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Developer officially cancels Keystone XL pipeline project blocked by Biden

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Developer officially cancels Keystone XL pipeline project blocked by Biden

A $9 billion oil pipeline that became a symbol of the rising political clout of climate change advocates and a flash point in U.S.-Canada relations was officially canceled on Wednesday.

Keystone XL, which was proposed in 2008 to bring oil from Canada‘s Western tar sands to U.S. refiners, was halted by owner TC Energy Corp after U.S. President Joe Biden this year revoked a key permit needed for a U.S. stretch of the 1,200-mile project.

Opponents of the line fought its construction for years, saying it was unnecessary and would hamper the U.S. transition to cleaner fuels. Its demise comes as other North American oil pipelines, including Dakota Access and Enbridge Line 3, face continued opposition from environmental groups. ​

“This is a landmark moment in the fight against the climate crisis,” said Jared Margolis, a senior attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. “We’re hopeful that the Biden administration will continue to shift this country in the right direction by opposing fossil fuel projects.”

The Keystone XL pipeline was expected to carry 830,000 barrels per day of Alberta oil sands crude to Nebraska, but the project was delayed for the past 12 years due to opposition from U.S. landowners, Native American tribes and environmentalists.

TC Energy owns the existing Keystone oil pipeline, which runs from Alberta to the U.S. oil storage hub in Cushing, Oklahoma, and to the U.S. Gulf, along with a power and storage business. It pledged to ensure a safe termination of the project.

“We remain disappointed and frustrated with the circumstances surrounding the Keystone XL project, including the cancellation of the presidential permit for the pipeline’s border crossing,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said in a statement.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump had approved a permit for the line in 2017, but it continued to face legal challenges that hampered construction. Biden had committed to canceling the project during his campaign and revoked the permit soon after taking office.

TC Energy swung to a loss in the first quarter, hit by C$2.2 billion ($1.81 billion) impairment charge related to the suspension of Keystone XL.

Its shares closed largely flat on the Toronto Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Rod Nickel in Winnipeg; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli, Anil D’Silva and Lincoln Feast.)

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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Trudeau nominates first judge of colour to sit on Supreme Court

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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Donors pledge .5 billion for Venezuelan migrants, humanitarian crisis

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 to start new ‘normalization process’ for Venezuelan migrants

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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