The Wildlife Justice Commission Delivers New Case File to Vietnam Regarding Criminal Network Trading in High Volumes of Wildlife
 Dec. 8, 2017 - One year after the WJC’s Public Hearing, it provides the Vietnamese government concrete evidence to collaboratively counter wildlife crime and notes progress in implementing Public Hearing recommendations.

The Hague, the Netherlands, 08 December 2017 – The Wildlife Justice Commission (WJC, www.wildlifejustice.org) has served the authorities of Viet Nam with a new Case File [1] containing compelling evidence regarding a criminal network that was identified trafficking more than USD 15 million worth of raw ivory and rhino horn over a 15-month period in Viet Nam.

The Case File, submitted one year after the WJC’s first ever Public Hearing on Viet Nam, is part of the ongoing dialogue and support to the Vietnamese authorities in their efforts to tackle illegal wildlife trafficking in the country.

The first Public Hearing [2] ever held by the WJC in November 2016, followed an 18-month investigation by the WJC into the wildlife trafficking [3] hub in Nhi Khe, Viet Nam. Following the Public Hearing, the WJC met with senior members of Vietnamese law enforcement agencies. One year later, thanks to the efforts of all actors involved in the fight against wildlife crime in Viet Nam, the open trade of illegal wildlife products in Nhi Khe has for the most part been eradicated.

Significant arrests have also occurred disrupting organised wildlife crime elsewhere in Viet Nam. The head of one of the five syndicates, a prominent trafficker, was arrested and found in possession of 36 kilograms of rhino horns last April. “The arrest of such a high-level trafficker is extremely encouraging as it points to the detection of individuals operating at the higher end of the supply chain.” said Olivia Swaak-Goldman, Executive Director of the WJC.

The WJC continues to monitor the Nhi Khe network and map out the displacement of illegal activity as well as to investigate wildlife trafficking networks elsewhere in Viet Nam and support the authorities to act and dismantle these networks.
Australia's Failed Experiment: Five Years After Brand Censorship on Tobacco, Decline in Smoking Rates has Stalled
30/11/2017: CanvasU, commissioned by JTI (Japan Tobacco International), recently conducted a poll to understand Australians' views on the policy five years after its implementation. The research found that:

Almost two-thirds (59%) of Australians believe that plain packaging has been ineffective.
The majority of Australians (80%) believe the government wouldn't change or would be reluctant to change a preferred policy if the evidence was weighted against it.

Even the Australian government's own data justifies public scepticism; the most recent figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare show that "…while smoking rates have been on a long-term downward trend, for the first time in over two decades, the daily smoking rate did not significantly decline over the most recent 3 year period (2013 to 2016)"1:

"Unsurprisingly, early data from France and the United Kingdom is pointing in the same direction," states Michiel Reerink, JTI's Global Regulatory Strategy Vice President. According to a new report published by Europe Economics, since the Tobacco Products Directive (TPD2) and plain packaging requirements were implemented in both the UK and France, the combined policies haven't had any impact on smoking rates or tobacco sales.2 Recent data published by the French public authorities confirms that after nine-months, the amount of tobacco products distributed to retailers remains stable.3

Around the world, anti-tobacco activists and some health authorities are calling for similar experimental policies to be rolled-out on other product categories such as alcohol, sugary drinks and fast food. In December 2016, Public Health England published a report calling for plain packaging on alcohol,4 a topic which has been raised again this month by medical journal The Lancet.5 In Canada, the Ontario Medical Association has mocked up images of plain packaging on food and drink products.6

It is therefore no surprise that CanvasU's research found that:

At least half of Australians think it is likely plain packaging will be introduced on alcohol and food & drink with a high sugar content in the future (or that it is already in place).
In fact, a majority of Australians expect this policy to be just the start of an escalation in regulation against lifestyle in the future.

"An increasing number of regulators are looking at extreme tobacco-style regulations on other product categories without considering proper evidence or research into the consequences. Brand owners should be worried about this domino-effect as policy-makers won't stop with tobacco," concludes Michiel Reerink.


28/11/2017

'Trust us, We're Lying': Eurozine and Cultural Journals From Across Europe Take a Closer Look at the Power of 'Post-truth' in a New Series of Online Articles and Debates

 In a new series of online articles launched by the Eurozine network of cultural journals, 13 cultural journalists and academics from across Europe, plus U.S. writers, examine in-depth the phenomena of fake news, post-truth and disinformation.

Eurozine's focal point 'Disinformation and Democracy' combines empirical studies at national levels with theoretical discussion of the politics of post-truth; analyses of contemporary developments with intellectual and conceptual histories; and investigations of the political fringes, asking: what now constitutes democratic 'normality'?

It's impossible to ignore Russia's role in these phenomena. Markus Wehner gives an overview of the strategy and techniques of Russian 'infowar'; Anton Shekhovtsov traces how far-right groups across Europe and the U.S. use Russian web-hosting to spread anti-western propaganda; and Daniel Leisegang assesses the effectiveness of Germany's new law on online hate speech and fake news, given the virtual migration to the Runet. Shifting the focus to eastern Europe, Milena Iakimova and Dimitar Vatsov explore how, in Bulgaria, Russian propaganda has co-opted western grassroots criticism of liberalism and globalization since 2013. They note:

'[W]e were ... amazed when we started hearing the talking points identified by our study now coming from the mouth of the new U.S. President, Donald Trump.'

From dialectical materialism to neoliberalism, any politics that lays claims to the truth is both illusory and dangerous, argues Jean-Claude Monod. Political scientist Joseph Uscinski explores the relationship between conspiracy theorizing and partisanship in the U.S., pointing out:

'[I]f one wants to challenge mainstream wisdom, conspiracy theories are an excellent rhetorical device for doing so.'

Providing historical perspective, Marci Shore compares western intellectuals' response to the disappointment of 'real-existing communism' with that of the dissidents who lived under it: can a radical concept of truth counter the threat of 'post-modern dictatorships'? And Valentin Groebner traces a thread of fakery in 'news' right back to the Middle Ages.

All the focal point texts are available in English in Eurozine: http://www.eurozine.com/focal-points/disinformation-and-democracy/

This editorial collaboration within the Eurozine network continued via a series of panel discussions at the 28th European Meeting of Cultural Journals in Tartu, Estonia in October 2017.

The discussions can be viewed on YouTube: http://bit.ly/2ADE5tg

White Ribbon invites you to "Drawing the Line on Sexual Violence" November 29th

White Ribbon invites you to "Drawing the Line on Sexual Violence" November 29th, 7-9:30 pm at the Toronto YWCA - Elm Street. Join White Ribbon and the honourable Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women, to learn more about sexual violence prevention initiatives for Ontario's education sector.

Discover White Ribbon's Drawing the Line on Sexual Violence guide, a new resource developed in partnership with the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) to help educators integrate sexual violence prevention into classroom activities. The guide supports student learning about gender equality, respectful relationships, and sexual violence prevention in age-appropriate ways. Younger students learn about setting and respecting boundaries and getting help when things do not feel right. Older students develop the skills they need to understand and apply the concept of consent, develop equitable and healthy relationships, and intervene safely and effectively to prevent sexual violence.

>> Download the free Drawing the Line on Sexual Violence guide here: http://www.dtl.whiteribbon.ca/for-educators

Attend our Student-Educator Panel – "Draw the Line in Schools: Why and How?" – to learn more about the importance of talking about sexual violence prevention in our schools. As Ben Smith, the Catholic Board Council President of the Ontario Student Trustees' Association, argues: "We're preparing our students to be good math people and to read and write but we're also teaching them to be […] global citizens and responsible citizens and I think that we're doing a disservice to our world […] if we're not having these conversations in the singular place where every single youth without question is educated." As Rohan Robinson, a teacher at Samuel Hearne Middle School in Toronto, states: "At times, some students are more comfortable speaking to teachers about sensitive issues than they would with their parents. This is part of the reason why it is important for teachers to be equipped to have this dialogue."

Learn more about how the Draw the Line campaign can facilitate positive dialogues about sexual violence prevention. As youth leader Alex Arjoon states: "We need to start being more proactive rather than reactive. Which is why I really like the Draw the Line campaign because we're getting that conversation started and we are becoming more proactive with this."

Celebrate the first recipients of the Draw the Line Sexual Violence Prevention Awards for the education sector. These awards recognize students, educators, and other members of the community for their outstanding sexual violence prevention efforts. Kenneth Luu, a student leader at Milliken Mills High School in Markham, organizes activities that use Draw the Line resources to start conversations and increase his peers' awareness about the issue of sexual violence. He exemplifies how everyone has a role to play to prevent sexual violence, including men and boys. Micky Renders, an art teacher in the Peterborough Alternative and Continuing Education Program (PACE) at PCVS, embraces community-based art projects as a prevention tool. She encourages her students, many of whom are marginalized youth and young adults, to use art as a means of breaking the silence around trauma and sexual violence. Stephanie Keon Pinkerton, an elementary teacher at St. Andrews School in Killaloe, actively includes anti-violence components in her teaching and fosters a consent culture in her school by exploring consensus decision-making with her students. With the help of a colleague, she leads a social skills group focused on listening skills and honest communication.

"Our government is working tirelessly to build a fair, safe, and inclusive society. This vital work is made easier with the help of important allies like the recipients of this award. You are unsung heroes and I am inspired by your passion, commitment, and dedication to ending violence against women."
—Indira Naidoo-Harris, Minister of the Status of Women

"Sexual violence is a pervasive problem in our society. White Ribbon is proud to partner with the Government of Ontario to create tools to help everyone, in particular men and boys, speak out against it. We thank our community partners, our educators across Ontario, and our award recipients for their tireless efforts in addressing sexual violence in our province."
-- Humberto Carolo, Executive Director, White Ribbon

dtl.whiteribbon.ca/events
https://whiteribbon_drawtheline.eventbrite.ca

White Ribbon is the world's largest movement of men and boys working to end violence against women and girls and to promote gender equity, healthy relationships, and a new vision of masculinity. Starting in 1991, White Ribbon asked men to wear white ribbons as a pledge to never commit, condone or remain silent about violence against women and girls.
Prime Minister of Canada denounces migrant slave trade in Libya
The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the migrant slave trade in Libya:

"Canada condemns the migrant slave trade taking place in Libya. The targeting of desperate migrants from Africa – vulnerable children, women, and men struggling to find a home and a place of rest – is abhorrent and despicable.

"Canada will not stay silent in the face of such inhumane atrocities. While it is clear that the Libyan Government is investigating this horrific injustice, and humanitarian organizations have launched efforts to help the victims, more must be done to address the situation.

"We again call on all United Nations member states to implement and respect the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking, Especially Women and Children. We must work together to recognize and protect the human rights and dignity of all people.

"The international community must take action to end the exploitation and trafficking of innocent people. Canada will continue its work to eradicate human trafficking and support all international efforts to bring those who prey on vulnerable people to justice."
Plan International Canada calls on Canadians who are hungry to make a difference with 5,000 food baskets challenge
In celebration of Giving Tuesday on November 28, Plan International Canada is rallying Canadians to unite for children and families in need in developing countries by donating 5,000 food baskets through its Gifts of Hope program. In a world where we produce enough food to feed everyone, 815 million people – one in nine – still go to bed on an empty stomach each night, according to the World Food Programme. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.

"As we enter the holiday season that's filled with feasts and indulgences, we're encouraging Canadians to take a meaningful step to help children and their families access essential food and prevent malnourishment," says Caroline Riseboro, President and CEO of Plan International Canada. "With so much attention on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, purchasing a Gift of Hope on Giving Tuesday is a unique opportunity to make a real impact beyond our backyard."

The gift of food is crucial for families in times of environmental or manmade disasters, especially for thousands of pregnant women, mothers, and children under five who are malnourished. Food assistance prevents a slide into a life-or-death situation. Filled with staples including beans, cooking oil, and fortified cereal blends, it's a basic food basket with an impact that is anything but. Food baskets are $50 and one of the highest matched Gifts of Hope, which means that donations are multiplied 10 times for a value of $550.

This Giving Tuesday marks the fifth year of a global movement in the charitable sector that is dedicated to giving back and volunteering.

Hunger and food basket impact stats:

Hunger kills more people every year than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis combined

The food basket Gift of Hope has brought nutritious meals to at-risk children and families across countries such as Malawi, by delivering more than 17,500 tonnes of food. That's roughly the weight of 8,500 SUVs.

Food baskets support thousands of pregnant women, mothers and young children in developing countries by preventing malnourishment and providing food assistance during critical times such as during conflict and emergencies.
UNICEF launches groundbreaking initiative to make Canada the best country for kids
On November 21, National Child Day, UNICEF Canada officially launches One Youth, an initiative to make Canada the best country in the world to grow up in by 2030. Millions of children and youth across Canada are falling through the cracks and not reaching their full potential. UNICEF Report Card 14 revealed that Canada's children rank 29th out of 41 rich countries in terms of overall well-being. No generation should have to settle rather than to dream. With One Youth, UNICEF Canada will work with children and partners to measure the well-being of Canada's children and youth, design with children the kinds of solutions that can create change and influence decision makers to implement these ideas.

"National Child Day is the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the concerns of Canada's children, to help advance their rights and well-being and to champion children's meaningful participation in society. Most importantly, it is a chance to listen, and have children's voices be truly heard, and that's what One Youth is all about," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "Together, we're going to collect the data, develop the tools and amplify the voices – the very loud voices – we need to improve kids' well-being in Canada."

On November 20, also World Children's Day, children across the world will take over key roles in media, politics, business, sport and entertainment to speak out on the issues that matter most to them, help save children's lives, fight for their rights and help shape their own future. This will be a day by children, for children, in a global takeover event stewarded by UNICEF globally, and to mark the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

"We are the youngest generation, and the decisions adults are making are affecting us for better and worse," said Yasmin, a 16-year-old girl who is taking over the role of UNICEF Canada President and CEO for the day. "We want to be part of the discussion, and part of the solutions. That's why we should get involved with Kids Takeover Day, it's a day that allows us to be heard." Her first official duty as President and CEO will be to launch One Youth.

In over 130 countries, children will be joining key personalities and demanding a better future for every child. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will support World Children's Day, and in New York, Basel Alrashdan, an 11-year-old Syrian refugee who resettled with his family in Prince Edward Island last year, will speak at the United Nations.

"We invite Canadians to join us in making the most of National Child Day," said Morley. "Canadians from across the country are also invited to join One Youth. To add to the conversation and contribute to making Canada the best country to grow up in by 2030. Working together, Canadians can focus the country's attention on the power, imagination and rights of children."

To join One Youth, visit http://unicef.ca/oneyouth.

To watch the teaser for World Children's Day, visit: https://youtu.be/lQ2hz8qrFxk.

For further information please visit: http://www.worldchildrensday.org/
Violence in Myanmar driving up to 12,000 Rohingya refugee children into Bangladesh every week - UNICEF​

20/10/2017:  Desperate living conditions and waterborne diseases are threatening more than 320,000 Rohingya refugee children who have fled to southern Bangladesh since late August, including some 10,000 who crossed from Myanmar over the past few days, UNICEF said today.

"Many Rohingya refugee children in Bangladesh have witnessed atrocities in Myanmar no child should ever see, and all have suffered tremendous loss," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. "These children urgently need food, safe water, sanitation, and vaccinations to protect them from diseases that thrive in emergencies. But they also need help in overcoming all they have endured. They need education. They need counselling. They need hope. If we don't provide them with these things now, how will they ever grow up to be productive citizens of their societies? This crisis is stealing their childhoods. We must not let it steal their futures at the same time."

Well over half a million Rohingya people have crossed into Bangladesh's southern district of Cox's Bazaar since late August after escaping horrific violence in neighbouring Myanmar. They have joined some 200,000 others who came in earlier refugee influxes. Almost 60 per cent of the latest arrivals are children, crossing at a rate of between 1,200 and 1,800 per day.

In a newly-released report – Outcast and Desperate: Rohingya refugee children face a perilous future – UNICEF says that most of the refugees are living in overcrowded and insanitary makeshift settlements. Despite an expanding international aid effort led by the Government of Bangladesh, the essential needs of many children are not being met.

"The refugees are still coming, but already we can see the appalling dangers that the children are facing," says UNICEF Bangladesh Representative, Edouard Beigbeder. "Living in the open, with food, safe water and sanitation in desperately short supply, the risk of waterborne and other diseases is palpable."

High levels of severe acute malnutrition among young children have been found in the camps, and antenatal services to mothers and babies are lacking. Support for children traumatized by violence also needs to be expanded.

The report also says that in the chaotic setting of the camps, children and youth could fall prey to traffickers and others looking to exploit and manipulate them.

UNICEF is calling for an end to the atrocities targeting civilians in Myanmar's Rakhine State, and for humanitarian actors to be given immediate and unfettered access to all children affected by the violence there. At present, UNICEF has no access to Rohingya children in Northern Rakhine State.

The report says a long-term solution to the crisis in Rakhine State is also needed and must address the issues of statelessness and discrimination, as recommended by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.

Ahead of an international pledging conference on 23 October in Geneva, UNICEF is urging donors to respond urgently to the requirements of the updated Bangladesh Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) released by the UN and humanitarian agencies. It calls for $434 million, which includes US$76.1 million to address the immediate needs of newly-arrived Rohingya children, as well as those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities.

Expanding the provision of safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene for Rohingya children is the top priority of the appeal, amid concerns over a possible outbreak of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases. Most Rohingya children are not fully immunized against diseases such as measles. UNICEF is also focused on providing Rohingya children with learning and support services in child-friendly spaces, and working with our partners to address gender-based violence.

UNICEF is calling for urgent action in four key areas:

International support and funding for the Bangladesh Humanitarian Response Plan and humanitarian response plan for Myanmar;
Protection of Rohingya children and families, and immediate unfettered humanitarian access to all children affected by the violence in Rakhine State;
Support for the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar; and
A long-term solution to the crisis, including implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State.
Teamsters, labour allies propose a pro-worker path forward for NAFTA
13/10/2017: Top Teamsters leaders joined with members of Congress and their fellow union allies from across North America today in laying out a path forward for a revamped North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) as negotiators meet in the nation's capital to discuss changes to the trade pact.

Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa and Teamsters Canada President François Laporte, speaking at a North American labour summit sponsored by the AFL-CIO, agreed that workers' rights must be front-and-center in the minds of those participating in the fourth round of renegotiations of NAFTA. A new deal, they said, must enforce basic labour rights, increase wages and living standards for working families throughout the continent.

In the U.S., Hoffa said that means pushing back on anti-union legislation that hampers workers' ability to collectively bargain.

"Teamsters in the U.S. are mobilized against the spread of so-called 'right-to-work' laws in the states because they depress wages by undercutting union power," he said. "I applaud the Canadians for making this a trade issue. We agree that these laws incentivize employers to relocate from Canadian provinces that don't allow 'free-riders'. I urge the Canadian negotiators to hold their ground on their progressive labour text and for the U.S. negotiators to take this issue seriously. "

Laporte added, "Canadian Teamsters, like our brothers and sisters stateside, recognize that a new NAFTA must contain an ambitious new chapter that will protect worker rights and also be a model for future trade pacts. We appreciate the text tabled by our government, but we want to emphasize that worker rights and protections for indigenous people and women in the workforce are all very important, but that the enforcement is essential. New rights in a new NAFTA won't be worth much without trade sanctions to back them up."

A labour chapter as part of NAFTA 2.0 is essential to the fight. That's why the Teamsters are participating in talks with the Steelworkers, the AFL-CIO and fellow unions from Canada and Mexico to ensure a successful NAFTA renegotiation.

Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and "like" us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.​


05/10/2017

American Red Cross Issues One-Month Progress Report on Relief Response for Historic Hurricane Harvey 

 The American Red Cross issued a detailed one-month progress report today on its efforts to provide food, water, shelter, relief supplies, health support, financial assistance and other aid to people affected by Hurricane Harvey.

"During this first month, the Red Cross has provided emergency relief to hundreds of thousands of people affected by Hurricane Harvey. But there is still much work to be done, and we will be there to help for months – if not years – to come," said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross. "Hurricane Harvey caused the worst flooding disaster in U.S. history, inundating community after community with record rainfall and devastation – including the city of Houston. We are incredibly grateful for the generous outpouring of support that has enabled us to help the survivors of this storm."

The hurricane made landfall on August 25, and affected millions of people across Texas and southwestern Louisiana, dropping more than 50 inches of rain that led to catastrophic flooding. Hundreds of thousands of homes were damaged in Texas alone. One month later, there are still nearly 1,100 people in shelters in Texas, while thousands of others are cleaning out their damaged homes.

WHERE YOUR DONATIONS ARE GOING

As of September 25, the Red Cross has raised $350 million in designated donations for Harvey. All donations earmarked for Hurricane Harvey will be used to support relief and recovery efforts for this disaster. Learn more about how donations are helping in this video or in our detailed report. The following are examples of how donations are being used:

Donations pay for provision and delivery of food, shelter and relief items, accounting for $42.3 million of our preliminary budget estimate. In the first month, the Red Cross served more than 3.1 million meals and snacks, provided more than 413,000 overnight stays in shelters, and distributed more than 1 million relief items.
Donations pay for health and mental health services, accounting for $2.5 million of our preliminary budget estimate. In the first month, the Red Cross provided more than 98,000 services to support and care for people.
Donations pay for immediate financial assistance, accounting for $165.2 million of our preliminary budget estimate. As of September 25, the Red Cross had authorized payment of $400 to nearly 320,000 households. Since then, this number has grown to more than 380,000 households totaling more than $150 million in authorized direct financial assistance.
Donations pay for individual and community recovery programs, accounting for $108.5 million of our preliminary budget estimate. The Red Cross is working alongside our community partners to plan for long-term recovery services, such as additional financial assistance for people who need extra help and programs to help the hardest hit communities rebound and prepare for future disasters.
Donations pay to transport, lodge and feed thousands of trained disaster workers who work in shelters, drive food trucks, hand out relief supplies, replace medications and eyeglasses, provide emotional support, and coordinate with local officials.
Donations pay for the freight and warehousing expenses that enable the Red Cross to provide cots and blankets for people in shelters, and the hundreds of tractor trailer loads of relief items we've given out to help people clean up their homes.
Donations pay for the equipment, maintenance and fueling of emergency vehicles that deliver meals and relief items to people in need.
Donations also pay for the full-time program staff, disaster information technology, communications and call center infrastructure that make all of this help possible for Hurricane Harvey.
Donations also pay for our management, general and fundraising expenses that support our work at its core and are indispensable to running the organization and helping people in need. They include the people and systems to maintain our enterprise-wide computer and telecommunications, HR and payroll systems to support our more than 20,000 employees and nearly 314,000 volunteers, fundraising and communications functions, and other support services across all program lines.

One year after Hurricane Matthew, Haiti's children still vulnerable to natural disasters

One year after Hurricane Matthew, a category 4 hurricane, devastated the Southwest of Haiti, causing loss of life and considerable damage, children and adolescents in the Caribbean country are still incredibly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters and extreme weather events, UNICEF warned today.

"We are thankful for the generous contribution of the Government of Canada and donations from Canadians across the country to support UNICEF's efforts in response to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, one year ago. It allowed us to deliver rapid essential life-saving support to vulnerable affected children and women, including the delivery of clean water and sanitation services, food assistance and protection services. The children of Haiti remain vulnerable to catastrophes, and UNICEF's action is essential to increase the resilience of Haiti people and the capacity of the country to respond to urgent situations," said David Morley, President and CEO of UNICEF Canada.

"Hundreds of thousands of children had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Matthew," said UNICEF Representative Marc Vincent. "The courage and determination of families to recover and begin to rebuild their lives is admirable and UNICEF is proud to be one of the organisations continuing to support them."

"After Matthew passed, I thought it would be virtually impossible to continue living. All the trees were uprooted ... But people are beginning gradually to recover," according to Bernard, 14, originally from Roche-à-Bateau, a southern commune badly affected by Matthew.

In the immediate aftermath of the storm, UNICEF mobilized its staff on the ground to respond to the most urgent needs, sending emergency aid for affected children and families, including clean water and sanitation.

UNICEF, working with the Haitian Government and partners, has been able to carry out the following actions during the past 12 months:

More than 550,000 people have benefited from access to drinking water.

120 schools damaged by the hurricane were rehabilitated, facilitating the return to school for more than 30,000 schoolchildren. 139 schools received more than 10,000 school furniture items and 26,000 children received psychosocial support.

More than 28,000 children benefited from psychosocial care, assistance and nutrition, health and hygiene education. More than 24,000 people received information on violence, child abuse and gender-based violence (GBV).

More than 160,000 children have been screened for malnutrition in the departments of the South and Grand'Anse in an ongoing screening program. The results show the need for continuing care with 7,443 cases of acute malnutrition reported including 2,343 cases of severe acute malnutrition and 5,100 cases of moderate acute malnutrition.
In addition, UNICEF had organized a series of consultations with adolescents in Grand'Anse and the South to enable them to express their concerns and ideas about risk and disaster management, with the results shared with local authorities.
The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 - Cool Microscope Technology Revolutionises Biochemistry 
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- We may soon have detailed images of life's complex machineries in atomic resolution. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 is awarded to Jacques Dubochet, Joachim Frank and Richard Henderson for the development of cryo-electron microscopy, which both simplifies and improves the imaging of biomolecules. This method has moved biochemistry into a new era.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has decided to award the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2017 to

Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne, Switzerland,

Joachim Frank, Columbia University, New York, USA

and

Richard Henderson, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK

"For developing cryo-electron microscopy for the high-resolution structure determination of biomolecules in solution"

A picture is a key to understanding. Scientific breakthroughs often build upon the successful visualisation of objects invisible to the human eye. However, biochemical maps have long been filled with blank spaces because the available technology has had difficulty generating images of much of life's molecular machinery. Cryo-electron microscopy changes all of this. Researchers can now freeze biomolecules mid-movement and visualise processes they have never previously seen, which is decisive for both the basic understanding of life's chemistry and for the development of pharmaceuticals.

Electron microscopes were long believed to only be suitable for imaging dead matter, because the powerful electron beam destroys biological material. But in 1990, Richard Henderson succeeded in using an electron microscope to generate a three-dimensional image of a protein at atomic resolution. This breakthrough proved the technology's potential.

Joachim Frank made the technology generally applicable. Between 1975 and 1986 he developed an image processing method in which the electron microscope's fuzzy two-dimensional images are analysed and merged to reveal a sharp three-dimensional structure.

Jacques Dubochet added water to electron microscopy. Liquid water evaporates in the electron microscope's vacuum, which makes the biomolecules collapse. In the early 1980s, Dubochet succeeded in vitrifying water - he cooled water so rapidly that it solidified in its liquid form around a biological sample, allowing the biomolecules to retain their natural shape even in a vacuum.

Following these discoveries, the electron microscope's every nut and bolt has been optimised. The desired atomic resolution was reached in 2013, and researchers can now routinely produce three-dimensional structures of biomolecules. In the past few years, scientific literature has been filled with images of everything from proteins that cause antibiotic resistance, to the surface of the Zika virus. Biochemistry is now facing an explosive development and is all set for an exciting future.

More information, scientific background and illustrations free to use for editorial use, with the given credentials, can be found at:

www.kva.se/nobelchemistry2017

The Laureates

Jacques Dubochet, born 1942 in Aigle, Switzerland. Ph.D. 1973, University of Geneva and University of Basel, Switzerland; Honorary Professor of Biophysics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland.

Jacques Dubochet, University of Lausanne, Switzerland

Joachim Frank, born 1940 in Siegen, Germany. Ph.D. 1970, Technical University of Munich, Germany; Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics and of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, USA.

Joachim Frank, Columbia University, New York, USA

Richard Henderson, born 1945 in Edinburgh, Scotland. Ph.D. 1969, Cambridge University, UK; Programme Leader, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK.

Richard Henderson, Cambridge, Storbritannien

Prize amount: 9 million Swedish krona, to be shared equally between the Laureates.​


03/10/2017

War on cholera can't be won without water and sanitation, WaterAid warns

 'The War to end Cholera', a new report published today by WaterAid, reveals that the countries with the highest cholera burden are the same nations with the greatest number of people living without clean water and decent sanitation. WaterAid is warning that global efforts to end cholera will fail unless the world's poorest are given the tools they need to fight the disease – clean water, decent sanitation and good hygiene.  

​India tops the list of countries with the highest estimated number of cholera cases globally (675,000). It also has the greatest number of people living without access to clean water (163 million) and a decent household toilet (732 million), the WaterAid report shows.

Ethiopia and Nigeria follow in second and third place respectively. Both nations also have the second and third highest number of people globally living without access to clean water, and they rank among the top for having the most people without basic sanitation.

Nicole Hurtubise, WaterAid Canada's Chief Executive officer, said:

"The fact that this preventable disease still affects 2.9 million people every year and kills 95,000 people is inconceivable. Cholera can be eliminated with simple things we already know work. By providing people with clean water and decent sanitation, we can win the war against cholera and leave this deadline disease behind forever."

On October 4th, the WHO"s Global Task Force for Cholera Control (GTFCC)* will launch 'Ending Cholera – A Global Roadmap to 2030' with a goal to reduce cholera deaths by 90 per cent and eliminate the transmission of the in up to 20 countries by 2030. The GTFCC brings together government and non-governmental organizations, including WaterAid, UN agencies such as the World Health Organization, and scientific institutions. At the end of the one-day meeting being held in Annecy, France, nations and participating partners are expected to sign a declaration committing to the roadmap.

Key Facts

Cholera still affects more than 40 countries across the globe
There are 2.9 million cholera cases each year and as many as 95,000 deaths
Globally 844 million people still lack basic access to drinking water, and 2.4 billion are without a decent household toilet, potentially exposing them to a range of water-related diseases including cholera.
Cholera costs the world an estimated $2 billion per year in treatment and hospitalisation and the related lost productivity.
Ensuring communities have long-term, sustainable access to clean water, decent sanitation and hygiene may cost as little as $40 per person

UNICEF appeals for US$76.1 million to assist children in Bangladesh affected by the Rohingya crisis

​ UNICEF is launching a US$76.1 million appeal for its emergency humanitarian response to the Rohingya refugee crisis in southern Bangladesh.

The appeal will cover the immediate needs of newly-arrived Rohingya children, as well as those who arrived before the recent influx, and children from vulnerable host communities -- 720,000 children in all.

Up to 60 per cent of the 500,000-plus Rohingya who have fled Myanmar since August 25 are estimated to be children. Most are now living in harsh and insanitary conditions in makeshift camps and settlements spread across the district of Cox's Bazar.

"Desperate, traumatized children and their families are fleeing the violence in Myanmar every day. We are scaling up our response as fast as we can, but the magnitude of need is immense and we must be able do more to help them. These children are being denied a childhood. They need our help now and they need our help to have a future," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake, who is visiting southern Bangladesh.

Expanding the provision of safe water, sanitation and improved hygiene for Rohingya children is the overriding priority of the appeal, amid concerns over a possible outbreak of diarrhea and other waterborne diseases. The majority of Rohingya children are not fully immunized against diseases such as polio.

An oral cholera vaccination campaign targeting all children over 1 years old is planned in October, and 900,000 doses of the vaccine are expected to arrive in Bangladesh on October 7, possibly earlier.

An earlier UNICEF appeal for US$7 million has been expanded to reflect the fast-growing scale of the crisis.

Under the response plan, UNICEF will:

Provide safe water and sanitation to up to 50 per cent of the target population, and respond to the hygiene needs of 40 per cent. The priority will be on the most vulnerable children at risk of disease, along with health, nutrition and learning centres.

Focus on disease prevention through vaccinations and antenatal care services. UNICEF and partners are working to make information and resources on water handling available to households. Staff at nutrition centres will screen and refer children with suspected cholera cases. Life-saving information on how to prevent and detect suspected cholera cases, and where to go for treatment will be broadcast through mass media. Religious leaders, volunteers and youth will support awareness-raising campaigns.

Meet the nutritional needs of at least 60 per cent of an estimated caseload of 7,500 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM) and procure supplies of Ready-to-use Therapeutic Food (RUTF) and therapeutic milk for other partners treating SAM. UNICEF will reach 70 per cent of children with micronutrient support, including Vitamin A.

Provide child protection services (including psychosocial and recreational support) to up to 180,000 children through structured activities at Child Friendly Spaces and referrals for children who require specialized support. UNICEF will work with the Red Cross on family tracing and reunification, and with other partners to provide survivors of sexual violence with a broad range of support.

Expand its network of Adolescent Centres to provide life-skills training, recreational activities, and psychosocial support to an especially vulnerable group.

Work closely with the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education to provide early learning and non-formal basic education to all Rohingya children, using a curriculum that provides basic literacy, numeracy and life skills designed for children who have been out of school. UNICEF will also provide support to schools in host communities, including non-formal education for out of school children. UNICEF will work to recruit teachers among the Rohingya population.
Hurricane Harvey, Irma's and soon to be Maria's Lessons for Ontario
20/09/2017:​Ontario should not look upon Hurricanes Harvey, Irma or even Maria as distant events. They have a scary relevance for us, with lessons we should heed.

Not only were lives lost and homes destroyed in the Caribbean, Florida, Texas and Louisiana, but there are fears of an environmental disaster. The floods may have unleashed a calamitous brew of toxic waste and other hazardous materials. With over 200 chemical plants, 33 oil refineries and thousands of small manufacturing plants in the Houston area alone, operators are struggling to limit unintended discharges.

Climate change brings the risks of more severe weather events and it would not take a storm as powerful as Harvey or Irma to bring a catastrophic deluge to Ontario.

We need to ask: what would happen to toxic wastes here in a major flood? How much do we produce? Where is it going? How much do we really know about toxic waste in Ontario?

The short answer to all those questions is: 'not nearly as much as we should'.

Various estimates indicate that we produce a total of about 11 million tonnes of waste each year in Ontario, or about 850 kilograms a person, placing us amongst the worse per capita generators of trash in the world.

Largely thanks to our Blue Box program, we are diverting about 25% of our garbage from landfills.

What about the other 75%, coming mostly from what we call the IC&I sector – industrial, commercial and institutional?

This is a gaping hole--we simply do not know much about it. We have not yet analyzed and studied all the data needed to tell us how much toxic waste is produced each year, where it is coming from and where it is going.

Waste management and recycling companies in Ontario are no doubt diverting an increasing amount of toxic wastes and processing them into marketable materials, even though government regulations have not yet done enough to support these industries.

But we still rely heavily on landfills, with 31 of them operating in Ontario which receive more than 1.5 million cubic metres of waste a year. No doubt a lot of bad stuff is still going into them. And there are thousands of abandoned dump sites across the province.

Even more troubling is the amount of toxic waste entering our municipal sewer system. Consider this: virtually every small and large business, from dry cleaners, beauty salons and printing shops to huge manufacturers are connected to these systems and under permit can discharge wastes, some of them hazardous. But our municipal sewage treatment plants are not equipped to eliminate this material, which means it ends up in our rivers and major lakes.

A major flood would bring it into our homes.

We must do more to prepare ourselves. Important work is underway as a result of the recently approved Waste Free Ontario Act. Over the next several years we will begin to collect, analyze and communicate important, comprehensive data that can help form the basis of many new recycling initiatives.

But this is going to take time, and we may not have time, as weather patterns continue to increase in intensity.

Chemical and petroleum industries in the southern US have made improvements in their safety standards but they were overwhelmed by the power of Harvey and Irma, which caused more than two dozen uncontrolled releases of toxic material.

I hope this disaster will encourage major industries in Ontario to launch a thorough review of their emergency response plans.

Equally important is the need for a province-wide assessment of where we are most vulnerable to uncontrolled releases of toxic materials. This is a daunting exercise given the current state of our data on toxic waste. The province should be reaching out now to generators and processors of these wastes who can help develop an emergency response plan that can mitigate the release of toxic material under severe weather conditions.

We must be ready because as climate change experts tell us, it is no longer a question of if the severe weather will come, but when.
Five countries working on new refugee sponsorship programs
18/09/2017:  One year after it was formed and nine months after its official launch, the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative (GRSI) is pleased to announce that it is working closely with the governments of Argentina, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Each of these countries has launched, or is in the process of developing, a community sponsorship program in support of refugee resettlement.

The GRSI particularly congratulates government and civil society partners in both the United Kingdom and Argentina, where refugees have already begun arriving under recently launched community sponsorship programs.

We also acknowledge the UAE's commitment to welcoming 15,000 Syrians as part of the country's relief contribution, and are pleased to have been able to work with the UAE as they explore possible models for this effort that conform with the country's unique circumstances.

The GRSI is also marking its one year anniversary with the international launch of a Guidebook designed to help government officials, civil society organizations, and communities around the world design their own sponsorship programs. The Guidebook identifies an expanding series of questions that actors may ask themselves when designing their programs, and then explains by way of example how the successful Canadian sponsorship program treats each area.

The Guidebook is available in English, French, Spanish, and Portuguese on GRSI's multilingual website.

The GRSI announced its five partner countries and formally launched its international Guidebook at the 2017 Concordia Summit, where GRSI leaders participated in a panel discussion at the opening plenary.

The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; His Excellency Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Frank Giustra, Founder and President of the Radcliffe Foundation, and Sean Hinton, Director of the Economic Advancement Program, Open Society Foundations and CEO of the Soros Economic Development Fund; highlighted the importance of developing programs that engage public, private, and community actors in support of refugee protection.

Hussen said, "Canada congratulates the five partner countries that are developing community sponsorship programs. Canada's refugee resettlement program is stronger thanks to the participation and support of civil society. We hope the Guidebook, which draws on the Canadian model, will inspire others to develop their own community sponsorship program"

The GRSI is a multi-stakeholder coalition that aims to build worldwide refugee resettlement capacity by encouraging and supporting the development of community sponsorship programs. It is led by the Government of Canada, UNHCR, the Radcliffe Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, and the University of Ottawa.


15/09/2017

DR Congo: Children's access to education under threat from ongoing violence in Kasai region

 A large campaign to get 150,000 primary school-aged children back to the classroom has kicked off in the volatile Kasai region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following months of clashes between militias and security forces that have displaced thousands of families and left 850,000 children without access to essential services like education and healthcare.

UNICEF estimates that in the five provinces hit hardest by the crisis – Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Sankuru and Lomami – 440,000 children were prevented from finishing the previous school year because of insecurity. Since the start of the crisis, more than 400 schools have been attacked, and the fear of violence means that parents are reluctant to send their children to school.

"It is crucial for children to return to school to restore a sense of normalcy in their lives after months of fear and uncertainty," said Dr Tajudeen Oyewale, Acting Representative of UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The back-to-school campaign carried out by UNICEF and its partners across the Kasai region includes communication activities encouraging parents to enroll their children, distribution of school material for the most vulnerable children and training for 2,750 teachers in peace-education and psychosocial support.

In order to create a safe return to school, UNICEF supported the training of teachers and conducted awareness-raising amongst communities on risks related to mines and war remnants in the school environment.

The violence that started a year ago has expanded throughout the Kasai region and even beyond, forcing thousands of children and their families to flee into the bush to escape the fighting.

"Children who have returned home after hiding for months all speak of their eagerness to be back in school," said Oyewale. "The same goes for all the children who have been compelled to take part in the hostilities in one way or another. They are looking to the future, and they know education is a way forward."

Note to editors: Until now, UNICEF and its partners have reached more than 500,000 people affected by the crisis in the Kasai region with life-saving interventions, multi-purpose cash transfers, education material, essential non-food items and child protection interventions. In early September, UNICEF shipped 35 tons of non-food items, and water and nutrition supplies donated by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA)/USAID to the Kasai benefitting 120,000 displaced people.

Discriminatory Ban Already Harming Transgender Troops and the U.S. Military, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN Tell Court

Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN yesterday asked a federal court to halt immediately all steps taken to implement the Trump Administration’s discriminatory plan to ban transgender individuals from serving openly in the U.S. Armed Services.
“Before the President’s vicious attack on transgender Americans, transgender service members had been serving openly and proudly in every branch of the U.S. Military for more than a year,” Lambda Legal Senior Attorney Peter Renn said. “Since the President’s tweets, and his mandate for the Pentagon to implement his ban, those same service members have been branded as unfit to serve – to do the jobs they have been doing successfully – simply because they are transgender. That harm is real, it is palpable, and it is discriminatory.”
“It is unacceptable to destroy the careers of patriotic and courageous members of the U.S. military,” said Peter Perkowski, Legal Director for OutServe-SLDN. “This ban must be stopped dead in its tracks before it goes any further so that these brave men and women can focus on their real jobs – protecting and serving the country they love.”
Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN filed a motion for preliminary injunction on Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington. The motion asks the court to preliminarily enjoin the government from taking actions inconsistent with the military policy that existed prior to July 26, 2017, under which transgender service members were allowed to serve openly, and transgender Americans seeking to join the military had a path forward for doing so.
In the lawsuit, Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN are now representing nine individual plaintiffs, all of whom are transgender, and three organizational plaintiffs – the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Seattle-based Gender Justice League, and the American Military Partners Association (AMPA).
The individual plaintiffs include six current service members and three individuals who wish to enlist. The current service members are: Staff Sergeant Cathrine (“Katie”) Schmid, a 33-year-old woman and 12-year member of the U.S. Army currently serving in Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington, who has applied to become an Army Warrant Officer; Petty Officer Terece Lewis, a 33-year-old woman and 14-year member of the U.S. Navy serving on the U.S.S. John C. Stennis out of Bremerton, Washington; Lindsey Muller, a 35-year-old woman and seventeen-year member of the U.S. Army serving in Seoul, South Korea; Phillip Stephens, a 29-year-old man and five-year member of the U.S. Navy serving at Eglin Air Force Base near Valparaiso, Florida; Megan Winters, a 29-year-old woman and five-year member of the U.S. Navy serving in the Office of Naval Intelligence in Washington, D.C.; and a sixth individual who remains anonymous. The three plaintiffs who seek to join the military are: Ryan Karnoski, a 22-year-old Seattle man who currently works as a social worker and wishes to become an officer doing social work for the military; Conner Callahan, a 29-year-old man who currently works in law enforcement in North Carolina; and Drew Layne, a high-school student from Corpus Christi, Texas, who is 17 years old and, with parental support, wants to join the Air Force.
“It is impossible to overstate how important it was when the Pentagon lifted the ban on open service, when I and other transgender service members were finally able to live and serve as our true and authentic selves,” Phillip Stephens said. “To read those tweets, to have the rug pulled out from under us, to be branded unfit to serve was devastating, not just for me, but really for the U.S. Military and military readiness as a whole.”
Background
On July 26, President Trump posted a series of tweets in the early morning hours announcing that, “The United States Government will not accept or allow transgender individuals to serve in any capacity in the U.S. Military.” The tweeted ban was swiftly and widely condemned by more than 56 retired generals and admirals and a large percentage of Republican and Democratic U.S. senators and representatives.
Despite that criticism, the White House proceeded to issue a memorandum directing the military to continue the ban on enlistment by those they learn are transgender, even though our armed forces currently are facing recruitment challenges, including in high demand positions like linguists, health care providers, social workers and aviators. The enlistment ban also bars transgender members of the military currently serving openly, such as Staff Sergeant Schmid, from obtaining appointments as officers.
The memorandum further orders the return to past anti-transgender policies affecting continued service and medical care of those known to be transgender after the development of an implementation plan by the Secretary of Defense. The Lambda Legal and OutServe-SLDN lawsuit against President Trump, the United States of America, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and the U.S. Department of Defense is based on the Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection, due process and free speech for all. 
The government-commissioned RAND study released in May 2016 determined that the cost of providing transition-related care is exceedingly small relative to U.S. Armed Forces overall health care expenditures, that there are no readiness implications that prevent transgender members from serving openly, and that numerous foreign militaries have successfully permitted open service without a negative effect on effectiveness, readiness, or unit cohesion. Based on that study, the Pentagon lifted the ban on open service by transgender men and women in July 2016.
The lawsuit is Karnoski v. Trump. Read a copy of the Motion for Preliminary Injunction here: [LINK]. Read more about the case here: https://www.lambdalegal.org/in-court/cases/karnoski-v-trump
The Lambda Legal attorneys working on the case are: Peter Renn, Jon W. Davidson, Camilla B. Taylor, Tara Borelli, Natalie Nardecchia, Sasha Buchert, Kara Ingelhart, and Carl Charles. They are joined by co-counsel Peter Perkowski of OutServe-SLDN. Also on the legal team are pro-bono co-counsel at Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Newman Du Wors LLP.
Statements from Organizational Plaintiffs
“We know from our members about the fear and uncertainty created first by President Trump’s tweets and now the memo,” said Danni Askini, Executive Director, Gender Justice League. “Current transgender service members and those wanting to enlist are now in a constant state of limbo as the result of a hateful and counterproductive policy. We are hopeful the courts will uphold their duty to our ideals and halt this policy by granting the requested injunction.”
"The thousands of transgender troops currently serving their country deserve immediate clarity and protection from the discriminatory whims of this president," said HRC National Press Secretary Sarah McBride. "No service member should be forced to fear for their future for one more day due to Donald Trump's unconstitutional order. We hope the court will recognize the urgency and severity of the situation and ensure that the promise made to these service members - that if they are willing and able to serve, they will be allowed to do so - is protected."
AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack said: "After the Defense Department assured transgender service members it was safe to come out and serve openly, President Trump is now singling them out for blatant discrimination. This shameful assault threatens the service member and his or her entire military family. As the nation's largest organization of LGBT military families, we are proud to be represented by Lambda Legal and Outserve-SLDN in our lawsuit challenging this unpatriotic and shameful transgender military ban. Any qualified American, regardless of their gender identity, should be able to serve their country."

Up to three quarters of children and youth face abuse, exploitation and trafficking on Mediterranean migration routes - UNICEF, IOM

12/09/2017

Migrant and refugee children and youth trying to reach Europe face appalling levels of human rights abuses, with 77 per cent of those traveling along the Central Mediterranean route reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation, and practices which may amount to human trafficking – UNICEF and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said today in a new report.

Harrowing Journeys shows that while all migrants and refugees are at high risk, children and youth on the move are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than adults aged 25 years and above: nearly twice as likely on the Eastern Mediterranean route and at a rate 13 per cent higher on the Central Mediterranean route.

Aimamo, a 16-year-old unaccompanied child from the Gambia interviewed at a shelter in Italy described being forced into months of grueling manual labor by traffickers upon his arrival in Libya. "If you try to run, they shoot you. If you stop working, they beat you. We were just like slaves. At the end of the day, they just lock you inside."

The report is based on the testimonies of some 22,000 migrants and refugees, including some 11,000 children and youth, interviewed by IOM.

"The stark reality is that it is now standard practice that children moving through the Mediterranean are abused, trafficked, beaten and discriminated against," said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe.

"For people who leave their countries to escape violence, instability or poverty, the factors pushing them to migrate are severe and they make perilous journeys knowing that they may be forced to pay with their dignity, their wellbeing or even their lives," said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM's Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland.

"Without the establishment of more regular migration pathways, other measures will be relatively ineffective. We must also re-invigorate a rights-based approach to migration, improving mechanisms to identify and protect the most vulnerable throughout the migration process, regardless of their legal status."

The report also shows that, while all children on the move are at high risk, those originating from sub-Saharan Africa are far more likely to experience exploitation and trafficking than those from other parts of the world: 65 per cent compared to 15 per cent along the Eastern Mediterranean route, and 83 per cent compared to 56 per cent along the Central Mediterranean route. Racism is likely a major underlying factor behind this discrepancy.

Children and youth traveling alone or over longer periods, along with those possessing lower levels of education, were also found to be highly vulnerable to exploitation at the hands of traffickers and criminal groups over the course of their journeys. According to the report, the Central Mediterranean route is particularly dangerous, with most of the migrants and refugees passing through Libya which remains riven with lawlessness, militias and criminality. On average young people pay between $1,000-5,000 for the journey and often arrive in Europe in debt, which exposes them to further risks.

The report calls on all concerned parties − countries of origin, transit and destination, the African Union, the European Union, international and national organizations with support from the donor community – to prioritize a series of actions.

These include establishing safe and regular pathways for children on the move; strengthening services to protect migrant and refugee children whether in countries of origin, transit or destination; finding alternatives to the detention of children on the move; working across borders to combat trafficking and exploitation; and combatting xenophobia, racism and discrimination against all migrants and refugees.

Note to editors: UNICEF continues to call on governments to adopt its six-point agenda for action to protect migrant and refugee children and ensure their wellbeing:

Protect child refugees and migrants, particularly unaccompanied children, from exploitation and violence;
End the detention of children seeking refugee status or migrating, by introducing a range of practical alternatives;
Keep families together as the best way to protect children and give children legal status;
Keep all refugee and migrant children learning and give them access to health and other quality services;
Press for action on the underlying causes of large scale movements of refugees and migrants;
Promote measures to combat xenophobia, discrimination and marginalization in countries of transit and destination.
The report and supporting photo and video material can be downloaded here.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more in developing countries.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in more 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca.

About IOM

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. With 166 member states, 8 states holding observer status and offices in over 100 countries, IOM promotes humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.


05/09/2017

Routing algorithms help Uganda school bus bring students to class on time

A school bus in rural Uganda is leveraging route optimization algorithms to help bring hundreds of students to school on time.

Routific's routing software is typically used by delivery businesses to increase revenues and reduce costs. But this school year, the technology is optimizing bus routes so children in eastern Uganda can get to school as quickly and efficiently as possible.

"Every day, over half a million students in Uganda walk over five kilometers to get to school," said Walking School Bus founder Aaron Friedland. "Many of these students arrive at school without eating. It's impossible for them to thrive in the environment they have fought so hard to access."

The Walking School Bus raised $14,000 to purchase the school bus earlier this year. The bus travels 55.4 kilometres (34.4 miles) every school day, and transports nearly 100 students to and from Hadassa Primary School and Semei Kakungulu High School.

The organization has also created an innovative approach to sustaining the bus. In between morning and afternoon school bus runs, the vehicle moonlights as a public and private taxi – generating $28.50 CAD ($22.47 USD) a day.

"The Walking School Bus has taken a very smart approach to their development work for impoverished communities around the world," said Routific Founder and CEO Marc Kuo.

"We love how they are leveraging technology to do their work as efficiently as possible, stretching their donor's dollars as far as they can possibly go."

The Walking School Bus is now fundraising to purchase a school bus for the Yonatan Netanyahu Memorial School in Putti Village, Uganda. Visit thewalkingschoolbus.com to learn more.

About The Walking School Bus

The Walking School Bus supports access to education by providing a holistic approach to educational attainment. Their work includes providing safe transportation, nutrition, and innovative literacy programs for students in developing countries.

Back-to-school a time to sound the alarm on Canada's kids: UNICEF

 As millions of children and youth across Canada head back to school this week, UNICEF Canada is sounding the alarm on their well-being. Higher than average rates of bullying and unhealthy weight, combined with poor mental health are threatening their chances for success.

According to a UNICEF report released this summer, Canada ranks 25th out of 41 rich countries when it comes to child well-being. Of particular concern are the rankings around child health, violence experienced by children and their own sense of well-being.

"We send children to school in order to set them up for success, said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "Yet with the poor state of so many critical indicators of child and youth well-being – things like their health, safety and their sense of belonging – it's clear we're not doing enough to ensure the best possible outcomes for Canada's children. Now is the time to face the facts and ask ourselves how we can do better."

One in seven young Canadians are regularly bullied

Canada ranks 27th out of 41 of the world's richest countries in bullying, with a bullying rate of 15 per cent that is well above average. While many countries have made progress in reducing their bullying rates, Canada's has remained fairly stable over the past 10 years.

"At least one in seven of Canada's children regularly and repeatedly experience bullying," said Morley. "This should be worrying not only for parents and educators, but for every one of us as Canadians. Is this the Canada we want our kids to grow up in – a country of fear and exclusion?"

Bullying can have extensive impacts on mental health, an area where Canada is also lagging. Nearly a quarter of young people in Canada report experiencing two or more symptoms related to their mental health more than once a week.

One in four young Canadians are obese

Back-to-school can also mean back to school cafeterias. In Canada, one in four young people are obese, and the country ranks 29th of 41 countries in unhealthy weight of children.

"Many kids skip breakfast, don't bring snacks or even a packed lunch to school," said Olivia L., a young Canadian involved in UNICEF Canada's work to improve the well-being of youth. "Having spent a lot of time in my school cafeteria from when I was in elementary school to now in high school, I've seen many kids who bring lunches that are filled with overly processed food and sugary snacks with no nutritional value. Many young people are also misinformed when it comes to nutrition and healthy eating."

New movement launching to make Canada the best place for kids

How can Canada address these challenges and move to the top of the UNICEF Index of Child Well-being? UNICEF Canada says the answer lies in better measurement and data, the design of innovative solutions and in all Canadians coming together for and with kids.

"This fall, we're launching One Youth, and we want all Canadians to be a part of it," said Morley. "Help us talk about, and develop and test solutions to some of these challenges facing kids today. Whether you're five or 65, you have a role to play in making Canada the best place to grow up in."

Visit www.unicef.ca/oneyouth to learn more.

31/08/2017

The Changing Face of Addiction and Opioid Poisoning

In Canada the incidence of both fatal and non-fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise across all geographies and demographics. In 2016 there were at least 2,458 deaths due to opioid overdose and there were 13 Canadians a day hospitalized for opioid poisoning.i Data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information indicates that seniors have the highest rates of hospitalizations related to opioid poisoning, while youth (aged 15-24) have the fastest growth rate in hospitalizations.ii

Despite this data, a recent national survey showed that 92 percent of Canadians believe that the issue of opioid poisoning and overdoses is related to those addicted to illicit opioid street drugs. This finding was part of a national survey conducted by Adapt Pharma in advance of International Overdose Awareness Day, a global event observed each year on August 31st.

There is often a stigma associated with those who are dealing with opioid use disorder; in reality anyone taking a prescription opioid may be vulnerable to overdose. Very often people are unaware of the dangers of inadvertently misusing opioid prescription drugs, whether it's taking the wrong dosage or taking it at the same time as other medication.

According to the survey, one in five (20%) Canadians report knowing someone with an opioid addiction.

"With so many Canadians affected by opioid poisoning, we continue to support increasing the awareness, education, and services that address the risks of opioid use and overdose," said David Renwick, General Manager of Adapt Pharma Canada, the manufacturer of NARCAN™ Nasal Spray, an emergency opioid overdose treatment.

Additionally, the survey found the majority (70%) of Canadians are aware of 'naloxone', the emergency antidote drug used to treat someone suffering from an opioid overdose. Improving access to naloxone within communities is a critical factor in helping reduce deaths due to opioid overdose. Across Canada, more than 400 organizations now rely on NARCAN™ Nasal Spray which is used to treat opioid overdoses. Since its introduction in Canada more than a year ago, tens of thousands of first responders and hundreds of government agencies and community organizations across Canada now rely on NARCAN™ Nasal Spray to help combat the opioid crisis in an emergency situation, including RCMP officers, numerous police and fire services, hospitals, schools and recovery treatment centers nationwide.

"NARCAN™ Nasal Spray was designed with the general public and communities in mind as a ready-to-use, needle-free option for opioid overdose emergency treatments. We continue to work diligently with community stakeholders, first responders and government agencies to ensure broad access to NARCAN™ Nasal Spray. Events like International Overdose Awareness Day are important in raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with overdoses, which better enables communities to address this crisis." said Renwick.

ABOUT THE SURVEY

Survey results were produced from an online survey conducted August 15-16 2017 among 1,212 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists and are aware of the health crisis in Canada involving overdoses from opioids. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.7%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to education, age, gender and region (and in Quebec, language.) Census data was used to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

ABOUT NARCAN™ (naloxone HCl) NASAL SPRAY

Naloxone Hydrochloride Nasal Spray is a pure opioid antagonist indicated for emergency use outside of a hospital to reverse known or suspected opioid overdose, as manifested by respiratory and/or severe central nervous system depression.

Naloxone Hydrochloride Nasal Spray can be administered by a bystander (non-health care professional) before emergency medical assistance becomes available, but it is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical care. Emergency medical assistance (calling 911) should be requested immediately when an opioid overdose is suspected, before administering naloxone.

In clinical studies, nasal edema, nasal inflammation, nasal dryness, nasal congestion, muscle spasms, musculoskeletal pain, headache, dizziness, constipation, nausea, toothache, rhinalgia, xeroderma, and blood pressure increase were reported.

The availability of NARCAN™ Nasal Spray in Canada under the Interim Order signed by the Minister of Health in July 2016 underpins the goal of Health Canada to expedite community access to naloxone and equip first responders and the general public with the ability to readily and rapidly reverse an opioid overdose.

Adapt Pharma Canada Ltd. has established dedicated distribution channels that allow first responders, public health organizations, and individuals to readily access NARCAN™ Nasal Spray. Adapt Customer Support can be reached at 1-877-870-2726 or by e-mail adaptcanada@customer-support.ca.

Naloxone Hydrochloride Nasal Spray is available as 4 mg/0.1 mL single-dose sprayer, carton of 2 devices.

Please see Indications and Important Safety Information below.

The full product monograph for NARCAN™ Nasal Spray is available at https://www.narcannasalspray.ca/pdf/en/product_monograph.pdf.

NARCAN™ NASAL SPRAY IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATIONi

WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS

Serious Warnings/ Precautions

Emergency medical assistance (calling 911) should be requested immediately when an opioid overdose is suspected, before using naloxone.

Individuals with a satisfactory response to an initial dose of naloxone should be kept under continued surveillance.

Caregivers administering naloxone should be prepared to act in response to or assist the patient in cases of potential adverse reactions such as aggressive reactions, convulsions and vomiting. Special attention is warranted if naloxone is administered to a neonate or a pregnant woman.

General

In the absence of opioids, in opioid naïve people, naloxone administration shows essentially no pharmacologic activity. In opioid dependent people, naloxone may trigger an acute opioid withdrawal syndrome.

The effectiveness of naloxone has not been assessed in people with intranasal conditions such as abnormal nasal anatomy, nasal symptoms (i.e., blocked and/or runny nose, nasal polyps, etc.) or in people having a product sprayed into the nasal cavity prior to naloxone administration.

Naloxone does not counteract overdoses due to: barbiturates, benzodiazepines, psychostimulants (e.g., cocaine, amphetamines, methylphenidate, etc.), alcohol, or any other non-opioid drug such as non-opioid tranquilizers, anesthetics or sedatives. Naloxone is not effective against respiratory depression due to non-opioid drugs.

Naloxone Hydrochloride Nasal Spray should be administered with caution to persons who are known or suspected to be physically dependent on opioids.

Special Populations

Pregnant Women: There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Administration of naloxone to an opioid-dependent pregnant woman may induce an acute opioid withdrawal syndrome, which may precipitate preterm labor or fetal distress. Naloxone should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Nursing Women: It is not known whether naloxone is excreted in human milk. Studies in nursing mothers have shown that naloxone does not affect prolactin or oxytocin hormone levels.

Pediatrics: Naloxone administration may cause an acute opioid withdrawal syndrome which may be life threatening in opioid dependent neonates if not recognized and properly treated. Clinical data is limited and naloxone should be administered to a neonate only if clearly needed. As for any use of naloxone, emergency medical assistance should be requested immediately, before administering naloxone in a neonate.

Geriatrics (> 65 years of age): Geriatric patients have a greater frequency of decreased hepatic, renal, or cardiac function and of concomitant disease or other drug therapy. Therefore, the systemic exposure of naloxone hydrochloride can be higher in these patients.

Reporting Side Effects

You can help improve the safe use of health products for Canadians by reporting serious and unexpected side effects to Health Canada. Your report may help to identify new side effects and change the product safety information.

3 ways to report:

Online at MedEffect (https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/medeffect-canada.html);

By calling 1-866-234-2345 (toll-free);

By completing a Consumer Side Effect Reporting Form and sending it by:
Fax to 1-866-678-6789 (toll-free), or
Mail to: Canada Vigilance Program
Health Canada, Postal Locator 1908C
Ottawa, ON
K1A 0K9
Postage paid labels and the Consumer Side Effect Reporting Form are available at MedEffect.


NOTE: Contact your health professional if you need information about how to manage your side effects. The Canada Vigilance Program does not provide medical advice.

__________________________
i https://www.cihi.ca/en/13-canadians-hospitalized-each-day-for-opioid-poisoning
ii Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Visits Due to Opioid Poisoning in Canada -Canadian Institute for Health Information

Deploying a high-resolution weather model over the impacted portion of B.C. to ensure that detailed forecast information is available.    

HURRICANE HARVEY
30/08/2017

Petco Foundation Commits $2.3 Million to South Texas and Louisiana Animal Welfare Organizations Following Hurricane Harvey

The Petco Foundation announced today that all funds raised during their All For Saving Lives campaign in Petco stores and online through September 10 will directly support animal welfare organizations in the South Texas and Louisiana region.

Located in San Antonio, Texas, the Petco Foundation began reaching out to south Texas and Louisiana animal welfare organizations ahead of Hurricane Harvey to proactively provide supplies and support as organizations prepared to evacuate pets and take in displaced animals. As of Wednesday, organizations throughout southern Texas, including Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and Austin, as well as those in impacted areas of Louisiana have received supplies and/or pledges of grant funding to support their Hurricane Harvey response and recovery efforts.

"The impact of this devastation is beyond anything that we could have imagined. Today's focus is on doing everything we can to help save animal lives, and our efforts in the months ahead will be to support the recovery and rebuilding efforts," said Susanne Kogut, Petco Foundation Executive Director. "After the Baton Rouge flooding just about a year ago, we provided more than $500,000 of support. We know the Harvey recovery will require millions based on the massive scope of organizations and animals impacted by this storm and we're committed to doing all we can over the long haul."

The All for Saving Lives campaign, which launched on August 19, celebrates the life-changing impact of pets. Hurricane Harvey rescue efforts clearly illustrates the fact that pets are family and at this time those impacted by this devastation need our support.

Individuals can join the Petco Foundation in supporting Texas and Louisiana by:

Donating in a Petco or Unleashed by Petco store locations or online now through September 10.
Adopting a new family member during the All for Saving Lives Adoption Weekend:
Saturday and Sunday, September 9 -10
All Petco and Unleashed by Petco store locations
Adopting frees up much-needed shelter space, allowing another life to be saved

The Petco Foundation is committed to providing immediate short-term and long-term support for animal welfare organizations to help save animal lives. With more than $200 million invested in lifesaving animal welfare work since 1999, the Foundation directs many of its investments to organizations that are significantly under-resourced, providing funding that is crucial to their ability to save lives.

To learn more about the Petco Foundation and its Hurricane Harvey response, visit www.petcofoundation.org/hurricaneharvey

TD announces $100,000 donation to support Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts

TD Bank Group will donate $100,000 to the American Red Cross in support of emergency assistance for those affected by Hurricane Harvey. 

"Our hearts go out to the people, colleagues and communities who have been impacted by Hurricane Harvey," Andrea Barrack, Vice President, Community Relations and Corporate Citizenship, TD Bank Group. "TD's donation to the American Red Cross will provide much needed emergency assistance to those experiencing this terrible devastation."

For those interested in providing further support to the communities affected, donations can be made to the American Red Cross at www.redcross.org.

Samaritan's Purse in Texas to help victims of Hurricane Harvey

Samaritan's Purse has five specially equipped Disaster Relief Units either in Texas or on their way, and is recruiting U.S. and Canadian volunteers to clean up homes in response to the massive destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey. The Category 4 storm slammed into the Texas on Friday, bringing catastrophic flooding, widespread damage and 15 deaths.

Samaritan's Purse has deployed all of its U.S.-based Disaster Relief Unit tractor trailers from its international headquarters in North Carolina, and three more of the specially equipped units based in Canada are preparing to be deployed. The Christian international relief organization's teams are ready to help devastated homeowners as soon as state officials give approval to access damaged communities.

"The people of Texas are facing an unprecedented catastrophe, and they urgently need our help," said Samaritan's Purse President Franklin Graham. "We're going to do all we can to help them by tarping roofs, mudding out homes, and clearing debris. Most importantly, we're going to show them the love of Christ and let them know they're not facing this crisis alone."

Disaster Relief Units are tractor trailers outfitted with disaster recovery equipment including generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear for volunteers. They also serve as volunteer coordination and training centers, and are equipped with a self-contained office, communications system, and other supplies.

The Canadian-based Disaster Relief Units are stationed in Alberta, Ontario, and New Brunswick. The Alberta unit has played an integral role in helping Samaritan's Purse staff and volunteers in assisting with flood and wildfire fire clean-up in British Columbia throughout most of the summer.

Also deploying to Texas are crisis-trained Rapid Response Team Chaplains from Samaritan's Purse's sister organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). The chaplains will offer valuable emotional and spiritual support to people who have lost their homes and possessions.

Charity Navigator, a non-profit U.S. organization that assesses charities, has identified Samaritan's Purse as one of the most effective disaster relief organizations helping Hurricane Harvey victims.

In recent years, Samaritan's Purse has assisted victims of a wide variety of natural disasters including flooding in New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, southern Alberta, and Nova Scotia, plus wildfires in Fort McMurray, AB and the B.C. interior.

Samaritan's Purse also helps victims of international disasters including the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal, and Hurricane Matthew in Haiti in 2016.

Volunteers Needed: Samaritan's Purse is welcoming applications from Canadians wishing to volunteer for one-week or two-week periods in Texas during the next few months. They'll be supervised by experienced staff, and work alongside volunteers who have served with Samaritan's Purse in the past. Please visit SamaritansPurse.ca for more information.

Donations Needed: Canadians can donate to Samaritan's Purse disaster relief work by visiting SamaritansPurse.ca or calling 1-800-663-6500. Funds will be used to train, equip, and deploy many Canadian volunteers to Texas.


About Samaritan's Purse Canada
Samaritan's Purse is a Christian relief and development organization that takes its name from Jesus Christ's biblical story of the Good Samaritan. Like that Good Samaritan, who found a beaten man and helped restore him, we aid victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. Besides disaster relief, our work includes collecting and distributing gift-filled Operation Christmas Child shoeboxes, and providing safe water, vocational skills and agricultural supplies and training to families in the developing world. Learn more at SamaritansPurse.ca

29/08/2017

Save the Children Responds Urgently to Child Victims of Hurricane Harvey with Child-Friendly Spaces in Shelters, Essential Items 

Tornadoes, lightning, heavy rain and flash floods related to Hurricane Harvey continue to put millions at risk, including nearly 3 million children.

Save the Children is on the ground responding to the needs of children and their families who have been forced from their homes and into emergency shelters. The organization will open its first child-friendly space by 3 p.m. E.T. today to help victims of the storm, and is planning to open more in the coming days. These spaces are safe, well-supervised areas within shelters where children can play, socialize and begin to recover from the disaster, while allowing their parents to concentrate on addressing the family's immediate and longer-term needs.

The first child-friendly space will open in Kazen Middle School, in San Antonio, where hundreds of displaced families, including many with infants and toddlers, are seeking refuge. Save the Children is also providing shelters with portable cribs, strollers and infant and toddler hygiene supplies such as plastic wash basins, baby shampoo and lotion.

"We've lost everything," said Nick, a father of a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl, staying with his family at the Kazen Middle School shelter. "We saw photos of our house destroyed, off its frame, with our belongings strewn around the yard. We used the last of our money to get to the evacuation buses- before they brought the cribs in, our children had to sleep on cots and almost fell off."

"We are working as quickly as possible to help these children and families," said Jeanne-Aimee De Marrais, Save the Children's senior director of U.S. emergencies, who is leading the agency's response in Texas. "We know from decades of experience that children are the most affected in the wake of emergencies and disasters, and often their needs fall through the cracks. Child-friendly spaces are hugely important in providing a safe place for kids to play away from the turmoil, to support their physical and emotional wellbeing."

The state of Texas intends to establish up to three mega shelters, with the first one being in Houston, and then one in San Antonio, where all residents of the smaller shelters throughout the region will be consolidated. Save the Children will work to help ensure that children's protection needs are prioritized and will seek to supply the shelters with materials to support children's safety, health and hygiene and overall wellbeing.

In the coming days, Save the Children plans to expand its work to assist families outside the San Antonio area, and provide support to child care and early education programs damaged or destroyed by the storm.

To support Save the Children's response efforts around Hurricane Harvey, please go to www.SavetheChildren.org or text Hurricane to 20222 to donate $25 to the Hurricane Harvey Children's Relief Fund. (A $25 donation will be added to your mobile bill. Messaging & Data Rates May Apply. Terms: www.hmgf.org/t. Privacy Policy: www.savethechildren.org/privacy.)

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

More than 180 million people lack basic drinking water in countries ravaged by conflict or unrest - UNICEF

 More than 180 million people do not have access to basic drinking water in countries affected by conflict, violence and instability around the world, UNICEF warned today, as World Water Week gets under way.

"Children's access to safe water and sanitation, especially in conflicts and emergencies, is a right, not a privilege" said Sanjay Wijesekera, UNICEF's global chief of water, sanitation and hygiene. "In countries beset by violence, displacement, conflict and instability, children's most basic means of survival – water – must be a priority."

People living in fragile situations are four times more likely to lack basic drinking water than populations in non-fragile situations, according to a recent UNICEF and World Health Organization analysis. Of the estimated 484 million people living in fragile situations in 2015, 183 million lacked basic drinking water services.

In Yemen, a country reeling from the impact of over two years of conflict, water supply networks that serve the country's largest cities are at imminent risk of collapse due to war-inflicted damage and disrepair. Around 15 million people in the country have been cut off from regular access to water and sanitation.

In Syria, where the conflict is well into its seventh year, around 15 million people are in need of safe water, including an estimated 6.4 million children. Water has frequently been used as a weapon of war: In 2016 alone, there were at least 30 deliberate water cuts – including in Aleppo, Damascus, Hama, Raqqa and Dara, with pumps destroyed and water sources contaminated.

In conflict-affected areas in northeast Nigeria, 75 per cent of water and sanitation infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, leaving 3.6 million people without even basic water services.

In South Sudan, where fighting has raged for over three years, almost half the water points across the country have been damaged or completely destroyed.

"In far too many cases, water and sanitation systems have been attacked, damaged or left in disrepair to the point of collapse. When children have no safe water to drink, and when health systems are left in ruins, malnutrition and potentially fatal diseases like cholera will inevitably follow," said Wijesekera.

In Yemen, for example, children make up more than 53 per cent of the over half a million cases of suspected cholera and acute watery diarrhea reported so far. Somalia is suffering from the largest outbreak of cholera in the last five years, with more than 77,000 cases of suspected cholera/acute watery diarrhea. And in South Sudan, the cholera outbreak is the most severe the country has ever experienced, with more than 19,000 cases since June 2016.

In famine-threatened north-east Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen, nearly 30 million people, including 14.6 million children, are in urgent need of safe water. More than five million children are estimated to be malnourished this year, with 1.4 million severely so.

23/08/2017

Environment and Climate Change Canada's meteorologists providing support to battle B.C.'s forest fires

Since the wildfires in B.C. started earlier this summer, Environment and Climate Change Canada weather-service staff, like Senior Meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau, have been providing 24/7 up-to-date weather information, local smoke-dispersion forecasts, and medium- and long-term weather forecasts to assist with the management of the situation and the deployment of federal resources.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change said, "I am proud of the work that our meteorologists continue to provide, from our storm prediction centre located in Vancouver, in helping combat one of the worst forest-fire seasons in B.C. history."

Environment and Climate Change Canada also offers several products to help Canadians protect themselves from the wildfire smoke:

Air Quality Health Index forecasts to inform Canadians of the impacts wildfire smoke may have on human health. These forecasts are issued twice a day, and current air‑quality conditions are updated hourly.

Wildfire-smoke forecast maps to help predict how smoke from the wildfires is expected to travel.
Air-quality alerts, prepared in collaboration with provincial health authorities, for communities at immediate risk from air pollution caused by dense wildfire smoke.

The latest information on wildfire smoke and air quality at weather.gc.ca.

In response to the prolonged and significant nature of the fire situation in B.C., Environment and Climate Change Canada is also offering enhanced support and additional expert capacity by

Deploying an Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist to work at the B.C. Wildfire Service in Williams Lake, B.C.

Using Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologists from the Pacific Storm Prediction Centre in Vancouver, B.C., to prepare and deliver daily fire-weather briefings normally prepared by provincial staff.

Deploying a high-resolution weather model over the impacted portion of B.C. to ensure that detailed forecast information is available.    

16/08/2017

Small businesses concerned about potential changes to NAFTA: survey

Nearly one-third (28 per cent) of Canadian small businesses that trade with the United States and/or Mexico say that the potential renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) will alter their export and import plans, finds a new survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses. The survey comes as the renegotiation of the three-nation trade deal begins today in Washington D.C.

"There is a real concern, among our membership, that any changes to NAFTA could have significant effects on their ability to sell goods and services abroad, on their cost of importing goods, and on their ability to pass savings on to consumers," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB senior vice president of national affairs. "As the negotiations begin, we have to ensure that NAFTA creates even more, not less, business opportunities for Canadian firms."

Small and medium sized enterprises (SME's) in Canada are key stakeholders in the tri-lateral pact which helps to facilitate approximately US$1 trillion in trade between Canada, the United States and Mexico. Data from Industry Canada shows that, of all the firms in Canada that export, over 90 per cent are considered small businesses.

Importantly, one-in-three of the small businesses surveyed say that "favourable free trade agreements" influence their trade decisions.

"Given their prominent role in the Canadian economy, small and medium sized business owners should have a big say in the future of NAFTA and any changes that may ensue," Pohlmann said.

Recommendations:

On behalf of its members, CFIB has made the following recommendations for decision-makers to consider as part of the renegotiation of NAFTA:

Movement of labour: Ensure that the free flow of labour remains an important component of NAFTA and work to improve and clarify labour mobility rules.

SME chapter: Include a chapter specifically addressing the needs and particular challenges faced by SMEs involved in trade.

Red-tape (non-tariff barriers): Include a chapter that focuses on simplifying rules with the aim of reducing the overall administrative burden for small businesses involved in trade.

Trucking issues: Work to improve the speed at which trucks are able to cross the border.

The importance of duty-free: Renegotiation of NAFTA must ensure that trade remain as duty-free as possible and that the current range of duty-free goods within North America remain as is or be expanded.

Dispute resolution mechanisms: Review ways to improve current dispute resolution mechanisms to ensure equal treatment of all those involved and to guarantee that decisions will be respected by NAFTA members.
CFIB will continue to participate in government consultations to ensure that small business owners' concerns are taken into account.

The full report along with recommendations is available on the CFIB website.

The complete 2017 International Trade Survey consisted of responses from 4,399 CFIB members and included both members who did and members who did not trade with the US and/or Mexico. The survey was conducted online between May 15 and June 26, 2017. Results are statistically accurate within plus or minus 1.48 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

CFIB is Canada's largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members across every sector and region.

Government of Canada and Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation Work Together to Provide Clean and Safe Drinking Water

Everyone in Canada should have access to clean and safe drinking water. Today, the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs, along with Chief Donna Big Canoe of Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation, announced new investments that will that will help ensure reliable drinking water for the First Nation.

The Government of Canada will invest approximately $2.6 million to upgrade and expand the First Nation's water treatment plant. This contribution from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada builds on investments made through the Small Communities Fund, a joint initiative between Infrastructure Canada and the Ontario Government. The project will ensure the community's 208 residents will have access to clean, safe drinking water. The upgrades are expected to be complete by March 2019.

Once complete, this project will lift the drinking water advisory at Georgina Island. Further, the Government's long-term strategy has a specific focus on "high risk" systems, and includes funding for infrastructure and capacity building to prevent short-term DWAs from becoming long-term DWAs.

Chief Big Canoe said, "I am glad Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada is partnering with us and committing to the rest of the funds needed to ensure that members of the Chippewas of Georgina Island First Nation can look forward to clean, safe and reliable drinking water. This is a basic necessity for our members that is why the First Nation secured over half the funds required from other resources a year ago to get this project."

15/08/2017

Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières Awarded 2017 Pardes Humanitarian Prize for Pioneering Mental Health Care on the Frontlines of Global Conflict 

 The 2017 Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health is being awarded to the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), for its visionary and pioneering work providing urgent and often neglected mental health care to people facing crises across the globe. The award was announced today by the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation and will be presented at a ceremony in New York City on Friday, October 27.

MSF doctors and nurses are often seen treating physical ailments: bandaging the war-wounded, rehydrating a cholera patient, or performing an emergency cesarean section. But for more than 20 years, MSF has also been providing vital psychiatric and psychological care to people ravaged by man-made or natural disaster. The organization currently has mental health related programs in 41 countries across five continents treating adults and children who are victims of armed conflict, natural disasters, sexual violence, neglect, psychiatric disorders and disease outbreaks.

Dr. Herbert Pardes, President of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation's Scientific Council and Executive Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees of New York-Presbyterian Hospital said, "In so many corners of the world, people are facing horrific violence, displacement, abuse, disease, and stigma. All too often, while addressing their urgent physical needs, we forget their equally urgent need for mental health care. Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières is a powerful force providing mental health services for people in desperate circumstances who have no other source of assistance or therapeutic intervention."

He added, "Through their tremendous work at the frontlines, in often dangerous and volatile areas of the world, the physicians, nurses and staff of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières have time and again given us an unwavering example of what it truly means to be a humanitarian."

Restoring the Body and Mind
As the foremost organization dedicated to providing emergency medical aid in humanitarian crises, MSF intervenes particularly where there is a lack of mental health services in areas afflicted by natural and man-made disasters, and as integral to acute medical care. Disasters occur suddenly causing intense feelings of fear and helplessness. People commonly confront extreme destruction and chaos, including loss of lives and belongings. Depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicidal behavior, and crippling fear often result. Mental health care increases the likelihood of successful medical and psychological treatment and is a vital component of programs treating HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malnutrition, and non-communicable diseases.

The first MSF mental health interventions were in Armenia in 1990 after the devastating earthquake there. In the 1990s, mental health programs were initiated in Gaza, the Balkans and in Eastern Europe. In 1998, MSF formally recognized the need to implement mental health and psychosocial interventions as part of its emergency work.

Today, MSF mental health programs reach thousands worldwide. Among them are Syrian children at a hospital in northern Jordan, typhoon survivors in the Philippines, survivors of sexual violence in Haiti, cholera victims in Yemen, and displaced people worldwide, including in Iraq, Lebanon, Italy, Mexico, Tanzania, and Sudan.

Since 2012, MSF has been providing medical and mental health care to tens of thousands of migrants and refugees fleeing El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, known as the Northern Triangle of Central America. To raise public awareness of the devastating global refugee crisis, MSF has launched an exhibition titled Forced From Home, which exposes the conditions facing more that 65 million displaced people worldwide. Recognizing that the long-term psychological impact of humanitarian crises are frequently underestimated or undertreated, MSF plans to expand its mental health programs around the globe.

"This award is a tremendous honor, both as a recognition of the work of MSF, but especially of the needs of our patients and the crucial role that mental health support can play in helping to heal people in crisis," said Kaz de Jong, mental health specialist for MSF. "It is our sincere hope that this award will shine a light on the immense mental health needs faced by people dealing with the scars of war and conflict, forced migration, sexual violence, the isolation of psychiatric disorders and the stigma of devastating diagnoses such as HIV and tuberculosis."

About The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health
The Pardes Humanitarian Prize in Mental Health was established in 2014, and is awarded annually to recognize individuals or organizations that are making a profound and lasting impact in advancing the understanding of mental health and improving the lives of people suffering from mental illness. It focuses public attention on the burden mental illness places on individuals and society, and the urgent need to expand mental health services globally. Nominations are solicited worldwide. The recipient is chosen by a distinguished committee of eleven members and receives an honorarium of $300,000. The Prize is named in honor of Herbert Pardes, MD, a noted psychiatrist, outspoken advocate for the mentally ill, and the award's first recipient.

14/08/2017

Indigenous communities, advocacy groups at the Canadian Energy & Mines Ministers Conference: "No Clean Growth without Clean Mining"

As Energy & Mines Ministers from across Canada meet today under the theme of 'Clean Growth' for their annual conference in St-Andrews, New Brunswick, a delegation of regional and national Indigenous and advocacy groups, backed-up by a 40,000-strong petition, are urging the ministers to do much more to protect the environment and communities affected by mining in Canada.

"We're not against 'clean growth' or 'clean energy,' but these must not be empty words. We're here to alert the public and our governments that there are still serious problems with the way mining is done in this country, and that there can't be any clean growth or clean energy without first having clean mining," states Jacinda Mack, a community member affected by the Mount Polley Mine disaster in British Columbia in 2014 — the biggest mining spill in Canadian history. Mack is now coordinator of the First Nations Women Advocating for Responsible Mining.

"The need to respect Indigenous rights and community consent before mines are approved is also a major concern," states Grand Chief Ron Tremblay of the Traditional Wolastoq Grand Council, which has been vocally opposed to the massive Sisson Mine project in the Nashwaak's and St. Johns' River watersheds in New-Brunswick.

Growing liability of toxic mining spills

Using recent government data, the delegation estimates the total liability for contaminated mining sites across Canada to be well above 10.0 billion dollars (see Table 1), a figure it estimates can easily triple or quadruple once the true costs for site clean-up and risks from spills and failures are considered.

The delegation also draws on recent studies to highlight a 60% increase in rates of catastrophic failures and large mining spills worldwide over the last two decades. Researchers predict this trend will continue to worsen due to ever larger mining waste facilities, poor economics of many mines, decreasing ore quality, and inadequate mining oversight (see Figure 1).

In Canada, the delegation reports over 20 mining spills in the last decade alone (2008-2017), including 6 that released more than 1 million litres of contaminated wastes in nearby rivers, lakes and soils (see Table 2). The largest fine reported for one of these spills is $7.5 million. Ugo Lapointe, Canada Program Coordinator for MiningWatch: "This is a drop in the bucket that cannot seriously dissuade any mining company of doing a better job."

New study on Sisson project: "not safe"

The delegation is also releasing today a new study on the Sisson project, which concludes that "the mining waste facility design is business-as-usual, using the same facility design and water cover approach used at the failed Mt Polley Mine." The study, conducted by Dr. David Chambers of the Center for Science in Public Participation, identifies several problems with the current design and states that "none of these concerns have been directly addressed in the 40 conditions required by the Province or the recent Federal government authorization."

Governments urged to act

In 2015, the Expert Panel report on the Mount Polley disaster concluded that "business as usual cannot continue" and called for broad regulatory reforms. In 2015, in response to a letter signed by over 70 organizations from across Canada, the Canadian Mines Ministers committed "to review the recommendations made subsequent to the Mont Polley spill" and "to ensure that standards for industry reflect the highest level of environmental protection." Tara Scurr, Amnesty International Canada: "Now is the time for governments to act and work with Indigenous communities, public interest groups, academics and independent experts to reform our laws and to do what is necessary before another disaster strikes." MiningWatch lists urgent actions that can be taken by governments.

August 14: Public information meeting in Fredericton

The delegation invites members of the public and the media to attend a public information meeting on Monday night, August 14, 7h00pm, at St-Mary's First Nation Cultural Centre in Fredericton (25 Dedham St.). Tracy Glynn of the Conservation Council of New Brunswick: "This will be an occasion to learn more about the Sisson project and to hear first-hand accounts of people that have witnessed or been impacted by catastrophic mining waste spills. We all want to protect the Nashwaak's and St Johns' rivers from such disasters."

World Oceans Day Celebration in Canada`s Arctic

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, issued the following statement today:

"Canada's Arctic makes up over 40% of our landmass and is home to more than 100,000 Canadians. It is an essential part of our national identity and an area of growing importance internationally. Canada has focused its efforts on understanding the impact of climate change in the region. Acidification, warming temperature, and increased industrial activity pose risks to a unique and globally valuable environment. Arctic communities have been at the forefront of efforts to protect and conserve our oceans.

This year's World Oceans Day in the Arctic is being celebrated in Paulatuk, Northwest Territories, a community whose efforts were instrumental in designating Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam, Canada's second Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Arctic. The Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam MPA is likewise culturally important to the Inuvialuit who continue to rely on the land and sea for their traditional harvests, travel, recreation and traditional practices. Designation of the MPA was the result of close collaboration with the Inuvialuit, as well as partners from industry, non-governmental organizations, and other stakeholders. It is the first time in Canada that a Marine Protected Area's conservation objectives are based specifically on Indigenous traditional and local knowledge. Our government is committed to protecting 5% of Canada's marine and coastal areas by 2017 and 10% by 2020, and we are working hard to meet these targets.

Canada's oceans will also benefit from the Oceans Protection Plan, a historic $1.5-billion investment focused on reducing the environmental impacts of marine shipping. The Oceans Protection Plan will enhance the Canadian Coast Guard's capacity to protect marine environments. Arctic communities will also benefit from enhanced information technology, search and rescue capacity and environmental response capacity, including an expanded Canadian Coast Guard Auxiliary and funding for communities to purchase search and rescue capable community boats and equipment. The Coast Guard will also implement a seasonal in-shore rescue boat station in the Arctic, with trained local personnel, which will support near-shore search and rescue operations. Furthermore, the presence of Coast Guard icebreakers in the Arctic will be extended to support mariners earlier and later in the season and complement investments to make Arctic resupply operations faster, safer and more efficient for remote communities.

However, we must manage human activities in our oceans in ways that integrate conservation with economic benefits for the communities that depend on them. Fishing is a culturally significant activity for Indigenous Peoples. Our government has committed to strengthening and expanding fisheries programs for Indigenous communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. We recently announced $26.9 million over five years for the new Northern Integrated Commercial Fisheries Initiative (NICFI) to support fisheries-related activities in Yukon, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, and through parts of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador, enabling participating Indigenous communities to better plan and strengthen their fishing activities, as well as support the sustainability of aquatic resources and oceans habitat.

These measures will create more jobs, help grow the economy in coastal and remote regions, and provide more opportunities for Indigenous families to succeed, while supporting the sustainability of aquatic resources and ocean habitat.

Canada is proud to stand with other nations to meet the challenges facing oceans as well as our fisheries that contribute to the world's food supply. We are continuing to take part in negotiations to try to reach an international agreement to prevent unregulated fishing in the high seas of the central Arctic Ocean in consultation with territorial governments, Inuit organizations, and key stakeholders including the fishing industry and environmental groups. Consultations, science, and Indigenous traditional and local knowledge will continue to play a key role in determining what kind of protection is needed in all of our oceans to ensure they are safe, healthy, prosperous and sustainable for current and future generations."

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

Internet: http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca

Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/FisheriesOceansCanada/

Follow us on Twitter!

www.Twitter.com/DFO_MPO

For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit www.ccg-gcc.gc.ca.

Like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/CanadianCoastGuard

03/08/2017

The Ontario Science Centre puts a human face to climate change with Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change

Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change is a new Ontario Science Centre installation that documents the effects of climate change from the perspective of youth aged eight to 16 in the Arctic and Small Island Developing States (SIDS). As residents of geographically distant communities that share characteristics of vulnerability and resilience, these youth are among the first to feel the effects of climate change. The installation has been added to our popular Living Earth Exhibit Hall on Level Six at the Ontario Science Centre and is free with general admission.

"Climate change is the biggest challenge we face as a species," said Maurice Bitran, Ph.D., CEO and Chief Science Officer, Ontario Science Centre. "Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change depicts how youth in the places most affected by climate change are reacting to this existential threat. It is a compelling call to action for us all."

The initial project called Portraits of Resilience was the brainchild of Artistic Director Christine Germano who worked with young people in the Arctic communities of Shishmaref (Alaska), Unjargga (Norway), Pangnirtung (Nunavut, Canada), and Ummannaq (Greenland), as well as the island states of Seychelles and in the Pacific Islands of Fiji, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands, Samoa and Kiribati. Ms. Germano's original presentation has toured several museums around the world. In 2010, it was exhibited at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada, the National Folk Museum in Oslo, Norway, and the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, U.S.A. In 2012, it was displayed at the Durban Natural Science Museum Research Centre in South Africa and in November 2013 was hosted by the Ethnography Museum in Warsaw, Poland.

This one of a kind compilation, Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change, is a collaboration between Ms. Germano and the Ontario Science Centre. The team at the Centre scoured through hundreds of images and stories from youth and picked the most compelling themes from around the globe capturing the emotional impact of climate change as interpreted by young people.

Sixteen-year-old Johnny Kilabuk from Nunavut reports that their hockey season starts later: "The arena in Pangnirtung used to open October or the beginning of November. Now it opens the end of December or beginning of January. The ice doesn't freeze as much as it used to because of climate change. We are having problems winning tournaments because we don't get as much practice time on the ice." This is just one story from 24 youth aged eight to 16 that visitors will learn about in Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change. The other stories and youth include:

"The smallest change in sea levels will have a big impact on our islands," Rodney Kajidrik, Marshall Islands
"Too many bees, not enough honey," Letava Tafunai (Thompson), Samoa
"We're fighting for our culture," Peter Harry, Tuvalu
"My dad the hunter," Vasily (Vova) Nosukak, Russia
"We're feeling the heat," Evalani Harris, Marshall Islands
"Our weather's getting weirder," Rostik Петров, Russia
"We're moving our homes," Renee Kuzuguk, Alaska
"We're facing more flooding," Riiti Conway, Sam Finikaso, Tuvalu
"We're taking action," Eneri Henry Reiher, Kabebea Moutu, Tauea Moutu, Tirva Kaumai, Terikano Toromon, Tarataake Reubwatu, Taabuti Matikee, Kiribati
"We're building a seawall," Ruuta Henry Reiher, Eneri Henry Reiher, Temoanne Bountatiawa, Kiribati
"Our land never melts – until now," Jenna Kilabuk, Nunavut
"We celebrate the Sun's return – earlier," Lola Mørch, Jacob (Aputsiaq) Jensen, Aviaja Borgnæs, Greenland
"We're working harder to hunt," Amy Rose Lewis, Nunavut
Portraits of Resilience: Teens Take on Climate Change is now open and on display at the Ontario Science Centre in Toronto, Canada.

01/08/2017

Economic Conditions Improve for Canada's Territories

 Economic prospects for the territories are improving thanks to higher prices for metals, precious metals and diamonds. According to The Conference Board of Canada's Territorial Outlook, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut can expect strong growth this year, while a mild contraction in the economy is forecast for Yukon.

"The outlook for most mineral commodities is much brighter today than a year ago," said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial and Territorial Forecasting. "While, financing conditions in the mining sector remain difficult, conditions are expected to improve with a number of projects set to get under way before the end of the decade."

Highlights

Yukon can expect a mild contraction of 0.7 per cent this year, followed by strong growth between 2018-20.
The Gahcho Kué diamond mine is entering full production this year, fuelling GDP growth of 12.2 per cent in the Northwest Territories this year.
Nunavut's economy will expand by 6.4 per cent this year thanks to planned mineral production increases at Meadowbank and Mary River.
Yukon

Now that commodities prices are improving, Capstone has decided to keep production going at its Minto mine. Mineral production at the Minto mine is expected to drop this year, but Capstone intends to ramp up production again in 2018. That should be enough to tie the Yukon's economy over before construction begins on two new mines that are set to open before 2020. Both the Eagle Gold and Coffee Gold mines are expected to begin operations in 2019, driving growth of more than 20 per cent in the territory's mining sector.

The mining sector's renewed strength will also provide a boost to related industries, including transportation and warehousing, and commercial business services. The construction industry should also be a bright spot for Yukon's economy over the next few years. Public spending will drive growth in the sector until construction of new mining projects get under way next year. Job creation is expected to improve in the territory over the next five years, averaging 790 new jobs annually.

In all, Yukon's economy is forecast to contract by a mild 0.7 per cent this year, followed by a few years of strong growth, averaging 6.6 per cent over 2018–20.

Nunavut

Nunavut's economy has stayed strong through the correction in commodity prices, and that will continue in 2017, with a 6.4 per cent expansion forecast for the territorial economy. Metal mining is the single largest contributor to economic growth, and all operating mines are planning increases in production, including TMAC Gold's Hope Bay mine, which opened this year. Production will continue to ramp up at Hope Bay next year, but Agnico Eagle's Meadowbank mine is expected to wind down operations as its reserves are drawn down. That will set the stage for a 0.2 per cent decline in total GDP in 2018.

Outside of mining, Nunavut's construction sector will surge this year, but that will be followed by three weaker years as a number of large projects, including the Canadian High Arctic Research Station, are completed over the next two years. Meanwhile, service-based industries will benefit from the territory's strong population growth. Nunavut's employment is forecast to grow slightly faster than the labour force, allowing for more solid increases in real wages and salaries per employee.

Northwest Territories

Economic growth in the N.W.T. will be strong this year at 12.2 per cent as De Beer's Gahcho Kué diamond mine enjoys its first full year of production following its opening in 2016. The outlook beyond 2017, however, is not as encouraging. No metal mines have been in operation in the territory since the Cantung mine closed in 2015, and its oil and gas production continues to decline. N.W.T.'s real GDP is forecast to decline by an average of 1.7 per cent annually over 2018-20.

With the diamond mining industry maturing and Diavik ceasing operations around 2025, the remainder of the Northwest Territories' economy will struggle. The territory's construction industry is expected to continue its decline this year, mainly due to the completion of the Gahcho Kué mine and the completion of large public infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, an aging population and declining mining output will limit job creation over the next 15 years.

28/07/2017

Better water, wastewater and stormwater infrastructure for Vaughan residents

 The governments of Canada and Ontario are committed to investing in local infrastructure that ensures Canadians and their families have access to modern, reliable water and wastewater services that meet their needs. These investments safeguard the health and well-being of residents, protect waterways and preserve local ecosystems, while also laying the foundation for new economic opportunities to strengthen the middle class across the province.

Deborah Schulte, Member of Parliament for King—Vaughan, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, the Honourable Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation and Member of Provincial Parliament for Vaughan, on behalf of the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure, and the Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of the City of Vaughan, today announced that six projects in Vaughan will receive funding under the Government of Canada's Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF). This is in addition to 28 other projects in Vaughan that were previously approved under the CWWF.

Schulte said, "These investments will help Vaughan better protect the property and livelihoods of residents and businesses by reducing the risk of flood damage and soil erosion, while also protecting the local environment. The Government of Canada is working with provinces, territories and municipalities across the country to support important projects like those being announced today, which ensure that Canadian communities are healthy and sustainable now and for years to come."

Thanks to this $1.1-million investment, residents of Vaughan will benefit from improved water, wastewater and stormwater management. Projects like the repair and rehabilitation of wastewater lift stations and water pump stations and the rehabilitation of four stormwater ponds, including McNaughton Pond, will improve the functionality of the stormwater management system and improve water quality in the surrounding environments. These projects are essential to keeping our waterways clean and our communities healthy and livable.

For the six projects announced today, the federal government is funding up to 50 per cent of project costs—$770,133. The provincial government is providing up to 25 per cent—$385,067, and the City of Vaughan will cover any remaining costs.

In addition to these projects, more than $9.5 million in federal funding for 34 water and wastewater projects will benefit 16 other communities. This investment is part of an agreement between Canada and Ontario for the Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. Ontario is providing $4,763,707 for these 34 projects.

27/07/2017

Hey Canada: It's now time to dig up your undies

- With all the excitement of soiling your undies this spring as part of the Soil Conservation Council of Canada's (SCCC) Soil Your Undies campaign, you may have forgotten that it's a two part experiment. It's now time to go back into your garden, field or flower bed and dig up those cotton undergarments. We hope you marked that location with a flag or else it might take a few tries to uncover them.

"The Council was thrilled by the amount of interest in Soil Your Undies this year," says SCCC chair, Alan Kruszel. "From coast-to-coast, Canadians garnered a greater appreciation for the precious resource right under their feet by burying a pair of undies on their own. We can't wait to see the results of all the underwear that will be unearthed in the next little while."

During National Soil Conservation Week in April, the SCCC buried its official pair of Stanfield's undies at the Canada Agriculture and Food Museum in Ottawa, and as predicted, there wasn't much left but the elastic waistband on that pair of briefs – a key indicator of healthy, living soil. The official unearthing was all caught on camera and a video to show our own findings can be found at: http://soilcc.ca/soilyourundies/2017/soil-your-undies.php

"Soil Your Undies really helped people stop thinking of soil as dirt and start thinking of it as a living, breathing entity," Kruszel, who was on hand to dig up SCCC's undies says. "If you care for the soil, it will care for you. It's time Canadians realize just how important soil is to our society. Not only does healthy soil provide us food, fuel and fibre, it also plays an essential role in maintaining fresh air, clean water, and extensive biodiversity. In fact, the future of our civilization will depend on how well we take care of this six inches of fragile soil."

For those who dig up undies and find them not as deteriorated as they'd like, there are some steps you can take to try to improve the health of your soil.

Have your soil tested by a reputable soil lab to understand important parameters such as pH and organic matter.
Add organic material like manure, compost, or crop residues.
Keep the soil covered with something living for as long as possible.
Reduce tillage.
Be sure to share your experiments with us on social media by tagging @SoilCouncil or using the hashtag #SoilYourUndies. We hope all we see is a great deal of waistbands. If you didn't get a pair in the ground yet, there's still time. Follow our simple instructions at http://soilcc.ca/soilyourundies/2017/soil-your-undies.php to get started and let us know how it goes. Soiling your undies has never been more fun.

ABOUT SCCC
The SCCC is the only national organization to concentrate on the issues of soil health and soil conservation within a broadly based landscape context. It works to build a greater understanding of the importance of soil as an essential resource to society by facilitating the exchange of information with all stakeholders. Healthy soils are the foundation of sustainable food production, enhanced biodiversity and cleaner air and water for present and future generations. For more information, please visit, www.soilcc.ca.

Better wastewater treatment for Port Colborne residents

  The governments of Canada and Ontario are committed to investing in local infrastructure that ensures Canadians and their families have access to modern, reliable water and wastewater services that meet their needs. These investments safeguard the health and well-being of residents, protect waterways and preserve local ecosystems, while also laying the foundation for new economic opportunities to strengthen the middle class across the province.

Vance Badawey, Member of Parliament for Niagara Centre, on behalf of the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; Chris Bittle, Member of Parliament for St. Catharines; the Honourable Charles Sousa, Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Honourable Bob Chiarelli, Ontario Minister of Infrastructure; Jim Bradley, Member of Provincial Parliament for St. Catharines; Alan Caslin, Chair of the Niagara Regional Council; and His Worship John Maloney, Mayor of the City of Port Colborne, today announced that a new project in Port Colborne has been approved under the Government of Canada's Clean Water and Wastewater Fund. The federal government is providing up to 50 per cent of funding for the Port Colborne's wastewater treatment facility—$303,333. The provincial government is providing up to 25 per cent of funding for this project $151,667, and the Region of Niagara will provide the balance of funding.

Badawey said, "Investing in water and wastewater treatment infrastructure is essential to maintaining a healthy environment and providing access to clean, reliable drinking water. The Government of Canada is working with provinces, territories and municipalities across the country to support important projects like the Port Colborne's wastewater treatment facility, which ensure that Canadian communities are healthy and sustainable now and for years to come."

Thanks to this investment, residents of Port Colborne will benefit from an improved wastewater treatment plant. The project includes replacing aging components and introducing upgraded processes to enhance the capacity of the facility. These upgrades are essential to keeping our waterways clean and our communities healthy and livable.

In addition to these projects, over $5.8 million in federal funding for 17 water and wastewater projects will benefit five other communities across Ontario. The provincial government is providing more than $2.9 million for these 17 projects.

This investment is part of an agreement between Canada and Ontario for Clean Water and Wastewater Fund.


18 new projects approved in six communities in Southern Ontario

A new list of water and wastewater projects has been approved under the Canada-Ontario Clean Water and Wastewater Fund (CWWF) agreement, which is designed to improve the safety and quality of water for Canadian families, while supporting a clean economy.

The Government of Canada is providing Ontario with more than $569 million under CWWF, and will fund up to 50 percent of the eligible project costs. The provincial government is providing up to 25 percent of total eligible project costs, and the municipalities will provide the balance of funding.

As part of the bilateral agreement with Ontario, the following 18 projects across Ontario have been approved for federal funding amounting to over $6.1 million in total eligible costs. Additional projects in these and other Ontario municipalities will be identified in the coming weeks.

24/07/2017

Canadian Red Cross welcomes the Government of Canada support to wildfire recovery

The Canadian Red Cross welcomes the Government of Canada's announcement of support for community recovery as individuals, families and communities return home. With the fires still raging and over 44,000 people out of their homes, support will be needed not only today but in the weeks, months and years ahead as communities recover from this disaster.

Further details will be shared in the weeks ahead regarding the plans to support BC communities to recover from this disaster. Recovery assistance will focus on community priorities through collaboration with all levels government, First Nations, service organizations, and impacted communities to ensure that people receive the help they need as they begin to rebuild their lives.

The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness said, "The federal contribution to the Red Cross will support their full scope of recovery activities in the fire zone, of which distributing immediate support to evacuees is only one part. There is much to be done, in collaboration with other NGOs and community groups to restore normal living conditions and get the economy, especially small businesses, back to full throttle. I thank the Red Cross for their experienced and professional leadership."

10/07/2017

Prime Minister announces support for women entrepreneurs in developing countries

Women entrepreneurs in developing countries are creating jobs, advancing gender equality, and helping build economies that work for everyone. Despite the vital role they play, women entrepreneurs often face major obstacles to financing and growing their businesses. These obstacles include limited options for loans and capital, financial services not tailored to their specific needs, and other legal, political, and social barriers.

As part of our Government's commitment to gender equality and women's economic empowerment, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that Canada will contribute $20 million toward the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi). Led by the World Bank, We-Fi will help women-owned and women-led businesses in developing countries to access the resources they need, including financial and technical assistance.

Trudeau said, "Everyone benefits when women have the resources they need to participate fully in our economies and societies. Our Government is determined to help women gain the tools they need to be successful entrepreneurs and leaders. This important investment will help women in developing countries to create jobs, build economies that work for everyone, and have a real and fair chance at success."

We-Fi will leverage US$200 million of donor funding to attract an additional US$800 million in private capital. The World Bank will direct these funds toward the needs of women entrepreneurs in developing countries. We-Fi will target small and medium-size businesses and will also invest in other projects and programs that support women entrepreneurs.

Seventy per cent of women-owned small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries are either shut out by financial institutions or are unable to receive financing on adequate terms to meet their needs. Canada's support for We-Fi complements our new Feminist International Assistance Policy, which recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are the best way to build a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world. 

Prime Minister concludes successful G20 Summit in Germany

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, concluded a successful G20 Leaders' Summit in Hamburg, Germany on July 8.

During the Summit, Prime Minister Trudeau promoted open, progressive trade that benefits the middle class and those working hard to join it. He also emphasized the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment, and the need to take action now to address climate change and build clean growth economies that work for everyone.

Trudeau said, "People have asked us to work together to make our societies fairer and more secure. We renewed our commitment to do so during this G20 Summit. As our planet becomes increasingly interconnected, we need to promote strong, sustainable economic growth that works for everyone, and embrace the need to be socially and environmentally responsible. This is about creating jobs and opportunities for everyone, and building a healthier and more prosperous tomorrow for our children and grandchildren."

G20 leaders discussed countering terrorism and issued a joint statement focused on enhancing cooperation, cutting off funding that supports terrorism and preventing the use of the internet for terrorist purposes. Prime Minister Trudeau reiterated Canada's commitment to work with partners at home and abroad to develop a coordinated global response to counter radicalization that strengthens security and safeguards human rights.

Leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to achieving the sustainable development goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In support of these goals, Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted Canada's recently launched Feminist International Assistance Policy, which focuses assistance on the poorest and most vulnerable. This policy recognizes that gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls are the best ways to build a more peaceful, inclusive, and prosperous world.


CFIB looks forward to participating in the RCT stakeholder group, and urges the federal, provincial and territorial governments to remain focused on reducing red tape and other governmental barriers to small business trade.

International Buddhist Group Welcomes Nuclear Weapons Ban Treaty

he adoption of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons at UN Headquarters in New York on July 7 is being lauded as a historic step for humankind by the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association.

The treaty, which lays out detailed provisions stipulating a comprehensive ban on the development, production, possession, stockpiling, testing, use or threat of use of nuclear weapons, is the result of intensive negotiations at the UN involving over 120 governments and many civil society representatives.

Kimiaki Kawai, SGI Director of Peace and Human Rights, was in New York to take part in the final session of negotiations, where he stated that the continued existence of nuclear weapons threatens human dignity. He comments, "The adoption of this treaty feels like a momentous step forward. Even if the nuclear-weapon states and most nuclear-weapon dependent states have not participated, the moral norm has been declared very clearly, with the united will of the world's people behind it. Nuclear weapons in any hands are wrong."

The SGI has issued an official statement in the name of Hirotsugu Terasaki, Director General of Peace and Global Issues, welcoming the adoption of the treaty. It reads: "The existence of nuclear weapons is the greatest threat to the right to life of both the individual and humankind as a whole. For this reason, their total elimination is a desire shared by all people." See: http://www.sgi.org/resources/ngo-resources/peace-disarmament/ptnw-statement-july-2017.html

Other civil society organizations active for many years in pursuit of a world free from nuclear weapons have also praised this long-awaited development. The International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), with whom the SGI has cooperated for many years, and Faith Communities Concerned about Nuclear Weapons (organizations and individuals from diverse faith traditions including SGI, PAX, and WCC) have also released statements of support. See the Faith Communities statement at http://www.sgi.org/resources/ngo-resources/peace-disarmament/ptnw-joint-statement-july-2017.html

The SGI is committed to continuing its efforts in disarmament education, including awareness-raising exhibitions to demonstrate the negative humanitarian, environmental and human rights impact of nuclear weapons, and publication of firsthand testimonies from victims of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (hibakusha).

This year marks sixty years since the start of the Soka Gakkai's activities to promote the abolition of nuclear weapons, when Josei Toda, the organization's second president, issued a Declaration Calling for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons in September 1957.

In line with Toda's description of nuclear weapons as a manifestation of the darkest aspects of the human heart, the SGI's education efforts focus not only on the mechanics of disarmament but also, as Buddhists promoting respect for the dignity of human life, on the need to fundamentally change our ways of thinking.

As SGI President Daisaku Ikeda wrote in 2009: "If we are to put the era of nuclear terror behind us, we must struggle against the real 'enemy.' That enemy is not nuclear weapons per se, nor is it the states that possess or develop them. The real enemy that we must confront is the ways of thinking that justify nuclear weapons; the readiness to annihilate others when they are seen as a threat or as a hindrance to the realization of our objectives."

The Soka Gakkai International (SGI) is a community-based Buddhist association with 12 million members around the world. Its activities to promote peace, culture and education are part of the long-standing tradition of Buddhist humanism.  

03/07/2017

Beyoncé Partners With UNICEF to Bring Safe Water to Children in Remote Areas in Burundi, East Africa

 Global entertainer and humanitarian, Beyoncé has teamed up with UNICEF through her BeyGOOD philanthropic arm to announce the launch of BEYGOOD4BURUNDI, a multi-year partnership to provide safe water to the most vulnerable children in Burundi, known as the "Heart of Africa." The partnership will support programs to improve water, sanitation and basic hygiene practices in the hardest-to-reach areas of the landlocked East African nation, where nearly half the population has no access to safe water.

The water crisis in Burundi is a crisis for children. When children have to rely on unsafe water, they become weak, malnourished, and susceptible to water-borne diseases, which are among the leading causes of death in children under five. In order to walk for miles in search for wells, the lack of water also forces children to miss out on school. The burden of fetching water falls disproportionately on girls, who risk attacks along their journeys.

"Access to water is a fundamental right. When you give children clean and safe water, you don't just give them life, you give them health, an education, and a brighter future. I am committed to helping drive lasting solutions to the water crisis in Burundi," said Beyoncé.

"Addressing the global water crisis is one of the defining challenges of our time, and the children of Burundi are among the most vulnerable," said Caryl M. Stern, President and CEO of UNICEF USA. "This unique partnership combines UNICEF's decades of expertise in providing clean water to children in Burundi and around the world with the power and influence of the entertainment world to bring about social change. We are grateful to Beyoncé and BeyGOOD for joining forces with UNICEF, to highlight this critical issue to new audiences."

"BEYGOOD4BURUNDI is a continuation of the work that Beyoncé, her family and Parkwood Entertainment are doing to address water crises around the world, including right here in the state of Louisiana and in Michigan," said Ivy McGregor, ‎Director of Philanthropy and Corporate Relations at Parkwood Entertainment, who traveled to Burundi earlier this year. "In Burundi I saw myself, my sisters and my mother in the strength of the women and young sisters travelling miles to carry water for their families. Today young girls in the 'Heart of Africa' are given the gift of hope for a brighter tomorrow through our multi-year partnership with UNICEF and commitment to support safe water access solutions."

The first phase of the partnership includes the construction of new wells equipped with hand pumps, hygiene education and the improvement of water and sanitation facilities in schools in four priority regions, including Bukemba and Giharo in Rutana Province and Kinyinya and Nyabitsinda in Ruyigui Province. In these rural communities, children are chronically malnourished and more than 65 percent of the population is using unsafe water sources. Children and families have to walk long distances to water collection points, and even then the water access rate is extremely low.

More than 100 million people have gained access to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services with the support of UNICEF in the last three years. With over 70 years of field-tested experience and a network that spans the globe, UNICEF has unequalled expertise in providing immediate, lifesaving relief as well as driving long-term, sustainable solutions to the biggest development challenges facing the world's children.

Today's announcement in New Orleans, at the Essence Music Festival, is supported by CHIME FOR CHANGE, the campaign co-founded by Beyoncé, Salma Hayek Pinault and Gucci in 2013 to address critical issues facing women and girls around the world, and Global Citizen, the global social action platform that aims to solve the world's biggest challenges. Global Citizen believes that it is only through partnership that the world can end extreme poverty by 2030. In 2015 CHIME FOR CHANGE and Global Citizen joined forces to achieve measurable outcomes for girls' and women's issues, leveraging the combination of their powerful platforms, communities, partners and influence.

CHIME FOR CHANGE and Global Citizen support Beyoncé, BeyGOOD and UNICEF in opening an interactive experience at the Essence Music Festival that depicts life in a village in Burundi and the water crisis, complete with story-telling, photographs and moving images. The BeyGOOD4Burundi experience occupies booth #450 at the New Orleans Convention Center and offers festival goers simple ways to help. The experience is open now through Sunday, July 2.

To learn more go to www.beyonce.com 

30/06/2017

Calling all young social entrepreneurs - do you have an innovative idea to tackle climate change?

2017 marks the ninth year of the $1 million Aviva Community Fund – Canada's longest running online community funding competition. In honour of Canada's 150th, Aviva Canada is proud to introduce a new Aviva Community Fund category: Community Legacy.

The $150,000 prize for the Community Legacy category is in addition to the usual $1 million from Aviva Community Fund. Community Legacy is open to current or aspiring social entrepreneurs, aged 18 to 25, to submit an original solution to tackle the consequences of climate change.

"We've awarded $7.5 million to over 250 charities since 2009, and we intend to continue our commitment to communities across Canada. This is a special year for Canada, so we're encouraging young social entrepreneurs to present their innovative idea that benefits the environment and help leave a positive legacy for the next 150 years," says Debora Hendrickson, Senior Vice President, Customer & Marketing at Aviva Canada. "We can't wait to see the ideas for this year's competition."

Aviva globally has maintained a global carbon neutral status worldwide since 2006 and is committed to creating a bright and sustainable future by addressing climate change globally and reducing the environmental impact of its business.

"This new Community Legacy category is a great way for you to be innovative, to be really creative and to think boldly about what you can do," says Tessica Truong, a social entrepreneur named 2016 Top 25 Environmentalists Under 25. "To tackle an issue like climate change is so critical to our country and to the world. Why not go for it?"

Click here for a video about the Community Legacy category and hear young social entrepreneurs Tikvah Mindorff and Tessica Truong, inspire others to create positive change.

The Aviva Community Fund opens for submissions on September 13th. For more information on the current and new funding categories, and how to submit an idea, visit avivacanada.com/acf2017.

29/06/2017

Solar Ship Celebrates Canada 150 By Demonstrating Fossil Fuel Free Flight For Canada's North

Solar Ship today completed the first in a series of flights to develop a fossil fuel free transport and logistics system for Canada's North. Solar Ship is working with Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) as part of project to support the Department of National Defence. The project is being funded by the Federal Government's Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) to work with DRDC to demonstrate the capabilities of a new transport system able to service Canada's far North without using fossil fuel. The aircraft will be tested for a number of capabilities including cargo, long endurance surveillance and reconnaissance, and low speed search and rescue.

DRDC's Vaughn Cosman was on site to witness the flight. He said "We knew Solar Ship's hybrid aircraft platform has the potential to lift a great deal of cargo. Today I saw an extremely well trained team fly a stable, controllable aircraft. I have many years of experience flying in Canada's north and I'm excited to work with Solar Ship to create a robust, fossil fuel free transport and logistics platform that will change the way we connect our north."

Solar Ship's CEO, Jay Godsall: "We agreed to celebrate Canada's 150th with DRDC early by showing what the Wolverine aircraft platform can do for connecting Canada's north. DRDC has been a fantastic partner helping us define what we need to do to create a robust platform for the north. Fossil fuels are an economic and environmental trap for the north. They can be replaced. A new generation of northern people can make this shift. We need to demonstrate these systems are robust enough for the north and DRDC is the ideal partner to accomplish this."

This milestone marks the first demonstration flight for Solar Ship's Wolverine line of aircraft, which will feature amphibious capabilities and the ability to transport cargo loads that bush planes cannot carry.

Five priorities to achieve free trade success within Canada

As Canada's federal, provincial and territorial governments prepare to implement the Canadian Free Trade Agreement (CFTA) as a birthday gift for the nation on July 1st, CFIB has identified five immediate priority areas for the newly-formed Regulatory Reconciliation and Cooperation Table (RCT) to tackle.

"The devil is in the details," said Laura Jones, CFIB executive vice president. "CFTA is a huge accomplishment, and we want to celebrate this agreement, especially in light of Canada 150. Now the hard work begins. The deal will only succeed if the various jurisdictions can effectively find mutually beneficial solutions to make trade within Canada easier for small businesses."

Provincial, territorial and federal officials will use the RCT to tackle the obstacles to doing business inter-provincially across Canada, one by one.

"If the premiers can maintain this momentum, the agreement will provide the federal, provincial and territorial governments with an unprecedented opportunity to drive significant economic growth by reducing trade barriers within Canada," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB senior vice president of national affairs. "We are now looking to the RCT to make sure that the framework put together in the CFTA works on the practical level for Canada's small businesses."

Five mission-critical priorities requiring immediate action

CFIB has sent a letter to each of Canada's premiers and the Prime Minister, congratulating them for this historic agreement and urging them to quickly address key areas identified by small business owners as being the most significant impediments to interprovincial trade when the RCT group convenes:

1)
Simplify corporate registration – Small businesses wanting to do business in another province that does not recognize their existing registration need to pay hundreds of dollars in order to do so and complete extra, often duplicative paperwork, just to get their goods across the border. CFIB calls for a common corporate registry, or mutual recognition between jurisdictions.


2)
Mutually recognize food inspections – Some food products are easier to import from other countries than from other provinces. CFIB calls for mutual recognition of food inspections and related regulations. If a food product is deemed safe to consume in one province, it should be considered safe to consume in another.


3)
Align transportation regulations – Getting a product from one end of the country to the other is unnecessarily expensive in Canada and adds to up to real costs for consumers, sometimes in the thousands of dollars. CFIB urges all parties to consider aligning wide-load regulations, implementing single-trip fuel permits and recognizing commercial vehicle registrations, among other suggestions.


4)
Create common professional and trade licensing – A worker certified in one province is still not able to easily work in another. It should be much simpler for professionals and skilled tradespeople to go where the work is, but regulations often get in the way. CFIB calls for further cooperation and mutual recognition of certifications and professional designations.


5)
Improve mutual recognition of Worker's Compensation and Occupational Health and Safety – Each jurisdiction mandates different types of fall protection even though the force of gravity does not change by province. The rules vary considerably between jurisdictions and businesses with workers in multiple jurisdictions needing to register with each Worker's Compensation Board and/or safety body. CFIB calls for better alignment of rules and mutual recognition of provincial and territorial registration.


CFIB looks forward to participating in the RCT stakeholder group, and urges the federal, provincial and territorial governments to remain focused on reducing red tape and other governmental barriers to small business trade.

Elbphilharmonie Hamburg as a Stage for World Politics: Political Leaders Meet at Hamburg's New Landmark as Part of G20 Summit

This year's annual summit of the G20 heads of state and government is taking place in the north German port city of Hamburg on 7 and 8 July. In addition to the venues at the Hamburg Messe exhibition grounds, Hamburg's new concert hall "Elbphilharmonie" will also play a special role. The Building, Hamburg's new landmark, opened its gates in January. In the context of the summit, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel has invited the heads of state and government as well as the representatives of the participating organisations to a concert on the night of the first day of the summit.

Following its spectacular opening in January, the Elbphilharmonie will be once again in the focus of international attention. With the concert house being Germany's new cultural beacon, Chancellor Merkel, a classical music lover, made it a point to invite the G20 participants to an informal gathering at this unique concert hall that is situated right in the port. Guests will include the US President Trump, President Putin from Russia, French President Macron France, China's President Xi Jinping, the UK's Prime Minister May, Japan's Prime Minister Abe, the President of the European Commission Juncker and UN Secretary-General Guterres - as well as all other participating political leaders and a number of other invited guests. All of these dignitaries will be attending a concert by the Hamburg Philharmonic State Orchestra under the baton of US conductor Kent Nagano, the orchestra's General Music Director. The concert will be followed by a joint dinner of the political leaders in the Elbphilharmonie's Recital Hall.

The music piece to be performed will be Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. The Orchestra, many solists and the Choir of the Hamburg-State-Opera will be inviting their international guests to experience the unique atmosphere and the excellent acoustics of the Grand Hall. As it happens, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" from the final movement of his Symphony No. 9 was played during the Elbphilharmonie's opening concerts in January 2017. Back in 1985, the European Community adopted the ode as the official Anthem of Europe. The reasoning for that was that the ode celebrates the values they all share and their unity in diversity.

Yet not only the concert programme, but also the Elbphilharmonie itself is predestined to contribute to this year's summit - as a modern cultural beacon, as a democratic space and as a "house for everyone". By including the Elbphlharmonie in the programme of the G20 summit, Germany's Federal Government and the City of Hamburg are sending a powerful cultural message. More: http://www.elbphilharmonie.de.

28/06/2017

Investments in poor children save more lives per dollar spent, new UNICEF study says

 Investing in the health and survival of the most deprived children and communities provides more value for money, saving almost twice as many lives for every US$1 million spent as equivalent investments in less deprived groups, according to a new UNICEF analysis.

Narrowing the Gaps: The power of investing in the poorest children presents compelling new evidence that backs up an unconventional prediction UNICEF made in 2010: the higher cost of reaching the poorest children with life-saving, high-impact health interventions would be outweighed by greater results.

"The evidence is compelling: Investing in the poorest children is not only right in principle, it is also right in practice – saving more lives for every dollar spent," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. "This is critical news for governments working to end all preventable child deaths at a time when every dollar counts. Investing equitably in children's health also saves futures and helps break intergenerational cycles of poverty. A healthy child has a better chance of learning more in school and earning more as an adult."

Unless progress on reducing child mortality accelerates, by 2030 almost 70 million children will die before reaching their fifth birthday.

Drawing on new data from the 51 countries where around 80 per cent of all newborn and under-five deaths occur, the study shows that improvements in coverage of life-saving interventions among poor groups helped decrease child mortality in these countries nearly three times faster than among non-poor groups.

Crucially, the study uses new data and modeling tools to demonstrate that interventions reaching children in poor groups proved 1.8 times more cost-effective in terms of lives saved.

The study selected six key health interventions as indicators to assess access to high-impact maternal, newborn and child health interventions: the use of insecticide-treated bed nets, early initiation of breastfeeding, antenatal care, full vaccination, the presence of a skilled birth attendant during delivery, and seeking care for children with diarrhea, fever or pneumonia.

Specifically, the study found that:

Access to high-impact health and nutrition interventions has improved most rapidly among poor groups in recent years, leading to substantial improvements in equity.

During the period studied, absolute reductions in under-five mortality rates associated with these changes in coverage were nearly three times faster among poor groups than non-poor groups.

Since birth rates were higher among the poor than the non-poor, the reduction in the under-five mortality rate in poor communities translated into 4.2 times more lives saved for every million people.

Of the 1.1 million lives saved across the 51 countries during the final year studied for each country, nearly 85 per cent were among the poor.

While the per capita investment needed to improve coverage among the poor is greater than that required to reach the non-poor, these investments save almost twice as many lives per US$1 million invested as equivalent investments in the non-poor.
The study lists Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Malawi as some of the countries with high rates of under-five mortality where focus on the most deprived has made a difference for children. Between 1990 and 2015, under-five mortality decreased by half in Afghanistan and by 74 per cent in both Bangladesh and Malawi.

The findings come at a critical time, as governments continue their work towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, which set a target of ending all preventable deaths among newborns and children under the age of five by 2030. Investing in children's health and survival can also support the achievement of other global development goals, such as ending poverty (SDG 1).

Narrowing the Gaps calls on countries to take practical steps to reduce inequities, including: disaggregating data to identify the children being left behind; investing more in proven interventions to prevent and treat the biggest killers of children; strengthening health systems to make quality care more widely available; innovating to find new ways of reaching the unreached; and monitoring equity gaps using household surveys and national information systems.

23/06/2017

UNICEF calling for famine and food crisis donations in final week of Government of Canada match

 Canadians have just one week left to have their donations to the famine and food crisis matched by the Government of Canada's Famine Relief Fund and UNICEF is calling for life-saving donations by the June 30 match deadline.

Today, more than 1.4 million children across South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen are facing imminent risk of death from severe acute malnutrition, while 22 million children are hungry, sick, displaced or out of school. A famine has already been declared in parts of South Sudan and looms large in the other three countries and the Horn of Africa.

"We've been saying for months that these children are at risk. Today, the danger is real, it's present and children are dying," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "With just one week left to have donations to UNICEF's response matched by Canada, it's more important than ever that Canadians give, and show the world what it truly means to be compassionate, global citizens."

Last month, the Government of Canada created a Famine Relief Fund, matching the amount of donations made by individual Canadians to the work of organizations involved in the famine response, including UNICEF. UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization and is working in all of the affected countries to save lives.

Since the start of the crisis, UNICEF has been scaling up its life-saving interventions, and advocating for unconditional and unimpeded humanitarian access in order to reach the most vulnerable. In 2016, UNICEF and partners provided treatment for severe acute malnutrition for a combined 730,000 children across the four countries. This year, UNICEF has been working to reach one million children affected by severe acute malnutrition, as well as vaccinate 3.4 million children for measles, provide 7.4 million people with access to safe drinking water and ensure 2.1 million children have access to education.

"We've got more than 750 staff spread across the four countries, doing their best to meet children's urgent needs," said Morley. "Our rapid response teams are reaching the most remote communities with treatment for malnutrition, immunization and safe water and sanitation services. But the scale of the crisis is unprecedented. We need to act before we have four declarations of famine on our hands, and millions more children at risk."

All donations made by June 30 will be counted in the Government of Canada's match fund, and will have twice the life-saving impact for vulnerable children.

To donate to UNICEF Canada's famine response go to www.unicef.ca/famine.

New hope for at-risk wildlife with launch of habitat gardening program

A new native-species gardening program launches today, aimed to help Southern Ontario residents and businesses transform their properties into vital habitat for wildlife that once thrived in the ecologically unique Carolinian Zone.

In the Zone, a collaboration of WWF-Canada and Carolinian Canada, will help restore lost habitat in one of the most biologically diverse and threatened regions of Canada.

Native plants are essential for food and shelter for monarch butterflies, frogs, turtles, owls, bees and other native wildlife, especially as pressures from climate change and human development intensify. By filling in habitat gaps, private green spaces growing native plants can play a critical role in restoring habitat at the backyard, neighbourhood and ecosystem level.

About In the Zone
Makes it easy for wildlife lovers to be part of the solution with:

In the Zone Tracker, an online citizen-science tool that lets gardeners measure their individual impact while making a valuable contribution to our understanding of biodiversity across the Carolinian Zone.
Comprehensive gardening guides for wildflower, woodland and wetland habitats.
Access to gardening and wildlife experts to answer questions about which native plants to grow to benefit wildlife.
About the Carolinian Zone

Makes up less than one-quarter of one per cent of Canada's landmass and is home to more than 25 per cent of Canada's population.
Unique biologically rich ecosystems include old growth forests, freshwater wetlands, prairie grassland and oak savannah.
Home to one-third of Canada's at-risk plants and animals, including:
Pollinators: Monarch butterfly and many of Canada's 800 bee species are in decline due to factors such as habitat loss, pesticide use and climate change.
Turtles: Seven of Ontario's eight freshwater turtle species are at-risk. Habitat loss and fragmentation have played a major role in their decline, as has the illegal pet trade.
Birds: At least 30 of the more than 200 bird species that breed in the zone are at-risk, including the red-headed woodpecker and cerulean warbler.
Amphibians: Habitat loss, degraded water quality and pesticides have played a role in the decline of Ontario's amphibians, including the endangered Jefferson salamander and Fowler's toad.
Other wildlife at risk include the southern flying squirrel, eastern foxsnake and American badger.
Threats to Carolinian Zone biodiversity

Climate change, non-native species and weak natural heritage policies are diminishing habitat levels across the zone.

Habitat loss:
Natural habitat levels in the zone are at 16 per cent overall and must be doubled to meet federal guidelines for healthy ecosystems.
Mature forests once covered 80 per cent of southern Ontario. Today, woodland cover is just 11 per cent overall and less than three per cent in some places.
Wetlands covered almost 25 per cent of land, but now represent just five per cent.
Less than two per cent of the region's tallgrass prairie remains.
The quality of remaining habitat is often poor due to invasive species, pollution and other human impacts.
Habitat fragmentation: Habitat is degraded as it's broken into smaller pieces.
Loss of native plants: Pollinators, birds and other wildlife need native plants to thrive.
Sarah Winterton, WWF-Canada's director of Nature Connected Communities, says:
"Biodiversity in the Carolinian Zone is under tremendous stress. While some problems seem too big for individuals to tackle, this isn't one of them. Individuals – whether veteran green thumbs or trying their hand at gardening for the first time – have the power to make a difference.

If each of us makes a conscious choice to plant native species, we become part of the solution. What's more, by tracking progress with the In the Zone Tracker, gardeners can be citizen scientists contributing to biodiversity research in this ecologically important region."

Michelle Kanter, executive director of Carolinian Canada, says:
"We are on the cusp of major change in the Carolinian Zone – we can either allow our communities to continue to lose life, colour, diversity, frog and bird songs and resources like clean water that are critical to our survival, or we can each take small actions in our yards now to grow a greener, safer and healthier future for our grandchildren and their great grandchildren. The Carolinian Zone's unique nature isn't entirely lost. Together we can save it, one planter, one yard, one street, one neighbourhood at a time."

To learn more about the program, visit InTheZoneGardens.ca.

12/06/2017

Canada's Child Labour Problem

 Today, on World Day Against Child Labour, World Vision has released a new report on the Canadian links to this global issue. The "Canada's child & forced labour problem" report uncovers the high risk of child and forced labour in common Canadian household products, the overwhelming Canadian consumer demand for legislative action and other realistic solutions required to address this Canadian issue.

KEY REPORT FINDINGS
1) Canadian imports of "risky products" now total $34B, a 31% increase over the past five years.

42% increase in garment imports from Bangladesh
107% increase in coffee imports from Dominican Republic
8852% increase in palm oil imports from Indonesia
2) New Ipsos data confirms Canadians care about this issue and demand action more than ever before.

84% of Canadians feel frustrated by how difficult it is to determine where the products they buy are made, how they're made and by whom, a 6% increase from 2015.
91% of Canadians agree that the Canadian government should require companies to publicly report on who makes their products and what they are doing to reduce child labour in their supply chains
3) Canada risks falling behind in the global fight to eliminate child and forced labour in supply chains.

Four significant jurisdictions, the UK, California, the Netherlands and France, have all passed legislation to address modern slavery and/or child labour in their supply chains
QUOTES
"After visiting children around the world, I can say with conviction that child labour is also a Canadian problem. Canada imports products we use every day that have a high risk of child labour attached to them. There are at least 1,200 Canadian companies importing up to $34-billion in goods that may have been made by child or forced labourers overseas," says Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada

"Consumers, companies and governments should all play a part in addressing Canadian links to child labour. While we put pressure on other governments to eliminate child labour from their own countries, we put little pressure on the Canadian companies that source from these places to try to ensure kids aren't part of their supply chains. And that creates a gap where children are still working. We can join other nations in putting in place minimum requirements that allow consumers to make informed choices that can prompt real action for exploited children," says Michael Messenger, President, World Vision Canada

FAST FACTS

85 million children suffering in dirty, dangerous and degrading work (ILO)
21 million people coerced, trapped and intimidated into jobs which put their lives and futures at risk
5.5 million of these forced labourers are children

Survey: Canadians Surprisingly Unconcerned About Water

Canada's easy access to fresh water may be spoiling the population. According to a survey by FluksAqua, a free water and wastewater utility forum, Canadians were surprisingly unconcerned when asked about water and how vital it is to their everyday lives. With the hot summer months just around the corner, the lack of awareness about water and water utilities may come back to haunt Canadians. .

Key Findings of the Survey (National):

Canadians do not see value in water:

An overwhelming 93.6% of all respondents think that our tax dollars should be spent on necessities other than water

When preparing for a natural disaster, 37.7% of Canadians would pick up food, communication, money, batteries or lighting sources over water

Only 15.7% of Canadians believe Water and Wastewater operators are undervalued

A mere 5.6% polled Canadians check water pressure first when viewing a new home
Canadians think water is doing well enough:

While the majority of responses to the survey indicate a lack of concern for water, Canadians don't see it as an undervalued industry.

84.3% of respondents agreed that industries such as education (29.5%) and public transit (16.1%) are more undervalued than water and wastewater operation
Canadians are most concerned with handsome homes:

Respondents would rather scope out their new neighbours (19.1%) or the finishes (17.6) in a new home than check the water/water pressure (5.6%) in the potential home
Canadians don't covet careers in water:

A very small 6.6% of Canadians dreamt of being a water operator when they grew up in comparison to 20.4% who wanted to be a teacher, 16.4% astronaut, 16.4% doctor and 12.6% police officer
"Most Canadians are accustomed to safe drinking water on demand so they tend to take clean water for granted and don't always value the work water operators and water utilities do," says Dr. Hubert Colas, President of FluksAqua Americas. "Our hard working water utility workers build the foundation for our communities to operate - it is one of our most important industries."

Canadian freshwater ecosystems in peril, new research finds

The first-ever nationwide assessment of Canada's freshwater resources found significant evidence of disruption to watersheds across the country as a result of human activities. The results, released today, lay bare the need for an ongoing, standardized national freshwater monitoring and reporting system in order to make evidence-based decisions about this valuable resource.

The four-year Watershed Reports research, conducted by WWF-Canada into this vital resource upon which people and wildlife depend, found significant disturbances from hydropower dams, agricultural runoff, pulp and paper processing, fragmentation, urbanization, pipeline incidents, oil and gas development and other activities. At the same time, massive data deficiencies for health indicators prevent an informed understanding of the impact of these human activities on watersheds.

In an increasingly thirsty world, freshwater scarcity is a mounting concern. Despite the fact 20 per cent of the world's freshwater is in Canada, data about its health aren't collected or shared on a national basis. Data deficiency is an issue in 15 of Canada's 25 watersheds, which are made up of 167 sub-watersheds.

The available data resulted in the following conclusions:

Climate change already affects every sub-watershed in Canada.
Habitat loss due to agriculture, urbanization and forestry is significant in a majority of sub-watersheds.
Pollution from agricultural runoff, wastewater treatment, mining, pipeline spills, oil and gas development and other activities is high or very high in more than one-third of sub-watersheds.
For a majority of sub-watersheds, water quality data isn't collected or made available. Of the 67 sub-watersheds for which data is available, 42 have poor or merely fair water quality.
Fragmentation is a disruptive factor in Canadian watersheds. Data on this indicator is available in 142 of 167 sub-watersheds. Of those, 61 (out of 142) are either highly or very highly fragmented.
Depth of data deficiency

Almost two-thirds (110 of 167) of sub-watersheds are lacking the data necessary to paint a baseline picture of watershed health.
For the most part, the deficiencies involve fish and benthic invertebrates (the flies, aquatic worms, snails, leeches and other small organisms that are an important link in the aquatic food chain).
Only 11 sub-watersheds out of 167 have data for all 11 health and threat metrics.
About the report
The conclusions stem from parallel health and threat assessments conducted to understand which human activities are disturbing sub-watersheds and the impact those stressors are having on freshwater health. The framework was vetted by leading experts and academics, who helped refine the methodology in accordance with current analysis techniques.

The health assessment measured water flow, water quality, benthic invertebrates and fish. These indicators represent key elements of the freshwater ecosystems commonly monitored in most Canadian jurisdictions.
The threat assessment measured pollution, habitat loss, fragmentation, water use, invasive species, alterations to water flow and climate change. These indicators were selected in accordance with current literature on threats to freshwater systems.
Elizabeth Hendriks, WWF-Canada vice-president of freshwater conservation, says:
"With these health and threats assessments, we were able to learn that across the country, we are putting significant stress on our watersheds — whether through pollution, lowered water flows, overuse, habitat loss or fragmentation, invasive species or climate change. But because the corresponding data on health metrics isn't being collected for a majority of watersheds, no one can conclusively say to what extent these disturbances are harming the health of this crucial resource. That's a shocking oversight that we can't afford to ignore."

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:
"Canadians should be alarmed that only 67 of 167 sub-watersheds have data on water quality, and 42 of those fail to get good marks. WWF-Canada's analysis shows we need to be seriously concerned about the health of our freshwater, and makes clear we can't afford to continue a patchwork approach to monitoring. We must restore the health of watersheds where we know there are problems and ensure a Canada-wide freshwater monitoring system is implemented. The ability to make informed decisions about how we use and protect freshwater ecosystems is essential to our long-term health and to wildlife."

The Healthy Waters Summit
What: WWF-Canada reveals the findings of the Watershed Reports at the Healthy Waters Summit, which brings together leading freshwater voices from across Canada to discuss the most pressing freshwater issues and work toward solutions.
When: Monday, June 12, 2017, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit here for the full summit agenda.
Where: The Lord Elgin hotel, 100 Elgin St., Ottawa

Canadians can read the Watershed Reports findings, and explore their own watershed in more depth at watershedreports.wwf.ca.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

01/06/2017

Twitter is the Prime Social Media Network for World Leaders

Pope Francis is the most followed world leader on Twitter with a combined total of 33,716,301 followers on his nine language accounts, ahead of U.S. President Donald Trump with 30,133,036 followers and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi with 30,058,659 followers, according to Burson-Marsteller's Twiplomacy study, an annual global survey of how world leaders, governments and international organizations use social media.

Twitter is the prime social network used by 276 heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries, representing 92 percent of all United Nations (UN) member states. Facebook is the second-most used social platform by world leaders, with 169 governments having established official pages. However, world leaders have, on average, twice as many followers on their Facebook pages as followers on Twitter. Data for Twiplomacy, which updated the studies about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, was captured in May 2017 using Burson-Marsteller's proprietary Burson tools, CrowdTangle.com and Twitonomy.com.

President Trump is among a very small group of leaders who manage their own Twitter accounts, and his tweets have generated 166 million interactions (likes and retweets) over the past 12 months – including the nearly four months since he was sworn in as U.S. President – almost five times as many as Modi with 35 million interactions.

Saudi Arabia's @KingSalman is the most effective world leader on Twitter based on the average number of retweets per original tweet. Of his ten tweets over the past year, King Salman has received an average of 147,456 retweets. President Trump's personal Twitter account, @realDonaldTrump, is the second-most effective Twitter account of any world leader, with an average of 13,094 retweets per tweet. Pope Francis is in third place, with 10,337 average retweets per tweet.

President Trump's unorthodox use of Twitter during the U.S. presidential election campaign, and especially since taking office, has left many governments around the world wondering if - and how - they should engage with @realDonaldTrump on Twitter. Some leaders, such as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada and Pope Francis, have sub-tweeted President Trump without directly mentioning him by name. Only three world leaders have addressed @realDonaldTrump directly on Twitter to rebuke his policies, including Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto; Hilda Heine, the President of the Marshall Islands; and Ricardo Rosselló, the Governor of Puerto Rico.

The 2017 edition of Twiplomacy also examines the use of other social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope, and the Twiplomacy.com website includes rankings as well as a social media atlas for each country studied. The study found, for example, the number of governments using Periscope has doubled over the past year, offering a cost-effective way to broadcast press conferences live.

"Politics and diplomacy are playing out on social media in a way we have never seen before," said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller. "With the U.S. president bypassing traditional government channels to communicate directly to his supporters and detractors alike, we can expect more people in positions of power to adopt this practice. Our Twiplomacy study shows how fast-paced and dynamic our communications landscape truly is."

"The study demonstrates the intense evolution in how world leaders and governments are using social media to reach policy or political objectives," added Ramiro Prudencio, CEO of Burson-Marsteller Europe, Middle East and Africa. "This cross-platform analysis provides key insights on social media use in a global, fast-paced, connected, 24/7 information environment."

The 2017 Twiplomacy study analyzed 856 Twitter accounts of heads of state and government, and foreign ministers, in 178 countries with a combined total audience of 356 million followers. Foreign ministries tend to use Twitter to establish mutual relations. The European Union (EU) External Action Service is the best-connected foreign office, mutually connected to 128 peers. Russia's Foreign Ministry is in second position, maintaining mutual Twitter relations with 127 other world leaders. The German Foreign Ministry has 116 mutual connections with peers, followed by the UK Foreign Office and the Foreign Ministry of Norway with 115 and 109 mutual connections, respectively.

The Donald Trump @WhiteHouse account does not follow any other foreign leader. The archived @ObamaWhiteHouse account, conversely, follows the UK government account, @Number10gov, and the Russian Prime Minister's account, @MedvedevRussiaE.

The most followed non-government account is the United Nations Twitter account, @UN, which is followed by 338 of the 856 world leaders' Twitter accounts; @BarackObama and the @ObamaWhiteHouse are followed by 312 and 254 world leaders, respectively. @UNICEF is the second-most followed international organization andThe New York Times (@NYTimes) is the most followed news organization. The @Twiplomacy Twitter account is the eighth-most followed non-governmental account by world leaders, with a following of 184 heads of state and government, ahead of @Reutersand @TheEconomist.

"Twitter facilitates relations between world leaders in today's online world," said Matthias Lüfkens, Managing Director, Digital, at Burson-Marsteller EMEA. "I am especially honored to see our @Twiplomacy Twitter account among the most followed accounts by heads of state and government."

Other key findings include:

Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto is Latin America's most followed leader. @EPN has 6.3 million followers, far ahead of Colombia's President @JuanManSantos, Argentina's @MauricioMacri, and Venezuela's @NicolasMaduro, each of whom have more than 3 million followers.
Kenya's Uhuru Kenyatta, @UKenyatta, is Sub-Saharan Africa's most followed leader with 2 million followers, ahead of Rwanda's @PaulKagame and Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (@MBuhari), both of whom have more than 1 million followers.
The UK Prime Minister, @Number10gov, is the most followed EU leader, with more than 5.1 million followers, ahead of the British @RoyalFamily and France's @Elysee Palace, with 2.9 and 1.5 million followers, respectively. Newly elected French President @EmmanuelMacron has shot into fifth place behind Spanish Prime Minister @MarianoRajoy, both with more than 1 million followers.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, @HHShkMohd, is the most followed Arab leader with 7.9 million, followed by Jordan's @QueenRania and Saudi Arabia's @KingSalman with 6.5 million followers each.
India's Foreign Minister, @SushmaSwaraj, is the most followed female world leader with 8 million followers, ahead of Jordan's @QueenRania.
Abdullah Bin Zayed, @ABZayed, the Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates, is the second-most followed foreign minister with 3.9 million followers, with Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister, @AdelAljubeir, in third place with 1.3 million followers.
Among the foreign ministries, the U.S. State Department (@StateDept) is the most followed, with 4.3 million, ahead of the Turkish Foreign Ministry (@TC_Disisleri) and India's @IndianDiplomacy, with more than 1.2 million followers each.
More than 4,100 embassies and 1,100 ambassadors are currently active on Twitter.
The complete collection of social media studies can be found on bm.com and twiplomacy.com.

About the Study
Twiplomacy is Burson-Marsteller's leading global study of how world leaders, governments and international organizations use social media. The 2017 edition of the study specifically looked at Twitter and we updated the studies about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Periscope. Data was captured in May 2017, using Burson-Marsteller's proprietary Burson tools, CrowdTangle.com and Twitonomy.com.


Five key objectives for Canada ahead of NAFTA renegotiation

 Canada should come to the renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with five key objectives to update and enhance trade and investment across the continent, according to a new Conference Board of Canada report.

"Canada faces a delicate balancing act between defending current market access provided in the existing NAFTA and updating the agreement to meet the requirements of a 21st century economy," said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends, The Conference Board of Canada. "Even in areas where Canada may be seeking to maintain provisions, our negotiators should still come to the table with the objective of expanding, improving, and strengthening NAFTA."

HIGHLIGHTS

Canada should come to the table with the objective of expanding, improving, and strengthening NAFTA.
Freer trade in North America led to significant benefits for all three countries, including the U.S, with American exports to Canada and Mexico supporting nearly 3 million jobs.
Most of the gains in merchandise trade made possible by CUSFTA and NAFTA have already materialized. However, there are still major improvements that can be made to NAFTA, particularly in the areas of trade in services, government procurement, rules of origin, investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, and labour and environmental standards.
Freer trade in North America led to significant benefits for Canada in the form of increased trade, output and productivity gains in the manufacturing sector, and a greater variety of products available to Canadians. NAFTA was also positive for the U.S., with American exports to Canada and Mexico supporting nearly 3 million jobs in the United States.

The importance of NAFTA for the Canadian economy and for the well-functioning of North American supply chains means that governments, business leaders, and stakeholders (such as labour unions and civil society interests) need to develop a strategy to protect Canadian interests while addressing the concerns of our NAFTA partners.

To support Canada in this effort, the Global Commerce Centre report, NAFTA 2.0 and Canada: Upgrading a 20th Century Deal for a 21st Century World, outlines five key objectives for Canada in renegotiating NAFTA:

maintain a trilateral agreement with the U.S. and Mexico, and commit to comprehensive consultation with the Canadian public and stakeholders;
facilitate the cross-border mobility of business people to support trade in services;
maintain and enhance access for traded goods, by pressing to maintain North American content rules in the auto sector, obtaining a permanent waiver from Buy America provisions, and negotiating stable and predictable access to the U.S. market for Canada's softwood lumber exports, while being prepared to ease protections in supply-managed sectors;
encourage innovation and digital trade through the creation of a chapter in the agreement dedicated to e-commerce, while maintaining the cultural exception from the existing NAFTA; and
modernize the agreement to today's business realities and standards, including revising the NAFTA rules of origin to help smaller businesses comply, reviewing investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, updating labour and environmental standards, and eliminating the energy proportionality clause in NAFTA.
For each of these objectives, the report presents specific actions to ensure NAFTA 2.0 will benefit all Canadians.

The report is published by the Global Commerce Centre, a Conference Board of Canada's research centre that provides evidence-based tools to help companies and governments respond successfully to the trends reshaping the global business environment.

Join Conference Board's Kristelle Audet for a webinar, NAFTA 2.0 and Canada, on June 13, 2017, at 2 p.m. EDT.

31/05/2017

Margaret Atwood, alongside more than 100 authors worldwide sign Greenpeace's pledge for free speech and forest protection

 More than 100 authors from around the world including Nobel Prize winner John Maxwell Coetzee (Disgrace); Booker prize winners Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale), and Yann Martel (The Life of Pi); writer and comedian Stephen Fry (More Fool Me); and thought leaders Naomi Klein (The Shock Doctrine) and Rebecca Solnit (Men Explain Things to Me) signed a pledge [1] with Greenpeace to support free speech and stand up for forests.

"The endings of The Handmaid's Tale, 1984 and Brave New World are written. Ours is not. This is a chance to stand up for freedom of speech, the freedom to advocate for change, and the freedom to question authority, and to strengthen their protection under law. As a society, we need a positive outcome to this story," said Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale, which recently became a television series and paints a portrait of a dystopian future where all but the most powerful women are forbidden to write and are denied access to books.

Authors signing the pledge committed to defend "freedom of speech as a pillar of democratic and peaceful societies, the right of individuals to organize and protest without intimidation, [and] those who peacefully protect the world's forests."

"Ultimately we all benefit from free speech. If Resolute Forest Products manages to shut Greenpeace up with its heavy-handed legal tactics, we ALL lose. This is not just a question of preserving our environment but our civil society," said author Yann Martel.

On May 16th, Greenpeace published a report [2] that showed major international publishers are purchasing paper from Resolute. [3] Greenpeace is inviting these global publishers to join this call to protect freedom of speech and work with Resolute to become more sustainable.

"It is a dilemma for global publishers to source paper from a company that is fundamentally threatening the right to free speech. Without this fundamental right, think of how many books, how many ideas, would have been suppressed," said Head of Forest Campaign for Greenpeace Canada, Shane Moffatt.

"We are asking these publishers to help convince Resolute to drop the lawsuits and instead embrace forest protection. As big customers, they have a responsibility to work with Resolute and others to deliver solutions that ensure a healthy forest for future generations, respect Indigenous rights and support local communities."

Other authors who signed the pledge include Man Booker winners Julian Barnes (The Sense of an Ending) and Ian McEwan (Atonement), MacArthur Award winner Deborah Eisenberg (Twilight of the Superheros), Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr (All The Light We Cannot See), Governor General's Literary Award winner Miriam Toews (A Complicated Kindness), Award-winning novelist and Member of the Order of Canada Louise Penny (Still Life), Lev Grossman (The Magicians), Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies), William Shatner (Up Till Now), Alec Baldwin (Nevertheless), Jane Fonda (My Life So Far) and many more.

Greenpeace will be at Book Expo this week in New York, connecting with publishers and readers, and displaying an art installation called Treewhispers by artist Pamela Paulsrud, an ongoing international collaboration awakening our heartfelt connection to trees


29/05/2017

Prime Minister Trudeau attends G7 Summit in Italy

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded the G7 Leaders' Summit in Taormina, Italy. While in Taormina, the Prime Minister emphasized Canada's commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms, advance gender equity, combat climate change, and deliver economic growth that benefits the middle class.

Trudeau said, "At the G7 this weekend, we had some excellent discussions on issues of security, climate change, gender equity, and economic growth that benefits the middle class. We talked about the global anxieties around inequality and how governments must help people deal with the uncertainty of a changing world. On this, I echoed my previous statements, calling on governments to work with their citizens to develop real, lasting solutions, together."

The Leaders signed a joint Statement on the Fight Against Terrorism and Violent Extremism, and renewed their determination to prevent radicalization and violent extremism, and to bring the perpetrators of terrorism to justice. Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted the need for G7 members to refrain from paying ransom to terrorist groups.

Leaders adopted the first G7 Roadmap for a Gender-Responsive Economic Environment to remove barriers to the full economic, political, and social participation of women and girls around the world. Canada is committed to advancing gender equity during its 2018 G7 presidency.

Prime Minister Trudeau reaffirmed Canada's commitment to take measures to transition to a low-carbon economy, and to implement the Paris Agreement. The Prime Minister emphasized that responsible development of energy resources and meeting goals under international agreements go hand in hand.

The Prime Minister also underlined the importance of fully implementing the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – an important milestone in Canada's efforts to champion trade deals that create good, middle class jobs and benefit everyone.

In 2018, Canada will hold the G7 presidency. Building on the themes of Italy's 2017 presidency, Canada will showcase the country's domestic and international priorities: to build a strong middle class, advance gender equity, fight climate change, and promote respect for diversity and inclusion.

While at the G7, Prime Minister Trudeau and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan welcomed reaching substantial agreement on an acquisition and cross services agreement, and have agreed to sign it as soon as possible. Such an agreement will facilitate cooperation between Canadian and Japanese forces, notably during joint training exercises, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and United Nations peacekeeping missions.

Following the Summit, G7 Leaders issued a joint communiqué on key global priorities and challenges, including countering terrorism and threats to security, driving inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and strengthening the foundations for gender equity and the empowerment of women.

The Prime Minister is deeply concerned by the unprecedented numbers of people fleeing conflict and persecution globally. Canada is committed to providing assistance and protection for refugees, and to addressing the root causes of their plight.


Canada to host 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix, Quebec

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today announced that the 2018 G7 Summit will be held at Le Manoir Richelieu in La Malbaie, Quebec. Located in the Charlevoix region, this unique and idyllic area highlights our country's vast and diverse natural beauty and evokes the historical significance of the St. Lawrence River. This will be the sixth time that the G7 has been held in Canada since 1981. The previous Canadian summits were held in Muskoka, Ontario (2010), Kananaskis, Alberta (2002), Halifax, Nova Scotia (1995), Toronto, Ontario (1988) and Ottawa-Montebello, Ontario and Quebec (1981).

Next year's summit will allow Canada to showcase both its domestic and international priorities: to strengthen the middle class, advance gender equity, fight climate change, and promote respect for diversity and inclusion.

It will also be an important opportunity for Canada to engage G7 counterparts on pressing global challenges, and pursue further collaboration on innovative and clean economic growth.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, "Canada is proud to host the 2018 G7 Summit in Charlevoix. This vibrant region captures everything that our country is about – from bilingualism, to cultural diversity, to stunning scenery in every season. I look forward to welcoming my counterparts next year in beautiful Charlevoix. I'm sure they will fall in love with the region, just as Canadians have done for generations."

A parallel announcement was also made today at Le Manoir Richelieu by Minister of Families, Children and Social Development Jean-Yves Duclos, and Minister of National Revenue Diane Lebouthillier.

26/05/2017

National charity kicks off massive "ReLeaf" planting to restore greenspaces in Fort McMurray after last year's wildfire

This weekend Tree Canada kicks off a massive tree-planting to restore greenspaces in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and surrounding areas destroyed by last year's devastating wildfire. In total, more than 70,000 trees will be planted this year alone.

The restoration efforts get underway Saturday May 27 at Helen Pacholko Park in Fort McMurray, AB with a volunteer tree-planting and community celebration hosted by Tree Canada and the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. Tree Canada President Michael Rosen will be joined by Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and Sean Finn, Executive Vice-President of CN and other key partners. Several hundred community members and volunteers are also expected to be in attendance.

This multi-year undertaking is a part of Tree Canada's #OperationReLeaf initiative and was made possible after the charity received an enormous outpouring of support from corporate partners and everyday Canadians across the country. In addition to CN, which donated $1 million towards #OperationReLeaf efforts nationwide, Tree Canada has also received generous support from IKEA Canada, U-Haul, TELUS, FedEx Express Canada, Earth Day Network, Unilever Canada, SANOFI, Suncor Energy and BP Canada Energy Group.

Tree Canada has amassed 20 years of experience restoring areas after natural disasters. The first #OperationReLeaf was following the floods in Saguenay, Quebec in 1996. All trees planted in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo will be non-invasive tree species appropriate for the area and climate zone and will be planted to industry best practices including FireSmart standards.

"We're dedicated to returning this community to its former beauty and would like to thank our corporate partners and individual Canadians for making this all possible. We deeply sympathize with residents who lost their homes and have had their lives so disrupted by the fire. It is my sincere hope that this initiative will help to bring back a sense of normalcy to the community"
- Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada

"Fort McMurray is an important community for CN, and our own employees were personally affected by the disaster. We are proud to support an initiative that will not only help restore the tree canopy but will also contribute to the wellbeing of this community with lasting benefits. We encourage other Canadian businesses to join CN in support of Fort McMurray's reforestation."
- Sean Finn, CN Executive Vice-President, Corporate Services and Chief Legal Officer

"We are deeply grateful to Tree Canada and all of its partners for this very generous donation. This support will undoubtedly lift the spirits of the entire community and help us restore so much of the natural beauty that was impacted by the wildfire."
- Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo

About Tree Canada:
Tree Canada is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. Since 1992, we've planted more than 80 million trees, greened more than 580 schoolyards, helped restore places hit by natural disasters and brought together urban forestry experts greening cities all across Canada. Get involved or learn more about us at treecanada.ca.

About CN:
CN is a true backbone of the economy, transporting more than C$250 billion worth of goods annually for a wide range of business sectors, ranging from resource products to manufactured products to consumer goods, across a rail network spanning Canada and mid-America. CN – Canadian National Railway Company, along with its operating railway subsidiaries -- serves the cities and ports of Vancouver, Prince Rupert, B.C., Montreal, Halifax, New Orleans, and Mobile, Ala., and the metropolitan areas of Toronto, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Calgary, Chicago, Memphis, Detroit, Duluth, Minn./Superior, Wis., and Jackson, Miss., with connections to all points in North America. For more information on CN, visit the company's website at www.cn.ca.


24/05/2017

Exploring the Arctic is easier than ever with new website

 Arctic Kingdom launches a new mobile-friendly website to make discovering the Canadian Arctic accessible for all. With featured videos and photography, streamlined navigation, and enhanced search capabilities, travellers can now plan an Arctic bucket list adventure or photo safari with ease.

"This is a big step forward for the Arctic as a travel destination," says Graham Dickson, Arctic Kingdom Founder and President. "One of the biggest challenges for people looking to visit the Arctic is the unknown. Our new website not only brings awareness to this amazing place, and all the incredible experiences it offers, but makes it easier for travellers to get here."

Enhanced search capabilities lets travellers "build their own adventure". The Canadian Arctic is a vast destination, with extraordinary experiences often available only at specific times of year. This includes opportunities to view unique wildlife found only in the Arctic, including polar bears, narwhal and walrus, and natural phenomena such as the Northern Lights, Midnight Sun, icebergs and glaciers. By allowing search by season, wildlife, or experience, travellers can find the perfect trip, at the ideal time, to bring their Arctic dreams to life.

Other features of Arctic Kingdom's new website include an interactive map that allows users to discover lesser-known areas of the Arctic, and the wildlife, landscapes, experiences, and culture that make it so special. Additionally, a special section for travel agents features tools and information to help them inspire clients, and a professional services section is designed to help organizations seeking Arctic logistics, such as film and TV production houses.

"I'm thrilled that this new site is showcasing the Arctic's beauty and simplifying the journey," says David Briggs, Arctic Kingdom's Senior Expedition Leader and Photographer. "The Arctic is always changing. This inspiring site is your portal to help you get there now and realize your dreams."

About Arctic Kingdom

Arctic Kingdom is the global leader in land-based travel, custom experiences and logistics in the Arctic. Unparalleled expertise in Arctic wildlife and habitat, and unmatched access, built through years of experience and deep-rooted relationships with local Inuit communities, allows Arctic Kingdom to provide the most incredible Arctic experiences in safety and comfort. Arctic Kingdom uniquely offers polar bear viewing in every season throughout the year, as well as exclusive opportunities to safely see narwhal, bowhead whales, walrus, and even polar diving. From scheduled Arctic safaris, to private journeys, and logistic support for film & TV productions, Arctic Kingdom has been crafting legendary Arctic adventures for almost 20 years. www.arctickingdom.com


23/05/2017

Hundreds of kids to converge on local parks to quicken the pace for wildlife conservation

Hundreds of kids and their families will take to community parks this June to protect vital habitat and secure the future of wildlife in Canada by participating in Kids' Run for Nature.

Founded in 2015 by Jasmine de Pencier and Jett Jardeleza-Toole when they were 10 years old, Kids' Run for Nature combines their passion for running with their desire to protect at-risk Canadian wildlife. Kids' Run for Nature has grown from a single event in Toronto's Withrow Park to eight locations nationally.

Geared towards kids and families, the series of 1 km, 3 km and 5 km runs give kids the opportunity to contribute to positive change for the environment and help the animals they love, while connecting to nature and doing something healthy.

To date, Kids' Run for Nature has brought more than 1,300 runners to local parks and raised close to $50,000 for WWF-Canada. This year, they aim to raise another $50,000 to fund conservation initiatives that protect wild species and their habitats – from the Arctic's Lancaster Sound and B.C.'s Salish Sea to Canada's rivers and urban areas.

WHEN & WHERE

Sunday, June 4
Mill Pond Park, Richmond Hill, Ont.

Sunday, June 11
Withrow Park, Toronto, (flagship run)
Étienne Brûlé Park, Toronto
Town Agricultural Park, Port Hope, Ont.
Britannia Park, Ottawa
Confederation Park, Calgary
Auburn Bay, Calgary

Sunday, June 18
Lakeside Park, Mississauga Ont.

Sign up to run: http://www.kidsrunfornature.ca/runs

Get involved:
Canadians are encouraged to participate in a run, donate or volunteer at one of the local events. They can even host Kids' Run for Nature in their local community. Organizers, teachers and schools interested in hosting their own runs are encouraged to contact Kids' Run for Nature for more information.

David Miller, president and CEO WWF-Canada, says:
"Conserving wildlife isn't just for adults. Jasmine, Jett and all the kids who take part in Kids' Run for Nature show that young environmentalists can make an incredible difference for wildlife in Canada. They run for tigers, for polar bears, for butterflies and for other wildlife. Whatever their inspiration, WWF-Canada is proud of their efforts to help nature thrive."

Jett Jardeleza-Toole, co-founder of Kids' Run for Nature, says:
"Jasmine and I started Kids' Run for Nature because we both love running and wanted to do something to help Canadian wildlife. Every animal, no matter how small, is important to our ecosystems. Kids should participate because it's a good way to get active and support the World Wildlife Fund Canada and their conservation efforts."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

About Kids Run for Nature
Founded in 2015 by Jasmine de Pencier and Jett Jardeleza-Toole, Kids' Run for Nature is a fun run organized by kids in support of WWF-Canada's work to protect vulnerable wildlife. For more info visit kidsrunfornature.ca  


Canadian wetland education network wins national honours

 At its annual national conference, EECOM (the Canadian Network for Environmental Education and Communications) presented three of five EECOM Awards to Ducks Unlimited Canada-related programs and teachers.

EECOM's Outstanding Organization Award was presented to DUC's Wetland Centres of Excellence/ Centres d'excellence des milieux humides (WCE/CEMH) network.

DUC's WCE/CEMH form a national network of dedicated educators, students, supportive administrators, and communities working to conserve wetlands. Participants have constructed boardwalks, banded birds, built nest boxes, written and designed interpretive signs, planted and restored wetlands, tested birds for avian flu, conducted water quality tests, and carried out a myriad of other student-directed projects in their local communities. Over the years WCE/CEMH students have acted as advocates for wetland conservation, including taking part in meetings with provincial and federal politicians, and several have gone on to pursue careers in conservation and related fields.

Since 2003 when DUC recognized Tantramar Wetland Centre, N.B. as the first WCE/CEMH, learning and sharing their experiences with others has been a key component for each Centre. In many cases WCE/CEMH students act as mentors, conducting wetland field trips for younger students and some even "teach the teachers" through hands-on wetland workshops.

Nancy MacKinnon, lead teacher at Tantramar Wetland Centre, accompanied by two of her students and conference attendees from other WCE partners, accepted the award on behalf of the WCE/CEMH network.

"This is a well-deserved award for all of those who are involved with these great initiatives in their communities," says Merebeth Switzer, DUC's national manager, education. "I also want to commend our education staff who have devoted so much time to support them and to thank Wildlife Habitat Canada who helped us strengthen this national network over this past year."

Two Manitoba-based WCE/CEMHs garnered other EECOM Awards in the following categories:

EECOM 2017 Outstanding K-12 Class, School, or School District Award - to Rivers Collegiate, a Ducks Unlimited Wetland Centre of Excellence, recognized for their wide-range of environmental activities, including wetland conservation.

Outstanding K-12 Educator award - Julie Mathieson (nee Brunel) – lead teacher at the Virden WCE, and a dedicated and inspiring educator devoted to environmental education.

There are 25 established WCE/CEMHs across Canada involving more than 30 schools and others are under development. The Centres are large and small, rural and urban, and each is unique.

Ducks Unlimited Canada (DUC) is the leader in wetland conservation. A registered charity, DUC partners with government, industry, non-profit organizations and landowners to conserve wetlands that are critical to waterfowl, wildlife and the environment.

Wildlife Habitat Canada (WHC) is a national, not-for-profit, non-governmental, charitable conservation organization whose objectives are to: provide funding for wildlife conservation programs in Canada; conserve, restore and enhance wildlife habitat; foster coordination and leadership in the conservation community; and, promote the conservation contributions of waterfowl hunters and encourage participation in waterfowl hunting.

19/05/2017

CWF Issues Call to Action for International Day for Biological Diversity and World Turtle Day

 The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is calling on Canadians to fast-track efforts to protect biodiversity with a special focus on endangered species such as Monarch butterflies and several types of turtle. CWF is hosting a virtual bioblitz of Canada on May 22, International Day for Biological Diversity, and a public awareness campaign for World Turtle Day May 23.

"The public can help protect endangered species and celebrate biodiversity as a central part of our Canadian heritage," says Dr. Carolyn Callaghan, CWF senior conservation biologist. "We encourage all Canadians to get involved in efforts to conserve the wonder."

Virtual Reality

Joining CWF's virtual bioblitz on May 22 is an excellent way for the public to participate in creating a national database of biodiversity as part of the BioBlitz Canada 150 program, a Canada 150 Signature Project coordinated by the CWF with partners in conservation. Photos of Canadian wildlife and habitat need to be posted to iNaturalist.ca in order for scientists to get a clearer picture of our national wildlife inventory, Callaghan said. Canada has 140,000 species but only half have been identified. CWF is also working with partners across the country to host 35 scientific, community and flagship bioblitzes across Canada this year. Visit BioblitzCanada.ca and iNaturalist.ca for more information and to get involved.

The Turtle Team

CWF is continuing efforts to encourage Canadians to drive with care to avoid collisions with wildlife. Road mortality is a huge issue for many species at risk, including many endangered turtles which are currently nesting and needing to cross roads.

CWF is launching a new turtle project in Ottawa this spring to survey species at risk. CWF is also continuing its conservation efforts with Saving Turtles At Risk Today (S.T.A.R.T) in cottage country (Ontario's Muskoka region). In 2016, this turtle team released more than 3,500 turtle hatchlings back into the wild (after captive incubation). However, survival rates remain shockingly low - only 11 of these turtles may survive.

CWF is calling on Canadians to be mindful of turtles and other species of wildlife while they are driving.

"If you are driving past a wetland during the turtle nesting season in May and June, please slow down. You could make a difference to one turtle and hundreds of her offspring," said James Pagé, CWF Species at Risk and Biodiversity Specialist. "Most turtles moving along roadsides are mothers looking for a nesting site. Each mother turtle lays hundreds of eggs over her lifetime, so this one act of slowing down to avoid hitting a turtle could influence future generations of turtles." Visit HelptheTurtles.ca to learn more.

The Pollinator Priority

The Monarch butterfly population has experienced significant decline over the past 20 years in North America. The primary threats include loss of host and nectar plants in their breeding grounds, the widespread use of pesticides and herbicides throughout their breeding grounds, climate change and the loss of overwintering habitat in Mexico and California, Callaghan said.

CWF believes that large-scale habitat restoration is imperative for avoiding extinction of this species. This spring CWF is partnering with municipalities, utility companies, and landowners to restore and support Monarch migratory pathways. CWF is also calling for restrictions on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides, which are derived from nicotine. CWF has introduced a range pollinator bedding plants (free of these chemicals) that will be available at major retailers for gardening season.

For more information and to get involved visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.


About the Canadian Wildlife Federation:

The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a national, not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to fostering awareness and appreciation of our natural world. By spreading knowledge of human impacts on the environment, carrying out research, developing and delivering education programs, promoting the sustainable use of natural resources, recommending changes to policy and co-operating with like-minded partners, CWF encourages a future in which Canadians can live in harmony with nature. For more information visit CanadianWildlifeFederation.ca.


17/05/2017

Mapping a Path to Sustainable Agriculture

The global population is expected to climb to 9.7 billion by 2050. In order to provide food and clothing for such a vast population with increasingly fewer resources, creating sustainability in agriculture is of utmost importance and should already be a top priority worldwide.

In line with this, Fertilizer Canada is pleased to announce the first ever 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report – a document that outlines our journey to date and continued commitment to driving sustainability for agriculture. This document is a comprehensive overview of the work Fertilizer Canada does every day to ensure Canadian growers, and growers across the globe, adopt sustainable farming practices. This behind-the-scenes work is a key part of ensuring 9.7 billion people have safe and sustainably produced agri-products – like food and clothing – for the future.

"Sustainability has always been an integral part of our activities and initiatives at Fertilizer Canada. We're driven to get sustainability 'right' by supporting Canada's development goals and promoting the adoption and implementation of innovative fertilizer management practices like 4R Nutrient Stewardship," said Garth Whyte, President and CEO of Fertilizer Canada. "This report represents a step forward on our journey to set and document concrete sustainability goals in a quantifiable and verifiable manner."

Efficient fertilizer management through practices like 4R Nutrient Stewardship – a science-based program that allows growers to target their crops' specific nutrient needs to increase quality and yield while simultaneously reducing unwanted nutrient losses – is fundamental to creating truly sustainable agriculture for the future.

With the 4R Nutrient Stewardship Sustainability Report, Fertilizer Canada tracks recent 2016 milestones through several initiatives against an initial list of key performance indicators measuring the environmental, economic and social impact of our activities as they pertain to agriculture sustainability. This is an essential step in setting and reaching sustainability targets as demand for agri-products continues to increase.


IKEA Canada co-workers roll up their sleeves for annual tree planting event nationwide with Tree Canada

 For the 21st consecutive year, IKEA Canada co-workers will join Tree Canada in tree planting events in 17 communities across the country. Together, IKEA co-workers and local Tree Canada staff will plant over 1,500 mature trees and shrubs to help green local communities.

"At IKEA we want to have a positive impact in the communities where we do business," said Brendan Seale, Sustainability Manager, IKEA Canada. "I am proud that our co-workers are so committed to this vision and continue to volunteer their time to improve our communities, creating a better everyday life for the many people."

Since the partnership began in 1996, IKEA Canada has contributed over $800,000 to Tree Canada. To date, co-workers have planted over 30,000 mature trees and shrubs, which provide enough oxygen for over 15,000 people.

"Tree Canada is thrilled to be working with a partner as dedicated to greening communities as IKEA Canada. Together we have worked hard to meet sustainability goals in communities throughout Canada and have made profound and lasting change through tree planting initiatives like this one. IKEA is showing the country that they don't just talk the talk, they walk the walk," said Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada.

The over 30,000 trees IKEA co-workers have planted nationwide provide significant benefit to communities including absorbing noise, purifying air, preventing soil erosion, protecting wetlands, promoting urban wildlife and biodiversity, and creating beautiful shaded places for people to play and relax. The trees planted will help to enhance urban tree canopy within short distances of each the IKEA store.

About Tree Canada:
Tree Canada is a non-profit charity dedicated to improving the lives of Canadians by planting and nurturing trees. Since 1992, we've planted more than 80 million trees, greened more than 580 schoolyards, helped restore places hit by natural disasters and brought together urban forestry experts greening cities all across Canada. Get involved or learn more about us at treecanada.ca.

15/05/2017

Drivers want to protect the environment: Survey

Drivers want to minimize the impact their vehicles have on the environment, but many lack the information on how to achieve that goal.

According to a new Leger national survey of drivers responsible for the maintenance of their vehicles, 87 per cent of Canadian motorists feel drivers have a moral obligation to protect the environment by ensuring their vehicles are as fuel-efficient as possible.

The survey, conducted for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), found that nearly three-quarters (74 per cent) of Canadian drivers are not aware of low rolling resistance tires and the fuel efficiency gains these tires provide.

Low rolling resistance (LRR) tires cut fuel consumption by two to four per cent when compared to conventional tires. Motorists driving 25,000 km per year can save between $50 and $100 annually on these technologically advanced tires. Those who log longer distances save more.

When made aware of this fuel saving advantage, 77 per cent of drivers surveyed indicated they would likely purchase a set, provided the fuel savings offset the cost of these fuel saving tires. A similar survey conducted for TRAC in 2016 found that 69 per cent of drivers said they were interested in acquiring LRR tires if the cost was covered by fuel savings.

The 2017 survey, however, also found that only nine per cent of motorists now ride on these fuel-efficient tires.

"The significant uptick in interest in LRR tires reflects the high priority Canadian drivers place on being eco-friendly," says Glenn Maidment, president of TRAC. "Clearly, we have a major opportunity to lessen the impact vehicles have on the environment and reduce energy consumption simply by raising awareness of this important tire category. The need for consumer education is highlighted by the fact that 41 per cent of motorists don't even know if their vehicles are equipped with fuel-saving tires."

Low rolling resistance tires incorporate the latest advances in tire technology. They are designed with specialized tread patterns that keep cars moving more efficiently, rubber compounds that minimize internal movements inside the rubber itself and materials that lower weight, increase rigidity and improve aerodynamics. The result is less energy is required to push them down the road.

Be Tire Smart Week 2017
Making drivers aware of the range of steps they can take to improve fuel economy is a key goal of Be Tire Smart Week, which takes place across Canada from May 15 to 21.

This year, as part of this advocacy campaign, TRAC's Be Tire Smart (www.betiresmart.ca) is providing motorists with an informative 'Get Fuel Fit' Guide – a fun online resource to help motorists improve their fuel saving know-how by offering advice on tire selection, maintenance and driving habits that improve fuel economy and protect the environment.

The Guide has three sections:

Gear - vehicle, tire and other relevant product shopping tips to save on fuel
Routine - fuel saving driving tips
Check-up - tire and auto maintenance advice
This fuel saving resource features expert, eco-friendly advice from Natural Resources Canada, Kal Tire and TRAC.

"Fuel-efficient driving not only saves hundreds of dollars in fuel each year, but it can also improve road safety, prevent unnecessary wear on your vehicle and lower harmful greenhouse gas emissions," said Steve Akehurst, Chief, Personal Vehicles Programs, Office of Energy Efficiency, Natural Resources Canada. "By adopting fuel-efficient driving techniques, the average Canadian can reduce their fuel use by up to 25 per cent."


Buzzworthy: Bee-loved flowers available to plant now

- Bees Matter is calling on Canadians to get out and plant pollinator-friendly gardens in support of the important role honey bees play in all of our lives. Bees Matter is designating the week of June 5 – 12, 2017 as National Planting Week to encourage as many Canadians as possible to plant pollinator-friendly gardens.

This year, as Canada marks its 150th birthday, Bees Matter's goal is to distribute its 100,000th Buzzing Gardens seed kit. In the first two years, more than 70,000 seed kits were distributed from coast to coast.

"Honey bee health is complex and getting involved in the Buzzing Gardens program is one way Canadians can help honey bees thrive," said Gregory Sekulic, Agronomy Specialist with the Canola Council of Canada. "While planting these wildflowers will be a beautiful addition to your garden, they're also a good source of pollen and nectar for pollinators like honey bees."

Many factors can impact honey bee health, including inclement weather, parasites, diseases and inadequate nutrition. While Statistics Canada reported that honey bee populations increased again in 2016—reaching new heights in the number of hives across Canada—there is still more that can be done.

Communities in Bloom, a Bees Matter partner since day one, is also encouraging its members to help increase the number of pollinator gardens through participation in National Planting Week.

"We love the idea of asking everyone to consider planting a pollinator-friendly garden at the same time," said Raymond Carriere, president, Communities in Bloom. "The more pollinator-friendly gardens we can grow across Canada, the easier it is for pollinators, like honey bees, to find the nutritious food they need to support their hive and this benefits us all."

Get Planting Canada!
Canadians can get involved by visiting beesmatter.ca to order a free Buzzing Gardens seed kit and learn about honey bee health.

Every Buzzing Gardens seed kit contains seasonal and perennial seeds from five varieties of flowering plants to attract and feed pollinators. Each seed packet contains enough seeds to plant a five-square foot garden. All of the seeds are non-invasive and native to Canada and recommended by Pollinator Partnership Canada. The seeds are specially selected because they are attractive and nutritious to honey bees, and can be grown in gardens, patios and balconies all over the country.

Sign up for a free Bees Matter seed kit, plant your Buzzing Gardens during National Planting Week and share your photos using #PlantforBees.

About Bees Matter
Bees Matter is a partnership of agricultural organizations with a vested interest in honey bee health. The mission of the group is to provide a platform for conversation, dialogue and information sharing regarding modern agriculture and the importance of ensuring a healthy environment for honey bees, which play an important role in the Canadian food and agriculture industry.

04/05/2017

Community groups across the country pitch in to build resilience on Wildfire Community Preparedness Day in Canada

 One year ago this week, Canadians were shocked and saddened to see the devastating effects of the wildfire in Fort McMurray. The tragedy reinforced the importance of taking proactive measures to reduce the risk of wildfire and other hazards. On Saturday, community groups across the country will take action to do just that, as they take part in the third annual Wildfire Community Preparedness Day (WCPD) in Canada.

Partners in Protection Association/FireSmart Canada, in collaboration with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction (ICLR) and The Co-operators provided funding for 20 projects across the country as part of WCPD. The governments of Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario, Alberta and the Northwest Territories provided funding for an additional 14 projects.

Activities include clearing leaves and other combustible debris from around property, working with neighbours to get a chipper service to remove slash, and distributing wildfire safety information.

"It is encouraging to see people across the country getting together to make their homes and communities safer," said Kelly Johnston, executive director of FireSmart Canada. "Managing wildfire risk is a shared responsibility. Government policy-makers, planners and developers all play important roles, but today the spotlight is on individual property owners and communities. Wildfire Community Preparedness Day projects show that simple things like clearing brush and moving combustible material away from your home can make a real difference in protecting your loved ones and property."

To learn more about National Wildlife Community Preparedness Day in Canada, including what you can do to protect your property from wildfire, and for a list of projects, please visit www.firesmartcanada.ca.

About FireSmart Canada
FireSmart Canada is the go-to national program committed to helping Canadians reduce their wildfire risk and become fire adapted through community-based solutions. FireSmart is administered by Partners in Protection Association; a non-profit coalition of federal, provincial, first nations', private industry and municipal fire, emergency and land management experts. Through publications, programs, outreach training, and workshops, FireSmart provides tools for Canadians to become pro-active in reducing the risk of wildfire to their homes and communities. FireSmart programs and products are supported through membership and ongoing active support from organizations such as the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction, the National Fire Protection Association and The Co-operators. For more information on FireSmart visit www.firesmartcanada.ca .

About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian co-operative with more than $44 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada by Aon Hewitt; Corporate Knights' Best 50 Corporate Citizens in Canada; and the Top 50 Socially Responsible Corporations in Canada by Sustainalytics and Maclean's magazine. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.

About the Institute for Catastrophic Loss Reduction:
Established in 1998 by Canada's property and casualty insurers, ICLR is an independent, not-for-profit research institute based in Toronto and at Western University in London, Canada. ICLR is a centre of excellence for disaster loss prevention research and education. ICLR's research staff is internationally recognized for pioneering work in a number of fields including wind and seismic engineering, atmospheric sciences, water resources engineering and economics. Multi-discipline research is a foundation for ICLR's work to build communities more resilient to disasters. Visit www.iclr.org.

About the National Fire Protection Association:
Founded in 1896, NFPA is a global, non-profit organization devoted to eliminating death, injury, property and economic loss due to fire, electrical and related hazards. The association delivers information and knowledge through more than 300 consensus codes and standards, research, training, education, outreach and advocacy; and by partnering with others who share an interest in furthering the NFPA mission. For more information, visit www.nfpa.org. All NFPA codes and standards can be viewed online for free at www.nfpa.org/freeaccess.


03/05/2017

Degradation of Wetlands in the Sahel is Wrecking Lives, Driving Migration from Africa to Europe

​Wetlands International launched a report aimed at highlighting to policymakers the relationship between the health of wetland ecosystems and involuntary human migration in the Sahel region of Africa. Entitled 'Water Shocks: Wetlands and Human Migration in the Sahel', the publication examines how poor water management leads to degradation of ecosystems, and is an overlooked cause of human migration, including to Europe.

Displacement and conflict are common in the Sahel. For instance, around Lake Chad, the Boko Haram insurgency has displaced more than 2.3 million people since mid-2013, including 1.3 million children. The Lake Chad Basin has lost 95% of its surface area due to water abstraction for irrigation projects, and youths from this region are joining armed groups because of lack of opportunities.

"Humanitarian organisations need to connect their work with the environmental and development actors to find durable solutions. We need to understand better the complex and multifaceted drivers of involuntary migration, social conflict and poverty, which may be rooted in the depletion of natural resources," concluded Juriaan Lahr, Head of International Assistance of the Netherlands Red Cross Society.

The European Union has a five-year 80 million euros funding package available to support disaster risk management across Sub-Saharan Africa. By 2020 the European Union and the African continent aim to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewables by building 10,000MW of hydropower facilities.

According to the UN, there are 20 million people in the Sahel who are food-insecure, mainly due to lack of water. If development plans for hydropower and irrigation projects do not position ecosystems at the heart of national and regional development strategies, Europe and other nations will fail to achieve their goals for sustainable development.

"Driving forward inclusive and sustainable development in the Sahel is an urgent, global priority. But this will only be achieved by shifting from the traditional development paradigms and hard infrastructure schemes which play havoc with the natural hydrology of the region. Maintaining and restoring the natural resource base is essential to increase water and food productivity and provide livelihood strategies to cope with a changing climate. In this context, wetlands such as river floodplains and lakes are disproportionately important; especially to the most marginalised people of the region," said Jane Madgwick, CEO of Wetlands International.

Report: http://www.wetlands.org/watershocks.


24/04/2017

Improving Services for Victims of Sexual Assault in Northwestern New Brunswick

 Sexual violence can have serious and long-term effects on victims and survivors, their families, friends and communities. The Government of Canada is committed to taking action to address these effects. Providing victims and survivors with the services they need, when they need them, can improve a survivor's recovery and can also reduce their risk of developing problems in others areas of their lives.

Today, René Arseneault, Member of Parliament for Madawaska—Restigouche, on behalf of the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced a $937,243 funding agreement with Escale MadaVic, a shelter for abused women and their children. This five-year funding agreement will help improve access to community-based services for victims of sexual violence in northwestern New Brunswick. He said, "The development and coordination of intervention and prevention services will help meet the needs of victims of sexual assault in northwestern New Brunswick, and in particular the Francophone minority communities, and contribute to countering, preventing, and eliminating the cycle of violence."

With this funding, Escale MadaVic will work with more than 28 partners to coordinate and deliver services to public, private, and community support groups, as well as individual programs for victims of sexual assault. The funding will also be used to train public, private, and community service professionals, as well as employ strategies to demystify stereotypes and reduce stereotyping related to sexual assault.

L'Escale MadaVic is a transition house for women and their children in Madawaska and Victoria counties who are victims of violence. Their research confirms that:

Approximately two out of three victims who used their shelter during the 2014-15 fiscal year have been subjected to sexual abuse.

Two out of three victims are under 18.

One out of three women has been a victim of at least one sexual assault since age 16.


Pope's Visit To Fatima, Portugal Puts To Question Whether Motherhood Could Deliver Worldwide Brotherhood

 In celebration of Pope Francis' visit to Portugal on May 13 for Our Lady of Fatima's 100th Anniversary, author Val Bonacci explores its mystery in FATIMA AND THE SONS OF ABRAHAM:

Paolo Giobatti is the first Major League Baseball star from the Italian League. He's nursing an ailing back along the shores of the Mediterranean when, thanks to modern technology, both he and his archrival Eli Kohn, witness a stunning moment at the hands of a Syrian refugee struggling for survival. Thus begins their journey from Italy's beaches and America's baseball diamonds, to the beating heart of Jerusalem. A culture clash ensues and the three do battle until the fearless heart of a woman named Fatima reshapes their destinies forever.

Bonacci, who has walked a provocative journey of her own, including a stint as the vice president of marketing and broadcasting for the Cleveland Indians, recalls a moment of inspiration while visiting Italy in 2012.

"A young refugee was peddling jewelry along the beach. He was powerfully built, yet moved with the grace of a pro athlete. I had a flashback to my days as the GM of a Minor League team where half of the roster couldn't speak English – just one of many challenges facing foreigners in a new land," said Bonacci.

"I couldn't help wondering about the boy's hopes and dreams. If he'd been born in the States, would he be a baseball star? I whispered a prayer for him, and the rest nearby like him. It was the seed that would later sprout into my novel."

Ask for FATIMA AND THE SONS OF ABRAHAM at your favorite bookseller or purchase online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Q&As, book club questions, and more available at ValBonacci.com.

Bonacci is a former executive for the Cleveland Indians, where she spent 17 years with the franchise. She is a graduate of Ohio University's top ranked Sports Administration Masters Program where she received the Year 2000 Distinguished Alumnus award. She now resides in Scranton, Pennsylvania where she has been an adjunct instructor at Keystone College and The University of Scranton since marrying her husband in 2004.

13/04/2017

Bankrate: Mortgage Rates Slip Amid Geopolitical Tensions 

Mortgage rates reset fresh three-month lows, with the benchmark 30-year fixed mortgage rate now 4.22 percent, according to Bankrate.com's weekly national survey. The 30-year fixed mortgage has an average of 0.28 discount and origination points.

The larger jumbo 30-year fixed also dropped, to a four-month low of 4.15 percent, while the average 15-year fixed mortgage rate dipped to 3.43 percent. Adjustable mortgage rates were mixed, with the 5-year ARM nosing higher to 3.46 percent and the 10-year ARM dipping to a three-month low of 3.78 percent.

Mortgage rates slid further over the past week following a disappointing pace of job growth in March and with worries rising about Syria, Russia and North Korea. Anytime investors get nervous, whether it is from tepid economic data or saber-rattling by and between foreign adversaries, it tends to be good news for mortgage rates. Nervous investors clamor for the safe haven of U.S. Treasuries, pushing bond prices higher and bond yields lower. Mortgage rates are closely related to the yields on long-term government bonds. Further uncertainty about when, or if, any substantive fiscal stimulus will arrive and whether or not it will have a meaningful economic impact is also giving investors another reason to further consider bonds.

At the current average 30-year fixed mortgage rate of 4.22 percent, the monthly payment for a $200,000 loan is $980.37.

SURVEY RESULTS

30-year fixed: 4.22% -- down from 4.24% last week (avg. points: 0.28)

15-year fixed: 3.43% -- down from 3.48% last week (avg. points: 0.18)

5/1 ARM: 3.46% -- up from 3.45% last week (avg. points: 0.28)

Bankrate's national weekly mortgage survey is conducted each Wednesday from data provided by the top 10 banks and thrifts in 10 top markets.
For a full analysis of this week's move in mortgage rates, go to http://www.bankrate.com/finance/mortgages/mortgage-analysis-041217.aspx

The survey is complemented by Bankrate's weekly Rate Trend Index, in which a panel of mortgage experts predicts which way the rates are headed over the next seven days. Half of this week's panelists expect mortgage rates to remain more or less unchanged in the coming week. One-third of respondents forecast further declines and just 17 percent predict a rebound in mortgage rates over the next week.


Minister Monsef advances gender-based violence strategy

Today, Maryam Monsef, Minister of Status of Women, laid the framework that will define the Government of Canada's strategy to address gender-based violence. Minister Monsef is taking the opportunity to share this progress while human rights advocate Malala Yousafzai is in Ottawa receiving honorary Canadian citizenship.

All around the world, gender-based violence remains a significant barrier to gender equality, even though it is preventable. The Government of Canada committed to strengthening federal efforts to prevent and address gender-based violence with a response that is coordinated and evidence-based. Minister Monsef has been mandated to build on the work of previous Minister of Status of Women, the Honourable Patty Hajdu, now Minister of Employment, Workforce Development, and Labour, to develop and implement a strategy to address gender-based violence in Canada. To support this work, Budget 2017 included a historic investment of $100.9 million over five years. This is the largest single investment in Status of Women Canada's history and will significantly boost Canada's capacity to address this issue.

The strategy will be based on three pillars that will improve Canada's overall response to gender-based violence: prevention, support for survivors and their families, and promoting responsive legal and justice systems.

To inform the strategy, Minister Monsef consulted with the Advisory Council on the Federal Strategy Against Gender-based Violence earlier this week. As work on the strategy moves forward, she is also engaging with her provincial and territorial counterparts. Minister Monsef also exchanged information with Ms. Yousafzai about the ongoing development of this strategy.


Monsef said, "Our Government will not remain silent on gender-based violence. Today's framework for our gender-based violence strategy is a step towards protecting the human rights of all Canadians. Our society will reach its full potential when every Canadian is provided with the opportunity to blossom, no matter their sex, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic background. To achieve this, everyone, including boys and men, must be part of the change."
"When I think of Malala Yousafzai, I think of courage, determination, and passion. Her dedication to human rights, access to education for all, and peace, are a source of inspiration to us all. Gender-based violence nearly stopped Malala from carrying out her important work. Resilient, Ms. Yousafzai was not silenced."


More in-depth details about the gender-based violence strategy and its pillars, including next steps, will be announced in the coming weeks as the strategy takes form.


10/04/2017

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the terrorist attacks on Coptic Christian churches in Egypt

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the bombings targeting Coptic Christian churches in Egypt:

"I am shocked and saddened that so many people were killed in today's bombings in Egypt at St. George's Church in Tanta and St. Mark's Cathedral in Alexandria.

"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the families and friends of the victims of these heinous acts. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those affected, and we hope and pray that those injured have a complete and rapid recovery.

"Today's senseless attacks targeted churchgoers attending Palm Sunday services, which mark the Sunday before Easter and the start of Holy Week for Christians. Let us remember that the palm branches used in services around the world today are a symbol of peace.

"Canada stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Egypt and the Egyptian people, and we offer our full assistance to the Government of Egypt in this difficult time.

"Far too often, religious groups around the world suffer persecution and discrimination at the hands of violent extremists. Canada strongly condemns these cowardly acts of terrorism. As an international community, we must stand united in our efforts to stop those responsible and to fight against hate by embracing the values of diversity, inclusion and peace."


Evolving U.S. trade policy: What's at stake for the NAFTA zone?

Scotiabank Economics today released the second of its North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) report series. In this report, Scotiabank Economics looks at some likely areas of vulnerability in the event of a substantial revision of U.S. trade policy and provides simulation results from possible scenarios that are broadly consistent with recent statements by U.S. officials.

"Canada and Mexico are highly exposed to any changes in U.S. trade policy, as both countries send over three-quarters of their exports to the U.S., while only about one-quarter of global U.S. exports are sent to its NAFTA partners," said Jean-François Perrault, Chief Economist at Scotiabank. "But the U.S. isn't immune to negative shocks from changes in its trade policies. If negotiations to revise NAFTA fail, any move by the U.S. to impose tariffs on trade with Canada and Mexico would have a material macroeconomic impact on all three countries and potentially serious effects on individual states, provinces and industrial sectors."

Additional highlights of Scotiabank's NAFTA Report:

Three 'What if' scenarios from Scotiabank Economics on the effects of failed negotiations—featuring progressively higher tariffs and greater trade disruption.
Canadian and Mexican exports to the U.S. account for roughly 20% and 26% of their GDPs, respectively.
The U.S. is less dependent on trade with its NAFTA neighbours, but its supply chains are highly integrated with Canada and Mexico and would face relatively higher tariffs than its NAFTA partners if all three were to revert to trade on a Most-Favoured Nation (MFN) basis.
A recent, unofficial draft of the U.S. administration's possible NAFTA negotiating objectives indicates that taxation, intellectual property rights, e-commerce and cross-border business practices may be key areas of U.S. concern.
The U.S. administration has also identified sectors including softwood lumber, agricultural goods and finished food products as potential areas for review outside of NAFTA.
Revisions to NAFTA's rules of origin and dispute settlement mechanisms hold potential pitfalls, but could also make NAFTA function more equitably and efficiently for all three countries.
Scotiabank Economics is introducing a new resource: a guide to NAFTA. Visit Scotiabank Talks NAFTA for the latest reports and analysis: www.scotiabank.com/nafta

For the full report, visit http://www.scotiabank.com/ca/en/0,,3112,00.html

Scotiabank provides clients with in-depth research into the factors shaping the outlook for Canada and the global economy, including macroeconomic developments, currency and capital market trends, commodity and industry performance, as well as monetary, fiscal and public policy issues.

07/04/2017

Nature-Based Environmental Competitions Take Over Province This Month

Throughout April, more than 700 Ontario high school students will participate in 2017 Ontario Envirothon Regional Competitions. The Ontario Envirothon has helped students acquire an education in environmental health and natural ecosystems since 1994.

Students from 15 Ontario regions--from Toronto to Thunder Bay—will participate in interactive field trips to forests, parks, woodlots, and conservation areas. On-site workshops—led by professionals in forestry, resource management, natural sciences, and conservation--will focus on the science and sustainable management of soils, wildlife, forests and aquatic ecosystems. This year's theme of Sustainable Farming will also broaden students' understanding of the role of agriculture in Canada and steps being taken to improve sustainability.

Participants also compete in a series of challenges, designed to enhance understanding of local ecosystems, in which they can apply their acquired knowledge and skills. The winning team from each region will progress to the Ontario Envirothon Championship, to be held at Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario from May 28th to 31st. Participants will access Fleming's School of Environmental & Resource Sciences, as well as information on post-secondary programs related to environmental stewardship. They will also compete for cash prizes provided by Maple Leaves Forever awarded to the top three teams.

Envirothon programs are hosted in more than 50 North American states and provinces. The top team from each, Ontario included, will advance to the annual NCF- Envirothon. This year, the 2017 NCF-Envirothon will be held from July 23rd to July 29th in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

Forests Ontario extends immense gratitude to the hundreds of teachers, program leaders, regional coordinators, and volunteers that make the Envirothon possible. Please visit ontarioenvirothon.ca for more information.

About Forests Ontario
Forests Ontario is the voice for our forests. Working to promote a future of healthy forests sustaining healthy people, Forests Ontario is committed to the re-greening of Ontario through tree planting efforts on rural lands and in urban areas, as well as the renewal and stewardship of Ontario's forests through restoration, education and awareness. Visit www.forestsontario.ca or follow us @Forests_Ontario.

Ontario Envirothon
Ontario Envirothon is a unique environmental education program that takes high school students outdoors for hands-on environmental learning and discovery. The Ontario Envirothon builds environmental awareness in youth and provides career mentorship. For more information, visit www.ontarioenvirothon.ca.

2017 Ontario Envirothon regional competitions

Gaping holes revealed in Arctic oil-spill response plans

Major weaknesses in response preparedness mean remote Arctic communities face almost certain environmental catastrophe in the event of an oil spill from large shipping vessels, reports released by WWF-Canada today reveal.

The research uncovered major issues with the state and availability of oil-spill response equipment, limited training resources and unreliable communications infrastructure, which, combined with a rise in shipping in the Arctic and extreme weather events, leaves Arctic communities increasingly vulnerable.

Community members are often the first responders to any spill, and need access to effective and reliable equipment to contain and clean up oil. Heavy fuel oil (HFO) is the standard marine fuel for cargo ships, tankers and large cruise ships. It is also one of the world's dirtiest, most polluting ship fuels, and the most difficult to clean up.

Gaps in oil spill response capacity are outlined in two parallel assessments for the Beaufort region in the western Arctic and Nunavut in the east. The reports found that:

Only a small number of coastal communities have access to the most basic oil-spill response equipment from the Canadian Coast Guard.
The communities that do have equipment say it is irregularly maintained, too few community members are trained to use it, and that some communities don't have a key to access the storage containers.
Harsh weather conditions, periods of prolonged darkness and the presence of sea ice make most standard oil-spill response equipment ineffective.
Remote locations mean response times for large-scale cleanup and storage equipment can be more than 10 times longer than in waters south of 60 degrees' latitude.
Lack of reliable communications infrastructure makes it difficult for communities to call for assistance, and for responders to communicate with those on land during an oil-spill response.
The consequences of an oil spill in remote communities include:

Contamination of important habitat for wildlife such as polar bears, walrus, seabirds and seals, as well as narwhals, belugas and bowhead whales.
Long-term destruction of fish habitat, a staple of the Arctic diet.
Wide-reaching contamination if oil gets trapped under sea ice and travels to communities hundreds of kilometres away.
However, a third report outlines a framework for creating oil spill response plans in Nunavut's remote communities.

Though the chances of a large-scale oil spill in the Arctic are currently small, the consequences would be significant. As sea ice melts and ship traffic increases, there is an opportunity now, while traffic is still relatively low, to put measures in place to respond to spills, or prevent them from happening in the first place. Because sparsely populated Arctic communities assume the risk of spills, they need both adequate equipment and response plans specifically tailored to the extreme Arctic environment.

Recommendations from the reports include:

Phase out the use by ships of HFO, the most toxic and difficult to clean up of any marine fuel in the Arctic.
Align response time standards in the North with those south of 60 degrees latitude.
Develop community-based response plans.
Increase funding for training of community responders.
Consult with Inuit organizations on decisions that affect Arctic communities, and use both scientific and traditional knowledge to identify preferred shipping routes and areas to be avoided.
David Miller, WWF-Canada president and CEO, says:
"Arctic wildlife, including polar bears, walrus, sea birds, as well as belugas, narwhals and bowhead whales, would be severely harmed in the event of an oil spill. The aftermath would also be felt in Arctic communities that depend on healthy waters for their food. Shipping will be part of the economic development crucial to creating robust, healthy northern communities, but we must ensure these opportunities also benefit nature. Now is the time to put measures in place that will help protect coastal communities and Arctic wildlife."

Andrew Dumbrille, WWF-Canada senior specialist, sustainable shipping, says:
"Shipping in the Canadian Arctic is only going to increase. We've already seen a large cruise ship traverse the Northwest Passage, and new proposals for increased shipping for major mining projects are emerging due to longer open-water periods. The gaps identified in these reports are extremely concerning. It is not right that these communities should bear the heavy consequences of a ship-based oil spill, and not be given the tools and training necessary to limit the damage. We need to make serious changes to oil-spill response plans in the Arctic before our luck runs out."

31/03/2017

India Moves One Step Closer to Landmark Tax Reform

 India has taken a crucial step towards implementing its Goods and Services Tax (GST) bill which has a rollout date of July 1, 2017, after the Lower House of Parliament approved four supplementary legislations aimed at simplifying the country's current tax system. Prime Minister Narendra Modi hailed the passage of the bill saying, "[It is a] new year, [and a] new law, [for a] new India"

The four tranches of the bill – Central GST, Integrated GST, GST Compensation, and Union Territories GST – officially passed on March 29, 2017, and once implemented, they will remove multiple layers of taxes that millions of Indians are now subjected to, while also significantly improving the ease of doing business for multinational corporations looking to set up operations in India.

"The stars are aligning for India at the moment," says Bhim D. Asdhir, President and CEO of Excel Funds Management Inc. "Not only is the Indian stock market among the best-performing so far this year, but additional catalysts, such as the passage of the GST bill, are falling into place that will ultimately boost growth even further. This is a great victory for the Narendra Modi administration and a great time to be investing in India."

Excel Funds offers three unique products that are focused on tapping into India's remarkable growth story. The Excel India Fund, which is the largest and longest-running, India-specific mutual fund in Canada; the Excel New India Leaders Fund, a unique strategy that invests in small and mid-cap stocks in India; and the Excel India Balanced Fund, one of the only mutual funds in Canada that offers exposure to Indian fixed-income.

The Indian equity market has over 7,200 names, and Excel Funds is able to provide Canadians with direct access to some of the best securities within this universe by leveraging the investment expertise of Birla Sun Life Asset Management Company Limited ("Birla Sun Life"). "This is how we are able to generate alpha for our investors and outperform other passive strategies such as ETFs," notes Mr. Asdhir.

Birla Sun Life is headquartered in Mumbai, India and manages over US$25 billion in total assets.1

India's Finance Minister, Arun Jaitley also talked up the significance of the four GST-related bills saying, "Today you have [a] tax on tax [system], you have a cascading effect. When all of that is removed, goods will become slightly cheaper." This is an important part of the equation as it demonstrates that the bill is designed to benefit consumers, which are largely the engine of the Indian economy. Arun Jaitley had previously pointed out that once the GST bill is fully in place, it could potentially boost India's GDP growth rate by as much as 2 percent.2

USW Strongly Supports New Initiatives that Target Violation of U.S. Trade Laws 

United Steelworkers (USW) International President Leo W. Gerard released the following statement today after the Administration announced new initiatives to address the circumvention and evasion of U.S. trade laws.

"Today's announcement will hopefully help to strengthen American industry by cracking down on foreign trade law cheaters stealing American jobs and opportunity. As a diverse manufacturing union, the USW is the largest, single entity that has consistently fought for effective trade law enforcement to try to save our members' jobs. But, getting a favorable decision from our government is only the start of the difficult and complex task of enforcement.

"Foreign companies and countries that subsidize and dump their products in order to fuel growth will stop at nothing to target the valuable U.S. market. Enforcement is a never-ending task, but it is critical to saving the jobs of millions of Americans in steel, aluminum, tire and many other sectors. For example, farmers and ranchers are also confronted by similar problems.

"Evasion and circumvention are important issues and cheaters are getting more and more inventive in evading U.S. law. During the Section 421 trade relief for U.S. passenger vehicle and light truck tire manufacturers and workers, we estimated that more than 10 million tires may have been imported from China by evading the orders. Our own customs inspectors, however, were not provided with the direction or resources to stop those shipments, despite repeated requests and detailed information.

Similarly, a Chinese entity is accused of trying to evade standing orders on aluminum products by using Mexico, and now Vietnam, as a staging area. Billions of dollars of products and countless American jobs are at risk because of these kinds of spurious actions.

"Customs should be doing its job and providing the resources to enforce our trade laws. Action on this issue should not solely focus on collecting federal revenues. The priority of our government here should be fair trade to protect every job.

"Laws were tightened in a bipartisan effort in the last Congress, and those changes have made a real difference. Expanded authorities and efforts are critical because, without them, other countries will keep flooding our market with their unfairly traded products. Enforcing our trade laws must be a national security priority as predatory trade actions have undermined our industrial base.

"Today's announcements have to be followed by serious, continued and comprehensive action."

The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed in many industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors. For more information: http://www.usw.org/.

30/03/2017

Earth Day Canada asks everyone to #EarthPLAY for Earth Day (April 22) 2017

With a new mandate to connect kids to nature and build resilient communities, Earth Day Canada kicks off its 2017 campaign by asking people across the nation to #EarthPLAY for Earth Day and support better outdoor play in our parks, schools and on neighbourhood streets.

According to recent data, most children get outside for less than an hour each day. This is having serious ramifications on their health and wellbeing.

"Outdoor, unstructured free play has been disappearing from childhood for the last several decades," says Deb Doncaster, President of Earth Day Canada. "This is largely due to a lack of stimulating, accessible play spaces, coupled with unnecessary aversion to risk and a narrow concept of education.

"If the next generation is stuck indoors, how can we expect them to be connected to their communities and motivated to protect the environment?"

The cornerstone of this year's campaign is the #Pledge4PLAY crowdfunding platform, running April 1st to 30th at earthday.ca. Those who donate receive various perks and chances to win a range of prizes, with donations of $100 or more securing additional entries into a draw for the grand prize: A trip for four to the world-renowned Berkeley Marina Adventure Playground in California, courtesy of the Air Canada Foundation.

A social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter encourages people to share their favourite #PLAYmemory from when they were young — participants include celebrities such as four-time Olympian Silken Laumann, star of hit TV series Survivorman Les Stroud, and children's singer-songwriter Raffi, while renowned environmentalist David Suzuki and Leader of the Green Party Elizabeth May have recorded special video messages to share, too.

Earth Day Canada has created free tool kits for those who wish to #EarthPLAY in their local community, and for schools across Canada, who are invited to demonstrate their support of enriched outdoor play by committing to host an extra or extended recess or even a full day of adventure play during Earth Week.

Earth Day Canada is hosting three events in Toronto — StreetPLAY for Earth Day (April 20), SchoolPLAY for Earth Day (April 20) and ParkPLAY for Earth Day (April 22) — drawing a range of government officials, celebrities and kids of all ages to experience enriched outdoor play.

About Earth Day Canada

Founded in 1990, Earth Day Canada is a national charity that inspires and supports people across the country to connect with nature and build resilient communities. We lead an annual Earth Day campaign in conjunction with free, year-round, award-winning programs that get people of all ages outside, interacting with the natural environment — this, in turn, fosters an intrinsically motivated, enduring commitment to stewardship and conservation.

EDC works closely with school-aged children and youth through our renowned EcoKids program and new EarthPLAY initiative, and recognizes via our Hometown Heroes Awards those who are leading the way in making our planet healthier. We engage diverse communities in the environmental sector and help our corporate partners achieve their sustainability goals with our growing employee engagement platform. Learn more at www.earthday.ca.

Youth spreading message that seeing smoking on-screen is no joke

 Approximately 160 young people from across Ontario and New York will hit the streets of downtown Toronto on Saturday, April 1, 2017 to call for future movies showing tobacco use to be rated for adults – not kids and teens. This event, hosted by the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies and Reality Check of New York, will kick off at 1:30pm in front of Metro Hall, as this group of young people will raise their voices and awareness about the dangers of on-screen smoking in movies for youth.

Studies show that the more kids and teens see smoking in movies, the more likely they are to start smoking. Overwhelming research demonstrates that 37 per cent of youth smokers in Ontario are recruited to become smokers by seeing smoking in the movies. In Ontario, 13,000 people die every year as a result of tobacco-related illnesses – the number one cause of preventable death and disease.

"Reports have shown that at least 185,000 children and teens under the age of 17 today living in Ontario will be recruited to smoke by their exposure to onscreen smoking. It's shocking to think that the negative influence and manipulative imagery of this substance is not considered when determining the rating of a movie and judging its safety for youth," says Tirthesha Pandya, a Young Adults Trainer.

The recent Oscars remind us that kids and teens in Ontario have a high exposure to onscreen tobacco imagery. Thirteen of the 15 Oscar nominations in major categories that showed smoking were rated for children and teens in Ontario (G, PG, 14A), while only eight were rated R in the US. From 2004-2014, not surprisingly due to different rating system criteria, 86 per cent of new movies released with tobacco in Ontario were youth-rated, and only 54 per cent in the US.

The Ontario Film Review Board's mandate is to classify films to provide the public with information to make informed viewing choices for themselves and their children. The OFRB does not currently require movies with tobacco imagery to be rated 18A.

"We see the research and we know that 79 per cent of Ontarians are in support of not allowing smoking in movies rated for children and teens. We also know that it is possible to protect young people from exposure to on screen smoking while allowing filmmakers to include smoking in films rated 18A in Ontario," says George Habib, President and CEO of The Lung Association - Ontario.

About The Lung Association – Ontario
Breathing. It's what unites us. It's what inspires us. And it's what keeps us pushing ahead, whether it's searching for cures to lung diseases, helping people to quit smoking and ensuring that children never start, or fighting for clean air.

The Lung Association is the leading organization working to promote lung health and prevent and manage lung disease. We do this by funding vital research, pushing for improved treatments and better policies, and helping patients manage their health.

About the Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies
The Ontario Coalition for Smoke-Free Movies is an alliance of leading health organizations taking collective action to counter the harmful impact of smoking in youth-rated movies. Members of the coalition include The Lung Association, Canadian Cancer Society Ontario Division, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Non-Smokers' Rights Association/Smoking and Health Action Foundation, Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada and the Tobacco Control Networks of Public Health Units in Ontario. To take action visit: www.smokefreemovies.ca

28/03/2017

Canada, Ontario and Williams Treaties First Nations take first step towards a negotiated resolution of Alderville litigation

The Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and the seven Williams Treaties First Nations today marked a historic milestone in the spirit of reconciliation, by agreeing to work together toward a shared and just resolution of a longstanding treaty-related dispute.

The parties have agreed to a process to begin formal negotiations to reach a joint resolution of the Alderville litigation. Canada and Ontario have also recognized the pre-existing treaty harvesting rights of the Williams Treaties First Nations' members to hunt, trap, fish and gather for food, social and ceremonial purposes in certain areas covered by pre-Confederation treaties. While this is a key first step, much work remains to be done before a negotiated settlement can be reached.

Chief Kelly LaRocca, Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation, Portfolio Chief-Williams Treaties First Nations said, "The Williams Treaties of 1923 form part of Canada's dark past between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. After well over two decades of seeking to formally engage the government on grievances relating to the Williams Treaties, the Chippewa and Mississauga signatories are now hopeful to create a new relationship with our Federal and Provincial counterparts that is based on honourable conduct, fairness, and good faith. We are cautious in our optimism, yet we are hopeful to honour our ancestors with a negotiated settlement that promotes cultural healing and continuity for the Seven Generations to come."

The Williams Treaties were signed in 1923; over 90 years later, questions remain about the making, terms, interpretation and implementation of these treaties. The goal of these negotiations is to reach an enduring settlement that advances reconciliation with the First Nations for the benefit of everyone.

Quick Facts

The Williams Treaties First Nations are: Alderville First Nation, Beausoleil First Nation, Chippewas of Georgina Island, Chippewas of Rama, Curve Lake First Nation, Hiawatha First Nation and Mississaugas of Scugog Island.

The Alderville litigation was filed by the seven First Nations in 1992 and went to trial in 2012.
Ensuring the long-term sustainability of natural resources for future generations will be a key priority for all parties.

No one will lose their private property in this process.

Consultations with other Indigenous groups, municipalities and other stakeholders will be undertaken during the negotiations.

The Honourable Carolyn Bennett, M.D., P.C., M.P.
Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs said, "This is an historic opportunity to work together in a spirit of co-operation and partnership to settle a dispute that has been outstanding for far too long. Today, we are taking an important first step on a path of reconciliation to renew our relationship with the Williams Treaties First Nations. We are committed to charting our course together toward a fair, respectful and balanced solution for the benefit of the communities and all Canadians."


Prime Minister Trudeau highlights significant investments to protect Canada's environment and cultural heritage

Canadians and their families should have every opportunity to explore Canada's great outdoors and learn more about our country and its history. That is why the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today highlighted several proposed investments in Budget 2017 to support Parks Canada, help complete the Trans Canada Trail, and protect our environment and cultural heritage.

While in Thousand Islands National Park, Prime Minister Trudeau highlighted proposed investments of up to $364 million over two years on a cash basis, starting in 2018-19, to support Parks Canada's management of national parks, national marine conservation areas, and national historic sites. He also highlighted a proposed investment of $30 million over five years, starting in 2017-18, to help complete the Trans Canada Trail in partnership with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities, and individual Canadians.

"These investments are about ensuring Canadians and their families have every opportunity to experience Canada's natural beauty and learn more about our country and its history. As we celebrate Canada's 150th birthday, I encourage all Canadians to get out there and enjoy Canada's national parks, marine conservation areas, and historic sites," said Trudeau adding, "The Trans Canada Trail offers Canadians the chance to explore our diverse landscapes in every province and territory. These investments will help complete the 'Great Trail,' connect 15,000 communities, and make our great outdoors even more accessible to Canadians and their families."

Together, these investments will enrich our communities, create jobs and economic growth through tourism, and make Canada an even better place to live and raise a family.

21/03/2017

Wild Water - New report confirms climate changes poses grave threat to millions without clean water

Ahead of World Water Day, WaterAid released today its 2017 State of the World's Water report, warning that extreme weather events relating to climate change could make it even harder for people living in poverty to access clean water—especially women.

The second annual 2017 State of the World's Water report, Wild Water, examines the state of access to safe drinking water in rural areas around the world. Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and Mozambique are among the worst performing countries in the world. The report also warns of the implications of extreme weather events and climate change for the world's poorest, including ruinous flooding, prolonged drought and cyclones such as the one that hit Madagascar just this month.

Today, 663 million people live without clean water and the vast majority – 522 million – live in rural areas. These communities face particular challenges in gaining access to water due to their often isolated location, inadequate infrastructure and a continued lack of funding. Women and girls are disproportionally affected due to barriers relating to geographic remoteness and gender roles.

In Papua New Guinea, over two thirds of the rural population – 67 per cent – live without access to clean water, while Madagascar and Mozambique follow closely behind at 65 per cent and 63 per cent respectively. All three countries rank in the top 20 per cent of nations worldwide most vulnerable to climate change and least ready to adapt, according to the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index*.

Among the findings:

India, among the world's fastest growing economies and home to 17 per cent of the world's population, has the greatest number of people living in rural areas without access to clean water—63 million.
Angola tops the list of countries with the greatest percentage of the rural population without access to safe water. Despite being Africa's fifth largest economy, 71 per cent of the country's rural population lives without access to safe drinking water.
Paraguay is making the most progress in improving access to water for its rural population. With 94.9 per cent of rural dwellers now enjoying access to clean water, this South American nation has reached nearly 1.5 million people in just five years – an impressive 43 per cent increase in access levels. Malawi follows closely behind in second place.
Existing challenges are compounded by extreme weather events, impacting on the health, wellbeing and livelihoods of the world's poorest people. For people in Africa, where temperatures are projected to increase faster than the global average rise during the 21st century, the future situation looks particularly dire.

Diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma, malaria and dengue are expected to become more common and malnutrition more prevalent. Rural communities dependent on farming to make a living will struggle to grow food and feed livestock amid soaring temperatures, and women - typically responsible for collecting water - may have to walk ever greater distances during prolonged dry seasons.

WaterAid's Canada's Chief Executive, Nicole Hurtubise, says:

"Many of the world's poorest populations already struggle to find reliable water access. Extreme weather events resulting from climate change could make it even harder for them to access clean water. Governments around the world must prioritize and fund water, sanitation and hygiene, fulfilling these fundamental human rights and building communities' resilience to extreme weather events and climate change."

* About the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Index

The index looks at a range of information such as the effect climate change will have on the availability of food and water, how it will impact upon the nation's health, its infrastructure and ecosystem as well as assessing the country's economic preparedness, government preparedness and social preparedness. To find out more visit: http://index.gain.org

About WaterAid: WaterAid helps improve access to safe water, hygiene and toilets in the poorest nations around the globe. Its mission is to help improve these basic human rights which underpin health, education and livelihoods and are an essential part of overcoming poverty. The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Region. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 25 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 24 million people with sanitation.   
20/03/2017

Canadians Remain Conflicted About Our Most Precious Natural Resource: Fresh Water

 Today, as Canada Water Week kicks off across the country, RBC released its 10th annual Canadian Water Attitudes Study—an in-depth examination of how Canadians think, feel, and act in regard to our fresh water. The story that has emerged is both complex and enlightening. On one hand, it confirms how much Canadians value our water and how integral our lakes and rivers are to our national identity; on the other, it reveals a troubling carelessness with a resource Canadians still consider unlimited in its abundance.

The study took place in January, the same month that scientists announced 2016 as the hottest year on record. The findings show startling contradictions between what Canadians know to be true about the impact of climate change on water, and what they continue to believe about Canada's water wealth. For example:

For the 10th year in a row, Canadians named water our most valuable natural resource. Yet we remain world-class water wasters and report taking fewer actions to conserve water last year than we did in 2008.
Canadians are more convinced about the risks to our water quality and supply than they were a decade ago, yet confidence in our ability to meet long-term water needs remains unchanged (at 84 per cent).
Canadians feel more personally at risk when it comes to droughts and floods than in the past. However, one-in-four Canadians think climate change will have no impact on our fresh water. Even with considerable efforts to raise climate change awareness, this is a higher number today than it was in 2009.
Understanding the contradictions: It comes down to culture and economy
According to Robert Sandford, EPCOR Chair for Water Security at the United Nations University Institute for Water, Environment and Health, two factors may help explain these disconnects.

"First, I think we're dealing with a degree of denial. It's challenging for us, as Canadians, to reconcile our long-held myth of limitless water abundance with the very real physical threats we're hearing about and even experiencing."

"Second, while Canadians treasure our water, we have little appreciation for what it is worth and how valuable it is to our economy and economic competitiveness."

While Canadians and the Canadian economy depend heavily on both water and energy, we treat the two very differently. According to the RBC study, Canadians rate technological advances to save energy as more important than advances to save water. Canadians are also more likely to focus their personal efforts on energy conservation over water conservation. Why? It likely comes down to dollars and cents; 79 per cent of those who take action to save energy do it to save money, while less than 20 per cent do it to protect the environment. When it comes to water conservation, those figures are virtually reversed.

"We don't pay the real costs of the water we use—neither the costs necessary to transport and treat it, nor the environmental costs of wasting it. As a result, we've come to believe that water is cheap. There's no incentive to use less of it," Sandford concludes.

Canada's 150: A New Chapter in Our Relationship with Water

Sandford is hopeful that 2017 will mark a turning point in Canadian water attitudes. "I think many of our tensions around water are coming to a head," he says. That is important, because we cannot change our actions until we change our minds.

Based on its decade of research into Canadian Water Attitudes, RBC offers three recommendations that could significantly help shift our collective mindset:

Better communicate the value of water to our economy. Governments and business are encouraged to understand and transparently communicate the value of water to our economies and bottom-lines. Canada has made significant progress putting climate change in an economic context. We must now do the same for water.

Focus on implementing the solutions in front of us. Existing knowledge and technology could take us much of the way toward becoming a more water resilient and therefore more sustainable country. The report shows high support for government investment in areas like better water infrastructure, for example. This is something we can start doing today.

Show global leadership. Canada has the opportunity to seize our deep connection to fresh water and translate this into global leadership in water stewardship.

"Anyone who has studied Canada's history knows that we built this country on its water and waterways," says Sandford. "Will those same waters define us and our prosperity over the next 150 years? That's up to us."

About RBC's Blue Water Project and Canadian Water Attitudes Study

The RBC Blue Water Project is a historic, wide-ranging, 10-year global commitment to help protect the world's most precious natural resource: fresh water. Since 2007, RBC has pledged over C$49 million to more than 770 charitable organizations worldwide that protect watersheds and promote access to clean drinking water, with an additional $8.8 million pledged to universities for water programs.

The RBC Blue Water Project is focused on supporting initiatives that help protect water in towns, cities and urbanized areas. For further information, visit www.rbc.com/bluewater. In 2008, RBC launched the RBC Canadian Water Attitudes Study, polling Canadians about their attitudes towards water—to see if the serious water issues around the world were having an impact on how we use and think about water, and tracking whether our attitudes are changing.
17/03/2017

The U.S. Conference of Mayors Opposes Proposed Elimination of Community Development Block Grants, Other Key Priorities

 The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today pushed back on Administration's initial "skinny" budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018. The document entitled, "America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again," proposes deep cuts in funding for many local programs, and eliminates the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program, which impacts every community in the country.

The Community Development Block Grant program is the most flexible stream of federal dollars allocated to cities. Since the start of the program in 1974, it has been used for broad purposes ranging from affordable housing development and lead-paint abatement, to services for seniors and people with disabilities, as well as dental care for low-income children. For every $1.00 of CDBG investment, another $3.65 in private and public dollars is leveraged.

Regarding the proposed elimination of the CDBG program, U.S. Conference of Mayors President Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett said, "Community Development Block Grants are the only federal funding source that gives city leaders some discretion in how the money is spent, and mayors have used them to leverage private investment, create affordable housing, spur economic development, rebuild infrastructure and provide services that strengthen metro areas. America's mayors will continue to work with our many champions in both the House and Senate to ensure that critically-needed tools like CDBG funds and the HOME Investment Partnership are fully funded."

As previously reported, the Administration has also called for a $54 billion increase in defense spending in FY 2018, and thus massive corresponding cuts to domestic programs, many of which support the country's most-vulnerable residents.

"The nation's mayors will be the front line of concern and action as we go forward working with Congress to dispose of the Administration's Budget to reflect the truthful needs of our men, women, and children," said Conference CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

"Unfortunately, many persons living in our cities, small, medium and large, in our suburbs, and in our rural areas, will be severely hurt if Congress allows these proposals to stand. Mayors stand for all. This is the first day of this battle to truly put our people first. Together, with our allies representing the public interest and the needs of the people, we will demand Congressional action against the ill-advised proposals contained in the Administration's budget."

Mayors will use the hashtag #budget across their social media platforms to amplify their statements on the Administration's budget.

About The United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.
14/03/2017

Fears and Dreams from Syria to Canada

 New research by World Vision reveals the startling contrast between the fears and dreams of children engulfed in the Syrian crisis compared to those in safer countries like Canada.

Leading up to the sixth anniversary of the Syrian conflict, World Vision asked children around the world, including those in Syria, to share their biggest fears and dreams to better understand how violence might influence a child's view of the world.

The survey found 43 per cent of Syrian children feared airstrikes, shellings and explosions, while only three per cent of Canadian children had any concern for their immediate safety.

While 54 per cent of Canadian children dream of a career, more than half of Syrian children dream of peace and returning home to their country.

43% of Syrian children said they feared for their safety. Common answers included war, airstrikes and explosions.
15% of Syrian children said they feared losing a family member.
73% of Canadian children had 'typical' fears such as sharks, spiders and the dark.
3% of Canadians said they feared for their safety. Answers included robbers and falling through the ice.
50% of Syrian children said they dream of peace and returning to Syria.
65% of Canadian children said they dreamed of a particular career. Common answers included athlete, police officer and doctor.
7% of Canadian children dream of owning a pet. The most common answer was dog, followed by horse.

The results are presented in World Vison's 'Fears and Dreams' report, which highlights the indelible mark that violence has left on Syria's children.

As the Syrian conflict enters its seventh year, World Vision is continuing to advocate for donors to commit to longer term funding for the Syrian crisis, for wealthy countries to take their fair share of refugees and decision-makers to use all of the diplomatic tools at their disposal to stop the atrocities in Syria.

"We're now entering the seventh year of the conflict and with that comes a generation of children who have only known bloodshed and misery. Unfortunately, a different type of violence often awaits them beyond Syria's borders, namely child labour, early marriage and other forms of exploitation and bullying," said Wynn Flaten, Director of World Vision's Syria Response.

10/03/2017

Journalists for Human Rights Launches Project to Strengthening an Independent Syrian Media Sector

Journalists for Human Rights (JHR) is delighted to announce the launch of its newest program: a two-year pilot project working with Syrian journalists, supported by the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).

The project, based in Turkey, will help build the skills and strengths of these journalists and ensure the sustainability of a selected number of independent Syrian media outlets. The training of journalists is designed to foster inclusive and informed public dialogue on human rights, while countering hate speech.

The project will also work with media managers to help build sustainable business plans so they can work independently and create opportunities for public dialogue on human rights and democracy.

The Syrian Arab Republic, in civil conflict since 2011, has not enjoyed a free media in decades. Media outlets exist in an atmosphere of harassment and fear. A strong and free media is critical to act as an independent referee between the state and the broad society and for the public to be freely informed.

"The long-term goal of JHR's program with Syrian journalists," says JHR Executive Director Rachel Pulfer, "is to help Syrian journalists help themselves, and put them in a position to financially sustain quality independent journalism in Syria and for their diaspora - long after the current conflict has ended. These journalists are courageous and undeterred, even after all they have seen and lived with, to continue reporting on human rights stories in Syria."

"The media sector in Syria is traumatized, weak, fragmented - and severely constrained in its capacity," says Zein Almoghraby, program designer. "Most outlets exist at the whim of international financing, with few long term strategies in place to sustain their work."

The project is designed to address this problem directly through helping media outlets expand their audience share and revenue base.

JHR trainers will also work with Syrian journalists to enhance their skills to produce unbiased, and accurate news stories on human rights, democracy and governance issues, including the use of data journalism tools and new technology.

At a time when the need for strengthening journalists' ability to do their job is greater than ever, Journalists for Human Rights (www.jhr.ca) works both at home in Canada and abroad to train journalists to report on human rights issues ethically and effectively. This work ensures human rights issues stay in the headlines, fosters a culture of accountability and catalyses positive change. 
​​

Mayors, County Officials, City Councellors From America's Counties, Cities, Towns, Villages and Hamlets Will Fight Trump Plan to Eliminate Community Development Block Grants

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - March 09, 2017) - The following joint statement was issued today from U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran, National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase, and National League of Cities Executive Director Clarence Anthony following news of the Trump Administration's plan to eliminate the Community Development Block Grant program in his Fiscal Year 2018 budget for the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development:

"Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds are the heart, lungs and backbone of cities and counties, small, medium and large. By eliminating or cutting them, the Administration mortally wounds the places where the majority of Americans live, work and play. Such a move risks ending or harming programs that keep Americans safe, help them find better-paying jobs, improve their health and keep public facilities in good shape. It is an attack on places the President said he wanted to help.

"On behalf of the elected officials of America's cities and counties across this nation, we urgently request a meeting with HUD Secretary Ben Carson to discuss our utmost concern before any proposal is sent to Congress.

"The National Association of Counties and The United States Conference of Mayors visited Congress last week and solidified support for CDBG. The National League of Cities will follow next week. Together, strongly united with the full force of our organizations, we will demand from Congress, representing the people that sent them to Washington, that they take action to speak and vote against any proposal to cut or eliminate this vital and successful federal program."

07/03/2017

Majority of Canadians support more action on climate change

 As Earth Month approaches during the year of Canada's 150th birthday, Canadians are looking to the future with support for more action on climate change and increased renewable energy generation. These results come from a recent poll conducted by Environics Research Group and commissioned by Bullfrog Power, Canada's leading green energy provider.

According to the Canada 150 Climate Change Survey, the majority (57%) of Canadians think the country should be doing more to address climate change. Millennials (ages 18-34) are even more adamant, with more than 70 per cent saying that doing more to address climate change is important. Further, 33 per cent of millennials think the country should be doing a lot more to address climate change, compared to 20 per cent and less for all other age groups.

"It is encouraging that Canadians understand the need for more renewables as the solution to the energy demands of the future," said Ron Seftel, CEO, Bullfrog Power. "To successfully transition to cleaner forms of energy, it is essential for individuals, government and business to all be working toward a common goal."

Canadians agree that responsibility for climate change action belongs to everyone, with four-in-five (85%) Canadians indicating that it is important for individuals, businesses and government all to make stronger commitments to address this issue. However, Canadians believe that it is most important that businesses make a stronger commitment (87% compared to 85% government and 84% individuals).

"Businesses have a leading role to play to support Canada's transition to a low carbon economy," said Philipp Wassenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer, Munich Reinsurance Company of Canada. "Through our partnership with Bullfrog Power, Munich Reinsurance can continue to integrate sustainable measures into our Canadian business and encourage our employees to do the same on an individual level. Supporting green energy is one way Munich Reinsurance has maintained carbon neutrality globally since 2015."

Canadians also have an eye to future electricity demands with 74 per cent thinking the country needs to generate more renewable energy in order to meet the demands of the future. Nationwide, specific forms of renewable power (35% solar, 20% hydro, 19% wind) are widely favoured over traditional forms of electricity generation (7% nuclear, 6% natural gas, 2% oil, 1% coal).

To learn more about how individuals and businesses can reduce their environmental impact and support the development of green energy projects in Canada, visit bullfrogpower.com.
06/03/2017

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the death of René Préval, former President of Haiti

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of René Préval, former President of Haiti:

"It is with sadness that I learned of the death of René Préval, a two-term president of Haiti.

"Mr. Préval was first elected as President in 1996. He left office in 2001, becoming Haiti's first elected president to serve a full term, before returning to the presidency for another full term in 2006.

"Canada will remember his commitment to democracy as we continue to support Haiti's development, and work with the Haitian people to address the economic and humanitarian challenges facing their country.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I offer our condolences to Mr. Préval's family and friends, and to the Haitian people."
02/03/2017

Donald Trump Damages Chinese Consumer Sentiment Towards American Brands, Although Preference Increases In Some Categories

 41.2% of Chinese consumers have a more negative view of the US following Trump's first month as President. 50.7% of consumers held a neutral position and 8.1% viewed the US more positively according to a joint study by China Skinny and Findoout which surveyed 2,000 consumers across China in late February 2017.

Buying American property and stocks, traveling to the US, and studying in the US are the three categories most negatively impacted with a net 17.7%, 13.9% and 10.0% of consumers respectively seeing it more negatively. Food & beverage, mother & baby and beauty products were the next most affected with a net sentiment decline between 5-10%.

America's soft power has historically provided a distinct advantage for many of its products and services in China, driving preference for travel and study packages, Nike shoes, iPhones and Frappuccinos at Starbucks. China is America's largest export market after Canada and Mexico, and the fastest growing of its major trading partners.

Even without the threatened tariffs for China, Trump's actions are likely to affect trade. Chinese consumers can be sensitive to negative media about a country as Japanese brands learned during a territorial dispute in September 2012 when Japan's top three auto companies experienced y.o.y. declines of 35%-49% in a market that was otherwise growing. Since President Trump was elected, sentiment towards U.S. autos has fallen just 3.4%.

President Trump has not been entirely negative for American exporters to China. "Although overall Chinese consumer sentiment towards U.S. brands has taken a hit since Trump was elected, categories that have the biggest impact on America's soft power have actually improved including movies [11.8%], music [5.4%], sport [1.5%] and media [3.5%]. It indicates that Trump has piqued curiosity among Chinese consumers and increased interest in American culture overall," says Mark Tanner, Managing Director of China Skinny. "In an obscure way, that could help American brands who understand these motivations and can tailor the marketing mix to them."

"Remarkably the results were consistent across respondents' city tiers, gender, age and professions, signalling that Trump is impacting behaviour in every corner of China," said Bowei Yu, CEO of Findoout.

Respondents were also asked what they'd say to Trump if they had him around for dinner. The most common conversations covered requests for peace; U.S. and China business and trade relationships; America's place in the world, Asia, the South China Sea, the Diao Yu Islands and Taiwan; and advice on being successful, in addition to some general praise, beratement, paying back the Treasury securities and comments about his Twitter usage and hair.

The survey was conducted online between February 21-23 with 2,000 Chinese consumers evenly split between male and female, with 56% living in Tier 1 & 2 cities and 70% aged 18-35 years

Current U.S. Exports to China

The U.S. exported $113 billion worth of goods and services to China in 2015, its largest market after Canada and Mexico, and by far the fastest growing of its major markets expanding 115% between 2006-2015, although there was a 6% decline in 2015 (Source: US Census Bureau). China's growing Middle class is expected to continue to drive strong growth in exports, with Chinese households earning more than $35,000/annum forecast to grow from 40 million today to 160 million in 2025 according to Oxford Economics.

Service exports grew 300% between 2006 and 2015 with every state experiencing triple digit growth. Traveling and education were the top service export accounting for $21 billion, and were two of the most affected categories in the survey. 329,000 Chinese students studied in America in the 2015/2016 year, with five-fold growth in the past decade. The number of Chinese students in the US is double the next largest source of students; India (Source: Institute of International Education). 2.6 million Chinese visited the USA in 2015, growing 73% from 1.5 million in 2012 according to US Customs data. They are also the highest spending in the U.S., averaging over $10,000 per tourist per trip according to Xinhua.

The top Goods exports, transportation equipment ($26 billion) and computers and electronics ($17 billion) are less likely to be effected by negative sentiment caused by Trump.

27/02/2017

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Expresses Concern Over Executive Orders Promoting Religious and National Origin Discrimination 

fWASHINGTON, Feb. 24, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, by majority vote, the U. S. Commission on Civil Rights expressed deep concern that recent Executive Orders – in particular, 13768 and 13769 -- promote and endorse religious and national origin discrimination, in contravention of our nation's core principles. The statement can be viewed under "Highlights" at www.usccr.gov.

Executive Order (EO) 13769 sets out different treatment for persons coming to the United States, and raises the specter of government endorsement of religious and possibly national origin discrimination. The Commission notes that federal courts have recognized that evidence suggests the EO was motivated by prohibited bias.

Executive Order 13768 calls for denying federal funding to any "sanctuary jurisdiction" and mandates a public weekly report of criminal actions alleged to have been committed by undocumented immigrants. Elevating such allegations to a special federal reporting status raises national origin discrimination concerns.

In light of White House announcements indicating the intention to supersede these actions, the Commission encourages the Administration to diligently assess the serious civil rights concerns emanating from the initial Executive Orders and to remedy any such infirmities prior to issuance.

Chair Catherine E. Lhamon stated: "Government action that communicates animus rather than equity strikes against our core national ideals. This Commission calls for adherence to constitutional principles in our national interest."

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with studying and advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters and issuing an annual federal civil rights enforcement report. For information about the Commission and our work, please visit http://www.usccr.gov and follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/usccrgov
​​

Government of Canada invests up to $7 million in electric vehicles to tackle climate change and to support good jobs for Canadians

The Government of Canada is committed to creating the clean-growth economy we need to ensure the health, prosperity, and security for this generation of Canadians—and the next.

That is why Canada is investing in clean and efficient transportation now so that Canadian families can live in healthier, more productive communities.

Today, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and Minister of International Trade, François-Philippe Champagne, announced on behalf of Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources, that the Government of Canada will invest up to $7 million to develop advanced electric-vehicle charging stations across Canada.

The ministers made the announcement at the Shawinigan plant of AddEnergie, the Quebec-based electric-vehicle charging company that will receive the funding. AddEnergie will use the investment for projects to install more than 1,000 new charging stations across Canada by 2019 and to develop the next generation of fast-charging stations and other innovative technologies that will help get more charging stations in homes, businesses, and cities.

Today's announcement follows through on the commitment made in our pan-Canadian plan for climate change and clean growth to expand the number of zero-emission vehicles on Canadian roads.

Developed with provinces and territories, the plan will address climate change and help position companies like AddEnergie as leaders in the global clean-growth economy.

22/02/2017

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List is Announced

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation announced its 2017 Dirty Dozen List today, naming twelve major contributors to sexual exploitation. NCOSE also announced a victory regarding Verizon.

Why the Dirty Dozen List is Important

"No corporation or organization should profit from or facilitate sexual exploitation," said Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. "That's why we started The Dirty Dozen List -- an annual project that names twelve mainstream entities that are major contributors to sexual exploitation. The disturbing truth is that many well-established brands, companies, and organizations in America are major perpetrators of sexual harm -- whether that be through pornography, prostitution, or sex trafficking."

"We live in an age where many consumers demand transparency from companies they trust. We want to know the working conditions of those who made our clothing, and if pesticides were used to grow our food. Now, thanks to The Dirty Dozen List, we can see which well-known entities promote and profit from forms of sexual exploitation. Even better, The Dirty Dozen List gives individuals the ability to make a difference. For each company or institution on the list, there are direct actions NCOSE makes available. From signing petitions to emailing executives, the Dirty Dozen List empowers individuals to take action and to promote a marketplace that respects human dignity."

Verizon Policy Change Victory

"Verizon, a previous member of the Dirty Dozen List, has been removed following a policy change that symbolizes important progress in the technology, media and telecommunications industry's approach to pornography," Hawkins continued. "Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam has informed NCOSE that beginning in early 2017 the display of pornography for new customers of FiOS IPTV will be automatically disabled. In other words, new FiOS IPTV customers must opt-in to view pornography, rather than those who do not want such material having to opt-out. This is significant because new Verizon customers will no longer be bombarded with hardcore pornography channels that objectify women and men and that often feature themes of abuse, incest, and misogyny.

"While Verizon continues to profit from the distribution and sale of pornography, we are grateful to see its leadership adopt a positive change which is why we have removed Verizon from the 2017 Dirty Dozen List and instead placed it on the Watch List. The Watch List tracks potential contenders for future Dirty Dozen Lists depending on their follow through on commitments and next actions."

New Additions to the 2017 Dirty Dozen List
"This year's list has four new additions, including Roku, a popular digital media player company that hosts private pornography channels. Comcast is listed because it not only directly sells pornography via its Xfinity TV, but it also has actively defended selling pornography with violent, racist, and sexist themes. Twitter was placed on the 2017 Dirty Dozen List for its failure to filter and actively dismantle the prostitution and pornography accounts on its platform."

"Most disturbing of all, we have found that EBSCO Information Services, an online library resource company for schools K-12, and up, is intermixing links to hardcore pornography and other graphic sexual material with innocent educational resources accessed by school children. Currently, EBSCO's website promises schools that the content is filtered to be curriculum-appropriate. However, while the program filters to keep large or complex words out of younger demographics' search results, it fails to stop sexually explicit material from being published as an "educational" resource -- including links to torture porn sites, and instructions for how young boys can pressure girls into trying violent, anal, or group sex. While this is one of the greatest scandals ever covered by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation's Dirty Dozen List we are hopeful that it could become one of the greatest examples of a corporation intentionally changing policies to protect individuals from sexually exploitive content. EBSCO officials called NCOSE last night and explained that they are taking measures to improve and that they desire to be on the side of curbing sexual exploitation. NCOSE looks forward to collaborating on these improvements."

Past Dirty Dozen List victories include policy changes at Google, Hilton Worldwide, the Department of Defense, Walmart, and more.

The 2017 Dirty Dozen List: DirtyDozenList.com
Amazon: Amazon.com, the world's largest online retailer, features thousands of pornography-related items in numerous categories. Items for sale on Amazon include hardcore pornographic films and magazines, books featuring collections of eroticized child nudity, sex dolls (many with childlike features), and more. From its Kindle e-reader, Amazon Prime, to Amazon Web Services, Amazon is profiting from pornography.

American Library Association (ALA): The ALA zealously encourages public libraries to not install Internet filters on public-access computers, thereby granting patrons -- including children -- the opportunity to view obscene material. This has turned the once safe community setting of the public library into an XXX-space that fosters child sexual abuse, sexual assault, exhibitionism, stalking, and lewd behavior in libraries across the country.

Amnesty International: Amnesty's support for the full decriminalization of prostitution prioritizes the special interests of pimps/sex traffickers and sex buyers over the human rights of people in prostitution. Full decriminalization of prostitution grants impunity to pimps and brothel-keepers by allowing them to carry out their activities as mere "sex business operators," and creates a de facto right for men to buy people for sex. Amnesty also views prostitution as "sex work," transforming the violence inherent to prostitution into an "on-the-job" requirement.

Backpage.com: Backpage.com brings the seedy street corners of America's red-light districts to home computers. As a classified advertising website known as "the hub" for prostitution advertising, Backpage.com serves as a virtual auction block where sex buyers can shop for human beings for sex from the privacy of their home, office, hotel room, or cell phone. Many of those bought and sold via the website are sexually trafficked women and children. The website facilitates this activity by editing ads to conceal the illegality of underlying criminal activity.

Comcast: Comcast profits from sexual exploitation. One way it does this is by providing access to hardcore pornography via its Xfinity television packages. Comcast has even defended its provision of teen, incest, and racist-themed pornography as a benefit to their customers. Additionally, as an Internet service provider, Comcast is not proactively filtering hardcore pornography, but shifts the burden of activating filters to their customers.

Cosmopolitan: This staple of the supermarket checkout lane is a visually hyper-sexualized and verbally pornographic magazine. With inexhaustible predictability, Cosmopolitan accosts shoppers with covers that pronounce dozens of recycled "sex tricks" and flaunts an endless supply of hypersexualized cover models. As for Cosmo's content, it relentlessly glamorizes things like public, anal, group, and violent sex to its young female readership.

EBSCO Information Services: EBSCO offers online library resources to public and private schools (K-12), colleges and universities, public libraries, and more. In its advertising for schools, it promises "fast access to curriculum-appropriate content." However, its Explora, Science Reference Center, Literary Reference Center, and other products, provide easy access to hardcore pornography sites and extremely graphic sexual content. Innocent searches provide pornographic results. Via a system that bypasses school Internet filters, EBSCO brings the dark world of XXX to America's elementary, middle, and high school children.

HBO: Home Box Office Inc. (HBO) is a premium cable and satellite television network owned by Time Warner. Since the early 2000s, HBO has produced a string of original programs that incorporate graphic sex scenes. Examples include G String Divas, CatHouse: The Series, Hung, and Girls. Graphic depictions of sex, rape, and brutal sexual violence are also commonplace in Game of Thrones and Westworld. HBO has reached a new low as it turns torture porn into popular entertainment.

Roku: A leading manufacturer of digital media streaming devices, Roku profits from and facilitates access to hardcore pornography via hundreds of downloadable private and hidden channels. This stands in stark contrast to other streaming device industry leaders such as Apple TV or Amazon Fire TV, which have rightly kept hardcore pornography off of their systems.

Snapchat and Snapcash: Snapchat, the photo-sharing app popular among Millennials and teens, has been criticized for its facilitation of sexting and the sharing of child sexual abuse images (i.e. child pornography,) as well as enabling the monetization of sexual content through "Snapcash." Snapchat recently made welcome improvements to allow "Discover" publishers to age-gate some sexually graphic content, but there is still much more Snapchat must do to create a safe, sexploitation-free, user environment.

Twitter: Famed for "Tweets" which condense news and messages into 140 characters or less, Twitter is a major source of breaking news and boasts more than 300 million monthly, active users. It also serves as a major platform to disseminate hardcore pornography and facilitate prostitution. The site is riddled with sexually explicit Tweets and images, many of which serve as advertisements for pornography websites or online prostitution.

YouTube: Google's YouTube is an Internet conduit to user-generated videos where the latest cute kitten videos share a platform with hardcore pornography and rape videos. In spite of its terms of use, it has become a major pornography portal. YouTube users may easily stumble across pornographic content via YouTube's "up next" queue, which frequently included recommendations for sexually explicit material.


About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)

Founded in 1962, National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national organization dedicated to opposing pornography by highlighting the links to sex trafficking, violence against women, child abuse, and addiction. NCOSE embraces a mission to defend human dignity and to advocate for the universal right of sexual justice, which is freedom from sexual exploitation, objectification, and violence.

57,000 Teens Send President Trump Messages of Support, Fear, and Uncertainty

 America's teens sent over 57,000 messages and videos to President Trump as part of the Talk to Trump campaign launched by social network After School and Countable.us.

"Before the 2016 Presidential Election, we saw tremendous engagement by teens in the After School Election Center campaign and poll -- where teens voted for Trump over Hillary -- and registered to vote by the tens of thousands. Having seen teens' interest in the election itself, we decided to continue the effort by helping them send messages directly to the White House," said After School Vice President Jeff Collins.

After School recently published 100 of the written messages from teen high school students to President Trump. Messages included:

"Be respectful towards all religions and races. Make America great again by not pushing aside people in need. Thank you."

"I'm sorry people disrespect you. I'm sorry you're going through this. I hope you succeed. If you don't, we're all going to go down with you."

"Thanks for helping save America! Trump Train!"

"You're simply not qualified to run a country. The first week has already proven this to be true."

The videos, sent from teens of different ages, races, sexes, and from different states, emphasize messages of tolerance and urge President Trump to respect all people, regardless of their religion, citizenship, sex, or race.

Ruthie, a teen from Massachusetts, said: "I think that, Donald Trump, you need to respect everyone to make America great again. Every gender, culture, race, sexuality -- everyone. If you give everyone a good amount of respect, you'll get a great amount of respect back, and that's what you want. So you gotta respect everyone and you can make America great again."

Videos will be sent to the White House and the current administration by Countable.us, and can be viewed at http://afterschool.talktotrump.org/. For more information on Talk to Trump, please contact Press@AfterSchoolApp.com.

Tohono O'odham Nation Releases Video On Its Opposition To Proposed Border Wall

The Tohono O'odham Nation has released a video, "There's No O'odham Word for Wall," detailing its opposition to the fortified border wall proposed by President Trump's recent Executive Order. The video also reiterates the Nation's commitment to continue working with federal, state and local agencies on border security measures with a proven record of success.

The current international border was drawn through the Nation's traditional lands in Arizona and Sonora, Mexico, which the Tohono O'odham have inhabited since time immemorial. Today, the Nation's reservation includes 75 miles of the US-Mexico border, with tribal members residing on both sides of the border.

As such, the Tohono O'odham Nation has substantial experience in border security efforts. In recent years the Nation's Legislative Council has passed over 20 resolutions supporting border enforcement efforts and opposing a fortified wall. On Feb. 7, 2017 the Nation's Legislative Council passed a Resolution restating this opposition. The Inter Tribal Association of Arizona, National Congress of American Indians and other organizations have formally supported this Resolution.

The video highlights how the proposed wall would further split the Nation in half and have dramatic cultural and environmental impacts. It would also face severe geographic challenges in the rough desert terrain. A wall would also be easily bypassed in remote regions with the same tunnel and ladder tactics that undocumented immigrants already use to overcome barriers even in more populated areas.

Tohono O'odham Nation Chairman Edward D. Manuel said "This video provides insight on the many reasons why the Tohono O'odham Nation can not and will not support a fortified border wall. The Nation remains committed to working together to protect the border using proven and successful techniques. We invite the President and his Administration to visit the Nation, see these challenges firsthand, and begin a productive dialogue for moving forward."

Outerknown Partners With Ocean Conservancy To Launch The #ITSNOTOK Campaign, An Evergreen Giveback Program

 In Spring 2017, sustainable menswear brand Outerknown will launch #ITSNOTOK, a transformative, evergreen giveback program designed to bring awareness to environmental issues all over the world. #ITSNOTOK is a call to action, an opportunity to give our community a unified voice, and become part of the solution to solve global problems. Our first priority is cleaning up the ocean that we love.

Outerknown Landing Page: www.outerknown.com/itsnotok

This is a critical moment for our planet. Scientists estimate that by 2025 there could be one ton of plastic for every three tons of fish in the ocean. It's time to stand up, spread awareness, and say: #ITSNOTOK!

"What if others animals were creating as much garbage as humans?" asks Outerknown founder, Kelly Slater. "It's pretty appalling if you think of it that way; we need to shift our awareness. It's not ok to destroy our ocean. It's not one person's problem. It's everyone's problem." Outerknown is thrilled to partner with Ocean Conservancy to spearhead this initiative and spread the word that #ITSNOTOK! Since 1972, this non-profit ocean advocacy group has been cleaning up beaches, promoting a healthy ocean, and creating impactful ocean policy at federal and state government levels.

Outerknown has designed a capsule #ITSNOTOK collection consisting of a t-shirt (available 2/21), towel (available Summer 2017), and zip-up fleece (available Fall 2017). Each piece of the #ITSNOTOK capsule collection was developed from sustainable materials including 100% Organic Pima Cotton made in Peru, 100% Organic Cotton made in Portugal, 55% Hemp, and 45% Recycled Polyester Fleece. Outerknown will donate 100% of the profits from the sale of these products to Ocean Conservancy to conserve our beaches and ocean for generations to come.

"We're thrilled to be the first recipients of Outerknown's #ITSNOTOK campaign to tackle the crisis of marine debris," said Andreas Merkl, CEO of Ocean Conservancy. "The ocean is part of all of us and every single person can help make a positive difference to our ocean and coastal communities."

Ocean Conservancy advocates for science-based solutions to healthy ocean and the wildlife and communities that depend on it. It has been at the forefront of tackling the threat of marine debris and for more than 30 years. Their annual International Coastal Cleanup™ has mobilized nearly 12 million volunteers all around the world have to prevent 220 million pounds of trash flowing into the ocean.

Outerknown hopes to inspire a movement to clean up our ocean and empower people to make their voices heard. #ITSNOTOK products will be cornerstones of our collection for many seasons to come.

The #ITSNOTOK products will be available on Outerknown.com and select retailers worldwide, including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Fred Segal, American Rag, Galvanic Canada, The Brandroom Australia, Zalando Germany, Twine Switzerland, Club 21 Singapore, Ron Herman US and Japan.

20/02/2017

Study: Paresthesias, Nerve Problems Linked to WTC Toxic Dust

 Parker Waichman LLP, a national law firm that has long fought for the heroes and survivors of the September 11th terrorist attacks, comments that new research has emerged on WTC exposure. A February 2017, Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine study tied WTC exposure to paresthesias, a nerve-related issue causing burning or prickling sensations, including tingling, numbness, skin crawling, or itching that affects hands, arms, legs, or feet. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?cmd=historysearch&querykey=1)

Researchers note several conditions may cause paresthesias, including exposure to neurotoxins and believe the WTC dust contained neurotoxins that may damage nerve cells. Parker Waichman notes that the toxic cloud contained asbestos; pulverized cement; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); benzene; dioxin; glass fibers; gypsum; jet fuel; and heavy metals. Over 90 health conditions, including 60 cancers, have been linked to WTC-exposure. Responders and survivors may receive benefits through the Zadroga Act's two programs: the WTC Health Program and the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).

Researchers analyzed data from 3,141 patients registered with the WTC Environmental Health Center and found that, seven to 15 years after the attacks, 56 percent reported paresthesias at enrollment. According to the researchers, "This study suggests that paresthesias were commonly associated with WTC-related exposures or post-WTC cleaning work," the authors concluded.

Parker Waichman notes this is not the only study linking WTC exposure to neurological symptoms. In January 2016, research published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that neuropathic symptoms were more severe in WTC-exposed individuals. Authors suggested that, "As neuropathy treatment in responders is currently not covered under the WTC program, our findings have strong policy implications and suggest that neuropathy should be added to the list of conditions covered." (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26618530)

"These types of studies are crucial to demonstrating chronic and severe health conditions associated with WTC's toxic cloud," said Keith Gitman, Managing Attorney at Parker Waichman. "We thank Dr. Wilkenfeld and his colleagues for their tireless efforts researching neurological conditions in 9/11 responders and survivors."

Parker Waichman emphasizes the importance of the Zadroga programs and vows to continue its efforts to safeguard those exposed to the WTC attack and toxic cloud. To determine eligibility under the Act, please visit the Parker Waichman's website or call 1-800-LAW-INFO (1-800-529-4636). (http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/zadroga-act-wtc-world-trade-center-claims-lawyer-attorney-lawsuit)

Black Mesa Trust Applauds Decision to Shutter Navajo Generating Station

e removal. Additionally, it is entirely possible that someone who - "I am very happy and relieved that Black Mesa Trust's struggle to save the sacred waters on Black Mesa will finally end in 2019," said Black Mesa Trust Executive Director Vernon Masayesva.

"Black Mesa Trust was founded in 1998 with the singular mission of saving drinking water stored deep under our sacred land. We will succeed, but the price for allowing industrial use of pristine drinking water has been unconscionably high," he continued.

- Over 45 billion gallons of water stored in ancient aquifers is gone forever. This would have been enough water to sustain a Hopi population of 10,000 people for over 300 years, but it was gone in just 47 years.
- Many springs are now dry and an unknown number of others are contaminated. Some of the springs were used to conduct ceremonies.
- An unknown number of Hopi ancestral villages, burial sites, sacred shrines and petroglyphs have been destroyed. These were footprints of our ancestors who settled on Black Mesa over 1,000 years ago.
- Hundreds of acres of cedar trees have been uprooted by bulldozers. Cedars are used for purification and medicine.
- The dynamiting of coal seams has released an unknown quantity of methane gas. Coal fires may have been ignited and if so they are still burning, creating cave-like tunnels within the mesa.
- The extraction of billions of waters stored in highly-pressurized aquifers has caused thousands of sinkholes in the landscape.
- Impacts on the health of Dine (Navajo people) living downwind from the mine area and their livestock, their main source of livelihood, have never been objectively investigated.
- Nor has the impact of groundwater pumping on Siipapu, place of Emergence from the Third World to the Fourth World, located near the convergence of Little Colorado River and the main Colorado River been examined.
- Over 165 impoundment ponds built by the mining company have blocked the rainwater and snowmelt that used to flow through washes to Siipa'pu.
- Moencopi Wash, which once provided water for fields and crops, is bone dry most of the year. The impoundments were authorized by U.S. Army Corp of Engineers without full investigation of the environmental or cultural impacts or the possible effects on Moencopi farmers and endangered species. An investigation must be conducted and must include the outright sale of water leased from Hopi Tribe and Navajo Nation to owners of Mohave Generating Station without the knowledge of the Hopi Tribe.

Now that Peabody Energy's coal strip mining has ended, we begin a new chapter. It is time to begin healing the ecological-cultural landscape.

We must hold the federal government, Peabody, and owners of Navajo Generating Station, which includes U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, accountable for leaving us with a devastated landscape, the irretrievable loss of drinking water, compromised aquifers and the destruction of cultural sites and artifacts, not to mention desecration of our ancestors' burial sites.

A full investigation and congressional hearing on the scope, extent and damages caused by coal mining on Black Mesa must be held.

The Hopi and Dine must work together to call for economic restitution. We deserve to be compensated for the economic benefit bestowed on millions of Arizona rate-payers and utility companies while Hopi and Dine are living in abject poverty. Arizona State University's Morrison Institute conducted an economic impact study that shows Arizona reaped over a trillion dollars in benefits due to delivery of water from the Colorado River to Phoenix and Tucson through the 330-mile open canal called Central Arizona Project. Not a penny went to Hopi and Dine on whose backs this was done, even though it was coal and water from Black Mesa that powered Navajo Generating Station, which was built in part to pump water for the Central Arizona Project.

For Hopi people the healing process must begin. The modern Hopi Tribal Council must take responsibility for approving the coal lease, which treated water like a commodity that could be negotiated, leased and sold in direct violation of ancient Hopi beliefs that water is life, therefore sacred.

We thank the many environmental, religious organizations and individuals who helped us achieve this victory.

We thank the founders and members of Black Mesa Trust, some of whom have joined the spirit world.

Black Mesa Trust, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, has submitted a proposal to mitigate the impact of the loss of jobs and revenues generated by NGS and coal mining. It is available upon request to kuuyi@aol.com.

For further information, contact Vernon Masayesva, 928 255-2356, kuuyi@aol.com and visit http://www.blackmesatrust.org

Black Mesa Trust is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that was founded in 1998 with the singular mission of saving the drinking water stored deep under the sacred land of Black Mesa, Arizona on the Hopi and Navajo reservations.

Vernon Masayesva is the Executive Director of Black Mesa Trust, a Hopi Leader of the Coyote Clan and a former Chairman of the Hopi Tribal Council from the village of Hotevilla, one of the oldest continuously inhabited human settlement in the Americas in Arizona.

Masayesva received his B.A. degree from Arizona State University in Political Science and a Masters of Arts from Central Michigan University in 1970. He returned to Black Mesa of the Hotevilla Bacavi Community School, the first Indian controlled school on Hopi as the lead educator of the school systems. In 1984, he was elected to the Hopi Tribal Council and then served as Chairman from 1989. He immersed himself in the tangled intricacies of the mining on Black Mesa and the Hopi - Navajo land dispute, and is widely respected on and off the reservation.

In 1998, he founded the Black Mesa Trust and currently serves as its Executive Director. Vernon is an international speaker on the subject of Water and is honored among many scientists, physicists and water researchers including renown author and water researcher Dr. Masaru Emoto from Japan. Among other things, he is beginning a serious study of Hopi symbols and metaphors to understand who he is and what he can do to help his people lay a vision of a future Hopi society.

As a result of his commitment to preserving our water, former President William Clinton honored him as an "Environmental Hero." Charles Wilkinson, a distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Colorado said, "You will gain a strong sense of history, of millennia, from listening to Vernon, but my guess is you will also see something else-the future-for Vernon embodies personal qualities and philosophical attitudes that can serve our whole society well in the challenging years that lie ahead."

To learn more about Black Mesa Trust visit www.blackmesatrust.org

Friends of Zion Museum Awards President Plevneliev of Bulgaria at the Conference of Presidents 

he outgoing President of Bulgaria, Rosen Plevneliev, visited Israel this week to accept the Friend of Zion award for the courage of the Bulgarian leaders who bravely and courageously saved 48,000 Bulgarian Jews.

"The president as the representative of the Bulgarian people and as a great friend and supporter of Israel was chosen to receive this prestigious award," said Dr. Evans who presented the award at the Conference of Presidents opening dinner.

President Plevneliev along with President Reuven Rivlin inaugurated a monument a few months ago, to commemorate the protection of the Jews of Bulgaria by the Bulgarian people during the Holocaust and remember the Jews of Trakia and Macedonia who were sent from Bulgaria to the death camps and couldn't be saved. President Rivlin stated at the ceremony: "We will not forget the asylum you gave our people during the terrible Holocaust that killed six million of our brothers and sisters, in the darkest period known in Europe," and he continued. "Forty eight thousand Jews survived the Holocaust thanks to the heroism of the Bulgarians, and their stance against the Nazis."

Israel's 9th President the late Shimon Peres who was the International Chairman of the Friends of Zion Heritage Center called the Bulgarian people "a shining example of heroism and courage. Nobody dared to act this way in any other parliament in Europe of those dark and terrible days. If they had, six million Jews - our brothers and sisters - would not have perished."

In January 2017, the Bulgarian Orthodox Church was nominated for a second time for the Nobel Peace Prize.

The Friends of Zion Museum inaugurated a special new exhibit honoring the Bulgarian heroism during the Holocaust during the Presidential visit to the Museum.

The Friend of Zion Award was presented to President George W Bush and Prince Albert II of Monaco.

The Friends of Zion (FOZ) Museum was established with the vision of serving as a bridge, enabling people from around the world to join the scores of people throughout history who have supported the people, the promise and the State of Israel.

As the fastest growing pro-israel organization on social media FOZ confronts BDS, UNESCO and anti-israel sentiments globally and visited by over 100,000 people in its first year including world leaders, the president of Israel, Ministers, Tourists from around the world, Rabbis and leaders from Jewish communities globally.

Prime Minister Trudeau concludes successful visit to Europe

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded a successful visit to France and Germany from February 16 to 17, 2017. During the visit, the Prime Minister addressed the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, and visited Berlin and Hamburg, Germany.

The Prime Minister's visit reinforced the close bonds between Canada, Germany, and the European Union (EU). It was also an opportunity to promote Canada's role as a leader on progressive trade and investment, and highlight how the Canada-EU Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) will create good, well-paying jobs, bolster our shared prosperity, and help grow the middle class.‎

During his historic address to the European Parliament, the Prime Minister spoke of the importance Canada places on its relationship with the EU and welcomed the European Parliament's vote to approve CETA and the Canada-EU Strategic Partnership Agreement.

In Berlin, the Prime Minister met with outgoing President Joachim Gauck and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. In these meetings, key economic and foreign policy issues were discussed, including CETA. They also exchanged views on pressing international security concerns, including migration, the situation in Ukraine, and the fight against terrorism and Daesh.

While in Berlin, the Prime Minister paid his respects to the more than six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe. During his visit, he laid a wreath in honour of all the victims. He and Chancellor Merkel were greeted by the Mayor of Berlin, Michael Müller, at Breitscheidplatz, central square in Berlin. Both leaders laid a rose in memory of the innocent victims of the Christmas Market attack in December 2016.

In Hamburg, the Prime Minister met with Mayor Olaf Scholz as well as officials from several of Germany's federal states. Following the meetings, the Prime Minister attended Hamburg's annual St. Matthew's Day banquet as this year's invited guest of honour and delivered remarks. The German Vice Chancellor and Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel also spoke at the banquet as an invited guest.

16/02/2017

Iraqi Governor uses Twitter to thank Janus Global Operations for the company's 'great progress' in removing IEDs

The governor of Iraq's Anbar Province has used social media to thank Janus Global Operations (JGO), an international stability operations company, for helping to rid the province of landmines and other unexploded ordnance and for training Iraqis to eliminate such threats themselves.

Anbar Gov. Sohaib Alrawi posted on Twitter, "International Co. Janus Global Operations making great progress in demining ops/training Iraqis to protect lives and rebuild livelihoods #Anbar."

Tennessee-based JGO has worked since spring 2016 clearing mines, improvised explosive devices, and other explosive remnants of war from Ramadi, Iraq, the province's largest city. JGO has also been training Iraqis in techniques to deal with explosive devices.

JGO's work in Anbar takes place under a State Department contract and in close cooperation with the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, the U.N. Mission in Iraq, and with funding from the governments of Canada, Germany, Denmark, and the U.S.

The Anbar project that Janus Global is executing has allowed the international community to begin stabilization and reconstruction efforts in Ramadi, tasks impossible to undertake without first clearing mines, IEDs and other explosives left behind by ISIL as it was driven out of Ramadi.

"Everyone at JGO is honored that Governor Alrawi publicly thanked our team for the work we're doing in his province," said Matt Kaye, JGO president and CEO. "It's a privilege to have earned the trust of the U.S., Canadian, German and Danish Governments, which have funded this effort, and be allowed to help people reclaim their lives from violent extremism."

Janus Global Operations is an integrated stability operations company employing thousands of people worldwide. The company's client services include risk management; munitions management; demining and mitigation of unexploded ordnance; intelligence support; logistics; communications; life support, and other services, often in some of the world's most difficult environments. The company's website is www.janusgo.com.

Disconnect: Canadians' views contradict government policy towards Israel

A new public opinion survey on the Israel/Palestinian conflict reveals a dramatic disconnect between the policies of the Canadian government and public opinion. The survey, conducted by EKOS and Associates, raises serious questions about Canadian policies and the assumptions that underlie them.

"Canadian foreign policy should reflect Canadian values and attitudes," said Thomas Woodley of Canadian for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), a survey sponsor. "But our survey reveals that Canadians are far more critical of Israel than Canada's government, which those surveyed saw as pro-Israel, rather than pro-Palestinian."

Of those who expressed an opinion on how they view the Israeli government, 46% said "very negative" or "somewhat negative," while only 28% said "very positive" or "somewhat positive." Conversely nearly four times as many respondents (61%) think the Canadian government "has generally been more pro-Israel" than think it is "pro-Palestinian" (16%).

The survey reveals a dramatic difference between Conservative Party supporters and those of all other parties in Parliament. Fully 58% of Conservatives have a 'positive view' of the Israeli government while the average for the other four parties is just 11%.

Diana Ralph of Independent Jewish Voices, added "We were encouraged to see that almost all Canadians (91%) who expressed an opinion said that criticism of Israeli government policies is like criticism of any other country, and is not necessarily anti-Semitic. Jewish respondents also shared this view."

The survey was completed between January 25 and February 2, 2017, with a random sample of 1,000 Canadian adults aged 18 and over. The margin of error associated with the in-scope sample is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

A press conference call with the survey sponsors and an EKOS representative will be held at 2:00 p.m. ET, Thursday, February 16. Conference Bridge Coordinates: 1.800.786.1922, Participant Code: 71615472#

A full report and all survey results can be accessed at http://survey.cjpme.org, http://ijvcanada.org, or http://dimitrilascaris.org. 

15/02/2017

"Closing Borders Risks Jobs," World Travel & Tourism Council Warns US Administration at Routes Americas

"The United States is in danger of taking the same path it took after the 9/11 terror attacks, which led to a decade of economic stagnation in the travel and tourism sector," were the powerful warning words from David Scowsill, President and CEO of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC), while speaking at the Routes Americas aviation conference in Las Vegas today (14 February).

Taking to the stage at the event's Strategy Summit, Scowsill warned that: "Strict visa policies and inward-looking sentiment led to a $600 billion loss in tourism revenues in the decade post 9/11, as previously reported by the US Travel Association, with a noted 9% drop in international arrivals in the period of 2001 - 2009.

"The Trump Administration is in danger of steering the country in the same direction, which could have a huge impact on the country's travel and tourism sector, which generates over 8% of the country's GDP and supports nearly 10% of total employment in the US."

Airlines, hotels and travel agencies are all reporting drops in international bookings to the US, following the Executive Order banning visitors from seven countries to enter the country. This is the unintended consequence of the ban announcement, with business and leisure customers from around the world holding back on their travel plans.

Scowsill spoke directly at the Administration during his speech, offering five pieces of advice to the President's advisors:

Recognise that travel is a key generator of American jobs and economic growth.

Keep tourism out of politics. Blanket bans on citizens from specific countries will not make the American people safer.

Remember the decade of lost economic growth. Travellers have a choice and they will go elsewhere.

Use the technology available to share information. That will ensure that only the right people arrive at borders in the first place.

Consult with the industry in advance of change. This will make the implementation of policies more orderly, fairer and less damaging.

"For the President who has promised to create jobs and to make America great again, travel and tourism seems the most obvious answer. After all, the livelihood of millions of Americans depends on people being able to use planes, trains and automobiles to spend their tourist dollars.

"Travel and tourism thrives by breaking down barriers, not building them; by making it easier for people to travel, not applying blanket bans. Our sector bridges divides between cultures, fosters understanding across religious and geographic boundaries. It is a massive generator of jobs and economic growth," Scowsill concluded.

More information about Routes Americas can be found at routesonline.com

Routes Americas 2017, 14-16 February, ARIA Resort and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Routes events are unique forums dedicated to the development of new air services. Five 'regional' route development forums are held between February and June in the Americas, Asia, Europe and Africa, with the flagship World Routes event taking place in September. http://www.routesonline.com

The events revolve around pre-scheduled meetings and an exhibition and conference which are delivered in partnership with host stakeholders. Hosts tend to be a collaboration between airports, tourism authorities and investment partners (the bidding process takes place two to three years before the event takes place).

Routes is part of the EMEA division of UBM plc.

Government ignoring crisis in community corrections

The Ontario government continues to deny there is a crisis in community corrections, jeopardizing the well-being and safety of probation and parole officers, inmates, and communities.

That is the urgent warning from some 900 probation and parole officers, who struggle with the highest number of caseloads per officer in the country, according to provincial Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk. Lysyk also points out that Ontario is second-last in spending on community corrections.

OPSEU probation and parole representative Scott McIntyre said it was imperative that the government acknowledge the crisis, and take immediate steps to remedy it.

"Workload demands have taken a huge toll on officers, and it's reached the critical point," he said. "Not many people realize that there are far more offenders living in the community than in institutions.

"Something has to give, whether it be officers' health, the rehabilitation of inmates, the safety of our communities – or a combination of all three. I'm very concerned."

"We've become multiple-service providers," said probation and parole officer Danielle Du Sablon. "We've evolved into clinicians, victim counsellors, program delivery officers, and mental health workers. We're wearing too many hats, and we're exhausted.

"We just need the government to come to the table with a genuine willingness to discuss solutions."

OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas echoed McIntyre's and Du Sablon's concerns. "This government is cutting off its nose to spite its face," he said. "It's incredibly irresponsible and ultimately self-defeating to deal with a problem by pretending it doesn't exist.

"The Liberals need to listen to their frontline staff, acknowledge there's a crisis, and hire the extra staff to deal with it. By fixating on austerity, they're just courting disaster."
Prime Minister Trudeau concludes successful visit to Washington to meet with President Trump
08/02/2017
The relationship between Canada and the United States is unique and unparalleled. We have the longest, most peaceful, and mutually beneficial partnership of any two countries, forged by shared geography, common interests, and one of the largest and most comprehensive economic relationships in the world. Millions of good middle class jobs depend on that relationship.

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded his first official visit with the President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. "The partnership enjoyed by Canada and the United States has been essential to our shared prosperity and security, and has long served as a model for the rest of the world. I had a productive meeting with President Trump and members of the U.S. administration, and I look forward to working together to create more opportunities for the middle class on both sides of the border."

During the bilateral meetings, the two leaders covered various areas of mutual interest, including trade and investment as well as national, continental, and international security. They discussed their shared focus on how to build stronger economies where the middle class, and those working hard to join it, have greater opportunities to succeed and prosper. They also discussed how the relationship has created jobs for our citizens and opportunities for our businesses.

The two leaders then took part in a Women in Business Executives roundtable, where they announced the creation of the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders. This initiative will help empower women-owned businesses, and further contribute to economic growth and competitiveness in both Canada and the U.S., as well as enhance the integration of our two economies.

Following the roundtable and a luncheon hosted by President Trump, the two leaders released a joint statement and held a media availability session. Prime Minister Trudeau also held two additional meetings, one with the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Paul Ryan, and the other with Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.

The two countries share the longest, secure border in the world, over which 400,000 people and $2.4 billion worth of goods and services cross daily. 
13/02/2017
National Day Of Action On Electoral Reform, Toronto February 11, 2017

Walter Tautorat
  1. Title 1
    Title 1
  2. Title 2
    Title 2
  3. Title 3
    Title 3
  4. Title 4
    Title 4
  5. Title 5
    Title 5
  6. Title 6
    Title 6
  7. Title 7
    Title 7
  8. Title 8
    Title 8
  9. Title 9
    Title 9
  10. Title 10
    Title 10
  11. Title 11
    Title 11
​All across Canada yesterday, upset Canadians gathered in numbers to protest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s reversal on his promise to reform our election process.

It was after all, he, as a candidate, that made it a major part of his platform. A platform that gave the Liberals a resounding victory with only 39% of the popular vote. In many “town halls” across Canada it seemed obvious that yes Canadians wanted the electoral system to change. To be more representative to each of us and the issues that we feel are important. In the end, the Prime Minister simply decided against his promise, perhaps because it was something that wouldn’t suit him and his party’s purposes.

For such a hastily prepared event, a good number showed up at Nathan Phillips Square. People of all political stripes and ages came to give voice to the sentiment that we have had enough of politicians lies and it is time to take them to task for it. A boisterous march, led by a group of awesome drummers, worked it’s way east on Queen St. and north on iconic Yonge St. to end at Yonge Dundas Square.

Hopefully the Prime Minister will hear the noise and live up to his promise. We are after all blessed to live in one of the greatest democracies in the world and it would be nice if that democracy truly represented us, the voters. In a world of “fake news” and “alternate facts” it is becoming increasingly important to cling to every shred of truth we can.

It seems also to be true that the “honeymoon” is over with our Prime Minister, but hey, getting caught in a lie will do that.

08/02/2017
Young Canadians overwhelmingly support action on global development, call on PM Justin Trudeau to represent their values
When it comes to global development, young Canadians have strong views and call on the government to act. Engineers Without Borders Canada gathered their perspectives in a recent survey, "International Development, Canada and You", and the results were resounding. More than 85% of young Canadian voters surveyed believe responding to humanitarian crises and natural disasters, promoting access to healthcare for women, children and youth and promoting gender equality are key policies to pursue.

As international cooperation is being challenged by recent populist sentiment in the United States and Europe, young Canadians are looking to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to uphold their values and champion the sustainable development issues they are passionate about.

Nine in 10 (91%) of respondents from the EWB survey support combatting climate change, while 90% advocate for reducing poverty and 87% call for action on gender inequality.

This is in direct contrast to their view of Canada's success at accomplishing its international development policies. Only 9% of respondents believe Canada is either very or extremely successful at combating climate change. A little over half of respondents (57%) have confidence in the federal government to successfully achieve its international development agenda.

And only 35% of respondents believe the federal government is responsive to the views of young Canadians on international development.

EWB is concerned by this major gap in confidence. Its members challenge the Prime Minister and the federal government to represent young Canadian values through bold policies to advance sustainable development, reduce poverty and create opportunities for all individuals to thrive.

"We live in uncertain times and it's imperative for Canada to champion international co-operation," says Boris Martin, CEO, EWB Canada. "EWB works with thousands of young Canadians from coast to coast to actively engage with our government, and we are hearing them loud and clear. This active constituency of young voters are telling the Prime Minister to up his ambition and take critical steps to further sustainable development."

"Canada has taken some concrete steps, such as the Global Fund Replenishment and the recent commitment for women's health and rights," says Sasha Caldera, campaigns lead at EWB Canada. "However, the most pressing need is boosting the level of predictable annual funding to the International Assistance Envelope (IAE) in our federal budget so Canada is able to fulfill its sustainable development mandate."

The Canadian government has an opportunity to demonstrate strong leadership in this area. An overwhelming majority of young Canadians (87%) believe the new U.S. administration will have a negative impact on global development. And eight in 10 Canadian youth respondents (80%) say now is the time for the Canadian government to increase its investment in international development programs.

"When it comes to global development, the Prime Minister should strive to match the ambitions of young Canadians and harness their passion and commitment," Martin adds. "This is a timely issue and one the government must address."

EWB National Twitter Chats
EWB invites Canadians to join a real-time conversation on Canada's role in International development by participating in a series of Twitter chats, February 8, 9, and 10, 2017. Follow the hashtag #AskEWB to get the pulse on what young Canadians feel about global development.

#AskEWB tweet chat details:

February 8 - West Coast, 4pm ET/1pm PT, featuring Sean McHugh (@SeanKMcHugh), Executive Director, Canadian Fair Trade Network, and focusing on global poverty;
February 9 - Toronto, 2pm ET/11am PT, featuring Jennifer Hollett (@jenniferhollett), Head of News and Government, Twitter Canada, and focusing on gender inequality;
February 10 - Quebec, 3pm ET/noon PT, featuring Audrey Depault (@adepault), National Manager, Climate Reality Canada, and focusing on climate change.
06/02/2017

Thousands in Toronto demonstrate against Islamophobia, White Supremacy and Deportations

Thousands of people gathered at the US Consulate Saturday in Toronto, joining actions against Islamophobia and White Supremacy taking place in cities across the country. In the wake of the tragic terrorist attack in which six Muslims were massacred and many others seriously injured while worshipping at the Quebec City Islamic Cultural Centre and mosque, the vandalism of a mosque in Montreal and Trump's hateful policies banning Muslims and refugees, demonstrators will march to a federal courthouse demanding action from the Canadian government.

"We can't just speak to our values. We have to act on our values," said Walied Khogali, a Toronto community activist and one of the protest organizers. "Standing up for Canada means telling our friends south of the border that their policies are xenophobic, Islamophobic and they're making Canadians less safe."

In less than a week, over 150 organizations have endorsed the National Day of Action against Islamophobia and White Supremacy. Civil society across the country, from national unions that represent teachers, postal workers and other professions to student associations and environmental groups, have united to combat hate.

Hussan Syed, organizer with No One Is Illegal Toronto asserts that "Prime Minister Trudeau and Minister Hussen are prioritizing platitudes over policy. If Canada is serious about standing up to Trump, it must start with opening the borders to migrants and refugees. It must start with revoking the Safe Third Country Agreement, the Designated Country of Origin list, caps on sponsorships and allowing for special humanitarian consideration of applicants coming from the US as well as an end to Islamophobic laws here."

Demonstrators are calling on the government to:

Condemn Trump

Open the Borders

End Canada's own racist, anti-refugee, anti-Black, Islamophobic exclusion of migrants and refugees

Canada must rescind all federal legislation that attacks racialized Black and Brown Muslims and refugees, including the Zero Tolerance for Barbaric Cultural Practices Act as well as anti-terror legislation such as Security Certificates and Bill C51

The Trudeau government has to date refused to make policy changes in response to the legalization of Islamophobia in the United States. The violence in Quebec shows that Canada is not a safe place for Black and Brown Muslims and refugees. Demonstrators say that Canada must take action to prevent serious hate crimes and allow migrants the freedom of movement.

Jeewan Chanicka, community activist and educator believes that, "It is imperative for our politicians to take a decisive stand and support the most vulnerable members of our society."

Over 150 organizations have issued a joint statement against Islamophobia and Deportations signing on to the demonstrators' goals.

02/02/2017

Tree Canada announces major investment to restore forest and urban greenspaces destroyed by Fort McMurray fires

 Tree Canada, the nation's leading national tree planting charity, today announced a more than $1 million investment to restore the forests destroyed by the devastating Fort McMurray wildfires last year. Following overwhelming support from corporate partners and everyday Canadians, Tree Canada announced that plantings will begin this spring.

Tree Canada's "Operation ReLeaf - Fort McMurray" program will begin planting trees in publically-owned natural, forested areas to facilitate forest regrowth according to Fire Smart standards. Discussions are also underway to replace trees lost in adjacent First Nation communities. The restoration project will continue at least into 2018, and possibly into 2019 with a focus on residential trees and street trees scheduled to be planted. A planned 2018 project will aim to restore the tree canopy in Beacon Hill, one of the neighbourhoods hardest hit by the blaze that consumed an area approximately the size of the province of P.E.I.

"We are deeply grateful to Tree Canada and all of its partners for this very generous donation," said Melissa Blake, Mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. "This support will undoubtedly lift the spirits of the entire community and help us restore so much of the natural beauty that was impacted by the wildfire."

"We're dedicated to returning this community to its former beauty and would like to thank our corporate partners and individual Canadians for making it possible," said Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada, who personally visited the region last year to assess the damage and prioritize areas for reforestation. "We deeply sympathize with residents who lost their homes and have had their lives so disrupted by the fire. It is my sincere hope that this initiative will help to bring back a sense of normalcy."

To support the Operation ReLeaf Fort McMurray program, Tree Canada's long-time partner CN generously donated $1 million.

"Fort McMurray is an important community for CN, and our own employees were personally affected by the disaster. We are proud to support an initiative that will not only help restore the tree canopy but will also contribute to the wellbeing of this community with lasting benefits," said Mike Cory, CN Executive Vice-President and Chief Operating Officer. "We encourage other Canadian businesses to join CN in support of Fort McMurray's reforestation."

In addition to CN, Tree Canada has collected generous donations from TELUS, IKEA Canada, FedEx Express Canada, U-Haul, BP Canada Energy Group and Unilever Canada, as well as many individual Canadians.

If you wish to continue the support for Tree Canada's efforts to replenish Fort McMurray's forests, please donate online at www.treecanada.ca. To learn more about Operation ReLeaf - Fort McMurray, visit https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/operation-releaf/. 

Immigration Waivers-President Trump's Presidential Order Keeps Immigrants Off the Roads of America, According to Steven Riznyk

Steven Riznyk of MyImmigrationAttorney.com discusses how Presidential Order 13768 may affect immigrants and non-immigrants living in the United States today and explains the risks of driving on the road.

President Trump’s Presidential Order 13768 issued January 25th of this year has left many immigrants with no choice but to stay off the roads. With the sweeping changes to the law, many immigrants and non-immigrants alike face imminent removal if they are caught. The easiest way to catch an immigrant is on the road. In his 29 years as an immigration lawyer, Steven Riznyk of www.MyImmigrationAttorney.com has had more of his immigration waiver clients caught due to DUIs, car accidents, and other traffic offenses, than in any other way.

The best advice for persons from foreign countries during these times is to stay off the roads when possible, at least as drivers. With the many unknown factors in the Presidential Order, it is entirely possible that someone who may not technically be driving under the influence to still be considered a threat to public safety, and that in itself is a ground for immediate removal. Additionally, it is entirely possible that someone who drives in a manner that could be considered reckless could fall under the umbrella of being a danger to the public safety. It is not unlikely that someone who has a car accident and is found at fault could also be considered a threat to public safety, as this is all subject to the opinion of the immigration officer deciding.

Another issue to consider is drug use, especially in the states that allow marijuana consumption. In those states, assume that one person were to have enough marijuana for a month’s supply and a card that allows consumption. Let’s say that the passenger does not have a card and does not consume. Due to the large amount of marijuana, the driver could be charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking. In that case, it is often standard procedure to charge both persons in the vehicle, and have the judge sort it all out.

Although the passenger did not know about the large amount of marijuana in the trunk, he or she would be removed as conviction is no longer required. The same is true of stronger drugs. Where there is enough of a drug, states Steven Riznyk, for more than the number of passengers in the vehicle, there is a large likelihood all persons will be charged with possession for the purposes of trafficking and that would be the end for the foreign national. More than ever, it is important to know who you are riding with and what they have in the car.

Steven Riznyk is a business and immigration attorney who has been practicing for 29 years. He is an author and not only creates cases for immigration lawyers; he has been training them for decades in the complex areas of immigration law. His initial half-hour consultations are free and he can be reached at (619) 677-5727 or contact@SanDiegoBizLaw.com as well as stevenriznyk on Skype. 

Brexit and Trump Presidency Increase Uncertainty in Global Economy

The global economy is facing several headwinds that will restrain growth over the near term. Real GDP expanded by only 2.5 per cent in 2016, and only a slight uptick to 2.8 per cent is expected for 2017, according to The Conference Board of Canada's World Outlook: Winter 2017.

"Uncertainty is a major factor behind the weak global economic outlook," said Kip Beckman, Principal Economist, The Conference Board of Canada. "A Trump administration, victory by the "leave" side in the Brexit referendum, the rise in popularity of parties on the far right in Europe, and China's ongoing structural adjustments are just some of the factors causing uncertainty on the world stage."

Highlights

The world economy is expected to expand by 2.8 per cent this year.

World oil prices are expected to remain low at less than $60 a barrel.

The U.S. economy will expand 2.3 per cent over the near term.

President Trump is taking over an economy that is in good shape. Higher household spending was a key factor in boosting growth above 3 per cent in the third quarter, as rising income provided American households with additional discretionary money to spend. With the unemployment rate below 5 per cent, labour markets are also performing well. Household spending is expected to remain solid going forward and investment spending should strengthen over the near term, thanks in part to a rebound in world oil prices.

According to the U.S. Outlook: Winter 2017, the U.S. economy will expand at an annual pace of 2.3 per cent in both 2017 and 2018. However, the Trump presidency adds numerous risks—both positive and negative—to the outlook. In particular, his threats to tear up the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and slap large tariffs on imports from China could start a trade war that ends up hurting U.S. export growth, as trading partners like China and Mexico retaliate and put in place their own tariffs on U.S. imports.

Should President Trump's planned dissolution of NAFTA and implementation of large tariffs on imports from Mexico come to fruition, the Mexican economy could be seriously damaged due to its heavy dependence on access to the U.S. market. The hope for Mexico is that its government's reform agenda will be successful in offsetting some of the potential damage. GDP growth in Mexico is expected to increase in the 2.5 per cent range over the near term.

The heavily export-oriented Asia-Pacific region will also be concerned about the potential for a trade war now that the Trans-Pacific Partnership is dead. A potential offset to the negative effect of Trump's policies is the U.S. dollar, which has surged in value against Asian currencies due to rising U.S. interest rates. This should make Asian exports more competitive in the key U.S. market. China's economy is on track to expand at 6.5 per cent in 2017, as stronger housing activity and a rebound in global demand for high-technology products support the economic upturn. Rising debt levels at some banks and state-owned enterprises and overcapacity in industries such as steel and coal do, however, pose economic risks. Meanwhile, the Bank of Japan's ongoing efforts to reflate the Japanese economy remain stuck in neutral, with real GDP growth expected to expand by just 1.1 per cent in 2017. Overall, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to grow in the 4.5 - 5.0 per cent range over the near term.

Economic growth in the European Union is expected to decline slightly this year, increasing just 1.5 per cent in 2017. Germany, the region's largest economy is forecast to expand 1.3 per cent in 2017, down from 1.8 per cent last year. The anticipated slump in growth in a key trading partner – the U.K. – is one of the factors behind Germany's weak outlook. The potential for a "hard Brexit" in which the British are left without tariff-free access to the large EU market remains the largest concern. In addition, if a trade war does erupt between the U.S. and China, European markets will not be left unscathed.

New programs to help address climate change and strengthen infrastructure planning

- Investments in sustainable infrastructure reduce greenhouse gas emissions, contribute to a clean growth economy and strengthen the middle class by ensuring communities are healthy and productive places to live.

Today, the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) President, Clark Somerville, launched two new programs to address climate change in communities and to strengthen infrastructure planning and decision-making.

The Municipalities for Climate Innovation Program and the Municipal Asset Management Program, which will be delivered by the FCM, will provide municipalities with access to funding, training and learning opportunities to increase their capacity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, build resilience to the impacts of climate change, and support better planning and management of municipal infrastructure.

Details about the programs are available on the  FCM website .

January 27, 2017

Métis Nation of Alberta and Canada Sign Agreement to Advance Métis Rights and Outstanding Claims in Alberta

​The Métis Nation of Alberta ("MNA") has concluded a Memorandum of Understanding to Advance Reconciliation with the Government of Canada (the "MOU"). The MOU was signed yesterday on Parliament Hill by MNA President Audrey Poitras, Bev New, MNA Co-Minister for Métis Rights and the Honourable Carolyn Bennett, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs. Members of the MNA Provincial Council were also in attendance at the signing.

The MOU establishes a time-limited exploratory discussions table between the MNA and Canada with the goal of arriving at a mutually-agreeable framework agreement by September 2017. The anticipated framework agreement would establish a formal negotiations process based on mutually agreeable subject matters, including Métis self-government, lands, rights and outstanding claims against the Crown.

The MOU comes on the heels of recent positive political and legal developments for Alberta Métis, including the Prime Minister's November 2015 mandate letter to Minister Bennett providing direction for her to advance a nation-to-nation, government-to-government relationship with the Métis Nation as well as the Supreme Court of Canada's landmark decision in Daniels v. Canada that was released in April 2016.

"This MOU has been a long-time coming for Alberta Métis. For many years at the federal level, we have been on the outside looking in. This MOU opens the door for us to finally put in place the government-to-government relationship with Canada our people have sought for generations as well as begin to address the pressing issues of our citizens and communities in Alberta, including dealing with Métis rights, lands and self-government," said President Poitras.

A copy of the MOU, along with background materials and photos from the event, are available at: www.albertametis.com.
 

UNICEF seeks $3.3 billion in emergency assistance for 48 million children caught up in conflict and other crises​

Forty-eight million children living through some of the world's worst conflicts and other humanitarian emergencies will benefit from UNICEF's 2017 appeal, which was launched today.

From Syria to Iraq and Yemen, from South Sudan to Nigeria, children are under direct attack, their homes, schools and communities in ruins, their hopes and futures hanging in the balance. In total, almost one in four of the world's children lives in a country affected by conflict or disaster.

"The fact that this is the largest humanitarian appeal in UNICEF's 70-year history is tragic, because it means more children than ever before are suffering from violence or disaster," said David Morley, UNICEF Canada President and CEO. "On the other hand, the fact that we know exactly how to reach every child and provide them with the life-saving support they need to survive and thrive, should offer some hope. We just need the resources to reach them."

Children across 48 countries in urgent need

UNICEF's Humanitarian Action for Children sets out the agency's 2017 appeal totaling $3.3 billion, and its goals in providing children with access to safe water, nutrition, education, health and protection in 48 countries across the globe.

"In country after country, war, natural disaster and climate change are driving ever more children from their homes, exposing them to violence, disease and exploitation," said Manuel Fontaine, UNICEF's Director of Emergency Programs.

Malnutrition silent threat to millions

An estimated 7.5 million children will face severe acute malnutrition across the majority of appeal countries, including almost half a million each in northeast Nigeria and Yemen.

"Malnutrition is a silent threat to millions of children," said Fontaine. "The damage it does can be irreversible, robbing children of their mental and physical potential. In its worst form, severe malnutrition can be deadly."

The largest single component of the appeal is for children and families caught up in the Syria conflict, soon to enter its seventh year. UNICEF is seeking a total of $1.4 billion to support Syrian children inside Syria and those living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Water, education, vaccinations top 2017 priorities

In total, working alongside its partners, UNICEF's other priorities in 2017 are:

Providing over 19 million people with access to safe water;
Reaching 9.2 million children with formal or non-formal basic education;
Immunizing 8.3 million children against measles;
Providing psychosocial support to over two million children;
Treating 3.1 million children with severe acute malnutrition.
Canada among top 10 donors to UNICEF

The Government of Canada has consistently been among the top 10 donors for UNICEF, including to its emergency responses.

"Thanks to the generosity of Canada and Canadians, we're able to reach more of the world's most vulnerable children," said Morley. "It speaks volumes to who we are as a nation, and to the values of compassion and responsibility for our fellow global citizens that we hold so dear."


January 27, 2017

Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation challenging Canada's environmental approval of the Site C dam

On Monday, January 23, 2017, the Federal Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal brought by West Moberly First Nations and Prophet River First Nation challenging Canada's environmental approval of the Site C dam under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012.

The First Nations maintain that the Site C dam infringes their rights under Treaty No. 8 and cannot be justified. The federal government's own environmental impact assessment process found that the Site C dam would cause significant, permanent and irreparable harm to First Nations' use of their traditional lands and the destruction of sites of unique cultural and historical significance. Despite this, Canada refused to address whether the dam would be an infringement of Treaty No. 8, a position upheld by the Court.

Prophet River Chief Lynette Tsakoza expressed the First Nations' frustration with the Federal Court of Appeal's decision. "We are profoundly disappointed in the outcome of our appeal. Unfortunately, it has become clear that the environmental assessment process is just a vehicle to approve projects. It is incomprehensible that Canada can say in one breath that the dam will cause immitigable adverse impacts on our Treaty rights, but in the next, say they don't have to address if they are violating the Treaty and of the constitution when approving the project."

Chief Roland Willson of West Moberly First Nations questions the utility of any First Nation entering into treaty, in light of the Court's decision. "Yet again, the Crown has failed to honour the Treaty and we are disappointed the Court is not going to hold Canada to its solemn promises. Why would anyone enter into a treaty if the promises are meaningless? The Court is saying that treaty rights are unproven rights and the Crown can ignore its Treaty obligations when approving the dam and then fight us in court until the dam is already built. A decade of court actions and a trial to prove infringement of our Treaty rights will financially cripple the First Nations, it won't stop the dam from being built, and perpetuates the cultural genocide of our peoples."

Chief Willson stressed that the First Nations will continue their fight to stop the Site C dam. "We are reviewing the decision with our legal counsel and considering our options and next steps."

Doomsday Clock Moves Ahead: It Is Now Two And A Half Minutes To Midnight

"Words Matter": Board Marks 70th Anniversary of Iconic Clock By Expressing Concern About "Unsettling" and "Ill-Considered" Statements of President Trump on Nuclear Weapons and Climate Change; Developments in North Korea, Russia, India and Pakistan Also Highlighted.

 It is now two and a half minutes to midnight. For the first time in the 70-year history of the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' Science and Security Board has moved the hands of the iconic clock 30 seconds closer to midnight. In another first, the Board has decided to act, in part, based on the words of a single person: Donald Trump, the new President of the United States.

The decision to move the hands of the Doomsday Clock is made by the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists in consultation with the Bulletin's Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel Laureates. The Science and Security Board's full statement about the Clock is available online at http://thebulletin.org/.

In January 2016, the Doomsday Clock's minute hand did not change, remaining at three minutes before midnight. The Clock was changed in 2015 from five to three minutes to midnight, the closest it had been since the arms race of the 1980s.

In the statement about the Doomsday Clock, the Bulletin's Science and Security Board notes: "Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come effectively to grips with humanity's most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change … This already-threatening world situation was the backdrop for a rise in strident nationalism worldwide in 2016, including in a US presidential campaign during which the eventual victor, Donald Trump, made disturbing comments about the use and proliferation of nuclear weapons and expressed disbelief in the overwhelming scientific consensus on climate change …The board's decision to move the clock less than a full minute — something it has never before done — reflects a simple reality: As this statement is issued, Donald Trump has been the US president only a matter of days …"

The statement continues: "Just the same, words matter, and President Trump has had plenty to say over the last year. Both his statements and his actions as President-elect have broken with historical precedent in unsettling ways. He has made ill-considered comments about expanding the US nuclear arsenal. He has shown a troubling propensity to discount or outright reject expert advice related to international security, including the conclusions of intelligence experts. And his nominees to head the Energy Department, and the Environmental Protection Agency dispute the basics of climate science. In short, even though he has just now taken office, the president's intemperate statements, lack of openness to expert advice, and questionable cabinet nominations have already made a bad international security situation worse."

In addition to addressing the statements made by President Trump, the Board also expressed concern about the greater global context of nuclear and climate issues:

On nuclear issues, the Board noted: "The United States and Russia—which together possess more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons—remained at odds in a variety of theaters, from Syria to Ukraine to the borders of NATO; both countries continued wide-ranging modernizations of their nuclear forces, and serious arms control negotiations were nowhere to be seen. North Korea conducted its fourth and fifth underground nuclear tests and gave every indication it would continue to develop nuclear weapons delivery capabilities. Threats of nuclear warfare hung in the background as Pakistan and India faced each other warily across the Line of Control in Kashmir after militants attacked two Indian army bases."
In surveying the status of climate matters, the Board concluded: "The climate change outlook was somewhat less dismal (in 2016) —but only somewhat. In the wake of the landmark Paris climate accord, the nations of the world have taken some actions to combat climate change, and global carbon dioxide emissions were essentially flat in 2016, compared to the previous year. Still, they have not yet started to decrease; the world continues to warm. Keeping future temperatures at less-than-catastrophic levels requires reductions in greenhouse gas emissions far beyond those agreed to in Paris—yet little appetite for additional cuts was in evidence at the November climate conference in Marrakech."
Rachel Bronson, executive director and publisher, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, said: "As we marked the 70th anniversary of the Doomsday Clock, this year's Clock deliberations felt more urgent than usual. In addition to the existential threats posed by nuclear weapons and climate change, new global realities emerged, as trusted sources of information came under attack, fake news was on the rise, and words were used by a President-elect of the United States in cavalier and often reckless ways to address the twin threats of nuclear weapons and climate change."

Lawrence Krauss, chair, Bulletin Board of Sponsors, director, Origins Project at Arizona State University, and foundation professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and Physics Department, Arizona State University, said: "Wise men and women have said that public policy is never made in the absence of politics. But in this unusual political year, we offer a corollary: Good policy takes account of politics but is never made in the absence of expertise. Facts are indeed stubborn things, and they must be taken into account if the future of humanity is to be preserved, long term. Nuclear weapons and climate change are precisely the sort of complex existential threats that cannot be properly managed without access to and reliance on expert knowledge. In 2016, world leaders not only failed to deal adequately with those threats; they actually increased the risk of nuclear war and unchecked climate change through a variety of provocative statements and actions, including careless rhetoric about the use of nuclear weapons and the wanton defiance of scientific evidence. To step further back from the brink will require leaders of vision and restraint. President Trump and President Putin can choose to act together as statesmen, or as petulant children, risking our future. We call upon all people to speak out and send a loud message to your leaders so that they do not needlessly threaten your future, and the future of your children."

Retired Rear Admiral David Titley, Bulletin Science and Security Board; professor of practice, Pennsylvania State University Department of Meteorology, and founding director, Penn State's Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, said: "Climate change should not be a partisan issue. The well-established physics of Earth's carbon cycle is neither liberal nor conservative in character. The planet will continue to warm to ultimately dangerous levels so long as carbon dioxide continues to be pumped into the atmosphere— irrespective of political leadership. The current political situation in the United States is of particular concern. The Trump administration needs to state clearly and unequivocally that it accepts climate change, caused by human activity, as reality. No problem can be solved unless its existence is first recognized. There are no 'alternative facts' here".

ABOUT THE BULLETIN OF THE ATOMIC SCIENTISTS

The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists engages science leaders, policy makers, and the interested public on topics of nuclear weapons and disarmament, the changing energy landscape, climate change, and emerging technologies. With smart, vigorous prose, multimedia presentations, and information graphics, the Bulletin puts issues and events into context and provides fact-based debates and assessments. For 70 years, the Bulletin has bridged the technology divide between scientific research, foreign policy and public engagement. See more at: http://thebulletin.org

Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet. The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 15 Nobel laureates. The Clock has become a universally recognized indicator of the world's vulnerability to catastrophe from nuclear weapons, climate change, and new technologies emerging in other domains.   

Canada's unions say NAFTA renegotiation is an opportunity for more fairness

 Canada's unions are glad to hear that Canada is ready to walk away from NAFTA, saying that renegotiating the deal offers the opportunity take a new approach to trade that puts the interests of working people and the environment first.

In a statement sent to Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland today, the Canadian Labour Congress points out that over the last 20 years, NAFTA has failed working Canadians.

"Far from generating good jobs and prosperity, NAFTA has undermined secure, well-paid employment and devastated manufacturing and processing industries and the communities that depend on them," reads the statement. "While there has been increased trade and economic growth, large corporations and investors have gained the most, leaving workers behind."

The statement, which comes out of talks that brought together representatives from civil society and private and public sector unions representing workers across industries and services, proposes nine reforms essential to any renegotiation:

Labour and environmental side agreements must be fundamentally strengthened by bringing them into the main agreement and making them subject to trade sanctions.

NAFTA's Chapter 11 dispute mechanism, which grants special rights to foreign investors and allows corporations to sue governments, must be abolished.

Investment and employment in key goods-producing sectors should be proportional across borders, requiring multinational corporations to produce goods where they sell.

Canada must safeguard access to high-quality, locally-produced food, small family farms and rural communities by protecting supply management.

Existing public services, as well as new public services, such as any new national pharmacare program, must be protected.
The softwood lumber dispute must be fairly resolved.

Any new deal must make strategic and effective use of government procurement for Canadian economic development goals.

Sectors currently exempt from NAFTA must not be included in any new negotiations.

Canada's unions and civil society organizations must be at the table, involved in discussions, from the outset.

"Canada's unions are determined to work with our allies to ensure that any new trade deals are fair and protect workers' rights, public services, the government's right to regulate in the public's interest, and our environment," said CLC president Hassan Yussuff.

January 26, 2017

U.S. Mayors, Police Chiefs Concerned With Sanctuary Cities Executive Order

The following joint statement was issued today by U.S. Conference of Mayors CEO & Executive Director Tom Cochran and Major Cities Chiefs Association President and Montgomery County, MD Chief of Police J. Thomas Manger regarding President Trump's Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States:

"Mayors and Police Chiefs are committed to ensuring that criminals, regardless of their immigration status, are arrested and properly adjudicated by the criminal justice system. Our police departments regularly work in cooperation with federal authorities in a variety of enforcement activities.

"Both Mayors and Chiefs of Police have taken a solemn oath to uphold the law and defend the Constitution. True to our oath, we have questions and concerns about the measures announced today. For example, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that denying federal funds to cities to coerce compliance with federal policies may be unconstitutional. Federal courts have likewise held that the ICE detainers referenced today do not provide sufficient legal justification for detention, arrest and incarceration by local officers. We call upon the Attorney General to meet with Mayors and Police Chiefs for a constructive legal dialog.

"Cities that aim to build trusting and supportive relations with immigrant communities should not be punished because this is essential to reducing crime and helping victims, both stated goals of the new Administration in Washington. We must be able to continue to protect the safety of all of our residents while ensuring that local law enforcement is focused on community policing.

"The U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Major Cities Chiefs Association have, therefore, come together to register our strong reservations with provisions to withhold federal funds in the Executive Order, Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, issued today.

"That order does not provide a clear definition of what constitutes a sanctuary jurisdiction. Instead, it gives undefined discretion to the Secretary of Homeland Security to designate sanctuary jurisdictions and the Attorney General to take action against them. We call upon the Secretary of Homeland Security to document and promulgate a lawful definition before further actions are taken, so the cities across the Nation may determine how to proceed.

"While the Executive Order initially defines a sanctuary jurisdiction as one that willfully does not comply with §1373 (a federal law which prohibits local and state governments from enacting laws or policies that limit communication regarding an individual's immigration status with the Department of Homeland Security), it also describes a sanctuary jurisdiction as one that has in effect a statute, policy or practice that prevents or hinders enforcement of federal law -- a definition open to broad interpretation. While the provisions of §1373 have been enacted by Congress, the latter description has not.

"Local police departments work hard to build and preserve trust with all of the communities they serve, including immigrant communities. Immigrants residing in our cities must be able to trust the police and all of city government.

"We look forward to bringing Mayors and Police Chiefs together with the Secretary of Homeland Security and the Attorney General to discuss these issues and develop an approach to immigration enforcement that does not interfere with strong police-community relations or place inappropriate burdens on local police officers, and upholds our nation's immigration laws."

About The United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

About the Major Cities Chiefs Association: The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA) is a professional organization of police executives representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada. The MCCA provides a unique forum for urban police, sheriffs and other law enforcement chief executives to discuss common problems, to share information and problem-solving strategies. MCCA articulates the public safety needs of large cities in the formulation of criminal justice policy.

Buddhist Leader's Annual Peace Proposal Stresses Power of Youth in Building Global Solidarity, Calls on Civil Society to Play Active Role in Nuclear Disarmament Talks

  Daisaku Ikeda, president of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI) Buddhist association, issued his 35th annual peace proposal titled "The Global Solidarity of Youth: Ushering in a New Era of Hope" on January 26, 2017.

While acknowledging numerous global challenges from armed conflict to the refugee crisis, Ikeda rejects pessimism, citing his faith in young people who embody hope and can catalyze chain reactions of positive change in their communities. He states: "Young people and their energetic engagement represent the solution to the global challenges we face."

He also sees youth as the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) adopted by the United Nations toward 2030. He emphasizes that globally shared action, as seen in recent efforts to fight climate change, is essential in promoting these goals.

Ikeda expresses concern about divisive rhetoric and the growth of hate speech, commenting that xenophobic thinking is propelled by a stark division of the world into good and evil. He echoes former German President Richard von Weizsacker, who described the Berlin Wall as "the politics that deny humanity made into stone," and stresses that we must never allow this kind of division to occur again.

Ikeda discusses the bodhisattva spirit stressed in Mahayana Buddhism as one means of developing a spiritual foundation for building solidarity, describing the bodhisattva as someone motivated by the spirit of empathy to respond to grave social crises, wherever they are and whether or not they are directly impacted.

He discusses the importance of education for global citizenship and calls for fostering a culture of peace through expanding friendship that transcends ethnic and religious differences. He is confident that bonds of friendship among youth can be powerful enough to turn back the "sullied currents of divisiveness" and give birth to a culture of peace rooted in respect for diversity.

Addressing the problem of nuclear weapons, Ikeda urges that the leaders of the United States and Russia, which together possess more than 90% of the world's nuclear arsenal, hold a summit meeting at the earliest opportunity to establish a global trend toward nuclear disarmament.

He stresses the significance of a call for the abolition of nuclear weapons issued by his mentor, second Soka Gakkai president Josei Toda, 60 years ago in 1957. Toda sought to reveal the illusory nature of nuclear deterrence and forcefully stated that the use of nuclear weapons can never be justified.

Ikeda welcomes the adoption of a UN General Assembly resolution last year mandating the start of negotiations for a treaty that will prohibit nuclear weapons. Recognizing the difficulty of convincing nuclear-weapon states to participate in these negotiations, slated for March and June 2017, he stresses that Japan, as the only country to have experienced nuclear bombings in war, has a moral responsibility to work to gain the participation of as many states as possible.

He urges that the establishment of such a legal instrument be a global enterprise with the goal of preventing the horrors of nuclear war from ever being visited upon any country, and emphasizes that this initiative is fully congruent with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its Article VI that requires each state party to pursue good faith negotiations toward complete nuclear disarmament.

Ikeda emphasizes that the actions of civil society during the negotiation process will help build momentum toward the treaty being a form of "people-driven international law."

Regarding the needs of refugees and the countries, mainly in the developing world, that host them, he suggests that the UN take the initiative in developing a new aid architecture that creates better coordination between emergency assistance and development work: a partnership for solving humanitarian challenges and protecting human dignity. This could include vocational training to enable forcibly displaced persons to work in fields that contribute to enhancing resilience and promote the achievement of the SDGs in the host communities.

Ikeda concludes his annual proposal by calling for increased efforts to build a culture of human rights. He suggests activities promoting human rights education to mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 2018, and expresses high expectations for a new human rights exhibition to be launched during the convening of the Human Rights Council in February and March, which the SGI is creating together with other groups.

He stresses the need to promote gender equality to end all forms of discrimination, stating that gender equality is vital to opening the path for all people to bring forth the light of their inner dignity and humanity in a way true to their own unique self.

Finally, Ikeda reconfirms the commitment of the members of the SGI, centered on youth, to work toward creating a global society where no one is left behind.

Daisaku Ikeda has issued proposals to the international community addressing global issues every year since 1983. Philosopher, author and peacebuilder, he has been president of the Soka Gakkai International Buddhist association since 1975. His annual peace proposals are issued on January 26 to commemorate the founding of the SGI. See www.daisakuikeda.org

The full proposal in English will be available on February 16.

The Nation's Mayors Stress Impact of Affordable Care Act Repeal

The nation's mayors today spoke out to stress the serious impact that losing healthcare coverage would have on millions of Americans.

Following The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 85th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C. last week where more than 300 mayors gathered, Conference of Mayors officers, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Columbia (SC) Stephen Benjamin, as well as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, New York City Mayor Bill deBlasio, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and Mesa (AZ) Mayor John Giles sent a letter to Congressional leaders urging them to keep in mind the protections The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided to innumerable Americans from the catastrophic cost of illness and accidents.

Addressed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, the letter cited the ACA provisions that enjoy bipartisan support and should be retained.
In addition to the letter, while in Washington last week, the USCM held a press conference and policy session on the issue of healthcare urging access for all. See video here, as well as many of the mayors' statements below:

"You cannot replace something with nothing, or with something worse," said USCM Vice President Mitch Landrieu, Mayor of New Orleans. "A healthy economy relies on a healthy workforce. It is a fact that more Americans than ever before have access to the preventative services they need to stay healthy because of the Affordable Care Act. Additionally, the looming repeal of the ACA threatens the predictable funding our hospitals and clinics rely on to treat our most vulnerable. Over 180,000 people in the New Orleans area could lose access to healthcare overnight if insurance companies can once again deny coverage for preexisting conditions. Real human lives are at risk."

USCM Vice President Columbia, SC Mayor Stephen Benjamin said, "Our cities have invested heavily and have built the infrastructure for the 21st century economy, but our most treasured asset is human infrastructure. If we repeal the ACA and fail to replace it with a real plan, this amounts to a death sentence for millions of Americans -- and that needs to be clear. We can't allow that to happen."

"From life-saving preventative care and annual physicals, to protecting those with pre-existing conditions and banning benefit limits, the Affordable Care Act provides access to health care for those that need it most. It is critical that Congress works to move our country forward, not backward, and understands that millions of Americans rely on these benefits every day," said Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chair of USCM's Standing Committee of Children, Health and Human Services.

"In New York City, 1.6 million people stand to lose health coverage. That's mothers and children and grandparents who won't be able to afford to see the doctor for the most basic forms of health care. That is unacceptable. As cities, we must work together to be the first line of defense and to make it clear to Congress: we will not stand idly by in the face of injustice," said Mayor de Blasio, Chair of USCM's Cities of Opportunities Task Force.

"As mayors we have a duty to keep our residents healthy, and in San Francisco alone, more than 133,000 people are living healthier, better lives because of the Affordable Care Act," said USCM Member San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee. "We cannot return to a time when our residents were denied coverage for having cancer, HIV, or simply being a woman. Ensuring comprehensive healthcare for all our residents is critical to our city's safety and well-being."

USCM Member Mesa, AZ Mayor John Giles said, "I am the Republican mayor of a city of nearly half-a-million people that have benefitted tremendously by the Affordable Care Act. The ACA has reduced the uninsured by 36% in Arizona, that's over 400,000 people. As mayors, we know that cities are the safety nets of society and if people don't get the medical care they need, it's going to be city fire departments and police departments responding to preventable emergencies. I add my support in calling on members of Congress to behave responsibly and join together in a bipartisan way to address this critical need in our nation and in our communities."

January 25, 2017

World's Most Advanced Aerial Firefighting Tanker Deployed to Fight Wildfires in Chile

Global SuperTanker Services, LLC (GSTS) has been deployed today to fight the devastating wildfires that are raging across Chile, the company announced. GSTS's initial mission in Chile will be underwritten through a generous donation by Fundaciόn Viento Sur of the Walton Family Foundation, created by Walmart founders Sam and Helen Walton. The Global SuperTanker is the world's largest aerial firefighting tanker, with more than 22 times the capacity of the single engine air tankers currently in use and six times the capacity of C-130 and BAe-146 tankers. This is the second international deployment of the Global SuperTanker in the last two months; in November, it was called upon to fight fires in Israel.

"The people of Chile have suffered the impacts of these devastating fires for weeks with little relief in sight," said Lucy Ana Walton de Avilés, of Fundaciόn Viento Sur. "The Global SuperTanker will be a powerful addition to Chile's courageous team fighting to save the people, homes, businesses, and forests in the path of still-raging fires. We are pleased to support its mission, and support the people of Chile."

According to recent press reports, wildfires have consumed nearly 300,000 acres of forest in several regions in the country. There were 122 active fires as of Monday, and there are 4,000 people already involved in fighting these fires. Chile's President Michelle Bachelet called the fires "the greatest forest disaster in our history."

"The Global SuperTanker stands ready to fight fires in any corner of the globe, under any circumstance, and at any time and more quickly than any other aircraft," said Jim Wheeler, President and CEO of GSTS. "The destruction of the fires in several parts of Chile have already been catastrophic, and we hope to provide some immediate relief to the people and places most affected by the devastation. We are very thankful to Fundaciόn Viento Sur, the Walton Family Foundation, and Lucy Ana and Ben Walton for their generous support and willingness to assist the people of Chile."

Global SuperTanker's B747-400, The Spirit of John Muir, incorporates a patented system capable of delivering single or multiple payload drops aggregating over 19,000 gallons (72,000 litres) of water, fire retardant, or suppressant. These fluids can be released at variable rates from the plane's pressurized tanks, producing a tailored response to the firefighting need. This unique ability allows it to make as many as six drops in a single flight, while other aircraft such as the C-130 or BAe-146 must repeatedly land and refuel to achieve the same results. The Spirit of John Muir is the world's youngest, most modern, and fastest Very Large Air Tanker (VLAT). With a flying speed of 600 miles per hour, the Spirit of John Muir can reach any part of the globe in 20 hours or less.

Cornell receives UK support to aid scientists fighting threats to global wheat supply

Cornell University will receive $10.5 million in UK aid investment from the British people to help an international consortium of plant breeders, pathologists and surveillance experts overcome diseases hindering global food security efforts.
The funds for the four-year Delivering Genetic Gain in Wheat, or DGGW, project will build on a $24M grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, announced in March 2016, and bring the total to $34.5M.
"Wheat provides 20 percent of the calories and protein consumed by people globally, but borders in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East are porous when it comes to disease pathogens and environmental stressors like heat and drought that threaten the world's wheat supply," said Ronnie Coffman, international plant breeder and director of International Programs at Cornell University, who leads the global consortium.
"We are using the modern tools of comparative genomics and big data to develop new varieties of wheat for smallholder farmers that incorporate resilience to abiotic stresses and diseases such as rust and septoria," he said.
The UK aid investment builds on the successes of the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative (BGRI) and the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat (DRRW) project, funded jointly by the British people and the Gates Foundation from 2008 to 2016.
"Over the last nine years, we have built a global community of wheat scientists whose efforts have so far prevented the global epidemics of Ug99 stem rust anticipated by Dr. Norman Borlaug back in 2005," said Coffman. "Working with national and international partners, we have delivered more than 65 varieties of wheat with improved resistance to rust and increased wheat yields globally."
For many of the poorest people in Africa and southern Asia, wheat provides most of their food and is an important source of income.
"It's these people who have benefitted the most from the DRRW and the BGRI's successes developing new strains of wheat that are high yielding, rust resistant and nutritious," said Coffman. "Smallholder farmers will benefit further under the DGGW."
Monitoring and surveillance
More than 2,500 scientists from 35 international institutions spread across 23 countries are involved in the consortium. Agricultural scientists from 37 countries contribute data to a unique surveillance network coordinated by Dave Hodson, senior scientist with the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), based in Ethiopia, who directs the rusttracker.org global wheat rust monitoring system.
"Deadly wheat pathogens have been moving from the wheat fields of East Africa into the Middle East. Thirteen countries are now infected with 13 variants of the highly virulent Ug99 stem rust," said Hodson. "Other dangerous stem and yellow rust race groups are also emerging. We need effective and responsive surveillance and early warning systems in place because it's not just Ug99 that we have to worry about. New threats are coming up. We're seeing a dramatic expansion in geographical range and new variants emerging within key race groups. Ug99 was a wakeup call, and we've benefitted from the investments that have been made in rust surveillance. But there's no room for complacency because new threats are emerging. We need to be flexible and address any new concerns that arise."
Capacity and training
In its push to identify genes that can resist evolving and virulent diseases and environmental stresses under the new four-year grant, the DGGW will also focus on capacity building and training the next generation of hunger fighters.
"Collaborative agreements with national governments and agencies are in place to improve the in-country capacity to screen thousands of wheat samples from every continent to identify disease- and heat-resistant lines," said Maricelis Acevedo, wheat rust pathologist and senior research associate at Cornell who is the associate director for science for the DGGW project. "And resources are being invested to strengthen the pipeline to train young scientists in at-risk countries, both men and women."
The FAO estimates world demand for wheat is expected to increase up to 60 percent by 2050, as the global population reaches or exceeds 9 billion people. "Globally, we need to produce more wheat with limited natural resources and in more sustainable ways," said Acevedo. "Breeding, surveillance, capacity building, training and advocacy are critical."
The DGGW project is based at Cornell University, and enlists national partners in Kenya and Ethiopia as well as scientists at international agricultural research centers that focus on wheat, including the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) and the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). Advanced research laboratories in the U.S., Canada, India, Turkey, Denmark, and South Africa collaborate on the project.
For more, see www.globalrust.org

January 24 2017

More sophisticated security threats require improved information and intelligence sharing

 From 9/11 to the more recent attacks in Brussels and Paris, the absence of timely and effective sharing of information between security stakeholders has been repeatedly identified as a shortcoming. A new briefing from The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for National Security reviews the state of information sharing in Canada and identifies areas for improvement.

"Despite its importance to national security, discussions about how to improve information and intelligence sharing often occur only after the damage is done," said Satyamoorthy Kabilan, Director, National Security and Strategic Foresight, The Conference Board of Canada. "The timely sharing of information and intelligence enables us to better understand security risks and prevent or disrupt attacks from occurring."

Highlights

With a rapidly evolving security threat landscape, Canada must rely on effective sharing channels between the private and public sectors.
Developing a better understanding of privacy regulations and legislation is important to create and encourage effective sharing guidelines.
Effective sharing is hindered by several challenges, including bureaucratic red tape, duplication of effort, overlapping mandates, and conflicting objectives.
The briefing, The State of Information and Intelligence Sharing, explores the public-private sector information- and intelligence-sharing relationship and identifies obstacles and challenges. It makes the following six recommendations to help improve information and intelligence sharing in Canada:

Build on the important role played by local law enforcement in sharing with the private sector;
Improve the relatively poor sharing connections between domestic intelligence agencies and the private sector;
Review government security classifications to discourage the unwillingness to share culture among public servants;
Leverage industry association partnerships to bridge the gap between public and private sectors;
Develop a better understanding of what government can and cannot share with the private sector;
Focus on the human aspect of sharing – building personal relationships and establishing trusted voices are critical to developing sharing practices.
"The ability of a country's security and intelligence community to detect, deter, and defend against a range of security threats will only grow in importance as attacks become increasingly coordinated and attackers exploit technology in innovative ways. Bringing together information from multiple stakeholders enables a better understanding of the security threats," added Dr. Kabilan.

The Conference Board of Canada's Centre for National Security (CNS) works to help improve the capacity of Canadian leaders to understand and effectively address national security challenges. The Centre brings together executives from the public and private sectors: executives who have a broad perspective of strategic-level security threats and risks, and whose organizations have a stake in national security, public security and public safety. The CNS team works with participants to produce timely and relevant insights needed to make effective decisions in their areas of responsibility and/or to contribute to public policy-making.

Women’s March on Washington, Toronto, Saturday January 21 2017

  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
  8. Managing Director
  9. Managing Director
  10. Managing Director
  11. Managing Director
  12. Managing Director
  13. Managing Director
  14. Managing Director
  15. Managing Director
  16. Managing Director
  17. Managing Director
  18. Managing Director
  19. Managing Director

Walter Tautorat

Women’s March on Washington, Toronto, Saturday January 21 2017

Walter Tautorat

On Saturday January 21st. the first, in what I am sure will be many more protests to come, took to the streets around the world. I knew this would be something special when the 506 streetcar I was on was already completely full of women when we got to Lansdowne. Every stop on the rest of the trip packed with people heading for Queen’s Park.

This was the Toronto version of the Women’s March on Washington. A direct response to the events that took place in Washington just the day before. Many thousands of people gathered to show their disdain for newly sworn in “President Donald Trump” and to express real fear and worry for the gains made and still to be made in terms of women’s rights and human rights in general.

I have covered many protests and rallies in Toronto but have never been in a crowd this large. Women, men and children of all ages and backgrounds, estimated at over 50,000, gathered and packed the entire south lawn and all the way to College St.

As the march headed south on University Avenue the entire street was taken up in a sea of humanity.1-dsc_06441-dsc_06701-dsc_07271-dsc_0630 As peaceful as the march was, as we got close to the U.S. Consulate it was evident that the Police had also come prepared.

The massive crowd then filled Nathan Phillips Sq. on the ground as well as filling all the balconies that surround the square. Many of the speakers mentioned a new revolution, a new uprising.

Many years in the making and perhaps now is the time to take this revolution to the next level. Reality is that the male dominated world we have created is failing. I believe that not only is it important for women everywhere to be safe and treated equally, but true equality cannot exist until we all understand that women do hold some of the answers to the world’s problems and together we can make a difference and perhaps reverse some of the damage already done.

As frightening as the events in the U.S. are for all of us if we continue to stand together, as we did on Saturday, maybe Love will conquer hate and maybe we can all live in an inclusive society and concentrate our efforts on the truly important issues facing this planet. As Deb Parent, one of the organizers said, this event was a part of history and truly the beginning of a new global uprising. These marches were held in cities around the entire world and if the numbers are any indication, if we unite we can and will be heard.


Thanks to everyone that marched and thanks for letting me be a part of it. It was an incredible way to spend a Saturday in Toronto.

20/01/2017

Global Leaders Launch Council to Help End Malaria

Obama's Approval Ratings Highest on Record since First Year in Office

Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Ray Chambers, the United Nations Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Health in Agenda 2030 and for Malaria, today announced the launch of the End Malaria Council, a group of influential public and private sector leaders who aim to ensure malaria eradication remains a top global priority.

"The next chapter of the fight against malaria starts now," said Gates, who co-authored a report with Chambers in 2015 called Aspiration to Action: What will it take to end malaria? "For the first time in history, we have a roadmap to a world without malaria – where no one has to die from a mosquito bite ever again. With renewed focus, innovation and new commitments of leadership and funding, we can be the generation to end malaria once and for all."

The launch of the End Malaria Council comes just a month after the release of the World Health Organization's 2016 World Malaria Report, which showed remarkable progress in reducing cases and deaths from malaria since 2000, but also underscored the urgent need for global leadership, new funding and innovation to stay on track to meet targets.

Members of the End Malaria Council will work in collaboration with the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other key partners to help countries and regions achieve their malaria control and elimination goals. Members of this unique group will use their voices and networks to support the work already underway by malaria field workers, scientists and experts by focusing on three areas: building political will, mobilizing resources and supporting the development of new tools to find, prevent and treat malaria.

The Council has nine founding members, a group of whom met on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland to discuss strategies for filling critical financing gaps in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The End Malaria Council will grow to represent all of the key malaria-endemic regions. Inaugural members include:

Bill Gates, Co-chair and Trustee, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Ray Chambers, UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Health in Agenda 2030 and for Malaria
Peter Chernin, Founder, Chernin Entertainment and The Chernin Group
Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive, Dangote Group
H.E. Idriss Déby, President, Republic of Chad (representing the African Leaders Malaria Alliance)
H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, Former President, United Republic of Tanzania
Graça Machel, Founder, Foundation for Community Development, Mozambique
Luis Alberto Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank
H.E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President, Republic of Liberia
Thanks to strong leadership, smart investments and the hard work of the public and private sectors, the world has cut malaria deaths in half since 2000, saving more than 6 million lives from the disease. Malaria-related deaths are at an all-time low, especially among children under five in sub-Saharan Africa. This can be largely attributed to the unprecedented delivery of more than 500 million insecticide-treated bed nets over the last three years, along with significant expansion of diagnosis and treatment.

But malaria preys on the rural poor and the young, still killing a child every two minutes. It stunts productivity, burdens families with health care costs, limits educational achievement and slows overall economic growth.

"We have reached a critical juncture in the malaria fight," said Chambers. "To end this disease we need a creative approach to financing – one that combines continued support from donor countries with new approaches to expand commitments, particularly from countries affected by malaria."

Ending malaria is within reach, but the next few years are critical. Success requires maintaining the progress to date, achieving control in endemic countries and accelerating to elimination where possible. Leaders in Africa and Asia have adopted ambitious elimination agendas for their regions, and countries are working hard to achieve the reductions in cases and deaths to meet the bold goals.

"Ending malaria was once an impossible dream," said H.E. Jakaya Kikwete, former President of the United Republic of Tanzania, who lost a brother to malaria when he was a child and made malaria a key priority while in office. "It is now within our reach. It will take strong leadership and serious financial commitments, but I believe we can make history and end this brutal disease once and for all."

For more information visit www.endmalariacouncil.org.
As President Obama prepares to pass the torch to President-elect Trump today, The Harris Poll takes a final look at America's feelings towards his time in office. For the first time since August 2009, just over half of Americans rate President Barack Obama positively. As his two-term Presidency comes to a close, 51% of adults say the President is doing an excellent or pretty good job overall. While Obama's positive ratings have been steadily climbing since March of 2016, this new rating is significantly higher than the 44% who felt positively in September/October of 2016, the last time this question was asked.

When Obama first entered office, ratings were quite high, with a majority of Americans saying he was doing an excellent or pretty good job between March and June of 2009. The highest rating on record came in May of that same year when nearly 6 in 10 Americans believed he was doing a good job (59%) and, until today, August of 2009 was the last showing of a positive tilt at 51%.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,192 U.S. adults ages 18+ surveyed online between January 9 and 11, 2017. Complete results of the study can be found here.

Positive thinkers
While the masses agree President Obama is doing at least a pretty good job overall, some groups are more positively leaning than others. Those most likely to rate the President positively are:

Democrats (86% vs. 46% Independent and 15% Republican);

Millennials (66% vs. 55% 35-44, 45% 45-54, 43% 55-64, 41% 65+);

Urban or Suburban dwellers (62% urban and 50% suburban vs. 39% rural);

Parents (58% of those with a child under 18 in the house vs. 48% without);

Westerners (58% vs. 48% Midwesterners, 49% Southerners, and 49% Northeasterners);

Women (55% vs. 48% men); and,

College educated adults (54% college grad and 53% some college vs. 45% high school or less).

The Energy Report Examines the Predicted Rebound of Frack Sands Under the Trump Administration​

Fracking is poised to increase under the Trump administration, and with it will come the need for larger quantities of fracking sand.


President-elect Donald Trump is widely expected implement pro-energy exploration policies. His "America First Energy Plan" calls for making "American energy dominance a strategic economic and foreign policy goal of the United States," and the unleashing of "America's $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves... " Pro-energy policies coupled with rising energy prices point to an increase in fracking. And with the growth of fracking comes the need for fracking sands.

Sand is essential to fracking. Bloomberg reports that sand "is a much greater tool in hydraulic fracking than drillers had understood it to be. Time and again, they've found that the more grit they pour into horizontal wells-seemingly regardless of how extreme the amounts have become-the more oil comes seeping out." Bloomberg cites IHS figures that show that drillers are using twice as much sand per well as they did in 2011: "The per-well increases have analysts and investors betting that the sand industry will boom again as soon as fracking activity starts to pick up even a little bit."

Torchlight Energy Resources Inc. is one exploration company that is using larger amounts of sand. On Jan. 10, the company announced that on its Flying B Ranch #2 well in the Midland Basin in Texas, it will be performing a "significantly larger multiple-stage frac than previously employed, [utilizing] 600,000 lbs. of sand pumped at a fluid rate of 75-100 barrels per minute." Torchlight CEO John Brda said, "We have engineered a much larger frac for this second well and expect that it will maximize any production results that we encounter."

About Streetwise Reports - The Energy Report

The Energy Report shares investment ideas for the oil & gas, renewable and alternative energy industries. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

DISCLOSURE:

Torchlight Energy Resources Inc. is a billboard sponsor of Streetwise Reports. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services. The information provided above is for informational purposes only and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any security.

The full disclosure is provided at the end of the published article: Frack Sands Rebound Predicted Under Trump Administration

19/01/2017

Ardent Mills Joins Partners in Food Solutions to Strengthen Africa's Ability to Feed Its Growing Population

Record-breaking temperatures signal need for urgent action

Ardent Mills, the premier flour-milling and ingredient company, is joining Partners in Food Solutions, a U.S. nonprofit with headquarters in Minneapolis, as its newest corporate partner.

Partners in Food Solutions connects corporate volunteers with small and growing food businesses in eight African countries in an effort to improve food security, nutrition and economic development across Africa, where the population is expected to double by 2050. Strengthening the middle of the local food system – the processing sector – can create a ripple effect of stable markets for smallholder farmers, job growth and more nutritious food available to consumers. Through a model of remote consulting pioneered by Partners in Food Solutions and recognized by leaders around the world, Ardent Mills' volunteer experts will connect with African client businesses to provide technical and business expertise.

Ardent Mills' volunteers will join others from General Mills, Cargill, Royal DSM, Bühler and The Hershey Company.

"Our social responsibility efforts are focused on ending hunger and educating people on the value of grains to a healthy, balanced diet in the communities where we live and work across North America. By joining hands with Partners in Food Solutions, we are expanding our reach with these efforts on a truly international scale," said Dan Dye, Ardent Mills CEO. "We are all about nourishing what's next and engaging our team members in helping others."

Partners in Food Solutions CEO Jeff Dykstra underscored the importance of this effort: "We believe that supporting the development of a robust local food industry in Africa is at the heart of building stable and thriving communities. Africa is home to more than 1.2 billion people and that population is expected to double to 2.4 billion by 2050. Harnessing the power of the private sector can have a significant impact on increasing food security across the continent for a rapidly growing population."

Adding Ardent Mills volunteer experts to its force is part of Partners in Food Solutions' aggressive growth plan over the next few years. The five-year-old nonprofit has already helped more than 700 food companies through training or consulting projects, and has gone from working in four countries in 2011 to eight in 2017. Partners in Food Solutions has 980 volunteers who have contributed 75,000 hours of technical and business expertise to promising food processors, who in turn are doing business with 896,000 smallholder farmers.

Partners in Food Solutions began as an internal employee volunteer program at General Mills in 2008. It was spun out as a nonprofit organization in 2011, with Cargill joining the effort along with the Dutch nutrition and pharmaceuticals company DSM, Swiss technology company Bühler, and The Hershey Company in 2015.
 Today, as NASA and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration declared 2016 as the hottest year on record, WWF-Canada has the following statements:

David Miller, president and CEO expressed today, "The demand for an immediate and wholesale transition to a low-carbon economy couldn't be more urgent. Pricing carbon is an essential first step. Now it's time to fulfil our G20 commitment to phase out subsidies to the fossil fuel industry and shift those funds to habitat-friendly renewable energy development and job training for Canadians who depend on the energy industry for their livelihood. Time is running out."

James Snider, vice-president of science, research and innovation stated, "Since 1970, we have witnessed a 58 per cent decline in vertebrate wildlife populations around the world, and we're on track to lose 67 per cent by 2020 if we don't make dramatic changes to how we live, including how we fuel our economy. We've pushed the Earth past its limit in terms of climatic systems. Climate change not only contributes directly to wildlife population declines, but – even worse – it exacerbates other factors such as habitat loss and fragmentation, pollution and over-exploitation, accelerating already frightening losses to biodiversity."

Paul Crowley, vice-president of Arctic conservation said, "The world watched in disbelief as Arctic temperatures soared above normal, and as sea ice failed to materialize in the Arctic Ocean, resulting in unprecedented lows in terms of ice thickness and extent. Humanity has already committed the Arctic, its wildlife and people to profound warming and habitat loss. From plummeting barren-land caribou populations to melting permafrost, we are witnessing the resulting changes first hand. And we are crying out for help. If we fail to do everything in our power now to slow warming, the losses will be catastrophic. What's more, change won't be limited to Arctic land- and seascapes. Because of the interconnected nature of Earth's systems and the role the Arctic Ocean plays in global climate regulation, changes here are likely to trigger a global chain reaction."

Elizabeth Hendriks, vice-president of freshwater conservation stated, "Canadians view freshwater – not oil and gas, or minerals – as the most important and valuable natural resource this country has. What's more, Canadians rank climate change as the top threat to our freshwater supply. WWF-Canada's Watershed Assessments show that Canadians are right to be concerned: Of the 19 watersheds already assessed (out of 25), climate change has emerged as a significant threat in eight, including in the Assiniboine-Red, Winnipeg and Northern Ontario watersheds. In future, Canadians can expect to see water shortages, drought, floods and increased river and lake temperatures, which will have harmful consequences for species such as salmon that are dependent on cold-water ecosystems as they spawn."

Megan Leslie, vice-president of oceans conservation said,"Warming temperatures and increased acidification of the world's oceans due to climate change put already vulnerable marine wildlife – such as cod, forage fish, whales and sea birds – at even greater risk. As Canada strives toward the goal of protecting 10 per cent of our oceans, it's essential we create a network of connected areas with meaningful protections, thereby allowing for the movement of marine wildlife already under way in response to climate change."

By the numbers (according to NASA):

Nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000.

Carbon dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in 650,000 years.

Arctic sea ice is declining at a rate of 13.3 per cent per decade.

Global average sea-level rise is 17.8 cm (7 inches) over the past 100 years.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada

WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

16/01/2017

Amidst the Wait for US Foreign Policy Decisions, Proactive Energy Sector Leaders From Africa Get Set to Return to Washington DC for EnergyNet's 3rd Powering Africa: Summit This March

U.S. Mayors Issue a "Call to Action" to Protect Key Bipartisan Provisions of the Affordable Healthcare Act During Presidential Inaugural Week

The annual Powering Africa: Summit returns to Washington DC this March providing a platform for Africa's energy sector stakeholders and developers to engage multilaterals, global investors and technology providers. The meeting will present backbone energy and infrastructure projects to the most proactive partners.

The Summit in 2016 welcomed 620 attendees from 18 countries and whilst 65% of delegates originated from North America, investors from Europe and Asia also participated, seeking partnerships with leading technology companies, governmental agencies, the World Bank, IFC and others to drive forward their African projects already under development.

The Summit is supported again by Power Africa, the U.S. government interagency created to establish 60 million new household and business connections by 2030, aiding the potential to double the size of some African economies and the spending power of the projected 1.5bln people.

Also supporting the meeting is the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), US Africa Development Foundation and the US Africa Business Center (USABC). EnergyNet's Managing Director, Simon Gosling, commented; "It's exciting to be working with the USABC this year. Their members are hugely significant along the energy value chain and clearly doubling efforts to get projects moving, bringing with them much needed bankability for the capitalisation of projects. Equally exciting is the presence and potential of African gas to power projects. This year those attending will be exposed to crucial Gas-to-Power updates including South Africa's gas procurement programme, which will create massive opportunities for the winning bidders and their technology partners. Additionally, as some countries struggle to stabilise investor confidence [including South Africa itself], their IPP procurement programme in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry could lead to some 50% of international capital flowing through the country in the coming years. Therefore taking this programme to the home of the World Bank only stresses further the confidence of the Minister, DOE and the procurement team itself - so personally I'm very excited."
 On the eve of the Trump Presidential Inaugural, The United States Conference of Mayors (USCM) will call on Congress and the Administration to support and retain key provisions of the Affordable Care Act that have bipartisan support, and to work with mayors to improve access to affordable healthcare for people in cities and their metropolitan areas on Wednesday, January 18th during the Conference's Winter Meeting.

Boston (MA) Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Chair of the Conference of Mayors' Children, Health and Human Services Standing Committee, along with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, Chair
Conference's Cities of Opportunity Task Force will hold a joint meeting from 2:45pm to 3:45pm in the South American Room to discuss the future of healthcare in this country and how proposals to repeal and/or replace the law will impact people in cities and metropolitan areas.
The mayors will voice their 'call to action' to protect and enhance access to affordable healthcare at a PRESS CONFERENCE on the Affordable Care Act immediately following the session at 4pm ET in the Statler Room.

Under the leadership of Conference President Oklahoma City (OK) Mayor Mick Cornett, more than 300 mayors will engage next week with Administration officials, Congressional members and business leaders to ensure the economic health of America's cities. Several Trump cabinet nominees, including Vice President Elect Mike Pence, were invited to speak at the meeting, which runs from Tuesday, January 17 to Thursday, January 19.


Toronto becomes first Canadian city to join Bloomberg Philanthropies' innovation team program

loomberg Philanthropies recognized the City of Toronto as a new member of its Innovation Team program, which helps cities drive bold innovation, change culture and tackle big problems to deliver better results for residents.

Toronto was selected from a pool of municipalities with a demonstrated commitment to designing and delivering bold solutions to complex problems. Other cities selected for the global program include Be’er Sheva, Israel; Anchorage, Alaska; Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Maryland; Detroit, Michigan; and Durham, North Carolina. 

Currently in the third round of funding, the program will allow Toronto to fund an in-house innovation team, or “i-team", to pioneer new approaches that improve the lives of residents.

“This will allow the city to improve our services, modernize our city and save money for the people of Toronto,” said Mayor John Tory. “We need to accelerate the process that is already underway in Toronto to come up with creative and innovative solutions to our everyday problems in the city.” 

Innovation teams investigate complex local challenges, design solutions with clear goals and rigorously measure progress to improve residents’ lives. 

Each city will be awarded up to $500,000 annually for up to three years. In addition to the grants, the city will receive robust implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities. The i-team will embark on its mission to design and deliver bold solutions for the city’s most challenging problems.

The Innovation Teams program is one of seven Government Innovation offerings at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Government Innovation equips mayors and other city leaders with the tools and techniques they need to solve urban challenges and improve residents’ lives. 

Eligible cities with at least 100,000 residents and with mayors who have at least two years left in office were invited to apply for the current round of funding.

13/01/2017

A Majority of Americans - Across Party Lines - Feel the Country is on the Wrong Track 

 2016 has come to a close and, both politically and otherwise, 2017 sees a lot of changes on the horizon for the American people. Thinking of the country as a whole, nearly seven in 10 Americans say that things in the country have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track (68%). Regardless of political party affiliation, a majority of Democrats (70%), Independents (71%) and Republicans (60%) feel this way. This sentiment is also particularly true among women (73% vs. 62% of men) and older Americans, ages 55+, compared to those 18-44 (65+, 73%; 55-64, 72%; 45-54, 69%; 35-44, 63%; and 18-34, 62%).

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,192 U.S. adults surveyed online between January 9 and 11, 2017. Complete results of the study can be found here.

The economic outlook
Turning to a broad look at the economy, Americans are largely split on where things will go in the coming year. Over one third each say the economy will stay the same (37%) or improve (36%), while more than one in four are expecting it to get worse (27%).

Economic optimism is highest among men (40% vs. 32% of women) and higher income households ($100K+, 41%; $75K-$99.9K, 43%; $50K-$74.9K, 35%; less than $50K, 31%). Republicans are also significantly more likely than both Democrats and Independents to believe the economy will improve this year (56%, vs. 20% and 37%, respectively).

The future at home
Looking at a micro level – their own households – a slight majority of adults say they expect their household's financial condition will remain the same in the first six months of 2017 (52%). One third, however, are optimistic that their financial situation will improve (36%), while just 12% say it will get worse. Generational differences are apparent as 70% of Matures expect their condition to remain the same while nearly half of Millennials expect things to get better (48%). Men are also more likely to expect improvements (38% vs. 33% of women).

WFP’S HOT DINNER DATA SHEDS NEW LIGHT ON BIG DISPARITIES IN THE COST OF A BOWL OF FOOD

A simple bowl of food in Malawi costs much more than in Davos when you measure the cost of the meal as a percentage of a person’s average daily income.

As political and business leaders gather for the World Economic Forum annual meeting, the World Food Programme (WFP) has worked out how costly food can be for some of the world’s poorest people.

From research it calls Hot Dinner Data, WFP found that as a proportion of income, people in the developing world can pay 100 times more than rich-country counterparts for a basic plate of food. When the most deprived, conflict-ravaged places are factored in, the cost can be up to 300 times higher.

Take a bowl of bean stew – a hot, nutritious meal consumed across regions and cultures. This meal would cost someone in Switzerland a mere 0.41 percent of their daily income to make, that is, 0.88 Swiss francs (CHF) or less than a U.S. dollar. 

A person in Malawi, meanwhile, would need to spend 41 percent of their daily income to be able to eat the same meal. In Swiss terms, this would translate to CHF86.53, or 100 times more than the actual cost in Switzerland. 

At the most extreme end, in the besieged Syrian town of Deir Ezzor, the cost of a bowl of bean stew would exceed a resident’s entire daily income – the equivalent of a staggering CHF271.40 when expressed in the Swiss context. In India or Nicaragua, while more affordable, the stew would still be proportionally 10 to 15 times more expensive than in Switzerland.

“The Hot Dinner Data analysis aims to hold a new mirror up to the world – one which illustrates the distortions in the purchasing power of the rich and the poor as they try to meet their basic food needs,” says WFP’s Chief Economist, Arif Husain. “It is a reminder that access to affordable, nutritious food should be a right for all.”

High food costs in poor countries are generally driven by huge losses caused by deficient storage, transport and distribution systems; excessive reliance on few staple crops; lack of access to markets for local farmers; insufficient preparedness in the face of a changing climate; and conflict – itself often fueled by grievances over the allocation of resources.

WFP believes that by taking firm steps to address many of these challenges, from crop diversification to waste reduction to more efficient supply chains, we can put food within everyone’s reach. As it works with partners local and global to achieve Zero Hunger, WFP will continue to highlight disparities in the price of food by expanding the Hot Dinner Data to include dozens more countries.

JANUARY 11,2017

US Navy, Raytheon generate Tomahawk missile flight plans in real time to strike time-sensitive targets

 The U.S. Navy and Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) completed two flight tests of the Tomahawk Block IV cruise missile, demonstrating how missions can now be planned in real time to strike time-sensitive targets.

"Tomahawk's tactics and procedures have evolved to support the new missions that are being assigned to the weapon," said Dave Adams, senior program director for Tomahawk at Raytheon Missile Systems. "Tomahawk continues to serve and rapidly deliver urgently needed capabilities to the Fleet."

Two Tomahawk missiles containing inert warheads were launched from the Vertical Launch System of USS Pinckney (DDG 91) at the Naval Air Systems Command Sea Test Range off the Southern California coast.

The first test was planned in real time by the crew of the USS Pinckney, who used the Launch Platform Mission Planning (LPMP) capability of the Tactical Tomahawk Weapons Control System, based on data provided by the United States Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. The Tomahawk missile followed a pre-planned route until the conclusion of the test.

In the second test, mission planners again used the dynamic LPMP capability to generate a longer-duration mission that also concluded with a terminal dive maneuver against the target. This test also validated missile performance for a long-duration mission. Tomahawk has a range of 1,000 statute miles and can defeat heavily defended targets virtually anywhere on Earth.

Open Doors Canada Releases World Watch List 2017

Anti-Christian pressure is rising most rapidly in South and Southeast Asia, according to the annual Open Doors World Watch List, released today.

The rise of the Bharatiya Janata Party to power in India has unleashed a religiously motivated nationalist fervour, according to Open Doors researchers responsible for compiling the World Watch List. This index ranks the 50 countries where approximately 215 million Christians experience high levels of persecution due to their identification with Christ.

Five of the six countries whose underlying scores rose most sharply during the past year are in South and Southeast Asia: India, Bangladesh, Laos, Bhutan and Vietnam.

"A stand-out trend is that religious nationalism is driving the Asian countries up the list," said Dr. Ron Boyd-MacMillan, Director for Strategic Research at Open Doors International.

Since the Hindu nationalist BJP won national elections in India in 2014, the pace of anti-Christian violence has accelerated in the country's north, where as many as 40 million Christians live.

THE TOP 10
North Korea again ranks No. 1 on the 2017 World Watch List, for the 16th consecutive year. Open Doors rates Pyongyang's dictatorial regime as unmatched in its hostility to religion.

Within the top 10, Somalia moved up 4 places to No. 2. The intensely tribal character of Somali society means any Muslim who converts to Christianity is immediately detected and that is enough to get you killed.

Overall, the top 10 on the WWL 2017 have been constant. Nine of the top 10 also were among the top 10 on the previous year's list: North Korea, Somalia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Eritrea.

In Iraq and Syria there were fewer reported incidents as most Christians have fled from IS held areas but the pressure on Christians is still very high.

At No. 9, Yemen is the only newcomer to the top 10, displacing Libya. Yemeni Christians are caught in the middle of a civil war between the Saudi Arabia-backed loyalists and Iran-backed Houthi rebels.

OTHER TRENDS AMONG THE TOP 50
The average score for all 50 countries increased slightly compared to 2016. Nearly a quarter of that increase is attributable to increasingly authoritarian regimes in eight countries in the Middle-East and Northern Africa. Countries like Egypt, Jordan and Algeria are really cracking down on extremists.

Extremism has a freer hand in sub-Saharan Africa, where Islamic militancy is going main stream. Money is flowing to Islamic politicians and schools, among other elements of society.

ABOUT OPEN DOORS AND THE WORLD WATCH LIST
For over 60 years, Open Doors has worked in the world's most oppressive countries, empowering Christians who are persecuted for their beliefs.

The Open Doors World Watch Research unit surveys five areas of Christian life: private; family, community, national, and within the church. Separately, it measures violence against Christians.

Open Doors' research methods and results have been independently audited by the International Institute for Religious Freedom.

World Finance explores the globe's economic underbelly: organised crime

From Japan's highly organised Yakuza to Russia's 9,000 member-strong Solntsevskaya Bratva, criminal gangs remain very much at large in the world today. A special report in the latest issue of World Finance takes a look at how crime does indeed pay for the world's most powerful criminal syndicates, and the profound economic impact it has on the global economy.

Wrecking communities and leaving a trail of death and destruction in their wake, Mafioso groups have a profound influence in the societies they touch. In addition to this social impact, the economic consequences of organised crime amounts to billions each year. The new issue of World Finance examines the most lucrative and popular illegal exploits, including the international drug trafficking trade that generates around $320bn every year.

While drug smuggling and human trafficking account for a large portion of global illegal revenue, new technologies are now fuelling new types of crime as well. Cyber attacks, money laundering and sophisticated white-collar crimes are all on the rise as criminal gangs fast adapt their operations to the digital age.

Also in the magazine, World Finance reflects on Donald Trump's momentous victory in the US presidential elections, and explores what his presidency could mean for the world. Elsewhere, the magazine takes a look at the controversy surrounding genetically modified organisms, and how Australia's smart policies have guided the island nation through 100 recession-free quarters.

For more insight into the world of business and finance, pick up a copy of the new World Finance, available in print and online now.
http://www.worldfinance.com

Lawsuit and injunction application brought by First Nations in Ontario against TransCanada Pipelines for work on the same line to be converted for the Energy East project
​​
 

Two First Nations in northwest Ontario – Aroland and Ginoogaming – have just launched a precedent-setting lawsuit and injunction motion against TransCanada Pipelines, Canada and the National Energy Board, for doing and allowing damaging physical work on parts of the Mainline pipeline that runs through those First Nations' traditional territories. This is the same pipeline that TransCanada, through its affiliate Energy East, is applying to convert from natural gas, to carry dilbit (crude oil) from the Alberta oil sands across Canada and into ships for export.

The injunction hearing is slated to be heard on January 25 at the Ontario Superior Court, in Toronto.

The physical work that the First Nations are seeking to stop – at least until the duty to consult and accommodate them about their constitutionally-protected rights is met – is called "integrity digs". TransCanada intends to bring in heavy equipment and dig up a lot of land and expose the buried pipeline in a 30 km stretch that runs through those Nations' traditional territories. TransCanada says it needs to do this to check and possibly repair the pipeline. TransCanada's notice to the NEB says it intends to start the integrity digs work on January 18, but it has agreed to hold off until January 25. It also says it will continue this work up to July 18 2017.

"TransCanada is trying to push ahead with this intrusive work before the duty to consult and accommodate is met," says Raymond Ferris, an employee working for the First Nations. "Neither they, nor the NEB, nor Canada, even admit that a duty to consult and accommodate under the Constitution is owed. TransCanada seems to take the position that since the pipeline was approved and first built starting in the late 1950s, before aboriginal peoples' rights were ever considered, that any physical work on the land about the pipeline can be done without respecting such rights under the law today."

"The integrity digs work will likely cause impacts on aboriginal and Treaty 9 rights to harvest (hunt, fish, trap, gather plants and medicines etc) and to protect burial grounds and other cultural heritage sites and values. They will cause impacts to the First Nations' culture, sacred relationship to the land that is at the core of their identity as indigenous communities, and on their ability to continue to survive with the land," says Kate Kempton, lawyer for the First Nations.

"Canadian law should require the First Nations' consent before such activity can proceed, in accordance with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Canadian law is lagging behind where it needs to be in that regard. But at the very least, it requires meaningful consultation and accommodation sufficient to address the First Nations' concerns," says Kempton. "If Canadian law is not explicit that such requirements exist for new work on old pipelines approved in a bygone era, then it needs to be made explicit. We are pursuing such an explicit remedy here. In the lawsuit, we're seeking declarations that the NEB Act regime which governs these pipelines, has to prohibit activities that infringe aboriginal and treaty rights. We are seeking an injunction to stop the planned integrity digs in the meantime."

"Otherwise," says Ferris, "pipeline companies can do pretty much what they want to First Nation lands, rights and cultures. We can't let that continue. It defeats reconciliation. It further pushes down First Nations. How much further do we have to be pushed?"

One issue in the injunction motion is whether TransCanada is seeking to do the integrity digs work more to prepare the pipeline to be converted to carry crude oil for the Energy East project -- which is far from being approved – as compared to any need to do the work to maintain the physical integrity of the pipe to carry natural gas, which is what is may be carrying now.

"We don't know if any gas is currently moving through the pipeline right now. We haven't been able to find that out, despite repeated requests," says Ferris. "If it is, then since TransCanada first asked to do the integrity digs many months ago, they should have already consulted and accommodated the First Nations. The fact that no one has, is not a burden that the First Nations should bear, and is not an excuse to allow this work in defiance of the First Nations' rights now. If the line is not carrying any gas, then why would TransCanada need to do any physical work to repair something that is now empty?"

"The NEB regime has to grow up to meet the requirements of aboriginal and treaty rights. If we don't actually honour these rights, then they are rendered meaningless. Surely this is not what the federal government intends when it speaks of the need to bring about true reconciliation with the First Peoples through whose trust and through treaties the rest of the Canadian population came to live here," says Kempton. "We'll see what the court will do about this."

Statement by the Prime Minister of Canada on the Death of Former Portuguese President and Prime Minister Mario Soares
​​
 

OTTAWA, Jan. 7, 2017 /CNW/ - The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today issued the following statement on the death of former Portuguese Prime Minister and President Mario Soares:

"It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of former Portuguese Prime Minister and President Mario Soares.

"For more than 50 years, Mr. Soares tirelessly served the Portuguese people. He will be remembered as a figure who, as an activist and political leader, played a central role in bringing democracy back to Portugal and later, as a statesman, became a leader in Europe and on the world stage.

"On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Mr. Soares, and to the Portuguese people. His legacy as one of the builders of modern Portugal will not be forgotten."

Declaration of the Mayor of Montreal regarding the attack perpetrated in Jerusalem
​​
 

​MONTREAL, Jan. 8, 2017 /CNW Telbec/ - "We learned of the attack perpetrated today in Jerusalem and we condemn it vigorously and without reservation. On my behalf, and that of all Montrealers, I wish to express my sympathies and condolences to the families of the victims and hope those injured make a full recovery. I have very special thoughts for Jerusalem which I recently visited with my colleague and Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, accompanied by an economic delegation last November. I offer all my support and solidarity to the mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat. Any city, such as Jerusalem, Fort Lauderdale, Istanbul, Paris, Nice, Berlin, or Montreal, which seeks to continue to grow and prosper, wishes first and foremost to ensure its citizens an inclusive and safe living environment free of senseless violence," said Denis Coderre, Mayor of Montreal and President of Metropolis, the world association of major metropolises.

Inadequate protections planned for Scott Islands
​​
 

 Planned regulations to create Canada's first marine National Wildlife Area (mNWA) for British Columbia's Scott Islands, published today in the Canada Gazette, do not meet WWF-Canada's standards for marine protection and are inadequate to protect the marine ecosystems and wildlife of the area, which includes several endangered and threatened species such as the blue whale and the black-footed albatross.

Why the protections aren't sufficient
Effective marine protected areas are off limits to industrial and commercial uses, including fishing, oil and gas extraction and seabed mining.

Under the planned regulations for Scott Islands:

Commercial fishing can continue, including harmful bottom trawling, longlining and gillnetting, posing a threat to habitat, seabirds and forage fish.

Nothing addresses risks from vessel traffic, such as underwater noise, ship strikes with wildlife and oil spills.

Nothing restricts future oil and gas development in the mNWA should the current moratorium be lifted.

Nothing addresses existing fisheries and their impact on forage fish or forage-fish habitats, although there is a prohibition on new forage-fish fisheries.

The proposed boundary was reduced to accommodate commercial fishing, but it excludes key seabird feeding habitat for Cassin's auklets and other species.

Information about the Scott Islands

11,500 sq. km, twice the size of P.E.I.
Internationally recognized as important for seabirds

Highest concentration of breeding seabirds on entire Pacific coast, south of Alaska
Habitat for 11 species listed as threatened or endangered under the Species at Risk Act (SARA), including:

These seabirds: the black-footed and short-tailed albatrosses, the sooty and pink-footed shearwaters, the marbled and ancient murrelets.

These marine mammals: Steller sea lions, sea otters, grey whales, blue whales and killer whales.

Canadians support stronger protections

In October 2016, WWF-Canada published the results of a public opinion survey conducted by Environics that showed that Canadians support strong levels of marine protection. The survey found:

91 per cent of Canadians overall support minimum standards for marine protected areas, including no oil or gas development and at least half of the area closed to commercial fishing.

80 per cent of Canadians rejected oil and gas exploration within marine protected areas.
63 per cent favoured limits on commercial fishing.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said, "It's disappointing to see these inadequate regulations planned for Canada's first marine National Wildlife Area. These regulations will not properly protect the extraordinary number of seabirds and threatened and endangered wildlife in the region. Such weak protections are not an effective contribution to Canada's marine conservation goals. WWF-Canada will be working to strengthen protection for this site in hopes that Scott Islands meets at least a minimum standard before the regulations are finalized."

Census Bureau Projects U.S. and World Populations on New Year's Day 
​​
 

In January 2017, the United States is expected to experience one birth every 8 seconds and one death every 11 seconds. Meanwhile, net international migration is expected to add one person to the U.S. population every 33 seconds. The combination of births, deaths and net international migration will increase the U.S. population by one person every 17 seconds.

The projected world population on Jan. 1, 2017, is 7,362,350,168, an increase of 77,849,375, or 1.07 percent, from New Year's Day 2016. During January 2017, 4.3 births and 1.8 deaths are expected worldwide every second.

The Census Bureau's U.S. and World Population Clock simulates real-time growth of the United States and world populations at www.census.gov/popclock.

The Agreement on Social Security between Canada and China comes into force January 1, 2017
​​
 

The Honourable Jean-Yves Duclos, Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, announced today that the Agreement on Social Security between the Government of Canada and the Government of the People's Republic of China will come into force on January 1, 2017.

The Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada, and His Excellency Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, welcomed the Agreement on Social Security during the Chinese Premier's visit to Canada in September 2016.

This Agreement on Social Security will allow Canadian businesses and their employees who are sent to work temporarily in China to continue contributing to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP). The Agreement will eliminate situations in which such individuals and their Canadian employers will have to contribute to both the CPP and the comparable pension program of China for the same work.

This will result in substantial savings and increase the economic competitiveness of Canadian companies operating in China. As well, Chinese companies and their employees sent to work in Canada will benefit from the same advantages.    

Report on Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat e Islami Released 
​​
 

The South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), an organisation working to promote freedom, democracy and peace in South Asia and Europe, will be releasing a new report comparing the 'Muslim Brotherhood' (MB) and the 'Jamaat-e-Islami' (JeI) titled "Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami: Ideological Brothers", on December 23, 2016. This report carries out an in-depth study of the origin, ideology and evolution of the MB and JeI, and draws parallels between the two Islamist organisations.

Tracing the origin of the JeI in 1941 by Maulana Sayyid Abu'l-A'la Mawdudi, the report shows how he was deeply influenced by the Brotherhood, and subsequently how the MB borrowed heavily from the writings of Mawdudi. Both groups have a similar ideology that permits use of extreme violence for promoting Islam in society, and during the periods that they have been in the government, namely the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from June 2012 to July 2013 and JeI-BD in Bangladesh in 2001, have been marked by incidents of increasing violence against women, minority Muslim communities and political institutions. Moreover, both groups have also been known to give birth to extremely radical offshoots, the Al-Qaeda and Hamas in case of the MB, and the Islamic Chhatra Shibir in the case of JeI-BD.

The study clearly brings out the deep ideological similarities between Islamist movements like the MB and JeI-BD, which despite their democratic rhetoric and resort to democratic practices like elections to come to power, believe in a Millennial Islamic Movement to establish their 'cherished goal' of global caliphate, or 'God's Kingdom', in which women and minorities would not enjoy equal opportunities and rights. Their lip service to democracy and apparent acquiescence to secular law reflects their pragmatism, not their transformation into liberal democratic organisations. The study further highlights that the founders of both the MB and JeI, and the leadership that followed, continue to strive for 'God's Sovereignty'.

The study cautions that the world needs to take note of the deep ideological similarities between the two Islamist fundamentalist organisations, which have been the ideological inspiration for a multitude of terrorist groups in various parts of the world. Adding that the followers of these ideologies have adopted multi-pronged strategies, namely the spread of the 'madrassa' system of education to mould the thinking of Muslim youth, adherence to a uniform dress code, mass conversions, negation of national boundaries on grounds of religion and intolerance towards other sects and religious beliefs, the study cautions that the spread of such violent Islamic thought has the potential of pushing the world into a violent confrontation between Islam and other religions.

SADF is a non-profit organisation registered in Brussels. It intends to encourage the application of the United Nations' general principles and resolutions regarding human rights. It stands against all kinds of discrimination based on colour, race, language, gender, political orientation, religion, nationality, tradition, ethnic origin or social background, social or legal status, age or birth. The organisation aims to promote labour rights, sustainable development, freedom, open governance, peace and democratic laws.  

Protecting biodiversity and expanding Canada's network of protected areas
​​
 

The Honourable Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister Responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, and the Honourable Minister of Alberta Environment and Parks and the Minister Responsible for the Climate Change Office, Shannon Phillips, reaffirmed Canada's commitment to expanding its network of protected areas and protecting its biodiversity.

Phillips said, "The Government of Alberta is proud to co-lead and collaborate with our parks and protected areas leaders, along with Indigenous communities across the country on this important initiative. Earlier this year we signalled we are looking seriously at what 17 per cent would mean in Alberta and are pleased to be part of a national effort to ensure important natural landscapes are protected. We encourage all those with an interest in participating in this endeavour to put their names forward to represent all Canadians on the National Advisory Panel. Together we can achieve our national target for the well-being of future generations of Canadians."

Canada committed that at least 17 per cent of land and inland water will be conserved by 2020, through networks of protected areas and other conservation measures. Federal, provincial and territorial governments are working together to fulfill that commitment and invitations to Indigenous groups have been extended to participate.

As part of this initiative, applications are now being accepted for a National Advisory Panel that will provide advice to governments on solutions for protecting biodiversity, including how best to measure progress. It will be comprised of individuals reflecting a broad spectrum of perspectives including Indigenous groups, municipalities, non-profit and private sector organizations, youth and others.

Canadians are encouraged to get involved by submitting an expression of interest to be a member of the National Advisory Panel. Successful applicants will be announced in February 2017.

Protected areas are vital to Canada's ecosystems and play a fundamental role in safeguarding habitat for wildlife, mitigating the impacts of climate change and providing opportunities for tourism, recreation and connecting with nature.

Mexico, for a more sustainable world: 13th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity
​​
 

​ The thirteenth annual Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity, COP 13, was held in Cancun, Mexico December 2nd to the 17th. The objectives of the meeting, which took place in Mexico, were to find new and better solutions to protect local biodiversity, valuing its economic and social importance, as well as to find sustainable forms of interaction between the people and other species living in a given environment.

Focusing on four sectors considered key to conserving the environment (agriculture, forestry, fisheries and tourism), it was also the setting for the launch of Mexico Tourism Board's new campaign focused on the country's biodiversity and its wealth in terms of nature, culture and gastronomy.

"As global travel trends suggest, travelers are seeking destinations that are rich in biodiversity and sustainability. As the fourth most mega biodiverse country in the world, Mexico is the perfect place for those looking to immerse themselves in authentic cultural, culinary and nature-filled experiences. We believe that what travelers are looking for, lives in Mexico and this is the basis of our campaign," remarked Lourdes Berho, Mexico Tourism Board's CEO.

In attendance at the COP 13 Conference were Ministers of Economy, Chief Executive Officers of socially responsible multi-national companies in the public and private sector, international banks that promote sustainable business and international financial institutions. Participants were tasked with finding long-term solutions and proposals for encouraging businesses that are respectful of biodiversity.

Biodiversity is already a part of Mexico's identity and is recognized abroad as one of its most emblematic characteristics, as well as one of the primary reasons why tourists visit the country. This is because biological diversity has also been at the foundation of its culture, economic development, and welfare of its society.

About Mexico as a mega-diverse country:
Within the country's territory, visitors can encounter 564 species of mammals, more than 1,000 species of birds, 864 reptile species and 376 amphibians, in addition to over 23,000 types of plants. The richest states in terms of flora and fauna are Michoacan, Guerrero, Oaxaca, Veracruz and Chiapas. Oaxaca has the largest number of combined flora and fauna species, however Chiapas is home to the greatest plant diversity with 8,248 registered species and shelters 35% of the country's vertebrates. As a result, all of these destinations offer ecotourism and adventure tourism experiences.

Southern Mexico is especially relevant in terms of species wealth, since it is where two of the major regions of the planet meet. This is why the Isthmus of Tehuantepec is host to a mixture of fauna and flora from both North and South America, as well as animals that are native to this area.

In the northern part of the country, Baja California and Baja California Sur are the states with the largest number of endemic plant species in Mexico. Additionally, more than 140 different species of marine life have been recorded in the Gulf of California, which is why thousands of visitors come from around the world each year to witness the arrival of the whales. A similar wealth of diversity can be found in the coral reefs of the Caribbean, which stretch over 120 miles.

Finally, of all of the bird species that inhabit Mexico, 125 are endemic and 70% are located in the tropics, particularly in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Campeche and Quintana Roo.

At the conclusion of this COP 13 meeting, Mexico reiterated its continued active engagement in finding significant solutions to protect its biodiversity. Mexico values its importance and drawing from this natural abundance, has created a unique and varied cuisine, as well as tourist experiences such as whale and bird-watching. It also offers ecotourism excursions to communities who share their traditions and their co-existence with local wildlife.

The mega biodiverse attraction that Mexico offers both national and international tourists is a 360º experience in which one can observe native fauna up close, enjoy a wide variety of dishes derived from unique local products, as well as routes throughout the country comprised of ecosystems that offer mega-experiences and mega-travels, reflecting the campaign's slogan, 'what you are looking for, lives in Mexico.'

Canada-U.S. Arctic commitments a major win for unique ecosystems and people who depend on them
​​
 

 In response to today's Joint Arctic Leaders' Statement by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama, WWF-Canada president and CEO David Miller, and Paul Crowley, vice-president of Arctic Conservation, are available to comment and have issued the following:

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada president, says:
"Today the governments of Canada and the United States have taken significant steps toward the protection of the Arctic's unique ecosystems. As climate change warms the planet and sea ice diminishes, the Last Ice Area will become a refuge for the Arctic's ice-dependent wildlife, including polar bears, narwhal, seals, walrus, and beluga and bowhead whales. WWF first identified the need to create an Arctic Ice protected area in 2008 and has been working toward protecting this Last Ice Area ever since. We applaud the government's commitment to work with Inuit to keep this refuge alive for wildlife and communities.

"For over a decade, WWF has worked to show both government and industry that unpredictable weather, remote locations and lack of resources create an unnecessary level of risk when it comes to oil and gas extraction in the Arctic. Today's announcement shows an impressive commitment to protect one of our most ecologically sensitive areas. We urge industry to see the ban of offshore drilling in the Arctic as an opportunity to invest in habitat-friendly renewable energies to help meet our fuel and energy needs.

"WWF welcomes the opportunity to work with the governments of both Canada and the United States to ensure the commitments made today create lasting protections for the entire North American Arctic region."

Paul Crowley, WWF-Canada's vice-president of Arctic conservation says:
"As ice-free Arctic summers become a more frequent reality, ship traffic is only expected to increase in the Arctic. Today's announcement reaffirms that there is an opportunity now to enact regulations to ensure the safe passage of ships through Arctic corridors, with minimal disruption to marine habitats. Today's commitment to phase down the use of heavy fuel oil in the Arctic is an important step toward safeguarding ecologically diverse regions such as Lancaster Sound for the long-term survival of species and Arctic communities.

"Changing conditions in the Beaufort Sea and the High Arctic are creating unprecedented levels of access to potential new fisheries. We welcome today's announcement to restrict industrial fishing activities in these highly sensitive areas until proper and complete scientific evaluations have been completed. These protections will conserve these important fish populations while the Canadian government follows through on today's commitment to work with Northern and indigenous communities to build sustainable fisheries that benefit Northern communities first."

More Natural Light to Shine in Africa
​​
 

​Following the success of the Natural Light solar lamp in Africa, the VELUX Group will deliver 20,000 more solar lamps to support sales agents in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and from now on also in Malawi.

Copenhagen, Denmark, 22nd December 2016 PRNewswire - Using an entrepreneurial distribution model, the Natural Light project will now donate a second instalment of 20,000 solar lamps. These will be sold by new sales agents in off-grid communities in Zambia, Zimbabwe, Sierra Leone and, for the first time, in Malawi.

The aim of this project, besides bringing a sustainable light source to off-grid communities, was to create a business model for local sales agents to make a living. This has been a great success. Today more than 50 sales agents in three African nations – Zimbabwe, Zambia and Sierra Leone – have their own businesses selling Natural Light solar lamps.

The Natural Light project, in collaboration with social business Little Sun, and NGO Plan International, was created to celebrate the VELUX Group’s 75th anniversary. Following an international design competition last year, which received 172 submissions from all over the world, the winning design was chosen and 14,500 units of the solar lamp were distributed in Africa – one for each employee of the VELUX Group and its sister companies.

Olafur Eliasson, artist and founder of Little Sun, says: “The Natural Light solar lamp is not only about providing energy to off-grid communities in Africa; it gives people the means to take charge of their own lives. By providing sustainable, reliable and affordable light, we’ve given people more independence and now they are able to work, study and cook safely in the dark.”

Alongside light, the Natural Light solar lamps will also help to improve air quality by reducing the widespread use of toxic, carbon-emitting kerosene lanterns, and instead, harness the sustainable energy of the sun.

Michael K. Rasmussen, Senior Vice President, Brand, the VELUX Group, says: “As a company built on knowledge of light and fresh air, the Natural Light project was a beautiful way to celebrate our 75th anniversary and bring better living environments outside our normal markets. Apart from light for reading or cooking after sunset and substitute the smelly kerosene lamp, the Natural Light project has helped foster young, ambitious entrepreneurs who now have their own businesses.”

He continues: “We have extended the program to Malawi after the very positive uptake in the other countries - team members from Zambia had shared the story with the new project participants in Malawi, and we are excited to have them join the Natural Light family.”

The additional Natural Light solar lamps are ready for distribution. A number of local sales agents in Malawi will be trained on how to sell the solar lamps in the coming months, through a series of workshops, roleplays, demonstrations, and group work.

WWF-Canada encouraged by progress on marine protected areas
​​
 

World Wildlife Fund Canada welcomes the federal government's proposed regulations for the planned St. Anns Bank marine protected area (MPA) off the coast of Cape Breton.

The protections proposed

The area, about the size of Lake Manitoba at more than 4,300 sq. km, has been given strong protections, including:

80 per cent of the area closed to commercial fishing.

Destructive fishing gear, such as bottom trawl nets, banned in the entire MPA, with low-impact fishing still allowed in specific zones.

A total ban on oil and gas exploration.

Why protections are important

The bank is an important habitat for leatherback sea turtles and at-risk Atlantic wolffish, and closing the majority of the area to fishing has the potential to help Atlantic cod stocks rebound.

Why there's still concern

The federal government has been building momentum toward its goal of protecting five per cent of Canada's waters by the end of 2017, and WWF-Canada is pleased by the level of protection proposed for St. Anns Bank and given to Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Darnley Bay), an Arctic MPA announced last month.

WWF-Canada remains concerned, however, that future MPAs might not be given the same level of protections.

Close to the St. Anns Bank is the Laurentian Channel, another potential MPA, where oil and gas exploration may still be allowed within most of the protected area.

In British Columbia, WWF-Canada is particularly concerned about the lack of regulation for activities such as commercial fishing in the planned Scott Islands marine National Wildlife Area.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said,"WWF-Canada worked for years to protect the St. Anns Bank, and we are very pleased this new marine protected area gives strong, meaningful protection to species such as leatherback turtles and wolffish. These are exactly the kinds of robust protections needed in all future MPAs."

New poll shows most Canadians would give the gift of good health
​​
 

According to a recent Ipsos poll, most Canadians agreed that good health is their wish for family and friends this Christmas. Six in ten Canadians picked health as their gift of choice over stability (15%), success (12%), education and freedom (tied at 5%).

While we can't quite wrap gifts like health and stability to give to family and friends, by purchasing gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalogue like Medicines for Children ($30), Start a Business ($100) and School Essentials ($10), you can provide these gifts to children who need it in developing countries.


"Good health is a gift we don't take for granted. Giving gifts like medicines, clean water and emergency nutrition mean this Christmas you can give the gift of health to children who need it in a real way."

-Lisa Fernandes, World Vision Gift Catalogue



62% of Canadians surveyed would give loved ones the gift of health

The majority of respondents (88%) agree that Christmas is a time to help those in need

With 9 in 10 of Canadians agreeing that Christmas is too commercial, giving from the Gift Catalogue helps gift givers make a lasting impact.

What Canadians can do:

This Christmas honour others with meaningful gifts. Last year, more than 50,000 Canadians gave gifts from the World Vision Gift Catalogue.

#meaningfulgifts

www.worldvision.ca/gifts

$11 Billion Donated to North American Nonprofit Health Care Organizations in 2015
​​
 

Donations to nonprofit hospitals and health care systems in North America decreased by $82 million during the 2015 fiscal year, but totaled $11.041 billion, the Association for Healthcare Philanthropy's (AHP) annual Report on Giving announced.

"It's significant that giving stayed above $11 billion in 2015, continuing a positive trend we saw in 2014," says Steven W. Churchill, MNA, president and chief executive officer of AHP. "We did see a difference in performance between the U.S. and Canada, however."

AHP's annual survey of gifts, pledges and grants shows that total funds raised by health care institutions increased by 0.2 percent in the U.S. last year to $9.651 billion, but decreased in Canada for the second year in a row, in 2015 by 6.8 percent to $1.39 billion.

Veronica Carroll, MBA, CFRE, chief executive officer of the Children's Health Foundation of Vancouver Island, attributed multiple economic pressures to the decrease in donations in Canada. She also pointed out the increased focus on community services and programs, "which are inherently more complicated to explain to donors." She continued, "We are also seeing the effects of a change in the way in which younger generations are engaging in healthcare philanthropy. As peer to peer fundraising increases, traditional healthcare philanthropy will need to make the case to younger generations that they are good stewards of healthcare dollars."

Fundraising efficiency, measured by cost to raise a dollar (CTRD), differed between the countries only slightly. A 2-cent drop lowered CTRD to 23 cents in the U.S., whereas in Canada, a 1-cent increase took CTRD to 24 cents at health care institutions in FY 2015.

"Overall, donors should be confident that their contributions are used effectively by health care institutions to improve the quality of care and research they provide throughout North America," says Jory Pritchard-Kerr, FAHP, CFRE, AHP board chair and executive director at Collingwood General & Marine Hospital Foundation in Ontario.

The Association for Healthcare Philanthropy sponsors the annual Report on Giving, which can be accessed at www.ahp.org, to provide key health care philanthropy benchmarks. AHP, established in 1967, represents nearly 5,000 development professionals at 2,000+ nonprofit hospitals, medical centers, health systems and related facilities internationally.

Government of Canada to ban asbestos
​​
 

Today, the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, along with the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honourable Judy M. Foote, Minister of Public Services and Procurement, announced that the Government of Canada will move forward with a whole-of-government approach to fulfill its commitment to ban asbestos and asbestos-containing products by 2018.

Duncan said, "Protecting the health and safety of Canadians is of utmost importance to the government. There is irrefutable evidence that has led us to take concrete action to ban asbestos. Canadians can be confident my colleagues and I will continue to work hard to ensure their families, co-workers and communities will be protected from the harmful impacts of asbestos exposure so they may lead healthy, secure lives."

The approach will be guided by science-based decision making and will be implemented in consultation with our partners. Canadians can be confident that the Government of Canada is making every effort to protect their health and safety, along with the health and safety of their families, co-workers and communities.

The comprehensive ban on asbestos will include:

creating new regulations that ban the manufacture, use, import and export of asbestos under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, the legislative framework that protects people from the risks associated with hazardous substances such as asbestos;

establishing new federal workplace health and safety rules that will drastically limit the risk of people coming into contact with asbestos on the job;

expanding the current online list of asbestos-containing buildings owned or leased by the Government of Canada;

working in collaboration with our provincial and territorial partners to change the national, provincial and territorial building codes to prohibit the use of asbestos in new construction and renovation projects across Canada;

updating our international position regarding the listing of asbestos as a hazardous material based on Canada's domestic ban before next year's meeting of parties to the Rotterdam Convention, an international treaty involving more than 150 countries that support listing asbestos as a hazard; and

raising awareness of the health impacts of asbestos to help reduce the incidence of lung cancer and other asbestos-related diseases.

The Government of Canada will work with the health, labour, trade and commercial sectors, among others, to fulfill its commitment to ban asbestos by 2018. The regulatory process will be open and inclusive and will allow for consultations with multiple stakeholders—including provinces, territories, communities, industry, scientists and health professionals—in advance of the ban being implemented. The result of the government's coordinated and comprehensive actions will ensure that the health and safety of Canadians is protected at home, at work and in their communities.

"The Prime Minister made a commitment to move forward on a ban on asbestos and asbestos-containing products in Canada. Today, we are delivering on that promise. We will put in place the best regulatory measures to protect the health and safety of Canadians as we move forward towards a complete ban on asbestos," stated McKenna. 


Majority of Canadians Approve of Ottawa's Approach to Pipelines
​​
 

A majority of Canadians support Ottawa's balanced approach to oil pipelines and transportation, according to results of an Ipsos poll done in part for the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers.

The results also show the number of British Columbians who support the approval of the Trans Mountain Expansion Project (54 per cent) is more than double those who oppose it (26 per cent). The same is true for Line 3 Replacement Project, where results show the number of British Columbians who support the approval (53 per cent) is more than double those who oppose it (19 per cent).

British Columbians' agreement with Ottawa's approach ranks above the national average on each of the four decisions. Support for Ottawa's plan is highest in Alberta and B.C. and lowest in Québec and Atlantic Canada.

On November 29, the Government of Canada:

Approved the Trans Mountain Expansion Project;
Approved the Line 3 Replacement Project;
Rejected the Northern Gateway Project; and,
Announced it will proceed with a moratorium on crude oil tanker traffic off the north coast of B.C.

Detailed results of the Ipsos poll can be found online here: http://ipsos-na.com/news-polls/

Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers quotes: Tim McMillan - president and CEO, CAPP
On poll:

"A majority of Canadians agree the Government of Canada has taken a balanced approach to pipelines."

"Canadians want to see governments take action on climate change but Canadians also want their governments to take action to grow our economy. These decisions can balance both - and Canadians support these decisions."

"It's important we continue to listen to all Canadians - both those in favour of pipelines and those opposed - to have a balanced conversation about our energy future."

On Trans Mountain and Line 3

"The Ipsos results show that in their approval of Trans Mountain and Line 3 pipelines, the Government of Canada has the support of most Canadians. "

"A majority of British Columbians approve of Ottawa's decision to expand the Trans Mountain pipeline - to connect Canada's energy to new customers around the world and support jobs for Canadians."

"As most British Columbians support the approval of Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, we need to move forward with construction and with creating jobs for Canadians."

On Northern Gateway and Tanker Moratorium

"We respect Ottawa's decision on Northern Gateway. Naturally we are disappointed that this project to connect Canadian energy with the world is not going to be built. British Columbians appear split on the project too, with as many in favor as opposed to it."

"The protection of Canada's coasts is a priority for all Canadians, for governments and for industry. We hear and respect the views of Canadians. We will continue to collaborate with governments and communities to listen and work together on the tanker moratorium to find a path forward."

Methodology: Ipsos conducted this poll between December 5, and December 8, 2016. A sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos' online panel was interviewed. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the adult population according to census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate +/- 3.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) represents companies, large and small, that explore for, develop and produce natural gas and crude oil throughout Canada. CAPP's member companies produce about 85 per cent of Canada's natural gas and crude oil. CAPP's associate members provide a wide range of services that support the upstream crude oil and natural gas industry. Together CAPP's members and associate members are an important part of a national industry with revenues from crude oil and natural gas production of about $120 billion a year. CAPP's mission, on behalf of the Canadian upstream crude oil and natural gas industry, is to advocate for and enable economic competitiveness and safe, environmentally and socially responsible performance.


New year brings heightened safety concerns for Canadians
​​
 

As we close out 2016 and reflect on the changed international political landscape, Canadians are notably worried about the state of public safety.

In a recent IPSOS survey conducted on behalf of the Union of Solicitor General Employees, 63% of Canadians are, in fact, clearly concerned about public safety.

Canadians often take pride in living in one of the safest countries in the world, so what is causing Canadians to worry?

The recent outcome of the United States presidential election is driving part of this concern. The majority of Canadians feel that President-Elect, Donald Trump, spells bad news for both the safety of Canadians (66% of respondents) and Americans (69% of respondents) resulting in a strong sentiment of Canadians feeling less safe.

Women are especially likely to believe that both Americans (75% of respondents) and Canadians (74% of respondents) will be less safe with Donald Trump as President.

This comes as no surprise. Canada, as well as the world, is eagerly watching to see what policies President-Elect Donald Trump implements given some of his controversial campaign promises. With political uncertainty, Canadians are feeling greater anxiety than usual.

However, Canada remains a very safe country according to Canada's public safety leaders.

"Public safety in Canada has a very strong foundation" says Stan Stapleton, National President of the Union of Solicitor General Employees. "Canadians can feel assured knowing that there are 16,000 employees working across 17 federal departments who are dedicated to ensuring that Canada is as safe as it is. They play a crucial role in Canada's larger public safety network that protects families and communities every day, both at home and overseas."

These front line employees work for Correctional Service Canada, the RCMP, Public Prosecution, Justice, as well as the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal, and the Offices of the Information and Privacy Commissioners of Canada, among others.

The IPSOS poll also revealed another concern. While Canadians are largely aware of how to report a domestic crime, reporting an international security threat is not that clear, especially among women. Over half, 56%, of women said they did not know how to report a potential international security threat in Canada.

This is despite a significant investment under the previous federal government in anti-terrorism efforts which some claimed came at the expense of domestic anti-crime efforts.

"It's extremely important that Canadians insist that resources are used to maintain and strengthen our domestic public safety net, as well as international anti-terrorism efforts. They go hand in hand, "remarked Mr. Stapleton.

For more information, visit KeepingCanadiansSafe.ca

Tanzania to improve cassava in Africa with NextGen Cassava project
​​
 

Tanzania recently became a partner of the Next Generation Cassava Breeding project (NextGen), joining Nigeria and Uganda in the global effort to improve cassava breeding in Africa. This partnership is expected to enhance the project's efforts to improve livelihoods for African cassava farmers.

"Partnering with NextGen should help us develop tools to address biotic stresses like cassava brown streak disease, cassava mosaic disease, and cassava green mite, and improve cassava root yields that will serve to increase cassava production countrywide," said Heneriko Kulembeka, cassava breeder and NextGen coordinator in Tanzania. "The NextGen project will assist in determining good parental lines for different traits of interest."

"Tanzania has one of the foremost cassava breeding programs in Africa," said Chiedozie Egesi, NextGen manager of the Cornell University-led project. "Because Tanzania shares African cassava germplasm, they will benefit from the genomic predictions that NextGen has already developed, use of the NextGen Cassavabase database and capacity for improved phenotyping."

Cassava is a vital crop in Tanzania, second only to maize in volume produced. More than 80 percent of farmers in the country grow cassava, producing about 4.5 million tons of cassava roots annually. About three-quarters of the crop is used for human consumption. The rest is used for livestock feed and industrial purposes. A widely preferred and hardy staple, cassava is often stored in the ground and locally processed as a source of food in times of famine.

Cassava farmers face many challenges raising their crop. Tanzania loses an estimated 2.5 million tons each year to cassava brown streak disease, cassava mosaic disease, and cassava green mite. There is poor access to improved planting materials and processing technologies, limited use of fertilizers and herbicides, and low investment in cassava research and improvement.

To address these challenges, researchers in Tanzania's Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Fisheries (DRD) will collaborate with scientists on the NextGen project largely through ongoing efforts at the Lake Zone Agricultural Research and Development Institute (LZARDI), the oldest agricultural research station in Tanzania. LZARDI scientists are well prepared to contribute to the efforts of NextGen partners through cassava-related research that includes breeding and improvement, molecular marker-assisted breeding for disease resistance, processing and product development, and agronomy studies.

The NextGen Tanzania team consists of Kulembeka; Kiddo Mtunda, cassava breeder and coordinator (coastal Tanzania); Geoffrey Mkamilo, national team leader of the Cassava Research Program in Tanzania; Kasele Salum, assistant cassava breeder (Lake Zone); and Caroline Sichwale, assistant cassava breeder (Eastern Zone).

NextGen is a global partnership led by International Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, in collaboration with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture and National Root Crops Research Institute breeding centers in Nigeria, the National Crops Resources Research Institute in Uganda, DRD in Tanzania, the West African Centre for Crop Improvement in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the Boyce Thompson Institute, USDA-ARS, and the U.S. Department of Energy in the United States.
The Cornell-led project is funded by a $25 million, five-year grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Department for International Development of the United Kingdom, and is in its fourth year.

Switzerland opens the longest
train tunnel in the world
​​
 

It's longer – and deeper – than any other train tunnel in the world. Sunday 11 December 2016 sees the entering into service of the Gotthard Base Tunnel. This pioneering project will enable passengers to speed under the Alps in some 17 minutes. The dual-track tunnel will bring northern and southern Switzerland closer together, and cut travel time between neighbouring countries. It will permit passengers from near and far to spend more time at their destination, discovering the many delights of Switzerland north and south of the Alps.

Switzerland already possesses the densest public transport network on the planet. And over the years it has increased its impressive lead over other nations. June 2016 saw the festive inauguration of the Gotthard Base Tunnel – a 17-year pioneering project which extends for 57 kilometres down to a maximum depth of 2300 metres under the Gotthard massif. The Swiss Federal Railways (SBB) have now finished subjecting the tunnel to exhaustive safety and technical tests. On Sunday 11 December – the day on which Switzerland's public transport network changes its annual timetable nationwide – the Gotthard Base Tunnel will enter into scheduled service.

Easier, quicker and more comfortable

This tunnel of spectacular superlatives is more than a masterpiece of railway engineering – it is also a commitment to efficient, safe and sustainable train transport through the Alps. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will permit passengers to travel under the Gotthard massif in some 17 minutes. It will cut 30 to 40 minutes off travel time from German-language to Italian-language Switzerland. The new traffic artery will mean faster and more frequent connections, using modernized and new rolling stock. The Gotthard Base Tunnel is a compelling reason to explore the north and south of Switzerland by public transport.

Let's Talk Parks, Canada!​
 

 As Canada prepares to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation, the Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, invites all Canadians to share their views on how Parks Canada should work to protect and present national parks, national historic sites and national marine conservation areas for the next 50 years.

Parks Canada will hold public consultations from January 9 to January 27, 2017 and deliver a suite of virtual engagement activities and face-to-face events, to ensure all Canadians have the opportunity to provide their input.

Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada said, "In January 2017, help mark Canada's 150th anniversary by joining the discussion on the future of our national parks, national historic sites, and national marine conservation areas. I want to hear from everyone on how these places can be enjoyed by more Canadians and how we can continue to protect them for future generations. So come on out and let's talk Parks, Canada!"

Later this month, Parks Canada will release the State of Canada's Natural and Historic Places report to help inform discussions at the consultations. This report, which covers the period from 2011-16, offers an overview of the state of Canada's natural and cultural heritage places and provides information on progress in establishing protected areas and designating people, places and events of historic significance.

Parks Canada manages one of the finest and most extensive systems of protected natural and cultural heritage areas in the world. Help shape the future of Canada's amazing network of heritage places by joining the discussion from January 9 to 27, 2017. You can participate by visiting www.letstalkparkscanada.ca, ParksCanada or Environment and Natural Resources in Canada on Facebook, #TalkParks on Twitter, and follow us on Instagram. To learn more about Parks Canada and the consultations, visit www.letstalkparkscanada.ca today.

Morocco and Nigeria Aim to Power Africa with Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Announcement Made during King Mohammed VI's Historic Visit to Nigeria​​
 

​During a historic visit to Nigeria that began late last week, Morocco's King Mohammed VI presided over the signing ceremony of an ambitious agreement to construct a transcontinental gas pipeline. At completion, the pipeline will bring Nigeria's energy resources through West Africa to Morocco; and eventually to European markets with Morocco serving as a gateway.

Speaking at the ceremony, Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama said that one objective of the pipeline is the acceleration of "electrification projects across the region, thereby serving as a backbone for the creation of a competitive regional electricity market with the potential to be connected to the European energy market."

Ithmar Capital, Morocco's sovereign wealth fund and co-partner in the venture with the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority, said in a release, "The new collaboration between Morocco and Nigeria is intended to set a model for South-South cooperation and act as a catalyst for African economic opportunities. It aligns with His Majesty, King Mohammed VI's regional strategy, in which he has declared that Africa is the top priority in Morocco's foreign policy and that the Kingdom will contribute to economic, social services and human development projects that directly improve the lives of people in the region. This includes on projects related to the energy sector, and notably sustainable and green projects."

The pipeline is one element of the Strategic Partnership Agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed between the two countries, agreements that "will see [Morocco and Nigeria] cooperate on bilateral investment for the first time in recent history," according to Ithmar Capital.

The agreements also encourage joint investments in food security, renewable energy, natural resource management, and agribusiness and fertilizer production.

The agreements and visit symbolize a new chapter in Nigerian-Moroccan relations, and follow recent visits to Rwanda, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Ethiopia in a continued signal of King Mohammed VI's commitment to strengthening Morocco's African diplomacy.
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

Tree Canada to support 150 community greening initiatives nationwide​
 

 ​ Proud to be a part of Canada 150, the Government of Canada's celebration of our country's 150th anniversary of Confederation, Tree Canada, the nation's leader in tree-related programs and resources, today announced an exciting, new initiative, Tree to Our Nature, that will support 150 community greening projects across the country.

Starting today, municipalities, community organizations, groups, schools and associations nationwide can apply to have a planting event held in their area. By sponsoring Tree Canada directly, businesses can also become involved by providing funding and volunteer labour to increase the scope of the projects.

"Tree Canada is now celebrating our 25th anniversary, so it's obviously a tremendous honour to have been selected to take part in the Canada 150 celebrations," said Michael Rosen, President of Tree Canada. "Trees are a symbol of growth, strength, sustainability, hope, and peace, and this is the perfect way to recognize the importance of trees and the environment to Canada's legacy. In addition to allowing us to engage with people from coast to coast, the Tree to Our Nature program will really highlight the diversity of Canadians and Canadian communities."

"The environment is one of the major themes at the heart of the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We will reaffirm our commitment to preserving our natural environment and becoming more environmentally conscious," said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Canadian Heritage. "Thanks to this project by Tree Canada, communities across the country will come together to carry out 150 community greening projects that include planting trees and revitalizing green spaces. In 2017, let's be the guardians of our environment and leave a lasting legacy for tomorrow's Canadians."

Each of the 150 selected plantings will honour Canada's legacy by including at least one native maple, the appropriate provincial or territorial emblem tree, and a First Nation's symbolic tree. Tree Canada will give special consideration to applications from visible minority groups and low income areas, but applicants from all sectors will be considered. For more details, please visit https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/tree-our-nature/ and see below.

How to Apply:

Community Organizations, Groups, Schools, and Associations: Connect with your local municipality to identify a local park, recreation area, or school ground in need, and apply for funding through the Tree to Our Nature, Canada 150 Legacy Program.
https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/tree-our-nature/who-can-apply/community-organization-group-school-or-association/

Canadian Corporations and Businesses: Commemorate Canada's 150th anniversary by partnering with local community groups to increase funding, and supply volunteer labour.
https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/tree-our-nature/who-can-apply/canadian-business-or-corporation/

Individuals: Encourage your local municipality to apply, and attend legacy events to help plant trees and celebrate Canadian culture.
https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/tree-our-nature/who-can-apply/individuals/

Artists And Entrepreneurs Come Together To Create One-Of-A-Kind Converse 'Chucks' And Raise Awareness For Ocean Conservation​​
 

 Select artists, celebrities, and entrepreneurs are helping raise awareness for ocean conservation through a Design Collaboration with Converse, in which each of them will custom design a pair of Converse Classic Chuck Taylors. Participants include entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, actors Patrick Dempsey and Leo Fitzpatrick, The Kills singer-songwriter Alison Mosshart, Incubus drummer Jose Pasillas, designers Dee & Ricky and Sam Snyder, as well as world-renowned artists: Domingo Zapata, Emilio Perez, Uri Dotan, and Andre Saraiva. These one of a kind shoes will be auctioned off to raise funds for ocean conservation during the silent auction launching November 17th, 2016 for this year's Second Annual Ocean Gala in San Francisco on December 3, 2016, produced by MaiTai Global and OceanElders.

This collaboration, giving a unique crop of artists an opportunity to express their dedication to the cause, is organized by Colette Young, Director of the Live and Silent Auction for the gala, who notes, "All these influential people coming together to create their own signature Chucks just underscores how vital it is for us to bring together people from all types of communities to stand up for ocean conservation efforts. Richard mentioned last week on his blog that we need to, "…help move the world's leading economies from climate talk to climate action and to conserve the ocean from irreparable damage – perhaps two of the most daunting challenges the world has ever faced."

Los Angeles Artist and Musician Jose Pasillas designed one of the pair of Chucks and states, "I'm thrilled to be a part of The Ocean Gala Converse Collaboration because I'm an avid supporter of environmental conservation efforts. My concept is one of nature—water and life—which we must fight to protect."

Alison Mosshart, musician from duo The Kills, enjoyed the process: "I harked back to that time as a child when everything is to be decorated, made unique, an expression of self. I had a day off on tour in Lisbon and sat on my hotel porch with the few art supplies I had, and started to draw. These shoes are covered in crowds, and conversations, amongst strangers. They are a coming together of people from all walks."

The signature Chucks will be available to bid on through the Ocean Gala's auction website, 501 Auctions, up until the Gala on December 3rd, 2016. A special thanks to Gabriel Schillinger and Jessica Stam for developing the Converse Collaboration opportunity. The auction goes live online at www.501auctions.com/theoceangala on November 17th, 2016, and other auction items include donations from Sir Richard Branson, Oliver Stone, Josh Groban, and The Fray.

The Ocean Gala, organized by MaiTai Global and OceanElders, brings together global leaders in the business and kiteboarding communities for a fundraiser to support ocean causes. The evening will include a live and silent auction, the announcement of the VR Challenge winner, and a performance by the San Francisco Ballet. This year's gala hails attendees hail from over seven countries and include Sir Richard Branson, Dr. Sylvia Earle, Dr. Bertrand Piccard, Rob Stewart, and Captain Don Walsh. Launch parties will be held in Los Angeles (hosted by: Permacity), San Francisco (hosted by: Modernist Club) and New York City (hosted by: Daniel Bernstein & Associates). Sponsors include: Virgin Unite, Other World Computing, Piaget, Macsales.com, Bitfury, Fairwarning, Setili & Associates, Events.com, Nowboat, Breathometer, Unofficial Cardboard, Ultra Capital, Tutor Group, and Know Audio.

www.theoceangala.com #TheOceanGala #OceanChucks

MaiTai Global, founded by Susi Mai and Bill Tai, is a group of extraordinary entrepreneurs, innovators and athletes whose collective passion of kiteboarding brings them together. www.maitaiglobal.com #MaiTaiGlobal

OceanElders, founded by Gigi Brisson, is an independent group of global leaders who have joined together to serve as a catalyst in the conservation and protection of the ocean. Notable members include Dr. Sylvia Earle, Sir Richard Branson, Captain Don Walsh, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Jim Cameron, Ted Turner, Jackson Browne, Dr. Bertrand Piccard, E.O. Wilson, Wade Davis, and Gerry Lopez. www.oceanelders.org #OceanElders

Canadians identify accessibility for people with disabilities as top priority for new public buildings​
 

 Canadians identify accessibility for people with disabilities as a top priority for new public buildings, with nearly 9-in-10 Canadians saying a LEED-style program to rate building accessibility would be 'worthwhile', according to a new national survey that highlights the problems facing people with disabilities today.

"The theme of this year's UN's International Day of Persons with Disabilities is 'Achieving 17 Goals of the Future', and our goal at the Rick Hansen Foundation is to ensure all the places we live, work and play are accessible for people with disabilities," says Rick Hansen, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation. "This report shows that the built environment is one of the biggest barriers to addressing the accessibility gap. By ensuring universal access is a priority for all Canadians, we can create an inclusive world where people with disabilities are living to their full potential, and as a result the entire community and economy will benefit."

Released in advance of the United Nations' International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3, the survey shows respondents strongly agree that accessibility is a basic human right and not a privilege, but indicates that communities have a long way to go to reach the ideal level of access for all.
Canadians see a large gap between how accessible private buildings currently are and how accessible they ought to be. The public also views one of the biggest obstacles to making accessibility a reality as the cost and difficulty of either designing fully accessible new buildings, or renovating those that aren't.

This data, gathered from a randomized sample of 1,330 Canadians, is part of a national public opinion poll canvassing disability and accessibility conducted by the Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Rick Hansen Foundation.

Key findings of the survey include:

95% of Canadians surveyed said that it would be very/moderately important that a new public building being constructed in their community be accessible to people with disabilities

46% (almost half) of Canadians surveyed view the difficulty of renovating older buildings, as well as cost( 35%) as the two biggest obstacles to addressing the accessibility gap

86% (almost nine-in-ten) of survey respondents say a LEED type program aimed at incentivizing more accessible design would be worthwhile

92% of Canadians agree that accessibility for people with physical disabilities is a basic human right, not a privilege

Half of Canadians agree with the statement "it's understandable that employers feel it is risky to hire people with physical disabilities". Among those currently responsible for hiring decisions, 45% cite expense of making a workplace accessible as one of the main reasons employers might have this opinion.

"A further, massive gap identified by Canadians speaks to a lack of understanding and belief in the potential of people with disabilities. This Angus Reid Institute study reveals some myths associated with the underemployment of disabled people, and measures potential solutions aimed at ending employment discrimination against these individuals," says Shachi Kurl, Executive Director, Angus Reid Institute.

Sandy Hook Promise, Leading National Gun Violence Prevention Organization, Debuts PSA to Teach How to "Know the Signs"​​
 

Almost 4 years after the tragedy that struck Sandy Hook Elementary School, there continues to be no reduction in the number of gun violence acts committed each and every day. In the aftermath, families and communities are often left wondering what they could have done differently to have stopped it. Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a leading national gun violence prevention organization, wants to help prevent acts of gun violence before they start through their no cost "Know the Signs" programs. SHP's programs teach youth and adults how to recognize an individual exhibiting at-risk behaviors and how to effectively intervene to get them help BEFORE they hurt themselves or others.

Sadly, it has been reported that 80% of school shooters and 70% of individuals who completed suicides told someone of their violent plans prior to taking action -- yet no interventions weren't made. Working with award-winning advertising agency BBDO New York, SHP is launching a powerful PSA titled "Evan" to educate viewers that very often warning signs are given off before an act of violence occurs -- but sometimes we don't see what is right in front of us.
The short film is the story of Evan, a teen counting down the days to summer break, who demonstrates his boredom by writing on a table in the school library. The next day he finds someone has responded back. While we watch Evan's story, another darker tale is unfolding simultaneously, but no one notices. You can view the piece in its entirety here -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8syQeFtBKc.

"When you don't know what to look for or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences, including someone hurting themselves or others", said Nicole Hockley, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Sandy Hook Promise who lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. "It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence -- these acts are preventable when you know the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives."
"Through 'Evan,' we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you're aware of the signs," said Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer of BBDO New York. "We've been fortunate to work with the inspiring people at Sandy Hook Promise to help parents, students, and teachers better identify these signs."

"Evan" demonstrates the problem that SHP is working to solve through their four "Know the Signs" research-based programs, provided at no cost to schools and community organizations. In just 22 months, SHP has already trained 1.5 million students, teachers school officials and parents in all 50 states in at least one of its programs.

As a result of their "Know the Signs" training, SHP has helped intervene on multiple threats -- including a school shooting, suicides and bringing firearms to schools, as well as helping to reduce bullying and getting hundreds of individuals mental health assistance.

Like other public health issues, including heart attacks, domestic violence and strokes, PSAs have historically been a powerful tool in educating Americans on recognizing signs of someone needing help. SHP's Know the Signs campaign is no different. BBDO New York seized the opportunity to expand SHP's mission and educate millions with this powerful and educational PSA.

About Sandy Hook Promise

Sandy Hook Promise (SHP) is a non-partisan national nonprofit formed and led by several family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School on December 14, 2012. Based in Newtown, Connecticut, SHP's sole purpose is to prevent gun violence BEFORE it happens so that no other parents experience the senseless, horrific loss of their child. SHP delivers, at no cost, four Know the Signs programs that teach youth and adults to recognize signs of individuals who may be at-risk of hurting themselves or others and intervene to get them help before it is too late. SHP's Know the Signs programs have helped stop a school shooting, multiple suicide and firearm threats, while also intervening to help individuals get mental health assistance. Additionally, SHP advocates for sensible state and federal policy that helps prevents at-risk individuals from hurting themselves or others, including limiting their access to firearms until they are deemed fit. To bring SHP's Know the Signs programs to your school or community or help advocate for sensible policy, visit sandyhookpromise.org.

Ottawa's decision to oppose Northern Gateway is worrisome​
 

Ottawa's approval of new pipelines for transporting Western Canada's oil to new foreign markets is good news for the Canadian economy, says the MEI. However, it is worrisome to see the federal government ask the National Energy Board (NEB) to reject the Northern Gateway pipeline project.

The NEB should instead make its decision independent of any political interference, in the case of Northern Gateway and for all pipeline projects. "The federal government has the power not to approve a project, but it is not the role of the NEB to reject it in its place," says Youri Chassin, Research Director at the MEI.

Northern Gateway, approved in 2014, is facing a surprising rejection from the federal government, which claims that the project is not in the interest of Canadians, including First Nations. "The question needs to be asked: Why is it not in the interest of Canadians? What justifies the rejection of Northern Gateway?" asks Youri Chassin.

The justification offered by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is essentially that Great Bear Rainforest is not a suitable place for a pipeline. "The government is blowing hot and cold. The Prime Minister rejects a project and recognizes in the same breath that new pipelines, on the cutting edge of technology, are the safest way to transport oil, in order to protect the environment among other things."

And when it comes to stimulating the economy, these projects are clearly preferable to public spending, adds Youri Chassin. "The effectiveness of public spending on infrastructure to stimulate the economy is debatable, as shown by many studies and empirical data. But in this case, we're talking about private investment, which represents substantial economic benefits without burdening Canadians with more debt or raising their taxes."

From this perspective, the government is making the right decision by giving a green light to the expansion of Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain pipeline, which connects Edmonton to Burnaby in the Vancouver region, and to the project to replace Enbridge's Line 3 between Hardisty, Alberta and Superior, Wisconsin.

Justin Trudeau rightly reaffirmed that no country in the world leaves its resources buried in the ground when there's a market for them. He has also consistently argued that ensuring market access for Canadian resources is one of the most important jobs for a prime minister. These are important messages for anyone concerned about the strength of the Canadian economy.

Government of Canada announces pipeline plan that will protect the environment and grow the economy​
 

A clear message has emerged through our government's extensive consultations with Canadians: the economy and the environment go hand in hand. That is why we are pricing carbon pollution, making the most significant investment ever to protect Canada's oceans and coastlines, instituting world-leading safety standards for pipelines by passing the Pipeline Safety Act, and have signed the Vancouver Declaration with the provinces and territories on clean growth and climate change.

Carr said, "Our duty is to permit infrastructure so Canada's resources get to market in a more environmentally-responsible way, creating jobs and a thriving economy. Today's announcements also demonstrate that when the Government determines projects are not in the public interest, we will act accordingly and make the tough decisions."

Our commitments to renewable energy, investments in clean energy and protecting our coasts and oceans will grow our economy while protecting the environment Canadians cherish. Today, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, the Honourable Jim Carr, and Canada's Minister of Transport, the Honourable Marc Garneau, announced several important decisions that will create more good, middle-class jobs while protecting environmentally-sensitive areas.

  Garneau stated, "Canadians expect the Government of Canada to help grow the economy while protecting the environment. This tanker moratorium is another example of how this can be achieved, and shows our commitment to establishing a world-leading marine safety system that meets the unique needs of Canada from coast-to-coast-to-coast."

Trans Mountain Expansion Project: the Government has approved Kinder Morgan's Trans Mountain Expansion Project, subject to 157 binding conditions that will address potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts, including project engineering, safety and emergency preparedness. This $6.8-billion project will create 15,000 new jobs during construction by twinning the existing Trans Mountain pipeline system between Edmonton, Alberta, and Burnaby, British Columbia. It will also provide access to global markets and generate significant direct economic benefits, including $4.5 billion in federal and provincial government revenues.
Northern Gateway Pipelines Project: the Government has directed the National Energy Board (NEB) to dismiss Enbridge's Northern Gateway Pipelines Project application. The Government has determined that the project is not in the public interest, given that it would result in crude oil tankers transiting through the sensitive ecosystem of the Douglas Channel, which is part of the Great Bear Rainforest.
Tanker Moratorium: the Government has announced a moratorium on crude and persistent oil tankers along British Columbia's north coast. This area spans the Alaska–B.C. border down to the point on B.C.'s mainland adjacent to the northern tip of Vancouver Island, and includes Haida Gwaii. The Government made this decision following consultations with stakeholders including Indigenous groups and communities. The Government will introduce legislation to implement the moratorium by the spring of 2017.
Line 3 Replacement Project: the Government has approved Enbridge's Line 3 Replacement Project, subject to 37 binding conditions that will address potential Indigenous, socio-economic and environmental impacts. This will ensure that the pipeline and facilities are built and operated in a manner that is safe for Canadians and the environment. This $4.8-billion project will replace 1,067 kilometres of existing pipeline from Hardisty, Alberta, to Gretna, Manitoba, to enhance its safety and integrity. The project will generate significant economic benefits, including $514.7 million in federal and provincial government revenues and 7,000 new jobs during construction. It also provides a vital link to the North American refinery market for Canadian oil.
In making its decision to approve the Trans Mountain Expansion Project and the Line 3 Replacement Project, the Government took into consideration a wide variety of information and data, including the NEB's recommendation report, Environment and Climate Change Canada's assessment of upstream greenhouse gas emissions, the views of Canadians and enhanced consultations with Indigenous peoples. The report from the Ministerial Panel for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project was also considered. The outcomes of all of these processes are available to Canadians online.

The Government of Canada is committed to working in partnership with Indigenous communities. To address specific interests identified by Indigenous groups and to build on existing partnerships some have with the proponent, the Government announced that it will co-develop advisory and monitoring committees with Indigenous communities to provide ongoing environmental monitoring for each of the two projects. The Government will also establish an Economic Pathways Partnership for each pipeline that will make it easier for Indigenous groups to access existing federal programs that help them participate in and benefit economically from this project.

In reaching its decision on the Northern Gateway Pipelines Project, the Government considered the Joint Review Panel Report, the views of Indigenous communities and those of other Canadians as represented to the Joint Review Panel, as well as the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal.

Arianna Huffington Launches Thrive Global to End the Escalating Stress and Burnout Epidemic with Sustainable, Science-Based Solutions ​
 

Today, Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington's new and groundbreaking venture, has launched. The company aims to revolutionize the way we work and live by offering companies and individuals science-based solutions to lower stress and burnout, and enhance well-being and productivity.

Thrive Global rejects the myth that burnout is the price we must pay for success. The company takes a multi-tiered approach to ending the epidemic of stress and burnout, with mutually reinforcing core elements that include: corporate trainings with leading partners; a media platform designed to be the global hub for the conversation about well-being and productivity; and an e-commerce platform that offers top technology and well-being products that individuals can use to help them move from surviving to thriving. All three components work together to create sustainable change.

"We are at an inflection point in history where technology has granted us powers that accelerate the speed of life beyond our capacity to cope," said Arianna Huffington, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global. "Thrive Global is born in response to this need to take control of our lives and offer new strategies and tools, based on the latest science, to address the unintended consequences of these profound and invasive changes."

  After disrupting the world of media in 2005 with the launch of The Huffington Post, Arianna is now disrupting the way we work and live both at the corporate and individual levels with the rapidly expanding Thrive Global organization, based in New York City.

International Partnerships

Since stress and burnout and our relationship to technology are problems across the world, Thrive Global is global from day one. In India, Thrive Global is partnering with The Times Group, India's largest media company, to enter the Indian market, scale its business and advance its mission. The Times Group, which publishes The Times of India, the world's most widely-circulated English-language newspaper, has previously invested in and partnered with Uber, Airbnb, Coursera, VICE Media, The Huffington Post and others via its global investment arm Times Global Partners.

In Italy, Thrive Global is launching in partnership with the Digital Division of Gruppo Espresso, one of Italy's leading publishing groups operating in all sectors of communication, from dailies and magazines to radio, the internet and advertising.

The company is also partnering in South Africa with Discovery and its global Vitality Network – the pioneer in Shared-Value – which will make Thrive offerings available through its global insurance partners and corporate clients in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom and United States. "This partnership is another advancement in our global mission to make people healthier and enhance and protect their lives," said Discovery Founder and Chief Executive Adrian Gore. "Overcoming stress and burnout are key factors in managing overall health and wellbeing -- with Thrive Global we'll be able to offer the latest research and tools to our global Vitality network of over 4 million members in 14 countries worldwide."

Antenna Group, an international media and entertainment organization operating across Europe, North America and Australia, is partnering with Thrive Global to bring the venture to Greece, Cyprus, Romania, former Yugoslavia, Slovakia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Turkey and Russia. Through its Amplifier unit, Antenna Group offers the best way for high-growth digital ventures such as Thrive Global to accelerate their expansion into traditionally hard-to-reach-markets through its wealth of local relationships and its extensive set of media assets. Antenna Group has already built a successful partnership with VICE Media in the region. "Thrive Global will have a tremendous impact on how we work and live and we're excited to be working with Arianna and her team to help achieve their global ambitions," said Theodore Kyriakou, shareholder and chief executive of Antenna Group. "We set up the Amplifier unit to do exciting work with innovative companies just like Thrive Global. The Amplifier unit has a strong track record of growing profitable, digital businesses in the region and what would normally take five years for a company to achieve in these regions, we can help them do in a year."

Though burnout is a global epidemic and the modern science about well-being and productivity is universal, the solutions Thrive Global brings to different regions will be rooted in the philosophy and ancient wisdom of those regions and cultures.

Corporate Partnerships

Corporate leaders around the world are increasingly aware of the direct connection between the bottom line and employee well-being, resilience, engagement and sense of purpose. Thrive Global partners with companies around the world to deliver customized workshops, ongoing coaching and technology in order to create a thriving corporate culture. Its launch partners include Accenture, Airbnb, Glassdoor, JPMorgan Chase, SAP and Uber.

Thrive Global is teaming with Accenture to support the company's ongoing commitment to employee well-being. This includes interactive live workshops delivered in the US, India, Ireland, Argentina and Japan -- each of which is customized for local cultures and customs -- as well as personal assessments, ongoing coaching, and weekly tips designed to help individuals take micro steps for macro benefits. "We are committed to being the most truly human organization, where our people can be successful both professionally and personally," said Ellyn Shook, Accenture's chief leadership and human resources officer. "Teaming with Thrive Global is an important step forward in advancing our focus on the whole person – helping our people not only achieve a sense of belonging and purpose, but be physically energized and mentally focused in our hyper connected, digital world."

Thrive Global and Airbnb will bring Thrive's science-based, whole-human well-being approach to the Airbnb "Work Like a Human" initiative, in an effort to help people live more fulfilling, productive lives both at home and at work. The effort will kick off in 2017 with Airbnb employee trainings.

Thrive Global and Glassdoor, the leading job search site that also offers job seekers access to company reviews, ratings and salary data for more than 600,000 companies, are partnering in the following key ways: The two companies will collaborate to evaluate and release a co-branded Thrive Index based on employees' assessments of how their employer incorporates meaningful "thrive" practices into their workplaces and cultures. As an initial step, as of today, Thrive and Glassdoor are encouraging employers to "Pledge to Thrive" to show they are committed to prioritizing employee well-being. Any employer may promote their Pledge on their company's Glassdoor profile page and job listings to showcase their commitment to job seekers and employees. Glassdoor is also a Thrive Global launch partner for editorial content and will regularly contribute relevant articles and bylines from both the employer and employee points of view on the new Glassdoor channel on Thrive's media platform. "As an employer and as a growing platform where employers actively recruit candidates and manage their employer brands, Glassdoor recognizes the value of helping employees thrive inside and outside of work," said Robert Hohman, co-founder and CEO of Glassdoor. "Jobs are more than paychecks. Today's top talent want to work for a company with a strong mission and purpose where they feel like they can make a difference and where they believe they are supported not just professionally, but personally with a meaningful life outside of work. At Glassdoor our mission is simple: to help people find a job and company they love, and we are delighted to join with Arianna and the Thrive Global team in our shared commitment to help employees and employers thrive by promoting and sustaining employee well-being."

JPMorgan Chase is partnering with Thrive Global as the company focuses its attention on employee emotional well-being around the world. JPMorgan will work with Thrive to offer resources for employees and increase awareness about the dangers of burnout through an internal communications campaign. The partnership has launched with a four-week interactive well-being challenge to provide employees with tips and resources in four key areas – sleep, unplugging from technology, mindfulness and gratitude. "What we love about Thrive Global is that it gives our employees tools to improve both their physical and mental wellness," said JPMorgan Chase Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Lemkau. "Most people are aware of how important physical fitness and nutrition are, but we are still behind in understanding how important sleep, unplugging and mindfulness are. Arianna and Thrive will help us with that."

As part of a global content partnership, Thrive Global will integrate its science-driven, action-oriented content with SAP's human capital management suite – SAP SuccessFactors – which is used by 45 million people worldwide. Thrive content will be categorized for SAP SuccessFactors users by themes, including wisdom, wonder, well-being, giving, productivity and technology. "There's no more important leadership topic than the future of work and the workforce itself," said Jennifer Morgan, President of SAP North America. "The future of work will be shaped by those who can keep their employees healthy, vibrant, and engaged in new and dynamic ways with the same caliber of quality content they've come to expect as consumers and readers – and SAP is thrilled to be breaking new ground in this area with Thrive Global."

Thrive Global and Uber have partnered to develop a scalable, data-driven approach to creating a productive, thriving culture in the fast-growing start-up environment. Together, the two companies will develop an interactive employee learning program that will launch in early 2017, empowering Uber's 9,000+ global employees with the tools and techniques to identify and manage work productivity in their individual roles. "When you run a global business that never sleeps, often you don’t either. I used to think it made me tough not to get much sleep," said Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber. "Luckily, I had a good friend who made me to rethink my relationship with rest -- and I've been a lot happier and more productive ever since. So when Arianna started Thrive Global to change the way people live and work, I immediately asked how everyone at Uber could participate. Today Uber is proud to be one of the first companies to partner with Thrive Global to help our employees get the most out of their time in and out of the office."

Thrive Global is partnering with Adam Grant and The Wharton School to measure the impact of its work with corporations. "We’re thrilled to be working with Thrive around practices for promoting employee well-being—and measuring their impact on productivity and the bottom line," said Adam Grant, PhD, Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. "Our jobs should be energizing, not exhausting. It’s time to accelerate a culture shift from burned out to fired up."

Non-Profit Partnerships

Thrive Global launches with a foundation which is offering free trainings to leaders of non-profits, as well as civic leaders who are on the front lines of serving others. Those who have already received training or who are scheduled to include Alliance for Children's Rights, EduCare Foundation, Global Citizen, Global Health Corps, Khan Academy, LeanIn.Org as well as the mayors and mayoral staffs of Minneapolis, Oakland and Providence and the Mayor of Boston and the City of Boston's 18,000+ employees.

"I'm thrilled to be partnering with Arianna and everyone at Thrive Global as this important work launches, said Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges. "I'm living proof that it is completely possible to be in a high-powered executive function and take care of yourself. I lend my voice to the chorus that says you will be more effective in your work and happier in your life if you take the risk of self-care. Arianna has been an inspiration to me and so many others, and I look forward to seeing the vision of Thrive Global become a reality, and make a real difference in people's lives." Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said: "It's critical that we begin the practice of putting self-care, health and wellbeing at the top of Americans' to-do lists. Under Arianna Huffington's leadership, Thrive Global will help businesses better serve their employees and their shareholders by creating a better-balanced workforce that is healthier, happier, and more creatively productive." Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said: "Here in Providence, we are excited to get involved with Thrive Global and appreciate their focus on maintaining strong and sustainable work-life balance for our employees. I have seen firsthand the hard work that non-profit and public sectors employees put into their work and I know that providing them with resources and trainings they need is critical to supporting their quality of life both at work and at home." Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said: "The City of Boston is focused on providing a healthy, balanced and sustainable quality of life for all its employees. I'm looking forward to working together with Thrive Global to provide their work/life balance training to all of our hard-working City employees throughout Boston."

Media Platform

The second pillar of Thrive Global is its media platform, which will serve as the global hub for the well-being and performance conversation, with an emphasis on action and change. It features original video content, the latest science, expert commentary and community contributions. To make it easy for users to take action and see immediate progress, included in the stories will be recommended microsteps – small changes that, over time and taken together, can deliver dramatic results. The media platform also functions as a sustainability arm for all corporate trainings, and will be continuously updated with new features, such as social and peer networks called Thrive Tribes, launching in early 2017.

Thrive Global is using Medium to power its media site, which will be home to original and curated stories from Thrive's editorial staff, and diverse perspectives from contributors and content partners. "We welcome Thrive to Medium, and look forward to seeing them enrich the conversation around well-being, productivity and the science behind success" said Ev Williams, Medium Founder and CEO. "Arianna brings with her a deep understanding of the media landscape and how it has evolved in the last decade. We're excited to discover how that expertise shapes Thrive's direction on Medium."

Thrive Global's media platform launches with contributions from business leaders, athletes, politicians, entertainers and world-renowned scientists and researchers. Some of the first voices you'll hear from include Sheryl Sandberg, Russell Wilson, Tufts University Director of Center for Reading and Language Research Maryanne Wolf, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Duke Professor Murali Doraiswamy, Ohio State University Professor Ali Rezai and Anne-Marie Slaughter and more, who share their stories of health and well-being in first person pieces or videos. The media platform also introduces The Thrive Global Questionnaire, in which influencers ranging from Jeff Bezos, Howard Schultz and Brian Grazer to Selena Gomez, Priyanka Chopra, Shane Smith, Valerie Jarrett and Ashton Kutcher share their well-being and productivity habits.

Other Thrive Global media partners include NowThis, VICE, iHeartMedia, and The New York Times. Thrive Global and millennial news brand NowThis are launching their partnership with a video series called "Turning Point," which puts the spotlight on millennial women who experienced a burnout wake-up call and made a positive change in their lives as a result.

Thrive Global is partnering with Tonic, VICE's new channel dedicated to health and wellness, to jointly create a mental health index for college campuses that will help young people better understand one of the most important issues they and their friends may face. VICE and Thrive will also launch a global conversation about mortality and life's biggest questions in partnership with the not-for-profit Death Over Dinner. In addition, Thrive and the VICE Brand Studio will introduce a video series focused on high-performance athletes and their daily and nightly routines. The premier episode features NBA all-star Andre Iguodala, who credits his improved performance on the court to changes in his sleep habits.

"Arianna is an inspiration and a leader in the digital media landscape and her Sleep Revolution has made a huge impact on my life on and off court," said NBA finals MVP and Thrive Global Partner Andre Iguodala. "Bringing health and wellness to the forefront in our everyday life is a terrific concept and will allow everyone to reach their full potential. Thrive Global is an innovative and life changing initiative that I'm extremely excited to be a part of."

Thrive Global and iHeartMedia will launch The Thrive Global Podcast with iHeartRadio in January 2017. Arianna will host the podcast, which will feature interviews with notable leaders, celebrities, athletes and influencers who will discuss how they thrive. Listeners can hear the bi-weekly series via iHeartRadio, iHeartMedia's digital music and streaming radio service, as well as on thriveglobal.com. They can also hear the teaser episode on iHeartRadio, which is now available on 90 unique device platforms spanning in-home entertainment, wearables, gaming, mobile and auto. "We are excited to help Arianna bring the Thrive message to more than a quarter of a billion iHeartMedia listeners on-air and in app," said Gayle Troberman, Chief Marketing Officer of iHeartMedia. "Everything sound is hot. Radio, streaming, concerts and podcasts are all on the rise, and we expect the Thrive Global Podcast will be an instant hit with iHeartRadio listeners."

In addition, Thrive Global is working with T- Brand studio, The New York Times's in-house brand marketing unit, to produce native advertising campaigns for Thrive Global partners.

The media platform includes a six week e-course, hosted by Arianna Huffington, which helps consumers move from surviving to thriving by using scientifically proven methods to decrease stress and burnout and improve overall health, performance and happiness.

Thrive Global is launching with a branded content partnership with the Quaker Oats Company -- a year-long campaign that focuses on making mornings more joyful and productive. "For nearly 140 years, Quaker has stood as a symbol for quality, great taste and nutrition," said Morgan Flatley, Chief Marketing Officer, PepsiCo Global Nutrition Group and Senior Vice President, Global Grains. "We share in Thrive's principle that micro-steps are an easily adoptable path to change and through this partnership, we look forward to bringing more of that oat goodness and nutritional value to people around the world in ways that educate, entertain and entice."

Technology

Core to a Thrive culture shift is addressing our relationship with technology. Our technology improves our lives on a daily basis, but on a long-term basis we're losing the ability to regulate and manage this increasingly powerful and addictive new element in our lives to serve our best interests. This is the background for Thrive Global's partnership with Bennett Miller, the Academy Award-nominated director of Moneyball, who also has a documentary coming out soon on our troubled relationship with technology. To begin re-calibrating that relationship, we've created an app called Silo. Putting a phone into "Silo Mode" means turning our smartphones into dumb phones for a specified period of time, with only emergency calls or texts allowed to get through. By selectively blocking distractions, Silo allows you to reclaim space in your life for focus, creativity and well-being.

Silo is the first step in a campaign to change our relationship with technology and make disconnecting not only an option but a regular part of our daily lives. "The Silo app is a great idea. Our lives are getting overwhelmed by interruptions and notifications, which makes it hard to focus on the things that really matter around you," said Christian Plagemann, Director of Udacity Blitz. "The ability to take a digital break with confidence can be truly impactful. Our Udacity Blitz mobile engineering team worked closely with the Thrive Product Engineering team to make this idea a reality -- and we are delighted with the result."

Thrive Global will also be introducing Thrive Away, a vacation email tool that, by deleting your incoming emails while you're away, allows you to truly disconnect and recharge. Thrive Away's insight is simple: the key is never seeing the email, while also letting the sender know when you'll be back.

Commerce Platform

Thrive Global's commerce platform offers a curated selection of the best technology and products – including newly developed Thrive products -- for well-being and performance. Thrive Global has launched its signature product, The Phone Bed, which is the world's first family bed for devices. The charging station -- which charges up to ten devices at a time -- helps the whole family get a better night's sleep by putting all devices to bed outside the bedroom.

Thrive Global is collaborating with Amazon on an Alexa skill, Power Down, to help customers incorporate well-being activities into their everyday lives – just in time for the busy holiday season. The Power Down skill helps customers relax before sleep with guided meditation. Starting November 30, Alexa device owners can enable the skill by saying, "Alexa, enable the Thrive skill." Once enabled, customers can start their Power Down meditation by saying, "Alexa, open Thrive," or "Alexa, ask Thrive for a Power Down." "The holiday season can sometimes be stressful with family to host, presents to buy and parties to attend, so we're excited to collaborate with Ariana Huffington and Thrive to offer customers a way to escape the busyness and focus on their well-being," said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President, Amazon Alexa. "The Thrive skill complements other Alexa capabilities – like timers, to do lists and smart home – to help make customers' lives easier and more balanced year round."

Arianna and Thrive Global have joined forces with Audible, the world's largest producer of downloadable audiobooks and other spoken word entertainment, to create "Goodnight Smartphone," a timely and soothing parody of the beloved children's book "Goodnight Moon" that encourages listeners to eliminate distractions at bedtime in favor of better sleep. The story, which Arianna narrates, will be available as a free download exclusively at Audible this January.

In collaboration with its scientific advisory board, Thrive Global vetted hundreds of the latest and most cutting-edge health and well-being technologies, products, and services to curate those that meet standards for quality and impact. To see the complete curation visit shop.thriveglobal.com. Examples of our commerce partners are below, many of which are exclusive to Thrive Global or first-to-market.

Thrive Global is partnering with Fitbit, the leader in the connected health and fitness category, to offer Thrive Global clients the Fitbit corporate wellness experience, which provides a custom company storefront, Fitbit activity trackers, a program dashboard and engaging corporate challenges to help companies promote employee well-being. In addition, Fitbit's leading wearable devices that help people stay motivated and improve health and wellness by being more active, exercising more, eating smarter, managing weight, and tracking sleep, will be available to consumers through the Thrive Global online shop and pop-up retail store.

Thrive Global has also partnered with ergonomics pioneer Humanscale, both online and in the pop-up store, where the global design and manufacturing company's new Sit to Stand and OfficeIQ technology -- which inspires active workplaces -- will be showcased.

Headspace, one of the top-ranking Health & Fitness apps on iTunes, with over 10 million users in more than 190 countries, is partnering with Thrive Global to bring a course of guided meditations to our corporate partners.

Thrive Global will bring Dr. Howard Murad, the founder of clinical skincare brand Murad, to their pop-up for a live-streamed conversation about the power that a holistic, whole-person approach to health and beauty has in helping people live happier, healthier and more fulfilling lives.

Thrive Global is one of the first retailers of Peloton, the groundbreaking fitness company that lets you join studio cycling classes from the comfort of your home. A favorite of busy people, Peloton offers live and on-demand classes from world class instructors and performance tracking to inspire the best and most convenient workout.

In addition, Thrive Global is collaborating with Pour Les Femmes as their first US retail location. The socially conscious sleepwear label, founded by actress and activist Robin Wright and designer Karen Fowler, supports charitable organizations that directly help women in conflict regions around the world. "I am thrilled that Pour Les Femmes was asked to participate in the launch of Thrive Global," said Robin Wright. "At Pour Les Femmes, we think it is so important to give back to those who are in need, especially during this time of the year. These are principles that serve as the foundation for both Pour Les Femmes and Thrive Global, and we couldn't be more excited to partner with them."

Rebecca Minkoff, the renowned designer of handbags, accessories, footwear and apparel and a long-time Thriver, is designing an oversized leather pouch for Thrive Style that is branded "Sleep Your Way to the Top", the perfect accessory for travel and being on the go!

Sense by Hello, a bedroom environment and sleep tracking system, is a breakthrough product from another Thrive Global partner that is continuously innovating to improve our sleep. The Thrive Global store and e-commerce site will feature Hello's new-to-market, groundbreaking voice-activated version of the successful Sense sleep system.

For the launch of Thrive Global, Thrive Market has created custom Thrive kits for the holidays – Relaxation, Sleep & Balance, Meditation and Healthy Snacks. Thrive Market offers top-selling, organic groceries at wholesale prices, democratizing access to healthy foods for all.

To mark the launch of Thrive Global, Zeel, the leading on-demand massage service that delivers vetted, licensed massage therapists to homes, hotels and workplaces, is creating the Thrive Massage, which combines bedtime rituals like breathing, aromatherapy, acupressure and tea with their signature massage to prepare the mind and body for a restful sleep. "Zeel is thrilled to partner with Thrive Global to further Thrive's mission to ease the stress and burnout endemic in modern life and work, said Zeel CEO Samer Hamadeh. "At Zeel, we pride ourselves on making massage accessible to everyone, no matter how busy, 365 days per year, from start times as early as 8am to as late as 10:30pm. We know that in home massage from Zeel will be a valuable part of the Thrive Global solution, helping people thrive, not just survive."

Thrive Global Pop-Up Store

In addition to visiting e-commerce at shop.thriveglobal.com, consumers can do their holiday shopping at the Thrive Global retail pop-up store in New York City. The Thrive Global store, located in a 5,000-square-foot SoHo loft at 419 Broome Street, will offer live demonstrations, education, and trials of the latest products and technologies across the categories of mind, body, sleep, productivity, recharging, creativity, and giving. The pop-up will be open seven days a week, from 10:00am to 7:00pm, December 1 through January 15, 2017.

Josh Wood Productions (JWP), a global leader in spectacles and innovative events, is Thrive Global's design, production and event partner for the pop-up store experience. Led by Jason Jones and Mimi Eayrs, JWP designed the pop-up store and integrated all partner brands and aligned organizations into the experimental retail space.

To build out the pop-up store, Thrive Global formed a partnership with The New School's Parson's School of Design and Parsons Board of Governors Chair Kay Unger. Under Unger's leadership, Parsons, one of the leading institutions for art and design education, created two installations in the Thrive Global store. Room to Daydream is a space to nap and recharge, created by Parsons' Healthy Materials Lab. The second installation, Resonance, uses light to spread the image of participants infinitely in two directions — into the past and future -- as they move within the work. Christian Swafford and Lauren Larson, founders of Material Lust, showcase their Crepuscule Floor Lamp and Lancia Floor Lamp.

The Sleep Sanctuary, an integral installation in Thrive Global's pop-up store, was developed by COCO-MAT Sleep On Nature, an international bedding company which focuses on creating the highest quality metal free beds, mattresses and bedding accessories handcrafted solely from natural materials and produced through sustainable methods, in partnership with The Lionesque Group. The Lionesque Group, founded by Melissa Gonzalez, is a full turnkey agency specializing in pop-up retail activations and is the lead pop-up retail store advisor to Thrive Global.

In addition, the Thrive Global pop-up store was produced with support from Design Within Reach, Inc., the world leader in authentic modern design; award-winning producer, director and cinematographer Louie Schwartzberg, whose notable career spans more than three decades providing breathtaking imagery for feature films, Imax and theme park ride films and founder of Moving Art™, the world's first collection of 4K moving imagery created as fine art for digital screens; Stefani Greenfield, co-founder of SCOOP NYC Retail and founder/CEO of brand marketing agency My Next Act, has been instrumental in cultivating the Thrive Global Retail Team culture and curating its merchandise assortment; and UrbanStems, the flower delivery startup that makes sending flowers and "spreading happiness" an everyday experience, has provided the Instagram flower wall.

About Thrive Global

Thrive Global's mission is to end the epidemic of stress and burnout by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance both well-being and performance. Thrive Global's three interconnected core components are: corporate trainings and workshops that bring the latest strategies and tools around health and well-being to organizations; a media platform that serves as the global hub for the conversation about well-being and performance with an emphasis on action; and, an e-commerce platform that offers a curated selection of the best technology and products for well-being. Together, the three components create an integrated platform that empowers people to make sustainable changes to their daily lives, going from knowing what to do to actually doing it. Thrive Global is committed to accelerating the culture shift that allows people to reclaim their lives and move from surviving to thriving.

Tree Canada's Edible Trees program sprouts up again in 2016​
 

​Tree Canada today is pleased to announce the return of one of its most popular programs, Edible Trees, which offers funding of up to $4,000 and other resources for community-based projects that provide residents with access to fresh fruit and nut trees while making a positive difference to the Canadian environment.

"We're thankful to TELUS, Silk and Loblaw for helping us bring back Edible Trees for another year," said Michael Rosen, president of Tree Canada. "In addition to providing funding for community-based projects, this signature Tree Canada program educates communities on how to help new fruit and nut trees thrive. Once planted, these trees provide communities with access to fresh produce and enrich their green space, contributing to both a healthier environment and healthier people."

Since its inception in 2012, Tree Canada's Edible Trees program has helped plant almost 8,000 fruit and nut providing trees and shrubs in communities across Canada. The deadline for submission is February 24, 2017, and funding is available, but not limited to, community gardening groups, community housing projects, schools, parks and arboretums. Tree Canada will consider projects which meet the following criteria:

Increases equitable access to healthy food;

Strengthens communities by empowering neighbors to share in the harvest and care of city-grown food resources;

Benefits the local community by providing access to the trees and their fruit by the public (i.e. food banks, volunteers, community kitchens);

Meets the needs of the community and includes creative plans for the produce grown;

Takes place within a geographic area suitable for growing fruit and nut trees;

Protects and preserves the Canadian environment;

Assists residents in understanding and participating in environmental activities in local communities.


For more information on how to apply, please visit: https://treecanada.ca/en/programs/edible-trees/how-apply/

Awareness of Giving Tuesday Remains Low, but 4 in 10 Americans are Likely to Donate in Celebration​
 

The season of giving is upon us! From bell-ringing to food donating to volunteering, Americans are getting in the generous spirit. In 2012, New York City's 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation started Giving Tuesday to create a global day of giving. The special day is an annual event that takes place on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (November 29th this year). While awareness of the day remains low with 75% of Americans unaware of the day, this is down from 87% who had never heard of Giving Tuesday in 2015.

Millennials are more likely than those ages 55 and older to have heard of Giving Tuesday (30% vs. 20% 55-64 & 18% 65+). However, looking at the 25% of adults who have heard of the holiday, just 4% have ever participated – 1 in 10 each say they still don't know what it is (10%) and they've never participated (10%). While 87% say they don't need a holiday to tell them when to give, after being familiarized with the holiday, over three quarters (78%) of Americans say this day represents what the holiday season should be about.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,049 U.S. adults surveyed online between November 18 and 22, 2016. Complete results of the study can be found here.

Past, present, and future giving

About 4 in 10 Americans (39%) say they're likely to donate – either in the form of time, money, or resources – to a charitable organization in celebration of Giving Tuesday. This is particularly true for Millennials compared to those ages 55 or older (47% vs. 29% 55-64, 26% 65+), and for women compared to men (43% vs. 34%).

Among those who are likely to donate, over half (52%) plan to donate to a charity supporting human service, while nearly 3 in 10 each plan to give to youth/family (28%) and animal causes (28%). Around 2 in 10 plan to give to religious organizations (19%), education causes (18%), or human rights charities (18%).

Beyond Giving Tuesday, a majority of Americans (57%) say the amount of their charitable donations have remained the same in 2016 as they did last year and just 19% say their donations have increased. Looking ahead to 2017, 65% plan to donate the same amount as they have this year. Just 22% plan to increase their donations.

Attitudes toward giving

A plurality of Americans see charitable giving in general as an option, not a responsibility. Over 4 in 10 (46%) believe that people can get involved with different issues and causes if they want to, but that no one should be obligated to do so. This is down slightly from 50% of adults who felt the same way in 2015. However, over 2 in 10 adults each say people have a personal responsibility to make the world a better place by being involved (22%) and that people generally should take part in such things because it is the right thing to do (22%). Those with children in the household are more likely than those without to feel people have a personal responsibility to make the world a better place (26% vs. 20%).

Prioritizing charitable causes

There are no shortage of causes that charities can focus their resources on. Americans feel charities should focus their resources on human service (24%, including blood banks, food banks, and homeless shelters), healthcare (9%), and education (8%). Seven percent say charities should focus on human rights, environmental, youth/families, and medical research.

However, Americans prioritize their personal giving slightly different. When asking Americans which charities they personally care most about and personally donate to, human service again rises to the top (20%), but is followed by animals (12%) and religious organizations (11%). Rounding out the top five causes Americans care about personally are youth/families (8%) and education (7%).

Corporate giving

Over 7 in 10 Americans (72%) agree that a company's reputation for social responsibility has at least some effect on them when deciding what to buy and who to do business with. However, there are some clear differences in the types of causes that adults feel are more appropriate for individuals to donate to compared to businesses. About 7 in 10 adults each feel companies should lead the way in donating to global health (77%), healthcare (76%), medical research (76%), environmental (72%), and disaster relief (68%) causes. However, individuals are the more appropriate donors for causes serving religious organizations (84%), animals (75%), youth/families (63%), human service (57%), and arts and culture (56%).

To see other recent Harris Polls, please visit our new website, TheHarrisPoll.com.

Want Harris Polls delivered direct to your inbox? Click here!

Methodology
This Harris Poll was conducted online, in English, within the United States between November 18 and 22, 2016 among 2,049 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, The Harris Poll avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in our panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

Moores Clothing For Men Launches AWEAR-TECH Under AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole Label​​
 

 Moores Clothing for Men, a division of Tailored Brands, Inc. today announces the launch of AWEAR-TECH under the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole label. In collaboration with Kenneth Cole Productions, Moores Clothing for Men has crafted tailored clothing and sportswear that incorporates breakthrough performance fabrics powered by 37.5 technology. This new collection will be available exclusively at Moores stores across Canada. "With the launch of AWEAR-TECH, we look forward to building upon our strong relationship with Moores Clothing for Men," said Marc Schneider, CEO of Kenneth Cole Productions. "This partnership supports our strategic global initiatives, creating tailored clothing for the modern man while also incorporating social consciousness."

Product from the AWEAR-TECH AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole label uses 37.5 technology, an advanced fabric technology from the high-performance sports world. With this technology, patented active particles remove moisture in the vapor stage, before liquid sweat can form, making these sportswear and tailored clothing items far more comfortable to wear. This type of fabric technology has never been applied to tailored clothing before. The suits are engineered from the yarn up, incorporating 37.5 technology in every layer, from the suit lining to the wool. Dress shirts under the AWEAR-TECH label will also feature this advanced cooling technology.

The AWEAR-TECH line will also incorporate the charitable give-back component from the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole collection. A portion of the proceeds of all AWEAR-TECH products sold will go toward helping veterans transition back into the workforce. True Patriot Love Foundation is a national charity that honours the sacrifices of members of the Canadian Armed Forces, Veterans and their families in both times of peace and conflict. Proceeds from the sales will assist in the successful counseling and career placement for thousands of veterans, and provide transitional housing for those fighting homelessness.

"We are thrilled to have partnered with Moores Clothing for Men and Kenneth Cole to use our revolutionary comfort technology to create a new level of performance apparel in the tailored clothing business," said Jeff Bowman, CEO of Cocona/37.5. "We're proud to be associated with the AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole brand that has done so much to support veterans."

In stores November 2016, the collection is designed in New York and will feature garments in a variety of fabrics and colors. AWEARNESS Kenneth Cole is a collection tailored for the modern man who wants to "Look Good, For Good." With the exclusive right to the 37.5 technology for tailored clothing in Canada, the AWEAR-TECH label will include suits and suit separates in extreme slim fits, dress shirts, sport coats, dress pants and sportswear in slim fits.

Bahrain Launches Two New Visas for 114 Countries​
 

 Bahrain launched the fourth phase of its new visa policy, with the announcement of a new single entry visa and one-year multiple reentry e-visa.

The new single entry visa will enable up to two week stay, whilst the one-year reentry visa will allow for a stay period of up to 90 days. A total of 114 countries are eligible for the new visas, including GCC residents.

Also announced was a change to the three month multiple reentry visa, which now allows for a one month stay. Stays were previously restricted to two weeks.

The final announcement saw citizens of the US, Canada, UK and Ireland gain a longer stay period for the five-year multiple reentry visa. Visa holders will now be able to stay for 90, instead of 30, days.

Last year the country recorded 315,943 visitors from the UK & Ireland, as well as 256,439 from the USA and 79,127 from Canada.

Bahrain's Interior Ministry's Undersecretary of Nationality, Passport and Residence Affairs (NPRA), Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, said:

"This new round of visa announcements represents another step for Bahrain's commitment to openness. We have taken great strides in recent years in making the country even more accessible, helping both leisure and business tourists.

"These developments further aid Bahrain's standing as a regional hub, which is why so many tourists and businesses are looking to the country as the ideal Middle East destination."

Visas can be applied for online via http://www.evisa.gov.bh, whilst citizens of 66 countries and the GCC can also apply for visas on arrival.


Canada's Minister of Environment and Climate Change concludes Canada's participation at COP22 with strong support for a cleaner and greener world
 

Canada is committed to working globally to advance the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to continue the momentum on climate action, of the past year. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, has concluded Canada's participation at COP22, in Marrakech, Morocco, demonstrating the country's strong support for international action on clean growth and climate change.

Minister McKenna's focus at the international climate-change conference COP22 was the swift implementation of the Paris Agreement, the development of a global low-carbon economy, and the competitive advantages for business and industry in low-carbon solutions. Minister McKenna also highlighted throughout the week the key role played by all levels of government, as well as businesses, Indigenous peoples, civil society, and youth in addressing climate change.
  McKenna said, "The Government of Canada is committed to finding ambitious solutions to climate change and to create a better future for our children and grandchildren. The global economy has shifted towards cleaner, more sustainable growth, and the momentum is irreversible. Working together, we are setting ourselves on a sustainable and prosperous path for the future."

Canada believes that the private sector will play an important role in bringing about the transition to a stronger, more sustainable economy and creating a better tomorrow for future generations. Canadian businesses are well-positioned to succeed in a global low-carbon economy, creating more well-paying jobs for Canada's middle class while contributing to our progress in addressing climate change.

While in Marrakech, Minister McKenna delivered Canada's national statement, and she participated in several high-level discussions on issues including carbon pricing, clean-technology growth and innovation, gender and climate policy, and health.

At COP22, Canada announced progress on the delivery of its pledge to provide $2.65 billion over five year, including

$1.8 billion in funding for a range of climate-change mitigation and adaptation initiatives to support developing countries transition to low-carbon, sustainable economies,

$14 million to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, like methane, through partnerships with Mexico and Chile;

$3M contribution and joined the World Bank's Transformative Carbon Asset Facility, which aims to find new ways for developing countries to reduce their emissions and collaborate with partners on clean energy projects like geothermal, solar and wind power, as well as pricing carbon pollution;

$2.5 million to the Climate Technology Centre and Network to help developing countries access technologies in sectors such as energy, water, forestry, and agriculture; and

$2 million to the National Adaptation Plans Global Network, which helps weave climate change adaptation considerations into developing countries' policy, planning and decision-making.

Canada also submitted its mid-century strategy to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, making it one of the first countries to do so. The strategy looks beyond 2030 to start a conversation on the ways we can further reduce emissions for a cleaner, more sustainable future by 2050. Several investments were also announced in support of climate efforts and clean-technology deployment in developing countries, as part of the historic $2.65-billion commitment the Government made in Budget 2016. The mid-century strategy is a living document and focuses on longer-term mitigation pathways to 2050, starting with a pathway consistent with net emissions falling by at least 80% in 2050 from 2005 level‎s.
World Toilet Day: WaterAid Canada Calls for Better Global Urban Sanitation
One child dies every two minutes from diarrheal diseases. The physical and cognitive development of 159 million children under the age of five is stunted because of repeated bouts of diarrhea caused by dirty water, poor sanitation and hygiene.

According to Overflowing Cities, WaterAid's second annual report on the state of the world's toilets, more than 700 million people live in urban areas without proper sanitation. The report, which examines the status of urban sanitation around the globe, demonstrates this is becoming an increasingly pressing issue.

"By 2050, two-thirds of the world's population is expected to live in towns and cities," says Nicole Hurtubise, CEO of WaterAid Canada. "Put into context, the line-up for people waiting for toilets in our cities and towns would stretch around the world 29 times. Everyone deserves access to a toilet, not only for personal dignity, but to avoid the many preventable health risks, such as cholera and Ebola, associated with improper sanitation. It's crucial we confront the issue now to prepare for the future."

"This report exposes several countries for failing to make progress in providing urban sanitation, despite rapid economic growth," says Andrés Hueso, senior policy analyst on sanitation, WaterAid. "Good sanitation is the bedrock of public health. We need to prioritize the provision of safe toilets for everyone for a healthier, more sustainable future."

November 19 is World Toilet Day. WaterAid is calling for:

Everyone living in urban areas, including slums, to be provided with a toilet to ensure public health is protected.

More money, better spent from governments and donors on sanitation, clean water and hygiene for the urban poor.

Coordination from city planners, governments, NGOs, private sector organizations, informal service providers and citizens to address this crucial issue.

Sanitation workers to be given the respect they deserve with stable employment, safety and decent pay.

Find out how you can get involved:

www.wateraidcanada.com

Read and download the full report here: https://www.wateraidcanada.com/state-of-the-worlds-toilets-overflowing-cities/


About WaterAid: WaterAid helps improve access to safe water, hygiene and toilets in the poorest nations around the globe. Its mission is to help improve these basic human rights which underpin health, education and livelihoods and are an essential part of overcoming poverty. The international organisation works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Pacific Region. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 24 million people with safe water and, since 2004, 24 million people with sanitation.

For more information, visit www.wateraidcanada.com or follow @WaterAidCanada on Twitter.
WWF-Canada recognizes corporate conservation champions for 2016
WWF-Canada's Living Planet @ Work program recognized three outstanding corporate champions for their efforts to spearhead innovative employee engagement and sustainability initiatives in the workplace. The awards were announced last night at WWF-Canada's 2016 annual public meeting.

It was a year of celebration, innovation and excitement for Living Planet @ Work (LP@W), which is presented by RSA Canada. Across the country, more than 1,400 LP@W champions found ways to engage and empower their colleagues to take environmental action and raise funds for vital conservation work. WWF-Canada is proud to acknowledge the accomplishments of our top champions, who went above and beyond to make sustainability a priority.

WWF-Canada's Living Planet @ Work award winners

Rebecca Stewart, The Printing House Ltd. – Sustainability Trailblazer Award
Stewart received this award for demonstrating exceptional initiative and creativity to inspire colleagues to take action for nature, including organizing a Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup event, leading her company's Smart Office Challenge and inspiring 10 of her colleagues to join her for WWF-Canada's CN Tower Climb for Nature.

OLG – Excellence in Environmental Employee Engagement
OLG received this award for implementation of their Green Leadership Certificate program. Through online modules focused on sustainability in the workplace, the initiative empowers employees to make an even bigger eco-impact and engage colleagues in environmental actions, positioning sustainability as a core aspect of leadership.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise – Distinction in Workplace Giving for Nature
Hewlett Packard Enterprise rallied employees to raise an incredible $30,000 for WWF-Canada's conservation programs by participating in all three Spring Things initiatives this year (CN Tower Climb for Nature, Polar Dip and Canoe Challenge).

For more information about our award winners, read our LP@W Awards blog.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, says:
"WWF-Canada is pleased to recognize the exceptional efforts of these conservation champions, who are on the frontlines helping to bring sustainability to life in their workplaces for the good of business and the planet."

Martin Thompson, president and CEO of RSA Canada, says:
"Employees are every company's most important asset and engaging them on sustainability – an issue that they care deeply about – is directly linked to business success while also helping nature thrive. We are proud to support WWF's Living Planet @ Work program and to congratulate this year's award winners for championing the shift towards sustainability at work. They are inspirational and leading examples of how employee engagement across the organization can drive positive change for the environment."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca

About Living Planet @ Work:
Living Planet @ Work, presented by RSA Canada, was created to inspire, empower and engage environmentally minded employees to lead footprint reduction initiatives, sustainability awareness campaigns at work and build support for WWF's conservation efforts across Canada. Today, more than 1,400 champions from nearly 1,000 companies use the program and are taking action for the good of business and the planet. To learn more about becoming a champion, visit wwf.ca/atwork 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau concludes successful first official visit to Cuba
​ The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, today concluded a productive first official visit to Cuba, where he reinforced Canada's longstanding relationship with Cuba and identified a number of areas where the two countries could work even closer together. Former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau's historic visit to Cuba in 1976 was the first visit by a Western leader since 1960. The visit set the tone for an enduring Canada-Cuba relationship.

Trudeau said, "I would like to thank President Castro and the Cuban people for their warmth and hospitality. It is no wonder that so many Canadians keep returning every year to this beautiful country. The visit showed me how much we have in common, the tremendous opportunities that exist to build closer social and economic ties between our nations, and Cuba's openness to frank and respectful exchanges on governance, human rights and other important social issues."

In his meetings with President Raúl Castro, Prime Minister Trudeau agreed to collaborate on climate change, gender equality, regional safety and security issues, as well as take steps to grow both economies and strengthen the middle class. Canada's longstanding development cooperation program in Cuba is contributing to the modernization of the state and encouraging economic liberalization with projects focused on stimulating sustainable economic growth and increasing food security.

The Prime Minister also delivered remarks and responded to questions at the University of Havana, where he emphasized the importance of Canadian values related to gender equality, and building a stronger, more inclusive society.

During his visit, the Prime Minister participated in a roundtable with civil society organizations to discuss diversity, race, gender, and LGBTQ2 issues. He also laid a wreath at the José Martí Monument, in memory of the Cuban national hero who became a symbol of liberty for Cuba and Latin America.

WWF-Canada welcomes new Marine Protected Area
WWF-Canada applauds today's announcement by the government of Canada and Northern partners establishing a new Marine Protected Area (MPA) in the Beaufort Sea near the community of Paulatuk, N.W.T. Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Darnley Bay) is home to a variety of Arctic wildlife, and is the first MPA in Canada where conservation objectives will be guided by Indigenous traditional knowledge. This MPA prioritizes the conservation of species and their habitats and will prohibit oil and gas exploitation, mining and activities such as commercial fishing.

Paul Crowley, director of WWF-Canada's Arctic program, said:
"Darnley Bay is a critical western Arctic habitat for several marine species, including belugas, polar bears, Arctic char, whitefish and seabirds. We are pleased to hear it is being protected for the health of species and the coastal communities that depend on them. This designation is an example of how governments and communities can work collaboratively, using both science and traditional knowledge to define meaningful boundaries and protections."

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada, said:
"Globally, oceans have suffered a 36 per cent decline in wildlife populations since just 1970. Healthy oceans depend on a network of marine protected areas, and these areas are most effective when they have high ecological standards. We are especially pleased that the new Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam (Darnley Bay) Marine Protected Area includes strong protections that will prevent commercial fishing and exploration for oil, gas and minerals within its boundaries. As Canada works to fulfill its commitment of five per cent marine protection by 2017, and 10 per cent by 2020, it's crucial that new MPAs meet these standards, as Anguniaqvia niqiqyuam will."

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.
The Government of Canada to invest nearly $1.8 billion to spur clean innovation in developing countries
Today, the Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, announced that Canada will invest nearly $1.8 billion to mobilize private-sector support for developing countries' efforts to transition to cleaner, more sustainable economies.

McKenna said, "The global economy is shifting inexorably towards a cleaner, more sustainable future. This shift comes with an opportunity to help some of our world's most vulnerable populations. This investment will help communities in developing countries create sustainable green jobs and lessen their reliance on more polluting sources of energy. And it will spur innovation by creating new opportunities around the world for the clean-technology sector."

This funding is part of Canada's historic $2.65 billion pledge to help countries and communities around the world pollute less, be better equipped to resist the effects of climate change, and make a positive contribution to a global clean economy. It will leverage private-sector investments in areas such as clean technology, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forestry, and climate-resilient infrastructure. Canada will deliver this support through a range of trusted partners, including multilateral development banks, with demonstrated expertise in innovative finance solutions to address climate change.

Canada's action on climate change will help communities in Canada and around the world in tangible and meaningful ways such as improved air quality; better, more sustainable jobs; and more access to economic opportunities.
2016 Global Terrorism Index: 650% Increase in Deaths from Terrorism Amongst OECD Member Countries
  • 10% fall in global deaths from terrorism in 2015 overshadowed by a rise in the overall impact of terrorism as more countries register record terrorist levels
  • Military success against ISIL and Boko Haram resulted in fewer deaths in Iraq and Nigeria, however the two groupsspread terror to neighbouring states and regions
  • 23 countries registered their highest number of deaths from terrorism on record, compared to previous high of 17 in 2014
  • 21 of the 34 OECD member countries experienced at least one terrorist attack with the majority of deaths occurring in Turkey and France
  • France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Tunisia experienced sizable increases in terrorism influencing an overalldeterioration of 6% in the GTI score
  • The global economic impact of terrorism amounted to US$89.6 billion in 2015
The total number of deaths caused by terrorism decreased by 10% to 29,376 in 2015, according to the Global Terrorism Index 2016, reversing a four-year upward trend.

The military interventions against ISIL and Boko Haram have resulted in a 32% reduction in deaths in Iraq and Nigeria, which contributed to an overall reduction in the global figure. However, while ISIL and Boko Haram were weakened at home, these organisations spread to other countries, increasing the impact of terrorism in the rest of the world and contributing to a 6% deterioration in this year's overall GTI score.

The yearly report, developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) based on the Global Terrorism Database by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) as well as other sources, provides the most comprehensive resource on global terrorist trends. It finds that at the global level, the number of countries registering their highest number of deaths in 2015 rose to 23, six more than the previous high of 17. Countries experiencing very significant deteriorations in their GTI score include France, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Tunisia. This led to large changes in rank from the previous year and accounted for the overall deterioration in the global GTI score as these falls outweighed the improvements in Nigeria and Iraq.

ISIL and its affiliates more than doubled the number of countries in which they were active jumping from 13 in 2014 to 28 countries in 2015, including many in Europe. This resulted in a record number of countries experiencing their highest levels of terrorism in any year in the past 16 years. Boko Haram's extension into neighbouring countries Niger, Cameroon and Chad increased the number of people killed through terrorism in these three countries by 157%. This led to Cameroon and Niger rising to 13th and 16th respectively in the GTI.

Steve Killelea, Executive Chairman of IEP, said, "This year's GTI report highlights the most complex set of dynamics in global terrorism in the last 16 years. While on the one hand the reduction in deaths is positive, the continued intensification of terrorism in some countries and its spread to new ones is a cause for serious concern and underscores the fluid nature of modern terrorist activity. The attacks in the heartland of western democracies underscore the need for fast paced and tailored responses to the evolution of these organisations."

In OECD countries, ISIL's transnational tactics in combination with lone actor attacks inspired by the group contributed towards a 650% increase in the number of fatalities. 21 of the 34 OECD countries experienced at least one attack, with the majority of deaths occurring in Turkey and France. Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden and Turkey all recorded the most deaths from terrorism in a single year since 2000. More than half of the 577 deaths were in connection to ISIL, whose attacks in Paris, Brussels and Ankara were amongst the most devastating in the history of these countries.

Steve Killelea commented, "ISIL foreign fighters who have gone to Syria generally have high levels of education but low incomes, with many fighters joining in part due to a feeling of exclusion in their home countries. Understanding the drivers of terrorism is crucial if we are to develop counter-terrorism strategies that help combat radicalisation. Military operations are clearly contributing towards restraining ISIL in Iraq, but the continued appeal of the organisation, evident in the ISIL-inspired attacks in Europe, demonstrates the limitations of a purely militaryapproach."

Within OECD countries, the report finds that socio-economic factors such as youth unemployment, levels of criminality, access to weapons and distrust in the electoral process are the most statistically significant factors correlating with terrorism. In developing countries, a history of conflict, levels of corruption and group-based inequalities are most significantly correlated to terrorist activity.

The global economic impact of terrorism reached US$89.6 billion in 2015: Iraq suffered the highest economic impact from terrorism, reaching 17% of its GDP in 2015. The five countries with the highest total impact from terrorism are Iraq, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Pakistan and Syria. These five countries accounted for 72% of all deaths from terrorism in 2015. Operating within these countries are the four deadliest terrorist groups that are responsible for 74% of all deaths from terrorism: ISIL, Boko Haram, the Taliban and al-Qa'ida. ISIL surpassed Boko Haram as the deadliest terrorist group in 2015 through attacks in 252 different cities that were responsible for 6,141 deaths.
New Study: Fossil fuel subsidies undermine carbon pricing in Canada
Today, four prominent Canadian environmental groups released a study that shows how billions of taxpayer dollars in federal and provincial subsidies for oil and gas companies greatly undermine climate action in Canada.

Fossil fuel subsidies to oil and gas producers in Canada total $3.3 billion annually. This amounts to paying polluters $19/tonne CO2 to pollute. These subsidies drastically undercut the goal of the pan-Canadian carbon price that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will introduce in 2018. Unless these subsidies are eliminated, more money will flow annually from government to oil and gas companies in Canada than the money collected through carbon pricing between now and 2020.

"This system is like taxing consumers when they buy cigarettes while giving massive tax breaks to tobacco companies that encourage them to produce more cigarettes. It doesn't make sense," said Alex Doukas of Oil Change International.

"Unless Canada phases out massive subsidies to oil and gas companies, Trudeau's carbon price will do little to encourage polluters to cut carbon emissions," said Dale Marshall of Environmental Defence. "The three billion dollars in annual subsidies could be put to much better use by investing in climate action, healthcare, or other initiatives."

Canada and other G20 countries committed to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies back in 2009. This commitment was reiterated by Prime Minister Trudeau at the G7 meeting last March and through a commitment in Finance Minister Bill Morneau's mandate letter.

"In light of Minister McKenna's participation in the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition at the COP22 meeting in Marrakech, we take the opportunity to remind Canada that leadership requires coherent fiscal policies" stated Annie Bérubé, Director of Government Relations at Équiterre. "Finance Minister Bill Morneau must announce a predictable phase-out of all remaining preferential tax treatment to the oil and gas sector starting in Budget 2017."

Environmental Defence, Oil Change International, Équiterre, and Climate Action Network Canada, who released today's study, urge the Canadian government to finally complete the phase-out of all federal subsidies to oil and gas producers by 2020, not 2025 as currently planned.
Fort McMurray Wildfires to Cost Governments and Insurers More Than $5 Billion
$5.3 billion will be re-invested in Alberta's economy over the next three years to rebuild Fort McMurray following the devastating wildfires in May 2016, according to a Conference Board of Canada report on the economic impacts of Canada's most costliest natural disaster.

"A massive injection of funds from provincial and federal governments, insurance companies and private sources will go towards the clean up and rebuilding effort in and around Fort McMurray," said Pedro Antunes, Deputy Chief Economist. "The wildfires will leave a sizeable dent in public finances, while property and casualty insurers will have to absorb the massive cost of claims."

The lion's share of the $5.3 billion will be absorbed by the insurance industry, which is estimating $3.6 billion in claims. In contrast, the federal and provincial governments covered the majority of payments in the 2013 Alberta floods. This is because flood insurance for residences was unavailable in the province and elsewhere in the country, while fire insurance coverage is almost universal.

As a result of the wildfires, an estimated 1,935 residential and 23 commercial/industrial structures were damaged or destroyed and more than 12,000 auto claims are expected. Close to 45,000 claims are expected to be processed at an average payout of almost $80,000. Initial estimates from Insurance Bureau of Canada suggest that commercial property claims will total $1.2 billion.

Overall, the Conference Board expects the impact of the wildfires to shave $456 million or 0.1 per cent from real gross domestic product (GDP) in Alberta in 2016. The sheer size of the firefighting, emergency services, and clean-up efforts will generate plenty of economic activity, but will not offset the losses in oilsands production in May and June. Estimated production valued at over 47 million barrels and $1.4 billion in revenues will be lost to producers and the province in 2016. On its own, this lost production would take 0.5 per cent out of economic growth in the province. Mining activity is expected to return to normal in 2017 and thereafter.

The rebuilding effort is expected to boost economic activity in Alberta by $1.1 billion, or 0.4 per cent of GDP next year. The Conference Board expects more than 2,500 homes to be rebuilt over the next three years along with repair works, furnishing of homes and purchasing of new cars, helping to boost residential construction and retail sales.

The increased economic activity will generate close to 16,000 person-years of employment between 2016 and 2019—employment would peak at almost 9,000 jobs next year. The recession has left the province with excess capacity and excess labour, especially in industries like construction, manufacturing and many business services that were hardest hit by the recession.

Real GDP in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo is expected to decline by more than 12 per cent in 2016. The Conference Board expects the rebuilding effort to boost real GDP by 4.1 percentage points in 2017 with the construction industry accounting for the lion's share of the gains. This work will add nearly 5,100 jobs to the Wood Buffalo economy in 2017.

This research was supported with funding from the Insurance Bureau of Canada. A free webinar to present the findings will be held on November 29th at 2 pm ET.
Classic Black And White Take New Form This Month At Urban Gallery
KJ Mullins: Urban Gallery's November art scene is taking a glamourous turn with the current exhibition Driftwood & Dharma featuring the work of Kris Bovenizer and Dawn Hemmy.
  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
  7. Managing Director
On Thursday November 3 the gallery held the artists reception to a packed house. Patrons of the arts flocked to see the moving pieces and were delighted to find unframed prints also available to take home. The framed artwork is on sale as well.

According to a joint statement both artists are life travellers and seekers of spiritual places. Their Intaglio and Relief Printmaking reflects those values in classic black and white.

"Having delved into the world of Intaglio and Relief Printmaking, we have both chosen merciless mediums. One slip of the gauge or scratch on a metal plate is not forgiven. The block or plate takes on a black and white life of its own. It becomes a collaborator in the process; requiring ongoing compromise to achieve the end result."

Bovenizer's love of water and archaeology shines through her work in both her bold and more intricate pieces. At the opening artists reception her mother shared that adventures in the Maritimes greatly influenced several of her daughter's current work. The result is a refined Canadian backdrop oozing with a classic Greek feel.

Hemmy has been a lifelong artist and teacher of the arts and printmaking. Travels in Asia and India have influenced her work giving the prints a mystical edge.


DHARMA & DRIFTWOOD runs until November 26, 2016 at Urban Gallery.

Monday to Friday NOON to 5 PM
Thursday NOON to 8 PM
Saturday 1 PM to 5 PM
Closed Sundays & Holidays

Contact Urban Gallery
400 Queen Street East, Toronto
T: 647.460-1278
 
Pulse On The Polls: More than 4 in 5 Americans Planning to Vote Next Week 
With the U.S. presidential election just around the corner, the political rhetoric is at fever pitch levels on both sides of the aisle.

But what do consumers think about their involvement in the U.S. political system? To find out, Harris Poll partnered with Nielsen to survey consumers regarding the voting process itself—from their likelihood of voting to the trust they have in both the current machines and potential emerging technology as well—and found that region, political philosophy, and race/ethnicity all come into play.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,463 U.S. adults aged 18+, along with representative oversamples of 485 Hispanic Americans (interviewed in English and Spanish) and 180 Asian Americans (interviewed in English), and including 2,164 "likely voters" (U.S. adults who say they will probably or definitely vote, regardless of their voter registration status at the time of the survey), surveyed online between July 14 and 27, 2016. Complete results of this study can be found here.

Stepping out: the voter intent of this year's ballot casters
The study found that 86% of all Americans say they will definitely or probably vote in this year's election ("likely voters"), including 94% of those who are already registered to vote and 24% of those who were not registered to vote at the time of the survey.

Among likely voters (those who say they will probably or definitely vote, regardless of their voter registration status at the time of the survey), 87% of men and 84% of women said they will definitely or probably vote in this year's election, though men are more likely than women to say they will definitely vote (79% vs. 71%, respectively). Perhaps not surprisingly, adults ages 65 and older are more likely to say they will vote than younger adults.

But how do voters' views and political leanings sway their intent to hit the polls?

The study found that 90% of Americans who described their political leanings as "liberal" said they will probably or definitely vote, while 87% of "conservative" leaning adults and 83% of "moderate" adults said they plan to vote.

Among the different race/ethnic groups, 77% of white adults said they definitely plan on voting in next month's election—compared to 73% of black adults, 69% of Hispanic adults, and 63% of Asian adults.

Additionally, nearly half (46%) of all Americans said they would be more likely to vote if it was easier to get to their voting center and about the same proportion (45%) said they wish they could vote closer to home.

Cast away: the ways consumers prefer to vote
The survey didn't just look at whether Americans were planning to punch their respective tickets. It also looked at how they would prefer to have their voice heard, looking at attitudes toward traditional ways to vote as well as how technological advances in regard to voting might play in the future.

In fact, 57% of likely voters agreed that they would feel comfortable voting online, and 60% said they would be more likely to vote if they could do so from home.

When asked about their "preferred" method of voting, 42% of likely voters noted they lean toward in-person electronic voting, 24% said they prefer in-person paper ballots, 16% said they would like remote online voting from either work or home, and 17% said they would rather mail-in a paper ballot.

The survey looked deeper at the potential online voting might have with voters, taking a close look at political leanings, age, race, and the distance from the voting centers.

For instance, comfort with voting online follows a definite demographic trend, with 66% of likely voters aged 18-34 agreeing that they would be comfortable voting online. However, this percentage ebbs away as age increases—only 40% of likely voters 65 and older said they feel comfortable voting online.

With rapid technological advancements, knowing how voters feel about not only who they vote for, but how they feel comfortable voting, is crucial toward making every voter—and vote—count.
Highlights of the Governor General's State Visit to Israel
​​
Their Excellencies the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, and Mrs. Sharon Johnston completed the very first State visit of a Governor General to Israel. Together, with Canadian delegates from key sectors inline with the objectives of the visit, they have reaffirmed Canada's role as a steadfast friend of Israel, and demonstrated its commitment to enhance bilateral relations and to uphold a two-state solution.

This historic State visit highlighted how much Canada values its relationship with Israel, based on shared values of respect and inclusivity,with strong educational, economic, cultural and social ties. There was a particular focus on the great potential of Canada as an innovation partner for Israel, which is a renowned startup nation. It was also a moment to engage with the community of Canadians who live, work and support Israel.

"This visit showed the deep linkages between Canada and Israel. Our two countries are long time friends and active partners in so many fields. We share common aspirations and values, one of which is the importance of diversity and inclusion. Touching specifically on these themes, my meeting with President Reuven Rivlin was very warm, cordial and memorable. My discussion with Yuli-Yoel Edelstein, the Speaker of the Knesset, was an opportunity to share views about our democratic and parliamentary systems," said the Governor General.

"It was a great honour to be the first Canadian to plant a tree in the Grove of Nations, a symbol of the friendship and genuine respect between Canada and Israel. On a more personal note, Sharon and I were deeply moved by our visit to Yad Vashem, which was built by survivors of the Holocaust. This memorial is filled with troubling stories of loss and hate, but also of hope and determination."

"In a world of instant and digital communication, face-to-face visits like this are so important to renew exchanges in trade, innovation, education and research, all of which are grounded in our people-to-people relations. These priorities were reinforced during my meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Nethanyahu, where innovation was the focal point of our truly engaging conversation."

Here are some of the highlights of the State visit's program.

Innovation and Diversity: Two Key Ingredients for Striving Nations
The shared commitment to a culture of innovation and to a knowledge economy was at the heart of many conversations and events during this visit. The Governor General and members of the Canadian delegation visited Phinergy where they learned more about the company's aluminum-air batteries, and its successful collaboration with the Canadian and international subsidiaries of Alcoa. His Excellency had the occasion to drive one of the cars using this technology.

Later on, students from various parts of the world studying at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology talked about their diverse backgrounds and how they strive for success in their studies at the oldest university in the Middle East. It was an occasion to demonstrate how the combination of education and diversity is a vital ingredient to inclusive innovation.

While at Technion, His Excellency received an honorary doctorate for his contributions to the Canada-Israel innovation relationship. "The pace of change and the many challenges facing our world are proof positive: we need new ways of doing things, and we need to gear our economies toward creating value," said the Governor General in his acceptance speech. "I believe the future belongs to those who embrace diversity and who build cultures of innovation with global reach. Israel leads by example in this regard. It has become an innovative nation because of necessity, but also because of the diversity and creativity of its people."

Again on the theme of diversity and inclusion, Her Excellency visited HIPPY Israel which offers early childhood programs to thousands of families among Israel's native-born Arab and Jewish communities. She also visited Hand In Hand Haïfa Preschool, which uses a teaching model based on multiculturalism with an Hebrew-Arabic educational program.

Science and Research: An Important Area of Collaboration Between Canada and Israel
The Governor General and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu witnessed the signing of two agreements, one between Mitacs and the Canada-Israel Industrial Research and Development Foundation (CIIRDF) for industrial research collaboration between Canadian and Israeli companies. The second, between Mitacs and the Israel's Ministry of Science, Technology and Space (MOST), established an academic research collaboration between Canadian and Israeli universities. Both agreements showcase the level of research collaboration that exists between Israel and Canada.

The Institute For Medical Research, Israel-Canada (IMRIC) at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem was another stop on the visit. IMRIC is an stellar example of groundbreaking and collaborative research in the medical field by pulling resources to fight diseases. A concrete example of this collaboration is a joint research on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder with the University of Manitoba.

Next Stop for the Visit to the Middle East
Their Excellencies and the accompanying delegation will be visiting Ramallah in the West Bank on November 4 and 5, to reaffirm Canada's development and humanitarian support to the Palestinians. The first part of this visit to the Middle East was in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan from October 29 to November 1.

 


  1. Managing Director
  2. Managing Director
  3. Managing Director
  4. Managing Director
  5. Managing Director
  6. Managing Director
Six months on, Red Cross spends $178 million to assist people affected by wildfires
Six months after a devastating wildfire swept through the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo, the Canadian Red Cross is proud to announce that $178 million has already been spent to assist those affected by the fires. More than 58,000 households have received direct financial assistance through an electronic transfer of funds.

The fundraising total for the Alberta Fires Appeal has reached $319 million, thanks to generous Canadians, community groups and corporate partners. This total reflects the contributions of more than one million Canadians, who rallied to donate $185 million, plus $104 million in matching funds from the Government of Canada and $30 million in matching funds from the Government of Alberta.

"The Canadian Red Cross continues to support the people of Fort McMurray and area as they recover and rebuild following the fires," said Conrad Sauvé, president and CEO, Canadian Red Cross. "Disasters affect people in different ways, with needs emerging and changing over time. The Red Cross is committed to being in the Wood Buffalo region for as long as it takes to guide those affected along their road to recovery."

Red Cross personnel are working directly in the Fort McMurray area and have helped thousands of people affected by the fires through confidential one-on-one appointments. The funds received to date are enabling the Red Cross to assist in the following ways:

1) Assistance to Individuals and Families -- $227 Million allocated; ($165 Million spent to date)

Emergency shelter, registration, food, clothing, hygiene items, medical equipment, transportation, clean-up kits, and occupational items to help people return to work.
Financial housing assistance to help with rent, as well as the replacement of furniture, appliances and household goods.
Rebuilding of homes through collaboration with experts in the area of clean-up, repair and rehabilitation of homes.
2) Community Initiatives -- $50 Million allocated; ($7 Million spent to date)

To date, 30 community initiatives that have a direct impact on the community of Fort McMurray and surrounding areas have been funded. This includes funding provided to local foodbanks.
3) Support to Small Business -- $30 Million allocated; ($6 Million spent to date)

To date, 3,296 eligible small businesses have received emergency financial assistance to help with uninsured losses, clean-up and property damage.
Application forms for the second phase of the Red Cross Support to Small Business Program are available online at www.YMMSmallBizRecovery.ca.
Additional details on Red Cross recovery efforts to date can be found in the Alberta Fires Six Month Donor Update.

People with severely damaged or destroyed homes due to the Alberta wildfires are encouraged to call the Red Cross at 1-888-553-5505 to make an appointment for a confidential assessment. Red Cross recovery assistance is based on need, not loss, and is available for all evacuees who were permanent residents of the region at the time of the evacuation, regardless of where in Canada they may now reside.

As the Red Cross continues to assist the people affected by this disaster, regular progress reports will be posted on our website: www.redcross.ca. Projected areas of spending and allocation of funds are subject to change based on needs identified by the individuals and communities affected by this disaster. Red Cross assistance will not duplicate existing support available from municipal or provincial governments, or from insurance.

Donations will be held in a separate trust fund to be used only for Alberta Fires relief and recovery efforts. The fundraising cost related to this emergency appeal will not exceed five per cent. All remaining funds will be used for Red Cross operations to support vulnerable people, families and communities affected by this disaster. This includes a small portion of funds, one and a half percent, which ensures the Canadian Red Cross is ready and prepared to respond to future disasters. Fundraising costs are associated to the total funds donated to date ($185 Million), not the grand total including the matching funds.

For additional information about Red Cross funding for community organizations, please visit: www.redcross.ca/CommunityPartnerships

Additional information related to the Alberta fires including information for evacuees can be found at www.redcross.ca/albertafiresinfo

Visit www.redcross.ca/blog to read stories by Red Cross staff, volunteers, supporters and friends.
 


Nature Conservancy of Canada, Earth Rangers and SFI Want to Make Life Less Scary for Amphibians at Halloween and All Year Round
Slimy, slithery creatures take centre stage at Halloween, but they fascinate children all year round. Kids are onto something because these animals are important to the health and biodiversity of Canada's forests. That's why the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) is proud to support important conservation research on amphibians and their habitat led by the Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC) and the Earth Rangers' School Assembly Program, which leverages kids' love of nature — even the slimy and slithering kind.

"Amphibians have been declining worldwide for nearly two decades, and little is known about the causes of these declines," said Peter Kendall, Executive Director of Earth Rangers. "SFI's support of this important research and of our School Assembly Program helps increase students' understanding of the key role amphibians play in forest ecosystems, and inspires optimism in our children for what's possible when we all work together to protect the environment."

Through the power of live animal demonstrations and exciting audience interaction, the Earth Rangers cross-Canada school tour helps students learn about the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity, while highlighting important conservation initiatives across Canada. This year's show features, among other topics, an engaging look at NCC research sponsored by SFI into vernal pools.

Vernal pools are temporary water bodies that form during periods of high precipitation or spring snow melt. They provide important habitat for a variety of plant and wildlife species of concern, including frogs, salamanders and other amphibians. A key feature of vernal pools is the absence of fish, which means amphibians' eggs don't get eaten. An SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant is supporting research in these important ecosystems, in partnership with the NCC and Kenauk Canada.

The vernal pools are on the Kenauk Nature property, 140 km west of Montreal. This vast territory also contains working forests. Kenauk is a great example of how forests can provide multiple values focused simultaneously on conservation, recreation and economic productivity. Kenauk Canada is an SFI Program Participant.

"With Halloween around the corner, the school year is well underway, and I'm so impressed that Earth Rangers is on track to make more than 800 school presentations in 2016. Engaging youth on biodiversity issues, like species of concern in vernal pools, is a key part of the SFI mission and central to our partnership with Earth Rangers," said Kathy Abusow, President and CEO of SFI Inc.

The Kenauk research project features cooperation between academic institutions, forest managers and conservation groups, and presents an exceptional learning opportunity as these organizations share their findings publicly through workshops, reports and outreach. "Study results will play a key role in improving understanding of the important vernal pool ecosystems in North American deciduous forests, including the Kenauk Reserve, and responsible forest management in these ecosystems," said Caroline Gagné, Project Manager at NCC.

For this project NCC has partnered with SFI Program Participant Kenauk Canada, Institut des Sciences de la Forêt tempérée, Centre d'enseignement et de recherche en foresterie de Sainte-Foy, and Centre GEOTOP, Université du Québec à Montréal.
 


LIXIL to Expand SaTo ("Safe Toilet") Market Globally with New Gran
LIXIL Corporation ("LIXIL"), a global leader in housing and building materials, products and services, today announced that it has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the expansion of its SaTo ("Safe Toilet") business activities, providing affordable, aspirational solutions to people that lack access to proper sanitation.

SaTo products are designed to improve the user experience and safety of open-pit latrines. They are refined yet affordably priced and simple to install. They utilize an airtight counterweighted trap-door to prevent odors and the transmission of disease. First developed by LIXIL's American Standard Brands with previous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, over one million units are currently in use in over 14 countries, starting with Bangladesh and now including the Philippines, India, Uganda, Kenya and Haiti.

Kinya Seto, LIXIL President and CEO, said, "As the global leader in sanitary ware, LIXIL is uniquely positioned to contribute to tackling global sanitation issues through innovative products and a sustainable business focused-approach. LIXIL has set a goal to improve sanitation for 100 million people by 2020, and SaTo products will play a leading role in reaching this target. We look forward to now increasing SaTo's presence in regions like Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, where these products can make a meaningful difference."

Jim McHale, Ph.D., Vice President, LIXIL, and General Manager of the SaTo business unit, commented, "SaTo products offer a simple and affordable solution that can help improve the lives of people in low-income and off-grid areas suffering from poor sanitary conditions. We are now accelerating the scaling-up of the SaTo business, using the expertise we have developed in Japan, the U.S. and globally, to tackle poor sanitation. I would like to thank the Gates Foundation for its support, which will help us improve access to SaTo products in developing countries worldwide."

Brian Arbogast, Director of the Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, said, "Inadequate sanitation is a pressing global problem, adversely affecting the health and prosperity of billions of people in low-resource setting. We are honored to partner with LIXIL to explore and scale innovative product solutions that will expand sanitation access and improve outcomes for the poorest and most vulnerable around the world."

During the SaTo development phase, engineers underwent a number of technological design iterations and field tests similar to designing high-end toilets, including computational analyses of flushing and fluid mechanisms. The SaTo series today consists of several variations, adapted to suit local practices, cultures and regulations. This is the third grant provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for the development of SaTo products.
 


Haiti funding needs nearly triple following Hurricane Matthew - UNICEF  
Three weeks since Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Haiti, UNICEF said it would need an additional $22.5 million to meet the increasing needs of children in the country, including in the hurricane-hit areas.

"Children in Haiti have for years been vulnerable to poverty, severe weather patterns, violence, malnutrition and poor water infrastructure," said Marc Vincent, UNICEF Representative in Haiti. "Hurricane Matthew made a precarious situation even worse and we need the international community to come together to help us address children's increasing needs."

UNICEF increased its Haiti appeal from $13.4 million earlier this year to $36.6 million. The additional funds will help provide families and children across Haiti with basic health, nutrition, education and protection services including:

Cholera vaccination for people living in high-risk areas;

Nutrition services to malnourished children under the age of five and pregnant women;

Family tracing and reintegration for unaccompanied and separated children;

Recreational and psychosocial support to children affected by the hurricane;

Safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene, including for persons displaced by the hurricane;

Adequate water, sanitation and hygiene services for people living in cholera-affected areas;

School supplies and learning materials for children in areas hit by the hurricane.

Right before the hurricane struck, UNICEF prepositioned water bladders, water treatment units and bottled water in the South and Grand'Anse departments to help families be better prepared. UNICEF was on the ground 24 hours after the hurricane hit and since then, working with partners, has continuously scaled up its response, providing to date:

10,000 emergency packs including blankets, hygiene kits and buckets to families in South and Grand'Anse departments;

Nearly 20 water treatment plants to bring water to approximately 100,000 people per day in the South, Grand'Anse and Nippes departments;

More than 1,000,000 Aquatabs for water treatment, allowing about 80,000 people to have access to safe water for 15 days;
50 cholera kits, 20 washing points and information to 2,000 people on safe hygiene practices to prevent the spread of cholera;

Increase from 5 to 14 the number of teams deployed 24-48 hours after each suspected cholera case to provide immediate assistance. On average each team responds to 10 households which might be at risk.

170 metric tons of emergency supplies flown in from Panama and Copenhagen.

About UNICEF

UNICEF has saved more children's lives than any other humanitarian organization. We work tirelessly to help children and their families, doing whatever it takes to ensure children survive. We provide children with healthcare and immunization, clean water, nutrition and food security, education, emergency relief and more.

UNICEF is supported entirely by voluntary donations and helps children regardless of race, religion or politics. As part of the UN, we are active in over 190 countries - more than any other organization. Our determination and our reach are unparalleled. Because nowhere is too far to go to help a child survive. For more information about UNICEF, please visit www.unicef.ca. For updates, follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit unicef.ca.

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde Says Site C Dam Approval Contrary to Canada's Own Laws Following Tour of Treaty 8 Territory
Following a tour of Treaty 8 territory and the areas that will be affected by the proposed Site C hydroelectric dam in northern British Columbia, Assembly of First Nations (AFN) National Chief Perry Bellegarde called for alternatives to the project, saying plans to flood the Peace River Valley will lay waste to sacred burial grounds, traditional territories and agricultural land.

"My visit was an opportunity to see firsthand the devastating social, cultural and environmental damage this project will inflict on Treaty 8 First Nations," said AFN National Chief Bellegarde. "I am standing with Treaty 8 First Nations and First Nations across the country in opposing this project and standing up for First Nations rights. This project ignores the legal requirement under Canadian law to fully assess impacts on Indigenous peoples' rights. Domestic and international law directs Canada to respect our rights. The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls for free, prior and informed consent. Canada's approach to planning, managing and regulating development needs an overhaul and First Nations need to be part of that work."

The National Chief toured the area on October 22. The tour began in Fort St. John with leadership from West Moberly First Nation and Prophet River First Nation and included travel along the Peace River and a guided aerial tour of the territory. Treaty 8 First Nations have taken legal action to overturn approvals of the controversial hydroelectric dam project that will flood thousands of acres of Treaty 8 traditional territory and prevent Treaty 8 First Nations from exercising their rights. The Site C project, if built, will exacerbate impacts from existing large-scale hydroelectric development in the region and will devastate traditional First Nations territory.

There are numerous national AFN resolutions calling for action to stop Site C, including AFN resolution 03/2010, resolution 41/2015 and resolution 71/2015. AFN resolutions can be found at: afn.ca/en/resolutions

The Assembly of First Nations is the national organization representing First Nations citizens in Canada. Follow AFN on Twitter @AFN_Updates.

 


From Marginal Farmland to a Vibrant Forest: Artists Meg and Maury Breslow Recognized as Green Leaders for Transforming the Landscape
 From their country-side home near Kingston, Ontario, artists Meg and Maury Breslow overlook their legacy – where there was once marginal farmland, thousands of trees grow tall on their 18-acre parcel of land that is flourishing into a verdant forest. Maury first purchased the property in 1975, after joining the faculty at Queen's School of Drama, where he met Meg, who teaches singing at the Kingston School of Music. Maury spent most weekends those following few years tackling various home renovation projects, however this planting project has proven to be his most adventuresome endeavour yet.

Planting through the Ontario government's 50 Million Tree Program offered the Breslow's an affordable option to re-green their property. Without it, Maury says, "it would have been very expensive, especially since we have almost 14,000 trees out there! Without the financial assistance from the 50 Million Tree Program, it would have cost significantly more money to plant trees on our property."

This fall, the couple will be recognized as Green Leaders for their commitment to re-greening Ontario's landscapes. The Green Leader program recognizes private landowners whose stewardship efforts have significantly contributed to enhancing forest cover in the province.

The couple began planting trees on their property when they first heard of the 50 Million Tree Program and since 2008, the Breslow's have planted 13,400 seedlings: 2,400 in the first year, 4,000 in 2009 and a total of 7,000 in 2010, featuring a variety of tree species, including white pine, Norway spruce, red oak, bur oak and white spruce.

"It has been a pleasure working with such a wonderful couple as Meg and Maury, who have shown sincere commitment and concern for the environment over the years. They truly deserve the recognition!" says Rick Knapton, forest technician at the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority.

As the lead delivery agent of the government of Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program, Forests Ontario works with partners across the province to connect landowners, like the Bresolow's, with experienced forestry professionals who help manage the planting process and reduce the amount of effort and cost that is required by the landowners. In all, the couple credit their successful planting experience to their partnership with Rick who has been involved in the planting process since their first year and nominated the couple as Green Leaders.

"It pleased us, the idea that we would be putting trees in the environment and letting the fields go back to nature," says Maury. For years, the arts-loving couple have also been fond of bird-watching and have kept record of up to 103 species that frequent their property. "Sometimes when we're out in the rows we find nests in the spruce!" says Meg with excitement. Indeed, trees offers multiple ecological benefits including the expansion of wildlife habitat, the sequestration of atmospheric carbon, cleaner air, water and soil, and opportunities to get outside and enjoy nature.

Minister of Natural Resources and Forestry, Kathryn McGarry commends their success. "Our forests have profound importance on our health and well-being, and Meg and Maury's outstanding efforts serve as a positive example for landowners across Ontario. Every year more and more organizations and individuals are working with us to achieve our goal of planting 50 million trees in southern Ontario, making our communities greener, healthier and fighting the threat of climate change."

Their children, Max and Mimi, who visit time and again, are deeply thankful to have grown up in the beauty of the countryside. In fact, when Maury moved to Kingston in 1973 that was all he had hoped for. Nearly 45 years later the couple are leaving a lasting legacy not only to their children, but for the community and province as a whole.

"I would like to commend the Breslow's for their significant contribution to re-greening Ontario's landscapes through the 50 Million Tree Program. Their efforts are a testament to the importance of our forests which are vital to the social, economic and environmental health of our province," says Rob Keen, CEO of Forests Ontario.

Meg and Maury look forward to watching their forest flourish in the coming years with the ongoing assistance of the Cataraqui Region Conservation Authority. Periodic site visits and survival assessments are also conducted to ensure the future success of their forest.

To learn more about the 50 Million Tree Program and other tree planting programs, as well as local tree planting workshops, visit: forestsontario.ca/50MTP.

About 50 Million Tree Program
Forests Ontario administers the government of Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program, part of the United Nations Billion Tree Campaign. The United Nations' goal is to plant one billion trees worldwide each year. Ontario is committed to planting 50 million trees by 2025.

The 50 Million Tree Program is designed to signi­ficantly reduce the costs to landowners of large-scale tree planting and thereby increase the number of trees planted across the province.
 


Bacardi Installs Bat Caves At Bottling Plant To Save Bats
 Bacardi gives new meaning to the phrase, "to the bat cave," as a team of employees, in partnership with Lubee Bat Conservancy, erected several large bat habitats at the company's BACARDÍ® rum bottling facility campus in Jacksonville, Florida.

Within just a few months, the habitats – branded bat caves – will be full of tenants. Together, the organizations are working hard to fight the devastation of habitat depletion that has occurred for bats, the world's only flying mammals.

"Conservation and sustainability have been a part of who Bacardi has been since the very beginning nearly 155 years ago. We've now come full-circle with these bat caves as we live out this legacy," says Julio Torruella, global environment director for Bacardi, about the new bat houses installed at the Bacardi Bottling Corporation campus. The facility, part of the Bacardi group of companies, bottles all BACARDÍ spirits consumed in the U.S. and has received international recognition for its contributions to wildlife habitat conservation and education by the Wildlife Habitat Council.

The wooden bat caves, which stand 20-feet off the ground, are engraved with both the BACARDÍ and Lubee Bat Conservancy logos. The mutual goal between the two organizations is to preserve and provide crucial habitats for the local bat population to help maintain the community's natural wetlands, farming, and forest areas. In fact, the Bacardi wildlife team consists of 11 employees who volunteer to manage 21 acres of wildlife habitat as part of a Wildlife at Work program that has been certified by the Wildlife Habitat Council since 2013. Several of these Bacardi employees, as well as several Lubee Bat Conservancy employees, worked together on this project.

"Monitoring of the bat houses will be conducted in a responsible manner, so we do not disturb the bats as they take residence in the new shelters," says Brian Pope, director of Lubee Bat Conservancy. "For this reason, we don't have cameras inside the shelters. Acoustic surveys conducted in late spring recorded 716 identifiable calls revealing four bat species on the Bacardi property."

The three bat caves hold up to a total of 500 bats. The two single-chambered bat caves can house between 50-100 bats, and the one triple-chambered cave can hold between 200-300 bats. In just a short few months, the shelters will likely be active with many local bats.

The bat has always been more than just a logo for Bacardi—it's an ecological partner and a metaphor for the iconic rum brand that touts, "We Are the Night." Bacardi support for bats goes back to its founding in 1862 when Doña Amalia Bacardí, the founder's wife, spotted a colony of fruit bats in the rafters of the first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba. In Spain, where the Bacardí family emigrated from, and with the native Taíno Indians in their new homeland of Cuba, bats symbolized good health, family unity and good fortune, so the Bacardi founder made sure the bats remained in the distillery and became identified with his rum. The Bacardi creation became known by the Cuban people as "el Ron del Murciélago" or "the Rum of the Bat." Today, the Bacardi bat device still proudly graces every bottle of BACARDÍ rum, as it continues to inspire new "outside-the-bat-box" conservation and sustainability directives beyond the company's literal and figurative walls.

The Bacardí family's long-term involvement with bat research, education and conservation is also reflected in the work of the non-profit Lubee Bat Conservancy to protect biological diversity through the conservation of bats and their habitats.

Just in time for Halloween, the number of bats at the facility, which include the Mexican free-tailed, Evening bat, Tricolored and Eastern red bats, is expected to grow as the fall season advances, colder weather creeps in and breeding groups start to form. All of the species, except the Eastern red bats, will roost in the bat houses. Although bats are nocturnal, they can be heard vocalizing during the day. Bats are extremely social and will spend considerable time grooming and communicating with others in their colony. At night, these aerial acrobats use echolocation to navigate and find insect prey, many species of which are agricultural pests. Although most bat species use echolocation, they can see very well. All Florida bat species are insectivorous and provide essential ecological and economic services.

"Bats are vital to the health of natural ecosystems and human economies, so preservation of their habitats makes great sense with regard to sustainability," adds Torruella. "We work just as hard to find ways to preserve habitats and protect species as we do to reduce energy consumption and conduct business sustainably."

Rural and residential areas surround the 92-acre Bacardi facility, which includes on-site habitats such as wetlands, forest, and grasslands that have been replanted with native species of plants and flowers.

Bacardi began tracking its global impact on the environment in 2006. Building on current programs and efficiencies that reduce its environmental impacts, Bacardi executes its "Good Spirited" sustainability program under specific goals in three areas to help the Company reach its vision of a net zero impact in responsible sourcing, global packaging and operational efficiencies.

To learn more about Bacardi Limited and its "Good Spirited: Building a Sustainable Future" environmental initiative across the entire Bacardi family of premium spirits and wine brands, visit http://www.bacardilimited.com/good-spirited.
 


Canada Fibers Donates 25 Trees to Toronto in Commemoration of its Longstanding Business Relationship with the Toronto Star
Canada Fibers Ltd. ("Canada Fibers") today announced that it is donating 25 trees to the City of Toronto to commemorate its 25-year relationship with the Toronto Star ("Star"). Canada Fibers provided sustainable recycling programs for the Star's Torstar Printing Group's Vaughan Press Centre, until it closed on July 2, 2016. The two companies continue to work together to recover discarded materials, saving millions of trees from being cut down. These materials will continue to be recycled into products, such as paper produced at paper mills across North America.

"We believe these trees will serve as a growing reminder to citizens of Toronto of how firms can work together to enhance our environment," said Mark Badger of Canada Fibers. He added that, "transparency, continuous improvement and good faith" provided the foundation for a 25-year relationship that created economic and environmental value on an exclusive basis. In fact, Canada Fibers' founders have a business relationship spanning over 40 years with the Star.

Canada Fibers was established 25 years ago as a Toronto-based paper recovery and marketing operation. Since then, its operational scope has broadened to include recovery, separation and marketing of a wide variety of materials. Today, Canada Fibers' supply side customers include municipalities in the Province of Ontario, as well as institutional, commercial and industrial organizations. The company is also engaged in the production of consumer and industrial products from the waste it recovers through its affiliated Urban Resource Group of Companies. By way of extensive vertical integration, Canada Fibers provides circular economy recycling solutions to a growing customer base..
 


Support near unanimous for marine protection, new survey finds
WWF-Canada released a survey today that shows 98 per cent of Canadians support designating parts of Canada's territorial waters as marine protected areas (MPAs). Canadians also articulated clear views on unacceptable activities within MPAs, with 80 per cent rejecting oil and gas exploration and 63 per cent favouring limits on commercial fishing. The results come from a public opinion survey conducted by Environics Research.

Currently, only one per cent of Canada's oceans is protected, though the federal government has pledged to meet its commitment to protect five per cent by 2017 and at least 10 per cent by 2020. When asked about Canada's current level of protection, 87 per cent of the public thought this was too low.

Survey highlights

Canadians see MPAs as a way to protect wildlife and fish stocks.

83 per cent make wildlife and habitat protection a top priority for MPAs.

About 70 per cent say that protecting the health of fish stocks and food security should also be top priorities.

Canadians see ocean protection as a good way to minimize human impact on the environment.

98 per cent of Canadians say that protecting oceans and their ecosystems is an important action to take; 73 per cent called it "very important."

Almost three-quarters of Canadians feel strongly about prioritizing ocean protection to sustain the economy and jobs, rather than allowing industrial activities in all parts of our oceans.

Canadians want to see meaningful levels of protection for their oceans and clearly differentiate between acceptable and unacceptable activities in MPAs

80 per cent of Canadians think oil and gas exploration, drilling and exploitation should not be allowed in an MPA; 87 per cent do not support bottom trawling.

In contrast, there is strong support for allowing non-motorized boating, eco-tourism and scientific research.

Canadians support a minimum standard for all MPAs that includes no oil or gas development and at least 50 per cent of area closed to commercial fishing

91 per cent of Canadians overall support these standards, with almost half (49 per cent) showing strong support.

Most of these supporters remain in favour even when told it could result in a tax increase to offset lost revenue from oil and gas development (level of support for minimum standards fell from 87 per cent to 69 per cent).

Canadians say scientific evidence should be the most important source of information about MPAs; people who live and work in coastal communities were also identified as important sources.

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada says:
"Science tells us that healthy oceans depend on a network of marine protected areas, and these areas are most effective when they have high ecological standards. This survey shows that Canadians know this, too, and their support for MPAs is strong and unequivocal. Canada needs to protect a lot more of its oceans – and the level of protection has to be meaningful. Canadians have clearly indicated they want to see more MPAs that will conserve wildlife and habitat, and have even expressed a willingness to put ocean protection ahead of economic development."

The results are based on a survey conducted with a sample of 1,655 Canadians (aged 18 and over) from Sept. 27 to Oct. 7, 2016. A mixed-mode approach was used, with 1,502 interviews conducted from an online panel in the provinces, and 153 interviews conducted by telephone in the Territories.
 


Toronto Climate Action Goes Regional with Provincial Boost
TORONTO, Oct. 25, 2016 /CNW/ - A new $17 million provincial investment will expand Toronto's climate agency, The Atmospheric Fund (TAF) to serve the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). The new endowment was officially announced last night by Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro, on the occasion of TAF's 25th anniversary. TAF is a globally-recognized leader in urban climate solutions, created by the City of Toronto long before climate change was headline news. The new capital leverages TAF's sustainable funding model and increases its ability to support urban climate change solutions to in the GTHA, where approximately 30% of Ontario's greenhouse gas emissions are generated.

"Our government is investing $17 million to help The Atmospheric Fund expand its role into the GTHA. With 25 years of experience developing successful innovative solutions to reduce greenhouse gases and fight climate change, this funding will help this unique agency collaborate with its regional partners to reduce Ontario's carbon footprint and to build a greener, more prosperous future for our children and grandchildren," said Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro.

"The role cities play in advancing climate action is critical. We need to reduce emissions from buildings, transportation, manufacturing and waste in order to achieve the province's carbon reduction targets," said TAF's CEO, Julia Langer. "TAF's programs, grants and investments help demonstrate and de-risk innovative low-carbon opportunities which can be implemented region-wide."

TAF has operated at no cost to taxpayers since the City of Toronto provided a $23 million endowment 25 years ago; its operating expenses are covered by investment proceeds. The legacy investment announced yesterday builds on the leadership of the City of Toronto and reflects the Ontario Government's commitment to addressing climate change.

ABOUT THE ATMOSPHERIC FUND
Founded in 1991 by the City of Toronto, TAF's mission is to invest in urban low-carbon solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. To date, TAF has invested more than $50 million, helping Toronto shave more than $60 million from its energy bills, and contributed to a city-wide reduction of GHG emissions to 24% below 1990 levels. For more information about TAF's projects and partners, please visit taf.ca.


L-R: Ontario Minister of Energy Glenn Thibeault, TAF Chair Sandra Odendahl, Ontario Minister of Environment and Climate Change Glen Murray, TAF CEO Julia Langer, Senator Art Eggleton, Ontario Minister of Municipal Affairs Bill Mauro gather to celebrate 25 years of urban climate action (CNW Group/Toronto Atmospheric Fund)
NEW STUDY REVEALS HUNGER BURDEN ON LESOTHO’S ECONOMY
 
 
MASERU – Lesotho is losing 1.9 billion Maloti (US$200 million) a year to the effects of child undernutrition, according to a new, country-specific Cost of Hunger in Africa (COHA) study released today. This amounts to more than 7 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The money is lost through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens on the education system and lower productivity of the workforce.
 
The study estimates that Lesotho could save 2.86 billion Maloti (US$292 million) by 2025 if the prevalence of underweight in children were reduced from 10% to 5%, and stunting from one-third to one-tenth. 
 
“Investing in nutrition is a moral and economic imperative,” said His Majesty King Letsie III of Lesotho at the launch in Maseru today. “Indeed, as the African Union Nutrition Champion, I consider it my privilege and obligation to lead the fight against malnutrition...I urge all stakeholders present to support Lesotho’s ongoing efforts to prioritise nutrition.”
 
The report is being released to coincide with the launch of the country’s Food and Nutrition Policy and of the Scaling up Nutrition (SUN) Lesotho movement. This month has been declared Lesotho Nutrition Month and its theme is “First 1,000 Days of Life”.
 
The COHA report comes at a crucial time for Lesotho. Some 709,000 people – more than one in four of the population – are in need of food assistance, according to the 2016 Lesotho Vulnerability Assessment Committee (LVAC) report. Lesotho is suffering from the effects of two years of drought, most recently as a result of El Niño, which has badly affected agricultural and livestock production.
 
“To reduce stunting in Lesotho calls for strong political commitment, coordination of efforts and continued allocation of adequate resources for the implementation of the national nutrition and other related policies sensitive to nutrition” said Minister of Development Planning Mokoto Hloaele.
 
45 percent of Lesotho’s adult population suffered from stunting as children;
19.5 percent of all child mortality cases in Lesotho are associated with undernutrition;
Child undernutrition costs Lesotho 1.9 billion Maloti, or 7.13 percent of GDP.
 
A national dialogue on the findings, scheduled for 20 October, will provide an opportunity to discuss how government strategies to eliminate malnutrition can be harmonized and linked to broader global and continental nutrition initiatives.
 
“Progress towards Africa’s Vision 2063, can only be achieved if citizens of the continent are healthy and well-nourished,” said Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, AU Commissioner for the Department of Social Affairs. He further urged the government of Lesotho to use the Cost of Hunger in Africa-Lesotho study results, to inform critical Lesotho’s development decisions.
 
The COHA report is led by the African Union Commission (AUC), in partnership with AU member states and the NEPAD Planning Coordinating Agency (NPCA). It is supported by the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).
 
Previous COHA studies have revealed African economies to be losing the equivalent of between 1.9 and 16.5 percent of GDP to child undernutrition. Lesotho is the tenth nation to be studied, after Burkina Faso, Chad, Ghana, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Rwanda, Swaziland and Uganda. The Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique and Zimbabwe are next in line. 
“Undernutrition is one of the country’s biggest development challenges,” said Mary Njoroge, WFP Lesotho Country Director and Representative. “The situation could get worse if no immediate response is provided during the drought emergency, which has deprived many vulnerable people of any means of livelihood.”
 


Gitga'at First Nation Calls for Immediate Passage of North Coast Oil Tanker Ban; Expresses Sympathy for "Nightmare" Diesel Spill in Great Bear Rainforest
 The elected Council of the Gitga'at First Nation issued the following statement on the sinking of the Nathan E. Stewart tugboat and the stranding of fuel barge DBL 55 near Waglisla (Bella Bella):
"On behalf of the Gitga'at First Nation, we express our deep sympathy and steadfast support for our brothers and sisters in the Heiltsuk First Nation, who are dealing with a nightmare diesel spill and unfolding environmental disaster.

"This incident is a powerful reminder that regardless of response time, there is no technology that can adequately cleanup a spill, and we expect the federal government to announce the immediate implementation of a North Coast Crude oil tanker ban, as promised by our Prime Minister.

"Canada's oil spill response body - which is owned by the oil companies themselves - is named Western Canada Marine 'Response' Corporation for a reason. They'll eventually respond to a spill; they just don't have the technology to clean anything up, and are only on site to make it appear that something is being done. In the meantime, communities suffer.

"We have first-hand experience of the hardships and emotional and psychological pain that come with environmental contamination, and our hearts go out to those who will lose access to the seafood harvesting sites their communities rely on as a result of this incident."

Save the Children Rapidly Scaling Up Operation in Haiti to Meet Critical Needs
1.4 million Haitian people, including 600,000 children, are in need of immediate humanitarian assistance following Hurricane Matthew last week. Save the Children is rapidly scaling up operations from its base in Camp Perrin and has deployed teams to provide initial relief.

By the end of the week, Save the Children aims to have helped 5,000 people with immediate needs including food, clean water, hygiene supplies, household items, mosquito nets, jerry cans and baby items.

"Many families have lost everything—loved ones, homes and crops," said Kevin Novotny, Save the Children's Country Director in Haiti. "We are increasing the size of our response and working closely with the Haitian and U.S. governments and other partners to ensure that the most vulnerable get the help they so desperately need."

In addition, Save the Children's Emergency Health Unit, staffed with trained doctors, nurses, midwives and a nutrition advisor, is working to establish cholera treatment units and has three mobile health teams deployed to help meet people's basic and reproductive health needs.

Save the Children is seeking support from individual and corporate donors to help safeguard the health and safety of thousands of dislocated children and families who have survived the initial disaster but face severe challenges in the days ahead.

"For the affected children in Haiti, the immediate needs are enormous," said Carolyn Miles, President & CEO of Save the Children. "We are concerned about children's ability to get food, clean water and safe shelter, as well as the risk of cholera, psychological trauma and gender-based violence."

Save the Children's work in Haiti spans more than 40 years, and during the past two years the agency has operated programs in eight communes across Grand' Anse and Sud, two areas hardest hit by the storm. We have developed strong ties along these coastal areas, supporting 27 schools in some of the most disadvantaged communities.

To support Save the Children's work in response to Hurricane Matthew – both in Haiti and domestically, in the Carolinas – please visit: savethechildren.org/Matthew.

Save the Children gives children in the United States and around the world a healthy start, the opportunity to learn and protection from harm. We invest in childhood — every day, in times of crisis and for our future. Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Transport Canada bans Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones from all aircraft
 To protect Canadian passengers and flight crews, Transport Canada issued a Notice to Airmen on October 14, 2016 advising airlines and air operators that Samsung Galaxy Note 7 smartphones are no longer allowed in any aircraft effective immediately. This safety measure applies to both carry-on and checked baggage on flights within Canada and is in compliance with the Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations.

Transport Canada officials are reaching out to airlines so they can take the necessary steps to protect passengers and crew. The department is also in close contact with the Federal Aviation Administration in the United States to exchange safety information.

"‎Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world, and protecting the safety of passengers and flight crews is paramount. When notified of any potential threat to aviation safety, the government does not hesitate to take action in the best interests of Canadians," said The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport.

Canada and the world agree to phase down the world's fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions
KIGALI, Rwanda, Oct. 15, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, Canada and the world took another big step towards meeting international climate change goals by agreeing to phase down hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), greenhouse gases that can be hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide, used extensively for air-conditioning and refrigeration.

Meeting in Kigali today, countries adopted an amendment to the 1987 ozone-saving Montreal Protocol to phase-down HFCs. The Montreal Protocol has been one of the most successful international agreements, leading to the phase out of 95 percent of ozone-depleting substances.

"Canada played a key role negotiating the Montreal Protocol in 1987 and in negotiating the Paris Agreement in 2015. Today, in Kigali,Canada and the world have taken another very important step in the global fight against climate change by agreeing to phase down HFCs."
– Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change


HFCs are used globally in refrigerators, air-conditioners, foam products, and other items and, today, global HFC emissions are the equivalent of approximately 1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide annually. That is the same as emissions from nearly 300 coal-fired power plants or over 200 million passenger vehicles driven for one year, and is expected to grow nearly five-fold by 2050 if no action is taken.

Switching from HFCs to more climate-friendly alternatives is predicted to avoid up to half a degree of global warming by the end of century.

In 2017, Canada will continue to play a leadership role in implementing the Montreal Protocol, including the HFC amendment, by hosting the 29th Meeting of the Parties, which marks the Montreal Protocol's 30th anniversary.
Samaritan's Purse sends its Disaster Relief Unit to Cape Breton in response to flooding
 Samaritan's Purse Canada has sent one of its specially equipped Disaster Relief Units to Sydney, Nova Scotia, and will recruit volunteers to clean-up homes in response to flooding. Residents and churches have welcomed the assistance.

"We have been monitoring the situation to gather information about the damage, and we are in contact with churches and other non-government partners in the area to provide a coordinated response," said Brent Davis, Samaritan's Purse Canada's response director.

The Christian relief and development organization is moving its New Brunswick-based Disaster Relief Unit to Sydney, then staff will meet with local homeowners and recruiting and training volunteers.

The Disaster Relief Unit is a tractor trailer outfitted with essential disaster recovery equipment including generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear for volunteers. It also serves as a volunteer coordination center, and is equipped with a self-contained office, communications system, and other supplies.

More than 220 millimeters of rain, caused by Hurricane Matthew, devastated the area on Oct. 10. As a result, hundreds of homes have been flood-damaged in the Sydney region.

Anyone who needs assistance or wants to volunteer to clean-up flooded homes can call 902-563-5881.

Samaritan's Purse has other Disaster Relief Units based in southern Ontario and in Calgary.

In recent years, the non-profit organization has responded to a wide variety of natural disasters including the catastrophic 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, flooding in New Brunswick, Quebec, southern Alberta and in British Columbia. Its "sister" organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, often helps by providing specially trained chaplains to comfort and pray with disaster victims. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains will be in Sydney.

Samaritan's Purse also responds to international disasters including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The Calgary-based charity is continuing to assist in Nepal.

Donations Needed
To support Samaritan's Purse's disaster relief efforts, please visit SamaritansPurse.ca (click on "Donate") or call 1-800-663-6500.

IKEA Canada Announces Earth Water Bottled Water Offering
BURLINGTON, ON, Oct. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - IKEA Canada today reaffirms its commitment to responsibly sourced food offerings by announcing a partnership with Edmonton-based organization, The Earth Group. Starting today, IKEA Canada will be selling Earth Water in all stores nationally, in support of the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP).

The Earth Group exists entirely to feed and educate children in need. Since 2010, they have provided funding to WFP for a minimum of 400,000 school meals each year. School meals not only provide children with the nutrition and energy they need to focus on their lessons, but also boost school attendance, retention and graduation rates. Earth Water is locally sourced Canadian water that is packaged in 100 per cent recycled PET bottles that are also landfill biodegradable.

"We are proud to support The Earth Group in their efforts to feed children who need it most," said Danielle Beauchesne, food manager at IKEA Canada. "The Earth Group's goals to provide food, water and education for children aligns with IKEA's commitments to have a positive impact in the communities where we operate and around the world."

To date, The Earth Group has provided WFP with funding to distribute 1.5 million school meals to children around the world. All net profits from the sale of Earth Water directly benefit WFP's work to facilitate school meals for children in some of the world's most vulnerable areas.

"The World Food Programme is the world's leading humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide. We are proud to support their efforts in partnership with IKEA Canada," said Matt Moreau, co-founder of Earth Group. "As a leading Canadian retailer when it comes to sustainability, we look forward to what we can accomplish together through the sale of Earth Water."

IKEA's sustainability direction is outlined by its "People + Planet Positive" strategy: to inspire and enable millions of people to live a more sustainable life at home; to pursue resource and energy independence; and to take the lead in creating a better life for people. IKEA is one of Canada's largest restaurants, serving over 9 million visitors a year. For this reason, it is important for IKEA to serve a variety of responsibility sourced and healthy food and drinks for the many Canadians.

Decline of Arctic caribou one of Canada's greatest wildlife concerns, WWF-Canada says
Research indicates we must act now to reverse the trend for one of Canada's most at-risk species

IQALUIT, NU, Oct. 12, 2016 /CNW/ - Recent statistics are painting a dire picture of the future of barren-ground caribou in Canada. Once found across the Canadian Arctic in impressive numbers, caribou herds are today in a perilous situation. Most herds are declining rapidly, some by as much as 98 per cent. This fall, WWF-Canada is highlighting the decline of the caribou and what needs to be done now to help preserve this iconic Arctic species.

While caribou populations naturally rise and fall, the current decline is particularly troubling as caribou face unprecedented threats from climate change and increased industrial development. The threats come at a time when herds are at their lowest and show no sign of recovery. Low population numbers are vulnerable to extraordinary events such as ice storms or disease, which risks wiping out remnants of herds previously numbered in the hundreds of thousands.

  "The decline of barren-ground caribou is one of the greatest wildlife conservation concerns in Canada. With some populations down to less than five per cent of historical highs, we risk entire herds disappearing from our Arctic landscape. Not only is the loss of caribou detrimental to the health of Arctic ecosystems, it is a significant loss to our national heritage and to Indigenous communities, for which caribou play an important role in traditions and livelihoods. The caribou grace Canada's 25-cent coins, but if we don't act soon, there's a risk that the only place Canadians will see caribou in abundance is on the quarter."

"Across the Arctic we're seeing herds suffer dramatic declines, coinciding with new threats to their habitat. Appropriate industrial development may be helpful to the economy of Northern communities, but not at the expense of caribou. WWF-Canada is working alongside communities and policymakers to balance the needs of wildlife and development to ensure sensitive areas such as calving grounds are protected so caribou have the conditions they need to recover and remain a thriving part of Canada's Arctic."

WWF-Canada is working with communities to advocate for the protection of caribou calving grounds. We are also calling for a moratorium on mineral exploration permits in areas that have been identified as calving grounds in Canada's North. These are some of the ways we are working to address the threats to one of Canada's most at-risk species and protect key habitat before it's too late.

A troubling decline

Fewer than half of Canada's barren-ground caribou remain. The most recent survey information indicates that barren-ground caribou have declined by at least 53 per cent across Canada since 1994, with many individual herds more than 90 per cent gone and still declining.

The Bathurst herd is among the most threatened, having experienced a decline of more than 95 per cent. An estimated 19,769 individuals remain, down from 34,690 in 2012, 186,000 in 2003, and an historic high of 472,000 in 1986. Even more concerning, recent photographic surveys have shown that breeding females in the Bathurst herd declined at an annual rate of 23 per cent between 2012 and 2015.

The Baffin Island herd has experienced a 98 per cent decline, down to only 5,000 individuals from a population high of 235,000 in 1991.

Threats to caribou survival

Warmer temperatures can cause increases in spring rain events, which freezes over the ground and blocks caribou from accessing the plants and lichen they need to survive.

Increased warming also leads to less reliable sea-ice conditions, affecting caribou migration across ice crossings in the high Arctic.

Increased industrial development can affect caribou's migratory habits and disturb their calving grounds – an area they return to each year to birth their young. Even small disturbances can trigger failed reproduction, calf abandonment and mortality.

Harvest management during population lows is difficult to assess due to a lack of information on caribou herd size and harvest numbers.

To help caribou survive and thrive, WWF-Canada:

Supports research to monitor the population status of herds.

Works with caribou biologists to model the threats and effects of different industrial development scenarios in the western Arctic

Works with Northern communities to ensure community viewpoints are heard in decision-making processes impacting caribou habitat.

Advocates for responsible harvest management of herds through increased investment in harvest reporting programs.

Promotes the protection of calving grounds by actively engaging policy makers on sustainable land-use planning.

Through WWF-Canada's input, the current draft of the Nunavut land-use plan prohibits industrial development on core calving grounds, post-calving grounds, freshwater crossings and key access corridors, as well as seasonal prohibitions on ice-breaking on caribou sea-ice crossings.

However, much more work is necessary to get this plan approved and ensure the protection of these critical habitats.

Suffering Continues After Hurricane Matthew: Red Cross Shelters 4,800; Urgent Need for Blood, Platelet Donations
WASHINGTON, Oct. 11, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Red Cross is on the ground providing safe shelter, food and relief supplies to help people still suffering from Hurricane Matthew's lingering effects. The storm also continues to impact blood collections in the southeast, resulting in an urgent need for blood and platelet donations across the country.


"Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this devastating storm both in the Southeast and across the Caribbean. Too many lives have tragically been cut short, and tens of thousands of people have been displaced," said Gail McGovern, president and chief executive officer of the Red Cross.

 "The Red Cross is working closely with the entire response community to provide safe shelter, water, food and essential relief supplies to affected individuals and families," McGovern continued. "Flooding and damage from the storm are also hurting our ability to collect blood and platelets in impacted areas – and the need for platelet donations is particularly critical right now. It's important to remember that trauma victims, surgery patients, those with cancer and many others count on lifesaving blood and platelet donations each and every day."

HOW TO HELP
MAKE A DONATION The Red Cross depends on donations to provide immediate relief. Help people affected by Hurricane Matthew by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word MATTHEW to 90999 to make a $10 donation. Donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from this disaster. Learn more about the Red Cross response to Hurricane Matthew here.

GIVE BLOOD, PLATELETS In parts of the country unaffected by the storm, the Red Cross needs eligible individuals to please give blood or platelets now to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

DISASTER RESPONSE ACROSS THE SOUTHEAST
To help people affected by Hurricane Matthew, the Red Cross has launched a widespread sheltering effort spanning four states and providing as many overnight stays in shelters as after Superstorm Sandy. Nearly 4,800 people in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida woke up Tuesday morning in 90 Red Cross and community shelters. Since Hurricane Matthew first threatened the U.S., Red Cross and community partners have served more than 137,000 meals and snacks, and provided 74,000 overnight stays.

The Red Cross has mobilized 3,000 disaster workers, 155 emergency response vehicles—nearly half of our fleet—and more than 100 trailers filled with water, ready-to-eat meals, cots, blankets, kitchen items, cleaning supplies, insect repellant, gloves, masks, shovels, rakes, coolers and more. More volunteers, vehicles and supplies are being mobilized now to supplement relief efforts.

The Red Cross is also working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to coordinate response efforts to ensure people receive the help they need as quickly as possible.

FLOODING FORCES MORE BLOOD DRIVE CANCELLATIONS
The Red Cross is struggling to collect much-needed blood and platelet donations as floodwaters inundate communities in the Southeast. In Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of more than 75 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in nearly 2,500 blood and platelet donations going uncollected.

The need for platelets is especially critical due to the loss of these donations in affected areas. Platelets are a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients that must be transfused within five days of donation. Platelet donors can roll up a sleeve every seven days, up to 24 times year.

With additional blood drive cancellations likely due to significant flooding and power outages, the Red Cross urgently needs blood and platelet donations and asks individuals to make an appointment to give now.

HAITI RESPONSE
In Haiti, more than 200 American Red Cross staff—about 80 percent of whom are Haitian nationals—are helping to distribute immediate relief supplies to the more than 61,000 displaced residents. To address the increasing threat of cholera, the American Red Cross will target cholera-prevention kits to medical facilities.

Given the extent of the damage and the continued difficultly in reaching several of the affected areas, the American Red Cross is also playing a key coordination role with local authorities and international humanitarian organizations to ensure life-saving support and supplies reach all those in need as soon as possible. Generators and telecommunications equipment to augment our support capabilities arrived in Haiti on October 8; additional relief supplies, such as water purification products, shelter kits, and mosquito nets are being procured locally and internationally.

Avison Young to hold third annual Global Day of Giving in five countries
TORONTO, Oct. 11, 2016 /CNW/ - Mark Rose, Chair and CEO of Avison Young, the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm, announced today that it will hold its third annual Global Day of Giving this Thursday, October 13 in all of the company's markets in five countries.

"On October 13, employees in Avison Young's 79 offices in Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Europe will again dedicate the day to participation in volunteer projects that promote social, economic and environmental sustainability in their respective cities," comments Rose. "At this time in 2015, we had 71 offices take part. This year, due to continued expansion, another 400 professionals and an additional eight offices will be involved. We're thrilled to expand our philanthropic efforts into Mexico and broaden our global contributions in support of people who deal courageously with disadvantages on a daily basis. This annual initiative is also our way of giving back to the communities that support our company and our causes throughout the year."

  Avison Young's Global Day of Giving is part of the company's global citizenship efforts. Each Avison Young office has chosen its own community volunteer project in consultation with the charity that will receive the assistance.

Rose continues: "Avison Young's core principles of partnership and collaboration apply not only to our business operations, but also to our efforts to support the communities in which we live, work and play. The same goes for our aggressive global expansion program. We also want to expand our community contributions on a global scale. The 2015 Global Day of Giving was another unmitigated success, and we look forward to raising more awareness for many organizations that work so unselfishly to improve the lives of people in need and at risk every day. This year, we're striving to build on the efforts of 2014 and 2015 to raise more funds and other forms of support for selected local charities. By setting aside a day for all 2,400-plus Avison Young professionals to volunteer their time, we will continue to expand our philanthropic efforts as a company exponentially and strive to improve our communities steadily."

This year, in addition to Mexico City, Avison Young is expanding its Global Day of Giving to Memphis, Coventry U.K., Jacksonville, Boca Raton, Phoenix, Berlin and St. Louis.

"Avison Young's Day of Giving is a demonstration of our focus on, and commitment to, global citizenship," points out Rodney McDonald, Avison Young Principal and Practice Leader, Consulting & Project Management Services. "Numerous people and organizations around the globe benefit from our Day of Giving, and it is one opportunity for everyone at Avison Young to support our communities. The Day of Giving is also our way of showing that we embrace – and strive to uphold – the principles of sustainability within our communities as well as our company."

Local staff activities on October 13 will range from river and trail clean-up projects at local parks to landscaping and renovation projects at women's shelters and youth clubs to refurbishing a house for homeless families to collecting coats for a school.

Char Fortune, Avison Young's Director of Learning and Professional Development, says Avison Young is ensuring that the Day of Giving will be sustainable over the long term by actively recruiting people who are committed to philanthropy.

"Our Day of Giving is enthusiastically embraced by our young professionals, who take the lead on choosing the local charities that we support," says Fortune. "By investing personal time and effort into helping their communities, our young professionals learn first-hand why leadership in this area is so important. They have a natural inclination for it."

Avison Young's Global Day of Giving is held annually in all of the firm's markets every October. The philanthropic effort continually expands as Avison Young opens new offices around the globe.

"We're delighted that our new Berlin office will contribute to the organic expansion of the Global Day of Giving along with our Mexico City location and other new offices," adds Udo Stoeckl, Avison Young Principal and Managing Director, Germany. "We're also proud to have our Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich offices participating again in local social projects with the rest of our Avison Young family. All of us at Avison Young look forward to providing local communities with our time, creativity and manpower to serve people in need – and assist the charitable organizations that serve so graciously."

Avison Young is the world's fastest-growing commercial real estate services firm. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Avison Young is a collaborative, global firm owned and operated by its principals. Founded in 1978, the company comprises 2,400 real estate professionals in 79 offices, providing value-added, client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and multi-family properties.

Canada Needs a Population of 100 Million by 2100
TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Canada needs to increase its population by the end of this century to maintain its international standing and grow its economy. This will protect important social services that contribute to a high quality of life for all Canadians. That's the recommendation of the Century Initiative, a new group that includes a cross-section of engaged Canadians from all parts of the country and representing business, financial, academic and social sectors.

"Simply put, Canada isn't growing its population fast enough to ensure that we continue to have an economy that is large enough to drive employment, innovation and investment," says Thomas Milroy, Managing Director, Generation Capital Limited and a founding member of the Century Initiative. "We want to make sure that the Canada we leave to our children and grandchildren is as great as it can be, and that means getting a lot bigger between now and 2100 – and doing so in a way that respects and maintains the things we all love about this country."

Canada faces major demographic headwinds. Canada's population is aging rapidly at the same time that Canadians are having fewer children, with seniors expected to outnumber children under the age of 14 for the first time next year. Our natural population growth will turn negative in 20 years. This will put a major strain on healthcare and Canada's retirement income support systems.

Labour force growth has been the major driver of Canadian economic growth since the First World War. Without it, it will be hard to preserve the things Canadians cherish most about being Canadian and it will have major implications for the next generation. According to a new report from the Conference Board of Canada, commissioned by the Century Initiative and available at (http://www.conferenceboard.ca/e-library/abstract.aspx?did=8282), increased immigration will provide an important source of labour and will help Canada generate stronger long-term economic growth.

The Century Initiative is focused on five critical pillars that Canada needs to grow responsibly and to succeed economically:

Early Childhood Support, to provide meaningful assistance to women and families through sound policies on maternity, child care and education;


Education, to provide outstanding academic opportunities, attract international students, and ensure meaningful job prospects after graduation;


Trade and Innovation, to grow robust domestic markets and to compete globally by focusing on exciting job prospects, productivity and growth;


Urban Development, to generate the infrastructure and planning for cities to thrive and support a larger Canadian population; and


Immigration, to attract new Canadians and talent, and support their successful integration.


Tomorrow morning, the Century Initiative will discuss "Why Canada Needs More People" (/www.centuryinitiative.ca/150panel) at the Canadian Club in Toronto. The Century Initiative is inviting all Canadians to join the debate about the best way to achieve the goal of a population of 100 million people by the end of this century. For more information, visit www.centuryinitiative.ca

Red Cross and Partners Shelter 3,600+ as Hurricane Matthew Nears U.S.; Blood Collections Affected
WASHINGTON, Oct. 6, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As Hurricane Matthew nears the southeast coast of the United States, the American Red Cross is on the ground helping people who are in the path of this life-threatening storm.

As many as 3,600 people spent Wednesday night in 84 Red Cross and community evacuation shelters in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina. This number is expected to grow as Matthew closes in on the United States and evacuation orders continue to be issued.

RED CROSS RESPONSE In addition to shelters, the Red Cross has more than 500 disaster workers and 90 response vehicles ready to help in the affected states and more help is standing by. The Red Cross has also prepositioned more than 30 trailer loads of shelter supplies, ready-to-eat meals, clean-up and comfort kits. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the storm and working in close collaboration with government officials and community partners to make sure people get the help they need.

"We cannot emphasize how dangerous Hurricane Matthew is," said Brad Kieserman, vice president, Disaster Operations and Logistics for the Red Cross. "The Red Cross has shelters open now in Florida, South Carolina and Georgia. We urge everyone in the storm's path to finish their preparations and listen to local officials if told to evacuate."

"Hurricane Matthew could leave widespread devastation in its wake and untold amounts of need for food, shelter and help," continued Kieserman. "This is a time for neighbors and communities to come together and support one another. We are proud to stand alongside and partners to serve those in need of our help."

If someone needs to find a shelter, they can visit redcross.org, check the Red Cross Emergency App or call 1-800-768-8048. Anyone who plans to stay in a Red Cross shelter should bring prescription medications, extra clothing, pillows, blankets, hygiene supplies, important documents and other comfort items. They should also include any special items for children, such as diapers, formula and toys, or for family members who have unique needs.

HAITI RESPONSE There are approximately one million people currently in shelters in Haiti, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Jamaica. The overwhelming number of these is in Cuba. There are 20 confirmed deaths in Haiti, where 80 percent of all homes in the western part of Haiti have been damaged. Extensive flooding continues, which is leading to fears of cholera, as well as damaging crops, agriculture and livelihoods. Fortunately, the airports have reopened, allowing for the UN to fly in much-needed supplies.

Working with our partners, Red Cross staff will continue to work throughout the affected Caribbean to deliver much-needed humanitarian supplies, relief, and care.

BLOOD DRIVE CANCELLATIONS CLIMB Red Cross blood drive cancellations have more than doubled in the past 24 hours as the storm nears. Already, Hurricane Matthew has forced the cancellation of approximately 30 Red Cross blood drives in Georgia and South Carolina resulting in nearly 1,200 blood and platelet donations to go uncollected. Dozens of additional blood drive cancellations are possible along the southern East Coast depending on the path and impact of the storm.

Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation and, therefore, are always in demand. If donation centers are forced to close over the next few days, the Red Cross is at risk of being unable to collect more than 100 additional platelet donations.

We strongly encourage eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by the storm to please give blood or platelets to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

DOWNLOAD EMERGENCY APP Everyone should download the Red Cross Emergency App to have safety information available on their mobile device, including emergency weather alerts, preparedness information and shelter locations. Red Cross apps are available in smartphone app stores by searching for the American Red Cross or going to redcross.org/apps.

HURRICANE SAFETY People living in the path of the hurricane should listen to local officials and obey any evacuation orders. Other safety steps include:

Know your evacuation route.
Bring in anything that can be picked up by the wind.
Close doors, windows and hurricane shutters. If someone doesn't have shutters, close and board up all windows and doors with plywood.
Fill the car's gas tank.
Avoid flooded roads and bridges. Turn around, don't drown.
MAKE A DONATION The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn't maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn't get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.

Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Canadian business leadership is critical to reducing the risks of climate and other natural disasters
TORONTO, Oct. 7, 2016 /CNW/ - PwC Canada convened today a group of private and public sector leaders to discuss the case for Canadian businesses to take action on reducing and managing the risks of climate and other natural disasters.  Major disasters over the past decade in Canada have been distressing yet important reminders of the direct connections between economic, ecological and human systems.

Today's event marks the first step in exploring the establishment of a country-level private sector leadership alliance aligned with the global UNISDR-led ARISE partnership. Over the next year, PwC will engage Canadian businesses that are willing and able to take action on reducing the risks of climate, earthquake and other natural hazards, along with government partners and other parties interested in disaster risk reduction.

"The effective implementation of disaster risk management requires strong collaboration between the private sector and various levels of government. PwC Canada is proud to be a catalyst for this important discussion, and we welcome the involvement of partners across Canada" says Kishan Dial, Partner and Leader Business Resilience, PwC Canada. "As a country, Canada is prone to natural disasters. In the past five years, we have experienced events like the Fort McMurray fires, the 2013 Alberta Floods and floods inToronto. Through this initiative, we are committed to helping Canadian businesses and communities to avoid or reduce the impacts of natural disaster risks through the implementation of a new approach to collaboration and risk-based decision making."

"As federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, I am pleased that Public Safety is participating in this first step towards the launch of ARISE Canada," says the Honourable Ralph Goodale. "We are committed to working with all levels of government and partners from the private sector to strengthen public-private partnerships and to embrace a whole-of-society approach to emergency management. The upcoming National Roundtable on Disaster Risk Reduction in Montreal in November will provide further opportunities to engage across sectors on this important issue. We look forward to working with the private sector both domestically and as part of our international commitments with the UNISDR to meet Sendai commitments for disaster risk reduction and build a more resilient Canada."

Through this national process of engaging Canada's private sector, PwC in coordination with partners will seek to enable companies to incorporate natural hazard risk information to better understand the underlying drivers of risk, and then to apply concrete approaches to improve decision-making and to manage risks to assets, supply chains, customers and the communities in which they operate.

Follow PwC on Twitter at @PwC_Canada_LLP and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/pwccanada.

Canada takes crucial step in fight against climate change
TORONTO, Oct. 5, 2016 /CNW/ - WWF-Canada applauds the 207 MPs who voted tonight to ratify the Paris Agreement to limit climate change. It was a historic moment for Canada and for the world, as on this day enough other countries also ratified the agreement to propel it into force, meaning governments can now focus on the concrete actions to slow warming to below 1.5 C.

This promising development instills confidence in the commitment of a majority of MPs toward taking the steps necessary to curb climate change in order to protect the ecosystems upon which so many species and Canadians depend.

About the impact of climate change on key Canadian ecosystems

In the Arctic
Nowhere are the effects of a warming climate being felt faster and deeper than in the Arctic. Even if we limit warming to 1.5 C to 2 C on a global scale, that will still mean a 3 C to 5 C warming in the North. Already, Inuit are sharing stories of plant and wildlife species that have migrated north. To meet our emission reduction targets, it's critical we work together to immediately scale up renewable energy deployment, both in the North and elsewhere.

On freshwater:
The health of Canada's rivers and lakes is particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. According to the 2016 RBC Canadian Water Attitudes study (one of the most comprehensive assessments of Canadian attitudes toward freshwater resources), Canadians view freshwater as our most important natural resource, far exceeding oil and gas, coal and base metals. Climate change is viewed as its biggest threat, according to the study. Actions are necessary to safeguard our freshwater supply in the face of climate change, beginning with comprehensive baseline knowledge about the current health of our freshwater ecosystems.

Oceans:
Our oceans are under duress, with climate change altering entire ecosystems, and higher levels of acidity putting tremendous pressure on marine species. Canada has already committed to dramatically increasing the amount of its ocean space protected from about one per cent to five per cent in 2017, and to 10 per cent by 2020. A significant step toward that goal would be with the creation of a National Marine Conservation Area in Lancaster Sound.

WWF-Canada looks forward to working with all levels of government, academia, communities and industry to help Canada reach – and even exceed – our climate change targets for a better, sustainable future for all.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit wwf.ca.

"Ratifying the Paris Agreement is an important symbolic step toward curbing the greatest threat humanity has seen. And this week's pledge to put a price on carbon is an important fiscal tool to help Canada meet emission targets. Now we look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working with governments and communities across the country to create solutions that are grounded in science, economically beneficial and build biodiversity as we strive toward a vision of Canada in which people and nature thrive together."

David Miller, CEO and president of WWF-Canada

CPA Canada supports improving Canada's natural capital stewardship
TORONTO, Oct. 6, 2016 /CNW/ - Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) is a founding partner in a national effort to accelerate the measurement and valuation of the country's natural capital to support more holistic and informed decision-making.

CPA Canada has joined The Natural Step Canada in an initiative aiming to enhance the way Canadian businesses and governments account for, and make decisions about Canada's stocks of water, land and air along with renewable and non-renewable resources such as plant and animal species, forests and minerals.

"We are proud to be a core partner of this special initiative, the Natural Capital Lab," says Gord Beal, CPA Canada's vice-president of research, guidance and support. "This ambitious platform brings together many experienced and knowledgeable stakeholders united in wanting to develop ways to allow business and government leaders to become better stewards of our natural resources."

Beal adds that participation in this field is a logical extension of CPA Canada's extensive work in the area of sustainability. "Canada's professional accountants are highly competent at measuring and managing performance," he notes. "They are well positioned to support the undertaking of natural capital assessments and the ultimate use of such information in decision-making."

The Natural Capital Lab is a four-year initiative that provides a platform for ongoing innovation.

"Canada's CPAs work in all sectors of the Canadian economy and support organizational success and long-term value creation, so this is an important issue for the profession to address in terms of future prosperity," explains Beal. "Everyone benefits if tools and frameworks can be developed that can encourage conservation and restoration by our business leaders and politicians."

"Canada's vast natural assets are central to our economic prosperity and to our national identity on the world stage," says David Hughes, president and CEO of The Natural Step Canada. "That is why it is so important that informed decisions be made relating to our natural resources. The initiative is bringing together economists, accountants, statisticians, ecologists, NGOs, government, business leaders and other stakeholders to tackle the difficult challenge of assigning value to the country's natural capital."  
Georgia Power prepares for Hurricane Matthew 
ATLANTA, Oct. 5, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- With Hurricane Matthew expected to bring heavy rains and high winds to Georgia over the next 48 hours, Georgia Power is monitoring the changing weather around the clock, mobilizing crews and preparing to respond to any service interruptions, which may occur.

Georgia Power reminds customers to keep safety first during severe weather and offers the following storm tips:

Before a Storm: Stay aware and check the weather forecast before heading outdoors. Turn off air conditioners as power surges can overload them and charge cell phones in case you lose power.

During a Storm: Take safe shelter inside a sturdy building away from windows and doors. Avoid contact with conductors of electricity - appliances, metal objects and water.

After a Storm: Never touch any downed or low-hanging wire, including telephone or TV wires that touch a power line. Never pull tree limbs off of power lines yourself or enter areas with debris or downed trees as downed power lines may be buried in wreckage.
Hurricane Matthew Barrels Toward The US
Hurricane Matthew could affect the United States later this week, and the American Red Cross is getting ready now for a potential multistate response. From Florida to New England, the Red Cross is finalizing shelter plans and preparing vehicles and supplies. Trained Red Cross disaster relief workers are being mobilized across multiple states.

In Haiti, high winds, heavy rains and a strong storm surge blasted the southern coast early Tuesday morning. After the storm passes, the American Red Cross team in Haiti will begin conducting needs and damage assessments in preparation for delivering prepositioned response stocks in partnership with the Haitian Red Cross. The Haitian Red Cross has more than 3,000 volunteers and staff working to help impacted communities with health, sanitation and emergency response.

"The Canadian Red Cross is actively responding, with two Canadians deployed to join Red Cross teams stationed in Haiti, and aid supplies sent including tarps and blankets," adds Elsharkawi. "As the world's largest humanitarian organization, the strength of the Red Cross is our combination of community-based and global support."

Canadians wishing to help people impacted by this disaster may make a donation to the Canadian Red Cross Hurricane Matthew Appeal online at www.redcross.ca, by calling 1-800-418-1111 or by contacting their local Canadian Red Cross office.

The Red Cross is urging people in the potential path of Hurricane Matthew to stay informed about the storm and take steps to get prepared now. The Red Cross recommends taking these three steps: 1) build a disaster kit; 2) come up with an emergency plan; and 3) be informed about how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through local media or NOAA Weather Radio stations or channels. Stay informed by downloading the free Red Cross Emergency App which puts real time information and hurricane safety tips as your fingertips. The Emergency App is available in app stores by searching for the American Red Cross, texting GETEMERGENCY to 90999 or going to redcross.org/apps.

 More than 700 U.S. Military personnel, spouses and children from Naval Station Guantanamo Bay are seeking shelter at Naval Air Station Pensacola after being evacuated on Sunday. As of Tuesday morning, the Red Cross has distributed 1,000 meals and snacks, as well as comfort kits and diapers, and provided nearly 50 cots. Remaining military personnel in Cuba are being provided disaster preparedness support by the Red Cross in conjunction with the U.S. Military.


Blood Donations Needed
Depending on the path and impact of the storm, Hurricane Matthew may force the cancellation of some Red Cross blood drives along the East Coast. Additionally, fewer donors will likely come out to donate at drives in affected areas due to poor weather conditions. The Red Cross is closely monitoring the potential hurricane path of Hurricane Matthew and plans to send additional blood products to areas likely to be impacted by the storm to ensure patient needs continue to be met.


It's important to remember that it's the blood already on the shelves that helps during a disaster. We encourage eligible donors to please give blood or platelets before the storm arrives to help ensure we have a readily available blood supply for patients in need. All eligible donors in parts of the country unaffected by Hurricane Matthew are also urged to schedule an appointment.

HOW TO HELP The work of the American Red Cross starts long before a hurricane makes landfall in the United States. For example, we have warehouses stocked with disaster relief supplies, thousands of trained workers, and more than 320 mobile response vehicles on standby year-round to be ready to help people in need. If we didn't maintain these resources 24/7, we couldn't get help to people in a timely fashion—but we depend on donations from the American public to be ready.

Help people affected by disasters like hurricanes, floods and countless other crises by making a donation to the Red Cross Disaster Relief. Your gift enables the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small across the United States. Visit redcross.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS or text the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.

Even before the threat of Hurricane Matthew, there was an urgent need for donors of all blood types, especially type O. Appointments can be made to donate blood or platelets by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting redcrossblood.org or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

"Destruction from Hurricane Matthew has left thousands in desperate need of emergency relief, including shelter, water and healthcare," says Hossam Elsharkawi, Associate Vice President, International Operations for the Canadian Red Cross. "Red Cross staff and volunteers from around the world and across the Caribbean and Central America have jumped into action to provide immediate aid to those in need."

Governments of Canada and British Columbia collaborate on Southern Mountain Caribou recovery​
 

OTTAWA, Oct. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - The protection of wildlife species is a joint responsibility and all Canadians have a role to play. Plants, animals and microorganisms are essential to the natural processes that keep the Earth's atmosphere, climate, landscape and water in balance. They help ensure our health and economic prosperity—now and for the future.

The Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Catherine McKenna, and British Columbia's Minister of Environment, Mary Polak, announced today a joint study to review the regulations in place for the protection of Southern Mountain Caribou and their habitat. McKenna said, "By working together, we can protect this iconic species for future generations of Canadians, including for traditional use by Indigenous peoples."

The purpose of this study is to inform a critical habitat protection assessment under the Species at Risk Act to determine what additional steps may need to be taken by federal or provincial governments to protect and recover Southern Mountain Caribou.

The study is being conducted as part of the collaboration between Canada and British Columbia under the Canada-British Columbia Bilateral Agreement on Species at Risk.

Samaritan's Purse sends its Disaster Relief Unit to Windsor, Ontario in response to flooding​
 

​CALGARY, Oct. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - Samaritan's Purse Canada has sent one of its specially equipped Disaster Relief Units to Windsor, Ontario and will recruit volunteers to clean-up homes in response to flooding. The city of Windsor and neighboring town of Tecumseh have welcomed the assistance.

"We have been monitoring the situation to gather information about the damage, and we are in contact with churches and other non-government partners in the area to provide a coordinated response," said Brent Davis, Samaritan's Purse Canada's response director.

The Christian relief and development organization has driven its southern Ontario-based Disaster Relief Unit to Windsor and is now meeting with local homeowners and recruiting and training volunteers.

The Disaster Relief Unit is a tractor trailer outfitted with essential disaster recovery equipment including generators, pumps, hand tools, and safety gear for volunteers. It also serves as a volunteer coordination center, and is equipped with a self-contained office, communications system, and other supplies.

Environment Canada says 200 millimeters of rain fell in the Windsor region in a 24-hour span Thursday, more than double the 94 mm of rain Windsor-Essex usually receives in all of September. As a result, thousands of homes have been flood-damaged in Windsor and Tecumseh.

Anyone who needs assistance or wants to volunteer to clean-up flooded homes can call 1-866-628-6565. "We are very happy to have Samaritan's Purse come to assist our residents," said Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens. "Their long experience with Canadian disaster relief will be a big help to people struggling to recover from this flood."

Samaritan's Purse has other Disaster Relief Units based in New Brunswick and in Calgary.

In recent years, the non-profit organization has responded to a wide variety of natural disasters including the catastrophic 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta, flooding in New Brunswick, Quebec, southern Alberta and in British Columbia. Its "sister" organization, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada, often helps by providing specially trained chaplains to comfort and pray with disaster victims. Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains will be in Windsor and Tecumseh.

Samaritan's Purse also responds to international disasters including the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, the 2011 earthquake/tsunami in Japan, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines in 2013, and the 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The Calgary-based charity is continuing to assist in Nepal.

Donations Needed
To support Samaritan's Purse's disaster relief efforts, please visit SamaritansPurse.ca (click on "Donate") or call 1-800-663-6500.


WFP MOBILIZES TO ASSIST PEOPLE AFFECTED BY HURRICANE MATTHEW
 


PORT AU PRINCE –  The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is mobilizing to respond if requested by Caribbean countries in the path of Hurricane Matthew, as it struck Haiti on Tuesday as a Category 4 hurricane.

“Our priority is to support the governments’ interventions to save lives and meet the food needs of the most vulnerable and food insecure people affected,” said Miguel Barreto, WFP Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean. “WFP is mobilizing its emergency staff and resources to deploy in the wake of Hurricane Matthew.”

In Haiti, the most food insecure of the countries in Matthew’s path, WFP has enough emergency food pre-positioned to feed up to 300,000 people for a month if needed.

Stockpiled at key locations across Haiti, these supplies can reach remote areas swiftly, even if roads are washed out or blocked. In addition, high-energy biscuits will be flown from Dubai to Miami for deployment in the wake of Hurricane Matthew according to the greatest needs.

To date, Matthew is the strongest hurricane in the Caribbean since Felix in 2007. As a Category 4 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, Matthew is likely to produce life-threatening flash floods and mudslides along its path.


Governments Urged to End Expensive Emissions-Reduction Policies
 

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - October 04, 2016) - Canada's biofuel policies have helped to reduced GHG emissions, but according to a new report from Canada's Ecofiscal Commission, these reductions have come at a significant cost. The report, Course Correction: It's Time to Rethink Canadian Biofuel Policies, examines the extent to which biofuel policies have achieved their stated objectives, and whether these policies have been cost-effective for Canadians.

Federal and provincial governments currently use two different types of policies to encourage the production and use of biofuels. Production subsidies provide cash payments directly to biofuel producers, financed by taxpayers. Fuel mandates require gasoline and diesel to be blended with more expensive ethanol and biodiesel, thereby raising driving costs for consumers.
Course Correction finds that these biofuel policies have reduced GHG emissions by an average of 3 Mt per year from 2010 to 2015, an amount less than one-half of one percent of Canada's total GHG emissions. These small reductions have been very expensive, however. The total consumer and taxpayer cost has been approximately $640 million per year. On a per-tonne basis, the estimated average cost of the emissions reductions have ranged from $128 to $185, far greater than the cost achievable with a carbon price, such as the ones already available and coming by 2018 to all Canadian provinces as per yesterday's Federal announcement.

An analysis of the policies' other objectives appears unlikely to justify these high costs. When it comes to support for rural communities, the federal government's own cost-benefit analysis for its renewable fuel mandate found that economic costs far exceeded benefits. Further, the Ecofiscal report finds that impacts on air pollution and on the development of next-generation biofuels have been negligible.
As a result, the Ecofiscal Commission recommends that all production subsidies be terminated as initially planned, and that renewable fuel mandates be gradually phased out. In their place, the Commission recommends that governments across the country continue to develop a rising pan-Canadian carbon price. The report also notes that as part of the policy transition, governments should consider complementing carbon pricing with flexible performance standards and broad funding for research and development to spur the shift to low-carbon transportation.

"Carbon pricing should be the backbone of any climate policy, as it is the most cost-effective way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions," said Commission Chair Chris Ragan, an associate professor of economics at McGill University and member of the federal government's Advisory Council on Economic Growth. "In the policy context now emerging in Canada, with over 80% of Canadians living in provinces with a carbon pricing system in place or soon to be, and the federal government stepping in to fill the gaps, it is prudent to re-examine older policies to see if they still make sense. Our research finds that biofuel policies don't pass this test, and that it's time for governments to correct course and shift to the more cost-effective policies now available: carbon pricing and flexible performance standards."

"Furthermore, as Canadians across the country continue to embrace carbon pricing, it will be helpful to have a coordinated pan-Canadian system which will make the various provincial policies even more cost-effective," Ragan continued. "This report shows that some sector-specific policies, though well-intentioned, may not be as sensible as many people think. A broadly applied carbon price, if well-designed, can ensure that we reduce GHG emissions while maintaining the strongest economy possible."

Report Abstract

Biofuel policies have been a contentious topic internationally, with the debate centred on the climate impacts of biofuels, and also their impact on food prices, air quality, and economic development. Course Correction assesses the economic and environmental case for biofuel policies in Canada and examines the extent to which biofuel policies have achieved their stated objectives. In particular, the report finds that biofuels policies have reduced GHG emissions by 3 Mt per year over the 2010-2015 period, however they have done so at a very high cost. Finally, this report concludes that low-carbon transportation policies are still likely needed to complement the emerging carbon pricing policies in Canadian provinces.

About Canada's Ecofiscal Commission

Established in November 2014, Canada's Ecofiscal Commission is a unique effort to advance fiscal policy reform for the benefit of Canada's economy and environment. The commission comprises a dozen prominent economists from across Canada's regions and 18 advisors including former political leaders and leaders from the business sector and civil society.

Over its six-year mandate, the commission will publish and promote discussion of research and recommendations grounded in Canada's regionally diverse economic and policy context. It will focus on issues most relevant to Canadians and policy-makers including those affecting fresh water, air quality, environmental disasters, greenhouse gas emissions, transportation and road congestion.

The Commission termed these "ecofiscal" policies-a new word to facilitate a new conversation about solutions guided by both economic and environmental objectives. Several Canadian family foundations and Canadian corporations fund the Commission.
For more information about the Commission and to view its reports visit: www.ecofiscal.ca.


Gitga'at First Nation and WWF-Canada forge groundbreaking partnership
 

HARTLEY BAY, BC, Oct. 4, 2016 /CNW/ - At a signing ceremony last night in Hartley Bay, representatives of the Gitga'at and WWF-Canada committed to a mutually beneficial partnership to further their shared goals of marine protection and community prosperity. The agreement, the first of its kind for the Gitga'at and WWF-Canada, lays a foundation for economic development in the region that is independent from resource exploitation. Gitga'at territory encompasses approximately 12,500 square kilometres of land and water, and is the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest. The lands and waters are home to abundant salmon, orcas, humpback whales and the iconic Spirit Bear, and they have sustained the Gitga'at culturally, spiritually and economically since time immemorial.

The agreement:

Recognizes Gitga'at sovereignty, title and ownership of Gitga'at lands and waters and the authority to govern activities and protect the Great Bear Rainforest according to traditional laws and customs.
Recognizes the expertise of WWF-Canada in marine conservation, and its proven capacity to implement viable conservation approaches that respect the needs and traditions of communities.
Confirms that the parties will work collaboratively to develop a marine-protection strategy for the territory and explore sustainable economic development.

Art Sterritt, Gitga'at communication lead says:
"The Gitga'at people have a long history of protecting our territory and the marine resources that sustain our nation. Our goals are not short-term profits, and we are not willing to go down the road of creating a dependency on a single industry such as oil and gas. The decisions we make about how our land and waters are managed can have a global impact, and we want to work jointly with WWF-Canada to ensure the continued sustainable use of our natural resources."

David Miller, president and CEO of WWF-Canada says:
"We have an opportunity to support each other's goals. This agreement is based on the fact both WWF-Canada and the Gitga'at believe that community benefits go hand-in-hand with environmental protection. Our partnership is about protecting the land, water, plants and animals under Gitga'at stewardship so the community receives long-term benefits."
The Gitga'at and WWF-Canada have collaborated for almost 15 years, working on projects including initiating the development of the territory's first Marine Use plan in 2002, and building local capacity to monitor underwater noise from shipping and its effects on whales.

About the Gitga'at First Nation
The Gitga'at people have lived in our territory since ancestral times, dependent upon its abundance and richness. We have never ceded, sold, or surrendered our territory and rights to anyone. Our well-being is intricately related to the integrity of our environment and the abundance of natural resources, and our culture and society will only thrive if both are well stewarded and sustained. For more information visit gitgaat.net.

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more info visit wwf.ca.
African Bicycle Contribution Foundation Presents Its First, Free, Bamboo Bikes to Ghanaian Students, Parents, Transport-Dependent Small Farmers and Healthcare Workers, in Accra and Kumasi
​KUMASI, GHANA--(Marketwired - September 30, 2016) - On 27 September, in Accra, and today, at the Golden Bean Hotel, here, the African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (africanbike.org), a U.S.-based 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation, presented two multi-stakeholder bicycle distribution events, wherein a total of 30 free, Ghanaian-made bamboo bikes were given to students, parents, transport-dependent small farmers and healthcare workers.

The events, in both cities, were hosted by Bright Generation Community Foundation (BGCF) and the Ghana Bamboo Bike Initiative (GBBI).

According to Bernice Dapaah, CEO and founder of GBBI, the Kumasi-based manufacturer of the "EcoRide" bamboo bicycles, the luncheon, here, was attended by luminaries such as the former president of Ghana, H.E. John Agyekum Kufuor, and representatives of embassies and ministers. Offering remarks at the event, in addition to Ms. Dapaah, were ABCF Executive Director Patricia Marshall Harris and ABCF Board Member Florence Torson-Hart, a Ghanaian-born senior financial advisor, Global Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch; Hon. Dzifa Gomashie, Ghana's Deputy Minister of Tourism, and founder of NGO Values for Life; Ebenezer Somiah, program coordinator, Village Bicycle Project; Solomon Owusu, BGCF; and Hon. John Alexander Ackron, the mayor of Kumasi.
The Ghanaian tradition, in most rural areas, places a disproportionate burden on women as the primary haulers of fuel, water and food, and as providers for the healthcare needs of their children. For most, walking is their only mode of transportation, and they routinely traverse many miles to get to critically important destinations. This is where ABCF, and its supporters, play a critically important role.

According to former president Kufuor, "Support of this kind is seen as a major driver of equitable social development and gender mainstreaming, while narrowing the wide economic gap."

​Commenting on the Foundation's first program in Ghana, A. Bruce Crawley, chairman of ABCF, said: "The free distribution of these sturdy, world-class, bamboo bikes to under-resourced populations in Ghana, is just the first stage of our Foundation's program. While we recognize the importance of bicycles, we also realize that they represent a means to an end, the achievement of greater educational access and job creation. We, also, therefore, want to orchestrate technology-facilitated, inter-continental workshops and seminars between students and entrepreneurs, in Ghana, and their counterparts, in the U.S. We believe such exchanges will be culturally and economically broadening, and mutually beneficial.

"Finally," Crawley added, "We also want to do all we can, by increasing demand, through our contributions, for GBBI's iconic, African-made bikes, and by facilitating the establishment of new trade channels, in the U.S., to expand the company's size and workforce, and its capacity for export around the world."
Who Is ABCF?

African Bicycle Contribution Foundation is a corporation that is passionate about empowering people in need and improving human dignity. The African Bicycle Contribution Foundation (ABCF) is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation whose mission is to generate funding to underwrite the distribution of bicycles to needy students, families and transport-dependent small business owners on the African continent. The Corporation has made a commitment to finance the free distribution of 2,500 bicycles, in Ghana, over its first five years of operation.

ABCF works in partnership, in Ghana, with the Ghana Bamboo Bikes Initiative, Bright Generation Community Foundation, Values For Life, The Respect Alliance, Village Bicycle Project, and the U.S.-Ghana Chamber of Commerce.






International recognition for the Great Bear Rainforest
is a testament that forest protection and Indigenous rights go hand in hand,
says Greenpeace
26 September 2016 (Vancouver) – Following today’s exciting double announcement of the endorsement of the Great Bear Rainforest under the international Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy by their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the creation of a special trust for the region, Eduardo Sousa, Senior Forests Campaigner at Greenpeace Canada, said:  

“We welcome the announcement made today in the Heiltsuk First Nation territory of Bella Bella by the Royal Couple to endorse the spectacular Great Bear Rainforest. This international recognition is further testament to the perseverance and leadership of the region’s First Nations, the true stewards of this precious place. The endorsement, along with the provincial government’s encouraging announcement of the Great Bear Rainforest Education and Awareness Trust, is a remarkable moment to be celebrated. Today makes it powerfully clear that large-scale forest and biodiversity protection that respects and enhances Indigenous rights is not only entirely possible, but also inspires the world.” 

Together, the B.C. and First Nations governments, Greenpeace, Sierra Club BC, Stand and several forestry companies worked hard to move from conflict to a shared outcome rooted in 15 years of collaboration and negotiation. As of February 2016, the vision for conservation and community well-being committed to in 2006 is now established with legal and policy agreements. Eighty-five per cent (3.1 million hectares) of the beautiful region’s coastal temperate rainforests will be permanently off-limits to industrial logging. The remaining 15 per cent (550,000 hectares) of the forest will be subject to the most stringent legal standards for commercial logging operations in North America.





Search the Seas With Whale Scientists
HALIFAX, NS--(Marketwired - September 28, 2016) - Robotic drones with underwater listening devices are now gliding through the ocean recording the sounds made by the earth's largest sea creatures -- the baleen whales. For the first time the public can follow along and watch some of the discoveries at the same time as the scientists.

The Particle, Fish and Whale Lab at Dalhousie University (fishocean.ocean.dal.ca) is using these innovative tools to search for large whales in Atlantic Canada and to study why whales use different parts of our ocean, under a project called the Whales, Habitat and Listening Experiment.

The Canadian Wildlife Federation (CWF) is working with these researchers to provide a way for the public to follow along with this research -- in real time -- and to learn about the great whales that live in Canadian oceans. A website (apps.cwf-fcf.org/whales) has been created with a map that shows the paths of the drones as well as the types of whale they are hearing. This website also contains information on the species of whales, the sounds they make, and the ways that human activities may affect them.​