OTTAWA – The Liberal government will introduce legislation later this year to erase past convictions for sexual activity with a same-sex partner, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday as multi-coloured flags were raised on Parliament’s west lawn.The legislation would add to reforms already in the works to atone for the damage caused to thousands of Canadians convicted of gross indecency for committing homosexual acts.Egale, a national organization that advocates for the rights of sexual minorities, handed the government a report last June that recommended those convictions be expunged, pardoned or somehow stricken from the records of those convicted.Before 1969, same-sex acts between consensual adults were considered unlawful.“Our government will be moving forward with a process for the expungement of criminal convictions for Canadians who were unjustly convicted of a crime simply for who they were and who they loved,” Trudeau said as dozens of people gathered for the announcement cheered.Trudeau also reaffirmed the commitment his government made last month to apologize for the wrongs of the past committed against gay, lesbian and transgendered Canadians.The prime minister made the announcement on Parliament Hill after he and two of his cabinet colleagues, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, raised the Pride, transgender Pride, and Canada 150 Pride flags.Sporting rainbow-coloured socks for the occasion, Trudeau said his government is committed to acknowledging and addressing historical injustices experienced by Canadians for expressing their gender identity.“We will acknowledge and apologize for the role played by legislation, programs and policies in the historical discrimination faced by (LGBTQ2) Canadians,” Trudeau said.“I believe that it’s essential to make amends for past wrongs, not to simply gloss over them.”The government is already moving to delete discriminatory Criminal Code provisions regarding consensual sexual activity that have been deemed unconstitutional.Bill C-39 is currently at first reading stage in the House of Commons after being introduced in March.The Senate is also examining Bill C-16, which would add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination under both the Criminal Code and Canadian Human Rights Act.Egale also recommended the government examine whether and how to compensate people who suffered past discrimination because of their sexual orientation.Trudeau made no mention of compensation as he made his announcement.Wednesday marked the second time in as many years that Trudeau raised the Pride flag on Parliament Hill.
HAMBURG – G20 leaders managed to bring U.S. President Donald Trump on side against protectionist trade policies, but he still stands alone when it comes to resisting action on climate change.The Paris climate change agreement was one area where the leaders of 20 of the world’s richest countries could not reach unanimous agreement in Hamburg.“We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement,” reads the final communique from the two-day meeting.Trump also insisted on having fossil fuels mentioned in the document. Other countries resisted, but they finally agreed to a special paragraph for Trump to see the U.S. pledge to help other countries access and use fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently.German Chancellor Angela Merkel went into the summit as the host looking to either get agreement from Trump on climate change or isolate him as the only holdout. She succeeded, though she wasn’t celebrating.“Unfortunately — and I deplore this — the United States of America left the climate agreement, or rather announced their intention of doing this,” Merkel said in German at her closing press conference.The isolation of Trump that Merkel has been pushing for was evident in the communique which says “the Leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible.”Some of the other leaders, from Europe in particular, had hoped Trudeau’s better relationship with Trump could have some sort of influence on him.That Trump has some respect for his Canadian counterpart was evident Saturday during a speech at a morning event where he gushed over Trudeau.“We have a great neighbour in Canada and Justin is doing a spectacular job in Canada,” Trump said.“Everybody loves him and they love him for a reason so congratulations on the job you’re doing.”Trudeau did not have a specific bilateral meeting with Trump at this summit but he did speak with him on the sidelines of the meeting several times, mainly about climate change and trade issues.Trudeau said in conversations with the president he underscored the fact economic growth and environmental protections “can and must” go together.“I emphasized this is something that matters deeply to citizens and impacts directly on our economic growth now and into the future,” he said.Nevertheless Trump didn’t budge and in fact ended up leaving the G20 meeting Saturday without making any public statements. Instead of a planned Trump press conference, the only images from the room were of officials taking down U.S. flags that had been set up.Tom Burke, chairman of the British environmental think tank E3G said “Trump has lost another collision between fantasy and reality.”“No other global leader shares his fantasy that climate change is a hoax,” he said.Trade was another mainstay of negotiations both around the full table and on the sidelines. Trudeau and Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Union Commission, announced just prior to the end of the summit Saturday that the Canada-Europe free trade agreement known as CETA will be provisionally implemented on Sept. 21.Signed last year and ratified by both the European Parliament and Canadian Parliament, all 28 EU members have to ratify it individually as well. Only Denmark and Latvia have to date.CETA was to have been provisionally implemented on July 1, a date that came and went when agreements couldn’t be reached over Canadian quotas for European cheese imports and issues about pharmaceuticals.On Trade with the U.S., Trudeau said he and Trump spoke about both the softwood lumber dispute and the U.S. investigation to decide whether to apply import tariffs on steel.He said after the last few days Canada is “comfortable” the national security provisions Trump has cited for steel imports will not apply to the Canadian steel industry which is “extraordinarily well integrated” into the U.S. steel industry.The G20 communique includes a section pushing for efforts to reduce excess steel production around the world that distorts markets.Trudeau also discussed NAFTA in a bilateral meeting with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto Saturday afternoon, as the start date to renegotiate the deal at Trump’s insistence comes next month.“I do have to tell you we are working hand in hand and we are on the right path to this very promising stage of the negotiations,” Pena Nieto said through an interpreter.Despite Trump’s domestic protectionist rhetoric and his America First policies, and his resistance to anti-protectionist language, he did in the end give his blessing to the section which says the G20 will “fight protectionism including all unfair trade practices.”However there is a loophole so countries can have “legitimate trade defence instruments in this regard.”All of this took place against a backdrop of extreme violence as thousands of protesters took to the streets. While most protesters were peaceful there were many who chose to express their displeasure with the G20 by lighting cars on fire and smashing store windows.It was a jarring vision Friday night to see on the one hand the leaders and their spouses listening to a performance of Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” by Hamburg’s Philharmonic State Orchestra at the city’s beautiful new concert hall, and on the other hand, protesters in the streets being sprayed with water cannon and beaten back with batons.Trudeau said Saturday his main message to those who don’t feel the G20 is there to help them, he understands their skepticism and frustration as did his counterparts around the table.“We know that the anxiety that citizens around the world are feeling is real,” he said.Trudeau said for many years trade has led to growth without a fair distribution of the benefits, but the hope is that many of the policies enacted by the G20 this weekend will begin to address those inequities.-follow @mrabson on Twitter.
MONTREAL – Archeologists at the site of a pre-Confederation parliament in Montreal are about to reach the level they hope will yield a treasure trove of artifacts.Digging began in late July — the third such endeavour since 2010 — in an effort to find out more about the two-storey columned neo-classical building that once stood at Place d’Youville, in Old Montreal.By the end of this week, searchers will reach the layer where the parliament remains have been encased since the building burned to the ground in 1849.Prior to the discovery of the parliament several years ago, the public knew little about the building’s pivotal place in Canadian history or about Montreal’s place as the capital of what was then the United Province of Canada.Louise Pothier, director of exhibitions at Montreal’s Pointe-a-Calliere archeological and history museum, calls it a unique site in Canada.“Nowhere else do we have such intact remains of a place of power, so it makes it very distinct, very special,” Pothier said. “Maybe if we’re lucky enough, (we’ll find) some official objects — some objects related to the business of politics.”The first permanent parliament of the United Province of Canada was housed in the former St-Ann’s Market and held its first session Nov. 28, 1844.Key pieces of Canada’s early legislation were adopted in the building, including the act establishing “responsible government” in 1848 — a vital step in the emergence of a sovereign, English-French democratic state.The turmoil surrounding the Rebellion Losses Bill, legislation that sought to compensate people who sustained property damage during the 1837-38 rebellions against the Crown, would lead to the sacking and burning of the building to the ground on April 25, 1849.When the legislation received royal assent, angry Anglos stormed the building. Tory supporters were opposed to compensating Quebecers and Catholics who’d taken part in the rebellion.Only a few items survived the blaze, including a portrait and a few books.The portrait, depicting a young Queen Victoria from early in her reign, currently hangs outside the Senate chamber in Parliament’s Centre Block in Ottawa.In 2011, Robert Kaplan gave the museum a royal coat of arms that hung above the Speaker’s chair in the parliament. The late Liberal MP and former solicitor general found it in a flea market in New York about 30 years earlier.During the initial digs, expectations were tempered about what might be found. But searchers did unearth a pair of glasses and a tea set in addition to other items from the market’s past: butchers’ hooks, a butcher knife, bones, marbles, coins, and weights used for a scale.The chances of finding any trace of government documents or volumes from the 20,000-plus volume parliamentary library had been deemed unlikely.But in 2013, searchers found the charred remains of about a dozen books in a layer dating to the period of the parliament fire, including at least one French book.“We were very surprised to find that kind of artifact, that kind of object,” Pothier said. “We thought that everything burned in the flames and disappeared completely.”The market, which would be rebuilt before being razed in 1901, was recently used as a parking lot.As it turns out, that last vocation would be a boon for archeologists because everything underneath the pavement was preserved. The new building was rebuilt on top of the remains of the original market, making it like a time capsule.Pothier said previous excavations made it possible to identify places believed more sensitive and rich in terms of possible artifacts.What they find will help them map out the building: where the assembly chamber and legislative council rooms were located as well as personal rooms where parliamentarians would have shaved, cleaned and refreshed themselves or grabbed a bite to eat.In all, about 50 per cent of the former building will be excavated.Hendrik Van Gijseghem, the museum’s project manager, said once they reach that sensitive area, heavy machinery will give way to 22 archeologists, who will look at two-metre-by-two-metre sections, digging in increments of 10 centimetres.The City of Montreal has kicked in $6 million and the site is open to members of the public, who can observe the work from a platform above.“In the end, we’re going to know fairly precisely where such-and-such artifacts are coming from,” Van Gijseghem said. “And with the hope of being able to reconstruct the internal organization and vertical organization of the parliament.”Work is expected to wrap up by November.— Follow @sidhartha_b on Twitter.
HALIFAX – Two Nova Scotians have been charged criminally in unrelated horrific animal death cases — a man who allegedly drowned a litter of kittens in a bucket, and a woman who allegedly left a dog to die in an abandoned car.“These animals suffered a horrible death,” said Jo-Anne Landsburg, chief provincial inspector for the Nova Scotia SPCA, which announced charges in both cases on Thursday.“The reasons both of these cases went to the Criminal Code as opposed to the Animal Protection Act is because of how severe these were.”The SPCA said a Little Narrows, N.S., woman was charged after a dog was found dead in a vehicle in a Halifax parkade on May 25. No food or water was left for the dog, Landsburg said.“It is our belief that the car was abandoned by the owner and the dog was left inside,” she said.“The dog did not die of heat exhaustion that day. The dog was in that car, for it was probably weeks before it was actually found. It actually died from dehydration and starvation.”The Little Narrows woman was scheduled to appear in court Thursday. She has been charged with causing unnecessary suffering or injury to an animal and failing to provide suitable and adequate food, water, shelter and care for it.In the other case, the SPCA said it received a call in late July about “the possible disappearance of a litter of kittens,” and determined they had been drowned by their owner, an Aldershot man.“It’s what we refer to as breathlessness — so when an animal is drowned, it’s basically the worst sensation you can ever come across is you know you’re about to die,” Landsburg said.She recounted a case earlier this year in which a dead cat was found in a bag in an Annapolis Valley pond, but she said it was the first such mass kitten drowning she has seen.“Maybe 40 years ago it was the norm that people would revert to on farms or whatever — they would fill a feedbag up, and put a litter of kittens in it and drown it. That’s not the way we do things today.”The man is charged under the Criminal Code with wilfully and without lawful excuse killing kittens. He will be arraigned Oct. 24 in Kentville provincial court.Landsburg said the SPCA offers spay and neuter programs at low cost, and also helps find homes for unwanted kittens.“There’s lots of options out there so they don’t have to resort to this heinous crime,” said Landsburg.
OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau sounded a defiant note Tuesday as he promised to press ahead with the Liberal government’s controversial tax changes even as clear new evidence emerged to show a Canadian economy on the rebound.The Finance Department says the federal government ran a smaller deficit than the $23 billion forecast in the spring budget, ending the 2016-17 fiscal year with an actual deficit of $17.8 billion.Not surprisingly, Trudeau seized on the news as evidence of progress in the Liberal plan to grow the economy by helping middle-class Canadians — a plan that now also includes contentious new tax rules for small businesses.Trudeau stood firmly by those proposed changes, focusing on the argument that they are about making the system fair, rather than generating revenue.“We are moving forward to make the tax system fairer to stop the system that encourages wealthy Canadians to use private corporations to pay lower tax rates than the middle class,” Trudeau told a news conference in Ottawa.The proposed changes have sparked a revolt by doctors, farmers, small business owners and even some backbench Liberal MPs, who have spoken publicly about the complaints they have been hearing from their constituents.Finance Minister Bill Morneau released the controversial, three-pronged plan in mid-July, including restrictions on the ability of business owners to lower their tax rate by sprinkling income to family members in lower tax brackets, even if those family members do no work for the business.He also proposed limiting the use of private corporations to make passive investments in things like stocks or real estate and limiting the ability to convert the regular income of a corporation into capital gains, which are typically taxed at a lower rate.Trudeau said he will take the feedback into account to make sure the proposed changes specifically target the wealthy, but will not throw the entire idea out the window.“We are glad to hear people’s questions and concerns to ensure that as we move forward — which we will — on changing the system … we will ensure that we’re doing it the right way,” he said.“We were pleased to see a tremendous amount of response to our consultation paper — people with concerns, some legitimate, some less so — and we are folding them into the proposal that we will put forward, which will make our tax system fairer.”Trudeau also suggested the promised legislation would be narrowly targeted, “so that hard-working, middle-class small businesses, hard-working, middle-class farmers, do not get penalized by a measure that is aimed at wealthy Canadians.”Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer wasn’t buying it.“I think that this is nothing more than a cash grab that will hurt local businesses’ ability to not only retain the workers that they already have, but to create new jobs in their community,” Sheer said Tuesday.The House of Commons finance committee will not be studying the proposed changes in detail until legislation is tabled, but has agreed to hear from witnesses on the issue next week. They are inviting Morneau to appear as well.On Tuesday, Morneau made it clear that while he is listening to concerns, he will not extend the consultation period past Oct. 2.“We’ve been listening for a long time,” he said.The Liberal party promised during the election campaign to run deficits of less than $10 billion in each of their first two years in power, partly to fund a massive infrastructure program, before returning to a balanced budget in 2019.The 2016 Liberal budget — their first after forming government — blew past that promise, tripling the projected deficit and setting no timeline.“The Liberals are patting themselves on the back for the fact that the deficits they’ve created, while being much larger than the ones they had promised during the campaign, are not as bad as the ones they predicted a short while ago,” said NDP Leader Tom Mulcair.On Tuesday, Trudeau deflected questions as to whether the better-than-expected numbers in the annual financial report would allow him to finally set a deadline for eliminating the deficit.The annual financial report released Tuesday also said program spending was $3.7 billion lower than forecast, due in part to lower-than-expected infrastructure transfer payments.Trudeau defended the pace of the program, but the government wants to make sure the projects selected will create jobs and stimulate growth.“Doing this right is what Canadians expect and that’s what we’re doing, but I can reassure people that the commitments we made to invest in infrastructure will be met,” he said, promising anything they were not able to spend this year will go out next year.— With files from Stephanie Levitz— Follow @smithjoanna on Twitter
FREDERICTON – The New Brunswick government is releasing more details about next week’s provincial budget — this time for seniors.A government source tells The Canadian Press that Premier Brian Gallant will announce today that $20 million will be spent on a number of initiatives for seniors.Those initiatives include a pilot project to free-up acute care beds in hospitals by providing transition beds in special care homes for short-term patient stays.The government also plans to fully implement the colon cancer screening program for all men between the ages of 50 and 74, and will work to reduce wait times for hip and knee replacements.Earlier this week, the premier announced $25 million in programs to help boost youth employment.He used his state-of-the province speech to unveil plans to spend $20 million to help make businesses more competitive and to boost exports.
TORONTO – Workers at auto body shops deliberately damaged cars, installed used parts but billed for new ones, or invoiced for phantom repairs, according to an investigation by a Canadian insurer that is calling on government to help in curbing the problem.Aviva Canada found about half the total expenses submitted for repairs to crashed vehicles during its investigation in Ontario were bogus — an amount the company estimates adds up to hundreds of millions of dollars a year.“Nobody has ever really sampled the extent of fraud with any kind of accuracy,” Gordon Rasbach, Aviva Canada’s vice president of fraud management, said in an interview. “This is the first time in Canada that we’re aware of that anyone has actually taken a sample, albeit a small one, at random, and used actual cases in progress to put some kind of numbers on it.”In its investigation — results are to be released on Monday — Aviva attempted to simulate typical fender-bender situations involving private passenger cars by deliberately crashing 10 vehicles.The company had experts detail the damage and estimate repair costs, then kitted out the cars with hidden cameras and, at various times last year, put them on highways in the Toronto area. Investigators posed as hapless drivers just having gone through their first crash.Rasbach said he was surprised only one repair outfit acted honestly. The other nine cases showed some degree of “clear cut” fraud, he said. While Aviva’s experts had estimated total damage for the 10 vehicles at about $30,000, the repair shops invoiced Aviva for about $61,000, the company says.Among other things Aviva says occurred were tow-truck drivers who billed for towing and storage that didn’t happen, drivers who were asked to sign blank work orders, cars maliciously damaged at body shops, and shenanigans over repaired or replaced parts.“The video footage and clear evidence of fraudulent invoicing shows just how pervasive the problem of fraud is,” Rasbach said. “Honest consumers are the ones that are paying for it.”Insurance fraud eats into the bottom lines of companies like Aviva.Industry estimates suggest between five and 15 per cent of premiums drivers pay for car insurance go toward covering undetected fraudulent claims. Aviva, whose own tactics in fighting legitimate claims have come under fire by the courts, says more has to be done to combat fraud. Among other things, it wants governments to force insurance companies to report and share information when fraud is identified.“In Canada, insurers are not only not compelled to report fraud, they’re not even compelled to do something about it,” Rasbach said. “The insurers themselves don’t seem to be able to get their act together on this problem.”Banning referral fees to third parties — for example a tow-truck driver who gets paid to take a vehicle to a specific facility — and making it illegal to ask consumers to sign blank work orders are other measures the government should take, Aviva said.A spokeswoman for Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the government was making structural reforms to address fraud but did not comment on any of the ideas put forward by Aviva.Ken Whitehurst, executive director of the Consumers Association of Canada, expressed skepticism the fraud is as extensive as claimed given that repairs are often done at body shops recommended by the insurance companies themselves. However, Aviva deserves some credit, he said.“It’s great that they are illustrating that (fraud) is really happening,” Whitehurst said. “It’s a positive thing that they’re trying to come up with what they hope are low cost ideas (to address it).”The Aviva study comes just months ahead of a provincial election in Ontario, where high auto-insurance premiums have been a perennial hot topic for decades. A report previously commissioned by the province found the average policy for a vehicle in 2015 was $1,458 — double that in Quebec and almost 55 per cent higher than the Canadian average.That report, which focused on curbing sharply rising costs related to crash-related health-care benefits, prompted the province among other things to begin developing standard treatment plans. In addition, Ontario has announced plans to set up a “Serious Fraud Office” to combat fraud with a focus on auto insurance.A previous Aviva investigation into a scam involving claims for accident-related health benefits in the Toronto area prompted a police probe that led to fraud charges against three people.
TORONTO – Ontario’s Liberal government presented its last budget before the June provincial election on Wednesday, a fiscal plan that pours billions of dollars into health care, child care and other programs while putting the province back in the red. Here are five key things about the budget:DEBT AND DEFICIT: The government is going back on its promise to balance the books for another year, and instead projects a deficit of $6.7 billion in 2018-2019. The province won’t be back in the black until 2024-25 — beyond even the next election should the Liberals form another majority in June — according to government projections. Ontario’s net debt, meanwhile, is projected to be $325 billion this year, up from $308.2 billion expected for 2017-18. Interest on debt is expected to be the fourth biggest expenditure, after health care, education, and children’s and social services.POLITICAL LANDSCAPE: The $158.5 billion budget comes as the Liberals, who’ve been in power for 15 years, face an uphill battle for re-election. The party has been lagging in the polls, dogged among other things by its decision to sell off shares of Hydro One and concerns about the rising cost of electricity. In the week leading up to the budget, the Liberals made several major spending promises, which the opposition has denounced as a ploy for votes.DENTAL CARE: The budget contains a few new programs that had not yet been announced, including one that would provide drug coverage and dental care to those who don’t have other health coverage starting in the summer of next year. The program would cost $800 million in its first two years and reimburse up to 80 per cent of eligible prescription drug and dental expenses, up to $400 for singles and $600 for couples, with an additional $50 for each child. The Liberal initiative comes as the NDP has also pledged, if they were to form government, to provide dental coverage for students, seniors and people working jobs without dental benefits by 2020.HEALTH CARE: The health-care sector is getting a major boost, with a promised $2.1 billion going to mental health services over four years and $822 million earmarked for hospital funding. The country’s largest pediatric hospital, Toronto’s SickKids hospital, will also receive $2.4 billion for its 10-year plan to rebuild its aging facility. The Liberals also say they will create 30,000 new long-term care beds over the next decade.SENIORS: The government promises to invest $1 billion over three years, starting in 2019-2020, to give households led by a senior 75 or older up to $750 to help cover the costs of maintaining a home. Seniors will also no longer have to pay deductibles or copayments to get prescription drugs under the Liberals’ expanded OHIP+ program, which would take effect in August 2019. The program is expected to save the average senior $240 a year and cost the province $575 million annually by the time it is fully operational.
MONTREAL – Justin Trudeau will run again in the 2019 federal election.The Liberal leader formally announced his nomination at a party event Sunday in his Montreal riding of Papineau.The partisan crowd cheered as Trudeau reaffirmed his belief in what he called “positive politics,” and took jabs at Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, whom he accused of exploiting fear and division.The Liberal leader also promised to tackle a number of challenges that include protecting Canada’s oceans, raising the standard of living for Indigenous Peoples and narrowing the gap between rich and poor.Trudeau was first elected to represent Papineau in 2008, and was re-elected in 2011 and 2015.The riding has been held by the Liberals for almost all of the last 50 years, with the exception of 2006 to 2008 when it was held by the Bloc Quebecois.
HALIFAX — Experts say the deaths of the seven Barho children in a ferocious Halifax house fire last week could lead to new fire safety measures and changes to the country’s building code.Phil Rizcallah, director for construction research and development with the National Research Council of Canada, says the country will learn from the tragedy.He says the federal research organization plans to study the fire marshal’s report, and that the house fire could lead to changes to the national building code.Mike Holmes, one of Canada’s leading contractors and a well-known television host, says the tragedy is a wake-up call.He says new homes should be built with fire-resistant products, including sprays that can help reduce the risk of a flash burn.Fire officials are continuing to investigate the fast-moving blaze that left only a charred husk of the Barho home, located in a newly built residential housing enclave in a Halifax suburb.The Canadian Press
On Saturday, August 25, Top Chef and restaurateur Tom Colicchio and his wife filmmaker Lori Silverbush, rocker Jon Bon Jovi his wife Dorothea Hurley, Susan Burden, and philanthropist Avis Richards and Marathon hedge fund co-founder Bruce Richards hosted the 2nd annual “What’s on the Table?”, an event to benefit the anti-hunger programs of the United Way of New York City.Over $200,000 was raised to benefit UWNYC’s work to reduce hunger and provide more nutritious food for struggling children, families and seniors.In addition to Colicchio and Bon Jovi, guests included chef Katie Lee, supermodel Hilary Rhoda, CNN anchor Alina Cho, Estee Lauder head John Demsey, Dan Abrams, actress Natasha Bell, Royal Pains actor Rupak Ginn, Bloomberg TV host Matt Miller, Dayssi and Paul Olarte de Kanavos, Duane Hampton, Louise Grunwald, Esther Newberg, Charmaine and Carter Burden, and Stephanie Hirsch. United Way of New York City’s Jennifer Jones Austin, Senior Vice-President for Community Investment and Kevin Taylor, Senior Vice President for Institutional Advancement were also in attendance.Held at the Southampton home of Avis and Bruce Richards, “What’s on the Table?” emphasized the need not only to help the hungry in New York City access to food in times of emergency but to ensure that food they receive is fresh and nutritious. In keeping with the theme, guests dined on culinary delights from five of Tom Colicchio’s restaurants. Chefs from Colicchio and Sons, Craft, Riverpark, Craftsteak and Topping Rose each offered two dishes featuring a local, in-season ingredient. These included zucchini (ricotta stuffed and fried zucchini blossoms), corn (corn chowder), and raspberries (raspberry cobbler), among others.In their speeches, Colicchio, Bon Jovi, both Richards, and Ms. Silverbush – director of the forthcoming documentary about hunger titled “A Place at the Table” – stressed the critical nature of the issue hunger in America. One startling statistic revealed is that 1 in 5 children go hungry daily in the United States. Guests were encouraged to call their Congressional representatives to protect funding in the Farm Bill for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which puts healthy food on the table for 46 million Americans each month.100% of the evening’s net proceeds went to the United Way’s campaign to significantly reduce hunger in New York City. A portion of the funds raised came from an exciting auction presided over by Cate Smit, who sold a surprise item: a private dinner cooked by Tom Colicchio with a performance by Jon Bon Jovi at the bidder’s home. It went for $40,000.
On Sunday, November 10th, 2013, Alan Alda and Joe Mantegna will host HOMEWARD BOUND, a live four-hour national telethon to support American veterans suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).A number of stars will take part in the event, including Mark Harmon, Sean Murray, Pauley Perrette, Rocky Carroll, Michael Weatherly, and David McCallum (NCIS); Patti Austin, Jason Bateman, James Brolin, Michael Feinstein, Connie Francis, Jason Gould, Charles Hirsch, Gloria Loring, Marty Papazian, Lou Diamond Phillips, Kevin Spacey, Steve Tyrell, and Ben Vereen.A significant portion of the broadcast will be devoted to testimonials and personal stories from veterans and their families who have experienced difficulties as they returned from the battlefronts of WW II, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere: These include: decorated war veterans Staff Sergeant Ty Carter (2013 Medal of Honor recipient) and Staff Sergeant Kyle Hausman-Stokes (Bronze Medal recipient); US Paralympic Medal Winner Lance Corporal Brandon Pelletier; actor/Navy SEAL Joel Lambert (“Manhunt”); and Tuskegee Airman Lt. Bob Friend.To find out more about the telethon, click here.
On Tuesday, Dec. 2, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) co-hosted a special event to commemorate Friends’ 10th anniversary as an advocate for U.S. investments in the fight against the three diseases, and as a voice for the Global Fund in Washington, D.C.Friends of the Global Fight President Deb Derrick, center, is joined by actor, author and PSI ambassador Ashley Judd, right, and Friends board member and CARE President/CEO Helene GayleCredit/Copyright: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images for Friends of the Global FightThe event honored the many individuals whose advocacy, legislative efforts, leadership, research and science have contributed to tremendous progress in the past decade, and helped bring the world closer to an AIDS-free generation.Among the event attendees: Actor, author and PSI ambassador Ashley Judd; Friends President Deborah Derrick; MPAA Chairman and CEO, former Sen. Chris Dodd (D-CT); Global Fund Executive Director, Dr. Mark Dybul; U.S. AIDS Global Ambassador, Dr. Deborah Birx; National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director, Dr. Anthony Fauci; How to Survive a Plague Producer and Director, David France; Getty Images Co-Founder and CEO Jonathan Klein; Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA); Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA); Reps. Barbara Lee (D-CA), David Cicilline, (D-RI), Jim Himes (D-CT), Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX), Nita Lowey (D-NY) and Jim McDermott (D-WA); Del. Donna Christensen (D-USVI); former Sen. Richard G. Lugar (R-IN); former Reps. Howard Berman (D-CA), David Evans (D-IN), Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Jim Kolbe (R-AZ) and Dave Weldon (R-FL).Find out more here.Source:PR Newswire
Simon Cowell and David Walliams took their bromance to another level earlier this week, as Simon showed off his face painting prowess by making David’s face funny for Red Nose Day.David Walliams and Simon CowellThe pictures were released to mark the launch of this year’s Red Nose Day campaign.Tess Daly and Rochelle Humes are also making a splash with their slap, all in the name of charity. The brave pair let husbands Vernon Kay and Marvin Humes loose on their lippies for Comic Relief.David, Tess and Rochelle hope that their resulting makeovers will inspire the public to make their faces funny for money this Red Nose Day which takes place on Friday 13th March.David said: “I feel absolutely beautiful. Simon’s been hard at it all evening and he’s even chosen colours that complement my eyes – I suspect this isn’t the first time Simon has picked up a make-up brush.”These celebrity duos prove how easy it is to make your face funny for money this Red Nose Day, and whether the public paint their face, wear a Red Nose or let their kids do their make-up, they’ll be joining millions of people up and down the country as they raise life-changing cash.The public can top off their funny faces with one of the nine new Red Noses to choose from. They’re a right bunch of characters and are hiding away in special surprise bags, available at Sainsbury’s, Oxfam and rednoseday.com.The celebrity pairs are joined by a host of famous faces launching this year’s campaign including Claudia Winkleman and Fearne Cotton. Many can be seen donning the Red Nose along with one of seven different Red Nose Day T-Shirts designed by Anya Hindmarch, Diane von Furstenberg, Henry Holland and Matthew Williamson. The collection, which also includes a onesie, is now available exclusively from TK Maxx and tkmaxx.com.The campaign will culminate in a brilliant night of TV that will be broadcast live from the London Palladium, for the first time ever, on Friday 13th March at 7pm on BBC One. Some of the nation’s favourite personalities, including Davina McCall, Lenny Henry and Claudia Winkleman will present an unforgettable evening of entertainment packed full of celebrity performances, comedy gold and silly spoofs.The public will also be treated to never-seen-before sketches. Dawn French returns as Geraldine Granger, Vicar of Dibley, as she campaigns for the role of Bishop amongst stiff competition from a host of familiar faces. Rowan Atkinson will return to Red Nose Day as Mr Bean, and there will be highlights of Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights Live starring Peter Kay. As well as this there will be special edition of The Great British Bake Off: An Extra Slice presented by Jo Brand, and stand-up performances from Trevor Noah and Cardinal Burns.Other TV treats include the first ever The People’s Strictly for Comic Relief, where inspiring members of the public, nominated by their friends and family, will partner with professional Strictly dancers to take on the glamorous ballroom challenge. The Great Comic Relief Bake Off makes a star-studded return as 16 celebrity bakers, including Abbey Clancy, Gok Wan and Jonathan Ross, try to raise as much dough as possible for Red Nose Day.Strictly Come Dancing’s Claudia Winkleman will call on the nation to take part in the first ever Comic Relief Danceathon on Sunday 8th March. The six hour non-stop dance frenzy will take place at The SSE Arena, Wembley and in locations across the country.Also donning his dancing shoes will be Dermot O’Leary who will bust out his best moves on Dermot’s Day of Dance for Comic Relief in an extraordinary fundraising feat as he boogies non-stop for a staggering 24 hours.Fundraisers feeling inspired can get involved by wearing a wig, donning a daft disguise or text- donating a silly selfie to make their face funny for money. To top it off, for a limited time only the public will be able to perfect their funny face pout by picking up Rimmel London’s limited edition ‘Red Nose Red’ lipstick by Kate for Comic Relief.Since the last Red Nose Day, Comic Relief has helped over 12 million people living unimaginably tough lives all over the world, using money raised through Red Nose Day, Sport Relief and other partnerships. Money raised this Red Nose Day will help to change the lives of millions more.
Hearts of Gold, a not-for-profit organization whose purpose is to “reimagine the future of homeless mothers and their children, together,” will hold its fifth annual “Walk for Kids” Fundraiser in New York City’s Riverside Park on Saturday, May 30, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.Check-in will begin at 8:00 a.m. at the park’s 83rd Street entrance. Participants and teams can register by clicking here.Following a performance of the National Anthem by Rhonda Ross as well as the raising of the Start Tape by Blue Bloods actress Amy Carlson, fundraisers and celebrity guests, along with moms and kids from the shelters the organization supports, will walk along a two-mile path through the park. At the finish line, participants will celebrate with games, prizes and refreshments. Proceeds fund Hearts of Gold’s children’s programs at the organization’s adopted shelters, which include providing school supplies and back to school uniforms, after-school activities, tutoring, meals, day trips to cultural attractions and more.“The Hearts of Gold Walk for Kids funds critical programs for homeless children and teens,” said Deborah Koenigsberger, Founder & President of Hearts of Gold. “We walk to help these kids get the most out of school and compete on the same level as other students. Join us or please consider donating to help improve the lives of New York City’s homeless mothers and children.”Founded in 1994, Hearts of Gold has raised more than $8 million to help homeless New York City families exit the city’s shelters and thrive on their own. The organization supports more than 1,000 mothers and children in residence annually in shelters operated by Nazareth Housing, Semiperm and Freedom House. To donate, or to learn more about Hearts of Gold, click here or call (212) 206-1461.
Uma Thurman, Adrien Brody, Karolina Kurkova, Michelle Rodriguez, Pansy Ho, Aloe Blacc, Elle King, Michelle Yeoh, and amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole were among those who gathered at the second annual amfAR Hong Kong Gala at Shaw Studios to honor Victoria Beckham for her commitment to the fight against AIDS.Victoria Beckham at amfAR Hong Kong GalaCredit/Copyright: Getty ImagesThe event, presented by Harry Winston and Calvin Klein Collection, raised over $4 million for amfAR’s life-saving AIDS research programs.Other guests in attendance included Liu Wen, Carina Lau, Coco Lee, amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli, Kevin Carrigan, Elvis Han, Zhou Xun, So Ji Sub, Lang Lang, Rosamund Kwan, Valentina Zelyaeva, Anita Yuen, Josie Ho, Laurinda Ho, Sabrina Ho, Cathy Chow, Niki Chow, Amanda S, Ying Claudine Lauren, Yvette Yung, Harris Chan, Oscar Wang, Hwang Chi Yeul, Shui He, Yan Lv, Maisy Ho, Angela Leong, Arnaldo Ho, Orlando Ho, Maria Ho, Bao Bao Wan, Andy Chen, Paolo Diacci, Vinay Dube, René Koneberg, Vincent Roberti, Victoria Tang, Ying Claudine Lauren, Michelle Ong, Winnie Chiu, Yvette Yung, Jean-Marc Lacave, Achille Boroli, Y C Koh, Wendy Yu, Rachel Lehmann, David Maupin, and Bill Zhao, among others.amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole encouraged guests to celebrate how much has been accomplished in the fight against HIV and AIDS while not losing sight of the hard work that remains to be done to end the epidemic, through programs such as amfAR’s Countdown to a Cure for AIDS initiative and the TREAT Asia Program.Newly named UN Goodwill Ambassador Michelle Yeoh thanked the event’s sponsors with amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost, who announced the launch of a limited edition Countdown to a Cure Timepiece by Harry Winston. Twenty percent of the retail sales price of the men’s and ladies’ timepiece will be donated to amfAR’s efforts to develop a cure for HIV.Event Chair Pansy Ho graciously thanked the sponsors and guests who made the event possible and invited all of the event Co-Chairs to take the stage for a family photograph.Uma Thurman introduced the amfAR Award of Courage to Victoria Beckham, describing her as “a champion and leader in the global fight against AIDS.” Ms. Beckham thanked the individuals she has met over the past two years as a UNAIDS International Goodwill Ambassador, a role in which she raises awareness for young women and girls affected by the epidemic, ensuring to use her voice to build a healthier society and see an end to AIDS.Guests enjoyed bidding on exclusive items during the live auction, conducted by Simon de Pury. Highlights included: • Eight unique Andy Warhol photographs from his first and only trip to China in 1982 sold for $190,000. • Model Karolina Kurkova introduced dazzling Harry Winston “Triple Diamond Loop Earrings,” set with rubies designed exclusively for the Hong Kong gala, which sold for $75,000. • I Fell in Love Here, a neon work by renowned English artist, Tracey Emin, sold for $120,000. • Adrien Brody donated an original piece of art, titled Grey Dragon, which sold for $100,000. • A magnificent 7-night stay for 12 people at the largest and most beautiful residence in Maldives, the Amilla Estate at Amilla Fushi, Baa Atoll, sold for $200,000. • Two VIP invitations to the first ever gala dinner hosted by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco in Monte Carlo and a “Sapphire Experience” during the Monaco Yacht Show sold three times for a total of $450,000. • Five pieces from contemporary Chinese artists Cui Xiuwen, Yan Lei, Huang Gang, Wang Yuyang, and Ciu Ruzhuo, generously donated by amfAR Hong Kong gala Auction Partner, Poly Auction, sold separately for a total of $480,000.The evening also featured three spectacular live performances. Legendary Chinese concert pianist Lang Lang played two beautifully powerful pieces, and Elle King gave a sultry acoustic performance of her Grammy-nominated hit song “Ex’s and Oh’s.” Grammy-nominated soul artist Aloe Blacc ended the evening with a set of his biggest hits that brought the crowd to a frenzy, including “Candyman,” “I Need a Dollar,” “The Man,” and “Wake Me Up.”Pansy Ho served as the Event Chair. Uma Thurman served as the event’s Honorary Chair. Achille Boroli, Adrien Brody, Winnie Chiu, Veronica Chou, amfAR Chairman of the Board Kenneth Cole, Francisco Costa, Vinay Dube, amfAR Global Fundraising Chairman Milutin Gatsby, Nayla Hayek, Y C Koh, René Koneberg, Karolina Kurkova, Jean-Marc Lacave, Carina Lau, Ying Claudine Lauren, Cathy Lee, Michelle Ong, Vincent Roberti, Michelle Rodriguez, David Tang, Michelle Yeoh, Yvette Yung, and Italo Zucchelli served as Co-Chairs. Harris Chan, Laurinda Ho, Sabrina Ho, Jay Jopling, Rachel Lehmann, David Maupin, John Robert Slosar, Oscar Wang, and Wendy Yu served as Vice Chairs.Harry Winston and Calvin Klein Collection were the Presenting Sponsors. American Express, Audi, Delta Air Lines, and Moët Hennessy were the Signature Sponsors. JOLLYONE and SMI Holdings Group Limited were the Gold Sponsors, and The Upper House was the event’s Hospitality Partner. Poly Auction was the Auction Partner. Special Thanks to Boroli Wines and Island Shangri-La, Hong Kong.In 2001, amfAR launched TREAT Asia, a cooperative network of clinics, hospitals, and research institutions working together with civil society to ensure the safe and effective delivery of HIV/AIDS treatments throughout Asia and the Pacific. TREAT Asia now encompasses 21 adult and 18 pediatric clinical sites across the region.Delta Air Lines is the Official Airline Partner. Moët Hennessy is the Official Wine and Spirits Partner. amfAR Hong Kong was produced by Andrew Boose/AAB Productions and Josh Wood/Josh Wood Productions.
World renowned Italian fashion designer, Giorgio Armani, has pledged to go 100 percent fur-free across all his labels from the Autumn/Winter 2016 collection onwards.Armani’s no-fur promise follows hot on the heels of a similar commitment by Hugo Boss last year, and comes after the designer worked closely with Humane Society International and The Fur Free Alliance, a coalition of 40 animal protection organisations in 28 countries working to end the fur trade.Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International/United Kingdom, said: “Armani is the first word in luxury fashion, and so it is hugely significant for the global fashion industry that Armani has pledged to remove animal fur from all his new collections going forward. Those designers such as Prada, Fendi and Michael Kors who continue to put animal suffering on the catwalk are looking increasingly isolated, with this move by Armani probably the most powerful message yet that killing animals for their fur is never fashionable.”Giorgio Armani said: “I am pleased to announce that the Armani Group has made a firm commitment to abolish the use of animal fur in its collections. Technological progress made over the years allows us to have valid alternatives at our disposition that render the use of cruel practices unnecessary as regards animals. Pursuing the positive process undertaken long ago, my company is now taking a major step ahead, reflecting our attention to the critical issues of protecting and caring for the environment and animals.”
Autism Rocks, the UK-based charity, is honoring Prince with a tribute show featuring CeeLo Green, Mark Ronson and Morris Day & The Time on June 24th and 25th at the Hammersmith Eventim Apollo in London.Just two years ago Prince performed as the headliner at the launch of the Autism Rocks charity in London. This special concert is part of Autism Rocks ongoing effort to raise awareness and funds for autism research, while commemorating the late musical legend who did so much for the Autism Rocks charity.“We will always be grateful for all the support Prince has shown to the charity and the incredible shows he dedicated to Autism Rocks,” said Sanjay Shah, the founder of Autism Rocks. “We feel tremendously privileged and are looking forward to hosting these concerts in his honor.”Sanjay Shah went on to explain: “Autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder in the world. It is our wish that people have a better understanding of the condition and that people on the autistic spectrum are fully supported and able reach their true potential.”To help raise awareness and funds for autism research, CeeLo Green will be performing live in Prince’s memory. CeeLo was mentored by Prince and described his friendship with the music icon as the greatest accomplishment of his professional career. , CeeLo is known for his unique, soul voice and his hits “Forget You” and “Crazy”.Talented producer, DJ and music maker Mark Ronson’s recent global smash, “Uptown Funk” has been referred to as an homage to the Minneapolis sound of both Prince and The Time, with Mark thanking Prince in his Grammy acceptance speech for the song.Morris Day & The Time are also performing as a special tribute to Prince. The band was created by Prince in 1981, and Morris is renowned for his dynamic dancing and smooth yet gutsy vocals. Their song “Partyup” was covered on Prince’s Dirty Mind album.Tickets to the tribute show are available online.All proceeds from Autism Rocks’ UK events will go to the Autism Research Trust which raises funds to support the Autism Research Centre at Cambridge University.
WorldVentures announces its partnership with linebacker Sean Lee and the Dreambuilders Foundation as the presenting sponsor and a corporate sponsor on the “Sacks for Kids” campaign to benefit the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County.Fans Pledge. We Perform. Kids Win. Beginning July 28 through the 2016–2017 National Football League season, fans may pledge any dollar amount per any sack the Dallas Cowboys defense has. At the end of each game, pledges turn into actual monetary donations that directly benefit the clubs and their programs. 100 percent of the funds raised will be paid out to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County. Anyone can pledge at any time during the regular season.Donors who pledge $50 or more per sack during the pledge window of Aug. 18–Sept. 11 will be invited to be guests of Sean Lee at his Stars and Steaks dinner to be held October 10 at III Forks restaurant.To pledge, click here. And join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter by following #SeanLee and #SacksForKids.Updates about the amount of funds raised will be announced each week through emails and social media postings. Updates will also be announced during Keith Russell’s weekly one-on-one with Lee on CBS 11.“I’m proud to support the Boys & Girls Clubs of Collin County,” says Lee. “Helping to raise money for the club through each sack we have this season is a great way to support the programs they have for kids, and I hope Cowboys fans everywhere will join me in this campaign.”In the past, Sean Lee’s Dreambuilders program has provided the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Dallas and Fort Worth with $50,000 in technology and equipment upgrades. This includes the purchase of literacy software, as well as e-readers for children to use in the clubs.
Sinead O’Connor posted an emotional video on Facebook last week, in which she talked openly about her struggles with mental illness.The singer wanted to use the video to help people understand mental illness, and talked frankly about her thoughts of suicide.“Mental illness, it’s like drugs, it doesn’t [care] who you are, and equally what’s worse, the stigma doesn’t care who you are,” she said in the 12 minute video. “There’s absolutely nobody in my life except my doctor, my psychiatrist – the sweetest man on earth, who says I’m his hero – and that’s about the only thing keeping me alive at the moment… and that’s kind of pathetic.“I want everyone to know what it’s like, that’s why I’m making this video.”“I am one of millions… people who suffer from mental illness are the most vulnerable people on earth, we can’t take care of ourselves, you’ve got to take care of us,” she added. “My entire life is revolving around not dying, and that’s not living. And I’m not going to die, but still, this is no way for people to be living.”A spokesperson for the singer has since said that O’Connor is now receiving care and is surrounded by love: “She is safe, and not suicidal. She asked for this to be posted knowing you are concerned for her. I hope this comforts those of you were concerned.”To watch the video, click here.