2017-18 NB Budget 2017-18  increases post-secondary  funding

The provincial government recently announced that spending on post-secondary education will increase by $7 million in the 2017-18 academic year. Several changes will also be made to the Student Employment Experience Development (SEED) program. Following suggestions by the New Brunswick Student Alliance (NBSA), SEED now has an earlier application start-date (December), will acquire an additional 400 positions and will focus on increasing awareness of the program. 1,600 applicants will be accepted into the program this year, primarily working in tourism and libraries. In a CBC interview, NBSA Executive Director Robert Burroughs said that the tuition grants will likely be made available through a sliding-scale, rather than a rigid, income-based boundary. This would allow a more individualized assessment of funding applicants and hopefully increase the number of funding recipients.

Halifax taxi driver found  not guilty of sexual assault

Following a ruling on March 1, a Nova Scotian judge found Bassam Al-Rawi, a Halifax taxi driver, not guilty of assaulting a woman in his cab in May 2015, when a police officer had found the woman unconscious and intoxicated in the back of Al-Rawi’s cab. Al-Rawi had his pants down and was holding the complainant’s pants and underwear.  According to Judge Gregory E. Lenehan, it is specified under Canadian law that someone “who is unconscious or is so intoxicated … as to be incapable of understanding or perceiving the situation that presents itself” is not able to provide consent. “This does not mean, however, that an intoxicated person cannot give consent to sexual activity,” Lenehan added. “Clearly, a drunk can consent.” On March 7, Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service announced that it is appealing the decision.

Coal mine opens in Cape Breton

More than 15 years after the closing of the Prince Colliery mine in Point Aconi, N.S., coal is once again being mined as of Feb. 28 in Cape Breton, now at the Donkin Mine. With a projected 500,000 tonnes of coal to be mined within the first year of production and an expanding workforce of 64, the mine is expected to facilitate significant economic development in the region. However, the investment in continuing the extraction of coal may prove counterproductive toward the provincial goal of a coal power phase-out by 2042.

Malicious Emails Sent to U de M Campus

The RCMP is investigating an ongoing series of cyberattacks on the Université de Moncton email servers. As of Mar. 2, nine malicious emails have been sent to U de M students. The sender, who is working through a server outside of Canada to send explicit photos of a female student, said that the messages he is sending are retaliation for his ex-girlfriend’s suspected cheating.  University representatives have stated that they refuse to close the email system and that their IT services employees are working non-stop to block and track the messages.

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