What’s the difference between Sonny Bill and Eels player’s toilet tryst?


The Bulldogs players were in fine form that Saturday afternoon, not bothering anyone after rolling in from a day at the races, but they were going strong when I left.

The following night, I received a call from a patron who told me about the Williams incident and that someone had taken a photo of it.

The NRL has launched an investigation after a Parramatta Eels player was allegedly filmed having sex with a woman in a toilet.

I had as much interest reporting about the matter then as I would now – zero – but I called my then sports editor, the late, great Rod Allen, and asked what he thought.

As suspected, he said the Herald had no interest in such a sordid tale of lost love and forbidden fruit.

The next phone call was to Williams’ then-manager, Gavin Orr. I told him about the impending tabloid storm he and Williams were facing.

Three days later, as expected, another newspaper ran the story, which included a pixelated version of the image I’d been told about.

Around midnight, I received a phone call.

“It’s, ah, Sonny Bill,” said a soft voice with a strong Kiwi accent.

“Yeah good, who is it?”

“No, it’s Sonny Bill. I want to do a story about me and my girl Genna and how much I love her.”

Williams was referring to his then partner, Genna Shaw.

A few days later, I met Williams, 21, and Shaw, 22, at their empty five-bedroom mansion in Caringbah, put on the tape recorder and sat through one of the most uncomfortable, awkward interviews imaginable.

“I’m speaking because I wanted Genna to know I was serious about our relationship,” Williams said. “I wanted to show that I love her … I’m ashamed and embarrassed. I’ve really let down all my loved ones, especially Genna. I’m glad she’s stuck by me because this house is lonely when she’s not here.”

At no point did Williams say he’d let down his club or the game. At no point did he apologise for not living up to his status as a “role model”.

At no stage did I care to ask any of those questions. I didn’t think of the club or the wider reputation of the game.

What about now? Would the Herald ignore the story?

No, we would not. If the matter was being investigated by the integrity unit, we would be obligated to report about it, as much as we loathe these stories.

What’s changed the most in the past 14 years, since the Williams incident, is the rise of social media as well as the desire of people to sell images and video to media outlets to make a quick buck at the expense of high-profile players.

Just last week, a member of the public tried to sell me a screenshot of a Facebook post from the brother of a former player who was having a crack at his NRL club. No thanks.

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What’s also changed in the past 14 years is the NRL’s hyper-sensitivity about its own image.

In many respects it’s had to be, as atrocity after atrocity cost dollar after dollar in sponsorship revenue.

But now head office is going too far.

Gallop had his faults but at least he had a sense of perspective when it came to player misbehaviour.

Current NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo is showing himself to be heavy handed and out of touch with the type of people who play the game, let alone follow it.

But Abdo doesn’t tie his shoes without permission from ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys, who has been particularly strong on the “player as role models” line.

They’re going too far, though.

First, the NRL sanctioned Corey Norman for standing up for himself after someone king hit him. Then Victor Radley for crash tackling some pest in Byron Bay. Then it warned Toby Rudolph for a silly throwaway comment on late-night television.

Should the Parramatta player in question be sanctioned for having sex with a woman in a toilet cubicle?

Look, it’s not the most romantic setting. The lighting is harsh and it could do with a scented candle or two.

But should he miss matches or even get a fine after a lengthy integrity unit investigation that will keep the story bubbling along for the next week or two?

Perhaps a conversation along these lines would be suffice: “Listen, mate, you’re a big-name footy player so when you duck off to the men’s dunnies with a girl, people are going to notice, no matter how drunk everyone might be, so maybe just be wary of that and don’t do it again. Don’t put yourself in that situation. People are dickheads. They have phones. They have cameras in them. They’ll try to take advantage of you. Now off you go, young fella, learn from this and be the best version of you that you can be.”

Moses moves

Parramatta are adamant they haven’t spoken to out-of-favour Souths captain Adam Reynolds – although negotiations with Mitchell Moses about extending his deal are moving at glacial pace.

Moses has an option his way to stay at the Eels next season but needs to make a call by round 10.

There’s also an offer on the table for a further year in 2023. A one-year extension is hardly an endorsement of their halfback but it’s understandable.

Can the Eels squeeze a premiership out of him while they’re “in the window”, as they say?

Many have their doubts, although he showed in the victory against Canberra that he’s not necessarily the “flat track bully” often claimed by his critics.

Spin Bunnies

Well of course the Latrell Mitchell suspension of four matches for his clumsy shot on Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma was too much, notwithstanding the fact he had loading for prior offences and rolled the dice at the judiciary.

But we can tell you the rookie error from South Sydney to distribute an email to several media outlets trying to spin the narrative the day before his judiciary appearance didn’t go down too well with the NRL. Nor the judiciary for that matter.

Latrell Mitchell at the NRL judiciary.

Latrell Mitchell at the NRL judiciary.Credit:NRL Imagery

It worked against the star fullback and the NRL are looking into it because clubs aren’t supposed to comment, whether it’s via clandestine email or not, before a hearing.

Sharks Saviour?

As revealed in this space last week, the Sharks feared they were going to be relocated when asked by former NRL boss Todd Greenberg to “show cause” why they should be allowed to play in the 2019 premiership because of the club’s precarious financial position.

Reports two days later that V’landys had stepped in to save the Sharkies raised a few eyebrows in the Shire.

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Not a single soul at the club was aware of this amazing gesture from someone who’d been on the commission for only a few months.

Let’s be clear: the people who saved the Cronulla Sharks were the officials, players, fans and sponsors of the Cronulla Sharks.

The Week

The Quote
“I feel that the game is drifting away from myself so I’ll call it before it calls me.” Dragons prop Trent Merrin after he announced his immediate retirement from the game. What an inspiration to fat kids all over the world. Well played, Mez.

Thumbs up
Our sincere best wishes to Sydney Kings’ import Didi Louzada, who is leaving to take up his contract with the New Orleans Pelicans in the NBA. Apart from being a quality player and human, he’s been an asset to the Kings and NBL.

Thumbs down
An elite competition called “Super League” established with the sole purpose of lining the pockets of already mega-rich people? I’ve seen that movie before. “Ok bye,” Manchester City star Raheem Sterling tweeted after the European Super League collapsed – after two days.

It’s a big weekend for …
The Waratahs, who are eyeballing their worst losing streak since Super Rugby started. They’ve lost their last seven, the record is nine, and face the Rebels on Saturday.

It’s an even bigger weekend for …
The Roosters and Dragons as they contest the ANZAC Cup at the SCG on a day when the occasion and what it honours matters far more than the result.

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Bill to criminalise stealthing, removing a condom during sex without consent, to be considered in ACT


The Canberra Liberals are proposing changes to sexual consent legislation to outlaw a practice known as “stealthing”.

Stealthing is the non-consensual removal of a condom during sex.

Opposition Leader Elizabeth Lee said stealthing risks both physical and psychological health, including through transmission of sexually transmitted infections and disease, unplanned pregnancies, depression, anxiety and in some cases post-traumatic stress disorder. 

“Stealthing is an appalling thing to do to any woman; any man; any person,” Ms Lee said.

“It is a violation of dignity and autonomy.”

Ms Lee said the rape conviction of a man in New Zealand earlier this month after he removed a condom during sex without the woman’s consent set a new legal precedent in that country, and the ACT too can “make it clear that stealthing will and should be illegal in the ACT”.

Canberra Liberals leader Elizabeth Lee said the successful conviction of a New Zealand man for stealthing proves the worth of a similar offence in Australia.(

ABC News: Mark Moore

)

The bill being presented by Ms Lee would amend current consent provisions under the Crimes Act to explicitly state that a person’s consent is negated if it’s caused by the intentional misrepresentation by the other person about the use of a condom.

“This bill is about making our laws clearer, our community safer, and making our voice loud and clear that no means no.”

Study found a third of women and a fifth of men had been stealthed

Researchers at Monash University in 2018 found one in three women and one in five men who took part in a study of over 2,000 people had been stealthed.

The ACT Government sees the practice as already being illegal under existing law, however Attorney-General Shane Rattenbury said there may be value in “putting this beyond doubt by creating an explicit definition of stealthing.” 

“A strong and clear criminal justice response to sexual offending is important, not only for victims and survivors but also the entire community,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“It is important that we have society-wide culture that understands and promotes sexual safety and consent.”

Mr Rattenbury said it was part of the governing agreement between ACT Labor and the ACT Greens to progress reforms to modernise consent laws.

A spokesperson for Canberra Rape Crisis Centre said the current law was still catching up to community expectations.

“Current legislation around sexual assault has not progressed at the speed of our society’s evolution,” the spokesperson said. 

“It is a significant issue in the field of sexual assault – that law reform is constantly trying to catch up to the new ways people are targeted for harm.”

The Centre hopes changes in legislation will mean sexual assault is no longer “the most under-reported crime in the community” and sexual assault rates will decrease.

“Changing laws does not change culture but if doing the wrong thing – in this case sexual violence – is made harder and there is a greater risk of being held to account by a strong legal framework, then rates of sexual assault will decrease in our communities,” they said.

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‘Kill the Bill’ Demonstrators March Through Central London



Protesters marched through the streets of London, England, on Saturday, April 17, as demonstrations continued in several cities to oppose a proposed UK policing bill. The Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill contains major proposals on crime in England and Wales, including giving police more power to handle demonstrations. This footage, captured by Richard Hastie, shows demonstrators chanting beside the Wellington Arch in London. Credit: Richard Hastie via Storyful

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Illinois’ Pritzker signs firefighter pension bill that Lightfoot slams as ‘backroom’ deal


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a firefighter pension bill into law this week that both Democratic Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Republicans in the state have called a “fiscally irresponsible” bill that will increase property taxes.

The new law removes an age restriction on a 3% cost-of-living increase that affects about 2,200 current and retired firefighters born after 1966, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The governor said the law assures “fair treatment,” adding that he believes “hardworking men and women who have earned their pension shouldn’t pay the price for local or state budget challenges.”

Lightfoot had asked for the governor to veto the bill, which she said would create a “deeper financial burden” for Chicagoans already struggling during the pandemic.

CHICAGO MAYOR VOWS TO FIND ADULTS WHO SUPPLIED ADAM TOLEDO, 13, WITH GUN BEFORE HE WAS FATALLY SHOT BY POLICE

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker are seen in Chicago on Tuesday. (Associated Press)

She added that firefighters need to be “appropriately compensated” but stressed that an “unfunded” bill is the “exact wrong way to accomplish this goal.”

Republican House Deputy Minority Leader Tom Demmer agreed with Lightfoot that the law will make a “property tax increase inevitable.”

ILLINOIS DEM GOVERNOR COMMUTES SENTENCE OF CONVICTED DOUBLE MURDER DEFENDANT: REPORTS

“Chicago taxpayers are on the hook for an additional $850 million thanks to Governor Pritzker signing HB2451 into law today,” Demmer said in a statement.

He added that Pritzker “continues his bad habit of spending hypothetical revenue” by bringing up the potential sale of the James R. Thompson Center in Chicago as a way to pay for the pension increases.

Lightfoot said the bill is “fiscally irresponsible and validates a Springfield practice of cutting backroom deals without full transparency and debate,” agreeing with Republicans that it would add an $18-30 million financial obligation that will necessitate another property tax increase.

The legislation was introduced by state Sen. Robert Martwick, a Democrat, and passed in January.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Martwick told the Sun-Times it makes the city “confront necessary, albeit really difficult, decisions about what they need to do with their finances, so that they can live up to the commitment to fund their pensions properly.” 

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Stacey Abrams Is Making Money Off Election Bill Disinformation



Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) railed against Democrat activist Stacey Abrams for her response to the Georgia legislature’s recent passage of the Election Integrity Act, telling host Matthew Boyle on SiriusXM’s Breitbart News Sunday that Abrams was spreading untruths in order “to pad her bank account.”

Abrams excoriated the bill, SB 202, upon its passage Thursday, calling it an act of voter suppression and “Jim Crow 2.0,” but Kemp celebrated the bill as a means of expanding voter access and increasing security in the state’s election processes. The governor accused Abrams, who founded Fair Fight — a voter rights organization and fundraising giant — of intentionally spreading inaccurate information about the bill as a money-making scheme.

“Stacey Abrams is making a lot of money off of this,” Kemp told host Matthew Boyle. “She’s getting billionaires and other people and people that don’t even have a lot of money to give money to this cause, really saying things that are untruthful to pad her bank account.”

Listen:

Kemp also said President Joe Biden — who, like Abrams, criticized the bill as “Jim Crow in the 21st Century” — displayed a lack of awareness for the bill’s provisions, arguing Biden has failed to acknowledge strict voting measures in his own home state of Delaware and that Biden’s focus on Georgia’s new law allows the president to shift attention away from the growing southern border immigration crisis.

“I think Joe Biden’s so focused on Georgia’s election law even though he doesn’t know his own laws in his own state are more restricted than we are to take the focus away from the outrageous things that are happening on the border right now with kids being trafficked and people swarming across the border,” Kemp said.

The governor added, “I think that’s probably orchestrated probably not by him but his political minions that are serving in the White House now.”

One provision of the bill specifically gained attention after some voices, including Abrams’, suggested voters waiting in lines at polls were prohibited from having access to free water.

Kemp clarified, “Certainly any voter can bring water. They can bring food. They could order a Domino’s Pizza … while they’re standing in line, but we’re not going to allow a state representative or me as governor that’s on the ballot to go out and hand water, which has actually happened before in Georgia. We’re not going to let third party groups do that whether it’s Stacey Abrams’ group, the NRA [National Rifle Association], or anybody else. That would be inappropriate within 150 feet of a polling location, but you know if you get outside of that boundary, you can hold political signs up and you can do basically whatever you want. This is just making sure voters are not bothered or intimidated while they’re in line and voting.” He added that polling locations will be able to set up self-service water coolers for those waiting in line.

Abrams, dismissing the intent of the bill’s language, had written on social media, “They criminalize free water & food for those in line”:

Kemp described Abrams’ persistent attacks on the bill as a “scam and a racket.”

“And then you got Abrams that is making money on this,” he said. “It’s just a scam and a racket in many ways, and I’m just so thankful that you guys and a lot of other people like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post and the Washington Examiner and others that are simply putting the facts out there because you know even the Atlanta paper is putting editorials out there that are just factually not correct.”

Breitbart News Sunday broadcasts live on SiriusXM Patriot 125 Sundays from 7:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

Write to Ashley Oliver at aoliver@breitbart.com.



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AAP will move Supreme Court if GNCTD bill is passed by parliament


The AAP will move the Supreme Court if the GNCTD bill is passed by Parliament, the party’s Rajya Sabha MP N D Gupta said.

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which was passed in Lok Sabha on Monday, seeks to make it clear that the “government” in Delhi means the “Lieutenant Governor”.

The bill also makes it mandatory for the Delhi government to take the opinion of the L-G before any executive action.

  • All
  • West Bengal
  • Tamil Nadu
  • Assam
  • Kerala
  • Puducherry


  • “If the GNCT Amendment Bill is passed by Rajya Sabha today, we will go to the Supreme Court,” Gupta was quoted as saying by AAP in a tweet.

    The AAP, which is in power in Delhi, is opposing the bill, alleging that it is unconstitutional.

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    Contentious bill over child adoptions passes in Queensland Parliament despite concerns


    Parliament has approved a contentious bill that will see adoption considered for children in state care who can’t be reunited with their parents, despite concerns raised by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island services.

    The legislation was introduced in response to a Coroner’s recommendation that adoption be “routinely and genuinely” considered by child safety officers, following the death of Caboolture toddler Mason Jet Lee. 

    Children who’ve been under long-term care orders would have their cases reviewed after two years, and the changes would then see adoption considered — if they can’t be cared for by their parents, extended family or another suitable person.

    Adoption would be a last resort for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children. 

    Numerous organisations expressed alarm over the amendments when a parliamentary committee examined them — including the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Protection Peak (QATSICPP).

    “My confidence in the committee process has been severely undermined by the lack of consideration or acknowledgement of expert advice.”

    QATSICPP twice made submissions opposing the legislation, writing that adoption was a contentious issue for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

    It said past experiences of state intervention resulted in extreme trauma, cultural dislocation and long-lasting negative outcomes.

    QATSICPP said, in its view, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children should not be adopted out under the Act at all.

    Cathy Pereira, principal solicitor at the Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Women’s Legal Services North Queensland, also wrote a submission.

    “We represent Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families … [adoption] is stated to be a last resort for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and our submission is that it should not be an option at all,” Ms Pereira said.

    “It’s not just the impact and the ongoing legacy of the Stolen Generation, but also that there is no scrutiny or oversight for adoption, and adoption does not address the underlying cause of child protection intervention.”

    Ms Pereira said the current model of child protection was ineffective, with much more funding needed for frontline support for vulnerable families, to prevent child protection issues arising.

    “I don’t feel like the issues have been addressed … really there’s been token acknowledgement of the submissions raised by various community and other groups,” she said.

    Minister for Children Leanne Linard told Parliament that she acknowledged adoption was a very sensitive issue.

    “For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, the bill provides that adoption is the last preference … this recognises that adoption is not part of Aboriginal tradition or Torres Strait Island custom, and should be considered as a way of meeting the child’s need for long term stable care, only if there is no better available option,” she said.

    She said adoption was already available as an option to achieve permanency, and the bill did not require adoption to be pursued.

    “Instead, the bill clarifies that adoption is an option as part of a suite of alternative, long-term options available,” she said.

    Ms Linard said there was an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle, embedded in legislation, which states that children being placed in care have a right to be placed with a member of their family group, and that a child in care has the right to be supported to develop and maintain a connection with their family, community, culture, traditions and language — particularly when in the care of a person who is not Indigenous.

    “The Act requires that the department have regard to these principles when making a significant decision about an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander child.

    Ms Linard told Parliament the government was working with QATSICPP to explore permanency outcomes for 30 Indigenous children under three years old, who are not placed with family or community kin.

    The state government has also reviewed case plans for 141 children under three years old who are on long-term orders, and another 880 children under three years old who are on short-term orders.

    A chief practitioner to oversee improved permanency outcomes across the department was appointed in September.

    In the past seven years, 10 children have been adopted from Queensland’s child protection system.

    Yasmin Dunn is the Queensland Branch president of the Australian Association of Social Workers, which also made submissions to the parliamentary committee examining the bill.

    “Adoption is already happening in the out-of-home care system even without this legislation,” Ms Dunn said.

    “By enshrining adoption as an option for vulnerable children, we are concerned that the bill runs a high risk of streamlining and fast-tracking adoption. We are concerned this bill will do more harm than good.”

    For children under the long-term guardianship of the state, the department would need to review their case plans after two years to consider if there was a better way of finding permanency.

    Ms Dunn said it could take much longer to address complicated issues relating to parent’s backgrounds, which may have included abuse or neglect, and in the case of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families, issues of intergenerational trauma, dispossesion and structural inequality.

    “We do think it’s unreasonable that adoption be considered after two years, particularly when we think of resourcing and workload issues within the department,” she said.

    Ms Linard told Parliament that the bill did not impose a ‘time limit’ on achieving reunification, or require that adoption be considered.

    “A child being cared for by their family continues to be the first perference for deciding whether an action or order achieves permanency for a child,” she said.

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    Connecticut Legislature Offers Up Bill That Would Make Prison Phone Calls Free


    from the let’s-get-this-trending! dept

    A lot of rights just vanish into the ether once you’re incarcerated. Some of this makes sense. You have almost no privacy rights when being housed by the state. Your cell can be searched and your First Amendment right to freedom of association can be curtailed in order to prevent criminal conspiracies from being implemented behind bars.

    But rights don’t disappear completely. The government has an obligation to make sure you’re cared for and fed properly — something that rarely seems to matter to jailers.

    Treating people as property has negative outcomes. Not only are “good” prisoners expected to work for pennies a day, but their families are expected to absorb outlandish expenses just to remain in contact with their incarcerated loved ones. The government loves its paywalls and it starts with prison phone services.

    Cellphone adoption changed the math for service providers. After a certain point, customers were unwilling to pay per text message. And long distance providers realized they could do almost nothing to continue to screw over phone users who called people outside of their area codes. Some equity was achieved once providers realized “long distance” was only a figure of profitable speech and text messages were something people expected to be free, rather than a service that paid phone companies per character typed.

    But if you’re in prison, it’s still 1997. The real world is completely different but your world is controlled by companies that know how to leverage communications into a profitable commodity. As much as we, the people, apparently hate the accused and incarcerated, they’re super useful when it comes to funding local spending. Caged people are still considered “taxpayers,” even when they can’t generate income or vote in elections.

    So, for years, we’ve chosen to additionally punish inmates by turning basic communication options into high priced commodities. And we’ve decided they don’t have any right to complain, even when the fees are astronomical or prison contractors are either helping law enforcement listen in to conversations with their legal reps or making it so prohibitively expensive only the richest of us can support an incarcerated person’s desire to remain connected to their loved ones.

    Connecticut legislators have had enough. Whether it will be enough to flip the status quo table remains to be seen. But, for now, a bill proposed by the Connecticut House aims to strip the profit from for-profit service providers, as well as the for-profit prisons that pad their budgets with kickbacks from prison phone service providers. (h/t Kathy Morse)

    Connecticut holds the dismal distinction of being the state with the most expensive prison phone calls in the country. But a new bill in the state legislature may soon make Connecticut the first state to make prison phone calls free.

    Senate Bill 520 would require Connecticut state prisons to offer telephone or other communication to incarcerated people free of charge, at a minimum of 90 minutes per day. The state could not collect any revenue from operating these services.

    Seems like a reasonable response. 90 minutes per day should make most calls from prisons free for all but the most talkative. And I hope those profiting from these services socked some money away for a legislative rainy day. They’ve certainly had the opportunity. As this report notes, prison call services raked in over $13 million in fees in 2018 alone. There’s no reason to believe this amount declined in 2019 or 2020, especially when 2020 gave people millions of reasons to avoid in-person visits with anyone.

    The bill [PDF] is short and sweet — somewhat of a surprise considering it was crafted by public servants who often seem to believe they’re being paid by the word. Here it is in its entirety:

    AN ACT CONCERNING THE COST OF TELECOMMUNICATION SERVICES FOR INCARCERATED PERSONS.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

    That title 18 of the general statutes be amended to require the Department of Correction to provide voice or other telecommunication services to incarcerated persons free of cost for a minimum of ninety minutes per day.

    Statement of Purpose: To provide certain cost-free telecommunication services for incarcerated persons.

    As it says on the tin, the purpose of the legislation is to provide prisoners with free phone calls, rather than allow them to be subjected to per-minute fees last viewed as “reasonable” sometime in the early 1990s. (And only viewed as “reasonable” by long distance providers, not the captive market they provided service to. [And “captive” means people who have few options in terms of service providers, not just those locked behind physical bars.])

    Expect significant pushback. And it won’t just be coming from prison phone service providers like Securus. It will also come from local law enforcement agencies which receive a percentage of these fees — something most people would call a kickback, even if law enforcement continues to argue that it isn’t.

    If this passes, this will be the first successful effort that covers a whole state. Pockets of prison phone fee resistance have been found elsewhere prior to this (New York City, San Francisco) but it has yet to be implemented at state level. This bill would be the first to make it illegal to charge for prison phone calls across an entire state.

    This is the sort of legislation that should be adopted across the nation. Prisons — for better or worse — are a public service. They shouldn’t be subject to the predatory behavior of private companies. Making it prohibitively expensive to talk to loved ones should be considered “cruel,” if not “unusual.” It serves no deterrent effect. All it does is enforce the unspoken fact that people in prisons are no longer considered “people.” That’s not how our justice system is supposed to work.

    p>

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    Filed Under: connecticut, prison, prison phone calls



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    Polytechnique victims’ loved ones accuse Trudeau of ‘betraying’ them with new gun control bill


    Friends and family members of the women killed in the École Polytechnique massacre are accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “abandoning” and “betraying” victims of firearms violence with his government’s new gun control bill.

    In a scathing letter addressed to Trudeau, those close to the victims call on the PM to revise Bill C-21 from top to bottom. 

    The tone of the letter, obtained by Radio Canada, is very harsh.

    “We are writing to express our anger with respect to the dismal Bill C-21,” it reads.

    The letter accuses the Liberal government of hypocrisy and says the bill — which was at second reading stage in the House of Commons as of Feb. 26 — falls short because it doesn’t include a mandatory buyback program for the assault-style firearms the government prohibited last May.

    Three unidentified women hug each other after laying flowers in front of the Polytechnical School at the University of Montreal on Dec. 9, 1989. (Shaney Komulainen/The Canadian Press)

    Those who signed the letter accuse the Liberal government of hypocrisy.

    “While you and your government may be able to deceive a large segment of the population with empty talking points and catchy slogans, you cannot fool the families and survivors who have been fighting for gun control for over thirty years,” the letter reads.

    PM may not be welcome at commemorative events

    The letter also contains a clear warning: if Justin Trudeau doesn’t substantially modify his proposed legislation on firearms control, he will no longer be welcome at events to commemorate the victims of the Dec. 6, 1989 massacre.

    “If you carry on with this bill, we will never again accept to have you by our side as we mourn the deaths of our daughters, our sisters, our friends, during annual commemorations,” it reads.

    Around 30 people signed the letter, including 15 people close to the victims, survivors and witnesses. Fourteen women, many of them engineering students, were killed and more than a dozen people were injured in an attack motivated by the gunman’s hatred toward women.

    The Trudeau government maintains that its approach to gun control is the right one.

    Although Trudeau participated in the Dec. 6 commemorations in recent years in Montreal, his welcome could be very different the next time.

    ‘Crocodile tears’

    Jean-François Larivée, who lost his wife Maryse Laganière on Dec. 6, 1989, isn’t mincing his words about the prime minister.

    “May he no longer cry his crocodile tears at my side and perform his political theatre to try to get votes,” said Larivée.

    Nathalie Provost, a survivor of the killing, agrees. “For me, he is no longer welcome there,” said Provost, who was shot four times in the attack.

    “I will no longer greet him. I will no longer accept his words of condolence or sympathy … For me, it becomes hypocrisy to repeat it time after time and not make steps that are effective.

    “I must tell you that we feel used.”

    ‘They betrayed us’

    Larivée called C-21 “smoke and mirrors.”

    “They used what we said, what we did, to have more votes, and finally they betrayed us because the bill that has been tabled, it is absolutely nothing,” he said.

    The gun control advocacy group PolySeSouvient has called for the assault-style firearms prohibition to be accompanied by an obligatory buy-back program, rather than a voluntary one.

    According to Bill C-21, owners of outlawed firearms will not be forced to turn them over to authorities in exchange for compensation and can keep them, without using them, as long as they are stored in a secure way.

    Those who signed the letter point out that these firearms remain at large, and a future government could reverse the ban.

    “Tomorrow, a week from now, a year from now, killers like those of (the) Polytechnique, Dawson or the Quebec mosque, all licensed owners of legally acquired assault weapons, could commit the same massacres with the same weapons and the same high-capacity magazines,” says the letter.

    “No, we will not be safer because of your bill.”

    In a written statement, the Prime Minister’s Office thanked the signatories and committed to responding directly to them. “We will continue to listen and work with provinces, municipalities and stakeholders who want to tighten gun control,” the office said.

    “We are persuaded that the bill, as such, is the right approach to take,” said Liberal MP Joël Lightbound, parliamentary secretary to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair.

    He said interested groups can express themselves in parliamentary committee hearings and insisted that the government will be listening.

    A gun is displayed after being destroyed using a hydraulic press during a firearm buy-back collection event on July 4, 2019 in Wellington, New Zealand. (Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

    Lightbound said obligatory buyback programs for assault-style firearms have had mixed results in other countries, such as New Zealand.

    “One third of firearms were turned in, two thirds are still in circulation,” he said. “In Canada, owners who want to keep their prohibited firearms will have to register them and won’t be able to use them.

    “I understand the pain of the families of the victims who want us to always do more.”

    PolySeSouvient also wants to see a national ban on handguns, while the Trudeau government wants to leave it up to individual cities to decide whether to ban them in their jurisdictions.

    The Bloc wants a stronger bill

    In Ottawa, Bloc Québécois MPs have signalled already that they intend to propose changes to Bill C-21 in parliamentary committee hearings to make the buyback program for assault-style firearms obligatory.

    Bloc MP Kristina Michaud called on the Trudeau government to show courage. “If [Trudeau] is for a tightening of control over assault-style firearms, he must make the buyback program obligatory as we are asking,” she added.

    The New Democratic Party also attacked the bill, saying that Bill C-21 “sorely lacks teeth” when it comes to firearms trafficking. The party is not conditioning its support for the bill on the introduction of an obligatory buyback program, however.

    ‘A house of cards’

    In mid-February, the Conservative Party doubled down on its opposition to a ban on assault-style firearms and a buyback program for owners.

    “Taking firearms away from law-abiding citizens does nothing to stop dangerous criminals and gangs which obtain their firearms illegally,” said Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s Quebec lieutenant, MP Richard Martel.

    Provost called the debate over C-21 a “last chance” to secure a more powerful firearms control law.

    “If this bill is adopted (in its current form), for us it is like a battle lost completely. It is 30 years of militancy lost. Thirty years of engagement, thirty years of convictions lost,” Provost said.

    “We were going to have a house of stone, and we have ended up with a house of cards that a simple puff from the Conservatives will be able to destroy,” said Larivée.

    Thanks for dropping by and seeing this article involving the latest Canadian News items titled “Polytechnique victims’ loved ones accuse Trudeau of ‘betraying’ them with new gun control bill”. This news release was presented by My Local Pages as part of our Australian news services.

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    Rajya Sabha adjourned briefly amid Opposition uproar over Insurance Amendment Bill



     Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman speaks in the Rajya Sabha, during the Budget Session of Parliament, in New Delhi. (RSTV/PTI Photo)

    New Delhi:  Rajya Sabha proceedings were adjourned for 10 minutes on Thursday amid Opposition uproar over the Insurance (Amendment) Bill 2021.

    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman moved a bill in the Upper House to consider for further amendment of the Insurance Act 1938.

     

    Leader of Opposition Mallikarjun Kharge said the insurance amendment bill 2021 will put people in trouble. The Insurance Act 1938 is being amended for the third time.

    He said the Act was first amended during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s tenure when 26 per cent FDI was allowed in the insurance sector. Later in 2015 the law was amended further to allow 49 per cent FDI and now the amendment is for allowing 74 per cent

    “I want the bill to be scrutinised to address the gaps and it should be referred to a standing committee,” Kharge said.

     

    The Opposition raised slogans and trooped into the well following which Deputy Chairman Harivansh was forced to adjourn the House for 10 minutes till 2:43 pm.

    We hope you enjoyed reading this post about the latest Indian news items titled “Rajya Sabha adjourned briefly amid Opposition uproar over Insurance Amendment Bill”. This story was shared by MyLocalPages as part of our Australian news services.

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