Supernatural Fans Light Up Jared Padaleckis ComicCon Appearance

first_imgSupernatural star Jared Padalecki got the surprise of his life at Comic-Con this week when more than 7000 fans held up candles in support of his Always Keep Fighting campaign.The audience held up the candles during a panel discussion with the stars of Supernatural, and Padalecki was moved to tears by the show of solidarity.“Thanks you to anybody and everybody that had ANY part whatsoever in the Always Keep Fighting Hall H tea light event,” he wrote on Facebook. “As I travel back to Vancouver from San Diego Comic-Con, with my partners in crime Jensen Ackles and Mark Sheppard, the enormity of what happened is finally starting to sink in….“I am beyond moved. I feel so blessed, and grateful, and honored to be a part of the magical Supernatural Family. Sitting on that stage in Hall H, I initially mistook all of the lights for cell phone cameras. It’s difficult to discern specific shapes and faces with all of those stage lights shining on you (and, it’s quite intimidating up there, sitting in front of 6,500 people!!). Then, when I had a light given to me with an explanation of what it was and what it stood for, I was (and am still) gob-smacked.”Padalecki started his Always Keep Fighting campaign earlier this year to support To Write Love on Her Arms, after opening up about his own fight with depression.“I think people who are dealing with severe depression or having suicidal thoughts often believe that the world would be better without them in it and that the people around them would be “relieved.” I wish I could tell them that they are mistaken,” he said. “It’s extremely painful to lose somebody to suicide. The pain and the questions don’t really ever leave. I still can’t talk or think about my most recent encounter without breaking down. To those who are struggling with suicidal thoughts, I would beg them to continue their brave struggle, and I would implore them to seek help.”Fans who took part in the candle event at Comic-Con were also given a card that read: “Everyone is given a candle that burns just for them. When your flame flickers and you fear it will go out, know not seven the strongest wind lasts forever; and there are other lights to guide you even in the Darkness… And when your candle burns bright, you can ignite the hearts of others and hope will spread like wildfire… Always Keep Fighting, and you’ll never fight alone.”Copyright ©2015Look to the Starslast_img read more

Stars Celebrate UNHCR Nansen Award Winner

first_imgAfghan refugee teacher Aqeela Asifi, who has dedicated her life to bringing education to refugee girls in Pakistan, has won the 2015 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award.Aqeela Asifi, 49, is being recognised for her brave and tireless dedication to education for Afghan refugee girls in the Kot Chandana refugee village in Mianwali, Pakistan – while herself overcoming the struggles of life in exile. Despite minimal resources and significant cultural challenges, Asifi has guided a thousand refugee girls through their primary education.Afghanistan is the largest, most protracted refugee crisis in the world. Over 2.6 million Afghans currently live in exile and over half of them are children. Access to education is vital for successful repatriation, resettlement or local integration for refugees. Yet globally it’s estimated that only one in every two refugee children are able to go to primary school and only one in four attend secondary school. And for Afghan refugees in Pakistan this falls further, with approximately 80 per cent of children currently out of school.UN High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres paid tribute to the efforts of the winner of the global humanitarian award: “Access to quality and safe education helps children grow into adults who go on to secure jobs, start businesses and help build their communities – and it makes them less vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Investing in refugee education will allow children to play a part in breaking the cycle of instability and conflict. People like Aqeela Asifi understand that today’s refugee children will determine the future of their countries, and the future of our world.”UNHCR has released a contextual report Breaking the cycle: Education and the future for Afghan refugees, to coincide with today’s announcement. The report outlines the challenges that children, especially refugee girls, face in accessing education in Pakistan.Asifi is a former teacher who fled from Kabul with her family in 1992, finding safety in the remote refugee settlement of Kot Chandana. Asifi was dismayed by the lack of schooling for girls there. Before she arrived, strict cultural traditions kept most girls at home. But she was determined to give these girls a chance to learn. Slowly but surely she convinced the community, and began teaching just a handful of pupils in a makeshift school tent. She copied out worksheets for the students by hand on sheets of paper. Today the tent school is a distant memory and over a thousand children are attending permanent schools in the village thanks to her early example.She believes that instilling a belief in the power of education for girls in this generation will transform the opportunities of the next. “When you have mothers who are educated, you will almost certainly have future generations who are educated,” she said. “So if you educate girls, you educate generations. I wish for the day when people will remember Afghanistan, not for war, but for its standard of education.”“Access to education is a basic human right. Yet for millions of refugee children it is a lifeline to a better future which they have been heartbreakingly denied,” said UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Khaled Hosseini. “I have met many young refugees who have been torn from everything that makes them feel safe: their homes, their families, their friends and their schools. Investing in their education is an investment in their future, giving them hope and the chance to one day be a part of rebuilding their broken home countries.“UNHCR is working to give all refugee children the chance to go to school. Aqeela Asifi has shown us all that with courage change can happen. We must continue her fight.”Since the fall of the Taliban in 2001 5.7 million Afghans have returned home, yet insecurity still remains. UNHCR has embarked on a strategy to assist remaining Afghan refugees to return home and a key element of this is ensuring they can access quality education. A ministerial level meeting in early October in Geneva will seek to advance this strategy with key regional partners.UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award honours extraordinary service to the forcibly displaced, and names Eleanor Roosevelt, Graça Machel and Luciano Pavarotti among its laureates. The 2015 ceremony will be held on 5 October in Geneva, Switzerland. Speakers and performers at the event will include UNHCR Honorary Lifetime Goodwill Ambassador Barbara Hendricks, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Ger Duany, Unicef Goodwill Ambassador and singer Angelique Kidjo and visual artist Cedric Cassimo.last_img read more

Albert Lee To Perform At Safety Harbor Kids 9th Annual Polo Classic

first_imgMalibu nonprofit, Safety Harbor Kids, will be hosting their 9th Annual Polo Classic at the historic Will Rogers Park in Pacific Palisades on September 10th featuring Grammy winning guitarist, Albert Lee.Also performing will be internationally acclaimed singer/actress Josie Achaval singing the national anthem to begin the event.Guests will include music icon Peter Asher who will emcee the event, author, Marnie Greenberg, Co-Creator of the universally acclaimed Yuen Method to delete stress and pain on the spot and the cast of Bravo reality TV show, Vanderpump Rules including James Kennedy, Ariana Madix, and Tom Sandoval.Held at the Will Rogers State Historic park, the venue offers mountain and ocean views and has been the filming location of movies including Star Trek IV (William Shatner, Nichelle Nicols 1986). Old Hollywood royalty including Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Walt Disney, and Gary Cooper also frequented the polo estate formerly owned by 1930’s entertainer Will Rogers.The event is a charity fundraiser for education programs for orphans, foster and homeless children. Guests will enjoy a gourmet luncheon, open bar, wine tasting, high tea, special half time entertainment, an art exhibit and silent auction. While enjoying the polo match, guests can relax in the VIP lounge in private cabanas with chamber music and an orchid garden.Supported by luxury automotive dealer Bentley Beverly Hills who will allow guests to test drive their new Bentley Bentayga, and high end property company Engel & Voelkers, who has a long history of polo tradition, the Gatsby style event will also include a red carpet photos, champagne divot stomp and vocal performances. Guests are encouraged to wear white. Last years attendees included Caitlyn Jenner and John Savage (Deer Hunter, 1978).The game of polo is played between two teams of four men on horseback on a field about three times the size of a football field. The object is to hit a ball with polo mallets down the field and through two goalposts for a goal. There are six periods of play known as “chukkers” and each chukker is seven minutes long. If you have never been to a polo match, it is exciting and exhilarating to watch as the horses go thundering by with players risking life and limb swatting at a ball the size of a baseball while riding full speed on horseback. It pays to pay attention as the ball can fly off the field into the spectator area.Founded in 2007, Safety Harbor Kids (SHK) is a 501c3 nonprofit formed for the purpose of enriching the lives of parentless and homeless children through education in the areas of college, career, music and the arts. To attend or donate visit for ticket information.last_img read more

Global Genes Announces Fifth Annual Tribute To Champions Of Hope

first_imgGlobal Genes is pleased to announce the stars and special celebrity guests joining in the fight against rare disease at the 5th Annual Tribute to Champions of Hope presented by PRA Health Sciences on September 24, 2016.The annual blue carpet event honors and celebrates rare disease advocates, scientists, patients, and supporters.This year’s event will be another star-studded evening with multiple celebrity guests attending in support of rare disease including Ed O’Neill (Modern Family, Married with Children) Madison McLaughlin (Supernatural, Arrow), fitness model Shaka Smith, YouTube and Vine sensations Alx James, Liza Koshy, and David Dobrik, actor and SEAL Geoff Reeves (Transformers), actor and director, Edward Edwards (RoboCop and Global Arts Corp), actor, author, and philanthropist Travis Flores, and many more still to be announced. Rare disease patient advocate and syndicated radio talk show host, Scot “Froggy” Langley will be the master of ceremony for the evening of festivities.Viral sensation, patient advocate, and award honoree, Audrey Nethery, will join the line-up of entertainment with her beloved karaoke and dance skills. With over 1 million views on YouTube, Audrey has brought awareness to Diamond-Blackfan Anemia, a rare bone marrow disease, while sharing joy and hope through her performances. The entertainment line-up will also include singer-songwriter and winner of American Idol season 5, Taylor Hicks.The evening’s program will also include a special collaboration performance by the finalists from season 6 of NBC’s The Voice. The top finalists from the season are coming together for a first-ever collaboration performance in support of the rare disease community and to honor Global Genes advocate, the late Christina Grimmie, who tragically passed away this past June. Recording artists Ryan Whyte Maloney, Cali Tucker (niece of country legend Tanya Tucker), Jake Barker, Biff Gore, and Jake Worthington will re-unite for this powerful and moving performance.The 5th Annual RARE Patient Advocacy Summit will take place the two days prior to the Tribute, September 22 – 23. The Summit assists patient advocates in becoming successful activists and offers support to help navigate their rare disease journey.Presenting sponsor: PRA Health SciencesTo date Tribute and Summit include Champions and Patient Advocacy Summit sponsors include: Alexion Pharmaceuticals, Horizon Pharma, Genentech, Pfizer and Walgreens. Additional sponsorships provided by: Allied Intrade, Audentes Therapeutics, Amicus, Shire, Healthcare at Home, Novartis, Vertex, BioMarin, Clear Pharma, Everylife Foundation, Mallinckrodt, Recordati Rare Disease, Biogen Idec, Takeda, Teva Pharmaceuticals, Abeona Therapeutics, Chiassma Pharmaceuticals, Ambry Genetics, Akcea Therapeutics, Janssen, Sigma Tau, Cambridge BioMarketing, Alnylam, Dohmen Life Sciences Services, BIO, FK Health, Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), Jazz Pharmaceuticals, IDIS, Marathon Pharmaceuticals, Third Rock Ventures, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Voyager Therapeutics, PhRMA, Retrophin, Raptor, RegenxBio, Regeneron, Sanofi-Genzyme, Sobi, SmithSolve, Spark Therapeutics, Illumina and Ultragenyx.To learn more about Global Genes and event sponsorship opportunities, visit read more

Canadian presence on 2018 US TV upfronts

first_img Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement The headlines were supposed to be about Hannah Simone, an actor who belongs to the world (Canada included), being cast as the Greatest American Hero on ABC this fall. Even though the update of the early 1980s show got a pilot order, ABC isn’t going forward with the reboot.We do have the wrapup of the U.S. TV upfronts where major networks determine which shows are cancelled, renewed, or might get a new run either as a midseason replacement or on another network. Within that world, we look at where Canadians are in the U.S. TV landscape.Nathan Fillion is in the lead role of The Rookie on ABC about the LAPD’s oldest rookie. Facebook Rachelle Lefevre is the lead in Proven Innocent on Fox this fall. Lefevre plays a woman who is wrongfully convicted who later becomes a lawyer to fight for those who are wrongfully convicted. You might recall Lefevre in many roles but she recently portrayed Olivia Bloom in Mary Kills People.Athena Karkanis will be one of the actors on Manifest, a new NBC drama about a airline flight where when they land, they discover the world has advanced 5 years. You might know Karkanis from the third season of The Border on CBC.last_img read more


first_img Login/Register With: TORONTO — The 2019 Toronto International Film Festival unveiled today the lineup for its 2019 Contemporary World Cinema (CWC) programme. The rich slate of titles from 48 countries features a wide range of thought-provoking stories that delve into cultural issues and social struggles in poetic and captivating ways. Introducing 21 works directed and co-directed by women, this year’s edition of CWC focuses on fractured families, self-exploration, female-driven narratives, and the consequences of social and political crises.“Contemporary World Cinema is a place where different cultures meet,” said Kiva Reardon, International Programmer and new Lead Programmer for the section. “The vision for the programme is to help expand the cinematic canon and push the definition of what has previously been deemed as fundamental. This is a selection of essential, urgent cinema. It has been a pleasure to work with my fellow programmers in this new role to offer bold stories and invigorating films that ask our audiences to reflect on their position in the world.”“Contemporary World Cinema is the heartbeat of the Festival,” said Cameron Bailey, TIFF Artistic Director and Co-Head. “This is where audiences feel the pulse of what’s happening now all around the world in screen storytelling. It takes a strong curatorial vision to shape that vast variety of films. I’m glad we have Kiva Reardon on the job as CWC Lead Programmer.” Facebook Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment With contributions from Cameron Bailey, Brad Deane, Giovanna Fulvi, Steve Gravestock, Dorota Lech, Michael Lerman, Michèle Maheux, Diana Sanchez, and Ravi Srinivasan, Reardon has decided to emphasize the importance of showing the current state of the world through the lens of international, deeply talented filmmakers who help guide us through the reality of our social and political environments.The African continent is represented in the lineup by eight films beaming with creativity. Opening the programme is Atiq Rahimi’s third feature, Our Lady of the Nile, which follows a group of Rwandan girls in a Catholic boarding school. The bewitching work, which boasts hypnotic cinematography, foreshadows the country’s 1994 genocide. The programme also serves as a platform for acclaimed regional projects such as Jenna Bass’ South African road movie Flatland, Jahmil X.T. Qubeka’s Knuckle City, Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche’s Terminal Sud, and Amjad Abu Alala’s mystical You Will Die at Twenty.Winner of the Grand Prix in Cannes, Mati Diop’s exploration of migration, Atlantics, leads a bold wave of films exploring pressing global issues: Guatemalan director Jayro Bustamante presents an examination of his country’s political wounds with La Llorona, in which civil war victims haunt their torturer’s life; Laos’ first and only female director to ever present a film at TIFF, Mattie Do, couples family loss and time-travelling in The Long Walk; and Lijo Jose Pellissery’s Jallikattu offers a daring allegory on toxic masculinity in a remote Indian village. Other award-winning films included in the slate are Synonyms, the Golden Bear–winning film from Israeli filmmaker Nadav Lapid, and the recipients of the 2019 Cannes Jury Prize: French director Ladj Ly’s Les Misérables and the Brazilan film Bacurau, co-directed by Kleber Mendonça Filho and Juliano Dornelles.This year’s CWC slate is also rich in contributions from internationally renowned actors — both in front of and behind the camera — with Mexican actor Gael García Bernal’s second film as director, Chicuarotes; Austrian performer Karl Markovics’s third feature, Nobadi; Dutch actor-turned-director Halina Reijn’s Instinct; and an extraordinary performance from Iranian icon Golshifteh Farahani in Manele Labidi’s Arab Blues. Produced by US powerhouse Jada Pinkett Smith, Minhal Baig’s Hala is a coming-of-age story about an American Muslim teenager trying to balance her relationship with her strict parents and her own desires. The film is inspired by Baig’s own life and brings to the screen a fresh look at the teen experience.Other highlights in the programme study the complexity of family dynamics, such as Taiwanese Chung Mong-Hong’s lyrical A Sun, which focuses on a fractured father–son relationship. Balloon, directed by Tibetan filmmaker Pema Tseden, tells the conflicting struggles of a family dealing with China’s one-child policy. And Yaron Zilberman returns to TIFF with the World Premiere of Incitement, the first-ever fiction film to depict the cataclysmic assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.Spotlighting the struggles and triumphs of women in societies around the world are: Maryam Touzani’s domestic epic Adam; Hikari’s 37 Seconds, which follows a young manga artist who uses her craft as a tool of self-discovery; and Sharipa Urazbayeva’s Mariam, the story of a strong Kazakhstani mother and her drive to help her family survive. Films centring on working-class women include internationally acclaimed Bengali director Rubaiyat Hossain’s Made in Bangladesh, which follows a factory worker fighting for dignity in the world of fast fashion; The County, from Cannes prize–winning Icelandic director Grímur Hákonarson; and Edward Burns’ intriguing family portrait Beneath the Blue Suburban Skies.The 44th Toronto International Film Festival runs September 5–15, 2019.Films screening as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme include:37 Seconds Hikari | Japan/USACanadian PremiereAdam Maryam Touzani | Morocco/France/BelgiumNorth American PremiereArab Blues (Un Divan à Tunis) Manele Labidi | FranceNorth American PremiereAtlantics Mati Diop | France/Senegal/BelgiumNorth American PremiereAtlantis Valentyn Vasyanovych | UkraineNorth American PremiereBacurau Kleber Mendonça Filho, Juliano Dornelles | BrazilNorth American PremiereBalloon (Qi Qiu) Pema Tseden | ChinaNorth American PremiereThe Barefoot Emperor Jessica Woodworth, Peter Brosens | Belgium/Netherlands/Croatia/BulgariaWorld PremiereBeanpole (Dylda) Kantemir Balagov | RussiaNorth American PremiereBeneath the Blue Suburban Skies Edward Burns | USAWorld PremiereBlow the Man Down Danielle Krudy, Bridget Savage Cole | USAInternational PremiereBombay Rose Gitanjali Rao | India/United Kingdom/QatarNorth American PremiereChicuarotes Gael García Bernal | MexicoNorth American PremiereThe Climb Michael Angelo Covino | USACanadian PremiereCorpus Christi (Boze Cialo) Jan Komasa | Poland/FranceNorth American PremiereThe County (Héraðið) Grímur Hákonarson | Iceland/Denmark/Germany/FranceInternational PremiereDogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) J-P Valkeapää | Finland/LatviaNorth American PremiereThe Father (Bashtata) Petar Valchanov, Kristina Grozeva | Bulgaria/Greece/ItalyNorth American PremiereFlatland Jenna Bass | South Africa/Luxembourg/GermanyNorth American PremiereA Girl Missing (Yokogao) Koji Fukada | Japan/FranceNorth American PremiereHala Minhal Baig | USACanadian PremiereHenry Glassie: Field Work Pat Collins | IrelandWorld PremiereIncitement Yaron Zilberman | IsraelWorld PremiereInstinct Halina Reijn | NetherlandsNorth American PremiereThe Invisible Life of Eurídice Gusmão (A Vida Invisível de Eurídice Gusmão) Karim Aïnouz | Brazil/GermanyNorth American PremiereJallikattu Lijo Jose Pellissery | IndiaWorld PremiereKnuckle City Jahmil X.T. Qubeka | South AfricaInternational PremiereLa Llorona Jayro Bustamante | Guatemala/FranceNorth American PremiereLes Misérables Ladj Ly | FranceNorth American PremiereThe Long Walk (Bor Mi Vanh Chark) Mattie Do | Laos/Spain/SingaporeNorth American PremiereMade in Bangladesh Rubaiyat Hossain | France/Bangladesh/Denmark/PortugalWorld PremiereMariam Sharipa Urazbayeva | KazakhstanNorth American PremiereMaria’s Paradise (Marian paratiisi) Zaida Bergroth | Finland/EstoniaWorld PremiereNobadi Karl Markovics | AustriaWorld Premiere*Contemporary World Cinema Opening Film*Our Lady of the Nile (Notre-Dame du Nil) Atiq Rahimi | France/Belgium/RwandaWorld PremiereThe Perfect Candidate Haifaa Al-Mansour | Saudi Arabia/GermanyNorth American PremiereRed Fields (Mami) Keren Yedaya | Israel/Luxembourg/GermanyInternational PremiereResin (Harpiks) Daniel Joseph Borgman | DenmarkWorld PremiereSo Long, My Son (Di Jiu Tian Chang) Wang Xiaoshuai | ChinaNorth American PremiereSpider (Araña) Andrés Wood | ChileInternational PremiereA Sun (Yang Guang Pu Zhao) Chung Mong-Hong | TaiwanWorld PremiereSynonyms (Synonymes) Nadav Lapid | France/Israel/GermanyNorth American PremiereTerminal Sud (South Terminal) Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche | FranceNorth American PremiereThree Summers (Três Verões) Sandra Kogut | Brazil/FranceWorld PremiereVerdict Raymund Ribay Gutierrez | Philippines/FranceCanadian PremiereA White, White Day (Hvítur, Hvítur Dagur) Hlynur Pálmason | Iceland/Denmark/SwedenNorth American PremiereThe Wild Goose Lake (Nan Fang Che Zhan De Ju Hui) Diao Yinan | China/FranceNorth American PremiereYou Will Die at Twenty Amjad Abu Alala | Sudan/France/Egypt/Germany/Norway/QatarNorth American PremierePreviously announced Canadian features screening at the Festival as part of the Contemporary World Cinema programme include: And the Birds Rained Down, Antigone, The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open, Castle in the Ground, The Last Porno Show, Tammy’s Always Dying, and White Lie.For film synopses, cast lists, images, and more information, see ticket packages start at $110. See all the Contemporary World Cinema films using your 10-ticket regular flex pack. Purchase packages online at, by phone (416.599.2033 or 1.888.599.8433), or in person at TIFF Bell Lightbox until August 11 while quantities last.TIFF prefers Visa.Social TIFFTIFF is a charitable cultural organization whose mission is to transform the way people see the world through film. An international leader in film culture, TIFF projects include the annual Toronto International Film Festival in September; TIFF Bell Lightbox, which features five cinemas, major exhibitions, and learning and entertainment facilities; and innovative national distribution program Film Circuit. The organization generates an annual economic impact of $189 million CAD. TIFF Bell Lightbox is generously supported by contributorsincluding Founding Sponsor Bell, the Province of Ontario, the Government of Canada, the City of Toronto, the Reitman family (Ivan Reitman, Agi Mandel and Susan Michaels), The Daniels Corporation and RBC. For more information, visit is generously supported by Lead Sponsor Bell, Major Sponsors RBC, L’Oréal Paris, and Visa, and Major Supporters the Government of Ontario, Telefilm Canada, and the City of Toronto.The Contemporary World Cinema programme is made possible through the generous sponsorship of Sun Life. Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Former Native Womens Association president living in a tent outside Edmonton

first_img(Former NWAC President Marilyn Buffalo at the door of her home in Edmonton. Photo: Brandi Morin/APTN)Brandi Morin APTN National NewsEDMONTON — Marilyn Buffalo never thought she would be homeless at age 65. The former Native Women’s Association of Canada president is now sleeping in a tent in Maskwacis after losing her rental home in Edmonton last week.The home was expropriated to make way for the Valley Line LRT expansion on the city’s south side.Buffalo lived in her 3,300 square foot home for six years along with her four children, one of their spouses and two grandchildren.Last August she first received notice of the expropriation, however she thought she would have plenty of time before she had to leave. Then in January she received a registered letter that said she had to leave by the end of March.“I said, ‘No, I’m not leaving,’” said Buffalo. “I didn’t want to uproot my family in the middle of winter.”At that point city officials along with her landlord gave her till the end of June to find new accommodations. It still wasn’t enough time. Although Buffalo is self-employed she didn’t have the resources to acquire a new home.Buffalo has been a single mother for 35 years and practices the traditional family setting of living under the same household with some of her now adult children and their families. “This is the home that they know they can come to. It’s a big loss for everybody. Because now we don’t have a place to gather,” she said.She was forced to pack up all of her belongings and put them into storage while under added stress from family members getting seriously ill and one committed suicide in the last few months.Her one son, wife and their children were able to recently find a small home to rent, but everyone else that lived in the home has been displaced, including her 45 year old daughter Rhonda Buffalo. Rhonda has been a student for the past year and will be sleeping alongside her mother in a tent until she finds work again. She struggled with depression and anxiety over the past few months but said her main concern was staying strong for her children.“It feels scary and empty,” said Rhonda. “But we just keep going. We’re trying to take it one day at a time.”Buffalo said she understands they aren’t the only Albertans facing homelessness and that she wants to share her story to shed light on the issue.“Somewhere there’s a human dignity for individuals like myself, but no one offered us an olive branch of any kind,” she said.She did attempt to enter into negotiations with city officials in the hopes they could help with moving costs. After three meetings the discussions turned sour.But later on, a small settlement agreement was reached that cannot be disclosed for legal purposes, but Buffalo said it hardly made a difference.“The fact is it clearly put me out on the streets. We have no place that we can go and advocate.”Buffalo has had an extensive career. In addition to her work at the Native Women’s Association, she established the native studies program at the University of Alberta, she was a policy advisor to several levels of government and is also a residential school survivor. She attended the final Truth and Reconciliation event in Ottawa last month and said it was painful to hear Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson speaking to reconciliation when issues such as homelessness are so rampant in the city and seemingly ignored.“It brought tears to my eyes…How do you reconcile healing and wellness and reconciliation for our people when thousands of us are being impacted by these laws that don’t protect anybody except the powers at be?”Renters have few rights in Alberta when it comes to expropriation, however Buffalo said she is an descendant of the original First Nations that lived in the area long before the city was established, the city sits on “Indian land” and that it should make more efforts to address Aboriginal homelessness.A 2012 study conducted by Homeward Trust found that out of 2,174 homeless people surveyed in Edmonton, 46 per cent of them were Aboriginal.“100 years later we’re facing the same expropriation that my ancestors have faced,” she said, adding that if Edmonton is serious about reconciliation efforts it’s going to take a lot more than signing protocol and “feel good” agreements with area chiefs. That governments need to look at amending laws and legislation to accommodate Indigenous people living in cities.She believes the lack of supports and resources for urban Aboriginal people contributes to other issues.“This speaks to poverty, child welfare and missing and murdered Indigenous women. If you’re a homeless person and a mother and you have no means of putting food on the table or don’t have shelter- the root cause is poverty. You’re children get taken away. People give up. A lot of our people, especially women are falling through the cracks.”Brad Smid, project manager for the Valley Line LRT called the situation unfortunate.Marilyn Buffalo (right) with her daughter Rhonda. Photo: Brandi Morin/APTN“We obviously don’t want to see that happen to anyone affected by the project. We are definitely committed to fair treatment of all parties to the process. We try to give a lot of lead time and communication in advance for them to find alternative housing, to understand the expropriation process and their rights.”Buffalo said she is living proof that homelessness can happen to anyone. Nevertheless she will continue to search for a suitable place to live. She refuses to stay on “skid row” or in accommodations that are run down and in some cases crawling with bed bugs and other pests currently available for rent in Edmonton.Buffalo is travelling to Montreal this week to attend the Assembly of First Nations annual general assembly. She has also been nominated to once again serve as president of the Native Women’s Association. Friday, she will learn if she is voted into that position where she says if elected she will continue to be an advocate for Indigenous women.By sharing this experience of now being homeless she hopes it will make a difference for others in the same boat.“I am not alone. We need leadership with a heart to implement change in policies. I recently spoke to graduates at the 40th Anniversary of the Natives Students Association at the UofA…In the back of my mind I was thinking, ‘If only they knew where I am.’ I told them ‘you can’t give up’.”bmorin@aptn.calast_img read more

2B to fix dilapidated First Nations homes in Manitoba alone government report

first_imgThe Canadian PressWINNIPEG – Internal government documents say Manitoba First Nations live in some of the most dilapidated homes in the country and it will cost $2 billion to eliminate mould and chronic overcrowding in that province alone. That’s almost 13 times more than the $150 million the federal government has budgeted for housing on all reserves across Canada this year. Reports from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada, obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information legislation, say the housing situation in Manitoba has worsened as infrastructure funding has been siphoned off to other areas. “As a result, Manitoba First Nations continue to face further deterioration in infrastructure,” says the internal report dated January 2015. “Current estimates indicate a $1.9B need to address existing overcrowding, replacement and major repairs related to mould and substandard conditions of housing units. Key challenges continue to include affordability, low income and high social assistance rates.” The report notes Manitoba has among the highest percentage at 29 of Indigenous people living in poor housing in Canada. Officials say Alberta is the only other province in a similar situation. One quarter of existing homes on reserves in both provinces need to be repaired or replaced. Chief David McDougall said the situation is a “ticking time bomb” in his remote Aboriginal community of St. Theresa Point in northern Manitoba. The waiting list for housing on the cluster of four reserves in his tribal council is 1,500. Last year, his reserve got 18 units. They were the lucky ones. Other reserves got less than that. It’s not uncommon for 18 people to live in a small bungalow, McDougall said. Last year, there were 23 people living in a two-bedroom home. “They had to take turns sleeping.” While the government’s own estimates put Manitoba’s housing needs at $2 billion, the department said $50 million is budgeted for on-reserve housing in the province this year. That is to drop to $29 million next year. Some reserves can build additional homes with a ministerial loan guarantee, but McDougall said that isn’t available if the reserve is under third-party management. The department’s internal report said only 30 per cent of Manitoba reserves operate independently. People on McDougall’s reserve are losing hope, he said. Suicides are on the rise while others turn to a homemade alcoholic concoction called “superjuice.” The federal government spent the last few years hooking up the reserve’s homes to water and sewer, but McDougall compared that to putting new tires on a rusty, decrepit car. “We need to find a proper, sustainable solution _ what is realistic in terms of how we can begin to even make a dent in this huge backlog.” Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett said she’s not deterred by the $2-billion price tag. She couldn’t explain exactly how the new Liberal government will tackle the backlog, but said improving First Nations housing is a priority. “I’ve been in those homes,” Bennett said in an interview. “It is a disgrace for Canadians to watch. There is a consensus in this country that we have got to get going on this. “The sticker shock on any of these things can’t get in the way of us beginning what has to happen.” Ottawa has been warned before about the housing situation on Manitoba reserves. A 2011 internal assessment of on-reserve housing said communities don’t have the means to maintain the homes they have, which often require “aggressive maintenance.” “The consequences are manifold: maintaining housing stock is costly, poorly maintained housing is unsafe and contributes to poor health, which in itself generates additional costs,” stated the report. An evaluation three years before found people on reserves were living in homes that were “falling apart” and rife with mould, which made them “not suitable for people with breathing problems.” It noted two people died in one community “related to wiring and lack of heat. People were using a dryer to help heat a home.” Craig Makinaw, Alberta regional chief with the Assembly of First Nations, said the situation is dire for some First Nations. While some reserves with a source of income can afford to go above and beyond government funding, residents on other Alberta reserves wait up to 30 years for a home, he said. “All the cuts that have happened over the years have caused this backlog,” he said. “It needs to be addressed because it’s not going to get any better.”last_img read more

Trudeau violated MPs rights broke law with unilateral expulsion Philpott

first_imgThe Canadian PressFormer cabinet minister Jane Philpott is asking the Speaker of the House of Commons to rule on whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the rights of MPs when he expelled her and Jody Wilson-Raybould from the Liberal caucus, a move she calls a breach of federal law.Trudeau’s decision last week to eject Philpott and Wilson-Raybould was “a breach of the Parliament of Canada Act,” the newly independent MP said Tuesday on the Commons floor, because the Liberals failed to hold a legally required caucus vote following the 2015 election that would have established how such expulsions are supposed to work.A set of amendments to the Parliament of Canada Act, spearheaded by Conservative MP Michael Chong, was passed in 2015 in an effort to make it more difficult for MPs to be removed from caucus _ part of an effort to decentralize political power on Parliament Hill and put it back in the hands of rank-and-file legislators.Those rules require that after a federal election, the MPs of each party hold a vote to determine the rules for caucus expulsions. But in November 2015, after the Liberals formed government, they deferred the matter, and as a result the rules _ which would have required 90 Liberal MPs to express support for expelling Philpott and Wilson-Raybould _ were not formally adopted.“We were expelled prior to the commencement of the Liberal caucus meeting,” Philpott told the House as she registered her complaint with Regan, a procedure known as a point of privilege.“The prime minister’s words that night to the Liberal caucus are important to underscore, because expulsion should not be his decision to take unilaterally. However, the decision had been already made.”Members of Parliament are not accountable to the leader but rather the leader is accountable to members of Parliament, Philpott said.“This is a constitutional convention” _ one so important that it has been codified in the Parliament of Canada Act, she added.When later asked about Philpott’s complaint, Trudeau acknowledged that the decision to expel the pair was his alone, but one he made after consulting caucus members: “The will of caucus was very clear, but I made the decision.”Regan told Philpott he would consider her argument and report back to the House later.He has already ruled on a related question involving another former Liberal, Toronto-area MP Celina Caesar-Chavannes, who quit the Liberal caucus last month. In that ruling, the Speaker found that “asking the House to deal with the possible expulsion of a member from caucus is not a proper subject for a question of privilege” and it’s not his place to interpret the law, only the rules of the House of Commons.Philpott said that since she and Wilson-Raybould were kicked out of caucus, and didn’t leave voluntarily, their situation is different.Wilson-Raybould believes she was moved out of the prestigious justice portfolio to Veterans Affairs in a mid-January cabinet shuffle as punishment for refusing to intervene to stop the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin on bribery charges related to contracts in Libya.She has testified that she faced relentless pressure last fall from Trudeau, his office, the top public servant and others to override the director of public prosecutions, who had decided not to invite the Montreal engineering giant to negotiate a remediation agreement, a kind of plea bargain.Wilson-Raybould quit the cabinet in mid-February and Philpott followed a few weeks later, saying she had lost confidence in the government over its handling of the SNC-Lavalin file. But both MPs remained members of the Liberal caucus until last week.The revelation that Wilson-Raybould had surreptitiously recorded a phone conversation with Michael Wernick, the clerk of the Privy Council, to bolster her contention of undue pressure was the last straw for Liberal MPs, who openly called on Trudeau to expel the former ministers. On April 2, Trudeau called the secret recording “unconscionable,” proof that the ex-minister could no longer be trusted.Despite the best efforts of Liberals, the months-old SNC-Lavalin controversy keeps finding its way back to the headlines.On Sunday, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer revealed that Trudeau’s lawyer had sent him a libel notice, demanding he retract his claims that the prime minister had lied to Canadians and interfered with the SNC prosecution. Scheer made clear he has no such plans.Trudeau, asked about the legal threat, said Tuesday that with an election coming up, it’s important that politicians be discouraged from twisting the truth and distorting reality.“You can’t be lying to Canadians,” said Trudeau. “It’s not something we’re going to put up with.”last_img read more

Irish heap pressure on Britain on postBrexit border

first_imgLONDON – Ireland’s European commissioner on Sunday pressured British Prime Minister Theresa May to change course on Brexit talks to solve the issue of the post-Brexit border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland so stalled negotiations can move forward.Phil Hogan said the border problem can easily be solved if May drops her plans to take Britain out of the European Union customs union and the single market when it departs the 28-nation bloc in 2019.Failing that, he told The Observer on Sunday, the government should allow Northern Ireland to remain in these entities so no hard border would be required because there would be no trade barriers and no need for customs enforcement.“If the U.K. or Northern Ireland remained in the EU customs union, or better still the single market, there would be no border issue,” he said. “That’s a very simple fact.”Britain’s international trade secretary, Liam Fox, quickly rejected this approach. He told Sky News the resolution of the Irish border issue will have to wait until details about future trade relations have been worked out.“We don’t want there to be a hard border, but the U.K. is going to be leaving the customs union and the single market,” he said.The Irish borders issue — along with the “divorce bill” Britain has to pay for leaving the bloc, and the rights of EU citizens affected by Brexit — are key obstacles slowing negotiations between Britain and its estranged EU partners. EU leaders won’t allow talks to move into critical trade areas until “significant progress” has been made on these issues.May’s government insists Britain will leave the customs union and single market when it leaves the EU. At that point, the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will become a dividing line between Britain and the EU — and a new arrangement will be needed to monitor the flow of people and of goods.Hogan argues this “hard border” won’t be needed if Britain, at the very least, allows Northern Ireland to remain in the customs union. But his approach has been rejected by Arlene Foster, leader of the Democratic Unionists, a Northern Ireland party that is using its votes in Parliament to prop up May’s minority government.Foster told her party conference Saturday that the party would not back any agreement that “creates barriers” between Northern Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom, in effect ruling out special status for Northern Ireland in the post-Brexit era.EU leaders said Friday that Britain must show progress on the problem issues by Dec. 4 in time for a mid-December summit to allow the talks to progress to the next phase, which will involve substantive discussion of the future trading relationship between Britain and its former partners.last_img read more

Condo developers increasingly using art to stand out and land buyers

first_imgTORONTO – It would be easy to mistake the lobby of the One o One condos in midtown Toronto for a nightclub or graffiti-splashed alley.Instead of the muted colours and cookie-cutter designs that fill many condo buildings, developer Camrost Felcorp hired Toronto artist Anthony Ricciardi to create seven murals splattered with bright paint and a rainbow of drip marks.The flashy pieces put the building in a growing group of condo complexes whose hallways, lobbies and outdoor grounds are being emblazoned with massive murals, ornate sculptures or dozens of commissioned art pieces or custom photographs.Among the installations that have cropped up outside Toronto condos in recent years are a set of tall jagged red posts, a blue tangled rubber band-like sculpture and a handful of white whirlpool installations.Real estate veterans say such art is an attempt by developers to bring a community feel to shared spaces, but also a bid to attract buyers. Large installations are popping up at an increasing rate, they say, because many developers are realizing their benefits after the city started encouraging builders to allocate a minimum of one per cent of every project’s construction costs on public art.Ricciardi, a corporate finance worker in the real estate industry who only recently decided to pursue his art full-time, said so far developers have been a boon for business.“In the next two years I have four major projects with developers and they will all include sculptural and interior work,” he said. “Developers have been doing this forever, but I don’t think enough artists or people know about it.”Heela Omarkhail, senior manager of strategic initiatives at developer the Daniels Corp., agreed, saying her company has been attempting to raise awareness of art in the condo world by collaborating with local artists, especially those early in their careers.Daniels turned to such artists for the two-tower, One Park Place development in Toronto’s downtown Regent Park neighbourhood. In the north tower alone, it commissioned more than 25 pieces of local art, including four sculpture installations, that filled lobbies, hallways, amenity spaces, the party room and even change rooms.In another of the company’s Regent Park buildings, Omarkhail said Daniels hung in the lobby a quilt called Regent Park: A Love Poem — a nod to the fact that it was patched together by locals who wanted to be part of the community’s revitalization.To highlight such pieces, Daniels often keeps the art behind a black sheath for weeks during move-in before unveiling it at an open-house night, where artists mingle with residents.It’s even taken art to the next level by partnering with Artscape, a not-for-profit organization, to put together a musical production starring theatre stars and Regent Park locals.It is “hard to say” whether the production or condo art convinces buyers to purchase a property, but Omarkhail figures it at least “enhances the relationship between the buyer and the building because…every art piece or plaque has a story.”“Their sense of home isn’t the four walls of their unit,” she said.“It extends beyond into those common spaces and really changes the feeling when you arrive in that building.”David Moos, an art consultant for Camrost Felcorp and a former curator at the Art Gallery of Ontario, said in the development realm he is seeing a “widespread consciousness” around the value of art that includes both high-end, fine art and low-end pieces he calls “decorative.”The average person won’t instantly see and know how acclaimed a piece of fine art is just by looking at it, but even having art in a condo building could contribute to how world-class the city it is in is perceived to be, he said.“Some developers take pride in propelling Toronto forward and have realized the role that fine art can play and want to participate in enhancing the urban environment in the most ambitious, sophisticated and impactful way,” he said.“Toronto deserves the best, most original and inspiring art and developers can participate in making that happen.”last_img read more

How major US stock indexes fared Monday

first_imgStocks plunged Monday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 653 points following President Trump’s tweet attacking the Federal Reserve and its independence.Technology companies, health care stocks and banks took some of the heaviest losses in the broad sell-off. Trading volume was low as the market closed early ahead of the Christmas holiday shutdown.On Monday:The S&P 500 index slid 65.52 points, or 2.7 per cent, to 2,351.10.The Dow sank 653.17 points, or 2.9 per cent, to 21,792.20.The Nasdaq skidded 140.08 points, or 2.2 per cent, to 6,192.92.The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gave up 25.16 points, or 2 per cent, to 1,266.92.For the year:The S&P 500 is down 322.51 points, or 12.1 per cent.The Dow is down 2,927.02 points, or 11.8 per cent.The Nasdaq is down 710.47 points, or 10.3 per cent.The Russell 2000 is down 268.59 points, or 17.5 per cent.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Why US classrooms are starting to resemble arcades

first_imgWALLINGFORD, Conn. — It’s 1 o’clock on a Wednesday afternoon in Wallingford, Connecticut, and about 20 children are watching a screen at the front of the room as they take turns navigating challenges and collecting virtual currency to unlock powers, outfits and pets for their characters.The game they’re playing has some similarities to the online battle game “Fortnite.” But the kids aren’t fighting one another — they’re racking up points for participation and good behaviour in their classroom at Dag Hammarskjold Middle School, where their teacher is presenting a home economics lesson with help from Classcraft, a fantasy-themed educational program.“It’s actually a lot of fun,” said 13-year-old Caiden McManus. “The pets — that’s my favourite thing to do. To train the pets, you gain as many gold pieces as possible so you can get the new outfits and stuff.”Peek inside your average classroom these days, and you’re likely to see teachers using apps, websites and software that borrow elements from video games to connect with students living technology-infused lives. By all accounts, they’re fun to use, and studies have found that some can be effective. But there is also skepticism about how often students who use them are better educated, or just better entertained.Dag Hammarskjold consumer sciences teacher Gianna Gurga said she had been looking for a way to get more out of her students. Students have been more motivated and performed better in her classes since she began using Classcraft in spring 2017, she said, and she has signed up a handful of other teachers in the school.“My kids are so addicted to it in the best way possible,” Gurga said.In one session, the classroom filled with suspenseful music as Gurga began rapid-fire questioning. With each correct answer, chosen from multiple choices on the screen, students gained points that could be used for avatar upgrades, privileges like listening to music in class, and a competition against other classrooms. The available characters — warriors, mages and healers — each have different powers and must collaborate to succeed.Points are awarded for class participation as well as good behaviour, but the kids can also be penalized, as was the case for one of Gurga’s seventh-graders who told a classmate to “shut up.”A middle school in New York City, Quest to Learn, was the first public school to fully embrace game-based learning when it opened nearly a decade ago. The Manhattan school, developed by game theorists with the Institute of Play, has been closely followed since by researchers hoping for hard evidence of results from technology-inspired gamification.In the last school year, 43 per cent of Quest to Learn’s students were up to state standards on the state English test, compared to 41 per cent citywide, and 29 per cent of its students met state standards on the state math test, compared to 33 per cent citywide. But advocates say standardized testing alone does not tell the story. Outside studies have shown growth in soft skills such as collaboration, creative thinking and empathy, according to Ross Flatt, director of programs and partnerships for the Institute of Play, a non-profit studio that uses game design principles to develop new learning experiences.To help educators identify programs with promise, the Johns Hopkins University Center for Research and Reform in Education launched a website that rates math and learning programs based on how they meet evidence standards for effectiveness under federal education law. The centre’s director, Robert Slavin, said there are some programs that have shown positive impacts but on average improvements are small.“When people talk about technology transforming everything, it may in the future, but it’s not there yet,” Slavin said.Some question whether the graphics, videos and sounds in so many programs are doing harm by teaching students to pursue the rewards.“Part of life is figuring out how to learn to love things and how to persevere in things even when it’s not extrinsically motivated,” said Christopher Devers, an education researcher at Johns Hopkins who said his review of the evidence suggests that on balance, games-based approaches tend to influence students in negative ways.One of the better known programs, DreamBox, teaches math by offering a series of problems that can grow increasingly challenging as the student enters correct answers. The program, which began as an app for consumers, entered the school market in 2011 and last year had 2.6 million student users. The company charges a fee of $7,500 per school building per year.DreamBox CEO Jessie Woolley-Wilson said the program is intended as an aid for teachers who can’t be expected to personalize learning for two dozen students simultaneously.“Let’s figure out a way to support a way to deliver the best teaching, and allow the learning guardian to get back to art of teaching,” she said. “Technology can deliver that math personalization in a way that can give the learning guardian actionable insights.”In Groton, Connecticut, early users of DreamBox reported anecdotal evidence of improved outcomes and schools are now using it district-wide. In Heather Dalton’s fifth-grade classroom at the Charles Barnum Elementary School, students spent the first half of a recent class working individually on DreamBox with headphones on. Information about their level of mastery of fractions was sent to Dalton’s laptop, but the students were most excited about the short video-game rewards they received between levels and the coins they gathered for upgrades to their avatars.“There’s a lot of learning,” Dalton said, “but it feels like a game to the kids.”Michael Melia, The Associated Presslast_img read more

300K in damage Calgary men charged after copper wire thefts from oilwell

first_imgPieces of unstripped copper wire and heavy equipment tools, including bolt cutters and power tools, were found in a vehicle.Brian Tanner, who is 43, and Jonathan Paul, who is 38, face various break and enter charges.Tanner is also charged with breach of recognizance and possession of a controlled substance. CALGARY, A.B. – Two Calgary men face multiple charges after thefts of copper wire and tools at several rural oilwell sites.Police say about $300,000 in damage was caused by thieves who cut the wire out of buildings.The Calgary Police Service says it worked with RCMP to track, locate and arrest two suspects.last_img read more

BC argues it cannot stop Trans Mountain but it can protect environment

first_imgAlberta Premier Rachel Notley and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau say only Ottawa _ not the provinces _ has the authority to decide what goes in trans-boundary pipelines.But Arvay says a spill of diluted bitumen in B.C. would be disastrous and the province is not required to simply accept such a fate.Instead, he says it can be proactive in trying to prevent harm.He says B.C. has “no axe to grind” against pipelines and it understands it cannot prevent the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, but there are legal precedents for it to enact laws that reduce the risk of inter-provincial projects.Arvay says the National Energy Board heard differing opinions about the likelihood of a spill, but things don’t always go according to plan and B.C. has the right to take precautions.“Accidents happen,” he told a panel of five judges on Monday. The federal government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline from Kinder Morgan for $4.5 billion last August.Construction is on hold after the Federal Court of Appeal ruled the energy board failed to consider marine impacts and the government needed to do more Indigenous consultation.The board wrapped its review of marine impacts last month and recommended the government approve the project with 16 additional conditions, but Trudeau’s cabinet hasn’t made a final decision. VANCOUVER, B.C. – A lawyer for the British Columbia government says the province knows it cannot stop the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, but it can enact environmental laws to mitigate the harm it may cause.B.C.’s Court of Appeal is considering a reference case filed by the province that asks if it has jurisdiction to regulate the transport of oil through its territory and restrict bitumen shipments from Alberta.Joseph Arvay, who represents B.C., says his opponents in the case are essentially saying provinces are powerless to enact laws that prevent environmental harm to their lands, waters, people and animals.center_img The energy board recently ruled the project is in the Canadian public interest despite adverse effects to endangered southern resident killer whales and related Indigenous culture.Arvay says the board has concluded that the benefits of the project are national and regional in scope, but that some local communities would shoulder the burdens of the expansion.When B.C. filed the reference case last year, Alberta announced it would ban B.C. wines, although it later withdrew the ban to the relief of Okanagan wineries.Notley’s government accused B.C. Premier John Horgan of trying to break the rules of Confederation.last_img read more

Swiss Expert Warns of Repercussions of Aid Embezzlement in Tindouf on

Geneva  –  The embezzlement of humanitarian aid sent to Tindouf by Algeria and the Polisario separatists represents a “source of conflict” and casts a shadow on peace in the Maghreb, Swiss regional expert on MENA region, Jean-Marc Maillard, said on Monday.The embezzlement of humanitarian aid “is reflective of a sad reality that can only be a source of conflicts,” he was quoted by Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) as sayong.While expressing “concerns regarding peace in the Maghreb,” he deplored that the humanitarian aid is perpetrated in full connivance between the “Algerian regime and its polisario henchmen.” Maillard pointed out to the disclosure of a report by the European Anti-Fraud office (OLAF) which laid bare the “fraudulent diversion” of humanitarian aid by Algeria and the polisario leadership to the detriment of the population held against their will in the camps of Tindouf.The Swiss expert also raised questions about the repercussions of the fall in oil prices on the Algerian financial resources and its hydrocarbon-based economy, saying that “the opportunist practices, that were denounced in the OLAF report, reflect a lack of vision with regard to the future in the Algerian regime and the impasse in which it is currently trapped.”The 2007 OLAF report, which was made public last week, slams the Polisario leadership and Algerian authorities for organized embezzlement of aid which is diverted from the port of Oran.MWN with MAP read more

12 People Dead as Fishing Boat Sinks in Southern Morocco

Rabat – A fishing boat sank off the coast of Dakhla on Friday night, and all the boat crew except one person, are missing.According to local sources, the boat called“Ashraf” sank at around 10 p.m after seven hours sailing, claiming the life of 12 persons.The only survivor was admitted to the hospital to receive necessary medical treatments. Mohamed Mabrouk, the only survivor, told Dakhla24 that the tragic accident happened abruptly after “a big wave hit their boat and crushed it,” leaving no space for the boat crew “to take security measures or to call for help.”“The boat is well equipped with measures and equipment of safety,” he said, but “it came all of a sudden,” he added.He said that he was hearing the shouting of his colleagues but couldn’t see them because it was dark.The survivor owes his survival to a piece of wood from the broken boat. He tenaciously clung to it the whole night. For his good luck, the waves pushed him towards the shore until a rescue boat recognized him early Saturday and rescued him.The coast guards and local authorities started searching for the corps of the drowned men, and an investigation has been opened to determine the circumstances of the tragic accident.© Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed without permission read more