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Survey of manufacturing executives shows lower economic optimism for 2019

first_imgTORONTO — A new survey shows business optimism for the year ahead among Canadian manufacturer executives is lower than it was a year ago as trade issues weigh.The survey, conducted by RK Insights, showed that 30 per cent of the 501 respondents were optimistic about business prospects for 2019, down from 44 per cent who were a year earlier.It showed that 18 per cent of the senior executives were concerned about business prospects for the year ahead, but that 51 per cent were cautiously optimistic in a similar level to last year.The survey, conducted in August and Sept. before a new North American trade deal was signed, showed an increase in concerns about the effects of U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade policies.Sixty-five per cent of respondents were very concerned about U.S. protectionism, up from 54 per cent last year, while 61 per cent were very concerned about Trump’s impact on bilateral relations, up from 45 per cent.The survey, conducted on behalf of Plant Magazine, has a margin of error of about four per cent, 19 times out of 20.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

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Fiat Chrysler reaches settlement in emissions cheating cases

first_imgWASHINGTON — Fiat Chrysler will pay a $305 million fine to the U.S. government over emissions cheating allegations.The settlement was announced Thursday by the Justice Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.The Italian-American automaker separately agreed to pay $19 million to California. The company will also pay $280 million to settle lawsuits brought by vehicle owners.Authorities say more than 100,00 vehicles were equipped with diesel engines programmed to run pollution controls during lab tests that would turn off under certain conditions on the road.The settlement requires the company to start a recall to repair the Jeep SUVs and Ram pickup trucks made between 2014 and 2016.Fiat Chrysler says it didn’t deliberately install devices to cheat emissions tests. The company didn’t admit wrongdoing in the settlement.Michael Balsamo And Tom Krisher, The Associated Presslast_img read more

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Former firefighter with PTSD sues Syncrude over suspended benefits dismissal

first_img“But if you flip that switch that many times, it gets stuck on and you’re always at that level of agitation or awareness.”Swan was on his day off in Kelowna, B.C., in May 2016 when he got a call from work telling him to get back to Fort McMurray, where a fierce wildfire was rapidly spreading.Unbeknownst to him at the time, his PTSD was in full force.Swan was assigned to watch over a pharmacist who stayed behind during the city-wide evacuation to fill prescriptions. Swan said he would have been better off keeping busy fighting the blaze. Swan has also complained to the Alberta Human Rights Commission.The allegations against Syncrude have not been proven in court and the company has not yet filed a statement of defence.Swan, 44, began working for Syncrude in 2002 as a heavy equipment operator at its vast mining operation north of Fort McMurray, Alta. In 2007, he joined the company’s fire department, which sometimes responds to calls in the surrounding community.“I was really good at it and loved it,” Swan said in an interview, a black lab named Jack who he’s training to be a service dog, at his feet.Swan said his PTSD built up over time and there was no single event that triggered it. On the job he had to deal with anything from injuries and illnesses to an explosion on site, he said.He said his adrenaline would ramp up every time and it was like flipping on a light. CALGARY, A.B. – A lawsuit filed by a former firefighter and paramedic against Syncrude Canada claims the oilsands giant wrongfully denied him benefits and fired him after he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder related to his job.Mike Swan is seeking damages for lost compensation and benefits, improper paycheque deductions and in lieu of reasonable notice, says a statement of claim filed Dec. 19 in Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench.The suit is also asking for “moral or aggravated damages for bad faith throughout the employment relationship” as well as punitive damages.center_img “I remember feeling like I was vibrating, like there was nothing worse to me than not actually fighting the fire, and sitting in that parking lot just breathing smoke in.”Swan said the tipping point was when his then-fiancee left him, telling him she never knew what would set him off. His captain found him crying by an ambulance at work and suggested he get help through a company program.“It was useless. They wanted me to eat a salad and get some sleep.”His own psychologist, saying he’d likely had it for years, diagnosed Swan with severe PTSD in March 2017.At first, Swan thought he’d be back on the job after a few weeks.But the following May, his psychologist recommended he get full-time treatment, so he went off work.The statement of claim says Swan received the proper benefits and compensation until October 2017, when a mix-up at the Workers’ Compensation Board led to him losing a week of benefits and top-up pay.Then, in February of 2018, Syncrude told Swan he had to return to work within a week, even though his care team and the WCB did not think he was ready, the lawsuit claims. The statement of claim alleges his benefits and top-up payments were again suspended and improper deductions were made from his paycheque.The suit is seeking a declaration that Syncrude’s actions amounted to constructive dismissal.Syncrude fired Swan on Sept. 20 in what the lawsuit claims was wrongful dismissal.Company spokesman Will Gibson declined to comment on Swan’s specific case, but said “Syncrude values and supports its employees.”Swan said his disputes with Syncrude have worsened his mental health at a time when he should have been focused on getting better.He said he’ll never work as a firefighter or paramedic again because of his condition and he’s exploring retraining options through the WCB.The ordeal has ruined him financially, he added. His sister, with whom he’s been living in Calgary, has set up a GoFundMe page to help with legal and medical bills.“Think about every mental-health campaign that’s going on right now. What are they telling us? Put your hand up. Ask for help,” he said.“I asked for help. I’m still asking for help.”last_img read more

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Burundi experiencing deep political crisis with hundreds dead since April Security Council

Noting that in Bujumbura the situation is very tense, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, told the Council that several neighbourhoods, especially those perceived to have opposed the President’s re-election for a third term in July, experience nightly exchanges of gunshots and grenade explosions. “Traumatized residents frequently discover mutilated bodies, victims of executions,” he stated, briefing the Council along with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, and Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, who echoed concerns that Burundi is at a dangerous “tipping point” and that the Council could intervene to prevent a replay “of past horrors.”Civil unrest erupted in April in Bujumbura after the ruling party elected President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate. While elections were considered relatively peaceful and conducted adequately, the UN reported that the overall environment was “not conducive” to an inclusive, free and credible process.“The May 22 killing of Zedi Feruzi, a key opposition figure, marked the beginning of a troubling pattern of politically-motivated assassinations and attacks,” Mr. Feltman noted. “Neither the conclusion of Burundi’s legislative and presidential electoral cycle this summer nor the inclusion of some key opposition figures in the governing coalition calmed the situation, which has instead grown more troubling.”Just this morning, at least two people were killed by a grenade attack in the Musaga neighbourhood in Bujumbura. On Saturday, at least nine people, including a UN staff member, were killed when unknown gunmen opened fire inside a bar in Bujumbura’s Kanyosha neighbourhood. The bar was alleged to have been a previous meeting venue of anti-third mandate demonstrators.“The crisis in Burundi is political at its core and cannot be resolved by a security clampdown,” the senior official stressed. “It is not credible to claim that a small group of criminals or traitors are behind the current violence. The problem is much deeper and thus more worrying.”For the deteriorating situation to improve, he said Burundian leaders will need to address the political deadlock that preceded and transcended the summer elections. “In this regard, the [Government] has established a commission for inter-Burundian dialogue, said to be open to all except those implicated in the failed coup d’état on 14 May,” he informed the Council. “While the UN in general supports national dialogue efforts, this commission will not be able to make much progress in the tense security context where members of political parties and civil society are frequently found dead on the streets,” he insisted. “With many media outlets closed down since spring and opposition leaders abroad afraid to return home, the Government has not established the conditions for credible and inclusive political dialogue. We encourage the Burundian authorities to do so as quickly as possible.”Meanwhile, he recalled that in October, the African Union Peace and Security Council agreed on a multi-pronged approach to address the situation, including the expansion of its human rights observers and military experts and the initiation of contingency planning for the possible deployment of an African-led Mission in the country.In addition, the UN Secretary-General is expected in the coming days to announce the appointment of a Special Adviser who will lead and coordinate UN efforts in support of Burundi.These events, he highlighted to the Council, are happening at a time when the mandate of the UN Electoral Observation Mission in Burundi is ending. Meanwhile, the UN Office in Burundi (BNUB) closed at the end of last year, at the request of the Government. For his part, the UN human rights chief underscored his deepening concern regarding the “increasingly grave human rights crisis” in the country.“At least 240 people have been killed since protests began in April, with bodies dumped on the streets on an almost nightly basis,” Mr. Zeid declared. “There have been hundreds of cases of arbitrary arrest and detention in the past month alone, targeting members of the opposition, journalists, human rights defenders and their families, people attending the funerals of those who have been killed, and inhabitants of neighbourhoods perceived to be supportive of the opposition,” he continued.“Fear of this violence, and the spectre of more bloodshed, are driving ordinary Burundians out of their homes. There are now well over 280,000 internally displaced people and refugees across the Great Lakes region. To make matters worse, it is reported that armed groups are recruiting in some refugee camps in neighbouring countries, and that agents of the Burundi Government are also present to identify opponents,” he added. Meanwhile, he said that President Nkurunziza set an ultimatum last week for Burundians to hand in all weapons, warning that those who would not do so would be dealt with as “enemies of the nation.” He noted that recent inflammatory remarks by members of the Government have suggested that this crisis, which has involved targeting people for their perceived political affiliations, could increasingly take on an ethnic dimension. “The President of the Senate recently ordered local authorities to identify ‘elements which are not in order’ and to report them to the police for them to be dealt with,” Mr. Zeid warned. “He also called on the authorities to rally people to get ready to ‘pulverize.’ Phrases such as these recall language that this region has heard before, and should not be hearing again. They could signal the imminence of much worse, and more widespread, violence.”He said he believes that the strong interventions of many officials and States in recent days “may have great influence,” and urged neighbouring countries in the Great Lakes to step up their attempts to promote a credible and inclusive political dialogue in Burundi.“I also believe it is the responsibility of this Council to address a situation of profound concern, well-known for many months, and which could lead to even greater carnage,” Mr. Zeid added, appealing to its members to keep Burundi at the top of the Security Council agenda.He further stressed the essence of having an inclusive dialogue take place among all stakeholders in Burundi, in accordance with the Arusha Agreement which put an end to 12 years of massacres and warfare in 2005.In his remarks, Mr. Dieng emphasized that in light of all that is clearly happening on the ground, the United Nations could not fail to take appropriate action now. Otherwise Burundi would slide back into an “all too familiar chaos.”Further, he said that “if there was ever a time for [the President] and his Government to display courageous leadership, it is now.” Indeed, the Government must work to restore peace through dialogue and to de-escalate the crisis. Yet, this is not the Government’s responsibility alone, continued Mr. Dieng, stressing that the international community, the African Union, the East African Community and the UN have an indispensable role to play.The United Nations Security Council should take urgent measures, including support for African Peace and Security Council decisions. Holding those who had incited and committed violence accountable would also help. It is important in that regard to remind Burundi, as a State party to the International Criminal Court, that those engaging in atrocity crimes would face prosecution.“No one should underestimate what is at stake, he said, recalling that the country’s own history and that of its neighbour, Rwanda, has shown the tragic consequences of failing to act when leaders incite violence.Meanwhile, earlier today in a statement, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also reiterated his appeal to all national stakeholders, in particular the Government of Burundi, “to keep the interests of the people of Burundi uppermost and resolve all outstanding issues through an inclusive dialogue.” read more

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Yemen Ban condemns reported coalition airstrike on rural hospital that leaves 11

Reiterating his call on all warring parties in Yemen to immediately implement the cessation of hostilities, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the reported coalition airstrike yesterday on a hospital in the rural town of Hajjah that killed 11 people. The media has reported that more than 19 people were also wounded when an airstrike hit a hospital supported by the Paris-based Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), or Doctors Without Borders, in the rebel-held town. According to a statement issued by Mr. Ban’s spokesperson, the Secretary-General notes that the parties to the Yemeni conflict have damaged or destroyed over 70 health centres to date, including three other MSF-supported facilities, and he “is deeply disturbed” by the intensification of airstrikes and continuing ground fighting and shelling, especially in populated areas. The UN chief also stressed that the shrinking humanitarian space and limited access to essential services for Yemenis, a situation exacerbated by the return to full-scale hostilities, is a matter of ever greater concern, the statement said. The statement further notes that hospitals and medical personnel are explicitly protected under international humanitarian law and any attack directed against them, or against any civilian persons or infrastructure, is a serious violation of international humanitarian law. All such attacks should be investigated through prompt, effective, independent and impartial. Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Yemen. Credit: UN News Centre The Secretary-General also reiterated his call on the parties to renew their engagement – without delay and in good faith – with his Special Envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, in pursuit of a negotiated solution, the statement added. In Geneva, Tarik Jasarevic, a spokesperson for the World Health Organization (WHO), told reporters that the UN agency also condemned the attack and repeated its call on all parties with their commitments and obligations under international humanitarian law to protect health workers and facilities. Hajjah is an area which hosts a large number of internally displaced persons and had already been suffering from serious disruptions in health service delivery and shortages of medical staff due to the closure of health facilities and the departure of medical personnel, he said, noting that the hospital, one of a few functioning ones there, was receiving 100-150 outpatients daily, providing life-saving services, especially for mothers and children. There were 23 patients in surgery, 25 in maternity ward as well as 13 new-born and 12 patients in paediatrics at time of the bombing, he said, adding that since the escalation of the conflict in March 2015, more than 13 health workers had lost their lives and 23 had been injured. Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said that OHCHR staff on the ground was investigating the attack against the MSF hospital, and reiterated that attacks on medical facilities were clearly prohibited under international humanitarian law. Following nearly 16 months of conflict in Yemen, the cessation of hostilities was declared on 10 April. While peace talks between a Yemeni Government delegation and a delegation of the General People’s Congress and Ansar Allah have since continued, serious violations have occurred in Marib, al Jawf, Taiz and in the border areas with Saudi Arabia. On 6 August, the UN special envoy announced a one-month break for the talks, during which “the focus will be on working with each side separately to crystalize precise technical details.” read more

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Legendary singer will sing from the heart

The legendary Mavis Staples is coming to the Centre for the Arts.She’s won a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She’s been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And at 72, Mavis Staples just keeps on going.With a career spanning more than five decades, the venerable rhythm and blues singer has released 13 albums and 16 singles. It’s a serviceable resume for any musician, but Staples, a gospel and blues legend, is not about to quit.“I’m dedicated to singing,” she says in a phone interview from her Chicago home. “My voice is a God-given gift, and I can’t abuse a blessing.”Staples will appear at the Sean O’Sullivan Theatre on Jan. 25 in one of about eight Canadian stops. Ten days earlier, she’ll perform in Oakland, Calif. for a 10th annual tribute to Martin Luther King Jr.The constant touring is a joy for Staples. She’s been playing gigs largely non-stop since her latest album You Are Not Alone was released in 2010, fitting in appearances on shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman.“Earlier this year, we were coming home for two days, changing luggage and leaving again,” she said. “We’ve never traveled that much in one year.”Staples started singing professionally in 1952 with her family group, the Staples Singers. Doing songs that ranged from gospel to mainstream pop, the group released albums on a number of labels, including Epic and Stax Records. Their hits included “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There.”Staples has received multiple accolades since then. She’s been named one of Rolling Stone’s greatest singers of all time. June 19, 2007 was officially Mavis Staples Day in Illinois in honour of her career and lifelong dedication to civil rights. June 12, 2005 was Mavis Staples Day in Chicago. She’s done a duet with Bob Dylan (2003’s Grammy-nominated “Gotta Change My Way of Thinking”). Last year, she won a Grammy for best Americana album.Staples never grows bored of her career. She continues to be inspired by new audiences and new artists, she says. Her most recent favourite is British singer Adele, who she met recently in the UK. The young singer, couldn’t believe the gospel legend had heard of her.“My sister had to tell her, ‘Mavis never goes out and buys a CD, but she went out and bought yours,’” she says.Staples’ philosophy is to be as joyous as possible. She hopes Centre for the Arts patrons at her show feel uplifted.“So many people are having a really hard time today,” she says. “I want to make them feel so good, they feel it for the next six months.”She recalls at time performing as a young singer in New York City and following a group that had worn costumes and jumped around. When Staples took the stage, she tried to emulate them.“My father took me aside and said, ‘What are you doing?’” she recalls. “‘You’re singing God’s music. You don’t need gimmicks. What comes from the heart goes to the heart. Sing from the heart and you’ll get through to people.’ And every time I go onstage now, that’s what I do.”When: Wednesday, Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.Where: Sean O’Sullivan TheatreCost: $55To order: 905-688-5550 x3257 read more

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Perisic believes Inter can qualify to the next UCL round

Perisic believes Inter can qualify to the next UCL round

first_imgThe Nerazzurri are back in the UEFA Champions League for the first time in more than six years and the winger is excited about the futureInternazionale Milan had the best return to the UEFA Champions League they could have dreamed of.Christian Eriksen scored in the 53rd minute for Tottenham Hotspur and the Italian Lega Serie A club had a disadvantage in its own stadium.But then Mauro Icardi scored in the 85th minute and Matias Vecino did the same seven minutes later to give Inter the win.And for Inter winger Ivan Perisic, the victory at home means his team can get out of the group and qualify to the next round.“It’s a crucial win for us,” Perisic was quoted by Football Italia.“We fought until the last minute and showed that we have character, we gave everything. Our team was in the Champions League for the first time, it wasn’t easy.”Romelu Lukaku, Serie A, Inter MilanCapello calls Lukaku “a modern striker” Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 The former Italian manager believes Romelu Lukaku is perfectly suited for Antonio Conte’s Internazionale Milan in the Serie A.“We can get out of the group, but we need to take it one game at a time,” he added.The Nerazzurri are playing in the first Champion League since six and a half years ago.”È stato un bel gol, grazie al pubblico che ci ha sostenuto per tutta la partita”Riascoltiamo insieme la parole di @MauroIcardi dopo #InterTottenham#UCL ?? pic.twitter.com/9VdgBejegg— Inter (@Inter) September 19, 2018last_img read more

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