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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.

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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Canadian killed near Gaza border after threatening forces with knife: Israeli police

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OTTAWA – Israeli police say a Canadian citizen was killed Monday after threatening local security officials with a knife near the border with the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli military says the man drove to the entrance of the town of Netiv HaAsara, just 300 metres north of the Gaza border. The military says the man left his vehicle with a knife and approached the local security patrol, who opened fire and killed him.

There were no other injuries, the military said, providing a photo of a kitchen knife with a black handle. The rescue service Zaka also said nobody was injured.

A video with no sound shows security officials pointing guns at a vehicle, from which a man exits, runs briefly and falls to the ground.

Israeli police told The Associated Press the man was Canadian, though the Israeli military would not confirm the nationality, instead saying that “the suspect is a foreign national who arrived in the area from within Israeli territory, and not from the Gaza Strip.”

Israel’s ambassador to Canada posted the military statement on X. Unconfirmed reports have named the man, while some claim he is an American citizen.

Canada’s consular officials in Israel are gathering information on the episode, a spokeswoman said.

“Global Affairs Canada is aware of an incident involving a Canadian citizen in Israel,” wrote Charlotte MacLeod. “Due to privacy considerations, no further information can be disclosed at this time.”

The development comes amid a wave of stabbings during the nine-month war in Gaza, which Israel launched after Hamas militants killed 1,200 people, including soldiers, in an attack last October.

Meanwhile, the Israeli military on Monday ordered the evacuation of part of an area in the Gaza Strip it has designated a humanitarian zone, saying it is planning to begin an operation against Hamas militants who have embedded themselves in the area and used it to launch rockets toward Israel.

The Hamas-run health ministry in the Gaza Strip says nearly 39,000 Palestinians have been killed in Israel’s war on the territory, including militants.

Canada for months has called for a ceasefire and more humanitarian aid to reach the territory, where most buildings have been damaged and where the United Nations says no place is safe for the 2.2 million Palestinians living there.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Wildfire evacuation order ends for 7,000 from Labrador City

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LABRADOR CITY, N.L. – Labrador City residents who were ordered to evacuate last week after the reignition of a once-smouldering fire near the town were allowed to return home Monday.

Newfoundland and Labrador Premier Andrew Furey said the evacuation order officially lifted at noon, though essential workers and their families had returned over the weekend.

In a video livestreamed on Facebook, Labrador City Mayor Belinda Adams welcomed residents home Monday.

“It’s been a lot, but guess what? We’re on the other end of it. It’s a wonderful feeling,” Adams said. “We couldn’t go over it, we couldn’t go under it, we had to go through it. And we did go through it together.”

The mayor extended thanks to the many firefighters that tackled the blaze and members of the community who supported one another during the evacuation order that had lasted for more than one week.

More than 7,000 residents of Labrador City were ordered to leave the evening of July 12 after an abrupt change in weather conditions caused a previously smouldering blaze to grow from six to about 140 square kilometres. The fire advanced 21 km toward Labrador City in just four hours.

Municipal officials asked residents to head east to Happy Valley-Goose Bay, N.L., a six-hour drive along the remote, two-lane Trans-Labrador Highway. There were approximately 200 health-care workers displaced when the evacuation order in Labrador City was issued, Furey said.

Adams said the evacuation of Labrador City was the biggest in the province’s history, “and we didn’t have so much as a person hurt, we had no fatalities, we kept our infrastructure with the fire on the heels of the hospital with the sprinklers on it … we didn’t lose any homes.”

“These are all things that a lot of communities face when they go through a forest fire of the magnitude that we had, so we are very grateful and I know the community is very grateful,” she continued.

Adams said the fire that had threatened the city is now “very low risk,” adding that rain was helping crews douse hot spots. Furey said the fire is a Category 1 blaze — the lowest on a scale of six — with the fire smouldering near ground level.

Fire crews are focused on extinguishing the northern and eastern edges of the fire, Adams said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 22, 2024.

— By Lyndsay Armstrong in Halifax.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.

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Toronto Woman Charged with Voyeurism During Massage Appointment

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TORONTO — A Toronto woman has been charged with voyeurism after allegedly taking intimate photos of a client during a massage, police said.

In a news release issued Monday, Toronto police reported that the incident occurred on Sunday at approximately 4:30 p.m. The victim was receiving a massage in the vicinity of Bay Street and Gerrard Street West when she noticed that the masseuse was taking intimate photographs of her.

The suspect, identified as Xiuhua Lu, 52, of Toronto, was arrested and charged with voyeurism. Police have not disclosed the name of the business where the alleged incident took place.

Investigators believe there may be additional victims who have not yet come forward. They are urging anyone with information related to the incident or other potential victims to contact the police.

The Toronto Police Service is asking anyone with information to reach out to investigators at 416-808-5200. Tips can also be provided anonymously through Crime Stoppers.

Xiuhua Lu is scheduled to appear in a Toronto courtroom on Monday to answer to the voyeurism charge.

This case follows several other recent incidents involving massage therapists in the Greater Toronto Area accused of misconduct. These include allegations of sexual assault and secret recordings, highlighting a concerning trend within the industry.

For further updates on this story and other related news, please stay tuned.

Contact Information:

  • Toronto Police Service: 416-808-5200
  • Crime Stoppers: 1-800-222-8477

 

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