Archive | February, 2018

Femina Beauty Awards: Aishwarya, Disha Patani, Malaika dazzle at the red carpet

Posted on 22 February 2018 by admin

Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards 2018 was held on February 15 in Mumbai and Bollywood stars graced the red carpet in elegance. Celebrities like Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Disha Patani, Malaika Arora and many others shine at the red carpet.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan dazzles in a shimmery gown by Nadim Olivera for Labourjoisie, Disha Patani looked gorgeous in a sheer brown dress with golden sequins.

Veteran actress Rekha as always shines bright in Kanjeevaram saree.

Evelyn Sharma, Kiara Advani also looked stunning. Zareen Khan, Adah Sharma, Shruthi Seth and Tara Sharma Saluja all dressed in their best outfits.

Actors like Amitabh Bachchan, Arjun Kapoor and Kartik Aryan also rocked in the red carpet.

The stars are honoured with Nykaa Femina Beauty Awards 2018. The list of the winners are:-

Amitabh Bachchan – Style Legend Of All Time

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan – Global Beauty Icon and Powerhouse Entertainer for Two Decades

Rekha – Legendary Style Diva

Arjun Kapoor – Man We Love

Disha Patani – Fresh Face of the Year

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Katrina Kaif will be seen in Sonakshi Sinha starrer Welcome To New York and we have the details

Posted on 22 February 2018 by admin

The trailer of Welcome To New York has revealed that the film is not only a rib-tickling movie but also an extremely star-studded one. So if you are expecting many guest appearances, by stars then fans are definitely in for a treat. Besides Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh, the film features many A-listers in intriguing cameos. One amongst them is Katrina Kaif.

It is definitely good news for all Katrina Kaif fans who are eagerly waiting to see her on the big screen post Tiger Zinda Hai. Interestingly the film also features Salman Khan in a special appearance in a song. Wonder if the actress is managing to do a role alongside her Tiger co-star? The details of the same are currently being kept under wraps.

The trailer of the film, however, featured one of the most power packed special appearances. That of Rana Daggubati! Remember how he managed to save Karan Joharin Bahubali style? However, it is yet to be seen the kind of cameo Katrina Kaif will be featuring in.

On the other hand, another interesting fact about the film is that Karan Johar is playing a double role in the film. Besides playing himself, the head honcho of Dharma Productions will also essay the character of a gangster. Lara Dutta and Boman Irani too will be a part of the film. Riteish Deshmukh will essay the character of a host.

Readers may also be aware that Welcome To New York explores a rather unique kind of cinema called stage-reality. The film was shot along with the IIFA awards ceremony that was held in the Big Apple last year. Starring Sonakshi Sinha and Diljit Dosanjh in the lead, Welcome To New York is slated to release on February 23.

On the other hand, Katrina Kaif will next be seen in Shah Rukh Khan, Anushka Sharmastarrer Zero. The actress is also a part of Yash Raj Films’ ambitious venture Thugs Of Hindostan. It will star Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Fatima Sana Shaikh in prominent roles.


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Province bearing heavy cost of Hydro One sale

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

It would have been cheaper to borrow money for transit projects than to sell shares in Hydro One, watchdog says.

The Liberal government’s controversial sale of 53 per cent of Hydro One will cost about $1.1 billion in annual revenues from lost dividends this year, the independent Financial Accountability Office said Monday.

In the long run, selling the shares will cost taxpayers about $1.8 billion more than if the province had borrowed the $9.2 billion raised by the partial privatization, according to a 40-page reportby the watchdog.

The sale to private investors, with proceeds going to pay down hydro system debt and finance public transit improvements has the effect of boosting the province’s books $3.8 billion in the fiscal years from 2015 to 2018 — which opposition parties noted is a crucial period before this spring’s election as the Liberals scrambled to keep their balanced budget promise.

Progressive Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod said the findings in the report are damning given public concerns about selling a valuable provincial asset.

“We warned the Liberals it was a dumb move and now the Financial Accountability Office has proven it is,” she told the Star.

“It would have been cheaper just to flat out borrow the money than it was to sell the shares.”

Premier Kathleen Wynne has maintained the sale was necessary to raise money for infrastructure improvements and that bringing more private-sector discipline to Hydro One would make it more profitable.

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Anti-poverty protestors disrupt Toronto budget debate

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

Toronto city councillors are setting the $11 billion operating budget for 2018.

Shouts of “Mayor Goldilocks Tory!” and “People are dying!” erupted at Toronto city council as anti-poverty protestors briefly shut down debate on the 2018 budget.

During a morning presentation on the proposed spending blueprint by city staff, members and supporters of Ontario Coalition Against Property in the council chamber gallery started shouting at Mayor John Tory and council members sitting below.

“Hey John Tory, add more beds or you’ll be sorry!” they chanted as police and security officers moved toward them and started asking people to leave.

While past similar disruptions have seen protestors start to file out after a few minutes, this time they refused to leave, and security order the entire chamber cleared. Some people were dragged out.

A woman who said she is living in a medical facility with no other permanent housing, told reporters that homeless people and advocates are fed up with austerity budgets that keep property taxes low at the expense of social service spending.

“Every successive government has passed this problem onto the next successive government since the early ‘70s, the buck has to stop somewhere,” she said shortly before everyone was ejected.

“It’s not that an additional billion dollars for one (Scarborough) subway station is more important than those who are trying to live. No one should struggle on this level every day. It’s inhumane.”

Spectators and councillors returned to the chamber after about 15 minutes, restarting deliberations that are expected to go into Monday night and possibly Tuesday.

Tory has branded the proposed $11-billion operating blueprint his “Goldilocks” budget, arguing it strikes a “just right” balance between spending on services and the fiscal restraint required to keep the residential property hike to the rate of inflation.

With Tory’s council-supported freeze spending, the budget for most programs and serviceswon’t even keep up with inflation — effectively mandating nearly across-the-board cuts.

The budget recommendations commit Toronto to the first year of a plan to create 1,000 new shelter beds over three years, with a first installment of 281 this year. But advocates say that 1,000 beds are desperately needed now, with 500 more needed as soon as possible.

Prior to council, OCAP staged a rally and speeches both outside of city hall and in the rotunda, with speakers from the Toronto Overdose Prevention Society and Health Providers Against Poverty.

They included Tara Hird, 36, and partner Brian Willett, 51. The couple has been at the Better Living Centre for three weeks and Hird is 35 weeks pregnant with their first child together, who they plan to name Greyson.

Both have been without housing or precariously housed for years and met inside the emergency system and OCAP and supporters planned to take them to Mayor John Tory’s office to demand they be relocated immediately.

Willett said the biggest barrier to moving forward with their lives has been a place to call home and with a baby on the way the couple is increasingly worried about their future.

“We need the first and last months rent and an actual apartment. Give us that and I’m sure we’ll surprise you and move on,” with their lives as a family, said Willett.

“That is the hardest part getting that apartment,” said Hird, who described living inside the Better Living Centre, as “scary.”

A new report from Social Planning Toronto also outlines tens of millions in spending missing from the budget, which fails to provide funding to implement some of the goals from several key strategies previously approved by council — plans aimed at tackling poverty and climate change, and improving recreation and transit across the city.

Tory’s office argued in a news release that the proposed budget invests wisely in the lives of Toronto’s 2.7 million residents.

“This budget contains over $50 million in new and enhanced investments including the TTC’s hop on-hop off transfer, the City’s TransformTO plan, funding for social housing repairs, 825 additional child care spaces, 20,000 additional recreation spaces, accelerating the Vision Zero safety plan and hiring more police officers focusing on community safety,” states a news release issued Monday.

Council is expected to approve a residential property tax increase of 2.1 per cent. With surcharges including a fund to build transit and housing the actual increase would be 2.91 per cent. City staff say that translates into an increase of just over $82 on an average Toronto home with an assessed value of $624,418.

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‘Large explosion’ rocks Mississauga strip mall, sending three to hospital

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

The Sunday morning blast levelled several shops in a strip plaza near Dundas St. W. and Hurontario St. and a nearby residential building was evacuated. Three people, including a child, were taken to hospital.

A family was rescued from the roof of a collapsed building early Sunday morning after an explosion rocked a Mississauga neighbourhood, levelling several stores in a strip plaza.

The blast, described as a “large explosion” by Mississauga’s fire chief, blew the windows out of businesses on the other side of Hurontario St., north of Dundas St. W., and caused damage to a nearby apartment building. Dozens were evacuated from homes in the area.

About half of the plaza was flattened.

Although police initially reported that the explosion was in a commercial building, responders quickly became aware that some residents lived on the second floor of the plaza at the back of the building.

Tim Beckett, Mississauga’s fire chief, said his crews respond to commercial and residential incidents with the same urgency and that the first trucks were on the scene within three minutes of the call coming in.

Although he acknowledged some miscommunication in initial reports, he said “it didn’t change the way operations would have proceeded. We would have sent the same number of people, same number of trucks.”

One family escaped from a unit near where the roof collapsed.

Zafar Ansari, who owns an accounting business in the plaza, said the father of the family pulled his wife and 6-year-old son onto the collapsed roof where they were rescued by fire crews. Police said the man was 39 and the woman 43.

All three were taken to hospital, where they were treated and released Sunday afternoon. Two other injured people, a 50-year-old man and a young child, were assessed by paramedics at the scene and not taken to hospital.

A Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR) team was summoned in the late afternoon to assist in searching and assessing the collapsed building.

Beckett said that was just a cautionary measure.

Fire services did not believe anyone was still trapped in the rubble, which Beckett said is fortunate because “with the damage and the amount of water and the fire … (the) viability of a rescue, if there was somebody in there, is not possible.”

Speaking Sunday evening, Beckett said no one from the building was unaccounted for.

The cause of the blast was not immediately known.

Emergency crews rushed to the plaza just before 7:30 a.m. on Sunday. The severely damaged building is located next to Thomas L. Kennedy Secondary School. The Peel District School Board announced that the school would be closed on Monday.

Beckett said Mississauga’s fire marshal must wait to fully assess the fire because of a natural gas line that continued to burn.

Beckett said Enbridge Gas had a “large crew” tackling the problem and it was “safer right now to allow that gas to burn.”

Once Enbridge has isolated and blocked the damaged line, Beckett said fire crews would be able to put out the fire and get to work eliminating hot spots. Firefighters were to remain at the scene overnight.

Neighbours described the blast as feeling like an “earthquake.” Across the street, panes of glass were blown out of the windows of a health clinic and a health food store.

Lance Neve, an artist at Pleasure and Pain tattoo studio, a second-floor business in the plaza, stood behind the building, watching as firefighters worked to stop the blaze from spreading.

“My boss called me, tried to message me all morning,” he said. “I woke up to ‘Hey, the shop blew up.’ Not what I was expecting to hear.”

Neve said the shop is closed on Sundays and Mondays, and he had taken most of his expensive artwork out of the building already, but other pieces that he had spent hundreds of hours on remained inside, sealed and framed on the wall. He said “apparently the ceiling is collapsing now.”

Neve said the plaza has restaurants, barber shops and a dentist. There were nine street-level storefronts in the two-storey strip mall. There were businesses on the second floor as well.

Shawna Smoke, a Mississauga resident, said she felt the “rumble on her feet” while getting coffee at a nearby Tim Hortons.

“I live a five-minute walk from the explosion. My husband and kids woke up from the sound while at home. There are a lot of windows of businesses and apartments that are blown out,” Smoke said.

Images tweeted by Peel paramedics showed heavy smoke billowing from the area, with debris scattered along Hurontario St.

Police said 50 to 70 people were affected by the explosion when a nearby apartment building was evacuated. Buses were relocating residents who live in the immediate area, Beckett said.

Beckett said authorities had to determine if there was structural damage to the building before residents would be allowed to return home.

Even through the smoke, some bright moments shone through: a birthday crisis was averted when Peel paramedics threw an impromptu party in the back of an ambulance for a young girl named Viviana who had to evacuate her home with her family.

According to paramedic Joe Korstanje, who was supervising at the scene, the girl lived across the street from the explosion and had to leave all of her birthday presents behind when her building was evacuated.

Korstanje, along with other paramedics and police officers, staged their own celebration to make up for it. A cake and balloons were purchased from a nearby store, and Viviana was able to ring in her 8th birthday before heading to the community centre with her family.

A tweet shared by Peel Paramedics with the text, “Happy Birthday Viviana” showed the crowded but cosy celebration.

Mississauga Valley Community Centre is providing shelter for some of the displaced individuals. The Red Cross, Peel Human Services and the city’s emergency management team are assisting the residents and business owners who are directly affected.

“My thoughts and prayers are with those who were injured, their families, and those affected by the incident,” Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie said in an email to the Star.

“More details will be available in the coming hours and days, but I want to thank Mississauga Fire, Peel Regional Police, Peel Paramedics and all first responders for their work on site today and their quick response to this incident.”

Hurontario St., near the site, was to remain closed until further notice.


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LCBO announces deal with Shopify to run online cannabis sales platform

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

The Canadian firm’s technology will also be used in brick-and-mortar stores to process transactions and display product and health information.

The Ontario government has inked a deal to use Shopify Inc.’s e-commerce platform for cannabis sales online and in stores as part of its plan to be the province’s sole distributor of legal recreational marijuana.

The Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation (OCRC), a subsidiary of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, will use the Ottawa-based company’s online store software for its online and mobile sales portal.

“Our top priority is fulfilling the province’s framework for the safe and sensible retailing of recreational cannabis for when it is legalized by the federal government,” said George Soleas, president and CEO of the LCBO.

“We look forward to combining our expertise as a socially responsible retailer with Shopify’s world-class commerce solutions to deliver the safe, informed and reliable shopping experience that our new customers will expect.”

Shopify’s technology will also be used inside brick-and-mortar stores to process transactions on iPads and for digital screens displaying product and health information.

The OCRC said Ontarians will have access to the same product information, use guidelines and social responsibility information — which adhere to federal marketing provisions — both in-store and online.

The public consultation for Health Canada’s proposed guidelines for cannabis regulation — which include limits on branding elements on packaging, as well as restrictions on marketing similar to tobacco — finished on Jan. 20, with a finalized version yet to be delivered.

The agency selected the tech darling to provide point-of-sale systems for in-store and online sales in late 2017.

“Bringing this differentiator to the LCBO on this historic project to consumers of legal age across Ontario is a great example of a made-in-Canada innovation, which we are proud to be a part of,” said Loren Padelford, vice-president of Shopify Plus, the division that focuses on big clients.

The OCRC is in the process of determining the design for the user experience, with the aim of having operations installed in time for the proposed federal marijuana legalization launch in July 2018, the agency said.

In addition to online sales, Ontario will roll out an initial wave of 40 stores, which is expected to grow in number to 150 by the end of 2020

The government agency will also use Shopify’s platform to manage inventory, accounting and human resources operations.

Sales of cannabis in Ontario will only be available through government-run online or in stand-alone stores, while some other provinces such as Alberta and British Columbia are allowing for some private sales of cannabis.


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The TTC’s budget is rising, but will service improve?

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

Mayor Tory cites “unprecedented investment” in transit, but critics say the 2018 budget won’t address chronic service problems.

No single program takes up a larger share of Toronto’s operating budget than its transit system.

The city’s proposed 2018 budget, which council will debate at a special meeting starting Monday, includes a whopping $1.98 billion for the TTC, which is almost one-fifth of the city’s projected $11-billion operating costs this year.

Coming months before an October municipal election that Mayor John Tory is expected to contest by leaning heavily on his claimed achievements on the transit file, the proposed budget would increase investment in the TTC while introducing policies aimed at making transit more affordable.

“Year over year we have been making unprecedented investments in providing more service and better service for TTC riders,” Mayor Tory said at a recent press conference on transit policy.

Critics argue the budget doesn’t do enough to address chronic crowding on the TTC, however. And despite the larger budget, service will not significantly improve for most riders this year.

“The TTC has been underfunded for years and this budget will not deliver the service that riders need,” said Shelagh Pizey-Allen, executive director of advocacy group TTCriders.

Are TTC fares going up?

No. For the first time since 2011, the cost of riding transit is not increasing this year. Adult fares paid for with a Presto fare card, ticket, or token will remain at $3.00, while adult cash fare stays at $3.25. Monthly Metropasses will still cost $146.25.

Is the city investing more in the TTC?

Yes. The $1.98-billion gross operating budget, which covers both the conventional transit system and Wheel-Trans, is a record high.

More than half of the gross budget is made up of revenue the TTC takes in from fares. Discounting that revenue, the city will spend $576.8 million to subsidize conventional service this year, and $143.4 million to subsidize Wheel-Trans.

For the conventional system that’s an increase of $30 million, or 5.5 per cent, compared to last year’s subsidy.

How many riders does the TTC expect to carry?

The TTC is budgeting for 539 million trips on the conventional system this year, just 3 million more than in 2017.

If the ridership projection is correct, the city’s 2018 TTC subsidy works out to roughly $1.07 per rider.

Although the TTC’s per rider subsidy has increased in recent years as ridership growth stalls and the cost of operating the system increases, Toronto still has one of the least subsidized transit systems on a per rider basis in North America.

According to TTCriders, the average subsidy for transit systems on the continent in recent years was about $2.60 per rider. The group is advocating for the city to increase its subsidy to $1.30, and for the province to match that, in order to bring the TTC in line with other agencies.

If the budget is increasing, does that mean existing service will improve?

For the most part, no. The 2018 budget calls for maintaining existing service levels, which means buses, streetcars, and subways will generally operate as frequently as they do now.

Instead, the TTC attributes its higher costs to new expenditures on items like the Spadina subway extension, the ongoing implementation of Presto, and provincial legislation that has increased the cost of labour.

Some service will get better. Last month the budget committee voted to spend an additional $1 million to add service on 22 bus routes that experience the worst crowding. The improvements would come into effect in September.

The budget committee voted down a motion from TTC board member Councillor Joe Mihevc (Ward 21 St. Paul’s) that would have invested $3.2 million this year to ensure no bus routes exceed TTC crowding standards, instead of just focusing on the worst lines.

Mihevc said that the decision not to give the TTC enough money to adhere to its own crowding standards “is the sign of a city that isn’t willing to invest in mobility.”

The TTC says it has a limited ability to address crowding on streetcar lines due to an ongoing vehicle shortage caused by delays to the agency’s $1-billion order from Bombardier.

How is the TTC transfer policy changing?

The budget includes $11.1 million (comprised of $6.1 million from the operating budget and $5 million from the capital budget) to implement timed transfers later this year. If the policy is approved, Presto fare card users will be able to make an unlimited number of trips within a two-hour window on a single fare.

Timed transfers have been on transit advocates’ wish list for years, and Mayor Tory said last week the measures will “make life more affordable and more liveable for the residents of the city.”

Pizey-Allen agreed the policy is “a big win for transit riders.”

The program would start in August and is expected to cost the TTC $20.9 million a year by 2020.

What’s being done to help low-income riders?

Roughly 36,000 low-income residents will be eligible for discounts on TTC fare this year if council approves funding for the Fair Pass program.

Under the first phase of the program, which would begin in March and cost $4.6 million, Ontario Disability Support Program and Ontario Works clients who don’t receive transportation supports would be eligible for discounts of 33 per cent on single fares and 21 per cent on monthly passes.

Future phases of the program would extend eligibility to other low-income groups, with the goal of providing 193,000 residents with cheaper transit by 2021.

Councillor Mihevc, who is also the mayor’s poverty reduction advocate, said the program is “the single biggest initiative to help low-income working families and adults.”

Pizey-Allen argued the program should be enhanced. “We need deeper discounts rolled out faster,” she said.

The program would be funded through the city’s social development department, not the TTC budget.

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Quebec begins hearings in inquiry into relations between Indigenous people and province’s public service

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

Mohawk elder Sedalia Fazio says the timing of the hearings is difficult given the not-guilty verdict in the death of Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan.

MONTREAL—An inquiry that has been examining the relations between Indigenous people in Quebec and the public service has begun two weeks of hearings in Montreal.

Sedalia Fazio, a Mohawk elder who presided over the opening prayer, says the timing of the hearings is difficult given the verdict in the death of Colten Boushie in Saskatchewan.

A jury deliberated 13 hours before finding a white farmer, Gerald Stanley, not guilty last Friday of second-degree murder in Boushie’s slaying.

Fazio says the feeling of injustice in the 2016 death of Boushie, a resident of the Red Pheasant First Nation, brought back memories of her own son’s experience at the hands of law enforcement.

She alleges her son was beaten by Montreal police in a shoplifting incident just after the Oka Crisis in 1990 when he was 13 years old and that nothing was done.

Last week, the province announced the commission, chaired by retired Quebec Superior Court justice Jacques Viens, will see its mandate extended by 10 months.

A final report is now due to the provincial government in September 2019.

The inquiry, announced in December 2016, was mandated to look into the way Indigenous peoples are treated by the police, the province’s youth protection agency, the public health department as well as the justice and correctional systems.


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Pakistan and Canada agree to boost cooperation in research and development of agricultural sector

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

            Commerce Minister of Pakistan Mr. Pervaiz Malik met with the Canadian Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Mr. Lawrence MacAulay, here today, to take a holistic view of agriculture sector cooperation between the two countries.

            While appreciating Canada’s cooperation for construction of dams and irrigation system since 1960s, the Commerce Minister said that it is time for Canada to extend support in forestry, fishing, heavy agricultural machinery and other areas of agricultural cooperation. He said that Pakistan is an emerging economy and with over 5% GDP growth rate Pakistan is a promising market for Canadian FDI in agriculture sector.

            He said that the bulk of Canada’s imports to Pakistan are agro-based products and both the sides should exchange expertise in research, development and innovation in the agriculture field.

            The Canadian Minister for agriculture appreciated the economic progress Pakistan has made during the last five years and agreed to provide fresh impetus to the cooperation in agriculture field. He said that Canada would like to offer technical cooperation to Pakistan in all areas of agro based industry and to have robust interaction for exchange of high level delegations in order to remove the constraints and irritants related to fumigation issue.

Instead of relying on ad hoc arrangements, both the sides agreed to have a permanent science based solution to the longstanding fumigation issue of agro-based Canadian exports to Pakistan, which are worth C$ 600 million annually.


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Afridi asks fan to hold Indian flag properly, wins hearts

Posted on 14 February 2018 by admin

ST MORITZ: Shahid Afridi won many hearts on either side of the border with a touching gesture in which he promptly told an Indian fan to hold the national flag properly while posing for a picture.

“Flag seedha karo apna (straighten the flag),” Afridi asked his Indian fan while posing for a picture on the sidelines of the St. Moritz Cricket Tournament here.

Afridi was among a host of former cricketers who took part in the inaugural event which concluded on Saturday.

The other big names to feature were Shoaib Akhtar, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan, Graeme Smith, Andrew Symonds, Lasith Malinga and Mahela Jayawardene, among others.

Afridi also had the social media abuzz with people from either side of the border lauding the all-rounder’s gesture.

A handful of Indian and Pakistani expats gathered at the venue to watch the former players in action.

The tournament was played on a frozen lake in sub-zero temperatures. A matting wicket was used though the players fielded on ice.

Pakistani players including Afridi are loved in India.

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