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Canada sends delegation to Haiti to ‘assess’ security crisis

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Canada has sent a team to Haiti to assess the country’s deteriorating security situation, as the Canadian foreign minister met with her US counterpart in Ottawa to discuss a Washington-led proposal to send an international armed force to the Caribbean nation.

In a statement on Thursday, the Canadian foreign affairs department said a government delegation was in Haiti “to consult with stakeholders on options to support Haitian people in resolving the humanitarian and security crises”.

The delegation is also considering “how Canada can contribute to the international response” in Haiti, the ministry continued, in what was dubbed an “assessment mission”.

“Canada and the international community are concerned about the violence in Haiti, in particular against women and girls. Canada will not remain idle while gangs and those who support them terrorize Haiti’s citizens and we will continue to support law-abiding Haitians to put an end to the crisis in their country,” Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said in the statement.

The announcement came as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made his first official trip to Canada to hold talks with Joly and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Haiti, which has seen rising gang violence and political instability since the killing of President Jovenel Moise in July of last year, was set to be one of the main topics of discussion during Blinken’s visit to Ottawa and Montreal this week.

“The situation [in Haiti] is simply unsustainable,” Blinken said during a news conference alongside Joly on Thursday afternoon. “We’ll continue to work together to rally international support around helping the Haitian people find a way forward,” he said.

Earlier this month, Haiti’s acting Prime Minister Ariel Henry asked the international community to help set up a “specialised armed force” to quell the violence.

An ongoing gang blockade of a key petrol terminal in the capital, Port-au-Prince, has led to dire shortages of fuel and water, while violence is rampant. Hospitals have been forced to cut back on services due to a lack of electricity, which also is complicating the response to a new outbreak of cholera.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this month that he believed “armed action” was necessary to ease the grip gangs have on the fuel terminal and to set up a humanitarian corridor to get supplies out. Guterres also had urged the international community to urgently respond to Henry’s request for assistance.

But many Haitian protesters and civil society leaders have rejected the prospect of international intervention, saying history has demonstrated that foreign forces bring “more problems than solutions”.

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Some Haitians also say Henry lacks legitimacy and they have called for him to step down. The prime minister was chosen by Moise to take up the post shortly before the president was killed last year, and Henry has the backing of the CORE Group, which includes Canada and the US.

Last week, the UN Security Council passed a resolution establishing a “sanctions regime” against Haitian gang leaders, including Jimmy “Barbecue” Cherizier, and their backers.

The initiative, led by the US and Mexico, came in response to a call from Haitians “to take action against criminal actors, including gangs and their financiers, who have been undermining stability and expanding poverty in their vibrant society”, said the US’s UN envoy, Linda Thomas-Greenfield.

‘International security mission’

The US and Mexico, meanwhile, are working on another resolution to establish “a non-UN, international security assistance mission” in Haiti to respond to the crises. Thomas-Greenfield said in mid-October that the mission would be led by “a partner country”, without elaborating.

Earlier this week, the Miami Herald newspaper, citing unidentified sources, reported that the draft resolution was on the “verge of failure after no country volunteered to contribute troops”.

But that was disputed by Brian Nichols, the assistant US secretary of state for the Western Hemisphere, who told reporters during a briefing on Wednesday that he was “very optimistic” that countries would be able to come together.

“I strongly disagree with the idea that a resolution authorising a multinational force is in peril,” he said, as reported by the AFP news agency. Nichols added that “a number of countries” have the ability to lead a mission, but that no decision had been made yet.

“Among those countries is Canada, but it’s not the only country that can do that,” he said.

Asked on Thursday if Ottawa was ready to lead the proposed mission, Joly, the foreign minister, did not answer directly. Instead, she stressed that the Canadian government would continue to support Haiti as it faced security, humanitarian and political crises.

For his part, Blinken said he and Joly had discussed what such an international force would look like and what it would need. “And we’ve both been talking to a variety of countries to gauge their interest and willingness to participate,” the US secretary of state told reporters.

“The purpose of any such mission would be to support the Haitian National Police in doing their jobs,” he said, “to make sure that the state once again actually controls the country, not gangs that right now are one of the biggest problems that we face in actually being able to move forward and help Haiti.”

Canada and the US announced on October 15 that they had sent Haiti security equipment already purchased by the country, “including tactical and armoured vehicles”, in an effort to bolster the Haitian police force.

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Show Employers You Can Hit the Ground Running

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Employers are increasingly stating: “We want someone who can hit the ground running.”

Essentially, the message is, “Don’t expect us to explain the basics. We expect you to know your sh*t.” Employers understand you’ll need time to learn their business, applications, software, infrastructure, etc. However, they expect that you’re proficient in Microsoft Office Suite software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), understand file management (creating, saving, and organizing files), and know how to troubleshoot common computer problems, and won’t be learning these basic computer skills as part of your learning curve on their dime.

Employers aren’t in the business of training people. You’re responsible for your career; therefore, you’re responsible for acquiring the skillset you need.

For an employee’s compensation to be justified, an ROI (return on investment) is required. When referring to employment, ROI refers to the value an employee brings to the company relative to their compensation. Employers pay their employees, and employees work for their wages. Employee work value is created when their work directly or indirectly results in profitably selling the company’s goods and services. Your best chance of job security (no guarantee) is to be an employee who undeniably contributes measurable value to your employer’s profitability.

(Employee’s measurable value to the company) – (Employer’s investment in compensation) = (ROI)

Understandably, employers are looking for candidates who can make an immediate impact, individuals who can jump right in, learn and adapt quickly, and start delivering results as soon as possible. Hence, you want to distinguish yourself as being capable and willing to “hit the ground running.”

Here are some tips to help you present yourself as a fast-starting, high-potential hire:

Emphasize relevant experience

Presenting irrelevant information will be perceived as lacking the ability to communicate succinctly, a highly valued skill in the business world. Only share experiences and quantified results (key), results that are pertinent to the position you’re applying for.

When crafting your resume and cover letter, identify the skills, knowledge, and previous responsibilities/quantified results that align with the job you’re aiming for. By demonstrating that you’ve “been there, done that” and brought measurable value to previous employers in a similar scenario, employers will feel confident that you can immediately deliver value.

Showcase transferable skills

Consider the universal soft skills that employers universally value.

  • Analytical
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal
  • Problem-solving
  • Project management
  • Time management

Tell STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result) stories—describing a specific situation, the task you were assigned, the actions you took, and the results of your actions—that showcase your soft skills and explain how you can leverage them to succeed in the role you’re applying for. This’ll assure your interviewer you have the fundamental skills to achieve successful outcomes.

“While working at Norback, Jenkins, & St. Clair, I led a team of five architects to redesign a historic downtown Winnipeg landmark according to strict deadlines and complex stakeholder demands. I conducted Monday morning team meetings and used Slack to provide tailored updates to keep the team aligned. As a result of my communication skills, the project was completed on time and under the $7.5 million dollars budget.”

Discuss onboarding insights

A great way to position yourself as someone eager to hit the ground running is to show that you’ve considered what it’ll take to start delivering value.

“Based on my understanding of the typical onboarding timeline for this type of position, I anticipate completing all training and ramp-up activities within my first two weeks, enabling me to begin tackling projects by my first quarter.”

Assuming you’ve researched the company and studied current industry trends, which you should have done, mention the extra steps you’ve taken to prepare for the role. This’ll show your willingness to learn and will require minimal handholding.

Emphasize quick adaptability

Employers value the ability to adapt quickly to new situations and challenges. During your interviews, share examples of your flexibility and agility.

At some point in your career, you’ve likely had to learn something new (e.g., software, operating system) on the fly. Also likely, you’ve had to navigate a major change or disruption. Using STAR stories, explain how you approached these scenarios, your strategies, and the positive outcomes.

By showing resilience, resourcefulness, and adaptability, you demonstrate that you can thrive in ambiguous or rapidly evolving environments.

Propose a transition plan.

Presenting a transition plan is a strategy that wows employers, primarily because it is rare for a candidate to do this. This shows you’re ready to take ownership of your onboarding and deliver results.

Include specifics like:

  • Milestones you aim to accomplish in your first 30, 60, and 90 days.
  • Training activities or learning opportunities you’ll pursue.
  • Initial projects or tasks you’d tackle to demonstrate your capabilities.
  • Ways you’ll quickly build relationships with your new colleagues.

Showing this level of forethought and initiative shows you’re a strategic thinker, able to organize your thoughts, and, most importantly, eager to get started.

By touting your relevant experience, showcasing your transferable skills, discussing your onboarding insights, emphasizing your quick adaptability, and proposing a detailed transition plan, you’ll position yourself as a self-driven professional capable of driving results from the start, differentiating you from your competition.

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Nick Kossovan, a well-seasoned veteran of the corporate landscape, offers “unsweetened” job search advice. You can send Nick your questions to artoffindingwork@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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Karen Read back in court after murder case of Boston police officer boyfriend ended in mistrial

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BOSTON (AP) — Karen Read returns to court Monday for the first time since her murder case involving her Boston police officer boyfriend ended in a mistrial.

Read is accused of ramming into John O’Keefe with her SUV and leaving him for dead in a snowstorm in January 2022. Her two-month trial ended when jurors declared they were hopelessly deadlocked and a judge declared a mistrial on the fifth day of deliberations.

Jury deliberations during the trial are among the issues likely to be addressed.

In several motions, the defense contends four jurors have said the jury unanimously reached a not-guilty verdict on those two charges. The jurors reported being deadlocked only on the charge of manslaughter while operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol and trying her again for murder would be unconstitutional double jeopardy, they said.

The defense also argues Judge Beverly Cannone abruptly announced the mistrial without questioning the jurors about where they stood on each of the three charges Read faced and without giving lawyers for either side a chance to comment.

Prosecutors described the defense request to drop charges of second-degree murder and leaving the scene of a deadly accident an “unsubstantiated but sensational post-trial claim” based on “hearsay, conjecture and legally inappropriate reliance as to the substance of jury deliberations.”

As they push against a retrial, the defense also wants the judge to hold a “post-verdict inquiry” and question all 12 jurors if necessary to establish the record they say should have been created before the mistrial was declared, showing jurors “unanimously acquitted the defendant of two of the three charges against her.”

After the mistrial, Cannone ordered the names of the jurors to not be released for 10 days. She extended that order indefinitely Thursday after one of the jurors filed a motion saying they feared for their own and their family’s safety if the names are made public. The order does not preclude a juror from coming forward and identifying themselves, but so far none have done so.

Prosecutors argued the defense was given a chance to respond and, after one note from the jury indicating it was deadlocked, told the court there had been sufficient time and advocated for the jury to be declared deadlocked. Prosecutors wanted deliberations to continue, which they did before a mistrial was declared the following day.

“Contrary to the representation made in the defendant’s motion and supporting affidavits, the defendant advocated for and consented to a mistrial, as she had adequate opportunities to object and instead remained silent which removes any double jeopardy bar to retrial,” prosecutors wrote in their motion.

Read, a former adjunct professor at Bentley College, had been out drinking with O’Keefe, a 16-year member of the Boston police who was found outside the Canton home of another Boston police officer. An autopsy found O’Keefe died of hypothermia and blunt force trauma.

The defense contended O’Keefe was killed inside the home after Read dropped him off and that those involved chose to frame her because she was a “convenient outsider.”

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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From Mansion to Moat: Drake’s Million Dollar Home Gets Soaked

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Toronto residents woke up to a soggy Wednesday morning after the city was pummeled by record-breaking rainfall on Tuesday. The downpour caused widespread flooding across the city, and even the opulent mansion of rap superstar Drake wasn’t spared.

 

Drake’s “Embassy” Flooded

Drake shared a video on his Instagram story showing the extent of the water damage at his Toronto mansion, nicknamed “The Embassy.” The sprawling 50,000-square-foot estate boasts an NBA-regulation basketball court and an art-deco theme, but on Tuesday, it was battling ankle-deep murky water flooding its halls.

The video shows Drake himself, clad in shorts and holding a broom, wading through the water. Someone else can be seen desperately trying to hold a large glass door shut as water surges in, presumably from a flooded patio or balcony.  Drake captioned the video with a touch of humor: “This better be espresso martini.”

The extent of the damage to the mansion remains unclear at this time.

 

Historic Rainfall Causes Citywide Flooding

The flooding at Drake’s mansion was just one symptom of the unprecedented rainfall that lashed Toronto on Tuesday. The city saw over 100 millimeters of rain in a single day, easily surpassing the average rainfall for the entire month of July (71.6 mm). This deluge makes it the fifth-wettest day ever recorded in Toronto’s history.

The heavy downpour overwhelmed the city’s drainage systems, leading to widespread flooding across neighborhoods. Emergency services were inundated with over 700 calls reporting flooded basements.  A major artery, the Don Valley Parkway, became an impassable waterway, with cars submerged almost entirely and some drivers forced to wait for rescue on the roofs of their vehicles.

 

Toronto Cleans Up After the Storm

As of Wednesday morning, the city is in cleanup mode.  Emergency crews are working to clear debris and assess the damage caused by the floods.  The extent of the financial losses incurred by homeowners and businesses is still being determined.

While Drake’s mansion may have gotten an unwelcome soaking, the true story of this weather event lies in the impact it had on ordinary citizens across Toronto. The city is now focused on recovery efforts and ensuring the safety and well-being of its residents.

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