Suspects in 20 Surrey/Delta shootings refuse to cooperate with police

Statement from Chief Superintendent Bill Fordy, Surrey RCMP Officer in Charge

I would like to provide an update on the recent shootings that have been occurring in Surrey and Delta. I know our citizens and business owners are very concerned and I want to provide them with information on our progress.

Since March 9th, Surrey has had 16 shootings and Delta has had 3. Together with Delta Police, we have determined that 11 of the 19 shootings are related to two groups who are involved in low-level drug trafficking. The two groups are of South Asian and Somalian descent. We believe these two groups are competing over turf and have chosen to jeopardize public safety in that process.

This type of violence is completely unacceptable. Since the very first shooting, the Surrey RCMP has been working diligently with our law enforcement partners in Delta, the RCMP Lower Mainland District and the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit.

Over the past five weeks we have used numerous tactics, including overt and covert enforcement initiatives and community engagement, to gather intelligence and evidence on those we believe are involved in these targeted shootings.

We have reached out to elders and leaders in both the Somali and Sikh communities. We also have two police officers who are involved in a Sikh youth leadership pilot program at our local temples. In addition, we have spoken to many of the family members of those involved in these shootings.

As a result of information shared at the press conference we held on March 12th:

• We have received many tips directly to our office and via Crime Stoppers that have allowed us to identify several previously unknown persons associated to both groups.
• We have identified and recovered one of the vehicles suspected to have been used in one of the shootings;
• We have made one arrest. Delta resident Arman Dhatt was arrested Friday and has been charged with 12 firearms and drug trafficking offences. Our investigative efforts are continuing in regards to his possible involvement in the shootings.

However, the victims and intended victims of these shootings have been uncooperative with police. Upon questioning, these young men have said things such as:
• “The bullets fell from the sky.”
• “I will take care of it myself.”
• “Don’t you worry about it… No need for you cops to be here.”
• One of the victims also told investigators that he knew who the shooters were and the motive behind the shooting but did not wish to tell police.
As you can imagine, this lack of cooperation has significantly impacted our ability to make any arrests.

While both the victims and suspects in these cases are determined to settle their differences outside the law, we are determined to stop the violence. We are disappointed with the lack of cooperation from the victims and we know the community is frustrated as well.

Today, I again appeal to the family, friends and those of you who know any of the people pictured here. We need information on their whereabouts, their connections, and their activities. Any information could benefit the investigations and help prevent somebody else being shot.

Since our March 12th press conference, our investigators have identified 8 additional males who have been victims or intended victims in these shootings and have not been forthcoming with information on the incidents that threatened their lives. To further our investigative efforts we are releasing their identities as follows:
1. Adam LAKATOS (Surrey resident)
2. Derrick BEQUETTE (Surrey resident)
3. Chadanjot GILL (Surrey resident)
4. Shakiel BASRA (Delta resident)
5. Sukhpreet PANSAL (Delta resident)
6. Sukhraj CHAHAL (Surrey resident)
7. Tirath TAGGAR (Surrey resident)
8. Charandeep TIWANA (Surrey resident)
We also continue to seek additional information about the 5 individuals we presented to you on March 12th:
1. Sameh MOHAMMED (Surrey resident)
2. Pardip BRAR (Delta resident)
3. Amrit KULAR (Surrey resident)
4. Indervir JOHAL (Surrey resident)
5. Pardeep SINGH (Surrey resident)
We are asking anyone with information on any of the shootings or on the activities of any of these 13 people to contact the Surrey RCMP, Delta Police, or Crime Stoppers if you wish to remain anonymous.

To the citizens of Surrey and Delta, I assure you that our work on these egregious acts continues every day, 24/7. Thank you for your trust, and for your assistance.

Statement from A/Chief Lyle Beaudoin, Delta Police
“Delta Police is committed to ‎the ongoing safety and security of our community. While Delta Police believe that the incidents occurring in Delta are targeted against specific individuals, the brazen nature of the shootings in residential and other public locations where members of the community should feel safe is hugely concerning and our utmost priority.

“Delta Police continue to vigorously investigate these shootings in an attempt to locate and prosecute those responsible. Our dedicated investigative teams are in regular contact with our partner agencies including the Surrey RCMP, IHIT, the Combined Special Enforcement Unit and the Real Time Intelligence Centre.”

Modi presents an exquisite miniature painting of Guru Nanak Dev with his two disciples to Harper

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday presented Prime Minister Stephen Harper a miniature painting titled Guru Nanak Dev. Painted in the traditional Indian miniature style, this composition shows Guru Nanak Dev with his two disciples, Bhai Mardana and Bhai Bala, sitting beside him. The background of pristine landscape adds to the tranquility around the painting encased in intricately painted borders.

Painted on handmade paper with mineral colours, the work has been done by a Jaipur-based artist, Virendra Bannu, who is a seventh generation artist in his family and has been taking forward the legacy of his family in specialized miniature art form. After receiving his degrees in painting, Bannu has been training students from around the world in miniature art techniques using traditional methods and materials, which he continues to use for his own paintings. He has been honoured by the Rajasthan government, and his work has been part of many national and international shows, according to Modi’s website.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Toronto

Hordes of Modi admirers and some protesters made their way to Ricoh Coliseum Wednesday in Toronto.

Toronto is welcoming India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi with crowds of admirers — and protesters.

Modi and Prime Minister Stephen Harper landed in Toronto Wednesday afternoon, after Modi’s ceremonial welcome in Ottawa earlier today.

* India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in Canada on a three-day visit to Ottawa, Toronto and Vancouver.

* This evening, he is set to unleash Modi-mania in Toronto on Wednesday evening, says reporter Raveena Aulakh, when he takes the stage at the Ricoh Coliseum. A crowd of about 8,000 supporters is expected.

* Toronto’s welcome is billed to be on the lines of his Madison Square address in New York last year, where he was cheered like a rock star by some 18,000 spectators.

* Modi, a divisive figure in India, is nevertheless considered a great orator.

* PM Harper is also expected to speak tonight.

Their meeting has already proven historically significant. It is the first bilateral meeting in Canada of an Indian prime minister since 1973, when former PM Pierre Elliot Trudeau met with India’s former PM, Indira Ghandi.

 The enigmatic leader of the second-most populous country in the world is likely to face hordes of admirers at Ricoh Coliseum on his stop Wednesday in Toronto.

Edgar Faleiro, an Indian Catholic, said that his feelings for Modi are mixed because he has seen the country become increasingly divided along religious lines under his leadership.

“He’s done well on the economic front,” Faleiro said.

“If he can stand and protect every community, that would be great.”

Modi is beloved by many, having earned a reputation for being a self-made man who began his career not in the lap of luxury, but as a tea seller.

“Every common man can relate to him,” said Pranit Patil, a supporter on the way to the Ricoh Coliseum where Modi will address an estimated crowd of 8,000 this evening.

“He’s a very honest fellow,” added Chandrakant Patil, who is also from Modi’s home province of Gujarat.

Modi’s visit is also expected to draw protestors, including Joyce Almeida who make the trek to Ricoh Coliseum.

“It’s not a protest so much as highlighting a concern. We Christians in India are a minority and we’re not being protected,” said Almeida, who moved here from Maharashtra, India five years ago.

Modi is a member of a Hindu nationalist party, accused in the past of aiding the killing of 1,000 Indian Muslims in communal riots in 2002 while he was chief minister of Gujarat. Modi has always denied involvement in the violence, and India’s Supreme Court has said there was no case to bring against him, but he was banned entry to Canada and the U.S. for 12 years as a suspected human rights abuser.

An organization called Sikhs for Justice has filed a complaint with the Attorney General of Canada requesting criminal proceedings against Modi.

With files from Star staff

Study finds troubling link between use of muscle-building supplements and cancer

BY ABBY PHILLIP, THE WASHINGTON POST

The growth in popularity of dietary supplements has come largely despite a lack of scientific evidence to back up claims that they work.

There are, however, growing questions about their risks.

The latest: A new study, published in the British Journal of Cancer on Monday, found evidence of a troubling connection between men who took muscle-building supplements and their risk of developing testicular cancer.

Genes and family history factor into the likelihood that someone will develop testicular cancer, but those factors alone don’t explain why rates of this form of cancer have increased in the last few decades.

So researchers conducted a survey of almost 900 men from Massachusetts and Connecticut, asking them questions about their habits (supplement use, smokingdrinkingexercise and other factors) and family history of testicular cancer. Among the men surveyed, 356 had been diagnosed with testicular cancer and 513 were not diagnosed with the cancer.

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Researchers found a clear relationship between the use of muscle-building supplements and the risk of developing cancer even after controlling for other factors like race and age. Participants in the control group and the group with cancer had similar levels of education, prevalence of smoking, alcohol drinking and height.

“The observed relationship was strong,” Tongzhang Zheng, who led the study at Yale University, said in a statement. (Zheng is now a professor of epidemiology at Brown University School of Public Health.) “If you used at earlier age, you had a higher risk. If you used them longer, you had a higher risk. If you used multiple types, you had a higher risk.”

In this case, “use” means taking a supplement at least once a week for at least four consecutive weeks.

A representative for the Council for Responsible Nutrition, a leading trade association for the supplement industry, was not immediately available for comment.

Overall, men who used muscle-building supplements increased their risk of developing testicular cancer by 65 percent. Men who used more than one type of muscle building supplement had a 177 percent increase in risk. Men who used the supplements for three years or more had a 156 percent increase in risk. And men who started using supplements at the age of 25 or younger had a 121 percent increase in risk.

“Considering the magnitude of the association and the observed dose-response trends, muscle-building supplements use may be an important and modifiable exposure that could have important scientific and clinical importance for preventing testicular germ cell cancer development if this association is confirmed by future studies,” the authors note in the study.

Critically, the study doesn’t specifically name supplements that were used by the study’s participants but they included 30 different types of powders and pills. Among the major ingredients were creatine, protein, and androstenedione. And the results suggest a relationship between supplement use and cancer, but it don’t prove that the supplements cause cancer.

Additional clinical experiments will need to be conducted in order to confirm the results.

But recent research has raised questions about the potential harm posed by dietary supplements on the lightly regulated market, whose sales reached $13 billion in 2013. Previous research has linked ingredients in performance-enhancing supplements to a substance that caused testicular damage in rats. Another has shown a high prevalence of performance-enhancing supplement use among people diagnosed with testicular cancer.

 

Narendra Modi signs agreement to buy 3,000 tonnes of Saskatchewan uranium

MIKE BLANCHFIELD
THE CANADIAN PRESS

OTTAWA — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began the first full day of his visit to Canada by signing a deal to buy more than 3,000 tonnes of Saskatchewan uranium over the next five years to fuel his country’s power reactors.
But Modi and Prime Minister Stephen Harper agreed Wednesday the deal is just a first step towards deepening economic relations, and that the relationship between the two countries hasn’t yet lived up to its potential.
“Canada is a major Asia-Pacific power and should play a more active role, including in regional institutions,” Modi said, standing next to Harper.
Harper said he agreed: “It’s not where we want it to be, but it is growing.”
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who was on hand for the announcement, said the deal, estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of follars, would be a boon for his province.
“For an employer of 4,000 people in the province — 45 per cent of them First Nations and Metis — it’s a great day for Saskatchewan.”
The contract with Cameco Corp. (TSX:CCO) is one of a number of agreements that were announced Wednesday, after Harper welcomed Modi to Parliament Hill amid full military honours, including a 19-gun salute.
The deals include pledges to co-operate in the areas of civil aviation, railway transportation and education and skills development, as well as space, social security and maternal, newborn and child health.
“Canada is ready to deepen co-operation with India in science, education, defence and space technology,” Harper said, Modi standing alongside.
Modi praised Harper for improving relations between the two countries, saying they had drifted for a while, but are now back on track.
“I am conscious of the significance of this visit in the history of our relations,” he said. “I have come at a time when the importance of this relationship for our two countries has never been stronger.
“Canada has the potential to be a key partner in every area of India’s national development strategy: energy and infrastructure, manufacturing and skills, smart cities and agro-industry and research and education.”
Modi began the day by meeting Gov. Gen. David Johnston at Rideau Hall before a full honour guard and the din of howitzer fire greeted him in the shadow of the Centre Block, where Harper ushered him in for a face-to-face meeting.
Handfuls of supporters chanted Modi’s name as he arrived on the Hill.
“He’s a rock star,” said Ravi Desai, an international student and IT worker from India who lives in Ottawa.
“He’s putting aside a lot of traditional things that other governments used to do and he’s focusing on technology, and that’s what (the youth of India) need,” he said.
Modi’s critics, however, view him as an extremist Hindu nationalist with blood on his hands from his time as chief minister of Gujarat state.
In a Toronto courtroom Wednesday, Sikh advocacy groups tried to launch a private prosecution of Modi, alleging his “acts and omissions” resulted in a massacre of Muslims in his state in 2002.
Part of the Criminal Code allows for the prosecution of individuals who are accused of acts of torture abroad while they are in Canada.
The groups’ lawyer, Marlys Edwardh, said in a statement there were reasonable and probable grounds to believe that Modi engaged in the crimes. “Only by taking this step will Canada’s commitment to ending impunity for torture and genocide be realized.”
The attorney general last week decided against taking any action.
Following their talks, the two leaders were to travel to Toronto, where Modi is scheduled to address members of the city’s Indian diaspora. Harper will also accompany him to Vancouver, with no fewer than 16 fellow Conservatives scheduled to appear with them at various events.
Modi’s trip is the first bilateral visit to Canada by an Indian prime minister since Indira Gandhi was hosted in 1973 by then-prime minister Pierre Trudeau.
– With files from Colin Perkel in Toronto

B.C. commits to cultural exchange with China

VICTORIA - British Columbia is working with the Chinese government to 
promote cultural exchange with China as part of the 2015-16 China-
Canada Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges.
 
Minister of International Trade and Minister Responsible for Asia 
Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism Teresa Wat met with China's Vice 
Minister of Culture Ding Wei on April 14, 2015, to build the 
relationship.
 
Wat used the meeting with the high profile Chinese official to propel 
cultural exchange opportunities and highlight the work the British 
Columbia government is doing to create a legacy to honour the apology 
for historical wrongs committed against British Columbia's Chinese-
Canadian community.
 
Wat also encouraged China's co-operation on the potential partnership 
between the Tumbler Ridge Global Geopark (TRGG) with the Yanqing 
Geopark in China, which lies north of Beijing and includes a section of 
the Great Wall.
 
The Year of People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges was announced by 
Prime Minister Stephen Harper as part of his third trade mission to 
China in November 2014.
 
Cultural exchange and co-operation plays a key role in enhancing mutual 
understanding between people and in promoting the value of B.C.'s 
relationship with the People's Republic of China. The meeting with Vice 
Minister Wei and his delegation provided an opportunity to enhance 
cross-cultural activities which is often a building block for later 
trade and investment.
 
British Columbia is home to the second-largest Chinese community in 
Canada. More than 460,000 British Columbians, 11% of B.C.'s population, 
identify as being Chinese, and China was the top source country for 
immigrants settling in British Columbia in 2013, with 8,600 immigrants.
 
Many of the Chinese immigrants came from mainland China in the last 
decade, and understand the business and government culture in China. 
These connections can help strengthen our trade relationships, attract 
new investment, and create and protect jobs for British Columbians.