Archive | March, 2018

Anushka Sharma takes up method acting in a big way for her upcoming film Sui Dhaaga

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

Anushka Sharma and Varun Dhawan will be seen stepping out of their comfort zone in their upcoming film Sui Dhaaga: Made In India. As the name suggests, the film is inspired by the Make in India initiative. Varun and Anushka’s looks in the film have garnered a lot of attention, as both, the actors will be seen in an absolutely de-glam look. Sui Dhaaga is being directed by Sharat Katariya and will see Varun and Anushka collaborating for a film for the first time. The film will hit the theatres on September 28. Sui Dhaafa is the story of Mauji, a tailor, played by Varun and Mamta, an embroiderer, played by Anushka. The looks of the characters have already created quite a buzz in the industry as well as among the audience.

Now, a video of Anushka from the sets of the film has come to the surface. Anushka is currently shooting for the film in Bhopal and she is seen doing embroidery in the video, which was posted by Yash Raj Films on their social media account. Take a look at the actress leaving no stone unturned to look the character and ace the intricacies of embroidering as well.

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Janhvi Kapoor shoots in Kolkata for ‘Dhadak’

Posted on 28 March 2018 by admin

Post Sridevi’s sudden death, daughter Janhvi Kapoor is back to work. She resumed the shooting of her debut film ‘Dhadak’. The debutante was spotted shooting in Kolkata dressed in a simple salwar kameez.

Talking about ‘Dhadak’, the film is a Hindi remake of Marathi blockbuster ‘Sairat’. The film stars Ishaan Khatter pposite Janhvi. The team shot in Rajasthan, Mumbai and now Kolkata. Their next shooting destination is not yet known.

Director Shashank Khaitan earlier informed about the film, “Dhadak is a title, a word and quite relatable. We are really excited about the film.  was always very excited to go to two new fresh faces and see how it works. Janhvi and Ishaan get a sense of innocence to the table and that’s what we will capitalize on.”

Khaitan further said about the film’s script, “The basic premise is of differences in caste, honour killing and what it means to survive in that world and I feel that is the conflict that is alive all across India, you will hear stories like that. So in that sense, the basic premise (of Dhadak and Sairat) is same. But there are variations.”

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Wynne’s throne speech promises new spending on health care, home care, and child care in Ontario

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

Premier Kathleen Wynne is pressing the reset button — or the panic button. In a speech from the throne Monday, Wynne outlined the Liberal government’s agenda leading up to the June 7 election.

Premier Kathleen Wynne is pressing the reset button — or the panic button.

In a speech from the throne Monday, Wynne outlined the Liberal government’s agenda leading up to the June 7 election, promising new spending on health care, home care, and child care.

With an Ontario election 80 days away — and public opinion polls suggesting the 14-and-a-half-year-old administration may be on its last legs — Wynne is promising to expand the new OHIP+ pharmacare program “to include other parts of the population.”

That means if the Liberals are re-elected, the free prescriptions now limited to those 24 years and under would be available to most Ontarians.

Details will be announced in Finance Minister Charles Sousa’s budget, which will have a deficitas high as $8 billion, on March 28.

“There will be major investments in home care, to provide more services for people aging at home and provide financial relief for families caring for aging loved ones,” said the speech from the throne read by Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell.

“The next budget will also prioritize the growing need for mental health and addictions care in Ontario, expanding access to mental health care, and helping to ensure people can get the support they need in our schools and our communities,” the speech said.

“The cost of child care, which has long been a stumbling block for growing families, will also be addressed in the budget,” it continued.

 “At the same time, government programs that are already making it easier for you to care for your loved ones, and help them to succeed, will be expanded. OHIP+, the pharmacare program that is providing free medications for children and youth, will be expanded to include other parts of the population.”

The speech added that “more people without a drug or dental benefits plan will have access to more affordable prescription drugs and dental care.”

That comes as the NDP is promising a $1.2 billion public dental scheme if Andrea Horwath becomes premier.

With Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford vowing to slash 4 per cent of government spending — which could mean $5.6 billion in cuts on a $141 billion annual budget — Wynne says the Liberals offer a contrast.

“We care for our families, our neighbours and our province. We see the big picture,” the speech from the throne said.

“Our world is changing in ways we’ve never seen before and at speeds that make it feel hard to keep up. The cost of living is rising, and at the same time, stable, long-term jobs — jobs that pay a decent wage — are proving harder to find.”

To that end, the Liberals touted their pledge to increase the $14 an hour minimum wage to $15 next Jan. 1, mindful that Ford opposes the raise.

The governing party also boasted about Ontario’s “cap-and-trade” program with Quebec and California to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change.

Ford is threatening to withdraw from that accord and opposes the federal government’s carbon pricing program.

“These are fights that our children and grandchildren can’t afford for us to lose,” the throne speech said.

“Ontario eliminated coal-fired power, making our air cleaner and lowering our rates of childhood asthma. But you cannot be serious about lowering emissions and fighting climate change without a price on carbon pollution,” it said.

“We joined with Quebec and California in North America’s largest carbon market, because this system helps us achieve our ambitious climate change goals, at the lowest cost to people and to businesses,” the speech continued.

“And every dollar raised goes to making our province more green with public transit and bike lanes, and helping families and businesses to lower their energy bills and become more energy efficient.”


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Canada to deploy helicopters, medical team to UN Mali mission

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

Military will deploy helicopters, medical team to Mali as government makes good on a long-delayed commitment to support United Nations peace operations.

OTTAWA—Canada’s military will deploy helicopters and a personnel to Mali as part of the Liberals long-delayed promise to support United Nations peace operations.

Confirming plans that have been in the works for months, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland made the announcement Monday on Parliament Hill.

Freeland said the Canadian contributions will have a “tangible impact” on the ground.

Sajjan also confirmed previously plans to deploy one or two military transport aircraft to Entebbe, Uganda, to support UN operations in the region.

The planned news conference started late, then was cut short, leaving unanswered questions about the deployment to the UN’s most dangerous mission.

For example, the deployment is expected to happen later this year, although Sajjan said the exact date has yet to be worked out.

He also could not say how many personnel will be deployed.

Even the number of helicopters appears up in the air; Sajjan said it will be two Chinook transports and four armed Griffon choppers to act as escorts. But Gen. Jonathan Vance, the chief of defence staff, said the final number has yet to be determined. The UN mission in Mali, known as MINUSMA, which includes troops from Burkina Faso, Bangladesh, Niger, Togo and Chad, has been assisting Malian forces with training, logistics, intelligence and co-ordinating operations.

Conservative MPs were quick to criticize the announcement for its lack of detail around key questions such as the rules of engagement for Canadian personnel and the chain of command.

MP James Bezan said with the possibility of troops being put in harm’s way, the deployment should be put to a debate and vote in Parliament.

“Let’s be clear: Mali is a war zone. There is no peace to keep,” Bezan told reporters.

He accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of using troops as “political pawns” in his “selfish political ambition” to win Canada a seat on the UN Security Council.

This deployment has been years in the making.

The Liberals pledged in the 2015 election to “recommit” to UN peace operations, in part, by providing specialized capabilities, such as medical teams and engineering support. That promise was followed in August 2016 by a commitment to deploy up to 600 troops and 150 police officers to UN operations.

The Star reported in November, 2016 that, responding to a direct appeal by the United Nations, the government was close to a decision on a Mali mission with a commitment likely to include helicopters.

But the decision was put off. This was blamed, in part, on the surprise election of U.S. President Donald Trump and questions about the direction of U.S. foreign policy.

At a peacekeeping summit last November, Trudeau said the government would take a “smart pledge” approach that will offer training and air support to other nations, boost female troop deployments and target the demobilization of child soldiers.

But he had no details on where or when a deployment would happen.


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Supreme Court set to decide whether long-term Canadian expats can vote

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

Canadians lose the right to vote after living abroad for more than five years under rules on the books since 1993.

Canada’s top court is set to grapple with whether long-term expats should be allowed to vote, an issue that loomed large in the last federal election in which Justin Trudeau and his Liberals took office.

Civil liberties groups, which argue current rules barring the expats from voting are unconstitutional, and Quebec, which supports the federal government’s defence of the restrictions, are among interveners in the closely watched case the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear on Wednesday.

Canadians lose the right to vote after living abroad for more than five years under rules on the books since 1993. However, it was only under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper that Elections Canada began enforcing the laws.

Two Canadians living and working in the United States launched the case after being denied the right to vote in the 2011 election. They argue that citizenship, not residency, is the key requisite for voting.


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After the Patrick Brown drama, Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives rally behind Doug Ford

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

 “We’ve lost three elections. We’re sick of losing elections,” party insider says.

A tumultuous two months, followed by a divided vote and a controversial result.

But now — at least on the surface — a united front.

“There were the accusations, one thing after another, new Patrick Brown stories, voting problems, a court injunction, an election date that wasn’t executed properly — everything that could go wrong in the last 45 days, did,” says one insider listing all the turmoil in Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party that began in late January.

Following a leadership race that ended hours late last weekend after the narrow vote was contested by runner-up Christine Elliott, “it was chaos.” But since then, new leader Doug Ford has been “doing all the things he should be doing,” said the insider. “He’s reaching out, he’s speaking to candidates, to the caucus.”

And after all the trauma the party has been through, putting aside hard feelings and coming together is the only option, said another.

 “We’ve lost three elections,” he said. “We’re sick of losing elections — so people are going to work their asses off for Doug Ford.”

Sources, however, told the Star there is new debate behind the scenes among the Tory executive about destroying the tens of thousands of ballots used to elect Ford.

“We are currently paying daily fees to store the 64,000 ballots,” PC President Jag Badwal told executive members Thursday afternoon before moving a motion to destroy the boxes — but it has been opposed by several members of the executive committee.

“In business we are required to keep accounting docs for up to seven years. I vote against the destruction of the records,” wrote another member.

Because Ford’s victory over Elliott was so close — and remains in dispute in some quarters — it is felt the ballots should be preserved.

The Ontario PCs have just emerged from unprecedented times, that began Jan. 24 when then-leader Brown was accused of sexual misconduct involving two young women. The party arranged a quick leadership campaign as the general election loomed, just months away.

Now, Ford has to reach out to the party members who did not support him, sources say, “and that will be a very big challenge” given Elliott took the popular vote. The key, said one, is showing Elliott’s supporters that “she is playing a very active role.”

Indeed, on Friday, Ford announced he is hosting a “PC Unity Rally” on Monday — the same day as the Liberals’ throne speech — and that he is “thrilled to announce that Christine Elliott will be in attendance and will introduce him.”

Current MPPs credit Ford with motivating party members, and Ford himself said he is bringing in Liberal, NDP and even disenfranchised PC supporters. He said he has the full support of the caucus, and has already spoken to most of them.

“We’ve all known each other, we’ve all been at events,” Ford told the Star during a sit-down interview Wednesday. “We know there is a common purpose here.”

MPP Michael Harris (Kitchener-Conestoga) said Ford has not only rallied the base, but given the party inroads in Toronto, where it needs votes.

“We can’t win if we can’t get Toronto seats,” he said. “And we are going to win those seats because of Doug Ford.”

MPP Randy Hillier agreed that Ford resonates in Toronto, “and his last mayoralty race shows he has a strong following there, not only personally but his message as well. I think it bodes well for us — exceptionally well.”

Beyond Toronto’s borders, Ford’s plain-talking style has gotten voters’ attention, and Hillier said in his own Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox and Addington riding north of Kingston, he’s “getting a significant amount of correspondence and much of it — not all of it — but much of it is people being very ecstatic with Doug as leader.”

MPP Bill Walker (Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound) said the leadership contest left the party “invigorated.” Everyone is working together, he said. “The concern has to be Kathleen Wynne.”

While Ford’s election may have energized the PCs — it has also done the same for the governing Liberals, says Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto.

“If there was an election today, (the Liberals) would still get blown out of the water, but now they’ve got someone to pick on,” Wiseman said. “How were they going to attack Christine Elliott? How were they going to attack Caroline Mulroney? Doug Ford gives them something.”

Wiseman is not sure that, based on Ford’s controversial time in municipal politics, that he will be able to pull off the teamwork required at the provincial level — but also said he’s not sure how fractured the party is.

“Nobody’s going to be talking about this divide in the party” now, he said. “There may be differences below the surface, but not on the surface.”


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Another 53 employees leave TTC amid benefits fraud investigation

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

A total of 223 workers have left transit agency since probe began in 2014.

Another 53 TTC employees have quit, been fired or retired to avoid being dismissed since September amid a benefits fraud investigation, the transit agency said Wednesday.

A total of 223 employees have left since the probe began in 2014, according to the TTC statement.

Receipts were given to TTC employees by Healthy Fit — a health-care products and service provider — where reimbursements were made but “no product or services were being obtained,” and receipt amounts were “inflated,” agency officials said.

Adam Smith, the proprietor of the health company, was found guilty of two counts of fraud over $5,000 and sentenced to two years in a federal penitentiary. Ten TTC employees faced fraud charges, with four pleading guilty.

The TTC has collected more than $82,000 back from those employees.

“The TTC’s internal investigation continues. Where evidence shows the TTC’s benefits plan was billed inappropriately, demands for repayment are made and employees face discipline, up to and including dismissal,” the statement read.

The agency announced last fall that it was suing Manulife Financial, Smith and Healthy Fit for up to $5 million, “alleging that Manulife Financial did not have appropriate fraud management controls in place nor were there systems in place to detect and analyze unusual trends or patterns that might indicate fraud or abuse.”

“The TTC maintains that Manulife breached its duties of care, which contributed to the losses suffered by the TTC and, ultimately, the public.”

Since the start of their investigation, the TTC said it has seen a reduction in benefits claims costs of more than $7 million.

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Federal government spending has lifted economy, helped slow household debt, Bank of Canada head says

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

Stephen Poloz says Ottawa’s recent spending on programs, such as enhanced child benefits and infrastructure, have lifted the economy and pushed interest rates to a level higher than they would have been without government stimulus.OTTAWA—The governor of the Bank of Canada says the federal government’s steps in the last couple of years to take on more public debt has helped prevent an even faster buildup of household debt that has still managed to climb to historic highs.

Stephen Poloz says Ottawa’s recent spending on programs, such as enhanced child benefits and infrastructure, have lifted the economy and pushed interest rates to a level higher than they would have been without government stimulus.

He says the higher rates have helped keep the accumulation of household debt lower than it otherwise would have been had Canada continued with government belt-tightening approaches of the past.

Poloz made the comments Tuesday as he responded to questions following a speech at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.

His remarks come a couple of weeks after the Trudeau government tabled a federal budget that has faced criticism for its plan to continue running annual multibillion-dollar deficits across the five-year projection horizon — despite the country’s surprisingly strong economic performance.

In response to a journalist’s question, the governor says he agrees with the view consumers are facing high debt loads today because they filled in the debt-accumulation void left when governments turned to austerity by shutting down stimulus measures to address fallout from the 2008 financial crisis.


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Canadian home sales drop 6.5% in February — lowest in nearly 5 years: CREA

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

 “The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers” raced to purchase before new mortgage rules came into effect, CREA’s chief economist said.

Canada’s housing market saw another so-called payback sales drop in February, when the national average home price slumped by five per cent from a year ago, after a surge in sales late last year from homebuyers looking to purchase ahead of this year’s new mortgage rules.

The latest monthly figures from the Canadian Real Estate Association showed that sales volume was down 16.9 per cent in February compared with a year ago, and down 6.5 per cent compared with January.

February’s home sales decline marked the second consecutive month-over-month decline and the lowest reading in nearly five years, the national association said.

 “The drop off in sales activity following the record-breaking peak late last year confirms that many homebuyers moved purchase decisions forward late last year before tighter mortgage rules took effect in January,” said Gregory Klump, CREA’s chief economist in a statement Thursday.

The federal banking regulator’s tougher rules, which took effect Jan. 1, now require a stress test to be applied even to borrowers with more than 20 per cent down payment.

To qualify for federally regulated mortgages, borrowers must be able to afford interest rates that are two percentage points above the contracted rate or the Bank of Canada’s five-year benchmark rate, whichever is higher.

The stricter residential mortgage lending regulations introduced by the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions were aimed at reducing risk in the market amid high housing prices.

CREA’s latest monthly statistics show that home sales were down in February in almost three quarters of all local housing markets tracked by the national association.

The widespread pattern was yet another indication that recent regulatory changes, and not local market conditions, were behind softer sales activity in early 2018, said RBC economist Josh Nye.

“The roller coaster ride that was Canada’s housing market in 2017 has continued this year with resales posting another sizeable decline in February,” he said in a research note.

The number of homes sold nationally hit a record high in December.

But homebuying activity has also since been dampened by the Bank of Canada’s move in January to hike interest rates to 1.25 per cent. The quarter-point increase was the central bank’s third since last summer, after hikes in July and September.

“While the give-back related to the pull-forward in activity experienced late last year, as buyers rushed to close deals prior to the updated B20 rules, appears to have been largely complete in January, the softness in sales nonetheless persisted this month,” said TD economists Michael Dolega and Rishi Sondhi in a research note.

“We believe that much of it has to do with lingering uncertainty, with additional regulations introduced in the B.C. budget adding further tensions, along with B20 impacts and rising rates.”

In February, the B.C. government unveiled additional measures in its budget to tackle the housing market, including raising its foreign buyers tax and expanding it to areas outside of Vancouver, while bringing in a new levy on speculators.

The national average house price for homes sold in February 2018 was just over $494,000, down five per cent from a year earlier. But excluding Toronto and Vancouver, the country’s most active and most expensive markets, the national average price was just under $382,000, up 3.3 per cent from $369,728 a year ago.

The number of newly listed homes in February increased by 8.1 per cent, following a plunge of more than 20 per cent in the month prior. However, new listings across the country in February were still 6.4 per cent below the 10-year monthly average and 14.6 per cent below the peak reached in December 2017. New home listings in February were also below the levels recorded every month last year except January 2017.

TD’s Dolega and Sondhi point to these listings as some of the “modestly encouraging details” in the latest CREA report.

“New listings also perked up a little during the month, suggesting rising confidence on the part of sellers after recent B-20-related volatility,” they wrote.

The TD economists expect sales activity to stabilize sometime in mid-2018.

“We look for prices to drop, on average, this year, though balanced-market conditions across much of the country should mitigate the magnitude of the decline,” they wrote.

“We expect conditions to improve next year, with price growth returning to the market alongside a rise in transaction activity.”


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Imran Mian wins Mississauga–Erin Mills Ontario Liberal nomination

Posted on 21 March 2018 by admin

MISSISSAUGA—Imran Mian, a local business executive, won the Ontario Liberal Party nomination in Mississauga–Erin Mills today. The nomination race had over 6500 Party members.

“Under Premier Kathleen Wynne’s bold leadership, we have seen a great deal of progress,” said Mian. “I am honoured to be joining a team that has fought for fairness and opportunity, including investing in Mississauga transit, providing free tuition for nearly a quarter of a million students and free prescription medication for all children and youth under 25. My singular focus will continue to be on improving the lives of families.”

Imran Mian is currently Vice-President, Sales of mobileLive Inc, an award-winning GTA technology company. He has held a variety of other managerial roles over a twenty-year career in business and technology, including with companies such as Bell Canada, the Info-Tech Research Group and Samsung Canada. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration at York University. A dedicated community volunteer, he is a member of the campaign committee for the United Way of Peel Region and served as the founding co-chair of the United Way of Peel Region’s South Asian Advisory Council.

Under the leadership of Premier Kathleen Wynne, the Ontario Liberal Party has a plan that is creating opportunity and fairness during this period of rapid economic change and uncertainty. Ontario’s economy is growing, but too many families are not experiencing the benefits of that growth and feel they can’t get ahead. That’s why the Ontario Liberal plan has stepped up to make tuition free for 225,000 students, provide free prescription drug coverage for children and youth, build 100,000 affordable child-care spaces, and raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The Conservatives have vowed to undo the minimum wage increase because no matter who their leader is, it is the same old Conservative Party. While a Liberal government is focused on investing in care and providing better supports for caregivers, the Conservatives remain focused on cutting health care and education and jeopardizing the services Ontarians rely on by firing 40,000 workers.

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