Ottawa very relieved after 2 Canadian women abducted in Ghana rescued

first_imgOTTAWA — Global Affairs Canada says the federal government is “very relieved” that two Canadian women who were abducted in Ghana earlier this month have been rescued.A spokesman for the department says consular officials are providing assistance to the two women and their families after what he called their “harrowing experiences.”Guillaume Berube says no further details will be released.Ghana’s information ministry says national security operatives completed the rescue mission in the country’s south-central Ashanti region early Wednesday.The ministry has sought to assure travellers that the West African nation remains safe despite a recent uptick in kidnappings for ransom. The country has been considered one of the safest in the region for foreign travellers.The country’s national police force said last Thursday that the two Canadian women, aged 19 and 20, were volunteers with a non-governmental organization. The Associated Presslast_img read more

Family of slain Indigenous woman walk in her honour and other MMIW

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe family of a slain Indigenous woman from Prince Albert, Sask. is embarking on a long journey to raise awareness for other women like her.APTN’s Larissa Burnouf caught up with the family of Monica Lee Burns as they begin a 140 km trek.last_img

Canadian Chamber of Commerce critical of proposed tax reforms by Ottawa

first_imgFREDERICTON – Members of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce say proposed tax changes by the federal government are casting business people in a negative light and the finance minister shouldapologize.Chamber members got to put their concerns directly to federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau Saturday at their annual meeting in Fredericton.There was a round of applause when Morneau was asked if he’d consider an independent royal commission to take a broader look at tax reform, but Morneau said the government has been talking about tax reform since the summer of 2015, and expects the current input will lead to changes in what’s being proposed.The tax proposals include restrictions on the ability of business owners to reduce their tax rate by sprinkling their income to family members in lower tax brackets, even if those family members don’t contribute to the company.Morneau also proposed limits on the use of private corporations to make passive investments that are unrelated to the company.Another change would limit business owners’ ability to convert regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.last_img read more

MGM Resorts is MLBs official gaming partner after NBA NHL

first_imgNEW YORK — MGM Resorts has made its third deal in four months with a major U.S. sports league, becoming Major League Baseball’s official gaming partner in the U.S. and Japan.Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that MGM will become an MLB-authorized gaming operator and will promote itself with teams and on the MLB Network, and the MLB At Bat app.MGM in August became the exclusive official gaming partner of the NBA and WNBA, and the first official sports betting partner of the NHL last month.___More AP MLB: and Associated Presslast_img

H1N1 vaccine may now cover more people but still inadequate UN warns

25 September 2009Global production capacity for H1N1 flu vaccines now stand at 3 billion doses per year, 2 billion less than projected in the spring, but potentially covering more people – even if inadequate – since a single dose may be sufficient, according to the United Nations health agency. “These supplies will still be inadequate to cover a world population of 6.8 billion people in which virtually everyone is susceptible to infection by a new and readily contagious virus,” the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in its latest update. “Global manufacturing capacity for influenza vaccines is limited, inadequate and not readily augmented.”Noting that pandemic vaccines have their greatest impact as a preventive strategy when administered before or near the peak incidence of cases in an outbreak, it praised both regulatory authorities and vaccine manufacturers for their “extraordinary efforts to expedite the availability of vaccines.”Many affluent countries have previously contracted with manufacturers to obtain sufficient vaccine supplies to cover their entire populations, but most low- and middle-income countries lack the financial resources to compete for an early share of limited supplies, WHO said. Vaccine supplies in these countries will largely depend on donations from manufacturers and other countries.Last week, donations of pandemic vaccines for developing countries were announced by the United States in concert with Australia, Brazil, France, Italy, New Zealand, Norway, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. “Similar support from additional countries is anticipated and warmly welcomed,” WHO said, noting that it will be coordinating their distribution, expected to begin in November.The agency also stressed the need for early treatment with the antiviral drugs, oseltamivir or zanamivir, for patients who are at increased risk of developing complications, have severe illness or show worsening signs and symptoms.At the same time, it warned clinicians to be alert to two situations that carry a high risk for the emergence of viruses resistant to oseltamivir – in patients with severely compromised or suppressed immune systems who have prolonged illness, have received oseltamivir treatment but still have evidence of persistent viral replication; and in people who receive oseltamivir preventively after exposure to someone and then develop the illness. read more

World Bank launches green index of businesses in emerging markets

10 December 2009The private sector arm of the World Bank today launched the first ever eco-friendly stock market index that allows investors to track the carbon efficiency of companies doing business in emerging economies. The private sector arm of the World Bank today launched the first ever eco-friendly stock market index that allows investors to track the carbon efficiency of companies doing business in emerging economies.In partnership with the giant financial services corporation Standard and Poor’s (S&P), the International Finance Corporation (IFC) established the S&P/IFC Investable Emerging Markets Index expecting it to mobilize more than $1 billion for carbon-efficient companies over the next three years.The pioneering index is meant to encourage carbon-based competition among emerging-market businesses, give carbon-efficient companies access to long-term investors and result in lower carbon emissions in developing countries, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of investors’ portfolios.“With growing pressure on investors to diversify and maintain returns by increasing exposure to emerging markets, and with more and more investors keen to demonstrate a preference for sustainability… IFC hopes that the launch of this index will help ensure that carbon efficiency is rewarded,” said IFC Vice-President for Business Advisory Services Rachel Kyte.The announcement comes on the fourth day of the United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, where over 100 heads of State and government are slated to convene next week in a bid to wrap up an international pact to curb greenhouse gas emissions. read more

Famine warning signs must never again be ignored as they were in

“Not only must the international emergency response system become more flexible in responding to early warnings, we must have more regular support for risk reduction at national and community level,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction Margareta Wahlström said of the non-governmental organization (NGO) initiative launched at a mini-summit on Somalia at UN Headquarters last Saturday. The campaign – Never Again: A Charter to End Extreme Hunger – has five essential elements: fixing the flaws of the international emergency system; supporting local food production; ensuring services and protection for the poorest; making available food everyone can afford; and reducing armed violence and conflict.Tens of thousands of Somalis have already starved to death and more than 3.2 million others are on the brink of starvation in a drought and famine that has affected 13.3 million people there and in three other countries, Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya. “The Horn of Africa crisis is a wake-up call for aid agencies, governments and donors alike. Given the collective experience of responding to drought emergencies over the last 50 years it seems almost beyond belief that we are once more desperately fighting a drought-fuelled famine which is threatening the lives and livelihoods of 13 million people,” said Ms. Wahlström, who heads the UN’s disaster risk reduction office (UNISDR). “As Oxfam, Save the Children, ONE and others rightly point out in this charter, all the warning signs were there in the Horn of Africa two years ago but the warnings were not acted on. The result is that more lives will be lost and more money will be spent because there was little or no support to timely and low-cost measures that would have reduced the risk of drought turning into a famine.” She particularly welcomed the charter’s call for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation to be put at the heart of sustainable development. The signatories commit to linking non-political, needs-based early warning signs of disasters with a timely and appropriate response, with donors supporting national and community preparedness plans to avert the worst effects such as acute malnutrition. The charter criticizes “decades of under-investment in small scale food producers and ineffective management of natural resources” and calls for longer-term plans to fight food insecurity and malnutrition.The signatories commit to protect at an absolute minimum the poorest 10 per cent of the population from the impact of food crises with safety nets, including direct cash payments based on need alone, specifically addressing the food and nutrition needs of women and children. They also commit to scaling up strategic and emergency food reserves, tackling the causes of high and volatile food prices, and providing sufficient aid based on need where insecurity is destroying the chances of life and sustainable development.Meanwhile the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) reported today that over 57,000 Somali households had now received monthly food rations, and almost 30,000 households had benefitted from hot meals at transit points.About 20,000 acutely malnourished children were being treated through feeding centres, and UNICEF was working to expand to reach over 30,000 per month, spokesperson Marixie Mercado told a news briefing in Geneva.The number of people overall receiving food aid nearly doubled from July to August and is on pace to do so again in September, Corinne Momal-Vanian, Director of the UN Information Service in Geneva, told the briefing. In July, 770,000 Somalis received food aid and that figure stood at 1.39 million as of 19 September. 27 September 2011Stressing that the warning signs of impending disaster were evident, but ignored, long before drought and famine began killing tens of thousands of people in the Horn of Africa, the United Nations today swung its support behind a ‘Never Again’ campaign to end extreme hunger. read more

Income splitting with a twist the key to a fairer tax system

OTTAWA — A controversial federal policy that would allow families to split their incomes for tax purposes would make a lot of sense, as long as it is accompanied by other measures so that the benefits would be shared by all kinds of families, says University of Calgary economist Jack Mintz.In a research paper, Mintz and doctoral student Matt Krzepkowski argue that the current tax system is unfair because it penalizes single-earner families.“Given that Canada’s income system aims to treat people in similar circumstances as equally as possible, it is certainly time to let couples split their income so they do not face a penalty in higher tax rates than those faced by couples bringing home the same amount of total pay,” they write.But they say the tax reform should also recognize that single-earner families have some advantages that dual-earners do not, such as more unpaid time spent raising children and taking care of the home.One way to account for this would be to change the way the basic personal tax exemption works, said Mintz, director of the university’s School of Public Policy.Under the current rules, one spouse can transfer the unused portion of the exemption to the other spouse. If Ottawa were to require both spouses to be earning income in order to qualify for the transfer, it would smooth out some of the rough edges of the income-splitting proposal, he said.“We particularly have a twist on the original Conservative proposal of splitting income up to $50,000 that I think would achieve quite a bit in terms of equal taxation of different types of families with children,” Mintz told an audience of MPs and others.Critics have said the policy would do little for low-income families and would encourage women to stay at home rather than join the paid workforce.The Krzepkowski-Mintz analysis recognizes these points, but argues they can be fixed.“In our opinion, introducing income-splitting, along with restrictions on the transferability of the basic tax exemption, is a far better approach for personal taxation, as it directly increases equality between family earnings and corrects for labour-market distortions due to home production provided by at-home spouses,” the authors write.The Conservatives pitched the family income-splitting idea in the last federal election campaign, saying they would allow individuals to transfer up to $50,000 to a spouse as long as they had at least one dependent child under 18. However, since the measure would cost billions every year in foregone tax revenue, the Conservatives said they would not implement the measures until the federal deficit was eliminated.The Conservatives have pegged the cost at about $2.5 billion in lost tax revenue, but Mintz said it would cost somewhat less if the government were to adopt his proposal.The research paper raised eyebrows even before it was published Monday, mainly because it was being showcased on Parliament Hill by the socially conservative Institute for Marriage and Family Canada, and co-hosted by Conservative MP Stella Ambler and Liberal MP John McKay.The NDP’s Niki Ashton said the event makes it look like Liberals are backing a policy that would erode a woman’s position in the family.But McKay said he is personally “agnostic” on income-splitting, and his party is inclined to be against it for now. By co-sponsoring the event on Monday, McKay said he hoped to help de-politicize the issue.“There’s maybe some hope here that we can take the edge off the wedge,” he said.The institute’s executive director, Andrea Mrozek, said the event is meant to explore and debate tax policy — a discussion that is meant to help voters of all stripes.The Canadian Press read more

Parties pushing equality agenda could face gender fatigue from voters expert

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau received a lot of attention with his line about the calendar year when asked why he named an equal number of men and women to cabinet after his newly elected Liberal government was sworn in.Nearly four years later, the Liberals have made the push for gender equality a defining feature of their mandate, their message and the personality of their prime minister, which could help — and hurt — them on the campaign trail.Kate Bezanson, an expert on feminist policy, said any government that sets out to disrupt the status quo on equality issues can find itself vulnerable to criticism on two fronts: from those who think they are spending too much energy in that area, and those who think they are not doing enough.“There can be a kind of fatigue with those kinds of policies that can sometimes be received as perhaps less understanding of the broader constituency that might be apprehensive about enhancing gender equality,” said Bezanson, an associate professor of sociology at Brock University.On the other hand, setting expectations for change so high can leave a lot of people feeling disappointed.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below. Liberals’ feminist agenda undermined by their reaction to cabinet resignations: opposition Trudeau’s cabinet may be gender-balanced, but the male ministers still dominate the question period Andrew Coyne: Trudeau cabinet should be based on merit, not gender Katherine Scott, a senior researcher at the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, said the Liberals made some big moves internationally, such as dedicating $1.4 billion annually to the health of women and girls, including sexual and reproductive health rights, beginning in 2023 as part of an announcement at this spring’s Women Deliver conference.She also applauded the Liberals for their $100-million gender-based anti-violence strategy, proactive pay equity legislation, the national inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and for bringing gender-based analysis into the budget-making process.“What does that mean for women on the street? That will play out over a much longer time. So when you look at those sorts of questions, I’m not sure how much traction we’ve gained,” she said.David Coletto, chief executive of Ottawa-based polling firm Abacus Data, said he does not expect much campaign talk about feminism — at least not beyond the Liberals trying to convince voters the Conservatives are against abortion rights.But he does think gender can play into the issue of affordability — a focus for all political parties in the Oct. 21 election.The Conservatives made a play in that area this summer by promising to introduce a non-refundable tax credit for new mothers and fathers receiving employment insurance benefits while on maternity or parental leave.I’m not sure how much traction we’ve gainedThe New Democrats, who have devoted an entire section of their election platform to advancing gender equity, are once again promising universal, affordable, not-for-profit child care right across the country.Coletto, also said the data suggests female voters, who made up about 52 per cent of the electorate in 2015, tend to remain undecided longer than men.That means political parties will, and should be, thinking about how to bring them on side.“They are obviously going to have a huge impact on the election in how they react to the parties,” Coletto said.Meanwhile, some women’s advocacy groups are hoping to place gender issues more squarely on the agenda.A coalition calling itself Up for Debate is pushing for a national televised debate on the topic, an effort that failed in the 2015 election after Thomas Mulcair, then the NDP leader, backed away from an earlier commitment because former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper was not going to join the others onstage.This time, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May have agreed to participate, but organizers have not yet received any commitment from Trudeau or Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer.Obviously there has been a lot more attention to women’s rights issues under this Liberal government mandateLauren Ravon, director of policy and campaigns at Oxfam Canada, said the landscape has changed when it comes to the role feminism plays in politics.“Obviously there has been a lot more attention to women’s rights issues under this Liberal government mandate, as well as attention in the public sphere,” she said.A debate, Ravon said, would be a way for leaders to challenge each other on these issues and get their positions on the record: “What are the promises this time around? What is the plan?”Bezanson said that while much of the talk about the feminism of the Liberal government has centred around Trudeau himself, she thinks one of the biggest changes, which could survive a change in government, is a stronger commitment to gender-based analysis across all departments.That involves thinking about how every program and policy impact men and women in different ways, while also taking things like age, income, ethnicity and other intersecting factors into account.“The policy record of this government is the most feminist that Canada has ever had,” she said. read more