APTN National NewsFormer Olympic athlete Waneek Horn-Miller looks back the 2014 North American Indigenous Games.Horn-Miller gives APTN’s Mike Hutchinson an overall impression of the games and shares her thoughts on how the Games of the future can be even more impressive.
APTN National NewsFootprints is a documentary that looks into the origins of French Canadians and how their contemporary values are influenced by First Nations.Some important chapters of history are unveiled in the film, prompting those involved to reflect on their own identities.APTN’s Danielle Rochette has this story.
APTN National NewsA warrior woman who fought for medical screening for a rare cancer has died.Raven Thundersky of the Poplar River First Nation in Manitoba lost six family members to a cancer they suspect was caused by an asbestos contaminated attic insulation called, Zonolite.It was used in their government built home on the reserve and hundreds more across Canada, going back to the 1960’s.APTN began covering her story in 2004.After years of seeking justice for the sickness of her and her family, Raven decided to put that fight behind her, move on, and enjoy life.Thundersky died on December 24th, 2015 at the age of 50.
APTN National NewsPrime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday he would be putting “real money” toward fixing the health and infrastructure crisis in many First Nation communities.Trudeau made the pledge while responding to question in the House of Commons over a state of emergency declared by 33 First Nations in the Sioux Lookout area of northern Ontario.“We need to fix a relationship that has broken over the past decades and, indeed, centuries between Canada and Indigenous peoples,” said Trudeau. “That is why this government has pledged to renew a new relationship, putting real money forward to build support on infrastructure, health, on a broad range of things and creating a true nation-to-nation relationship.”Trudeau was pressed on the issue during question period by NDP leader Tom Mulcair who called on the government to do something to deal with the health crisis gripping the First Nation communities that are home to 30,000 people.“Another First Nations community in northern Ontario has just declared a state of emergency, not because of a weather disaster or because of any accident, but because of the everyday reality there that is simply unacceptable in our country,” said Mulcair.Trudeau has already promised his government would be investing $2.6 billion in new funding for First Nation education and that his government would be clearing all First Nations off Indigenous Affairs’ water advisory list within four years.It’s expected the Liberal government’s plan to roll out the promised billions to First Nations will be contained in the federal budget scheduled for unveiling on March 22.Earlier in the day, chiefs with the Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) held a press conference in Toronto declaring the state of emergency.“The many urgent and long-standing health issues that plague our communities are well-documented and the time for action is now,” said Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler. “We are calling on all levels of government to commit to a plan of action to address this crisis.”NAN is the umbrella organization which represents the Sioux Lookout area First Nations.The health system in these First Nation communities is so underfunded and broken that children have died from treatable ailments. In 2014, two four-year-olds died from rheumatic fever.“The health system provided to First Nations is an atrocious mess, which has led to the health crisis we are facing today,” said Solomon Mamakwa, health director with the Shibogama Health Authority. “We are not even allowed to access all mainstream health services and supports. This has led to the loss of many of our people, including children. This type of system is not tolerated or acceptable in mainstream society. Why are we expected to accept this as Indigenous peoples?”NAN said in a statement it expects to meet with federal and provincial officials within the next 90 days to develop a plan to end the health crisis in the communities.Health Minister Jane Philpott told reporters in Ottawa department officials were on the ground dealing with the ongoing crisis.“They are meeting with officials at the Sioux Lookout First Nations Health Authority,” said Philpott. “They will be working with local First Nation chiefs as well as provincial health advisers and we will be addressing these concerns.”Ontario Aboriginal Affairs Minister David Zimmer said in a statement emailed to APTN that he would be working with NAN and federal officials to deal with the crisis.“Improving access to health and social services and improving outcomes for First Nations, especially in remote communities, are key issues that we all have to tackle together,” said Zimmer. “Whether they be health-care services, education outcomes or over-representation in child welfare, we need to re-think how we support, resource and empower Indigenous communities.”firstname.lastname@example.org@JorgeBarrera
Delaney Windigo APTN National NewsToronto Mayor John Tory has returned from a four-day stay in two remote communities in Northern Ontario.Now, Tory is speaking out about what he learned from that trip, and plans to tackle the problems facing Indigenous people in his city.
Mayoral hopeful Bill Smith is speaking out about the controversy concerning a new Calgary arena.Smith said it would be good for Calgary, but it has to be the right deal.“If the deal makes sense for Calgarians then I think it’s a great thing to have. But I tell you what’s most important at this point in time, I believe this is now become an issue with the integrity of our mayor going forward and I think that’s the biggest election issue we’ve got,” he said.Smith said if he were mayor he would be straight up with Calgary Sports and Entertainment and update residents.He said we’ve not seeing anything like that so far.Mayor Naheed Nenshi said Wednesday the city is still willing to negotiate with the Flames, despite CEO Ken King’s surprising announcement to pull out.He also said he’d have to take King at his word that the move was not related to the upcoming municipal election.
TORONTO – Two groups of Indigenous Ecuadorian villagers, backed by some star power from legendary British rocker Roger Waters, faced off briefly against oil giant Chevron in a Canadian court Tuesday as they fight to collect on a US$9.5-billion judgment awarded to them.But as with almost every other step of the long-running legal battle, the case was delayed a day at the request of one of the groups to allow their new lawyer to get up to speed.The first issue Ontario’s top court needs to sort out is whether the villagers must come up with almost $1 million as a security deposit before they can appeal a ruling that went against them.Pink Floyd co-founder Waters, who was in the courtroom, called the case deeply important.“It’s a fundamental question of whether corporations like Chevron … should be allowed to use their financial muscle to destroy people with an absolute vital claim to reparations for damages that was caused to them over many years,” Waters said before the hearing. “The way Chevron has behaved here is against everything that any of us might believe society ought to be like.”The case dates back decades when Texaco, now owned by Chevron, dumped billions of litres of toxic oil-drilling waters into hundreds of open-air pits in Ecuador. According to the plaintiffs, the affected area sees, among other problems, the highest rates of childhood leukemia in the country and far more cancer deaths and miscarriages than elsewhere.Chevron calls the health concerns a “point of debate,” saying there’s no evidence to tie any issues to Texaco.The lawsuit, filed in 1993 on behalf of 30,000 Ecuadorians, took until late 2013 when the courts in Ecuador awarded the Indigenous plaintiffs US$9.5-billion — one of the largest awards ever arising from environmental destruction.The ruling, which Chevron argued was obtained fraudulently, sparked new rounds of fighting in several countries, including the United States. U.S.-based Chevron, which has also long argued Texaco cleaned up the mess, denies any responsibility for the contamination.Because the corporation no longer has assets in Ecuador, the plaintiffs have been trying to get asset-rich Chevron Canada to pay up instead, arguing the Canadian company should be liable.“The judgment that they are trying to enforce through Canada’s judicial system has been found to be a complete fraud in the United States by the U.S. judicial system where it is not enforceable,” Morgan Crinklaw, a spokesman for Chevron, said Tuesday from near San Francisco.An Ontario judge earlier backed Chevron, ruling the Ecuadorians could not “pierce the corporate veil:” Chevron Canada is a separate entity and cannot be held liable. It is that decision the plaintiffs are looking to the Ontario Court of Appeal to overturn, but Chevron wants the villagers to put up cash as security for its legal costs before the appeal is heard.Last month, Appeal Court Justice Gloria Epstein sided with Chevron. She accepted the grounds for the Ecuadorians’ appeal were weak and that the plaintiffs had failed to show they couldn’t afford the security money. She ordered the villagers to put up $945,000 to cover Chevron’s legal costs if the oil company wins on appeal.The plaintiffs, who decried Chevron’s gambit as an abuse of the legal system and another attempt to thwart the villagers, want the Appeal Court to set aside Epstein’s costs ruling.The two sides were to argue the case Tuesday, but lawyer Peter Grant asked for an adjournment, saying he had recently been asked to represent 10 of the 47 Ecuadorian plaintiffs and needed time. The costs hearing will now be heard Wednesday.Also on hand to show support for the villagers was Phil Fontaine, former national chief of the Assembly of First Nations. Fontaine, who recently visited the South American country, said he was dismayed by what he found.“We saw with our own eyes the terrible conditions,” Fontaine said. “This is an important step in their attempt to seek justice.”
WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump’s administration is publicly blaming North Korea for a ransomware attack that infected hundreds of thousands of computers worldwide in May and crippled parts of Britain’s National Health Service.Homeland security adviser Tom Bossert wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed published Monday night that North Korea was “directly responsible” for the WannaCry ransomware attack and that Pyongyang will be held accountable for it.Bossert said the administration’s finding of responsibility is based on evidence and confirmed by other governments and private companies, including the United Kingdom and Microsoft.“North Korea has acted especially badly, largely unchecked, for more than a decade, and its malicious behaviour is growing more egregious. WannaCry was indiscriminately reckless,” he wrote.Bossert said the Trump administration will continue to use its “maximum pressure strategy to curb Pyongyang’s ability to mount attacks, cyber or otherwise.”The WannaCry attack struck more than 150 nations in May, locking up digital documents, databases and other files and demanding a ransom for their release.It battered Britain’s National Health Service, where the cyberattack froze computers at hospitals across the country, closing emergency rooms and bringing medical treatment to a halt. Government offices in Russia, Spain, and several other countries were disrupted, as were Asian universities, Germany’s national railway and global companies such as automakers Nissan and Renault.The WannaCry ransomware exploited a vulnerability in mostly older versions of Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Affected computers had generally not been patched with security fixes that would have blocked the attack. Security experts, however, traced the exploitation of that weakness back to the U.S. National Security Agency; it was part of a cache of stolen NSA cyberweapons publicly released by a group of hackers known as the Shadow Brokers.Microsoft president Brad Smith likened the theft to “the U.S. military having some of its Tomahawk missiles stolen,” and argued that intelligence agencies should disclose such vulnerabilities rather than hoarding them.WannaCry came to a screeching halt thanks to enterprising work by a British hacker named Marcus Hutchins, who discovered that the malware’s author had embedded a “kill switch” in the code. Hutchins was able to trip that switch, and the attack soon ended. In an unusual twist, Hutchins was arrested months later by the FBI during a visit to the U.S.; he pleaded not guilty and now awaits trial on charges he created unrelated forms of malware.The United States and South Korea have accused North Korea of launching a series of cyberattacks in recent years, though the North has dismissed the accusations.A South Korean lawmaker in October said North Korean hackers stole highly classified military documents that include U.S.-South Korean wartime “decapitation strike” plans against the North Korean leadership. Seoul’s Defence Ministry earlier said North Korea was likely behind the hacking of the Defence Integrated Data Center, which is the military data centre where the information was kept, in September last year but refused to confirm the nature of the information that was compromised.South Korea also last year accused North Korea of hacking the personal data of more than 10 million users of an online shopping site and dozens of email accounts used by government officials and journalists.The United States in 2014 formally accused North Korea of hacking Sony Pictures Entertainment over the movie “The Interview,” a satirical film about a plot to assassinate North Korea’s leader.South Korea said in 2015 that North Korea had a 6,000-member cyberarmy dedicated to disrupting the South’s government and military. The figure was a sharp increase from a 2013 South Korean estimate of 3,000 such specialists.Baik Tae-hyun, spokesman of South Korea’s Unification Ministry, which deals with matters related to North Korea, said Monday that the Seoul government was examining whether the North was behind hacking attacks on a cryptocurrency exchange in June. About $7 million in digital money was stolen in the hacks, South Korean officials said.There’s speculation in the South that North Korean hackers are possibly targeting cryptocurrency like bitcoin to evade the heavy financial sanctions imposed over the country’s nuclear weapons and missiles program.“We are monitoring the bitcoin-related issue. We believe that North Korea is currently engaging in various activities to evade sanctions and earn foreign currency,” Baik said.
NEW YORK — Stocks that moved substantially or traded heavily Thursday:Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., down $3.68 to $69.61The drugstore chain reported lower sales than analysts expected.Tilray Inc., up $7.30 to $78.30The Canadian marijuana grower said it will develop marijuana-infused drinks in a partnership with Labatt Breweries.Conagra Brands Inc., down $4.81 to $24.28The maker of Chef Boyardee and other food brands reported disappointing sales in its latest quarter.Chevron Corp., down $2.85 to $104.98Oil prices continued to retreat, with benchmark U.S. crude falling 4.8 per cent.Newell Brands Inc., down 37 cents to $20.03Activist investor Carl Icahn bought more stock in the consumer products company.Newmont Mining Corp., up $2 to $34.09The price of gold rose Thursday as the dollar weakened and investors worried about economic growth.Spectrum Pharmaceuticals Inc., down $4.05 to $6.39The drugmaker said regulators won’t grant a faster review of an experimental lung cancer drug.Twitter Inc., down $3.64 to $29.29Short-selling firm Citron Research slashed its price target and said Twitter will have to make big changes to curb abusive behaviour.The Associated Press
LONDON — The U.S. ambassador to Britain has cast doubts on whether a major bilateral trade deal can be reached if Parliament approves the Brexit proposal from Prime Minister Theresa May.Robert “Woody” Johnson told BBC radio Monday that negotiating a “quick” and “massive” trade deal between the two longtime allies “doesn’t look like it would be possible” under the terms of May’s proposed deal with the European Union.Johnson used a live radio appearance to reiterate President Donald Trump’s concerns about the proposed agreement, which faces strong opposition in Britain’s Parliament.May has said she plans to bring the plan to a vote in mid-January.The U.S. ambassador said he finds a “defeatism” in the British attitude toward Brexit that overlooks the many positive developments leaving the EU could bring.The Associated Press
CALGARY (660 NEWS) – Now is the winter of many Albertan’s discontent. A cavalcade of angry truckers and pipeline workers are planning to head to the nation’s capital in order to demand action for the struggling oil and gas sector.A convoy to Ottawa planned for next month aims to get the federal government to start building pipelines in Canada.Glen Carritt is one of the organizers of this convoy.He tells City News the rallies held in Nisku, Grande Prairie, Drayton Valley, and other small towns haven’t been enough.“We just feel the current government is not listening. We feel the only way we are going to get the message across is for us to be on their doorstep in Ottawa.”Carritt said there is support for this move from across the country and not just in Alberta.“We’re all hurting, and they all know the cause. There’s going to be all kinds of big companies involved sending trucks that would normally be working at this time. So that should be a message in itself that these trucks are sitting, so they are willing to go to Ottawa.”He believes a lack of action from the federal government means people are out of work and angry.“Let’s face it, none of us want to have to do this. We have got a lot better things to do than have to go to Ottawa, but we are forced. Our hand is forced because we are not happy with the current government.”RELATED: More rallies held to support pipelines; speaker says convoy coming to OttawaCarritt notes there are two GoFundMe pages set up to raise money for fuel costs and other expenses along the way.https://www.gofundme.com/yellow-vest-official-convoy-to-ottawa-2019https://www.gofundme.com/convoy-to-ottawaHe also wants to point out this groups is trying to be as non-partisan as possible.“As far as voting in the next election, everybody is going to have to make that decision for themselves. We are not on any bandwagon other than we’re not happy with what is going on right now.”
Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD=X) The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canada’s main stock index fell in late-morning trading, weighed down by losses in the materials sector, while U.S. markets moved lower.The S&P/TSX composite index was down 16.26 points at 14,922.92.In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 120.17 points at 23,875.78. The S&P 500 index was down 13.61 points at 2,582.65, while the Nasdaq composite was down 53.01 points at 6,918.47.The Canadian dollar traded for 75.38 cents US compared with an average of 75.42 cents US on Friday.The February crude contract was down 18 cents at US$51.41 per barrel and the February natural gas contract was up 37.7 cents at US$3.48 per mmBTU.The February gold contract was up US$1.10 at US$1,290.60 an ounce and the March copper contract was down 3.40 cents at US$2.63 a pound.
Currently, the government says that more than 4,600 subsidized housing units are specifically designated for Indigenous peoples in B.C. More than 700 Indigenous housing units are in development or under construction throughout the province. In addition to funding under the new Indigenous Housing Fund, the Province says that Indigenous organizations and First Nations will be able to access provincial support under the new housing funds announced as part of the 30-point housing plan in this year’s budget PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – Premier John Horgan announced today that B.C. will become the first province in Canada to invest provincial housing funds on First Nations reserves.Through the new Building BC: Indigenous Housing Fund, the B.C. government says it will invest $550 million over the next 10 years to build 1,750 new units of social housing for projects both on- and off-reserve. BC Housing will send out a request for proposals to identify prospective partners, including Indigenous non-profit housing providers, First Nations, Métis Nation British Columbia, and non-profit and for-profit developers, wanting to partner with Indigenous housing providers and First Nations.“Everyone in British Columbia deserves a good home, including people who live on-reserve,” said Premier Horgan. “That’s why we’re opening the door to all Indigenous communities to join us as we make housing better and more affordable for people in every part of the province.”
FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – It was a full house on Friday at the North Peace Arena for the 2019 North Peace Secondary School Graduation Ceremonies.A total of close to 400 students were in attendance as they eagerly awaited to start a new chapter in their lives.Many School District 60 staff and community dignitaries were in attendance to offer their words of knowledge and encouragement during this momentous occasion. Assistant Superintendent, Stephen Petrucci, says the ceremony is a way to celebrate and recognize the succession of the graduates as they step forward into the next part of their educational or professional lives.“We’re really here today to recognize the succession of our graduates to the next step in their educational and professional journey. In fact, the word graduation literally means the next step. Whatever that looks like to you, we are confident that the School District, your family, and the community have prepared you well.”Mayor Lori Ackerman offered words on behalf of the community, encouraging the graduates to seek success as they move along throughout their lives.“Seek success. That path to success may some days look more like a maze but know that you have made it through many mazes already and you will make it through many more, so never quit in succeeding. Enjoy the experiences along the way, these will enhance your skills and will create memories for you.”The full Graduation Ceremonies can be watched on the Energeticcity.ca Facebook page.
Erickson will take on the incumbent Bob Zimmer from the Conservative party, Ron Vaillant representing the Peoples Party of Canada, Catharine Kendall of the Green Party and Jacob Stokes of the Rhinoceros Party of Canada.The NDP have yet to nominate a candidate for the riding. Candidates have until September 30, 2019, to file their nomination papers with Election Canada.A local debated has been announced for October 10, 2019, at the Lido Theatre. All the candidates have been invited to attend.General Election day is set for October 21, 2019. PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. – The Liberals have named Mavis Erickson their candidate in Prince George-Peace River-Northern Rockies.The Liberals made the announcement Wednesday that Erickson completed the Team Trudeau nominations process.Erickson runs a law practice in Prince George with a law degree from Harvard. She was also the elected chief of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council.
New Delhi: Passengers on the a Noida-bound train were deboarded on Wednesday at the Akshardham Metro station after a minor smoke incident was reported from the train’s last coach, DMRC officials said. The “minor” smoke was reported at the Pragati Maidan metro station. “No physical cause was observed by the maintenance staff but as a precaution, passengers were de-boarded at Akshardham Metro station,” a senior official of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) said. “The train was thereafter withdrawn from the service and sent for investigation at Yamuna Bank depot,” the official added.
Gurugram: The newly formed Jannayak Janta party (JJP) has also begun campaigning for the seats in Haryana. Pinning unemployment as their main issue, it said that out of 17 lakh jobs available in Gurugram not even 2 lakh Haryanvis are given the opportunity. The opposition party also mentioned the Gurugram growth story and highlighted that in spite of city’s rapid progress its advantages have not been passed to the Haryanvis.”There are 17 lakh jobs today in Gurugram. Yet Haryanvis and locals are not getting those jobs and it is being taken by people from other regions. The Gurugram growth story is not getting passed on to people of the state,” said Dushyant Chautala, in his political rally. Also Read – Gurdwara Bangla Sahib bans single use plasticHe also raised the issue of major industries in Gurugram now shifting their base to other states. “Maruti that has contributed a great deal in the development of Gurugram is not expanding further in the district but shifting its manufacturing facility to Gujarat,” he added. The attack on the government comes with just 55 days before the state is engaged in polls. The challenge from JJP stems from the fact that it is a party formed as recent as December 9, 2018, after a split from the Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderWith employment expected to be one of the major issues, the Haryana government has also raised the significance of micro, small and medium scale enterprises in absorbing the growing number of job aspirants. Providing the figures, Chief Minister Khattar stated that while 37,000 aspirants have been placed after the skill development, their target was over two lakh placements. With over 8,000 MSME, Gurugram is a leader in terms of small scale enterprises.
London: British MPs will on Wednesday hold votes on various Brexit options even as Prime Minister Theresa May comes under pressure to announce a departure plan to get support for her unpopular divorce deal. Three years after a referendum in which Britain voted to leave the European Union, the country is gripped by painful uncertainty over how — or even whether — it should put an end to its 46-year membership. May’s deal negotiated with Brussels has already been voted down overwhelmingly by parliament twice but the government is widely expected to present it for a third time on Thursday to ensure an orderly Brexit. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from USEU leaders said Britain could leave the EU on May 22 if the deal is adopted this week, or face a potential no-deal Brexit as early as April 12. In a bid to find Brexit alternatives, lawmakers took the unprecedented step on Monday of seizing control of Wednesday’s parliamentary business. MPs will hold a series of “indicative votes” — indicating their preferences on a piece of paper — for different Brexit outcomes, although May is not legally-bound to follow their instructions. Also Read – Record number of 35 candidates in fray for SL Presidential pollsThe proposals put forward so include a customs union with the EU, remaining in the single market, holding a second referendum or stopping Brexit by revoking Article 50 — the formal notification for departure. The alternatives that will actually be voted on will be selected by speaker John Bercow on Wednesday and voting will take place at around 1900 GMT with the results expected at around 2100 GMT. Time has been set aside next Monday to try and whittle down the most popular options to a final plan. Parliament’s unprecedented power-grab was spearheaded by arch-EU MPs, who want to either reverse Brexit or preserve much closer economic ties with the remaining 27 states. Three members of May’s government quit in order to vote for the move, further piling pressure on their leader. However, she received a boost on Tuesday when influential Brexiteer Jacob Rees Mogg suggested he could back her deal in order to make sure the whole process was not stopped. Prominent Brexit supporter Boris Johnson has already indicated that he could back the deal, but only if May agrees to go, raising suggestions that she could announce plans for her departure at a meeting with Conservative MPs at 1700 GMT on Wednesday. “If the Prime Minister announces a timetable of departure, I think that’s going to swing a lot of people behind her deal, we could get it over the line,” said Conservative MP Nigel Evans. But the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), the hardline Northern Irish power brokers who prop up the government, have poured cold water on the deal. The group’s Brexit spokesman Sammy Wilson said the party would rather see a one-year Brexit delay. “Even if we are forced into a one-year extension, we at least would have a say on the things which affect us during that time and would have the right to unilaterally decide to leave at the end of that one-year,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph. “We won’t let the PM or the Remainer horde in parliament bully us into backing a toxic Brexit,” he said. Britain was originally due to exit from the EU on March 29, and MPs will vote on Wednesday to formalise the extension into law. It has already been written into international law and is expected to pass easily, with May’s office saying that “there would be uncertainty for citizens and businesses” if MPs were to reject it. A group of Brexit-supporting MPs however has said that holding the vote after the delay had already entered international law “created serious legal doubts about the legal situation surrounding the extension”.
New Delhi: After 32 years, the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, which gives sweeping powers to security forces, was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar, officials said here.The state, which was formed on February 20, 1987, had inherited the controversial AFSPA enacted by Parliament in 1958 and applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well. The Justice B P Jeevan Reddy committee had recommended scrapping of the AFSPA from the state. Under the Act, the security forces can arrest anyone or carry out searches in any premises. The Ministry of Home Affairs said in a notification that the four police station areas in Arunachal Pradesh, which were declared “disturbed areas” under the AFSPA, are no longer under the purview of the special law from Sunday. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&KThe police station areas from where the AFSPA has been withdrawn are Balemu and Bhalukpong police stations in West Kameng district, Seijosa police station in East Kameng district and Balijan police station in Papumpare district. However, according to the notification, the AFSPA will continue to be enforced in Tirap, Changlang and Longding districts and areas under the jurisdiction of Namsai and Mahadevpur police stations in Namsai district, Roing in Lower Dibang Valley district and Sunpura in Lohit district for six more months till September 30. A Home Ministry official said the “disturbed area” tag was withdrawn from the four police station areas due to the improvement of law and order situation there and it will continue in other areas in view of continuing activities of banned insurgent groups of the Northeast. The notification said the Union Home Ministry took the decision exercising its powers conferred under section 3 of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958. A review of the law and order situation in Arunachal Pradesh’s six districts was undertaken before the March 31 deadline for the validity of the “disturbed area” designation under the AFSPA. In March last year, the AFSPA was removed completely from Meghalaya following improvement in security situation. The AFSPA is imposed in areas where armed forces are required to operate in aid to civil authorities. For the AFSPA to become valid, an area, however, needs to be declared disturbed either by the Central or the state government under the section 3 of the 1958 Act.
New Delhi: Insurance companies will have to inform about claim settlement status to policyholders at various stages of processing from July, Irdai said Wednesday. Insurers need to adopt a clear and transparent communication policy to protect the interest of policyholders, it said in a circular. When it comes to claims, there is a need to make available a tracking mechanism for policyholders so as to enable them to know the status of their claims, it added. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscal”In order to ensure fair and transparent claim settlement procedures, all insurers shall notify about the status of the claim at various stages of its processing. “In case of health insurance, where third party administrators (TPAs) are engaged for rendering claims services, it is the responsibility of insurers to ensure that status of claim shall be notified to the claimant at every stage of claim,” the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (Irdai) said. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostClear and transparent communication play a vital role in servicing of insurance policies and in ensuring that the benefits of insurance policies flow to the beneficiaries in a timely manner, it added. Irdai also asked insurers — life, health and general — to send all communication about issuance and servicing of policies through letter, e-mail, SMS or any other electronic form approved by it. “In case of health insurance, where TPAs are engaged for rendering health services, insurers shall ensure that all related communications such as issuance of ID card are sent either by the TPA or shall be carried out by insurers on their own,” the circular said. The companies will also have to send brief messages to customers to enhance awareness apart from sending necessary caution messages like not falling prey to spurious calls/offers. Insurers may use simple, easy to read and understand language. And wherever feasible, the communication should be in regional or local language of the place of residence of the claimants, besides English/Hindi, the authority said. “This shall be implemented by insurers with effect from July 1, 2019,” Irdai said. 11. Commerce ministry asks health ministry to frame law to ban manufacture, sale of e-cigarettes (336) New Delhi, Apr 10 (PTI) The commerce ministry has asked its health counterpart to frame law banning manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in the country as in the absence of a domestic legislation, it would not be possible to put a blanket ban on its imports, sources said. The health ministry had asked the commerce ministry to issue a notification banning import of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS), including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah. “Without banning domestic sale and manufacturing of ENDS through a law, it will be an infringement of global trade norms to put an import ban,” one of the sources said. In August last year, the health ministry had issued an advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) to stop the manufacture, sale and import of ENDS after the Delhi High Court took strong exception to the Centre for delay in coming up with appropriate measures to tackle the “new emerging threat” of e-cigarettes in the country. In March, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization also directed all drug controllers in states and UTs not to allow the manufacture, sale, import and advertisement of ENDS, including e-cigarettes and flavoured hookah, in their jurisdictions.