Man convicted of attempted murder invited to Trudeau party in India

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau (R) along with his wife Sophie Gregoire (L) and their children Ella-Grace (2L) and son Xavier (3L) pay their respects at the Sikh Shrine Golden temple in Amritsar on February 21, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Man convicted of attempted murder invited to Trudeau party in India

OTTAWA: A stunning oversight that allowed a man convicted of attempted murder to be invited to a party in India with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is prompting many to say the Trudeau government is too close to Sikh separatists.
Former Cabinet minister Ujjal Dosanjh has long accused his old party of being too friendly to Sikh separatists but said Thursday that the invitation of Jaspal Atwal to a reception was the last straw.
Atwal was convicted of attempting to kill an Indian Cabinet minister in Canada in 1986. He was also charged, but not convicted, in connection with a 1985 attack on Dosanjh, a staunch opponent of the Sikh separatist movement’s push for an independent state of Khalistan.
Trudeau’s office said the invitation was a mistake and was rescinded as soon as Atwal was discovered on the guest list. However, he showed up at a reception earlier in the week in Mumbai and was photographed with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife.
Dosanjh said Canada-India relations have hit “rock bottom.” Dosanjh said he couldn’t believe what he was seeing when he saw the photograph and wondered how the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Trudeau’s office and Canadian officials in India could be blind to it.
Atwal was added to the guest list by British Columbia Liberal party lawmaker Randeep Sarai, one of 14 members of Parliament in India with Trudeau. Sarai has acknowledged he should have used better judgment.
Trudeau’s turbulent trip to India has drawn criticism from the opposition lawmakers and raised eyebrows internationally.
Trudeau had to profess his support for a united India after meeting with the chief minister of Punjab, who had accused the prime minister of appointing Sikh separatists to his Cabinet. And some critics insist Trudeau is being snubbed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even though the two are to meet on Friday.
Modi tweeted Thursday that he is looking forward to meeting Trudeau and that he appreciated “his deep commitment to ties between our two countries.”
But David Mulroney, a prominent former Canadian diplomat, said Modi’s decision to wait five days to meet Trudeau is a deliberate demonstration of his displeasure over Canada’s handling of the Sikh issue.


David Attenborough makes impassioned plea for natural world in Davos interview with Prince William

Updated 22 min 54 sec ago
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David Attenborough makes impassioned plea for natural world in Davos interview with Prince William

DAVOS, Switzerland: Naturalist David Attenborough won a standing ovation from delegates at the World Economic Forum after warning them that the planet faces destruction if climate change is not dealt with imminently.
In an interview conducted by Prince William, Attenborough said it is “difficult to overstate the climate change crisis.”
He said humans have become “so numerous” and possess a “frightening” array of destructive mechanisms that “we can exterminate whole ecosystems without realizing.”
Attenborough was the star turn on the first day of the gathering of the business and political elites in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
Attenborough urged participants to preserve the childlike wonder with which they first encountered the natural world. “I don’t believe a child has yet been born who doesn’t look at the world around it with those fresh eyes and wonder,” he said. “If you lose that first wonder, you’ve lost one of the great sources of delight, and pleasure, and beauty in the whole of the universe,” he said.
“Caring for that brings joy and enlightenment that is irreplaceable.”
Nature filmmaking, he noted, has benefited immensely from the advance of technology. “The facilities we now have are unbelievable. We can go everywhere. We can to the bottom of the sea, we can go into space. We can use drones, we can use helicopters … we can speed things up, we can slow things down, and film in the darkness. The natural world has never been exposed to this degree before,” he said.
But with these technological advances came a growing awareness of the dangerous power in the hands of humanity. “When I started 60 years ago, in the mid-50s, to be truthful there was no one who thought we might annihilate the world. The notion that human beings might exterminate whole species seemed the exception. Now we are well aware that … we can do things to accidentally to destroy whole parts of the natural world and exterminate whole species,” Attenborough warned.
Even as the ready accessibility of nature programs and the ability of filmmakers to reach the remotest corners of the world have made it easier for people to learn about nature, humanity’s connectedness with the natural world is more tenuous than ever. “Now there are more people living in towns, in conurbations, than living in the wild,” said Attenborough. “The majority of people are out of touch to some degree with the richness of the natural world.”
The threat posed by anthropogenic climate change is “difficult to overstate,” he said. “We are now so numerous, so powerful, so all-pervasive, and the mechanisms we have for destruction are so frightening that we have really to be aware of the dangers,” he warned. Humanity has done “appalling damage upon marine life, the extent of which we don’t fully know,” said Attenborough.
“I think the paradox is that there’s never been a time when more people are out of touch with the natural world, and yet we have to recognize that every breath of air and every mouthful of food comes from the natural world – and if we damage the natural world, we damage ourselves. It’s not just beauty and wonder: it is essential to human life. We are in the danger of wrecking that. We are destroying the natural world, and with it, ourselves,” he said.
But his outlook is not pessimistic. “We are discovering more ways in which we can get in front of [the pending disaster]. The fact we are now beginning to get power directly from the sun, with no need to pollute the world with by-products of our devices, is becoming reality all over the world,” he said. “We have the power, we have the knowledge, to live in harmony with nature.”
Attenborough then previewed powerful scenes from his latest film, which will debut at the World Economic Forum. The scenes of an Arctic glacier calving, with skyscraper-sized blocks of translucent blue ice crashing spectacularly into turbulent seas, were shot, as Attenborough explained, by skilled teams on helicopters maintaining steady positions despite powerful and unpredictable updrafts. “Within 20 minutes,” Attenborough narrates,” 75 million tons of ice break free.”
Attenborough is spearheading efforts to strengthen conservation efforts for a summit in Beijing in 2020.
Attenborough told the audience that, “Every breath of air we take, every mouthful of food comes from the natural world and that if we damage the natural world we damage ourselves.”