Nova Scotians will have more opportunities for recreation and economic development thanks to an investment in land purchases. As part of the capital plan, the province is increasing its Crown land base. Lands purchased will be used to increase coastal access, protect Mi’kmaq values, enhance wildlife conservation, and help the province meet its 12 per cent land protection goal. The $6.3 million dollar investment, which includes $800 thousand from the Forestry Transition Land Acquisition Program, is included in the 2013-14 fiscal year. “It’s good sense to make purchases that increase our Crown land base, and that are valuable for their resources and outdoor recreation opportunities,” said Natural Resources Minister Charlie Parker. “Although the size of Nova Scotia cannot be changed, we can change the amount of land that is owned by the province and ensure that it works to enhance our economy and the environment.” About 30 per cent of the province’s land base is provincial Crown land and protected areas. “Nova Scotians value the province’s wilderness areas and want to ensure that these areas are protected for the enjoyment of people now, and generations to come,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “This investment will help to do just that.” “This is an important investment in conservation,” said Chris Miller, national conservation biologist, Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society. “Some of the most ecologically-significant ecosystems in Nova Scotia occur on private land, including old-growth forest and species-at-risk habitat, so allocating resources to acquire these properties is an important step to make and will help protect biodiversity in this province.” This is the third straight year the province will release the capital plan before the spring budget. This sends a clear signal of what the province intends to do in the year ahead, and gives the private sector greater opportunity to prepare for projects, creating efficiencies and cost savings for the province.
WOUNDED SURVIVORS TODAY described the terrifying scene of a suicide attack at a Nigerian bus station that killed at least 41 people, the latest violence to hit the restive north.The attack yesterday saw two suicide bombers ram their car into the bus station in Kano, Nigeria’s second largest city, setting off a huge explosion that hit five buses, police spokesman Magaji Majia told AFP.A rescue official said late today that the attack left 41 people dead, while Majia said 65 were injured.The police had earlier given a toll of 22 dead, but the rescue official, who requested anonymity, later told AFP that 20 victims were counted at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital and an additional 21 bodies were reported at the Murtala Mohammed Specialist Hospital.Witnesses described hearing multiple blasts and seeing wounded victims in bloodied clothes flee the area as authorities cordoned off the scene.“I was boarding the bus to Lagos when I heard a huge explosion,” Abdulaziz Baban-Lamma, a 47-year-old trader, told AFP from his hospital bed.The blast left him with severe injuries to his abdomen and other survivors ran to assist him when they saw his condition, he said. He later underwent emergency surgery.“May Allah curse whoever was behind the act,” he said.“Blood gushed out”Magawata Goje, 45, was selling dried meat at the station when the bomb went off.“Something sharp hit me under my right ear,” he said.“Blood gushed out and I was drenched in my blood.”When he regained consciousness, “I could see many people burnt to death,” he said.Emmanuel Bassey, a 37-year-old bus company employee with burns across his body, said the bombers slammed into one of the buses at high speed.President Goodluck Jonathan condemned the attack and said his government would continue “its unrelenting war against terrorists.”But the government has so far shown little ability to halt violence linked to an insurgency by the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram.No claim of responsibilityThe bus station targeted yesterday primarily services passengers heading to the mostly Christian south of Nigeria.It was also attacked in January last year in a blast that wounded several people.Authorities have not said who was behind the bombing and there has been no claim of responsibility, but it was similar to previous attacks by Boko Haram.Its deadliest assault yet occurred in the northern city in January 2012, when at least 185 people were killed in coordinated bomb and gun attacks.Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and largest oil producer, is roughly divided between a mainly Muslim north and predominantly Christian south.The country’s main Christian association CAN — currently led by evangelicals — issued a statement on Tuesday saying recent attacks “were a signpost of the intended extermination of Christians and Christianity from northern Nigeria.”Prominent Catholic leaders have however been much more measured in their reactions to the violence, saying the extremists seem intent on provoking a religious crisis. They have urged Christians and Muslims to work together for peace.Boko Haram’s targets have included symbols of government authority, churches and Muslims it views as collaborating with the government.A suicide bombing of UN headquarters in the capital Abuja in 2011 killed at least 25 people.The group has claimed to be fighting for the creation of an Islamic state, though its demands have repeatedly shifted.KidnappingIt is believed to include various factions with differing aims. One splinter faction, Ansaru, appears to have focused on kidnapping foreigners.Boko Haram itself had not claimed any kidnappings until recently, when it said it was behind the abduction of a French family of seven over the border in Cameroon.Many analysts have said poverty and neglect of northern Nigeria, which remains underdeveloped when compared to the oil-rich south, have helped feed the insurgency.Despite the country’s oil reserves, most of Nigeria’s population lives on less than $2 per day, with corruption deeply rooted.The military’s violent response to the insurgency has also worsened the situation, according to rights groups and activists in the region.Violence linked to the insurgency in northern and central Nigeria, including killings by security forces, have left some 3,000 people dead since 2009.- © AFP 2013.Read: Gunmen abduct seven foreign workers in Nigeria>