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Canada marks first national holiday for indigenous reconciliation

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Canada on Thursday held its the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to honor the lost children and survivors of indigenous schools, following the gruesome discovery of more than 1,000 unmarked graves  at two former schools earlier this year.

The so-called residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families. Some were subjected them to abuse, rape and malnutrition at schools in what the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2015 called “cultural genocide.”

Run by the government and Christian churches – mostly Catholic – the schools’ stated aim was to assimilate indigenous children. Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau‘s government created the new federal holiday in June.

“I urge you to pause and reflect on Canada‘s full history,” said Governor General Mary May Simon, the first aboriginal person to serve as the representative in Canada of its head of state, Queen Elizabeth.

“Do it to honor those indigenous children who experienced or witnessed cruel injustices. Many emerged traumatized, many still suffer pain,” she added in a statement.

The queen sent a message, saying she joined with Canadians “to reflect on the painful history that Indigenous peoples endured in residential schools in Canada, and on the work that remains to heal and to continue to build an inclusive society.”

The discovery of the unmarked graves reopened the deep wounds https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/mass-grave-reopens-wounds-among-indigenous-survivors-colonial-canadian-school-2021-06-02 left by the European colonization of Canada and the subsequent efforts to assimilate indigenous cultures. Today indigenous peoples suffer from higher levels of poverty and violence, and shorter life expectancies.

“On this first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, we reflect on the lasting impacts of residential schools,” Trudeau said on Thursday, a day after marking the holiday at an event held on the lawn in front of parliament. “We remember the children who never made it home.”

A ceremony was held in front of parliament on Thursday, and there were similar events around the country. Later, there will be a one-hour national broadcast on the Canadian Broadcasting Corp (CBC) and other channels with the stories and perspectives of those affected by the residential school system.

“Take this new National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to set aside the impact of the untruthful version of history that has long been presented and to learn from Indigenous voices,” said former Senator Murray Sinclair, who chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

Indigenous leaders have said the day should be recognized also by provinces, so that it is not limited to federal employees. For example Ontario, the most populous province, is not recognizing the holiday and so schools, the stock market and most businesses remain open.

“If the (Ontario) government fails to properly acknowledge the theft of thousands of our children, that is part of the problem. They are the problem,” Sol Mamakwa, a New Democrat indigenous lawmaker in the Ontario legislature, told the CBC.

Multiple cities scrapped Canada Day  celebrations on July 1 after the discovery of hundreds of children’s remains, and the government has ordered all federal buildings to fly the flag at half mast since May 30.

(Reporting by Steve SchererEditing by Alistair Bell)

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China condemns U.S., Canada for sending warships through Taiwan Strait

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The  Chinese military on Sunday condemned the United States and Canada for each sending a warship through the Taiwan Strait last week, saying they were threatening peace and stability in the region.

China claims democratically-ruled Taiwan as its own territory, and has mounted repeated air force missions into Taiwan’s air defence identification zone (ADIZ) over the past year, provoking anger in Taipei.

China sent around 150 aircraft into the zone over a four-day period beginning on Oct. 1 in a further heightening of tension between Beijing and Taipei that has sparked concern internationally.

The U.S. military said the Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer USS Dewey sailed through the narrow waterway that separates Taiwan from its giant neighbour China along with the Canadian frigate HMCS Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday.

“Dewey’s and Winnipeg’s transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the commitment of the United States and our allies and partners to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” it added.

China’s People’s Liberation Army’s Eastern Theatre Command said its forces monitored the ships and “stood guard” throughout their passage.

“The United States and Canada colluded to provoke and stir up trouble… seriously jeopardising peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait,” it said.

“Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. Theatre forces always maintain a high level of alert and resolutely counter all threats and provocations.”

U.S. Navy Ships have been transiting the strait roughly monthly, to the anger of Beijing, which has accused Washington of stoking regional tensions. U.S. allies occasionally also send ships through the strait, including Britain https://www.reuters.com/world/asia-pacific/british-frigate-sails-through-taiwan-strait-2021-09-27last month.

While tensions across the Taiwan Strait have risen, there has been no shooting and Chinese aircraft have not entered Taiwanese air space, concentrating their activity in the southwestern part of the ADIZ.

While including Taiwanese territorial air space, the ADIZ encompasses a broader area that Taiwan monitors and patrols that acts to give it more time to respond to any threats.

Taiwan’s defence ministry said on Sunday that three Chinese aircraft – two J-16 fighters and an anti-submarine aircraft – flew into the ADIZ again.

(Reporting by Ryan Woo in Beijing, Ben Blanchard in Taipei and Idrees Ali in Washington; Editing by Pravin Char and John

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No end in sight to volcanic eruption on Spain’s La Palma – Canaries president

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There’s no immediate end in sight to the  volcanic eruption that has caused chaos on the Spanish isle of La Palma since it began about a month ago, the president of the Canary Islands said on Sunday.

There were 42 seismic movements on the island on Sunday, the largest of which measured 4.3, according to the Spanish National Geographical Institute.

“There are no signs that an end of the eruption is imminent even though this is the greatest desire of everyone,” President Angel Víctor Torres said at a Socialist party conference in Valencia, citing the view of scientists.

Streams of lava have laid waste to more than 742 hectares (1833 acres) of land and destroyed almost 2,000 buildings on La Palma since the volcano started erupting on Sept. 19.

About 7,000 people have been evacuated from their homes on the island, which has about 83,000 inhabitants and forms part of the Canary Islands archipelago off northwestern Africa.

Airline Binter said it had cancelled all its flights to La Palma on Sunday because of ash from the volcano.

“Due to the current situation of the ash cloud, operations with La Palma will continue to be paralyzed throughout today. We continue to evaluate the situation,” the airline tweeted.

Almost half – 22 out of 38 – of all flights to the island on Sunday have been cancelled, state airport operator Aena said, but the airport there remains open.

(Reporting by Graham Keeley; Editing by Pravin Char)

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Son of ex-Somali political aide held over UK lawmaker stabbing

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Ali Harbi Ali, the son of an ex-media adviser to a former prime minister of Somalia, has been arrested by British police under  anti-terrorism laws following the killing of lawmaker David Amess, a source close to the investigation and British media said.

Amess, 69, from Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party, was knifed repeatedly as he met constituency voters in a church on Friday in Leigh-on-Sea, east of London.

The killing took place five years after the murder of Jo Cox, a lawmaker from the opposition Labour Party, and has prompted a review of politicians’ security.

Police said they had arrested a 25-year-old British man at the scene on suspicion of murder and have said it is believed he acted alone. They have not named the suspect but used additional powers under anti-terrorism laws to detain him until Oct. 22.

A British source close to the investigation named Ali Harbi Ali, a British citizen, as the detained suspect.

Harbi Ali Kullane, the father of Ali Harbi Ali, told The Sunday Times that his son had been arrested in connection with the murder.

“At this particular moment we are going through (an)unprecedented and horrific situation,” Harbi Ali Kullane, a former adviser to Hassan Ali Khaire, a former Somali prime minister, told Reuters in an email when asked about this.

“Due to the ongoing early investigation I am obliged and commanded not to talk about it,” said Harbi Ali Kullane, who is a former director of the Somali government’s media and communication department.

British police were on Sunday searching an address in north London linked to Ali Harbi Ali, Reuters reporters said.

Interior Minister Priti Patel said on Sunday Britain is considering a number of options to boost the security of lawmakers.

(Reporting by Nazanine Moshiri in Nairobi and Guy Faulconbridge in LondonAdditional reporting by Costas PitasEditing by Alex Richardson and Frances Kerry)

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