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Protesters torch parliament building in Indonesias Papua

first_imgManokwari: Thousands of protesters in Indonesia’s West Papua province set fire to a local parliament building on Monday in a violent protest against the alleged insults and arrests of Papuan students, officials said. The angered mob torched the building and set fire to tires and twigs on several blocked roads leading to a seaport, shopping centers and offices in Manokwari, the capital city of West Papua province, said Vice Gov. Mohammad Lakotani. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US”The city’s economy has been paralyzed by the demonstrators,” Lakotani said. “Negotiations between protesters and the authorities are currently underway to end the riots.” Television footage showed orange flames and gray smoke billowing from the burning parliament building. Lakotani said the demonstration was sparked by accusations that Indonesian police, backed by the military, arrested and insulted dozens of Papuan students in their dormitories in the East Java cities of Surabaya and Malang a day earlier. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsPolice stormed a dormitory in Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-largest city, on Sunday after Papuan students staying there refused to be questioned by police over allegations that they had intentionally damaged the national red-and-white flag in the dormitory’s yard. Amateur video showing police, backed by soldiers, calling the Papuan students “monkeys” and “dogs” circulated widely on the internet, sparking anger in Indonesia’s easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua. East Java police spokesman Frans Barung Mangera said 43 students were detained but released hours later, after no evidence was found that they had damaged the flag. Several thousand protesters also staged rallies in Jayapura, the capital city of the neighboring province of Papua, with many in the crowd wearing headbands of a separatist flag. An insurgency has simmered in Papua since the early 1960s, when Indonesia annexed the region, which is a former Dutch colony.last_img read more

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Trump Trudeau raise NAFTA brinkmanship muse about walking away from deal

first_imgWASHINGTON – Donald Trump and Justin Trudeau raised their trade brinkmanship to a new level Wednesday with each saying they were willing to walk away from the North American Free Trade Agreement if they don’t get what they want.Trudeau started the day by branding Trump a rule breaker to argue in favour of keeping a mechanism to resolve trade disputes, while Trump hours later said Canada had more to lose than the United States if the two countries can’t make a deal to preserve the three country NAFTA.“That’s going to be fine for our country,” Trump said. “It won’t be fine for Canada.”The bombast of the two leaders contrasted with the insistence of negotiators that the mood inside the room was constructive as talks hit what is being described as an intense phase. Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland went out of her way to praise her counterpart, U.S. trade czar Robert Lighthizer, saying he was acting with “good faith” and “good will.”“The atmosphere continues to be productive and constructive,” she said Wednesday evening, adding that both countries’ officials would continue negotiating late into the night.“We are making good progress. We continue to get a deeper and deeper understanding of the concerns on both sides.”Negotiations, now in their 13th month, are key to determining the economic and trade relationship among the three North American countries, with many workers’ and industries’ prospects hanging in the balance.At the same time, Trump needs a win on trade ahead of the U.S. midterm elections in November that will test the president’s ability to keep control of Congress.“We’re not going to accept that we should have to sign a bad deal just because the president wants that,” Trudeau told Edmonton radio station CHED.Trudeau offered some of his sharpest criticism of the unpredictable American president, saying that Canada won’t give an inch to Trump’s desire to scrap NAFTA’s Chapter 19 dispute resolution panels. The chapter allows companies to have their differences settled by independent arbiters — something Trump views as an infringement of U.S. sovereignty.“We need to keep the Chapter 19 dispute resolution because that ensures that the rules are actually followed. And we know we have a president who doesn’t always follow the rules as they’re laid out,” Trudeau said.Freeland, when asked about the comments, said she didn’t want to negotiate in public, but added: “I agree with the prime minister in public all of the time, and in private 99.99 per cent of the time … He made some important comments.”The U.S. and Mexico reached a side deal last month, leaving Canada to negotiate separately with the U.S.Trump hinted there might be progress towards a deal with Canada.“I think we’ve come a long way toward them treating us fairly,” Trump said.But other issues have yet to be worked out, including Canada’s cultural exemption in NAFTA. Sources familiar with the Canadian bargaining position say the cultural exemption Canada has insisted on preserving since NAFTA talks reopened remains an 11th-hour sticking point.Part of the disagreement on culture revolves around Canada’s decision to allow the broadcast of glitzy American Super Bowl commercials, a decision that irks Lighthizer.His annual report on barriers to U.S. trade this year singled out the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission’s decision in 2015 to ban the long-time practice of Canadian advertisers inserting their ads into the Super Bowl broadcast over the more popular American ones.The new rules went into effect in time for the Super Bowl in February 2017.American networks worried that the CRTC’s decision reduced the value of Canadian programming because the amount they pay for Super Bowl rights is determined by how much advertising they can sell in Canada, Lighthizer’s report said.Lighthizer also said American broadcasters operating in border states have complained about Canadian counterparts picking up the U.S. signals and redistributing in Canada without consent. “The United States is exploring avenues to address these concerns,” Lighthizer wrote.Canada and the U.S. need to present an agreed-upon text to the U.S. Congress by Oct. 1 in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico. Trump is threatening to move ahead on a deal with Mexico that excludes Canada.The goal of this week’s talks is to reach a deal by Dec. 1 so Congress can give its approval to a revised three-country NAFTA before Mexico’s new president takes office.Freeland wouldn’t guess how much more time negotiators will need to come to some agreement. She compared the trade negotiation to the advice a midwife gave her on giving birth: “You never knew for sure how many contractions it would take to give birth to your child but you knew that each contraction was one contraction closer to the end.“I think that’s where we are.”last_img read more

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Norway sees boom in electric cars fueled by the government

first_imgOSLO — A silent revolution has transformed driving in Norway.Eerily quiet vehicles are ubiquitous on the fjord-side roads and mountain passes of this wealthy European nation of 5.3 million. Some 30 per cent of all new cars sport plug-in cables rather than gasoline tanks, compared with 2 per cent across Europe overall and 1-2 per cent in the U.S.As countries around the world — including China, the world’s biggest auto market — try to encourage more people to buy electric cars to fight climate change, Norway’s success has one key driver: the government. It offered big subsidies and perks that it is now due to phase out, but only so long as electric cars remain attractive to buy compared with traditional ones.“It should always be cheaper to have a zero emissions car than a regular car,” says Climate and Environment Minister Ola Elvestuen, who helped push through a commitment to have only sell zero-emissions cars sold in Norway by 2025. The plan supports Norway’s CO2 reduction targets under the 2015 Paris climate accord, which nations last agreed rigorous rules for to ensure emissions goals are met.To help sales, the Norwegian government waived hefty vehicle import duties and registration and sales taxes for buyers of electric cars. Owners don’t have to pay road tolls, and get free use of ferries and bus lanes in congested city centres.These perks are being phased out in 2021, though any road tolls and fees would be limited to half of what gasoline car owners must pay. Gradually, subsidies for electric cars will be replaced by higher taxes on traditional cars.Registration tax on new cars is paid on a sliding scale with a premium for the amount of emissions produced. Elvestuen pledges that the incentives for electric vehicles will be adjusted in such a way that it does not scupper the 2025 target.“What is important is that our aim is not just to give incentives,” he says. “It is that we are taxing emissions from regular cars.”Using taxes to encourage consumers to shift to cleaner energy can be tricky for a government — protests erupted in France this autumn over a fuel tax that hurt the livelihood of poorer families, especially in rural areas where driving is often the only means of transportation.In this sense, Norway is an outlier. The country is very wealthy after exporting for decades the kind of fossil fuels the world is trying to wean itself off of. Incomes are higher than the rest of Europe, as are prices.Some 36 per cent of all new cars sold are SUVs, which provide safety in the country’s tough winters. Tesla’s SUV, the Model X – the motor of choice for well-to-do environmentally-minded Norwegians – costs around 900,000 Norwegian kronor ($106,000).“Buying a Tesla model X is not much more expensive than buying a standard premium Volvo because gasoline cars are taxed heavily. That is also the reason Teslas sell well,” says Christina Bu, General Secretary of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association.The premium gas-powered Volvo XC90 SUV, for example, starts at 919,000 kroner ($107,100) in Norway compared with $47,700 in the U.S.To date, with its longer battery life, Tesla has dominated the upmarket family car space for electric vehicles, but more premium marques are entering the market, like the Audi Quattro e-tron. Demand is still outstripping supply, with Norwegians having to wait up to a year to get their hands on the steering wheels of their new electric vehicles.Norway has pledged to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by 40 per cent by 2030, compared with 1990 levels. The country has work to do: by 2017, emissions were up 3 per cent compared to the 1990 baseline. Cutting emissions from road transport will allow Norway to reduce the amount it has to spend buying up emissions certificates from other European countries to meet its target. The savings are likely to run into billions, potentially balancing out the cost of subsidizing electric cars.Norway is looking to China for help in developing the market.China has invested heavily in electric vehicles as it looks to meet its own Paris climate accord commitments, to clean up its choking cities and to get in early in a growing area of manufacturing. In October, 6 per cent of new cars were electric, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, up almost 50 per cent from a year earlier. The market has huge growth potential, experts say, and like Norway, the market boom has relied on government incentives.The hope in Norway is that the sheer size of China’s market will encourage the industry to develop the technology more quickly — improving battery life, for example — and force down prices.Experts say the electric vehicle market needs to develop more for sales to keep growing.Battery life on smaller vehicles is slim and the resale market is untested. Fast battery charging points are slow compared with gasoline pumps, and on Norway’s often empty mountain roads, these points are uneconomical despite government subsidies for the private companies that set them up.Even in city centres, construction of such points has not kept pace with sales. At one station in Oslo, a Tesla driver cracks open his laptop while his car charges. Another, Ida Vihovde, drums her fingers as she waits for a charging station to free up.“If the government put up more of these it would be OK,” she says beside her electric VW Golf. “Right now there are no more chargers so I have to sit and wait.”___Frank Jordans in Berlin contributed to this report.Mark Lewis, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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US judge blocks construction of 8 billion Keystone XL pipeline

first_imgMore to come.(THE CANADIAN PRESS) GREAT FALLS, Mont. – A federal judge in Montana has blocked construction of the $8-billion Keystone XL pipeline to allow more time to study the project’s potential environmental impact.The Great Falls Tribune reports U.S. District Judge Brian Morris’ order on Thursday came as Calgary-based TransCanada was preparing to build the first stages of the oil pipeline in northern Montana. Environmental groups had sued TransCanada and the U.S. Department of State in federal court in Great Falls.The 1,897-kilometre pipeline would transport up to 830,000 barrels of crude a day from Alberta and Montana to facilities in Nebraska.last_img

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Northern Health responds to Hospital Bulletin

first_imgFor non-urgent care, use community health services including making an appointment with your family practitionerRemember, flu season is upon us; check immunizebc.ca for clinic dates.If you have a cold, call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 for advice, or ask your pharmacist about over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.If you are concerned about a possible poisoning or exposure to a toxic substance, call Poison Control at 1-800-567-8911. FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – After a recent request by Northern Health asking residents to only use the ER if needed has people needing clarity as to what to do then.Speaking with Eryn Collins, Communications Officer with Northern Health, she said “We absolutely recognize that the reminder put out to the community December 14th, 2018 in FSJ is used when a Hospital is experiencing a period of higher than normal patient volume. This can depend on the time of year, such as flu season, long weekends and sometimes its a mix of patients in the hospital with complex health care issues that will make the Hospital busier than usual. It is not being said the Hospital is busier because people are coming and using it inappropriately its more of a reminder,” Collins goes on to say “When there are higher than normal patient volumes there are steps the public can take to avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital because they will probably experience longer wait times for example if their condition is not urgent.”Emergency rooms are designed to be focused on tending to patients that have an emergency and urgent health care needs such as difficulty breathing, chest pains, broken bones, bleeding and suspected overdoses, situations that require attendance right away. The NH wants the public to know there are other options for getting advice if you truly warrant an emergency room visit. Health link BC is an online tool, as well as calling 811 anytime day or night to receive non-emergency help from registered nurses and health care professionals who can offer trusted advice on managing symptoms at home.Book appointments with family practitioners, it is known some of the public do not have a physician and it can be challenging as well if there is not an available walk-in clinic yet NH does not have a direct role in how these local primary care clinics structure their practices or the availability of their appointments. These are private physician practices although NH does work closely with family physicians recruitment of primary care providers to the community.It is important for the public to contact their local medical clinics and inquire about becoming patients or being put on a waitlist.“In the meantime, it’s about reminding people the Hospital is busier than usual and any unnecessary trips to the Hospital wait longer,” said Collins.Steps the public can take to help avoid unnecessary trips to the hospital include;People who aren’t sure whether their condition would warrant an emergency room visit, or who need health advice can call HealthLink BC (8-1-1), or visit www.HealthLinkBC.ca for non-emergency health information from nurses, dietitians, and pharmacists 24/7.For deaf and hearing-impaired assistance (TTY), call 7-1-1.last_img read more

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Support the fight against ALS with the Walk to End ALS

first_imgMonies raised from the walk go towards helping support patients, families and caregivers that are fighting ALS.  The Walk to End ALS is considered the largest volunteer-led fundraiser for ALS Societies across Canada.The Society is encouraging teams to sign up this year and challenge other teams to raise money as well. Through friendly competition will make this year better than the last one.Wanting to end amyotrophic lateral sclerosis fundraising efforts and generous donations support the research. By participating in the walk you can show your support and honour the lives of lost loved ones as ALS Societies offer community-based support to people and families living with the disease.To view the website for online registration; CLICK HERETo view the FB Page; CLICK HERETo view the FB Event Page; CLICK HERE FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The 2019 Walk to End ALS takes place this Sunday, June 2nd, starting at the green space at 100 St and 100 Avenue.Registration for this fundraising walk begins at 10:30 am and the walk commences at 11:30 am.This family-friendly event will have food, music, games, raffles, activities and lots for the whole family to do. The Society shares the walk is about 4km long but the route brings walkers back to the Greenspace multiple of times, if walkers require to shorten their distance.last_img read more

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Oversigning footballs latest overindulgence

Oversigning. It’s when a school signs more recruits than it has roster spots available. The gods of college football’s recruiting gluttony? The SEC. Today is National Signing Day, college football’s version of the NFL Draft. However, instead of the pro teams picking players, the players choose their schools. The NFL Draft is spaced out over three days. ESPNU has dedicated 10 straight hours to coverage of Signing Day. There’s no such thing as excess when it comes to football in this country. Schools are allotted 85 total players on scholarship at a given time. Last year the SEC implemented a rule limiting its teams to 28 signees between Signing Day and May 31. The rule, now adopted by the NCAA, isn’t being strictly enforced. One reason schools are circumventing the rule is the spacing of the two dates. Auburn signed 32 players last year because it brought in five players, including Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Cam Newton, in January. The Tigers had 27 players signed between February and May — one below the limit. According to a January Sports Illustrated report, LSU had to use more cutthroat methods in 2008. Coach Les Miles misjudged how many of his borderline academic qualifiers would become eligible. By summer’s end, Miles had to cut quarterback Chris Garrett because he had two more newcomers than available scholarships. He then had to tell signees Elliott Porter and Cameron Fordham — both of whom declined scholarship offers from other schools to accept Miles’ and LSU’s promise of playing football in Baton Rouge — that there wasn’t room for them. Porter had already moved into his dorm room and started classes when he received the news. The same report stated that eight of the 12 SEC schools had averaged 25 or more signees over the past five years. The website Oversigning.com, which chronicles the practice, lists six SEC schools projected to be over the scholarship limit following Signing Day. The leader of the clubhouse? Ole Miss, which has a projected 14 players over the limit. The website projects Ohio State, which is normally far from the oversigning hoopla, to be right at the 85-man limit following Signing Day. I love college football. I love the pageantry and the rivalries. I spend my Saturdays in the fall glued to the television. The sport dominates my life for a little more than three months. But this practice is bad belly fat on the sport. The presidents and athletic directors of every school around the country — not just those in the SEC — need to step up, show some accountability and actually police the guilty coaches. Whether it’s stricter NCAA laws or a shake weight for SEC schools, something has to be done. read more

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