EDMONTON — Premier Jason Kenney passed out earplugs in the legislature overnight as his government invoked a time limit on debate over a bill that strips some bargaining rights for 180,000 public-sector workers.The bill passed Thursday morning following an all-night session during which Kenney walked up and down the aisles dispensing bright-orange earplugs to United Conservative caucus members so they could tune out criticism from the Opposition NDP.New Democrat Thomas Dang said he was making a speech to the house when Kenney made his move.“He had a big grin on his face. He was giggling. And he sort of (said something) like, ‘Yeah, we don’t have to listen to them anymore, especially this Thomas guy,” said Dang.“He sort of took it as a joke. And he thought that the whole process of this debate was a joke.”Dang said the plugs were given to more than 20 UCP caucus members and at least six of them, including government house leader Jason Nixon, put them in their ears. He couldn’t say for sure whether Kenney used them.Kenney was not made available for comment Thursday, but his office issued a brief statement:“This was a harmless and light-hearted attempt to boost government caucus morale after being forced to listen to the NDP’s insults, lies and over-the-top rhetoric for hours on end,” said the statement.The bill was introduced less than a week ago and Kenney’s government invoked time limits on all three stages of debate.It delays contract provisions for reopened wage talks and binding arbitration for public-sector workers. Under current agreements, arbitration hearings must occur between now and the end of October.Under the bill the hearings begin no earlier than November.The bill imposes the delay on unionized workers who took pay freezes in the first years of their contracts but with the right in the final year to negotiate wages.Workers affected include nurses, social workers, hospital support staff, prison guards, conservation officers, toxicologists, restaurant inspectors, therapists and sheriffs.Kenney said Thursday the UCP didn’t know about the wage reopeners until after the party won the April election. Once the government found out, it brought in the bill on the advice of Treasury Board and Finance, he said.“The advice we received is that we needed to … hit the pause button on this arbitration until we could come to the table in good faith with all of the necessary requisite information.”Kenney said he wants to hear first from a government-appointed panel examining Alberta’s finances. That panel is to report by Aug. 15.Political scientist Duane Bratt, asked to assess the earplugs imbroglio on a scale of light-hearted to democratic affront, said it falls somewhere in between.“It was a juvenile stunt,” said Bratt of Mount Royal University in Calgary.He noted it was glaringly ironic in light of Kenney having made it known he wants to see more decorum in the house. Legislature members have already been banned from thumping on their desks to show their support of colleagues.Unions have called the bill a drastic and illegal override of collective bargaining rights. They have promised to challenge the legislation in court but haven’t ruled out job action.Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour, said unions are considering their next step.“If the premier thinks he can tear up contracts and trample on workers’ rights without a fight, he has another thing coming,” McGowan wrote in a release.“Earplugs aren’t going to help him in weeks ahead because we can guarantee that if the UCP continues on this course, things are going to get really loud.”Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
MONTREAL – A Swedish prosecutor says he is considering appealing Wednesday’s acquittal of a Russian employee in the Swedish branch of train maker Bombardier for aggravated bribery in one of the country’s biggest corruption cases to date.“We’ll definitely consider that at this point,” Thomas Forsberg said from Stockholm.Prosecutors have three weeks to decide whether or not to appeal the court decision, but will likely make a decision by next week, he said in an interview.The Stockholm District Court said “it could not be proven” that Evgeny Pavlov, an employee of Bombardier Transportation Sweden AB, “has promised or offered an unfair advantage, which is a prerequisite for the existence of a bribe.”Pavlov had been accused of bribery to win a contract for a signalling system with a contract value of around US$340 million. He was facing a six-year jail sentence and deportation.In a statement, Bombardier (TSX:BBD.B) said it was “pleased with the outcome” in court.“Bombardier had always denied any allegation of criminal wrongdoing, and we are happy to see the court’s conclusions in this regard,” spokesman Simon Letendre wrote in an email.In 2013, Bombardier was part of a consortium awarded a contract to supply signalling equipment for a 500-kilometre (300-mile) track along a corridor connecting Asia and Europe to Azerbaijan Railways.“He has been acquitted. This is really positive,” his lawyer Cristina Bergner told The Associated Press, adding she had not been able to speak to her client yet.When Pavlov was released Oct. 4 after seven months in jail, “we knew he would be acquitted.”He was arrested in March and ordered held in pre-trial custody to prevent him from fleeing or tampering with evidence. Emails seized in October 2016 during a search of Bombardier offices in Sweden were considered evidence in the case.Bergner had repeatedly said her client is innocent.The court said prosecutors “have not proved that … there was expectation that the official would affect the railway authority in the procurement.”Forsberg said he was more surprised than disappointed by the verdict.He said the preliminary investigation is still ongoing and charges against others could still be laid next year.“We will continue our efforts investigating this in localities and any other people from Bombardier who might be involved,” he added.___With files from The Associated Press and Julien Arsenault. Jan M. Olsen in Copenhagen, Denmark, contributed to this report.
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The City of FSJ seeks to amend the Cemeteries Bylaw and Council asked for the City to consult with the local Funeral provider for input on the desired changes and return with a report.The City presented a request for a change to Bylaw 2433 at the Committee of the Whole meeting with a presentation developed from a 2016 Master Study and comparison to other communities.The City seeks to change the Bylaw in several areas which included, the Cemeteries operational hours, prices, ornamentation and the language used in the Bylaw. Councillors were concerned with the requested time change. Current hours of operation are 8 am to 5 pm and want them changed to the hours of 9 am to 4 pm. The concern is that the new hours could put additional financial stress on a grieving family if there were to be a reduction in working hours causing overtime charges when dealing with interment.During the City Council meeting, Council directed the staff to consult with the local funeral provider for their input on the presented changes and to bring back a report that also includes a better outline for cost recovery, timeframes for an increase per year based on other communities and the Master study.
Kolkata: A person has been arrested at the Amherst Street police station for allegedly duping a job seeker. The accused identified as Apurbakanta Majumdar.According to the complainant identified as Sabir Ali Khan of Purshura in Hooghly, he used to stay in a mess located at Chhaku Khansama Lane near Sealdah for his studies. Approximately seven months ago Majumdar started staying there as Ali’s roommate. After getting introduced, Majumdar reportedly told Ali that he originally hails from Siliguri and works in a renowned medical company located somewhere in Baghajatin area. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAfter a few days passed, Majumdar told Ali that he can arrange a job for him. He has good relation with the Superintendent of NRS Medical College and Hospital and thus he can help Ali to get a job of assistant facility manager. At that moment one of Ali’s friend was also there and Majumdar also offered him a job. Majumdar allegedly told Ali and his friend to give him some money as it is needed to get the jobs. Though his friend did not gave him money, Ali believed Majumdar and gave him Rs 3.99 lakh in multiple phases. In the meantime Majumdar reportedly asked Ali to go to Sasthya Bhavan at Sector V in Salt Lake and Calcutta Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) several times for the job. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayOn February 1, Majumdar again told Ali to go to Sasthya Bhavan with all the documents and wait for his call. As per his version Ali went there and waited for several hours but Majumdar did not called him. So Ali called Majumdar and found that his mobile switched off. Immediately, he returned to the mess and found Majumdar had fled with all his belongings. Then he understood that he has been duped but did not lodged any complaint. On Saturday, Ali went to SSKM Hospital for his treatment and saw Majumdar is talking with a person near the emergency gate. He immediately informed the police outpost inside the hospital. Upon being informed, sleuths went to the spot and detained him. As the place of crime committed was under Amherst Street police station’s jurisdiction, Bhowanipore police station intimated the Amherst Street police station. Later, Ali lodged a complaint at the Amherst Street police station and Majumdar was arrested.
Mumbai: Vistara Tuesday said Vinod Kannan will take over as its chief strategy officer from June as the full service carrier prepares to fly overseas. Currently, Sanjiv Kapoor is both chief commercial officer as well as chief strategy officer at Vistara, a joint venture between Tatas and Singapore Airlines. “As Vistara accelerates its growth and prepares to take the next leap in its journey of becoming a global brand, certain changes have been introduced in the leadership structure. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss account details under automatic exchange framework “Strategy and Commercial are cornerstones of any airline’s business, and these two areas will be bolstered to ensure focus on key priorities,” an airline spokesperson told PTI. Kannan from within the Singapore Airlines group will be joining Vistara next month as chief strategy officer, while Kapoor will remain chief commercial officer, the spokesperson said. The domestic carrier is preparing to start overseas flights and has also placed orders for a significant number of planes. Vistara, which has 22 aircraft on its fleet, operates around 140 flights every day. The airline commenced commercial operations on January 9, 2015.
Heading into the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, England was not the sexy choice. The Lionesses were undefeated in World Cup qualifiers, outscoring their opponents 52-1, but few insiders expected them to challenge the game’s giants: Germany, the United States and Japan.Then came the victory over Norway in the Round of 16 and the upset of host Canada in the quarterfinals. England still only has a 10 percent chance of winning the tournament, according to our Women’s World Cup forecasting model, but its chances nearly doubled after the Norway win and then more than doubled after the victory over Canada. The squad, which features no recognizable stars and has not won a match in this tournament by more than one goal, now finds itself on the brink of history.England has never made it this far in a Women’s World Cup, and this is the furthest any English team, men or women, has come in a World Cup since 1990. Tonight, the squad, led by coach Mark Sampson, will take the field in Edmonton against defending champions Japan for a spot in the final against the U.S., which upset Germany 2-0 in its semifinal match Tuesday night.Japan is favored to win the game 61 percent to England’s 39 percent, according to our model. Its chances of winning the tournament are 20 percent — double England’s but still a far cry from the U.S.’s 70 percent.Japan has quietly arrived at this stage of this competition. The team played its most complete game of the tournament in its 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in the Round of 16 and labored to a 1-0 win over Australia in the quarterfinals. Japan’s attack remains the game’s best; its tiki-taka passing style in the midfield is a beauty to watch for spectators and baffling for defenses. The midfield, led by 36-year-old former captain and 2011 World Cup hero Homare Sawa and star Nahomi Kawasumi, has dominated possession in every one of the team’s matches but has failed to convert that dominance into goals. Japan has averaged just 1.4 goals per game in the tournament, and England’s stingy defense will need that run to continue if it’s to have a chance.The Lionesses’ leading scorers in the tournament are two defenders, Karen Carney and Lucy Bronze. England’s lack of offensive firepower and struggles in the final third could prove decisive against what is a small, but well-organized Japanese backline. With both Carney and Bronze likely to have their hands full with Japan’s speedy attackers, they will have fewer chances to direct counterattacks as they did against Canada. As a result, outside of set pieces, they are unlikely to impose themselves on offense.If Japan can do a better job converting its chances, it should win this game, maybe even comfortably. But, then again, in this tournament, nothing has been comfortable for the big teams.
Members of the OSU women’s volleyball team during a game against Michigan on Nov. 14 at St. John Arena. Credit: Lantern file photoThe Ohio State women’s volleyball team has a new mantra coming into this season: tribe. It is a concept that the team was introduced to in February by Olympian Kerri Walsh-Jennings when she visited the program. It was the saying Walsh-Jennings used during her Rio Olympics run with April Ross and means more than just coming together as a team.“It goes beyond being teammates. It goes to being sisters,” senior middle blocker Kylie Randall said. “It creates a bigger bond between us, and it’s something we’re going to live and die by this year.”The Buckeye sisterhood welcomed seven newcomers to the team this season, including six freshmen, as well as Abby Fesl.Fesl is a senior transfer from the University of North Florida, who earned more than 2,400 assists during her time with the Ospreys.“Abby’s added a lot of culture to our team,” OSU coach Geoff Carlston said. “It’s always great when you have a senior with that much experience coming in.”Carlston praised the maturity of his veteran players and their part in helping to shape preseason attitudes.“Our seniors are not juniors anymore, and I think they’ve really embraced that role,” Carlston said. “I think our returners have done a great job of mentoring and being patient with our younger players to get them on board.”One of Carlston’s returnees already expected to make a big splash this season is senior middle blocker Taylor Sandbothe. She was named to the Preseason All-Big Ten Team on Tuesday morning for the second consecutive season.Sandbothe finished her junior year with a .366 attacking efficiency and crashed into the top five in four different Ohio State women’s volleyball record categories. “I love to see those things come out, especially before we’re even getting a chance to play as a team, kind of show what we’re about,” Sandbothe said. “It’s a huge honor, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.”A goal echoed by multiple members of the team is to reach the NCAA Tournament Final Four, which will be held in Columbus this December. OSU has fallen in five sets in the regional semifinals the past two seasons. “While we’re proud of sort of where we’ve come from, we also want to make that jump, but the reality is with our preseason schedule and our Big Ten schedule, we’ve got to stay super grounded in the daily grind of getting better,” Carlston said. Sandbothe echoed his sentiments, emphasizing the team goal of playing in Nationwide Arena when December comes around.The Buckeyes will put in their first weekend of work on Friday as they play Texas State, North Texas and Texas A&M — all unfamiliar teams to OSU — in the North Texas Challenge tournament.Texas A&M poses a big threat, as it brought home the Southeastern Conference championship last season and pulled together for 14.09 kills per set. Texas State posted a 19-12 record in 2015, and is picked to be the Sun Belt Conference runner-up this season. “I think we just have to be on our toes and willing to run down balls that wouldn’t necessarily happen in the Big Ten,” sophomore setter Taylor Hughes said.Carlston is choosing to look at their lack of first-hand knowledge about this weekend’s teams as an unusual gift, as it allows his team to better examine and perfect their own skills and play.“It’s actually kind of nice not to have a ton of video and a ton of stats. It’s pretty much just raw volleyball,” Carlston said. “For us, it’s really try to out-defend and whatever they give us, we’re ready for it.” Carlston and the women’s volleyball tribe kick off their season at 1:30 p.m. on Friday against Texas State at the North Texas Volleyball Center in Denton, Texas.
Three Ohio State men’s basketball players were honored by the Big Ten for their play throughout the regular season Monday. OSU junior forward Deshaun Thomas garnered first-team All-Big Ten honors from the media and coaches while his teammate, junior guard Aaron Craft, was named a first-team all-conference selection by the media and a second-team pick by the coaches. Additionally, Craft and sophomore guard Shannon Scott were named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive team. Outside of the Buckeyes, here’s who earned what in the conference: Player of the Year: Michigan sophomore guard Trey Burke Coach of the Year: Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan Defensive Player of the Year: Indiana junior guard Victor Oladipo Sixth Man of the Year: Indiana junior forward Will Sheehey Freshman of the Year: Michigan State guard Gary Harris OSU (23-7, 13-5 Big Ten), which finished No. 10 in the final Associated Press poll of the regular season, is set to play in the Big Ten tournament which starts Thursday. The No. 2-seeded Buckeyes are slated to play the winner of a first-round matchup between Purdue and Nebraska Friday at 6:30 p.m. at the United Center in Chicago.
Manchester United’s Andreas Pereira has received a call-up to the Brazil squad for the first time.Manchester United’s academy star Pereira started the first game of the season against Leicester in last week’s 2-1 victory over Leicester City.Sky Sports now reports that he and new signing Fred have been called up to the Brazil national team.For the upcoming friendlies against the United States and El Salvador in the US next month, Brazil head coach Tite has named a 24-man squad.Neymar can win the Ballon d’Or, says Ander Herrera Andrew Smyth – September 13, 2019 An “excited” Ander Herrera believes new Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is a contender for the Ballon d’Or alongside Kylian Mbappe.The 57-year-old omitted players like Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Danilo, Ederson, Marcelo, Miranda, Paulinho, Cassio, Geromel and Taison.Tite stated wants to give new young players opportunities to impress ahead of next year’s Copa America in Brazil.Squad: Goalkeepers: Alisson (Liverpool), Neto (Valencia), Hugo (Flamengo) Defenders: Alex Sandro (Juventus), Dede (Cruzeiro), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fagner (Corinthians), Felipe (Porto), Filipe Luis (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos, Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) Midfielders: Andreas Pereira (Manchester United), Fred (Manchester United), Arthur (Barcelona), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Lucas Paqueta (Flamengo), Renato Augusto (Beijing Guoan) Forwards: Douglas Costa (Juventus), Everton (Gremio), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Pedro (Fluminense), Willian (Chelsea)
Brighton boss Chris Hughton commends Newcastle manager Rafael Benitez for doing a “wonderful job” with the resources at his disposal.Benitez’s Magpies after bagging just two points from their opening eight fixtures are helping to prop up the Premier League table.The club received limited financial backing in the summer after acquiring a 10th-place finish last season.Hughton who worked under Ashley at Newcastle between 2008 and 2010 is full totally appreciates Benitez’s work.Pep Guardiola: “Aymeric Laporte’s injury doesn’t look good” Andrew Smyth – August 31, 2019 Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola admits Aymeric Laporte’s injury “does not look good” and fears the defender will be out for a long time.“With regards to what they’ve spent in the summer, the reason why they haven’t spent perhaps what the other clubs have done, the only ones who are privy to that are the CEO, the chairman and of course Rafa,” Hughton said via Skysports.“What I do know is that with the squad that he’s got, what they’ve recruited and what they’ve spent – which is less than most clubs and far less than a lot of clubs – then I think Rafa has done a wonderful job with the players that he has.“What you always have to do as a manager is work within the boundaries of what you have, and if that means being allowed to go out and spend big, big money on players then that’s what it is and that’s what you’ll be judged on.“If it’s working with a group of players and spending less, then it’s exactly the same, it’s what you’ll be judged on.”