Its worrying Quebec premier on allegations anticorruption unit fabricated evidence

first_imgMONTREAL — Fresh allegations involving Quebec’s anti-corruption unit, once held up as the police force that would rekindle citizens’ trust in their institutions, are roiling the province’s political class.The anti-corruption squad, known as UPAC, has been suffering from low morale, recruiting difficulties and a series of embarrassing leaks to the media.The latest leak came Thursday in the Journal de Montreal, which reported the Crown prosecutor’s office was in possession of hours of testimony from the unit’s former head of operations, Andre Boulanger.He reportedly told prosecutors under oath in 2018 that certain open investigations could fall apart because officers had fabricated evidence.Quebec Premier Francois Legault called the report “worrying.” But he had little else to say on the topic Thursday.“We’ll let the prosecutors do their job. But it’s worrying,” he told reporters.Quebec solidaire co-spokesman Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois gave a big sigh when asked to comment on the allegations.“There are mornings in politics when we try and find the right qualifiers to describe a situation,” he said. “I’m still trying to figure out how to describe it.”UPAC — the Unité permanente anticorruption — was created in 2011 by Jean Charest’s Liberal government following blockbuster revelations of corruption in the province’s construction industry.“For many Quebecers, UPAC has become a field of ruins,” Nadeau-Dubois said. “UPAC was the institution that was supposed to give us trust in our institutions. And now we’ve lost trust in them.”On Wednesday, the government adopted a bill that changes how the anti-corruption squad’s commissioner is chosen. Instead of being named directly by the premier, the new head of UPAC will need to be confirmed by two-thirds of the legislature.Robert Lafreniere was UPAC’s first and only commissioner. He was named to the job by Charest and confirmed for a second mandate by former premier Philippe Couillard. Lafreniere resigned without explanation last Oct. 1 — Quebec election day.Christine St-Pierre, official opposition critic for public security, said the latest report on UPAC is “very troubling, very shocking. We are talking about fabricating evidence. We need all the light to be shone on this.”She said Lafreniere should be called to testify at the legislature about his time as UPAC commissioner.UPAC is far from the only police force in Quebec to be going through turmoil.In March, provincial police chief Martin Prud’homme was suspended pending the results of an investigation into an allegation he committed criminal offences.He had just returned to the Surete du Quebec after spending a year as interim chief of the Montreal police, dispatched to set things straight following the suspension of chief Philippe Pichet.Pichet’s suspension followed reports the force’s internal investigations unit had exaggerated or fabricated evidence against officers and helped created a climate of vengeance and mistrust.Several Quebec media have reported Prud’homme’s suspension was connected to an investigation into leaks to journalists in 2017 about a highly sensitive UPAC probe of the Quebec Liberals and Charest.The investigation into Prud’homme is being conducted by Quebec’s police watchdog, the Bureau des enquetes independantes. That bureau was also given a mandate in October 2018 by the provincial government to investigate the UPAC leaks.Jean Pascal Boucher, spokesman for Quebec’s prosecutor’s office, said the Crown “cannot confirm nor deny” the report in the Journal.Giuseppe Valiante, The Canadian Presslast_img read more

Prince Charles Talks About You Can Be Heroes Week

first_imgThe Prince of Wales has given an interview with ITV’s This Morning in support of You Can Be Heroes week, launching on Monday 7th January.His Royal Highness is keen to sustain the positive atmosphere and pride that was felt throughout the UK following the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and Diamond Jubilee.During an interview at Clarence House, The Prince’s official London residence, with This Morning hosts Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby, The Prince said: “These sorts of occasions like the Olympics and the Jubilee bring out the best in people and I do know, from doing investitures on behalf of The Queen, just how many wonderful people there are doing these remarkable things and volunteering the whole time in their own communities. A lot of people don’t realise how so many of these people keep the whole show on the road. There is something remarkable in this country I think, about the volunteering spirit.”As either Founder or President of organisations such as The Prince’s Trust, Business in the Community, and Youth United, who all rely on volunteers, The Prince of Wales said: “What I wanted to do with Youth United was to get all the uniformed services and others together to talk to them about how we could expand the opportunities. For many young people to do this (join youth uniformed services) I then discovered there is something like an 80,000 waiting list to get into the Scouts and Guides and most people have no idea about this. So there are a massive number of young people out there who want to, but can’t. Part of the reason is that they can’t find enough adult volunteers. Hopefully with the Olympics and all the interest we have more people who would like to get involved.”Viewers will also have a chance to see behind the scenes footage of The Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall from last year’s Diamond Champions initiative, which celebrated the role of older volunteers who give their time to improve the lives of those around them. The hugely successful campaign was organised by the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service and in total 4,573 people were nominated as Diamond champions, representing 249 charities. Their Royal Highnesses who were Patrons of the initiative can be seen meeting the finalists at a reception at St James’s Palace.The Prince of Wales also found time to speak of other, more personal areas of his life. When asked about the prospect of becoming a grandfather, The Prince explained how some passions are important for his, and every, grandchild. The Prince of Wales added, “I’ve gone on for years about the importance of thinking about the long term in relation to the environmental damage, climate change and everything else. We don’t, in a sensible world, want to hand on an increasingly dysfunctional world to our grandchildren, to leave them with the real problem. I don’t want to be confronted by my future grandchild and them say ‘why didn’t you do something’, so clearly now that we will have a grandchild, it makes it even more obvious to try and make sure we leave them something that isn’t a total poisoned chalice.”Talking about his worries for son Prince Harry – and families in a similar situation – who are serving their country within the Armed Forces.The Prince of Wales said, “If you are a parent or relation to a loved one and that person is away in these incredibly dangerous and challenging circumstances, I know you worry all the time. Certainly every night I worry. But he [Prince Harry] loves doing what he’s doing and he’s brilliant at it.” Before adding, “I constantly meet the families of those who have lost their sons, husbands, brothers or sisters… and I have some understanding at least of what they go through.”Viewers can see the full interview with The Prince of Wales on Monday 7th January.During This Morning’s You Can Be Heroes Week viewers will also witness what goes on within some of The Prince’s Charities and other such organisations, see the work the volunteers carry out and also learn how they can volunteer in their local area too.Source:PrinceOfWales.gov.uklast_img read more

Researchers find social lifestyle also helps mole rats live a long time

first_img Citation: Researchers find social lifestyle also helps mole rats live a long time (2015, January 28) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2015-01-social-lifestyle-mole-rats.html (Phys.org)—A pair of researchers based at New York University has found a second explanation for the long lifespan of naked mole rats—their social networks. In their paper published in The Royal Society Proceedings B, Scott Williams and Milena Shattuck describe the statistical analysis they undertook in comparing the lifespan of various species of animals and comparing them against other factors such as size, environment and degree of social behavior and what they found in doing so. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Factor in naked mole rat’s cells enhances protein integrity © 2015 Phys.org More information: Ecology, longevity and naked mole-rats: confounding effects of sociality? Published 28 January 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2014.1664 Explore further Naked mole rats live a ridiculously long time for their size—they average just three or four inches in length, but live for up to thirty years (underground in parts of Africa). Prior research has found that as a general rule, life spans are longer for animals that are bigger—mice, for example, tend to live just three years. So what gives? After much study, scientists have found that the rodents have a large amount of a certain type of protein in their tissue that appears to ward off aging and things like cancer. The protein appears to do its magic by causing genes to be more careful in how they make new proteins. But how did this protein magic get started in mole rats, and why does it persist? Prior research has shown that their fossorial (living in a burrow) existence is a factor—animals that live underground tend to live longer, partly because it helps them avoid predators. But other underground animals do not live nearly as long, so there has to be another reason—that is what Williams and Shattuck sought to better understand by taking a closer look at their communal lifestyle.Naked mole rats live a lot like bees or ants, with workers doing different jobs and a queen that does the reproducing—an unusual trait for a rodent. Suspecting that it might have something to do with their longevity, the research duo began doing some research, creating a database of different animals (440 mammals) that allowed for comparing longevity with their environment and social habits. Analysis revealed that mammals that both live underground and do so socially, tend to live longer than those that do just one or the other, or neither. Thus it appears that the mole rats remarkable lifespan is at least partly due to both its underground environment and their social lifestyle. naked mole-rat. Credit: Joshua Clarklast_img read more