Archive | October, 2016

Whoa! Aamir’s Dangal trailer creates a record

Posted on 27 October 2016 by admin

With the launch of the trailer, Aamir Khan’s Dangal has been generating tremendous buzz.

Upon it’s release, the trailer did not only prove to be a talking point in India but was a trending topic Worldwide, with it trending high under the trends of the world on Twitter.

Having a power packed onset, the trailer has been witnessing a visible high. Aamir Khan’s Dangal trailer has already crossed 25 million views across platforms during the weekend.

Dangal trailer, having a high dose of emotions has been winning accolades from across quarters. The crux of Mahaveer Phogat’s biopic, the Father-Daughter story has struck chords with the masses worldwide. The effect of the trailer has been long lasting with it witnessing sustenance across digital platforms.

The trailer of Dangal continues to be one of the top most trending content pieces on Youtube too. Youtubers overseas are also actively participating and reviewing the trailer. The trailer also has a very negligible ratio of likes to dislikes on the platform, with less than 2% of the 25 million viewers disliking it.

From motivational picture posts, to largely popular dialogues, Dangal’s trailer and its scenes are being used to create many points on digital platforms. Disney presents, Aamir Khan Productions ‘Dangal’ produced by Aamir Khan, Kiran Rao & Siddharth Roy Kapur and directed by Nitesh Tiwari.

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I’d love to be with someone special, says Parineeti Chopra

Posted on 27 October 2016 by admin

She looks like a million bucks. Parineeti Chopra also has an interesting line-up of films and several big brand endorsements in her kitty.

The actor says she is in a `great place` workwise. However, Parineeti, who turns a year older on October 22, wishes to celebrate her birthday in a `special way` this year. `I am a birthday person. I am not modest about birthdays. I am shameless about gifts. I have got a bigger house only so that I can accommodate more gifts (laughs),`she says, talking about her love life, and more.

Do you like celebrating your birthday?

Yes, absolutely. From October 23, I start a countdown to my next birthday (laughs). The irony is that I don’t celebrate my birthday in a big way. I just know that it is my day and that people will call me and send me presents. You get a lot of love on this day. This year though, since I have worked a lot and I plan to continue working, I will do something special. I will organise a party or go out, and dance and have fun with my friends.

Is this birthday special for you, as you have new films in your kitty after taking a break?

Yes, when it comes to work, I am in a great place. I am glad that I could finish one film, and have [signed] the next one already. We will announce another one soon.

It is going to be busy a year, which is what I wanted. I have worked towards this. I have worked on my body, and I am charged up about the coming year. In fact, the last six months flew by. This birthday is going to be a good one. you recently said that the only thing you will be quiet about is your personal life…

Three to four years ago, I used to think that if I have someone special in life, I will be open and I will tell people about it. That still remains true to a certain extent, as I won’t hide it. At the same time, I won’t flaunt it too. There’s so much scrutiny. Relationships are over-analysed. I don’t want that to happen to my relationships or my love life.

Is something happening on the romantic front? Right now, there’s nothing. However, I have opened my heart to a relationship. I want somebody to come into my life. So, hopefully, it should happen soon. I am putting out the message into the universe. With the kind of place I am in, emotionally and personally, I would love to be with someone [special].

What worries you the most vis-a-vis your personal life?

Since I am a public figure, my personal life will get written about, and that is bound to affect my relationships. That’s why I want to be careful about it (talking about her private life). My personal life – be it my love life, kids or marriage, are of utmost importance to me. I don’t want to get affected by the global scrutiny that every celebrity has to go through.

your last release, Kill Dill (2014), didn’t do well at the box office. yet, you chose to take a break from films. Were you not worried?

The answer is no, because when I had taken that break, I knew why I was taking it. The break has helped me so much. I put in a lot of passion and hard work into what I do. Plus, the kind of response that I get for everything now – whether it is for photo shoots, brand endorsements or films – is so positive. That’s because making an effort each working day. I think that was missing in my life two-three years ago.

Maybe, I wanted to give more, but I wasn’t able to. The break has recharged me. Do you feel positive about yourself after your makeover?

I feel really good, happy and positive about myself. It’s not just because of my physical transformation, but because I feel healthier, I have more stamina. I feel fresher when I wake up and feel happy with my work. I guess that’s showing, and I want to maintain this. It’s a result of everything that I do, whether it’s a photo shoot, an ad or a film; I can see the difference.

It takes a lot of courage to take a break at the start of your career… It’s a huge mark of strength. And honestly, I give credit to myself that I decided to take a break when I should have done more films. My intentions behind the break worked out well. I wanted to feel better and was tired of working every single day.

Whatever I have done in the past year has been accepted. Even though I took a break, the flow of offers for films and ads have been the same. It only means that I must have earned people’s good will in those two years. Otherwise, actors are written off in a jiffy. Touchwood, that hasn’t happened. your parents must be proud that you have bought a house in Mumbai?

Buying a house in Mumbai is a big thing. People joke about it, saying things like, `Main ek din ghar banaunga yahaan (I will build a house here).` I am so thankful that I have got my own house. It’s my space and I own it. I have lived in a rented place for the longest time – for five years.

My parents also feel that I have achieved something. It’s a proud feeling.

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Pink Ladoo Project aims to give sweet welcome to baby girls

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

The birth of a son in South Asian communities is generally a celebration marked by the family distributing a sweet called ladoo.

Not so if the child born is a girl, said Harbir Singh, the Canadian director of the Pink Ladoo Project, whose goal is to eliminate gender bias in South Asian communities.

“We want to start the conversation about gender equality very early in a baby girl’s life,” said Singh, 36.

The project began about three years ago and was the brainchild of Singh’s friend Sumeet Gill.

When a boy is born, families distribute yellow-coloured ladoo.

The Pink Ladoo Project encourages South Asian families to distribute pink ladoo for their daughters’ births.

“Whatever you would traditionally do for your son in your family is fine — we just want you to do the same thing for your daughter,” said Singh.

Gill, Singh and a few of their other friends decided to take the concept global, launching it beyond Canada to the United Kingdom and Australia in the last two years.

Growing up in Brampton, Singh said she always experienced a male preference culture in her community.

“Since I was a little girl it was made evident that the value of baby boys was higher than baby girls,” she recalled.

“And the community showed me this by the way in which baby boys were celebrated and a lot of the comments were made about if someone had one or more baby girls, the comments were always “Well, perhaps next time you will be blessed with a boy.”

But it wasn’t till Singh gave birth to her second daughter that she realized how relevant the gender bias still was.

“I was shocked to see these comments were directed to me. I was floored and my jaw dropped open. Oftentimes, instead of a “congratulations,” I received an ‘It’s-OK-maybe-next-time.’ ”

The Pink Ladoo Project launched across five Canadian cities to coincide with the International Day of the Girl. It’s also hosting a five-day campaign at the Brampton Civic Hospital until Saturday to spread awareness and celebrate the birth of baby girls with their parents.

Along with addressing gender biases around the birth of a daughter, Singh said the Pink Ladoo Project is also trying to combat bias that South Asian women sometimes come up against later in life.

The issues range from the tradition of the bride’s family giving gifts to the husband’s family when they marry to issues of inheritance and female children not receiving their parents’ wealth when they pass away, said Singh.

“It’s hard to believe outside the community, but I think within the community they know that this issue exists,” said Singh. “Male preference culture exists and we’ve got to tackle all the reasons for it if we ever want to get by it.”

The discrimination is usually not intentional or malicious, Singh added.

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Pharmacare should be a priority for health minister

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

Call it the black hole of health care coverage. Canada is the only country in the world with a national health care plan that does not cover the cost of prescription medicines. And according to a new study, that’s creating a health inequity for the poor.

Those who aren’t covered by private or public health care plans, primarily the working poor, sometimes can’t afford the drugs needed to prevent or treat a health condition, the annual report from Health Quality Ontario concludes. That can mean they need more costly care, in the long run, from a family doctor, specialist or hospital.

It’s an inequity that provincial and territorial health ministers should address when they meet in Toronto this week with their federal counterpart, Jane Philpott. Their discussions are to lay the groundwork for a first ministers’ meeting on a new health-care accord that could come as early as mid-December.

The importance of this discussion cannot be underestimated. Study after study shows that a pharmacare program would save billions of dollars while ensuring that people don’t get sicker or suffer needlessly because they cannot afford prescriptions.

As Ontario’s health minister Eric Hoskins, a proponent of pharmacare, has said: “No Canadian should have to choose between putting food on the table or filling their latest prescription.”

But as the report from Health Quality Ontario makes clear, that’s a choice made by many poor people.

Among those aged 12 to 64 in Ontario, 85.7 per cent of those in the richest neighbourhoods had prescription insurance compared to just 56 per cent of those in the poorest, though they are the ones who can least afford medications.

And while people on welfare or disability insurance have their medications covered, those who are precariously employed or in low-paying jobs do not have employer-provided health plans that cover prescription drugs.

One 2015 study found that 35 per cent of workers do not have employer-provided health plans. That number rises to 85 per cent for those earning less than $10,000 a year and to 70 per cent for those earning between $10,000 and $20,000.

In other words, the working poor cannot afford prescription drugs on which their lives, never mind their health, may depend.

In fact, about one Canadian in 10 lacks money to buy the medicines they need, resulting in needless suffering and aggravated illness. That’s hardly in keeping with the principle of universal access at the heart of our medicare system.

Sadly, even when the working poor do buy drugs, they often skip doses or split pills in an effort to make the medicine last longer. That’s a prescription for poor health.

And cost is no reason for the ministers to shy away from pharmacare. A 2015 study found that a pharmacare plan would not only ensure all Canadians have access to the drugs they need, but would save anywhere from $4 billion to $11 billion a year, depending on how the program is structured.

There’s no question that bringing in national pharmacare will involve difficult negotiations among the provinces, Ottawa and the pharmaceutical industry. That’s why the health ministers meeting on Tuesday should get on it without delay. Indeed, it should be a top priority.

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Conservative ridings got most of Canada 150 cash

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

Conservative ridings disproportionately benefited from an election year fund aimed at improving community infrastructure such as parks and recreation centres, a Star analysis has found.

New data shows ridings won by the Conservatives in 2011 received 68.6 per cent of the roughly $106 million paid out in the first year of the Canada 150 community infrastructure program between June 2015 and June 2016.

Much of that money, about $46 million, was spent in seat-rich Ontario. British Columbia, a battleground in the last election, took in $17.5 million while the Conservative heartland of Alberta received $15.2 million.

Quebec, Canada’s second most populous province, had received only $3.7 million for projects as of June.

The Canada 150 community infrastructure program was announced by former prime minister Stephen Harper in the months leading up to the 2015 federal election. In May 2015, Harper told a crowd that the fund would benefit some 1,800 smaller-scale renovations and upgrades.

At the time, both the opposition New Democrats and Liberals called the program a “slush fund” for good news announcements leading up to the election. News releases from that summer touted dozens of announcements about upgrades to everything from schools to theatres to skating rinks.

Adam Vaughan, the Toronto MP and now parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, said the fund under the Conservatives was overly restrictive and set timetables that were difficult for community organizations to meet.

“It was clear that the Conservatives had tipped off some on how to apply and kept others in the dark,” Vaughn said in an interview.

“They created extraordinarily complex guidelines, (a) very short period of time to apply and then went through and cherry-picked and gave to organizations that were close to the Conservative party.”

But Michelle Rempel, who was minister of western economic diversification in the Conservatives’ last year in government, said public servants decided which projects fit the criteria. There were political considerations involved in the decisions, Rempel said, to ensure the small pool of funding was fairly distributed over a large number of ridings.

“The program was oversubscribed … for example, we could have spent all the funding just in Metro Vancouver,” Rempel said in an interview outside the House of Commons last week.

“So you want to make sure there is some regional recognition because the pool was small. But what I relied on to make my decision was a departmental ranking based on criteria … I wanted to be very careful that it wasn’t perceived as a politically motivated decision.”

The Conservatives had 54 per cent of the seats after the 2011 election, but Conservative ridings took at least 68 per cent of the funding. The NDP, who had official Opposition status with 33 per cent of the seats in 2011, saw only 13.9 per cent of the funding flow to their ridings.

The Liberals won 11 per cent of seats in 2011 but received 5.5 per cent of the funding, mostly in the Atlantic provinces.

Projects that spanned multiple ridings, or had insufficient information to identify a specific riding (such as funding for “the City of Ottawa”), made up $11.3 million, or 10.7 per cent of the total.

Some regions and ridings were much more successful than others in getting funding. The GTA’s Durham region, represented by Conservative leadership hopeful Erin O’Toole, received $3.5 million in funding — more than any two Atlantic provinces combined.

The Liberal government opted to continue the infrastructure funding for another year, putting up another $150 million for a second phase of projects. But the government’s political priorities have been added as criteria — new projects should focus more on improving “the future for Indigenous peoples” or “promote a cleaner growth economy.”

A spokesperson for Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains, who was given responsibility for the second phase of Canada 150 infrastructure grants, said the Liberals had issues with the first phase being used for “possible electoral motivations.”

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Kathleen Wynne Blames Your Family For Costly Ontario Climate Plan

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

Premier Kathleen Wynne is worried about what she calls “very bad actors” in Ontario.

While defending her government’s new tax on home heating fuels and gasoline, the premier said that the new tax is necessary because Ontarians are “very bad actors in terms of our per capita emissions.” That’s right, the new tax on keeping your family warm in the winter and on your daily commute to work is because Ontarians are “bad actors.”

Forget about the fact that colder climates and countries with broad and expansive geography will naturally have higher per capita emissions. We can’t change the very nature of our country. The real question is why per capita emissions are an issue.

In total, Canada contributes about 1.65 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. If we each reduced our per capita emissions, it would achieve absolutely nothing for global emissions, and at tremendous cost.

Even if the entire Canadian economy shut down, global emissions would still continue to climb. When politicians are willing to impose a massive new tax for zero practical benefit we should ask why.
The answer is obvious: $2 billion a year in revenue from the new tax for Kathleen Wynne and her government to spend.

When Ontario’s premier talks about bad actors, it’s without a hint of irony. Her government spent $308 million on a cancelled modernization of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, $70 million on the cancelled Ontario Retirement Pension Plan and $1 billion on cancelled gas plants. Spending $1.37 billion on nothing? How’s that for “bad actors?”

Or what about the way Wynne’s pay-for-play government sells access to cabinet ministers or hands out corporate grants to their biggest donors? Cabinet ministers had $500,000 fundraising goals, which involved events like the $7,500 per person fundraiser promoted by one of the banks that underwrote the lucrative sale of Hydro One. The government has also given lucrative contracts to those who donate or have cozy ties to the premier.

For example, Wynne handed out $163 million to the Liberal Party’s biggest corporate donor, GreenField Group; she gave $2.7 million of taxpayer money in polling contracts to her own campaign manager; and she gave teachers unions $2.5 millionto pay for the union’s costs of bargaining. But Ontario families who want to drive their kids to hockey practice are the “bad actors.”

And of course, there’s what Kathleen Wynne has done to our electricity bills. Ontarians now pay some of the highest bills in North America, and our bills have grown 60 per cent faster than the rest of Canada.

This is because Ontario signed long contracts for wind and solar generation that have us paying above market rates. Ontario consumers overpaid for renewable power by $37 billion between 2006 and 2014, and by 2032 we will overpay by an additional $133 billion. Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty created this boondoggle, but tell the families that bear this cost they are the “bad actors.”

The truth is that Kathleen Wynne has mismanaged the economy, the electricity system, the provincial budget and can’t afford to keep the government running. While we tighten our belts, her government has seen a virtual buffet of waste — and then she tells us that we’re the reckless ones. If Kathleen Wynne is looking for “bad actors,” she has to do nothing more than look in the mirror.

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Confusion in foreign policy making leads to conflict between civilian leadership and army

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

 Dr. Hasan Askari

 Smooth civil-military relations hold the key to political stability and an efficient management of external and internal security in Pakistan. Therefore, both the civilian leadership and the top brass of the military seek a friction-free relationship to devote fully to their exclusive domains of authority and work in harmony in the overlapping policy space or when they need to supplement each other.

 The military’s role has expanded in Pakistan not simply because of the long years of its direct and indirect rule that caused political and democratic discontinuity. There are other reasons as well. Pakistan developed as the security state right from the beginning because of external threat primarily from India and secondarily from Afghanistan. There was also a fear of internal collapse in the early years of independence. Therefore, the focus was on securing Pakistan against external threats and internal pressures. The key priorities were the enforcement of monolithic notion of nationhood, assertive centre and a strong military rather than democratization of the political system.

 The military, especially the Army and the paramilitary forces, were summoned from time to time in “aid of the civil” for restoring civilian authority or to support it where it could not cope with civilian task relating to political agitation, supplement civilian authorities in managing their administrative problems, natural calamities and man-made crises.

 This practice goes on even today. The army and paramilitary are needed to hold elections, undertake census, provide security in Muharram, for reading electricity meters, managing government entities like WAPDA, provide protection to staff administering anti-polio drug to children and making medical assistance and food available in the drought- or flood affected areas, to name some civilian tasks undertaken by the three services, especially the army.

 Yet another area that has expanded the role of the military is internal security. This includes terrorism, sectarian and ethnic violence and a nexus of criminality and politics in the post September 2001 period. A number of successful security operations have been launched by the Army, the paramilitary forces, the Air Force for containing terrorism and religious and ethnic violence. This task is expected to continue for an indefinite period.

 The frequent reliance of the civilian administration on the military for handling civilian affairs has a strong political fall out to the disadvantage of the civilian authorities. All this provides the military with the experience of handling the civilian affairs. It also exposes the weaknesses of the civilian authorities and it creates the impression that the military can succeed in a task where civilian authorities fail. However, if the military can manage an administrative task in an efficient manner this does not mean that it can also resolve the complex political problem. It is in this domain that the military often falters.

 One major reason for the popularity of the Army Chief General Raheel Sharif is that the Army has been successful in reducing internal terrorism to a great extent. As the Army has “delivered” on countering terrorism, the Army Chief and the Army have won much appreciation.

 Pakistan needs to learn from the countries that have rehabilitated civilian primacy after the long years of the military’s ascendancy. This calls for redefining Pakistan’s internal and external security profile. If the issues of external security and internal violence and terrorism are not defused, the military stays central to state policies and state survival. It also requires a recognition on the part of the military top brass that “day-to-day” political management does not fit into their professional and organizational disposition.

 Above all, an elected civilian government enjoys electoral legitimacy but it must also earn performance legitimacy. It must pursue socio-economic policies that give a strong hope to people for a better future. It needs to work towards reducing socio-economic disparities, be transparent in managing state affairs, and create a corruption free, efficient and accountable governance within the framework of the rule of law.

 In Pakistan, the civilian governments since 2008 have experienced crisis after crisis and could these could not muster voluntary loyalty of the common people. These governments cultivated personalized loyalty by a partisan use of state resources and tolerating corruption in government.

 Instead of creating a reliable and popular civilian government, the Nawaz Sharif government has spent energy on criticizing the military. Some of the federal ministers are known for public criticism of the security establishment. The latest controversy caused by the news item regarding the discussion in a national security meeting in the prime minister house has adversely affected civil-military relations.

 The Sharif government’s complaint of losing a lot of space to the security establishment for the making of foreign and security policies relates more to the style of governance. Such a complaint was not heard that much when Khurshid Mahmud Qureshi, Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Hina Rabbani Khar were foreign ministers (2002-2013). Today, the Foreign Office lacks the Unity of Command. It has four poles of authority Sartaj Aziz, Tariq Fatmi, office of the Prime Minister and the Punjab Chief Minister. The latter manages relations with China and Turkey in an autonomous manner for the Punjab based development projects. He has also obtained loans from China for some projects in the Punjab. A divided house is bound to cause confusion in policy making and management and leaves policy gaps.

 Two issues are going to shape the civil-military relations in the next two months. How the civilian leadership handles the inquiry into who passed on the information of about what happened in the national security meeting? The Corps Commanders Conference held on October 14 describes this information as “false and fabricated.” The other issue pertains to the appointment of the new Army Chief in November. Any gross violation of the seniority principle will compound the current problem in civil-military relations.

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Citizenship applications plummet as fees soar

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

The number of immigrants applying for Canadian citizenship has plummeted for the second year in a row in the wake of hefty application fee hikes Ottawa introduced in recent years.

The trend has prompted fears that the current citizenship costs — $530 per adult, plus a $100 right of citizenship fee — are creating a growing underclass of newcomers who can’t afford the fee and hence are prevented from full integration and participation in Canadian society, according to a report published in the Institute for Research on Public Policy.

According to the latest government data, only 36,000 citizenship applications were received from January to June in 2016, just more than one-third of the number for the same period last year.

In 2015, a total of 130,000 citizenship applications were submitted to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, compared to an average of 200,000 received in previous years.

“The decline is so significant that it cannot be ignored,” said retired immigration department director-general Andrew Griffith, who obtained the government statistics for policy analysis for the Montreal-based Institute for Research on Public Policy.

“I had thought the citizenship fee increases would provoke a decline in applications, but I was surprised by the steepness of the decline.”

Griffith’s report came just as Canada is celebrating Citizenship Week that runs Oct. 10 to 16.

The former Conservative government raised the citizenship fee to $300 from $100 per adult in 2014, and again to $530 last year — to fully recover the processing cost of applications. The fee had been held constant at $100 for almost two decades.

Although immigration officials said at the time the fee hikes would have no impact on the number of immigrants applying to become citizens, Griffith said the data clearly shows otherwise.

Besides the fee hikes, the only major change to the citizenship program was the new requirement for applicants between the age of 55 and 64 to pass the knowledge test.

Griffith said the group only represents 6 per cent of the new citizen population and the current 2016 data provides a clear picture of the impact of the fee hikes on their own.

“As the government considers further increases to the number of immigrants, current fees mean that fewer will apply to become citizens. If the current 2016 trend continues, we will have 300,000 new immigrants and far less than 100,000 new citizens,” Griffith cautioned.

“This sets the stage for a growing portion of Canadian residents who are not citizens and are effectively disenfranchised. From both a social inclusion and social cohesion perspective, this risks the overall success of the Canadian model of integration.”

Griffith said the increase of the application fee to $530 from $300 appeared to be the tipping point as the full cost recovery puts the financial burden of the program on citizenship applicants.

“Citizenship isn’t just a private good. There are broader benefits to society,” he said. “When you have a larger share of the population that has little or no interest and ability to participate in political life, you run the risk of greater exclusion, less inclusion and less commitment to Canada.”

The Liberal government is currently reviewing Bill C6 to amend Canada’s Citizenship Act, but there is no mention of any adjustment to the citizenship fee.

Griffith said Ottawa should split the cost and reduce the fee to $300 or at least offer exemptions and support to groups who are most affected by the financial barrier.

To be eligible for citizenship, a permanent resident must have been physically present in Canada for at least 1,460 days during the six years prior to the application. Those between 14 and 64 must also provide proof of English or French proficiency, as well as criminal clearances and pass a knowledge test about Canada.

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Canada, U.S. ban Samsung Galaxy Note 7 phones from all aircraft

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

Passengers and flight crews will be banned from bringing Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones on airline flights under emergency orders issued Friday by both Transport Canada and the U.S. Department of Transportation in response to reports of the phones catching fire.

The orders, which became effective immediately in Canada and at noon EDT Saturday in the U.S., say the phones may not be carried on board or packed in checked bags on flights to and from Canada and the United States or within either country. The phones also can’t be shipped as air cargo.

Passengers with the phones will not be allowed to board planes. And those who try to evade the U.S. ban by packing the phones in checked luggage may be subject to criminal prosecution in addition to fines. Transport officials in both countries warned that carrying the phones in checked luggage increases the potential danger to the flight.

Samsung has recalled more than 2.5 million of the smartphones, citing a battery manufacturing error. The South Korean company discontinued the product earlier this week, less than two months after its August release.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says there have been nearly 100 reports of batteries in Note 7 phones overheating in the United States. One fire erupted on a Southwest Airlines flight earlier this month. In another case, a family in St. Petersburg, Florida, reported a Galaxy Note 7 phone left charging in their Jeep caught fire, destroying the vehicle.

Transport Canada and the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration had previously warned passengers not to pack the phones in their checked bags and to power them off and not charge them while on board planes.

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Supporting Women Who Are Pregnant After A Loss

Posted on 19 October 2016 by admin

Written by Marie Sanderson, a Senior Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

For many women, discovering they are pregnant is a cause for celebration. Photos of ultrasounds are sent to family and friends and thoughts turn to baby showers and other celebrations.

Vanisha Vasta had one thought running through her mind in 2012: “How long is this pregnancy going to last?” Vanisha and her husband Alnoor had just lost twins six weeks earlier in her second trimester. Before that, they lost their first baby at 18 weeks, after trying to conceive for seven years.

“Every time I became pregnant, I kept thinking ‘I’m going to lose it again’” says Vanisha. “Every single twinge and you’re sure it’s happening again. I can’t think of any other way to describe the experience of being pregnant after losing a baby as just being super-panicky all the time.”

Vanisha got through her third pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto in 2013. Azaan, three years old, runs around giggling, stopping to build some colourful lego, and has just started nursery school. He also loves patting his baby brother, Alyan, on the back when he’s feeding. Alyan was born in April 2016 while Vanisha was a patient with the hospital’s Subsequent Pregnancy Clinic.

The Subsequent Pregnancy Program cares for families pregnant after experiencing a late pregnancy loss (after 15 weeks), or the loss of their baby soon after birth. Megan Fockler is the program’s advanced practice nurse, and says this model of care addresses a gap in the system.

Knowing that women who experience this type of loss experience higher rates of depression, isolation and anxiety, Fockler says the program individualizes care and puts different supports into motion.

“Your mindset after having a pregnancy loss, especially a late-term one, is to prepare yourself for the worst,” says Vanisha. “Having the support of the team at Sunnybrook was invaluable. I didn’t have to repeat my story many times to different people, I saw one or two familiar faces who understood the journey I had been through.”

Vanisha found simple things, like not being in the same waiting room as other expectant mothers, to be helpful. “The small steps and sensitivity meant so much,” explains Vanisha. “Megan and Dr. Jon Barrett didn’t blink if I was having a very emotional day. It is a very different pregnancy when you’ve had a previous loss; you are literally too scared to do anything or think of anything.”

Many pregnant women in the program meet with the same ultrasound technician, which avoids having to repeat their medical histories to many care providers. They can also meet with a breastfeeding consultant in advance.

Fockler says in Canada a family loses a baby late in pregnancy or within the first year of life approximately every two hours. This number doesn’t include early pregnancy loss, which impacts more women.

When asked what advice she can offer to other women who have had a pregnancy loss, Vanisha says, “When you lose a baby it’s like your world has ended. And you’ll never forget that loss, that baby. But things will get better. There is always hope and thankfully there are people to support you.”

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