Meghan Markle Wears This Canadian Outerwear Brand for First Outing With Prince

first_img Twitter Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Login/Register With: Facebook Advertisement Today, Meghan Markle officially embraced her forthcoming duties as a member of the royal family. The outing saw Markle and Prince Harry visit the Terrace Higgins Trust World AIDS Day charity fair in Nottingham, and for the occasion, Markle stepped out in look that was not too far removed from Kate Middleton’s repertoire: a tailored coat, below-the-knee skirt, and KG Kurt Geiger mid-calf boots.Markle’s style thus far has been defined by an unfussy, modern, and accessible aesthetic. The Mackage biker jacket she wore with a coordinating Artizia dress to the Invictus Games in Canada earlier this fall is a prime example. Markle called upon the Canadian outerwear brand again today, opting for a double-breasted navy coat from the line. The khaki pleated skirt she wore underneath by British label Jospeh added a ladylike touch.by EDWARD BARSAMIAN / VOGUElast_img read more

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Hedley cut from Junos lineup over allegations of sexual misconduct

first_imgAdvertisement The move by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences came as band members issued a statement addressing claims of impropriety involving young fans“We realize the life of a touring band is an unconventional one,” reads the statement, which was issued mid-afternoon Wednesday, minutes before the Junos announcement.“While we are all now either married or have entered into committed, long-term relationships, there was a time, in the past, when we engaged in a lifestyle that incorporated certain rock ‘n’ roll cliches. However, there was always a line that we would never cross.”The statement followed a flurry of claims on Twitter from anonymous users who alleged inappropriate encounters with the band. Some social media users called on the Juno Awards to drop Hedley as a performer at the upcoming show.“We appreciate the bravery of those who have come forward with their own stories, and we realize that all of us, as individuals and as a society, can and must do better when it comes to this issue,” says the statement.“However, if we are to have a meaningful, open and honest discussion, we all have to accept and respect that there are at least two sides to every story. The recent allegations against us posted on social media are simply unsubstantiated and have not been validated. We would hope that people will bear in mind the context in which these unsupported accusations have been made before passing judgment on us as individuals or as a band.”The group is currently on tour and was scheduled to perform in Medicine Hat, Alta., on Wednesday evening, and later in the week in Moose Jaw, Sask., and Brandon, Man.Hedley formed in 2003 in Abbotsford, B.C.THE CANADIAN PRESS LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: The Junos have dropped Hedley from the televised awards bash as the rockers face allegations of sexual misconduct that they call “unsubstantiated.”Organizers of the annual music show say it was a joint decision with Hedley “after careful consideration of the situation.”After careful consideration of the situation and in discussions with the band, CARAS and Hedley have decided that the band will not be performing at the 2018 JUNO Awards.— The JUNO Awards (@TheJUNOAwards) February 14, 2018 Twitterlast_img read more

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A new album of original Leonard Cohen songs is in the works

first_img Login/Register With: Advertisement When Leonard Cohen passed away in 2016 at the age of 82, he left behind not only a huge hole in the music world, but also a collection of unfinished songs, according to his son and producer, Adam Cohen, who is working to complete them. A new album, he says, can be expected next year.“I was tasked with finishing a few more songs of his that we started together on the last album, so his voice is literally still in my life. It’s a bizarre and delicious entanglement,” Adam told q‘s Tom Power during a discussion about The Flame, a book of previously unpublished poems by his father, due out Oct. 2. “To make a long story short, I believe that there are some really beautiful new songs of Leonard Cohen that no one’s heard that are at some point going to come out.” Advertisement Facebookcenter_img Singer Leonard Cohen performs open air at the Waldbuehne in Berlin, Aug. 18, 2010. (THE CANADIAN PRESS) LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Twitterlast_img read more

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CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS STORYHIVE LAUNCHES INDIGENOUS STORYTELLER EDITION

first_imgAdvertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Twitter Facebook Advertisementcenter_img “Most Indigenous filmmakers do face their barriers of what their social-economic status is. For example, if they have an upbringing where they are not able to make the means to afford a post-secondary education in the arts including film or media,” he explains, adding there is an abundance of Indigenous filmmakers in Canada.“It’s such a valuable time for both parties to make sure that their stories are heard and, with the current influx of that, it empowers our youth to make sure that their stories and truths are heard as well which is more timely than ever.”The successful projects will be chosen by an all-Indigenous jury and will be announced in mid August.This Edition was shaped by Indigenous STORYHIVE alumni like BC resident Petie Chalifoux. Key findings from interviews with an external consultant, Nikki Sanchez from the University of Victoria, were applied to mould the program into a culturally safe, empowering, and relevant one for Indigenous creators.Submissions are being accepted until December 4th.CLICK HERE FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION STORYHIVE Indigenous Storyteller Edition Login/Register With: The careers of Indigenous creators is the focus of STORYHIVE‘s latest commitment.The organization has launched its first Indigenous Storyteller Edition and will support 20 Indigenous-led screen-based projects with $20,000 in funding each. Up to $5,000 will also be provided in top-up funding from Creative BC for British Columbia-based projects. Ideas for three to ten minute projects can include a comedy, drama, animation, web series pilot, or documentary are wanted.Advisory Council Member Rylan Friday says the goal is to deflect and break down barriers.last_img read more

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ZAIB SHAIKH THE LITTLE MOSQUE ACTOR TURNED CONSUL GENERAL ON PROMOTING CANADA

first_imgThere will be nearly 6,000 miles between you and your wife. How will you manage it?We haven’t quite sorted that out yet. Our parents, kids and siblings are all here, and we want to stay connected to everybody. We’ll figure it out.Presumably you’ll be hosting a lot of parties. What is the residence like? And what kind of bubbly budget?The position comes with a residence with a pool, in Hancock Park, and I’m expected to host often. It’s about entertaining but also creating a place where Canadians can feel at home and showcasing what Canada has to offer.Dream CanCon party list, dead or alive: go!Michael J. Fox, Tanya Tagaq, Pierre Trudeau, Oscar Peterson, Roberta Bondar, Mary Pickford, Mike Lazaridis, the Popp Rok crew, Alice Munro, Linda Evangelista, Yousuf Karsh, Wayne Gretzky, Elijah McCoy, Ali Velshi, Sandra Oh, the Group of Seven and Lorne Michaels.How would you describe your personal approach to schmoozing?I’m uncomfortable with the word schmooze—it sounds so cynical and even a little schmarmy, which is not the vibe that I try to put across.You played Amaar on Little Mosque. Does your acting background come in handy at parties? Like, if you’re stuck talking to some horrible Hollywood gasbag, you can “act” interested?It helps to have experience in the industry and to know the lingo.Little Mosque was celebrated for showcasing this country’s diversity. Is that a competitive edge?Absolutely. I’d also say that it’s important to have people of diversity in these diplomatic positions—different colours, genders, sexual orientations and abilities—because it sends a signal that Canada values diversity.You’ve spent five years as Toronto’s first-ever film commissioner and director of entertainment industries. Are there any accomplishments you feel especially proud of?In 2016, the city broke the $2-billion mark for foreign production investment, and our team was instrumental in co-ordinating the NBA All-Star Game, Pan-Am Games, North American Indigenous Games and Invictus Games.Invictus Games! So you’re basically responsible for the royal wedding.Not quite, but Meghan and Harry appeared together in public in a major way for the first time during the Games while here.Do you have any desire to return to acting?I think it’s like riding a bike. Yeah, of course you do, if you like bikes. I want to get on that bike, and I hope I remember how to ride it. But I don’t yearn to get back in front of the camera, and I’m not wistful. I don’t feel I’m old enough or have done enough to feel wistful—or to say I’ve left it forever, either.Any plans to go shopping before the big move?Haha—I don’t think so. I’ve been a government employee for half a decade now. Shopping sprees were a part of my previous life.BY COURTNEY SHEA (TORONTO LIFE) | PHOTOGRAPHY BY ERIN LEYDON This interview has been edited for length and clarity. As the new consul general of Canada in L.A., you are our country’s representative for Southern California, Nevada and Arizona. What can you tell us about the gig?I’ll oversee foreign direct investment into Canada, and the reverse, too: promoting investment and trade for Canadians who want to do business in L.A. And it’s not just film. I’ll also be handling governmental relations relating to direct investment across all industries.Let’s hear your sales pitch.Canada has an amazing talent pool, both behind the scenes and in front of the cameras, great locations to film in, and then there’s our tax credit system. We also have major video game developers in Toronto and Montreal, and Netflix studios in Vancouver. Truthfully, I wouldn’t even call it a sales pitch. People already want to be here. My job is to be present, to stay connected.Your wife, Kirstine Stewart, a former top exec at CBC and Twitter, just announced that she is taking a position with the World Economic Forum in Geneva. Are you stealing her thunder?Haha—it’s been wild. We were in our kitchen deciding what to make for dinner. Her news was just out and we were absorbing that, and the phone rang. I picked up, and it was David MacNaughton, the ambassador to the U.S., and he offered me the job. Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Advertisement Facebooklast_img read more

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Dene battle territorial govts power grap

first_imgAPTN National NewsDene leaders from across the Northwest Territories are meeting this week to raise concerns over the territorial government’s controversial devolution agreement with Ottawa.The deal would give the territory province-like powers over land and resources.Not everyone is convinced that the agreement is in the best interest of the people that live there.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier has this story.last_img

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Hearings into controversial BC gold and copper mine wrap up

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe hearings into a controversial new prosperity open pit gold and copper mine in northern British Columbia wrapped up last week.This is the second time Taseko Mines has proposed this development.Their first proposal was turned down because a panel found the project’s tailings dump would destroy a nearby lake.The latest proposal wants to move the tailings dump upstream.Grand Chief Stewart Phillip addressed the panel as it wrapped up last week.Phillip joined APTN’s Cheryl McKenzie from Vancouver Friday.last_img read more

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Le Canada est sur la voie dun conflit avec les peuples autochtones

first_imgJorge BarreraNouvelles nationales de l’APTNLe Canada est sur la voie de conflits d’une intensité comparable à celle de la crise d’Oka si ses dirigeants politiques ne s’engagent pas à renouveler la relation du pays avec les peuples autochtones, déclare le président de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation.Le pays est au cœur d’une campagne électorale déclenchée un peu plus de deux mois après la publication par la Commission de vérité et réconciliation (CVR) de son rapport historique sur les pensionnats indiens. Le rapport, qui a suscité une réaction à l’échelle nationale, lance un appel de tous les coins du Canada pour la restauration de la relation trop longtemps négligée entre le pays et sa population autochtone, qui se retrouve aux marges du pays.À mi-parcours de la présente campagne électorale fédérale, le rapport de la CVR et ses recommandations ont pratiquement été oubliés dans le discours actuel sur les principaux défis que le Canada doit relever. Cet enjeu n’a même pas mérité une seule question spécifique dans l’un ou l’autre des quatre débats électoraux fédéraux qui ont eu lieu jusqu’ici.« Pour le moment, les dirigeants politiques de notre pays affichent une certaine complaisance, car ils estiment qu’il n’y a plus de pression, qu’il n’est plus nécessaire de porter attention à cette question. À mon avis, les gens devraient être prudents, car les jeunes Autochtones sont de plus en plus conscients de leurs droits, en particulier depuis les récentes décisions des tribunaux qui reconnaissent les droits des communautés autochtones », a déclaré le président de la CVR, Murray Sinclair. « En conséquence, nous n’avons pas beaucoup de marge de manœuvre si l’on veut ignorer la situation des peuples autochtones, et il va falloir que les prochaines discussions parlent de changement. »La CVR a été mise sur pied dans le cadre de l’accord de règlement, d’une valeur de plusieurs milliards de dollars, conclu entre les survivants des pensionnats indiens, Ottawa et les églises qui ont exploité les pensionnats pendant plus d’un siècle.Des milliers d’enfants sont morts dans les pensionnats; bon nombre d’entre eux sont encore enterrés dans des tombes anonymes, leur souvenir perdu à jamais.La CVR a dressé une liste de 94 recommandations dans son rapport publié en juin dernier. Ces recommandations devaient servir de feuille de route pour le Canada en vue d’une restauration définitive de la relation. Le Parti conservateur a rejeté l’essentiel des recommandations, tandis que le Nouveau Parti démocratique (NPD) et le Parti libéral les ont toutes acceptées. Toutefois, aucun de ces partis n’a encore présenté de plan pour la mise en œuvre des recommandations.Sinclair a déclaré que le fait que la classe politique évite continuellement d’attaquer ce problème de front, de même que les tensions latentes qui entourent les projets d’exploitation des ressources, alimentent un contexte qui risque de produire de graves confrontations.« Le climat actuel des discussions relatives à l’extraction pétrolière et à l’exploitation des ressources et le désir qu’ont certains intervenants de l’industrie et du gouvernement de faire fi des droits autochtones et d’autoriser la tenue de ce genre d’activités sans respecter ces droits vont certainement susciter une réaction de la part de la communauté autochtone, en particulier chez les jeunes », a déclaré M. Sinclair. « Les enjeux environnementaux sont à l’avant-plan d’une importante réflexion au Canada, et les Autochtones prennent part au débat. Si nous n’arrivons pas à voir l’importance de faire évoluer la relation entre les Autochtones et les autres citoyens de notre pays, et plus particulièrement entre les Autochtones et les gouvernements de notre pays, je crains que nous devions nous préparer à vivre de plus en plus de confrontations. »Ces conflits pourraient ressembler à celui qu’a connu le Canada en 1990 avec la résistance des Mohawks à Kanesatake, au Québec, ce qu’on a appelé la crise d’Oka, explique-t-il.« Ce qui m’inquiète, c’est que si nous ne reconnaissons pas ce problème de relations, nous allons vivre un autre Oka », ajoute M. Sinclair.Les politiciens de tous les partis, de même que l’ensemble de la population canadienne, se sont rendus compte immédiatement après la crise d’Oka qu’il fallait changer quelque chose dans la relation entre le Canada et les premiers habitants de notre territoire, a-t-il indiqué.« Après Oka, toutes les entités politiques et tous les partis politiques ont pris des mesures sérieuses pour reconnaître le problème de la relation avec les Autochtones et pour en faire le point central de leurs efforts », dit M. Sinclair. « Au cours des élections qui ont eu lieu pendant les années 1990, cette question a perdu sa place parmi les grands enjeux… de sorte qu’elle est sortie du radar politique. Il est maintenant temps qu’elle y revienne. »Sinclair voit un problème plus profond dans l’amnésie presque immédiate qui sévit dès que s’estompent les fumées de la plus récente crise.« C’est dans les médias que les gens tirent leur notion des actualités et des enjeux importants, et c’est la façon dont les médias les alimentent en information qui génère des pics et des creux dans les réactions et les commentaires. C’est le manque d’éducation sur l’évolution du Canada en tant que nation qui est à l’origine de ce problème ou qui y contribue », dit M. Sinclair. « La mémoire canadienne n’a jamais été nourrie de la connaissance de la véritable relation avec les Autochtones dans cette partie du monde. Du point de vue de la plupart des Canadiens, les peuples autochtones n’existaient pas avant le moment récent où nous les avons reconnus, et les Autochtones canadiens n’existeront plus quand nous aurons arrêté de les reconnaître… Quand les gens connaîtront toute l’histoire, ils n’auront pas une réaction amnésique, parce qu’elle sera ancrée si profondément dans leur propre nature en tant que Canadiens qu’ils auront le sentiment qu’elle parle d’eux aussi. »jbarrera@aptn.calast_img read more

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Residents in Behchoko NWT talk about what they want from their next

first_imgAPTN National News The Northwest Territories is one of the largest ridings in the country.It has over 40,000 people in 33 communities on both Treaty 8 and 11 territories.One of the challenges for the candidates in the race is connecting with members in both large and small communities.APTN’s Iman Kassam takes us to the small community of Behchoko to find out what residents want from their next Member of Parliament.ikassam@aptn.calast_img

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Wab Kinew continues to face pressure for previous comments

first_imgDennis Ward APTN National NewsAn Indigenous candidate seen as a rising star in Manitoba was once again under fire Friday.Wab Kinew, who is running for the Manitoba NDP, was earlier criticized for his lyrics.Now, the Indigenous caucus of the Manitoba Liberal party is calling for Kinew to step down over posts he’s made on Twitter.last_img

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On Muskrat Falls PM Trudeau says relationship with Indigenous peoples based on

first_imgAPTN National NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau on Tuesday said Canada’s relationship with Indigenous peoples was based on “science.”Trudeau made the statement during question period after he was pressed on Ottawa’s perceived inaction on the ongoing Muskrat Falls controversy which has seen occupations, protests, RCMP raids and arrests.Trudeau said during question period it is up to the Newfoundland and Labrador government to consult and engage with the Innu, Inuit and Metis on the project.“The relationship with Indigenous peoples is extraordinarily important for this country, based on respect, based on science, based on partnership,” said Trudeau. “That is why we are ensuring that the province continues to consult and engage on this project with the full respect that we all expect will be shown towards Indigenous peoples.”Click here for APTN’s coverage on Muskrat FallsMulcair, who usually leads the round of questioning for his party in the House of Commons, referred to a recent comment by Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MP Nick Whalen who suggested the Innu and Inuit should just eat less fish if they’re worried about methylmercury poisoning. Whalen later apologized.“Hunger strikers and their supporters travelled all the way from Labrador to bring concerns about Muskrat Falls to the prime minister here in Ottawa,” said Mulcair. “All they got in return was a flippant, insulting comment from a Liberal backbencher…What is the prime minister doing, specifically to address the concerns raised by the Inuit and Innu about poisoning of their fishery with methylmercury?”Inuit hunger strikers Bill Gauthier, Delilah Saunders and Jerry Kohlmeister are currently in Ottawa to meet with MPs about their concerns about the project’s impact on their traditional foods and way of life.The protests against the Muskrat Falls hydro-electric project in Labrador was triggered by science following a Havard University report that warned flooding caused by the dam would cause methylmercury to seep into the fish and land if the flood zone wasn’t cleared of topsoil and vegetation.news@aptn.ca@APTNNewslast_img read more

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Living exposed in Saskatoon as HIV and Hep C rates rise

first_imgJohn MurrayAPTN InvestigatesLynn Thompson walks down a back alley in Saskatoon – past garbage bins, needles and condoms strewn on the ground – to get to the door of the only place in the city that offers a needle exchange and methadone, a program that hopes to stem the spread of HIV and Hep C.“This is the back end of the needle exchange. As you can see it’s all against a garbage bin,” she says. “That’s what bothers me in this province. Is that we are considered bottom of the barrel, scum, garbage.”Thompson was also our guide into some of the lesser known parts of Saskatoon’s inner city.Places some might call dark, even in daylight.(AIDS Saskatoon displays some of the drug paraphernalia they distribute as a harm reduction effort. Executive Director Jason Mercredi said pipes are effective tools and the province of Saskatchewan jumped on funding a pipe program to both discourage IV use and to reduce pipe sharing. APTN)HIV and hepatitis C infections are rising at a distressing rate in Saskatchewan and Saskatoon’s inner-city community is one of the hot spots.People living with HIV and those who provide service in the community say infection still happens through sexual intercourse, but needle sharing for intravenous drug use is now the leading cause of infection.Harm reduction initiatives, like needle exchanges, pipe exchanges, and free contraceptives may be having an impact, but other initiatives, such as safe injection sites, don’t exist.Lynn Thompson, a long time Saskatoon resident and HIV fighter for 20 years, says sharing needles is common.“So often they will use a needle 10 to 20 times and they will share it amongst a group of people,” she says.Thompson says accessing services is frustrating and would like to see a safe injection site.Jason Mercredi, the executive director of AIDS Saskatoon, says that it’s understandable how some people are irritated by the lack of services and how existing services aren’t enough, like the needle exchange program.“That means if I have a needle I can get a needle,” he says. “And [needle exchange programs] don’t actually decrease the HIV rate.”Indigenous people account for 80 per cent of the new infections in Saskatchewan, and many of them are women.Women like Lynn Thompson.“When I contracted HIV 20 years ago that vastly changed my life,” she says.“I was quite afraid of infecting other people if I got an injury.”(Lynn Thompson, holds a water container handed out to intravenous drug users. She says it’s a vast improvement over the puddle water users have used in the past for their injections. Photo: John Murray/APTN)Although men are still infected more often, that rate has dropped and the number of women infected is increasing year over year.“It was known as a gay man’s disease,” Thompson says. “It’s no longer that, especially in our province of Saskatchewan. It’s actually a young Aboriginal woman’s disease.“Our young women are contracting it at phenomenal rates.”Mercredi agrees, saying the use of dirty needles is becoming the most common cause of infections.“I would say number one, with a bullet, for the last 10 plus years has been injection drug use,” he says.In those dark places in Saskatoon that Thompson brought us, APTN saw evidence of the sex trade, violence, homeless people living in abandoned structures and a lot of litter from shooting up – a common term for injection drug use.Although drugs like heroin and cocaine are used, Thompson says meth is cheaper and opiates can often be obtained for free.“A lot of that is due to prescribed drugs,” she says.Ernie Louttit, a retired Saskatoon police officer and author says he is ok with accountable needle exchanges, meaning one-to-one exchanges but he has concerns about safe injection sites.“Safe injection sites, I think, could work,” he says.“I’m not a big fan of them because all you’re doing is facilitating organized crime.”(Saskatoon’s Pleasant Hill is a vibrant area often busy with shoppers and pedestrians but the neighbourhood is also struggling with gang violence and illness. APTN)The “broken window” theory is the notion that run down areas attract crime.Some people equate that with needle exchanges and safe injection sites.Mercredi understands that.“Nobody wants to find a needle in their backyard or their front yard,” he says. “I think a robust needle pickup program is needed. Needle drop boxes through the community are vital.“But I think we have to make sure that the primary goal is reducing HIV infections.”jmurray@aptn.ca@murrjwlast_img read more

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60 years after Sputnik Russian space program faces troubles

first_imgMOSCOW – Six decades after Sputnik, a refined version of the rocket that put the first artificial satellite in orbit remains the mainstay of Russia’s space program — a stunning tribute to the country’s technological prowess, but also a sign it has failed to build upon its achievements.And unlike the Cold War era, when space was a key area of the rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union, space research now appears to rank low on the Kremlin’s priorities.The Soyuz booster, currently the only vehicle that launches crews to the International Space Station, is a modification of the R-7 rocket that put Sputnik in orbit on Oct. 4, 1957.Another Soviet-designed workhorse, the heavy-lift Proton rocket that has been used to launch commercial satellites to high orbits, was developed in the 1960s.Both rockets established a stellar reputation for their reliability, but their record was tarnished by a string of failed launches in recent years that have called into question the Russian space industry’s ability to maintain the same high standards of manufacturing.Glitches found in Proton and Soyuz in 2016 were traced to manufacturing flaws at the plant in Voronezh that builds engines for both rockets. The Russian space agency, Roscosmos, sent more than 70 rocket engines back to production lines to replace faulty components, a move that resulted in a yearlong break in Proton launches.The suspension eroded the nation’s niche in the global market for commercial satellite launches. Last year, Russia for the first time fell behind both the U.S. and China in the number of launches.Clients have increasingly opted for new, more efficient and affordable choices, such as the Falcon 9 built by SpaceX, which broke ground in reducing costs by making its rockets reusable.Russian officials have recognized the challenge posed by SpaceX and others, but they have offered few specifics on how the nation hopes to retain its place in the global market. The only short-term answer appears to be a plan to manufacture a less-powerful version of the Proton booster to lower costs.In an astonishing recognition of the depth of Russia’s space woes, Roscosmos chief Igor Komarov declared earlier this week that the Voronezh factory used substandard alloys because of a logistical failure that occurred after a warehouse worker had become ill.The Khrunichev company that assembles the Proton also has fallen on hard times amid criminal investigations into alleged mismanagement and a decision to sharply cut its assets. Much of the prized real estate it occupies in western Moscow has been designated for development.Meanwhile, the development of the Angara, a booster rocket intended to replace both the Soyuz and the Proton, has been repeatedly pushed back, and its future remains uncertain. More expensive and lacking the long-established track record of its predecessors, the Angara probably will find it hard to compete with SpaceX rockets and others in the international market.The first tests of the Angara have been successful, but full-scale production is yet to be organized at a plant in the Siberian city of Omsk.And while the Soyuz is now the only vehicle for ferrying crews to the International Space Station following the retirement of the U.S. space shuttle fleet, Russia stands to lose the monopoly soon as the SpaceX’s Dragon v2 and Boeing’s Starliner crew capsules are to fly test missions next year.Work on a new spacecraft intended to replace the Soyuz crew capsule designed 50 years ago has crawled slowly. The ship, called Federation, is tentatively set for its first manned flight in 2023, but little is known about it.Roscosmos also has talked about sending several unmanned missions to the moon in the next decade, but details are yet to be worked out. Attempts to send unmanned probes to Mars in 1996 and to the Martian moons Phobos in 2011 failed due to equipment problems.Russia also has struggled for years to build its own scientific module for the International Space Station. Originally set for 2007, the launch of the Nauka, or Science, module has been pushed back repeatedly. A 2013 check revealed that its systems had become clogged with residue and required a costly cleaning. The launch is now tentatively set for next year, but some reports suggest it could be delayed further.Amid funding shortages, Roscosmos has decided to cut the size of its ISS crews from three to two, a move criticized by many in Russia.“It’s very bad when we have to cut the number of cosmonaut seats,” cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya said in parliament this year. “The situation in our space industry is quite alarming.”One Russian cosmonaut currently in orbit, Sergei Ryazanskiy, on Wednesday posted a picture of himself holding a tiny replica of Sputnik on Twitter to mark the 60th anniversary. Ryazanskiy’s grandfather, the chief designer of radio guidance systems for space vehicles during Soviet times, was involved in Sputnik’s launch.While other space programs faced cutbacks, Russia spent billions to build the new Vostochny launch pad in the Far East as a possible alternative to the Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan that Moscow has leased from its former Soviet neighbour.Many have questioned the feasibility of the expensive new facility, given the fact that Russia intends to continue using Baikonur for most of its launches. Work at Vostochny has also been dogged by scandals involving protests by unpaid workers and the arrests of construction officials accused of embezzlement.A launch pad for Soyuz finally opened in 2016, but another one for heavier Angara rockets is only set to be completed in late 2021.Amid massive spending on Vostochny, whose future remains unclear, some have criticized Roscosmos for cutting corners on personnel. Cosmonaut Maxim Surayev, who now serves as a lawmaker, lamented the poor conditions for future space crews at the Star City training centre outside Moscow.“It’s wrong when, instead of fulfilling their task to prepare for space flight, they have to find side jobs and a place to live,” Surayev said in parliament.Several veteran cosmonauts were forced to retire earlier this year amid vicious infighting at Star City. One of the retirees was Gennady Padalka, who holds the world record for the longest time in orbit — 879 days over five space missions.In a letter to the media, Padalka urged authorities to fire the director of Star City to prevent the facility from falling into “complete ruin.”___This version corrects spelling of Falcon rocket and length of Padalka record to 879 days.last_img read more

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Investor group cancels deal to buy Weinstein Co

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – A group of investors pulled out of a deal to buy the beleaguered Weinstein Co. on Tuesday after discovering tens of millions of dollars in undisclosed debt, according to people familiar with the negotiations.Businesswoman Maria Contreras-Sweet, who has been leading the group of buyers along with billionaire investor Ron Burkle, said in a statement that “disappointing information about the viability of completing this transaction” had led her to call off the sale.She didn’t offer further details. But two people familiar with the proceedings said the buyers came across documents showing liabilities beyond the $225 million the buyers had been prepared to take on. One of the people said the documents showed $64 million in additional debt. Both people spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss private negotiations publicly.The Weinstein Co., which has produced and distributed Oscar winners such as “The King’s Speech” and “Silver Linings Playbook,” has been trying to stave off bankruptcy since sexual assault and harassment allegations emerged last fall against its co-founder, the Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein. Contreras-Sweet’s buyout offer had presented the best hope for avoiding that fate. But the deal was plunged into turmoil after New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit against the studio last month.The announcement came just days after Contreras-Sweet and the Weinstein Co. revived the deal following arduous negotiations with Schneiderman. It marks the second time in two weeks that the sale has been called off. The first time, it was the Weinstein Co. that pulled out, announcing it would file for bankruptcy protection because the buyers had failed to live up to commitments. Talks to revive the deal resumed soon afterward.It was unclear if there is any chance of reviving the sale. One of the people close to the talks said, “the deal is dead.”In a statement Tuesday night, representatives from the Weinstein Co. said they were “disappointed” by the announcement.“Although we publicly predicted this outcome, the Board entered last week’s agreement in the hope and good faith that a transaction would save this Company and its employees,” the Weinstein Co.’s board of directors said. “The investors’ excuse that they learned new information about the Company’s financial condition is just that — an excuse.”The board said it would continue to determine if there were any “viable options” outside of bankruptcy. In the meantime, it said it was pursuing “an orderly bankruptcy process” to maximize the company’s value.Bankruptcy proceedings could also renew the interest of several major entertainment companies who had offered to buy assets of the company, including Lionsgate Entertainment and Miramax, the studio formerly led by Harvey Weinstein and his brother Bob. Contreras-Sweet, a former small business administrator in the Obama administration, said her group might also consider buying some assets out of bankruptcy.The Weinstein Co.’s most desirable asset is its 277-film library, which includes award-winning films from big-name directors like Quentin Tarantino and horror releases from its Dimension label. Its television production company also has some potentially valuable titles, including the long-running fashion show “Project Runway.”The Weinstein Co.’s unreleased films include the Thomas Edison tale “The Current War,” with Benedict Cumberbatch, and “Mary Magdalene,” starring Rooney Mara. The company has already shed some upcoming projects. After a bidding war last year, it sold the rights to “Paddington 2,” released in January, to Warner Bros. for about $15 million.Contreras-Sweet, who had no prior experience in the entertainment industry, edged out other bidders for the company with a proposal that would have kept the company mostly intact and its roughly 150 workers employed. She had pledged to transform the studio into a women-led venture with a female-majority board, of which she would be the chairwoman. Contreras-Sweet said she remains open to other ways of pursuing that goal.“I believe that our vision to create a women-led film studio is still the correct course of action,” Contreras-Sweet said. “To that end, we will consider acquiring assets that may become available in the event of bankruptcy proceedings, as well as other opportunities that may become available in the entertainment industry.”Schneiderman’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of the company’s employees, had thrown a wrench in the sale a day before it was set to be signed. The attorney general said he acted out of concerns that there were insufficient guarantees that Weinstein’s accusers would be compensated — and that executives who enabled the alleged misconduct would remain at the helm of the new company.During negotiations over the past three weeks, Schneiderman said the buyers and sellers had satisfied his demands of adequate compensation for the victims, protection for the employees and ensuring that those responsible for Weinstein’s alleged abuses would “not be unjustly rewarded.”“We’ll be disappointed if the parties cannot work out their differences and close the deal,” said Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman’s office. “Our lawsuit against the Weinstein Company, Bob Weinstein, and Harvey Weinstein remains active and our investigation is ongoing.”last_img read more

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Selfpromoting Pharma Bro sentenced to prison in fraud

first_imgNEW YORK, N.Y. – Martin Shrkeli, the smirking “Pharma Bro” vilified for jacking up the price of a lifesaving drug, was sentenced Friday to seven years in prison for defrauding investors in two failed hedge funds.The self-promoting pharmaceutical executive notorious for trolling critics online was convicted in a securities fraud case last year unconnected to the price increase dispute.Shkreli, his cocky persona nowhere to be found, cried as he told U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto he made many mistakes and apologized to investors.“I want the people who came here today to support me to understand one thing, the only person to blame for me being here today is me,” he said. “I took down Martin Shkreli.”He said that he hopes to make amends and learn from his mistakes and apologized to his investors.“I am terribly sorry I lost your trust,” he said. “You deserve far better.”The judge insisted that the punishment was not about Shkreli’s online antics or raising the cost of the drug.“This case is not about Mr. Shkreli’s self-cultivated public persona … nor his controversial statements about politics or culture,” the judge said, calling his crimes serious.He was also fined $75,000 and received credit for the roughly six months he has been in prison.The judge ruled earlier this week that Shkreli would have to forfeit more than $7.3 million in a brokerage account and personal assets including his one-of-a-kind Wu-Tang Clan album that he boasted he bought for $2 million. The judge said the property would not be seized until Shkreli had a chance to appeal.Prosecutors argued that the 34-year-old was a master manipulator who conned wealthy investors and deserved 15 years in prison. His lawyers said he was a misunderstood eccentric who used unconventional means to make those same investors even wealthier.Attorney Benjamin Brafman told Matsumoto Friday that he sometimes wants to hug Shkreli and sometimes wants to punch him in the face , but he said his outspokenness shouldn’t be held against him. He said he deserved a sentence of 18 months or less because the investors got their money back and more from stock he gave them in a successful drug company.Assistant U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn Kasulis said Shkreli deserved the stiffer sentence not because he is “the most hated man in America,” but because he is a criminal convicted of serious fraud. She said the judge had to consider his history and said he has “no respect whatsoever” for the law, or the court proceedings.“I also want to make clear that Mr. Shkreli is not a child,” Kasulis said. “He’s not a teenager who just needs some mentoring. He is a man who needs to take responsibility for his actions.”Unapologetic from the beginning, when he was roundly publicly criticized for defending the 5,000 per cent price increase of Daraprim, a previously cheap drug used to treat HIV, Shkreli seemed to drift through his criminal case as if it was one big joke.After his arrest in December 2015, he taunted prosecutors, got kicked off of Twitter for harassing a female journalist, heckled Clinton from the sidewalk outside her daughter’s home, gave speeches with the conservative provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos and spent countless hours livestreaming himself in his apartment.He was tight-lipped when faced with a barrage of questions about the price hike from members of Congress a couple of months later, citing his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. After the hearing, he tweeted that the lawmakers were “imbeciles.”Shkreli insisted he was being persecuted by prosecutors for being outspoken and confidently predicted after his conviction that he was unlikely to be sentenced to jail.Things abruptly changed, though, last fall after he jokingly offered his online followers a $5,000 bounty to anyone who could get a lock of Hillary Clinton’s hair. The judge revoked his bail and threw him in jail, a decision that she defended Friday.That didn’t tame Shkreli completely. He corresponded with journalists, ridiculing the personal appearance of one female reporter who asked him for an interview.Before sentencing him, the judge said that it was up to Congress to fix the issue of the HIV price-hike. And she spoke about how his family and friends “state, almost universally, that he is kind and misunderstood” and willing to help others in need.She said it was clear he is a “tremendously gifted individual who has the capacity for kindness.”She quoted from letters talking about generous acts like counselling a rape victim, teaching inmates math and chess, and funding family members.The defence had asked the judge to consider the letters in its case for leniency, including professionals he worked with who vouched for his credentials as a self-made contributor to pharmaceutical advances.Other testimonials were as quirky as the defendant himself. One woman described how she became an avid follower of Shkreli’s social media commentary about science, the pharmaceutical industry, but mostly, about himself. She suggested that those who were annoyed by it were missing the point.“I really appreciate the social media output, which I see on par with some form of performance art,” she wrote.Another supporter said Shkreli’s soft side was demonstrated when he adopted a cat from a shelter — named Trashy — that became a fixture on his livestreams. Another letter was from a man who said he met Shkreli while driving a cab and expressed his appreciation at how he ended up giving him an internship at one of his drug companies.In court filings, prosecutors argued that Shkreli’s remorse about misleading his investors was not to be believed.“At its core, this case is about Shkreli’s deception of people who trusted him,” they wrote.last_img read more

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Albertans have worst debt situation in country report

first_imgAlbertans are the most likely in the country to rate their personal debt situation as terrible.That’s part of new report by MNP, a personal insolvency practice.The latest MNP consumer debt index also shows Albertans, at 55 per cent, are more likely to say they are already beginning to feel the effects of interest rate increases.As well, Albertans are more likely to be in financial trouble if interest rates go up much more (52%), and more likely to be concerned that rising interest rates could move them towards bankruptcy (43%).Forty-one per cent of Albertans are most likely to be within $200 of insolvency.MNP President Grant Bazian said the most alarming thing is Canadians know they are vulnerable but still plan to amass more debt to cover basic living expenses.last_img read more

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Las Vegas strike would have farreaching effect

first_imgLAS VEGAS, Nev. – What happens in Las Vegas could have a ripple effect across the country if 50,000 casino-hotel workers employed at more than 30 of the city’s world-famous resorts go on strike at any time starting next week.If members of the union that includes hotel and food workers don’t show up to work, it could cost the destination millions and lead to travel woes for anyone taking a vacation or business trip to Sin City. It could also send casinos looking for temporary workers amid low unemployment rates.Analysts declined Wednesday to weigh in on the financial impact that a strike could have on casino operators. But the casinos and hotels aren’t the only ones who would feel the squeeze; local and state governments stand to lose millions from the impact on tourism.The last time casino-hotel workers went on strike across Las Vegas, the job action lasted 67 days and cost workers and the city more than $1 million a day each in lost wages and revenues, not counting gambling losses. The price could be much higher this time if the two sides can’t reach agreements: The city has 90,000 more hotel rooms and gets an additional 29 million visitors a year.David Fiorenza, who teaches urban economics at Villanova University, said local and state governments will start to notice a hit to their sales tax revenue if the strike lingers. And if hotel stays decrease, there will be less revenue from the local hotel tax.Fiorenza doesn’t expect an immediate impact on the number of people visiting Las Vegas if a strike happens, but it will affect bookings if the strike lasts more than a few days.“People who already booked to go out there are not going to cancel,” he said.But the strike is a lingering worry for those still planning summer vacations.“What happens during the summer in Las Vegas is you get a lot of people who are travelling. They say ‘We are going to visit family in California, and then, we’ll go on a trip to Las Vegas,’” said Michael McCall, a Michigan State University professor of hospitality business. “This would deter them. That’s going to shut down everything.”The contracts of 50,000 members of the Culinary Union who work at 34 different casino-resorts on the Las Vegas Strip and downtown Las Vegas are set to expire at midnight May 31. Half of those workers cast ballots Tuesday, a majority of whom authorized a strike at any time starting June 1. Individual casino-operating companies and the union have failed to reach agreements through negotiations that began in February.Union officials say workers want to increase wages, protect job security against the increasing use of technology at hotel-casinos, and strengthen language against sexual harassment.MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment operate more than half the properties that would be affected by a strike. Both companies have said they expect to reach agreements with the union.However, Fiorenza said major casinos have contingency plans and he expects them to find ways to continue operating if a strike does happen, such as using managers in front-line jobs and bringing in workers from outside the area.Operators that have casino-hotels in other states likely have begun sending notices to some workers on those properties to draw them to Las Vegas temporarily, McCall said. It would be hard to hire short-term replacement workers locally because unemployment is low in Las Vegas.The last citywide strike was in 1984. As the strike deadline loomed, the agency responsible for promoting the destination responded by working up a $158,000 advertising campaign that included a chef saying “Las Vegas, we’re open and cooking,” and a showgirl saying “Las Vegas, we’re open with a lot to show you.”Statistics from the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority show visitation did not decline overall that year, with about 12.8 million travelling to this desert oasis. The agency on Wednesday said it is monitoring the situation but would not say whether it expects visitation to decrease in the event of a strike.More than 42.2 million people visited the destination last year.Eric Brasure of Newark, Delaware, is planning a trip to Las Vegas to attend a Star Trek convention in the summer. He said he supports the union, and on Wednesday retweeted on his podcast’s account a list of the hotel-casinos that would be affected by the strike.“I fully intend to support the strike by not patronizing any casino where workers are striking,” Brasure said in a Twitter message.Before Tuesday, the union last voted for a strike in 2002 but reached a deal before employees walked out.___Associated Press journalist Annika Wolters in Phoenix and AP Business Writer Josh Funk in Omaha, Nebraska, contributed to this report.___Follow Regina Garcia Cano on Twitter at https://twitter.com/reginagarciakNOlast_img read more

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