the papers. Ask the officer to come to the court by 3 PM otherwise we would issue contempt against you, the bench cautioned. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Assam government, attempted to defend the Chief Secretary and said that he would ensure deletion of paragraphs containing some inadvertent mistakes. “No, Mr Solicitor General. The Chief Secretary has filed the affidavit. He will have to explain the slanderous statements… “Stop advocacy. Let us understand English. This man does not understand as to what he has done. He has signed the affidavit on dotted lines without even attempting to read as to what he was filing,” the anguished bench said. The Chief Secretary then tendered unconditional apology saying, “My Lords, my sincere apology for the language used in the affidavit”. The bench asked him to sit down and asked a lawyer to give his chair to the officer. The state government, in its affidavit, has proposed that it would set up a five-member committee headed by Additional Chief Secretary of Assam to consider petitions of detained foreigners, who have completed five years in detention centres, for their conditional release. “The committee shall recommend conditional release on the basis of length of detention, conduct of the detenues, existence of criminal proceedings,” the affidavit said, adding that priority for conditional release would be given to old, infirm, women and children up to the age of 14 years of age. It said that the detenues will have to furnish two Indian sureties and a bond of Rs one lakhs each as one of the conditions of release.last_img read more

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Happy to make people aware about crimes Tisca Chopra

first_imgMumbai: Actress Tisca Chopra, who is hosting “Savdhaan India” — which has clocked seven years on the small screen this week — says she feels that it’s her duty to encourage people to fight back against criminals. “The aim of ‘Savdhaan India’ is to create awareness about the various kinds of crimes happening in the society. I decided to be a part of the show as it aims to encourage people to fight back against criminals. “As a responsible citizen, I feel it’s my duty to spread this message to the viewers and I am happy that through the show, we can make people aware about what kinds of crimes occur in the nation and how they can fight against them,” Tisca said in a statement. Also Read – ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’ has James Cameron’s fingerprints all over it: Arnold Schwarzenegger The Star Bharat show is based on real events. Each episode of the show portrays a different crime story, ranging from robbery, fraud and murder to cyber crime and sexual assault. Over the years, anchors like Sushant Singh, Pooja Gor, Siddhartha Shukla, Divya Dutta, Hiten Tejwani, Sakshi Tanwar, Gaurav Chopra, Atul Kulkarni and Kavita Kaushik have taken the show forward. In its seventh year, “Savdhaan India” is being anchored by Tisca and Ashutosh Rana. The focus for this particular season is new-age crimes. Tisca said: “The show has been instrumental in creating awareness, educating the audiences about the crimes that are happening in society and urging them to rise and fight back for justice. With every new season, the show aims to instil confidence in viewers to stand up for their rights and fight against crimes.”last_img read more

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CU initiates restoration of historical oil paintings in its collection

first_imgKolkata: The Calcutta University (CU) has taken up restoration of all the oil paintings in its collection which have immense historical value. The university that dates back to its foundation on January 24, 1857, aims to uphold its tradition and heritage through this endeavour.”The oil paintings were badly in need of restoration. Some of them were on the wall at the Senate while some others were lying dumped in a room beside the Senate Hall. Most of the figures in the paintings were found to be beyond recognition. We approached the state Heritage Commission and met its chairman Shuvaprasanna and urged him to the needful. He saw the paintings and agreed,” said Sonali Chakravarti Banerjee, the Vice-Chancellor of CU. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaSome of the rare and priced paintings among the 21 that are witnessing a facelift includes the portrait of Womesh Chunder Bonnerjee by Shashi Kumar Hesh. “Only two portraits by Hesh are found in India and one of them is in our collection,” said a senior CU official. The painting of Sir Ashutosh Mukherjee done by Atul Basu and a famous painting by G P Gangopadhyay that was also lying in utter neglect is being restored. “Most of the oil paintings of famous people that are in the collection of the university have been associated with it some time or the other. The restoration of oil paintings is not seriously taken up in present times. But Banerjee after taking over as V-C realised the importance of proper preservation of these valuable paintings,” said Shuvaprasanna. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayAccording to him, the only university in the state that has such a treasured collection is CU. The students of Arts Acre, an institution founded by Shuvaprasanna to nurture young talents in visual arts is doing the uphill task of restoration. They have been provided with a room adjacent to the Senate Hall by the university itself for doing the work. The work had started six months back and it will take another four months to complete. Different modern techniques are being used to give the best possible look to the oil paintings. Once it is complete, it will be in good condition for at least 50 years. “The work for the revival of the Senate Hall and restoration of the paintings are going on side-by-side which is an evidence of the university’s seriousness in preserving its history and heritage,” he maintained.last_img read more

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