BC authors Yasuko Thanh Deborah Campbell among Writers Trust Award winners

first_img“She is a funny, fearless, remarkable woman who was also a one-woman NGO helping other refugees in Syria,” Campbell said of Ahlam in an interview following the awards ceremony. “She showed me the human face of war and the ways people can survive with dignity. Follow @lauren_larose on Twitter. Advertisement Advertisement Set in historical Vietnam, Thanh’s novel, published by Hamish Hamilton, tells a story of love, rebellion and colonial power based on the real-life Hanoi Poison Plot of 1908. Thanh, 45, is of German and Vietnamese heritage, and the work is also inspired by tales from her own family, who hail from Saigon. Award-winning Ottawa-born author Alan Cumyn, who has written five novels for young readers, was the recipient of the $20,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People. Jury members Lauren B. Davis, Trevor Ferguson and Pasha Malla described Thanh’s novel as having “compelling narrative drive,” and credited her creations of “mesmerizing characters.” Her book was selected from among 135 books submitted by 55 publishers. Victoria author Yasuko Thanh scored a major win for her debut novel, “Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains,” which has been awarded the 2016 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. The University of British Columbia lecturer has spent more than a decade reporting from countries including Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan, Qatar and Russia. Her book was selected from among five finalists, and the jury read 95 books submitted by 50 publishers. “Campbell’s account … written with compelling prose, nuanced context, and intimate narration, illuminates the dangers of life and work in a conflict zone,” jury members Carolyn Abraham, Stephen Kimber and Emily Urquhart said in a statement. Campbell’s work begins with her undercover journey in 2007 to the Syrian capital of Damascus to report on Iraqis flocking into the country after Saddam Hussein was toppled from power. Her firsthand account also delves into the evolution of her relationship with Ahlam, a refugee working as a “fixer” aiding western media whom Campbell hires and befriends. Edmonton-based Colette Langlois was awarded the $10,000 Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which honours the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine. Gregory Scofield of Sudbury, Ont., author of seven acclaimed poetry collections, received the $25,000 Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, which recognizes a mid-career poet for their body of work. “Every writer has those cold feet … and having your doubts,” said Thanh, who also performs with the punk band 12 Gauge Facial. “But the fact that I’ve been able to meet people who’ve read the book, and have converations with them has been amazing, because normally our profession is so solitary.” LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment center_img Advertisement Thanh was among five finalists vying for the $25,000 prize, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. Login/Register With: “I learned through knowing her lessons about what it’s like to live through war, and what it takes to survive. And I think people like her — fixers behind the scenes, showing the world to — I think these are often the real heroes that we don’t hear about in news reporting.” By: Lauren La Rose She was previously recognized in 2009 with the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her story “Floating Like the Dead,” but admitted she didn’t initially think her latest work would be well-received. Eden Robinson, who grew up in Haisla territory near Kitamaat Village in B.C., received the $25,000 Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award, which honours a mid-career writer for their body of work. Thanh was among seven authors honoured during the 2016 Writers’ Trust Awards on Wednesday night, hosted by CBC Radio broadcaster and “Q” host Tom Power.Vancouver journalist and author Deborah Campbell was awarded the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for “A Disappearance in Damascus: A Story of Friendship and Survival in the Shadow of War” (Knopf Canada). Facebook “We had a lot of really colourful characters in my family, and so growing up, I heard a lot of the stories and just knew that I wanted to do something with them,” Thanh said in an interview, adding that she was “absolutely overwhelmed” to win the award. Langlois, who was raised in the Northwest Territories, was honoured for her first published story “The Emigrants.” The story describes parallel tales of loneliness from the past and the future — a Saskatchewan farm in 1885 and a colony on Mars in 2070. Salt Spring Island, B.C., resident Brian Brett, a veteran journalist and author of 12 books, received the $20,000 Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life. Twitterlast_img read more


first_imgWHEN: Sat. Feb. 10thTIMES:10:00am – 12:30pm – for Kids and Teens – $100+ taxes & fees – CLICK HERE02:00pm – 05:30pm – for Adults – $125+ taxes & fees – CLICK HERELOCATION: Milestone Casting Studios – 400 Eastern Ave #201a, Toronto, ON M4M 2K9ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP:  Our workshop is not geared towards teaching you how to act….you hopefully already know how to do that 🙂• I am going to teach you how to give your best audition.• How to stand out in a video or live audition, giving you the best tools you need to impress a Casting Director or client.• How to walk in that door with everything you need to best optimize your chances.Sometimes, it’s simply out of one’s control in our subjective world … but there are things you can do to truly enhance your chances, be it a live audition or a self-taped one.This session will cover Live Auditioning and Video Auditioning, as well as a variety of exercises and techniques including but not limited to improv work, on-camera scene work/auditioning techniques, audition do’s and don’ts… plus a variety of fun acting exercises along the way.Check-out Matthew’s 3 videos below Morgan Casting Film Demo Reel, Commercial Demo Reel and his eBOSS Interview MORGAN CASTING FILM DEMO REEL MATTHEW MORGAN’S BIO:Matthew got his first taste of being in the industry in the fall of 1995 while working on Joel Schumacher’s A TIME TO KILL; a feature that was being filmed in his hometown of Canton, MS. This moment changed his career path, and he hasn’t looked back since.Graduating in International Business and Foreign Languages, Matthew moved to Canada and immersed himself in the industry and the multiculturalism. He learned the casting ropes from established casting directors in Toronto before he eventually opened up his own casting company in December of 2004. Having studied in both France and Spain, Toronto was a perfect, multicultural city in which to start his casting company, Morgan Casting Inc.Matthew specialized in casting real people, street casting and finding tough, specialty characters not always found though an agency. Nothing was impossible to find, and Matthew was known for his hard work ethic and charming people skills. After building up a real-people database, he eventually moved into casting actors and focused on commercials and TV series. Finally, Matthew returned to his home state to cast in his hometown of Canton, MS, on a William Faulkner Film, AS I LAY DYING, directed by and starring James Franco. Morgan had finally come full circle; he is doing what he loves most – casting movies! And his background in real-people casting helps him find the undiscovered actors for those hard-to-fill roles.Matthew has since enjoyed casting on feature films, TV series and commercials across North American, working in diverse places and truly excelling at being mobile with his work. From Arkansas to Washington State…Vancouver to Montreal … Matthew has been able to successfully set up temporary offices for every project. He truly enjoys casting on location in diverse places, staying true to his love of travel, culture, languages and challenging work.Matthew Morgan is proudly both Canadian & American, as well as a member of both country’s casting guilds, CDC & CSAMATTHEW’S SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/morgancastingincIMDB: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm5361324/WEBSITE: http://www.morgancasting.com/TWITTER: https://twitter.com/morgancasting – @morgancastingINSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/morgancastinginc/CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP FOR THE ‘ACTORS WORKSHOP’ Facebook 10 QUESTION WITH MATTHEW MORGANCLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP FOR THE ‘ACTORS WORKSHOP’ Advertisement Twitter If you haven’t taken this workshop yet – you shouldTHE ACTORS WORKSHOPby U.S. & Canadian Casting Director MATTHEW MORGAN (MORGAN CASTING)center_img Advertisement Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement MORGAN CASTING COMMERCIAL DEMO REELlast_img read more

Come From Away adds standingroomonly tickets

first_imgThe newly minted production of the musical, with a Canadian cast, has experienced soaring demand. Though tickets are now on sale through October, many performances through March and April are already sold out. The addition of standing-room-only tickets for a long-run show in Toronto is nearly unprecedented.“In Toronto, standing-room has never been used because we just don’t have the density of people who are only here for one or two days. Because by far the majority of our audience is local, if people can’t see a show in the short term they can book into the future,” said John Karastamatis, director of communications at Mirvish Productions, in an email. Twitter LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Facebook The cast of the Mirvish production of Come From Away at Winnipeg’s Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre. (Matthew Murphy/Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre) Come From Away, he adds, is unique in “its creation of a demand from many people to see it as soon as possible.”The only other time Mirvish added standing-room tickets was in December 2016: the last time Come From Away was in town, for a short pre-Broadway run. Advertisement Advertisement Advertisement Login/Register With: Consider it an extended standing ovation.Beginning Tuesday, March 13, the homegrown hit musical Come From Away will offer standing-room-only tickets for those seeking last-minute entry to the high-demand show.Sixteen tickets per performance will grant theatregoers a space to stand at the back of the ground-floor orchestra level. The tickets are priced at $25 apiece and will only be available in person at the Royal Alexandra Theatre box office on the day of performance, with a limit of two tickets per customer.last_img read more

FN chiefs not surprised by government surveillance

first_imgAPTN National NewsDocuments provided to APTN National News show RCMP and Indian Affairs keep a constant eye on potential First Nations “hotspots” across Canada.The documents, obtained by the First Nations Strategic Bulletin, point to potential areas for protest or occupation and they show the RCMP are especially concerned with so-called “splinter groups.”APTN National News reporter Meagan Fiddler has more.last_img

Calgary law firm accused of fleecing residential school survivors faces demand over

first_imgAPTN National NewsA hearing into alleged abuses in the residential schools compensation process ended Friday.The judge heard six days of information into the practices of Calgary law firm, Blott and Company.The judge gave no indication when a ruling would be handed down.It has left thousands of claims in limbo.This has left many survivors wondering, what’s going to happen with their claims.last_img

Yellowknives band member wants chiefs ousted

first_imgAPTN National NewsA former band councillor for the Yellowknives Dene First Nation is calling for the removal of two of the community’s chiefs for corruption and mismanagement of funds.APTN National News reporter Cullen Crozier has this story.last_img

Race for AFN national chief gets rolling

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe race for the position of national chief of the Assembly of First Nations is heating up.The AFN election is happening in July in Toronto.Already there are half a dozen candidates vying for the top job.So far, the contenders for national chief are Ellen Gabriel, Terry Nelson, Joan Jack, Pam Palmater, Bill Erasmus and Shawn Atleo, the incumbent national chief.Tuesday is the deadline for all candidates to submit their nomination forms.last_img

While Ottawas books are in the black Aboriginal Affairs is in the

first_imgBy Annette FrancisAPTN National NewsCanada’s books are good according the Finance Minister Joe Oliver.Oliver released his fall economic update today at the Canadian Club of Toronto.The finance minister began in a familiar vein by describing the global economy as fragile and sputtering, but he said Canada is on the right track.  He said the government is projecting a 1.9 billion dollar surplus for next year.“Our government is taking steps to put more money back into the pockets of Canadian families. We will continue to take the action necessary to secure prosperity for this generation and the next.”But Jean Crowder, NDP MP and Aboriginal Affairs critic, says while it sounds great that the government’s financial books are nearing the black, a report shows the department of Aboriginal Affairs is in the red and First Nations students are suffering because of it.According to a department performance report for 2013-14, Aboriginal Affairs held back tens of millions of dollars in First Nation education. The public document shows that Aboriginal Affairs planned to spend $300,465,700 on education facilities across the country but only paid out $242,389,389 leaving more than $86-million behind.The result of this money being spent elsewhere or not at all is clear, says Crowder, “First Nation kids on-reserve are lagging far behind provincial standards when it comes to numeracy and literacy skills.”According to the report released last week, male First Nation students in Ontario scored only 21% in literacy skills. Numeracy skills were even worse at 18%. What isn’t clear is how many First Nation students were tested or what grades they were in. Aboriginal Affairs did not address the dismal literacy and numeracy rates when asked by APTN.Literacy, Atlantic: M: 65% F: 70%Numeracy, Atlantic: M: 16% F: 54%Literacy, Ontario: M: 21% F: 32%Numeracy, Ontario: M: 18% F: 20%Literacy, Manitoba: M: 53% F: 65%Numeracy, Manitoba: M: 59% F: 50%Literacy, Alberta: M: 28% F: 36%Numeracy, Alberta: M: 21% F: 19%“This is the first year in which data for students ordinarily resident on-reserve was provided for every province through the First Nations Student Success Program,” the report states. “The numeracy and literacy rates presented in the above table will provide a baseline to which future results will be compared.”According to the authors, “the academic outcomes of First Nation students ordinarily resident on reserve require improvement to ensure an increase in graduation rates and to provide them with the opportunity to acquire the skills that they need to further their goals, enter the labour market and be full participants in a strong Canadian economy.”None of this is shocking says child welfare advocate Cindy Blackstock.  Blackstock, executive director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, has been in a 7 year long fight at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal in a case that alleges the Federal Government underfunds First Nations Child Welfare.“When you know better for children you’re supposed to do better,” said Blackstock. “In this case, the federal government knows it profoundly under-funds First Nations schools and education and is not doing better.  It is unconscionable that the Federal Government boasts about a surplus budget while turning its back on children in Canada who want to learn so they can get the job of their dreams.”Crowder says if Blackstock wins the complaint at the Tribunal, it could impact issues like education. She says what’s at stake is the future for First Nations children, yet the government refuses to provide equal funding.“The government doesn’t acknowledge the underfunding in First Nations Education,” said Crowder. “And it doesn’t acknowledge that it doesn’t need the Education Act in order to increase spending for First Nations Education and it certainly isn’t working with First Nations in terms of addressing the inequities in the system.”Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt’s office did not respond directly to APTN’s questions about the report. Instead, a spokesperons in his office sent this statement.“Our Government has made improving the quality of life and creating economic development opportunities for Aboriginal Communities its priority. We are achieving this goal while treating taxpayer’s money with the utmost respect.Surplus in the near future:After 2015-16, Ottawa is forecasting a surplus of $4.3 billion in 2016-17; $5.1 billion in 2017-18; $6.8 billion in 2018-19 and $13.1 billion in 2019-20.Not surprisingly, the Harper government’s fall fiscal update is getting slammed by the opposition.Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau calls it unfair because the Conservatives are choosing to spend the budget surplus on tax breaks like income splitting, which he says benefit only 15 per cent of Canadians, including the wealthiest.N-D-P leader Tom Mulcair is accusing the government of taking from the poor to give to the rich.@APTNAfrancisafrancis@aptn.ca-with files from The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Transgender Aboriginal student president opens up about discrimination

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe president of the University of Saskatchewan’s student union is speaking out for lesbian, gay and transgender people hoping to encourage those who face discrimination and ignorance as he once did.APTN’s Larissa Burnouf sits down with Jack Saddleback.last_img

Ottawa program aims to inspire Indigenous chefs cook traditional foods

first_imgAnnette Francis APTN National NewsA new program designed to inspire First Nation, Metis and Inuit chefs kicked off in Ottawa Monday.A crowd of students, entrepreneurs and instructors gathered at Algonquin College for the launch of the Indigenous apprenticeship program.last_img

Extortion charges against Thunder Bay mayor wife entangled with cases involving police

first_img(Marisa Hobbs (left) and Mayor Keith Hobbs in a still image taken from a YouTube video of a party in the basement of Thunder Bay lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff’s home.)Jorge Barrera and Willow Fiddler APTN National NewsThe extortion charges filed against Thunder Bay mayor Keith Hobbs and his wife are enmeshed with criminal cases unfolding against the city’s police chief and a local lawyer facing a litany of assault and sexual assault charges, including one involving a minor, court records show.A review of the court record reveals threads connecting the cases involving the obstruction of justice and breach of trust charges against Thunder Bay police chief J.P. Levesque, the multitude of charges against lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff, 68, and the recently revealed charges against Hobbs, 65, who is a former police officer, his wife Marisa Hobbs, 53, and a woman named Mary Voss, 46.Court records also show three police forces, Thunder Bay police, Ontario Provincial Police and the RCMP, were all involved in investigating separate parts of these entangled criminal cases.The legal woes now facing the mayor and police chief come as the city is grappling with a crisis that has engulfed its police force over the perceived mishandling of death investigations involving Indigenous peoples.A coroner’s inquest jury examining the deaths of seven Anishinaabe youth concluded last year it could not determine what led to the drownings of three youth who were found in the city’s waterways. This called into question the effectiveness of the Thunder Bay police’s investigations.Two more Anishinaabe youth were found dead in the city’s waterways this past May and Ontario’s Chief Coroner asked York Regional Police to investigate the deaths after First Nation leaders called for the RCMP to take over the cases because they had no confidence in the abilities of the Thunder Bay police.The city has also developed a reputation for rampant racism. It has the highest rate of police reported hate incidents against Inidgenous peoples in the country. Barbara Kentner, an Anishinaabe woman, died this month from injuries the family believes were inflicted during a targeted assault in January. Kentner was hit with a trailer hitch thrown from a car with four occupants. Only one of the occupants, Brayden Bushby, 18, was charged with aggravated assault. It still remains unclear whether the charge will be upgraded as a result of Kentner’s death.Thunder Bay Police Chief J.P. LevesqueNow the mayor of Thunder Bay and the police chief are both on extended leaves as a result of linked criminal cases that began with the downfall of a long-time local lawyer facing a multitude of sexual assault, assault and weapons charges.Hobbs, his wife and Voss are all facing extortion charges filed by the OPP related to an alleged attempt to “induce” local lawyer Sandy Zaitzeff into purchasing a house for Voss under the threat of taking criminal allegations against him to police, according to the court file. The alleged extortion occurred between Oct. 19 and Nov. 20, 2016.The Hobbs couple is also charged with obstruction of justice over allegedly trying to interfere with an RCMP investigation into an extortion complaint.Court records reveal Zaitzeff is charged with several counts of assaulting Voss. The charges were filed last November by Thunder Bay police.  Zaitzeff was also charged with violating a no-contact order by attempting to communicate with Voss after the assault charges were initially filed, according to court records.According to civil court records, Hobbs warned Zaitzeff last fall he planned to take “allegations of sexual impropriety” against the lawyer to the police. Zaitzteff responded on Nov. 19, 2016, by saying he would “bury” Hobbs, according to a defamation lawsuit filed by Hobbs against Zaitzeff.Zaitzeff was charged on Nov. 21, 2016, with three counts of sexual assault and one count of assault against a minor. He was also charged that day with assaulting Voss. He has since faced a number of additional sexual assault charges involving other victims. He was also charged with the unlicensed possession of two shotguns and a semi-automatic rifle.A month before the alleged threat and charges, Hobbs was filmed by his wife at an Oct. 25, 2016, party held in Zaitzeff’s basement.On Dec. 19, 2016, the video of the house party was uploaded to YouTube.  Hobbs later filed a defamation lawsuit against Zaitzeff over the video which he said damaged his political reputation and influenced his decision not to seek another term in office. Hobbs was first elected in 2010.It was around this time—between Dec. 14 and Dec. 22, 2016—when Thunder Bay police Chief J.P. Levesque allegedly disclosed confidential information about Hobbs, which led to charges filed by the OPP of breach of trust and obstruction of justice against the chief, according to court records.Thunder Bay Mayor Keith HobbsThe OPP has never publicly said what confidential information Levesque disclosed about Hobbs or to whom it was disclosed. However, the court record shows Hobbs and his wife caught wind the RCMP was investigating an extortion complaint against the mayor around the same time Levesque disclosed the confidential information.Hobbs and his wife allegedly began to interfere in the fledgling RCMP investigation between Dec. 21, 2016, and May of this year, the OPP alleged.The police chief was charged in May.OPP Det.-Supt. Dave Truax led the investigations into Hobbs and Levesque, according to the OPP.APTN National News first learned of an ongoing OPP investigation of Hobbs in June. APTN spoke with a friend of one of Zaitzeff’s victims who also knew Hobbs. The friend said that Hobbs was trying to help the victim.APTN also previously contacted Hobbs about the possibility he was under an OPP investigation. Hobbs told APTN at the time he believed he did nothing wrong.“Where I come from innocent people don’t have to be worried about that kind of rumour, so I’m not worried,” said Hobbs, in a June 15 email.In a statement issued by their lawyers, the Hobbs couple maintained their innocence.“These charges are unjustified and will be vigorously defended,” said the statement, issued by lawyers Brian Greenspan and Naomi Lutes. “Mayor Hobbs and his wife are hopeful that the community with not prejudge these unproven charges and are grateful for the continued support of their many colleagues, family and friends.”Zaitzeff was once involved in a class action lawsuit against the RCMP over the harassment of women officers.The Hobbs couple and Voss are scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 26. They are under a no-contact order that includes three RCMP officers.Jbarrera@aptn.ca@JorgeBarreralast_img read more

Business sentiment moderates from strong summer high Bank of Canada poll

first_imgOTTAWA – Canadian companies remain positive about the future but there are signs business sentiment has begun to cool down from its mid-summer high, said new poll results released Monday by the Bank of Canada.The central bank’s quarterly survey of companies suggested firms still have “healthy” outlooks, particularly when it comes to prospects for future sales, foreign demand and hiring intentions.This optimism remains intact despite shifting conditions that include higher interest rates and predictions the economy’s powerful start to 2017 will slow in the second half of the year.In its poll of about 100 Canadian companies, the bank found that a large majority of firms predicted a rise in sales volumes and on balance, firms expect faster sales growth, which suggests expansion has become more entrenched.“Firms’ prospects remain healthy, although several survey indicators have moderated from the strong summer results,” the bank said in a statement.The survey also said firms are reporting more orders from foreign customers compared to a year ago and that most companies didn’t foresee the uncertainty over U.S. trade policy having an affect on their outlooks.However, plans by businesses to increase spending over the next 12 months were somewhat less widespread than in recent surveys as the measure for investment expectations slipped closer to its historical average.Hiring intentions also slowed since the last survey, but still remained positive in all regions and were elevated for the service sector. Companies reported more-intense labour shortages than they were a year ago, which lifted the indicator to its highest mark since the 2008-09 recession.The survey results were released about a week before the bank’s next scheduled interest-rate announcement.Governor Stephen Poloz raised rates twice over the summer following the economy’s surprisingly powerful start to the year. But recent data has signalled the economy has started to cool somewhat and Poloz has said he expects slower growth in the second half of 2017.Poloz has also indicated there’s no “predetermined path” for future rate hikes and that the bank would take a data-dependent approach.Follow @AndyBlatchford on Twitterlast_img read more

China signs on to Alaska gas pipeline but its far from set

first_imgANCHORAGE, Alaska – The latest push in a decades-long effort to commercialize vast stores of Alaska’s natural gas got a boost when the state announced a deal with three Chinese companies. But the $43 billion project is far from reality.The agreement advances a project to move gas through a pipeline to the Alaska coast, where it would be liquefied and shipped to China and other points in Asia. U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping looked on as Alaska’s governor and representatives from the companies signed the deal Thursday in Beijing.But the fanfare does not ensure one shovelful of tundra gets overturned. Similar efforts to build a natural gas pipeline have fizzled repeatedly.Here’s a look at the new project:WHAT’S THE PLAN?Alaska’s prodigious North Slope is known for its vast deposit of oil, which fueled construction of the 800-mile trans-Alaska oil pipeline in the 1970s. Since then, oil production has declined, and the recession-racked state hopes to tap into natural gas to fill the gaps.The North Slope has proven gas reserves over 35 trillion cubic feet, but no way to move it. State efforts to find partners willing to shell out billions for a pipeline have flopped over the years, with major oil companies the latest to step away. Gov. Bill Walker has since courted Asian markets.Sinopec, the Bank of China and China Investment Corp. signed on, but financial terms have not been released. Walker said 75 per cent of the gas would be earmarked for China, and Alaska would keep the rest to sell to other Asian markets. The state would be the majority owner.Walker said he wants final agreements in place by the end of next year, with groundbreaking in 2019.The plan includes building a gas treatment plant on the North Slope, a pipeline that would go 800 miles to the town of Nikiski and a liquefaction plant there. Walker anticipates all of it to be running about five years later.Larry Persily, former U.S. co-ordinator for Alaska natural gas projects, said it could cost $1 billion to get to that point, and he doesn’t think the timeline is realistic.“But if the first tanker left the dock in 2025 instead of 2023 or 2026, everyone would still be ecstatic,” he said.WHY DID OIL COMPANIES BACK OUT?BP, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips had been working on the pipeline plan but backed away to concentrate on other projects. That left pipeline skeptics wondering, Persily said.“If companies don’t think this is a good time to put their money into it, why should the state?” he said. “As the governor has explained, the state has an overriding interest in getting this done — companies have other places they can invest their money.”The Chinese companies also don’t have the same shareholder pressures as U.S firms.“From what I’ve seen from China, they make decisions like this and they pursue them generally to completion as a matter of strategy and are less worried about some of the short-term economics,” said Mark Barteau, director of the University of Michigan’s Energy Institute.WHY CHINA?It has an insatiable need for natural gas as it struggles with pollution and tries to end its reliance on coal.“They have exhibited a long-term interest in having a large and secure gas supply, and I think this is just perhaps the largest — but by no means the first — step they’ve taken to achieve that,” said Barteau, who also serves on the science advisory board for the National Institute of Clean and Low Carbon Energy in Beijing.Charlie Riedl, executive director of Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group the Center for Liquefied Natural Gas, sees no reason to be skeptical, saying the Chinese have wanted to get involved in a natural gas project in the U.S. for some time.The agreement “is a really positive indicator that there is demand, and there is an appetite in Asia for this gas, and the proximity to market being in Alaska is obviously a good thing,” he said.WHAT ARE THE DOWNSIDES?Without seeing the details of the agreement, some analysts pointed to the large amount of gas earmarked for China and the possible terms of the deal.Barteau said he assumes it would guarantee pricing for a set period.“If gas prices were to go way up, and we’re locked in selling it at bargain basement prices, that wouldn’t be such a good deal down the line,” he said.Persily said that if Alaska contracts to sell three-quarters of the gas to one nation, it would “be stuck with one big customer that you sink or swim with.”WHAT DO ENVIRONMENTALISTS SAY?The Center for Biological Survey called the project a “massively terrible idea” and expects legal action if the Trump administration fast-tracks it or skirts permit requirements in environmental laws.“It is just a massive investment in new fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when we should be rapidly transitioning to clean energy, and it’s just the wrong decision,” said Kristen Monsell, an attorney for the environmental group.Her concern is not only what extracting the gas from the ground might do to the environment but also increased tanker activity through habitat of the endangered Pacific right whale.Another environmental group didn’t foresee plans to stall the pipeline, calling it a safer option than opening up part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling, said Lois Epstein with The Wilderness Society.last_img read more

Oilpatch CEO says Trudeau needs to give real pipeline support not just

first_imgCALGARY – Athabasca Oil Corp.’s chief executive blasted the Liberal government for not providing regulatory certainty or doing its job to get pipelines built just as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was visiting the heart of oilsands country on Friday.“I would tell him he has to show leadership on the pipeline file. And it’s not just words,” said Athabasca CEO Rob Broen at the company’s annual general meeting in Calgary.“He needs to back up Kinder Morgan, the pipeline he’s approved, and he needs to see it through to construction and make sure we can put shovels in the ground and get it built for the benefit of all Canadians.”Trudeau, visiting the new Fort Hills oilsands mine near Fort McMurray, reiterated his support for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion to the West Coast and repeated the message he delivered during stops in British Columbia earlier this week: that Canada needs to protect both the environment and the economy.“We have to make sure that the balance is right, that we’re still globally competitive — and competitiveness is something this government will always focus on — but we also shouldn’t be part of a race to the bottom of trying to cut standards and pollute more just for the short term,” Trudeau said.Athabasca has regulatory approval to double production to 40,000 barrels per day at its Leismer project and its Corner development has the same approved capacity. But Broen said the company won’t formally decide to go ahead with either project amid uncertainty created by government policies and heavy oil price discounts linked to pipeline export constraints.Broen’s criticisms echo points raised by the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers in its recent campaign to convince governments to restore investor confidence by cutting taxes and easing regulatory burdens.CAPP has warned that there are about 50 changes to energy industry policies being contemplated by provincial and federal governments, including recently-proposed sweeping changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the National Energy Board, that are harming Canada’s reputation as a transparent and fair place to do business.The CEO of Suncor Energy — the oilsands giant that operates Fort Hills and other developments around Fort McMurray — has also warned that “Canada needs to up its game” to attract investment away from the U.S.But Steve Williams said Friday he was “greatly encouraged” by the discussions he had with the prime minister. The two men hugged as the visit wrapped up.“The prime minister has taken the trouble to come here and spend some time with us and understand our challenges better. So I think we’re going to get some help,” Williams said.During his visit to Fort Hills, Trudeau chatted with workers in the lunch room about carbon taxes and pipeline approvals. He then toured a heavy equipment shop and climbed atop a massive oilsands ore hauling truck.Trudeau’s visit also met with energy industry and local Indigenous leaders.A handful of pro-oilsands demonstrators held signs reading “Canada produces fair trade oil” and “support our people, support our pipeline.”Both Trudeau and Premier Rachel Notley have touted Alberta’s carbon tax imposed last year as a tradeoff for having pipeline projects go forward. Athabasca’s Broen said he doesn’t think that strategy is working.Mike McKinnon, spokesman for Alberta Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, said the province’s climate plan is “the reason the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project was approved in the first place.”He said the department agrees, however, that Ottawa needs to do more to help get the pipeline built.Companies in this article. (TSX:KML, TSX:ATH, TSX:SU)— with files from Lauren Krugel in Fort McMurraylast_img read more

Experts disclose new details about 300yearold shipwreck

first_imgBOSTON – A Spanish galleon laden with gold that sank to the bottom of the Caribbean off the coast of Colombia more than 300 years ago was found three years ago with the help of an underwater autonomous vehicle operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the agency disclosed for the first time.New details about the discovery of the San Jose were released on Monday with permission from the agencies involved in the search, including the Colombian government.“We’ve been holding this under wraps out of respect for the Colombian government,” said Rob Munier, WHOI’s vice-president for marine facilities and operations.The exact location of the wreck of the San Jose, often called the “holy grail of shipwrecks,” was long considered one of history’s enduring maritime mysteries.The 62-gun, three-masted galleon, went down on June 8, 1708, with 600 people on board as well as a treasure of gold, silver and emeralds during a battle with British ships in the War of Spanish Succession. The treasure is worth as much as $17 billion by modern standards.The Massachusetts-based WHOI was invited to join the search because of its recognized expertise in deep water exploration. The institute’s autonomous underwater vehicle, REMUS 6000, helped find the wreckage of Air France 447 in 2011, which crashed in 2009 several hundred miles off the coast of Brazil.It was REMUS 6000 that in November 2015 took some side sonar images that found the San Jose in more than 2,000 feet (600 metres) of water.The vehicle descended to 30 feet (9 metres) above the wreck to take several photographs, including some of the distinctive dolphin engravings on the San Jose’s cannons, a key piece of visual evidence.“The wreck was partially sediment-covered, but with the camera images from the lower altitude missions, we were able to see new details in the wreckage and the resolution was good enough to make out the decorative carving on the cannons,” said WHOI engineer and expedition leader Mike Purcell.“It was a pretty strong feeling of gratification to finally find it,” said Munier, who was not at the site but learned in a phone call from Purcell. “It was a great moment.”The treasure has been the subject of legal battles between several nations as well as private companies. Several weeks ago, UNESCO, the United Nations cultural agency, called on Colombia not to commercially exploit the wreck, whose exact location remains a state secret.As for the treasure, that remains on the sea bed — for now.last_img read more

Virginia looks to raise age limit on tobacco products

first_imgRICHMOND, Va. — Tobacco-friendly Virginia is preparing to raise the age limit on buying traditional and electric cigarettes from 18 to 21.GOP leaders in the majority-Republican General Assembly announced Thursday they were backing legislation to raise the limit for all tobacco products, citing the rapid growth of teenage vaping.Virginia-based tobacco giant Altria announced support for the legislation.The surprise announcement by Republicans is part of a wider effort to broaden their appeal to suburban voters ahead of legislative elections later this year. Altria could also be looking to garner goodwill among lawmakers to diffuse a push for stricter laws on vaping and other tobacco products.Other states have raised age limits, but Virginia has long been entwined with tobacco, which powered its economy when it was a colony 400 years ago.Alan Suderman, The Associated Presslast_img read more

Suncor warns forced provincial oil cutbacks pose safety operational risks

first_imgCALGARY, A.B. – Forced Alberta government crude oil production cuts next year will result in “unintended consequences” that could include increased safety hazards for its employees, Suncor Energy Inc. warned Friday.Despite the curtailments that begin Jan. 1, Canada’s largest integrated oil and gas company forecasts its production will grow by 10 percent in 2019 on a stand-pat capital budget of between $4.9 billion and $5.6 billion.The issue has opened rifts in the Calgary-based oilpatch with companies like Suncor, Imperial Oil Ltd. and Husky Energy Inc. opposed to curtailments which are supported by bitumen-weighted producers like Cenovus Energy Inc. and Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. Mike McKinnon, spokesman for Energy Minister Marg McCuaig-Boyd, said the province’s decision to curtail production was a difficult but necessary one to prevent job losses in the industry.“We take concerns about safety and long-term resource stability very seriously, and have been engaged with Suncor and other companies on a daily basis to understand these challenges,” he said in an email.He said the province is working with companies on how much they must cut through an AER review panel and has made temporary adjustments to curtailment thresholds for companies facing higher reductions.Suncor said the cutbacks will result in higher operating costs per barrel, could affect the supply of crude oil to Alberta upgraders and refineries, may raise issues with its contracted pipeline commitments and could cause problems with the in-house consumption of diesel produced at its oilsands mines.The company said it expects average upstream production of 780,000 to 820,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day next year, up from about 730,000 boe/d in 2018.Suncor’s guidance matched analyst projections, with researchers at Tudor Pickering Holt & Co. saying in a note it is “the ‘just right’ bowl of porridge for an uncertain outlook.” In an email, Suncor spokeswoman Sneh Seetal wouldn’t reveal the company’s cutback number for competitive reasons.But she said it fails to properly consider the uneven historic and recent performance of Syncrude (the oilsands mine and upgrader in which Suncor has a 58 percent interest) and gives only partial consideration for the fact that Suncor’s new 194,000-bpd Fort Hills oilsands mine did not have a full year of production in 2018.Throttling back production during the coldest months of the year, when it typically operates full out without stopping for maintenance, could increase risks to safety and reliability, the company warned.“Suncor will not put the safety of our employees and contractors at risk,” it stated.center_img The cuts announced by Premier Rachel Notley earlier this month are intended to bring industry output in line with pipeline capacity to drain trapped oil from the western Canadian market and reduce resulting steep discounts for crude oil.Suncor says it is largely insulated from low local prices by its Canadian upgrading and refining assets and firm pipeline contracts.“In the short term, the government of Alberta action has resulted in winners and losers in the market, shutting invaluable upgrading throughput and has made transporting crude oil out of the province by rail uneconomic,” Calgary-based Suncor said in a news release.It added it is co-operating with the government and the Alberta Energy Regulator and “working hard” to minimize associated contractor layoffs.The province said it will order the suspension of 325,000 barrels per day or about 8.7 percent of overall oil production for about the first three months of 2019 before reducing the cuts for the rest of the year. The cuts only affect producers with more than 10,000 bpd of output, limiting curtailments to about 25 companies, mainly in the oilsands.Suncor said it will suffer from a “disproportionate allocation” of production cuts, adding its budget assumes the curtailments will be in place for three months before falling to 30 percent of initial levels for the remainder of 2019.last_img read more

TMC to field 41% women candidates, says Mamata

first_imgKolkata: West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress on Tuesday declared its list of Lok Sabha poll candidates, dropping 10 sitting MPs, nominating some turncoats and giving 41 per cent representation to women, including a number of Bengali screen celebrities like Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan.Announcing the candidates, Trinamool supremo and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said Harvard University professor and eminent historian Sugato Bose – who had earned many plaudits for his speeches during his first stint in parliament – has opted out of the contest as “he did not get permission from his university”. Also Read – Squadrons which participated in Balakot air strike awarded citations on IAF DayIn place of Bose, the Trinamool has come up with a surprise choice from Jadavpur – leading Bengali film heroine Mimi Chakraborty. Another popular actress Nusrat Jahan has been made the candidate from Basirhat, by dropping sitting MP Idris Ali – known as a prominent Muslim face of the party. Basirhat had witnessed communal violence in 2017, and Banerjee had then reportedly got upset with Ali’s role. Leading Bengali film hero Dipak Adhikari (Dev) would seek re-election from Ghatal constituency in West Midnapore district, while actress Satabdi Roy would fight to retain her Birbhum seat. Also Read – SC declines Oil Min request to stay sharing of documents on Reliance penaltyFrom Howrah, the Trinamool has re-nominated Arjuna awardee and former Indian football captain Prasun Banerjee. As many as 17 of the 42 Trinamool candidates in the state are women. Yesteryear’s actress Moon Moon Sen, who pulled up an upset victory over Communist Party of India-Marxist veteran Basudeb Acharia in Bankura in 2014, has been shifted to Asansol, where she is likely to take on Bharatiya Janata Party candidate, singer-turned-Union Minister Babul Supriyo.last_img read more

Litigants appear before SC-appointed mediation panel

first_imgFaizabad (UP): Twenty-five litigants in the Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land case on Wednesday appeared before a Supreme Court-appointed panel as it began an attempt to resolve the dispute through mediation, officials said.The litigants and their counsels altogether over 50 people met the three-member mediation panel on the Avadh University premises here. The Supreme Court has given the panel, led by former apex court judge F M I Kalifulla, eight weeks to explore the possibility of an amicable settlement over the disputed site in Ayodhya. Also Read – How a psychopath killer hid behind the mask of a devout laity!The panel members, who also include spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and senior advocate Sriram Panchu arrived in Faizabad on Tuesday and are expected to spend three days here. Uttar Pradesh Advocate General Raghvendra Singh and Additional Advocate General Madan Mohan Pandey also attended the meeting. Swami Avimukteshwaranand of the Ram Janmabhoomi Punruddhar Samiti said the meeting began at 10 am with over 50 participants. The discussions were being held in a harmonious manner, he said. Nirmohi Akhara’s Mahant Dinendra Das, Triloki Nath Pandey who is representing Ram Lalla Virajman, Mahant Dharam Das appearing for Ram Abhiram Das and Mahant Suresh Das of the Digambar Akhara were among the participants. Also Read – Encounter under way in Pulwama, militant killedSwami Chakrapani and Kamlesh Tiwari appeared at the meeting for the Hindu Mahasabha. Litigants Iqbal Ansari, Mohammad Umar and Haji Mahboob attended the meeting, where Maulana Ashhad Rashidi represented Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind. Waseem Rizvi, who heads the UP Shia Waqf Board, and representatives from the Sunni Waqf Board also participated. The Faizabad administration had issued notices to the 25 litigants on behalf of the panel. Authorities said only the participants were being allowed to enter the area where the meeting was taking place. Strict security arrangements have been made on the university premises, Faizabad District Magistrate Anuj Kumar Jha said. The panel in a letter had directed the Faizabad administration to ensure foolproof security in and around the venue, and also necessary personal security for the litigants and their lawyers, the authorities said. The Supreme Court is hearing 14 appeals against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in four civil suits, that the 2.77-acre site in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the three parties — the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla. In 1992, a right-wing mob demolished the Babri Masjid, which many Hindus believe was built on the spot which marks the birthplace of Lord Rama. While appointing the mediation panel last week, a five-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said “utmost confidentiality” should be maintained in the mediation proceedings to ensure their success. The apex court said the progress report on the mediation should be filed before it within four weeks and the proceedings should it be completed within eight weeks. Earlier, the apex court observed that the issue is not about 1,500 square feet of land, but about religious sentiments. The bench said it was conscious of the gravity and the impact of the issue on “public sentiment” and also on the “body politic of the country”.last_img read more