It is not surprising at all that the maiden trip of India’s new Home Minister Amit Shah to Srinagar—during which he emphasised the need for carrying development to the grassroots, pulled up the state administration for its failures and reiterated the policy of relentless pursuit of the terrorists—has left the communal-minded Valley parties and the separatist lobby with no scope for raising any political criticism of the visit. The opponents of the Narendra Modi regime have not been able to find fault with the Centre’s decision to extend reservations granted to people living in the hazardous territory along the Line of Control (LoC) to those settled on the International Border on the same grounds, for fear of exposing their communal outlook. However, the Valley parties, like the separatists there, have for long got away with their blatantly sectarian line that regarded Kashmir not as a territorial problem caused by the Pak occupation of a part of the state but as a ‘Muslim issue’—and run their politics in total disregard of the reality that Jammu and Kashmir was an integral state housing multiple faiths and communities. Also Read – A special kind of bondBoth People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and National Conference (NC) were mute spectators to the planned ouster of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley instigated by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and what is worse, they spinelessly endorsed the attempt of Pakistan to replicate the Afghan Jehad in Kashmir in the early Nineties through a sustained infiltration of Mujahideen of Lashkar-e-Taiba, an outfit that comprised the Ahle Hadis and followed the extremist Hanbali line. Also Read – Insider threat managementThe LeT gradually subjugated the outfits of Jamaat, a Hanafi organisation subscribing to Ijtehad, to a degree where Burhan Wani and Asiya Andrabi would take orders directly from Maulana Hafiz Sayeed based in Pakistan. The Salafi influences imported by these terrorists have nearly destroyed Kashmiriyat that represented the people-oriented value system of Kashmiris. The only agenda the political parties of the Valley are now able to pursue is to demand early assembly elections, invoking the moral narrative that an elected government was always to be preferred over President’s rule in a democracy. But what has their own record of long years in office got to show—beyond the paralysis of a subverted administration, appeasement of pro-Pak lobbies, and permissiveness of corruption? The NC leadership is faulting BJP for having run a coalition with PDP. It is true that the intent of the Centre to opt for that arrangement to encourage the party of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed to come closer to the national mainstream proved misplaced but it is all aimed at scoring a point for NC against its political rival. It needs to be mentioned, however, that the inordinate delay on the part of BJP in pulling out of a coalition that had put the state on the path of alienation and given total freedom to militants, has remained totally unexplained. During Mehbooba Mufti’s regime, NC also maintained a pro-Pak stand on the issue of cross-border terrorism and even made an absurd statement that the Centre should talk to Pakistan if it wanted stone-pelting to stop. Was this not a clear admission that Pak agents were behind the disturbances caused by stone pelters and that the administration was too complicit to even identify the masterminds who planned the mischief? There has been an unmistakable competition between the two Valley parties to keep the separatists on their side for gaining power. This story has not changed and the Modi government would be well-advised not to encourage these communal forces ever in future. All these years, the average Kashmiri in the Valley and the citizens elsewhere in the state have suffered at the hands of their greedy political masters. They were kept from development at the ground level and fed on anti-India propaganda all the time. The question of India resuming talks with Pakistan lies on the Centre’s turf, connected as it is to the unfinished agenda of what should be done with LoC and it does not permit involvement of any third party, internal or external. People of Jammu and Kashmir have the right to make demands on the democratically-elected rulers of the state for promoting development and establishing peace. They should not let the latter remain preoccupied with their own political games. Even the basic step of getting all district magistrates (DMs) and Superintendents of Police (SPs) to regularly interact with citizens was not brought into play in Jammu and Kashmir. The initiatives taken under the President’s rule to pave the way for elections to the panchayat and municipal bodies are unnerving the Valley parties who were feeling left out and were therefore, raising a bogey that these elections could be held only when there was an Assembly in place. It is in this backdrop that the first visit of the new Home Minister to Kashmir has laid the groundwork for a constructive set of policies to be implemented there in a time frame. There is no compromise with terrorism and relentless pursuit of the mujahideen and their local acolytes through Intelligence-based operations have to be kept up. The state should put the J&K Police in the forefront of a drive against enemy agents hibernating in villages and towns based on local Intelligence, instead of leaving everything on the shoulders of the army. The state administration has to be sternly handled to get it to measure up to the challenge in the spheres of both development and security. Separatists playing the Pakistan game have to be shown their place and legally proceeded against. Evidence is now piling up about the intricate channels through which Pakistan is funding its agents and the separatists in the Valley and elsewhere to run its proxy war against India. The Modi government gets the credit for hitting at the root of the covert offensive of the enemy. In Jammu and Kashmir, the state’s outreach to the people has to be intensified to encourage them to take charge of the local self bodies, become stakeholders in their own development and not allow corrupt politicians to line up their pockets. The cause of local self-governance is best served when divisive party politics is not allowed to spoil it. Once the state tastes the fruits of a democratic advancement and learns to avail of the enormous opportunities that the Kashmiri youth have for them all over India, the artificial construct of ‘total alienation’ floated by vested political interests will fade away. The questions of autonomy enjoyed by the state of Jammu and Kashmir under the Constitution would then cease to be a bone of contention between the Centre and the state or between the state and its regions and evolve on two basic paradigms—that it all had to be about the integral state of Jammu and Kashmir treating all its citizens on the same footing, and that the threat to the state was from a hostile Pakistan needing to be countered by an alliance of Kashmiris, security forces made available to the state and the political leaders who believed Kashmir had a pride of place in India. (The writer is a former Director of Intelligence Bureau. Views expressed are strictly personal)
New Delhi: Military teams from China and several other countries have arrived in the country to participate in the India leg of the International Army Games that will be held in culturally-rich golden city of Jaisalmer from August 6 to 14, officials said on Monday.India is all set to host the fifth Army International Scout Masters Competition as part of the games. It will take part in this discipline for the first time. The international military sports event in Rajasthan’s Jaisalmer will be held for over nine days in August in a bid to promote bonhomie among the participating countries. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’China’s participation in the mega event is being seen as a bid by Beijing to boost military cooperation with India, after bilateral ties were hit post the Doklam standoff. “Teams from various countries have arrived for the International Army Games’ events here. The Army Scout Masters Competition will be conducted from August 6 to 14. These games have been a platform for participating nations to interact and promote bonhomie,” a senior official said. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KJaisalmer military station is hosting the Army Scout Masters Competition. “The competition is a gruesome test of the essential military skills of a soldier, ranging from navigation, team work, physical endurance, map reading, tactical planning and much more,” he said. Besides the Indian army team, seven countries, including China, Russia, Armenia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, are participating in the event. “For the past four days, the participating teams have been given extensive and detailed demonstrations and lectures on various stages of the competition and briefed in detail, especially about the regulations and the process of judgement,” the official said. For the next few days, the teams will undertake demonstrations and individual practices to familiarise themselves about the stages, and then they will be given time to carry out training with their respective teams, he said. “The visiting friendly countries have expressed their pleasure and gratitude on the high standards of the infrastructure and the arrangements that have been created for conduct of this unique event, which in itself is a historic event being organised for the first time in India. “This competition will be a true test of team spirit, grit, determination and professional skill of the teams,” the official said. The International Army Games, organised by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation, have been taking place since 2015 and sees participation of close to 32 countries. A curtain-raiser of the Army International Scout Masters Competition was held at the Manekshaw Centre here on July which was attended by Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat and several other senior Army officers.
Chandigarh: In another setback for the Indian National Lok Dal ahead of the Haryana Assembly polls, two more party MLAs besides one Independent legislator joined the ruling BJP in Haryana on Monday. INLD’s Ram Chander Kamboj, MLA from Rania assembly segment in Sirsa district, who had recently resigned from the party and Naseem Ahmed, legislator from Firozpur Jhirka, joined the BJP fold. Independent MLA from Saffidon, Jasbir Deswal, who has been supporting the BJP, too joined the ruling outfit in the presence of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar and State unit chief Subhash Barala. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’Notably, Naseem Ahmed had switched over to the Congress, days before general elections were held for the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Haryana in the sixth phase on May 12. However, he had not resigned from his parent party INLD then. All the three legislators have joined the BJP “unconditionally”, Barala said. A few days back INLD’s Ratia MLA Ravinder Baliala had joined the saffron party along with Jagdish Yadav, a former Haryana minister. The INLD has been decimated since it split last year over a feud in the Chautala family and several members switched over to the BJP.
NEW DELHI: Delhi University will hold a special drive for DU Admission 2019. According to a senior official from DU, the admissions committee has told the university to organise a special admission drive for helping selected students complete the admission formalities on time. It may be noted that the special admission drive will be held before the 8th cut off list 2019.The report also claimed that only a few seats are left vacant that are to be filled through 8th cut off list. However, the majority of those seats fall under the ST category. This is the reason officials are conducting the admission drive to help ST students to take admission on those seats. The admission drive proposal has been prepared and shall be presented to the members of the admission committee. The Delhi University Committee will also be holding a meeting on Tuesday to finalize the future course of action in regard to DU admission 2019. Earlier, DU held the admission drive after the announcement of 6th cut off list for admission. In the admission drive, students were allowed to change their category accordingly for proceeding with the admission process in a hassle-free way.
August: From September 1, 300 vehicles will be allowed to the world famous sunrise point Tiger Hill in a day.The Darjeeling police and district administrative have decided on certain changes in the existing traffic system of the town to ensure a hassle-free tourist season that sees a surge in vehicular traffic in town. The decision has however rubbed the hoteliers, travel agents and taxi syndicates the wrong way and they have threatened to take legal recourse. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaDarjeeling off late has been reeling under acute traffic problems. The situation further aggravates during tourist season with a large number of tourists arriving from the plains. Keeping this in view the Darjeeling police has embarked on an exercise including seeking suggestions from the public on how to ease the traffic problem. The police have been towing away vehicles and motor bikes parked in no parking zones. “If we do not take stringent measures then there will be no further scope of damage control. Already things are going out of hand. It is not only the tourists, the entire town suffers. School children get late for school caught in serpentine jams. The situation is worse in and around tourist spots,” stated Rahul Pandey, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Darjeeling (Town.) Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThe number of vehicles visiting Tiger Hill will be restricted to not more than 300 per day based on coupons issued by the Sadar traffic office a day in advance. The Himalayan Transport Coordination Committee held a meeting to discuss these changes with other stakeholders in Darjeeling on Friday. “We feel that the decision to restrict 300 vehicles to Tiger Hill will be a major deterrent to tourism. We have decided to oppose this. We instead have approached the police to hold a review meeting with stakeholders. The police along with the stakeholders should visit Tiger Hill and review the ground realities. There is an old road also where cars can be parked,” stated SN Pradhan, Himalayan Transport Coordination Committee. He stated the system of issuing daily coupons (passes) for Tiger Hill will not be feasible. “On one side the Government claims that they are trying to promote homestays and on the other hand they are implementing such rules. Homestays are in far flung areas. How will they come to get coupons to visit Tiger Hill?” questioned Pradhan. The committee has stated that if the police impose these changes without reviewing with stakeholders then things might get out of hand. “We will be compelled to take legal recourse against this,” threatened Pradhan. Tourism Minister Goutam Deb, talking to media persons in Siliguri on Friday stated “Hill stations have such restrictions. All this is being done for the benefit of the tourists. Tourists book cars, start at 4am and because of the huge rush many a times fail to reach Tiger Hill thereby missing the sunrise. Only after a proper survey the police have taken such decision. I will however hold a discussion on this issue with the District Magistrate and Superintendent of Police.” Batasia Loop will be open to tourists from 10:00 am onwards. Vehicles ferrying passengers to Batasia will be allowed to park only on identified stretches as directed by traffic personnel. “Entire area around Zoo and HMI will be a no stop zone. Visitors will be dropped at PWD parking from where they will have to walk,” stated the DSP. There will be no parking in front of the shops at Tenzing rock along with Lower or Upper Chittrey. Vehicles will be allowed to park on identified stretches as directed. The District Magistrate had also issued an order dated 14.11.2011 in compliance of which no heavy vehicles will be allowed to enter the town between 7 am and 8 pm. Even army vehicles will come under the purview of the order. However emergency services have been exempted from the purview of this. HD Lama road will be used as a thoroughfare and traffic will be plying through this road. “Hence no hawkers will be allowed to occupy any space on this road,” added Pandey. Pick up and drop of passengers will be only allowed at designated points between Ghoom and Chowkbazar.
New Delhi: The Congress on Saturday attacked the BJP government over the slump in the GDP, with party leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra demanding that the Centre clarify who is responsible for “destroying” the economy. Gandhi on Twitter said the government that trumpeted of bringing “achche din” (good days) has now “punctured” the economy. “The GDP growth rate clearly shows that the government trumpeting about ‘Achche din’ (good days) has punctured the state of the economy. Neither is GDP growth nor is the Rupee strong and jobs are lost. Now clarify as to whose act is it to destroy the economy,” she said in a tweet in Hindi. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Sharp deceleration in manufacturing output and subdued farm sector activity pulled down India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth to over six-year low of 5 per cent in the April-June quarter of 2019-20, according to official data released on Friday. Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said, “Remember the hit movie QSQT – Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak?. Now QSQT is synonymous with Quarter Se Quarter Tak. Two consecutive quarters of low GDP growth sought to be buried by managing headlines.” Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Congress spokesperson Manish Tewari also hit out at the central government over the low GDP growth. “GDP growth is not 5 pc it is 3 pc. There is a statistical bump of 2 pc due to change of base year from 2004-2005 to 2011-12. ELEPHANT in room is-GOVT CREATED TERROR – The systematic destruction of the economic environment by the brutal and indiscriminate use of IT, ED, CBI over past 5 years,” he tweeted. Senior spokesperson Anand Sharma asked the government not to make boastful claims and instead inform the country about the roadmap for the recovery of the Indian economy, which he said is under a downward spiral “under your watch”. “The ‘State of Economy; in BJP rule. Is this the ‘New India’?” Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter, adding a graph of GDP growth in January-March 2018 quarter from 8.1 per cent to 5 per cent in April-June 2019 quarter. Party spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said India’s GDP growth rate is 5 per cent but even this is according to the new methodology which comes with a “Modi booster”. “Real GDP minus Modi booster is around 3 pc,” Singhvi said. “No wonder we had Balakot breastbeating, questioning nationalism, disbursal of cash just before elections. 6 quarters went from 8 pc to 7 pc onwards to 5.8 pc and now to 5 pc quarterly GDP growth. With this clear trend over 18 months, despite all packages, this government has had no effect,” he said on Twitter. The Congress had on Friday said the slump in GDP is a “Modi-made disaster”, and demanded that a financial emergency be declared in the country. The truth can no longer be hidden despite “headline management” by the ruling dispensation, the opposition party had said.
Bengal Association, a registered body established in 1958 has effectively been able to connect Bengalis of Delhi and NCR through social and cultural activities. During last six decades, Bengal Association has established itself as prominent organisation for the dissemination of Bangla language and culture through Bangla Prochar and Prosar.Like previous years, Bengal Association, New Delhi will be organising the 12th edition of ‘Bangla Cine Utsab’ from September 13 – 15, at Muktadhara Auditorium, Near Gole Market, New Delhi. Also Read – An income drop can harm brain’Bangla Cine Utsab’ is a step taken by the Association to introduce and make Delhiites familiar with the present day Bangla language and culture through latest Bangla Cinema. National Award Winner and renowned Bangla actor Rituparna Sengupta will be inaugurating the event this year, on September 13 (Friday) at 6:00 pm as Chief Guest. The three-day festival will showcase eleven latest full-length feature films and seven short films by renowned directors in the Bengali industry as well as new rising Bangla directors and producers. Also Read – Shallu Jindal honoured with Mahatma AwardRenowned Bangla cine directors, producers, actors such as Rituparna Sengupta, Chiranjit Chakraborty, Sudeshna Roy, Indrashish Acharya, Abir Chatterjee, Barun Chanda, Sreela Mazumdar, AVijit Guha, Reshmi Mitra, Anubhav Kanjilal, Mohhor Chattopadhyay, Shyamal Dutta, Shivangee Choudhury, Anupam, and others will also be participating in the event. Latest Bangla films like Kolkatay Kohinoor, Lime Light, Aha Re, Bijoya, Mati, Samsara, Abyekto, Mukherjeedar Bou, Tarikh, Shravoner Dhara, Ami Joy Chatterjee will be screened during the festival. The concluding ceremony on September 15, 2019 at 6.30 pm will be starred by Abir Chatterjee along with other Bangla cine luminaries. Tapan Sengupta, General Secretary, Bengal Association said that all the guests have confirmed their participation. The members of the association, young and old alike are working very hard to make the Bangla Cine Utsab successful. Dr Tushar Roy, Festival Chairman overseeing the arrangements expressed satisfaction about the progress. Prof Dipak Bhattacharya, President, Bengal Association expressed confidence about the arrangements and success of the Cine Utsab.
New Delhi: Only three out of 429 human traffickers in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal have been convicted in the past 10 years, according to a new study that analysed case documents such as charge sheets, FIRs and police general diaries related to 198 such cases.The study was conducted by several NGOs such as HELP in Andhra Pradesh, Goranbose Gram Bikash Kendra and Partners for Anti-Trafficking (PAT) – a consortium of eight community-based organisations in West Bengal. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’It found that 68 human traffickers have been given bail, and investigation linked to five accused have been continuing for over a decade now. The study also revealed that 31 out of the 429 human traffickers appear to be repeat offenders who are accused in multiple cases of human trafficking, and all their victims were children and adolescents. These 31 have committed 91 (or 19 per cent) of total crimes analysed for this research. The study found that out of the 429 named offenders only three have been convicted with punishments ranging between five to seven years of imprisonment, whereas 10 have been acquitted due to lack of evidence in cases that continued over several years. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KInvestigation in the rest of the cases is underway. “The low conviction and high acquittal figures found in the research cast doubts in the efficacy of investigation by law-enforcement agencies in human trafficking cases,” said Snigdha Sen, who conducted the analysis by studying legal documents availed from courts and police stations. Sen, who is also an activist, studied these cases that involved more than 173 survivors of human trafficking from West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. “The findings reaffirm the belief that traffickers enjoy a high degree of impunity because of the lacklustre investigation, and lack of retribution encourages them to carry on with their crimes that leads to surge in incidents of human trafficking,” she added. The research indicated that currently, traffickers – who are in the business of recruiting girls and young women and selling them off in Maharashtra, Delhi, Telangana or Goa – have little accountability to the system. “As they grow wealthier, they recruit others to join them in spotting, recruiting and trafficking other vulnerable children and adolescents. The reason these investigations are so prolonged and prosecutions are so weak is that over 99 per cent of these cases are investigated by police of local police stations, who have restricted time and resources for their investigation,” said co-researcher Roop Sen, a human rights activist who has been working on the issue for over 20 years.
Highlights from the news file for Tuesday, May 2———EXPEL MEREDITH, SENATE ETHICS COMMITTEE SAYS: The Senate ethics committee is recommending that disgraced Sen. Don Meredith be expelled for engaging in a sexual relationship with a teenage girl — the first such recommendation in the history of the upper chamber. It’s now up to the full Senate to decide whether to accept or reject the recommendation. “He has brought disrepute to himself and to the institution,” the committee’s recommendation reads. “Your committee is of the opinion that Sen. Meredith’s misconduct has demonstrated that he is unfit to serve as a senator. His presence in the chamber would in itself discredit the institution. No lesser sanction than expulsion would repair the harm he has done to the Senate.” Meredith must be given five sitting days in which to respond to the committee report, should he wish, so a vote on his fate can’t occur before next Tuesday at the earliest.———SAJJAN PULLS OUT OF MILITARY FUNDRAISER: Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan has bowed out of an annual fundraising event originally set up for veterans of the war in Afghanistan, an event whose main beneficiaries include military personnel returning from combat. The embattled minister is, however, pressing ahead with a speech Wednesday to members of the Conference of Defence Associations Institute, billed by his department as an update on “the state of Canadian defence.” Sajjan had been scheduled to speak at the 8th annual “To the ‘Stan and Back” event Tuesday, but founder Cheri Elliott said she was told a scheduling conflict had arisen and he would not be able to attend. Sajjan, a former soldier and veteran of the Afghan war, was back in question period Tuesday, where he again met sustained fire for having exaggerated his role in Operation Medusa, a key battle involving the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan in 2006.———CANADIAN MUSICAL COME FROM AWAY GETS 7 TONY NOMINATIONS: The married co-creators of “Come From Away” were celebrating their six-year-journey from Gander, N.L., to the bright lights of Broadway on Tuesday as their uplifting, made-in-Canada theatrical production scored seven Tony Awards nominations, including a nod for best musical. “Come From Away” is only the second Canadian-written show in the 71-year history of the Tonys to vie for best musical, following 2006’s “The Drowsy Chaperone,” which won five awards. “Come From Away” is set in Gander in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks. The remote East Coast town saw its population double in size as it sheltered 6,579 passengers and crew from planes diverted when U.S. air space was closed. The feel-good musical will compete against “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Groundhog Day: The Musical,” and “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812” for the prestigious best musical Tony.———SIDNEY CROSBY HAS CONCUSSION, OUT FOR GAME 4: Sidney Crosby walked around the Pittsburgh Penguins practice facility on Tuesday, trying to encourage his teammates as they prepared to go forward in their increasingly caustic playoff series against Washington without their captain and the game’s most indispensable player. The Pittsburgh star is out for Wednesday’s Game 4 while recovering from yet another concussion, this one coming from being cross-checked in the head by Capitals defenceman Matt Niskanen in the first period of Washington’s 3-2 overtime victory on Monday night. Penguins coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby will be evaluated on a daily basis going forward. There is no timetable for the two-time MVP’s return. Pittsburgh, the defending Stanley Cup champions, lead the series 2-1, an advantage they built thanks in large part to Crosby. He scored twice in Game 1 and dished out a pair of assists in a blowout victory in Game 2 to give Pittsburgh control in a meeting of the longtime rivals who finished the regular season with the two best records in the NHL.———POLICE SAY CANADIAN WOMAN STRANGLED TO DEATH IN BELIZE: A Canadian woman and her American boyfriend who had been missing for days in Belize died of strangulation, local police said Tuesday as the pair’s friends and families were struggling to come to grips with their loss. The bodies of Francesca Matus, 52, of Toronto, and Drew DeVoursney, 36, from Georgia, were found Monday afternoon in a sugar cane field in the country’s Corozal district. Police said in a statement that DeVoursney’s body was found on top of Matus’s body, and both were in an “advanced state of decomposition.” Authorities said the deaths were being investigated as homicides. The pair had been missing since last Tuesday when they were last seen leaving a local bar around 11 p.m. Dozens of Canadian and American expats were involved in the search, scouring the beaches, waterways and the bush. Belize police Det. Zamir Noh said the bodies were discovered late Monday afternoon in a sugar cane field.———QUEBEC PUBLIC SECURITY MINISTER TOURS FLOODED AREA: Quebec’s public security minister asked flood-stricken communities to be patient on Tuesday as forecasts called for more rain this week. Numerous Quebec municipalities that border streams and rivers are dealing with floods as heavy precipitation and mild temperatures have caused water levels to rise rapidly. Martin Coiteux took stock of the situation in Shawinigan, Que., about halfway between Montreal and Quebec City. “I understand the situation, it’s not fun,” Coiteux said. “But we have to ask citizens to be a bit patient, because I think the next few days are not going to be days when things are going to improve right away.” Heavy rain and spring run-off have also caused some roads to wash away and sinkholes to form across the province. Two particularly hard-hit areas are Gatineau and Rigaud, just west of Montreal near the Ontario border. Rigaud Mayor Hans Gruenwald said he fears the worst and urged residents to reinforce rather than remove the sandbags protecting their homes.———B.C. LIBERAL LEADER’S VOTER ENCOUNTER GOES VIRAL: A brief encounter between Liberal Leader Christy Clark and a woman who said she would never vote for her is continuing to reverberate in British Columbia’s election campaign. The hashtag #iamlinda has become a rallying point on Twitter for people who oppose Clark’s government. A video posted online last week shows Clark in a North Vancouver market shaking hands with a woman who introduces herself as Linda and says she would never vote for her and begins to explain why. But Clark cuts her off, saying the woman doesn’t have to vote for her because that’s why we live in a democracy, before walking away. The encounter went viral and has been shared or retweeted thousands of times on social media. Campaigning Tuesday in Merritt, Clark said the exchange is the sign of a healthy democracy because people are welcome to confront their elected leaders if they don’t agree with their policies.———SENATOR SAYS ABUSE BY STUDENTS AN ‘UNSPOKEN TRUTH’: The former chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission says student-on-student abuse is an “unspoken truth” of Canada’s residential school legacy — one his own inquiry was not able to delve into. Murray Sinclair, now a senator, says physical and sexual abuse among students was not about sex but was rather a means for young people to inflict violence. He says student-on-student abuse was “degrading and dehumanizing to the victims,” suggesting it likely continues to haunt them today. Sinclair also says many former victims who haven’t come terms with their abuse go on to mistreat their own children — intergenerational trauma documented in a months-long investigation by The Canadian Press. He says his commission had evidence that victims of abuse by other students waited until the last possible minute to file their legal claims for compensation because they were waiting to see if perpetrators would die so they could avoid having to confront them.———INVESTIGATOR SAYS MAN’S PRISON DEATH PREVENTABLE: The death of a man who was repeatedly pepper sprayed at a New Brunswick prison was preventable, Canada’s correctional investigator has found in a damning review that concludes unnecessary force was used. Matthew Ryan Hines, who was serving a five-year sentence at Dorchester Penitentiary for offences including robbery, died on May 26, 2015. In a report released Tuesday, Ivan Zinger said the repeated use of pepper spray at very close range appears to have contributed to Hines’s rapid onset of medical complications. Zinger found correctional staff used unnecessary physical and chemical force, even as Hines was “clearly and fully” under control by the guards, and failed to properly respond to the ensuing medical emergency. “In this case, everything that could go wrong in a use-of-force intervention went wrong,” said Zinger. He said those factors ultimately led to the 33-year-old’s death by acute asphyxia due to pulmonary edema — a condition caused by excess fluid in the lungs.———PHARMACIST FINED FOR BAKING POT COOKIES: A pharmacist in Cape Breton has been fired and temporarily stripped of her licence for baking marijuana cookies for a patient and packaging them in a prescription bag. The Nova Scotia College of Pharmacists says it has reached a settlement agreement with JoAnne Andrews, who agreed that her actions last September amounted to professional misconduct. In a decision last week, the college says a patient gave Andrews medicinal marijuana at the pharmacy where she was practising in Sydney, N.S., and that she took it home to bake into cookies. The agreement says Andrews brought the cookies to the pharmacy for the patient to pick up, but left them in a bag when the patient didn’t show up before her shift ended on Sept. 7. Andrews gave the cookies to the patient at the pharmacy on Sept. 8, and was fired the next day. Under the agreement, Andrews was given a letter of reprimand, fined $1,000, had her licence suspended for 30 days and was ordered to take an ethics course and notify the college of where she’s practising for three years.
OTTAWA – Even as Ottawa was overrun with tourists hoping to catch a glimpse of two giant robots shaped like a dragon and a spider strolling through the capital this week, there were enough politicos left around Parliament Hill to natter for days about Rolling Stone.Prime Minister Justin Trudeau graced the magazine’s latest issue on Monday, and was gifted a gushing profile that compared him ever-so-positively to U.S. President Donald Trump.The heap of flattering international coverage of Trudeau has long prompted eye-rolling among opposition members, and the Rolling Stone version ramped that reaction up a notch.On a more material level, however, Trump’s administration and the Trudeau government actually saw eye to eye on a key development this week: the U.S. proposal for a border adjustment tax.The week was also notable for major news on how Canada is managing its natural resources, and how it may be mismanaging its military purchasing.Here are three ways politics touched Canadians this week:The dreaded BAT:Of all the alarming pronouncements made by the Trump administration since taking office, probably none has shaken Canadians’ confidence more than the threat of a border adjustment tax.The proposal would have taxed imports into the United States more heavily than domestic goods, with the dual purpose of encouraging production within America’s borders and building up some revenue to bring down U.S. domestic taxes in other areas.Now, the idea has been nixed —much to the relief of the federal government and business leaders. Even though most U.S.-watchers believed the tax didn’t stand much of a chance of ever becoming reality, the risk was high enough to prompt some jitters among people thinking of investing or expanding in Canada.The federal Liberals were quick to take some credit, pointing to all the lobbying they had done to make the point in Washington that the tax would hurt American consumers and was not worth pursuing. But there were many Americans, including Republicans, making the same argument.Oil, gas and the future:There were two major turns this week in Canada’s longstanding push to sell the world more of its oil and gas.First, Malaysia’s Petronas announced it was pulling out of a $36-billion liquified natural gas development in British Columbia. Both the Stephen Harper government and the Trudeau government had backed the massive Pacific NorthWest LNG project, with Trudeau arguing it was a prime example of socially responsible energy interests working to Canada’s benefit.The company blamed poor market conditions, while opposition critics in B.C. blamed government red tape.Then, the Supreme Court shut down seismic testing near the Clyde River community in Nunavut, but at the same time gave a green light to the expansion of the Line 9 pipeline in southwestern Ontario. The court used the two rulings to contrast how the National Energy Board could do things wrong (Clyde River) and do things right (Line 9) when it comes to thoroughly consulting with Indigenous Peoples.Taken together, the week’s developments show the world of investors that it might be possible — but certainly never easy — to develop and export oil and gas here.The case of the vanishing deadline:The federal government is in the midst of figuring out how to spend about $60 billion on new warships, what will likely be the largest planned military purchase in Canadian history and a project taxpayers will be financing for years and years.But deadlines for companies to have their proposals in for consideration have come and gone, and have not really been replaced. Experts worry it’s a sign of dysfunction behind the scenes, given Canada’s troubling and litigious history of procurement gone awry.The government says not to worry, there are plenty of signs that companies are ready and willing to participate in the competition and everything will unfold as planned.Construction on the new fleet is meant to begin between 2019 and 2021. The $60 billion is intended to pay for the building of 15 new ships to replace the navy’s frigates and destroyers.
TORONTO – Crown prosecutors are seeking to revoke the bail of a Toronto police officer convicted of attempted murder in the fatal shooting of a teen on an empty streetcar four years ago.Const. James Forcillo was sentenced to six years in prison last year for his role in the shooting of Sammy Yatim, an incident that set off a wave of public outrage after video of what happened went viral.The officer is appealing his conviction and had been out on bail, living under house arrest.On Wednesday, Forcillo was arrested and charged with breaching the conditions of his bail for allegedly failing to live with his surety, failing to notify Ontario’s police watchdog of any changes of address and for leaving his home without his surety, except under special circumstances.The arrest came after Forcillo had applied, a week earlier, to change the conditions of his bail, requesting to add a new surety and to live at her home.That application was withdrawn after Forcillo was arrested and charged with failing to comply with recognizance his lawyer, Michael Lacy, said.On Friday, as Forcillo appeared in a north Toronto court for a hearing on that charge, the Crown said it had applied to the Court of Appeal to have the officer’s bail revoked.The outcome of that revocation application will determine whether it is necessary to have a bail hearing on Forcillo’s charge of failing to comply with recognizance, a prosecutor said.If the Court of Appeal revokes Forcillo’s bail, he will begin serving his six-year prison term.Lacy said he could not comment on the Crown’s revocation application.“We’re reviewing it and looking at all the developments and we’ll take a position at the appropriate time,” he said.Forcillo is scheduled to return to court on Nov. 30 and will remain in custody until then.Though Forcillo was found guilty of attempted murder in Yatim’s death, he was acquitted of the more serious charge of second-degree murder for shooting the 18-year-old Yatim multiple times.
WINNIPEG – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister was hiking while on vacation in New Mexico and was overdue by an hour when his wife called police who found him injured at a trailhead.Lt. Elizabeth Armijo of the New Mexico State Police said Pallister was reported missing by his wife on Monday at about 7 p.m.The premier’s office said Pallister was hiking in the Gila Wilderness when he had a serious fall and suffered fractures in his left arm, along with numerous cuts and bruises.The government said Pallister was hospitalized that night and returned to Manitoba on Friday to determine if surgery will be necessary.Armijo said rescue volunteers began to prepare for a search after Pallister’s wife, Esther, called. But a New Mexico State Police officer who had been searching some different trailheads in the area found the premier at the main entrance for the Mogollon Trail, Armijo said.“When he was located, he had sustained some injuries, nothing serious, but enough to be transported to a hospital where he was treated,” she told The Canadian Press Friday.“He was waiting there and, due to his injury, it sounds like he was immobile.”Pallister was on vacation during a one-week break between legislature sessions.Armijo said she didn’t know if Pallister was hiking alone. She noted the Mogollon Trail has varying levels of intensity.“It’s in a very high altitude area and there are a lot of canyons and some treacherous areas that can be difficult for hiking. There’s a variety of trails that you can go in that specific area, but it’s definitely a trail that would be considered for experienced hikers.”Pallister’s office initially said the fall occurred Tuesday, but a spokesman later said that might have been a mistake.“He arrived back today, so we informed the public today,” Pallister’s director of communications, Chisholm Pothier, said in an email when asked why the premier’s accident wasn’t made public until Friday.The premier’s office also said earlier that Pallister suffered compound fractures, which mean the bone pierced the skin, but a spokesman later corrected that to say the fracture was comminuted, or there were multiple fractures.The Gila Wilderness is a 2,200-square kilometre protected area in southwestern New Mexico that offers “forested hills, majestic mountains and range land,” says a United States government website. It is remote and some areas are hard to access, because the wilderness designation includes strict limits on roads and motorized vehicles.It was designated the world’s first wilderness area in June 1924.Pallister’s office said he will be resting at home with his family this weekend.His Progressive Conservative government is scheduled to lay out its legislative plans in a throne speech on Tuesday.“He … would like to thank police and medical personnel for their quality care,” the premier’s office said in a statement.— With files from Rob Drinkwater in EdmontonThe premier’s office had said earlier Friday that Pallister suffered compound fractures, which mean the bone pierced the skin, but later corrected that to say there were multiple fractures.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. An earlier version included information from the premier’s office that said he suffered compound fractures.
EDMONTON – Mark Taylor is a busy man — tasked with delivering a leader, 87 candidates and a campaign war chest for a party that talks big, dreams bigger, but so far has been unable to roll up its sleeves and get much done.“I’ve seen the ebbs and flows of parties through my history and I’m just really excited about the trajectory this party is on,” said the new executive director of the Alberta Party.“It’s not just we want to have 87 candidates. I want to have 87 nomination races. I’m really looking for in the neighbourhood of 200 candidates.”It’s an auspicious target for a party that bills itself as the natural home of the centrist voter — socially progressive and fiscally conservative — and sees an opportunity to come up the middle in the blood feud between Premier Rachel Notley’s NDP and Jason Kenney’s United Conservatives.But in the bottom-line business of politics, the Alberta Party has lagged in every metric since it rebooted its mandate on a centrist axis in 2010.In the 2012 election, it ran 38 candidates but polled just 1.3 per cent of the vote and got shut out. In 2015, it ran three fewer candidates and polled 2.2 per cent, but did manage to elect then-leader Greg Clark in Calgary Elbow.The party doesn’t release membership numbers, but fundraising over the first nine months of this year has been poor — just over $77,000.The party didn’t contest a 2016 byelection in Calgary and isn’t fielding a candidate in the upcoming byelection in Calgary Lougheed.There are signs of progress.Clark’s one-person caucus recently became two when NDP Calgary backbencher Karen McPherson crossed the floor. More than 400 people came to the party’s annual general meeting Nov. 18. There were 59 last year.A new board of directors has representatives from across the province. Taylor said they have been rebuilding their constituency associations and now have more than 60.New blood has come on board including former conservative strategists Stephen Carter and Susan Elliott, as well as former PC president Katherine O’Neill.Clark, say sources in the party, acceded to suggestions earlier this month that a fresh face was needed to galvanize the party, so he stepped down to allow for a leadership vote set for Feb. 7.Carter pushed for a leadership race that he sees as a spark to go with the nuts and bolts of building constituencies and finding good candidates.“(The Alberta party) has to decide it wants to grow. It has to decide it wants to be a real political party,” said Carter, who shepherded successful election wins for Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi and former PC premier Alison Redford.“There was a time (the party) was going to do politics differently. I appreciate the sentiment, but politics is politics.“You have to be in this game to win this game.”The revitalization is getting a boost from so-called Red Tories, who are unhappy with the renewed social conservatism of Kenney’s United Conservatives. The Alberta Party’s general meeting included a number of former PCs, including former cabinet ministers Doug Griffiths and Stephen Khan.One-timer Tory cabinet minister Thomas Lukaszuk said he is intrigued by the Alberta Party, but wants to see the meat on the bone.“Without trying to insult them, I never thought of them as a political party,” said Lukaszuk.“There are a few pieces missing, but those pieces are very attainable,” he said, citing fundraising and energized constituency associations.Elliott dismisses suggestions that the party has become a rest home for disaffected Progressive Conservatives. She said that cohort was just a sliver of the 400 members at the meeting.“I didn’t know 90 per cent of the people there, and that’s a good thing,” said Elliott, who managed the successful Tory 2012 election campaign.“I saw a lot of people in the room who were of the millennial generation, who are getting interested in how their province is run (and) don’t like the choices that are facing them.”Political scientist Duane Bratt from Mount Royal University said there may be room for a true centrist option. But time is not on the side of the Alberta party, he said, with just 16 months to the next election and two dominant parties on its flanks.“Most of the oxygen has been sucked out by Kenney and Notley.”
TORONTO – No winning ticket was sold for the $5 million jackpot in Saturday night’s Lotto 649 draw.However, the guaranteed $1 million prize went to a ticket holder in Quebec.The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on Jan. 10 will be approximately $7 million.
TORONTO – A unilateral decision by Premier Doug Ford to slash the size of Toronto’s city council in half has dismayed at least one other big city mayor in Ontario.In an interview from Hamilton, Mayor Fred Eisenberger denounced Ford for announcing out of the blue his plan to legislate the change in the province’s largest city without any feedback from either local politicians or citizens just months before municipal elections take place.“I’m shocked and surprised that at this late hour, that such a dramatic change was proposed or was to be made, certainly without any public consultation, which is the most egregious part,” Eisenberger said in an interview on Friday.“Just to do this, without any of that, seems to me undemocratic and unhelpful in terms of providing the public at large an opportunity to have their say.”Like many other local governments in Ontario, including Toronto, Hamilton has been through amalgamation and ward changes, the mayor said. The city, after amalgamation in 2000, went from 78 councillors in six municipalities to 16 — including the mayor — in one. For the coming election, one ward has been scrapped and another created.All of this was done only after “extensive” public engagement, Eisenberger said.Under planned and approved ward changes, Toronto was to have had 47 councillors after October’s election, up from 44. The change would have left undisturbed the approximate ratio of one councillor to roughly 61,000 residents.Ford, who never mentioned the Toronto plan during last month’s provincial election, said on Friday that for Toronto to have nearly four dozen councillors is excessive and that he would legislate the number at 25 — almost doubling the ratio of councillor to resident to well over 100,000 — far higher than say the one-to-45,000 in Hamilton.The Progressive Conservative premier said it would make the city run more efficiently and save millions of taxpayer dollars.Toronto Mayor John Tory called Ford’s action an affront to democracy and said the change was being “rammed down our throats.”Eisenberger said cutting the number of Toronto councillors makes some practical sense in terms of governance.“Sixteen is difficult enough; working with 47 would be virtually impossible,” he said. “The way it’s been done, though, and not giving the people an opportunity to have their voice heard on that issue is undemocratic and unfortunate.”The Association of Municipalities of Ontario refused to comment on Ford’s planned course of action, saying it didn’t discuss issues related to individual local governments, and that Toronto has its own special relationship with the province.Eisenberger said he hoped Ford’s declaration didn’t mean the all-important working relationship between municipalities and the provincial government to which they are largely beholden was headed for difficult times.“I would hope it’s not a dictatorial approach but a collaborative one,” Eisenberger said. “Signs like these aren’t positive ones in terms of that direction.”
Canada will rejoin face-to-face negotiations with the United States and Mexico on Tuesday after the two continental partners reached a deal that has raised fresh concerns about the fate of the North American Free Trade Agreement.U.S. President Donald Trump announced Monday that his administration and Mexico agreed on a bilateral trade framework with the potential for big implications for Canada.He insisted the U.S.-Mexican progress created the foundation for an overhaul — or perhaps the termination — of the three-country agreement.Trump, a harsh critic of NAFTA, even mused about renaming the deal the “United States-Mexico trade agreement” to wash away the “bad connotations” linked to the 24-year-old pact.He extended an invitation to Ottawa to join what he cast as American-Mexican negotiations that have stretched through the summer without Canadian officials at the table.In doing so, he also hit Canada with a threat: if the country doesn’t become part of the new trade deal, he would enact devastating tariffs on automotive imports.“We’ll start negotiating with Canada relatively soon, they want to negotiate very badly,” Trump said in the Oval Office, with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto joining by speaker phone.“But one way or the other, we have a deal with Canada. It will either be a tariff on cars, or it will be a negotiated deal; and frankly a tariff on cars is a much easier way to go, but perhaps the other would be much better for Canada.”Following Trump’s announcement, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland cancelled the rest of a planned week-long diplomatic trip to Europe so she could travel to Washington to re-enter high-level talks.She heads to the U.S. capital as a key question hangs over the continent’s trading relationship: Is this the end of NAFTA as we know it?NAFTA is key partnership for Canada and doubts about its future have already created considerable economic uncertainty.Canada has been away from the NAFTA bargaining table since in-person trilateral talks paused last spring.Observers have raised concerns that Canada’s absence from the talks could put Ottawa in a position where it might be pressured into accepting a less-appetizing deal reached between the U.S. and Mexico. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has insisted his government will only sign a deal that’s good for Canada.The U.S.-Mexican announcement Monday clearly showed their summertime talks not only hashed out bilateral sticking points — such as automobile rules of origin — but also went deep into trilateral issues.Canada had been expecting the U.S. and Mexico to focus mainly on their bilateral issues, but they agreed on matters including intellectual property, digital trade, labour and financial services.The new deal would last 16 years with reviews every six years, a senior U.S. administration official said during a briefing. Canadian negotiators have been adamant that they will not agree to an earlier U.S. proposal that NAFTA be renegotiated every five years.Trump hinted he was ready to start the process of terminating the trilateral trade pact with Canada and Mexico and replace it with what he got Monday from Mexico. He also called on Canada to negotiate fairly, especially when it comes to dairy products.“We’re looking to help our neighbours,” he said. “If we can help our neighbours, that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. So, we’ll start that negotiation imminently.”Through an interpreter, Pena Nieto reminded Trump four times Monday that he hoped Canada would be part of an eventual trilateral agreement, saying it was the Mexican government’s wish that “Canada will also be able to be incorporated in all this.”Following Trump’s announcement, Trudeau’s office issued a statement saying the prime minister spoke with Pena Nieto on Sunday about NAFTA’s renegotiation and the two leaders “shared their commitment to reaching a successful conclusion to this agreement for all three parties.”
OTTAWA — Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen says he would like to increase the number of refugees Canada accepts and is pushing for higher refugee numbers every year.Speaking to participants in a conference marking World Refugee Day today, Hussen said one way to dramatically increase refugee levels is to open up economic immigration streams to refugees — programs they are usually not considered for.One refugee has already arrived in Canada this way, thanks to a pilot program launched last year that aims to match skilled refugees in Kenya and the Middle East with economic streams like the provincial nominee program.Hussen says he would like to “massively” ramp up this pilot as a way to bring more refugees to Canada through existing immigration programs.He and other migration experts say they are concerned about a global rise in rhetoric targeting refugees.They believe a key way to address this is to stop stereotyping refugees as a drain on resources and instead recognize them as skilled individuals who can help grow Canada’s economy by helping fill worker shortages across the country.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s top judge says there is slow but sure progress toward more timely justice in Canadian courts after years of backlogs and delays.Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner says things are on the right path almost three years after the high court set out strict timelines for completing criminal trials.Wagner told a news conference today that governments, judges, law societies and lawyers must work together to continue trying to improve the system.He says it’s important to change not only procedures and guidelines, but the way people think about access to justice.The Supreme Court plans to visit Winnipeg in September to hear two appeals and meet with Manitobans — the first time the court will sit outside of Ottawa.Taking the high court on the road is part of an effort to make it more accessible to the public.The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — The father of a suspected killer of three people in northern British Columbia is trying to access a video his son took which details his last wishes before his death.A lawyer for Alan Schmegelsky says he became aware of the video earlier this month when his son, Bryer Schmegelsky, and Kam McLeod were found dead from self-inflicted gunshot wounds in the northern Manitoba wilderness.Sarah Leamon says she has been in contact with the RCMP on behalf of her client so he can watch the video for closure. Bryer Schmegelksy’s father is grieving, she says, and has a right to see the video his son recorded in his last moments.“We can’t even imagine the type of emotional distress he’s been put through as a result of everything that’s gone on around his son’s death,” Leamon says. “He just simply wishes to see that video so that he can gain some clarity and gain some closure. So that he can feel as though he has some degree of comfort in an extremely uncomfortable and horrible situation.”RELATED: Canada manhunt suspects recorded ‘last will and testament’ before taking their own lives: reportShe says Alan Schmegelsky is concerned about seeing the video for the first time when it is released to the public.“He wants to see it in private and have a private moment,” she says. “We can’t lose sight of the fact that my client is a father, and he’s a father who lost his only son, his only child under extremely harrowing circumstances.”An email of the exchange obtained by The Canadian Press says the video is about how Bryer wanted his body to be dealt with after his death.In the email, the RCMP says the information about Bryer’s wishes was passed on to his mother and that police plan on publicly addressing the video in a media release in the next few weeks. Police have not publicly confirmed the existence of the video.Leamon says she doesn’t know how the email became public, but she verified its contents.The RCMP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
iVillage, one of the largest online communities for women, has announced that First Lady Michelle Obama will be its first-ever Guest Editor for the week of August 20, as part of a new Guest Editor series launching across its site.This marks the first time Mrs. Obama will participate as a guest editor with any media outlet. The First Lady’s editorial theme – “Rev Up Your Back-to-School Routine” – offers millions of women in the iVillage community fun, simple tips and advice to help ease the transition from beach bags to backpacks. In conjunction with her Guest Editor role, the First Lady will participate in an exclusive video interview on the same theme with iVillage’s Chief Correspondent, Kelly Wallace, to run as a multi-part video series on iVillage throughout the week of August 20.“Women get so much strength and inspiration from each other and I was thrilled to have the chance to work with iVillage and its energized, engaged audience of millions of women,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “As children across the country get ready to go back to school, this is an exciting — and sometimes overwhelming — time for American families. As Guest Editor, I hope to start a community dialogue on this topic so we can all share tips and advice to get our kids off to a great start in this new school year and help our families be healthier.”The First Lady will work closely with iVillage editors and contribute “Rev Up The Back-To-School Routine” content across iVillage’s Food, Parenting, and Health channels. For the past few months, the First Lady has been collaborating with the iVillage team to create and curate compelling articles and visuals around the back-to-school theme, some of which draw from her “Let’s Move” initiative, which strives to raise a healthier generation of kids. This subject will not only resonate with the 98% of iVillage’s audience who say they are involved in their children’s education, but will also address some of the issues that have populated iVillage’s social forums, including what to pack for lunch, how to find balance throughout the busy school year, and how to maintain healthy dinners as a family during a hectic school schedule.Each day throughout the week, a new subject – such as getting your family energized and moving, embracing a new healthy habit, and recharging your most important relationships – will be showcased. The First Lady’s articles will also include exclusive personal anecdotes and never-before-seen family photos that will provide a close look at her own back-to-school transition.“We are honored that Mrs. Obama chose to be our first Guest Editor as we launch our exciting, new program. This role provides a fresh avenue to talk with American women who, like her, are juggling a multitude of responsibilities,” said Jodi Kahn, President of iVillage. “Our research shows that a mere 11% of women have life ‘figured out,’ and we plan to continue featuring notable Guest Editors who will offer the iVillage community useable, easy solutions.”The First Lady’s Guest Editor participation will also be supported by extensive social media efforts in the iVillage community, including a custom Twitter initiative called #swaponething, where users share their tips about a healthy choice they make in lieu of a less desirable one, and inclusion in iVillage’s newsletter, distributed to five million subscribers.Mrs. Obama’s “Let’s Move” will also serve as the basis for an iVillage Community Challenge, one of the site’s signature franchises which rally hundreds of thousands of women around a common, but personal, goal. The six-week long “Get Moving Now” Community Challenge will focus on achieving a healthy lifestyle. Coaches, including the First Family’s personal trainer, Cornell McClellan, will guide participants through enough activity to earn their Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA.) Sign up is open and the challenge runs from September 17-October 26.Future iVillage Guest Editors — including prominent figures representing a broad cross section of experience, opinion and background — will be announced in the coming weeks.Source:PR Newswire