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Britain to put nearly $2 billion into arts to help survival

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LONDON (Reuters) – Britain will invest nearly $2 billion in cultural institutions and the arts to help a sector that has been crippled by the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday.

Theatres, opera houses and ballet companies have been left without a live audience for months.

Though English museums and cinemas can re-open with strict social distancing in the latest easing of lockdown which began on Saturday, guidelines still dictate no live performances at theatres or concert halls.

That has created an existential crisis for much of the sector, which has been vocal in calling on the government for support.

“This money will help safeguard the sector for future generations, ensuring arts groups and venues across the UK can stay afloat and support their staff whilst their doors remain closed and curtains remain down,” Johnson said in a statement.

The government said the 1.57-billion pound ($1.96 billion) investment was the biggest ever in Britain’s culture sector.

It said that Britain’s museums, art galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues would be protected through emergency grants and loans.

The government will consult with figures from Arts Council England, the British Film Institute and other specialist bodies on awarding grants, while it said repayable finance would be issued on affordable terms.

(Reporting by Alistair Smout, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

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Canada consulting on retaliatory tariffs, what's on the list? – CTV News

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OTTAWA —
The federal government is holding consultations on a long list of potential tariffs Canada may impose of American aluminum products in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s 10-per-cent tariff on Canadian aluminum imports.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland condemned Trump’s move during a press conference on Friday, calling it “absurd,” while unveiling a draft list of 68 products that could soon be subject to new tariffs worth as much as $3.6 billion.

“In response to these unwarranted tariffs, Canada will respond swiftly and strongly in defence of our workers. We will impose dollar-for-dollar countermeasures in a balanced and perfectly reciprocal retaliation. We will not escalate and we will not back down,” she said, speaking in Toronto.

Freeland noted that the government is looking for input, from Canadians in the next 30 days, to finalize the list of products.

“The prime minister has decided to launch consultations on a broad and extensive list of aluminum-containing products. We invite Canadians and Canadian businesses to participate in these consultations,” she said.

The consultations list includes:

  • Household washing machines, not including machines which both wash and dry, of a dry linen capacity not exceeding 10 kg, fully-automatic
  • Bicycles and other cycles
  • Bicycle wheels
  • Golf clubs, complete
  • Articles for sports and general physical exercise (e.g., bats, hockey sticks, playground equipment)
  • Refrigerators, household type, compression type
  • Monopods, bipods, tripods of aluminum
  • Embossed aluminum cans for use in the packaging of beverages
  • Metal furniture of a kind used in offices
  • Aluminum ores and concentrates
  • Slag, ash and residues, containing mainly aluminum
  • Aluminum tube or pipe fittings
  • Aluminum doors, windows and their frames and thresholds for doors
  • Aluminum containers for compressed or liquefied gas
  • Aluminum nails, tacks, staples (other than those of heading 83.05), screws, bolts, nuts, screw hooks, rivets, cotters, cotter-pins, washers and similar articles

The remaining items are variations of those listed above. Freeland said it’s ironic that Americans will be negatively impacted by the tariffs Trump announced.

“Any American who buys a can of beer or soda or a car or a bike will suffer. In fact, the very washing machines manufactured at the Whirlpool plant where the president made his announcement yesterday, will become more expensive for Americans and less competitive with machines produced elsewhere in the world. “

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Canada to impose $3.6B in tariffs in response to Trump's move against Canadian aluminium – CBC.ca

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The federal government will spend the next month consulting with Canadians about which U.S. metals products to target with retaliatory tariffs as a new trade dispute flares up, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday. 

The government intends to impose $3.6 billion in punitive counter-measures after spending 30 days consulting with business leaders and other Canadians about potential targets from a preliminary list.

“Canada will respond swiftly and strongly,” Freeland told a news conference.

She made the announcement a day after U.S. President Donald Trump re-imposed tariffs of 10 per cent on certain aluminum products, ending a recent period of calm on the U.S.-Canada trade front. 

The products being targeted by the U.S. are used as raw materials in other aluminum-based goods, and comprised slightly more than half of Canadian aluminum exports to the U.S. over the past year. 

Freeland said Canada would seek to avoid escalating the dispute. She said the retaliation would be reciprocal and limited in scope.

But she blasted the Trump administration — calling it the most protectionist in U.S. history. She called its rationale for new tariffs “ludicrous” and “absurd.”

She also said Americans would suffer more than anyone else — for example, she predicted a price increase on the very washing machines made at the Ohio plant where Trump announced the tariffs.  

Ford said he’s disappointed by the U.S. president’s move, which comes in the middle of a pandemic. ‘Who does this?’ he asked. 0:51

“The United States has taken the absurd decision to harm its own people at a time when its economy is suffering its deepest crisis since the Great Depression,” she said.

“Any American who buys a can of beer or a soda or a car or a bike will suffer. In fact, the washing machines Trump stood in front of yesterday will get more expensive.”

She called the tariffs “unnecessary, unwarranted and entirely unacceptable,” and said “a trade dispute is the last thing anyone needs” during an economic crisis.

The business community also lambasted Trump. 

“Here we go again,” said Maryscott Greenwood of the Canadian American Business Council, saying this is an especially bad time to trigger a trade war.

‘Bad idea’

“Poor timing, bad idea. I don’t know what else to say.”

In the U.S., a Wall Street Journal editorial accused Trump of retreating to his favourite play — tariffs — in the hope of salvaging his struggling re-election bid.

“[This is] Mr. Trump at his policy worst,” said the paper, whose conservative editorial board usually supports Trump, but frequently criticizes him on trade policy.

 Canada’s premiers are pressing Ottawa to punch back.

Ontario’s Doug Ford began a news conference Friday by raising the issue, unprompted. He said he feared steel tariffs might also be imminent, and expressed his annoyance with Trump.

“I just have to say how disappointed I am with President Trump right now,” Ford said.

“Who would do this [now, in difficult economic times]? Well, President Trump did this…. And I encouraged the deputy prime minister to put retaliatory tariffs as close as possible.”

Quebec Premier François Legault, whose province is an aluminum-producing hub, echoed the sentiment. He tweeted that he’d asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to impose counter-tariffs.

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Canadian woman urges Ottawa to return husband from Bolivia – CBC.ca

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A Canadian woman whose husband is stuck in Bolivia due to the COVID-19 travel shutdown is appealing to Ottawa to bring her husband back to her.

However, Ottawa is not planning any additional repatriation flights.

In February, Hugo Rolando Barrientos Cardozo, who is a Canadian permanent resident, left the home he shares with Megan Radford in Orleans, Ont., to tie up loose ends in Bolivia.

The plan was for her to join him in April, so they could fly back together and bring both of his dogs with them. After four years of marriage, they would finally be settled as a couple and ready to start a family.

But on March 16, days after the pandemic was declared, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians to return home while flights were available. The next day, Bolivia announced all flights in and out of the country would be suspended in four days.

Radford says the couple recently moved into a new home near Ottawa where they are hoping to start a family. (Destiny Dawn Photography)

In an instant, Barrientos Cardozo was stranded a continent away.

“I can’t sugar-coat it, it’s the worst. It’s really, really hard,” Radford said from her parents’ home in Brookside, N.S., earlier this week.

The couple is solid, she said, but “it’s just whether or not our mental health is going to be able to stay strong through it.”

Radford spoke for her husband, who declined an interview.

It’s been a long haul for the couple and other Canadians who remain separated from loved ones.

In a statement from Global Affairs Canada, a spokesperson said the final few remaining flights had concluded, and there are no plans for repatriation flights after July.

In the last few months, Ottawa returned nearly 57,000 Canadians on about 700 flights from 109 countries.

In May, Rob Oliphant, the parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs, said the job was nearly 90 per cent done, but completing the “last part of the marathon is always the toughest.”

‘Their job isn’t finished yet’

Radford has called Global Affairs’ emergency helpline, and asked her member of Parliament, Marie-France Lalonde, for help to bring her husband home.

The air travel lockdown by Bolivia has created significant challenges to return Barrientos Cardozo, Lalonde said in a written statement.

Global Affairs would not comment directly on this case, but said it is aware of Canadian citizens and permanent residents in Bolivia who want to come home, but cannot because there are no flights.

There are nearly 6,700 Canadians registered in Bolivia, though the department said registration is not an indication of a wish to stay or leave.

Radford has temporarily moved back home with her parents. The couple stays connected through daily video calls. (Elizabeth Chiu/CBC)

Radford notes that while Britain and the U.S. have had repatriation flights to Bolivia, Canada has not.

“I think their job isn’t finished yet,” she said. “There’s so many of us still waiting and saying, ‘Well, what about us?'”

The situation is urgent because Bolivia, which is ruled by an interim government and is one of Latin America’s poorest countries, is suffering under the added strain of COVID-19.

It’s so desperate that the country has imposed a strict curfew.

“They’re having to gather bodies off of the street because people don’t know where to put their dead, or they kind of just die in the streets because they can’t get into the hospitals,” Radford said.

The anxiety grows for the couple with each passing month. In October, Barrientos Cardozo’s passport will expire, adding another complication. Bolivian government offices closed in March.

Painful wait

Waiting for him alone at home for months has been a strain. In June, she moved back in with her parents and siblings because of it.

After facing the challenges of Canada’s immigration system to get her husband permanent residency status, this uncertainty is worse, she said.

The couple, who are Christians, are relying on their faith to get through this separation. But while they’re both healthy, that could change in a heartbeat with COVID-19.

“Rolo and I have been apart most of our relationship, but this is different. There’s a life-threatening disease involved,” she said. “Sometimes it’s hard to even sleep because I’m wondering if he gets sick, what’s going to happen.”

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