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Canada's Prime Minister Harper returns India's lost 'Parrot Lady' sculpture to PM Modi
18 April 2015 - An ancient Indian statue that turned up in Canada four years ago after it mysteriously vanished is being returned to the country of its origin. Prime Minister Stephen Harper presented his Indian counterpart, Narendra Modi, with the so-called 'Parrot Lady' sculpture during an event Wednesday on Parliament Hill. The life-sized statue, believed to be some 900 years old, depicts a dancing woman with a parrot resting on her head. (more)

Denmark: It may be a small European country, but it's also seriously amazing
18 April 2015 - A BuzzFeed staff writer has posted captivating photos of Denmark saying it is 'The best and most underrated European country.' To see the photos: (more)

Manitoba, Canada sees highest growth rate in new jobs
18 April 2015 - Manitoba is the new rising star on the regional job-creation front, boasting the highest employment growth rate of any province between March of last year and last month, according to new labour force data released 10 April. Statistics Canada said the Manitoba economy churned out 19,200 new jobs over the 12-month period -- 16,200 of them full-time positions. Canada's economy posted a surprise job gain in March as more people found part-time work. Statistics Canada also noted a spike in the number of older women who found jobs in March. (more)

Meet the harmonium king of Queens, New York (+ audio and video)
18 April 2015 - Mindra Sahadeo lives Richmond Hills neighborhood of Queens, New York. The apartment he shares with his mother and sister doubles as a harmonium workshop. The instrument connects Sahadeo to his family's roots in India. His great-grandparents moved from there to Guyana, part of a wave of migrant workers at the turn of the 20th century, and they brought India's music with them. Sahadeo moved from Guyana to New York five years ago and started tuning up harmoniums at the Hindu temples and Sikh gurdwaras in his neighbourhood. Then demand grew and he started charging for repairs. 'Harmoniums for us are like sacred,' Sahadeo says. 't's part of us, our culture and tradition and everything.' (more)

Narendra Modi, Indian PM, delivers major speech in Toronto (with 3 CBC News videos)
17 April 2015 - Thousands chanted 'Modi, Modi, Modi' as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took the stage to speak on Wednesday night in Toronto. Modi was welcomed to the Ricoh Coliseum stage by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife, Laureen. The leader, who swept to power last May, thanks Canada for becoming a trade partner with India's Gujarat state, where he was chief minister at the time. He also praised the crowd, which he described as 'brothers and sisters' for their contributions to Canadian society. (more)

Best boss in America? CEO raises firm's minimum wage to $70k after reading study on happiness
17 April 2015 - Dan Price, founder and CEO of credit card payment processing company Gravity Payments, decided to introduce a new minimum wage of $70,000 (£47,000) while reducing his own by 90 per cent. Mr Price, whose company handled $6.5billion in transactions last year, decided to raise his employees' pay after reading a study about happiness in the workplace. Research conducted by Nobel Prize-winning economist Angus Deaton and psychologist Daniel Kahneman found that what they called emotional well-being rises with income, but only to a point. And that point turns out to be about $75,000 a year. (more)

Canada claiming 'special relationship' with India's Narendra Modi
17 April 2015 - Narendra Modi is the first world leader to visit Canada since the newly elected Barack Obama six years ago to be described as a 'rock star'. His scheduled landing in Ottawa on Tuesday will also be his first visit to Canada as India's Prime Minister, and yes, the first by anyone with that title since the 1970s. (more)

Electric dreams: Montreal Mayor Coderre wants to see 1,000 electric cars on the road by 2020
17 April 2015 - Montreal hopes to radically increase the number of electric cars on city streets within the next few years, as Mayor Denis Coderre unveiled plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the city by 30 per cent by 2020. (more)

Indian Prime Minister Modi arrives in Ottawa for start of landmark visit
17 April 2015 - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was met by Conservative MPs and fans from Ottawa's Indo-Canadian community Tuesday evening as he began a landmark visit that will take him to three Canadian cities. Mr. Modi's visit to Canada comes after stops in Germany and France. His trip to Canada this week marks the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister in more than 40 years. (more)

McGill astrophysicist wins prestigious award for her work
17 April 2015 - It doesn't happen often, but it's an amazing feat when an astrophysicist becomes a star herself. Such is the case of McGill University's Vicky Kaspi, one of the world's leading experts on neutron stars and pulsars, who has just been awarded the prestigious Killam Prize for academic-career achievement. The illustrious prize is just one of many achievements for Kaspi, a renowned scientist whose work strives to unravel some of the mysteries of the universe. (more)

US: One company's new minimum wage: $70,000 a year
17 April 2015 - The idea began percolating, said Dan Price, the founder of Gravity Payments, after he read an article on happiness. It showed that, for people who earn less than about $70,000, extra money makes a big difference in their lives. On Monday afternoon Mr Price surprised his 120-person staff by announcing that he planned over the next three years to raise the salary (of everyone) to a minimum of $70,000. Paychecks of about 70 employees will grow. The average salary at Gravity is $48,000 a year. Mr Price's small, privately owned company is by no means a bellwether, but his unusual proposal does speak to an economic issue that has captured national attention: The disparity between the soaring pay of chief executives and that of their employees. Under a financial overhaul passed by Congress in 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission was supposed to require all publicly held companies to disclose the ratio of CEO pay to the median pay of all other employees, but it has so far failed to put it in effect. Corporate executives have vigorously opposed the idea, complaining it would be cumbersome and costly to implement. (more)

China to ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries
16 April 2015 - China will ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries, pesticide producers, and other industrial plants by the end of 2016, as it moves to tackle severe pollution of the country's water supply. The long-awaited plan comes as the central government steps up its 'war on pollution' after years of industrial development that have left one-third of China's major river basins and 60 percent of its underground water contaminated. (more)

Mauritius says tourist arrivals up 10.6 per cent in Q1
16 April 2015 - The number of tourists visiting Mauritius rose 10.6 per cent in the first quarter of 2015 from a year ago, increased by arrivals from Europe and Asia, official figures showed on Friday. Tourism is a key source of hard currency for the Indian Ocean island state. Numbers from Europe, which accounts for two-thirds of visitors, rose 11.5 per cent, as arrivals from Britain alone increased by 30 per cent. The number of tourists visiting from Asia rose by 18.4 per cent, helped by a 24.8 per cent increase in arrivals from China. (more)

Tweets turned into flood maps that could help save lives
16 April 2015 - Spontaneous tweets about major floods are being turned into a mapping tool that could be used by emergency services and disaster response teams to save lives and provide aid, Dutch researchers said. When a crisis strikes, people increasingly find out about it from social media, as individuals and groups take to the internet to spread the word. (more)

US retail sales rebound signals thaw in economic activity
16 April 2015 - US retail sales rose in March for the first time since November as consumers stepped up purchases of automobiles and other goods, suggesting a sharp slowdown in economic growth in the first quarter was temporary. An unusually snowy winter undercut activity early in 2015. (more)

US: Home builder sentiment rises to 2015 peak - NAHB
16 April 2015 - US home builder sentiment reversed a three-month slide in April and rose to its best monthly showing of 2015, the National Association of Home Builders said on Wednesday. 'This uptick shows builders are feeling optimistic that the housing market will continue to strengthen throughout 2015,' NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe said in a statement. (more)

UK: FTSE rises to record as retailers advance
15 April 2015 - Britain's top share index reached a record high on Wednesday, helped by gains for domestic retailers such as Next, Dixons Carphone, and Sports Direct. The FTSE 100 closed up 21.52 points at 7,096.78 points, after rising to a new high at 7,111.72 points. (more)

French lawmakers OK health care bill targeting anorexia
14 April 2015 - France's Parliament is cracking down on too-thin models, too much drinking, and cigarette packaging in a sweeping bill designed to improve public health and trim public health costs -- while tackling unhealthy stereotypes along the way. (more)

President Obama to remove Cuba from state sponsor of terror list
14 April 2015 - President Barack Obama will remove Cuba from the list of state sponsors of terrorism, the White House announced Tuesday, a key step in his bid to normalize relations between the two countries. The terror designation has been a stain on Cuba's pride and a major stumbling block for efforts to mend ties between Washington and Havana. (more)

Euro zone February industrial production much stronger than expected
14 April 2015 - Euro zone industrial production jumped much more than expected in February, data showed on Tuesday, rebounding from a brief slump in January and adding to signs that economic recovery was gathering pace. While services are the biggest contributor to euro zone economic growth, industrial production is very important too because of its large indirect impact on other sectors. (more)

UK retail spending rises at fastest rate in almost a year - BRC
14 April 2015 - British retail spending rose at its fastest annual rate in almost a year last month, boosted by Easter falling a month earlier than in 2014, an industry body said on Tuesday. The British Retail Consortium said the value of total retail sales in March was 4.7 per cent up on a year earlier, the biggest year-on-year rise since April 2014. Other surveys have also reported rising consumer morale. (more)

US: President Obama celebrates gospel songs as 'the songs of hope'
14 April 2015 - Kicking off a celebration of gospel music, President Barack Obama said Tuesday that this particular genre of music had helped to shape America, beginning with the slave era and continuing on through the civil rights movement and beyond. 'It still has an unmatched power to strike the deepest chord in all of us, touching people of all faiths and of no faith,' he said as he opened the latest in a series of White House concerts, this one celebrating the role of gospel music in American life. Gospel songs are the 'songs of hope,' he added. Earlier Tuesday, Michelle Obama said gospel music is a 'ray of hope' that fueled her love of music in general. (more)

Your brain's aging and a new report urges ways to stay sharp
14 April 2015 - The brain ages just like the rest of your body, says a new report that urges Americans to take steps to keep sharp in their senior years. The prestigious Institute of Medicine (IOM) examined what scientists know about 'cognitive aging,' changes in mental functioning as we get older. Wisdom can indeed increase with age, and years of experience can prove invaluable, stressed Dr Dan Blazer, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Duke University who chaired the IOM committee. For more details about the report and recommendations for staying sharp from the IOM see: (more)

US: Veggies take center plate as healthy fast food chains flourish
13 April 2015 - Healthy fast-casual restaurant chains [are] a segment that has struggled in the past but now is flourishing thanks to celebrity chef backings and the popular farm-to-table trend. More Americans are choosing foods based on the benefits. Sales at healthy fast casual chains totaled about $384 million in 2014, up almost 30 percent from 2013, according to preliminary data from Technomic. (more)

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