New Delhi: The ED has attached properties worth Rs 246 crore in connection with its money-laundering investigation in the Gutkha scam case.The attached properties include 174 immovable properties in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, and Andhra Pradesh, worth around Rs 243 crore; and shares and vehicles worth around Rs 2.29 crore. The Enforcement Directorate had initiated investigation under PMLA, after taking cognizance of a CBI FIR in the Gutkha scam after the High Court in Chennai had directed the probe agency to investigate illegal manufacture, import, supply, and distribution of Gutkha, which was banned in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry from May 2013. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’The financial probe agency found that AV Madhava Rao, PV Srinivasa Rao, Tallam Uma Shankar Gupta and others had associated to illegally manufacture and sell Gutkha products in the souther state, with a turnover of Rs 639.40 crore between June 2013 to June 2016. The ED’s investigation has revealed that the money from this trade was allegedly invested in the attached properties in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry. The agency said that land was purchased through several companies such as Gayathri Realtors, Medha Diary Pvt Ltd, Vaijayanthi Spinners and other. The agency added that three factories were also purchased to facilitate the illegal Gutkha business, in addition to purchasing vehicles to distribute their product. The ED added that profits from the Gutkha business were also laundered by purchaing land and real estate in the name of the accused and their family members, in Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Salem, Puducherry, and Chennai.
New Delhi: A Sukhoi fighter jet of Indian Air Force crashed near Tezpur in Assam on Thursday evening, official sources said. Both pilots of the aircraft ejected safely and have been rescued, they said. The Su-30 aircraft was on a routine training mission from Tezpur and crashed in the local flying area, the sources said. A Court of Inquiry has been ordered to ascertain the cause of the accident, they said.
New Delhi: At least 15 trains were delayed on Sunday due to a technical snag at the Okhla railway station in the national capital. Following a delay of two hours, services along the route were normalised after the snag was fixed by a team of railway engineers who were rushed to the spot. “An electric multiple unit (EMU) broke at the Okhla station at about 8 a.m. this morning blocking the up and down lines. As a result, eight up and seven down trains suffered delay,” said a railway official. Officials informed that movement of trains along the up line resumed at around 9.30 a.m. after completion of maintenance work. The down line resumed operations half an hour later.
Beijing: Ahead of the launch of its Note 8 series, Redmi has revealed that the ‘Note 8 Pro’ will come with liquid cooling feature. According to the manufacturer, the liquid cooling feature would keep the phone about 4-6 degrees cooler, enabling longer durations of gaming without a drop in performance, GSMArena reported on Friday. In addition, a Weibo post by MediaTek revealed that the upcoming ‘Note 8 Pro’ would ship with the new Helio G90T chipset. Also Read – Swiggy now in 500 Indian cities, targets 100 more this year The Chinese smartphone maker recently shared a poster giving a glimpse of the ‘Note 8 Pro’ that has three cameras aligned vertically on its back, with the fourth one placed on the right. The image further reveals that the upcoming Note 8 series would have a rear-mounted fingerprint scanner and a glass-sandwich design. Xiaomi’s sub-brand Redmi is all set to unveil its new smartphones — ‘Note 8’ and ‘Note 8 Pro’ — and the Redmi TV, in China on August 29. The regular Redmi Note 8 phone is also expected to feature four camera sensors at the back.
Manila: Three people were killed and over 240 plucked to safety in the southern Philippines Wednesday after a fire tore through a crowded ferry, authorities said, as rescuers hunted for more survivors. The blaze broke out before dawn as the Lite Ferry 16 was cruising to Dapitan City from Cebu, prompting some of the terrified passengers to throw themselves overboard, one witness said. It is not clear how many passengers were on the vessel, but the Philippine Coast Guard said 245 people had so far been rescued, and three confirmed dead. Also Read – Saudi Crown Prince ‘snubbed’ Pak PM, recalled jet from US The boat’s official manifest listed just 172 passengers and crew. The Philippines, an archipelago of more than 7,000 islands, is plagued by poor sea transport, with badly regulated boats and ships prone to overcrowding and accidents. Coast Guard spokesman Captain Armand Balilo said search and rescue operations were continuing as authorities worked to determine the exact number of people on the boat. “We have ordered the captain to explain the discrepancy,” Balilo told AFP. The ferry’s operator, Danilo Lines, said a team was deployed to assist the rescued passengers and tugboats dispatched to bring the stricken ferry back to port. Some 30 years ago another Philippine ferry, the Dona Paz, collided with an oil tanker in an accident that claimed more than 4,000 lives in the world’s worst peacetime disaster at sea.
Kolkata: The Anti-Human Trafficking Unit (AHTU) of Kolkata Police busted two sex rackets in Kalighat and New Alipore, which were running as spa and salons. Nineteen persons have been arrested and 10 girls have been rescued from the spas.According to the police, a few days ago, AHTU officials were tipped-off about two spa and salons in Kalighat and New Alipore areas. Based on the source information, AHTU personnel started keeping vigil on Ishita Saloon and Spa located on 21B Sadananda Road in Kalighat and Kabita Spa Family Saloon located on 28/5 Sahapur Colony in New Alipore. Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaOn Saturday afternoon, AHTU officials raided the spa in Kalighat and discovered that a sex racket was operating there. During the search, the police found there were15 customers and nine sex workers at the spa. Among the 15 customers, two were found in objectionable situations others were waiting to finalise their deals. During the raid police found condoms, liquor bottles and a lot of cash. All the customers and other people associated with the flesh trade were arrested. Also Read – Bengal civic volunteer dies in road mishap on national highwayIn the evening, another AHTU team raided the spa in New Alipore found a man with a sex worker. During the search, the police found contraceptives and cash from the spa. The AHTU team arrested a customer, a pimp and a woman who was the manager of the spa. All the sex workers were brought from areas in and around Kolkata. In a separate incident, the detective department of Kolkata Police conducted raids at several night clubs and singing bars in the city. During the raid, 30 persons were arrested for disorderly conduct and three motorcycles were seized. The police found a hookah parlour located in Grky Terrace under jurisdiction of Shakespeare Sarani police station was open till 1:45am which was beyond the permissible limit. Later, people associated with the hookah parlour has been prosecuted.
Ghaziabad: Following the death of 34-year-old man who suffered a heart attack after an argument with traffic cop, Ghaziabad police have lodged an FIR against unidentified cop for death due to negligence at Indirapuram police station.The family members of deceased have alleged that the misbehaviour from the traffic cop led to their kin’s condition deteriorating and his subsequent death. Sudhir Kumar Singh, Senior Superintendent of Police, Ghaziabad has also set up an enquiry for the matter which will be headed by an officer of superintendent rank. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murder”Based on the complaint received from the family of deceased, a case under section 304-A (causing death due to negligence) has been registered against the unknown cop. The enquiry will be headed by SN Singh, SP traffic of Ghaziabad. We have also asked the family to come and identify the cop who was involved in the incident. Appropriate actions will be taken against him,” said Singh. According to police, Gaurav Sharma (34), who works in the sales department of a software company was stopped by a traffic policeman when he was travelling in his car along with elderly parents near CISF cut, on Sunday evening. Also Read – Two brothers held for snatchingsSharma’s 65-year-old father Moolchand Sharma alleged that despite they were not disobeying any road traffic rule, the traffic police personnel, who was wearing white dress, banged a stick on their car’s body to stop them. The family further said that Sharma stepped out of the car questioning the policeman for his behaviour. However, he fell on the road during the altercation and the policemen present over there fled away instead of taking him to the hospital. The victim was taken to nearby Fortis Hospital in sector 62 where doctors declared him dead on arrival. The Noida police confirmed after the incident that it occurred in Ghaziabad. Senior police officials said that Gaurav was diabetic in nature which made him to suffer a cardiac arrest. However, the family has said that his latest reports that came in August were normal. Meanwhile, the family will go for identification parade of the cops deployed near the spot once they are back from Haridwar where they had gone to perform the last rites of their kin.
SHERWOOD PARK, Alta. – An Alberta school division has apologized after a staff member at a Christian school wore blackface while dressed up as a member of the British band Spice Girls.Elk Island Public Schools said in a statement Monday that it is taking immediate action with the employee to address her conduct.“We do not condone behaviour that would be offensive or hurtful to any student, employee or member of our school community,” said the division.It added that an apology was also going home to parents.“In the days ahead, EIPS will seek out resources in order to further educate employees, both at this school and throughout the division, about the need to be respectful of all races and cultures.“It is our intention to ensure that an incident of this kind is not repeated.”Edmonton activist Bashir Mohamed said a friend who is a teacher sent him a link to the photo from a Facebook group. He then put the picture out on Twitter with several comments and asked how a black student at the school might feel about it.The photo shows a woman wearing dark face makeup while dressed up as Mel B, otherwise known as “Scary Spice” with the 1990s all-girl band.She is standing with other adults posing as celebrity judges in a talent event at Strathcona Christian Academy in Sherwood Park, just east of Edmonton.“Look who’s here for SCA’s Got Talent! Meet the judges: Simon Cowell, Mel B, Heidi Klum and Howie Mandel!! All the best to our competitors!” said a caption of the photo from SCA Elementary.Mohamed said he didn’t put out the photo to get the employee fired. He wanted it to act as a teaching moment.“I think there’s a lot of opportunity for there to be education where they can understand why this is an issue and learn from it,” he said. “Because at the end of the day, this person is an educator and they are responsible for students.”He added that most people are likely to understand that blackface is wrong, but they don’t understand why, or realize that it has roots in Canadian history as well as in the United States.Education Minister David Eggen said even though the matter is being dealt with, he finds it disturbing.“It’s inappropriate behaviour that doesn’t belong in schools,” Eggen said.“It sets a bad example.”Marisa Peters, an Edmonton blogger who uses the Twitter handle Stream and Stone, said she is a former student of Strathcona Christian Academy’s secondary school.“In musical theater we were asked to fake tan and wore dark makeup to dress as Puerto Ricans for ‘West Side Story,’” said her tweet. “Blackface has a history at this school.”Laura McNabb, a spokeswoman for the school division, said officials would not be commenting further.— By Chris Purdy in Edmonton
OTTAWA – A statement from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marking Canada Day and the country’s 150th anniversary:___Today, we celebrate the 150th anniversary of Confederation. We come together as Canadians to celebrate the achievements of our great country, reflect on our past and present, and look boldly toward our future.Canada’s story stretches back long before Confederation, to the first people who worked, loved, and built their lives here, and to those who came here centuries later in search of a better life for their families. In 1867, the vision of Sir George-Etienne Cartier and Sir John A. Macdonald, among others, gave rise to Confederation — an early union, and one of the moments that have come to define Canada.In the 150 years since, we have continued to grow and define ourselves as a country. We fought valiantly in two world wars, built the infrastructure that would connect us, and enshrined our dearest values — equality, diversity, freedom of the individual and two official languages — in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. These moments, and many others, shaped Canada into the extraordinary country it is today — prosperous, generous and proud.At the heart of Canada’s story are millions of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. They exemplify what it means to be Canadian: ambitious aspirations, leadership driven by compassion and the courage to dream boldly. Whether we were born here or have chosen Canada as our home, this is who we are.Ours is a land of Indigenous Peoples, settlers and newcomers, and our diversity has always been at the core of our success. Canada’s history is built on countless instances of people uniting across their differences to work and thrive together. We express ourselves in French, English and hundreds of other languages, we practice many faiths, we experience life through different cultures, and yet we are one country. Today, as has been the case for centuries, we are strong not in spite of our differences, but because of them.As we mark Canada 150, we also recognize that for many, today is not an occasion for celebration. Indigenous Peoples in this country have faced oppression for centuries. As a society, we must acknowledge and apologize for past wrongs, and chart a path forward for the next 150 years — one in which we continue to build our nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship with the First Nations, Inuit and Metis Nation.Our efforts toward reconciliation reflect a deep Canadian tradition — the belief that better is always possible. Our job now is to ensure every Canadian has a real and fair chance at success. We must create the right conditions so that the middle class, and those working hard to join it, can build a better life for themselves and their families.Great promise and responsibility await Canada. As we look ahead to the next 150 years, we will continue to rise to the most pressing challenges we face, climate change among the first ones. We will meet these challenges the way we always have — with hard work, determination and hope.On the 150th anniversary of Confederation, we celebrate the millions of Canadians who have come together to make our country the strong, prosperous and open place it is today. On behalf of the government of Canada, I wish you and your loved ones a very happy Canada Day.
HAMILTON – Police in Hamilton say 80 people are facing charges in a drug trafficking and firearms investigation.They say the operation — dubbed Project Phoenix — began in July and saw 44 search warrants executed across Hamilton.Investigators say 79 adults and a youth — all from the Hamilton area — are facing a total of 412 charges.They say officers seized cocaine, fentanyl, heroin, methamphetamine, marijuana — including 378 plants from an outdoor grow operation — and other street drugs during the investigation.Police also seized several weapons, including handguns, shotguns, rifles, brass knuckles and illegal knives.They say the investigation continues.
OTTAWA – Canadian troops in Latvia will have front-row seats to a massive Russian military exercise this month that has set NATO on edge and sparked calls for calm across eastern Europe.Scheduled to start Sept. 14 and run for a week, the so-called Zapad exercise is being billed as Russia’s largest war game since the end of the Cold War more than 25 years ago.It’s also the first of its kind since NATO decided to send four brigades to eastern Europe to prevent further Russian aggression, after Moscow annexed Crimea and began to support separatist forces in Ukraine.Canada is leading one of those multinational brigades, with 450 troops based in Latvia alongside counterparts from fellow NATO members Albania, Spain, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia.Zapad has already caused jitters in eastern Europe, with Poland announcing this week that it will close the airspace on its border with Belarus — which is taking part in Zapad with Russia — for the entire month.Karlis Eihenbaums, Latvia’s ambassador to Canada, said his countrymen are trying to “stay calm and carry on,” but he acknowledged that there are worries there, too.“They’re trying to check our central nervous system,” Eihenbaums said of Russia, which he compared to a neighbourhood bully. “We are keeping a very close eye on the preparations for this exercise.”NATO and the Canadian military have likewise said they plan to remain, in the words of one NATO official, “vigilant and alert,” but also “calm, balanced and measured.”But Canadian Forces spokesman Col. Jay Janzen said Russia’s “lack of respect for the sovereignty of its neighbours,” including Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, has created an atmosphere of distrust.“It’s not about exercises per se, or Exercise Zapad 2017,” Janzen said. “It’s about the climate that Russia has created over the past number of years with regards to its actions on the world stage.”The fact Russia has largely barred international observers from watching the Zapad exercise except in an extremely limited way has only exacerbated that those concerns.Canada and Russia are among several dozen countries that have signed an international agreement that requires any military exercise involving more than 13,000 soldiers be open to outside observers.But while NATO estimates that between 60,000 and 100,000 soldiers will be involved in Zapad, Russia says it is running several exercises concurrently, all of which will contain fewer than 13,000 troops.Russia has said it will host a handful of foreign observers during one day of the exercise. But they will be limited on what they can see and do, which NATO says falls far short of Moscow’s legal requirements.That has sparked complaints from the alliance as well as countries like Canada.“All nations have the right to exercise their forces, but nations should also respect their commitments to transparency,” said the NATO official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive details.“Predictability and transparency are especially important when there is increased military activity along our borders to reduce risks and avoid any miscalculations, misperceptions or incidents.”In addition to sending troops to Latvia to deter Russia, Canada has also recently deployed four CF-18s to patrol the airspace over Romania for the next month and has kept a frigate in the region for years.— Follow @leeberthiaume on Twitter
CALGARY – Ottawa is planning to boost treatment options for opioid drug users as it tries to deal with what Health Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor is calling a national public health crisis.Petitpas Taylor outlined some of the steps the federal government aims to take at a conference Wednesday of the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction.More than 2,800 people died last year as a result of the crisis and Petitpas Taylor said that number is expected to exceed 3,000 in 2017.“This situation certainly keeps me up at night,” she said. “These numbers aren’t abstract to me. I know the toll that the opioid crisis is having in our communities such as Vancouver.”She said the government plans to support pilot projects to provide safer opioid alternatives, such as the pain medication dilaudid, at supervised consumption sites. There are 25 such sites across Canada and locations for the pilots are expected to be announced in a few weeks.They will be funded through the federal Substance Use and Addictions Program, which provides $26.3 million in funding a year to tackle substance use issues.Petitpas Taylor added that she wants to work with provinces and territories to find a better way to establish temporary overdose prevention sites if there’s an urgent need.“This is an emergency and … sometimes the short-term measures need to be taken to address the reality on the ground,” she said in her speech.“We are in the midst of a national public health crisis and no one group or government can address it alone.”Ottawa also aims to hold consultations on removing some of the barriers to obtaining prescription-grade heroin so that users don’t have to visit a hospital several times a day.“Right now, if you would like to provide prescription-grade heroin, it must be done in a hospital setting. We’re consulting on whether or not we should remove those barriers so that it can be accessed in more places,” said Suzy McDonald, assistant deputy minister in charge of opioid response.Another plan is to allow drug-checking services to ensure safety at all authorized supervised consumption sites should they want to offer it.The Liberal government’s most recent budget set aside $100 million over five years to fight the opioid crisis.Petitpas Taylor announced Wednesday that one-third of that money would be put in a harm reduction fund, which includes efforts to prevent infectious diseases like HIV and hepatitis C amongst intravenous drug users. Part of that fund is also earmarked for the Dr. Peter Centre in Vancouver so that it can provide training to new supervised consumption sites across Canada.Petitpas Taylor said decriminalization is off the table.“We are exploring other avenues right now.”
A Halifax-area man accused of murder was allegedly one of the kingpins of a Colombian drug cartel before he was arrested on a Venezuelan beach and extradited back to Canada, officials in South America say.The Office of the Attorney General of Colombia said in a press release Wednesday that Steven Douglas Skinner, a former MMA fighter awaiting trial on second-degree murder, organized a drug trafficking network called Morfhox with Daniel “El Loco” Barrera.The attorney general said along with his accomplice — who he allegedly later killed before fleeing to neighbouring Venezuela — Skinner recruited drug mules to smuggle cocaine to Canada, the United States and EuropeThe alleged narcos targeted seniors, mothers and Venezuelans to illegally transport drugs by swallowing latex capsules filled with liquid cocaine.They bought the drug mules passports, airline tickets and clothing as well as paid for expenses abroad, promising a bonus payment when they returned to Colombia, the attorney general said.Skinner was arrested by Venezuelan law enforcement on Margarita Island in 2016, and was extradited to Canada the following year to face second-degree murder charges in the death of Stacey Adams in Nova Scotia.A photo released by Venezuelan authorities after his arrest showed the one-time fugitive in colourful swim trunks, with tattoos on both arms and his bare chest covered in sand.Skinner, who fought as a light-heavyweight at 205 pounds, had a 3-2 professional record, according to mixed martial arts website Sherdog.com.Police had issued an international warrant for Skinner’s arrest shortly after Adams was found dead in Lake Echo in April 2011.The RCMP worked with Venezuelan authorities for more than a year before Skinner was arrested.Colombian officials said the four-year investigation into the liquid cocaine smuggling cartel led to 27 arrests, including eight people responsible for the cartel’s logistics, and the confiscation of 46 properties, 12 vehicles and four commercial establishments.The bust also yielded cash, firearms, ammunition and several emeralds, the prosecutor’s office said.
CALGARY — Former NHL player and abuse survivor Sheldon Kennedy is removing his name from the Calgary child advocacy centre he founded.He says in a statement that the decision comes with some sadness, a great sense of relief and no regrets.Kennedy says having his name on the building means personal responsibility for its day-to-day operation and looking after front-line workers, donors, volunteers and victims.He says it has been rewarding work since he first pitched the centre in 2010, but it has taken a toll.Kennedy says he needs to take care of his mental health and find balance in his life.He says he’ll now focus on his family and on the Respect Group, a company he co-founded aimed at preventing bullying, abuse, harassment and discrimination.“Today, I am healthy and excited about my next chapter. I will continue the crusade, but with greater balance. I am also comforted to know that the Calgary Child Advocacy Centre and our community are ready to carry the torch,” Kennedy said in a statement Tuesday.“It has become clear that I will not be able to achieve the critical balance I need in my life without taking my name off the centre. Furthermore, our community will never fully own the issues with my name still on it. The time has come and the future is bright.”Kennedy declined to comment further.Kennedy was among the first to speak out about sexual abuse he suffered from coach Graham James. James was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison for abusing Kennedy and another young player.James later pleaded guilty to repeatedly abusing other players including retired NHL star Theo Fleury and Fleury’s cousin, Todd Holt, when they played for him in the Western Hockey League in the late 1980s and early ’90s.The Canadian Press
OTTAWA — Canada’s Department of Justice, through its International Assistance Group, helps Canadian and foreign police and prosecutors by extraditing people to face prosecution or sentencing in the country in which they are charged or convicted.The Extradition Act provides Ottawa with the legal basis to extradite people located in Canada who are sought by an extradition partner. Those partners include:— Countries, such as the United States, with which Canada has an extradition agreement (a bilateral treaty or a multilateral convention);— Countries with which Canada has entered into a case-specific agreement; or— Countries or international courts whose names appear in the schedule to the Extradition Act.In all cases, the conduct for which extradition is sought must be considered criminal in both the requesting country and in Canada.There are three key stages to the Canadian extradition process:— The justice minister must first determine whether to authorize the start of extradition proceedings in the Canadian courts by issuing what’s known as an “Authority to Proceed.”— Once an Authority to Proceed has been issued, the Canadian courts must determine whether there is sufficient evidence to justify the person’s committal for extradition. When someone is committed for extradition, the justice minister must personally decide whether to order the person’s surrender to the foreign state.— Someone sought for extradition may appeal their committal and seek judicial review of the minister’s surrender order — a process that can play out for months or even years in the courts.(Source: Canadian Department of Justice)The Canadian Press
TORONTO — Canadian drug makers are facing a $1.1-billion lawsuit for their role in the opioid crisis.A proposed class action filed today accuses almost two dozen companies of enriching themselves at the expense of vulnerable patients.The unproven suit alleges the companies illegally and deceptively promoted highly addictive opioids despite knowing the dangersThe potent painkillers have killed thousands of Canadians in recent years.The statement of claim filed in Ontario Superior Court names some of the biggest pharmaceutical firms in the country.No statements of defence have been filed and the claims have not been tested in any court.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — The Canadian Space Agency says astronaut David Saint-Jacques is doing well as he continues his long journey home after a six-month stint aboard the International Space Station.The 49-year-old Quebec native boarded a NASA plane during the night and is expect to arrive in Houston later today after a brief stopover in Scotland.The agency says Saint-Jacques is in good health despite experiencing typical post-flight symptoms, including nausea. He was able to speak with his wife and parents after landing.Saint-Jacques, along with NASA astronaut Anne McClain and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, returned to Earth Monday night aboard a Soyuz capsule that landed in Kazakhstan.During a mission that began in December, Saint-Jacques took part in a six-and-a-half hour spacewalk and set a record for the longest single space flight by a Canadian at 204 days.His next few weeks will be spent recovering from the physical challenges of the flight, which could include blood circulation problems, muscle pains and trouble walking after months of weightlessness.The Canadian Press
HALIFAX — A court case is underway today over the release of key evidence explaining what led to the wrongful murder conviction and imprisonment of a Nova Scotia man who spent almost 17 years in jail.The Canadian Press, CBC and the Halifax Examiner are asking Justice James Chipman of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court for access to federal documents with details of how 63-year-old Glen Assoun was improperly convicted of second-degree murder on Sept. 17, 1999.It’s a case where Canada’s minister of justice has already declared there was “reliable and relevant evidence” that wasn’t disclosed during criminal proceedings.On March 1, after a two-decade struggle by Assoun to overturn his conviction, a judge found Assoun innocent in the 1995 knifing death of 28-year-old Brenda Way.A lawyer with Innocence Canada, a group that works to free the wrongfully convicted, has said police didn’t disclose key evidence before Assoun’s unsuccessful appeal in 2006.The struggle to release the information goes back to 2014, when the Justice Department determined in a preliminary report there may have been a of miscarriage of justice and Assoun was released on bail.At the time, Chipman refused a media request to see the report, and sealed the hundreds of pages of information.The Canadian Press
Emmy-Winning Actress Edie Falco and WNBC News Anchor Pat Battle will host the second annual “Performance for the Animals” to benefit Animal Haven on Thursday, June 7 at City Winery in New York.The fundraiser and auction will feature an exclusive performance by singer/songwriter Matt White and celebrate a benchmark of 10,000 adoptions facilitated by the SoHo-based shelter since opening in 1967.Animal Haven is a nonprofit organization that finds homes for abandoned cats and dogs throughout the Tri-State area, and provides behavior intervention when needed to improve chances of adoption.Copyright ©2012Look to the Stars
Scott “Smitty” Smith, from the Emmy-winning, child-oriented indie rock band the Imagination Movers, talks exclusively with Look To The Stars, about his support of children with Down syndrome.October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Smitty, why do you feel it is a worthy cause?Anytime you can get a bunch of people united for a good cause, it is a great idea. I was most inspired by other supporters’ passion for this issue.Out of the dozens of Down Syndrome organizations out there, what about the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) attracted your support?I have a friend who has a granddaughter who has Down’s. It was his story of how much our TV show and music meant to his family that got me interested. Interestingly enough, it was a story that the Movers had heard from other fans with Down’s during our tours, as well.It wasn’t until my fellow firefighter friend called me that I thought about trying to lend some support. Being apart of National Down Syndrome Society’s Buddy Walk was the least I could do—it was a lot of fun.Were you raised to think about others, or was there a certain event in your life that inspired you?I would have to say that I was lucky enough to have a family to raise me to think of others.What do you get out of volunteering your time?Quite simply the satisfaction that you are helping to make a difference in another person’s life. Positivity is a great thing.Why should all your fans get involved?Because nothing feels better than giving and making a difference.If you could ask all your fans one thing, what would it be?Be nice to other people. You can take a simple statement like that as far as you want—it is a good way to live.Do you believe in issue placement, incorporating worldly issues in music lyrics?Yes, music is a great way to raise awareness about any issue.Does any of your recent work reflect your and your band’s feelings on certain issues?We write music for kids, and our music sometimes addresses their issues. (Kids have enough pressure on them. It’s important that they are given the opportunity to just be kids.)The Imagination Movers is currently on its World Tour. The Movers will allow families at various concerts to take the stage to promote the Buddy Walk in their town. For more information, visit www.ndss.org.This interview would have been impossible without the help of Joshua Page, Marilyn Laverty and Scott “Smitty” Smith.Copyright ©2012Look to the Stars