Mumbai: MNS chief Raj Thackeray will appear before the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money laundering probe and has appealed to the party workers not to protest over the issue, a party spokesperson said on Tuesday. The MNS has also withdrawn its proposed bandh in the neighbouring Thane district on Thursday, he said. The ED has summoned Thackeray to appear before it on Thursday in connection with its probe into the Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services (IL&FS) scam. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ The agency is probing alleged irregularities relating to loans and equity investment worth over Rs 450 crore by IL&FS in Kohinoor CTNL Infrastructure Company, which is developing Kohinoor Square tower in Mumbai’s Dadar area. MNS spokesperson Sandeep Deshpande on Monday warned that the “party will protest on streets if the government takes any action with prejudice against Thackeray”. The party also proposed a bandh in Thane on Thursday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Thackeray held a meeting with party office-bearers at his residence here on Tuesday to discuss the issue and future course of action. “Raj saheb will appear before the ED on Thursday. He has appealed to the MNS workers not to hold any protests which may cause problems to the public,” Deshpande said after the meeting. He said the party has also withdrawn its call for a bandh in Thane. “Raj Thackeray does not want people to be affected due to the bandh,” Deshpande said. He alleged that the ED was issuing notices only to leaders from the opposition parties. “It is political vendetta and not any serious inquiry,” he said. Former Maharashtra chief minister and senior Shiv Sena leader Manohar Joshi’s son Unmesh Joshi was also summoned by the ED in the same case. He deposed before the central agency here on Monday and his statement was recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), officials said.
NEW DELHI: A fire was reported on the second floor of the Vikas Bhawan in New Delhi on Tuesday evening. At least eight fire tenders were rushed to the spot to control the blaze. DCW office too was affected with the fire and several files were reportedly burnt.There are no reports of injuries or casualties. The cause of the fire was not immediately known. However it was belived that the AC ducts caaught fire whhich resulted in fire spreading on the floor. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe building, located opposite the Income Tax Office (ITO), houses the Delhi Women Commission office among others. The fire department then evacuated the building and the people were rescued safely. Onlookers too gathered under the building. The workers in the building too rushed out as soon as they saw smoke coming out of the secnd floor. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) office is set up on the second floor of Vikas Bhawan. The DCW office caught fire as well. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) chairperson Swati Maliwal said, “Our office also caught fire. Several files were also burnt. Huge propery was destroyed in the fire. We are thankful for the fire department for their work.” The DCW sources said several documents and office furniture were gutted in the fire and they estimated a loss of Rs four to five lakh. DCW chief Swati Maliwal had returned from a meeting when the fire was noticed, the sources said. In a tweet, Maliwal thanked police and fire personnel for their quick response.
Mumbai: Alia Bhatt and Karan Johar spent their weekend discussing their upcoming much-anticipated collaboration, Takht. The actor on September 14 took to Instagram to share a glimpse of her talks with Karan. The upcoming film, which has a screenplay by Sumit Roy and dialogues penned by Hussain Haidry, will be directed by Karan. Set in the Mughal era, the film also stars Vicky Kaushal, Ranveer Singh, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Anil Kapoor, Bhumi Pednekar and Jahnvi Kapoor. Also Read – I have personal ambitions now: PriyankaAlia shared an Instagram Story which featured the director sitting in a chair in what appeared to be an office cabin. The Raazi star wasn’t visible in the post but shared a sneak peek of a red mug with written Takht on it. It appears that the film’s preparation have begun as both Alia and Ranveer were spotted outside Dharma Productions office recently. Takht marks Karan’s return to direction three years after the release of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil.
TORONTO – The president of Toronto’s police union said an officer’s actions in arresting a suspect in Monday’s deadly van attack without firing a single shot was “one shining moment” in an otherwise horrific day.Mike McCormack of the Toronto Police Association said the arrest, caught on videos that have been widely circulated on social media, has served as a glimmer of hope for a city caught in tragedy.“It’s one shining moment in an absolutely game-changing, abysmal, horrific day in the city of Toronto,” McCormack said in a phone interview Tuesday. “The one … positive to take-away from that day was his behaviour.”At a news conference Tuesday, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said he attributes the nonviolent resolution to de-escalation training.But Saunders, who said he had spoken with the officer, said the handling of the situation was “nothing short of remarkable.”Police sources identified the officer as Const. Ken Lam, with the force’s 32 Division.With the city still on edge following Monday’s incident, many social media users have hailed the officer as a paragon of restraint based on footage of his tense standoff with the alleged van driver. It happened not far from the stretch of Yonge Street where a van mounted a sidewalk and rammed into pedestrians, killing 10 and injuring 14.In one of the videos of the arrest, a man, asking to be killed, stands by a damaged white rental van and points a dark object towards the officer. The officer refuses to shoot and repeatedly yells for the man to get down.The suspect warns he has a gun in his pocket.“Shoot me in the head,” the man can be heard saying on the video.From a highrise window, another video appears to show the suspect walking backwards with his arms raised as the officer moves toward him.The suspect eventually goes to the ground and street-level footage shows the officer kneeling over him as he lies on the pavement.“It could have gone either way. Any time if that threat escalated, we could have had a different outcome,” McCormack said of the arrest.“He reacted to what he was seeing, what his training taught him, and we’re extremely proud of him. He may have prevented additional deaths.”McCormack said the officer was one of many first responders who ran towards the danger as the van mounted the sidewalk between Finch Avenue and Sheppard Avenue.Officers pushed pedestrians out of the van’s path, performed CPR and attended to “mangled” victims, said McCormack.Even for seasoned officers, he said, the carnage was among the worst they had ever witnessed.McCormack has been in touch with the officer, who he said is overwhelmed with emotion, but eager to get back on the streets.“He’s more concerned with the victims … than what he has done.”McCormack said that while the officer maintains his actions were “no big deal,” as the adrenaline fades, he will have to face the magnitude of what he’s gone through.“(There’s) this whole notion that police officers go out and shoot first and ask questions later,” he said. “Many times our officers are dealing with people in situations that’s resolved in a peaceful way.“It was demonstrated in an overwhelmingly clear fashion … what police officers are really about, and what they really do.”
MONTREAL – A cluster of tornadoes that knocked down trees and tore the roof off a home in southern Quebec last June was one of the largest ever recorded in Canada, according to new research from Western University.The findings suggest the extreme storms are more common in the country than previously thought.As part of a pilot project to detect previously unreported tornadoes, Western researchers found that a record-setting 11 tornadoes touched down in Quebec on June 18, 2017, rather than the four that were previously recorded.That’s the most ever recorded in the province.To reach their conclusion, the team used aircraft to fly over areas that had produced weather ”super-cells,” then worked backwards using images of the damage to estimate the wind speeds, according to an engineering professor who worked on the study.“Basically, we think that the tree-fall pattern — the proportion of trees that go down and also the patterns of the trees — gives us an indication of how strong the tornado will have been,” Gregory Kopp said in a phone interview.Kopp said the most powerful tornado to hit southern Quebec that day was a 200 km/h twister that damaged a 30-kilometre swath near Ste-Anne-du-Lac, north of Montreal.“There was a house there that was completely destroyed, so the roof and the walls were sucked away, all the contents were hundreds of metres downwind,” he said.According to Environment Canada, about 60 tornadoes are observed in Canada each year, most of them in the Prairies and southern Ontario.But weather models suggest the true number is closer to 200, according to meteorologist Alexandre Parent.Parent said the federal agency usually depends on reports from observers on the ground in order to confirm a tornado, which means that those in remote areas can be missed.He said the study suggests tornadoes are much more common in Canada than experts previously believed.“There are many that last only a few minutes, or that measure only a few dozen or a few hundreds metres wide, so they’re touching very, very local sectors,” he said.Because Western’s study is new, Parent says it’s too soon to say how it could be used in the future.Kopp, however, believes the added information could help authorities better identify tornadoes as they form, thus improving the effectiveness of the early warning system.He said it could also lead more builders to adopt tornado-proof building standards, at a cost of only a few hundred dollars more per home.News of Quebec’s record-breaking June tornado cluster came as no surprise to one amateur storm chaser who has travelled across North America in the pursuit of the elusive storms.Jean-Francois Massicotte said he was looking at weather data that day and saw the most volatile conditions forming in areas that were too hard to chase.“We were seeing all these big thunderstorms up north that we just couldn’t reach, we couldn’t get to them, so I’m not surprised that somebody made a study and found there were many more tornadoes on that day,” said Massicotte, a member of a group of self-described “weather nerds” that calls itself Quebec Vortex.Massicotte, 34, says tornadoes move quickly, don’t last long and don’t always follow the roads, which makes them hard to catch.But that hasn’t stopped him from trying, by using weather models, satellite images, radar, and weather reports and then racing to likely sites in the hopes of getting lucky.“The most spectacular thing you notice is the clouds, how they’re all racing towards the point where it will form,” he said.While he’s come close a few times, he says his ultimate goal is to get close enough to get that perfect photo, looking straight up into a powerful storm.
OTTAWA – Conservative MP Blaine Calkins wants the federal ethics watchdog to reconsider her decision to allow the former chief of staff to Natural Resources Minister Jim Carr to go work for a Calgary-based energy company.Janet Annesley, who left Parliament Hill early last month, is now senior vice-president of corporate affairs at Husky Energy.The Conflict of Interest Act says an ex-staffer at her level cannot work for a company with which she has had “direct and significant dealings” in the last year, but Husky says Ethics Commissioner Mary Dawson told Annesley she was OK to take the job.Annesley, who has years of experience in communications and lobbying for the oil industry, is prevented from dealing with Natural Resources Canada during a one-year cooling off period.She is also barred from lobbying the federal government for five yearsHusky says both the company and Annesley understand the rules.In a letter to Dawson, Calkins notes the Husky website says Annesley will be in charge of “developing relationships,” including with governments.Calkins says Canadians would find it “difficult to believe” her job requirements would not involve violating the act and urged Dawson to look again.Husky says it has no further comment and a spokeswoman for Dawson says she will review the letter.
WINNIPEG – A Manitoba politician who was kicked out of the governing Progressive Conservative caucus says he’s planning a court challenge against a law that forbids him from joining another party’s caucus.Steven Fletcher, who was dumped by the Tories last Friday, said Tuesday a provincial law that forbids him — or any other Manitoba politician — from crossing the legislature floor is unconstitutional.“That goes against almost every tradition that exists for our parliamentary democratic systems,” Fletcher told The Canadian Press.“I’ve given instructions to my lawyer to file the necessary paperwork to have the law thrown out on a constitutional basis.”The law was brought in by the former NDP government in 2006 in response to a controversy that erupted when David Emerson left the federal Liberals, weeks after being elected, to join the Conservatives. Then-premier Gary Doer said the aim was to ensure voters’ wishes at the ballot box are respected.The Manitoba law stipulates that any legislature member who ceases to belong to a caucus must sit as an independent until the next election, or resign and run in a byelection under their new party banner.Fletcher, who served as a member of Parliament between 2004 and 2015 and was Canada’s first quadriplegic MP, said he believes there is no similar law elsewhere in the British Commonwealth.Fletcher was removed from the provincial Tory caucus after criticizing a proposed law that would create a new Crown agency to promote energy efficiency. He tied up two public hearings on the bill by asking questions late into the night.A spokesperson for Justice Minister Heather Stefanson would not say if the government will fight Fletcher’s planned legal action. There will be no formal response until legal documents are filed, press secretary Kalen Qually wrote in an email.“This is a law that was introduced by the previous government in 2006,” he said in a statement. “These types of laws should not supersede the important issues faced by our province.”Fletcher’s ability to join another caucus would not mean much to the Tories, who still have 39 of the 57 legislature seats. But if he were to join the Liberals, it would give the struggling party a fourth seat — enough for official party status and the funding that comes with it.Fletcher said he has no intention of joining another party and simply wants to fight the law on principle. However, he said he feels there are disgruntled members of all three parties and a new caucus could emerge if some were to band together.“They may exercise their ability to do what they’re allowed to do constitutionally, and they may do so simply because they want to be a better representative for their constituency.”Fletcher pointed to the rupture in the Canadian Alliance in 2001, when Deborah Grey, Chuck Strahl, Monte Solberg and others left the Stockwell Day-led party and formed the short-lived Democratic Representative Caucus. Most rejoined after Stephen Harper became leader.“Look at that group — Monte Solberg, Chuck Strahl. Some of the key people who turned out to be awesome public servants.”The Manitoba Liberals said Tuesday they have long considered the floor-crossing ban to be unconstitutional, but had no plans to talk to Fletcher about joining their team.“At this time, we are not considering him as a potential fourth (legislature member),” Liberal president Paul Brault said.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. Previous versions had the wrong day in para 2.
THUNDER BAY, Ont. – The police chief of Thunder Bay, Ont., has been found not guilty on charges of obstruction of justice and breach of trust.Justice Bonnie Warkentin issued her ruling on the charges against J.P. Levesque in a courtroom in the northwestern Ontario city on Thursday.The courtroom erupted in applause from Levesque’s family members and supporters after the verdict was read.Warkentin says the Crown did not prove beyond reasonable doubt that Levesque intended to interfere with a possible extortion investigation into Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs and acted within his discretion as chief of police.Provincial police first laid the charges against the 53-year-old police chief last May and he was soon placed on administrative suspension by the force’s police services board.During his six-day trial, which began last month, several witnesses testified that Levesque allegedly informed Thunder Bay Mayor Keith Hobbs that he was the focus of an extortion investigation by the RCMP.Hobbs, along with his wife, Marisa Hobbs, were charged with extortion and obstruction of justice last July.Levesque’s lawyers, Brian Gover and Frederick Schuman, argued Levesque’s decision was the best one based on the unique circumstances of the situation and that he acted within his discretion as chief of police. They also pointed to Levesque’s character as trustworthy and honest, based on testimony from several witnesses.Prosecutor Jason Nicol argued Levesque attempted to interfere with the investigation by tipping off Hobbs and that the relationship between the two was more than “just a professional relationship.”(CKPR)
TORONTO – There’s been a national “spike” in donations of blood in the wake of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash in Saskatchewan that left 16 people dead and 13 others injured, the Canadian Blood Services said Thursday.Several cities in Western Canada have seen donation increases of about 25 per cent above their averages, including Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton, while at least one clinic in Saskatchewan had a 50 per cent increase, said spokesman Hailu Mulatu.“We have received so many requests from so many people and organizations reaching out to us about what they can do, interest in organizing a blood drive at their site or coming as a group to donate,” said Mulatu, adding donations were also up about 10 per cent in the Greater Toronto Area.“Overall we can say at the national level we have seen a spike.”On Wednesday, Luke Jackiw of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Health said the province had received thousands of requests for stickers that residents can apply to their health card to indicate they’d like to donate their organs.He said the phones were “ringing off the hook” and attributed the response to the story of 21-year-old defenceman Logan Boulet of Lethbridge, Alta., who was on life support after the crash until his organs could be donated.“There’s been an overwhelming number of calls … (from) individuals to register their intent to donate organs,” Jackiw said, but added that Saskatchewan does not have an organ donation registry — the stickers are used to convey a will to be a donor, but consent from family or a next-of-kin is still needed when end-of-life decisions are made.“The important thing you can do, as Logan did, is talk to your family and let them know what your wishes are.”Canadians have also opened their wallets to help support the families of the victims of last Friday’s crash, which occurred outside Tisdale, Sask.Over $10.2 million has been pledged to a GoFundMe campaign, which the crowdfunding website says is the largest ever in Canada.More than 120,000 donors in 65 countries have contributed to the campaign — ranked among the five most successful campaigns ever on the platform — with donations ranging from $5 to $50,000 coming from individuals, families, sports teams and multinational corporations.
TORONTO – The case of a man accused of killing eight men with ties to Toronto’s gay village has been put over for several weeks.Bruce McArthur, a 66-year-old self-employed landscaper, faces eight counts of first-degree murder.The remains of seven men were recovered from planters at a property where McArthur had worked in the months following his arrest last January.Police later found the remains of the eighth alleged victim in a ravine behind the same property in midtown Toronto.McArthur appeared briefly by video Friday morning and is now expected to appear in person on Oct. 22.Lead detective Insp. Hank Idsinga has said he doesn’t believe there are any more alleged victims.