New Delhi: India’s stock market wealth grew by Rs 75.25 lakh crore in five years since Narendra Modi-led NDA emerged victorious in the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, with benchmark Sensex gaining 61 per cent during this time. An analysis of the stock market movements from May 16, 2014 till date showed that the 30-share BSE Sensex jumped 14,689.65 points or 60.89 per cent. The index hit an all-time high of 40,124.96 points in morning trade on Thursday, amid trends pointing towards a thumping majority for Modi-led NDA in the general elections. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documentsThe overall market capitalisation (m-cap) of BSE-listed companies has grown from little over Rs 75 lakh crore to Rs 150.25 lakh crore during May 16, 2014-May 23, 2019 period. This represents an increase of Rs 75.25 lakh crore. At close of trade Thursday, the market valuation of BSE-listed firms was at Rs 1,50,25,175.49 crore. The BSE benchmark index jumped 1,014.75 points to 40,124.96 during the day after BJP’s strong showing in the Lok Sabha polls. However, later it gave up all the gains and closed at 38,811.39, a fall of 298.82 points amid profit-booking towards the fag end of the day’s trade. Also Read – World suffering ‘synchronized slowdown’, says new IMF chiefThe results of 2014 Lok Sabha polls were announced on May 16 and BJP had won 282 seats. Subsequently, National Democratic Alliance (NDA), headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, formed the government. “In the past 5 years, the stock market has made new highs and touched new milestones. Politics is at the crux of the current rally and stocks have risen only due to the euphoria of a Modi government coming back to power for yet another term. “History has shown time and again that during elections, emotions always surpass rationality and it is this very sentiment that drives the markets. However, this sentimental rally is short-lived and eventually when the frenzy fades away, markets might witness a decent correction,” Umesh Mehta, Head of Research at SAMCO Securities, said. Jagannadham Thunuguntla, Senior Vice President and Head of Research (Wealth) at Centrum Broking, said that in 2014, there was historic political mandate with single party winning clear majority leading to huge rally in equity markets in anticipation of major reforms. According to him, there was broad-based rally with participation across sectors creating enormous wealth for investors but starting 2018, the markets rally got concentrated into select large-cap companies with under performance in broader markets. “With the clear mandate coming in 2019 elections, there is a possibility that this divergence between large-caps and mid-caps will disappear; and participation may again become broad-based,” he said. Nilesh Shah, MD and CEO of Kotak Mutual Fund, said removal of political uncertainty is always welcome from a market point of view. “Current mandate shows the maturity of voters in choosing a stable government. Now with that uncertainty behind, markets will focus on steps taken by the government to encourage investment and give push to consumption, which is hitting a soft patch,” he added. RIL is the country’s most valued firm with a market valuation of Rs 8,46,751.88 crore, followed by TCS (Rs 7,72,728.58 crore), HDFC Bank (Rs 6,36,120.68 crore), Hindustan Unilever Ltd (Rs 3,79,028.92 crore) and HDFC (Rs 3,66,149.73 crore). “Well, since 2014 the markets have done very well up 60 per cent in five years. This a is a very good performance by any standards, global or local,” Sindhu Sameer, Head of Sales Institutional Equities at Emkay Global Financial Services Ltd, said.
Colombo: Nine Muslim ministers and two provincial governors from the minority community resigned Monday to allow the Sri Lankan government to investigate allegations against some of them on links to an Islamist extremist group blamed for the deadly Easter suicide bombings. The Muslim politicians also protested what they term the government’s inability to ensure the safety of their community which constitute 9 per cent of the island’s 21 million population. There are 19 Muslims lawmakers in the 225-member Parliament and nine of them held Cabinet, state and deputy ministerial positions. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests'”Until security of the people is ensured and until investigations are done by the police’s Crime Investigations Department (CID) is finalised we will stay as government back benchers,” Rauff Hakeem, a lawmaker for Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, told reporters. Their resignations came four days after thousands of people, including majority Buddhist community monks, launched a protest in the pilgrim city of Kandy, demanding the expulsion of three Muslim leaders whom they alleged were linked to the National Thowheeth Jamaath (NTJ) — the banned outfit blamed for the attacks on three Colombo hotels and three churches. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaFollowing the April 21 attacks that claimed 258 lives, some Muslim politicians representing the government came under criticism for their alleged support extended to the rising Muslim militancy. Industry and Commerce Minister Rishath Bathiyutheen was accused of supporting the ISIS linked NTJ. The Sinhala majority nationalists were demanding the sacking of Bathiyutheen. The Opposition moved a motion of no confidence in the Parliament against Bathiyutheen, who has denied links to the NTJ and its terror activities. In the wake of the bombings, majority Sinhala community mobs attacked Muslim-owned properties in towns north of the capital killing one Muslim man and leaving hundreds of homes, shops and mosques vandalised. “We took this decision (to resign) as a responsible community who is keen on ensuring reconciliation and peace in the country,” said Kabir Hashim, a senior minister. He said since the Easter Sunday attacks, the Muslim community had volunteered to give information on the NTJ.
Ramallah (Palestinian Territories): Palestinian leaders say a US envoy’s comments on Israel having the right to annex at least parts of the occupied West Bank show “extremists” are involved in White House policy on the issue. In a statement late Saturday in response to US ambassador to Israel David Friedman’s comments in a New York Times interview, a Palestinian government spokesman said some leading US policy on the issue were “extremists” lacking in “political maturity.” The Palestinian foreign ministry said it was looking into filing a complaint with the International Criminal Court on the issue. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’Palestine Liberation Organisation secretary general Saeb Erekat on Twitter called Friedman an “extreme ambassador of the settlers.” “Their vision is about annexation of occupied territory, a war crime under international law,” he said. Erekat also renewed a Palestinian call for countries to boycott a June 25-26 conference in Bahrain to discuss economic aspects of a peace deal the White House has been working on. In the interview published Saturday, Friedman said some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in China”Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank,” he said. Israel occupied the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War and its construction of settlements there is viewed as a major stumbling block to peace as they are built on land the Palestinians see as part of their future state. Friedman has in the past been a supporter of Israeli settlements as has the family of Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and adviser leading efforts to put together the peace deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledged ahead of April elections to begin annexing West Bank settlements. Bringing settlements under Israeli sovereignty on a large-scale could end any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians. More than 600,000 Jewish settlers now live in the West Bank and annexed east Jerusalem among some three million Palestinians. On the long-delayed peace plan, Friedman said it was aimed at improving the quality of life for Palestinians but would fall well short of a “permanent resolution to the conflict”.
Muzaffarnagar (UP): Alleging harassment by a state government official, a flour-mill owner committed suicide here, police said on Wednesday. Niraj Kumar consumed poison in the compound of Bijnor Collectorate on Tuesday. In a suicide note recovered from the spot, he claimed that he was being harassed by Vineet Saini, a junior engineer of the state power corporation. According to police, Saini had booked Kumar in a power theft case. The flour-mill is situated in Miranpur town in the district and the case is being probed by the official of that district, District Magistrate Bijnor Sujit Kumar said. According to the officials, the deceased in a press conference on July 6 had sought permission for euthanasia from the President of India fed up by the alleged harassment. Meanwhile, the engineer has been suspended by the power corporation department and an inquiry has been ordered in the incident, the official said.
Palghar: Tremors with a magnitude of 3.5 on the Richter Scale were experienced in Palghar district of Maharashtra on Saturday morning, officials said. No casualties or damage to property were reported, chief of the District Disaster Control Room Vivekananda Kadam said. “The tremors were felt around 9.17 am. There were no reports of any mishap due to the tremors. However, people ran out of the houses out of fear,” he said. The last time tremors were felt in Palghar district was on July 10. The magnitude of those tremors was 2.6 on the Richter Scale, Kadam said. Parts of Palghar district, especially Dahanu area, has been experiencing such tremors since November last year, with most of them centred around Dudhalwadi village. Between April and May this year also, tremors were felt at least half a dozen times in the district, officials said.
Ranchi: Two tribal women hockey players were found hanging from a tree in Jharkhand’s Simdega district, a senior police officer said on Tuesday. The two women hockey players – Sunandini Bage (23) and Shraddha Soreng (18) – went missing on Saturday and their bodies were found hanging from a tree at Biru village in Simdega district on Sunday, the officer said. The families of Sunandini and Shraddha alleged that they were murdered. On the basis of the complaint lodged by the family members, an FIR has been registered under IPC section 302 (murder) against unidentified persons, the officer said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ Post-mortems were conducted at Simdega Sadar Hospital on Monday and the bodies were cremated at their native places. Superintendent of Police, Simdega, Sanjeev Kumar on Tuesday claimed that the mystery behind the death of the two sportspersons will be solved very soon. He, however, refused to divulge whether it was a case of murder or suicide, adding that such disclosure at this juncture would adversely affect the investigations. “We have interrogated several persons in Jharkhand and Odisha and gathered some vital clues. In fact, one of our team is still camping in Rourkela. They are expected to return in the evening. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K “The post mortem reports of the deceased too are expected to reach us in the evening or tomorrow morning. Thereafter, we will be in a position to say something in definite terms,” the Simdega SP told PTI. Shraddha belonged to Patratoli village in Simdega district and was a student of a school at Birmitrapur in Sundergrah district while Sunandini was from Gipitola Lachra village in Sundergarh district of Odisha. Both of them used to train at a hockey coaching centre in Rourkela and became friends. “Though they did not regularly stay together, but they frequented each other’s place in Simdega and Sundergarh,” the SP said.
Kolkata: Mayor Firhad Hakim expressed his optimism that with the measures being taken for revamping the drainage system will help drain water out in a span of five to six hours in all the wards of KMC.The Mayor’s assertion came in the wake of Left councilor Ratna Roy Majumder bringing an adjournment proposal in the civic body claiming that parts of Behala, a few pockets of North Kolkata, Kidderpore and Garia remaining waterlogged for two or three days after heavy rainfall lashed the city on August 16. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari Puja”The pumping station facilities of KMC is capable of draining water when it rains 6 mm in an hour. But on Friday rainfall was abnormally high and in areas like Behala there was 183 mm rain in a span of six hours. So there was water accumulation through out the city. “In 98 percent of the areas water drained out within five to six hours after the rain stopped. There were 2 percent of the areas which includes parts of Behala and Kolkata Port where water took longer time to drain. The facilities of drainage infrastructure in these low lying pockets that is being undertaken by Kolkata Environmental Improvement Investment Program (KEIIP) entail huge investment and we are depending on funds from ADB. There has been instances when work has delayed due to such handing over of work order,” Hakim said adding that things have been set in order and hopefully within two years the problem will be solved. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayThere are four canals in Behala through which water drains out but they have been clogged. The work for desilting of the canals will take time while in Kabitirtha area the work for a new pumping station has been taken up. “The state government has allocated Rs 400 crore for the project,” Hakim added. Belquis Begum councilor of ward 75 in Kidderpore raised the issue of two people being electrocuted due to waterlogging in Kidderpore on the day of heavy rainfall. Member Mayor-in-Council (Drainage ) Tarak Singh said that the drain in Bhukailash Road has been delisted for the first time in 40 years. “An underground drainage plan has been taken up and within one year things will improve in Kidderpore area,” he added.
New Delhi: A day after her brother and former Congress president Rahul Gandhi and other Opposition leaders were sent back from the Srinagar airport, Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Sunday hit out at those accusing them of “politicizing” the Jammu and Kashmir issue and said there is nothing more “political” and “anti-national” than the alleged “shutting down” of democratic rights in Kashmir. She also asserted that the Congress will not stop raising its voice against it. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsTaking to Twitter, Priyanka tagged a video in which a woman is seen telling Rahul Gandhi, on the flight from Srinagar, problems being faced by her family and loved ones. “Our children have not been able to move out of their houses. My brother is a heart patient and he couldn’t see the doctor for 10 days. We are totally in trouble,” the woman can be heard saying amid sobs. Rahul, on the other hand, can be seen patiently listening to the woman’s ordeal and consoling her, while other Congress leaders, including Ghulam Nabi Azad, also listened to the woman’s emotional outburst. Also Read – Tourists to be allowed in J&K from Thursday”How long is this going to continue? This is one out of millions of people who are being silenced and crushed in the name of ‘Nationalism’,” Priyanka said in a tweet accompanying the video. “For those who accuse the Opposition of ‘politicising’ this issue: There is nothing more ‘political’ and ‘anti-national’ than the shutting down of all democratic rights that is taking place in Kashmir,” Priyanka said. “It is the duty of every one of us to raise our voices against it, we will not stop doing so,” she added. Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik on Sunday denied that there was any shortage of medicines and essential commodities in Jammu and Kashmir and said communication curbs helped save many lives there. He also said no life has been lost in Jammu and Kashmir due to any violence in the last 10 days after the abrogation of the special status given to Jammu and Kashmir and its division into two Union Territories. “If blockade of communication helps saves lives, what is the harm?” he told reporters when asked to comment on how long the restrictions will continue. Malik said that in the past, whenever there was a crisis in Kashmir, at least 50 people used to die in the first week itself. Malik said there has been no shortage of medicines and essential commodities anywhere in Jammu and Kashmir and enough stocks were available for the people to buy.
Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is in Maldives on an official visit where he would meet the nation’s President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to discuss ways to boost bilateral ties and also chair the 4th Indian Ocean Conference, officials said on Monday. Wickremesinghe’s visit to Maldives comes amidst an internal struggle in his United National Party (UNP) over the naming of party’s presidential candidate . “The two leaders will engage in discussions relating to all aspects of the bilateral relationship to explore new areas of cooperation as well as exchange views on regional and global affairs which are of mutual interest,” officials said. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US During the visit, Wickremesinghe will also chair the fourth Indian Ocean Conference (IOC) 2019 to be held on September 3 and 4 at the Paradise Island Resort. The conference, which is being organised by the India Foundation in association with the Maldives Government and the S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore, would be based on the theme “Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges”. The conference will deliberate on developing effective regional institutional mechanism for implementation of prevailing norms and rules. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential polls Wickremesinghe’s visit to Maldives comes amidst an internal struggle in his United National Party (UNP) over the naming of party’s presidential candidate. His deputy Sajith Premadasa has launched a campaign to win the coveted position to face the main opposition rival Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe’s bid to form a grand political alliance came a cropper due to the campaign mounted by Premadasa who is being bolstered by the backing from some of Wickremesinghe’s key allies in the party. The Premadasa faction wants the naming of the candidate before forming the broader alliance. The party’s official stance has been that candidate could only be named after the official declaration of the election by the independent elections body. The election chief Mahinda Deshapriya would be officially expected to empower to make preparations after September 10. The election must be held before December 8. Sri Lanka has been wracked by political divisions since an unprecedented constitutional crisis last year, when President Sirisena sacked UNP leader and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and appointed former strongman Mahinda Rajapaksa. Wickremesinghe was reinstated in December after the intervention of the Supreme Court, but the government remains deeply divided.
Bengaluru: Congress leader D K Shivakumar’s mother Gowramma on Monday accused the BJP of being jealous about the growth of her son as the Enforcement Directorate grilled him in connection with the alleged money laundering case.Shivakumar appeared before the ED in New Delhi for the third time on Monday in the last four days. “They (BJP) lack empathy. The BJP and nobody else, is doing it (to Shivakumar). They are jealous that he is growing (politically) but we can’t help it,” Gowramma told reporters at her ancestral village in Kanakapura, around 60 km from here. A teary-eyed Gowramma claimed that they did not become wealthy overnight but had been rich from ages. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM'”They are charging that we have so much of wealth. We are not overnight rich. My father-in-law Kempe Gowda was a big name in the village…,” she recalled. Gowramma also recollected that her house was raided when Shivakumar was only seven or eight years and they came out clean. “We have neither killed anyone nor stolen anything or cheated anybody.. We have toiled hard to make this wealth. Some people could not tolerate it,” she said. The family, she said, was anguished as for the first time Shivakumar and his brother D K Suresh, MP, were not at home for Ganesha festival. While Shivakumar was questioned by the ED, Suresh was with him. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KEvery year on Ganesha Chaturthi, the family paid homage to Kempe Gowda. Shivakumar had on Saturday said he had requested the ED to dispense with his appearance on Monday in view of the festival, saying according to his family traditions, they offer prayers to ancestors. However, the ED refused to allow his plea, which was condemned by former chief minister H D Kumaraswamy. The ED had in September last year registered the money laundering case against Shivakumar, Haumanthaiah, an employee at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi, and others. It was based on a charge sheet (prosecution complaint) filed by the Income-Tax Department against Shivakumar last year before a special court in Bengaluru on charges of alleged tax evasion and hawala transactions worth crores. The I-T department has accused Shivakumar and his associate S K Sharma of transporting huge amount of unaccounted cash on a regular basis through ‘hawala’ channels with help of three other accused.
NORRISTOWN, Pa. – The woman Bill Cosby was convicted of sexually assaulting tweeted “Truth prevails” Friday, the morning after a jury came back with a verdict that could send the 80-year-old comedian to prison for the rest of his life.After decades of whispers, lawsuits, investigations and close calls, Cosby was found guilty Thursday of drugging and molesting Toronto native and Temple University employee Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia mansion in January 2004.The verdict also led Temple University on Friday to revoke Cosby’s honorary degree from the school. Cosby long served as a leading public face and a key fundraiser for the school, which was among few that waited to pull honours from Cosby until after the verdict.Cosby frequently turned out to support the school’s men’s and women’s basketball teams, an interest that connected him with Constand, who managed the women’s team.Thursday’s ruling was hailed by women’s advocates as a turning point in the #MeToo movement and was seen as vindication by a multitude of women who doubted anyone would ever believe their word against that of America’s Dad.Lili Bernard, who said Cosby sexually assaulted her before giving her a one-time role on “The Cosby Show” in 1992, became so emotional in the courtroom gallery that she accidentally banged her forehead on the bench in front of her.“I’m overcome with gratitude,” Bernard, sobbing, said outside the courthouse. “I feel like I have to pinch myself. Am I awake? It’s a miracle.”The verdict in the first big celebrity trial of the #MeToo era sealed the spectacular late-in-life downfall of an entertainer who broke racial barriers in Hollywood on his way to TV superstardom as sweater-wearing, wisdom-dispensing Dr. Cliff Huxtable.“A very profound and heartfelt thank you to the Commonwealth of PA, Montgomery County, for their service and sacrifices. Congratulations,” Constand said on Twitter. “Truth prevails.”It was the only criminal case to arise from a barrage of allegations from more than 60 women who said Cosby drugged and molested them over five decades but whose stories were often disbelieved or ignored years before #MeToo put a spotlight on sexual misconduct by powerful men.Cosby stared straight ahead as the verdict was read but moments later lashed out loudly at District Attorney Kevin Steele after the prosecutor demanded Cosby be sent immediately to jail. Steele told the judge they’d learned through the trial that Cosby has an airplane, and feared he could flee.Cosby angrily denied he has a plane and called Steele an “a–hole,” shouting, “I’m sick of him!”Judge Steven O’Neill decided Cosby can remain free on $1 million bail while he awaits sentencing but restricted him to Montgomery County and the mansion where the encounter with Constand occurred.Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault, each carrying a standard sentence of five to 10 years in prison. The counts are likely to be merged for sentencing purposes, but given Cosby’s age even a modest term could mean he will die behind bars.Cosby accuser Janice Baker-Kinney, who alleges he drugged and raped her in 1982, told ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday that it is essential Cosby spend time in jail. She said she wouldn’t be heartbroken if he spent the rest of his life in jail and even died in prison.Sentencing will likely be held within three months. Before that, Cosby must face assessment to determine if he is a sexually violent predator. He will also be required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law.Bernard told NBC’s “Today” show on Friday that her hope is Cosby’ sentence matches the severity of his crimes.“Hopefully his sentencing will reflect the magnitude of the damage and havoc he has wreaked,” she said.The jury of seven men and five women deliberated 14 hours over two days before convicting Cosby.Cosby spokesman Andrew Wyatt told “GMA” on Friday that Cosby is feeling great one day after the verdict. He said Cosby was spending time with his wife, Camille, is confident that he did nothing wrong and maintains his innocence.Constand, a former Temple University women’s basketball administrator, said Cosby knocked her out with three blue pills he called “your friends” and then penetrated her with his fingers as she lay immobilized, unable to resist or say no. Cosby claimed the encounter was consensual, saying he gave her the cold and allergy medicine Benadryl to relax.Cosby waved to the crowd outside the courthouse, got into an SUV and left without saying anything. His lawyer Tom Mesereau declared “the fight is not over” and said he will appeal.Shrieks erupted in the courtroom when the verdict was announced, and some of Cosby’s accusers whimpered and cried. Constand remained stoic, then hugged her lawyer and members of the prosecution team.The verdict came after a two-week retrial in which prosecutors had more courtroom weapons at their disposal than they did the first time: They put on the stand five other women who testified that Cosby, married for 54 years, drugged and violated them, too.At Cosby’s first trial, which ended in a deadlocked jury less than a year ago, only one additional accuser was allowed to testify.“Justice has been done!” celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represented some of Cosby’s accusers, said on the courthouse steps. “We are so happy that finally we can say women are believed.”The district attorney became teary-eyed as he commended the 45-year-old Constand for what he said was courage in coming forward. As Constand stood silently behind him, Steele apologized to her for a previous DA’s decision in 2005 not to charge Cosby.Cosby “was a man who had evaded this moment for far too long,” Steele said. “He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters to help him conceal his crimes.”He added: “Now, we really know today who was really behind that act, who the real Bill Cosby was.”Since Cosby’s first trial, the #MeToo movement has taken down powerful men in rapid succession, among them Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey and Sen. Al Franken. During closing arguments, Cosby’s lawyers slammed #MeToo, calling Cosby its victim and likening it to a witch hunt or a lynching.Cosby’s new defence team, led by Mesereau, the celebrity attorney who won an acquittal for Michael Jackson on child-molestation charges, launched a ferocious attack on Constand during the trial, calling her a “con artist” and “pathological liar” who framed Cosby to get rich.Cosby’s defence team derided the other accusers as home-wreckers and suggested they made up their stories in a bid for money and fame.But Cosby had long ago confirmed some of the rumours about drugs and extramarital sex. In a deposition he gave more than a decade ago as part of Constand’s lawsuit, he acknowledged he had obtained quaaludes to give to women he wanted to have sex with.A federal judge, acting on a request from The Associated Press, unsealed portions of Cosby’s deposition about quaaludes and sexual conquests in 2015, citing the disconnect between Cosby’s private behaviour and his reputation as a public moralist.That prompted authorities to reopen the criminal investigation, and they eventually brought charges.The Associated Press does not typically identify people who say they are victims of sexual assault unless they grant permission. Constand has done so.___Follow Mike Sisak at https://twitter.com/mikesisak .Follow Claudia Lauer at https://twitter.com/ClaudiaLauer .___For more coverage visit https://www.apnews.com/tag/CosbyonTrial .
TORONTO – At 13, Christie was smoking pot daily. In time, she began dabbling in cocaine. But it wasn’t until she was prescribed Percocet by her dentist following wisdom teeth removal in her early 20s that she began the long spiral downwards into a full-fledged opioid addiction that took over her life.“I really liked that — the way it made me feel,” says Christie, who asked that her last name not be used for privacy reasons.She subsequently received another Percocet prescription to treat abdominal cramps and “kept going back to my doctor for refills.”“And then I wasn’t getting enough for how much I wanted to do,” she says of the pills. “So what I did is I stole the prescription pad … I took the script that she gave me and just copied it.”Christie got caught when a pharmacy checked with her doctor, who immediately dismissed her as a patient.“When it started, it was medical, it was to help me with the pain management,” she says.But the medication had another alluring benefit.“I never really felt like I had fit in, and the effects that the drugs gave me was that I did, like I could be that person that I wanted to be.”Christie was able to score Percocets from a street dealer in her southwestern Ontario hometown. But when she moved to Vancouver, “percs” weren’t available, so she turned to OxyContin, a slow-release opioid that could be crushed for snorting or smoking to produce an instant high.Living in Vancouver and working at a high-paying job in the Yukon two weeks per month, Christie continued to use whatever drugs she could get her hands on, though “Oxys were always the thing that I wanted the most.”When the manufacturer pulled OxyContin from the market in 2012 in favour of more tamper-proof OxyNeos, her West Coast dealer suggested she try a new pill that “looked just like the green Oxys.”“So I did — and I really liked the way that made me feel,” says Christie, her eyes growing wide at the memory.The Oxy look-alikes turned out to be illicit fentanyl, a synthetic narcotic 100 times more potent than morphine that has led to an epidemic of overdose deaths, particularly in B.C.By then in her early 30s and having lost her job, Christie was desperate to stop downing the eight to 10 fentanyl tablets that were costing her $200 to $300 a day.“I had built up such a tolerance. I overdosed twice where I had to be Narcan-ed,” she says in reference to the medication used for emergency treatment of opioid overdoses.“I remember trying really hard to try to stop. I remember not wanting to have to go through that life anymore.”She went to a doctor and was put on methadone, an opioid-replacement drug used to help people manage their addiction or wean off their habit by keeping withdrawal symptoms at bay.“But I couldn’t stay sober, even with the methadone. I kept wanting to go back to doing the fentanyl.”———Just why do opioids — painkillers that run the gamut from codeine and morphine to oxycodone and the fentanyl patch — lead to dependence, or in other cases become so stubbornly addictive?First, let’s look at how they work.When ingested, the drugs bind to opioid receptors on the surface of cells, primarily in the central and peripheral nervous system — much like keys fitting into a lock — and block the transmission of pain messages to the brain.But opioids also work on multiple systems in the body, including the one that controls emotions, giving rise to feelings of pleasure, relaxation and often euphoria.What’s insidious about the medications is that they create physical dependence: over even a short period of time, patients build up a tolerance and need increasingly higher doses to achieve the desired effects, says Dr. David Juurlink, head of clinical pharmacology and toxicology at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.“Let’s say I put you on opioids for a week or two and you suddenly stop them,” he says. “You would feel very unwell. The symptoms vary from person to person, but they include pain — generalized pain, pain in the abdomen, pain in the legs.“When you resume the drug, you feel better. And so you can see how a patient would construe that as evidence of effectiveness and even ongoing need for the drug, even after the pain-relieving effects have waned with time.”While short-term use of opioids can be a godsend for people with acute pain related to cancer, accidental injury or following surgery, many doctors now realize the narcotics aren’t really beneficial for long-term treatment of chronic conditions such as arthritis, nerve damage or back pain.“In fact, they cause pain,” says Dr. Mark Ujjainwalla, co-founder and medical director of the opioid addiction clinic Recovery Ottawa. “So you get this hyperesthesia thing,” he says. “It’s actually a paradox. So the more opioids you get, the more painful everything is.”Physical dependence is pretty well a given for the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who have been prescribed an opioid, most of them for chronic pain.But some people slide over the line into addiction, in which their craving for the physical and psychological high the drugs provide consumes their every waking hour — despite the often life-shattering harms.———Before she lost her job in Yukon, Christie’s life appeared idyllic.“I had the nice condo, I had the good boyfriend, I travelled around the world,” she recalls. “My life externally was really wonderful. But inside I felt like everyone had something that maybe I didn’t have.“I couldn’t cope, everything was overwhelming. My life was really unmanageable.”Opioids, primarily black-market fentanyl pills, were the solution.But she and her boyfriend, also an addict, couldn’t keep up financially with their insatiable need for the drugs.“At the time, we had sold pretty much everything we had and we were manipulating people, lying to people, stealing, doing whatever we could to support our addictions, which were very expensive.”Eventually, the pair split up. Christie could no longer afford fentanyl, so she starting smoking, then shooting, heroin. She lost her condo and ended up homeless, finding shelter in a crack house in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, crashing on the couch of a sex worker.“I would wake up every day just thinking ‘This isn’t my life’ … I would promise myself ‘I’m not going to use today,’ and within five minutes I’d feel just the tiniest bit dope sick and I would call my dealer.”Dope sickness — the result of withdrawal — doesn’t only cause pain, but also nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Christie also had violent temperature swings — one minute she was shivering with cold, the next soaked in sweat.“It’s like the worst flu you’ve ever had in your life — times 20,” she says. “And then you have restless legs. You can’t sleep. I couldn’t eat…. The restless legs were really, really bad for me. I couldn’t stay still.“So I would do anything not to feel that way.”After four months on the street — except for occasional stints in detox clinics where she tried and failed to get clean — Christie in desperation phoned her family, whom she hadn’t been in touch with for years. They thought she was dead.Her father flew to Vancouver and brought her home, where she went through “two weeks of hell” as she quit the drugs cold turkey. Ten days later, she entered a month-long addiction treatment program.That was in the fall of 2015.Now 35 and living in Toronto, Christie has been sober for about 18 months. She gives much of the credit to Cocaine Anonymous, a 12-step support program for those struggling to overcome their reliance on drugs or alcohol.As part of her recovery, she has worked to make amends to her family and others whom she hurt because of her addiction.Long drawn to yoga, Christie now teaches the discipline and also works “with other women like me” at hospitals and institutions, as well as leading or speaking at meetings of Cocaine Anonymous.“So I started giving back, and that is when I really started to grow,” she says, her face reflecting an inner contentment. “About halfway through my amends, I started feeling happiness like I’d never felt before.”For the first time, she is able to build relationships with her family and have “real friends in my life.”“I live a spiritual life now. I’m free.”———Online:Cocaine Anonymous telephone and web directory by region – https://ca.org/meetings/canada/– Follow @SherylUbelacker on Twitter.
BOUCHERVILLE, Que. – The Craftsman brand of tools — once owned by the Sears group of companies — will be coming to Rona, Lowe’s and other home renovation stores across Canada.Tool-maker Stanley Black & Decker bought the Craftsman brand from Sears Holdings Corp. in March for US$900 million in cash.Lowe’s announced Tuesday that it will begin to sell Craftsman products at its stores across Canada and the United States starting in 2018.In Canada, Lowe’s owns the formerly independent Rona chain of home-improvement stores, as well as other corporate and dealer banners that include Lowe’s, Reno-Depot, Ace, Marcil, and Dick’s Lumber.The transfer of Craftsman to Stanley Black & Decker comes as Sears Canada is preparing to wind up its retail operations through a court-supervised liquidation.The Canadian department store chain and its American affiliate, Sears Holdings, were once known for selling a broad range of products including power tools, small and major appliances, furniture, apparel and services.
OTTAWA – The Trudeau government’s politically bruised promise to ensure “tax fairness” for the middle class took another beating Monday amid unfolding revelations about the widespread and perfectly legal practice among ultra-wealthy Canadians of harbouring cash in offshore tax havens.Included among the 13.4 million leaked documents, dubbed the “Paradise Papers,” were the names of former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien and top party fundraiser Stephen Bronfman — the mere mention of whom gave fresh ammunition for the opposition to accuse Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of leading an ethically challenged government.Neither the Canada Revenue Agency nor any court has determined that any of the Canadians identified in the documents did anything wrong, and both Bronfman and Chretien denied any involvement in offshore tax avoidance schemes.Still, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer branded Trudeau a hypocrite for aggressively seeking to end tax advantages for small businesses, while doing next to nothing to crack down on complicated tax haven schemes used by the super-rich.Guy Caron, the NDP point man in the Commons, joined in the fray, accusing the CRA of always letting the “big fish” go when it comes to tax evasion.Trudeau refused to talk about any specific cases mentioned in the documents, but vowed to investigate Canadian connections.“We are fully committed to fighting evasion and tax avoidance. I will let individuals comment on their own situations, but in regards to the Paradise Papers, the CRA is reviewing links to Canadian entities and will take every appropriate action,” he told the Commons during question period.The details, released by members of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, mark the largest-ever leak of tax haven documents involving Canadians. The documents — client records from offshore law firm Appleby, as well as some records from offshore corporate services firms Estera and Asiaciti Trust — contain the names of more than 3,000 Canadians.According to the Toronto Star and CBC/Radio Canada, records suggest Bronfman and his family’s Montreal-based investment company, Claridge Inc., were linked to an offshore trust in the Cayman Islands. The report raised questions about a complicated series of transactions involving people with Liberal party ties.In a statement, Bronfman said he made a single loan on an arm’s-length, fully commercial basis some 25 years ago to the trust that was repaid five months later, a transaction that was fully in compliance with Canadian law.Bronfman, a close personal friend of Trudeau, said he has never funded nor used offshore trusts, and that all his Canadian trusts have paid all federal taxes on their income.“Stephen Bronfman is a proud Canadian and has always fully complied with all legal requirements, including with respect to taxes,” the statement said.Also among the leaked documents was a register of investors in Madagascar Oil that lists Chretien as having received 100,000 stock options.In a brief statement of his own, Chretien said Madagascar Oil was a client of Heenan Blaikie, a now-defunct Canadian law firm. As a lawyer with the firm, Chretien said he did some work for Madagascar Oil, but all fees were billed by and paid to the law firm itself.“I never received any share options and I never had a bank account outside Canada,” Chretien said. “Any news report that suggests I have or ever had or was associated in any way with any offshore account is false.”Tax avoidance measures involving offshore trusts are legal, provided that the trust is genuinely managed offshore and that Canadian taxes are paid on any Canadian contributions. And there may be other legitimate reasons for setting up an offshore account, including if you’re a contractor doing work in a particular country.“In setting up an offshore, you’re not ‘getting away with not paying your fair share of taxes,’” said Ian Lee, an assistant business professor from Carleton University.“Offshore trusts are not illegal. What’s illegal about offshore trusts is to not declare it to CRA.”The Paradise Papers are just the latest revelation to tarnish the Trudeau government’s self-proclaimed title as champion of the middle class.A plan to end put an end to wealthy individuals using incorporation to reduce their tax burden was widely perceived as an attack on small business owners, forcing the government to adjust or drop the proposals.The government has also been forced to disown a CRA directive that employee discounts — including those given to minimum-wage workers in the retail sector — are considered taxable benefits. And it is still struggling to explain why diabetics are suddenly finding themselves ineligible for a long-standing disability tax credit.The Liberals vowed to crack down on tax avoidance schemes when they first took office two years ago, pumping some $1 billion in new spending into the Canada Revenue Agency to collect unpaid taxes from Canadians who sheltered their income in low-tax havens. As the result of audits over the past two years, the agency says it has identified some $25 billion in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties but it’s not saying how much has actually been collected to date from those using the schemes.The federal government estimates it loses about $8.7 billion in tax revenue each year from individuals, not including corporations, who use offshore accounts and trusts.With the latest revelations, the estimate is likely to exceed $10 billion, according to advocacy group Canadians for Tax Fairness.Closing that gap is something Canada can’t do alone, Families Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said after a cabinet meeting Monday.“I think it’s certainly something that requires a substantial amount of work with outside countries,” Duclos said. “It’s something that our government cannot do alone, so it has to do it with other countries and we’re working quite hard on that, in fact.”
A central Ontario community was searching for answers on Saturday as police investigated the suspicious deaths of four people.Ontario Provincial Police offered few details, but said they received a 911 call at 7:30 p.m. Friday from someone who found the bodies in a home in Ryerson Township, Ont., about 300 kilometres north of Toronto.Officers who arrived on the scene found two men and two women dead inside, said OPP Sgt. Carlo Berardi.“The deaths are suspicious,” he said. “I don’t know whether it’s all four or just a portion of them.”He said all four bodies — two men and two women — showed signs of trauma.Berardi said police are still trying to identify the bodies and do not know what, if any, relationships existed among the victims.He declined to comment on the cause or time of death, but said there is no threat to the public.An official in Ryerson Township said she was shocked to learn about the grisly discovery.“This is just horrible,” said Deputy Reeve Barbara Marlow. “I feel so sorry for the people.”She said little information was available nearly 24 hours after police arrived on scene.“You just don’t hear of this sort of thing going on that often,” she said.
HALIFAX – Police in Halifax have withdrawn their request for help in locating a former member of the Nova Scotia legislature who was reported missing this week.Officers asked for help finding 47-year-old Trevor John Zinck Friday evening, but withdrew their request within hours, saying “It appears that he has been located and all is in order.”The force’s original news release said Zinck was last seen about a month ago in the suburb of Dartmouth, but he was only reported missing on Wednesday.Zinck last made headlines in April 2015, when he was found guilty of impaired driving and fined $1,000.He is a former NDP and independent member of the legislature who represented the riding of Dartmouth North from June 2006 until June 2013.Zinck was among four politicians who pleaded guilty to fraud-related charges that stemmed from a 2010 investigation by the province’s auditor general into constituency allowance spending.He initially refused to quit politics, but resigned after the Speaker announced the legislature would be recalled to deal with his possible expulsion.
OTTAWA — A new report from one of the world’s most prestigious medical journals says Canada’s lack of progress in cutting greenhouse-gas emissions is already killing Canadians.The Lancet says that successfully tackling climate change would be the single biggest thing governments can do to improve human health this century.Chronic exposure to air pollution from greenhouse-gas-emitting activities is killing an estimated 7,142 Canadians a year, and 2.1 million people worldwide.Heat waves, forest fires, flooding and major storms are causing more deaths and long-term illness but little data is available on how many.The first recommendation in the report is simply to track the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths in Canada, something that isn’t done at all in most provinces.Last summer, public-health officials in Quebec said 90 people died during a heat wave. Southern and eastern Ontario suffered the same heat but Ontario doesn’t track heat-related deaths the same way, so nobody knew how many people had been affected in the province next door.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has joined the chorus of politicians calling on a suburban Montreal mayor to apologize for likening Quebec secularism legislation to ethnic cleansing.Speaking to reporters this morning in Ottawa, Trudeau said Hampstead Mayor William Steinberg’s comments were unacceptable.The prime minister reiterated his opposition to Quebec’s Bill 21, which would prohibit public servants in positions of authority — including teachers — from wearing religious symbols. But he said the debate should remain respectful.Steinberg, whose suburb has a population of about 7,000, drew the wrath of Quebec’s political class last Friday when he said Bill 21 “is ethnic cleansing, not with a gun but with a law.”On Tuesday Steinberg rejected multiple demands for an apology, including from Quebec Premier Francois Legault.He said people were twisting his words and that he was referring to “peaceful ethnic cleansing.” He said he fears an apology would detract from his criticism that the bill will cause religious minorities to leave the province.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — The oil and gas industry has worn out its welcome in Canadian marine conservation areas.Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson today is announcing a total ban on oil and gas work, as well as mining, waste-dumping and bottom-trawling, in all of Canada’s marine protected areas.Wilkinson is at an international nature summit in Montreal where Canada is pushing other countries to do more to protect the global environment.The changes apply recommendations made last fall by a panel the government asked to provide advice on the best way to improve standards in marine protected areas. The ban on industrial activities brings Canada up to international standards recommended by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.The bans apply only to marine protected areas, which are specific areas within bodies of water that are granted protected status by federal, provincial or territorial governments.Until now, activities like oil and gas exploration and exploitation were only banned in these areas on a case-by-case basis.Marine refuges, which are more numerous areas where governments impose fisheries closures often to protect just a single species, will still allow oil and gas operations. The ones that do will not be counted towards Canada’s commitment to protect 10 per cent of the country’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.Canada had hit nearly eight per cent by the end of 2018, but more than half of that amount is marine refuges. It’s not clear yet what effect discounting refuges that are still open to oil and gas work will have on the total.The World Wildlife Federation of Canada said last fall it was concerned about the exemption for marine refuges.Oceana Canada, a charity devoted to protecting ocean life, also raised concerns that four months after Canada named the Northeast Newfoundland Slope Conservation Area — a 47,000-square-kilometre section of the Atlantic Ocean — as a marine refuge in 2017, it agreed to allow oil and gas exploration in the same area. That decision also angered local fishers since the designation barred all fishing in the name of environmental protection.The Canadian Press
Joanna Smith, The Canadian Press OTTAWA — The federal ethics watchdog woke up a sleepy summer pre-election period Wednesday with a report that found Prime Minister Justin Trudeau violated the Conflict of Interest Act by putting undue pressure on former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould to end the criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin. The report landed with just weeks to go before the start of the Oct. 21 federal election campaign. Here are some of the ways it could hamstring Liberal aspirations:Friends turned rivalsWilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott, two prominent former Liberals with intimate knowledge of the SNC-Lavalin affair, are seeking re-election as Independent candidates in their respective ridings of Vancouver Granville, in British Columbia, and Markham—Stouffville, in Ontario. Having been ousted from the Liberal caucus after resigning from cabinet, their campaigns in two important electoral battlegrounds are likely to get an outsized amount of public attention — and they’ve already made it clear they’re no longer supporters of the prime minister.Cloudy waysThe Liberals came to power on a promise to do politics differently. It was a message that resonated after nearly a decade of Conservative rule under former prime minister Stephen Harper, who was accused of centralizing too much power in the Prime Minister’s Office and running roughshod over Parliament. Trudeau has been travelling the country this summer talking about how the Liberals plan to invest in Canadians, while warning that voting for Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer would risk returning to the days of Harper. The ethics commissioner’s report, which tells a story of a prime minister who exceeded the accepted bounds of the influence of the office, risks undermining that message.Ghost of an ethics violation pastIt’s not the first time Trudeau has been scolded for an ethical lapse. In 2017, Mary Dawson, the former ethics commissioner, found Trudeau had contravened four sections of the Conflict of Interest Act when he and his family went on vacation to a private island in the Bahamas owned by the Aga Khan, the spiritual leader of Ismaili Muslims. Trudeau apologized and said he would ask the commissioner to clear all his personal vacations in advance going forward. Then last year, Trudeau had to pay a $100 fine after failing to disclose a pair of sunglasses he had received as a gift from Wade MacLauchlan, then the premier of P.E.I., within 30 days. All of it “shows a pattern,” said Scheer — a pattern the Conservative leader will no doubt be illustrating during the campaign.Gerald ButtsThe longtime close friend of Trudeau was a central figure in the SNC-Lavalin scandal; Wilson-Raybould named him as one of the PMO officials who was urging her to halt criminal proceedings against the Montreal engineering firm. Butts denied the allegations, but resigned as Trudeau’s principal secretary, saying he did not want to distract from the government’s agenda. Earlier this summer, media reports emerged that Butts had quietly returned to the Liberal fold to help with the campaign. With a renewed focus on the controversy, will his presence be an asset, or a liability?QuebecTrudeau and his team insisted their sole motivation in lobbying for a remediation agreement for SNC-Lavalin was a desire to protect jobs. Many of those jobs are in Quebec, which is home to Trudeau’s riding of Papineau and where Liberals currently hold 40 of the province’s 78 seats. Michael Wernick, who retired as clerk of the Privy Council over the affair, had raised the 2018 Quebec election in his conversation with Wilson-Raybould, although he testified he was not motivated by partisanship. While Liberals could be seen as championing the interests of Quebecers, that sort of support can play very differently in other parts of the country.— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter