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Canada News for Jan. 9: The latest on Canada’s plan to replace aging fighter jets

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Canada news

Canada news roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Jan. 9 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Canada’s defence minister is set to provide an update today on the military’s plans to replace its aging fleet of fighter jets.

No details on Anita Anand’s morning announcement were immediately available, but information disclosed last month shed some light on what lies in store.

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The Canadian Press previously reported that the Department of National Defence received approval to spend $7 billion on 16 F-35 fighter jets along with related gear, technology and facilities.

The expected move is part of a decade-long effort to buy 88 fighter jets to replace aging CF-18s.

Experts have long argued upgrades to the fighter jet fleet and its associated infrastructure are necessary given the state of the Air Force’s current equipment and facilities.

Anand’s announcement is scheduled to get underway at 10 a.m.

Also this …

Experts are urging the leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to take a continental approach to this week’s North American Leaders’ Summit.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, President Joe Biden and Mexico’s Andrés Manuel López Obrador — the so-called “Three Amigos” — will meet tomorrow in Mexico City.

Eric Farnsworth, who leads the D-C office of the Council of the Americas and the Americas Society, says a continental vision is key to tackling the economic and foreign policy challenges of the post-pandemic world.

Trudeau will meet with business leaders from across the continent later today before the summit gets underway in earnest.

He and López Obrador will both have separate bilateral meetings with Biden before the formalities get underway.

On Wednesday, Trudeau will also give a keynote speech on Canada’s relationship with Mexico before he sits down with his Mexican counterpart to discuss shared priorities like trade, investment, climate change and Indigenous relations.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

NEW YORK _ Nurses at two of New York City’s largest hospitals were poised to go on strike Monday in a dispute over pay and staffing levels after a weekend of negotiations that has yet to produce a deal for a new contract.

The walkout, set to begin at 6 a.m., would involve as many as 3,500 nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and around 3,600 at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan.

The New York State Nurses Association, which represents the workers, said it was being forced into the drastic step because of chronic understaffing that leaves them caring for too many patients.

“Nurses don’t want to strike. Bosses have pushed us to strike by refusing to seriously consider our proposals to address the desperate crisis of unsafe staffing that harms our patients,” the union said in a statement late Sunday.

The hospitals have been getting ready for a walkout by transferring patients, diverting ambulances to other institutions, postponing nonemergency medical procedures and arranging to bring in temporary staffing.

Montefiore and Mount Sinai are the last of a group of hospitals with contracts with the union that expired simultaneously. The Nurses Association had initially warned that it would strike at all of them at the same time _ a potential calamity even in a city with as many hospitals as New York. But one-by-one, the other hospitals struck agreements with the union as the deadline approached.

If the nurses strike, patients are likely to see disruptions in care such as emergency room visits and childbirth.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

RIO DE JANEIRO _ Brazilian authorities were picking up pieces and investigating Monday after thousands of ex-President Jair Bolsonaro’s supporters stormed Congress, the Supreme Court and presidential palace then trashed the nation’s highest seats of power.

The protesters were seeking military intervention to either restore the far-right Bolsonaro to power or oust the newly inaugurated leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in scenes of chaos and destruction reminiscent of the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.

Rioters donning the green and yellow of the national flag on Sunday broke windows, toppled furniture, hurled computers and printers to the ground. They punctured a massive Emiliano Di Cavalcanti painting in five places, overturned the U-shaped table at which Supreme Court justices convene, ripped a door off one justice’s office and vandalized an iconic statue outside the court. The monumental buildings’ interiors were left in states of ruin.

In a news conference late Sunday, Brazil’s minister of institutional relations said the buildings would be inspected for evidence including fingerprints and images to hold people to account, and that the rioters apparently intended to spark similar such actions countrywide. Justice Minister Flavio Dino said the acts amounted to terrorism and coup-mongering and that authorities have begun tracking those who paid for the buses that transported protesters to the capital.

“They will not succeed in destroying Brazilian democracy. We need to say that fully, with all firmness and conviction,” Dino said. “We will not accept the path of criminality to carry out political fights in Brazil. A criminal is treated like a criminal.”

So far, 300 people have been arrested, the federal district’s civil police said on Twitter.

On this day in 1899 …

Manitoba reached a record low of -52.8 Celsius (63-below Fahrenheit).

In entertainment …

NEW YORK _ The prize for best film of the year at the National Board of Review Awards went to “Top Gun: Maverick.” Martin McDonagh’s “The Banshees of Inisherin” took home the most trophies. But the night belonged to its best-director honoree, Steven Spielberg, and the parade of tributes paid to the 76-year-old filmmaker.

So effusive was the praise for Spielberg that Colin Farrell, there to accept the award for best actor for his performance in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” said the experience of first watching “E.T.” was the most euphoric of his life, ranking it even above the births of his two children.

“I’m glad this isn’t televised,” said Farrell.

Despite the lack of a broadcast from Cipriani’s 42 Street in midtown Manhattan, the National Board of Review Awards have long been a regular and starry stop in Hollywood’s awards season. This year’s ceremony, hosted Sunday for the seventh time by Willie Geist, came right in the thick of a battery of big dates on the Oscar calendar. The Golden Globes are Tuesday, the Screen Actors Guild nominations are Wednesday and voting for the Academy Awards starts Thursday.

That meant that the NBR Awards, put on by a long-running group of film enthusiasts, was a chance to stoke buzz and polish acceptance speeches. The National Board of Review makes it easier, too, by announcing winners in advance and pairing each with a lavish introduction from a collaborator or friend. Spielberg, who won best director for his movie-memoir “The Fabelmans,” was introduced by “West Side Story” star Ariana DeBose.

Though Spielberg is renowned as a hit-maker, “The Fabelmans” has struggled to ignite at the box office with just $15.1 million worldwide, sapping some of its Oscar momentum.

Meanwhile, the awards hopes for a pair of theatrical successes _”Top Gun: Maverick” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once” _ have risen. “Top Gun” star Tom Cruise didn’t attend Sunday, but producer Jerry Bruckheimer applauded him while accepting for best film.

After being introduced by her “Crazy Rich Asians” co-star Awkwafina, “Everything Everywhere All at Once” star Michelle Yeoh accepted the award for best actress. Best supporting actress went to Janelle Monae for the whodunit sequel “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery.” Brendan Gleeson, who stars opposite Farrell in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” wasn’t there to accept his award for best supporting actor, though Farrell read a letter from him. Gleeson remarked on the success of Martin McDonagh’s movie: “Happy days for a sad film.”

Did you see this?

MAZATLAN, Mexico _ The mayor of a Mexican city caught up in a wave of drug cartel violence last week wasted little time reassuring Canadians and other foreign visitors that his city is safe for travellers.

Edgar Gonzalez, in a video posted online by the City of Mazatlan, strolled through his city’s historic centre on Friday, shaking hands and posing for pictures with tourists.

“These same tourists who are practically established in Mazatlan are very confident, very calm, we see them in the historic centre relaxed, calm, no problems, not worried, they are in the restaurants, in the streets, in the galleries, on the boardwalk, everywhere completely relaxed, calm,” Gonzalez said in a news release that was translated and posted to Facebook by a regional travel organization.

A number of Canadian tourists in the northwestern area of Mexico had to remain in their hotels for several days after the arrest of a major alleged drug cartel leader led to violence in the region.

Some described the area as “back to normal” on the weekend, while others suggested an atmosphere of uneasiness persisted.

Several airports that had closed due to the violence had reopened by Saturday, and flights resumed from Mazatlan to cities in Western Canada including Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Vancouver.

Global Affairs on Sunday continued to advise Canadians travelling in Sinaloa, the state where Mazatlan is located, to avoid non-essential travel “due to high levels of violence and organized crime,” but exempted Mazatlan itself from that warning.

The violence followed the arrest of alleged drug trafficker Ovidio (The Mouse) Guzman, who is a son of former cartel boss Joaquin (El Chapo) Guzman.

The Canadian government issued a shelter-in-place advisory on Thursday, saying the widespread violence included burning cars, exchanges of fire and threats to essential infrastructure, including airports.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 9, 2023.

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Driver charged with first-degree murder in Quebec daycare bus attack that killed two

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Quebec daycare bus attack

The driver of a bus that crashed into a suburban Montreal daycare this morning, killing two children, has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Pierre Ny St-Amand, 51, appeared by video late this afternoon from a hospital room and will remain detained

Court documents show he faces a total of nine charges, including attempted murder, aggravated assault and assault causing bodily harm.

Six other children were injured and transported to hospitals in Laval and Montreal, but doctors said their lives were not in danger.

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At around 8:30 a.m., a Société de transport de Laval bus crashed into the daycare building, which sits at the end of a driveway a significant distance from the nearest bus route.

Witnesses who rushed to the scene said they had to subdue the driver, who seemed to be delirious and removed his clothing after getting off the bus.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.

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Canadian assessment team deployed to Turkey after earthquake

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Canadian assessment team deployed to Turkey

A senior government official says a Canadian assessment team is on its way to Turkey to determine how Canada can contribute to earthquake relief efforts.

International Development Minister Harjit Sajjan was expected to formally announce the deployment of the Canadian Disaster Assessment Team this evening.

The senior official, who spoke on background pending Sajjan’s official confirmation, said the team consists of a handful of military and Global Affairs officials.

The official underscored that the deployment of the team does not automatically guarantee a further deployment of Canadian resources to the country.

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The earthquake, which razed thousands of buildings in Turkey and Syria on Monday, is one of the deadliest quakes worldwide in more than a decade and the federal government is facing criticism that the window to help with rescue efforts is closing.

Search teams from more than two dozen countries have joined tens of thousands of local emergency personnel and Canadian humanitarian aid workers with charitable organizations were arriving Wednesday

Defence Minister Anita Anand said late Tuesday that the federal government had not ruled out sending a Disaster Assistance Response Team, to help with the recovery effort, but that it was working to figure out what would be most useful.

The assessment team would recommend whether to send additional support, such as a DART.

Earlier Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government would match funds donated to Canadian Red Cross relief efforts up to $10 million on top of an initial aid package of $10 million.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.

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Canadian soccer player describes the horror of the earthquake in Turkey

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Canadian soccer player

Canadian soccer player Sam Adekugbe is one of the lucky ones. He managed to escape earthquake-ravaged Antakya in Turkey.

Some of his teammates and staff at his club Hatayspor are still missing.

The 28-year-old from Calgary is now safe in Istanbul with Canada captain Atiba Hutchinson, who plays in the Turkish Super Lig for Besiktas. But in a Zoom call Wednesday sitting next to Hutchinson, a sombre Adekugbe told a harrowing tale of being caught in the quake — and the horror of what he saw in the aftermath.

“Unfathomable. Something you never really expect,” said Adekugbe, who looked shell-shocked.

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Adekugbe was relaxing at home with some teammates after a 1-0 win over visiting Kasimpasa in a Turkish league game Sunday evening. The quake began as he started cleaning up his home when they left.

He started shaking, which initially made him think he was having a panic attack. Then the furniture and TV began to tip over and cups and dishes smashed in the kitchen.

He went outside to find the road split and people yelling amid freezing rain and lighting strikes. After witnessing the damage around his home, he drove the 20 minutes to the team training ground, seeing the devastation along the way.

“It just felt like a movie. You’re seeing collapsed buildings, fires. People yelling, people crying,” he said. “People digging through the rubble. Broken pieces of houses. Just things you never really expect.”

It got worse the closer he got to the centre of the city, which is located 1,100 kilometres southeast of Istanbul in a region bordered by the Mediterranean and Syria.

“Roads split. Bridges broken. Twelve-storey highrises just completely collapsed. Families looking for loved ones. Parents looking for their kids. Kids looking for their parents. It was just something unfathomable. Something you never really expect.”

Adekugbe says people are still missing, including the team’s sporting director, Taner Savut. There is confusion over the whereabouts of Ghana international Christian Atsu, who was at Adekugbe’s home that night.

Reports of Atsu being rescued are now in doubt, said Adekugbe, who joined the search for survivors after getting to the training ground.

“It’s also people who work around the team,” Adekugbe said.

He says one of the team’s equipment men died in the quake. So did the daughters and mother of a woman who works in the team kitchen.

The wife of another equipment man needs urgent medical attention, facing having her arm amputated if she doesn’t get it.

“Of course I’m thankful that a lot of my teammates have been found. But the people that do help the team, the people who work around the club, they still have loved ones that are missing and unaccounted for. Really it starts to hit home when you just see the agony, the desperation on their faces,” he said.

In the light of day, the horror grew.

“You’re looking through rubble trying to find your teammates. You’re trying to yell for them in like darkened spaces of apartments that used to be standing,” Adekugbe said. “It’s just something you never find yourself doing. People coming back with broken bones. People still missing to this day. It’s something you can’t really explain.”

Adekugbe and some of his teammates managed to get out thanks to his coach, Volkan Demirel, who used to play for Fenerbahce, another Turkish club based in Istanbul. He called the Fenerbahce president who organized a plane departing from a city about a 150-minute drive away.

Adekugbe and other Hatayspor players and staff were bused to the waiting plane, which took them to Istanbul.

“We were very lucky,” Adekugbe said.

“I just grabbed what I could … I have three suitcases and my dog.”

Hutchinson was waiting to take him in. Adekugbe had called him in the aftermath of the quake, showing him the damage via FaceTime.

He called his parents when he got to the training ground.

Antakya is renowned for its cuisine, which has many Middle Eastern influences. UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has designated Antakya as a “city of gastronomy.”

Adekugbe, who joined Hatayspor in June 2021 from Norway’s Valerenga Fotball, has won 37 caps for Canada and saw action in all three of Canada’s games at the World Cup in Qatar.

Born in London, England, he was three when his family moved to Manchester and 10 when it came to Calgary.

At 16, he moved to Vancouver to join the Whitecaps residency program. He signed a homegrown contract with the MLS team in 2013 but made just 16 appearances for the team over the next four seasons, spending much of the time out on loan.

Adekugbe had loans stints with Brighton in the English Championship and Sweden’s IFK Goteborg before joining Valerenga in January 2018.

While Istanbul escaped quake damage, Hutchinson’s concern for Adekugbe grew when internet connection was lost and a second quake hit.

Both players urged Canadians to donate to relief organizations to help the region and its people.

“There’s a lot of people that are still under the rubble,” Hutchinson said.

“People are just really in bad conditions right now,” he added. “It’s really cold here. Just making it through the day and the night, it’s extremely difficult.”

Follow @NeilMDavidson on Twitter

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 8, 2023.

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