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Coronavirus: 500,000 surgical masks donated to Canada from Taiwan – Global News

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A donation of 500,000 surgical masks needed by health-care workers on the front lines of the novel coronavirus pandemic has been officially handed over to Canada from Taiwan.

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer posted a picture Tuesday of himself accepting the masks at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in Canada, thanking Taiwan for its “generous donation.”

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A spokesperson for the office confirmed the handover took place on Monday.

The masks arrived in separate shipments from Taipei between April 24 and 28, and officials from the Public Health Agency of Canada then spent “a few days” conducting compliance tests to ensure they could be used, the spokesperson said.

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A press release from the Taipei office on April 28 announcing the donation says 400,000 of the masks will go to the Canadian Red Cross, who will distribute them to hospitals, front-line workers and Indigenous communities.


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Out of the remainder, 50,000 masks will be sent to Ontario, while Alberta and British Columbia will each receive 25,000. The office said the premiers of those provinces made formal requests for the deliveries.

The office’s representative, Ambassador Winston Wen-yi Chen, said in the release that the donation was a chance for Taiwan to “extend a helping hand to the frontline medical staff in Canada.”






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Canada is continuing to order personal protective equipment (PPE) from around the world, particularly from Chinese suppliers, to add to its National Emergency Strategic Stockpile and distribute supplies across the country.

According to Public Services and Procurement Canada, the government has ordered 327.5 million surgical masks. As of April 30, Canada has received just under 26 million of those masks, which are subject to the same testing as the ones from Taiwan.

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Nearly 1.5 billion other PPE supplies combined have also been ordered, according to PSPC, with over 20 million received.


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Taiwan has reported far fewer cases of the coronavirus than many of its neighbours, due to early and effective detection and prevention work.

Yet Taiwan continues to be blocked from joining the World Health Organization by China, which considers the island one of its provinces.


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Taiwan argues its exclusion, even as an observer at WHO meetings, has created a dangerous gap in the fight against the pandemic.

In the meantime, the state says it will continue to donate supplies wherever it can.

“Taiwan can help and Taiwan is helping,” Chen said.

“We will win this fight against COVID-19 only by working together.”

— With files from Reuters

© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday made history by nominating the first judge of color to sit on the country’s Supreme Court, which has only ever had white justices in its 146-year existence.

Mahmud Jamal, who has been a judge on Ontario‘s court of appeal since 2019, trained as a lawyer and appeared before the Supreme Court in 35 appeals addressing a range of civil, constitutional, criminal and regulatory issues.

“He’ll be a valuable asset to the Supreme Court – and that’s why, today, I’m announcing his historic nomination to our country’s highest court,” Trudeau said on Twitter.

Trudeau has frequently said there is a need to address systemic racism in Canada.

Jamal, born in Nairobi in 1967, emigrated with his family to Britain in 1969 where he said he was “taunted and harassed because of my name, religion, or the color of my skin.”

In 1981 the family moved to Canada, where his “experiences exposed me to some of the challenges and aspirations of immigrants, religious minorities, and racialized persons,” he said in a document submitted to support his candidacy.

Canada is a multicultural country, with more than 22% of the population comprised of minorities and another 5% aboriginal, according to the latest census.

“We know people are facing systemic discrimination, unconscious bias and anti-black racism every single day,” Trudeau said last year.

Jamal will replace Justice Rosalie Abella, who is due to retire from the nine-person court on July 1.

 

(Reporting by David Ljunggren in Ottawa; Editing by Matthew Lewis)

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Donors pledge $1.5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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More than 30 countries and two development banks on Thursday pledged more than $1.5 billion in grants and loans to aid Venezuelan migrants fleeing a humanitarian crisis, as well as their host countries and vulnerable people still in the country.

The $954 million in grants announced at a donors’ conference hosted by Canada – which included pledges of $407 million from the United States and C$115 million Canadian dollars ($93.12 million) from Canada – exceeded the $653 million announced at a similar event last year.

But that fell short of the needs of countries hosting the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country since 2015, as the once-prosperous nation’s economy collapsed into a years-long hyperinflationary recession under socialist President Nicolas Maduro.

Most have resettled in developing countries in Latin America and the Caribbean who have themselves seen their budgets stretched thin due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Does this cover all needs? Of course not,” Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, told reporters. “We will have to continue to encourage donors to support the response.”

At the conference, Ecuadorean President Guillermo Lasso announced that the country – which hosts some 430,000 Venezuelans – would begin a new process to regularize migrants’ status. That came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the 1.8 million Venezuelans it hosts.

Karina Gould, Canada‘s minister for international development, said the amount pledged showed donors were eager to support such efforts.

“There is that recognition on behalf of the global community that there needs to be support to ensure that that generosity can continue, and can actually deepen, in host countries,” Gould said.

In addition, the World Bank and Inter-American Developmemt Bank pledged $600 million in loans to address the crisis, Gould said.

($1 = 1.2349 Canadian dollars)

(Reporting by Luc Cohen, Michelle Nichols and David Ljunggren; Editing by Cynthia Osterman and Aurora Ellis)

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Ecuador to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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Ecuador will implement a new “normalization process” for the 430,000 Venezuelan migrants living in the South American country, President Guillermo Lasso said on Thursday, without providing further details of the plan.

Lasso’s announcement, at a conference hosted by Canada intended to raise money to support the more than 5.6 million Venezuelans who have fled an economic crisis in the South American country, came after Colombia in February gave 10-year protected status to the nearly 2 million Venezuelans it hosts.

“I am pleased to announce the beginning of a new regularization process, which in order to be an effective, lasting and permanent policy should be complemented by strategies for economic integration and labor market access,” Lasso said.

Ecuador in late 2019 launched a regularization process for Venezuelans who arrived before July of that year. That included two-year humanitarian visas meant to facilitate access to social services.

Lasso said Ecuador needed outside funding to continue caring for Venezuelan migrants, estimating that more than 100,000 additional migrants were expected to arrive before the end of the year.

“I call on our partners in the international community to be co-responsible and have solidarity with Venezuelan migrants and refugees, and with the countries that receive them,” he said.

 

(Reporting by Luc Cohen; editing by Barbara Lewis)

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