New Delhi: Punjab National Bank (PNB) on Saturday said a board meeting will be held soon to consider amalgamation of Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India with itself. The bank has received a communication from the Ministry of Finance that the Alternative Mechanism (AM), after consultation with Reserve Bank of India (RBI), has decided that Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and United Bank of India may consider amalgamation, it said in a regulatory filing. “Accordingly, a meeting of board of directors to consider the amalgamation will be convened by the bank shortly,” PNB said. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalMeanwhile, Corporation Bank, which is going to be merged with Union Bank of India along with Andhra Bank, too said a board meeting will be held to consider the merger. In a stock exchange filing, it said “a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bank to consider the amalgamation will be convened by the Bank in due course”. The government on Friday unveiled a mega plan to merge 10 public sector banks into four as part of plans to create fewer and stronger global-sized lenders as it looks to boost economic growth from an over six-year low. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostFinance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who had last week announced tax sops and measures for sectors such as auto, announced four new sets of mergers — Punjab National Bank, Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will combine to form the nation’s second-largest lender; Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank will merge; Union Bank of India will amalgamate with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank; and Indian Bank will merge with Allahabad Bank.
New Delhi: Legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday paid tributes to his childhood coach late Ramakant Achrekar on the occasion of Teacher’s Day. Taking to Twitter, Tendulkar went down the memory lane and shared a picture of him learning batting techniques from Achrekar. “Teachers impart not just education but also values. Achrekar Sir taught me to play straight – on the field and in life. I shall always remain grateful to him for his immeasurable contribution in my life. His lessons continue to guide me today,” Tendulkar tweeted. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over Chandigarh Achrekar(87), who trained Tendulkar and his friend Vinod Kambli, among others, died in January this year following a heart attack. After his death, Tendulkar had paid an emotional tribute and tweeted: “Cricket in heaven will be enriched with the presence of (Ramakant) Achrekar sir. Like many of his students, I learnt my ABCD of cricket under Sir’s guidance. His contribution to my life cannot be captured in words. He built the foundation that I stand on.” Achrekar, who honoured with the Dronacharya Award in 1990 and the Padma Shri in 2010, was instrumental in coaching Tendulkar, Kambli and over a dozen other top cricketers.
HALIFAX – Private and non-profit child care operators in Nova Scotia say it remains to be seen how their sector will ultimately be affected by the ongoing rollout of universal pre-primary for four-year-olds across the province.However, representatives told the legislature’s human resources committee Tuesday, the big issue remains access to enough trained early childhood educators.Nova Scotia has 2,700 registered early childhood educators (ECEs) with about 1,700 employed in regulated child care.“Despite the reported numbers of ECEs available to practice in the province, the regulated early learning and care sector has experienced and continues to experience significant challenges in recruiting and retaining staff, impacting quality across programs,” said Pam Streeter, of the Private Licensed Administrators Association, a group of for-profit day cares.A key Liberal campaign promise during the May 2017 election, pre-primary was launched last September in 54 classes in 45 schools. In March, Education Minister Zach Churchill announced an additional 130 new classes are slated to open in 84 schools next fall.Critics have questioned how fast the government proceeded with its plan, contending the sector will be hurt by the loss of children and qualified staff.Lisa Davies, of the Non-Profit Directors Association, said the quick rollout has had negative effects, although there hasn’t yet been the overwhelming loss of staff predicted.“Action creates change, speedy change often creates fear,” Davies told the committee.“I believe the speed with which this happened probably is the underlying fear for a lot of the issues that have been raised around the pre-primary program and its impacts on the child care sector.”Education Department officials said 110 early childhood educators were hired to meet initial requirements, and an additional 700 will be needed by the time pre-primary is fully implemented in 2020.“All of these new classrooms require ECEs. That is pulling those folks away from us — again not a new problem, but adding on to it,” Davies later told reporters.Streeter pointed out that pre-primary has only been introduced in under-serviced and rural areas, and the real test will come when it’s fully implemented in larger urban centres.“There aren’t regulated care centres necessarily there (in rural areas) to impact,” she said. “So it will be in this next year and the year after that we will see the real impact on regulated care.”Vicki Elliott-Lopez, executive director of Regulated Child Care and Licensing for the province, told the committee that universal pre-primary is providing more options for child care professionals and will act as a recruiting tool that will benefit the entire sector.Elliott-Lopez said the effects are already being felt, with enrolment for training programs “maxed out” at the Nova Scotia Community College for the upcoming school year.Still, she said work has to be done to bring back workers who are trained and currently aren’t employed, and to recruit professionals who will be needed to fill the positions created by the expansion of pre-primary.Elliott-Lopez said the department is working on an “aggressive marketing campaign” in addition to a long-term retention strategy.“We are working to try to build the quality of the workforce,” she said.Meanwhile, officials said the province is continuing work to help child care centres transition to accommodating children younger than four years of age.Last week the province announced $2.7 million in funding to assist 51 child care centres in converting 570 spaces to support families with infants and toddlers and after school care.The money, part of a $35-million funding agreement with Ottawa, will create 144 new spaces for infants, 346 spaces for toddlers and 80 spaces for pre-primary care.
HALIFAX – An MBA student accused of drunk driving causing the death of a well-known Halifax bottle collector is now facing an additional negligence charge.Dennis Patterson, who is in his early 20s, was charged after Wray Hart was killed in January when he was struck and became pinned by a car in the city’s south end.“Nobody deserves to die the way he did, especially him,” said Gary “Caesar” Julien, a friend of Hart, outside Halifax provincial court Wednesday.“It’s just not right, what happened.”Crown lawyer Melanie Perry told Judge Theodore Tax Wednesday that an additional charge of criminal negligence causing death had been laid. Patterson also faces charges of dangerous driving causing death and driving with a blood alcohol level over .08 causing death.His case is scheduled to return to court June 26.Hart, who was in his early 60s, was a fixture in downtown Halifax, where he could often be seen sitting outside the old library on Spring Garden Road or pushing a shopping cart piled high with recyclables.His son, Anthony Wray Hart, choked back tears as he told reporters Wednesday that his father was incredibly generous and helped many people get off the street.“I even watched him take the jacket off his own back and give it to someone else to keep them warm,” said Anthony Hart, standing next to other emotional friends and family of his father. “He was always there to talk to.”Robert O’Neill said Wray Hart was a “father figure” to many in the community.“He absorbed everything around in and relayed it in a way that gave you hope,” said O’Neill, a friend of Hart’s.“Even if he couldn’t spare a cigarette or he wasn’t even around to speak to you, when you thought of him, it gave you a strength… He was a beacon of (empathy).”There was an outpouring of support for Wray Hart after his death, with almost $9,000 raised through a GoFundMe campaign for his funeral arrangements.More than 100 people gathered to remember Hart at a funeral service in February.The GoFundMe page said Hart had been homeless for many years and often slept on a Queen Street bench, but was not homeless at the time of his death.
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $13 million jackpot in Friday night’s Lotto Max draw.That means the jackpot for the next draw on May 5 will grow to approximately $19 million.
An eminent Canadian historian whose writings on the Holocaust in Poland have attracted death threats said Tuesday that fierce criticism of his research is an unjustified attack on academic freedom.In an interview, University of Ottawa Prof. Jan Grabowski, 55, said he would not allow the “campaign of hate” to distract him from delving into what he called an ugly, but little-told, piece of history.“I feel personally attacked but this is for me a much more dangerous and general problem that has to be dealt with,” Grabowski told The Canadian Press from Ottawa. “It’s a pure and simple attack on basic academic freedoms, which we take for granted here in Canada. I’m dismayed.”The history professor, who has spent years studying the Holocaust in Poland, maintains many Poles who killed Jews were not simply forced to collaborate with the Nazis, who occupied the country during the Second World War.“They were realizing their own dream of a Jew-free Poland,” Grabowski said. “At the same time, they were very ardent opponents of the German occupation. Nothing is simple here.”While no stranger to controversy over his views, what’s changed recently is that his critics are no longer content to denounce him in Poland. Now, he said, they have brought their criticism to Canada by writing directly to the university where he has worked for almost 25 years to accuse him of lying and fabricating historical evidence.In two letters this month, the Polish League Against Defamation says Grabowski’s views are damaging to Poland.“He falsifies the history of Poland, proclaiming the thesis that Poles are complicit in the extermination of Jews,” the leagues writes. “Grabowski fails to adhere to the fundamental rules of researcher’s credibility. He uses vivid and exaggerated statements to create propagandistic constructions, rather than to provide an honest picture.”One of the letters is signed by 130 Polish scholars — none, he says, with any connection to Holocaust studies.In 2014, Grabowski was given the Yad Vashem International Book Prize for his work “Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland,” an award the league called “disturbing.”Grabowski said the prevailing political climate in Eastern Europe is emboldening nationalist groups. He also said some of the league’s founders are now either ranking members of Poland’s government or senior advisers to its ministers.“It’s to an extent aligned with the wishes of the Polish state, which makes it all the more, I would say, appalling,” he said of the group’s campaign.In a display of solidarity, however, scores of pre-eminent international Holocaust scholars on Monday penned a letter to the chancellor of the University of Ottawa defending Grabowski as a scholar of “impeccable personal and professional integrity.” The letter praises his courage in pursuing his research despite the attempts to shut him down. The writers also criticize the league.“The current attack on Prof. Grabowksi by the Polish League Against Defamation, as in a recent public letter signed by more than 100 academics who have no expertise in the subject, is baseless, putting forth a distorted and whitewashed version of the history of Poland during the Holocaust era,” the letter states.“We are confident that your university, which is a bastion of learning and freedom of scholarly inquiry, will give its full support to Prof. Grabowski against those who seek to besmirch his reputation and curtail his work, and by extension, ours as well.”League founder Maciej Swirski denied in an email on Tuesday that it was running a campaign targeting Grabowski or academic freedom.“This is to pay attention to the campaign of slander against Poland conducted by Mr. Grabowski,” Swirski said.About 5.5 million Polish citizens — three million of them Jews — were killed in the war and many Poles view their nation as blameless in an era of Nazi atrocities.Grabowski, who was due to fly to Warsaw on Wednesday to continue his research, said his work uncovered grim truths about that view.“What I found is huge areas of human misery that has not been reported sufficiently or never,” he said. “These things are not palatable to Polish nationalists who believe in myths.”The professor said he had reported the threats to authorities and was exploring his legal options.The University of Ottawa did not responded immediately to a request for comment but the professor said the rector assured him of its full support.— With files from The Associated Press
MONTREAL – The framework for a 10-year softwood lumber agreement between Canada and the U.S. could be reached in the coming weeks, says an industry analyst, citing discussions with unnamed trade contacts.In a report released Thursday, Hamir Patel of CIBC World Markets said a deal setting quotas on Canadian softwood exports could be acceptable to the U.S. lumber industry if Canada drops several demands. That would include withdrawing a request that New Brunswick be excluded from any softwood agreement restrictions, Patel said.“We now believe there is a greater than 50 per cent probability that the two sides could announce an agreed-upon framework by the end of August,” he wrote.He said the U.S. Lumber Coalition could be encouraged by the Trump administration to sign a deal that would gradually reduce Canada’s share of the U.S. market to 27 to 28 per cent over several years from its 31.9 per cent share last year.A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland declined to comment on “rumours until a deal is reached that is favourable to both sides.” The U.S. Lumber Coalition also said it wouldn’t comment on speculation.U.S. producers would likely demand that they keep all duty deposits paid to date as compensation for 18 months of free trade since the past softwood agreement expired in 2015, Patel said. Canadian producers received back 80 per cent of their deposits in the 2006 softwood lumber agreement.The quota would likely be divided among provinces based on their historical share of the U.S. market, Patel added.A similar deal rejected by the industry about 10 days ago would have capped Canada’s share at 31 per cent in the first six months, with that falling to 29 per cent over the next 12 months until it were to reach 28 per cent in early 2022.A source close to the negotiations said the two sides were on the verge of a deal until some elements in the U.S. industry balked.The person who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the talks said there is little chance now of a softwood deal in place before NAFTA negotiations begin next month, with the Canadian and U.S. governments now eyeing September as the earliest date for a softwood deal to be finalized.Paul Quinn of RBC Capital Markets said information that there was a deal in the works is credible, based on his discussions with contacts in the sector.“But until you get a deal it’s all just talk,” Quinn said from Vancouver.“I’m more in the camp that it’s going to be longer than earlier,” he said. “If they don’t get anything done by Aug. 16, really this sits on the back burner until they get NAFTA done.”— With files from Mia Rabson in Ottawa
RICETON, Sask. – A Saskatchewan family says it has “lost the light” of their lives after a little boy was killed in a dog attack.The six-year-old boy was found dead after RCMP and emergency medical personnel responded to a call Wednesday evening in Riceton, about 50 kilometres southeast of Regina.Two large-breed dogs, reported to police to be Alaskan malemutes, were seized by the Regina Humane Society.“The dogs were known to the deceased and his family,” RCMP Staff Sgt. Rob Embree said Thursday in Regina.“The circumstances of the incident are currently being investigated by Milestone RCMP. This includes investigation into what may have prompted the attack. It is unclear whether one or both dogs were involved.”Police wouldn’t say who owned the dogs or release the name of the child but the boy has been identified on social media as Cameron Mushanski.A GoFundMe page was started by the child’s aunt to cover funeral expenses.“As much as it breaks my heart to write this, our 6 year old nephew has passed away,” wrote Cassandra-Marie Mushanski.“A horrific, tragic accident happened tonight and he passed away. We are looking for help to give him the proper goodbye that he deserves to have to be taken so soon the way he was. We appreciate every dollar donated towards it. He was a wonderful, goofy, amazing little boy that didn’t deserve to be taken so soon.”“We lost the light of all our lives, the glow that walked into the room and lit it up with just one word, taken and ripped right away as tragically as he was,” Mushanski said in a post on her Facebook page.She said the family has no further comment while it grieves.Bill Thorn, with the Regina Humane Society, said two of the society’s officers took custody of the dogs immediately after the little boy’s death.“Basically, ownership was transferred to us and, at the order of the Regina Qu’Appelle Health Region, the animals were euthanized,” Thorn said Thursday.“They will be tested for rabies, which is fairly standard procedure in something like this, just to see if that or any other medical factor might have been a factor in what happened.”The Canadian Kennel Club says on its website that the Alaskan malemute is an affectionate and friendly dog, but definitely strong-willed. It says the malemute is patient with children, but should be supervised when playing with youngsters due to its size and strength.A fully grown male malemute can weigh about 85 pounds.In 2014, the same breed of dog was involved when a seven-year-old girl was mauled at a rural Manitoba home. She did not survive.— By Jennifer Graham in ReginaNote to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version had Thursday.
Calgary-born luger Sam Edney says it’s a “dark day” for the Olympics after an international tribunal overturned suspensions and reinstated results for 28 Russian athletes accused of doping.The Court of Arbitration for Sport ruled that due to insufficient evidence, the sanctions against the athletes should be annulled and their individual results at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi be reinstated.Edney and his teammates, Alex Gough, Justin Snith and Tristan Walker, stand to lose a bronze medal as a result of the decision.The Canadians finished fourth in the team event four years ago but learned in December they would likely be upgraded after Russians Albert Demchenko and Tatiana Ivanova were stripped of their results by the International Olympic Committee and received lifetime bans due to doping accusations.Both Russians had their suspensions reversed and results reinstated by CAS on Thursday.“Above anything else, this is a very very very dark day for the Olympics,” Edney said via Twitter. “AND, this is a very very very dark day for Clean Sport … if there is such a thing anymore.”One tweet that needs to be seen. Above anything else, this is a very very very dark day for the Olympics. AND, this is a very very very dark day for Clean Sport … if there is such a thing anymore. #Olympics #CleanSport— Sam Edney (@samueledney) February 1, 2018
WASHINGTON — The most powerful Democrat on Capitol Hill is locked in a staring contest with the president of the United States — and so far, neither of them is blinking.House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the White House has not yet responded to her request to postpone Donald Trump’s Jan. 29 state of the union address, a high-powered highlight of the congressional season.Pelosi argues that the ongoing federal government shutdown, which is now in its 27th day, will make it impossible for federal security agencies to ensure the safety of attendees.But observers say that’s just convenient cover for her true motive: denying the president a prominent, widely televised platform from which to attack his Democratic rivals. The state of the union, which is delivered to a joint session of Congress, promises especially compelling optics: Pelosi herself would be seated on the dais for the duration, directly behind the president.The government has been partially closed since Dec. 22, the result of a dispute between Democrats and the White House over a request for $5.7 billion in funding for Trump’s coveted wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — The father of seven children killed in a ferocious fire remains in a coma, a month after flames engulfed their Halifax home.Muslim community leaders say Ebraheim Barho has undergone multiple surgeries and remains in the intensive care unit of a Halifax hospital with his wife Kawthar at his side.Sheikh Wael Haridy of the Nova Scotia Islamic Community Centre says the grief-stricken mother is struggling with the loss of her children, who ranged in age from three months to their teens, while her husband remains in coma.Imam Abdallah Yousri of the Ummah Mosque says the community continues to wait and pray for his recovery.Although some relatives of the Syrian refugee family have arrived in Canada to offer support, efforts are still underway to bring more family members.Halifax deputy fire Chief David Meldrum says there are no updates on the investigation into the tragic house fire in the Spryfield neighbourhood.Once a cause has been determined, he says Halifax Fire and Emergency will hold a news conference to share the details with the public.The home on Quartz Drive was torn down earlier this month. All that remains at the grim site is the concrete foundation.Meldrum says he cannot comment on an ongoing investigation or the reason for any possible delay, but says “it’s fair to say that in the course of fire investigations generally, interviewing witnesses who may have information is an obvious item of importance to us.”Ebraheim Barho was rushed to hospital on Feb. 19 suffering from extensive burns and was placed in a medically induced coma.A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $700,000 for the family.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s no-fly list faces constitutional challenges from two B.C. men who argue in a pair of court cases that the secret roster violates the Charter of Rights guarantee of fundamental justice.The no-fly regime allows the federal government to bar someone from boarding an airplane because there are grounds to believe they would threaten the flight or travel to commit a terrorist act.One of the men, Parvkar Singh Dulai, says he was stopped from getting on a plane last May 17 at the Vancouver International Airport.Dulai followed an appeal process, but received a letter in late January saying his name would remain on the no-fly list.He is asking the Federal Court of Canada for an order striking him from the roster or, at the very least, a re-examination of his case.Dulai also seeks a declaration that the no-fly provisions violate constitutional rights to freedom of movement and to know the details of the case against him.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Japanese Canadians across the country are meeting to discuss how an apology by the British Columbia government could be backed by meaningful action for those who were placed in internment camps or forced into labour because of racist policies during the Second World War.The federal government apologized in 1988 for its racism against “enemy aliens” after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor in December 1941 but the president of the National Association of Japanese Canadians said British Columbia’s apology in 2012 did not involve the community.Lorene Oikawa said the association is working with the provincial government to consider how it could follow up on the apology to redress racism. The majority of about 22,000 interned Japanese Canadians lived in B.C. before many were forced to move east of the Rockies or to Japan, even if they were born in Canada.“We weren’t informed about the apology so it was a surprise to us,” Oikawa said about B.C.’s statement, which, unlike with the federal government’s apology, did not go further to resolve outstanding historic wrongs that saw families separated and property and belongings sold.“We accepted the apology but we just want to have that follow-up piece that was missing so that is what the current B.C. government has agreed to and started with this process of having community consultations,” she said of the redress initiative funded by the province.Consultations began in May and by the end of July will have been concluded in Toronto, Hamilton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and seven other communities in British Columbia. Online consultations are also being conducted before recommendations will be forwarded to the province this fall.So far, some participants have asked that school curricula include racism against Japanese Canadians as well as initiatives to educate the general public about the intergenerational trauma that families have experienced, Oikawa said.Lisa Beare, British Columbia’s minister of culture, said the government is supporting the association as it holds consultations so community members can offer recommendations for legacy initiatives.“We recognize that significant harm came to Japanese Canadians as a result of provincial government actions during the Second World War,” she said in a statement. “Japanese Canadians became targets simply for their identity, and in many cases lost personal property, jobs and homes.”Addie Kobaishi, 86, was born and raised in Vancouver but her family had to leave their home when they were relocated to the Tashme internment camp, the largest in Canada, near Hope, B.C.She said her grandmother and aunt ended up in a holding area at Hastings Park in Vancouver before they too were sent to Tashme, where residents faced brutally cold winters and had no indoor toilets or water as part of what was a “confusing” year and a half for her, starting at age 10.“The conditions were harsh, the housing was harsh,” she said from a Scarborough, Ont., nursing home where she attended consultations about B.C. redress. Kobaishi said her family settled in Montreal because of the discrimination they faced in Toronto, where they wanted to live, though she moved there in the late 1970s.Being interned and doing difficult farm labour changed many people’s lives forever, she said, noting her father died at 47 and never did go back to B.C.“My uncle said to me many, many years later that it spoiled his life. He did marry, he had two children, but he did end up an alcoholic,” she said of Koazi Fujikawa, who had been sent to Yukon during the war as part of a crew constructing the Alaska Highway.Kobaishi called on the B.C. government to accompany its 2012 apology with substantial and ongoing education as part of the school curriculum to teach students about policies that uprooted Canadian citizens.“I do think they should be held responsible for something more than just an apology,” she said.Her daughter, Lynn Kobaishi, president of the Toronto chapter of the National Association of Japanese Canadians, said during the war politicians in B.C. lobbied the federal government to resort to racist policies.“It was all driven by B.C. That disempowered and disenfranchised people and allowed what happened to happen,” she said.Ryanne Macdonald, 21, a fourth-generation Canadian of Japanese descent, is trying to unravel her family’s history with some clues from her reluctant grandmother’s stories.She said her grandfather, Ryan Nakade, was 13 when his family’s boat business was confiscated by the government and he was forced to labour at a farm in Grand Forks, B.C., over 500 kilometres from his home in Richmond.“My grandfather passed away before I was born so I never got to hear the story from him,” said MacDonald, who is currently doing a summer internship at the Nikkei National Museum and Cultural Centre in Burnaby, where she’s working as an archival assistant.“Since I started working there my grandma started talking about her experiences more, which is something she never opened up about before just because she tends to want to talk about it only with other people who’ve been through the same experience as her because they can relate,” Macdonald said.She said she wants to be able to understand what her grandparents went through so those actions can’t be repeated.“I think it was terrible and it was unfounded fear that they were going off of because they were treating the Japanese Canadians like they weren’t citizens. Both my grandparents, they were born in Canada.”Macdonald said she learned about racism against Japanese Canadians in a Grade 10 social studies class but the content was “glossed over and it didn’t seem as bad as it actually was.”— Follow @CamilleBains1 on Twitter.Camille Bains, The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Bullying continues to be a “systemic” issue at a private Toronto school rocked by allegations of sexual assault despite measures introduced in the wake of the scandal, says a report that examined culture at the all-boys Catholic institution.The report released Thursday from an independent committee found no significant change in rates of student bullying and victimization at St. Michael’s College School, where seven students were charged last fall in connection with alleged incidents that took place on campus.“Bullying and other demeaning behaviour do represent a systemic issue at the school, albeit in numbers comparable to the experiences of children of similar age across the country,” the committee wrote. “We can do so much better.”The school made headlines in November as police investigated an alleged sexual assault recorded on video and shared on social media. Investigators eventually laid charges in two alleged sexual assaults and one assault, all involving one of the institution’s football teams.The scandal triggered a national conversation on bullying and how it is dealt with in schools. St Michael’s tasked the committee with the review shortly after.“There are two realities at Saint Michael’s College School. For many students, past and current, the school has represented the very best in schooling,” the committee wrote. “For others, the school failed to ensure that they felt safe and secure or fully included.”The sweeping 123-page report — titled “A Time for Renewal” — offered 36 recommendations, including developing a comprehensive strategy to address bullying and robust staff training to deal with the issue.The school said it is committed to adopting the recommendations.“We are deeply concerned that bullying is a systemic issue,” school president Rev. Andrew Leung said in a statement. “Our goal remains unwavering — to ensure the safety and well-being of our students.”The committee found bullying is a school-wide problem. That conclusion was supported by the findings from surveys of current students, alumni, staff, former staff and parents.Those found that 206 boys — about one in five students — reported they had been bullied during their time at school.“It hasn’t really changed,” one student wrote.“Fix this bullying issue now and stop being neglectful and lazy,” another wrote.Surveys found the number of students who reported witnessing bullying went down from last fall to this spring, the committee said, suggesting bullying may have become more covert.Of those who were bullied, 70 boys said the bullying lasted a year or longer. Fifty-four boys reported being “sexually bullied.”The committee also found 88 students “reported that they had been bullied because of their race or religion.” And three out of four bullied boys reported subsequent mental health issues that included anger, sadness, difficulties at school, and feeling helpless.“This chronic bullying may be explained by the school’s inability to fully identify and effectively address bullying,” the committee said.While bullying was clearly a problem, the committee found hazing was not an issue, although it did exist. The committee said it wanted the school to stamp out mild forms of initiation because it is demeaning.The committee recommended the school write or rewrite a number of policies, codes of conduct and student handbooks that can be easily accessed by students, teachers, coaches and parents.It also recommended the school hire more women as teachers, staff and in leadership roles.“In the context of an all-boys school — especially where hyper or toxic masculinity has been identified as an issue to be mindful of, female teachers and administrators provide much needed perspective,” it wrote.Seven students were eventually charged last fall with offences that included sexual assault with a weapon, gang sexual assault and assault for three incidents involving members of one of the school’s football teams. The charges against one have since been dropped.Two police sources have said one of the alleged incidents involved a group of students on a football team pinning down another student and allegedly sexually assaulting him with a broom handle.The report offered further details on what allegedly happened.It said the school received a video on Nov. 12 that “appeared to show a sexual assault involving a group of boys.” Around noon the next day, staff identified those in the video as students at the school. On Nov. 14, the school told police about the alleged sex assault.The committee said the school should have reported criminal allegations to police as soon as it became aware of them, rather than wait 36 hours to allow the alleged victim to discuss the issue with his mother who was out of town. It suggested the school develop protocols with police on how to deal with alleged criminal acts.The report also said an alleged assault on Sept. 18 involved students allegedly “striking a student on the buttocks with a broom stick.”Four of the students charged were expelled, while the other three withdrew from the school in the wake of the allegations that came to light. Four other students were also expelled.The school’s top two administrators also resigned and several sports teams’ seasons were cancelled.Liam Casey , The Canadian Press
Toronto police say three school children were sent for medical attention after picking up discarded syringes they found.They say the students might have pricked themselves, potentially exposing them to diseases.The children found the needles near a west-end elementary school on Wednesday.Police are urging parents to explain to their children the hazards associated with used syringes, otherwise known as sharps.They also say people need to be careful if they remove the needles and should call the city for pickup.Last week, police reported finding discarded syringes in public spaces in Pembroke, Ont.Authorities say people finding sharps should not try to put the cap back on the needle, and should not bend of break any part of the sharp. They also suggest wearing gloves and using some kind of tongs to pick them up.For storage, they recommend using a hard plastic container, such as an empty peanut butter jar, sealing it and then calling for pickup.The Canadian Press
Angelina Jolie joined British Foreign Secretary William Hague and Zainab Bangura, UN Special Representative on sexual violence in conflict, for the G8 meeting in London today.During the meeting, the G8 foreign ministers agreed to boost efforts to seek justice for victims of abuse and rape in conflict, and announced a £23 million ($35.5 million) pledge to fund prevention and response efforts.“Hundreds of thousands of women and children have been sexually assaulted, tortured or forced into sexual slavery in the wars of our generation,” said Jolie following the meeting. “International political will has been sorely lacking, but today I believe their voices have been heard and that we finally have some hope to offer them. I welcome the long overdue stand that the G8 has taken. Wartime rape is not inevitable. This violence can be prevented, and it must be confronted.”Angelina Jolie is a Special Envoy for the UN Human Rights Council.
An Open Letter to Lord Taylor of Holbeach, Home Office Minister, has been signed by a host of politicians, scientists, academics, animal welfare experts and celebrities.The letter calls on the UK Government to set up an independent inquiry into the appalling animal suffering and wrong-doing uncovered at Imperial College London, one of the UK’s leading universities.Support for the letter and the BUAV comes from Joanna Lumley, Bill Oddie, Morrissey, Chrissie Hynde, Moby, Jenny Seagrove, Martin Shaw, Mark Carwardine and Twiggy. Other individuals to sign up include RSPCA Chief Executive Gavin Grant, Jonathan Porritt, Peter Tatchell, Chris Packham, and Michaela Strachan, as well as leading academics such as Revd Professor Andrew Linzey, Professor Roger Crisp, Professor Janet Radcliffe Richards, Professor Robert Gardner and Dr Richard Ryder. Politicians include Caroline Lucas MP, Graeme Morrice MP, Adrian Sanders MP, Penny Mordaunt MP, Henry Smith MP, Jim Dowd MP and Kerry McCarthy MP.The call comes following an investigation carried out by the BUAV at one of the animal laboratories at Imperial College which documented a catalogue of shortcomings that caused even more suffering to the animals in its care than was allowed in the experiments.Findings included: breaches in and lack of knowledge of UK Home Office project licences; staff incompetence and neglect that resulted in animal suffering and distress; unsupervised researchers – with little experience – anaesthetising and carrying out surgery on animals; a failure to provide adequate anaesthesia and pain relief and the controversial use of a guillotine to carry out live decapitation.The UK Government and research industry repeatedly claim the UK has some of the highest welfare standards in the world for animals in laboratories, yet the secrecy surrounding animal research means we are unable to judge for ourselves. The BUAV investigation lifts the lid on this secrecy with a chilling insight into the day to day reality for animals in a UK laboratory with staff admissions of their own wrong-doing and incompetence.BUAV Chief Executive, Michelle Thew states: ’Our investigation raises significant and far reaching questions about animal research in the UK.Despite claims by the Government and research industry that the UK has the best system of regulation in the world, we have shown that the reality for animals is very different. Standards at this leading UK University were poor, with breaches of the regulatory regime and inappropriate licensing and enforcement by the Home Office. A full independent inquiry must be carried out’.People can show their support by signing the BUAV petition here.
Tennis star Andy Murray has become a global ambassador for WWF supporting the fight against poaching and illegal wildlife trade.The world number six seed will be helping to raise awareness and support an initiative in Nepal that trains dogs to track down poaching activity within and around Chitwan National Park.Andy, who is well known for his love of dogs, will be raising vital funds throughout his tennis tour next year to support this crucial work in Nepal.Nepal is home to magnificent species such as tigers and rhinos – both of which are under threat due to poaching for the illegal trade in their parts. Nepal has long been a key transit route for some illegal wildlife products from India, destined for China, and whilst Nepal has dramatically reduced poaching in its own parks, vigilance against future poaching in Nepal must be maintained.The sniffer dog program will work alongside current activities in the country to tackle poaching and illegal wildlife trade. In honor of Andy’s support a new puppy that will be part of the elite dog team will be named ‘Murray.’Andy Murray said: “It’s a shocking fact that rhino poaching in South Africa increased by over 7,700% between 2007 and 2013 and as few as 3,200 tigers remaining in the wild so anything we can do to deter poachers is a positive step in the right direction. I’ve followed WWF’s work on the illegal wildlife trade for a while now and been looking for a way to support their work. I think it’s incredibly important that this trade is prevented and the sniffer dog programme seemed like the perfect venture for me to get behind. I know from my own dogs how clever they can be and it’s fascinating how these sniffer dogs communicate with their handlers. I’m also really looking forward to going to see Murray at work at some point in the near future.”Heather Sohl, Chief Species Advisor at WWF-UK, said: “We’re delighted that Andy has joined us in our work to fight the illegal wildlife trade. This serious, organised crime is threatening some of our most iconic species, so such support from a global personality to champion the issue and the much needed solutions is invaluable. Andy’s support for the sniffer dog work in Nepal will complement existing efforts by WWF and our partners through dramatically improving investigations by enforcement teams.”As part of a global program to combat poaching and illegal wildlife trade WWF also promotes the use of other innovative approaches, such as managing patrolling using GPS and databases, using unmanned aerial vehicles to monitor, detect and deter poaching – along with the use of sniffer dogs.For further info about this partnership visit www.wwf.org.uk/andy.
As Ariana Grande fearlessly tweeted, misogyny and gender double standards are still deeply embedded in the US. Her mantra: No woman belongs to any other person but herself. That important message goes hand-in-hand with the mission of eGirl Power, a non-profit program that seeks to empower and educate females throughout the world.eGirl Power is raising awareness of the profound gender inequality that exists throughout many developing countries. While Ariana Grande champions this cause with a sisterhood of support, including other celebrities such as Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, eGirl Power seeks to rally a groundswell of support for the millions of girls in developing countries who don’t yet have a voice of their own.To make it easier for supporters to follow or donate to this important cause, eGirl Power is launching a text-to-give campaign.Text GIRL to 50555 to join the eGirl Power mobile community and make a donation. Be sure to check your phone and click the link to complete your gift.The statistics are grim when it comes to gender equality in many developing countries. More than 62 million girls are currently not in school simply because of their gender. More than 82 million girls face the prospect of child marriage, and most of these girls will never complete secondary school. In some developing countries, nearly half of the female population will become mothers before 18. And an estimated 100 million girls are subjected to child labor, including extreme exploitation such as slavery and human trafficking.eGirl Power asks, who is tweeting about these girls? Who will stand up to help them? A simple text is a good way to start.eGirl Power believes educated girls are one of the most powerful agents for social change. Not only will an education change the life of each girl, but it benefits the whole family, and eventually the entire nation. An educated girl will become a woman who is healthier, able to earn more income, and provide better healthcare and education for her own children, according to UNICEF. This is key to breaking the intergenerational chain of poverty. That’s why eGirl Power’s mission is to raise awareness and ensure that every girl has access to education.Popstar Ariana Grande declared she wants to live in a world where people are not valued by their significant other or who they are attached to, “but by their value as an individual.” eGirl Power seeks to make that goal a reality, not just here in the US, but across all borders.Source:PR Newswire
Here’s your chance to meet country music legend George Strait at a show in Vegas.A new charity auction is giving you and three friends the chance to experience all 60 of George Strait’s #1 hits live from the front row in Vegas! You and your guests will also enjoy a Meet & Greet with George backstage!Additionally, you will receive 2 rooms in a MGM International Resorts Hotel property for 2 nights with car transportation to the show each night.You will also receive special merchandise, and admission to the enhanced King’s Exhibit – a private exhibit that chronicles the life and career of George Strait through memorabilia, only available to VIP guests and guests of George Strait.Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Jenifer Strait Foundation, an organisation established in the memory of George Strait’s daughter, who was killed in a car accident in 1986. The Foundation promotes charitable causes for children, and focuses it’s donations on various non-profit organizations, including; The Boys & Girls Club San Antonio and St. Jude’s Ranch. Find out more about the charity here.The auction runs until July 13, and can be accessed here.