A BC photographer captured one of the most stunning images you will

first_img Twitter Dr. Christian Sasse has a PhD in optics and electrical engineering, loves astronomy and took pretty much the coolest photo we have ever seen. The Surrey, B.C. photographer traveled to southern Australia last month to see the Milky Way in one of the places it is clearest on earth.“You see this incredible, three-dimensional Milky Way with light, with its dust clouds really sticking out and I wanted to capture that,” Sasse told CTV News.He took over 1,200 pictures during the course of a night, one every 30 seconds, to capture the spectacular beauty of the open sky. Advertisement Advertisement Facebookcenter_img Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisementlast_img


first_img Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook Mark Wahlberg refused to approve Christopher Plummer as a replacement for  Kevin Spacey in All the Money in the World unless he was paid over a million dollars for the reshoot, USA TODAY has learned.Wahlberg had co-star approval in his contract, two people familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly about it tell USA TODAY.“What he said was, ‘I will not approve Christopher Plummer unless you pay me.’ And that’s how he (expletive) them,” says one person. Advertisement Login/Register With: Advertisement Another Hollywood insider says Wahlberg’s lawyer formally vetoed the Oscar winner in a letter to financiers until his demand for additional payment was met.A lawyer and a rep for Wahlberg did not immediately respond to a request for comment. His talent agency, William Morris Endeavor, which took part in negotiating the contract, had no comment. USA TODAY also reached out to reps for Plummer and co-star Michelle Williams.The news comes as the pay gap between Wahlberg and Williams spirals into a war of words over what was or was not in their contracts.last_img read more

Everything coming to Netflix Canada in April 2018

first_img.April 1Batman: The Killing JokeBatteries Not IncludedBruno and Boots: Go Jump in the PoolBy The SeaDare to Be WildDragon: The Bruce Lee StoryElizabethFishpeopleFried Green TomatoesIce GuardiansKiss & CryKrampusLiar LiarMadagascar 3: Europe’s Most WantedRide AlongRide Along 2Pride & PrejudiceThe Best Man HolidayThe Joel McHale Show with Joel McHale Season 1 – Weekly Episodes every Sunday- Netflix Original SeriesThe Search for Life in SpaceWakfu: Season 3 – Netflix Original AnimeWild ChildApril 2An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to PowerAsh vs. Evil Dead: Season 2April 3Black Lighting – Season 1, Weekly Episodes from March 6 – Netflix Original SeriesFary Is the New Black – Netflix Original ComedyApril 4Prison Break Event Series: Season 5Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments – Season 3, Weekly Episodes from April 4 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 5Behind the Curtain: Todrick HallThe Killing of a Sacred DeerApril 66 Balloons – Netflix Original FilmAmateur – Netflix Original FilmFastest Car: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesMoney Heist: Part 2 – Netflix Original SeriesMy Next Guest Needs No Introduction With David Letterman: JAY-Z – Netflix Original SeriesOrbiter 9 – Netflix Original FilmRam Dass, Going Home – Netflix Original DocumentaryThe 4th Company – Netflix Original FilmThe Boss Baby: Back in Business: Season 1 – Netflix Original Series For KidsThe Florida ProjectTodo lo que sería de Lucas Lauriente – Netflix Original ComedyTroy: Fall of a City: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 7Dynasty Season 1, Weekly Episodes from April 7 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 9AMO: Season 1- Netflix Original SeriesThe Nice GuysApril 10Greg Davies: you Magnificent Beast – Netflix Original ComedyApril 12Hyori’s Bed & Breakfast: Season 2Pickpockets – Netflix Original FilmApril 13Chef’s Table: Pastry – Netflix Original DocumentaryCome Sunday – Netflix Original FilmI Am Not An Easy Man – Netflix Original FilmLeatherfaceLost in Space: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesThe Magic School Bus Rides Again: Season 2 – Netflix Original Series For KidsApril 15Eric ldle’s What About Dick?Monty Python and the Holy GrailMonty Python’s Almost the TruthMonty Python: Before the Flying CircusMonty Python Conquers AmericaMonty Python’s Flying CircusMonty Python’s Fliegender Zirkus: Season 1Monty Python’s Life of BrianMonty Python: Live at AspenMonty Python: Live at The Hollywood BowlMonty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to GoMonty Python’s Personal Best: Season 1Parrot Sketch Not Included: Twenty Years of Monty PythonThe Meaning of Monty PythonApril 16Loving VincentThe GunmanApril 17The Chalet: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesThe Honeymoon Stand Up Special: Collection – Netflix Original SeriesLockup: Chain Linked: Collection 1April 19Ainori Love Wagon: Asian Journey: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesCharité: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesRiverdale – Season 2 – Weekly Episodes from April 19 – Netflix Original SeriesThe Alienist: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 20Aggretsuko: Season 1 – Netflix Original AnimeDope: Season 2 – Netflix Original SeriesDude – Netflix Original FilmKodachrome – Netflix Original FilmMercury 13 – Netflix Original DocumentarySpy Kids: Mission Critical: Season 1 – Netflix Original Series For KidsApril 21The Letdown: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 24Kevin James: Never Don’t Give Up – Netflix Original ComedyApril 25Bill Nye: Science GuyPsychokinesis – Netflix Original FilmApril 26The 100: Season 5April 273%: Season 2 – Netflix Original SeriesBobby Kennedy for President – Netflix Original DocumentaryCandy Jar – Netflix Original FilmHoly GoalieThe New Legends of Monkey: Season 1 – Netflix Original Series for KidsThe Week Of – Netflix Original FilmApril 29Superstition: Season 1 – Netflix Original SeriesApril 30The Conjuring 2Coming in AprilSeth Rogen’s Hilarity for CharityLast Call – Titles that will be rotating off the service in April 2018April 1HitchHancokMen in BlackOur Brand is CrisisBlack MassApril 2Charlie St. CloudApril 13FootlooseApril 17American Dad! Seasons 1-6April 19Tropic Thunder Spring has officially sprung, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be spending time indoors on the couch taking in some Netflix.With spring’s flowers, comes April showers, which means rainy days ahead. No need to guilt over being inside this month, especially with the new movies and shows coming to everyone’s favorite streaming service.From Oscar winning films to old school faves, here’s everything coming to Netflix Canada in April. Login/Register With: Advertisement LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Advertisement Facebook Twitterlast_img read more

Senior Trudeau advisor linked to Bruce Carsons alleged illegal lobbying RCMP document

first_imgBy Jorge Barrera and Kenneth Jackson APTN National NewsOne of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s top advisors sat on the board of an energy industry-funded think tank while Bruce Carson allegedly illegally lobbied for the same organization, according to a court document filed by the RCMP.Daniel Gagnier, the Liberal party’s 2015 campaign co-chair, is currently president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) which the RCMP alleges benefited from illegal lobbying by Carson, who was once acting chief of staff in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office.Gagnier was a vice chair of the organization during a portion of time that became the focus of the RCMP’s investigation into Carson’s activities. Emails obtained by the RCMP show that Gagnier even pushed EPIC’s agenda with Jean Charest who was premier of Quebec at the time.Gagnier helped Carson land a meeting between EPIC and provincial energy ministers, according to the RCMP’s document. The RCMP believes Carson’s work around the meeting constituted illegal lobbying. Gagnier was also in the loop on Carson’s attempts to get EPIC’s agenda on the desk of Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright, the RCMP document shows.Daniel Gagnier is the president of Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) and Liberal campaign co-chair.The document, an Information to Obtain (ITO), was used by the RCMP to get a production order to seize Carson’s CIBC bank records. Carson was a friend of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and a senior advisor in the PMO.Carson is facing trial on an influence peddling charge which begins May 26. The trial is the result of a separate, but linked, investigation which was sparked by an APTN National News investigation in March 2011.The ITO was filed on Nov. 21, 2013, and sworn by Const. Marie-Josee Robert and is part of an ongoing investigation by the RCMP into Carson’s alleged illegal lobbying.None of the allegations contained in the ITO have been proven in court.The investigation, which is being handled by the RCMP’s Sensitive and International Investigations Unit, was triggered by Lobbying Commissioner Karen Shepherd who sent a letter of complaint, dated July 13, 2013, to the RCMP. Shepherd alleged in the letter that Carson lobbied during the five year cooling off period required by law for designated public office holders. Carson left the PMO in 2009.Shepherd’s letter also alleged that Carson illegally lobbied for both  EPIC and the Canada School of Energy and Environment (CSEE).The ITO is focused on Carson’s activities for EPIC. The RCMP is also investigating Carson’s alleged lobbying for the CSEE, according to the ITO.The RCMP believe Carson’s alleged illegal lobbying proved fruitful for EPIC. It allowed the organization to obtain $13,000 from Natural Resources Canada and to get its policy papers and ideas into the hands of decisions makers like Christian Paradis, who was natural resources minister at the time, Jean Charest, provincial energy ministers and senior federal officials.According to emails obtained by the RCMP, EPIC knew Carson’s connections were of immense benefit to the organization.“We could do nothing without out you,” wrote Bob Black on July 17, 2010, who was president of EPIC at the time and is now a Conservative Senator.On Nov. 19, 2010, in an email responding to Carson’s request for money, Black again praised Carson.“Bruce. No issue…We are making progress and you are the secret sauce,” wrote Black.The RCMP, however, believed Carson’s ingredients for the secret sauce involved breaking the law.“I believe Mr. Carson committed the offences listed above by communicating with federal PHOs (public office holders) with respect to the development of a policy of the government of Canada, namely the development of a Canadian energy strategy, on behalf of EPIC, and that Mr. Carson’s actions are considered lobbying activities,” wrote Robert. “Comments formulated by Mr. Black towards Carson are good examples of how Mr. Carson’s influence impacted the evolution of EPIC and its members.”Carson was paid a $160,000 by EPIC from December 2009 to March 2011.“Carson’s continuous association with POHs and others, allowed him to accept or offer or agree to accept, for himself, the honorarium as consideration for his cooperation, assistance or exercise of influence in connection with business matter with the government on behalf of EPIC. I believe without this inferred influence, Mr. Carson would have not have performed his services so effectively,” wrote Robert.EPIC’s executive passed a motion on Feb. 3, 2010, that Carson not lobby for the organization. The RCMP investigator, however, said Carson’s activities actually ramped up.“Interestingly enough, Mr. Carson’s lobbying activities increased after the motion,” wrote Robert.While not a founding member of EPIC, which was formed in 2009, Gagnier sat on the board as a vice chair since at least August 2010. Gagnier is now president of the think tank which includes founding members like Enbridge, the Canadian Association of Petroleum producers, Canadian Energy Pipeline Association, Apache Corporation, Irving Oil and Suncor Energy, among others.According to the ITO, Carson was working to get EPIC some face time with provincial energy ministers during an upcoming meeting in Montreal on Sept. 17, 2010, when he sent an email on Sept. 2, 2010, to Charest’s political advisor Mario Lavoie. The email was carbon copied to Marc Vallieres, who was Paradis’ chief of staff, and Gagnier. The subject line read, “possible EPIC meeting with Energy Ministers (sic).”Lavoie responded the same day saying he would get back to Carson the next morning.Gagnier then sent an email to Carson on Sept. 3 saying he had discussed EPIC with Charest.“Good move. I met with the premier yesterday. He told me he was the only one who had read our papers and that apart from transmission issues on which Quebec has a long standing policy, that he supports our initiative,” wrote Gagnier, according to the ITO.Carson replied.“Can you help push this…bc.(sic)”On Sept. 10, 2010, Carson emailed Richard Brosseau, who was chief of staff to Nathalie Normandeau, Quebec’s natural resources minister at the time, about the upcoming Montreal meeting. The email was carbon copied to Gagnier. In the email, Carson said that EPCI’s work had been discussed at a recent premiers’ meeting of the Council of the Federation, and that the organization wanted to meet with the energy ministers.“We want to meet with ministers for about half an hour on Thursday or Friday next week to brief them on our work to date and our future plans (sic),” wrote Carson.Carson said Gagnier would be present at the meeting, along with David Emerson, who was EPIC’s chair and once served as a cabinet minister in the Martin Liberal and Harper governments, Black and Gerry Protti, who is currently chair of Alberta’s energy regulator.On Sept. 13, Stephen Lucas, an assistant deputy minister with NRCAN, replied that both Paradis and Normandeau backed the meeting“Bruce, Ministers Paradis and Normandeau are supportive of the meeting,” wrote Lucas.The meeting was eventually held on Sept. 16 at 7:30 a.m. in Montreal’s Omni Hotel.Protti, who was interviewed by RCMP investigators on Sept. 12, 2013, said the meeting lasted about 15 minutes and that Carson did most of the talking.The RCMP said Carson’s work leading up to the meeting constituted lobbying.“By communicating the work of EPIC with the energy ministers, Mr. Carson engaged in lobbying activities…with respect to the development of a policy of the government of Canada, namely the Canadian Energy Strategy on behalf of EPIC,” said the ITO.In a September 2010 monthly EPIC report, Black praised the work of Carson, Protti and Gagnier.“I would like to acknowledge our three vice chairs that presented our work to the energy ministers: Bruce Carson, Gerry Protti and Daniel Gagnier,” wrote Black.Gagnier was also kept in the loop on Carson’s dealings with Harper’s former chief of staff Nigel Wright. Wright resigned last year in the midst of the controversy surrounding the Senate expense scandal and his $90,000 payment to suspended Conservative Senator Mike Duffy.On Jan. 20, 2011, Carson wrote Wright about EPIC’s energy policy work.“Nigel, I don’t think we have ever met, but we have a few mutual friends, so firstly good luck with this great adventure you have taken on, and secondly thought I would share with you a report I just finished on energy…would love to meet with you at your convenience,” wrote Carson.Wright responded the next day.“I’ve heard a lot of good things about you. Feel free to give me a call at any time. I’ll read the report over the weekend,” wrote Wright.On Feb. 6, 2011, Carson sent an email to EPIC’s executive committee, including Gagnier, Emerson and Protti.  The subject line said, “Nigel Wright-EPIC, informing them of the following.”In the email, Carson said he had briefed Wright on EPIC and that he would keep him up to date on email.“He seemed generally supportive,” wrote Carson.On March 16, 2011, Harper’s then principal secretary Ray Novak, who is now PMO chief of staff, wrote RCMP Commissioner Bob Elliot asking for an investigation in Carson’s activities following an APTN National News report.APTN National News reported that Carson was allegedly lobbying on behalf of an Ottawa-based water filtration company that had a financial contract with his then fiancée, Michele McPherson, a former escort. Carson was targeting First Nations struggling with water problems.On Nov. 1, 2011, Gagnier registered with the Alberta lobbying registry to lobby on behalf of EPIC.Gagnier also registered with the federal lobbyist registry to lobby on behalf of EPIC on March 4, 2013.Trudeau’s office did not respond to request for comment.Carson’s lawyer, Patrick McCann, did not respond to request for comment.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Prolonged Canada Post mail service shutdown caused health risk in Fort Chipewyan

first_imgBy Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsCanada Post is refusing to explain how it allowed mail to go undelivered in Fort Chipewyan, Alta., for nearly 10 days, putting the health of residents in this isolated community at risk as medical supplies ran dangerously low.A Canada Post spokesperson said mail service resumed Tuesday and “should start to become more regular as we continue to work on a more permanent solution.”Caroline Adam, health director for Nunee Health Board Society, said medicine like antibiotics and pain killers sat locked in a freight van for the duration of the post office shut down. Adam said health officials were preparing to take a financial hit and re-order all their medicine from Fort McMurray, Alta., to avoid a health crisis.Adam said Canada Post’s service shut-down posed a “serious risk to our community member’s health.” She said the Crown corporation did not bother communicating with the health board or other community organizations during the service shut down.“We were worried. It poses a health risk to our clients who depend on the medication that is sitting in the post office,” she said. “Nobody in the community knew what was going on.”Fort Chipewyan is home to many Mikisew Cree First Nation members and the Mikisew Cree have undeveloped reserve land by the hamlet. There is no all-season road linking the community to the rest of Alberta.Carley Smith, media relations manager for Canada Post, refused to answer repeated questions seeking an explanation for what happened and how the mail services shut-down could have lasted for nearly two weeks.“We have had some unexpected staffing issues. We are working as quickly as possible to resolve these issues and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” said Smith.Transport Minister Lisa Raitt is responsible for Canada Post. Raitt’s office said Canada Post is “an arms-length Crown corporation, responsible for its own operations.”Adam said it was her understanding that Canada Post had a part-time casual worker staffing the community’s post office, but medical issues forced the individual to leave the position. The Crown Corporation was then expected to have someone in place by June 9, but nothing happened and the mail kept piling up, undelivered.“I believe somebody should be reprimanded for allowing this to occur,” said Adam. “Especially in an isolated community where we depend quite solely on our mail delivery system.”Adam is sending a letter to Canada Post expressing concern over the situation.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

UPDATED Forest fires evacuate hundreds from communities northwest of Winnipeg

first_img(A graphic shows two fires that have sparked up near Easterville and Chemawawin Cree Nation in recent days. Credit: Government of Manitoba)APTN National NewsAt least 2,000 people from Easterville and Chemawawin Cree Nation in Manitoba have been evacuated as crews fight to contain raging forest fires in the area.A statement from the Canadian Red Cross said people from Chemawawin began either driving or being sent by bus to Winnipeg on Thursday, which is about 460 km from the community. Evacuees from Easterville were being sent to a nearby town, the Pas.By Friday morning, most people had left the communities, according to the Manitoba government’s wildfire program, but no buildings or other infrastructure had been lost.The fire is being estimated at 350 hectares and is being held to the edge of the communities by seven ground crews with two water bombers and four bulldozers.The Red Cross said its volunteers are helping community members and the organization will provide transportation, hotels, food and other necessities.It is unknown how long it will be until people from the First Nation will be allowed to return home.The province said 19 new wildfires, all caused by lightning, have been reported in Manitoba in recent days.last_img read more

Nunavut MP Tootoo felt despair over Ottawa police officers comments on Pootoogooks

first_imgJorge Barrera APTN National NewsNunavut MP Hunter Tootoo said he felt despair when he heard of the racist comments posted by an Ottawa police officer in response to a newspaper story about the death of Inuit artist Annie Pootoogook.Tootoo, who is an independent MP, said he was happy to see Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau announcing he was investigating Sgt. Chris Hrnchiar’s online comments which claimed “most Aboriginals have very short lifespans” and dismissed Pootoogook’s death.“I was extremely disappointed to see a law enforcement officer making comments like that. It is despairing,” he said. “It also goes to show the level of ignorance that is out there and the challenge Inuit people face in this country. For a lot of people, this is our daily lives.”The Ottawa police said Hrnchiar’s comments were under investigation on orders from the police chief.Pootoogook’s body was found in the Rideau River on Sept. 19. Ottawa police initially stated investigators did not believe foul play caused her death. A week later, the police’s Major Crime Unit said it was reconsidering the case as “suspicious.”Tootoo said the actions of the Ottawa police follow a pattern by police forces across the country.“It’s all too common when an Indigenous woman, and Inuit woman is found lifeless or goes missing, it’s something that law enforcement doesn’t always take seriously,” said Tootoo. “I am very glad the Ottawa police force is investigating further….A lot of times, situations like this are not taken seriously right off the bat.”Annie Pootoogook in 2012. APTN/FilePootoogook is originally from Cape Dorset, Nunavut, which is in Tootoo’s riding. Tootoo heard about the death from a friend. He knew about Pootoogook, but didn’t know her personally.Tootoo said the claims from Pootoogook’s friends and family that the Inuit artist was fleeing domestic violence at the time of her death was something that hit close to home.He said one of his own friends was killed by an abusive partner.“I remember talking to her and she would be looking at me, ‘Don’t say anything,’ terrified,” said Tootoo. “It’s okay to talk about these things, it’s important to talk about these things because it avoids tragic situations.”Pootoogook’s partner is not a suspect in her death.The commissioners with the recently launched national inquiry into murdered and missing Indigenous women said through a spokesperson they could not comment on Pootoogook’s case. The spokesperson said the inquiry could deal with the case if someone submitted it for review by the five commissioners.The Liberal government was initially criticized for not naming an Inuk as a commissioner for the inquiry.Tootoo was once federal minister of fisheries, but he resigned following a messy personal affair that led him to seek treatment for addictions.jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

AFN to vote on resignation call for MMIW inquiry commissioners after families

first_img(Maxime Goforth’s daughter Kelly Goforth, 21, was murdered by Regina serial killer Clayton Eichler, 35. She wants the families to pick the inquiry commissioners.) Jorge Barrera APTN National NewsThe remaining four commissioners for the murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls inquiry faced open calls for their resignation Wednesday during an emotional afternoon at the Assembly of First Nations’ annual general assembly in Regina.The AFN will vote Thursday on whether the commissioners should be replaced.First Nations leaders from Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario, speaking on behalf of the families of the murdered and missing, along with the AFN’s elder, said it was time for the commissioners to step aside and for the inquiry to undergo a hard reset.First Nations chiefs and proxies at the assembly are expected on Thursday to vote on a motion calling for the commissioners to be replaced. APTN saw a draft version of the motion which called for Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde to ask Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to replace the commissioners and reset the inquiry.A spokesperson for the AFN said the motion could not be released publicly until it was first distributed to chiefs.Two inquiry commissioners appeared before the assembly on Wednesday afternoon after meeting privately with families from Saskatchewan at a friendship centre in Regina.Inquiry Commissioner Michele Audette said the inquiry was in “crisis” but a vote against the commissioners Thursday would only be taken into consideration.“It will be a discussion we will need to have collectively,” said Audette. “I respect their choice…. Collectively, there will be pressure in your thinking, there is something there we need to look or examine in a ceremony. Oops we lost the faith of groups.”Audette said she was given an eagle feather by one family and she would need to go back and consult with them and undergo ceremony before she makes any decision on her future with the inquiry.Commissioner Brian Eyolfson said he was getting private messages of support despite the public calls for his resignation.“I am still getting messages of support, so I think it is premature to do anything, but I am going to take a lot of stuff I heard today to heart and give it a lot of thought and talk to a lot of people and see what happens,” he said.Inquiry Commissioner Brian Eyolfson, left, and Commissioner Michele Audette.Pressure has been mounting on the commissioners and the Liberal government to salvage the inquiry following a series of high profile resignations, including by inquiry commissioner Marilyn Poitras.While AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde, along with Federation of Saskatchewan Indigenous Nations Chief Bobby Cameron have publicly challenged the assembly to support the remaining commissioners, other regional leaders are backing resignation calls.Manitoba AFN regional Chief Kevin Hart, whose portfolio includes the inquiry, said he supports calls for the commissioners’ resignation and publicly blasted the inquiry over its lack of transparency and accountability in its use of $53 million allotted by the Liberal government for the task.“The families and the women have spoken, you have heard the majority of families not only from the Manitoba region, but across the settler state of Canada, and you hear from the different families from all the different regions across the country, the clear indication is there needs to be a reset,” said Hart. “Obviously the commissioners are being asked to step down. I have to support the families in that endeavour…. If the majority of our chiefs do support the call for the resignation and the restart of the inquiry then the commissioners need to do the right thing, and this government.”Kawacatoose First Nation Coun. Lillian Ewenin, whose sister’s 1982 Calgary murder is still unsolved, said the commissioners need to go.“I do not make this call lightly, but with all the heaviness of those, including myself, who have worked tirelessly to bring this inquiry into being,” said Ewenin, whose community is based in Saskatchewan. “I believe wholeheartedly in the need for an inquiry, but the commissioners of this inquiry have maintained a misguided approach that is directly rooted in a colonial mentality.”Ewenin’s son was murdered in 2015.Six Nations Chief Ava Hill, whose Iroquois community near Hamilton, Ont., has the largest on-reserve population in the country, said the families of the murdered and missing in her home want the commissioners to resign.“I am here to speak on behalf of some of the families of my community,” said Hill. “They have been looking forward to this inquiry and I am taking my direction from them as I speak here today and they have lost confidence in the commissioners, they have lost confidence in the process, and they are asking as well, and supporting some of those families who are saying that the commissioners should step down and there should be a restart.”Hill said the issue is also dividing families.“This is a terrible start for an inquiry that is so important to so many people. The families want to have their stories told,” she said. “If they inquiry goes ahead as it is, there are going to be families who want their stories told who are not going to participate. I say to the commissioners, take all of these words to heart and look within yourselves to see if you can consciously move forward and do justice for these families.”AFN Elder Elmer Courchene, who rarely intervenes publicly in the proceedings of the assembly, took to the microphone to speak about the death by suicide of this two-spirited son as part of an impassioned plea to the commissioners to listen to the families and step down.“I buried my son, who was two-spirited,” said Courchene. “A lot of people don’t understand what it feels like. I can feel you people. We need to stand behind them, we have no choice. We have to. You don’t know what it feels like to lose someone that is very special. Commissioners, I will tell you this, listen to the voices you have heard today, they are asking you to step down. Think about and honour it. It’s not easy. But maybe there are other ways you can help them. Even outside of the process.”Maxime Goforth, right, and Michele Bear, outside the Regina friendship centre.Earlier in the day, at a friendship centre in Regina, Eyolfson and Audette, along with Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett, met privately in separate meetings with about 50 family members from the region.Benentt told the families that she had confidence in the commissioners, but admitted they needed to better communicate better with the families.“I think the commissioners know they have to communicate better and deal with families in an ongoing way,” said Bennett, according to a video of the closed-door meeting shared with APTN.Bennett said her government would not be waiting for the inquiry’s findings to act on the needs of the families.“But separate from the work of the commission we also want to make sure that the government doesn’t have to wait for a report again from yet another commission. Their report in November will give us their analysis of all the previous reports and what we don’t have to wait for to do again,” said Bennett. “But hearing all of you, the healing of families…is something we don’t have to wait for a report to tell us that this is important and that the work you do with one another is hugely important.”Outside the meeting, sitting in the grass, Maxime Goforth, whose daughter Kelly Goforth, 21, was murdered by Regina serial killer Clayton Eichler, 35, said family members should be involved in the selection of the commissioners.“(A family member commissioner) could have done a lot better job because they lived it and they’ve been there. You have to understand where we are coming from, be in our shoes. You have to live it,” she said. “It is very disappointing. After my daughter died I advocated for the inquiry and I was happy when it was announced. Now it is confusion and it’s disappointing.”Michele Bear’s daughter Richele Bear, 23, was also murdered by Eichler. She said it upset her the inquiry isn’t focusing on the conduct of the police and the justice system.“It should be focusing on how the system failed our children, how the system failed our families, how the investigations were handled. My daughter’s investigation, I believe, was not taken seriously right from the start,” said Bear. “When I was approached by the Regina police about my daughter, it was a phone call. There was no officer at my door telling me my daughter was missing.”Bear’s daughter Richele’s body has never been found. Police determined she was dead from photos found on Eichler’s cell phone. Bear said she identified her daughters through the photos.A tapestry image of Nadine Machiskinic is held up during the AFN annual general assembly in Regina.Krista Shore was 12 when her mother Barbara Stonechild was murdered in 1996 in the Saskatchewan capital city. Shore said she’s lost faith in the commission.“I don’t have confidence in it. It was hard to come out today,” she said. “I just came out to share my anguish, my frustration, my righteous rage with what’s going on in the inquiry.”Shore is a relative of Neil Stonechild, the teenager who froze to death after he was taken on a starlight tour by Saskatoon police in 1990. She said murdered and missing men should also be included in the inquiry’s mandate.For Delores Stevenson, aunt of Nadine Machiskinic, 29, who died in 2015 after falling 10 stories down a laundry chute at the Delta Hotel in Regina, her “righteous rage” was directed at the AFN. The chiefs organization chose the Delta as its main hotel during its annual general assembly, holding a networking social and regional caucuses there. Many chiefs are also staying in the hotel.Stevenson said her family is suing the Delta Hotel.“For me, it was a slap in the face. When you are staying at the Delta Hotel and you are putting millions of dollars back into where there was an Indigenous woman who was murdered,” she said. “The hotel denied any responsibility in terms of negligence.”Stevenson said the hotel’s security camera which could have captured her niece’s final moments were not working the night she died.A coroner’s inquest jury concluded it could not determine how Machiskinic ended up in the laundry chute. The conclusion overturned a finding by the Chief Coroner that the death was accidental.Regina police located two men who were with Machiskinic the night she died. They were questioned and released, said Stevenson.Stevenson said she found little support from the First Nations leadership following the tragedy.“I have been given the run-around by my leaders who I went to,” she said. “Where is the leadership who talks about supporting the issues around this?”jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Remains identified as missing woman Kimberly Cardinal in Alberta

first_imgChris StewartAPTN NewsA sad discovery for the family of Kimberly Cardinal after her remains were positively identified.St. Paul RCMP confirmed the discovery on June 25 and said the circumstances around Cardinal’s death are suspicious.She had been missing from Saddle Lake, northeast of Edmonton, since April.cstewart@aptn.calast_img

Lawyer for Arlen Dumas confirms phone being examined

first_imgkmartens@aptn.ca@katmarte AMC Grand Chief Arlen Dumas was back on the job this week after a brief leave of absence. (AMC)Kathleen MartensAPTN NewsThe lawyer representing Manitoba’s top Indigenous leader over allegations of inappropriate texting says an investigation is under way.Jamie Kagan confirmed a phone used by Arlen Dumas, grand chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), is being examined by a third party. It’s a development in a month-long texting scandal first reported by the Winnipeg Free Press.“We are not discussing steps in the process or identifying the various service providers we are using to complete the inquiry,” Kagan, a partner at Thompson Dorfman Sweatman in Winnipeg, said in an email.Kagan declined to be interviewed by phone and didn’t respond when APTN News asked who was checking the phone’s history and when the results would be made public. He confirmed he was hired by AMC.Dumas denied he messaged Bethany Maytwayashing, 22, asking her to “meet up,” when the story first broke at the beginning of July – and suggested unnamed political adversaries were impersonating him online in a fake Facebook account and hacked his phone.The two met at a downtown Winnipeg restaurant where she worked and connected afterwards on Facebook. Then Maytwayashing alleged recent messages she received were inappropriate and made her feel uncomfortable.AMC did confirm the phone number that texted Maytwayashing belonged to Dumas in a press statement.Read the statement here:Press Statement from Grand Chief Arlen Dumas and the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs But AMC and Dumas claimed the texts were “spoofs.”They alleged someone other than Dumas sent the texts without him knowing by using a software to make it appear the texts came from his phone.The press release did not comment on how the texter knew details about where Dumas met Maytwayashing, or that she was a student and took a selfie with him at that meeting.These signs were on the door at AMC ‘s annual general meeting this week. (APTN file)Since his denial three more women have come forward to APTN saying they received texts similar to those sent to Maytwayashing, either on Facebook accounts or phones belonging to the AMC grand chief.Dumas has not responded to multiple requests for comment about Maytwayashing and other claims made in the last weeks through AMC or another lawyer, David Walker of Winnipeg. He has not commented except through press statements.AMC said Dumas would take a brief leave of absence “to heal with his family” until he surfaced in photos this week at its annual general meeting.AMC did not respond when asked if Dumas was back at work. It posted a sign on the meeting room door preventing media from entering what has been a public meeting in the past.An AMC spokesman also denied entry to an APTN reporter on Wednesday.Meanwhile, a grassroots women’s group is calling for an “independent investigation” into the texting allegations.Sandra DeLaronde, of Manitoba Moon Voices, said an arm’s-length third-party should separately interview Dumas and the women involved.She said it’s important to “keep social media a safe space for women – and Indigenous women, in particular” because they are a vulnerable population when it comes to exploitation and violence.The final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls makes several recommendations around inappropriate behaviour and harassment. It also underscores the need for protecting and supporting victims who come forward.The final report of the MMIWG inquiry was released on June 3. (APTN file)DeLaronde noted it is not only politicians being accused of communicating with women this way, but also bosses, co-workers and friends of friends online.“I’ve had women tell me they feel ‘creeped out’ by excessive ‘liking’ of their posts. Sure, they can block someone, which are the rules for this online culture. But why is it up to them to police the boundaries?”DeLaronde said her group feels there is more AMC can and should be doing to be accountable for the behaviour and protection of its members.“Does it have a mechanism to deal with harassment of its members or people they serve?” she said.“Young women and two-spirited people need to know where they can go and feel safe, and know that something will be done.”APTN has twice asked AMC whether it has a sexual harassment policy and to provide a copy, but has not received a  response.Maytwayashing said she attended the AMC meeting venue this week without being invited. She said she went to remind members who represent 62 First Nations in Manitoba this issue isn’t going away.“I will not be silenced,” she said.Read More: Indigenous woman asks AMC to investigate grand chief’s behavior; chief denies claimWomen’s Council investigating texting allegations against grand chief last_img read more

RCMP conducts six searches in Toronto area in syndicated mortgages probe

first_imgTORONTO – The RCMP says it has carried out six search warrants in the Greater Toronto Area related to an investigation into syndicated mortgage frauds.Royal Canadian Mounted Police sergeant Penny Hermann says the searches were carried out this morning by its Integrated Market Enforcement Team, but would not provide further details or confirm which companies were targeted.However, media reports say RCMP officers searched the head office of real estate firm Fortress Real Developments Inc. on Friday. Fortress could not be immediately reached for comment.In February, the Ontario’s securities regulator issued $1.1 million in fines against four parties that were involved with syndicated mortgages for real estate development projects in which Fortress was a developer or development consultant.And in March, Canadian securities regulators in proposed regulatory changes to address the associated risks of investing in syndicated mortgages — private mortgages that are sold to a group of investors to finance real estate developments.The Canadian Securities Administrators proposed several changes, including heightened disclosure from issuers of syndicated mortgages. Some companies or individuals offering these investment opportunities may advertise these products as fully secured or guaranteed as high return.last_img read more

Dr Seuss The Grinch makes off with 66M at box office

first_imgLOS ANGELES, Calif. – You’re a mean one — and you’re number one — Mr. Grinch.“Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch” sledded past mixed reviews and made off with $66 million for Universal Pictures to top the weekend North American box office, according to studio estimates Sunday.Last week’s top film, the Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” drops to second for 20th Century Fox with a $30.8 million weekend that brings its overall take to $100 million.Illumination, the Universal-owned animators behind “The Minions” and “Despicable Me,” produced the latest interpretation of Seuss’ 1957 book that led to a 1966 TV special and first came to the big screen as a live-action feature starring Jim Carrey in 2000.Paramount Pictures’ war-horror hybrid “Overlord” was third in its first weekend with $10.1 million. Disney’s “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms” brought in $9.5 million and finished fourth in its second week. The weekend’s other major debut, “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” made just $8 million and finished fifth.Illumination’s “Grinch,” narrated by Pharrell Williams, gives the title character, voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch, a backstory in an orphanage and fills out the story of his foil Cindy Lou Who.It’s the second Seuss adaptation for Illumination. Its version of “The Lorax” opened with a comparable $70 million weekend and went on to gross $348.8 million worldwide.“The Grinch” was widely expected to be No. 1 with few other major openings this weekend, but it surpassed projections that had it bringing in closer to $60 million, continuing what’s become a trend in 2018.“‘The Grinch’ is just the latest in a string of over-performers,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst for Comscore. “‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ was bigger than expected, ‘A Star Is Born’ was bigger than expected. It’s fueling a box-office surge.”The industry has reached a cumulative box office total of $10 billion faster than in any other year, Dergarabedian said.The Christmas theme of “The Grinch” could sustain it through the holidays and Universal hopes it has a longer life than that.“With Thanksgiving coming, we’re poised to have a great run through that,” said Jim Orr, president of domestic distribution for Universal. “Illumination’s created such a classic take on this beloved character that audiences will be enjoying it for a really long time.”But big rivals loom soon, including “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald” next week and “Ralph Breaks The Internet” on Nov. 21.“We’ve got a lot of competition coming up for family audiences,” Dergarabedian said.Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theatres, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday also are included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.1. “Dr Seuss’ The Grinch,” $66 million ($12.7 million international).2. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $30.8 million ($63 million international).3. “Overlord,” $10.1 million, ($9.2 million international).4. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” $9.5 million, ($13.5 million international).5. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” $8 million, ($6.2 million international).6. “A Star Is Born,” $8 million ($9 million international).7. “Nobody’s Fool,” $6.5 million.8. “Venom,” $4.8 million ($118.2 million international).9. “Halloween,” $3.8 million ($5.9 million).10. “The Hate U Give,” $2 million.___Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at international theatres (excluding the U.S. and Canada), according to comScore:1. “Venom,” $118.2 million.2. “Bohemian Rhapsody,” $63 million.3. “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms,” $13.5 million.4. “Dr Seuss’ The Grinch,” $12.7 million.5. “Detective Conan: Zero the Enforcer,” $12.4 million.6. “Intimate Strangers,” $9.2 million.7. “Overlord,” $9.2 million.8. “A Star Is Born,” $9 million.9. “The Girl in the Spider’s Web,” $6.2 million.10. “Halloween,” $5.9 million.___This story has been corrected to show that “Overlord” earned $10.1 million, not $19 million.___Follow Andrew Dalton on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton .last_img read more

EU UK inch closer to a deal as Brexit hangs in the

first_imgBRUSSELS — Britain and the European Union appeared to be inching toward agreement on Brexit on Monday, but British Prime Minister Theresa May faced intensifying pressure from her divided Conservative government that could yet scuttle a deal.Britain leaves the EU on March 29 — the first country ever to do so — but a deal must be sealed in the coming weeks to leave enough time for the U.K. and European Parliaments to sign off. May faces increasing domestic pressure over her proposals for an agreement following the resignation of another government minister last week.The British leader had been hoping to present a draft deal to her Cabinet this week. But no Brexit breakthrough was announced Monday after talks between European affairs ministers. The two sides are locked in technical negotiations to try to bridge the final gaps in a move laden with heavy political and economic consequences.May said talks were in their “endgame” but that negotiating a divorce agreement after more than four decades of British EU membership was “immensely difficult.”May told an audience at the Lord Mayor’s Banquet in London that “we are working extremely hard, through the night, to make progress on the remaining issues in the Withdrawal Agreement, which are significant.“Both sides want to reach an agreement,” May said, though she added she wouldn’t sign up to “agreement at any cost.”The main obstacle to a deal is how to keep goods flowing smoothly across the border between EU country Ireland and Northern Ireland in the U.K.Both sides have committed to avoid a hard border with costly and time-consuming checks that would hamper business. Any new customs posts on the border could also re-ignite lingering sectarian tensions. But Britain and the EU haven’t agreed on how to achieve that goal.“Clearly this is a very important week for Brexit negotiations,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney told reporters after the meeting in Brussels. “The two negotiating teams have really intensified their engagement … There is still clearly work to do.”And Martin Callanan, a minister in Britain’s Brexit department, said all involved were “straining every sinew to make sure that we get a deal but we have to get a deal that is right for the U.K., right for the EU and one that would be acceptable to the U.K. Parliament.”EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier didn’t speak to reporters Monday and a planned news conference with him was cancelled.Instead, EU headquarters issued a short statement saying that Barnier explained to the ministers that “intense negotiating efforts continue, but an agreement has not been reached yet.”Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok said the two sides “are getting closer to each other.”“But in negotiations there is only a deal if there is full agreement,” Blok said. “There is only a 100-per cent deal. There is not a 90-per cent deal or a 95-per cent deal.”Earlier, France’s EU affairs minister, Nathalie Loiseau, stepped up pressure on May. “The ball is in the British court. It is a question of a British political decision,” she said.The EU is awaiting Barnier’s signal as to whether sufficient progress has been made to call an EU summit to seal a deal.Rumours have swirled of a possible top-level meeting at the end of November. But Austrian EU affairs minister Gernot Bluemel, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, said “so far progress is not sufficient to call in and set up another (summit).”In recent days there have been signs of progress behind the scenes, but all parties have remained tight-lipped about the developments, given the politically charged atmosphere.In Britain, pro-Brexit and pro-EU politicians alike warned May that the deal she seeks is likely to be shot down by Parliament.Boris Johnson, a staunch Brexit supporter, wrote in a column for Monday’s Daily Telegraph that May’s plan to adhere closely to EU regulations in return for a trade deal and an open Irish border amounts to “total surrender” to the bloc.The proposed terms are scarcely more popular with advocates of continued EU membership.Former Education Secretary Justine Greening on Monday called May’s proposals the “worst of all worlds,” and said the public should be allowed to vote on Britain’s departure again.“We should be planning as to how we can put this final say on Brexit in the hands of the British people,” Greening told the BBC.Johnson’s younger brother, Jo Johnson, resigned last week backing calls for a second referendum on whether the country should leave the EU. May has consistently rejected the idea of another nationwide vote on Brexit.___Jill Lawless reported from London.Lorne Cook And Jill Lawless, The Associated Presslast_img read more

On the Money Meal kit companies offer holiday help

first_imgDETROIT — Subscription meal kit services can take some stress out of weekday dinners. But they may or may not help you fill your holiday table.Some companies, like HelloFresh, will mail you premeasured ingredients and instructions for a full holiday meal. Plated and Home Chef will help you with holiday side dishes. But others, like Blue Apron, don’t offer holiday menus. They say they’ve found that customers prefer to cook their own traditional recipes.Meal kit services have grown quickly in the U.S. since they arrived from Europe six years ago. Nine per cent of U.S. consumers — or around 10.5 million households — have bought meal kits online or in groceries in the last six months, and 25 per cent say they’d consider buying one in the next six months, according to Nielsen.At the same time, the companies are figuring out what customers do and don’t expect from them. This was the first year Berlin-based HelloFresh offered a Thanksgiving meal kit, for example, after customers repeatedly asked for one. HelloFresh has 1 million U.S. subscribers.For $159, buyers got a turkey that fed eight to 10 people and ingredients and instructions for garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry and chicken sausage stuffing, green beans and apple ginger crisp. Customers could also opt for a $99 box with just the sides and dessert.HelloFresh won’t say how many boxes it sold, but it’s offering two options for Christmas. For $129, it will send customers a beef tenderloin that feeds six to eight people plus sides, sauces and dessert. For $159, it will send a turkey dinner similar to its Thanksgiving box. The boxes will be available for delivery starting Dec. 19. Buyers don’t have to subscribe to HelloFresh’s weekly meal plans to get one.Vero, an Italian meal kit company founded by St. Louis-based chef Katie Collier, says it sold twice as many Thanksgiving kits this year as it did in 2017. Its $195 Thanksgiving kit included a cage-free turkey, shallot gravy and fig, walnut and sage stuffing.For Christmas, Vero is selling a $65 kit to make lasagna, blood orange salad and tiramisu for eight to 10.Lifestyle maven Martha Stewart also offers holiday meal kits through her partnership with Marley Spoon. For $159.99, customers could order a Thanksgiving box with a 12-pound turkey and ingredients for four sides — including herbed stuffing with dried cherries — and spiced apple crisp. Last year, Stewart also offered a $39 holiday cookie kit for Christmas. A customer service representative at Marley Spoon said the cookie kit will be offered again this year, but details haven’t been released.Some companies are tucking holiday favourites into their regular meal offerings for subscribers.Plated, a meal kit startup now owned by the Alberton’s grocery chain, offers 20 meal recipes and two desserts each week to its subscribers. For a family of four, two meals per week cost $79.60.For Thanksgiving week, Plated subscribers could opt for sides like pecan pie and sausage, sage and brioche stuffing. For the week of Hanukkah, it’s offering potato latkes. For New Year’s Eve, it plans to offer roasted grape and brie crostini with a spinach and butternut squash salad.Chicago-based Home Chef, which was recently acquired by Kroger, also offered Thanksgiving sides like walnut maple Brussels sprouts as part of its weekly meal plans. Like Plated, two meals per week for a family of four cost $79.60.Non-subscribers can also pick up Home Chef kits at Kroger, which charges $9 for a family-size side of roasted fall vegetables with cranberry orange and walnuts.But other meal kit companies are opting out. Purple Carrot, which offers vegan meal kits, didn’t offer any holiday-themed meal kits but did send a Thanksgiving recipe booklet to subscribers. Sun Basket, which offers organic produce in its kits, has no holiday-themed meals in its rotation.Blue Apron, which has 646,000 U.S. subscribers, offered a Thanksgiving kit in 2016, complete with turkey and pumpkin pie. While customers liked it, what they were really looking for was help with other meals around the holidays, said John Adler, Blue Apron’s culinary chief.Adler said Blue Apron decided to focus on offering quick, simple dishes with non-traditional flavours — think Chinese or Middle Eastern — for the days around the holidays.“You should totally have your traditional food moment,” Adler said. “As opposed to interfering in that, we will solve everything else before and after.”Dee-Ann Durbin, The Associated Presslast_img read more

EU slaps sanctions on breakaway Ukraine officials

first_imgBRUSSELS — The European Union is slapping sanctions on nine more people over “illegal” elections in eastern Ukraine last month, while it weighs how to help Kyiv in its Black Sea standoff with Russia.EU foreign ministers on Monday imposed asset freezes and travel bans on the nine local government and election officials in Donetsk and Luhansk.It brings to 164 the total number of people under sanctions for “actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”Forty-four “entities”, like companies or organizations, are also on the list.Separately Monday, the ministers were due to discuss the Russia tensions with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin.Russian border guards last month fired on three Ukrainian navy vessels in the Black Sea. The vessels and the crews were captured.The Associated Presslast_img read more

Liberals hope funding change solves infrastructure spending cost concerns

first_imgOTTAWA — Federal Infrastructure Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne says an overhaul of how the government approves funding for projects should solve concerns about construction delays and escalating costs.The government has been criticized for the slower-than-anticipated pace of infrastructure dollars leaving the federal treasury.For the rest of the winter, federal officials will sign off on plans so money and work are ready to roll come spring, which Champagne says will finally align bureaucratic processes with Canada’s construction season.The backroom change is one Champagne hopes will address public concerns that cities hold off work until they are sure the Liberals will chip in money, which also worsens cost overruns.Under the Liberals, planned federal spending on new roads, bridges, highways, trains and water systems over the coming decade has risen to $186 billion.As 2018 comes to a close, Champagne says there are some 4,400 projects worth $50 billion on the go, of which about $20 billion is from federal investments.The Canadian Presslast_img read more

PRRD evacuates residents near the Peace River Lookout

first_imgThe PRRD is asking those residents to leave immediately and do the following:Close all windows and doorsShut off all gas and electrical appliances, other than refrigerators and freezersClose gates (latch) but do not lockThe Fort St. John RCMP and North Peace Search and Rescue are helping with the evacuation. CLARIFICATION:  This evacuation order is only affecting two properties and the lookout.  Residents in the Old Fort are not under an evacuation order or alert at this time.FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – The Peace River Regional District has issued an evacuation order for some residents near the Peace River Lookout.The Peace River Lookout and the lands directly south and south-east including 9819 240 Road and 9909 240 Road.  Residents in those homes are asked to leave immediately and should report to the evacuation centre by calling 250-784-3200.last_img read more

Now, WhatsApp makes group chats more secure

first_imgNew Delhi: WhatsApp Wednesday said it will now allow its users to decide whether they want to get added to groups on the instant messaging platform.The move assumes significance, especially ahead of elections in the country, as social media platforms are expected to play a major role in political campaigns to reach out to citizens in large numbers. The messaging app has added that a new privacy setting in which an invite system will help users decide who can add them to groups. Previously, WhatsApp users could be added to groups without their consent. Also Read – India gets first tranche of Swiss bank a/c detailsTo enable the feature, users can go to the ‘settings’ option in the WhatsApp app and select one of three options – nobody, my contacts, or everyone. If they choose nobody, users will have to approve joining every group to which they are invited. Upon choosing my contacts option, users from the person’s address book will be able to add them to groups. In these cases, the person inviting you to a group will be prompted to send a private invite through an individual chat, giving the user a choice of joining the group. The user will be given three days to accept the invite before it expires, the statement said. “With these new features, users will have more control over the group messages they receive,” WhatsApp said.last_img read more