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Mercedes-Benz leaves Russia

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Moscow, Russia- German automobile manufacturing company, Mercedes-Benz, has announced it will be leaving Russia.

Mercedes will now completely shut its car plant which opened in 2019 and built up to 25 000 cars per year, including the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Sedan. The factory employed 1 000 people. Mercedes was one of the country’s most popular carmakers prior to the war in Ukraine, with its G Wagen off-roader and S-Class models a favorite among Russia’s wealthy elite.

Mercedes-Benz suspended manufacturing of its automobiles in Russia in early March and according to the Association of European Businesses (AEB), just over 9 550 Mercedes-Benz vehicles were sold in Russia from January to September, down 72.8 percent from a year earlier.

According to the company, its shares in the local subsidiaries will be sold to the car-dealer chain Avtodom.

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Avtodom stated it would select a technology partner to continue operating the production facilities at the Esipovo industrial park northwest of Moscow, where Mercedes-Benz has a plant, and said it will be able to carry out maintenance of Mercedes-Benz vehicles sold in Russia.

The main priorities in agreeing the terms of the transaction were to maximize the fulfilment of obligations to clients from Russia both in terms of after-sales services and financial services, as well as preserving the jobs of employees at the Russian divisions of the company,” said Rus Natalia Koroleva, CEO of Mercedes-Benz.

However, Mercedes-Benz’s five percent stake in Russian truck maker Kamaz will not be affected by the intended transaction and is set to be transferred to Daimler Truck this year.

Since Russia’s military operations in Ukraine in early February, many automakers have abandoned the market entirely or at least halted sales there. Nissan, for example, left the county and sold its assets to NAMI, the Central Research and Development Automobile and Engine Institute. Renault did the same, including offloading shares in AvtoVAZ to NAMI.

Similarly, Toyota paused production at its factory in Saint Petersburg in March and announced the complete closure of the plant in September. However, the automaker is maintaining its dealer network at least for servicing vehicles already on the road.

Lamborghini put its business operations in Russia on hold and donated US$1 million to the United Nations Refugee Aid. Ferrari also suspended the production of vehicles for the Russian market and pledged US$1 million to international humanitarian projects.

Meanwhile, Ford confirmed on Wednesday that it had finalized a deal to exit the Russian market as well.

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Conservatives are ‘fearmongering’ over assault-style gun ban: public safety minister

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OTTAWA — Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino accuses the Conservatives of “whipping up fear” that the Liberal government is outlawing ordinary long guns and hunting rifles.

In an interview, Mendicino says the government only wants to reinforce a regulatory ban on assault-style firearms like the AR-15 by enshrining a definition in legislation, and it is prepared to work with MPs to get it right.

He insists the government has no intention whatsoever of going after everyday long guns and hunting rifles, calling the notion “Conservative fearmongering.”

In May 2020, the Liberal government announced a ban through order-in-council on over 1,500 models and variants of what it considers assault-style firearms, such as the AR-15 and the Ruger Mini-14.

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The Liberals recently proposed including an evergreen definition of a prohibited assault-style firearm in gun-control legislation being studied by a House of Commons committee.

The Conservatives claim the government’s amendment amounts to the most significant hunting rifle ban in the history of Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Joly seeks reprimand of Russian ambassador as embassy tweets against LGBTQ community

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OTTAWA — Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly has asked her department to summon Russia’s ambassador over social media postings against LGBTQ people.

In recent days, Russia’s embassy in Ottawa has posted on Twitter and Telegram that the West is imposing on Russia’s family values, and arguing that families can only involve a man, a woman and children.

The embassy has posted images of a crossed-out rainbow flag and Orthodox icons of Adam and Eve.

The tweets came as Russia expanded a ban on exposing children to so-called homosexual propaganda, meaning authorities can now prosecute Russians for doing things they argue might entice adults to be gay or transgender.

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Joly’s office says the posts amount to “hateful propaganda” that must be called out and “an attack on the Canadian values of acceptance and tolerance.”

If Global Affairs Canada follows Joly’s request, it will be the third time the department has summoned ambassador Oleg Stepanov this year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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Work hard and never give up, Michelle O’Bonsawin says during Supreme Court welcome

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OTTAWA — The newest member of the Supreme Court of Canada says her journey has not been an easy one, but it has been meaningful and rewarding.

Members of the legal community and Michelle O’Bonsawin’s fellow judges welcomed her to the bench in a ceremony today.

O’Bonsawin, who replaced the retiring Michael Moldaver on Sept. 1, is a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

O’Bonsawin says she is a big believer that if a person has a goal, works hard and never gives up, they can achieve their dreams.

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She adds that while she has made mistakes and fallen down, those missteps have been her teacher.

Richard Wagner, the chief justice of Canada, praises O’Bonsawin’s generosity and volunteer activities, noting she shares his passion for open courts, access to justice and education.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 28, 2022.

 

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