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Canada’s Trans Mountain pipeline sees fortunes shine after KXL’s demise

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Keystone XL

By Rod Nickel and Steve Scherer

WINNIPEG/OTTAWA (Reuters) – The expansion of Canada‘s government-owned Trans Mountain pipeline assumes greater importance for the oil sector after the cancellation of rival Keystone XL reduced future options to carry crude, potential buyers say.

Trans Mountain Corp, a government corporation, is spending C$12.6 billion ($9.9 billion) to nearly triple capacity to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd), a 14% increase from current total Canadian capacity.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government bought the 68-year-old pipeline in 2018 when previous owner Kinder Morgan faced legal hurdles to expand the 1,150-kilometre (715-mile) line running from Alberta to the British Columbia coast. Ottawa has always said it would find new owners.

This week, U.S. President Joe Biden revoked the presidential permit for TC Energy’s Keystone XL pipeline (KXL), undoing efforts by former President Donald Trump to build the line that would have supplied U.S. refiners with 830,000 bpd of Canadian oil.

That decision has made the case for completing Trans Mountain’s expansion stronger.

“This pipeline is even more valuable now,” said Joe Dion, chief executive of Western Indigenous Pipeline Group, one of several First Nations groups interested in buying Trans Mountain.

“Everybody thought Trudeau wasn’t going to get things done in Canada, and he’s the one who successfully got a pipeline over Trump.”

Trans Mountain takes on more strategic importance with KXL cancelled, but it does not mean his group would pay more for it, Dion said.

Trans Mountain has completed 22% of the expansion project, called TMX, which is scheduled for service in December 2022. Suncor Energy Inc, Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and BP PLC are among the committed shippers who have secured 80% of its additional capacity long-term.

“All eyes are on TMX,” said Delbert Wapass, executive chair of Project Reconciliation, a First Nations coalition that hopes to buy 51% this year.

Sharing Trans Mountain’s profits would help improve living conditions on First Nations, he said.

Canadian companies have long struggled to secure top price for their crude as pipeline congestion forced them to sell at a discount.

However reduced fuel demand due to pandemic travel lockdowns and advancing pipeline expansions have eased the flow. Even without KXL, Canada may have surplus export pipeline capacity once TMX enters service, said Matt Taylor, director of infrastructure research at investment bank Tudor Pickering Holt, who expects modest oil production growth to 2025.

Ottawa plans to sell the pipeline once there are fewer risks to completion and consultations wrap up with First Nations, said Finance Ministry spokeswoman Katherine Cuplinskas. TMX has faced stiff opposition over spill concerns.

A second government source said it bought Trans Mountain for its strategic importance, as its Pacific Ocean connection enables shippers to move oil to Asia, as well as the United States, which buys most Canadian crude.

Now its importance is even greater, the source said.

Enbridge Inc, which runs North America’s Mainline oil network, also stands to gain from KXL’s demise. It intends to sell long-term contracts for most of the Mainline’s capacity, pending regulator approval, rather than continue to ration it on the spot market.

KXL’s cancellation frees up long-term commitments by shippers who may now sign Mainline contracts, Taylor said.

($1 = 1.2710 Canadian dollars)

 

(Reporting by Rod Nickel in Winnipeg and Steve Scherer and Julie Gordon in Ottawa; Editing by Marguerita Choy)

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Three die after head-on collision between pickup truck and Honda Civic in Cape Breton

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MABOU, N.S. – Three people have died after a head-on collision in western Cape Breton involving a pickup truck and a Honda Civic.

RCMP say the collision occurred early Saturday morning on Highway 19 near the community of Mabou.

The two youths in the Honda Civic, both residents of Inverness County, died in the crash.

A passenger in the truck, a 71-year-old man from Utah, was transported by paramedics but died in hospital as a result of his injuries.

The other three occupants in the F-150, also from Utah, suffered serious injuries and were transported to hospital for treatment.

A release from the RCMP says they are investigating the cause of the accident.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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A 7-month-old tree kangaroo peeked out of its mom’s pouch at the Bronx Zoo and here are the photos

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NEW YORK (AP) — The second baby of a tree-dwelling kangaroo made its public debut this week in New York, poking its pink head head out of its mom’s furry white pouch.

The tiny Matschie’s tree kangaroo, or Dendrolagus matschiei, was born in December and is the second born to the same mother since 2022. It also was the third of its kind born at the Bronx Zoo since 2008.

The tree kangaroo species only gestate for about six weeks before they are born and immediately crawl into their marsupial moms’ pouches, the zoo said in a statement. It takes around seven months for the young to start peeking out of the pouch.

There are only around 2,500 tree kangaroos in the wild and 42 in captivity, the zoo said. In a statement Friday, a Bronx Zoo spokesperson said that the kangaroo’s birth was significant for the network of zoos that aims to preserve genetic diversity among endangered animals.

“It’s a small population and because of that births are not very common,” said Jessica Moody, curator of primates and small mammals at the Bronx Zoo. “So it’s a rare and exciting event,” adding that baby tree kangaroos are “possibly one of the cutest animals to have ever lived. They look like stuffed animals, it’s amazing.”

The tree kangaroos are native to the Huon Peninsula in Papua New Guinea, where they are threatened by human activities such as habitat destruction and hunting, the statement said. They live primarily in trees and are smaller than Australia’s better-known red kangaroo. An adult tree kangaroo weighs between 20 and 25 pounds (9–11 kilograms). The joeys are about the size of a human thumb when they are born, but grow to as long as 30 inches (76 centimeters).

Wildlife restoration programs often lean on zoos for genetic diversity. For example, wolves reintroduced to the wild are often given zoo-born pups to raise, reducing the risk of inbreeding while expanding wild populations.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Harris, endorsed by Biden, could become first woman, second Black person to be president

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WASHINGTON (AP) — She’s already broken barriers, and now Kamala Harris could become the first Black woman to head a major party presidential ticket after President Joe Biden abruptly ended his reelection bid and endorsed her.

Biden announced Sunday that was stepping aside amid widespread concerns about the viability of his candidacy.

Harris is the first woman, Black person or person of South Asian descent to serve as vice president. She joined the Biden ticket after a rocky and abbreviated run of her own for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.

Biden said Sunday that deciding on Harris as vice president was “the best decision I’ve made.” He wrote on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, that she had his full support and endorsement to run against Donald Trump for the presidency. “Democrats — it’s time to come together and beat Trump,” he said. “Let’s do this.”

However, her nomination is hardly a sure thing. The party is split over whether Harris should ascend or there should be a quick “mini primary.”

A recent poll from the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that about 6 in 10 Democrats believe Harris would do a good job in the top slot. About 2 in 10 Democrats don’t believe she would, and another 2 in 10 say they don’t know enough to say.

The poll showed that about 4 in 10 U.S. adults have a favorable opinion of Harris, whose name is pronounced “COMM-a-la,” while about half have an unfavorable opinion.

A former prosecutor and U.S. senator from California, Harris will face doubters as she seeks to reassure the party she can win the presidency in November. Her first test will be at the Democratic convention in Chicago in August.

Even before Biden’s endorsement, Harris was widely viewed as the favorite to replace him on the ticket. Actively campaigning in recent weeks, she’s had a head start over potential challengers, including California Gov. Gavin Newsom, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro.

Harris will seek to avoid the fate of Hubert Humphrey, who as vice president won the Democratic nomination in 1968 after President Lyndon Johnson declined to run for reelection amid national dissatisfaction over the Vietnam War. Humphrey lost that year to Republican Richard Nixon.

Nixon resigned in 1974 during the Watergate scandal and was replaced by Vice President Gerald Ford. Ford never won a term of his own.

Vice presidents are always in line to step into the top job if the president dies or is incapacitated. However, Harris has faced an unusual level of scrutiny because of Biden’s age. He was the oldest president in history, taking office at 78 and announcing his reelection bid at 81. Harris is 59.

She addressed the question of succession in an interview with The Associated Press during a trip to Jakarta in September 2023.

“Joe Biden is going to be fine, so that is not going to come to fruition,” she stated. “But let us also understand that every vice president — every vice president — understands that when they take the oath they must be very clear about the responsibility they may have to take over the job of being president.”

“I’m no different.”

Harris was born Oct. 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to parents who met as civil rights activists. Her hometown and nearby Berkeley were at the heart of the racial and social justice movements of the time, and Harris was both a product and a beneficiary.

She spoke often about attending demonstrations in a stroller and growing up around adults “who spent full time marching and shouting about this thing called justice.” In first grade, she was bused to school as part of the second class to integrate Berkeley public education.

Harris’ parents divorced when she was young, and she was raised by her mother alongside her younger sister, Maya. She attended Howard University, a historically Black school in Washington, and joined the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, which became a source of sisterhood and political support over the years.

After graduating, Harris returned to the San Francisco Bay Area for law school and chose a career as a prosecutor, a move that surprised her activist family.

She said she believed tht working for change inside the system was just as important as agitating from outside. By 2003, she was running for her first political office, taking on the longtime San Francisco district attorney.

Few city residents knew her name, and Harris set up an ironing board as a table outside grocery stores to meet people. She won and quickly showed a willingness to chart her own path. Months into her tenure, Harris declined to seek the death penalty for the killer of a young police officer slain in the line of duty, fraying her relationship with city cops.

The episode did not stop her political ascent. In late 2007, while still serving as district attorney, she was knocking on doors in Iowa for then-candidate Barack Obama. After he became president, Obama endorsed her in her 2010 race for California attorney general.

Once elected to statewide office, she pledged to uphold the death penalty despite her moral opposition to it. She refused to defend Proposition 8, a voter-backed initiative banning same-sex marriage. Harris also played a key role in a $25 billion settlement with the nation’s mortgage lenders following the foreclosure crisis.

As killings of young Black men by police received more attention, Harris implemented some changes, including tracking racial data in police stops, but didn’t pursue more aggressive measures such as requiring independent prosecutors to investigate police shootings.

Harris’ record as a prosecutor would dog her when she launched a presidential bid in 2019, as some progressives and younger voters demanded swifter change. But during her time on the job, she also forged a fortuitous relationship with Beau Biden, Joe Biden’s son who was then Delaware’s attorney general. Beau Biden died of brain cancer in 2015, and his friendship with Harris figured heavily years later as his father chose Harris to be his running mate.

Harris married entertainment lawyer Douglas Emhoff in 2014, and she became stepmother to Emhoff’s two children, Ella and Cole, who referred to her as “Momala.”

Harris had a rare opportunity to advance politically when Sen. Barbara Boxer, who had served more than two decades, announced she would not run again in 2016.

In office, Harris quickly became part of the Democratic resistance to Trump and gained recognition for her pointed questioning of his nominees. In one memorable moment, she pressed now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh on whether he knew any laws that gave government the power to regulate a man’s body. He did not, and the line of questioning galvanized women and abortion rights activists.

A little more than two years after becoming a senator, Harris announced her campaign for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. But her campaign was marred by infighting and she failed to gain traction, ultimately dropping out before the Iowa caucuses.

Eight months later, Biden selected Harris as his running mate. As he introduced her to the nation, Biden reflected on what her nomination meant for “little Black and brown girls who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities.”

“Today, just maybe, they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way, as the stuff of presidents and vice presidents,” he said.

Once in the job, Harris worked to stem migration from Central America, but her efforts did not stop the movement of people leaving their corrupt and impoverished countries to seek safety and prosperity in the U.S.

Nor was there much progress to be made on voting rights, another issue that was part of Harris’ portfolio. When Republicans limited ballot access in various states, Democrats lacked the necessary muscle in Congress to push back at the national level.

Harris eventually carved out a role as the administration’s most outspoken advocate for reproductive rights after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that had guaranteed abortion access nationwide.

Much of Harris’ work has focused on bolstering her party’s coalition of women, young people and voters of color. And in halls of power dominated by men — both in Washington and around the world — she has remained keenly aware of her status as a political pioneer.

She often repeated a line she credited to her mother: “Kamala, you may be the first to do many things, but make sure you’re not the last.”



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