zoom Greek Piraeus Port Authority has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Shanghai International Port Group to develop synergies that will improve trade and create new business opportunities.The parties said that the deal, signed on June 12, further highlights Piraeus’s strategic position on the world map and especially on the New Silk road.Under the deal, PPA and Shanghai International Port Group plan to cooperate on project studies, staff training, information exchange, technical assistance, etc.“The key objective pursued through the close cooperation in the above areas is the development of synergies that will improve trade and create new business opportunities. There is also provision for joint discussions with shipping companies to seek the possibility of further improving the shipping service between Shanghai Port and Piraeus Port,” the PPA said.The port authority added that China’s COSCO Shippig Group also entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with Shanghai International Port Group.In August 2016, port operator Cosco Group (Hong Kong) Limited officially acquired a 51 percent stake in the Greek Piraeus Port Authority for EUR 280.5 million. The company has an option to acquire the remaining share of 16 percent in the port over a period of five years for EUR 88 million.The tender process for the sale of 67% of the shares of the Piraeus Port Authority was launched in March 2014, but the stake has since been downsized to 51 percent.The deal includes an investment of EUR 350 million in the port over a period of ten years, which would be used to update the cruise and shipbuilding industry and develop the port’s facilities and services.
zoom Owner and operator of natural gas carriers Dynagas LNG Partners LP has decided to extend the deadline for exercising the purchase options relating to two LNG carriers from its parent Dynagas Ltd.The two ships are Clean Horizon and the Clean Vision, the purchase of which was set for July 2017 and January 2018, respectively.Dynagas LNG Partners said that the deadline was pushed to December 31, 2018.The announcement came as the company reported a net income of USD 5.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2017 and USD 17.3 million for the full year, slashed from corresponding USD 15.4 and USD 66.8 million reported in 2016.According to Tony Lauritzen, Chief Executive Officer of the company, the results were in line with expectations.As explained, the weaker results were due to the temporary employment of the Clean Energy on the spot market until July 2018, when the vessel will commence a time charter with Gazprom for an eight-year term, and the longer term contracts that followed the decision to reduce the charter hire rate on the Yenisei River and the Lena River, with effect from November 2016, in exchange for securing the long-term charter with Gazprom.“These transactions contributed substantially to our contracted backlog, thereby enhancing significantly our revenue visibility,” Lauritzen said.On December 20, 2017, the company entered into a new three-year charter agreement with Statoil for the employment of the 2013-built Arctic Aurora, its 155,000 cbm LNG carrier.The new charter for the Arctic Aurora is expected to commence in the third quarter of 2018 in direct continuation of the current charter with Statoil, following the vessel’s mandatory statutory class five-year special survey and dry-docking. Statoil will have options to extend this charter by two consecutive 12-month periods at escalated rates.“With our fleet 85 pct contracted through 2018, 92 pct contracted through 2019 and 100 pct contracted through 2020, and with an estimated fleet-wide average remaining contract duration of 10.4 years, we believe we have significant cash flow visibility. We expect to increase contract coverage going forward on the back of an improving LNG shipping market,” Lauritzen added.Monaco-based Dynagas LNG Partners has a fleet of six LNG carriers, with an aggregate carrying capacity of approximately 914,000 cbm.
zoomIllustration. Image Courtesy: PxHere under CC0 Creative Commons license Greece-based dry bulk owner Diana Shipping has signed a time charter contract with Singapore’s Koch Shipping for one of its Panamax bulkers.Under the agreement, the company’s 77,901 dwt Ismene was hired at a gross charter rate of USD 12,125 per day.Starting from December 12, the bulker, which was built in 2013, would work for Koch for a period until minimum January 1, 2020 up to maximum March 31, 2020.Diana Shipping said that the employment is expected to generate around USD 4.6 million of gross revenue for the minimum scheduled period of the time charter.The unit was previously chartered to Hong Kong-based DHL Project & Chartering Limited at a rate of USD 12,000 per day over a period of fourteen months until late November 2018.The company’s fleet currently consists of 48 dry bulk vessels, including 20 Panamaxes. As of today, the combined carrying capacity of the company’s fleet is around 5.7 million dwt.
LUNENBURG COUNTY: Pinehurst Veinot Road in Pinehurst, from Trunk 10 to the Osborne Road, isclosed until further notice due to high water levels. Thesituation will be monitored and the road opened when conditionsallow. Motorists are asked to detour to Wentzell Road, Trunk 10 andLower Branch Road. Traffic control will consist of signage. Local area office: 902-543-8169 Fax: 902-543-0686 -30-
More than 300,000 Nova Scotia property owners will have a chance to review their proposed 2006 assessment, now that preliminary notices are in the mail. Notices were sent to owners of properties whose assessments are expected to increase by more than three per cent in 2006. The assessments are based on Jan. 1, 2004 market values. “Sending Nova Scotia property owners their proposed assessment in June, means that they can talk to us and get information about their property assessment before the formal assessment notice is sent in January,” said Charles (Skip) MacKenzie, regional manager for the eastern regional assessment office. “This year the information will also help property owners decide if they will apply for the 2006 CAP Assessment program.” Introduced in 2005, the CAP Assessment program is designed to help protect property owners from sudden and dramatic increases in market value by placing a limit, or cap, on the amount of taxable assessment increase on eligible properties. To receive a capped assessment, the property must be owned by a Nova Scotia resident and meet certain other eligibility criteria. There are some changes to the program since it was introduced last year. Property owners who applied for the CAP last year and met the residency and ownership requirements will be automatically re-considered for 2006. They do not have to reapply. Owner-occupied condominiums are now part of the CAP program. Owners of condominiums who wish to be considered for a capped assessment must submit an application for the 2006 CAP. With the changes, about 107,000 properties across the province are potentially eligible for a capped assessment in 2006, compared to 65,000 in 2005. Property owners who did not apply to the program in 2005 and whose properties are likely to be eligible are being sent an application form along with their proposed notice. Application forms are available on the website at www.nsassessment.ca or can be picked up at a local regional assessment office, Access Nova Scotia Centre, Registry of Deeds office or municipal tax office. Completed applications must be received by Assessment Services by no later than Sept. 30. “Applications will be reviewed to determine if the property meets the eligibility criteria,” said Mr. MacKenzie. “Property owners will be notified if their property qualifies for the CAP when they receive their formal assessment notice in January.” “We encourage property owners to call if they have any questions about their proposed assessment or need further information about the CAP Program,” added Mr. MacKenzie. Property owners with questions on their assessment notice can call 1-800-667-5727. For information on property assessment and the CAP program, including eligibility criteria, visit the website at www.nsassessment.ca .
The second contract was also won by Cumberland Paving & Contracting Ltd. with a bid of $1,303,480. It is for repaving on the following two sections of highway in the Pugwash area: Nova Scotia’s plan to upgrade many of the province’s highways will mean smoother, safer roads in the Amherst and Pugwash areas this fall. The Department of Transportation and Public Works recently awarded two contracts for road improvements in Cumberland County worth almost $2.8 million. The first contract is for $1,480,797 and was awarded to Cumberland Paving & Contracting Ltd. It is for repaving on the following five sections of highway in the Amherst area: Trunk 6: from Ripley Loop east for about 10 kilometres toward Pugwash; Sunset Lane: from Crowley Road for about 0.4 kilometres to the end of the lane. John Black Road: from Willow Street for 3.3 kilometres east to the intersection of Trunk 6; Willow Street: from East Pleasant Street east for 2.4 kilometres to the intersection of Route 204; Fox Ranch Road: from Trunk 6 for 1.8 kilometres to the intersection of John Black Road; Gosling Glenn: from Trunk 6 south for 0.4 kilometres to the end of the cul de sac; Duckling Dell: from Gosling Glenn east for 0.3 kilometres to the end of the cul de sac. The provincial budget for 2005-06 calls for the Department of Transportation and Public Works to spend $143 million on constructing and upgrading Nova Scotia highways. The Department of Transportation and Public Works’ highways division manages more than 23,000 kilometres of roads in Nova Scotia. It maintains 4,100 bridges and operates seven provincial ferries. Staff provide services from offices in Bridgewater, Bedford, Truro and Sydney.
Nova Scotians filled 2,000 seats in fire halls, community centres and other meeting places around the province for 27 meetings in May and June on the future of the province’s biodiversity, forests, minerals and parks. About 150 individuals and groups have also submitted written comments to the Voluntary Planning Natural Resources Citizen Engagement Committee. Nova Scotians still have until the end of the month to submit comments. “Our committee is gathering Nova Scotians’ values to help government develop a natural resources strategy for the province,” said Candace Stevenson co-chair of the committee. “We’ve had excellent discussions about people’s long-term vision in our community meetings. We thank everyone for their written and verbal comments so far, and we’re eager to see more as written submissions continue to come in.” Written submissions will be accepted until July 31. They can be submitted on the Voluntary Planning website at http://vp.gov.ns.ca, by fax at 902-424-0580, or by mail to: Voluntary PlanningSuite 600, 1690 Hollis St.Halifax, N.S.B3J 3J9 Nova Scotians can also call Voluntary Planning at 902-424-8644 or toll-free at 1-866-858-5850 to give comments. The website also has a document called The Future of Nova Scotia’s Natural Resources. It explains the scope of the citizen engagement process and has questions to help people focus their written submissions. The document is also available at Access Nova Scotia centres and the Voluntary Planning office. Nova Scotia aims to have one of the cleanest and most sustainable environments in the world by 2020. To help reach that goal, new strategies are being developed for water, natural resources, energy, climate change and coastal management. To learn more, or take part, see The New Nova Scotia: A Path to 2020 at www.gov.ns.ca/2020 .
Les résultats des évaluations des apprentissages en mathématiques et en littératie administrés l’an dernier par le ministère de l’Éducation révèlent une amélioration générale chez les élèves néo-écossais. Le rapport (2008) de la ministre aux parents et aux tuteurs, qui est publié aujourd’hui, 16 juillet, contient les résultats obtenus par les écoles et les conseils scolaires pour les mathématiques avancées et les mathématiques de 12e année, de même que les résultats obtenus par les écoles et les conseils scolaires pour les évaluations des apprentissages en mathématiques (Mathematical Literacy) au premier cycle du primaire, en langage (Early Language Literacy), en littératie au primaire et en littératie au premier cycle du secondaire. Le rapport contient aussi les résultats des examens en mathématiques qui ont déjà été publiés et les résultats des évaluations provinciales en mathématiques et en littératie pour les élèves du primaire et du premier cycle du secondaire. « Il est encourageant de constater qu’il y a des améliorations considérables en mathématiques tant au secondaire qu’au primaire et des résultats probants en littératie, surtout en écriture, au primaire et au premier cycle du secondaire », a déclaré la ministre de l’Éducation, Marilyn More. « Mais, bien que nous nous dirigions dans la bonne direction en mathématiques, il m’apparaît également clair que nous avons encore du travail à faire pour aider les élèves à mieux réussir. » Voici un résumé des résultats provinciaux de 2008 pour les évaluations en mathématiques et en littératie. Les résultats de 2007 sont entre parenthèses. Mme More a déclaré que le Ministère continuerait d’investir des efforts en mathématiques et en littératie et de faire fond sur le travail effectué actuellement dans tous les conseils scolaires. « Ces évaluations nous donnent des renseignements précieux sur les habiletés de nos élèves, les domaines dans lesquels ils ont besoin d’aide additionnelle et la façon dont nous pouvons investir efficacement pour assurer le succès de tous les élèves », a ajouté Mme More. Le rapport est en ligne à www.ednet.ns.ca. Des exemplaires du rapport seront distribués aux écoles plus tard cet été. 70 p. 100 des élèves ont réussi l’examen de la Nouvelle-Écosse d’Advanced Mathematics 12. (64 p. 100). 89 p. 100 ont réussi l’examen en Mathématiques avancées 12. (78 p. 100) 51 p. 100 ont réussi l’examen de la Nouvelle-Écosse de Mathematics 12. (26 p. 100). 43 p. 100 ont réussi l’examen de Mathématiques 12. (33 p. 100) — 72 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes lors de l’évaluation en « Mathematical Literacy » au premier cycle du primaire (3e année). (67 p. 100) 79 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes lors de l’Évaluation des apprentissages en mathématiques : premier cycle du primaire (3e année). (69 p. 100) 85 p. 100 des élèves ont satisfait aux attentes en lecture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au premier cycle du secondaire (9e année). (87 p. 100). 92 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au premier cycle du secondaire. (90 p. 100) 84 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en lecture lors de l’Appréciation du rendement en littératie au premier cycle du secondaire (9e année). (Aucun changement) 79 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’Appréciation du rendement en littératie au premier cycle du secondaire. (77 p. 100) 86 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en lecture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy Assessment » au primaire (6e année). (Aucun changement) 93 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au primaire. (91 p. 100) 82 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en lecture lors de l’Appréciation du rendement en littératie au premier cycle du primaire (6e année). (81 p. 100) 73 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’Appréciation du rendement en littératie au premier cycle du primaire. (63 p. 100) 82 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en lecture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au primaire (3e année). (75 p. 100) 82 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au premier cycle du primaire. (66 p. 100) 80 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écriture lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au primaire. (62 p. 100) 80 p. 100 ont satisfait aux attentes en écoute lors de l’évaluation en « Literacy » au primaire. (Aucun changement)
Local Area Office: 902-295-2700 Fax: 902-295-2617 -30- VICTORIA COUNTY: Gillis Point Road Gillis Point Road near Washabuck is closed to all traffic until Saturday, Sept. 12, for a culvert replacement. A detour route is marked on St. Columba Road.
HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Highway 102 On Wednesday, Dec. 9, Highway 102 (Bicentennial Highway) will be closed for about 20 minutes, between 1 p.m. and 1:30 p.m., for blasting at the Larry Uteck Interchange. Drivers should expect delays or use alternate routes, which will be indicated by electronic signs. Local Area Office: 902-424-5591 -30-
Nova Scotians are invited to learn more about the proposed new convention centre as the province releases additional information today, Oct. 6. “We want to make sure all Nova Scotians are well informed about this potential development,” said Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Bill Estabrooks. “While we have not made a decision about the project, we are exploring the development of a new convention centre as an economic engine to create good jobs and grow the provincial economy.” A new convention centre is expected to create about 12,000 jobs and generate more than $40 million in provincial tax revenues during the first 10 years of operation. One conference of 1,000 delegates can inject $1 million in new spending into the provincial economy, with each national delegate spending about $1,600 per visit. The proposal states that it would cost $159 million to build the convention centre, and $2.9 million annually for facility maintenance and updates. Funding from both the federal and municipal governments will be required for the project to move forward. The new, multi-level facility would include 115,000 square feet of rentable convention space, three times the size of the existing World Trade and Convention Centre. It would also include 51,000 square feet of reception space. The province has also completed a shadow bid that compares the developer’s proposed price to the cost of the province building a new, stand alone, convention centre. The shadow bid shows that the developer can build a new centre for almost $90 less per square foot, $26 million less overall. The proposed convention centre design complies with HRM By Design and does not impinge on protected view planes from Citadel Hill. It would also be built to the highest environmental standards. The developer would be responsible for cost overruns during construction. Rank Inc. submitted a proposal to build the convention centre in July. The centre would be part of an integrated facility that would also include an office tower and hotel complex, which would be owned and operated by the developer, while the convention centre would be operated by the province. The current centre has lost business over the years because of space limitations. This trend is expected to continue as competing centres are built or expand. A decision on whether the project will proceed is expected later this year. Highlights from the developer’s proposal and other information about the proposed convention centre can be viewed on-line at www.conventioncentreinfo.com . The public can also submit comments on the website.
INVERNESS COUNTY: Canso Causeway Closed The Canso Causeway is closed temporarily because of blowing snow and reduced visibility. -30-
Men, Cancer and Sexuality, is the topic of the next Cancer Answers lecture Tuesday, April 5. The Cancer Care Nova Scotia-hosted event will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., in the Royal Bank Lecture Theatre, Halifax Infirmary, and by video conference at 15 sites across the province. The lecture series is designed to provide Nova Scotians with quality cancer information. The lecture will be presented by Dr. Deborah McLeod, a member of the psychosocial oncology team with the Capital Health Cancer Care Program. “Cancer affects sexuality in men and women in lots of different ways, but unfortunately we still don’t talk about it much,” said Dr. McLeod. “We have evidence that suggests patients are really concerned about this aspect of their health but have a difficult time finding good information. Sometimes health professionals are also uncomfortable with the topic and often don’t raise it with patients.” Dr. McLeod said her presentation will help open conversation about sexuality and cancer for men and provide information about the issues and how to get help for sexual concerns. Cancer Care Nova Scotia, a program of the Department of Health and Wellness, was created in 1998 to facilitate quality cancer prevention and care for all Nova Scotians. It supports health professionals in providing patients with high quality care. Its work with other organizations and its screening programs raise awareness about the importance of healthy lifestyles to reduce cancer risk, and educate Nova Scotians about available testing such as Pap tests and Home Screening Kits for colon cancer. The goal is to find cancer earlier and treat it better.
More Nova Scotians will soon have the support they need to go home, instead of to a nursing home, after a hospital stay. Health and Wellness Minister David Wilson announced today, Nov. 19, the province will provide funding to district health authorities over the next two years to develop programs that will help more patients discharged from hospital return to their homes. “Seniors are applying for long-term care because they’re concerned they don’t have the resources or supports they need to stay in their homes any longer,” said Mr. Wilson. “By creating programs to deliver care and support to them in their home, we can address their concerns and help them stay home where they want to be.” Seniors and low-income Nova Scotians who need help with daily living needs such as transportation, meal preparation, errands and yard work, will also receive more funding to hire people from the community for support. Provincewide research shows 82 per cent of home-care patients, and those awaiting long-term care placement, have difficulty doing day-to-day errands. The province invested an additional $22 million to improve and meet the demand for home-care supports across the province as part of the 2012-13 budget. Mr. Wilson cites Capital Health’s Home Again program as an example of the kind of supports that will be introduced across the province during the next year. Home Again gives patients and their families an opportunity to go home from hospital with more intensive supports and allows them to consider all possible options for long-term care in the privacy and comfort of their home. “We now know clients do better in their own homes,” said Jill Robbins, continuing care director with Capital Health. The province will provide $625,000 in 2012-13 and $1.5 million in 2013-14 to fund similar programs across Nova Scotia. For Georgina Calda, the chance to return to her home and black Lab Ches, was the best route to recovery. The 72-year-old Halifax woman suffered a stroke that left her in a wheelchair, with difficulty speaking. Ms. Calda’s first language is Czech, and after the stroke, she lost a great deal of her English vocabulary and comprehension. She was in hospital, registered for a nursing home bed, when her son Dan Calda enrolled her in Capital Health’s Home Again program. “Since her native tongue is Czech and she could not speak or understand English after the stroke, she would have been completely isolated in a nursing home. I did whatever I had to, to get her home,” said Mr. Calda. “She’s making her own food, letting the dog out and, more or less living independently. Having her family and Ches near her has made all the difference. It’s remarkable.” District health authorities welcomed the province’s home-care investments and will work with community-based volunteers, non-profit groups and other businesses that can deliver the supports locally. “For many seniors and low-income Nova Scotians, it can be difficult to get out to do errands or take care of their living requirements,” said Bob Jenkins, continuing care director, South West Health. “Things like driving, grocery shopping, preparing meals, housekeeping and snow removal can prove to be obstacles. These instrumental activities of daily life are essential to ensure they are safe, to maintain their health and enable them to live as independently as possible.” The Department of Health and Wellness is also adjusting fees to reflect cost-of-living increases as of Dec. 1. Many home-care clients will now pay less for home care, home oxygen, and self-managed care. “This government understands that most Nova Scotians prefer to be at home to receive the care they need,” said Mr. Wilson. “That is why we are ensuring that more Nova Scotians can receive care safely and affordably in the comfort of their home.” More information about home-care services and programs is available at www.gov.ns.ca/health/ccs/homecare.asp .
Anglers will once again enjoy one of the province’s favourite pastimes when the annual sport fishing season opens Tuesday, April 1. “We are fortunate to live in a province with an abundance of fishing opportunities,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “Sport fishing is a great way for families to spend time together and enjoy the outdoors. It also plays an important role in Nova Scotia’s economy, contributing $58-million in direct expenditures each year.” Mr. Colwell said anglers should become familiar with the new regulations for this season. Changes include new management measures, season changes and bag limits to conserve and enhance Nova Scotia’s sport fishery. Regulations are included in the 2014 Angler’s Handbook and Summary of Regulations, which accompanies each fishing licence. More than 100,000 anglers enjoy fishing every year, including taking part in free fishing weekends each winter and summer, fishing derbies and tournaments, the Learn to Fish program for youth, and outdoor skill programs like Becoming an Outdoors Woman. Nova Scotia residents can purchase a seasonal licence for $26.73, taxes included. For non-residents, a seasonal licence is $61.73, and a seven-day licence is $33.72. Seniors’ fishing licences are available for $6.57. One-day licences, for residents and non-residents, are $12.71. All anglers 16 or older must purchase a general fishing licence. Licences can be purchased from many gas retailers, hardware, convenience and sporting goods stores, or at any Access Nova Scotia location. They are valid until March 31, 2015. Anglers must return the licence stub at the end of the season, when they will be eligible for a prize. A licence is not required to fish in tidal or saltwater in Nova Scotia, but season and bag limits apply. A separate licence is required to sport fish for Atlantic salmon. More information on angling and a list of special regulations by recreational fishing areas can be found at http://novascotia.ca/fish/documents/2014anglingguide.pdf .
Government began releasing maps today, Sept. 30, that, for the first time, show harvest allocations on the certified western Crown lands. The allocations announced last spring allowed 15 mills in Nova Scotia to harvest 185,810 green metric tonnes. Those allocations were scheduled to expire today, but are now extended for up to 90 days. During that time, government will engage with stakeholders, and long-term allocations will be released in the near future. “Sharing these maps is our first step towards keeping stakeholders more aware of where harvesting is taking place in the western Crown lands,” said Natural Resources Minister Zach Churchill. “People want to know how government is managing these areas in a responsible, balanced way, and we are being as transparent as possible. “The maps are part of the high standard of certification we are following as we harvest these forests for the wood-fibre products we all use,” said Mr. Churchill. None of the spring allocations is on land in the Parks and Protected Areas Plan, which has made Nova Scotia a national leader in conservation. The maps can be found at http://novascotia.ca/natr/forestry/maps-and-forest-info.asp .
The province today, May 13, officially thanked the family who donated land to create Harrison Woods Nature Reserve in Cumberland County. The 2015 land gift, made by Hope Harrison and her nephew, Terry Harrison, increased the size of a planned nature reserve by nearly two-thirds to 94 hectares. Originally identified as the Flat Iron Nature Reserve the name was changed to Harrison Woods. “I thank Hope Harrison and Terry Harrison for this beautiful and memorable contribution to our protected areas,” said Environment Minister Margaret Miller during a gathering near the Harrison farm. “It is important to acknowledge the efforts and generosity of private land owners who choose to help protect our unique and important natural areas for all of us to experience.” Harrison Woods Nature Reserve is an agricultural and managed woodlot area, a type that is rare in the province’s protected areas. It is a remnant patch of mature, mixed forest with older red spruce, yellow birch, white ash and other hardwoods. The land had been in the family for four generations and was linked to the farm of Mrs. Harrison and her late husband, Donald. The Harrisons protected it from clear cutting. The donation was made by Mrs. Harrison in memory of her husband, and by Mr. Harrison in memory of his father, Alastair. “This donation of forest land is the realization of the vision of two generations of Harrisons, Donald and his nephew Terry, honouring their ancestors and descendants,” Mrs. Harrison said. “For most Nova Scotians, our land is in our hearts and souls and our very fibre,” said Ms. Miller. “That’s especially so for those of us who have lived off the land.” The province recently designated more than 100 new protected areas as wilderness areas or nature reserves, bringing the amount of protected land in Nova Scotia to 12.26 per cent of Nova Scotia’s landmass. That surpasses the province’s goal under the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act to protect at least 12 per cent by 2015. Sites to be protected were identified through the province’s parks and protected areas plan after consulting with hundreds of individuals, municipalities, First Nations people, community groups, industry, and non-government organizations. Learn more at www.novascotia.ca/parksandprotectedareas/plan/progress .
Amid deafening chants of ‘Modi, Modi’ and ‘Jai Shree Ram’, Narendra Damodardas Modi announced his unprecedented victory for a second-term as “dedicated to the people”. Indeed, denying every critic and naysayer, people across classes, castes, regions and religions were united in their mandate for the Modi magic. They unilaterally rejected an undefined coalition in the favour of a powerful single party. This landslide mandate has cleared all misconception – Hindustan is more than willing to embrace her Ram. Also Read – A race against timeBJP’s success has been borne of a number of factors, primary still being Narendra Modi and his wave that has refused to rescind. But, beyond the ‘Modi factor’, BJP conceals a tediously organised institutional machinery that is relentless in its engagement with people and is currently spearheaded by among the most shrewd, calculative and hard working politicians our country has ever witnessed, Amit Shah. Like them or despise them, Modi and Shah will not let you ignore them. Also Read – A Golden LootSaffron Soaring From 17 crore Indians in 2014, 22 crore pressed in favour of the lotus this time – despite jobless growth being a lingering concern and unemployment hitting its 45-year highest; despite NPAs paralysing the banking structure and ill-thought policy measures like demonetisation crippling the rural economy. The government’s failures may be many, but its astounding success in securing 303 seats alone and 353 seats with its allies drowns every cry of dissent. And, this is not a mere culmination of luck or manipulation. It has been nurtured with concentrated effort to build an ideology, pursue it relentlessly, choose a message of unification, ensure that the message reaches the masses and ultimately, present a potent face of robust leadership that can assure the public that its woes will be wiped clean by this messiah who has risen from the streets to destabilise the rotting system responsible for India’s pathological poverty. Today, the Bharatiya Janata Party is among the richest political parties. Additionally, it garners the required political acumen to translate resources into effective outcome. Whether in investing in a robust communication strategy or in physically approaching masses to deliver the message of Narendra Modi – they have left little scope for regret. Advertisements with the Prime Minister’s optimistic smile will greet you across roads and bus stands, every television interval will provide a sneak glimpse into ‘New India’ and the radio service, still most effective in remote rural areas, will religiously telecast speeches and precious takeaways from Modi’s sarkar. In rural areas, its aggressive beneficiary outreach campaign, exhaustive chain of phone relays announcing successful policies and promising many more in the next five years, and nascent updates inciting the fervour of national security added up to produce a bonanza. Their communication, irrespective of its ideological motivation, has been crisp, meaningful and backed with effective implementation. Moreover, people were not forgotten after a few rallies by glitzy leaders – dedicated booth workers stayed back to ensure that the tide never waned. The public appeal of Narendra Modi coupled with the maverick organisational skills of Amit Shah makes for a killer combination – one that has today decimated the very conceptualisation of an opposition. While that spells many laurels for them as a party, what it means for India’s democratic fabric is to be seen. Opposition Sinking The opposition seems to be dismayed by an engulfing cloud of depression and defeat – but today, it is actually in a most profitable position. Given the unthinkable losses it has endured, now, it can only rise and must rise to the occasion of bringing back an active democracy made of critique, dissent and creative confusion. The opposition has failed 2019 and to ensure there isn’t another such failure, they must deeply introspect on their very many shortcomings. For starters, they miserably failed to build their narrative even till the last day of polling. The slogans of ‘Chowkidar chor hai’ and aggression against Rafale did not resound with the people. The opposition, it seemed, was growing and consolidating on a mere plank of being united in their angst against BJP. An anti-incumbency narrative can only gain momentum when people are presented with a viable alternative. Here, the opposition appeared entirely delusional. Though several regional skirmishes were kept aside in their effort to consolidate, the shared discomfort of quarrelling parties (Congress-AAP or TMC-CPIM) was all too visible to the discerning viewer of today’s time. Further, when traditional enemies become friends to simply gain a declared end, the integrity of their friendship becomes deeply suspect – Akhilesh and Mayawati may have had the numbers but they dented voters’ faith by coalescing simply because there appeared a greater force to overcome. When such a fragmented group is met with the gravitating force of an organisation that is bound both ideologically and in practice, only dedication to the mandate can help it stay afloat. Chandrababu Naidu held passionate meetings with regional leaders and declared his bid to form a federal front – but TDP’s performance in Andhra Pradesh shamed him. It only indicates that Naidu never knew what his people wanted. The same possibly applies to all regional parties and Congress that are meagre dwarfs in comparison to BJP’s gigantic election machinery. A federal front cannot be built by the mere agreement of disagreeing parties – it first has to secure people’s mandate. This thought seems to have evaded the leaders’ minds. Their criticisms of the government, no matter how fair and firm, never reached the people. Ultimately, all the ordinary voter heard was them bickering and complaining – where was the vision to combat Modi’s seemingly promising ‘New India’? You can decide whether you prefer the apple or pear once you’ve tasted both. The ordinary Indian voter tasted BJP’s apple – albeit little sour but still nutritious. On the other hand, it only saw fleeting images of the opposition’s pear dangling from a very distant tree. It seemed to be a trick of the sun’s rays, almost elusive. When the apple falls willingly on the voter’s lap and the pear seems unrelenting, can we blame the voter who chose to settle for the apple? The opposition has spent enough time looking outward and critiquing BJP. Now, it must look inward to realise its aberrations and make desired fixes. Congress worked well in Kerala, a state still unfamiliar with BJP, but it failed miserably elsewhere. Today, the grand old party represents a group of unmotivated workers who are absent from the ground and have no true allegiance to their party’s ideology. The rejection of NYAY should provide some markers. Because NYAY wasn’t really rejected, it never reached people’s plate for them to make a choice of acceptance. The Karnataka debacle should provide more signals. Congress has to let go of its old brass and welcome the new, invigorated spirit that is passionate about making a change and adheres to the ideology of this once magnificent party. The opposition may complain that BJP has better access to resources, that institutional autonomy has been demolished or that EVMs have been manipulated. But, none of this will help win an election. It has to move beyond bickering to take on the challenge, no matter the cost. Remember, that which peaks must also collapse – and today, the opposition which is in embers, can only rise. Mission 2024 For BJP, this pulsating success must be followed by defining a new vision for India in 2024. Failed economic policies need revision while India’s inclusive fabric has to be aggressively preserved. There have to be checks on fringe groups that have spread panic and the mass that has been empowered to take the law into its hands. While jubilations abound, BJP also must remember that its emphatic rise is most ripe for a tragic fall. But knowing Amit Shah’s fierce devotion to work, he is possibly already preparing a roadmap to grab the 150-odd seats that were left out of his kitty this time. This election has provided some important indications about India’s mercurial electoral graph. For one, two plus two will not always equal four. The failed SP-BSP alliance is living proof. Individual vote shares may have indicated success for them, but voters are not robots that will remain firm in their allegiance. When their party swerves, they too could sway another way. Second, there exists a vast difference between Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Congress seems to have been complacent after its victories in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, believing that the people would opt for it just like it did in the Assembly polls of 2018. But the voter knows well to distinguish between the state and central polls. The most potent example is in Odisha where BJP made successful inroads with 8 of 21 Lok Sabha seats but BJD managed a thumping victory, yet again, in the Assembly. Third, and most significantly, there remains no Left in the country which has now been reduced to five seats. They voted in mass for Congress in Kerala, saving Rahul’s face; and, in Bengal, they voted entirely for BJP to express their angst against Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress. Karl Marx is trembling. Finally, this election has told us that nationalism, no matter how ill-defined or misused, is the chant of the day. This is not just in India, but globally. Liberalism has failed everywhere and conservatism is on the rise. Liberal politics has failed domestic economies, their outward-looking stance have only birthed unemployment and rising inequality, and their complete lack of ideologically-bound workers has caused an internal degeneration that is difficult to mend. Alleging BJP for practising divisive politics is not yielding benefits – India’s overpopulated streets and congested ghettos have always witnessed deep difference and a consequent fight for the survival of the fittest. All said and done, if the opposition desires a resurrection, Mission 2024 must begin now.
Islamabad: Opposition leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, facing corruption charges, returned to Pakistan on Sunday following a “quick visit” to London, a media report said . Shehbaz, 67, served as the chief minister of the politically crucial Punjab province from 2013 to 2018. He became Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president after his elder brother and three-time Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was disqualified as the party president following a Supreme Court verdict in the Elections Act 2017 case. Also Read – ‘Hong Kong won’t rule out Chinese help over protests’Shehbaz arrived at Lahore’s Allama Iqbal International Airport on Sunday. In the form of a rally, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party workers took him from the airport till his residence in Model Town, where sweets were distributed, Dawn newspaper reported. Ahead of Shehbaz’s arrival, a large number of PML-N party workers, MPs and senior leaders reached the airport at night. Shehbaz had announced a “quick visit” to London on April 9 after his name was removed from the no-fly list on Lahore High Court orders. Party sources had said at the time that he intended to return within 10-12 days, the report said. Also Read – Pak Army chief accompanies Imran at key meetings in ChinaHe faces court cases for corruption and dishonesty. In the Ashiyana housing scam, Shehbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to a successful bidder for the low-cost housing scheme, resulting in a loss of Rs 193 million to the national exchequer. In the Ramzan Sugar Mills corruption case, Sharif and his son Hamza Shahbaz are accused of “fraudulently and dishonestly” causing a Rs 213 million loss to the national exchequer. Shehbaz was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in October 2018 and released on bail on February 14. His brother Sharif has been serving a seven-year prison term at Kot Lakhpat Jail in Lahore since December 24, 2018 when an accountability court convicted him in one of the three corruption cases filed in the wake of the apex court’s July 28, 2017 order in Panama Papers case. Both Sharif and his daughter Maryam have been sentenced to seven years in prison, respectively. Maryam’s husband Muhammad Safdar was jailed for one year in the same case.
NEW DELHI: In yet another fire incidet in the capital a fire broke out at a 10-storeyed residential building in northwest Delhi’s Pitampura on Wednesday night. About 100 residents were safely rescued and no one was injured in the fire late Wednesday night, a fire official said. A few residents complained of mild suffocation after inhaling fumes, but did not require medical attention, Chief Fire Officer Atul Garg said.The fire broke out on a fifth-floor apartment around 1 am and spread to other floors. Fifteen fire tenders took nearly three hours to extinguish the flames, the official said. Furniture and other household items were damaged, the official said, adding that the exact cause of the fire was yet to be ascertained. Also Read – Kejriwal ‘denied political clearance’ to attend climate meet in DenmarkSince it was a multi storey building, the level of tragedy could have been worse but the fire deprtment which acted swiftly saved the people struck inside and averted the tragedy. People were seen crying for help. Since the fire was at the fifth floor the floor above it were mostly affected and required immediate help. The timely action of the Fire brigade managed to save several lives. It took several hours for the firemen to douse the flames and rescue the residents of the building.