The temporary removal of spring weight restrictions on Nova Scotia roads has been extended for all counties until 12:01 a.m., Wednesday, March 8. The Department of Transportation and Public Works may post lower weights for individual roads throughout the province. Updated information is available on the department’s website at www.gov.ns.ca/tran . Transportation and Public Works staff monitor the roads daily to determine if and when weight restrictions are needed. Weight restrictions help ensure safe driving conditions and protect roads weakened by mild, wet weather. -30-
PICTOU COUNTY: Big Gut Bridge The temporary replacement bridge on Route 348 in Pictou County at Big Gut was reopened to traffic at 3 p.m. today, Oct. 23. The temporary bridge is a single-lane structure and is controlled by traffic signals. The bridge connects the communities of Hillside and Pictou Landing. Local Area Office: 902-755-7146 Fax: 902-755-7049 -30-
Local Area Office: 902-752-6224 Fax: 902-755-7184 KINGS COUNTY: Hantsport Kates Bridge on Tannery Road in Hantsport will be reduced to one lane for repairs and replacement of the bridge abutments until further notice. A detour is available on Avon Street. HANTS COUNTY: Trunk 1 Trunk 1 from Ardoise School Road, west to the St. Croix River Bridge, will have one-lane closures for repaving until Friday, Nov. 30. Traffic control consists of cones. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. CONTINUING WORK Local Area Office: 902-755-7060 Fax: 902-755-7049 PICTOU COUNTY: Millers Ford Bridge Millers Ford Bridge over the West River on a connecting road between Saltsprings Loop and West River East Side Road will be closed for replacement until Wednesday, Nov. 28. A detour route is provided on Trunk 4 and West River East Side Road. ANTIGONISH COUNTY: Highway 104, West River No. 2 Bridge Highway 104 is reduced to one lane at West River No. 2 bridge for repairs until Friday, Dec. 14. Traffic control consists of control persons. Local Area Office: 902-863-3420 Fax: 902-863-7365 ANTIGONISH COUNTY: Trunk 4 The Trunk 4 (South River Road) intersection with Beech Hill Road will be reduced to one lane for intersection improvement and paving and repaving until Friday, Nov. 30. Traffic control consist of control persons. Work takes place from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. KINGS COUNTY: Glebe Bridge Glebe Bridge on Route 201 will have a 2.7 metre height restriction and a 15 tonne weight restriction until further notice. Local Area Office: 902-424-6144 Fax: 902-424-0054 Local Area Office: 902-527-5448 Fax: 902-527-5371 Local Area Office: 902-798-6888 Fax: 902-798-2927 PICTOU COUNTY: Highway 104 Detour Highway 104, east of exit 26 near New Glasgow will have a detour in place to allow for the installation of a recreational trail underpass until Friday, Nov. 30. A 200-metre detour parallel to the highway has been construction to carry traffic around the work zone. Drivers should reduce speed and use caution in the area. PICTOU COUNTY: Big Gut Bridge Big Gut Bridge on Route 348 near Pictou Landing is open to motorists. A temporary bridge will accommodate one-lane traffic and is controlled by traffic signals. The bridge width restriction is 4.2 metres. Motorists should proceed with caution. PICTOU COUNTY: West River East Side Road The West River East Side Road near Salt Springs is reduced to one lane for repairs until further notice. Traffic control consists of signals. A wide-load detour route is marked. Local Area Office: 902-752-6224 Fax: 902-755-7184 Local Area Office: 902-674-2146 Fax: 902-674-2170 Local Area Office: 902-755-7146 Fax: 902-755-7049 HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Burnside Drive Burnside Drive from Commodore Drive to the ramp at Highway 111 and the eastbound ramp from Highway 111 to Burnside Drive, about one kilometre, will have lane closures at various locations and times for widening, gravelling, signal installation, paving and repaving until Thursday, Jan. 31, 2008. Traffic control consist of cones, barriers, signs and traffic control people. Work takes place from sunrise to sunset. Some weekend work may be involved. Local Area Office: 902-863-0364 Fax: 902-863-7482 Local Area Office: 902-835-2702 Fax: 902-835-1860 Local Area Office: 902-798-6888 Fax: 902-798-2927 Local Area Office: 902-424-4670 Fax: 902-424-7116 Local Area Office: 902-752-6224 Fax: 902-755-7184 Local Area Office: 902-563-2518 Fax: 902-563-2517 HANTS COUNTY: Bishopville Road The Bishopville Road will be closed at Highway 101 for construction of the new Highway 101 structure over Bishopville Road until Friday, Nov. 30. Detour route via Rand Street, Bog Road and Old Post Road. Local Area Office: 902-542-6344 Fax: 902-542-6342 PICTOU COUNTY: Black Brook Bridge Black Brook Bridge on Route 347 (East River, St. Mary’s) will be closed for replacement until Friday, Nov. 30. A temporary detour is available parallel to the existing structure. Motorists are advised to use extreme caution when travelling though the construction zone. KINGS COUNTY: Trunk 1 Trunk 1 from Lockhart Mountain Road to Lovett Road will have one-lane closures for widening, traffic lights, sidewalk and repaving until Monday, Dec. 31. Traffic control people will be on site. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. -30- CAPE BRETON REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Trunk 4 Trunk 4 from East Bay, west for about four kilometres to the Ski Ben Eoin area, will have one-lane closures until Friday, Nov. 30 for paving and construction of a left-turning lane into the golf and ski area. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. VICTORIA COUNTY: Trunk 30 (Cabot Trail) Trunk 30 from the Highway 105 intersection (Exit 11), north for about five kilometres will have one-lane closures for repaving until Friday, Nov. 30. Work takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. HANTS COUNTY: Highway 101 Highway 101 at the Bishopville Road overpass will be rerouted onto the new Bishopville overpass for bridge construction until Monday, Dec. 31. The speed limit will be reduced to 80 kilometres per hour. ANNAPOLIS COUNTY: McEwan Bridge — Trunk 1 McEwan Bridge over McEwan Brook on Trunk 1, about four kilometres west of Middleton will be closed for replacement until Sunday, Nov. 25. A detour is provided on Mount Hanley Road, Clarence Road and Elliott Road. HALIFAX REGIONAL MUNICIPALITY: Northwest Arm Drive Northwest Arm Drive at the Walter Havill Drive and Albert Walker Connector intersection will be reduced to one lane for signal upgrades from Monday, Nov. 26 until Friday, Feb. 29, 2008. Work takes place from sunrise to Sunset. Local Area Office: 902-825-4827 Fax: 902-825-3593 NEW WORK Local Area Office: 902-670-1727 Fax: 902-538-8288
An established direct-to-consumer business in Cape Breton is getting a boost from the province to upgrade its call centre technology to increase workforce efficiency and expand business potential. Premier Rodney MacDonald announced today, Jan. 23, that the province will invest $1.2 million in Spiegel Brands Inc.’s New Waterford location. “We are pleased to invest in the innovation plans of the largest employer in the New Waterford community,” said Premier MacDonald. “It is a well-respected employer with strong ties to the community.” Spiegel Brands Inc. employs about 500 people at the centre and generates an annual payroll of $10 million. The company sells women’s clothing directly to consumers through Internet-based marketing and its traditional United States catalog sales. The company is installing a leading-edge data-entry system worth more than $6 million. It will make the order process more efficient and allow the company to take advantage of future growth opportunities. “Upgrading our call centre technology will increase our productivity and efficiency,” said Lisa Lavin, senior director of call centres for Spiegel Brands Inc. “We look forward to many more years of successful growth in Nova Scotia.” New York-based Spiegel Brands Inc. has been in business more than 100 years. It generates $300 million in annual sales through its catalogs, Internet sales, and one pilot retail store.
KINGS COUNTY: Bridge Closure The Busby McMahon Bridge on Brooklyn Street, near Aylesford, will be closed until further notice. A marked detour route is available on New Road, Route 221 and Morden Road. -30- Local Area Office: 902-680-5914 Fax: 902-681-7151
The province released its annual financial statements, today, Sept. 10, showing a lower surplus than expected for the 2009 fiscal year. The public accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31 reports a surplus of $19.7 million. Total revenues from all sources were $9.19 billion, $64.6 million lower than the previous year, mainly because of a decrease in revenue from taxes and a decline in federal contributions. Total expenses from all sources were $9.17 billion, $334.7 million more than the previous year because of higher costs in health care, education and universities. Financial results of the consolidated fund, which includes government departments and public-service units, showed an overall decrease in revenue of $44.4 million compared with the year before, but was $27.1 million higher than budget. Consolidated fund expenses were $388.1 higher, and $188.1 million more than budget. This is because of a $256 million additional appropriation for university funding in 2009. Nova Scotia’s net direct debt, the difference between the province’s liabilities and financial assets, was $12.3 billion, $208.7 million higher than the previous year. The increase is mainly attributed to a large net investment in tangible capital assets. Provincial debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product has decreased one percentage point, from 37 per cent to 36 per cent. The consolidated fund spent $364.7 million on tangible capital assets, or $23.2 million more than budgeted, primarily as a result of new highway construction. Nova Scotia’s economy experienced an estimated two per cent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the fiscal year, up from a 1.7 per cent growth rate in 2007-08. The increased growth rate was mostly driven by consumer and government spending in the first half of the fiscal year. The number of people active in the labour market increased by 0.9 per cent, while overall employment increased by 1.3 per cent. This resulted in a 0.3 per cent decrease in the overall employment rate to 7.7 per cent. The March 31 financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Nova Scotia’s auditor general has provided an unqualified auditor’s report that is included in Public Accounts Volume 1. The Public Accounts documents are available online at www.gov.ns.ca/finance.
On demande aux Néo-Écossais de faire preuve de prudence, aujourd’hui 6 décembre, alors que les vents forts, les pluies abondantes et les ondes de tempête continuent d’entraîner des conditions dangereuses le long des côtes ainsi que des inondations dans certaines régions. « Cet automne, les Néo-Écossais ont vu de près les dangers que les tempêtes peuvent entraîner, a dit Ramona Jennex, ministre de la Gestion des urgences. Restez loin des côtes et prenez les précautions nécessaires pour assurer la sécurité de votre famille sur les routes aujourd’hui. » Des vents forts et un front de basse pression entraînent une augmentation du niveau de l’eau, particulièrement le long des côtes. La combinaison des ondes de tempête et des grandes vagues pourrait causer des inondations et des dommages dans certaines régions. On prévoit que les rafales diminueront en début d’après-midi. On demande aux Néo-Écossais de rester loin des côtes exposées où les vagues et les ondes imprévisibles constituent un danger important. Les automobilistes doivent faire preuve de prudence, particulièrement dans les régions côtières et de faible élévation, et porter attention aux routes qui sont fermées en raison de lignes d’électricité brisées et d’inondations, afin d’éviter ces routes. Les automobilistes doivent également réduire leur vitesse dans les régions où la visibilité est mauvaise et où l’eau s’est accumulée sur la route afin de prévenir l’aquaplanage. On demande aux Néo-Écossais d’être très prudents avec des flammes nues et autres sources de chaleur qu’ils pourraient utiliser en cas de panne d’électricité. Les gens doivent également bien attacher les objets près de leur maison et garder leurs animaux de compagnie à l’intérieur, s’il y a lieu. En cas d’inondation, écoutez la radio. Les autorités locales émettront des directives à l’intention des personnes qui habitent dans les régions touchées. Des conseils à suivre en cas d’urgence sont disponibles (en anglais seulement) à l’adresse http://emo.gov.ns.ca/content/know-risks. Des rafales de 90 kilomètres à l’heure ou plus ont été enregistrées à Halifax, et les traversiers qui font la navette entre Halifax et Dartmouth ont été mis hors service pendant l’heure de pointe ce matin. Les traversiers qui se rendent à Terre-Neuve sont hors service. Le Bureau de gestion des urgences continue de recevoir des mises à jour d’Environnement Canada et de surveiller la tempête de près. Les représentants du gouvernement sont en contact avec les municipalités et les services publics. Des équipes de Nova Scotia Power rétablissent l’électricité dans les régions où des pannes sont signalées. Comme toujours, composez le 911 en cas d’urgence.
The first of 15 wind turbines left Halifax today, Sept. 27, for installation at a new $61-million wind farm in Amherst, a project that is creating good jobs in rural Nova Scotia and helping establish the province as a world leader in renewable energy. Premier Darrell Dexter joined representatives from Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. and Sprott Power Corp. for the send off at the Port of Halifax, where 36 of the 48.5-metre turbine blades arrived last week. Suzlon, the world’s fifth largest supplier of wind turbine parts, has hired DSTN in Trenton to manufacture the steel towers for the wind turbines, which means more good jobs and a boost to the local economy. “These are exciting times to be involved in the energy business in Nova Scotia,” said Premier Dexter. “This project is helping the province achieve its aggressive renewable energy targets, as well as the goals laid out in jobsHere, our strategic plan to grow the economy. “Our province is undertaking nothing short of a transformation in how it generates the electricity Nova Scotians rely on to power their homes, businesses and the economy. I want to thank Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. and Sprott Power Corp. for choosing to invest in our province and its people.” The Amherst wind farm marks the first time that the new Suzlon model S97 turbines will be installed anywhere in North America. The arrival of the parts shows further progress toward achieving Nova Scotia’s renewable energy targets. “Over the past six years, the price of coal has risen 75 per cent,” said Premier Dexter. “The government has established aggressive targets to help reduce the province’s dependence on fossil fuels, a move that will make life more affordable for families by ensuring lower, more stable power rates in the long term.” The Renewable Electricity Plan states that by 2015, 25 per cent of the province’s electricity must come from clean, renewable sources of energy. That target increases to 40 per cent by 2020. “It’s an honour to help bring clean energy to the people of Nova Scotia,” said Andris Cukurs, CEO of Suzlon Wind Energy Corp. “For Sprott, we’re confident the equipment will deliver on Suzlon’s proven technology platform, as every aspect of the turbine, the blades, the generator and sub-systems, features enhanced design to deliver a higher return on investment for our customers.” The new wind farm will have a generating capacity of 31.5 megawatts, enough electricity to power 10,000 homes. “The arrival of the Suzlon turbine equipment marks another key milestone towards completion of the Amherst Project,” said Jeff Jenner, chief executive officer of Sprott Power. “We look forward to receiving the equipment at the site, and expect that the project will continue making great progress towards its completion early next year.” To show the province’s support for the project, Premier Dexter joined representatives of Suzlon and Sprott in signing one of the massive wind turbine blades.
The province is helping ensure the viability of the agriculture industry by making it easier for new farmers to get the funds and practical business advice they need to be successful. Agriculture Minister John MacDonell unveiled the FarmNEXT program today, Nov. 24, at the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture annual meeting in Truro. FarmNEXT will support new farmers by helping reduce the financial burden of their loans. New farmers may be eligible for up to $30,000 in loan relief when starting a farm business or up to $20,000 in loan relief when buying an established farm business. “Attracting and encouraging new faces to agriculture is vital for the long-term growth and success of the industry,” said Mr. MacDonell. “We are aligning resources to help farmers make ends meet and to support the long-term viability of farm operations in Nova Scotia. Funds are being allocated to new entrants in the most relevant, effective and responsible way.” FarmNEXT will replace the New Entrants to Agriculture program, which has been offered for 10 years. Commitments already made to farmers and agri-businesses under the existing program will be met before the new program comes into effect. Mr. MacDonell said the FarmNEXT program will better meet the needs of Nova Scotians wanting to enter the agriculture industry. Applications for FarmNEXT will be accepted starting April 1. FarmNEXT will be administered through the Nova Scotia Farm Loan Board. It will be part of a suite of government programs and services available to Nova Scotians new to agriculture.
Les entreprises de la Nouvelle-Écosse peuvent stimuler l’innovation et la productivité grâce à l’expertise et aux services des universités et des collèges de la province. Le Programme de bons pour la productivité et l’innovation, désormais géré par Innovacorp, accepte maintenant les demandes des petites et moyennes entreprises. La date limite est le 3 juillet. « Une entreprise en démarrage a peut-être besoin d’aide pour construire un prototype, une jeune entreprise a peut-être besoin d’une analyse d’un nouveau débouché ou encore, une entreprise cherche peut-être à améliorer l’efficacité de ses processus de production », souligne Stephen Duff, président et directeur général d’Innovacorp, la société de capital de risque au démarrage en Nouvelle-Écosse. « Nos établissements d’enseignement ont une expertise et des solutions techniques considérables à offrir. La commission One Nova Scotia nous demande de doubler le nombre de partenariats en recherche et développement entre les entreprises et les universités et collèges communautaires. Nous souhaitons que ce programme renforce les liens entre les chercheurs et l’industrie, et améliore la capacité des entreprises à faire concurrence sur le marché global. » Le programme de bons est offert en deux séries. La première série offre des bons ou des crédits, pouvant s’élever à 15 000 $, aux demandeurs admissibles qui n’ont jamais reçu de bon auparavant ou qui présentent un nouveau projet. La deuxième série offre des bons pouvant s’élever à 25 000 $ pour poursuivre le travail effectué grâce à un bon accordé dans le cadre de la première série. Les services admissibles incluent la recherche appliquée, les services d’ingénierie, le prototypage, la conception de produits et les essais sur le terrain. Les universités et les collèges qui participent au programme sont l’Université Acadia, l’Université Cape Breton, l’Université Dalhousie, l’Université Mount Saint Vincent, l’Université Saint Mary’s, l’Université St. Francis Xavier, l’Université Sainte-Anne, le Nova Scotia College of Art and Design et le Nova Scotia Community College.Pour obtenir plus d’information, consultez le https://innovacorp.ca/acceleration-initiatives/productivity-and-innovation-voucher-program (en anglais seulement).
“We promised Nova Scotians we would listen, and we did. In year one we engaged with over 1,000 Nova Scotians, and what we heard will set our direction as work on the strategy continues,” said Ms. Bernard. “We need to keep these conversations going and make sure we reach out to people whose voices need to be heard.” “Living in a rural area can create barriers, but with our partners, the Red Door Youth Health and Support Centre is able to support youth, women, men, children and the LGBTQ community,” said Tara Newcombe, co-chair of the centre. “We recognize the importance of engaging youth to truly shift the current culture of sexual violence. In addition, inviting youth to voice their thoughts on how to improve support services will inform our local demonstration project as well as the larger provincial sexual violence strategy.” Last December, government released a summary of what Nova Scotians said during meetings and through an online survey. In April, a summary of youth engagement responses was also released.This month, two provincial committees on training and public awareness have been appointed. A new provincial specialist has been hired to coordinate the work on the strategy. For more information on the strategy and for a list of services for victims of sexual violence, visit http://novascotia.ca/coms/svs/ . Helping people get urgent support faster through existing crisis lines, online and other new technologies Expanding the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner program in Sydney and western Nova Scotia Creating nine community support networks to coordinate counselling and support, visibility of services and help with navigation Establishing a prevention innovation fund to support best practices, research and evaluation Better-coordinated supports for victims, more public education and awareness, and continued community engagement on prevention are among the approaches in Nova Scotia’s first sexual violence strategy. Premier Stephen McNeil and Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard launched Breaking the Silence: A Coordinated Response to Sexual Violence in Nova Scotia, today, June 16, in Kentville. “Sexual violence is a traumatic and pervasive problem in all of society and our province is no exception,” said Premier McNeil. “This strategy calls on Nova Scotians to work together to better understand and prevent sexual violence in our communities.” Some of the actions planned over the next two years include:
The province has changed its existing physician incentive programs to encourage more doctors to choose Nova Scotia. Geographic restrictions for the Tuition Relief Program, the Family Medicine Bursary and the Debt Assistance Plan have been removed to support recruitment of family doctors to urban communities. Previously the programs were available for doctors in rural areas. These changes are effective immediately. “Doctors and medical residents have asked for more flexibility, and we’ve listened,” said Health and Wellness Minister Randy Delorey. “We need family doctors in urban and rural communities. Removing these restrictions and expanding eligibility offers more choice and added incentive to practise in Nova Scotia.” The three programs will now also be available to those working in full-time, part-time and locum positions. “We are pleased government is expanding these incentives, increasing the flexibility and opportunity for new physicians to access these funds,” said Dr. Caitlin Lees, president, Maritime Resident Doctors. “The debt new physicians bring into practise from their training is a great concern and assistance paying off that debt can significantly impact where they set up practice. We believe increasing these programs can do nothing but make Nova Scotia more attractive for new physicians.” The Tuition Relief Program repays up to $120,000 of a physician’s medical school tuition in exchange for a five-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia. It is now available to eligible family doctors who want to practise in urban areas. Other eligibility changes include: availability to those on either full or defined licences specialists in urban areas may qualify if they agree to provide some services in underserviced areas physicians with return of service agreements through the International Medical Graduate clerkship or residency programs are now eligible The Family Medicine Bursary provides residents $60,000 to establish a family practice in exchange for a three-year commitment to practise in Nova Scotia. Other program changes give residents more choice through expanded practice location options and more time to select and finalize a practice site. The Debt Assistant Plan offers eligible physicians who choose to practise in Nova Scotia between $20,000 and $45,000. “It’s important physicians are incented to work in communities that not only need their services, but are also a good fit for them and their family,” said Nancy MacCready-Williams, CEO, Doctors Nova Scotia. “Adding more flexibility to the incentive programs means physicians have more choice in where they live and work, which makes Nova Scotia a more attractive place to practise medicine.” The province also offers educational incentives for international medical graduates to help them prepare for and complete residency training before practising in Canada. Participants in the International Medical Graduate clerkship and residency programs will also have more time to select a practice site. Visit https://physicians.novascotia.ca/support.html for more information on the province’s physician incentive programs.
All ages can benefit from expanded Learn 2 Fish programs being offered this spring around the province. For the first time, a community event for adults and children is being offered in each recreational fishing area. Learn 2 Fish teaches the basics of sportfishing, along with ethics and environmental stewardship. “Learn 2 Fish is one of our department’s most popular programs, reflecting the overall interest in sportfishing,” said Fisheries and Aquaculture Minister Keith Colwell. “These sessions help to interest younger Nova Scotians in angling and can plant the seeds for a lifelong love of the outdoors that will ensure sportfishing continues to benefit the economy of our rural communities.” The free community sessions are organized by staff of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture or volunteers from local sportfishing organizations. Participants will be shown how to assemble basic tackle, casting with both open and closed-face reels and proper handling for catch-and-release. They will be able to keep their fish if they choose. All ages are welcome and early arrival is recommended as participation is on a first come, first served basis. Children will need to be accompanied by an adult parent or guardian. This initiative builds on the success of Learn 2 Fish for school-aged groups. More than 15,000 youth have gained introductory angling skills since the program began in 2006. The program is for youth from grades 4 to high school, and includes 4-H Clubs, scouts and guides and others. Volunteers and staff will be running these sessions in May and June, based on strong enrolment from February. The Learn 2 Fish program is supported by the three provincial hatcheries, which stock the lake or pond with trout so that youth are more likely to catch a fish. If you cannot make it to a community Learn 2 Fish session, you can always take your family fishing at a stocked lake. Check out https://novascotia.ca/fish/sportfishing/hatchery-stocking/stocking-update/ for a weekly update. Community Learn 2 Fish Sessions are scheduled for: South Ohio, Yarmouth County, a private pond at 533 Highway #340, on May 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. Upper Tantallon, Halifax Regional Municipality, Jerry Lawrence Park, 4775 St. Margarets Bay Rd, May 27, from noon to 2 p.m. with partner Five Bridges Heritage Trust St. Croix, Hants Co., St. Croix Pond, Ball Park Road, June 2, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., with partner Hants West Wildlife Association Glace Bay, Cape Breton Regional Municipality, #20 Dam, John Bernard Croak Memorial Park, 53 Beacon St., June 16, from 6 to 8 p.m. with partner Port Morien Wildlife Association Truro, Kiwanis Pond, 32 Juniper St., June 21 from 6 to 8 p.m. Trenton, Trenton Park, 119 Park Rd., June 24 from 2 to 4 p.m. For more details, call 902-485-7021.
Families who rely on court-ordered child and spousal support payments now have easier access to information on their case files online. People using the Maintenance Enforcement Program Online service will be able to connect to their accounts using their phones or tablets. Clients of the program will also be able to get immediate and accurate information about enforcement actions, money collected and still owed and other case updates. The new service launched today, June 28, also allows clients to print documentation on payments received and owing, as well as connecting more easily with their program caseworkers. They can also subscribe to payment notifications online. “We have made a lot of progress strengthening the Maintenance Enforcement Program for families through legislation, technology and staff training and hiring” said Justice Minister Mark Furey. “This represents another step forward in improving service to our clients.” The new service will also help staff manage cases better and make more timely enforcement decisions. It will support better oversight for cases so staff can identify people who owe money and ensure payment timelines outlined in departmental policy are met. The program collects and distributes approximately $230,000 a day or $5 million a month to families enrolled in the program. This improved access to information using mobile devices is part of government’s overall strategy to increase the effectiveness of the Maintenance Enforcement Program. Over the past year, program staff have initiated more than 30,000 enforcement actions, an increase of 29 per cent from the previous year. Outstanding payments are down 10 per cent from May 31, 2018, and now stands at $56.8 million, the lowest level in a decade. For more information on the Maintenance Enforcement Program, visit https://mep.novascotia.ca/ .
Kolkata: Three political workers, including two from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and one from the Trinamool Congress, were killed in a clash between the supporters of the two parties in West Bengal’s North 24 Parganas district, on Saturday, police said. However, the BJP claimed five of its workers were killed, while Trinamool leaders claimed that three of their workers were murdered in the clash in the Hatgachi area under Najat police station of Sandeshkhali Assembly constituency. Hatgachi is about 84 kilometers from Kolkata. Also Read – Dussehra with a ‘green’ twist BJP leader Mukul Roy called on Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Saturday night and apprised him of the situation. “A team of BJP MPs will visit the area on Sunday and submit a report to Shah,” she said. “Three political workers – two of them from the BJP and another from Trinamool – were killed,” said a police officer. State BJP General Secretary Sayantan Basu claimed three of its leaders – Pradip Mondal, Tapan Mondal and Sukanta Mondal – were killed and five other functionaries injured in the clash. Also Read – India receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France BJP state General Secretary (organisation) Subrata Chattopadhyay said a fourth BJP worker Debabrata Mondal also died of bullet injury, while 18 other villagers were missing. Later, another injured BJP worker Shankar Mondal’s body was found. The Trinamool said while its worker Qayum Mollah was stabbed to death, two others were thrown into the water. According to the BJP leaders, the clash erupted after Trinamool workers allegedly removed the saffron party’s flags in Sandeshkhali area, while local Trinamool leaders accused the BJP workers of defacing their flags. “During a booth level meeting of our workers in Hatgachhi, some miscreants, backed by the BJP, attacked them. Mollah, a 26-year-old Trinamool worker, was taken out of the party office and stabbed to death,” state Minister and Trinamool’s district President Jyotipriya Mallick claimed. “Two other workers were thrown into the river. Eighteen Trinamool workers, including six women, are injured, he said. I would like to ask the BJP whether we don’t even have the right to hold a meeting. A large posse of police personnel, including those from the Rapid Action Force, have been rushed to the spot. Union minister and BJP leader Babul Supriyo in a tweet said he was ‘deeply disturbed’ about the murders of BJP functionaries. “The people of West Bengal will very soon put an end to TMC’s atrocities,” said Supriyo. Mukul Roy held Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee “directly responsible” for “unleashing violence against the BJP workers”.
India has taken steps to withstand the destructive force of cyclone Vayu upon its landfall today. 52 National Disaster Relief Force teams have been positioned in Gujarat and Diu for assistance to the local authorities as preparedness was strengthened. The cyclone’s trajectory has been analysed and intensity has been studied to predict its advancement once it makes landfall. Experts have stressed how Vayu has picked up moisture from the southwest monsoon and grown in intensity. Heavy rainfall is anticipated and strong winds have blown as far as Mumbai. The local administration has been on its toes ever since IMD issued an advisory of the forthcoming cyclone. Analyses have conveyed that Vayu may not be as strong as Fani with its wind attaining a maximum wind speed of anywhere between 110-150 kmph while Fani was well above 220 kmph. Fani exemplified disaster preparedness to prevent loss of human lives even as it racked up a bill of over 9,000 crores to the state exchequer. But since forecast and analyses aided us in a timely evacuation, the cost can never outweigh the achievement. Yet, a cyclone-prone state such as Odisha learned another important lesson that glorified the need to be cyclone-resilient. Man cannot do anything about the actions of nature. His only options are excessive preparedness and damage control. Odisha brilliantly carried out the former while suffered a blow in the latter. And, Odisha’s experience is of the essence to Gujarat as it prepares for Vayu’s aftermath. Gujarat chief secretary has sought his Odisha counter part’s advice in this crucial time and sharing of information will definitely be of help in guiding the relief programme. IMD, Ahemadabad Director affirmed that cyclones are a common sight in the Arabian Sea this time but Vayu’s intensity increased due to its coinciding with the onset of monsoon. The country’s experience with Fani will beneficial in tackling Vayu but more of use in the relief process and rebuilding process. Cyclone renders a devastating state where damage to infrastructure and livelihood is the byproduct of a painful reality of being displaced and decimated. Rehabilitation coupled with rebuilding the affected area assumes priority as the damage is assessed. An analysis of the damage can further enable the state to take measures in the interest of the area and people. Geo-tagging coastal areas as cyclone-prone with even a basic level of cyclone-resilient development and maintenance will yield tremendously for future instances. Given the predicted longevity of Vayu post-landfall, the damage inflicted would be very less to that of Fani. Expediting the rehabilitation programme for Vayu-affected areas will be a display of expertise of the kind desirable from the country’s experience with cyclones. Reports confirm evacuation of at least 1.60 lakh people from low-lying areas of Saurashtra and Kutch regions which is only the start of rescue and relief operations that Gujarat and Diu will be in need of. Also Read – Securing nutritionTwo cyclones in a span of 40 days narrate the extent of preparedness as well as challenges that the country must be ready for. It is a relief that Vayu’s trajectory does not include any major urban centre but may also be a wake-up call to draft emergency plans in case future is not too kind. Cyclonic developments, irrespective of coinciding with the south-western monsoon, muster an important question: whether our coastlines, which are now laced with urban fauna, insulated from such consequences? And, if they are not, then what must be done. It is possible that Climate Change may facilitate such cyclonic activity. While we will have the likes of IMD to help us identify potential threats of this manner, our on-ground preparedness will ultimately determine the aftermath. With a less severe cyclone on cards and proactive preparedness positioned to combat consequences, Gujarat must display the country’s commitment to learning from such calamities for future events of similar adversity which remain beyond human control.
New Delhi: Cyclone Vayu will change its path again and is likely to hit Kutch on June 17-18, an official of the ministry of earth sciences said on Friday. The very severe cyclonic storm will also reduce in intensity and turn into a severe cyclonic storm by Saturday morning, a senior India Meteorological Department (IMD) official said. “The system is moving nearly westwards affecting Porbandar, Devbhoomi Dwarka districts with wind speed of 50-60 kilometres per hour gusting to 70 kilometres per hour and Gir Somnath and Junagarh districts with wind speed of 30-40 kilometres per hour gusting to 50 kilometres per hour. The wind speed over these districts is very likely to decrease gradually,” the Cyclone Warning Division said in its bulletin at 5.30 pm. Also Read – IAF receives its first Rafale fighter jet from France “The system is very likely to move nearly westwards during next 48 hours and recurve northeastwards thereafter,” it added. “Cyclone Vayu will again recurve. It is likely to hit the Kutch coast on June 17-18,” ministry of earth sciences secretary M Rajeevan told news agency PTI. By June 16, Vayu is likely to become a cyclonic storm with an expected wind speed of 80-90 kilometres per hour, he said. The intensity of the cyclone is likely to reduce and it may hit the coast as a cyclonic storm or a deep depression, Rajeevan added. Also Read – Cosmology trio win Nobel Physics Prize He said the Gujarat government has been alerted about the possible recurvature of the cyclonic storm. Cyclone Vayu was to hit the Gujarat coast on Thursday, but it changed course on the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday. It skirted the Gujarat coast, affecting Gir, Somnath, Diu, Junagarh and Porbandar. After it changed its course on Thursday, Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani said that the teams of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), that were brought in to provide aide for possible damage, will remain stationed along the coastline for another 48 hours. As a precautionary measure, the state government has evacuated over two lakh people living along the coast. Meanwhile, there was no let up in heatwave in northern and eastern India due to deficient pre-monsoon showers and conditions look to remain the same till the weekend when rain is likely in some parts. The mercury crossed the 45-degree mark at some places in Delhi, which is the only 100% rain-deficient state in the country.(With inputs from Hindustan Times)
Mumbai: With an eye on the upcoming Assembly elections in four months, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on Sunday reshuffled his cabinet by dropping six Ministers and inducting 13 others. The 13 comprise 10 from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), two from Shiv Sena and one from ally the Republican Party of India (A) (RPI-A). As expected, former Congressman and Leader of Opposition in the state Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil joined as a Minister, and another long-time contender Mumbai BJP President Ashish Shelar was also inducted. All the ministers were administered the oath of office and secrecy by Governor C.V. Rao at a function in Raj Bhavan. Besides Vikhe-Patil and Shelar, the other Cabinet rank Ministers who were sworn-in are: Sanjay Kute, Suresh Khade, Anil Bonde and Ashok Uike and Tanaji Sawant (all BJP), and Jaydutt Kshirsagar (Shiv Sena). Five legislators were inducted as Ministers of State — Yogesh Sagar, Sanjay Bhegde, Parinay Fuke (all BJP), Atul Save (Shiv Sena) and Avinash Mahatakear (RPI-A). Six incumbent ministers – Prakash Mehta, Vishnu Savra, Ambarish Atram, Dilip Kamble, Pravin Pote and Rajkumar Badole – who were dropped for lacklustre performance, tendered their resignations which were accepted by Fadnavis. With this, on the eve of the Maharashtra Assembly’s monsoon session starting here on Monday, Fadnavis has consolidated the ruling BJP-Shiv Sena’s position before the upcoming elections.
Kolkata: Coming down heavily on the BJP for running a ‘parallel government’ for the last five years, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday urged the CPI(M) and the Congress to join hands with Trinamool Congress to fight the BJP.”The situation in Bhatpara has made the people of the state realize what happens if you vote for BJP. The way they are functioning in the country, I apprehend they will change the Constitution one day. I feel all of us (TMC, Congress and CPIM) should come together in the fight against the saffron party. It doesn’t mean we have to join hands politically, but on common issues at the national level, we can come together,” she said while speaking in the state Assembly. Also Read – City bids adieu to Goddess DurgaBanerjee also reiterated that 23 political parties in the country are trying to put up a united fight against the BJP and they have to continue this for the greater interest of the country. She appealed to the Congress and the CPI(M) to be vocal against alleged EVM manipulation on the part of BJP to swing votes in their favour. “It is your prerogative with whom you should forge an alliance. But I feel, we need to be united to fight the fascist BJP. We stand by the Congress in various issues in Parliament and it should be the same in our state too,” she asserted. BJP had managed to win 18 out of 42 seats in the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls against TMC’s 22 seats. Congress won two seats while the Left failed to open its account. It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had said time and again that CPI(M) and the Congress have connived against the TMC right from the Panchayats to the Lok Sabha polls. Continued on P5
New Delhi: The government will launch a technology solution next month to enable detection of lost or stolen mobile phones that are operating in the country, an official said.The tracking system would make the detection of stolen mobile phones possible even if the SIM card is removed or the unique code IMEI number is changed, the official revealed. The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) is ready with the technology and the service is expected to be launched in August. Also Read – IAF Day: Tributes paid to soldiers killed in line of duty in Jammu”C-DoT is ready with the technology. The telecom department will approach the minister for its launch after the Parliament session. It should be launched in the next month,” a DoT official said. The ongoing Parliament session will run till July 26. The Department of Telecom (DoT) had assigned the mobile phone tracking project “Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)” aimed at bringing down counterfeit cellphones and discouraging theft to C-DoT in July 2017. The government has proposed to allocate Rs 15 crore for setting up CEIR in the country that will bring down the number of counterfeit handsets and discourage theft. The CEIR system will block all services on stolen or lost mobile phones on any network even if the SIM card is removed or IMEI number of the handset is changed.