Isro’s PSLV turns money-spinner: Forex earnings rise by Rs 90 crore in ’18-19 – Times of India

December 15th, 2019

NEW DELHI: Indian Space Research Organisation’s PSLV has turned into a money-spinner for the space agency as forex brought by the country’s mainstay rocket increased by Rs 90 crore from Rs 232.56 crore in 2017-18 to Rs 324 crore in 2018-19 fiscal year.
Isro has earned Rs 1,245 crore during the last five years by launching foreign satellites from 26 countries. Key contracts with 10 countries — the US, the UK, Germany, Canada, Singapore, The Netherlands, Japan, Malaysia, Algeria and France — were signed in the last five years under commercial arrangements.
In financial years before 2017-18, the annual revenue figures just hovered around Rs 200-crore-plus mark. In 2016-17, it was Rs 208 crore, Rs 227 crore in 2015-16 and Rs 252 crore in 2014-15.
The information was provided to the Rajya Sabha in a written reply by Union minister for department of space Jitendra Singh in the just-concluded winter session. Though Isro’s market share in the global satellite launch market is less than 2%, PSLV has carved a niche for itself in the small satellite launch market and bringing in big moolah for the country.
Since May 26, 1999, when the first foreign satellite was launched by India, PSLV has till now launched 319 foreign satellites. Of the 319 satellites, which did not weigh more than 445kg, around 279 were launched in the last five years.
Keeping in mind the big market for small satellites, Isro has developed the Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) or mini-PSLV, whose maiden test-flight is due in the first quarter of 2020.
In fact, the second demonstration test (D2) of SSLV has already been booked for carrying an American payload. The “vehicle-on-demand” SSLV can be assembled in just 3-5 days as compared to 30-40 days for a normal-size rocket and made in just one-tenth the cost of a PSLV. In 2018, 322 small satellites were launched globally through 44 launches, according to SpaceNews.
And the market witnessed a 23% compound annual growth rate from 2009 to 2018. According to a new market intelligence report by BIS Research, the global small satellite market generated a revenue of $513 million in 2018 and is expected to reach $2.9 billion by 2030 as over 17,000 small satellites are expected to be launched. Currently, US private space company Elon Musk-promoted Space X holds the lion’s share of the market.

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The Week In Games: The Goose Is Loose On PS4 And Xbox One – Kotaku

December 15th, 2019

New draft ethics guidelines for judges caution them about post-bench work – CBC.ca

December 15th, 2019

If he could do it all over again, former Supreme Court of Canada justice Ian Binnie says he would not have offered the Harper government a legal opinion that ended up being used in a political controversy over a rejected high court appointment.

That’s one reason he welcomes new draft revisions to the Canadian Judicial Council’s ethical principles for federally appointed judges, which would govern what work a judge seeks after retirement and how they provide legal advice. 

“It was a case where I thought there was a genuine request for an opinion and it turned out what they wanted was a letter that the government could wave around,” Binnie told CBC News.

“I think if I’d been approached to produce a letter that the government would use as part of its public relations exercise, I would’ve refused.”

In 2014, the government of then-prime minister Stephen Harper appointed Federal Court of Appeal Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court to take one of three designated seats from Quebec. The government used a legal opinion obtained from Binnie to support the decision.

However, the Supreme Court blocked the Nadon appointment in a six-to-one decision that determined he did not qualify to join the high court.

You can never lose the fact that you are a former judge, particularly a Supreme Court of Canada judge– Ian Binnie, former Supreme Court justice

Since then, Binnie said he’s declined a number of job opportunities. In some cases, he said, it was quite obvious that clients wanted to use his opinion because of his title as an ex-high court justice.

“You can never lose the fact that you are a former judge, particularly a Supreme Court of Canada judge,” Binnie said.

“That is really part of the baggage you carry around so you have to be careful that it’s not misused.”

Preventing the misuse of a former justice’s status is one goal of revisions to the Canadian Judicial Council’s ethical principles, which act as guidelines for judges’ professional and personal lives.

Council urges caution

In its review, the council says judges have to respect certain obligations and expectations even after they retire, since they may still be regarded by the general public as representatives of the judiciary.

“It’s clearly a matter of concern,” said Eugene Meehan, former executive legal officer at the Supreme Court of Canada and a lawyer specializing in Supreme Court of Canada issues at the Ottawa firm Supreme Advocacy.

“On the one hand, it’s helpful to have continued access to expertise, experience and bench strength. But on the other hand, there also comes a time when it’s time to hang up the hockey skates and close the locker.”

Former Supreme Court of Canada justices, from left, Thomas Cromwell, Frank Iacobucci, John Major and Beverley McLachlin were sought for legal advice during the SNC-Lavalin affair. (The Canadian Press)

In its draft revisions, the council urges ex-judges to exercise caution when accepting jobs and providing legal advice in high-profile or politically contentious matters where clients can make use of a former judge’s status to advance their interests.

‘Nothing sinister about giving a legal opinion’

The propriety of post-retirement work for justices became a topic of debate during the SNC-Lavalin affair. Four former Supreme Court of Canada justices provided legal advice on the matter, according to a report by Ethics Commissioner Mario Dion.

Frank Iacobucci, who sat on the high court from 1991 to 2004, acted as legal counsel for the Quebec engineering firm. Iacobucci requested an opinion from John Major, who served on the bench from 1992 to 2005, on the legality of the Director of Public Prosecutions refusing to give SNC-Lavalin a deferred prosecution agreement and withholding its reasons for that decision.

“I would do it again,” Major said. “There’s nothing sinister about giving a legal opinion.”

Major now works as a lawyer in Calgary with Bennett Jones LLP. Like all ex-judges, Major is allowed to provide legal advice but cannot appear in court.

John Major, who served on the Supreme Court of Canada bench from 1992 to 2005, does not see anything wrong with former justices providing legal advice as long as they use common sense. (Colin Hall/CBC)

“There’s a perception that a former judge carries some unusual ability,” Major said. “The fact is, I think, that a sitting judge is not going to be particularly interested in what a former judge said.”

Major called the judicial council’s draft revisions good advice, but said he doesn’t think it will have any practical effect.

“They have no discretion on telling a judge who is retired what he can and cannot do,” he said. “They go beyond what their legal authority is.”

The draft recommendations are advisory in nature. It’s up to individual law societies across the country to implement them and give them teeth.

Stakeholders and judges have until Feb. 14, 2020 to provide feedback on the proposed changes. A final version is expected to be released in late 2020.

Legal expert says ex-justices should not return to practice

Amy Salyzyn, a legal professor at the University of Ottawa, said she doesn’t think former Supreme Court of Canada justices should practice law under any circumstances.

“There’s a real concern that the playing field is not level when judges are practising,” Salyzyn said. “The risk is too high.”

Judges are living longer and retiring earlier, which has led to more of them returning to private practice.

Forty-one retired judges applied to return to practice in Ontario between the beginning of 2013 and the fall of 2018, according to the province’s law society.

Amy Salyzyn, law professor at the University of Ottawa, is concerned about former Supreme Court judges using their titles in private practice. (Jean-Francois Benoit/CBC)

The proposed changes come after the judicial council conducted a public survey which saw 71 per cent of respondents agree that judges should not discuss future job opportunities while serving on the bench.

Seventy-five per cent of the 1,000 submissions from Canadians and stakeholders also said that, upon retirement, judges should not use the prestige of their former positions to gain business advantages. Sixty per cent thought former judges should not argue a case or appear in court.

Once-in-a-generation change

The revisions to the ethical principles for judges are significant for the legal community, as the judicial council only updates them once in a generation. This is the first time the principles have included a substantial section dedicated to post-judicial employment.

Ex-judges are encouraged by the judicial council to act as arbitrators, mediators or commissioners, but they are not allowed to appear as counsel before a court, an administrative body or a dispute resolution proceeding in Canada.

The proposed changes warn retirement planning could undermine a judge’s image of impartiality and create the impression of a conflict of interest.

They also say the same concern exists where a judge is “testing the waters” in the private sector, or soliciting opportunities. It recommends that such conversations happen only after a judicial term has ended. 

Binnie retired from the bench in 2011 after 14 years on the Supreme Court of Canada. He practices arbitration and mediation at the legal practice Arbitration Place in Toronto, and welcomes the council’s recommendations. 

“I think if judges in their post-judicial career look like opportunists and try to build a career based on their former role as a judge, it’s bad for the judiciary,” Binnie said.

“I think most judges recognize red lines when they come across them and respect them.”

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Xbox One games shock as Halo Reach and MCC linked to Nintendo Switch but not PS4 – Express

December 15th, 2019

Ads on Facebook are spreading misinformation about anti-HIV drugs – Engadget

December 15th, 2019

GLAAD said it contacted Facebook’s public policy team and reached out to five fact-checking agencies, but the social network answered by pointing to a public ad policy page explaining why ads can be removed. In response, GLAAD posted an open letter asking Facebook to remove the ads, with support coming from 50 organizations, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Senator Elizabeth Warren. The advocacy group is buying ads on Facebook to promote the letter among the LGBTQ+ community.

We’ve asked Facebook for comment.

The ads are likely just attempts to spur lawsuits against Truvada’s manufacturer, Gilead. However, there’s a concern that they could do serious harm by discouraging the use of preventative drugs and spreading HIV. They also illustrate Facebook’s mixed track record in supporting LGBTQ+ people. While Facebook has become more inclusive with changes to its real name policy and support for custom gender identities, it has also drawn fire for inadvertently blocking LGBTQ+ ads and claims that it’s lax on removing homophobic material. Simply put, the ads questioning Truvada are eroding an already fragile sense of trust.

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Hallmark Under Fire: Hilarie Burton, GLAAD and Others Call Out Network for Pulling Ad With Same-Sex Wedding, Bowing to ‘Fringe Anti-LGBTQ Groups’ – TVLine

December 15th, 2019

Calls to boycott Hallmark Channel have drawn the attention of the network’s past and present stars, including One Tree Hill vet Hilarie Burton.

Burton, who has previously headlined three Hallmark movies — Naughty or Nice (2012), Surprised by Love (2015) and Summer Villa (2016) — responded to the controversy surrounding the network’s decision to pull commercials that featured a same-sex wedding. In a Twitter thread on Sunday, the actress claimed that she’d been fired from a Hallmark movie earlier this year after she insisted on more diverse casting.

“Just going through some old emails from a #Hallmark job I was ‘let go’ from back in January,” she wrote. “I had insisted on a LGBTQ character, an interracial couple and diverse casting. I was polite, direct and professional. But after the execs gave their notes on the script and NONE of my requests were honored, I was told ‘take it or leave it.’

“I left it. And the paycheck,” Burton continued. “Sh—ty being penalized for standing up for inclusivity. I really wanted that job. It was close to my house. It paid really well. It was about the military, which you all know I hold dear. But… I’d walk away again in a heartbeat. The bigotry comes from the top and permeates the whole deal over there.” She then suggested that audiences could find more “inclusive Christmas magic” over on Lifetime, where she has starred in holiday films The Christmas Contract (2018) and A Christmas Wish (2019).

Meanwhile, Jane the Virgin‘s Bridget Regan, who has starred in Hallmark’s Christmas Getaway (2017) and Magic Stocking (2015), accused the network of “endorsing discrimination” by deciding against airing the aforementioned ads.

“Hey @hallmarkchannel, this is [incredibly] disappointing and disheartening,” she said. “I thought #Hallmark was all about spreading love — especially this time of year. Instead you are endorsing discrimination. It’s time to give respect to LGBTQ families and communities.”

Christmas Town - Hallmark ChannelWynonna Earp‘s Tim Rozon, who recently appeared opposite Candace Cameron Bure in the Dec. 1 movie Christmas Town, also responded to the network’s unfavorable decision. “Love is love ❤️,” he tweeted. Added Wynonna Earp creator Emily Andras, “A war on love is an actual war on Christmas, and everything Christ stood for. No more Hallmark in my house unless this bigoted policy is reversed.”

Comedian and talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres also weighed in on social media. “Isn’t it almost 2020?” she said. She then took aim at Hallmark Channel president and CEO Bill Abbott and asked, “What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.” He has yet to respond as of press time.

On Saturday, GLAAD put out the following statement:

Hallmark Channel’s decision to remove LGBTQ families in such a blatant way is discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming and also recently stated they are ‘open’ to LGBTQ holiday movies. As so many other TV and cable networks showcase, LGBTQ families are part of family programming. Advertisers on The Hallmark Channel should see this news and question whether they want to be associated with a network that chooses to bow to fringe anti-LGBTQ activist groups.

Scroll down for additional reactions…

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Hallmark Channel: TV channel pulls Zola.com ads showing same-sex couple after One Million Moms complaint – CBS News

December 15th, 2019

Under pressure from a conservative advocacy group, The Hallmark Channel has pulled ads for a wedding-planning website that featured two brides kissing at the altar. The family-friendly network — which is in the midst of its heavily watched holiday programming — removed the ads because the controversy was a distraction, a spokesperson said in an interview Saturday.

“The debate surrounding these commercials on all sides was distracting from the purpose of our network, which is to provide entertainment value,” said a statement provided by Molly Biwer, senior vice president for public affairs and communications at Hallmark.

In an interview, she added: “The Hallmark brand is never going to be divisive. We don’t want to generate controversy, we’ve tried very hard to stay out of it … we just felt it was in the best interest of the brand to pull them and not continue to generate controversy.”

Trending News

There was immediate criticism on Twitter. TV host Ellen DeGeneres asked Hallmark: “Isn’t it almost 2020? What are you thinking? Please explain. We’re all ears.”

zola-ad-same-sex-couple-wedding-02.png
An screengrab from a Zola.com ad that has been pulled from the Hallmark Channel. Zola.com via YouTube

Biwer confirmed that a conservative group, One Million Moms, part of the American Family Association, had complained about the ads to Bill Abbott, CEO of Crown Media Family Networks, Hallmark’s parent company.

A post on the group’s website said Abbott “reported the advertisement aired in error.” The group also wrote: “The call to our office gave us the opportunity to confirm the Hallmark Channel will continue to be a safe and family-friendly network.”

Zola had submitted six ads, and four had a lesbian couple. After Hallmark pulled those ads, but not two featuring only opposite-sex couples, Zola pulled its remaining ads, the company said.

“The only difference between the commercials that were flagged and the ones that were approved was that the commercials that did not meet Hallmark’s standards included a lesbian couple kissing,” said Mike Chi, Zola’s chief marketing officer, in a statement sent to the AP. “Hallmark approved a commercial where a heterosexual couple kissed.

“All kisses, couples and marriages are equal celebrations of love and we will no longer be advertising on Hallmark,” Chi said.

zola-ad-same-sex-couple-wedding-01.png
Hallmark has been criticized for pulling TV ads showing a same-sex couple. Zola.com via YouTube

In one of the pulled ads, two brides stand at the altar and wonder aloud whether their wedding would be going more smoothly if they had used a wedding planning site like Zola. The lighthearted ad ends with the two brides sharing a quick kiss on the altar.

Actress Sandra Bernhard, who played one of the first openly bisexual characters on network TV in “Roseanne,” also criticized Hallmark’s decision.

“All the groovy gay ladies I know won’t be watching your Christmas schlock,” she wrote on Twitter, addressing Hallmark. “They’ll be out celebrating with their ‘families’ wives, children, friends on & on & getting married in chic ensembles. Didn’t you all get the memo? Family is all inclusive.”

The developments came as Hallmark appeared to be considering more same-sex themed content.

Asked about the possibility of holiday movies based on same-sex relationships, Abbott was quoted in The Hollywood Reporter in mid-November as saying on its TV podcast: “We’re open to really any type of movie of any type of relationship.”

The LGBT advocacy group GLAAD called the decision to remove the Zola ads “discriminatory and especially hypocritical coming from a network that claims to present family programming …” The group said it would be asking other Hallmark advertisers where they stand on the issue, and if they now will pull their advertising.

The Hallmark decision was also mocked on “Saturday Night Live,” and Netflix U.S. tweeted stills from a TV show and movie that it labeled “Titles Featuring Lesbians Joyfully Existing And Also It’s Christmas Can We Just Let People Love Who They Love.”

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Kanye West and JAY-Z Reunite at Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs’ Birthday Party After Years of Feuding – Yahoo Entertainment

December 15th, 2019
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Kanye West&nbsp;and&nbsp;JAY-Z&nbsp;were back together at&nbsp;Sean “Diddy” Combs’&nbsp;50th birthday party.” data-reactid=”16″>Kanye West and JAY-Z were back together at Sean “Diddy” Combs’ 50th birthday party.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="JAY-Z, 50, and West, 42, both attended the star-studded bash on Saturday night alongside their respective wives&nbsp;Beyoncé&nbsp;and&nbsp;Kim Kardashian West. In&nbsp;footage&nbsp;from the party, the two rappers could be seen talking and laughing with one another, and both also posed for a photo with Diddy and&nbsp;Pharrell Williams.” data-reactid=”17″>JAY-Z, 50, and West, 42, both attended the star-studded bash on Saturday night alongside their respective wives Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian West. In footage from the party, the two rappers could be seen talking and laughing with one another, and both also posed for a photo with Diddy and Pharrell Williams.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="An insider&nbsp;told PEOPLE&nbsp;that the two rappers and their wives sat pretty close together during the festivities.” data-reactid=”18″>An insider told PEOPLE that the two rappers and their wives sat pretty close together during the festivities.

West and JAY-Z’s friendship began in the late ’90s when he was recruited to produce tracks for Roc-A-Fella Records, which was founded by JAY-Z, Damon Dash and Kareem “Biggs” Burke.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="The two also&nbsp;collaborated on their 2011 joint album titled Watch the Throne, but their relationship became rocky after JAY-Z and Beyoncé, 38,&nbsp;did not attend West’s wedding&nbsp;to Kardashian West, 39.” data-reactid=”20″>The two also collaborated on their 2011 joint album titled Watch the Throne, but their relationship became rocky after JAY-Z and Beyoncé, 38, did not attend West’s wedding to Kardashian West, 39.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED: Inside Diddy’s A-List 50th Birthday Bash: ‘It Was Like a Superstar Convention,’ Says Source” data-reactid=”21″>RELATED: Inside Diddy’s A-List 50th Birthday Bash: ‘It Was Like a Superstar Convention,’ Says Source

Kanye West and JAY-Z | Kevin Mazur/Getty ImagesKanye West and JAY-Z | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kanye West and JAY-Z | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Though Beyoncé sent&nbsp;well wishes to West and Kardashian West&nbsp;on their wedding day, the couple did not attend the fête in 2014. Two years later, West went on a rant during his concert, saying their daughters had yet to have a play date and neither Beyoncé nor JAY-Z checked in after&nbsp;Kardashian West’s Paris robbery.” data-reactid=”34″>Though Beyoncé sent well wishes to West and Kardashian West on their wedding day, the couple did not attend the fête in 2014. Two years later, West went on a rant during his concert, saying their daughters had yet to have a play date and neither Beyoncé nor JAY-Z checked in after Kardashian West’s Paris robbery.

JAY-Z called out West’s erratic behavior on his track “Kill JAY-Z,” and the two also battled over a money dispute involving Tidal.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED:&nbsp;Kanye West Takes JAY-Z’s Crown as Hip Hop’s Highest Paid Rapper” data-reactid=”36″>RELATED: Kanye West Takes JAY-Z’s Crown as Hip Hop’s Highest Paid Rapper

“What really hurt me, you can’t bring my kid or my wife into it,” JAY-Z later said in a radio interview. “We’ve gotten past bigger issues, but you brought my family into it, now it’s a problem with me.”

The “99 Problems” rapper added: “You know it’s a problem because me and him would have been talked about it, been resolved our issues. And he knows crossed the line. He knows. And I know he knows. ‘Cause we’ve never let this much space go between one of our disagreements and we’ve had many. That’s part of who we are.”

Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Sean Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Sean
Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Sean

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="In 2017, however,&nbsp;JAY-Z revealed the duo were back on speaking terms. “He’s my brother,” he told&nbsp;T, The New York Times Style Magazine. “I love Kanye. I do. It’s a complicated relationship with us… It’s just that there’s certain things that happened that’s not really acceptable to me. And we just need to speak about it. But there’s genuine love there.”” data-reactid=”50″>In 2017, however, JAY-Z revealed the duo were back on speaking terms. “He’s my brother,” he told T, The New York Times Style Magazine. “I love Kanye. I do. It’s a complicated relationship with us… It’s just that there’s certain things that happened that’s not really acceptable to me. And we just need to speak about it. But there’s genuine love there.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="West acknowledged in 2018 that&nbsp;he was “hurt” by their lack of attendance&nbsp;on his wedding day. “I understand they were going through some things, but if it’s family, you’re not going to miss a wedding,” he said. Later that year, he posted a photo of JAY-Z and Beyoncé,&nbsp;calling them “famleeeeee,”&nbsp;seemingly showing they were still on good terms.” data-reactid=”53″>West acknowledged in 2018 that he was “hurt” by their lack of attendance on his wedding day. “I understand they were going through some things, but if it’s family, you’re not going to miss a wedding,” he said. Later that year, he posted a photo of JAY-Z and Beyoncé, calling them “famleeeeee,” seemingly showing they were still on good terms.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Earlier this year, West&nbsp;sued JAY-Z’s&nbsp;Roc-A-Fella Records, claiming he was owed money.” data-reactid=”54″>Earlier this year, West sued JAY-Z’s Roc-A-Fella Records, claiming he was owed money.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="RELATED:&nbsp;Inside Kanye West &amp; JAY-Z’s Tumultuous Relationship Through the Years” data-reactid=”55″>RELATED: Inside Kanye West & JAY-Z’s Tumultuous Relationship Through the Years

Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West at Diddy's birthday party | Kevin Mazur/Getty ImagesKanye West and Kim Kardashian West at Diddy's birthday party | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images
Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West at Diddy’s birthday party | Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Other celebrities in attendance at Diddy’s bash on Saturday night included&nbsp;Naomi Campbell,&nbsp;Cardi B&nbsp;and husband&nbsp;Offset, members of the Kardashian-Jenner family, as well as&nbsp;Usher,&nbsp;Leonardo DiCaprio,&nbsp;Lil Kim&nbsp;and&nbsp;Mary J. Blige.” data-reactid=”67″>Other celebrities in attendance at Diddy’s bash on Saturday night included Naomi CampbellCardi B and husband Offset, members of the Kardashian-Jenner family, as well as UsherLeonardo DiCaprioLil Kim and Mary J. Blige.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A&nbsp;source told PEOPLE&nbsp;of the bash: “It was like a superstar convention! The musical giants of our time were all there to pay their respects.”” data-reactid=”68″>A source told PEOPLE of the bash: “It was like a superstar convention! The musical giants of our time were all there to pay their respects.”

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‘Seven or Eight’ Dungeons and Dragons Video Games in the Works, Says WotC President – IGN – IGN

December 15th, 2019

Ottawa extended status eligibility to hundreds of thousands over concerns the decision was rushed, documents show – National Post

December 15th, 2019

OTTAWA — Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett opted to move ahead with extending eligibility for Indian status to possibly hundreds of thousands of people ahead of the last election, despite concerns from the federal bureaucracy about a lack of consultation and inadequate resources.

The decision, announced in August, was intended to eliminate 150 years of sex-based discrimination from the Indian Act, which for decades stripped Indigenous women who married non-Indigenous men of their Indian status, but not the reverse, with implications for generations of descendants.

It was the final step in the implementation of Bill S-3, a federal law passed by the Liberal government in 2017 to extend status eligibility to descendants of women who lost status dating back to 1869.

This last step, known as the removal of the 1951 cut-off, has received a mixed reaction from First Nations, some of which are concerned about a possible influx of new registrants looking to join their communities and benefit from Indian status. Estimates suggest removal of the cut-off could entitle 270,000 to 450,000 people to registration under the Indian Act over the next decade.

Many others believe the change provides justice to people unfairly denied Indian status who have waited decades for recognition. “Our government committed to eliminating all sex-based discrimination in Indian Act registration, and we delivered on that promise,” the office of Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller told the National Post in a statement.

However, an internal document obtained by the Post through access-to-information shows officials in the department of Crown-Indigenous Relations were concerned the government wasn’t prepared for the removal of the 1951 cut-off, and felt more consultation was needed. The briefing note for Bennett, dated April 10, seems to suggest she hold off until after the October election, though the recommendation itself is redacted.

First Nations are divided about when the changes should be implemented, but an implementation plan that considers the key messages of First Nations is recommended

“First Nations are divided about when the changes should be implemented, but an implementation plan that considers the key messages of First Nations is recommended,” it reads.

“If you move to implement the removal of the 1951 cut-off prior to October 2019… (it would) directly contradict commitments and quotes made by you on the promise to fully consult and make plans together with stakeholders.”

Ultimately, Bennett overruled the advice from her department and removed the 1951 cut-off on Aug. 15, less than a month before the start of the federal election campaign.

The briefing note states that several First Nations and Indigenous organizations had requested more time to consult and submit reports. It also says there hadn’t been enough time for officials to consult with other government departments about the impacts of the change. “As such, the department does not have all the information to prepare a thorough implementation plan prior to the election.”

The document also raises concerns about the ability of the Indian registrar’s office, which assesses status eligibility, to keep up with an influx of new applications. “The demand for processing registration applications would exceed current capacity and existing processes,” it says. “As a result, the processing of applications for registration would suffer greater delays.”

However, the document acknowledges that postponing past the election would open the government up to criticism “regarding delays on the implementation of women’s and human rights with no set deadline.”

Miller’s office, which has taken over responsibility for Bill S-3 from Bennett, said resources will be added progressively to assess up to 554,000 applications over the next decade. So far, the department has received approximately 22,000 applications under the new law, in line with expectations. A government website says it currently takes about 16 weeks to issue a status card.

To explain the timing of the decision, Miller’s office pointed to recommendations made earlier this year by a ministerial special representative, Claudette Dumont-Smith, who said the 1951 cut-off should be removed by June 2019.

However, a report submitted to Parliament in June, accompanied by Dumont-Smith’s findings, noted that “First Nations indicated that they have not had enough time to consult with their full membership… on the removal of the 1951 cut-off.” The report also says some First Nations raised concerns “that newly entitled individuals will apply for registration in order to take advantage of services and benefits without seeking a connection to the community or culture.”

A few First Nations have taken steps to restrict their own membership and residency criteria in response to the full implementation of Bill S-3, including the Mohawk Council of Kahnawake on Montreal’s South Shore. The First Nation passed a new law in June governing who can live in the community. Kahnawake also requires members to have at least four Mohawk great-grandparents.

Kahsennanhawe Sky-Deer, an elected council member, called Bill S-3 “the new assimilation tactic” — a way to erode Indigenous culture by extending status to many people without ties to Indigenous communities. “We see it as a complete interference by the federal government of deciding identity, belonging and citizenship,” she said.

Sky-Deer said there was “definitely” not enough consultation with First Nations on the possible consequences of Bill S-3. “I still feel that people have blinders on, that they don’t really see what’s coming,” she said.

Damien Lee, an associate fellow at the Yellowhead Institute, a First Nation-led think tank, said Bill S-3 rights a long-standing historical wrong, but could have unintended consequences. “This bill does justice to those people who know that they belong with the community,” he said. “It does open the door, though, to folks that, for better or for worse, aren’t really Indigenous people anymore, in the sense that they’re not connected to community.”

Still, Lee said Bennett made the right decision in removing the 1951 cut-off in August. “I would say that the people who needed this to happen needed it to happen decades ago,” he said.

Bill S-3 is the latest in a series of legislative changes, beginning in 1985, which have gradually removed sex-based inequities from the Indian Act. The law stems from a 2015 Quebec Superior Court decision that found some registration rules still violated Charter rights. Until the passage of Bill S-3, first cousins could end up with different statuses based on the sex of their Indian grandparent, and male and female siblings born out of wedlock could have different statuses.

Those issues were addressed by changes that took effect in December 2017. But a previous amendment had restricted the expansion of status eligibility to grandchildren of women who lost status and were born after 1951 — the 1951 cut-off. The Liberals decided to remove that cut-off after a period of consultation and extend eligibility to the descendants of women who lost status dating back to 1869.

Once registered, status Indians are eligible for federal benefits and services including treaty payments, post-secondary education funding and non-insured health benefits.

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