Paul OGrady Supports BUAV Our Best Friends Campaign

first_imgPaul O’Grady, television presenter, actor, comedian and star of the popular TV show, ‘For the Love of Dogs,’ is supporting the launch of ’Our Best Friends, a new campaign by the BUAV to raise awareness about and end the use of cats and dogs in experiments.Paul O’Grady and His Dog, OlgaCredit/Copyright: BUAVPaul O’Grady told the BUAV: “I love my dogs and would do anything to protect them. I was shocked to discover that so many dogs and cats are forced to suffer in experiments, right here in the UK. I am delighted to support the BUAV with its new campaign to end these cruel tests on Our Best Friends. And I urge others to do the same.”The UK is often said to be a nation of animal lovers, with dogs and cats our most popular companion animals, yet they continue to be harmed in cruel experiments and there is no government policy to reduce their use, let alone bring it to an end.The most recent government figures available show that over 2,800 dogs and 150 cats suffered in experiments in the UK in 2011. Figures for the five year period 2007-11 show over 20,000 dogs and over 800 cats were used, with many individuals forced to endure more than one experiment.The BUAV has a long history of campaigning to end experiments on cats and dogs, including unearthing the terrible suffering of dogs forced to endure cruel poisoning tests as well as the first ever in-depth exposé of the beagle breeding industry. More recently, the BUAV revealed controversial research taking place at Cardiff University, in which kittens’ eyes were sewn shut, played a key role in opposing a proposal to build a replacement beagle farm in Yorkshire and successfully campaigned to prevent an EU law that would have allowed stray cats and dogs to be used in the UK.Under the banner ‘Cats and dogs are our best friends – they don’t belong in laboratories’, the BUAV is now launching ‘Our Best Friends’ campaign to ban all experiments on dogs and cats in the UK. In the coming months, the BUAV will roll out a series of activities calling on the public, politicians, scientists and industry to back its call for a ban on the use of cats and dogs in experiments.Find out more and get involved in the campaign at read more

Annie Lennox Launches Auction On World AIDS Day

first_img 9 individualy signed baubles (available in various colours)You can access the auction here. Annie Lennox has launched the annual SING Campaign eBay Auction for World AIDS Day.Video: ANNIE LENNOX SING CAMPAIGN EBAY AUCTION 2013This year’s auction items include: 25 individual Christmas cards signed by Annie (custom made for this auction) 5 individual hand written lyrics for: Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This), There Must Be An Angel, Sisters (Are Doin It For Themselves), Here Comes The Rain Again and Whylast_img read more

Paul Simon Signs Guitar With Dave Matthews And Aaron Neville For Auction

first_imgChildren’s Health Fund – the charity co-founded by Paul Simon – has launched an online auction giving you the chance to bid on a fantastic celebrity-signed guitar and more.Guitar Signed By Paul Simon, Dave Matthews and Aaron NevilleThe guitar was signed by Paul Simon, Dave Matthews and Aaron Neville at the recent 2014 Children’s Health Fund Gala in NYC.Also going under the hammer for the charity is an Omega watch signed by Daniel Craig and worn by the actor in The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, an autographed Henrik Lundqvist jersey and hockey stick, and much more.Paul Simon and Irwin Redlener, MD founded Children’s Health Fund in 1987 after touring the Martinique Hotel, a shelter for homeless families in New York City, and witnessing the conditions under which homeless children lived.To view the auctions, click here.last_img read more

California Assembly Bill Motivates Celebrities To Take Action For Animals

first_imgCalifornia Assembly Bill 485, The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, has inspired stars such as Russell Simmons, Nikki Sixx, Kunal Nayyar, Leona Lewis, Alicia Witt, NASCAR Driver Leilani Munter, WWE’s Tyler Breeze and many more to take to social media and create a storm using #YesOnAB485.Assembly Bill 485, The Pet Rescue and Adoption Act, is a landmark bill authored by Assembly Members Patrick O’Donnell and Matt Dababneh, which saves animals’ lives and stands up to the cruelty of puppy mills. The legislation would replace puppy mill animals by showcasing dogs, cats, and rabbits from local animal shelters and rescue groups in pet retail stores statewide.Social Compassion In Legislation, the animal advocacy group sponsoring the bill, states that AB 485 will be a gigantic step forward in solving the state’s pet overpopulation crisis and will shut the door to the socially unacceptable cruelty of mill-bred animals.The bill will be heard on April 18, 2017 in the Assembly Business and Professions Committee.To learn more about the bill visit read more

Benedict Cumberbatch Named PETAs Most Beautiful Vegan 2018

first_imgThe time has come for PETA to crown the Most Beautiful Vegan Celebrities of 2018, and this year’s titles are going to two of the most prominent vegan role models in Hollywood: filmmaker Ava DuVernay and actor Benedict Cumberbatch.“Ava DuVernay and Benedict Cumberbatch are saving animals not only by going vegan but also by sharing their commitment with the world,” says PETA Senior Vice President Lisa Lange. “The vegan powerhouses behind Selma and Doctor Strange, respectfully, beautifully show what it means to be a compassionate star in 2018.”DuVernay, the barrier-breaking filmmaker behind 13th and A Wrinkle in Time, has pointed out on Twitter that going vegan is a social justice issue — and as the Oscar-nominated director told The Hollywood Reporter, “My mom always said to treat others like you like to be treated. … [E]veryone wants to be … respected and treated in a loving way.”Meanwhile, the Emmy Award–winning Cumberbatch took every opportunity to praise his new vegan lifestyle during his press tour for Avengers: Infinity War — and when Time Out London asked how he got in shape for the role, he was quick to respond, “I eat a plant-based diet.”Other top contenders this year included chart-topping musicians Swizz Beatz, Jason Derulo, Ne-Yo, and as well as actors Zac Efron and Ellen Pompeo.Past winners of PETA’s annual award — which previously recognized the “Sexiest Vegan Celebrities” — include Jhené Aiko, André 3000, Russell Brand, Jessica Chastain, Miley Cyrus, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Liam Hemsworth, Jared Leto, Leona Lewis, Tobey Maguire, Ellen Page, Natalie Portman, Maggie Q, Ruby Rose, Alicia Silverstone, Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, and Kristen Wiig.last_img read more

V Foundation Announces Research Grants To Be Awarded Through Robin Roberts Cancer

first_imgThe V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, is excited to announce that Bristol-Myers Squibb Company has provided a $2.5 million donation to the V Foundation for cancer survivorship research.The grant will be used by the V Foundation to fund biomedical cancer research through its Robin Roberts Fund for Cancer Survivorship. Through this fund, the V Foundation has committed to improving the long-term health and wellness of oncology patients after treatment. Announced in December 2017, the Robin Roberts Cancer Survivorship Fund was named in honor of Robin Roberts, a member of the V Foundation’s Board of Directors and co-anchor of ABC’s “Good Morning America.” The grant was announced last night at the ESPYs on the red carpet by Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation.“Just as Jim Valvano would have wanted, we have made amazing strides in cancer research – the wonderful science funded by the V Foundation is helping to create millions of survivors,” said Robin Roberts. “But for those survivors, it is a long journey and our health will always be at the forefront of our minds. As the number of survivors grow, it’s time to take a look at how the rest of our lives will be lived. We want to give every survivor the best chance at a long, full, happy and healthy life. I’m so pleased to be a part of this new initiative.”As research has led to improvements in treatments, there are more cancer survivors than ever. Today, there are more than 16 million U.S. cancer survivors and this number is expected to grow to 20 million by 2026. Survivors face chronic health conditions, cancer recurrence and more life-altering circumstances. The Robin Roberts Cancer Survivorship Fund will focus on biomedical cancer research areas with particular relevance to survivors including pediatrics, immuno-oncology and data science research focused on improving survivors’ outcomes.“Research to better understand how to improve the health and extend the lives of cancer survivors is critical to fully eradicating cancer,” said Braun. “The V Foundation is embarking on this new initiative to expand the ways that we can change the face of cancer forever.”Roberts has been a longtime friend and supporter of the V Foundation and was a colleague of Jim Valvano’s at ESPN, prior to joining “Good Morning America.” In 2007, Roberts was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her ensuing battle has been recognized with honors and awards by various organizations throughout the country. She inspired so many as she bravely shared her personal battle with the rare blood disorder myelodysplastic syndrome, or MDS, shortly after breast cancer. Roberts speaks openly about the importance of early detection, increasing treatment options available and support. She is an inspiration and role model for those battling cancer, as well as survivors facing continued challenges. Roberts announced the formation of the Robin Roberts Cancer Survivorship Fund on December 4, 2017 at a party in her honor at Blue Smoke in New York.The V Foundation has proudly awarded more than $200 million for cutting-edge cancer research. The V Foundation holds a 4-star (highest) rating from Charity Navigator, America’s largest evaluator of charities, and is among the top 4% of cancer charities of all charities evaluated. The V Foundation is a GuideStar platinum-rated charity.For more information about the V Foundation, please click here. Please click here to contribute to the Robin Roberts Fund for Cancer Survivorship Research.last_img read more

Toronto landmark makes appearance in new Star Trek series

first_imgAdvertisement READ MORE Twitter Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Toronto can add “Vulcan” to the long list of places it’s played on TV thanks to last night’s episode of Star Trek: Discovery.The new Space and CBS series, which premiered last month, has been filming in The 6ix since January 2017.Oh hey, I’m BlogTO famous.— ᴘᴜᴍᴘᴷᴵɴ ᴅᴜᴍᴘ ? (@heychristofur) October 23, 2017 Facebook LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment last_img read more

Want to buy a piece of a Drake song Tracks rights sold

first_imgSteve Stewart, Vezt’s co-founding CEO and former manager of the Stone Temple Pilots, says it’s a win-win situation for both parties: the creator gets to dictate the terms of the transaction and generate immediate money, and the buyer winds up owning a piece of an artistic creation, which could have deep sentimental value to that person.READ MORE Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment In this June 26, 2017 file photo, Canadian rapper Drake arrives at the NBA Awards in New York. (EVAN AGOSTINI / EVAN AGOSTINI/INVISION/AP) For a man who is at the top of his game, Drake can’t seem to stop making money — even when it’s for other people.Only this time, it’s a different kind of money, one that could have far-reaching implications as the music industry pushes further into the realms of cryptocurrency, the speculative digital money that is secured through cryptography and recorded by blockchain technology.In a pilot project of sorts, and in the hope of creating a direct and transparent marketplace for creators and rights holders, Los Angeles-based blockchain outfit Vezt just completed its “ISO” — initial song offering — in late November: a chance for 100 non-U.S. residents to purchase up to 10 per cent of the copyright of a Drake song. Advertisementcenter_img Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

The Toronto Stars 40th annual short story contest is open for submissions

first_imgNina Dragicevic was last year’s first-prize winner of the Toronto Star’s Short Story contest. Set in Burlington at Christmastime, her work “Cardinal” focused on an intimate conversation between two brothers. (RICHARD LAUTENS / TORONTO STAR FILE PHOTO) Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook “The biggest short story contest” may read as though it is an oxymoron, but it is what the Toronto Star Short Story Contest has become.Launched for the first time in 1978, the contest, which is open to Ontario residents, is now entering its 40th year.In its first year, hundreds of writers, amateur and professional, reached out to show the Star that they had the chops to win first prize. The Star has partnered with the Toronto Public Library for the last nine years, and, this year will be the seventh that Humber College has been a partner.Last year’s winning story was “Cardinal,” written by Nina Dragicevic. One of 1,200 entrants, Dragicevic composed an intimate piece that explored a dialogue between two brothers.She called her win “surreal,” and said that it was “easily the best thing that happened to me last year.”“To hear that I had made it into the final three took a while to digest. And at the event, I had hoped for the second-place prize because then I wouldn’t have to speak at the microphone — I’m terribly shy in front of a group. So when they announced that I had won, it was a pretty euphoric moment, and a bit terrifying.” Forty years on, the Star now sees up to 2,000 entries every yearNow, it’s the largest contest of its kind in Canada, and one of largest in North America. Advertisement Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgAdvertisement ABOUT THE BATA SHOE MUSEUMWith an International collection of over 13,000 shoes and related artefacts, the Bata Shoe Museum celebrates 4,500 years of footwear history in four distinctive rotating galleries. Through the creation of its innovative exhibitions, the BSM strives to enlighten and entertain visitors of all ages. For every shoe there’s a story. Discover thousands at the Bata Shoe Museum. Further information is available at or @batashoemuseum. Facebook Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment TORONTO – On June 13, the Toronto Raptors made history by winning their first NBA Championship in franchise history.  As the City of Toronto and Canada continue to celebrate this extraordinary achievement, the Bata Shoe Museum is excited to announce that sneakers belonging to members of the 2018-2019 team are on view beginning today in the Behind the Scenes exhibition on the main floor.Generously on loan to the Bata Shoe Museum from the Toronto Raptors, the sneakers on view include those worn by Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry, Danny Green, Serge Ibaka, Marc Gasol, Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet during the 2019 NBA playoffs.  Canadian Rapper and Raptors Global Ambassador, Drake, also has a pair of sneakers currently on view in the gallery.Visitors will be able to see the sneakers until September 18, 2019.  Following the display, they will be auctioned off in support of MLSE Foundation; a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of youth by building facilities, giving to sustainable programs and empowering youth through sports and recreation.  Auction details to follow at a later date. Login/Register With: Advertisement Twitterlast_img read more

Indigenous Potash Corp still eyeing potash play

first_imgAPTN National NewsA group of Five Saskatchewan First Nations say they’ve put together a deal to rival BHP Billiton’s recently rejected hostile takeover bid for Potash Corp of Saskatchewan.The federal government rejected BHP’s bid Wednesday, leaving room for Indigenous Potash Corp to get in the game.APTN National News reporterDelaney Windigo has this story.last_img

RCMP warns more confrontations loom if reinforcements bolster Mikmaq ranks

first_img(RCMP officers display cache of weapons seized during Thursday’s raid. APTN/Photo)APTN National NewsFREDERICTON, N.B.-A senior RCMP officer warned Friday reinforcements reportedly travelling to New Brunswick to bolster Mi’kmaq ranks could lead to a repeat of the heavily-armed raid of a warrior society-anchored anti-fracking encampment by RCMP tactical units the day before.Assistant Commissioner Roger Brown issued the warning during a press conference displaying rifles, ammunition and knives seized during Thursday’s raid. Brown said RCMP officers also seized improvised explosive devices.“I am very concerned that others may be coming in support of or otherwise and my concern on that is how this is going to unfold today or tomorrow,” said Brown.While Thursday’s raid appears to have temporarily neutralized some key players within the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society, there are widespread reports reinforcements are travelling to New Brunswick from other First Nation communities to join in the cause.Images of camouflaged RCMP officers in sniper positions and burning cruisers inflamed emotions as they flashed across social media platforms Thursday.Brown called for calm.“I am urging everybody to allow things to calm down and everyone who wants to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and law abiding manner,” he said.Brown said shots were fired from within the encampment and Molotov cocktails were thrown at police during the raid. He said the RCMP seized three bolt-action, single shot hunting rifles, one fashioned with a bayonet, at the site which sits about 15 kilometres northeast of Elsipogtog First Nation and 80 kilometres north of Moncton.RCMP officers, some wearing camouflage and wielding assault weapons, cleared the encampment Thursday to free SWN Resources Canada’s exploration vehicles which had been blocked by anti-fracking activists backed by the Mi’kmaq Warrior Society.The guns were displayed on a table during a press conference at the RCMP’s New Brunswick headquarters in Fredericton. The guns appeared alongside piles of ammunition, bear spray and knives.Brown said the guns, which were all legal, were hidden within the encampment which proved there were nefarious intentions behind their possession.“When you see firearms of that nature, hidden underneath a tent, with ammo and fully accessible at a second’s notice, that is not the context one would find normal firearms in this situation,” he said.Chief Superintendant Dwayne Gallant said seized improvised explosive devices included large commercial-grade fireworks packed with shrapnel made from shotgun pellets and small crushed rocks.Brown said the encampment’s weaponry posed a serious public security threat.“What triggered it was that situation was no longer secure, this situation was no longer a peaceful protest and that lives could be in danger,” said Brown.A total of 40 people were arrested during a volatile day of protest that followed the raid. The RCMP said nine people had been charged with pointing a firearm, mischief, assaulting a police officer, resisting arrest, obstructing justice and failing to abide by a court injunction.The RCMP said 31 people had been released on undertakings and promises to appear.There was also an attempt to burn the Elsipogtog RCMP police station at 2:30 a.m. Friday morning. The building is owned by the First Nation and the reserve’s fire department put out the flames before it caused any major damage, said the RCMP.The band council for Elsipogtog First Nation, which has been at the heart of the anti-fracking opposition, distanced itself from the seized weapons. Chief Arren Sock and some band councillors also met with Brown on Thursday evening.“Chief and Council of the Elsipogtog First Nation wish to state clearly that guns and bombs, if any, have no place in our peaceful efforts. The destruction of police vehicles was unfortunate and unnecessary,” said the statement. “A peaceful path forward still exists, but the situation is extremely volatile.”Sock was meeting with New Brunswick Premier David Alward late into the evening read more

Still a lot of work to do in breaking stigmas says Cree

first_img(Ken Ward, 57, was diagnosed with HIV in 1989. Photo: Brandi Morin/APTN)Brandi Morin APTN National NewsKen Ward didn’t think it could happen to him. But in 1989 it did. That’s when he was diagnosed with HIV. Ward instantly went into survival mode.“The news itself was traumatizing,” said Ward, now 57, who had contracted HIV from using a dirty needle. He was given just three to six months to live.It was while combing through a mixed “bag of emotions” of comprehending the situation when for a moment he thought of ending his life.“I figured I had two options. Either kill myself with a cocktail of drugs and a needle and say, ‘What’s the use?’…but I thought about it and said, ‘No, I think I want to try this other side of life, maybe I owe it to myself to walk this path to live the best I can with the quality of life I do have left to live clean and sober.’”But his worst fear wasn’t dying. It was the fear of whether he would be accepted and loved by his family and community when they learned he was HIV positive.It was a shameful disease to have, said Ward, who initially told his loved ones he had cancer because it was considered more acceptable. He remembered back then there was a lot of hysteria about HIV and AIDS- an aggressive and contagious disease, with no cure that carried an imminent death sentence.But he knew he couldn’t go on hiding the truth for long. Within a couple of months he broke the news to his mother and siblings.“It was a very dramatic moment- there was a lot of crying, shrieking,” he said. “Then we got back together and processed it together.”His family and home community of Enoch Cree Nation, west of Edmonton, Alta, did come together to support him. It’s something that he attributes to having survived so long.“A lot of people rely on prescription or medical treatment, but family and community acceptance is so important. The care is not only the physical well-being. It’s the emotional well-being,” said Ward. If a person has that support, acceptance and understanding, chances are that they will survive and live for much longer.”The stigma around HIV/AIDS is what has driven him to travel the country raising awareness over the last two decades. All these years later stigma’s still exist within Aboriginal communities, he said, along an alarming increase in HIV/AIDS.The latest statistics show that Aboriginal people in Canada are getting hit the hardest. According to, Canada’s source for up to date HIV and Hepatitis C information, Aboriginal people are 4 times more likely to get HIV than non-Aboriginal Canadians.Denise Lambert, program designer at the Kimamow Atoskanow Foundation in Edmonton, an organization that works to bring awareness primarily to HIV and AIDs, is not surprised by the latest numbers. She believes the stats aren’t accurately collected and fears the situation is a lot worse than documented.“They’re (stats) just a best guess and doesn’t sit well with me,” said Lambert. “It’s the best estimate that the government can come up with to figure out how this disease is affecting us. It’s likely worse for us because there’s not supportive testing strategies in our communities.”She explained that the stats are skewed because not everyone may identify as First Nation, Metis or Inuit when being surveyed. And the statistics are always delayed, in this case they’re two years behind.In some instances people will avoid getting tested, she said and 21 per cent of people living with HIV don’t even know they have it.“It’s not a problem that’s easily solved. It’s not going to go away. Because of population growth, if we don’t start changing some of our foundational issues- we need to get into a healthy way of life again,” she said. “It’s really about getting back out into the communities to let people know that we’re here if they want to learn.”The fastest way HIV/AIDS is spreading is through intravenous drug use. Lambert says addressing the issue also goes along with addressing underlying factors to addictions, which is related to trauma experienced by Aboriginal People.“People sometimes don’t get the connection that the trauma and hurt is also part of why people use so much whether it’s alcohol, drugs or other substances and behaviour,” she said. “Our painful history is sometimes soothed by drugs and alcohol. We have great pains still that people don’t know how to deal with and it’s evidenced.”She’s known Ward for over 25 years and calls him a brother and a visionary.“Despite what he went through this was a role that was needed. He was actually able to fill that role by sharing his story so that other people didn’t have to go through what he’s gone through,” she said.He’s had brushes with death along the way, including other health issues like triple bypass surgery and TB detected in his lymph nodes. However, the HIV is no longer detectable in his bloodstream and he is feeling fairly healthy now a day.“The journey hasn’t been easy…,” and the journey continues for Ward, who said there’s still a lot of work to do.“People still say to me you’re not going to go yet, Ken, because your work is not done yet. The elders who have always been my strongest allies, they told me, ‘We’re going to pray for you that you live a good and long life and have a good journey…’ That was certainly a very memorable moment in my life,” said Ward.To learn more about the latest HIV/AIDS research in Canada head to www.catie.cawww.catie.cabmorin@aptn.calast_img read more

Japan website offers anonymity for variety of grievances

first_imgTOKYO – A cartoon cat in a purple robe brandishes a tiny gavel as it comforts another cat yowling from abuse: The images welcoming visitors to Sorehara, a Japanese website for anonymous complaints about harassment and other grievances, are deceptively endearing.“You don’t have to suffer alone. Get help from the cat who seeks justice,” it says.Sorehara, an abbreviation of the Japanese for “That’s harassment,” was devised by a 21-year-old college student and, like many #MeToo apps and websites, is meant to help victims of abuse safely fight back against their tormentors.It allows users to send anonymous complaints by email, without registering any personal information and is gaining popularity in Japan, despite some concerns over the potential for its misuse.On-the-job harassment is gaining attention as the #MeToo movement slowly takes root here. Sexual harassment claims have brought on recent resignations of high-profile officials, pop stars and professors.But the website doesn’t focus just on sexual misbehaviour. Sorehara goes to very Japanese extremes in allowing users to register their disapproval electronically to those who offend them in all sorts of ways, including indulging in garlic, wearing excessive perfume or smelling too strongly of cigarette smoke.Victim blaming can be severe in highly conformist Japan so anonymity is essential for helping them feel safe, says Tatsuki Yoshida, 21, who developed Sorehara and founded his start-up Quaerere last year.“In Japan, companies don’t like to deal with harassment issues. People who raise their voices about harassment usually just get moved to a different department or maybe given a raise. Or they get fired,” he told The Associated Press in a recent interview in Fujisawa, southwest of Tokyo.A college sophomore, he is taking time off from his studies to work on Sorehara.Inappropriate behaviour and unwanted sexual advances, repugnant and dangerous as they can be, are just part of a universe of gripes people might have about their co-workers.So Sorehara offers users various options, including “power harassment,” bullying, alcohol harassment, sexual harassment and even “smell harassment.”Next, they chose the level of severity, ranging from mere annoyance to threatening legal action. They fill in the email and a name or nickname of the person accused of the misbehaviour, but not their own email or name. The Japanese-language site gives an option to delay sending the message for up to two months, to reduce the possibility of the accuser being recognized.Recipients get an email politely notifying them of the harassment claim, asking if they recognize it and giving a choice of responses such as: “I will reflect on my behaviour,” or “I have done nothing wrong.”An English version was released recently, and a Korean-language version is in the works.The #MeToo era has inspired companies, colleges and support groups to devise all sorts of apps and other online support for victims of sexual harassment and other abuses.Some, like Protibadi in Bangladesh, HarassMap in Egypt and bSafe use mapping and GPS technology to help protect people by identifying potentially unsafe locations or notifying a user’s friends if the person seems to be in trouble. AI-powered chatbots like Spot, developed in California, automate harassment reporting. Others focus on support and counselling for victims. Few combine anonymity with direct online complaints the way Sorehara does.Some worry that this anonymity could invite abuse because the claims can’t be verified, and because many Japanese tend to view simple annoyances like body odour as grievous social transgressions.“There’s a possibility that the person you say is a harasser is not really harassing,” said Yoko Iwasaki of Cuore C Cube Co., a business management consulting company in Tokyo that focuses on harassment and diversity issues.“That person who receives that email from Sorehara might feel very weird and attacked. Sending that kind of message can also be harassment,” she said.But Hiroaki Morio, a professor at Kansai University, says he just believes the website is meant to be “light-hearted.”“They’re trying to make harassment easier to deal with,” Morio said.Despite the wider recognition of sexual harassment as a problem, Japanese thinking has not changed much and as most people still feel unable to speak up, so anonymous outlets like Sorehara can help, says Mayumi Haruno, who became the first Japanese woman to sue alleging on-the-job sexual harassment after she was forced out of her job in the 1980s. She won 1.65 million yen ($15,000) in damages in a lawsuit that she filed in 1989.Social media that allow anonymity, like Line, Twitter and Mixi are popular in Japan and in neighbouring South Korea, where Blind, an anonymous message board app for employees, launched a #MeToo message board early this year.“I think people are still afraid to make things public because they’re afraid of a backlash,” said Kyum Kim, co-founder of TeamBlind, which started the Blind app in 2013 and has offices in San Francisco, Seoul and Tokyo. “I think that’s the culture right now in Japan and Korea.”Sorehara says it sends about 50 complaints a day. Most people who get them accept or at least acknowledge them, suggesting most claims are genuine, Yoshida said.He says Sorehara is meant more to open lines of communication and raise awareness than to provide a formal way to report or solve harassment cases. Different people draw social lines in different places, Yoshida says, so he wants Sorehara to help people educate each other.Several companies, including one with about 200 employees, are working with Sorehara to use the service internally, and Yoshida says he is also collaborating with counselling services.“I don’t think companies are really changing internally,” Yoshida said. “But they are scared about their image, so at least they are paying more attention.”___Follow Nicola Shannon on Twitter at work can be found at read more

Canadas housing affordability has reached the worst level in 28 years RBC

first_imgTORONTO – Canada’s housing affordability has reached its worst level in 28 years and is bound to deteriorate even further, say Royal Bank of Canada economists.The share of income a household would need to cover ownership costs hit 53.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2018, the economists said in a report released Friday.Based on their analysis, the cost of owning a home in the country hasn’t been this bad since 1990, when the share of income a household would need to cover ownership costs was 56 per cent.“After years of worrying about deteriorating affordability, this trend has continued and unfortunately, when you look at where interest rates are going ownership affordability will continue to deteriorate for at least the next little while,” said Robert Hogue, a senior economist at RBC.The lack of affordability can largely be blamed on rising interest and mortgage rates, he said.He also found the entire country’s affordability is being dragged down by the Vancouver, Toronto and Victoria markets, where affordability has hit 88.4, 75.9 and 65 per cent respectively.Vancouver’s rate is at a “never-seen-before level anywhere in Canada” and “calling it is a crisis is no exaggeration,” Hogue and his fellow economists noted in the report.They found that buying a single-detached home in the city is becoming something only the rich can afford because it would take almost 120 per cent of a typical household’s income to cover ownership costs. Settling for a condo is increasingly become a luxury for many, they added.In Toronto, they discovered that the relief buyers got around affordability late last year and early this year was “small and short-lived,” because the market continued its upwards trajectory.The Toronto Real Estate Board previously said the average selling price in the region in August was $765,270, while the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver said its composite benchmark price for the time period was $1,083,400.Both markets were coincidentally identified by the Union Bank of Switzerland on Friday as having some of the world’s biggest housing bubbles, with affordability risks that were on par with Hong Kong, Munich, London and Amsterdam.RBC’s economists are predicting that affordability levels will continue to deteriorate if interest rates keep rising, but they expect household income increases to soften the blow for buyers.The RBC report also revealed the share of income a household would need to cover ownership costs was 28.4 per cent in Edmonton, 38.6 per cent in Ottawa, 43.9 per cent in Calgary and 44.1 per cent in Montreal.“We have seen deterioration over the past year in affordability, but still in the vast majority of markets outside of Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria, we don’t see affordability being at an unmanageable level,” Hogue added.“Generally, affordability is okay.”last_img read more

Prison for NY developer in Buffalo Billion bid rigging case

first_imgNEW YORK — A Buffalo developer has been sentenced to 28 months in prison and ordered to pay a $500,000 fine in a bid-rigging scheme connected to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s “Buffalo Billion” economic redevelopment program.Louis Ciminelli (sih’-mih-NEHL’-ee) was sentenced Monday in federal court for a pay-to-play conspiracy in which his firm won a development job worth a half billion dollars.Ciminelli and three others were convicted over the summer. Prosecutors say the scheme involved state-funded contracts worth more than $850 million.Prosecutors say Ciminelli and others in his company contributed nearly $100,000 to Cuomo’s campaign. The Democratic governor was not accused of wrongdoing.A federal jury convicted two other developers and former president of the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute Alain Kaloyeros (kal-oh-YEHR’-ohs).Kaloyeros is scheduled for sentencing next week.Jim Mustian, The Associated Presslast_img read more

US stocks claw back some of their big losses oil slides

first_imgNEW YORK — U.S. stocks climbed Tuesday morning, putting at least a temporary halt to the steep market losses that circled the globe in prior days. Asian markets sank sharply earlier in the day, but European markets were mixed.The price of crude oil continued its sharp slide, and investors are waiting to hear from the Federal Reserve, which begins a two-day meeting on interest rates. Most economists expect it to raise short-term rates by another quarter of a percentage point, but investors hope that it will signal a slower pace of increases ahead.KEEPING SCORE: The S&P 500 was up 20 points, or 0.8 per cent, at 2,566, as of 10 a.m. Eastern time. The index had two steep losses of at least 1.9 per cent in the two prior days, and it closed Monday at its lowest since two Octobers ago.The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 248, or 1.1 per cent, to 23,841, and the Nasdaq composite gained 69, or 1 per cent, to 6,822.TAKING OFF: Boeing surged to one of the market’s biggest gains after it raised its dividend 20 per cent and increased its stock buyback program by $2 billion to $20 billion. Boeing’s stock has struggled recently on worries that the global trade war will hit its profits particularly hard.Boeing rose 4.4 per cent to $330.12.EARNINGS BOOST: Oracle jumped 3.4 per cent to $47.30 after reporting stronger profit for the latest quarter than analysts expected. Companies across the country have been doing similarly throughout this year, but investors have often given the better-than-expected performances less attention than their worries about slowing economic growth, higher interest rates and global trade tensions.FED MEETING: Most economists expect the Fed to raise its short-term interest rate to a range of 2.25 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The rate helps set borrowing costs for various types of loans, and higher rates can slow economic growth and make stocks look relatively less attractive.MARKETS OVERSEAS: In Europe, Germany’s DAX rose 0.3 per cent, while France’s CAC 40 dripped 0.3 per cent and the FTSE 100 in London dropped 0.6 per cent.Losses were more severe in Asia. The Nikkei 225 in Japan lost 1.8 per cent, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 1 per cent and South Korea’s Kospi slipped 0.4 per cent.COMMODITIES: The price of oil tumbled on worries about oversupply and softening growth in China, which could hit demand. Benchmark U.S. crude dropped $1.36 to $48.84 per barrel. On Monday it closed below $50 a barrel for the first time in 14 months. Brent crude, used to price international oils, gave up $1.15 to $58.46 per barrel.Gold dipped $1.50 to $1,250.30 per ounce.YIELDS: The yield on the 10-year Treasury dipped to 2.84 per cent from 2.85 per cent late Monday.CURRENCIES: The dollar dipped to 112.56 Japanese yen from 112.75 yen late Monday. The euro rose to $1.1373 from $1.1350, and the British pound rose to $1.2646 from $1.2629.Stan Choe, The Associated Presslast_img read more

World Bank cuts forecast for world economic growth in 2019

first_imgWASHINGTON — The World Bank is downgrading its outlook for the global economy this year, citing rising trade tension, weakening manufacturing activity and growing financial stress in emerging-market countries.In a report titled “Darkening Skies,” the anti-poverty agency said Tuesday that it expects the world economy to grow 2.9 per cent in 2019, down from the 3 per cent it forecast back in June. It would be the second straight year of slowing growth: The global economy expanded 3 per cent last year and 3.1 per cent in 2017.“Global growth is slowing, and the risks are rising,” Ayhan Kose, the World Bank economist who oversees forecasts, said in an interview. “In 2017, the global economy was pretty much firing on all cylinders. In 2018, the engines started sputtering.”The bank left its forecast for the U.S. economy unchanged at 2.5 per cent this year, down from 2.9 per cent in 2018. It predicts 1.6 per cent growth for the 19 countries that use the euro currency, down from 1.9 per cent last year; and 6.2 per cent growth for China, the world’s second-biggest economy, versus 6.5 per cent in 2018.The bank upgraded expectations for the Japanese economy, lifting its growth forecast to 0.9 per cent, up from 0.8 per cent in 2018.President Donald Trump, declaring that years of U.S. support for free trade had cost America jobs, last year slapped import taxes on foreign dishwashers, solar panels, steel, aluminum and $250 billion in Chinese products. Other countries retaliated with tariffs of their own in disputes that have yet to be resolved.The exchange of tariffs is taking a toll on world trade. The bank predicts that the growth of world trade will slow to 3.6 per cent this year from 3.8 per cent in 2018 and 5.4 per cent in 2017. Slowing trade is hurting manufacturers around the world.Rising interest rates are also pinching emerging-market governments and companies that borrowed heavily when rates were ultra-low in the aftermath of the 2007-2009 Great Recession. As the debts roll over, those borrowers have to refinance at higher rates. A rising dollar is also making things harder for emerging-market borrowers who took out loans denominated in the U.S. currency.“Now debt service is eating into government revenues, making it more difficult (for governments) to fund essential social services,” said World Bank CEO Kristalina Georgieva, who will replace bank president Jim Yong Kim on an interim basis when he leaves at the end of January.The bank slashed its forecast for 2019 growth for Turkey, Argentina, Iran and Pakistan, among others.Paul Wiseman, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Muslims unite to free Waqf land from encroachment

first_imgNew Delhi: To free the Waqf land from the encroachments all over the country, the eminent Muslim personalities from both Shias and Sunnis sects vowed to come together and fight for it without any differences. Addressing a large gathering of around 5000 people at Karbala Jor Bagh in Delhi’s Lodhi Colony, Maulana Kalbe Jawwad also gifted a ‘sword’ to senior lawyer Mahmood Paracha and asked him to lead the fight to free Waqf properties from of the encroachers. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe programme was organised under the banner of ‘All India Waqf Protection Conference’ on Sunday after land worth around Rs 50,000 crore was freed from encroachment at Karbala Jorbagh including a nursery. Bot Maulana Kalbe Jawwad and lawyer Mahmood Paracha together with eminent Muslim personalities have vowed to fight against encroachment at Waqf properties. “It is time that all Muslims come together to free the Waqf land from encroachments, this is a pan India movement and we wish to fight it legally with the help of Muslims across the country,” said Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, General Secretary Anjuman- e Haideri Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsInterestingly, the photo of BR Ambedkar also found its space on the poster with Shia scholar Kalbe Jawwad who called for the conference. “The photo of Bahasahab indicates that we are going to take this fight legally across the country, also we have called both Shias and Sunnis to aid each other in the liberation of the Waqf land from encroachments,” said senior lawyer Mahmood Paracha who played an instrumental part in freeing the Waqf land in Jorbagh Karbala.last_img read more

Lok Sabha polls: AAP names 15 star campaigners for Delhi

first_imgNEW DELHI: The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has come up with 15 names to be the party’s star campaigners in Delhi, senior party leader Gopal Rai said. Rai said these names would be submitted to the Election Commission for approval on Wednesday and they would come up with more names in the coming weeks. “A total of 40 campaigners will be campaigning for the party in Delhi,” he said. Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and senior party leaders Satyendra Jain, Sanjay Singh and he are among those chosen by the party, Rai said. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe other names on the list include party members Bhagwant Mann, Sushil Gupta, ND Gupta, Imran Hussain, Kailash Gahlot, Saurabh Bhardwaj, Rajendra Pal Gautam, Rakhi Birla, Jarnail Singh and Shahnaz Hindustani, he said. The election to the seven Lok Sabha seats in the national Capital will be held on May 12. Meanwhile, AAP Delhi convenor Gopal Rai on Wednesday asked DPCC President Shiela Dikshit whether the people of Delhi should believe her latest statement on her earlier statement of November 21, 2013, when she had stated that due to Delhi not being a full state there has been a problem of coordination between different agencies and such problems would have been resolved had Delhi been a full state. “Dikshit has also stated that full statehood will no longer be a part of her party’s manifesto, she should explain what was the compulsion of her party in having promised full statehood for Delhi on 30th January 2015,” he said. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsRai also said that she should tell the people of Delhi whether the 2015 manifesto was a lie or what are her latest compulsions in going back from what her party had been promising to the people of Delhi for decades? “It is shocking that somebody who has been a Chief Minister of Delhi on Wednseady said that statehood for Delhi cannot be an issue for Lok Sabha elections. If one were to believe what Mrs Dikshit is saying today then on what basis she had got a resolution passed from the Assembly and sent it to the then central government for getting this demand fulfilled ?,” the AAP leader said.last_img read more