MONTREAL – Representatives from two Venezuelan-Canadian community groups expressed cautious support Thursday for Ottawa’s decision to block Venezuelans in Canada from casting ballots in the South American nation’s weekend presidential election.Rebecca Sarfatti of the Canada Venezuela Democracy Forum said she originally didn’t believe it when she heard Canada wouldn’t allow voting stations inside the Venezuelan Embassy and consulates.“(I thought), how can this be possible? It was a shock for me,” she said in a phone interview from Toronto.“But as a Venezuelan community member, I can tell you the Venezuelan community is extremely happy, because Canada has stood up for democracy and for doing things the right way.”Sarfatti said she received a message from the Venezuelan Embassy in Toronto only two weeks ago asking her if she’d help to organize the voting as she has in the past, but she refused.“I replied to them that I couldn’t do it this time because I was not satisfied with the way this election has been called, who called it, how its been called, the legal part of it,” she said.Venezuelan Foreign Affairs Minister Jorge Arreaza said Wednesday that Canada is preventing residents from casting ballots in Sunday’s election by not permitting voting stations inside the embassy and consulates.In a letter from Global Affairs Canada that Arreaza published to his Twitter account, Ottawa acknowledged having received a note about establishing voting centres and a request for RCMP protective services.“The Department hereby notifies the Embassy that the government of Canada has not processed its request favourably,” reads the note dated May 16.“As a result of this decision, the Embassy and the Consulates General are now required to manage compliance therewith and refrain from proceeding with the establishment of voting stations.”Global Affairs Canada did not respond to a request for comment, although Canadian officials confirmed the decision with The Associated Press.While the letter did not give a reason for the decision, Ottawa has emerged as a vocal critic of President Nicolas Maduro, who is seeking a second term.Canada and several other countries have called on Venezuela to suspend the election in the absence of guarantees the process will be free and democratic“Canada rejects the holding of an illegitimate presidential election that bars the opposition and a free press—and only serves to further entrench a dictatorial regime,” Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said in a statement earlier this week.Orlando Viera-Blanco of the Canadian Venezuelan Engagement Foundation called Ottawa’s decision a “legally correct and right one” given the election process.But he wishes international leaders had instead taken the opportunity presented by the vote to mobilize the Venezuelan population, which is suffering from a humanitarian crisis marked by food and medicine shortages, crime and rampant inflation.The lawyer said he appreciates Canada’s leadership for denouncing the government and providing humanitarian aid to his home country, which he says is in the midst of a “catastrophic” human rights crisis.“We have no institutions, no justice, no impartial or transparent elections, no guarantee of life, or freedom of speech,” he said in an interview. “It’s totally broken.”While the Venezuelan government has denounced Canada’s decision as anti-democratic, Sarfatti says she doesn’t believe many Venezuelans in Canada will be upset at being denied the right to vote in an election process that is widely perceived as illegitimate.“What’s the point of doing this?” she said. “We know the result of it.”She said she wouldn’t be surprised if Venezuelan officials decide to defy the Canadian government’s instructions and hold a vote regardless.— With files from The Associated Press
An Ontario man who pleaded guilty in a case involving a dramatic disturbance on an Air Canada flight is now facing the prospect of up to two decades behind bars.Brandon Courneyea’s admission of interference with a flight attendant, entered last month in an Orlando, Fla., courtroom, carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a US$250,000 fine.The charge related to Courneyea’s conduct aboard an Air Canada flight that was bringing him home from a brief vacation in Jamaica in May.“Defendant is pleading guilty because defendant is in fact guilty,” reads the plea agreement filed in the case. “Were this case to go to trial, the United States would be able to prove those specific facts and others beyond a reasonable doubt.”Courneyea’s troubles began on May 15 shortly before boarding the Air Canada flight from Montego Bay to Toronto.His wife previously told the Canadian Press her husband had taken a tropical vacation at her urging, but moved up his plans to return home after allegedly receiving death threats.According to court documents, Courneyea took an undisclosed quantity of cocaine before getting on the plane.Once on board, his plea agreement shows he quickly came to the attention of flight attendants when he began disrupting the flight.The document said Courneyea yelled at people for looking at him, threw paper at one of his fellow passengers, and moved erratically through the aircraft without shoes on.When flight crew tried to get him to return to his seat, the document said he went to the back of the plane and began swinging a hot coffee pot at passengers and crew.Courneyea then tried to open the aircraft cabin door, telling those in his vicinity that “it would only take one guy to take the plane down and that he wanted to take everyone with him,” according to his plea agreement.Courneyea then seized another full coffee pot and went after staff before passengers and crew subdued him and bound him to his seat using zip ties, court documents said.The flight was diverted to Orlando, where Courneyea was arrested and taken into custody.Court documents show he spent several days in a hospital for undisclosed reasons before making his first appearance before a judge.Court documents also indicate a Florida judge had agreed to release Courneyea on $125,000 bail and allow him to return to Canada in the weeks prior to his guilty plea, but that he remained in custody.The judge noted that Courneyea, a drywaller living in Amhurstview, Ont., was the father of five children, two with special needs, who Courneyea’s wife is currently caring for alone.Courneyea’s wife declined to comment on the guilty plea, but had previously expressed shock at her husband’s actions.“That is not my husband at all,” Amanda Courneyea said in the days after his arrest. “There’s a lot more to what brought that on, because my husband is the kindest, most loving man you’ll ever meet.”Florida-based lawyer Corey Cohen, who represents Courneyea, did not elaborate on why his client had remained in custody or the reasons behind the guilty plea.Cohen said Courneyea’s sentencing is currently set for Sept. 11.Records show Courneyea brought a motion seeking to postpone the sentencing by a week because of the nature of the charges against him and the significance of the sentencing date. The motion was denied.
BOUCTOUCHE, N.B. – Canada’s premiers emerged from meetings with Indigenous organizations Wednesday with little in the way of concrete initiatives after several major Aboriginal groups refused to participate in the gathering for the second year in a row.Three of the country’s largest Indigenous groups — the Assembly of First Nations, the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and the Metis National Council — all bowed out of the talks in Bouctouche, N.B., held a day before provincial leaders are set to gather in St. Andrew’s, N.B., for their annual Council of the Federation meetings Thursday and Friday.However, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples national chief Robert Bertrand, who represents off-reserve Indigenous people, attended the meeting along with Francyne Joe, president of the Native Women’s Association of Canada.The less than half-day meeting at Pays de la Sagouine focused on economic partnerships and Indigenous children in care, said New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant.“I think that having CAP and the native Women’s Association here was beneficial,” said Gallant. “I think the presentations were great and I think today would have been that much greater had we had the other three organizations present.”Ahead of the meeting, Northwest Territories Premier Bob McLeod said it may be time to look at other options in order to attract more groups to the table.“I’ll be suggesting that we take another look at it and find a better way, and I think we can do it,” he said.Gallant said finding an alternative to satisfy other Indigenous groups would likely be discussed over the coming days. Three premiers also didn’t attend the meeting, including Doug Ford of Ontario, John Horgan of British Columbia and Nova Scotia’s Stephen MacNeil.Still, Bertrand said he believes there is value in meeting the premiers.“We are not necessarily pushing one organization versus another one. We are all working to improve the life of our constituents, whether it’s the on reserve or off reserve,” he said. “We’ve all seen on TV the pictures of poverty and these problems. They have to be resolved.”Joe said the issues facing organizations like her own were far too important for her to pass on the meeting.“I think the information that was shared with the premiers and the presenters is going to lead us forward and we are going to be able to collaborate in the future to actually make a difference in these areas,” Joe said in reference to economic development and child poverty.But Clement Chartier, president of the Metis National Council, said the three Indigenous organizations are the national representatives of Indigenous Peoples and “should be respected as such.”He said they should be included in official government meetings, not put on the sidelines like a special-interest group.“We are a government and Indigenous Peoples by virtue of Section 35 have the inherent right of self-government,” Chartier said. “We are one of the three orders of government in this country — the provincial governments, the federal government and the Indigenous governments.”Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said he would not attend the meeting because of ongoing concerns about minimizing the participation of First Nations in the Council of the Federation meetings, pre-meetings and other intergovernmental forums.Although a regional chief had planned to attend, Bellegarde said in a statement that changed “when we learned First Nations leadership identified on the draft agenda had not been contacted and had not received invitations to date or (been) treated with appropriate protocol and respect.”“The AFN will continue to push for an effective, respectful process for intergovernmental relations that reflects government-to-government relationships, First Nations rights, title and jurisdiction,” Bellegarde said.Meanwhile, a spokeswoman said Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami President Natan Obed will be attending the Inuit Circumpolar Council General Assembly in Alaska.“This is a meeting that happens only once every four years with representatives from the four circumpolar Inuit regions (Canada, Greenland, US and Russia),” Erin Brandt Filliter said in an email.She later clarified that the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami is advocating for closer collaboration in working with the Council of the Federation.Presentations were made at Wednesday’s meeting by other speakers, including Kim Nash-McKinley of the St. Mary’s First Nation, Jake Augustine of McGraw Seafood Inc., and Jennifer Dockstator, project director for the National Centre for Collaboration in Indigenous Education.– With files by Brett Bundale in Halifax
MONTREAL – Quebec’s health minister says there is no opioid crisis in the province, but the government is still investing millions to try and prevent one from occurring.Gaetan Barrette and Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois say the province is investing $35 million annually on prevention and treatment of addictive behaviour.Twenty-three million of that will be dedicated to preventing opioid addiction, while the rest will go towards treating Quebecers with dependencies such as gambling.The money will also be spent on distributing Naloxone, a medication used to block the effects of opioids, which can save the life of someone experiencing an overdose.Barrette says that while Quebec is not suffering from a crisis of opioids as are other parts of North America, the province should be prepared.
OTTAWA – The mysterious case of a missing MP has taken another twist.The Liberal party’s whip says Nicola Di Iorio, who hasn’t been seen on the Hill since Parliament resumed on Sept. 17, will give back the salary he receives during his final five months as an MP until his official retirement.According to Mark Holland, the Montreal MP has decided to “donate his salary back” during the period from September to Jan. 22.While he’s been absent from the House of Commons, Di Iorio was spotted at a cannabis trade show in Montreal last month, where he made a presentation in his capacity as a labour and employment lawyer.The base annual salary for an MP is $172,700 but, according to parliamentary rules, an MP who is absent from the Commons can be docked $120 of salary per day for each absence over 21 days.Di Iorio announced his intention to retire from politics in April but had second thoughts over the summer and, in September, said he was reflecting on his future.Last week, under pressure to explain why he wasn’t showing up for work on the Hill, Di Iorio posted a short message on Facebook saying that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had assigned him responsibilities that required him to be away from the Commons — something the Prime Minister’s Office has not clarified.This week, Di Iorio announced he will retire on Jan. 22, after finalizing “certain projects.”“He has a number of items, both in his constituency and items that he was working on as a Member of Parliament, including his concern around impaired driving, that he wants to finish before he leaves,” Holland said Wednesday.“We feel that’s appropriate, particularly given the fact that he’s also … willing to donate his salary.”In his Facebook post, Di Iorio had said he’s willing to show up in the Commons if the party whip needs him to be there. But Holland did not appear inclined to call on him.“He’s stepping out of public life, he’s donating his salary, he’s finishing up his affairs and I wish him all the best in doing that and I expect that that’s where he’ll be focusing his time,” Holland said.
NEW YORK — The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays in air travel because of a “slight increase in sick leave” at two East Coast air traffic control facilities.FAA spokesman Gregory Martin said Friday that it had augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.The staffing problems were at air traffic centres in Jacksonville, Florida and a Washington D.C. centre that controls high-altitude air traffic over seven states.Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of “minimal impacts” on travel.LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey were both experiencing delays in takeoffs.The Associated Press
TORONTO — Air safety authorities say the runway setup at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport poses a serious risk of crashes.The Transportation Safety Board says there were 27 runway incursions between June 2012 and November 2017.Incursions occur when an aircraft finds itself on the wrong runway.The board says the incursions all involved aircraft that landed on an outer runway but ended up on an adjacent inner runway.The incidents occurred despite instructions from air traffic control to stop before entering the second runway.The report cites design problems with the airfield and busy flight crews missing various cues.“All 27 incursions examined involved flight crews who understood they needed to stop, and that they were approaching an active runway,” Kathy Fox, chairwoman of the board said in a statement.“Despite all the visual cues, including lights, signage and paint markings, professional crews were not stopping in time as required, thereby risking a collision with another aircraft on the other runway.”The board report makes four recommendations, including better instructions to flight crews and changes to the runway layout.The Canadian Press
QUEBEC — The head of Quebec’s provincial police has been temporarily suspended following an allegation he committed criminal offences.Public Security Minister Genevieve Guilbault said Martin Prud’homme was removed from his duties today pending an investigation. She has named the police force’s deputy director, Mario Bouchard, as his interim replacement.Head of @sureteduquebec has been removed from duty after public safety minister was alerted to criminal allegations against him. Martin Prud’homme was brought in as Montreal’s interim police chief after scandals rocked the SPVM of evidence fabrication and spying on journalists.— Andrew Brennan (@ACJBrennan) March 6, 2019Guilbault would not give details of the nature of the allegation or say when the offences are alleged to have occurred.She says the investigation will be conducted by Quebec’s police watchdog.Guilbault says Prud’homme has not been arrested and benefits from the presumption of innocence.Prud’homme recently returned to the provincial police after one year as interim chief of Montreal’s police force. He was brought in to deal with internal turmoil in that organization.The Canadian Press
ESTEVAN, Sask. — The co-founder of a group that helps homeless veterans says he knows his decision to refuse money from organizers of a weekend rally in Saskatchewan was the right one after viewing online video of the event.Jim Lowther of VETS Canada says he accepted a request from the event, called Canada’s Patriot Party, to promote that it would be raising money for the veterans’ group.But days before the rally, convoy and concert in Estevan on Saturday, Lowther says he became concerned about connections that some of the organizers had with political groups — some of which he says advocate hate.Lowther says he informed the organizer that they were cancelling their affiliation, and the organizer responded by sharing Lowther’s phone number on social media, asking people to contact him directly.He says they’ve been inundated with angry phone calls, but he says video of the event only reassures him he made the right move.The platform where speakers addressed the rally was covered with signs opposing globalism, Justin Trudeau and the carbon tax, and one speaker lamented that Canada has lost its morals and is no longer a Judeo-Christian country.“It’s not something that we wanted to be seen supporting or even having it look like we support them,” Lowther said in an interview Sunday from his home in Dartmouth, N.S.“We knew we were going to be attacked. We knew it was going to be rough. We didn’t know how bad it was going to be, but it’s still worth it.”Lowther claimed the organizers also started a GoFundMe page for the event without their permission.Event organizer Jayme Knyx could not be immediately reached for comment on Sunday.On Friday, Knyx posted a statement on Facebook along with a video message where he gave out Lowther’s contact details. “We don’t support hate or any side of any political debate and remain nonpartisan,” the statement said. “This event is about trying to help raise awareness and funds for our veterans, not the yellow vests.”Video of the rally that was posted to the Canada’s Patriot Party Facebook page includes speakers who said they are veterans. But they spoke on a flat-deck trailer that had signs that said “No to Globalism,” “No ISIS Fighters,” “No Trudeau” and one sign that had a United Nations emblem with a red maple leaf and the words “Access Denied” written across it.One speaker read a poem about being Canadian, noting Canadians are different from Americans because “we don’t build fences to keep our neighbours out.”“Get off the couch, get Trudeau out 2019!” he concluded.The Facebook page promoting the event had posted a video called “Top 10 Stupid Things Trudeau Has Done As PM (So Far).”Lowther said the angry calls and emails have been coming in around the clock. He posted one obscenity-ridden voicemail on Twitter that accused him of wanting veterans to be broke.He and his wife founded VETS Canada in 2010, and the group helps vets in crisis who are homeless or almost homeless. They’ll help with rent or grocery bills, and also have drop-in centres in Dartmouth, Edmonton and Ottawa.Lowther said he’s a veteran himself, and decided to get involved after running into a homeless vet he knew.He said it was difficult to turn down a donation. They get support from Veterans Affairs, but rely on contributions.“We can’t be political and we can’t show favouritism to anyone except the veteran,” Lowther said.—By Rob Drinkwater in EdmontonThe Canadian Press
Save the Children has been chosen by NBC and the “Red Nose Day” organization to be one of 12 poverty-fighting non-profits that will benefit from its three-hour comedy television event in May.NBC will televise its “Red Nose Day” special on Thursday, May 21, from 8 to 11 p.m., in front of a live audience. Stand-up acts, sketch comedy, parodies and music performances from A-list artists will all be part of the telecast.“Red Nose Day has become a British institution, and we are excited that Save the Children is a non-profit partner of the first U.S. version,” said Carolyn Miles, president and CEO of Save the Children. “This will be a great chance to share a laugh and further support around our efforts to ensure all kids have a healthy start in life, an education and protection from harm.”The money raised during Red Nose Day will be used to fund programs that address the immediate needs of children and young people living in poverty in the U.S. and internationally in Africa, Asia and Latin America. The funds will be split between domestic and international poverty issues. In addition to Save the Children, the other pre-selected charity partners are: Boys & Girls Clubs of America; charity:water; Children’s Health Fund; Feeding America; Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance; The Global Fund; Lift; National Council of La Raza; National Urban League; Oxfam America; and United Way.“It is a distinct honor to have our Red Nose Day efforts aimed toward assisting these exceptionally worthwhile charities,” said Paul Telegdy, president, Alternative and Late Night Programing, NBC Entertainment. “Our goal is to create an extraordinary broadcast that is entertaining while inspiring a level of goodwill and giving that will dramatically change the lives of those with the most immediate need.”In the U.K., Red Nose Day has been going for 30 years and is an inspiring cultural phenomenon that unites people from all walks of life in the interest of saving and changing lives across the globe. With superstar presenters and comedians, original sketch comedy, hilarious film parodies, one-off sitcom reunions and amazing musical performances, it’s no wonder that this program has been one of the BBC’s highest-rated Friday night shows for many years. Best of all, it’s raised more than $1 billion in donations so far for organizations addressing poverty, and shows no signs of slowing down.Said actress Sienna Miller, who co-starred in “American Sniper” and “Foxcatcher,” both recently nominated for best picture Oscars: “Red Nose Day is almost like a national holiday in the U.K. It’s a day of real excitement as everyone looks forward to it and the entire country gets involved in some way. I’m thrilled it’s coming to the U.S.!”Created by writer-director Richard Curtis in 1985 (“Love Actually,” “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “About Time”), the idea of Red Nose Day was built upon the foundation that mass media and celebrities can help raise money and awareness of poverty to save and change millions of lives.“For many years I’ve dreamt of bringing Red Nose Day to the U.S., and I’m so excited that we’ve teamed up with NBC, who will do such a brilliant job on this,” Curtis said. “Experience has taught me how extraordinarily compassionate and generous Americans can be, and I’ve lived my life in awe of American comedy talent. So putting those two things together will, I hope, create an amazing event that will make a massive difference to the lives of millions of children and their families in the U.S. and in the poorest countries around the world.”Curtis will serve as an executive producer for the NBC telecast (a Universal Television production), along with Hamish Hamilton and Ian Stewart of Done + Dusted Productions. Henrietta Conrad and Lily Sobhani will also executive produce. Hamilton is set to direct.Funny Or Die, the award-winning top destination for comedy on the web, and producer of high-quality content across numerous platforms, will partner with NBC to create original content for the special.Guest stars will be announced at a later date.
Grand Ole Opry member Trace Adkins took the Grand Ole Opry’s 90th Anniversary celebration with him on his recent ten-day, three-country USO tour to the Middle East and Europe, launching what’s called the OPRY CIRCLE THROWDOWN.Trace Adkins Circle ThrowdownCredit/Copyright: Opry.comDuring his USO performances, Adkins threw down a replica of the famed six-foot Opry Circle of wood symbolizing the oak center stage at the Opry House, sharing the excitement of the Opry’s 90th with military personnel, and performing Opry favorites. See it all here.Following Adkins’ return from the USO tour, the Opry will enlist dozens of other artists to join the celebration, performing their own planned and impromptu Circle Throwdowns across the country and around the world. After throwing their circles down behind a signature Opry microphone stand and performing for fans, they’ll “throw it” to an artist friend to keep the fun going. Fans will be able to watch the fun throughout the year at opry.com.The official Opry Circle was created when the Opry moved from the historic Ryman Auditorium in downtown Nashville to the Opry House in 1974. The circle was removed from the Ryman stage and placed in the Opry House such that the generations of artists who step on its boards today are standing where their country music heroes – Patsy Cline, Bill Monroe, and Johnny Cash, among them – once stood.The Opry’s 90th Anniversary Celebration continues throughout the year in Nashville with special shows and events.Trace’s Opry Circle Throwdown kicked off the Opry’s “Cause For Applause” in May, benefitting MusicCorps and the USO.Source:Opry.com
Last week, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation hosted the first-ever “A Magical Evening Chicago” at The Peninsula Chicago.Kathy Brock with Mike DitkaCredit/Copyright: Getty ImagesThis year’s event, hosted by ABC 7 news co-anchor Kathy Brock, honored former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon with the Christopher Reeve Spirit of Courage Award and presented Geoff Kent, founder of Spinal Cord Injury Sucks with the Jon O’Connor Visionary Leadership Award.The evening featured music by the Chicago Diamond Trio.Jim McMahon with Mike DitkaCredit/Copyright: Getty ImagesCelebrating its 25th anniversary this year, The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research, and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy.Additional attendees included The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation CEO Peter Wilderotter and Mike Ditka.
James Cameron has partnered with celebrity charity-fundraising digital platform Prizeo.com to raise awareness and funds for One Drop, an organization which strives to ensure that safe water and proper sanitation is accessible to all.Fans can participate by clicking HERE and donating as little as five dollars. Those who contribute will be automatically entered to win the ultimate fan experience: one grand prize winner and a guest will be flown roundtrip to Montreal and given VIP tickets to see the December 21st premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s upcoming show, TORUK – The First Flight, inspired by the world of Avatar. The winner will be treated to lunch with Academy Award-winning director James Cameron to learn more about the inspiration behind Pandora. Winners will also receive hotel accommodations and a tour of the Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters.Those who donate at specific price points are also eligible for exclusive rewards, including an exclusive campaign t-shirt and signed items. A full list of campaign rewards is available HERE.The grand-prize winner will be chosen at random and notified via email shortly after the campaign closes on December 4th. For full contest rules, see Prizeo.com. For more information about TORUK – The First Flight visit CirqueDuSoleil.com.
While the classic musical “Rent” probably comes to mind when thinking of Broadway and HIV/AIDS awareness, did you know that supporting the Broadway community can help raise awareness and funds?Fighting AIDS is a long-standing part of Broadway culture, which means that when you go to a Broadway show, it is often possible that you are also contributing to a great cause.Broadway CaresAn entire organization, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, is dedicated to Broadway’s involvement in fighting AIDS. It assists artists with AIDS and other critical health issues through use of The Actors Fund, and it helps promote AIDS awareness nationwide. You can support Broadway Cares by making a donation or attending one of its many events.Broadway stars’ personal charity workHIV/AIDS is a personal cause in the Broadway world — many Broadway stars have lost their lives to it, such as Larry Kert, who originated the role of Tony in “West Side Story.” Perhaps because Broadway stars’ charity efforts are not usually as well documented as Hollywood celebrities, you might not be aware of how much they are doing for AIDS awareness and research.For instance, Anthony Rapp, an original “Rent” cast member, has been known to give lectures about HIV/AIDS and how art has influenced society’s discourse about the illness. Rapp also works with the Friends in Deed organization, which provides advocacy and support for those diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and other illnesses.World AIDS DayMany of those involved with Broadway were also involved in 2015’s World AIDS Day, which did major fundraising at its annual worldwide awareness campaign. In fact, the wearing of red ribbons, now synonymous with AIDS awareness, began at the 1991 Tony Awards when actors wore them pinned to their gowns and tuxedos. Broadway Cares still distributes “Not Over” pins and red ribbons to help spread awareness for World AIDS Day.Exposure and informationBecause AIDS is a Broadway-wide concern, many Broadway plays increase exposure to the disease and provide information to attendees. For example, “As Is,” which premiered in 1985, also focuses on the AIDS pandemic in a New York City group of friends. “Falsettos,” which premiered in 1992, tells the story of a man as he navigates relationships with his ex-wife, his psychiatrist, his son and his gay lover. “The Normal Heart,” which made its Broadway debut in 2011 after many years off-Broadway, focuses on the AIDS crisis between 1981 and 1984 through the eyes of the leader of an HIV advocacy group.Get tickets ahead of timeIf you want to see any of these Broadway shows, you should purchase your tickets ahead of time through an online retailer like Telecharge and avoid the high-pressure situation of buying tickets at the theater. Check out the Telecharge interface for tickets to “The Phantom of the Opera” and see how convenient purchasing tickets this way can be. You also can find more information about this Broadway play, and you can read it at your own pace.
Baby Buggy, founded by Jessica Seinfeld, today announced that it has changed its name to GOOD+ Foundation.What started 15 years ago as a small New York City charity addressing babies’ needs has evolved into a major philanthropic organization that annually grants millions of dollars in products and services to proven anti-poverty programs serving mothers, fathers and their children across the country.“Since our inception we have tried to find new ways of helping children and families outgrow poverty. I am incredibly proud of our success and humbled by the support from our donors, volunteers and partners,” said Founder and Board President Jessica Seinfeld. “GOOD+ Foundation’s tagline — ‘Partnerships for Stronger Families’— signals our unique approach: teaming up with leading life-changing programs that use our donated goods to help motivate parents to play a more active role in their own progress. Our new name recognizes that it is the GOODs PLUS the education and services our partners provide that move families out of poverty.”GOOD+ Foundation is both a grant-seeking and grant-making organization. Its partner network is carefully selected through an application process.“Together with our partners, we help keep parents engaged in meeting important goals, such as earning a GED, completing a parenting class, building job and life skills or securing better housing,” said GOOD+ Foundation Executive Director Katherine Snider. “Our in-kind grants of products and technical services are highly sought after by our partners because they enhance the services they provide to families and also help with their own employee retention. Our collaboration with Nurse-Family Partnership (NFP) is a great example of our successful model.”NFP is a renowned program for new and expecting low-income mothers that has demonstrated higher rates of maternal employment, lower rates of child abuse and neglect, and better child school readiness.“Many of the families in our programs just don’t have access to the same resources that the majority of new parents enjoy,” said Roxane White, CEO of Nurse-Family Partnership, an evidence-based maternal and early childhood health program. “By working together with GOOD+ Foundation over the past 10 years, we have been able to give low-income, first-time moms the support and the tools they need to provide their babies with the best possible start in life. This has included nearly 1.3 million baby items that GOOD+ Foundation has distributed to 23 of our programs across the country.”In honor of the name change, eight corporate donors have each pledged or given at least $100,000 in products, services or financial support to GOOD+ Foundation in 2016, including Boppy, Bravado Designs, ErgoBaby, Lansinoh, Seventh Generation, The Children’s Place, UPPAbaby and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. For more information on this campaign and ways to participate, visit the GOOD+ Foundation website at www.goodplusfoundation.org.
On June 11, 2016, the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation will partner with Common to host the second event in the organizations’ Park Exchange Series, bringing the musical experience of New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park to Chicago.The public is invited to join the celebration of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary in this innovative exchange that will highlight the diversity of park experiences and the breadth of our National Park System. This exchange is part of the #FindYourPark/#EncuentraTuParque centennial celebration for the National Park Service.For each of the three Park Exchange events, a national park experience is conveyed to – or exchanged with – one of America’s urban centers. For Chicago’s Park Exchange, a New Orleans second line will swing from one musically rich city to another.“Chicago and New Orleans are two culturally diverse cities with rich histories in music and I’m honored that the National Park Service and National Park Foundation invited me to be a part of this experience,” said Common. “I grew up on the Southside of Chicago and think the second line will be an especially meaningful and wonderful tradition for our community. I hope this event will inspire people to find their park.”The heart of a second line is its ability to unite communities and encourage them to join the festivities, offering a unique opportunity for the Southside neighborhood of Chicago to experience the culture celebrated at a national park in Louisiana: New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.On June 11th, Common will serve as Honorary Grand Marshall for the Park Exchange celebration and will kick off the second line celebration through Washington Park joined by the National Park Foundation, the National Park Service, Hypnotic Brass Ensemble and New Orleans’s Treme Brass Band and Black Men of Labor. (Note: Common will not be performing during the celebration). Chicagoans are invited to join the festivities at the entrance of 57th Street and MLK Drive at 11:30 AM CDT.The celebration, which is free and open to the public, will include: • Opening Remarks with Common, Will Shafroth (President of the National Park Foundation), Peggy O’Dell (Deputy Director of the National Park Service) • Second line jazz festival through the city of Chicago at 12:00 PM CDT with NPF, NPS, Treme Brass Band and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble • Interactive stations from National Park Foundation Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque Partners: ◦ The Coleman Company who will have a merchandise vignette centered around our National Park Foundation commemorative line, a giant blow up 20’ lantern, Coleman lawn games, and other fun giveaways. ◦ Humana who will demonstrate how spending time in a national, state or local community park can benefit your physical and mental well being. Through the use of 360 virtual reality technology, Humana will transport you to the rugged rock formations of Joshua Tree and into the giant, ancient Sequoia forests of Yosemite. The breathtaking views will inspire you to find your park and embrace the great things ahead, as you start a journey towards renewed health. ◦ Subaru of America who will be on-site to raise awareness of its National Park Zero-Landfill Initiative, an effort to significantly reduce waste going into landfills from all national parks. Attendees will be able to enjoy a variety of interactive activities and learn how they can help and of course win prizes.In addition to the Chicago-New Orleans music theme, the event will also engage rangers from one of our nation’s newest national parks, Pullman National Monument in Chicago. Pullman rangers will be on hand to talk about the park and its ongoing development.“Most people know that the National Park Service preserves amazing landscapes, but the Park Exchange event series demonstrates that we care for America’s cultural and historic treasures, too,” said National Park Service Director Jonathan B. Jarvis. “New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park and Pullman National Monument are just two of the many parks where visitors can experience our nation’s rich and diverse cultural heritage. We especially hope that the series will help young people discover what national parks can mean to them.”The Chicago and New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Exchange is the second event in the series, which is designed to bring parks to life in urban areas and demonstrate the diversity of park experiences. In May, the National Park Service and National Park Foundation brought the iconic redwood trees to the city of Austin, Texas to juxtapose the nature of Redwood National and State Parks in California against the architecture of the iconic University of Texas Tower, which soars high at 307 feet above Austin, the average height of a redwood tree. In August, the Park Exchange event series will culminate in New York City, taking the innovation from Thomas Edison National Historical Park in a small New Jersey town, to the iconic big city skyline.“A park experience can be many things that can transform lives and shape minds. That is what we’re creating with the Park Exchange event series,” said Will Shafroth, president of the National Park Foundation, the official charity of America’s national parks. “Through this unique exchange, we are opening up a whole new world of discovery as people experience first-hand how parks are so much more than grass and trees. Parks can be music, community, and culture.”The Park Exchange event series is part of the Find Your Park/Encuentra Tu Parque movement, which was launched in March 2015 by the National Park Service and the National Park Foundation to celebrate the centennial anniversary of the National Park Service. Inspiring people from all backgrounds to celebrate and support America’s national parks and community-based programs, #FindYourPark invites people to discover and share their own unique connections to our nation’s natural landscapes, vibrant culture, and rich history.Some of the most admired companies in the world are supporting the National Park Foundation’s efforts for #FindYourPark, including American Express, Budweiser, Subaru, REI, Humana and Disney. Additional partners include Coleman and Coca-Cola.A calendar of events taking place across the country to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial can be found at FindYourPark.com/Find.
Elton John’s AIDS Foundation has been named one of the top ten funders of human rights-related HIV philanthropy by Funders Concerned About AIDS (FCAA) in their new report HIV Philanthropy for Human Rights.Human rights is one of the four focus areas of the Elton John AIDS Foundation’s programmatic efforts, along with health and wellness, quality of life, and resilience.Source:Elton John AIDS Foundation
On the finale of Season 32 of CBS’s Survivor, singer/songwriter Sia crashed the show to tell her favorite contestant, Tai Trang, that she will donate $50,000 to an animal charity of his choice.That charity turned out to be Wildlife Alliance.The chart-topping singer announced she was going to give Tai the money to donate during the Season Finale Reunion episode, and thanked him for, “showing America how to be kind to animals.” An animal rights activist herself, Sia was moved by Tai’s respect for all living things.Tai Trang, the fan favorite of the season, chose to donate $40,000 to Wildlife Alliance after he and two other contestants won a tour to Phnom Tamao Wildlife Rescue Center as a prize on the show. During the episode, Wildlife Alliance’s Wildlife Programs Director, Nick Marx, introduced the contestants to Lucky the elephant, and explained that the animals at the center were all rescued from the illegal wildlife trade. Wildlife trafficking is estimated to be worth $20 billion annually, making it one of the most lucrative black market trades in the world. While Tai was moved by the stories of the rescued animals, no one could have foreseen that his compassion would result in Sia donating to help save countless animals from the grips of poachers.Wildlife Alliance (WA) has been working in Cambodia since 2000, providing direct protection to forests and wildlife. WA’s mission is to combat deforestation, wildlife extinction, climate change, and poverty by partnering with local communities and governments. To date, Wildlife Alliance has preserved more than 2 million acres of forest, overturned 36 industrial land concessions, rescued over 62,000 animals from the illegal wildlife trade and delivered environmental education to more than 200,000 students, teachers and community members.