Archive for April, 2019

FIFA panel says yes to turbans, hijabs in soccer – Montreal

MONTREAL – Soccer’s international rule-making body has given a final go-ahead to allow players to wear religious head coverings during games, clarifying an issue that stirred controversy in Quebec last summer.

READ MORE: Quebec soccer association upholds ban on turbans

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A FIFA panel known as the International Football Association Board made the decision Saturday, extending a two-year trial period during which hijabs were permitted.

Turbans will also be allowed.

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Last year, Quebec’s soccer federation set off a political firestorm – and was suspended by the Canadian Soccer Association – for enforcing a ban on turbans and other religious headwear.

The federation lifted the ban after FIFA clarified last June that such headwear was acceptable.

READ MORE: Quebec soccer federation scraps controversial turban ban after FIFA ruling

A spokesperson for the Quebec Soccer Federation said they are satisfied with the decision and plan to follow the rules.

“All we’ve wanted, for years, is to have a clear position (from FIFA) and rules to follow, and now we know what to do, and we’ll do it,” said Michel Dugas.

The decision on head coverings follows extra trials after a July 2012 decision to approve scarves worn by Islamic female players.

READ MORE: FIFA weighs in on soccer turban rules: head coverings allowed for now

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said Saturday’s decision extended to male players following a request from Sikh community leaders in Canada.

“You cannot have discrimination,” Valcke said at a news conference in Zurich, Switzerland.

“It was decided that what can apply to female players can also apply to men.”

READ MORE: Cases of ‘hijabaphobia’ increasing in Quebec

Last year, the Quebec organization had cited safety issues for its controversial move as well as the fact the garments were not endorsed by FIFA.

The Parti Quebecois government came out in favour of the federation’s position, while many federal politicians slammed it as exclusionary.

Dugas maintained the federation wasn’t trying to create problems and only wanted to get clarity from FIFA.

“It’s a debate that isn’t easy, and that’s probably why it took so long,” he said.

– with files from Catherine Gignac

©2014The Canadian Press

‘Jeff’s Musical Car’ nominated for two ECMAs – New Brunswick

MONCTON –  Jeff Boudreau has taken listening to tunes in the car to a whole other level.  Just over a year ago, he launched a web show called Jeff’s Musical Car.

“I was driving around with my son one day and I had a camera in the front and I flipped it inward to get him dancing and singing along with me,” Boudreau said. “I put it on Facebook and everyone liked it and the idea just popped into my head.”

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Boudreau mounts a few cameras in his car and records musicians playing live crammed into the back seat. The unique concept has exploded online and now Boudreau is being recognized for thinking outside of the box. He has been nominated for two East Coast Music Awards.

“That was probably my proudest moment since I started this, for media person of the year and media outlet of the year and I am still in shock about that,” he said.

He said he launched the show to help local bands get more exposure. Corey Hachey is lead singer for the band, 60lp’s and said Boudreau’s show has helped to give his band more exposure.

“We did a Jeff’s Musical Car ride in April and since then we’ve had people come out to our shows and say, ‘Hey we saw you on Jeff’s Musical Car. So we came to check out your life show,’” Hachey said. “So it has definitely helped us out in that respect.”

Boudreau doesn’t make any money with his show, it’s just a hobby and is all about the love of music.

“Just to expose people to others genres of music. I cover rock to punk to country,” Boudreau said “It’s just a way for people who would not have given a band a chance but in this setting they would be more likely to do that.”

The ECMA winners will be announced on April 6 in Charlottetown

House price correction to ‘start this year,’ big-name investor warns – National

Yet another big-name foreign observer is warning that Canada’s long-booming housing market is due for a potentially nasty correction – and it expects the slide to start this year.

Pimco, one of the biggest institutional investors in the world, said it believes housing prices could decline as much as 30 per cent over the next several years.

Ed Devlin, the man in charge of the U.S.-based fund’s Canadian investments, said in a newspaper article that Pimco has grown increasingly “bearish” on the Canadian housing market over the last several quarters.

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READ MORE: Home prices stretched by 10%, bank report says 

Data from Morningstar shows that since late 2012 Pimco has cut in half the amount of money it holds in investments in Canada, one of the fund’s top country picks until late.

“I’ve been talking with clients and writing about how the housing market is overvalued,” Devlin told the Financial Times (paywall).

“I actually think it starts this year,” the Pimco executive said of the potential slowdown.

Two to five years

Devlin said he expects borrowing rates to rise off their historic lows in the coming months and mortgage loan growth to slow, developments that will bring the country’s years-long housing boom to an end.

A market correction won’t be totally sudden, however, with Pimco suggesting it it expects events to play out over a two- to five-year time frame.

“While we think the housing market in Canada is overvalued and due for a correction, the correction will likely happen over several years,” Devlin said.

Ottawa efforts to cool market

Ottawa has moved repeatedly to cool the market place in recent years. It has taken steps to reign in how much mortgage debt the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. backstops while cutting back the length of home loan terms to 25 years, forcing borrowers to save bigger down-payments.

But with the exception of a lull in late 2012 and early 2013, the pace of activity has remained brisk, fueled by ultra low interest rates as well as the government’s own national housing insurer, which has backstopped hundreds of billions of dollars in mortgages.

READ MORE: CMHC moves to raise mortgage insurance premiums

The rise has sharpest in the country’s biggest and most expensive cities, notably Vancouver and Toronto, where average prices now sit at levels several times average household incomes.

READ MORE: January price gains strain affordability in big city housing markets 

Calmer opinions on home front

Pimco joins other foreign observers in calling a potentially sharp downturn, a group that includes Germany’s Deutsche Bank which says the country’s housing market is the most overvalued in the world.

Within Canada, calmer opinions prevail.

TD Bank for example, said it too thinks the market is overvalued but but by a much more modest 10 per cent. The bank said rates will slowly drift higher but that the rise should be manageable for consumers.

The Bank of Canada, meanwhile, continues to see home prices gliding into a soft landing.

©2014Shaw Media

Croatia accuses Serbia of genocide, underscoring lingering tensions – National

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – Croatia on Monday accused its Balkan neighbour Serbia of genocide in the early 1990s as the former Yugoslavia shattered in spasms of ethnic violence, in a case at the United Nations’ highest court that highlights lingering animosities in the region.

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Croatia is asking the International Court of Justice to declare that Serbia breached the 1948 Genocide Convention when forces from the former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia attempted to drive Croats out of large swaths of the country after Zagreb declared independence in 1991. It also wants the court to order Serbia to pay compensation.

Serbia previously has faced allegations of genocide at the world court.

In a landmark 2007 judgment, the court cleared Belgrade of committing genocide in the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 Muslim men in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, but said Serbia breached the genocide convention by failing to prevent the slaughter, Europe’s worst mass slaying since World War II.

Croatia opened its case by showing judges a video of the devastated remnants of the Croat city of Vukovar, which was besieged and pounded with heavy artillery by Serb forces in 1991, killing hundreds.

It remains to be seen if Zagreb can convince judges that the crimes amount to genocide. The U.N.’s Yugoslav war crimes tribunal, a separate court based in The Hague, convicted Serbs of crimes in Vukovar, but has never characterized atrocities on Croat territory as genocide.

“We will show you that the crimes that took place in the campaign against Croats amount to genocide,” Croatia’s agent to the court, Vesna Crnic-Grotic, told the judges.

Serbian representative Sasa Obradovic acknowledged that “horrific crimes were committed in Croatia,” but told reporters that they do not constitute genocide.

In Belgrade, Serbia’s Prime Minister Ivica Dacic expressed hope that the case would ease past tensions, but also warned it could revive nationalist sentiments.

—-

Associated Press writer Jovana Gec in Belgrade, Serbia, contributed to this story.

©2014The Canadian Press

Recipe: Inside-out eggplant Parmesan rolls

I’ve always been a big fan of eggplant Parmesan. There are a bunch of ways to make this classic Italian dish, but I’m partial to what you might call the full-fat version: thick slices of breaded eggplant that are sauteed, then baked until creamy, and finally topped with tomato sauce and melted cheese.

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A vegetarian delight, eggplant Parmesan nonetheless can be very heavy. You gobble it down with gusto for dinner, but discover it still sitting in your gut like a brick the next day. So I wanted to concoct a lighter recipe that still retained all of the ingredients that make my favourite version so wonderful.

Eggplant tends to soak up oil like a sponge, so the first thing I did here was to take a cue from my mom. She used to make an easy but inventive side dish with eggplant, cutting each one into 1/2-inch slices, brushing every slice with her homemade vinaigrette, then baking them all until they were tender and golden. This limits how much oil they can absorb. For simplicity, I sprayed each slice with a modest amount of oil before baking them.

Unfortunately, this clever strategy created a new problem. The eggplant in my favourite version is breaded. Here it isn’t. I was happy to lose the oil, but I didn’t want to lose the bread, particularly in a saucy dish like this. So I literally turned the recipe inside out, placing the bread – in the form of croutons – inside the rolled-up slices of eggplant.

The croutons do get tender during baking, but they also absorb and marry the other flavours in the filling: Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and roasted red pepper. Full disclosure: I’m well aware that roasted red peppers are not typical of traditional eggplant Parmesans. I added them because they contribute bulk and good nutrition. And because I love the tang they lend the dish.

Even though this recipe uses less than the usual amount of cheese, my crack team of testers didn’t seem to miss it. My secret? The speedy marinara sauce. Loaded with garlic, a bit of oil and a healthy pinch of red pepper flakes, this sauce radiates so much robust flavour that folks forget the missing cheese. And I encourage you to make this marinara at home rather than use store-bought; it is simple, fast and quite tasty.

A few notes about buying eggplant. I recommend the biggest you can find for this recipe. You’ll know they’re fresh if the skin is smooth and the flesh is firm to the touch. If you can’t find large eggplants, use the smaller ones and just overlap the slices slightly to make substantial roll-ups.

I believe that this eggplant Parmesan is an excellent candidate for the centerpiece of a meatless meal. Just round it out with some steamed broccoli and a tossed green salad, and you’re good to go. This is the kind of cozy cold weather meal that will make everyone glad winter is not quite over.

INSIDE-OUT EGGPLANT PARMESAN ROLLS

Start to finish: 1 hour

Servings: 6

2 slices large rustic (not bagged sliced) white or whole-wheat bread, crusts discarded and bread cut into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1 3/4 cups)1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oilKosher salt2 pounds large eggplantOlive oil cooking spray1/2 cup finely chopped roasted red pepper2 ounces fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4-inch cubes1/2 ounce grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese1 teaspoon minced garlic2 1/2 cups purchased marinara sauce or speedy marinara sauce (recipe below)Fresh basil, to garnish

Heat the oven to 400 F and adjust the oven racks so there is one in the top third and one in the bottom third of the oven.

In a medium bowl toss the bread cubes with the oil and a pinch of salt. On a large rimmed baking sheet, spread the cubes in an even layer and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer them back to the bowl.

While the cubes are baking, prepare the eggplant. Leaving the skin on, slice it top-to-bottom into 1/4-inch-thick slices, discarding the end pieces that are mostly skin.

Spray the baking sheet you used for the bread as well as a second large baking sheet with the olive oil spray. Sprinkle the eggplant slices very lightly with salt on both sides and arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheets. Spray them lightly with additional olive oil spray. Bake just until barely golden, 16 to 20 minutes, switching the sheet pan positions in the oven after 8 minutes.

Add the red pepper, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and garlic to the bread cubes and toss well.

Pour half of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a shallow baking pan. Set aside.

Arrange the eggplant slices on a kitchen surface, overlapping a few if they are small to make a wider rectangle (you will need 12 portions total), and divide the filling among the portions, mounding it in the centre of each slice. Roll up the slices to enclose the filling. Place the rolls, seam side down, in the baking dish. Spoon the remaining sauce over the rolls and bake on the oven’s lower shelf until the sauce is bubbling, 15 to 20 minutes.

Divide the rolls between 6 serving plates, making sure that each portion has ample sauce. Top with fresh basil.

Nutrition information per serving: 260 calories; 90 calories from fat (35 per cent of total calories); 11 g fat (3 g saturated; 0 g trans fats); 10 mg cholesterol; 34 g carbohydrate; 7 g fiber; 9 g sugar; 9 g protein; 780 mg sodium.

SPEEDY MARINARA SAUCE

Start to finish: 25 minutes

Makes 2 1/2 cups

2 large garlic cloves, smashed2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oilHefty pinch red pepper flakes28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)Kosher salt

In a medium skillet combine the garlic and the oil. Turn the heat to medium-low and cook, turning over the garlic several times, until it is just golden, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and a hefty pinch of salt, bring to a boil, and cook at a brisk simmer for 20 minutes, or until the sauce is reduced to about 2 1/2 cups.

©2014The Associated Press

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