The Tuesday news briefing An ataglance survey of some top stories

first_imgHighlights from the news file for Tuesday, July 11———COMMISSIONER QUITS INDIGENOUS WOMEN INQUIRY: A commissioner on the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women has announced she will resign at the end of this week — a departure that raises new questions among advocates about how much faith they can put in the much-anticipated process. Marilyn Poitras, one of five commissioners named by the Liberal government last summer to examine the root causes of violence against Indigenous women and girls, explained her decision in a letter to Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. “It is clear to me that I am unable to perform my duties as a commissioner with the process designed in its current structure,” the letter said, noting she will step aside as of July 15. Poitras’ resignation comes shortly after the departure of the commission’s executive director, Michele Moreau, and is further evidence “the whole inquiry is in jeopardy,” said Sheila North Wilson, a grand chief of an organization representing First Nations in northern Manitoba.———TRUMP JR. TOLD IN EMAIL OF RUSSIAN EFFORT TO AID CAMPAIGN: Donald Trump Jr. eagerly accepted help from what was described to him as a Russian government effort to aid his father’s campaign with damaging information about Hillary Clinton, emails he released publicly Tuesday say. The email exchange posted to Twitter by Donald Trump’s eldest son represents the clearest sign to date that members of the president’s inner circle were willing to meet during the campaign with Russians who wanted Trump to prevail. U.S. intelligence agencies have said the Russian government meddled in the election through hacking to aid Trump. The emails show Trump Jr. conversing with a music publicist who wanted him to meet with a lawyer from Moscow. The publicist describes the lawyer as a “Russian government attorney” who has dirt on Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.” In one response, Trump Jr. says, “I love it.” The messages were the latest disclosure to roil the ongoing investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and potential collusion with Trump’s campaign.———EX-GITMO DETAINEE PRAISES CANADA’S KHADR DEAL: A British man compensated by the U.K. government for his torture and years of detention at Guantanamo Bay expressed dismay Tuesday at the public and political furor in Canada over Ottawa’s settlement with Omar Khadr. Speaking from his home in Birmingham in the U.K., Moazzam Begg said Canadians instead should be proud of the federal government for the payment and apology to Khadr for breaching his rights. “The nation shouldn’t be upset about issuing an apology for something that’s right,” Begg told The Canadian Press. “If people are getting upset about that, I think they need to revisit what their morals and values are about.” Begg is one of 16 former Guantanamo detainees who settled lawsuits against the British government in 2010. The deal, while decried by some, aroused little of the anger seen in Canada over the Khadr settlement, announced last week, which sources said was worth $10.5 million. Now 49, Begg was kidnapped in Pakistan where he was living in early 2002, and turned over to American forces. They imprisoned him at Bagram in Afghanistan, where a horribly wounded 15-year-old Khadr was taken after U.S. soldiers captured him in July of that year.———WILDFIRE SITUATION DETERIORATING, B.C. OFFICIAL SAYS: British Columbia officials are bracing for a lengthy wildfire season as hundreds of blazes burn across the province with no reprieve in sight. About 14,000 people have been displaced by more than 200 wildfires and Bob Turner of Emergency Management B.C. said the situation is still deteriorating. The Cariboo Regional District expanded an evacuation order on Monday night to cover the Alexis Creek and West Fraser areas in addition to the Kleena Kleene region. An evacuation alert — which puts residents on notice that they may have to leave with little warning — was issued for the more than 10,000 residents of Williams Lake Monday night. Municipal officials warned that wind and lightning forecast for Wednesday could push fires toward the city at a “rapid pace.” The Tsilhqot’in Nation, which encompasses six communities near Williams Lake, said four of its communities are threatened. The fires, which have scorched about 400 square kilometres of land, are being fought by some 1,000 B.C. firefighters, with about 300 colleagues and support staff arriving from Alberta, Saskatchewan, Ontario and New Brunswick.———FISHERMAN DIES AFTER FREEING ENTANGLED WHALE: A lobster fisherman with a passion for freeing whales from deadly fishing line was killed soon after he cut the last piece of rope from a massive whale in the waters off eastern New Brunswick, friends and colleagues confirmed Tuesday. They say Joe Howlett had helped rescue about two dozen whales over the last 15 years. Mackie Green of the Campobello Whale Rescue Team said Howlett had boarded a federal Fisheries Department vessel off Shippagan on Monday to help a North Atlantic right whale that had become entangled in a heavy snarl of rope. Green was not on the boat, but said he was told the 59-year-old veteran fisherman was hit by the whale just after it was cut free and started swimming away. “They got the whale totally disentangled and then some kind of freak thing happened and the whale made a big flip,” said Green, who started the rescue team with Howlett in 2002 and had worked closely with him ever since.———BIBEAU TO PRESS U.S. TO PRESERVE AID BUDGET: International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says she will try to persuade her counterpart in the Trump administration not to slash billions in foreign aid as the president has proposed. Bibeau she will make the case for continued spending, including for family planning and abortion, when the new head of the U.S. Agency for International Development is finally hired. The USAID chief is one of many vacant Trump administration positions, but former Tanzanian ambassador Mark Green has been nominated. U.S. President Donald Trump has said he will cut the State Department and USAID budgets by 31 per cent in 2018. Trump has also reinstated a ban on funding abortion-related activities by foreign aid that was first started by the Reagan Republicans in 1984. Bibeau says the government is steadfastly committed to funding family planning as she announced how $241 million of a previous $650 million commitment would be spent.———FIRST FEMALE JAG SAYS ARRIVAL SENDS A MESSAGE: The new head of Canada’s military justice system says her appointment shows the Forces are serious about accepting and valuing women in uniform. Commodore Genevieve Bernatchez is the Canadian Armed Forces’ first female judge advocate general, or JAG. She takes over as senior leaders have been pushing for the military to add more women in uniform and within the senior ranks. The military justice system is also in the midst of its first full review in decades, in part due to complaints about how the system has handled sexual misconduct in the ranks. Bernatchez says there’s no denying she will bring a different perspective and approach to military justice than her male predecessors. But she says she’s reserving judgment on exactly what needs to change until the review is completed later this summer.———CLOSE CALL FOR AIR CANADA PLANE IN SAN FRANCISCO: Investigators looking into what caused an apparent close call involving an Air Canada flight at San Francisco International Airport are expected to examine whether human error or controller procedures played a role in the incident, an aviation expert said Tuesday. The state of the aircraft’s and controller’s equipment, and the design of the air space will also be under review as officials try to determine how a flight from Toronto came to line up with a taxiway rather than the runway as it prepared to land, said Barry Wiszniowski, president of Aviation Safety Management Experts. An Air Canada Airbus A320 was cleared to land on one of the runways at the San Francisco airport just before midnight on Friday when the pilot “inadvertently” lined up with the taxiway, which runs parallel to the runway, the U.S. Federal Aviation Authority said. There were four aircraft lined up on the taxiway waiting for departure when the incident occurred, the FAA said in a statement. The Air Canada plane eventually made another approach and landed without incident, it said. Air Canada said 135 passengers and five crew members were aboard its plane, but gave little other information, citing its own ongoing investigation.———HALIFAX MAYOR URGES CALM ON CORNWALLIS STATUE: The mayor of Halifax is speaking out against a plan circulating on social media to forcibly remove a statue of Edward Cornwallis from a downtown park that bears the name of the city’s contentious founder. Mike Savage issued a statement Tuesday saying any action to remove the statue is not condoned by the Nova Scotia Assembly of Mi’kmaq Chiefs. The mayor says he understand that many Indigenous people and others disagree with the continued presence of Cornwallis on a pedestal in a public park. Cornwallis and his military council issued an infamous scalping proclamation in 1749 promising a bounty for the scalp of every Mi’kmaq. Savage says he is committed to a resolution of the polarizing situation and notes that city council has asked a panel to make recommendations, including potentially removing the statue and renaming the park. A Facebook event called “Removing Cornwallis” invites people to a protest Saturday, and to “peacefully remove” the statue.———RESCUE DOG FOUND AFTER ESCAPE AT AIRPORT: The new owner of a rescue dog that went missing after being let out of a crate at Canada’s busiest airport said he’s relieved his pet was found before any harm came to the animal. Jordan Wong said he and his family were anxious throughout the hours-long hunt for Emily, a 4.5-kilogram dog that had been brought to Canada from Greece as part of a rescue effort. Emily had been on Canadian soil for barely an hour when customs officials allegedly opened her crate to give her a walk on Monday. At that point, Emily bolted and raced across the highway near Toronto’s Pearson International Airport, according to Stray Paws from Greece, the rescue group that co-ordinated her adoption. Wong said he and his family waited at the airport for eight hours while searchers scoured the area for Emily, but eventually had to go home without the pet they’d been eagerly awaiting for the past three weeks. On Tuesday morning, however, a Toronto woman found the dog and brought her to a local veterinary clinic where the pup was eventually identified. Stray Paws could not immediately be reached for comment but alleged in a Facebook post that Emily was lost while being processed through customs in Toronto.last_img read more