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Canadian permanent residents blocked from leaving coronavirus epicentre

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VANCOUVER —
They are permanent residents of Canada and live in Coquitlam. But Daniela Luo and her nine-year-old daughter Dominica, who went to Wuhan, China to visit family before the coronavirus outbreak shut the city down, have learned they can’t leave on an evacuation flight being arranged by the Canadian government.

“It’s actually the Chinese government that’s not allowing people who are permanent residents of Canada to leave China,” said Luo’s husband and Dominica’s father, Monte Gisbourne.

The mother and daughter, who were both born in Wuhan, had originally planned to stay there until Feb. 15. When coronavirus began to spread, they moved up their return flight to Jan. 28. But a few days before their departure, the travel ban was put in place, keeping visitors from leaving the city. While the Canadian government is arranging to evacuate Canadian citizens from Wuhan, permanent residents who travelled there on a Chinese passport are not allowed to leave.

“The only statement I’ve heard from the Canadian government that gives me some hope is it’s policy to keep families together. I presume that was in the context of my family being permanent residents and me being a Canadians citizen and all of us living here in Canada,” said Gisbourne. “I would hope that would mean they would do their best to convince the Chinese authorities to release my wife and daughter. I don’t know what good they are to China being over there. I can’t imagine why the government would want to keep them.”

Nanaimo insurance manager Wayne Tremblay and his wife are stuck in Wuhan city, and while he qualifies to leave on the Canadian evacuation flight, his wife, who is a permanent resident of Canada, does not.

“I’m most likely going to have to leave my wife here,” said Tremblay on a Skype video call from Wuhan city. “If I don’t leave now, I don’t know when I’d be leaving. But as of now, the news that we have is that my wife wouldn’t be able to go.”

Tremblay is concerned about leaving his wife behind in the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak, but they’ve decided he has to go back to B.C. as soon as he gets the chance.

“For us, it’s more important we start the process now so I can get to Canada, get out of quarantine and get back to providing for my family,” said Tremblay.

An eight months pregnant woman originally from Langley who’s lived in Wuhan for nearly five years has successfully made it out. Lauren Williams, her husband Tom, and their two-year-old son were on an evacuation flight that arrived in the U.K. on Friday morning. The family was allowed on the plane because Tom has British citizenship. They’ll now be quarantined for two weeks near Liverpool.

Monte Gisbourne knows his wife and daughter will likely be quarantined when they get back to B.C. He just hopes it can happen sooner rather than later.

“There is a great amount of love between us. It has to be electronic and long distance for now. And I’m remaining hopeful there will be an answer to this, and they’re going to allow them out,” he said.

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Hundreds more unmarked graves found at erstwhile Saskatchewan residential school

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An indigenous group in Saskatchewan on Thursday said it had found the unmarked graves of an estimated 751 people at a now-defunct Catholic residential school, just weeks after a similar, smaller discovery rocked the country.

The latest discovery, the biggest to date, is a grim reminder of the years of abuse and discrimination indigenous communities have suffered in Canada even as they continue to fight for justice and better living conditions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “terribly saddened” by the discovery at Marieval Indian Residential School about 87 miles (140 km) from the provincial capital Regina. He told indigenous people that “the hurt and the trauma that you feel is Canada’s responsibility to bear.”

It is not clear how many of the remains detected belong to children, Cowessess First Nation Chief Cadmus Delorme told reporters, adding that oral stories mentioned adults being buried at the site.

Delorme later told Reuters some of the graves belong to non-indigenous people who may have belonged to the church. He said the First Nation hopes to find the gravestones that once marked these graves, after which they may involve police.

Delorme said the church that ran the school removed the headstones.

“We didn’t remove the headstones. Removing headstones is a crime in this country. We are treating this like a crime scene,” he said.

The residential school system, which operated between 1831 and 1996, removed about 150,000 indigenous children from their families and brought them to Christian residential schools, mostly Catholic, run on behalf of the federal government.

“Canada will be known as a nation who tried to exterminate the First Nations,” said Bobby Cameron, Chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, which represents 74 First Nations in Saskatchewan. “This is just the beginning.”

OLD WOUNDS

Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which published a report that found the residential school system amounted to cultural genocide, has said a cemetery was left on the Marieval site after the school building was demolished.

The local Catholic archdiocese gave Cowessess First Nation C$70,000 ($56,813) in 2019 to help restore the site and identify unmarked graves, said spokesperson Eric Gurash. He said the archdiocese gave Cowessess all its death records for the period Catholic parties were running the school.

In a letter to Delorme on Thursday, Archbishop Don Bolen reiterated an earlier apology for the “failures and sins of Church leaders and staff” and pledged to help identify the remains.

Heather Bear, who went to Marieval as a day student in the 1970s and is also vice-chief of the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, recalled a small cemetery at the school but not of the size revealed on Thursday.

“You just didn’t want to be walking around alone in (the school),” she recalled. There was a “sadness that moves. And I think every residential school has that sadness looming.”

The Cowessess First Nation began a ground-penetrating radar search on June 2, after the discovery of 215 unmarked graves at the Kamloops Residential School in British Columbia outraged the country. Radar at Marieval found 751 “hits” as of Wednesday with a 10% margin of error, meaning at least 600 graves on the site.

The Kamloops discovery reopened old wounds in Canada about the lack of information and accountability around the residential school system, which forcibly separated indigenous children from their families and subjected them to malnutrition and physical and sexual abuse.

Pope Francis said in early June that he was pained by the Kamloops revelation and called for respect for the rights and cultures of native peoples. But he stopped short of the direct apology some Canadians had demanded.

Thursday was a difficult day, Delorme told Reuters. But he wants his young children to know “we will get the reconciliation one day with action like today.”

($1 = 1.2321 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Anna Mehler Paperny in Toronto and Moira Warburton in Vancouver; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Alistair Bell, Grant McCool and Daniel Wallis)

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Teamsters votes to fund and support Amazon workers

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The International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a labor union in the United States and Canada, said on Thursday it has voted to formalize a resolution to support and fund employees of Amazon.com Inc in their unionization efforts.

Amazon did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)

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Citigroup names new sales head for Treasury and Trade Solutions unit

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Citigroup Inc has named Steve Elms as the new sales head for the bank’s Treasury and Trade Solutions (TTS) unit effective immediately, according to an internal memo shared by a company spokesperson.

Elms, who will oversee the management of the global sales teams, has been involved with the bank’s TTS division for over 10 years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

TTS is a division of the bank’s Institutional Clients group. The segment offers cash management and trade services and finance to multinational corporations, financial institutions and public sector organizations around the world.

(Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru and David Henry in New York; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)

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