On Friday, August 25, a port condition Zulu was announced for the Port of Galveston and surrounding area, resulting in the closure of the port for marine traffic. The heavy rain from the storm in Galveston and Houston has caused severe flooding, impacting the roads leading in and out of Galveston.According to the latest update, the tropical storm continues weakening and is nearly stationary, drifting slowly South East towards Matagorda Bay. The storm is causing torrential rainfall from Southwest Louisiana to the south of Port O’Connor and inland to near Austin and San Antonio.The Captain of the Port, Sector Houston-Galveston expects to remain at Port Condition ZULU for at least until August 29, possibly longer. USCG Houston-Galveston Vessel Traffic Service confirms they are approving emergent vessel movements on a case by case basis.US Army Corps of Engineers have positioned numerous survey vessels locally to begin waterway surveys as soon as conditions permit, in order to open the waterways as soon as possible, however, the current concentration of assets is directed at recovery in Corpus Christi and Matagorda ship channel. zoom Hurricane Harvey, which was downgraded to a tropical storm over the weekend, has left three cruise ships stranded in the Gulf of Mexico as the Port of Galveston had to be closed to all vessel traffic and commercial activities amid heavy weather.Namely, as the port will remain closed on Monday, Carnival Cruise Line said its two ships, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Breeze, will be unable to enter the port until Tuesday at least pending a further notice from the port.” The port announced it will be closed for at least the next 24 hours, so our earliest potential opportunity to debark current guests is on Tuesday. As you can imagine, this is a fluid situation and we have no way of knowing if the port opening could be delayed further. We will continue to maintain close contact with port officials in Galveston monitoring conditions on Galveston Island, and within neighboring areas including Houston, and will provide ongoing updates as we receive additional information,” the cruise line informed.As a result, the two ships will be operating on shortened itineraries once the weather permits them to dock in the Port of Galveston. Guests who opt to sail on the shortened itineraries will receive a pro-rated refund of their cruise fare, the company added.Based on the latest update from Carnival, Carnival Freedom is currently in a position to enter the Port of Galveston as soon as the port reopens, while Carnival Breeze is on its way to New Orleans to make a short technical stop to replenish water and provisions on Monday. The ship will then resume its journey to Galveston.Due to the impact of the hurricane, Carnival decided to cancel the planned voyage of Carnival Valor.Image Courtesy: Hickey Law FirmSeparately, Royal Caribbean International canceled the planned sailing for August 27 of its Liberty of the Seas cruise ship.“Due to the severe impact of Hurricane Harvey and Galveston port closure, we unfortunately have to cancel your cruise scheduled for Sunday, August 27. We are sorry for the impact that this storm has had on your vacation and appreciate your patience as we worked through this. Please know that this decision was made with your safety in mind,” the company said.The ship is being diverted to Miami until conditions at the Port of Galveston permit safe travel.“Due to port closure because of Hurricane Harvey, Liberty was not able to make her scheduled arrival into Galveston today. We anticipate Liberty will be able to return to Galveston on Friday, conditions permitting. We are doing all we can to help guests adjust their travel arrangements and appreciate their patience as we work through this,” the company said in an update on August 27.Around 20,000 cruise passengers are said to be affected by the storm.Sitting off the Galveston Coast on Liberty of the Seas. With most of Houston underwater. Probably the best place to be! @BBCNews pic.twitter.com/Ux6cFg8glO— Marc Randall (@harrierrandall) August 27, 2017
The provincial government is investing half-a-million dollars inthe African-Nova Scotian community. Economic Development Minister Ernest Fage announced the ongoingoperational support for the Black Business Initiative (BBI)today, June 23, as the fourth annual Black Business Summit getsunderway in Halifax. “Business is growing in the African-Nova Scotian community,adding to the rising number of businesses and jobs in every partof the province,” said Mr. Fage. “As part of our economic growthstrategy, the province will continue to help the BBI achieve itsgoal of building a dynamic presence within the Nova Scotiabusiness community.” “Our priority for the coming year and beyond will be businessretention and growth through partnerships, because they are thekey to sustainable economic development,” said Rustum Southwell,executive director of the BBI. “The agreements we’ve signed withother business organizations and the work we’ve done with theprovince to create new pools of capital for black-ownedbusinesses are excellent examples of how partnerships will ensureour success.” In addition to forming partnerships, the BBI’s staff of 10develops initiatives and supports clients through a variety ofdirect services. These include training, community-developmentprojects, and events and publications promoting awareness ofAfrican-Nova Scotian entrepreneurial activity and success. Loanfunds are also offered, including the BBI’s overwhelminglysuccessful Community Economic Development Investment Fund, whichrecently raised $130 thousand for investment in black-ownedbusinesses throughout the province. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT–Province Renews Partnership with BlackBusiness Initiative
Smoking rates in Nova Scotia continue to decline. The annual Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey, released today, Thursday, Aug. 11, shows that the 2004 smoking rate in Nova Scotia was at 20 per cent in 2004, a decline from 30 per cent in 2000 and from 22 per cent in 2003. The numbers represent about 78,000 fewer Nova Scotians smoking in 2004 than 2000. “This is good news,” said Health Promotion Minister Rodney MacDonald. “In 2006, with the introduction of the 100 per cent ban on smoking in public and work places, we expect smoking rates will go down even further.” Nova Scotia Health Promotion officials say the steady decline in smoking rates can be attributed to the comprehensive Tobacco Control Strategy. The plan uses a multi-pronged approach to address smoking rates in the province, and its success is due in large part to the participation of many stakeholders. The strategy will continue its work on community-based programming, cessation programs, youth prevention, and social marketing. Although the 2004 report shows that smoking rates in Nova Scotia have declined by two percentage points since 2003, the number is not considered statistically significant. The survey also shows that the number of cigarettes Nova Scotians smoke each day is steadily declining — from an average of 17.7 a day in 2000 to 14.9 a day in 2004. The average number smoked in 2003 was 15.1. For more information on the tobacco control strategy, see the website at www.gov.ns.ca/ohp/tcu/default.htm .
Gold mining in Nova Scotia and its history, geology, and impact will be the special focus at the Department of Natural Resources Mining Matters conference in Halifax on Wednesday, Nov. 9, and Thursday, Nov. 10. The conference will provide a forum for geologists, prospectors, and people involved in community economic development across the province to discuss the role of mineral resources in the province’s economic growth. “Mining Matters is an important conference for anyone interested in the minerals that can be developed for the economic, artistic, and recreational benefit of Nova Scotians,” said Scott Swinden, executive director of mineral resources for the Department of Natural Resources. “This province is blessed with a bountiful supply of minerals that adds to the economic base of the province. Besides gold and coal, we have deposits of stone, such as granite and marble, that can compete with any supplier in the world in quality and appearance.” On Wednesday, the main topic at the conference will be gold deposits and mining techniques, and the potential economic impact of gold in Nova Scotia’s economy. Other topics to be explored include: the legacy of glacial lakes in Nova Scotia; and an overview of mineral deposit projects. Elizabeth Kosters of Acadia University will provide a special luncheon presentation entitled Geological and Cultural Ingredients of the Katrina Catastrophe. The second day of the conference will offer presentations on groundwater resources, mitigating coastal hazards, naturally-occurring radionuclides in Nova Scotia, and arsenic and mercury contamination from historical gold mine tailings. Representatives of the Mi’Kmawey Debert Cultural Centre will speak on Tan Wetapesksi’k (Where we come from). “Geology plays a key role in the everyday lives of Nova Scotians, whether it is linked to the occupations of those employed in the mining industries, or even those who walk through some of the province’s communities and cities and enjoy the stone facades of our older and historic buildings,” said Mr. Swinden. The conference will take place at the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel and is open to the public.
A budget that ensures our economy continues to grow A budget that will allow Nova Scotians to keep more of their own money A budget that tackles many of the challenges facing families right now, creating healthier, stronger communities It’s a budget that invests in infrastructure and still ends the year with a $71.9-million surplus And a budget that will see us meet or exceed our debt reduction commitments. adding 50 restorative beds more dialysis options closer to and in the home expanded home support services like personal care and housekeeping continuing support for people to manage their own care in their own homes and there will also be 1,300 new long-term care beds introduced over the next 10 years. The premier has said: “We have no greater priority than ensuring that our families can succeed here, at home, in Nova Scotia — today and tomorrow.” That’s what this budget is all about. A LOOK BACK TO 2005-06: CONFIDENCE IN OUR ECONOMY The past year set the stage for the good work we plan on doing this year. Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotia is forecast to end fiscal 2005–06 with a healthy surplus of $151 million — almost $88 million more than we budgeted at this time last year. And, as we have said before, every penny of this surplus goes directly to the debt. The source of this good news is a sizeable increase in revenues — in particular, revenues from the offshore, which increased to almost $144 million, $114 million more than budgeted last year. This extra revenue allowed us to make some additional spending commitments to address priority areas throughout the year. These included investments in health and health promotion, assistance to universities and their students, energy and conservation initiatives, and economic development. Together with Nova Scotians we have created an environment for business investment and success. Major private-sector construction projects like the $270-million Dartmouth Crossing project and the $98-million Michelin expansion are just two examples that create jobs and lasting benefits in our communities. The $100-million gas compression deck for the Sable gas field will help productivity in the offshore. And expansion projects at the Halifax International Airport and the Port of Halifax are providing lasting infrastructure, connecting Nova Scotia to the world. Mr. Speaker, more people are working and their incomes are growing. Text of the budget address read in the legislature on Tuesday, May 9, 2006 by Finance Minister Michael Baker. INTRODUCTION Mr. Speaker, Premier, Honourable Members, Nova Scotians. I am pleased to rise in this chamber today to present Nova Scotia’s fifth consecutive balanced budget — my first as Minister of Finance. When most people think about budgets, they think numbers. Open any of the budget documents in front of you, and you’ll see plenty of them. You’ll read about forecasts, key assumptions, capital costs, and debt servicing. And you’ll see terms like GDP, CPI, book value, and consolidation adjustments. But really, at its essence, a budget is a plan. A plan for Nova Scotia’s families. A plan for our communities. A plan for the future. And good plans shape good decisions. It’s reassuring then, Mr. Speaker, that Nova Scotia has a wealth of solid planning built up over the past six years. Plans like Opportunities for Sustainable Prosperity, Your Health Matters, Learning for Life, and soon, Route to Prosperity and Nova Scotia’s Continuing Care Strategy. Solid plans for economic growth, health, education, infrastructure, and transportation. Solid planning for the next decade and beyond. Today’s budget is built on that good work. Today’s budget puts real action and real dollars behind our plans. Every decision we make, every dollar we spend, is guided by the strategies we have developed for this province and its people. In today’s budget, Mr. Speaker, Nova Scotians will see that we are addressing the priorities of Nova Scotia’s families and building a more prosperous future. Mr. Speaker, this, our fifth straight balanced budget is: In a nutshell, these numbers mean more revenue to enhance the programs and services Nova Scotians value. Nova Scotia’s revenues are projected to grow by eight per cent for a total of $6.587 billion. This is a sizeable increase over last year’s budget, and significantly more than our average growth rate of 4.9 per cent over the past several years. Again, Mr. Speaker, this was due in large part to royalty revenues from the offshore, which are slated to be well beyond initial projections to total $288 million for 2006–07. Despite reductions in revenue from government business enterprises, due mostly to a decrease in gaming revenue of $16.7 million, and motive fuel tax of $12 million, provincial revenues, excluding royalties, are expected to experience solid growth this year — projected to increase 3.4 per cent. Nova Scotia is largely responsible for its own good fortune. We are paying our own way. Revenues from federal sources are up from last year, as planned, but continue to fall short of growth in spending needs for the programs and services they are targeted to address. Overall, Mr. Speaker, having solid returns on the revenue side has given us the ability to make positive investments in programs. DEBT MANAGEMENT — OUR FIRST INVESTMENT We understand that we have a significant obligation to future generations to do what we can to relieve Nova Scotia’s burden of debt. This is why, Mr. Speaker, we will meet or exceed our debt reduction targets. Last June, former Premier John Hamm put an $830-million down payment on the provincial debt, freeing up over $50 million annually that would otherwise go to debt servicing. Nova Scotians will realize the positive impact of this decision in increased spending on programs and services. Last year’s forecast surplus of $151 million will also help to reduce our projected debt levels beyond what we had expected at year-end. This also gives us the flexibility to invest in important capital improvements like roads, bridges, schools and hospitals while still meeting our debt reduction targets. Even with these important capital investments, we are slowing the growth of our debt. Nova Scotia’s net direct debt to GDP ratio is projected to go down once again — for the fifth year in a row — from 48.7 per cent in 1999-2000 to 38.2 per cent this year. Mr. Speaker, our creditors have taken note of Nova Scotia’s strong fiscal management. Over the past year, all three major bond-rating agencies have given Nova Scotia a positive outlook, encouraging greater confidence in Nova Scotia’s economy and in its future. A PROVINCE CONNECTED WITH THE WORLD Good roads, modern hospitals and schools, and a province connected to the world are the building blocks for business, communities and families to succeed — and we’ve got some work to do. A 10-year needs assessment identified a $3.4-billion infrastructure deficit just for highways alone. Nova Scotians know all too well that our province needs to spend more on its roads and highways. We are also committed to ensure that by 2010 all Nova Scotians have broadband access to the Internet. Over the past few years we have worked hard to address Nova Scotia’s capital needs. From 1999 to 2005 we completed 20 new schools, expanded, renovated or built 14 hospitals, and tripled annual investments in roads and bridges. Mr. Speaker, our strong revenue and positive economic outlook enable us to significantly increase capital spending this year. Capital spending will increase by $55 million from $280 million to $335 million, an increase of over 16 per cent. In addition, $40 million will be spent to improve our health infrastructure. Modernizing our province will help us keep and attract businesses and lead to good, well-paying jobs for Nova Scotians. More than half of this money, and more, will be spent to improve our roads, highways, and bridges. In fact, Mr. Speaker, when we add in the $175 million we spend on road maintenance from our operating budget, we will be spending far more on road and highway improvements than we collect in motive fuel taxes. This year, and every year thereafter, government will spend the total amount collected in these taxes, plus the net revenues collected from the Registry of Motor Vehicles on our highway systems. We will make this commitment in legislation in the Financial Measures Act. This will support our $1.5-billion, 10-year plan to address Nova Scotia’s transportation needs. It is a plan that includes more than $200 million for 100-series highways, including twinning sections of highways 101, 103, and 104. It also includes plans for a bypass in Antigonish and Port Hawkesbury as well as a high-speed interchange in Truro. In the Halifax Regional Municipality, our government will take a lead role in developing a specific strategy to address the transportation needs of citizens and businesses alike. This will involve partnering with local leaders including the Halifax-Dartmouth Bridge Commission. Projects under future consideration include a new Hammonds Plains Road, the Burnside-Sackville expressway, an inland container terminal, and expanded harbour ferry services. The bottom line is fuelling economic growth and getting products and people where they need to go quickly, safely, with less impact on the environment. Today’s budget also commits $250,000 to the Atlantic Gateway Strategy, a co-ordinated effort of partners responsible for road, rail, air, and ports. The goal is to become North America’s preferred eastern gateway — improving trade, tourism, our economy, and creating more quality jobs for Nova Scotians. QUALITY JOBS FOR NOVA SCOTIANS Mr. Speaker, government recently released its updated strategy for building a more diverse, prosperous and greener economy. This involves lowering taxes, building infrastructure, less regulation, the right mix of business incentives and solid support for a highly skilled and educated work force. LOWER TAXESWe are expanding our commitment to reduce the tax burden for business. Last year, we began to phase out the Business Occupancy Tax. And every year for the past three years, we have increased the small business tax threshold. Once again, Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to report that effective April 1, the threshold has been increased to $400,000. These increases have saved Nova Scotia businesses over $15 million in corporate income taxes over this period. Mr. Speaker, we are also pleased to announce that we will be eliminating the 3.5 per cent liquor licence levy effective January 2007. This will benefit hundreds of small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector across our province. For our larger companies, we are also continuing with our commitment to lower taxes. Last year, we announced a reduction to bring down the large corporations capital tax rate over the next three years. Mr. Speaker, at the end of this period, we will extend the “phase down” for another four years at an accelerated rate until 2012, when it is completely eliminated. The large corporations tax generates $60 million annually that businesses will no longer pay by 2012. This will help us be more competitive in national and global markets. BETTER REGULATIONSensible, streamlined regulations are one tool to help retain and attract business. This year, Mr. Speaker, we are increasing our commitment to better regulation with $400,000 to enhance activities in the second year of the Competitiveness and Compliance Initiative. This will allow for the development of regulatory training and better co-ordination of the province’s 180 inspectors. The concept is based on improving the way laws are designed, communicated, and enforced in Nova Scotia — and improving the competitiveness of our businesses. By the year 2010, the province will have reduced the paperwork burden associated with regulatory requirements by 20 per cent. PROGRAMS FOR BUSINESSMr. Speaker, government has an important role in supporting a strong, diverse climate for business. That is why, the budget for the Office of Economic Development will increase by almost $15 million. Investments through Nova Scotia’s Industrial Expansion Fund have returned three dollars for every one dollar invested. In fact, since 2000 the fund has helped business create a total of 3,400 new jobs in all parts of our province. Our goal is to surpass our past success. We are adding just over $600,000 to expand economic opportunities to businesses of all sizes, including establishing a new Export Expansion Program to help Nova Scotia companies increase exports, and increasing funding to implement our community development action plan. In addition, we will expand the Business Retention and Expansion Program to nine counties. MORE SKILLED WORKERSMr. Speaker, Nova Scotia’s economic success is directly tied to the education and skill levels of its citizens. Our budget takes concrete action to ensure more Nova Scotians of all ages are better prepared to fill the jobs of today, tomorrow and well into the future. We will therefore, once again, increase our capital investment for the modernization and expansion of our community colleges with an additional $24.8 million. We will also increase the operating budget of the Nova Scotia Community College by $6 million. The return on this investment will mean more young Nova Scotians getting an education closer to home, more skilled workers for our province, and greater opportunities for business success. As well, we will provide an additional $140,000 to encourage and promote the trades as a rewarding career choice, and invest $200,000 to bring more skilled IT workers back home to Nova Scotia. This will help fill more than 3,500 IT jobs, which Nova Scotia Business Inc. has helped clients create. Mr. Speaker, we will also increase funding to help those on income assistance or employment insurance to access essential education skills at the worksite. Almost $150,000 of additional funding will be available to One Journey: Work and Learn, a successful initiative with a 75 per cent job placement rate. ATTRACTING IMMIGRANTSNova Scotia’s future prosperity is also tied to bringing more people from around the world to make Nova Scotia their home. That’s why we will increase funding for the Office of Immigration by $700,000 to $3.3 million. Last year, more than 1,900 immigrants received permanent resident status in Nova Scotia — an 8.5 per cent increase over the previous year. We will continue to build on that momentum. The Nova Scotia Nominee Program was key in this success — and, in fact, it is considered one of the most attractive programs in the country. Mr. Speaker, government has reviewed the fees associated with the program, and effective immediately will eliminate the portion of these fees that flows directly to the province, ranging from $500 to $1,700 per person depending on the immigrant entry stream. This will make Nova Scotia more competitive with other provinces and more attractive to immigrants. We will also do more to ensure immigrants feel welcome and supported. An additional $639,000 will be available for language training, settlement and integration services. This brings our direct funding for settlement services through the Office of Immigration and the Department of Education to almost $2 million this year alone. CONFIDENCE IN THE OFFSHOREMr. Speaker, creating a more confident climate for business, investing in the education and skills of our workforce, and bringing more people from around the world to achieve success here in Nova Scotia are vital to our future economic growth and social prosperity. We also need to build on the opportunities that exist in industries that have the untapped potential to further secure our progress. We recently announced plans to help promote Nova Scotia’s offshore energy with a $6.4-million investment in research and development. The goal is to generate more interest in, and wealth from Nova Scotia’s offshore. This investment has the potential to create more quality jobs, to provide more energy choices, and to generate more revenues to support the priorities of Nova Scotians. ENCOURAGING CONSERVATIONMr. Speaker, one clear priority of Nova Scotians — a priority this government shares, is to ensure that together we act to promote, protect and preserve our environmental integrity. To encourage energy conservation and the use of renewable energy sources, we will implement a new energy efficiency tax credit. This non-refundable credit will equal 25 per cent of a company’s capital investment in new, cleaner energy-efficient measures — to a maximum of 50 per cent of their large corporations capital tax. The program will come into effect on purchases made after July 1, 2006. Mr. Speaker, my government expects no less of itself when it comes to making smart energy choices than it does of business and individual Nova Scotians. That is why, we will invest $1.2-million to convert the system that heats the Nova Scotia Hospital, the Dartmouth General, and the new community college campus to natural gas. Not only will this be more environmentally friendly and cost-effective, it will mean good things for neighbouring business and residential customers, who will also have access to gas-fired alternatives to meet their own energy needs. Every Nova Scotian has a part to play in supporting conservation efforts. That is why government will continue to support Smart Energy Choices through a $10-million investment. This program includes home assessments, grants for energy saving, home improvements, additional help for seniors and dollars for oil furnace replacement. We will also take measures to encourage the use of alternative forms of fuel. Effective July 1, we will eliminate the motive fuel tax on the biodiesel portion of the diesel blend that is produced in Nova Scotia, and meets accepted fuel-quality standards. It is estimated that this measure could save taxpayers up to $1 million per year and make biodiesel a more competitive fuel. We are also investing in an Environmental Home Assessment Program to provide more Nova Scotians with the assurance that their families have access to clean potable water, environmentally safe oil tanks and properly working septic systems. The $850,000 program will be available to close to 2,000 homes over the next two years and will provide water sampling kits, help for septic systems and an oil tank check-up. BETTER CHOICES — TACKLING THE PRESSURES FAMILIES FACE TODAY Mr. Speaker, through this budget we are also taking action to support working families by having more child-care options, by enhancing services for Nova Scotians with disabilities, and by providing much needed tax relief for Nova Scotia families. CHILD CARE Mr. Speaker, the recent federal budget included a new Universal Child Care Benefit of $1,200 a year for each child under the age of six. Nova Scotians will not pay additional provincial taxes on that benefit. That is because we are introducing a non-refundable tax credit for parents or guardians with children under six. The tax credit rate will be set at the 8.79 per cent applied to the full value of the new $1,200 Federal Universal Child Care Benefit. As well, Nova Scotia plans to carry on with funding for the child-care system in Nova Scotia after the recent federal funding program ends. Mr. Speaker, we will provide ongoing additional funding of $4.7 million a year to child care in Nova Scotia. This is all part of our 10-year child-care strategy. Mr. Speaker, there is nothing more agonizing for a parent than a sick child. That is why, effective Oct. 1, we will introduce a new Pharmacare program for children from families of modest means. This program will cost $1 million this year, with another $2 million committed for next year. It will reduce the emotional stress and financial pressure on thousands of Nova Scotia parents, reduce emergency room visits, and most importantly ensure that 33,000 children get the medicine they need to get better. Additional investments to support individuals and families in need include: BUILDING SAFE, CARING COMMUNITIES Nova Scotians rightly feel a strong sense of pride in and belonging to their communities. This budget focuses on those things Nova Scotians value about where they live, including their desire to keep their children, their homes and their neighbourhoods safe. That is why we will improve our response to the growing concern of youth crime by investing $450,000 to establish a new youth attendance centre in the Halifax Regional Municipality. This centre will provide programs and services such as education and counselling, through a mandatory reporting arrangement. This funding is in addition to a $500,000-investment to support youth-at-risk through the departments of Health, Justice and Community Services. As well, we are providing an additional $540,000 to put into force legislation that will address criminal activities such as drug sales and prostitution. The added funding will support a new public safety investigation unit. This budget also includes new funding to hire additional police officers to track violent offenders and to address child pornography and Internet fraud. There will also be money for more officers in Aboriginal communities across Nova Scotia. Government will also continue to support the recently created Criminal Intelligence Service which improves criminal intelligence gathering in all regions of our province. Other investments to enhance our justice system include: We are also putting in place more support for parents who adopt children with special needs with an investment of $200,000. And I am pleased to announce that, effectively immediately, government will eliminate international adoption fees to allow more Nova Scotians the opportunity to build and complete their families. Mr. Speaker, too many children are without the love and support of a family. Nova Scotia is fortunate to have people who open their hearts to these children. Today government is pleased to announce it will provide an additional $400,000 to make life easier for foster families and the more than 1,200 children in their care. Currently youth in care are eligible for a bursary program to cover their post secondary education costs. Government is pleased to extend the age limit from 21 to 24 years — so that students in care can continue their studies. And, Mr. Speaker, last year government launched a pilot program in Cape Breton to help families caring for adults with disabilities. The Alternate Family Support program provided adult foster care, independent living services and direct family support for those caring for their loved ones. This budget invests $1.5 million so that this vital service for families can be expanded to communities across Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, these are among the measures we will take to relieve many of the pressures and costs of raising a family in Nova Scotia today. LOWER TAXES FOR FAMILIESAnd, today in Nova Scotia, Mr. Speaker, government is taking action to give every family, and every working individual a well-deserved, well-earned tax break. Effective Jan. 1, 2007, government will provide every household with an eight per cent rebate on the total provincial portion of the HST. This will apply to all forms of home heating costs and basic electricity. For major sources of heat, Nova Scotians will see savings directly reflected on their heating and electric bills. We have approached the federal government for assistance in administering this point-of-sale rebate, which is similar to the one received on books. If the Canada Revenue Agency chooses not to participate, Nova Scotia will administer the rebate itself through Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations. For all other heating sources — such as wood pellets, wood, coal and kerosene — consumers will receive the full eight per cent rebate when they submit their heating receipts. We are confident that Nova Scotia Power and Nova Scotia’s home heating fuel companies will enthusiastically support our point-of-sale rebate program. Mr. Speaker, our household energy tax rebate program will benefit all Nova Scotians, most especially seniors and those on fixed incomes. This broader program, which benefits all Nova Scotians, will replace the existing Keep the Heat Program. Mr. Speaker, government has more good news for Nova Scotia families. Again, effective Jan. 1, 2007, Nova Scotia will raise the basic personal exemption — by $250 over each of the next four years. As well, we will increase all non-refundable credits proportionally. Indexation of all non-refundable credits and brackets will commence after year four. Combined, the personal income tax measures outlined in today’s budget will save taxpayers $113 million during the first four years — and there will be increasingly higher savings after that point. Mr. Speaker, government knows that lower taxes not only help struggling families, they make our province more attractive to business investment, more attractive to new immigrants, more attractive to skilled workers — all of which will bring about greater economic growth and social prosperity. STRONG, HEALTHY FAMILIES TODAY …Mr. Speaker, our goal is to make every generation of young Nova Scotians healthier than the one before. We know that Nova Scotians can lead healthier, longer and more productive lives when they make smarter lifestyle choices. This year’s budget keeps our commitment to double the health promotion budget within four years. The total budget for the new Department of Health Promotion and Protection is $36 million, with $29.4 million going to support health promotion activities — a $14.5-million increase over the last three years. Among the investments the department will support this year: We will also be investing $746,000 to upgrade our 911 emergency response system, which will improve overall responsiveness across Nova Scotia. Mr. Speaker, an additional $250,000 will assist our volunteer emergency responders and we will take steps to ensure they are supported through Nova Scotia’s EMO joint operations. We recognize the important work these and other volunteers do to meet the needs of our communities. This year we will appoint a Minister responsible for Volunteerism and develop Nova Scotia’s first volunteer strategy. INVESTING IN MUNICIPALITIESMr. Speaker, this government will do all that it can, whenever it can, to enhance the services we provide Nova Scotians. We will also work hand-in-glove with our municipalities so that they can better meet their local needs. That’s why this year we will provide $4.7 million in additional transfers for all Nova Scotia municipalities, and increase funding by $1.5 million for the Provincial Capital Assistance Program (PCAP), for a total of $4.25 million. PCAP allows the province to contribute to the cost of high-priority municipal projects including water, sewer, and solid waste with a focus on green projects. Mr. Speaker, this investment — along with the $18.75 million we are dedicating to resource management, biodiversity and our forest and wildlife resources — will have a positive impact on tourism, heritage and the environment. Nova Scotia’s tourism and cultural sectors generate more than $2 billion for the province’s economy each year. Government is committed to working with our partners to increase the value of these vital industries to our economy. To that end, we are providing an additional $600,000 to market and promote Nova Scotia as a first class tourism destination and increasing funding to support the cultural sector by $850,000. In addition, this year’s budget includes $300,000 to further develop a cultural centre to showcase the history and heritage of the Mi’kmaq in Nova Scotia. We will work with Nova Scotia’s First Nations, specifically to protect the unique cultural artifacts that have been found on the Mi’kmawey Debert site. Mr. Speaker, we continue to be proud of our diversity and will continue to celebrate and recognize the contributions of all Nova Scotians. This budget will also see the creation of an office of African Nova Scotia Affairs in Cape Breton. Additional satellite offices will open in Southwest Nova, the Valley and Central regions in the coming years. TRADITIONAL SECTORSMr. Speaker, Nova Scotia’s forests, farms, and fishery remain the backbone of our economy. We will continue to help each of these vital areas of our economy grow. Government’s new Aquaculture Development Strategy will be supported with $450,000 to study alternative species, address health risks and advance commercialization. An additional $50,000 will be provided to conduct year-round testing on lobster quality in Southwest Nova Scotia. Additionally government will begin consultations to develop a comprehensive natural resource strategy focused on four key areas: biodiversity, forests, parks and minerals. Government will also continue to support the efforts of agri-food and seafood operations by working with business to develop value-added products and adopt innovative new procedures and technologies. Mr. Speaker we will also continue to develop responsible and affordable solutions to the challenges confronting the large employers that rely on our resources — like Stora, Ocean Nutrition and Oxford Frozen Foods. CONCLUSION Mr. Speaker, today we provided our plan of action for addressing what matters most to Nova Scotians. This budget is their budget. It responds to the issues we all care about — time with our families, a good job to go to, money to pay the bills, safe communities and hope for the future. This is our plan. A plan for families. A plan for communities. A plan for the future. A future full of hope and opportunity Thank you, Mr. Speaker. -30- The budget address is available on the website at www.gov.ns.ca/finance/budget06/budget_address.asp funding of just over $600,000 to promote healthy eating in our schools close to $1 million in new funding to start the renewal of our public health system to deal with issues, post-SARS $800,000 for Youth Health Centres in 37 schools and communities across the province $680,000 to strengthen our actions to prevent chronic disease $469,000 to educate senior high students on issues like alcohol, drugs, and healthy sexuality and $255,000 to expand our injury prevention strategy. $5 million to fully implement the recommendations in the Hogg Report An additional $20.2 million to implement the next steps in our Learning for Life II plan. This focuses on the fundamentals, further reduces class sizes, expands supports for students with special needs, offers more advanced courses for gifted students and calls for greater accountability throughout our public school system Another $1 million to implement the recommendations of the BLAC report which will further our efforts to address inequities in the education of African Nova Scotian students. We will also invest $400,000 to increase the number of physical education teachers in our schools. And, Mr. Speaker, we will increase the healthy living tax incentive by more than 300 per cent, from a maximum of $150 of eligible costs per child to $500 per child. This incentive helps families register children in sport or recreation activities that offer lasting health benefits. Mr. Speaker, government knows well that if we’re going to promote good health we have to provide Nova Scotians with the recreation facilities and natural amenities that will encourage them to become more active. To that end, we are providing an additional $2.4 million to implement a physical recreation strategy, and improve recreation facilities — an increase of 25 per cent over last year. We will also spend an additional $750,000 for capital improvements to our provincial park system, and commit an additional $506,000 to establish additional boardwalks in our capital region. Mr. Speaker, we are also providing $100,000 to determine the feasibility of establishing a United Way 211 Call Service. This will provide a one-window referral service for a broad range of government, community, and non-profit service information. Mr. Speaker, these measures are tangible proof of our commitment to build a healthier Nova Scotia, and these measures are the tangible means by which we will slow the growing pressures on our health-care system. INVESTING IN HEALTH CAREMr. Speaker, from government’s efforts to keep young Nova Scotians healthy and active, to helping more of our seniors live longer at home, Nova Scotians will see that our investments are sound, sensible and strategic. Tomorrow, government will release a Continuing Care Strategy that sets the course for putting Nova Scotia on the right path to provide the right level of care, at the right time and for the right reasons. Our Continuing Care Strategy will make sound policy investments that are sustainable, respond to community needs, and result in better care. This year’s budget we will see that strategy advanced through: further wait-time reductions as a result of a doubling of federal wait-time funding to $34.7 million $4 million for the Clinician Assessment for Practice program, bringing 20 international medical graduates to our province $462,000 in bursaries for medical lab and technologist students $400,000 to support nurse training at St. FX University $400,000 to enhance community based primary health teams, which include nurse practitioners and $3 million for the operation of MRIs, purchased in last year’s budget. In fact, 443,000 Nova Scotians were employed in 2005 — more than ever before People are earning more — 4.4 per cent more than the previous year Families are able to spend more. Last year retail sales grew three per cent. An additional $400,000 to expand electronic monitoring of those on house arrest $200,000 to better monitor those on bail and $700,000 in legal aid funding to ensure speedier access to justice. This year, more than $16 million will be dedicated to moving this strategy forward. Mr. Speaker, like our investments in health promotion, our continuing care strategy and the new dollars we are putting into home and nursing home care will help ease the stresses and strains on our hospitals. Government has made a concerted effort to reduce wait times for diagnosis and treatment, and the results are beginning to show. We have more doctors in communities, more nurses at the bedside, and we lead the country in the sharing of medical information technology. New, advanced medical equipment is making access to care faster, and we are taking a comprehensive team approach to meeting the health-care needs of communities. To build on our progress, the budget for the Department of Health will once again increase from $2.56 billion to $2.76 billion — a $200-million increase which will go to address the many priorities including: As well, Mr. Speaker, we will invest a much-needed $15.9 million in oncology drug costs, specialists and treatment support for cancer programs in the Capital Health and Cape Breton districts. And we are adding $12.9 million to our Pharmacare program to help over 95,000 seniors better manage the rising costs of prescription drugs. OPPORTUNITIES FOR CHILDREN TO SUCCEED TODAY …Mr. Speaker, just as it is our goal to make every generation healthier than the one before it, it is also our goal to ensure that every generation of Nova Scotians is better equipped to find success. And that starts with a quality education. This year we are making a substantial investment in helping our children succeed from grade primary through to graduation. This year, the overall budget will increase 5.9 per cent from 1.075 billion to a total this year of $1.138 billion. Included in this amount is: Additionally we will provide $300,000 to ensure Nova Scotia students have access to the one of the world’s most respected pre-university high school programs. This investment will ensure every school board in the province offers the International Baccalaureate Program in at least one of their high schools. To ensure our at-risk students stay in school, stay learning, and stay on a path to success, we will provide another $1.4 million to introduce Opportunities and Options into 20 new schools. This program matches students with qualified employers who provide structured, hands-on learning experiences. This year’s budget will also provide $750,000 to Memorial High School in North Sydney, a composite school which provides both academic and skills training. Mr. Speaker, our vision is to have a composite school, like Memorial, in every school board in the province. … AND OPPORTUNITIES FOR YOUTH TO SUCCEED INTO THE FUTUREMr. Speaker, this government understands the value of post secondary education. We also know that the cost of a university education is difficult for many families. That is why we will take steps to make the cost of a typical undergraduate degree in Nova Scotia comparable to the national average within the next five years. We will be re-opening negotiations with universities and looking to the federal government to discuss a collaborative approach to reaching this goal. $1.9-million more to increase the shelter allowance for income assistance recipients $18 million more for the second phase of the Nova Scotia Affordable Housing Program and, $3.5 million more to enhance senior and low income housing through the Emergency Housing Repair Program. Real GDP is projected to grow by 2.2 per cent in 2006 and two per cent in 2007 Employment growth is forecast to increase 0.9 per cent in 2006 and 2007 Personal income is projected to expand 3.3 per cent in 2006 and 3.2 per cent in 2007 Retail sales growth is expected to increase by 3.7 per cent in 2006 and 4.1 per cent the following year. OUTLOOK FOR 2006–07: THE RIGHT TIME TO INVEST Mr. Speaker, early indications for this year are that once again Nova Scotia will show steady growth. We will introduce Nova Scotia’s first graduate tax credit, allowing Nova Scotia graduates to claim $1,000 as a non-refundable provincial tax credit on earnings We will double the employment and repayment bonuses under the student debt reduction program, a $1.2-million investment providing debt relief to approximately 10,000 Nova Scotia students As well, next year, students who are unemployed or under-employed will benefit from an improved program that sets loan repayment amounts to affordable levels We will reduce the required parental contribution for eligibility for student loans by 25 per cent. As a result more students will be eligible for student loans and be able to qualify for loan forgiveness We will also — beginning in 2007-08 — establish direct lending which will see students benefit from the province’s lower borrowing costs. This measure alone will save students millions in interest at no additional cost to taxpayers.
The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency will begin contract talks next week with the engineering firm Earth Tech, the leading bidder in the competition to provide design services for the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup. If the discussions are successful, Earth Tech, an international firm, and its local partner, CBCL Ltd., will carry out the detailed engineering for the cleanup, and supervise construction during the eight-year project. “At about $30 million, this will be one of the largest contracts awarded during the cleanup,” said Frank Potter, the agency’s acting chief executive officer. “Construction work on the cleanup will be divided into several projects to make it easier for local firms to take part.” Earth Tech, which recently completed the preliminary engineering design for the cleanup, is one of three bidders in the tender competition. The others are AMEC, which partnered with Golder and Associates; and TARget Engineering, a consortium of Halifax-based Jacques Whitford, SNC-Lavalin, ADI Ltd., and ENSR. Evaluators ranked Earth Tech first in technical merit and local economic benefits, and a close second in price. Technical merit accounted for 75 per cent of the evaluation score, local economic benefits 15 per cent, and price 10 per cent. The bid price may be adjusted to reflect possible changes in the scope of the cleanup project when the provincial and federal governments respond to the report of the environmental review panel that was issued in July. If discussions with Earth Tech are unsuccessful, the agency retains the right to open talks with one of the other two bidders. The three companies were invited to bid after a preliminary evaluation of expressions of interest from major engineering firms. Cleanup work in the Tar Ponds is expected to begin next year. Numerous preliminary cleanup projects, including the capping of a dump, the removal of buildings and debris, and the construction of an interceptor sewer to divert sewage from the Tar Ponds to a treatment plant, have already been completed. Work is wrapping up on the construction of a barrier between the Tar Ponds and Sydney Harbour, and the diversion of Coke Ovens Brook to clean channels is on schedule for completion this fall.
Premier Darrell Dexter announced the appointments of the principal secretary to the premier and director of communications, today, June 23. Matt Hebb, who has been the principal assistant to Mr. Dexter for the past number of years, has been named the principal secretary to the premier. Shawn Fuller is director of communications for the Premier’s Office. Mr. Fuller was previously manager of research for Mr. Dexter. “I am happy to have such qualified people on my team as we face the challenges ahead,” Premier Dexter said. Both appointments are effective immediately. Communications Nova Scotia is assisting the Premier’s Office through its transition period by providing an interim press secretary. Janet Lynn McNeil will serve in that role until staffing is complete.
If we all make some changes to the way we use energy, we could make a significant difference to the economic and environmental future of Nova Scotia. That means more money in all of our pocketbooks and a greener future for Nova Scotians in every part of the province. The EnerGuide for Houses program includes expert advice and rebates for upgrades to new and existing homes, and includes help for low-to-modest income homeowners. Through this and other energy-efficiency programs, we are keeping our commitment to lower greenhouse gas emissions, and making life better for families in every region of the province. Conserve Nova Scotia offers a variety of rebates, as well as financing programs to help homeowners save energy and money, and protect our environment. Nova Scotia Power also offers rebates and financing options for those planning to build or who have an existing home heated with electricity. Natural Resources Canada recently discontinued its ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes Program for new entrants. As a result, homeowners entering the province’s EnerGuide program after March 31 are not eligible for federal rebates. I realize that this change is frustrating for many Nova Scotian families that intended to access this program to reduce their energy use and take action on climate change. It may also leave some people wondering if they can or should do an energy efficiency evaluation on their home if the federal rebate is no longer available. The answer is yes. If you’ve registered after midnight on March 31, 2010, you can still have an initial assessment completed on your home, and can access provincial rebates of up to $1,500. Rebates of up to $4,200 are also available from Nova Scotia Power for energy efficient upgrades to electrically-heated homes. Financing options are available as well. Anyone registered by midnight March 31 can still access federal, provincial and Nova Scotia Power rebates. As well, our solar program offers a combined $2,500 rebate from Conserve Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Power for residential water heating projects that can be financed through the EnerGuide program’s interest-free loan. Energy efficiency evaluations are completed by certified energy auditors employed by service providers throughout the province. The $150 evaluation fee is a smart investment that will pay for itself over time. It provides valuable information to help homeowners reduce their energy and water use and provides an opportunity to save money on fuel and utility bills. If you own a home, I encourage you to call a service provider in your area to book an EnerGuide evaluation today. Take advantage of this great opportunity to save energy and money, increase the comfort and value of your home, and reduce your impact on the environment. For more information on EnerGuide programs for new or existing houses, visit www.itstartswithme.ca or call the EnerInfo line at 1-800-670-4636. -30-
The Sydney Tar Ponds Agency has released a tender for the construction of a protective cap over treated tar ponds sediment. “Today is good news for the people of Sydney,” said Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services. “This tender for the Tar Ponds cap will lead to the reclamation of nearly 240 acres of land and a cleaner and more sustainable future for residents.” It’s the third step in a series of projects leading to the future development of the remediated site. “The Tar Ponds cap is an extremely important part of an overall project that is not only creating good jobs but also making life better for families,” said Bill Estabrooks, Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal. “This is the connecting contract between the remediation work on the project, and future use of the former Tar Ponds site.” Construction of the multi-layer protective cap will begin in the fall, and is scheduled for completion in summer, 2013. It will include a grading/bedding layer, a geosynthetic clay layer, a geocomposit drainage layer, protective fill, topsoil and hydro seed. The cap is designed to direct rain and groundwater into an engineered channel that will also carry brook water to the mouth of Sydney Harbour. The tender closes Aug. 10. More than 70 per cent of the south pond, located between Prince Street and the Ferry Street Bridge, has been solidified and stabilized. Treatment of the entire pond is expected to be completed in August. It will be followed by the construction of a channel to allow brook water and groundwater to flow through the site and into the harbour. In January 2007, the government of Canada and province of Nova Scotia committed $400 million to ensure the Tar Ponds and Coke Ovens cleanup is completed by 2014.
The province has accepted all 13 recommendations of an expert panel that looked into how Halifax Regional School Board and associated agencies handled events leading to the death of high school student Rehtaeh Parsons. Debra Pepler and Penny Milton delivered their final report to the province today, June 14. “Rehtaeh’s story is not an easy one to listen to, but it’s important that we hear it,” said Marilyn More, lead Minister for the Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying. “Dr. Pepler and Ms. Milton have written a thorough report on her experiences and implementing their recommendations will help prevent another tragedy. This is not the end of our work; far from it. The review and its recommendations will be added to the efforts currently underway.” Ms. More met with the Parsons family this morning. The family has been involved throughout the review and has had a chance to read the report. The province has asked the Department of Health and Wellness to prepare options to review the IWK Health Centre’s mental-health programs, services and policies as it relates to Rehtaeh’s case, a move supported by the reviewers. The province is conducting an independent review by out-of-province experts into the actions of the Public Prosecution Service and police. This will begin immediately after police release the results of their criminal investigation. An action plan in response to the all of the recommendations will be completed in the next few weeks. “If there is one message we want to emphasize, it is this: work together. Good relationships will be essential for finding solutions that work,” Dr. Pepler and Ms. Milton said in their report. “We need to listen, learn from each other, and build a body of evidence that will help us all to respond effectively in crisis situations.” The reviewers were appointed by the province April 18. It was one of the first actions by the Action Team on Sexual Violence and Bullying, which was created by Premier Darrell Dexter after Ms. Parsons’s death. Dr. Pepler is a professor of psychology at York University. She is co-founder of PREVNet, Promoting Relationships and Eliminating Violence Network, and has been on the Ontario Minister of Education’s Safe Schools Action Team since 2004. One of her research areas is bullying. Ms. Milton is former CEO of the Canadian Education Association and a former deputy minister of the Premier’s Advisory Council on Health, Wellbeing and Social Justice in Ontario. Her primary area of interest is the engagement of young people in learning. The report can be found at www.ednet.ns.ca .
The Nova Scotia Liquor Corporation (NSLC) released its year-end results today, June 26, with a net income of $226.4 million on $592.9 million in total sales. The net income is $1.5 million above budget and a $4.9 million, or 2.2 per cent, increase over the previous year. For the period of April 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, wine sales grew by 6.3 per cent at NSLC outlet and 3.2 per cent at private wine and specialty stores. A detailed news release can be found by following the News Releases link on the NSLC website at www.myNSLC.com . -30-
Thirteen projects across the province are receiving grants to provide victims of sexual violence with the support they need. “We need to make sure survivors and their families can get the help they need no matter where they live,” said Marilyn More, Minister responsible for the Status of Women. “These approved projects are taking a collaborative and coordinated approach to address sexual violence across the province. They are an important step to help prevent and address sexual violence. “We know, and have heard that there are gaps in services for victims of sexual violence. Today’s funding will help community organizations strengthen their network to improve sexual assault services and provide a better future for families through projects like these.” In May, the province announced $200,000 in grants to support collaboration between organizations that address sexual violence. Organizations can use funding to expand upon partnerships, or to support proposals for potential demonstration projects being announced in September. “Today’s project funding will enable us to build more robust collaborative linkages with existing services for victims,” said Paula Marshall, executive director of the Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network, Eskasoni office. “This is a positive step to help us move from passively serving aboriginal women to a more active and engaged stance.” The grants are part of the province’s $1.1 million investment to address sexual violence. It builds upon the emergency funding some community organizations received in May, when they experienced an increase demand for their services. “Over the past three months there has been a collective determination to do things differently – and it’s happening,” said Ms. More. “From working differently together to ensuring services are developed in under-served areas, we are helping more survivors get support and we are taking steps to help change the culture around this issue, recognizing we still have a long way to go to end sexual violence.” More information, visit http://novascotia.ca.
Gangtok: The opposition Sikkim Krantikari Morcha (SKM) won seven Assembly seats and is leading in four constituencies while the ruling Sikkim Democratic Front won three and is ahead in six, election officials said Thursday. Sikkim has 32 Assembly seats. Chief Minister and SDF supremo Pawan Chamling won the Poklok Kamrang Assembly seat defeating his nearest Sikkim Krantikari Morcha rival Kharka Bahadur Rai by 2,899 votes, they said. He is also contesting Namchi Singhithang seat from where he is also leading by 289 votes. Also Read – Pak activated 20 terror camps & 20 launch pads along LoCSitting MLA and SKM candidate Sonam Lama won the Sangha Assembly seat defeating his nearest Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) rival Tshering Lama by 618 votes, they said. SKM candidate Lok Nath Sharma won the Gyalshing- barnyak seat defeating his nearest SDF rival Laxuman Sharma by 1,814 votes. In the Kabi lungchuk seat Karma Loday Bhutia of SKM wom defeating his nearest SDF rival Ugen Nedup Bhutia by 1,437 votes. Mani Kumar Sharma of SKM won the Khamdong-singtam seat by defeating his nearest SDF rival Garjaman Gurung by 873 seats. Also Read – Two squadrons which participated in Balakot airstrike awarded citationsIn the Shyari seat Kunga Nima Lepcha of SKM won by defeating his nearest SDF rival Karma Wangdi Bhutia by 1,356 votes. Sikkim Democratic Front candidate Gay Tshering Dhungel won the Upper tadong seat defeating his nearest SKM rial Anand Lama by 416 votes. In West pendam seat L B Das of Sikkim Krantikari Morcha won by defeating his nearest SDF rival Gopal Baraily by 898 votes. SKM candidate Sangay Lepch won the Yoksam-tashiding seat by only 79 votes defeating his nearest SDF rival Dichen Wangchuk Bhutia. SDF candidate Tashi Thendup Bhutia won the Barfung seat by defeating his nearest SKM rival Lobzang Bhutia by 79 votes. The SKM is leading in five seats while the ruling SDF is ahead in six seats.
Mumbai: The release date of “Sooryavanshi” has been advanced to avoid a box office clash with “Inshallah”, featuring Salman Khan, the makers of the Akshay Kumar-starrer announced on Wednesday. “Inshallah” and “Sooryavanshi” were all set to lock horns at the box office on Eid 2020 but now the Rohit Shetty directorial will arrive in theatres on March 27. “Sooryavanshi” producer Karan Johar shared the news on Twitter. “The ultimate Khiladi and the blockbuster director are arriving on 27th March, 2020 with #Sooryavanshi! Special love to @BeingSalmanKhan!” Johar tweeted. Also Read – ‘Will be acting till I die’ Salman also took to the microblogging site to confirm the news and shared his photo with Rohit. “I always thought of him as my younger brother and today he proves it…@itsrohitshetty. ‘Sooryavanshi’ releasing ?on 27th March, 2020?’,” the “Bharat” star tweeted. “Sooryavanshi” also stars Katrina Kaif in the lead. The Sanjay Leela Bhansali-directed “Inshallah” will see Salman paired opposite Alia Bhatt. The film will release on Eid 2020.
Mumbai: In a significant development, the Mumbai Police have filed a closure report in the #MeToo case by actress Tanushree Dutta against actor Nana Patekar, a top official said here on Thursday. “Yes, we have filed a B-Summary Report before the court,” Mumbai Police spokesperson, Deputy Commissioner of Police Manjunath Shinge told IANS. The police move comes after they reportedly did not find enough evidence in the matter, virtually ending the case.
The publishing industry witnessed a milestone event this year with Michelle Obama’s Becoming as it went on to become the highest selling memoir of all time with more than 10 Million copies sold. The book has received great response from the Indian market as the nation connected with the story of one of the most iconic and compelling women of our era. Penguin India has sold more than 70,000 copies of the book since its release. The Penguin India team and Padmashri winning sand artist, Sudarsan Pattanaik, came together and celebrated this momentous occasion by creating a beautiful sand tribute to Michelle Obama to mark the global and unprecedented success of the book. Also Read – Pollution makes you more aggressive The sand sculpture was created at the Puri beach in Odisha. Through the striking sand sculpture, Mr Pattanaik congratulates Michelle Obama on the breakthrough success of the book. The sculpture has been created using four tonnes of sand. Talking about this occasion and why it is special, Mr Pattanaik said “Michelle Obama’s story is as nuanced and beautiful as the granules of sand. And much like the ocean, it is everlasting.” While Mr Pattanaik has worked on many sculptures of Barack Obama, this is the first time that he has worked on Michelle Obama’s sculpture. Penguin decided to collaborate with Mr Pattanaik to celebrate the success of Becoming because his own story is also extremely fascinating. Born to a humble family, Sudarsan went on to master the art of sand sculpture and has now represented India in more than 60 international sand sculpture championships. Apart from these, he is creating social awareness in national and international arena on world peace, global warming, terrorism, HIV AIDS, to save endangered wildlife species through his sand art.
Addis Ababa: Ethiopia’s army chief and the president of a key region have been shot dead in a wave of violence highlighting the political instability in the country as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed tries to push through reforms. The latest unrest in the Horn of Africa nation flared on Saturday afternoon in Amhara, one of nine autonomous regions, when a “hit squad” attacked a meeting of top officials, Abiy’s office said Sunday. Spokeswoman Billene Seyoum told journalists the attack was led by Amhara’s security chief Asaminew Tsige, and resulted in regional president Ambachew Mekonnen and another top official being shot. Also Read – Merkel warns UK Brexit deal ‘unlikely’ without compromise: LondonThe men were “gravely injured in the attack and later died of their wounds,” she said. “Several hours later in what seems like a co-ordinated attack, the chief of the staff of the national security forces Seare Mekonnen was killed in his home by his bodyguard” in the capital Addis Ababa, she added. Also shot dead was a retired general who had been visiting him, Billene added. The bodyguard has been apprehended while Asaminew is still on the loose, sources said. Also Read – India, China should jointly uphold peace and stability, resolve disputes through dialogues: Chinese ambassadorThe link between the two attacks were not immediately clear. The internet has been cut nationwide since Saturday evening, after being severed for much of the previous week. A journalist in the regional capital Bahir Dar told AFP shooting had begun shortly after sunset and continued for several hours before ceasing. The United States embassy issued alerts about reported gunfire in the capital Addis Ababa, and violence around Amhara’s main city Bahir Dar. An analyst said Saturday’s incident showed the seriousness of the political crisis in Ethiopia, where efforts by Abiy to loosen the iron-fisted grip of his predecessors and push through reforms has unleashed a wave of unrest. “These tragic incidents unfortunately demonstrate the depth of Ethiopia’s political crisis,” said International Crisis Group analyst William Davison. “It is now critical that actors across the country do not worsen the instability by reacting violently or trying to exploit this unfolding situation for their own political ends,” the expert said. Amhara in Ethiopia’s northern highlands, is the homeland of the ethnic group by the same name, and is the birthplace of many of its emperors as well as the national language Amharic. The Amhara are the second-largest ethnic grouping after the Oromo, and both spearheaded two years of anti-government protests which led to the resignation of former prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Abiy, an Oromo, took power in April 2018 and has been lauded for a string of efforts to reform a nation which has known only the authoritarian rule of emperors and strongmen. He has embarked on economic reforms, allowed dissident groups back into the country, sought to crack down on rights abuses and arrested dozens of top military and intelligence officials He also sealed a peace deal with neighbouring Eritrea, a longtime foe. However the loosening of the reins has also unleashed a wave of unrest. Ethiopia’s 1995 constitution, written by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) after it unseated the Derg military junta in 1991, partitioned the country into nine autonomous regions with borders following ethnic lines. The EPRDF itself is a coalition of four parties from Oromia, Amhara, Tigray and the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region. Observers say that Abiy’s plans to hold an election in 2020 has stirred up resentment in local politics, with other regional parties contesting the hold of those within the EPRDF, and seen a rise in ethno-nationalism. At the same time, longstanding tensions in a country of more than 80 ethnic groups have burst into the open, often over land and resources in Africa’s second most-populous nation. Over a million people have been displaced by ethnic clashes, which analysts attribute to multiple causes, such as the weakening of the once all-powerful ruling EPRDF and different groups trying to take advantage of opportunities presented by the political transition. In other regions, dozens of people have been killed in the last few months in clashes between residents of northern Benishangul Gumuz and Amhara states. The security chief Asaminew, accused of being behind the attack in Amhara, was in 2018 released from prison after being held over a 2009 coup plot by the armed opposition group Ginbot 7 and Davison described him as an Amhara hardliner. The coup attempt comes a year after a grenade explosion at a rally Abiy was addressing left two people dead.
Kolkata: The prime accused of the Jodhpur park murder case, in which an elderly lady was killed, was arrested on Tuesday.The accused identified as Debasish Banerjee was her neighbour. On April 4, an elderly woman identified as Shyamali Ghosh (75) was murdered inside her flat at Jodhpur Park. She used to live alone. During preliminary investigation, cops were sure that more than one person were involved in the murder. Cops also said that the killers were known to her as the apartment door was not broken or tampered. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaDuring the investigation, police found a diary in which Ghosh had written that she felt she could be murdered any day. Later, police nabbed two persons identified as gardener Swapan Mondal and caretaker Sanjib Das. During the interrogation, the duo confessed to the crime. They said someone who was known to Ghosh had given them the murder contract but they had not met this man. During the scrutiny of mobile phone records, cops came up with Banerjee’s name. It is alleged that he was trying to get all the apartments. But Ghosh refused to accept his offer. So, he decided to get rid of her.
As the reigning European champions Netherlands take on the reigning World champions the United States for a place in the history books, the tie looks anything but evenly matched. With one top-ranked team who brushed aside the other top teams in the tournament while the other, relatively young, had an easier route but had to work really hard to cover for their inexperience.In a sport where South Americans and European nations are ought to dominate, the US women team has been successful in breaking this monotony in style by winning three World Cups, they face the Dutch for their fourth. Playing just their second ever world cup and their very first final, a young side with an average age of just over 25 years are hungry to get their hands on the trophy for the first time. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherThe United States has stormed into its third women’s World Cup final in a row. After a nervy semi-final victory against England, they look all set to clinch their fourth World Cup. They have been excellent the whole tournament, lethal in attack, solid while defending and have a decent squad depth. This was on display during their semi-final clash with England. With Megan Rapinoe left out because of a hamstring injury, the US was still able to play fluid, fast and attacking football as her replacement, Christen Press put on an amazing shift, scoring the opener and contributing a ton in the defensive half. The Jill Ellis’ side has been rampant in the attack, scoring 24 goals this World Cup, conceding only three. With Alex Morgan spearheading their attack and Megan Rapinoe expected to be fit for the final the tie looks done and dusted on paper but at the end of the day football is played on the pitch, not on the former. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian OpenOn the other hand, we have the Oranjes, they are a passionate set of players, though not the best technically, they have made it to the finals with their supreme work rate and a knack for grinding out results on big days. Though scoring a considerably less number of goals than the US, the Dutch have a remarkable defense conceding only 3 goals this whole tournament. Not many teams will topple the United States in work rate but the distance covered statistics shows that the Oranjes have, running 656.8 km, 16 more than the Americans. This stat is a concrete fact that the Dutch will not go down without putting up a fight. A vital part of the game for them would be the opening 15-20 minutes, the US is expected to start the game on a strong note just like they did against every single opponent this tournament. It will be extremely important for them not just to sit back but to look for counter-attack opportunities as well. A tactical clash between Jill Ellis and Sarina Wiegman will make this final just the second one to have both teams managed by women, the first one being the 2003 World Cup final between Germany and Sweden. Teammates Alex Morgan and Rapinoe will be competing for the Golden Boot, Morgan is leading the chart finding the net six times with Rapinoe just a shy away with five. Both sides are undefeated in the tournament but only one will make out of it the same. Psychologically the United States would know they are the favorites to lift the trophy, but at a stage like this, it is relatively easy to let the occasion get to their heads and being unable to perform up to their potential. The Dutch, on the contrary, would have the ‘nothing to lose mentality’ and it might end up working for them. An upset cannot be ruled out on a beautiful Sunday night in Lyon.
New Delhi: India opener and number one ODI batswoman Smriti Mandhana is in no mood to take it easy after a memorable season and is busy tweaking her all-round game in the lead up to the Women’s T20 World Cup early next year. The season that went by saw the 22-year-old reach the top of the ODI rankings. Mandhana is not just known for her stylish strokeplay anymore, she has added much needed power to her game to meet the demands of the modern game. Also Read – Dhoni, Paes spotted playing football togetherAfter a fruitful fitness camp at the NCA in Bengaluru, Mandhana said she remains a work in progress. “It was a good fitness camp. Finally after an year or two, we got a month off. It was good for us to come back and do a fitness camp. It was much needed because we are going to have a hectic eight months, so we have to get our body prepared for the grind,” Mandhana said after receiving the Arjuna Award here on Tuesday. On her own batting, she said: “I and coach Raman sir have been discussing quite a bit about my game. How I can become more consistent in T20 cricket, how I can add more power to my game. I still feel I need to improve on that front. Also Read – Andy Murray to make Grand Slam return at Australian Open”You have to improve because other teams are also keeping an eye on you. Adding new shots is not something which I am looking for, I am looking to consistently hit the same length of balls in different places,” said Mandhana, who is confident of another stellar season in the Kia Super League to be held in the UK next month. While Mandhana was India’s stand-out performer in ODIs and T20s, the team’s performance in the shortest format has left a lot to be desired as it lost six games in a row. The team did not have enough fire-power and though the issues facing the side were discussed at length in the camp, Mandhana feels there is still a long way to go. “Fitness was a major point of discussion after the season ended. Raman sir and we collectively discussed that fitness needs to be better to be a potent T20 side. That thing is being worked out and girls are looking in better shape.” With the likes of Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Harmanpreet Kaur playing their part, the team needs more aggressive batters, especially in the middle order. “Our batting depth has to improve and Raman Sir has been speaking to all the batters on the aspect of power hitting. Improved fitness will not only help our power-hitting but will also help our fielding. “It is more mental than anything else. That is what Raman sir has been stressing on. He has given the freedom to the batters to express themselves in the middle rather than holding back,” she added.