Canada

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Trudeau government survives confidence vote
Trudeau government survives confidence vote
Credit: Alex Guibord from Toronto, Canada / Wikimedia Commons (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The conservative party had demanded a committee to investigate alleged government corruption. During the pandemic, contracts have allegedly been awarded unlawfully to persons close to Trudeau. The government had declared the application a matter of trust and the liberal Canadian government of Prime Minister Trudeau has survived the subsequent vote of confidence.

Science • Space
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
NASA's Artemis Accords to guide moon exploration signed by eight nations
Credit: NASA

Australia, Canada, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States of America have signed on as founding member nations to NASA's Artemis Accords, an international agreement that "will help to avoid conflict in space and on Earth by strengthening mutual understanding and reducing misperceptions."

"Artemis will be the broadest and most diverse international human space exploration program in history, and the Artemis Accords are the vehicle that will establish this singular global coalition," so NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "With today's signing, we are uniting with our partners to explore the Moon and are establishing vital principles that will create a safe, peaceful, and prosperous future in space for all of humanity to enjoy."

Business • Media & Advertising
Netflix removes free test month in some countries
Netflix removes free test month in some countries
Credit: Illustration: Pendect, Ashley Winkler – Logo via Netflix (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

Netflix, the largest video streaming provider, has cancelled the free trial period in many countries without notice.

Markets, including the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia and Japan have switched over to a model where the second month is free.

The 30-day trial subscription is no longer available in Germany and France either. In some other countries, nothing has changed yet.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Trudeau announces Covid-19 vaccines will be made available for free through the health-care system
Trudeau announces Covid-19 vaccines will be made available for free through the health-care system
Credit: Justin Trudeau – Prime Minister of Canada (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0)

The Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has announced that all Covid-19 vaccines that will be approved in the future by Health Canada will be made available for free to all Canadians through the health-care system.

The government also indicated that first, the most vulnerable and essential workers should have access to a vaccine.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill to ban "gay conversion therapy"
Credit: unsplash.com/Elyssa Fahndrich

Trudeau’s Liberal Party has reintroduced a bill that would ban "gay conversion therapy", a pseudoscientific practise of trying to alter someone's sexual orientation or gender identity, on Thursday.

The legislation was previously introduced back in March before parliament had to close due to Covid-19.

"Conversion therapy is harmful, degrading, and has no place in Canada … I hope that all parties will do the right thing by supporting this bill," so PM Justin Trudeau on Thursday.

Health
Covid-19 database illegally used by Ontario police, civil rights groups finds

Police forces across Ontario engaged in broad, illegal searches of a now-defunct Covid-19 database, two civil rights groups alleged Wednesday, claiming the use of the portal violated individual privacy rights for months.

Law
Canadian woman accused of writing ricin letters to Trump brought before a US federal court

A Canadian woman, who was arrested after sending a letter containing highly toxic ricin to Donald Trump, has been charged with threatening the US president. The 53-year-old was brought before a federal court in New York on Tuesday.

According to the indictment, the envelope containing the poison contained a letter to Trump in which the woman described the president as an "ugly tyrant clown". She accused him in the letter of "ruining the USA and leading it to disaster".

Law
Packages containing poison ricin addressed to Trump allegedly came from Canada
Packages containing poison ricin addressed to Trump allegedly came from Canada
Credit: Cezary p (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 4.0)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police has stated that they are assisting the FBI with an investigation after two letters to the White House that contained poison had been intercepted.

A woman from Canada is currently under investigation for the sending of ricin poison that could potentially cause nausea through to organ failure and death through a collapse in the circulatory system.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
United States border to Canada and Mexico will stay closed over Covid-19 outbreak
United States border to Canada and Mexico will stay closed over Covid-19 outbreak
Credit: unsplash.com / Wojtek Witkowski

According to a Twitter announcement by acting United States Homeland Security Department Secretary Chad Wolf the borders to Canada and Mexico will stay closed for until the 21 of September.

He wrote that "we continue to work with our Canadian and Mexican partners to slow the spread of #COVID19. Accordingly, we have agreed to extend the limitation of non-essential travel at our shared land ports of entry through September 21". The ban does not include air travel as well as trade.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Canada: Cannabis Record Suspension program with 257 granted pardons in first year
Canada: Cannabis Record Suspension program with 257 granted pardons in first year
Credit: unsplash.com / Matthew Karila

In 2019 Canada has revealed a program to grant Canadians an easy way to be granted a pardon if they have a criminal record for simple possession of cannabis.

Since the creation of the program, 458 people have applied for a pardon at the Parole Board of Canada (PBC). Out of these applications, 194 have been returned because of ineligibility or incomplete files. 257 have been granted and two have been discontinued. Five cases are still in the process.

In 2018 Canada has passed the Cannabis Act legalized and regulated the possession, distribution, consumption and cultivation of marijuana for recreational used.

Regional News • Americas • Canada
Stephen McNeil, Nova Scotia Premier, steps down from office
Stephen McNeil
Stephen McNeil Credit: Nsliberal (Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 3.0)

The Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil announced Thursday he is stepping down and leaving public office after 17 years.

Initially elected in 2003, McNeil, as a member of the legislative assembly for Annapolis, a town of Nova Scotia, and has been the Premier of the province for the last seven years. In a news conference, McNeil said: "17 years is a long time, and it’s long enough".

McNeil said he had decided to resign from office before the Covid-19 pandemic, but reconsidered his decision when the virus reached Nova Scotia earlier this year.

Regional News • Asia • China
Chinese court sentences two Canadian citizens to death over manufacturing and transportation of drugs
Canadian Embassy in Beijing
Canadian Embassy in Beijing Credit: Benjamin Vander Steen

Two Chinese courts in the Guangdong province have sentenced two Canadian citizens to death in two days.

The Canadian Xu Weihong had been tried in front of the Guangzhou Municipal Intermediate Court, while the now sentenced Ye Jianhui had been tried in front of the Foshan Municipal Intermediate Court for the manufacturing and transportation of drugs.

The police had previously seized around 218 kilograms of MDMA in the form of white crystals from a room that had been used by Ye Jianhui and Lu Hanchang. The latter one has been sentenced to jail time together with three other people involved in the operation. They received between seven years and a life sentence.

In total, four Canadian citizens have been sentenced to death in the past two years.

Health
Canada permits psilocybin therapy for terminally ill patients
Canada permits psilocybin therapy for terminally ill patients
Credit: Erik Fenderson (Public Domain)

The Canadian government has announced that the usage of psychedelic mushrooms will be permitted as part of a "psilocybin therapy" for terminally ill patients. The intended benefit is to help people to ease their fear of death and end-of-life anxiety.

Four patients had previously appealed to the Canadian Minister of Health Patty Hajdu in order to get an approval for exemption in order to obtain and consume the substance which became illegal in Canada in 1974.

Laurie Brooks, one of the four patients, has stated: "I want to thank the Health Minister and Health Canada for approving my request for psilocybin use. The acknowledgement of the pain and anxiety that I have been suffering with means a lot to me, and I am feeling quite emotional today as a result. I hope this is just the beginning and that soon all Canadians will be able to access psilocybin, for therapeutic use, to help with the pain they are experiencing, without having to petition the government for months to gain permission."

Technology • Internet & Web
Snapchat to test new TikTok-like music feature
Snapchat Logo Illustration
Snapchat Logo Illustration Credit: unsplash.com/Morning Brew

Multimedia messaging app Snapchat has announced a new feature that will let users add songs to their video posts, similar to TikTok. Snapchat has made a licensing deal with Warner Music, Universal Music Publishing Group and other music industry companies to offer a "robust and curated catalog of music."

"We’re always looking for new ways to give Snapchatters creative tools to express themselves. Music is a new dimension they can add to their Snaps that helps capture feelings and moments they want to share with their real friends," so a Snapchat spokesperson.

The new feature will launch first for users in Australia and New Zealand, and later this fall in Canada and the United States.

Climate & Environment
New NASA satellite images reveal disappearance of St. Patrick Bay ice caps
Satellite images of the location of the St. Patrick Bay ice caps. Left was taken on August 2015, right on July 2020.
Satellite images of the location of the St. Patrick Bay ice caps. Left was taken on August 2015, right on July 2020. Credit: NSIDC (Reproduction)

Recent NASA satellite images show the disappearance of two Canadian ice caps, known as St. Patrick Bay ice caps, northeast of Ellesmere Island in Nunavut. A 2017 published paper by the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) had predicted the melting of the ice caps within five years. Current images show the ice caps have completely vanished.

"When I first visited those ice caps, they seemed like such a permanent fixture of the landscape," Mark Serreze, the director of the NSIDC, said in a statement. "We’ve long known that as climate change takes hold, the effects would be especially pronounced in the Arctic. But the death of those two little caps that I once knew so well has made climate change very personal. All that’s left are some photographs and a lot of memories."

Technology • Internet & Web
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Microsoft to continue discussions on potential TikTok purchase in the United States
Credit: Aaron Weiss

The discussions with ByteDance will build upon a notification made by Microsoft and ByteDance to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS). The two companies have provided notice of their intent to explore a preliminary proposal that would involve a purchase of the TikTok service in the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and would result in Microsoft owning and operating TikTok in these markets. Microsoft may invite other American investors to participate on a minority basis in this purchase.

Regional News • Americas
Canadian court rules that United States aren't a "Safe Third Country" anymore
A border marker at the US-Canada border at the Northwest Angle of Minnesota / Manitoba
A border marker at the US-Canada border at the Northwest Angle of Minnesota / Manitoba Credit: Tony Webster (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

The Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) has been ruled invalid by a federal court in Canada. Under the agreement asylum seekers trying to cross the Canada-U.S. border are sent back to the respective country to apply in the first country they have arrived in for asylum.

Canadian federal court judge Ann Marie McDonald has now ruled that the United States do not qualify as "safe" anymore but has suspended her ruling for six months to give the legislative branch of the government time to respond. In her ruling, she points out that the agreement violates parts of Canada’s Charter of Rights which state that principles of fundamental justice need to be conformed to regarding laws and state actions that influence life, liberty and security.

Science • Medicine
UK, US & Canada warn of Russian spies trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research
UK, US & Canada warn of Russian spies trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research
Credit: unsplash.com/Louis Reed

American, British and Canadian governments have warned of Russian hackers trying to steal Covid-19 vaccine research by exploiting software flaws to access computer systems. While the UK's National Cyber Security Centre is "almost certain" that the attack came from a "part of Russian intelligence services", Russia has denied these claims.

"We do not have information about who may have hacked into pharmaceutical companies and research centres in Great Britain. We can say one thing - Russia has nothing at all to do with these attempts," so Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson of President Putin.

Regional News • Americas • United States
Borders between US, Canada and Mexico to remain closed until late August
Borders between US, Canada and Mexico to remain closed until late August
Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection / Public domain

The borders between the United States and its two neighbours Canada and Mexico will remain closed for all nonessential travel until at least August 21 due to rising numbers of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. The extended border restrictions will not affect essential goods and services.

Climate & Environment
Prime Minister of Canada announces ban of single-use plastic by 2021
Prime Minister of Canada announces ban of single-use plastic by 2021
Credit: unsplash.com / Jasmin Sessler

The Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau has announced that Canada will ban single-use plastic "such as plastic bags, straws, cutlery, plates, and stir sticks" in 2021 "and take other steps to reduce pollution from plastic products and packaging".

In a press release, the Government states that less than 10 percent of the plastic in Canada gets recycled and that by reducing plastic waste a reduction of "1.8 million tonnes of carbon pollution" could be achieved, as well as the creation of assumed 42,000 jobs and "billions of dollars in revenue" as a result of investments in new and innovative technologies.