The Prince of Wales used his keynote speech at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London this week to warn of the dangers of climate change, as well as the depletion of natural resources, and how big businesses often contributed to the problem.The Prince of Wales delivers his address during a reception and gala dinner at the end of the opening day of the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in London.Credit/Copyright: www.princeofwales.gov.uk/His Royal Highness, a fervent supporter of action on climate change, told the gathering of 1,800 political and business leaders from over 115 countries the deterioration of “nature’s capital reserves” like water and soils can cause direct impacts on food and energy security.“The tragic conflict in Syria provides a terrifyingly graphic example, where a severe drought for the last seven years has decimated Syria’s rural economy, driving many farmers off their fields and into cities where, already, food was in short supply.” he said. “This depletion of natural capital, inexplicably, little reported in the media, was a significant contributor to the social tension that exploded with such desperate results.”The Prince said financial institutions needed to treat “natural capital” with the same importance as financial capital for the strain on the planet’s natural resources to be eased.“It is clear from the Koran, and indeed the Bible too, that humanity has a sacred responsibility for the stewardship of the Earth,” he said. “The time then has surely come for our financial institutions to recognise that the Earth is not a limitless resource that can be plundered at will, and to integrate that principle of stewardship into our financial structures.”He said Islamic banking, or alternative banking, could provide the answers where conventional “banking could not, given Islam’s emphasis on the moral economy”.The Prince said there was a welcome emphasis in Islamic finance that wider ethical and moral codes could not be separated from business.“We each have a scared duty of care towards the Earth,” The Prince said. “It calls upon us to shoulder this work together.”The event, which lasts for two days, is being held outside a Muslim country for the first time.Several major Islamic world leaders are attending, including King Abdullah of Jordan, the Sultan of Brunei and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.The Prince met delegates before taking to the lectern and while much of the discussion was on congratulating The Prince on the arrival of his grandson Prince George, it primarily focused on the desire to forge business links in the UK.Maybank Islamic Chairman Dato’Seri Ismail Shahudin, who chairs Malaysia’s biggest bank, said he had met The Prince before and had always appreciated his desire for business to look out for those less fortunate.“One of the things that struck me was his passion for helping the youth,” he said. “One of the things that is typical of Islamic banking is to help others and not just profit from it.”Guest speaker and prominent Egyptian architect Abdel-Wahed El-Wakil said the importance of holding the forum in London could not be understated.“The Prince coming here is a positive event at a time when everybody’s trying to create schisms,” he said.Source:PrinceOfWales.gov.uk
The Los Angeles Police Protective League’s Eagle & Badge Foundation presents their 12th Anniversary “In the Line of Duty Awards” on Saturday evening, November 16, 2013 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles @ LA Live.Hosted by veteran broadcaster Mary Hart. This year, four honorees have been announced along with a special performance by Grammy winning singer songwriter Colbie Caillat and the Queen Latifah Show’s favorite girl group, Identity4Pop performing the National Anthem.Honorees for 2013 are California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris, President of SAG-AFTRA Ken Howard, LA City Councilman Joe Buscaino, and Philanthropist/Businessman Shlomo Rechnitz.“Each of this year’s honorees are truly outstanding leaders in their chosen fields,” announced Peter R. Repovich, President of the Eagle & Badge Foundation and Executive Chairman of the Event, ” and we look forward to recognizing their dedication and commitment to the citizens of Los Angeles and the State.”The evening will feature a performance by Two-time Grammy winning singer songwriter Colbie Caillat. The artist caught a generation’s imagination with her first hit single “Bubbly”, which become one of the best-selling digital tracks of all time. Her first album COCO debuted at No. 5 and raced its way past the multi-Platinum barrier. Her second album BREAKTHROUGH debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Album Chart and was honored with two Grammy nominations; that same year, Colbie won two Grammys for her collaborations with Jason Mraz and Taylor Swift. Caillat works for honorable causes including the Surfrider Foundation, Save The Music Foundation, Farm Sanctuary and The Humane Society of the U.S. Colbie’s next single, “Hold On”, which was co-written and produced by Ryan Tedder, is due out Nov 17. Her next studio album is due Spring 2014.The evening will also feature the young trio, Identity4Pop, performing the National Anthem, (They just appeared on the Queen Latifah Show Nov. 8th and sang the anthem at the Martin Luther King tribute in Washington last month for President and Mrs. Obama.)The Honorable California Attorney General Kamala Harris has a lengthy career as a prosecutor and two terms as District Attorney of San Francisco prior to becoming Attorney General. She is committed to fighting violent crime, combating transnational gangs trafficking guns, drugs and human beings through the state, and to improving efficiency in law enforcement investigations and prosecutions with increased technology and data-driven policing.Actor, author, Emmy and Tony Award winner, Ken Howard has been a working actor for more than 40 years in film television and theatre (“White Shadow”, “30 Rock”, “Crossing Jordan”, “The West Wing”). His leadership and teamwork with other SAG-AFTRA executives allowed the two rival organizations to merge as one last year to the benefit of more than 165,000 actors, recording artists, broadcasters and other performers.Prior to his election to the LA City Council in January of 2012, Councilmember Joe Buscaino served the citizens of Los Angeles as a member of the LAPD including six years as Senior Lead Officer in the Harbor Area. A dedicated community leader working with countless youth programs in his spare time, he serves the 15th Council District of with compassion and commitment and Chairs the Public Works and Gang Reduction Committees.Shlomo Rechnitz founded TwinMed at age 22, now one of the largest medical supply distributors in the United States. He revolutionized the industry by introducing the “PPD Model” which ultimately won him the Ernst and Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award. Shlomo went on to build a medical industry conglomerate which includes rehabilitation facilities, pharmacies, cancer research and other ancillary medical companies. Currently, he spends half his time overseeing his charity foundation, which distributes funds to over 700 organizations on an annual basis.Businessman Arthur M. Kassel is serving once again as Gala Event Chair. Mayor Eric Garcetti is the Honorary Event Chair; LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and Steve Soboroff, President of the LA Police Commission are Honorary Event Co-Chairs, and the Event Co-Chair is Tyler Izen, President of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.The Eagle & Badge Foundation was founded 12 years ago by the Los Angeles Police Protective League and several community leaders to help members of law enforcement and their families with extraordinary expenses when affected by health or other critical issues, expenses not covered by insurance or other sources. Recent donations from the Foundation have included funding of special therapy equipment required by an officer’s wife severely injured in a fall; three specially trained service dogs for autistic children of LAPD officers; an airline flight for an officer to attend his father’s funeral; support for an officer’s family traumatized by the tornados in their home state, and payment of numerous household bills for an officer living with cancer. The Foundation also provides funding for police based organizations in the community which in turn continue to help many thousands of individuals, most of them children.Over 1,000 business, entertainment, political and community leaders are anticipated to be on hand at this year’s Gala. The event begins at 6pm with a red carpet, silent auction and reception, followed by a gourmet dinner, live auction, awards, and headline entertainment.For information on the Foundation, or to purchase tickets, tables, tribute ads or to become a Gala sponsor, please call the Foundation office at 818.994.4661 or email info@EagleandBadgeFoundation.org. Information also available at www.EagleandBadgeFoundation.org.MANY CELEBRITIES ARE ATTENDING including: Mayor Eric Garcetti, Mary Hart, Attorney General Kamala Harris, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck, Ken Howard, Gabrielle Carteris (90210), Colbie Caillat, Shirley Jones, Marty Ingels, Identity4Pop trio from Queen Latifah Show, Catherine Bach, Tom Hallick, Bobby Costanza, Frank Mottek KNXCBS Radio, Jim Hill-KCBS, Terry Moore, cast members of police TV shows CSI, Hill Street Blues, Adam 12, Police Woman, and many more.The 12th Annual Eagle & Badge GalaSaturday November 16th at 6PMJW Marriot Hotel @ L.A.Live – Diamond Ballroom 4th Floor- 900 W. Olympic Blvd. LA , CA 90015
Wearing green bodypaint – and little else – Rosanna Davison, daughter of “Lady in Red” singer Chris De Burgh, shows off her stunning plant-fuelled body in new photos for St Patrick’s Day.Painted, courtesy of make-up artist Shima Mistry, as a sexy leprechaun lady while holding a sign that proclaims, “Kiss Me. I’m Vegan!” the certified nutritionist is spreading the word that one of the best ways to stay healthy, slim and energised is by going vegan.“Vegan meals are packed with nutrients and free of unhealthy animal fat and cholesterol, so they’re a great way to keep your weight down and your energy up”, Davison says. “The best thing to do for your health and for animals is to go vegan – for St Patrick’s Day and every day!”PETA US’ website includes an array of “veganised” recipes for St Paddy’s Day, including Irish classics such as shepherd’s pie, colcannon, brown bread and more.In addition to being, on average, slimmer than meat-eaters are, vegans are less prone to cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes. Vegan meals are “greener”, too, as the meat industry is a leading cause of the greenhouse-gas emissions that contribute to climate change. And of course, each vegan saves many animals a year from extreme suffering on factory farms, in abattoirs and on the decks of fishing boats.Davison is part of a growing list of celebrities – including Pamela Anderson, Alicia Silverstone, Casey Affleck, Paul McCartney, Joaquin Phoenix, John Bishop and Emily Deschanel – who have teamed up with PETA and its affiliates to promote healthy, humane, meat-free meals.For more information, please visit PETA.org.uk.
Multi-talented entertainer and television personality Nick Cannon will serve as the Grand Marshal at the Walk to End Lupus Now event in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 19.Cannon will cut the opening ceremony ribbon and lead the more 4,000 walkers down Pennsylvania Avenue towards the Capitol, shedding light on the cruel mystery that is lupus. Cannon was diagnosed with lupus nephritis (lupus kidney disease) in 2012 and has been a tireless advocate for increased awareness of lupus and the importance of research.“Join me in our nation’s capital for the Lupus Foundation of America’s Walk to End Lupus Now event on April 19th. Together, we can rally public support for this disease and call attention to the importance of lupus research and participation in clinical trials,” says Nick Cannon. Nick Cannon’s participation in the DC Walk to End Lupus Now event is supported by Bristol-Myers Squibb.Cannon will be joined by Walk Ambassador and New England Patriots defensive back Tavon Wilson. Eileen Whelan, meteorologist for ABC7, will serve as the Master of Ceremonies.Lupus has impacted Wilson, a Washington, D.C. native, closely — both his aunt Regina and cousin Dionne are battling the disease.“When the opportunity came up to help create more awareness for this devastating disease, especially in my hometown, I jumped on it. I wanted to be a positive voice in the community because those with lupus deserve a cure for it,” said Wilson.Organized by the Lupus Foundation of America, Walk to End Lupus Now events are held in more than 60 cities across the country, making it the largest lupus walk program in the entire world The walk events bring together community members — people with lupus, friends, families, health care providers and celebrities — to raise money for lupus research and education programs, increase awareness of the disease and rally public support for those who feel the brutal impact of lupus.“The Lupus Foundation of America diligently works to ensure that federal and state funds are provided for lupus research and education programs. We must continue to make our voices heard and educate our elected officials about the impact of lupus on individuals and their families. The Walk to End Lupus Now in our nation’s capital serves as the perfect platform to accomplish this,” explained Sandra C. Raymond, President and CEO of Lupus Foundation of America. “More resources for research will further our efforts to find a cure for this unpredictable and devastating disease. We urge the community and Congress to join us in our fight to end lupus.”“Every dollar raised from Washington, D.C.‘s Walk to End Lupus Now event, supports the Lupus Foundation of America’s efforts to solve the mystery of lupus, while we continue to provide services to the thousands of residents that turn to us every year for answers and support,” said Jessica Gilbart President and CEO, Lupus Foundation of America, DMV ChapterRegistration for the walk is open online at DCLupusWalk.org. Participants can also create a personal fundraising page on the walk website to raise money, recruit new team members and get valuable fundraising tips.Source:PR Newswire
At a press conference held on Friday at the well known Hotel Foroyar in Torshavn and live streamed worldwide, actress and activist Pamela Anderson joined Sea Shepherd Global, Sea Shepherd USA and Sea Shepherd France to show her support for Sea Shepherd’s Operation GrindStop 2014 campaign and to shine a spotlight on the brutal and archaic mass slaughter of pilot whales and other cetaceans known as the ‘grindadrap’ or ‘grind’.Present with Anderson to represent Sea Shepherd were Lamya Essemlali, President, Sea Shepherd France and GrindStop2014 Offshore Campaign Leader; and Rosie Kunneke, Chapter Coordinator for South Africa, GrindStop 2014 Onshore Campaign Leader for Sea Shepherd USA.A long-time animal protection advocate, Anderson emphasized that though the Faroese people once needed to kill pilot whales for food, there is no longer any need in the modern world to kill cetaceans.“This is not for survival. There are very few things that happen like this, that are this brutal,” said Pamela Anderson. “We have to put this behind us and move on, and let the whales swim freely by. And I think it’s much more important for us in the future to save our oceans and the biodiversity of our oceans that the whales are very important to.”Anderson added that cruel traditions must die out, and that it will be the next generations who bring the grind to a halt. “Young people probably feel pressure to follow in the footsteps of their ancestors. I think this is the perfect time to not listen to your parents, to think for yourself. Maybe there’s going to be a movement like there have been movements for many other things in the world where you look inside yourself and say ‘Is this something I should be doing just because my parents did it and my grandparents did it?’ This is a new time and the world is at risk…I think this is the generation that has to stand up and say ‘That was then, this is now; this is what I’m going to do.’”Sea Shepherd has led the opposition to the grind slaughter in the Faroe Islands since the 1980s. Operation GrindStop 2014 is Sea Shepherd’s largest Faroese campaign to date, with approximately 500 volunteers set to patrol the land and waters of the Faroes over the course of the campaign. Sea Shepherd’s on- and offshore teams will be present in the Faroe Islands throughout the traditionally bloodiest months of the hunt season – from June until October 1st.In a statement, Pamela Anderson said: “I have traveled to the beautiful Faroe Islands today to publicly oppose the needless killing of intelligent, sentient pilot whales and other dolphins and to support Sea Shepherd¹s Operation GrindStop 2014 campaign.“It is important to understand we are NOT AGAINST the Faroese. WE ARE FOR the whales and dolphins. We are their voice. But the eyes of the world are upon the Faroese today and it is now time to end this archaic abomination called the Grind. I support Sea Shepherd¹s efforts to end this cruel and ruthless massacre of defenseless whales and dolphins who are highly intelligent and so much like us. They have families like we do, they love them and care for them like we do, they have their own language and individual names for one another like we do, and a very complex social structure like we do.“The killing is a stain on this pristine country which no longer needs the meat of these animals to survive. When we know better, we do better. And we now know that these are sentient creatures who suffer greatly not only during the slaughter but during the very stressful drive itself. They are very socially complex animals and their entire families are being killed in front of them in a manner that would never be permitted in any slaughterhouse in the world. In addition, the meat of these animals is tainted with toxic contaminants including mercury, which is particularly harmful to pregnant women and young children.“I am fortunate to have some of my family with me today. They are surfers. What a beautiful eco-tourism destination these islands would make if only you would bring the grind to a halt. But until then the waters remain tainted with blood, staining the reputation of the Faroese. The time has come to stop the grind.”The only grind to take place this year occurred on May 18, before Sea Shepherd arrived in the Faroe Islands in June, claiming 13 pilot whales. The year before, the same Faroese town, Fuglafjørður, killed a staggering 267 pilot whales in one grind.Should a hunt commence during the course of the campaign, Sea Shepherd will take direct action to intervene and stop the grind from taking place using land, sea and air tactics. This week, Sea Shepherd’s crew was able to spot a pod of pilot whales and guide them back out to sea, safely away from the Faroese killing bays. As no preparations for a grind had begun, Sea Shepherd acted within Faroese law by chasing the pod away from shore.For hundreds of years, the people of the Danish Faroe Islands have been herding migrating pilot whales and other small cetaceans into shallow water and slaughtering them. Entire family units are destroyed, wiping out several generations of animals at a time. The Faroese claim that without the meat from these cetaceans, the people would starve. Whether or not people would have starved in the past without eating pilot whale is irrelevant. There is certainly no one in the Danish Faroe Islands who would go hungry today, much less starve, if no more cetaceans were killed.Today, the ‘grindadrap’ (whale slaughter) or ‘grind’ is a barbaric and cruel relic of history that has no place in modern civilization. The wholesale slaughter of entire families and the unimaginable horror inflicted upon these sentient, intelligent beings is unconscionable. The continued pillage of the oceans is causing disastrous consequences. Even the meat of these creatures is dangerous to consume. The European Union does not allow such activity, but the Danish Faroe Islands manage to side-step EU restrictions with their overfishing and harm to marine mammals. Sea Shepherd has taken action against the grind in years past and will do so again for GrindStop 2014.
Popular actor and television star, Ross McCall, known for his roles in the acclaimed TV series, “24: Live Another Day,” “White Collar,” and “Band of Brothers,” will soon be joining marine conservation non-profit Sea Shepherd Conservation Society in the remote Faroe Islands to assist with its pilot whale defense campaign, Operation GrindStop 2014.Ross McCall and Paul WatsonCredit/Copyright: Sea Shepherd Conservation SocietyAlways thinking about giving back in the wake of the successful acting career he has enjoyed, McCall will be joining Sea Shepherd’s multi-national volunteer teams that have traveled to the Faroe Islands (in the North Atlantic between the UK and Iceland) since mid-June of this summer during the height of pilot whale migration season to work onshore and offshore to try to stop the very cruel and archaic whale drive hunt in the Faroes, called the ‘grindadrap’ or ‘grind,’ where entire pods of intelligent and sentient pilot whales are herded into shallow bays and hacked to death with knives – taking several generations of whales from the sea at a time.McCall joins the campaign as Operation GrindStop 2014 successfully sparks worldwide outcry against the slaughter of whales in the Faroe Islands. Last Saturday, August 30, after an entire summer of no grind activity since Sea Shepherd arrived on the scene 85 days prior, the day’s events sparked an international incident and global media attention when the local Faroese whalers drove a pod of 33 migrating pilot whales to shore and slaughtered them, despite Sea Shepherd’s dedicated attempts to intervene by land and by sea. All 14 of the activists on the island of Sandoy who intervened were arrested and 3 of their speedboats were seized and remain in custody. The “Faroes 14,” as the activists have been dubbed, have since been released and a sentence of 1,000 kr in fines and deportation is being proposed for each member of the land team (the boat team appears in court Sept. 25). A decision for the land team is due Monday, September 8. Operation GrindStop 2014 is expected to continue until Oct. 1.Before traveling to the Faroe Islands, the 38-year-old Scottish native son returned home to Glasgow on Sunday, Sept. 7 to fulfill a long-time dream. The star of cult classic football movie “Green Street Hooligans,” also a huge Celtic Football Club fan, played in the Celtic Football Club’s Maestrio Charity Football Match at Paradise. McCall gave his celebrity to this charity match to raise money for the charitable arm of the team, the Celtic FC Foundation.Earlier this year, the actor took time away from his busy schedule to deliver a collection of Celtic strips to the Casa Hogar of Sion Orphanage in Tijuana, Mexico, which was donated by the Celtic FC Foundation. Impressed by the work the Foundation does, McCall says raising money to support their vital work only added to his enjoyment of the match on Sunday.McCall will arrive in the Faroes late Monday and will join the Sea Shepherd crew on their patrols on Tuesday and Wednesday. Though he must leave on Thursday, Sept. 11 to get back to his busy filming schedule, he plans to pack a lot of activity into his brief visit. In addition to joining Sea Shepherd’s land and boat teams on patrols, McCall will visit a local school to speak with children about the importance of protecting our oceans. If time allows, who knows — he may even organize a football match between Sea Shepherd and the local Faroese, whom he has heard are as crazy as he is about football.
Singer, songwriter and philanthropist Sir Ivan, also known as Peaceman, has released a new (EDM) electronic dance music version of John Lennon’s “Imagine”.The song is co-produced by Grammy Award winner Omar Akram and legendary music arranger Peter Rafelson. It is the first single released off SIR IVAN’s new 10 song album called “Peaceman Shines”. Each of the 10 songs, created by 10 different producers, are all well-known anti-war and peace songs from the 60s and early 70s, except for two original songs, co-written by Sir Ivan, that share the same theme.Sir Ivan stated, “In light of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris, and to pay respect to John Lennon, who passed away 35 years ago, on December 8th 1980, it is an appropriate time for a new generation to listen to Lennon’s optimistic lyrics, which offer hope to all people on the planet and a formula for world peace.”This is not the first time SIR IVAN has released a new version of “Imagine,” He did so on September 4th, 2001, exactly one week before September 11th, when he launched his music career and became the first recording artist in history to turn any slow ballad of the Beatles or John Lennon into an up tempo dance record. Personally signed to the Tommy Boy Label by its owner, Tom Silverman, SIR IVAN’s revolutionary fast paced version of “Imagine” became an instant top 40 hit on the Billboard Dance Chart. This proved that even thirty years after the original was released by John Lennon in 1971, the lyrics of “Imagine” were just as relevant to a whole new generation. Now, 15 years after SIR IVAN’s 2001 release, because the planet still has not learned to live in peace, SIR IVAN is once again giving the world an opportunity to come together as one while raising money for a good cause.In 2005, Sir Ivan, son of Auschwitz survivor Siggi B. Wilzig, created The Peaceman Foundation, a charity that donates funds to other non-profit organizations that help people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is a debilitating mental condition that often results from exposure to severe acts of violence, such as brutal attacks against members of the LGBT community, atrocities of war and terrorism. Sir Ivan has seen firsthand what survivors go through. His own father suffered from classic PTSD symptoms; severe headaches, flashbacks, nightmares and depression, as a result of brutal beatings in the concentration camps and the deaths of 59 members of his family during the Holocaust. All of Sir Ivan’s recording artist royalties from the single “Imagine” and the album “Peaceman Shines” will be donated to The Peaceman Foundation to battle PTSD. Both are available on iTunes, Amazon MP3, Beatport Pro and many other top digital music stores. Physical CDs can be purchased at CD Baby.Find out more here.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and three time Grammy Award winner, Angelique Kidjo, met with Syrian and Lebanese youth in refugee settlements in Lebanon to mark World Youth Skills Day on Saturday 15 July.Angelique Kidjo engages with children in the Housh el Refka informal settlement, Bekaa ValleyCredit/Copyright: UNICEF//Ibarra Sanchez“Supporting the hopes of children and young people has never been more important – Their future is our future” said Angelique Kidjo after speaking to Syrian and Lebanese children and young people in the Bekaa Valley.To mark World Youth Skills Day, Kidjo visited projects implemented by a UNICEF youth partner, the Lebanese NGO LOST (Lebanese Organisation for Studies and Training) in and around Zahle in the Bekaa valley. Kidjo spoke to the children and young people about the challenges they face in pursuing an education, finding opportunities, living in refugee settlements and breaking down barriers between the two communities.Kidjo took part in a Life Skills Training and attended focus group discussions with young women whose lives have been improved thanks to a practical skills training, preparing them for the job market.“Meeting with the girls and boys, the young men and women, you sense how hard they need to fight to hold on to a hope of a dignified future in their circumstances, At the same time, you know that what they need is within reach. Today I’ve actually seen how the training provided is bearing fruit, improving the lives of these inspiring young men and women,” Kidjo said.Lebanon, a country which already faces a number of challenges, has been heavily affected by the conflict in neighbouring Syria. More than one in four people in the country are now refugees; the highest proportion per capita of any country in the world.The sheer number of refugees is putting an enormous strain on the labour market and the education sector, with general poverty on the rise.“Some of the most pressing issues facing Lebanese, Syrian and Palestinian youth are deprivation, discrimination and even a fear of the other. That’s why UNICEF is bringing together youth from all communities, particularly girls and young women, equipping them with skills and knowledge that enable them to participate in the labor market, as well as overcome persistent social and cultural divides,” said Tanya Chapuisat, Representative of UNICEF Lebanon.On a regional level, more than six years into an unprecedented turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, the optimism among young Arabs is waning, they feel overlooked by policymakers, and see unemployment and extremisms as the biggest problems in the region. Youth in Lebanon, be they Lebanese, Syrian or Palestinian, are no exception from the rule and often don’t have the opportunity of playing an active, positive role in the society they live in.There are one million people aged between 15 and 24 in Lebanon, or one in six. Among Lebanese youth, the unemployment rate is 35%. The picture of opportunities facing Syrian youth is even bleaker. Only a small minority is able to generate an income, and more than nine in ten Syrians aged 15-24 are not enrolled in any formal education. Building skills and capacity, and empowering youth is therefore a driving principle of UNICEF’s work in Lebanon.“If you want to build a durable foundation for stability in the future in the Middle East, what do you do? You work with youth and you make sure they get an education and the means of securing what’s needed for them to live a decent life,” said Kidjo, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2002.
Twitter Andrew Phung: that TV guy who was discovered . . .while performing improv.Not long after he began filming the CBC comedy Kim’s Convenience this summer, the Calgarian was keeping his improv chops sharp by performing two nights a week at Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre.When he first went into the theatre to introduce himself, he found his story had preceded him. LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Advertisement “A girl said ‘Are you the guy that got discovered at an improv show? There’s a story floating around that you got discovered at an improv show!’” says Phung. “I said: ‘Well, yeah, sort of.’ She said ‘That’s amazing, can you tell me the story?’ So it’s kind of become folklore in the improv scene.”For Calgarians, the idea that Phung needed to be discovered may seem strange. He has been a consistent presence in the city for more than decade, having joined the venerable Loose Moose Theatre as a 16-year-old. He’s been a go-to guy for hosting and emcee gigs for years, whether it be for corporations or other organizations. He’s topped local “best-of” lists for his comedic prowess.But, the simple fact is, national shows rarely cast in Calgary, or anywhere else other than Toronto and Vancouver. And Phung, who has a two-year-old son and another baby on the way, made the decision years ago to stay in his hometown. Television, he thought, was not in his future.But in the summer of 2015, he was performing his two-person improvised action-movie parody called Kill Hard with fellow Loose Mooser Jamie Northan at the Edmonton Fringe Festival. In the audience was writer Ins Choi, the man behind the hit 2011 play Kim’s Convenience. He told Phung he liked his performance and thought he would be perfect for the role of Kimchee in the upcoming TV adaptation. Facebook Advertisement Advertisement
Advertisement Login/Register With: About MuchFACTMuchFACT supports the Canadian music community through funding and promotion of music videos and related music content for all media platforms. MuchFact is exclusively funded by Much & M3, divisions of Bell Media Inc. MuchFACT has helped to launch the careers of many of Canada’s most prominent musicians including Carly Rae Jepsen, Celine Dion, Dragonette, Matt Mays, Serena Ryder, The Tragically Hip, Arcade Fire, K-OS, Feist, Shad, Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, Metric, k.d. lang, and the Barenaked Ladies. MuchFACT has also had a great impact on developing Canadian directors, many of whom have gone on to direct award-winning music videos, as well as feature films and documentaries. Since 1984, MuchFACT has awarded more than 75 million dollars, and funded more than 7,700 projects. Twitter Advertisement Bell Media’s MuchFACT (A Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent) announced today the 22 fund recipients from the October 12, 2016 music committee meeting. With 157 applications considered, a total of $484,799 was awarded to Canadian musicians in the following categories: Content Package, Music Video, Online Music Video Project, and Digital Tools.MuchFACT funded videos continue to be recognized internationally, with the video for “Amerika” by Wintersleep being nominated for Best Rock/Indie Video – International at the UK Video Music Awards. MuchFACT also continues to support Canadian artists by sponsoring the annual Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class, run by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), whose 2017 winners were announced in September. In addition to prizing from CARAS, the three winning acts, Neon Dreams, The Lytics, and Youngblood, receive a $10,000 MuchFACT Online Music Video grant.MuchFACT fund recipients from the October 12, 2016 music committee meeting are as follows: About Bell MediaBell Media creates content and builds brands that entertain, inform, engage, and inspire audiences through the platforms of their choice. Bell Media is Canada’s leading content creation company with premier assets in television, radio, out-of-home advertising, and digital media. Bell Media owns 30 local television stations led by CTV, Canada’s highest-rated television network; 30 specialty channels, including TSN and RDS, Canada’s most-watched specialty channels in English and French; and four pay TV services, including The Movie Network and Super Écran. Bell Media is also Canada’s largest radio broadcaster, operating 105 licensed radio stations in 54 markets across the country, as well as managing the iHeartRadio brand and streaming service in Canada. Bell Media owns Astral Out of Home with a network of more than 30,000 advertising faces in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, and Nova Scotia. Bell Media also operates more than 200 websites; delivers TV Everywhere with its CraveTV and GO video streaming services; operates multi-channel network Much Digital Studios; produces live theatrical shows via its partnership with Iconic Entertainment Studios; and owns Dome Productions Inc., a multi-platform production company. Bell Media is part of BCE Inc. (TSX, NYSE: BCE), Canada’s largest communications company. For more on Bell Media, please visit www.bellmedia.ca. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Content PackagePUP – “Sleep In the Heat”Online Music Video ProjectDUTCH – “No Measure”Amaal Nuux – “Last Ones”The Velveteins – “Midnight Surf”Billy Moon – “I Wanna Know”Once A Tree – “Breakdown”CRi – “Rush”The Kents – “Something About Her”Music VideoDARCYS – “Arizona Hwy”Belle Game – “Spirit”K.I.D. – “Errors”Harrison – “Right Hook”Hollerado – “I Got You”Narcy – “Ball (Chobi Bryant)”a l l i e – “Bad Habits”Felix Cartal – “Drifting Away”Wintersleep – “Spirit”Charlotte Day Wilson – “Work”Ria Mae feat. Classified – “Thoughts on Fire”Jessie Reyez – “Great Ones”Keys N Krates – “Love Again”Digital ToolsSaya – “Chills + Thrills” EPBell Media’s MuchFACT has helped to launch the careers of some of Canada’s best and brightest artists, including A Tribe Called Red, Arcade Fire, Arkells, Barenaked Ladies, Carly Rae Jepsen, Celine Dion, Down With Webster, Dragonette, Feist, Grimes, k.d. lang, Keys N Krates, k-os, Majiid Jordan, Matt Mays, Metric, Mother Mother, Nelly Furtado, Sam Roberts, Serena Ryder, The Tragically Hip, and many more. MuchFACT has also had a great impact on developing Canadian directors, many of whom have gone on to direct award-winning music videos, as well as feature films and documentaries.The next deadline for submitting MuchFACT applications is Thursday, November 3, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Applications can be submitted at www.muchfact.ca.
LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitter Residents on Coulter Court in Langley saw their neighbourhood transformed into a winter wonderland for five days. Not everyone got into the spirit. (Katya Stano) The Township of Langley touts itself as “one of the most film friendly municipalities in B.C.’s Lower Mainland,” but becoming a hit with the film industry has also produced a new drama: conflict between those who want film shoots and those who don’t.“One house makes all the money and the rest of us just have to put up with the noise and the set-up and no parking,” said Katya Stano who lives on Coulter Court.A five-day film shoot wrapped up Wednesday on Stano’s cul-de-sac. A location scout had gone door-to-door before production began and offered residents $250 if they agreed to have their properties covered in snow and Christmas decorations for the duration of the shoot. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Some neighbours felt the disruption was worth more and asked for $600. Stano says the owners of the house where the main filming occurred were rumoured to have received $1,000 a day.“It pits neighbours against each other,” she said, adding that the friction isn’t worth it. She declined the film company’s offer to put snow and decorations on her property for payment.As the number of film productions in B.C. rises, opposition has also grown. Proponents say these productions bring cash to municipalities. The film industry invested $35 million in the Township of Langley’s local economy last year. Facebook
The Soulpepper Theatre Company’s first production of 2018 is set to hit the stage next Wednesday, but the spotlight will be on the company’s board of directors as they respond to “a wake-up call” following sexual abuse allegations against former artistic director and co-founder Albert Schultz.The Soulpepper box office is still open for prospective buyers and subscribers, and so far, current ticket holders can expect future performances to run according to schedule.Albert Schultz was the director on Amadeus, a play about musical prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart slated to begin its 2018 run on Jan. 10. Schultz’s name and biography have been scrubbed from Soulpepper’s website, with an assistant director listed on the production. Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Leslie Lester, wife of Albert Schultz, voluntarily stepped down from her position as executive director during the investigation of her husband, Soulpeper’s board said in a statement. (TOM SANDLER FILE PHOTO) Advertisement “They have a situation where their chief artistic director is married to their executive director, which is a highly unusual situation. So they have to figure out how to disentangle the mess that creates,” she said of Schultz’s wife, Leslie Lester.Lester has voluntarily stepped down from her position during the investigation of her husband, the board said in a statement. Alan Dilworth has assumed the role as artistic director after Schultz’s resignation Thursday, one day after the company’s board of directors announced an investigation into sexual abuse and harassment allegations by four artists, Diana Bentley, Kristin Booth, Patricia Fagan and Hannah Miller.Though there is turbulence behind the curtain, there is also pressure on what happens in the company’s boardroom as it navigates Soulpepper’s uncertain future, said Alison Kemper, an assistant professor at Ryerson University’s Ted Rogers School of Management. Facebook Login/Register With: Twitter Advertisement
Advertisement TORONTO, June 14, 2018 – A series of quirky videos and social media savvy helped Josée Caron and Lucy Nilesclinch the top spot in the 13th annual English SOCAN Songwriting Prize presented by YouTube Music. “Play The Field” was written by the Atlantic Canada natives and is performed by the band they co-front, Partner. The SOCAN Songwriting Prize is one of few competitions in Canada that award excellence in songwriting. Ten outstanding songs created by emerging songwriters over the past year are nominated by a panel of 15 esteemed music industry experts. The general public is then invited to vote daily for their favourite to determine the winner. SOCAN plays no role in determining the nominees or winners outside of ensuring they are members of SOCAN. A mirroring competition for songs in French, the Prix de la chanson SOCAN, is conducted separately.“Congratulations to Josée Caron and Lucy Niles on winning the 2018 SOCAN Songwriting Prize. In a competition that celebrates songwriting there was no shortage of great songs this year and winning was no easy feat,” said Michael McCarty, Chief Membership & Business Development Officer at SOCAN. “The diversity in genres, gender, and cultural influences truly showcased the breadth of not only our talent but the unique stories that Canadian songwriters have to tell. “Play The Field” is a force and we wish Josée and Lucy continued success in the early days of what is sure to be a long and successful music career.”Caron and Niles added, “‘Play the Field’ is one of our most personal songs, about an innocent time in a young person’s life. Writing it was an exciting experience. Josée made a funny demo and Lucy wrote her verse while working at Tim’s. We would like to thank all the music lovers and supporters for the huge opportunity and compliment. It is an honour to be nominated alongside so many talented songwriters.”The winner of the Prix de la chanson SOCAN is “56k” written by Simon Trudeau Cliche, Jeff Martinez, Marc Vincent; performed by LOUD and published by Productions Silence D’Or.The other nine songs nominated in the English category were:“Dreams Tonite” – written by Alec O’Hanley, Molly Rankin; performed by Alvvays; published by Rough Trade Publishing Canada.“Money” – written by Leandra Earl, Eliza Enman-McDaniel, Jordan Miller, Kylie Miller, Garrett Lee; performed by The Beaches; published by Done with Dolls Inc., Besme, administered by Kobalt Music Group Ltd.“Main Girl” – written by Charlotte Cardin; performed by Charlotte Cardin; published by Red Brick c/o Corico Arts.“Cotton Candy” – written by Jessie Reyez; performed by Jessie Reyez; published by BMG Rights Management Canada.“Chills” – written by James Barker, Gavin Slate, Travis Wood, Donovan Woods; performed by James Barker Band; published by Warner Chappell Music Canada, Ole Media Management LP II.“Walkaway” – written by Jasmyn Burke, Morgan Waters; performed by Weaves.“Magic”– written by Eoin Killeen, Timothy Law, Patrisha Sanna Campbell; performed by Birthday Boy and Trish.“Healers” – written by Benjamin McCarthy, Iskwé, Ryan Somerville; performed by Iskwé.“Lingua Franca” – written by Neil Bednis, Christopher Laurignano, Fraser McClean, Melanie St. Pierre; performed by Casper Skulls.The 2017 winner of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize was PUP for “DVP” written by band members Stefan Babcock, Nestor Chumak, Zachary Mykula, and Steven Sladkowski. Additional winners are available to view on the SOCAN Songwriting Prize website.About SOCANSOCAN connects more than four-million music creators worldwide and more than a quarter-million businesses and individuals in Canada. More than 150,000 songwriters, composers and music publishers are its direct members, and more than 100,000 organizations are Licensed To Play music across Canada. With a concerted use of progressive technology and unique data as well as a commitment to lead the global transformation of music rights, with wholly-owned companies Audiam and MediaNet, SOCAN is dedicated to upholding the fundamental truths that music has value and music creators and publishers deserve fair compensation for their work. For more information: www.socan.com Advertisement Twitter Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Variety and balance were evident in the 2018 competition in which women dominated, several genres were represented and, for the first time, a country song landed in the top 10. Music fans made their voices heard as they voted for their favourite songs among the finalists, and in the end, Partner would prevail receiving the $10,000 cash prize, a Yamaha PSR-S970 Keyboard, and a $500 gift card from Long & McQuade.“We are so thrilled and honoured to be the recipients of the SOCAN Songwriting Prize,” said Caron and Niles. “Songwriting is one of our all-time greatest joys, and to be recognized by fellow music lovers in this capacity is a dream come true.”
Twitter Emily Gao considers herself an engineer as much as a jewellery designer.The 25-year-old Torontonian behind the accessories line JY Gao harnesses everyday kinetic energy to create jewellery with independent moving parts that swing, dangle, and oscillates when activated by the movement of the wearer. “It’s partly engineering because you envision something to look great, but when you actually test it out on the human body, it might not have the same effect,” Gao says of the trial-and-error process. She often prototypes her designs using inexpensive materials such as hinges from hardwares stores before rendering the finished product using sterling silver. (If the term ‘kinetic jewellery’ sounds unfamiliar that’s because “its something I sort of invented,” she says.)Currently, JY Gao is an under-the-radar accessories label founded in 2016 (a pair of the label’s earrings appeared in a shoot in the October 2018 issue of FASHION), but it may not stay that way for long, since Gao received a massive cash infusion after winning second place in China’s largest design competition, which awards cash prizes in excess of $1 million. (In comparison, the prestigious LVMH Prize gives out one 300,000-euro and one 150,000-euro prize each year.) Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement
APTN National NewsA First Nation on Prince Edward Island hopes to restore depleted salmon stocks.Farming on the island has polluted rivers over the years.Resulting declining salmon and trout stocks.
For years, stories of infamous northern courtroom conditions have made the rounds in legal circles. It prompted the Quebec bar association to undertake a two-year study. It recently issued a report to the Quebec government decrying the state of the justice system in Nunavik. They found that more than just infrastructure was lacking.“People do not understand how the court works, who are the representatives of justice and the role of each,” wrote Nicolas Plourde, the former Chair of the Quebec bar association, said in the bar’s June 2013 newsletter.Plamondon’s experience backs up Plourde’s observations.“For a newcomer (Inuk defendant), something as simple as “do you plead guilty, do you plead not guilty” you have to explain what it means,” she says, adding she chalks part of it up to cultural differences.“Some of my colleagues do not agree with me, but I still believe that Inuit, if something happened, they will say it happened. That’s it. They will not contest just to contest,” says Plamondon, who then pauses to shake her head, a smile at the corner of her mouth. “I even learned the word in Inuktitut to say ‘don’t talk’!”The Quebec bar report emphasizes that more measures needs to be taken to better explain the criminal justice system to the Inuit, and that justice in Nunavik as a whole needs to be rendered faster.“We must find a way to overcome the slowness of justice which undermines the confidence of Inuit in the system we have imposed. And because we have imposed it on them, we have an obligation to ensure that it adequately addresses their needs,” said Plourde.Plourde says the most upsetting thing he saw in Puvirnituq were the four holding cells at the police station. Designed to detain no more than 12 people, they were overflowing with 22 detainees. Some had been there for four days, when the maximum is supposed to be two. Plourde has described the unsanitary conditions in the cells as “disgusting and third world” because the 22 men were sharing two toilets with little to no access to showers.Wanting to see if there were still overcrowding issues, I asked for a tour of the Puvirnituq police station and was refused because it was “court week”.“The way that detainees are kept when they are here (Puvirnituq), this has to be changed.” Angèle Tommasel, defence lawyer“The way that detainees are kept when they are here (Puvirnituq), this has to be changed, that’s for sure,” says defence attorney Angèle Tommasel, a 22-year veteran of the circuit court who corroborates Plourde’s description of the conditions. Back at the courthouse, I strike up a conversation with an amiable Inuk man at the coffee machine during a recess. We made small talk about local soap stone deposits and the tribulations of being a black Arctic fox in the Arctic during winter hunting season.“There’s not much to eat, but they’re easy to spot in the snow,” he says with a wicked smile. He has a good job in the community which helps him support his large family. Assuming he was at court to see a family member, I asked him why he was here.“Well,” he says, his eyes dropping to the floor “I assaulted a police officer.”A lot of the defendants come across as sheepish. Many say they don’t remember what happened because they drank to the point of blacking out. One corrections officer told me in confidence “So many of them (detained Inuit) are nice, polite people when they’re sober. But when they drink…”While Puvirnituq has more than its fair share of impaired driving and assault charges, a lot of cases clogging up the court can be seen as self-inflicted. These cases are called “breaches”, court shorthand for “failure to comply with conditions” and “probation violations.” The week that I’m there in February they make up about 31 per cent of the charges on the docket.“The number of files have greatly increased, dramatically increased,” says Plamondon when asked what’s changed since she started in the early 2000s. “For sure, there’s a lot of breaches.”One condition that is often on the list is not to drink says St-Louis.“We know that a lot of people have drinking issues, so to me, it’s almost setting them up for failure,” said says St-Louis.Instead, St-Louis would rather have what she sees as more attainable conditions.“We know that a lot of people have drinking issues, so to me, it’s almost setting them up for failure. ” Lyne St-Louis, Makivik CorporationThe Inuit name for the justice committee is Sungirtuijuit, and Anna Alasuak is its coordinator in Puvirnituq. Puvirnituq’s justice committee is a loose group of up to eight Inuit who are tasked with serving as a liaison between the community and the imported Quebec legal system. The justice committee’s undertakings are varied and many, but their goals are straightforward: improve the efficacy of how justice is dispensed in Puvirnituq and prevent community members from reoffending.“Sungirtuijuit means you still have hope, you still can do it, you still can stand up,” says Alasuak.When the court is in town, Alasuak is lucky to have five minutes to herself. Defendants, witnesses, lawyers, victims or just about anyone in the courthouse is pulling her aside to talk. Her seemingly endless supply of patience for everyone and everything, makes it easy to see why she was chosen for the job.The justice committee will recommend sentences to the court, write Gladue reports and even go pick up a community member running late for a court date. For them, no job is too small if it means making the system work better, even if just for a little while. For their part, the court workers are grateful to have them there. “I could’ve met someone last month as a victim, and this week he can be an accused.” Jonathan Carignan, Crown prosecutor“Many people are coming back all the time. There’s very few who don’t come back, most people who we see in court are people who tend to get in trouble often”, says Qumaaleuk.Crown prosecutor Jonathan Carignan adds, “I could’ve met someone last month as a victim, and this week he can be an accused.”Some of the highest rates of sexual and domestic assault in Quebec are in this region. The courthouse in Puvirnituq serves four Inuit communities on the Hudson Bay coast in northern Quebec. Together, the population totals only about 4,000.The 181 charges on the docket are described as a quiet week. This isn’t just a problem endemic to the northern Hudson Bay coast, but in all of Quebec’s “Grand Nord”, or as the 12,000 Inuit call their California sized Arctic homeland, Nunavik. Like their cousins in Nunavut, Northwest Territories and Labrador, the Inuit in Quebec are best known for soapstone carving and throat singing. Many of them still hunt and Inuktitut is the mother tongue for most. Their culture is strong, but so is the spectre of post-colonial trauma. Forced displacement, residential schools and devastating imported illnesses are just some of the all too familiar legacies which have led many Inuit to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Couple the high crime rate in Nunavik with the crawling pace of justice here and cracks in the legal system begin to show.“Here we’re just extinguishing fires, that’s what we do,” says Sarah Plamondon, who’s been a circuit court defence lawyer for 12 years.In order to service the 14 fly-in Nunavik communities, an entire functioning court from the south criss-crosses the region by plane dispensing justice, or at least, it tries to.“We must find a way to overcome the slowness of justice which undermines the confidence of Inuit in the system we have imposed.” Nicolas Plourde, former president Quebec Bar AssociationAfter landing in a community, the Crown prosecutors, defence lawyers and court workers, including the judge, help unload the plane before heading to the courthouse in the afternoon. The cases range from routine, probation violations, threats, simple assault, to serious, sexual assault, assault with a weapon and one murder. A typical trip goes like this; on a Monday morning, the travelling court pile onto a charter plane with up to 12 handcuffed and shackled Inuit prisoners accompanied by guards at the Val d’Or airport. Because there’s no detention centre in Nunavik, people accused of serious crimes who are awaiting trial must be held in the south. Men have to be bussed one hour away from jail in Amos to Val D’or then take the 1,300 km flight to a community such as Puvirnituq. If a case goes all the way to trial, some of them will make this trip five, six – even seven times.Many cases will be postponed. In order to get through the entire docket, the circuit court will spend 10-hours a day from Tuesday to Thursday, leaving Friday as an emergency “clean up” day for left over cases. This doesn’t include the one to two hours a day they spend negotiating plea bargains, something they’ll do at night back at the hotel if they have to. Lyne St-Louis is the Nunavik justice officer for Makivik Corporation, the governing body for Quebec’s Inuit. Without blaming the court, she says the amount of cases they pack into five days affects the quality of their work.“Lawyers, Crown prosecutors and judges are human beings, they have also that need to concentrate on what they’re doing,” she says. “How it’s run at this time can increase the possibility of making a mistake, or not paying attention or not seeing a little detail that they would’ve seen maybe if they had the time.” Puvirnituq is an Inuit community that sits on the shores of Hudson’s Bay, just north of the 60th parallel.A year ago, Leah Unaluk was one of those faces in the prisoner’s box. Today, she’s free.“Being in jail was so hard. I had to leave my community and go to a very different place,” says Unaluk.“I couldn’t see my kids and they couldn’t visit me there.” Leah UnalukShe has a strong gaze, the sort one would attribute to an analytical mind. It’s hard to picture the soft spoken 31-year-old mother of four in jail. But that’s where she spent 70 days last year after severely injuring a person while driving her snowmobile drunk. Like all Inuit offenders, she was sent to jail more than a 1,000 km to the south.“I couldn’t see my kids, and they couldn’t just visit me there, it was hard for me to just talk to them through the phone,” she says.When pressed about the circumstances of her case, her stoic front is momentarily compromised by a flash of guilt. “I had a drinking problem in the past,” she admits. “With the justice committee, they are so implicated, they are at the court, they’re here and I‘m using them as much as I can, every time it’s possible, I do it. And I ask even their advice,” says Plamondon.For the justice committee, the biggest challenge is keeping newly released prisoners from ending up back in jail. According to St-Louis, who oversees the committees all over Nunavik, one major hurdle is that Inuit are not getting the help they need when they are in prison.“There’s not many services, especially when you’re at that level of preventive custody. To me, (it’s) a waste of time sometimes. Okay, we’re safer, because what the person has done is dangerous, but the person is not getting any help,” says St-Louis.What services that are available in detention are in French, which most Inuit don’t speak.“They have a need to see their family, they have a need to continue in their tradition, they have a need to speak their language and that to me is really, really missing,” says St-Louis.Anna Alasuak thinks that a jail should be built up north to help with rehabilitation and cut down on travel for inmates and relatives who want to visit. “Here we’re just extinguishing fires, that’s what we do.” Sarah Plamondon, defence lawyerAlcoholism is a plague in this community of about 1,400. When asked to give a rough percentage of criminal cases that involve alcohol or drugs, defence lawyer Michel Solomon says without hesitation “about 99 per cent”.After watching four days of cases, Solomon’s estimate seems about right. Listening to the prosecution recite the facts behind a case, “the defendant was intoxicated” is among the first sentences spoken in nearly every instance.And the cases just keep coming.One accused stands for his sentence. The judge gives him 11-months, minus time served, for heating a butter knife on the stove and burning his partner with it multiple times. A repeat offender, he shouts something in Inuktitut to family and friends in the precious few moments before guards haul him back to detention. Another case is cut short when a woman declines to testify against her partner for assaulting her, stating simply “I don’t want to talk about it.” Another man on trial for assault is described by a witness as looking at his blood covered hands and asking himself “what have I done?” after beating another man senseless.Criminal court is dramatic by its very nature. Spend enough time in one and you’ll likely hear similar tales of violence and despair. But what’s shocking here is the frequency with which Quebec’s circuit court hears these cases in Nunavik. As an Inuktitut translator who has worked for the court for the last 14 years, Aipili Qumaaleuk has a unique perspective as both an Inuk man and a court worker. By Tom Fennario APTN National NewsPUVIRNITUQ, QC – Flanked by a guard on each side, a man in his mid-20s fidgets in the prisoner’s box when a witness begins to testify against him. This is not his first time in court. Judging from the cringe on his face, it’s not getting any easier for him. Despite the fact he’s just been sentenced to 11-months for assault with a weapon, he seems relieved when it’s over and the bailiffs take him away.Over the course of the day, a parade of defendants cycle through. Their faces an assortment of thousand yard stares, clenched jaws and nervous expressions. Some narrow their eyes and stare straight at the judge for sentencing while others look defeated, hiding their faces in their handcuffed hands. This is the courthouse in Puvirnituq, Que. “There’s quite a bit of postponement, we just don’t have the time to deal with everybody who has to appear in court.” Aipili Qumaaleuk, translatorThe hours might be long in Puvirnituq for the circuit court, but at least the conditions are decent. Most in Quebec’s northern communities don’t have a courthouse. Many make do with makeshift locations such as hockey arenas, high school gyms or church basements. Some of the scenes described to me are hard to imagine. Judges and lawyers decked out in black robes with toques and mittens because the heating is on the fritz or lawyers meeting with clients in the only place where they have privacy, the stall of a bathroom.“Sometimes I was meeting the clients in the hockey player’s (locker) room,” says Sarah Plamondon. “I put my parka under my robe because it was so cold.”Speaking in her office during a short lunch break, Plamondon punctuates her comments with dynamic hand movements and often uses papers on her desk as props.“Some people would say ‘you should not accept those conditions,’ and some people even criticized me that I have accepted that, but I say to myself, when someone is waiting so long to have their case done, at one point, they need to have closure,” she says.The sheer quantity of the charges, translation needs, travel and even weather conditions all conspire to make the court fall behind. Sometimes cases take years to resolve.“There’s quite a bit of postponement, we just don’t have the time to deal with everybody who has to appear in court,” says court translator Aipili Qumaaleuk. “Sungirtuijuit means you still have hope, you still can do it, you still can stand up.” Anna AlasuakAsk anyone on the justice committee for one of its success stories, and they’ll point to Leah Unaluk. Despite the serious nature of her crime, she was granted parole early under the conditions that she receive treatment for alcoholism and that she participate in the justice committee’s restorative justice program. Restorative justice can involve apologizing to the victim of the crime via a healing circle, volunteering to help out elders in the community, as well as day trips that focus around traditional Inuit activities such as sewing, hunting and soapstone carving.“The organizations (social services) would be more available for the prisoners if there was a prison here up north. It’s difficult for them being in the south, it would be a lot easier for them, they would have a lot more help,” says Alasuak.”When I went to see the justice committee I felt comfortable to talk to them about my problems and my short comings and they help me and they listen to me,” says Unaluk.Unaluk speaks purposefully, weighing her words. English is her second language and she’s adamant about expressing exactly how she feels.“I enjoyed being out to the land, it helped me a lot to soothe my feelings,” she explains. “We can have a better life – go hunting, fishing sewing, do the activities and be a good role model to the children, because it’s our future.”Unaluk was identified by both the Quebec court and the justice committee almost immediately as someone who would benefit from the limited programs being offered. Not only is she doing well, she’s working to make amends in Puvirnituq by speaking with high school students about impaired driving as well as counselling for an Inuit version of an alcohol addiction program.But so far her story is the exception to the rule. During my week in the community, Puvirnituq’s young demographics were brought up ominously by both court workers and members of the justice committee. According to the 2011 Canadian census, 79 per cent of Puvirnituq is under the age of 30 and 60 per cent are 28 or younger. This makes for a sense of urgency, because if social services and the justice system continue to tread water battling crime and social issues, an ever increasing rate of incarceration looms large.Court and social workers are already alarmed by the rate of released Inuit who end up reoffending, and for those who do want help, there’s only one addiction treatment centre for all of Nunavik. It can only accommodate nine clients every six-week cycle.“There’s more people, there’s more crime,” says court translator Aipili Qumaaleuk. “There’s a lot of young people who are in court more than older people are.”St-Louis says cases like Unaluk’s proves that they can reach some people, but there’s plenty that fall through the cracks. She’s haunted by one case in particular, where a woman’s defence attorney forgot to refer her for treatment that could have led to an early parole.“It breaks my heart when we could’ve done something to help this woman when she was ready and because of this lack of services, lack of continuity, lack of funding she is now in the penitentiary,” says St-Louis.Plamondon feels strongly that the court can’t do much more to help and that money conceivably spent on a prison would be better put towards more social services.“Imagine if we don’t do something right now. We cannot wait, it cannot wait, we need to help them, we don’t need to judge them,” she says.I put the question to Unaluk: Are things getting better or worse? The inhale she takes before answering is sharp, the hesitation that follows reveals more than her answer.“It’s hard to tell,” she says finally. “It’s hard to tell.”The sun begins to sink below the horizon, washing the white Arctic outside the window into a blazing orange. My week at court is nearing its end. Before I leave I speak with an older Inuk man, the father of the young man who had been sentenced to 11-months of jail time down south. I ask him an obvious question, is it hard knowing he won’t see his son for months?“Even one day is hard,” he email@example.com@tfennario
Larissa BurnoufAPTN NewsIn the spirit of Christmas, the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (FSIN) is giving back to people living in urban centres in Saskatchewan.More than 900 kilograms of traditional meat harvested in the province is being donated to several organizations and firstname.lastname@example.org
OTTAWA – Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau suggests he has no plans to provide a timetable for returning Ottawa’s books to balance — even with a scorching economy.Morneau credited the strong economic performance to the Trudeau government’s strategy to run deficits, which helped it finance measures such as lower income-tax rates for middle earners and enhanced child benefits.Moving forward, he said Tuesday that Ottawa intended to pursue its plan to invest more than $180 billion into infrastructure over the next 11 years. That spending is projected to contribute to annual, multibillion-dollar shortfalls across Ottawa’s five-year budgetary outlook — and perhaps beyond.Morneau’s remarks outside a cabinet retreat in St. John’s came after months of impressive economic data, including a recent report showing growth expanded at an annualized rate of 4.5 per cent in the second quarter.“We find ourselves in this positive position because of the economic approach we’ve taken,” he told reporters after being asked if the improved fiscal outlook meant he’d produce a timeline to eliminate the deficit in his fall economic update.“We’re going to continue down that path and we’re going to do it in a fiscally responsible way.”The Liberals’ deficit track has faced criticism.Conservative opponents have long been critical about the government’s plan to add to the federal debt to fund new measures, while some economists have urged Ottawa to limit fiscal uncertainty by mapping out a plan to return to balance.More recently, experts have also warned that Ottawa should consider delaying its nearer-term infrastructure investments to avoid the risk of overheating the already-sizzling economy.The economy’s surprisingly powerful start to the year is expected to improve the federal bottom line outlined in the government’s March budget.At the time, Morneau forecasted a $28.5-billion deficit for 2017-18, including a $3-billion accounting adjustment for risk.A new analysis released this week by a University of Ottawa think tank predicts the deficit is on track to be about $6.5 billion smaller this year. The shortfall is set to shrink thanks to an economic expansion that easily topped federal projections, said the Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy.The think tank, led by former parliamentary budget officer Kevin Page, also said there’s “little doubt” the federal measures, such as increased child benefits and early infrastructure spending, have contributed to Canada’s improved economic performance.Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said the Liberals were fortunate to have inherited a solid financial situation from the Harper government and to enjoy the benefits of a strengthening U.S. economy.Poilievre said the government should balance the books now while the “going’s good.”If not, he warned that rising interest rates will leave households and the government increasingly indebted. Over time, the higher rates will also gradually boost Ottawa’s debt-servicing costs, he added.“Now is the time to balance the budget and strengthen our finances, rather than continuing to pile on new debt,” Poilievre said Tuesday in an interview.Morneau insisted Tuesday that, since taking office, the government’s approach has put more disposable income in consumers’ pockets, which they’ve put back into the economy.On infrastructure, Morneau said Ottawa would stick with the spending strategy because it’s designed to lift the economy over the long term.To guide the government’s deficit decisions, he added it would keep its focus on the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio — a measure of the public debt burden.The government has promised to lower the ratio over the Liberal mandate and views it as a so-called fiscal anchor, rather than eliminating the deficit.“We expect that we’ll be able to do even better than we might have thought in the past, in terms of our ability to manage that,” Morneau said of the ratio.“That will be our continuing measurement tool.”The Liberals won the 2015 election on a platform that pledged to invest billions in infrastructure and child benefits as a way to re-energize the economy. They had promised annual shortfalls would not surpass $10 billion during the first couple years of their mandate and to return to balance by 2019-20.However, a few months after taking office the government abandoned those vows, citing a weaker-than-expected economy.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitter
TORONTO – Canada’s residential real estate market saw strong but slowing year-over-year price growth in the fourth quarter of 2017, according to a report by Royal LePage.The real estate company said that based on data in 53 markets, the price of a home in Canada increased 10.8 per cent year-over-year to $626,042 in the quarter.Broken down by housing type, Royal LePage said the median price of a two-storey home rose 11.1 per cent year-over-year to $741,924, and the median price of a bungalow climbed 7.1 per cent to $522,963.But the company said in its report released Wednesday that the median price of a condo grew faster than any other housing type studied, rising 14.3 per cent to $420,823 on a year-over-year basis due to gains in many of the largest markets.In the Greater Toronto Area, the median price of a condo grew 19.5 per cent year-over-year to $476,421, while in the City of Toronto, the cost of a condo rose 19.6 per cent to $515,578.In Greater Vancouver, condominiums followed a similar pattern during the quarter, rising 20.2 per cent to $651,885, while the median price of a condo unit in the City of Vancouver rose 18.7 per cent to $775,806.In a separate report that examined luxury home sales, Sotheby’s International Realty said sales in the Greater Toronto Area of homes over $1 million in 2017 slowed in the second half of the year following a move by the Ontario government to cool the market.Sales of homes over $1 million in the GTA in the second half of the year were down 56 per cent compared with the first six months of 2017 and down 33 per cent compared with the second half of 2016.However, sales of homes over $1 million in the region for all of 2017 were up five per cent compared with 2016 due to the hot start to the year and strong condo sales. Sales of condos over $1 million in Canada’s largest city climbed 59 per cent compared with 2016, while sales of those over $4 million rose 82 per cent.Sotheby’s CEO Brad Henderson said the condo market’s strength is persisting because there’s a “scarce” number of affordable, family homes in the city and surrounding regions, and increasing numbers of empty-nesters looking to move closer to their kids downtown.“The condo market will continue to be a strong and resilient class of real estate,” Henderson said.“It is a much more affordable opportunity, even in the luxury level, and there is considerable demand.”Calgary saw overall home sales over $1 million increase 11 per cent year-over-year, while sales in the $1 million-plus real estate market increased 20 per cent in Montreal.Meanwhile, Sotheby’s said sales of homes over $1 million in Vancouver fell five per cent compared with 2016, while those over $4 million fell by 33 per cent.Royal LePage said the GTA showed signs of slowing as 2017 drew to a close, notably in the single-family detached segment.In the fourth quarter, the median price of a two-storey home and bungalow in Toronto and surrounding area fell by 2.0 and 2.4 per cent respectively on a quarter-over-quarter basis.The company says condos were the only segment to appreciate on a quarter-over-quarter basis among all housing types, rising 1.1 per cent in the final three months of the year.At the same time, the price of two-storey homes and bungalows fell 0.3 and 0.2 per cent quarter-over-quarter, respectively.“To prospective homeowners in our largest cities, condominiums represent the last bastion of affordability,” said Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper.“This is especially true for first-time buyers whose purchasing power has been reduced by tightening mortgage regulations.”