first_imgRelated posts:Costa Rica to ‘take a hard look’ at its diplomatic missions, foreign minister says after meeting with US Secretary of State Kerry Costa Rica ‘cautiously’ rejoins SICA Costa Rica celebrates 66th anniversary of the abolition of its army CELAC should become an extreme poverty-free zone, says Ecuador’s foreign minister President Luis Guillermo Solís called on the Central American Integration System (SICA) to take up new challenges like climate change, immigration, and health concerns such as Zika during a speech in New York Sunday. The reprimand of the regional club’s narrow focus comes shortly after Costa Rica decided it didn’t want to be a full member of SICA.Along with calls for expanding the scope of the group, which is dedicated to the political and economic integration of Central American countries, Solís highlighted several longstanding problems with SICA, including a lack of transparency, accountability and a regional vision to present to the rest of the world. But despite the bloc’s problems, Costa Rica has little option but to keep working with its neighbors, international relations experts say.Costa Rica left SICA in frustration after the regional bloc failed to agree on a solution to the wave of Cuban immigration that left nearly 8,000 migrants stranded here in December. Costa Rica no longer participates in SICA’s executive committee, which oversees policy implementation and evaluation, nor does it join meetings of presidents and foreign ministers, or the Central American Security Commission. It does still participate in other parts of SICA, including forums on commerce and trade.During a trip to Guatemala in February, Solís said that Costa Rica’s return to SICA would require a roadmap for “effective and efficient integration.”Carlos Cascante, Director of the School of International Relations at Costa Rica’s National University, told The Tico Times that Costa Rica does not appear to be interested in the political project of regional integration. Costa Rica is the most stable country in the isthmus and that sense of exceptionalism has pushed the country to more developed clics outside Central America like the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and the Alliance of the Pacific, a trade bloc of Latin America’s biggest economies.Cascante said that Costa Rica’s ambivalence toward the rest of Central America is balanced by its need to have established norms with its neighbors, especially when it comes to transportation, trade and commerce. Large trading partners, like the United States or the European Union, for example, insist on negotiating trade deals with the region as a single bloc. One reason is because of the market potential of Central America versus its individual countries. Costa Rica has just 4.8 million inhabitants while the total population of the Dominican Republic-Central America Free Trade Agreement member states is more than 50 million.“Whether or not the countries in Central America see themselves as a bloc, the rest of the world does,” Cascante said.Paola Solano, director of International Relations at the Latin American University of Science and Technology, agreed. She said that SICA is “fundamental” for Central America, warts and all. That’s why she said that Costa Rica’s decision to “throw a tantrum” and leave the political leadership was a mistake.“Costa Rica leaving the table has weakened SICA and its own image as partner in the region,” Solano said. The “CRexit” did nothing to resolve the Cuban immigration crisis or head off later crises, like the latest wave of African migration, and has done nothing to support reforms of the regional bloc, she said.“You need to maintain dialogue with your neighbors,” she said.In the meantime, the clock is ticking before Costa Rica is set to assume SICA’s presidency pro tempore in January 2017. It’s unclear whether or not Costa Rica will find a way to re-integrate itself fully into SICA by then. Solano noted, “It would be awkward for Costa Rica to assume the presidency of an organization to which it is not a full member.” Facebook Commentslast_img

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first_imgAPTN National NewsNow to Vancouver where there is more reaction on the Ontario Court’s decision.Advocates there are saying this is a partial victory.However they are concerned about sex workers who apply their trade – mainly outdoors.APTN‘s Tina House has this story.last_img

first_imgST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Canopy Growth Corp. will have the first privately run legal weed stores announced in Canada under a landmark deal to supply and produce pot in Newfoundland and Labrador.The publicly traded company is the largest of its kind in the country with e-commerce operations and grow sites in six other provinces. It’s perhaps best known for its celebrity partnership with American rapper Snoop Dogg under the brand Leafs by Snoop.Its $40 million production plant in or near St. John’s will have a retail outlet in addition to three more storefronts in the province.Canopy CEO Bruce Linton said a custom brand from Newfoundland and Labrador has great potential for sales outside the province. But he was coy when asked if consumers may soon see strains marketed under such labels as: Yes B’y or Best Kind.“I have some very specific branded names of products that I want to bring out of here which would be really foolish for me to say now because everybody would grab them,” he told a news conference Friday in St. John’s.“But I think we can actually create products … that become extremely interesting for a lot of people in the country, and probably some exports internationally.”Linton said Canopy Growth Corp. (TSX:WEED) is growing fast in Canada and is exporting to Germany, with other countries soon to follow.Critics were quick to say the agreement announced Friday is a “giveaway” that will block smaller producers — concerns Industry Minister Christopher Mitchelmore downplayed.“What this deal with Canopy has done is secure supply,” he told a news conference. “It also secures production and jobs. We’re open and in active discussion and negotiation with a number of other companies across the province and across the country.“There was no special treatment given to Canopy Growth.”The company will supply up to 8,000 kilograms a year for two years, with a one-year extension option, once recreational pot is legalized next July. There is no minimum purchase requirement.The province has no licensed production sites yet so time was of the essence to nail down a reputable source, Mitchelmore said.“This provides stability and confidence.”Canopy Growth will ship product in at first, but will also spend more than $40 million to build a plant that will employ about 145 people. It’s to operate for at least two decades and is expected to produce 12,000 kilograms of flower and oil products a year by 2019.Mitchelmore said the province will contribute to construction costs by reducing remittances the company pays on each sale until those costs are recouped — up to $40 million.Canopy will also invest $100,000 a year in a research-and-development program over five years to be matched by the province.It’s meant to educate other producers under its CraftGrow program.“Our vision is for an industry which leads to production, job creation, supply chain development and research and development in this province,” Mitchelmore said.He estimates the province will ultimately have about 100 pot stores or more.Canopy has also partnered with various groups to educate the public about the dangers of driving high.The province’s liquor corporation will set the price in licensed stores. Recreational pot will be restricted to consumers 19 and older for use in private residences, and will be sold by private retailers.The federal government has moved to legalize recreational weed next July, but left distribution and regulation to the provinces.Interim NDP Leader Lorraine Michael said the “secretively brokered” Canopy deal is a missed chance for economic development in a province that desperately needs it. Worse, she said the governing Liberals are giving the company cash breaks that will ultimately be worth millions of dollars as Canopy is free to export surplus product with little local benefit.“This is a real giveaway,” she said in an interview. “What does it say to people in our agricultural industry who saw this as a new growth opportunity?“I think they’ve just been knocked out of the game.”Follow @suebailey on Twitter.last_img

first_imgNEW DELHI: Amidst growing concern related to fake news, especially ahead the Lok Sabha polls, the electoral authorities have decided to keep a strict vigil on social media platforms. The Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh on Monday told mediapersons that all the political parties or candidates will have to get their advertisements verified from the Election Commission. Singh said, “Political parties or candidates can only issue advertisements after getting it verified from the Electoral Office.” Singh said that “appropriate action” will be taken against the violators. Also Read – Bangla Sahib Gurudwara bans use of all types of plastic itemsA day after the Lok Sabha poll schedule was announced by the Election Commission, Singh also appealed to the people to use the Commission’s ‘cVigil’ app to report any violations of moral code of conduct like use of money, gifts or liquor to influence voters, muscle power to intimidate voters or use of hate speech. The general elections will begin on April 11 and will be held over seven phases, followed by counting of votes on May 23. The elections in Delhi are due on May 12. The EC in January had directed Delhi CEO to ask the city police to investigate the “fake news” of Lok Sabha poll schedule, which was being circulated on social media then. Also Read – After eight years, businessman arrested for kidnap & murderThe CEO had also been asked to seek action against unnamed persons and entities under relevant laws to prevent rumour-mongering. Singh on Monday said for the “first time”, a social media expert has been included in the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC) of the poll body, which will monitor both at state-level and district-level. “Authorities will be monitoring all forms of the media, including TV radio, social media, like Facebook and Twitter, to check spread of any fake news and hate speech. For any individual violator, it will be reported at the district-level and for political parties, any violation would be reported at the state-level,” he said. Asked what would be the nature of action against such violations, he said, “appropriate action” would be taken, a per the laws. Singh also appealed to people use the Internet-based application ‘cVIGIL’, which stands for “citizens’ vigil” to report cases of poll code violations. Using this Android-based app, a person can send geo-tagged videos and photos, if any illegal money is being distributed or a hate speech being made during polls. “If any violations of the moral code of conduct is seen by people, like use of money, gifts or liquor to influence voters, muscle power to intimidate voters or use of hate speech, then a user can take a picture or a video and report it through this app,” he said. The Delhi CEO said, once the details has been uploaded, the complaint will be sent to a “flying squad” which will then escalate the complaint. “The only condition is a citizen would have to upload the complaint within five minutes for successful submission. And, within 100 minutes from that time, a Returning Officer (RO) has to dispose the case,” he said, adding, a user can chose to keep his or her identity anonymous. Meanwhile, Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh on Monday said around two lakh people have been added to the electoral roll in Delhi in the last two months, taking the total number of eligible voters to 1.39 crore at present. Singh, however said nearly 90,000 voter applications are presently being processed and asked the first-time voters to apply as soon as possible to get their names enrolled in the electoral list. “On January 18, the total number of voters in the electoral roll of Delhi stood at 1,36,95,291. So, there is an increase of nearly two lakh voters since then,” he said. The total number of male and female voters are 76,61,680 and 62,35,814 respectively while the number of third gender voters are 647, he said. Polling stations will be established at 2,696 locations, he said, adding 13,816 polling stations would be set up, with a model polling station in each Assembly constituency. There would 425 critical polling stations, as per current assessment, officials said. Delhi has seven Lok Sabha seats and 70 Assembly constituencies.last_img

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