A NAFTA chapter focused on Indigenous rights will be crucial Bellegarde says

OTTAWA — The push for an Indigenous chapter in a renegotiated NAFTA could require support from Indigenous Peoples south of the border as well as in Canada, says Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde — a main advocate for its creation.Indigenous Peoples were left out of North American free trade discussions of the 1990s, Bellegarde said, adding he is pleased to see Ottawa is working to change that as it begins hashing out a new agreement.Bellegarde, who is part of an advisory committee on the trade negotiations, said there is a “certain amount of instability” in the White House at the moment and he acknowledges additional pressure may be required to see movement on the part of the U.S.“We also have to reach out and start working with our Indigenous brothers and sisters on the U.S.A. side,” Bellegarde said.“We never created borders. We’ve always had a lot of international trade amongst ourselves as Indigenous Peoples.”For its part, Canada can be viewed as a strong international leader through its full inclusion and involvement of Indigenous Peoples as part of international trade discussions, he added.“By having an Indigenous chapter, you’re going to get a better agreement to create economic certainty for this country, for all three countries,” he said.“It also opens up the door for potential economic development opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and as well making sure we find that strong balance between the environment and the economy.”Last week, as negotiations were about to get underway, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland thanked Bellegarde personally for the suggestion of an Indigenous chapter.“I spoke about it with our officials, and they were also very enthusiastic about that,” she said in Ottawa at the time.“That is another really fresh area for us to work on that is in keeping with Canadian values and with the areas our government is pursuing, and I’m very excited about it.”Specifically, the federal government is looking at how provisions in the agreement can support Indigenous economic development while also considering how to make the pact compliant with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).The International Inter-Tribal Trade and Investment Organization — a group made up of Indigenous and non-Indigenous trade experts — also made a submission to Global Affairs this summer requesting the creation of an Indigenous chapter, including greater protection of cultural property and traditional knowledge.Risa Schwartz, a lawyer and senior research fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation who helped the organization with its research, said she is pleased and surprised to see Freeland’s openness to the idea of an Indigenous chapter.There now needs to be real participation from Indigenous people on the content, she said, noting this involves legal commitments Canada must uphold in light of UNDRIP.Article 19 of the UN declaration outlines the need to co-operate in good faith with Indigenous Peoples to obtain free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.The section is designed to apply to issues that would affect Indigenous rights, Schwartz said, adding NAFTA could do just that, possibly in an adverse way.Schwartz does not see an Indigenous chapter as a priority for the current U.S. administration, but she said Mexico may be more amenable.“If you look back at the history of NAFTA, there was huge uproar from Indigenous Peoples in Mexico in 1994 so there may be a more serious conversation to be had with Mexico at this point.”–Follow @kkirkup on Twitter read more

US homebuilder confidence hits highest level since 2005

US homebuilder confidence hits highest level since 2005 U.S. homebuilders’ confidence soared this month to the highest level in 11 years, reflecting heightened expectations of better sales now and well into 2017.The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo builder sentiment index released Thursday jumped seven points to 70. The last time the reading was at this level was July 2005, during the high-flying days of the last U.S. housing boom.Readings above 50 indicate more builders view sales conditions as good rather than poor. The index has been above 60 the past four months after hovering in the high 50s much of this year.Builders’ view of sales now and over the next six months rose sharply, as did a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers.The sharp increase in the latest builder survey is consistent with recent gains for the stock market and improving U.S. consumer confidence, said Robert Dietz, the NAHB’s chief economist.“Though this significant increase in builder confidence could be considered an outlier, the fact remains that the economic fundamentals continue to look good for housing,” Dietz said. “At the same time, builders remain sensitive to rising mortgage rates and continue to deal with shortages of lots and labour.”A stable job market and low mortgage rates have helped spur demand for new homes this year. Sales of new U.S. homes hit a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 563,000 units in October. Sales data for November are due out next week.Through the first 10 months of this year, sales of new homes are 12.7 per cent higher than in the same stretch last year. The strong demand has helped lift prices, pushing the median sales price of new U.S. homes to $304,500 as of October.This month’s builder index was based on 318 respondents.A measure of current sales conditions for single-family homes jumped seven points to 76, while a gauge of traffic by prospective buyers climbed six points to 53. Builders’ view of sales over the next six months rose nine points to 78.Despite builders’ bullish sales outlook, the recent steady rise in mortgage rates could make homes less affordable for some would-be homebuyers, possibly dampening sales.Long-term mortgage rates have risen steadily in the weeks since Donald Trump’s victory in November to become the country’s next president.Mortgage giant Freddie Mac said Thursday the average rate on a 30-year fixed rate loan jumped this week to 4.16 per cent from 4.13 per cent the previous week. The benchmark rate surpassed its 3.97 per cent level of a year ago.Investors expect the budget deficit to increase under Trump, prompting the interest rate increase.The possibility of a continued uptick in mortgage rates is one reason why the National Association of Realtors expects U.S. home sales to rise only modestly next year. by Alex Veiga, The Associated Press Posted Dec 15, 2016 8:02 am MDT Last Updated Dec 15, 2016 at 9:36 am MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Peppers Miller Davis among 32 Man of Year finalists

NEW YORK — Veterans Julius Peppers, Von Miller and Vernon Davis are among the 32 nominees announced Thursday for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year award.Unlike in the past, when three finalists were selected before a recipient was chosen, one player from every NFL team is a finalist. All will be recognized and participate in NFL functions during Super Bowl week. The Man of the Year will be revealed at NFL Honors, when The Associated Press’ individual NFL awards are announced, on Saturday night, Feb. 2 in Atlanta.The Man of the Year is honoured for outstanding community service activities off the field, as well as excellence on the field. It was established in 1970 and renamed in 1999 for the Hall of Fame running back.“The Man of the Year Award gives us the opportunity to acknowledge 32 exemplary players whose commitment to excellence extends on and off the field,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “This year’s nominees have used their platforms to transform communities across the country. We are proud of their work and celebrate their dedication and impact through this award.”A total of $500,000 will be donated in the name of the 2018 recipient, with $250,000 going to Character Playbook, the NFL and United Way’s digital character education program. An additional donation of $250,000 will be made to the charity of his choice.The other 31 finalists will receive a donation of $50,000 in their name to expand Character Playbook, and an additional donation of up to $50,000 to their charity of choice. All donations are courtesy of the NFL Foundation, United Way Worldwide, and Nationwide, the presenter of the Walter Payton Award.The five current players who have won the award — Drew Brees, Thomas Davis, Larry Fitzgerald, Eli Manning and J.J. Watt — wear a Man of the Year patch on their jerseys. All 2018 finalists will wear a Man of the Year helmet decal beginning this week through the end of the season.The finalists:Arizona Cardinals — Antoine BetheaAtlanta Falcons —Grady JarrettBaltimore Ravens —Brandon CarrBuffalo Bills— Lorenzo AlexanderCarolina Panthers— Julius PeppersChicago Bears— Trey BurtonCincinnati Bengals— Carlos DunlapCleveland Browns —Christian KirkseyDallas Cowboys— Dak PrescottDenver Broncos — Von MillerDetroit Lions— Matthew StaffordGreen Bay Packers— Kenny ClarkHouston Texans— Whitney MercilusIndianapolis Colts —Jabaal SheardJacksonville Jaguars —Blake BortlesKansas City Chiefs— Dustin ColquittLos Angeles Chargers — Corey LiugetLos Angeles Rams —Andrew WhitworthMiami Dolphins —Kenny StillsMinnesota Vikings —Kyle RudolphNew England Patriots — Devin McCourtyNew Orleans Saints — Mark IngramNew York Giants —Michael ThomasNew York Jets — Kelvin BeachumOakland Raiders — Marshawn LynchPhiladelphia Eagles — Chris LongPittsburgh Steelers — Cameron HeywardSan Francisco 49ers —Robbie GouldSeattle Seahawks —K.J. WrightTampa Bay Buccaneers —Gerald McCoyTennessee Titans —Jurrell CaseyWashington Redskins — Vernon Davis___More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFLBarry Wilner, The Associated Press read more

NHS should do God new guidance suggests with doctors urged to ask

first_img Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. old hands  Care for dying people varies widely Credit:Alamy  Care for dying people varies widely  The advice follows an audit of deaths in England which found that the spiritual wishes of patients were recorded in just one in seven cases, where communication was possible.Sam Ahmedzai, emeritus professor of palliative medicine and specialist member of the Nice quality standard committee said: “Control of pain and other distressing symptoms is very important for dying people, but good end of life care goes far beyond that. “Nice wants to put the dying person and those important to them at the heart of decisions. This means asking people what they want and providing what they need, whenever possible.”The Church of England welcomed the stance, saying anxiety about death could be eased considerably if patients felt able to discuss their religious views.The Revd Dr Malcolm Brown, director of mission and public affairs, said: “High quality end of life care is one of the most important ways in which society can show that it values every individual for themselves and not just for their economic usefulness.“We particularly welcome the advice to ask people, as they approach death, about their spiritual and religious concerns.“People’s views and needs can change radically as the inevitability of death approaches and dying can be eased considerably if careful opportunities to express or discuss these matters are created.“For people approaching death who would like to discuss questions of religion and spirituality, or who wish for religious rites to be observed, chaplains in the NHS and in hospices are experienced in providing this dimension of care.“Chaplains, of different religions and beliefs, are also available to support healthcare staff in broaching these questions with dying patients.”center_img Doctors must not be afraid to do God, new NHS advice suggests, as medics are urged to ask the dying about their spiritual and religious preferences.The guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says hospital staff need to do more to ensure that the individual preferences of patients are addressed, as well as their medical needs.Doctors and nurses will be encouraged to ask patients about their “spiritual, cultural, religious and social preferences,” opening up conversations on matters such as life after death. It is estimated that about half a million people die each year in England and 3 out of 4 of these deaths are anticipated by medical staff.Patients who display symptoms suggesting they may be in the last days of life should be monitored for further changes, the guidance says, to identify if they are nearing death, stabilising or recovering, and help patients and relatives prepare for the prospect of death. Some people can experience difficulty in swallowing during their final days of life.The guidance says necessary changes to prescribed medicine – such as providing injections instead of tablets – should be anticipated so that patients are not left without essential medication. “It includes asking about the dying person’s spiritual, cultural, religious and social preferences. Only by attending to these issues and concerns can we deliver truly individualised care for each person and those important to them.”He said the treatment of the dying was crucial not just to the patient, but to the memories of family and friends. Half of all deaths in England occur in hospital last_img read more