Quebec moves to tax Netflix after Ottawa wouldnt

Quebec’s political parties formed a common front on Tuesday to demand companies such as Netflix pay provincial sales tax.All members of the legislature voted unanimously for a motion to “ensure the Quebec sales tax (TVQ) is imposed on all foreign companies that offer products and services online, notably in the cultural sector, as soon as possible.”The motion was in reaction to the federal government’s recent agreement with Netflix that allows the online-streaming giant to forgo paying sales tax by investing $500 million on Canadian productions over the next five years.Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said he supported the motion but added the province wouldn’t take any steps on taxing Netflix before getting the details of the agreement from the federal government.Canada’s new cultural policy takes ‘baby steps,’ but leaves heavy lifting for laterWhat you need to know about the Liberal government’s new cultural roadmap“Netflix’s service is a taxable service,” he said. “The issue is for the company to collaborate with the imposition of taxes. In order for that to happen, we need to know, very clearly, the position of the federal government.”Meanwhile, in Montreal, the president of Canada’s largest French-language artist union left a meeting with the federal heritage minister saying a massive gulf exists between Ottawa and the artistic community.Sophie Pregent of Union des Artistes said minister Melanie Joly didn’t realize the furor her deal with Netflix would cause, especially among the country’s artistic class.The minister negotiated a sweetheart deal for the U.S. web-streaming giant at the expense of Canada’s cultural producers, Pregent told reporters.“Maybe she underestimated the furor in the industry, on the ground,” said Pregent. “I think she didn’t see it coming.“I think (Joly) genuinely thought the deal with Netflix would assuage our concerns but it did the opposite. The fire has spread all over.”Union des Artistes represents roughly 13,000 French-speaking artists across the country.Artists say the federal government is giving Netflix an unwarranted subsidy by not forcing the company to pay taxes like it does in many other countries around the world.Pregent said Canada should look to pressuring internet service companies if it can’t get big online firms to pay taxes.“Ultimately, if we don’t have the legislation to act on the Netflixes of the world, let’s go higher and see the internet service providers,” she said.Joly said she “hears” the concerns of the artists.“The issue,” Joly said, “is how to work together so that we have tools to protect our culture online.”Joly also dismissed the claim she has essentially given Netflix a tax break that Canadian-based production companies don’t get.She said the government has the power to hold Netflix accountable if it doesn’t hold up its end of the deal.Joly added she is waiting for a report by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission about the new business models in the internet era.The Canadian Press read more

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More may follow as Tamil man is deported

The man had been living with his sister in Dandenong, in Melbourne’s south-east, before being called into the Immigration Department in Melbourne last Tuesday and given a letter informing him authorities had judged him ”removable”. He is believed to be the first Tamil asylum seeker to be forced out of Australia since the latest spate of arrivals began in 2008 in the final months of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war. Other Sri Lankan asylum seekers were either sent home from Indonesia after Australia asked for their boat to be intercepted or were from the Sinhalese community. ”If he goes there, they kill him,” his sister said in tears after being told he had been taken to the airport.Returned refugees are regularly stopped on arrival and interrogated by the Sri Lankan police’s Criminal Investigation Department.The Herald revealed this week that some returned asylum seekers had been held for months without trial and faced state-sanctioned torture as part of their interrogation. He arrived in Australia by plane in 2010, having fled Jaffna, a former stronghold of the Tamil Tiger separatists.His family insist he faces grave danger after Sri Lankan media published his photograph and what appeared to be an arrest warrant in his name. The sudden news of his departure yesterday morning set off a panicked bid by refugee advocates to get a court injunction – with emails showing the man had tried for two days to send a fax from within the Maribyrnong detention centre only to find the fax machine was not working.Joel Townsend, of Victoria Legal Aid, who represented the man in the appeal to the minister, said given recent reports from Sri Lanka about the treatment of returnees, the man was considering further action.”It is disappointing that we were not given more notice of this man’s removal,” he said. Australian immigration officials have forcibly deported to Sri Lanka a Tamil man suffering mental health problems, despite revelations asylum seekers have been beaten and tortured when sent back.In what threatens to be the first of up to 150 cases of Tamils sent back to Sri Lanka after failing to win refugee protection, a man in his early 30s was taken from a Melbourne detention centre to Tullamarine airport yesterday and put on a flight to Bangkok bound for Colombo. An immigration spokesman said the man had no valid visa and had failed to leave voluntarily. (Herald) The Tamil man – who the Herald has decided not to identify – had failed in his bid for refugee status and was refused a visa by the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, after appealing on mental health grounds. read more

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VIP backup vehicle injures two

The backup vehicle of Minister Johnston Fernando was involved in an accident this morning injuring two people, the police said.According to the police the accident had taken place in Pannipitiya when the vehicle was escorting the convoy of the Minister. The third backup vehicle of the convoy was believed to have been involved in the accident.One  person who was injured in the accident was admitted to the Kalubowila hospital while the other person was admitted to the Sri Jayawardenapura hospital for treatment. The police said that the driver of the vehicle was arrested following the accident. read more

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Government stand on death penalty welcomed

The Law and Society Trust acknowledges and appreciates that Sri Lanka has redefined its position with regards to the reintroduction of the death penalty.  Justice Minister Wijeydasa Rajapakshe stated in Parliament on 6 October 2015, that Sri Lanka will not implement the death penalty temporarily as the country has decided to vote in favour of the UN General Assembly Resolution on “Moratorium on the Use of Death Penalty” in 2015.Although in 2012 Sri Lanka abstained from voting on the afore-mentioned UN General Assembly Resolution, in the years 2007, 2008 and 2010 Sri Lanka had voted in favour of a moratorium on the use of the death penalty and LST appreciates this stance taken even amidst mounting public favour towards reimplementation due to the increased crime rate and the resultant general public perception of the death penalty as a deterrent to crime. Currently over 82% have either introduced moratoria by law or in practice or have abolished it. Over the past 12 months alone, Fiji, Madagascar, Suriname, and the state of Nebraska in the United States have abolished the practice of putting people to death. In Burkina Faso and the Republic of Korea, new abolition laws have been submitted to parliament. Togo has ratified the second optional protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which aims to abolish the death penalty. China has removed the death penalty for several categories of crimes. Legal bodies in India and Ghana have recommended abolition. Authorities in Afghanistan, Malaysia, Thailand and the United States have announced reviews of the fairness and accuracy of the processes that convict and execute people.These moves by Nations across the globe and in Asia goes on to show that the global practice is indeed towards abolition. Justice is not about vengeance and we as civilized societies must move towards a form of justice system which seeks real and genuine recognition by the offenders for their wrongdoings. The Death Penalty is the ultimate violation of an individual’s most basic rights and in practice is often carried out in a discriminatory and arbitrary fashion with the potential to cause irreparable loss in a flawed criminal justice system. We only have to look at the recent case of the rape and brutal murder of the five year old girl to highlight that our criminal justice system is simply incapable of carrying out investigations and prosecuting offenders. Public outrage and the media too contributed to this. The enraged public response to catch the perpetrators and the call for “revenge” put significant pressure on the law enforcement authorities whose investigation techniques are questionable right from the start as evinced by the “confessions” of several offenders, and the treatment of the 17 year old boy suspected of having committed the act. To date the real perpetrator has not been apprehended. In these circumstances since no system, even an advanced legal system, can ever be hundred percent accurate we really must seek to completely abolish this brutal practice given that even in the situation of a moratorium the decision ultimately always lies at the whims of a policy maker. In light of this we encourage the government to take a step further and abolish the practice once and for all given that the practice has no place in the 21st Century. We also encourage the government to take steps to ratify the second optional protocol to the ICCPR which calls for the abolition of death penalty. It is not the increase in the severity of the punishment but the certainty of punishment which prevents potential offenders from committing crimes. The deterrent theory also assumes that all human beings are rational creatures who first engage in a process of weighing the pros and cons before acting out. This is not often the case as most crimes are committed under the influence of alcohol or in certain incidences by people with diminished capacities. The Justice Minister had also gone on to state that an interactive dialogue should be held to find out the root causes of crimes and that Parliament should focus attention on strengthening the laws to prevent crimes. This is by no means an easy task and there is a need for a massive overhaul of the system and action must be taken structurally to address the issue at hand with participation at all levels. There is also the need for massive public education be it related to crimes, related laws, sanction risks and consequences, sentencing policies and modifications to it etc.In the meantime one cannot forget the rights of victims and their families in seeing through effective investigations and proper retribution for crimes and the right to demand redress for the harm suffered throughexpeditious, responsive, fair, and accessible judicial and administrative mechanisms. A life of dignity for all includes the dignity of victims and their families, who must be acknowledged by all law enforcement and judicial personnel with full compassion and respect with paramount significance given to secure the safety of victims, their families and witnesses from intimidation and reprisal. read more

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Jaffna fishermen demand compensation package

Fishermen from Jaffna have demanded that the Sri Lankan government frame a comprehensive scheme to safeguard their interests when they experience huge losses caused by poachers.The need for such a scheme has been felt in the light of a recent incident near Neduntheevu or Deft Island in the Jaffna district wherein 27 out of 30 nets belonging to a Karainagar-based fisherman were said to have been damaged by trawlers run by unknown persons, The Hindu newspaper reported. Replying in the negative to a query whether the government has got any scheme to compensate fishermen who are affected by acts of poachers, M.C. L. Fernando, Director General of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, says fishermen can join insurance schemes.But, Mr. Rajachandran, secretary of Jaffna District Fisheries Cooperative Federation, says fishing nets are left out of the ambit of insurance schemes, which cover boats while Mr. Kannah points out says there are genuine difficulties in providing the cover to nets. “This is why the government should come out with a scheme that takes care of all our losses,” he added. The fisherman concerned, Loganathan, claims that even his three other nets are of no use as they too have suffered irreparable damages. In monetary terms, his loss comes to about SLR 2.5 lakh. “I do not know how I will be able to mobilise this much money and get back to regular fishing,” says Mr. Loganathan. On the same day, the Sri Lankan authorities had apprehended four fishermen, hailing from India, along with a trawler, for allegedly poaching in Sri Lankan waters. read more

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US notes future of Sri Lanka depends on its youth

With the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a coalition of partners from the Government of Sri Lanka, the private sector, non-profit organizations, think tanks, and academic institutions launched “YouLead” a $12 million initiative that will link youth to productive careers in the Sri Lankan economy by creating a more market–oriented, skilled, and flexible Sri Lankan workforce. “YouLead” regional focus is on the provinces with the highest youth unemployment—Sabaragamuwa, Central, Southern, and Northern Provinces.  The project also aims to foster increased opportunities for self-employment by improving the skills of young entrepreneurs and working with financial institutions to encourage more lending to youth-led start-ups. Given the substantial number of unemployed women and their 35 percent workforce participation rate, “YouLead” will encourage more women to enter the workforce and take up in-demand careers.At the inauguration ceremony in Colombo on October 19, U.S. Ambassador Atul Keshap said, “The future of Sri Lanka depends on its youth gaining the skills and knowledge that will power the country’s prosperity.”  Ambassador Keshap emphasized the significance of public-private partnerships, noting, “by deploying the resources and knowledge of government and business,“YouLead” aligns global best-practice tools and training with in-demand jobs.” “Matching skills and jobs has become a high priority not just for our success as a nation but on a global level” said The Minister of Skills Development and Vocational Training, Chandima Weerakkody. “Many employers report difficulties in finding suitably skilled workers, thus it is imperative that all curricula and skills development programs undertaken do so with continuous consultation and feedback from the industries and sectors that provide employment. Without this the skills mismatch continues to be a crippling problem not just to the youth of the country but also negatively impacts the economic growth of the nation. So let us take into consideration the repeatedly highlighted requirements of employers’, as well as have the initiative to preempt what the future requirements will be and train our youth accordingly.” The Minister thanked USAID, the” YouLead” team and their partners for agreeing to help young people develop much needed skills, and enhance their ability to secure proper, career enhancing employment. (Colombo Gazette) USAID and its partners will collaborate over a four-year period to help young Sri Lankans between the ages of 16 and 35 become more competitive in the labor market.  “YouLead” will also engage the private sector and the Ministry of Skills Development and Vocational Training on skills, knowledge, and capacity-building activities that aim to increase youth employability and sustainable self-employment. The future of Sri Lanka depends on its youth gaining the skills and knowledge that will power the country’s prosperity, the US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap said today.He made the comment at the launch of an initiative to increase the employability of Sri Lankan youth. read more

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Adams Bridge linking Sri Lanka and India will not be damaged

The Supreme Court had earlier this month asked the Centre to make its stand clear on the canal that aims to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts.A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar, and Justice D Y Chandrachud had directed the Centre to state its position, after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Centre has said that Ram Sathu will not be touched.The Sethusamudram project has been facing stiff resistance from some environmentalists and Hindu groups as alignment number 6 in the Palk Strait to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts was to pass through the mythological ‘Ram Sethu’. In 2014, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had categorically stated that the “sacred structure associated with Lord Ram” won’t be damaged under any circumstances. India’s Union Government has taken a decision not to go ahead with the original alignment of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project in order to protect Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge which links Sri Lanka and India, Times Now reported.At a meeting with a few Cabinet colleagues, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi decided that the Indian Government should file a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court making its stand on Ram Sethu clear. The Times of India reported on Thursday that the Shipping Ministry will soon come out with a detailed proposal that would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), following which the fresh affidavit would be filed in the Supreme Court. The shipping canal or Sethusamudram project was mooted by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The BJP had opposed it, saying Ram Sethu associated with Lord Ram’s passage to Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette) And now, the Government has decided that any alignment – whether original or alternate – that damages the Ram Sethu won’t be approved.The Government’s decision is aimed at taking care of both its political objectives as well as environmental concerns. The alternate alignment 4A was to cut through the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi bypassing and thus save the mythical bridge. But this alternate alignment did not find favour with the experts. read more

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Presidents former Chief of Staff and former STC head further remanded

President Maithripala Sirisena’s former Chief of Staff K Mahanama and former State Timber Corporation (STC) Chairman P. Dissanayaka were today ordered to be further remanded.They were today ordered by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court to be further remanded till August 21 over a bribery case. Mahanama and Dissanayaka had been arrested for accepting a bribe of Rs.20 million over a land deal.Mahanama and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation, P. Dissanayake were arrested at the car park of a Colombo hotel while accepting the bribe from an Indian businessman. (Colombo Gazette) read more

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Apple unveils television and movie streaming service paid news subscription in major

On Monday, Apple announced something altogether different from its typical new products that consumers can touch and feel: An entertainment service that in some ways resembles Amazon Prime and will include Apple’s own films and television shows with Hollywood stars including Reese Witherspoon, Jennifer Aniston and Steven Spielberg.At an event at its campus in Cupertino, California, Apple said it was launching a raft of new services, from news to video games and a credit card. Its biggest initiative is entertainment streaming service Apple TV+, which, in an effort to attract a wider audience than just Apple customers, will be available on smart TVs.Apple didn’t announce a price for the streaming service or when it will launch. Apple’s reinvention as a services company starts for real today amid massive pressure to get it right Apple’s new product launch continues with updated AirPods ahead of March 25 event Apple’s hardware blitz continues as it rolls out first update to the iMac desktop in almost two years Apple CEO Tim Cook kicked off the event, in the Steve Jobs Theater, after a short opening movie that paid homage to Apple’s products, from the iPhone to Siri. “We’ve also been creating a collection of world class services, and that is what today is all about,” Cook said.Cook highlighted what the company has already been doing in the services realm, such as iCloud information storage, and touted the way they work across a myriad of Apple’s devices, all the while keeping users’ information “private and secure,” a line that drew big applause.Usually, when Apple holds big, splashy press events, it unveils a new product like the iPhone or the MacBook. For years, Apple’s business has centered around the iPhone, but sales of that once-revolutionary but now commonplace device have slowed. And the entire world of computers has been flipped on its head. Apple has been diversifying beyond hardware, selling iCloud storage to its customers, a $10 a month music streaming service and movies and television shows through iTunes.Actors Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston speak during the Apple event. But Monday’s anticipated announcement takes that diversification to a whole new level.First, Cook unveiled a new service called Apple News +, a $10 a month subscription service that will include magazines like Sports Illustrated and The New Yorker. The service costs $12.99 a month in Canada.“Quality journalism matters,” Apple said in a short video touting the magazines it would include in the new service.What Apple didn’t talk about in its presentation is that it had largely failed to convince some of the largest newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post, to participate in the service. Though it briefly featured The Wall Street Journal and the Los Angeles Times during the presentation, it more or less focused on magazines.The design of the paid news app downplayed the publications behind individual articles. Articles about Costa Rica from several publications were mashed together into one place. That might be good for readers, but it takes away the power of distribution from the publishers of the magazines and hands it to Apple, much like what happened to the music industry when Apple launched 99 cent songs on iTunes in the early 2000s.Another selling point for its news service: Apple uses “on-device” intelligence to make recommendations, so that the company doesn’t actually know what you read and the data can’t be used to target advertisements, the company said.Apple also announced Apple Card, which builds on the popularity of its Apple Pay service that allows people to pay for products using their phones and watches. Offering its own credit card, with the backing of Goldman Sachs and Mastercard, allows Apple to cut out some of the middlemen in payment transactions. Apple is offering consumers competitive cash back and no late fees.Apple Card requires Touch ID or some other form of authentication for payments to reduce fraud, and it said it won’t collect purchase data. It said Goldman Sachs won’t sell or share data with third parties, which implies Goldman would be able to get some data on users. Apple didn’t say whether it would pass on late payment information to credit agencies.As far as Apple’s bottom line is concerned, its announcement of a credit card may one day turn out to be the most significant announcement of the day. It puts Apple one step closer to placing itself in the middle of a large swath of consumer transactions. By combining this with the company’s vast number of customers who carry around its devices, its payments services have the potential of giving Apple a massive, low overhead revenue stream.Cook said iOS has become the largest gaming platform in the world, with roughly 300,000 games on the platform. With its new gaming subscription service called Apple Arcade, the company says it has created a way to help game developers monetize their games.Apple Arcade appears positioned to compete in some ways with Google’s new “Stadia” service, which was announced last week. Google will sell a game controller that will allow people to pay high quality videogames on any screen, from televisions to tablets, without an expensive gaming PC. Apple Arcade and Google Stadia both still have not named a price.Apple is expected to invest many billions a year, according to analysts, on making video content to compete in a crowded market that includes Amazon, Netflix, Hulu and Disney. It’s a gamble with no guarantee of success, which signals just how important these new businesses are to Apple.Last week, as hype around Monday’s event steadily built up in the media, Apple made three hardware announcements, with upgrades to its iMac Pro, iPad Mini and AirPods. There was no news conference devoted to those announcements. It was unusual, because it showed Apple’s hardware taking a back seat to its new services-oriented businesses. Wall Street liked what it saw, rewarding Apple with a stock bump that boosted the company’s market cap above $900 billion. It had fallen below $700 million in January after news of slowing iPhone sales.The real magic in consumer technology is happening less and less inside the devices people carry around and more and more in server farms scattered around the world, where massive amounts of data get processed and then transmitted to gadgets like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.In essence, the gadgets people are excited about buying are becoming vessels for sending and receiving data. And in that area, Apple has fallen behind companies like Google, Amazon and Microsoft, which now pull in significant revenue from selling cloud services, which is a fancy term for data centre usage and storage.The invite Apple sent to invitees said simply, “It’s show time.” The question now is whether Apple can break a leg. Michael Short/Getty Images read more

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Opening of term event celebrates Niagaras harvest

Local food and beverages will take centre stage at the upcoming Tastes of Niagara event celebrating the dawn of a new school year.The opening of term event will be Wednesday, Aug. 31 from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Guernsey Market. Niagara farmers will be on hand to talk about their harvest and involvement with Brock. Dining Services chefs will discuss how they blend it all together. There will also be samples of Niagara beer and wine.Tickets are $20 and available by calling 905-688-5550 x3257.For more information, contact Michelle Schurer at 905-688-5550 x3535 or email mschurer@brocku.ca read more

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Brock OSSTF reach tentative deal for support staff

On Wednesday, June 27,  Brock University and OSSTF District 35 reached a tentative agreement on a renewal contract for approximately 240 office, clerical, administrative and library support staff at Brock.Details will not be made public until the agreement has been ratified by OSSTF members and by the University’s Board of Trustees.

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EU fines chipmaker Qualcomm for predatory pricing

BRUSSELS — The European Union has fined U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm $271 million, accusing it of “predatory pricing.”EU Antitrust Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said Thursday the U.S. company was abusing its market dominance in 3G baseband chipsets and said it sold below cost to force out a competitor.Vestager said the market was too important to tolerate such abuse. She said “baseband chipsets are key components so mobile devices can connect to the internet. Qualcomm sold these products at a price below cost to key customers with the intention of eliminating a competitor.”She said the competitor was Icera.Qualcomm could not immediately be reached for comment.The Associated Press read more

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Delta Air Lines pilot charged with alcohol violation

MINNEAPOLIS — A Delta Air Lines pilot has been charged with operating an aircraft under the influence of alcohol.The criminal complaint against Gabriel Schroeder, of Rosemount, Minnesota, says tests determined the 37-year-old had a blood alcohol level between 0.04% and 0.08% when detectives arrested him on a plane at the Minneapolis airport, just as it started boarding for San Diego July 20. The limit set by the Federal Aviation Administration is 0.04%, which is half the legal limit for driving in Minnesota.Schroder was charged Friday. His first court date is Nov. 27. Court records don’t list an attorney who could comment for him.The complaint says Schroeder told detectives that he’d had one beer and three vodka drinks the night before. He also admitted discarding an unopened vodka bottle investigators found in an airport bathroom after he saw that security screening for crews had been stepped up.The Associated Press read more

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Aimia adds Air Transat Flair Airlines to its list of new Aeroplan

MONTREAL — Aimia Inc. has signed Aeroplan partnership agreements with two more Canadian airlines that will take effect in about two years, after its current agreement with Air Canada ends in 2020.One of Aimia’s new partners is Air Transat, a long-established airline owned by Montreal-based travel and leisure company Transat AT.Aimia’s other new partner is Flair Airlines, which began operating no-frills scheduled services to several cities last year from a hub at Edmonton International Airport.They join Toronto-based Porter Airlines as recent partners in the Aeroplan points system, which Air Canada has said it will replace with its own loyalty points program when the Aimia contract expires.Air Canada led a consortium of bidders to buy the loyalty program for as much as $325 million plus $2 billion of points liabilities, an offer that Aimia rejected last week.Aimia has said it remains open to negotiating a fair deal with Air Canada and indicated that it would consider an offer of at least $450 million. read more

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Farm Show Guard dogs growing in popularity owner says

Scrabble, the kuvasz puppy, at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show on Tuesday. He’s a good ambassador for the breed, owner Amber Kunz said. (Kathleen Saylors/Woodstock Sentinel-Review) Kunz said the breed will chase off any predators, from bears to bobcats, or even human intruders trying to break into a home. It’s just instinct, not something the dogs have to learn.“They don’t want any harm to come to their family, whether that’s humans or livestock,” she said. “They bond very strongly.”And contrary to what you might think, the use of guard dogs on farms is more popular than ever, Kunz said. The farm show is a hugely busy time for selling dogs into new families because of what is a “low-tech” solution it is to a pesky problem.“People think its dying out but it is not, a lot of people are using livestock dogs,” Kunz said. ” It’s the best way. It is environmentally friendly. There’s no point  in shooting predators if dogs can just chase them off.”Kunz brought Scrabble, a kuvasz puppy, with her on the Tuesday to the three-day event, Canada’s largest agricultural trade show. The 21-month-old is calm and getting used to kids – “a good ambassador” for the wonderful dogs they can be. It’s may be a low-tech solution, but as man’s best friend greets us at the door every day, another type of dog is becoming more and more popular among farmers as a livestock guardian.Kuvasz dogs are a breed introduced to Canada from Hungary about 60 years ago. Amber Kunz and her dog Scrabble are at Canada’s Outdoor Farm Show in Woodstock this week, educating people about the breed and the qualities that make them excellent livestock guardians.“They will protect any livestock. Chicken, goat, sheep, alpaca, whatever,” said Kunz, owner of Kuvaszok Kennels. “In Ontario, the coyotes are getting bad,” making the need for livestock protection more prevalent.Kunz is a Goderich-based breeder, and said she’s been coming to the farm show for about 10 years. It’s good business for her, connecting with farmers who need livestock protection. She’s also able to raise some awareness of the breed, which is still relatively uncommon in Canada and one that most don’t recognize, though they look like large, fluffy white huskies. read more

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Federal NDPs proposed superwealth tax could raise 70B over 10 years budget

OTTAWA — The NDP’s proposed wealth tax, a centrepiece of the party’s election platform, could raise nearly $70 billion over the next 10 years, Canada’s budget watchdog has found.The “super-wealth tax,” as the NDP is calling it, is similar to an idea promoted by U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren, and is part of the NDP’s campaign focus on tax fairness and inequality. The party wants to apply a one per cent tax to fortunes worth more than $20 million. Unlike a tax on income, a wealth tax would apply to all assets, including real estate, with the aim of reducing economic inequality. The NDP says the tax would apply only to the wealthiest one-tenth of one per cent of Canadian households.On Tuesday, the parliamentary budget officer (PBO) released a cost estimate of the proposal, part of its mandate to cost out election platforms. According to the analysis, the measure could raise $5.6 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, rising to nearly $9.5 billion in 2028-29. Andrew Coyne: What is the problem to which creating a wealth tax is a solution? The NDP’s new tax-the-rich plan is terrible, even by their standards William Watson: If you tax income effectively, you don’t have to tax wealth “Unlike the Liberals and Conservatives who work for their rich and powerful friends, we will help people who are struggling to get by,” NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in a news release. “Our plan is simple – we can afford to help people when we have the courage to ask the super-rich to pay a little bit more to fund the services we all rely on.”However, the PBO also noted that the cost estimate is highly uncertain, in part because wealthy households are likely to take steps to avoid the tax. “A large behavioural response is expected, due to avoidance and valuation optimization by wealthy families,” the analysis reads.Story continues belowThis advertisement has not loaded yet,but your article continues below.The NDP, which released its election platform in June, has proposed a number of other tax reform measures, including a plan to increase the corporate tax rate from 15 to 18 per cent. The party also wants to increase the top income tax rate, which applies to those making more than $210,000, by two points, to 35 per cent.The platform further reiterated previous commitments to close tax loopholes, including the CEO stock option deduction, and to tax 75 per cent of profits on investments, up from the current rate of 50 per cent.A large behavioural response is expectedThe NDP would likely need the extra tax revenue to pay for major spending promises, including a pledge to enact universal pharmacare in 2020 with annual federal funding of $10 billion, and to publicly fund dental care, vision care, mental health care and hearing care within 10 years. The party has not provided estimates of how much those promises would cost.“Canadians deserve… expanded health care services to cover people head-to-toe – and we can do this when the very richest pay their fair share,” Singh said in the news release.The Liberals added the costing of party platforms to the parliamentary budget officer’s mandate in 2017. To date, the PBO has estimated costs for just two NDP proposals — the wealth tax and a promise to eliminate interest on all current and future federal student loans.That analysis, released last week, found that eliminating student loan interest could cost the government about $5 billion over 10 years.The Liberals and Conservatives have yet to release their campaign platforms.• Email: mforrest@postmedia.com | Twitter: read more

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Major treaty banning worlds worst pesticides opens for signature

The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) bans a dozen of these toxic substances, which travel through the environment far beyond their original source and endure for years or even decades. The pollutants, which include pesticides, industrial chemicals and hazardous by-products of combustion, are known to become concentrated in the fats of animals and to build up in the breast milk of nursing mothers. POPs can kill, cause birth defects or generate diseases such as cancer.The treaty was negotiated under the auspices of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). According to a spokesman for the agency, 90 countries signed the treaty at the Stockholm meeting today, and Canada ratified it. Fifty ratifications are required for the Convention to enter into force. The Convention sets out control measures covering the production, import, export, disposal, and use of POPs. Governments are to promote the best available technologies and practices for replacing existing POPs while preventing the development of new POPs. They are required to draw up national legislation and develop action plans for carrying out their commitments under the treaty. While the control measures will apply to an initial list of 12 chemicals, a POPs Review Committee will consider additional candidates for the POPs list on a regular basis. This will ensure that the treaty remains dynamic and responsive to new scientific findings.The 12 initial POPs banned under the treaty are aldrin, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, endrin, heptachlor, mirex, toxaphene, polychlorinated biphenols (PCBs), hexachlorobenzene, dioxins and furans. read more

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More refugees flee from Senegals Casamance province UNHCR says

On Tuesday, hundreds of refugees carrying belongings were still arriving through Gjiboro border post, just south of Gambia’s capital, Banjul, the agency said in a statement issued in Geneva. The arrivals reported heavy fighting between Senegalese Government forces and the separatist MFDC (Movement of Democratic Forces of Casamance). Over 500 refugees arrived on Monday morning alone, mostly women and children.These refugees said the latest influx was triggered by reports that rebels had captured the Senegal town of Selity, two kilometres south of Gbijoro, looting its armoury and destroying communications equipment.Refugees from the northern Casamance village of Jakoi Banga informed UNHCR staff that they had fled after Senegalese soldiers started digging defence trenches near their village on Saturday. UNHCR, working with the World Food Programme (WFP) and the Red Cross Society of the Gambia, is providing emergency assistance to the several hundred refugees encamped in the country’s southern border villages, and those living at a transit camp in Kwinella, 70 kilometres north of the border.The civil conflict in Senegal’s southern Casamance Province began in 1982 and has simmered on since then, sometimes breaking out into all-out war. Several peace agreements between the Government of Senegal and the separatist MFDC rebels have broken down in the past, UNHCR said, with hard-line elements in the MFDC insisting on independence from Dakar. UNHCR is caring for 12,400 refugees in the Gambia, including 1,675 from Senegal who arrived before the recent upsurge in fighting. read more

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