Sexual Assault by Indo-Canadian man at 32500 South Fraser Way Business

Abbotsford: Police in Abbotsford is seeking public help to identify a Punjabi man wanted in sexual assault incident that took place at a South Fraser Way business.

On March 14, 2016, at approximately 8:50 pm, a man entered a store in the 32500 block of South Fraser Way.  He started a conversation with the lone female employee and followed her to the back of the store during which time he grabbed her and tried to kiss her.  She was able to push the male back; telling the suspect to get out.  The male then left the store.  The victim called the police.

The suspect is described a South Asian male in his late 20’s, standing approximately 6’1” tall with a thin build. The man has dark hair, a beard and acne.  He was wearing a black Puma track suit and black Adidas shoes.


Anyone with information about this investigation should contact the Abbotsford Police Department at 604-859-5225 or text 222973 (abbypd) or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477

British ship believed carrying enough plutonium to make 40 a-bombs leaves Japan for U.S.

The Associated Press
TOKYO — An armed British ship believed to be carrying enough plutonium to make about 40 atomic bombs left a port in eastern Japan on Tuesday to bring the shipment to the U.S. for storage.

The ship, operated by Pacific Nuclear Transport Ltd., was to take the 331 kilograms of plutonium to a U.S. government facility in South Carolina under Japan’s 2014 pledge.

The British-flagged, armed nuclear fuel transport ship Pacific Egret left the port in Tokai village, northeast of Tokyo, one day after arriving with another armed ship that had waited off-shore, Kyodo News agency reported. Tokai is home to the Japan Atomic Energy Agency, a nuclear research complex where the plutonium had been used for research.

JAEA refused to confirm the shipping details, citing security reasons.

Japan’s stockpile and its fuel-reprocessing ambitions to use plutonium as fuel for power generation have been a source of international security concerns.

Japan has accumulated a massive stockpile of plutonium — 11 metric tons in Japan and another 36 tons that have been reprocessed in Britain and France and are waiting to be returned to Japan — enough to make nearly 6,000 atomic bombs.

Land Gold Women puts focus on honour killings

Louis B. Hobson- Calgary Herald
This year’s Oscar for best documentary short went to Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy’s A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness.

It focused on the plight of an 18-year-old girl in Pakistan who incurred the wrath of her father and uncle when she eloped with a man she loved who was not her family’s choice for her.

As Obaid-Chinoy explained in her acceptance speech, every year more than 1,000 young girls and women fall victim to barbaric religious practices which sanction honour killings.

Moved by the international outcry surrounding Obaid-Chinoy, the president of Pakistan announced he will have his justice ministers look into changing the laws that protect the men from any repercussions especially if it is a family member who dies at their hands.

Watching the Oscars, and especially the win for A Girl in the River, Niru Bhati, the artistic director of Calgary’s Hidden Gems Film Festival, knew she had to find a film about honour killings for Hidden Gem’s March offering.

Bhati also knew that film had to be Avantika Hari’s 2011 award-winning film Land Gold Women, so she called the filmmaker at her home in England to get permission to screen the film on March 20 at 2:30 p.m. in the amphitheatre of the Alberta College of Arts & Design in the building adjacent to the Jubilee Auditorium.

“When we see films about honour killings in Pakistan or India — and there are some very disturbing ones — it’s too easy to dismiss the subject because it’s happening in those countries,” Bhati says.

“The thing about Land Gold Women is that it is set in contemporary Birmingham and the father is not an uneducated man. He teaches at the University of Birmingham.

“It’s only when his very traditional brother arrives from Pakistan that he is drawn back into a cultural mindset that condones punishment for women who disobey their fathers,” says Bhati.

“This man’s great dilemma is whether to risk losing his daughter or all family ties.

“He’s not a monster but what he might do is definitely monstrous.”

Bhati says the film also “looks at how western countries try to punish these cultural crimes in modern courts and that is not always easy.

“It also asks very clearly and effectively what’s honourable about any killing.”

Bhati stresses that Land Gold Women is “not only a timely film but the only one I thought was appropriate for our audiences.”

While she had Hari on the phone, Bhati asked if she could also screen the filmmaker’s short film Hat Day, which had impressed Bhati for its ability to move audiences in such a brief time.

“Anushka was thrilled that I wanted to show Hat Day as short films get so little exposure.”

Tickets are $15 at the door for cash only.

The popular Chai Cafe opens from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

A drink a day may not keep the doctor away

By kelly Sinoski & Randy shore, Vancouver Sun
If you’ve been toasting recent headlines that declared alcohol a life-extending elixir, you might want to put a cork in it.

A party-pooping new study from the University of Victoria took a closer look at data from 87 long-term studies, many of which suggest that moderate drinking has protective health benefits such as reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Sadly, many of those studies goofed. Tim Stockwell of UVic’s Centre for Addictions Research said previous research has over-estimated the health benefits of alcohol.

The studies — involving nearly four million people — did not properly define those who abstained from drinking, many of whom may have been heavy drinkers before they stopped the tipple altogether, he said.

At first glance, the data analysis showed that low-volume drinkers (those who had up to two drinks a day) had lower mortality risks than those who abstained from alcohol.
But abstainers include many people whose poor health has led them to cut down or completely abstain. They make the health and life expectancy of moderate drinkers look good by comparison.

Once the authors adjusted for errors such as how abstainers are defined, they found that the protective effect of light drinking disappeared.

“The bottom line is that we need to be more skeptical of claims that low-volume alcohol consumption is good for you, and take a long, hard look at how studies around alcohol and health are designed,” said Stockwell.

The authors also suggest that improved methods are required to make unbiased estimates of alcohol’s health impacts, and that although alcohol is recognized by international health authorities as a leading cause of preventable death, illness and injury, the extent of this is underestimated.

This could have major implications for the crafting of alcohol policies and for physician advice about low-risk drinking, Stockwell said.

“If you’re going to drink, drink under the low-risk drinking guidelines: less than two drinks for women and three drinks for men,” he said. “Drinking in these limits, you’re unlikely to have a problem.”

The study was published Monday in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

Former Liberal MLA Barry Penner named ICBC chairman

VICTORIA – Former Liberal MLA Barry Penner is the new chairman of the Insurance Corporation of B.C.

Penner will start the job March 31, on a three year term, ICBC announced Tuesday.

“I’m honoured to have been asked to take on this challenging and important role,” he said in a statement.

“I’m looking forward to serving the people of British Columbia once again.”

Penner was B.C.’s longest-serving environment minister, and also held the roles of Attorney General and Minister of Aboriginal Relations during 16 years as the Liberal MLA for Chilliwack-Hope. He resigned in early 2012 to join a law firm, and then briefly moved to Myanmar.

Most recently, government had tapped him to review a contentious harbour dock proposal in Pender Harbour.

ICBC has been grappling with rising rates, caused in part by the increased cost of claims from crashes as well as fraud. The government has expressed disappointment at the continued rate hikes, and has in the past sharply criticized the Crown auto insurance agency for unacceptable proposals to raise rates before looking within the corporation for savings.

“Mr. Penner’s deep commitment to public and community service led him to accept the government’s request that he take on this challenging position,” said Transportation Minister Todd Stone.

“His extensive experience with government and the private sector will make him an excellent fit for this important role.”

Penner replaces accountant Ronald Olynyk, who had served as interim ICBC chairman since December after the retirement of Walter Gray.

Vancouver Sun

Flight attendant caught with 31 kilos of cocaine kicks off Gucci heels and runs away barefoot in L.A. airport

LOS ANGELES — Federal authorities are searching for a flight attendant they say ran from a security screening at Los Angeles International Airport, leaving behind about 31 kilograms of cocaine stashed in her luggage.

Courtesy CBSA

Courtesy CBSAA file photo of cocaine seized at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

Transportation Security Administration officers stopped the woman at random Friday, and she remained at large Monday, said Special Agent Timothy Massino with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

The flight attendant was sent to a secondary screening area, but she quickly dropped her bag, ditched a pair of Gucci heels and fled barefoot downward an upward-moving escalator, said Marshall McClain, president of the union representing LAX airport police officers.

McClain said the case shows why all flight attendants and other airport employees need to be screened.

“With her bringing this amount of narcotics in the airport, chances are this wasn’t her first time through,” said McClain, head of the Los Angeles Airport Peace Officers Association.

Security threats from “insiders,” including airline and airport employees and workers hired by contractors, have been a focus of the TSA, particularly after the December 2014 arrest of several Delta Air Lines baggage handlers. Prosecutors allege they smuggled guns, including an AK-47, from Atlanta to New York.

The TSA has said that full screening of all employees would cost too much. Instead, the agency has urged airports to increase random screenings of workers and to keep background checks up to date.

“We will pay particular attention to the insider threat,” TSA Administrator Peter Neffenger told a Senate committee earlier this month.

The Associated Press

Liberals project $30B deficit and do not plan a return to surplus by 2019

By Bruce Cheadle, The Canadian Press |

OTTAWA — The new Liberal government delivered a sunny ways budget Tuesday brimming with optimism and billion-dollar spending increases spread across a wide spectrum of Canadian society.

But the bold effort to spur economic growth after almost a decade of fiscal restraint will add more than $100 billion to the federal debt over the next five years as Finance Minister Bill Morneau plunges Ottawa back into the red.

And like March sunshine in the frozen national capital, there’s concern that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bright budget may not heat up the economy quite as much as the Liberals promised it would.

“We act for the years and decades to come,” Morneau said in his maiden budget speech in the House of Commons.

“We act for our children and our children’s children.”

There’s billions in new spending on infrastructure, Aboriginal Peoples, and transfers to middle and lower income Canadians in a budget blueprint framed by Morneau in terms of Canada’s great post-war expansion of the last century.

“Confidence inspired investment,” Morneau said of those high-growth, post-war decades. “Investment inspired confidence.”

The Liberals claim their budget will create 100,000 jobs and boost national economic growth, as measured by gross domestic product, by half a percentage point per year — a huge increase on a $2 trillion economy.

The promised sunny future comes with an immediate fiscal chill.

The Liberals are projecting a $29.4-billion deficit in 2016-17, followed by a $29-billion shortfall the following year and almost $23 billion in 2018-19. Over the next five years, Tuesday’s budget shows $113.2 billion in red ink, including a $14.3 billion shortfall for 2020-21 — after the next scheduled federal election.

During last year’s campaign, the Liberals promised “modest deficits” of no more than $10 billion over the course of their mandate and to balance the books by 2019-20.

Times, it seems, have changed: The word “deficit” appeared nowhere in Morneau’s budget speech, nor did “spending.” “Investment,” on the other hand, registered 22 times.

The relatively slim, 269-page document is packed with spending promises for all and sundry on every page. The final Conservative budget of April 2015, by contrast, weighed in at 518 pages while ratcheting down spending in a government-wide effort to show an election-year surplus.

“I think budget 2016 runs the risk of over-reaching,” said Craig Alexander, vice-president of economic affairs at the C.D. Howe Institute.

“The reality is the amount of money they have to make an impact is relatively limited.”

It’s the central paradox of the first Liberal budget: while plunging the country back into deficit, Liberal spending is constrained by a worse-than-anticipated economy that forced the government to spread its election promises over a longer time frame.

Put another way, the federal deficit balloons by almost $25 billion in 2016-17, yet new budgetary measures are costed at only $11.57 billion. New spending the following year is forecast at $14.9 billion.

“The challenge the government has faced is how do you actually deliver on as many of your election promises as you can, but with a binding fiscal constraint?” said Alexander.

Over the last three years, federal spending was held to an average 0.4 per cent increase per year, said Mary Webb, senior economist at Scotiabank. The next three years show average increases of 6.3 per cent.

“How do you close this gap here?” Webb wondered, short of tax increases or sharp cuts down the road.

The budget promises a slew of studies and commissions to develop more innovative economic policy, presumably with future price tags on top of the many funding announcements in the current budget.

These include:

  • $8.4 billion over five years to help indigenous communities, including $2 billion on water and wastewater systems in First Nations and $2.6 billion over five years for primary and secondary education on reserves.
  • $10 billion more over two years for a new Canada child benefit, absorbing and replacing both the Canada child tax benefit and the universal child care benefit.
  • $6.6 billion over two years for infrastructure, less than the $10 billion promised in the Liberal election platform.
  • $3.4 billion over five years to increase the guaranteed income supplement top-up benefit for single seniors, and restore the old age security eligibility age to 65 from 67.
  • $2 billion over three years for a new strategic investment fund for infrastructure improvements at colleges and universities.
  • $2 billion over two years for a low-carbon economy fund, beginning in 2017-18.

Jean-Francois Perrault, chief economist at Scotiabank who served as a deputy minister at Finance Canada until the end of 2015, said the Liberals are over-confident in their projections of the budget’s impact on Canada’s economic growth.

But he repeatedly praised the budget’s many specifics.

“There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there,” said Perrault. “It’s a smartly designed piece of policy, no question about that.”

Federal budget 2016: Liberals push deficit to spend big on families, cities

Justin Trudeau’s 1st budget moves on many Liberal spending promises, but blows away deficit pledge

CBC News

The first budget from Justin Trudeau’s government finds the Liberals compromising some of their election promises to keep others, laying out a longer and larger string of deficits to begin the kind of long-term investments they say Canada needs.

While the big ticket items match the platform that helped the Liberals win a majority last October, other commitments aren’t ready to roll out.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau called the plan “reasonable and affordable,” despite the red ink washing across the otherwise sunny tone of his rookie budget.

“Canadians told us two things: they said ‘help me and my family’ and ‘make investments for the future’,” he told reporters before delivering his budget speech.

“What we’re also going to do is be prudent along the way.”

The budget centres on a suite of moves to help the middle-class Canadians: a focus of Liberal attention for months. A tax cut passed in December lowered the middle-income tax rate by one and a half points and brought in a new top tax bracket for high earners.

New family benefit starts in July

A new tax-free Canada Child Benefit starting July 1 will increase payments for most Canadians with children, simplify the tax codeand offer greater assistance to lower-income families.

It replaces both the income-tested tax-free Canada Child Tax Benefit and the Universal Child Care Benefit, which was taxable.

Families with incomes under $30,000 will receive the maximum benefit of $6,400 per child under six and $5,400 per child between six and 17, a gain of about $2,500 a year per child.

As incomes rise, the benefit will be progressively clawed back, and eliminated entirely for households earning more than $190,000.

The $4.5-billion net cost of the program for the coming year is partially offset by the elimination of the Conservatives’ income splitting for families, a measure that would have cost the treasury $1.9 billion.

Tax credits for children’s fitness and arts expenses also are being phased out over two years, with maximum eligible expenses cut in half for 2016 and eliminated entirely in 2017.

Billions for infrastructure, Indigenous peoples

The 2016 budget begins fulfilling the Liberal pledge to spend $120 billion on new and existing infrastructure over 10 years.

Phase one will focus immediately on public transit, water and wastewater systems, and affordable housing, something Trudeau himself admitted last week was “unsexy.”

Later investments will be “broader and more ambitious,” the budget promises, focusing on the government’s goal of shifting to a low-carbon economy and positioning Canadian cities to be more competitive internationally.

The budget allocates $8.4 billion over five years to help bring about “transformational change” in the socio-economic conditions of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and their communities.

That includes $2.6 billion to improve primary and secondary eduction on reserves.

A further $635 million over that span will go to improve family and child services, a figure welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock said falls short of the spending necessary to bring services for First Nations children in line with non-Indigenous services.

In the next two years, $500 million has been allocated to improve First Nations housing and another $225 million for on-reserve infrastructure.

Other funding targets improvements in drinking water and waste management.

EI overhaul, but no corporate tax cut

The budget also takes significant steps to overhaul the employment insurance system, something forecast to cost over $2.4 billion over the next two years.

But it does not change the corporate tax rate for small businesses, a move much-discussed during the fall election campaign. Morneau told reporters Tuesday that what businesses really need is an economy that works, while the middle-class consumers businesses rely on will see their circumstances improve with the budget’s measures.

The 2016 budget also:

  • Increases programs to assist injured veterans, and restores 9 previously closed veterans affairs offices.
  • Provides new investments to promote scientific research, including a $2 billion fund for post-secondary institutions to modernize their facilities.
  • Increases Canada Student Grant amounts by 50 per cent for students from low and middle-income families and part-time students.
  • Rolls out a $2 billion low carbon economy fund, announced earlier this month with Canada’s premiers at their meeting to discuss Canada’s climate change strategy.
  • Provides $675 million over five years to “modernize and revitalize” CBC-Radio-Canada.
  • Boosts the Guaranteed Income Supplement for single, low-income seniors of up to $947 annually.
  • Funds a $112-million homelessness strategy, as well as funding for new spaces and support for people fleeing domestic violence.

The budget does not, however, provide additional transfers to the provinces to address rising health care costs.

It does reallocate $3.7 billion for large-scale capital spending planned for the Canadian military between 2015-16 and 2020-21, pushing it off to later years.

The government argues this is not a reduction in the defence department’s budget, but a shifting of the spending forward to the years when the military expects to be ready to make these purchases.

Higher deficits throughout mandate

All this spending takes its toll on the budget balance, adding $11 billion to the federal deficit in 2016-17 alone, bringing it to $29.4 billion.

The Liberal election campaign promised modest deficits of $10 billion annually to fund infrastructure spending, with a return to balanced budgeting by the next election, expected in 2019.

No return to black ink is projected in Morneau’s five-year forecast.

However, Morneau’s budget speech emphasizes that by the time of the next election, Canada’s debt-to-GDP ratio, a measure of how affordable Canada’s deficit spending is relative to the strength of the economy, should be lower than it is today, albeit only slightly.

The federal deficit calculations, however, are based on economic growth forecasts significantly more pessimistic than an average of private sector forecasts.

That effectively adds $6 billion to the deficit.

If the economy does not stagnate or decline further to the extent of these worst-case scenarios, the Liberals could outperform their gloomy deficit forecasts down the road.

Brussels attack is just the beginning of a dreadful arc of terror and mayhem

By Matthew Fisher

The horrifying images from Belgium on Tuesday, with travellers covered in blood while smoke billowed around them, have become so familiar to us that we risk becoming jaded by them. We must not be.

My sense of it, having spent much of my adult life in the Middle East and Europe, is that we are still only at the beginning of this dreadful arc of terror and mayhem. Intelligence sources believe jihadists could strike 10 cities in Europe, North America and Asia at once, paralyzing global travel and commerce.

This is of a piece with reports that French police are convinced that as many as 90 suicide bombers are hiding in Europe awaiting instructions about when and where to blow themselves up.

Most westerners, including almost all Canadians, still have not begun to understand that they and their way of life are under attack by a lethal army of kamikazes who are convinced they are doing God’s work and that they will soon have a hallowed place in paradise. Governments in Europe are more seized with the threat posed by extremists than the public, but there has not yet been much impetus for the Canadian government to combat this growing peril.

One need only to have listened to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s tepid response to the multiple terrorist attacks carried out in Paris late last year and his decision to withdraw Canada’s thin combat contribution to the war against ISIL to understand that he does not regard Canadians as being in danger. His response was natural, given that Canada is a sleepy hollow and that Canadians have no idea what it is like to live in a city under what Belgian authorities said Tuesday was “the highest state of alert.”

Canada is not immune. About 100 Canadians are believed be fighting under ISIL’s flag in Iraq and Syria.

Aid workers from Quebec have been killed recently in terrorist strikes in Africa. A mining executive from Alberta has been kidnapped and is being held hostage by an Islamic group in the southern Philippines. There have been two terrorist attacks inspired by Islamic State on Canadian soil already. Several others have been thwarted.

The worst part of it is that nobody has any idea how many sleeper cells are out there. But with almost every street, bus stop and shopping centre a soft target, with travel so easy today, and so many potential terrorists carrying western passports and familiar with western ways, it is almost impossible to track all these people at once, especially when they disappear into flourishing Arab communities.

Brussels, with several districts that have Arab majorities, has been a nervous cauldron since the attacks in Paris were directly linked to people living there. In December, there was already an oppressive police presence in the Gare du Nord and the Gare du Midi. It is not an exaggeration to say that everyone was looking over their shoulders.

For now, Brussels is the epicentre of jihadism in Europe. To anyone not closely familiar with the pleasant but rather dull city of European Union bureaucrats and senior NATO officers, the gorgeous Grand Place, steak frites and steamed mussels, this may come as a surprise.

To those who visit the community of Molenbeek, near the city centre, it might not be.

If they walked around Molenbeek, as I did for many hours in the rain three months ago, they would understand why those responsible for protecting Europeans have had such a difficult time locating and confronting the terrorists who mix in with the millions of other Muslims now living among them.

About 100,000 people are crammed into Molenbeek, a few kilometres where a suicide bomber struck the subway station Tuesday, while two other bombers attacked the airport. Nearly half of the population in the dense warren of cobblestone streets in Molenbeek are Muslims, mostly of Moroccan descent.

Churches are mostly empty and almost derelict in that hardscrabble quarter. But the mosques are packed, as are shops and restaurants where Islamic dress and food not only predominate, they are about the only things to be seen. Arabic, much more than French or Flemish, is the lingua franca.

The challenge for Europe’s seriously overstressed security agencies is that it is difficult to penetrate places such as Molenbeek — and there are score of them across the continent.

It is not only Walloons and Flems who are afraid. The fear is palpable among the Arabs of Brussels, too. They detest being singled out by the police and the media and are terrified by the extremists who live among them. Their wariness at the few Caucasians who venture there is acute. The climate of fear makes everyone deeply suspicious and keeps almost everyone silent.

Theierry Monasse / AFP, Getty Images

NRI commits suicide in Moga village

A 57-year-old NRI woman settled in the UK allegedly committed suicide by hanging herself to death at Lopo village in Moga district on Sunday night, police sources said today.

Identified as Jaswant Kaur, the UK citizen came to India to visit her native village on February 13. The exact cause of her taking the extreme step is not yet clear, but her cousin Jagdev Singh stated to the police that she was under depression for the past many years.

Preliminary investigations revealed that she got divorced from her husband 25 years ago. She used to visit her native village once in two years and always stayed at her cousin’s house.

Her cousin told the police that she went to the bathroom last night where she committed suicide.

The police had taken the body into custody for a postmortem examination and initiated inquest proceedings under Section 174 of the CrPC into this incident.

Tribune India