Iran’s civil aviation authority has said it’s following international rules and will allow other countries to participate in its investigation of a plane crash that killed 63 Canadians.
But the role Canada is being offered by Tehran amounts to the bare minimum required by the international legal convention on aviation accident investigations — and at this point does not include active participation in the probe into the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 on Wednesday, or access to information from the flight data recorder.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said today that won’t be enough — that Canada needs full access for its experts to help with the investigation.
“The families of the victims and all Canadians want answers,” said Trudeau. “I want answers. That means closure, transparency, accountability and justice.”
The Convention on International Civil Aviation, signed by 193 governments around the world, includes standards and requirements for international co-operation on aircraft accident investigations.
Since Canadians died onboard Flight PS752 in Tehran, Canada has some rights that kick in automatically, according to the international requirements.
The Transportation Safety Board (TSB) is allowed to appoint an expert to the investigation. The agency already has designated an expert who can visit the scene of the crash. The TSB confirmed Thursday that Iranian authorities have invited it to the crash site and it’s “making arrangements” to travel there.
Canada’s designated expert also will be able to receive and review information released by Iran’s aviation officials, monitor the progress of the investigation, and receive a copy of the final report according to the convention.
‘These families need their answers’
David McNair is a former veteran Canadian aviation safety investigator with the TSB. He said the level of access to the investigation Iran is offering is “quite limiting for countries who lost citizens.”
“They don’t get information on the witness interviews, the flight data recorder information,” said McNair. “They’re quite limited … A lot of questions have to be answered and you have to wait for [the] investigating authority to release information.
“These families need their answers and they need them quickly. It’s a very tough situation.”
The TSB can ask for additional information and offer the Iranians its expertise. But there’s no guarantee that offer will be taken up, said the TSB.
Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne has put pressure on his Iranian counterpart to grant Canada deeper access and permit it to take an active role in the investigation. Canada cut diplomatic ties with Iran in 2012. The Trudeau government has since tried without success to re-establish diplomatic relations.
Canada appeals to Ukraine
Since Canada is without an embassy in Iran, Transport Minister Marc Garneau said he hopes it can get access to the investigation through Ukraine, and has offered Ukraine technical assistance with the probe.
The State Aviation Administration of Ukraine is also investigating the accident, since the aircraft belonged to a Ukrainian carrier. Transport Canada said it has expertise in aircraft design, maintenance and flight operations and is ready to assist.
WATCH: Ukraine mourns, sends investigators to Iran
If Ukraine or Iran accepts Canada’s request for clearance to help with the investigation, it would give Canada access to a ‘second tier’ of the investigation. According to the international rules, an invitation from Iran or Ukraine (or both) could entitle Canadian authorities to participate in all aspects of the investigation under Iran’s investigator-in-charge. That access would include:
- Visiting the scene of the accident.
- Examining the wreckage.
- Obtaining witness information and suggesting areas of questioning.
- Full access to all relevant evidence as soon as possible.
- Copies of all pertinent documents.
- Participation in off-scene investigative activities, including examinations, tests, simulations and technical briefings.
- Participation in investigative progress meetings, including deliberations related to analysis, findings, causes, contributing factors and safety recommendations.
Canada also could make its own submissions to the investigation. The final investigation report is supposed to be completed within a year.
WATCH: The challenge of investigating a plane crash with Iran
China’s plunging construction starts reminiscent of 2015 downturn
China’s September new construction starts slumped for a sixth straight month, the longest spate of monthly declines since 2015, as cash-strapped developers put a pause on projects in the wake of tighter regulations on borrowing.
New construction starts in September fell 13.54% from a year earlier, the third month of double-digit declines, according to Reuters calculations based on January-September data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Monday.
That marks the longest downtrend since declines in March-August 2015, the last property malaise.
When the sector recovered in 2016 after authorities loosened their grip on purchases and development, tens of thousands of real estate firms borrowed heavily to build homes.
But as regulations tightened again this year, many of them have started to face a liquidity crunch, which was then worsened by sharply weaker demand due to tighter restrictions on speculative purchases.
Property sales by floor area dropped 15.8% in September, down for a third month, according to Reuters calculations based on the statistics bureau’s data.
The slowdown in the sector was also underscored by a 3.5% drop in property investments by developers in September, the first monthly decline since January-February last year at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in China.
“All the data are poor,” said Zhang Dawei, chief analyst with property agency Centaline.
“Financing is hard, sales are tough, so of course, there has been no enthusiasm to build. For the first time in history, developers are encountering two blockages – blockages in sales and blockages in financing.”
The potential collapse of highly indebted real estate firms such as China Evergrande Group have raised concerns about systemic risks to the broader economy. The real estate sector accounts for a quarter of China’s gross domestic product.
Authorities will try to prevent problems at Evergrande from spreading to other real estate companies to avoid broader systemic risk, Yi Gang, governor of China’s central bank, said on Sunday.
On Friday, a central bank official said the spillover effect of Evergrande’s debt problems on the banking system was “controllable.”
“There is a likelihood that housing policies may loosen in the fourth quarter, and that would ease the pessimism in the property transaction data,” said Yan Yuejin, director of Shanghai-based E-house China Research and Development Institution.
On Friday, representatives from 10 Chinese Property Companies met government regulators to ask for an “appropriate loosening” on policy restrictions, financial news outlet Yicai reported.
China’s real estate shares have fallen 22% so far this year. On Monday, they were down 2.6% as of 0300 GMT.
In the first nine months, property investment rose 8.8% from a year earlier, slowing from 10.9% growth seen in January-August.
Funds raised by China’s property developers grew 11.1%, slower than the 14.8% rise seen in the first eight months.
(Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
Saks Fifth Avenue ecommerce unit aims for IPO at $6 billion valuation – WSJ
The ecommerce business of luxury department store Saks OFF 5TH is preparing for an initial public offering and targeting a $6 billion valuation, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing sources.
The company is interviewing potential underwriters this week for an IPO that could take place in the first half of next year, according to the report.
(Reporting by Sheila Dang; Editing by Daniel Wallis)
COVID-19 vaccine booster eligibility by province and territory in Canada – CTV News
Although booster shots and third doses of COVID-19 vaccines aren’t currently recommended for most Canadians, additional doses are being made available to certain populations or those who need to travel for work based on their province or territory of residence.
Health experts and federal agencies are debating the need for booster shots across the general population, saying that a primary vaccine course still provides good protection against COVID-19.
CTVNews.ca has reached out to Health Canada for an update on its position on booster shots. This story will be updated with their response.
In early September, the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommended third vaccine doses be administered to certain immunocompromised individuals at least 28 days after their previous dose. Each province and territory has enacted a third-dose policy for immunocompromised people.
A few weeks later, NACI recommended booster shots for all long-term care residents and seniors living in other congregate settings at least six months after the primary vaccine course.
Third doses are considered part of a primary vaccine course, while booster shots are meant to be given when vaccine effectiveness wanes and often contain a smaller dosage.
Public opinion on the matter appears to sway in favour of booster shots. The vast majority of Canadians have expressed interest in one, according to a survey commissioned by CTV News, with 69 per cent of respondents saying they were interested and 15 per cent saying they were somewhat interested.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has started giving booster shots of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to anyone aged 65 and up.
ELIGIBILITY FOR ADDITIONAL DOSES BY PROVINCE AND TERRITORY
British Columbia: People who are moderately to severely immunocompromised may be able get a third dose four weeks after their second one. Those who are eligible will be contacted by the province’s Get Vaccinated system. Residents of long-term care and assisted living centres are also being offered an additional dose six months after their second dose.
Alberta: Those who are eligible for an additional dose include Albertans aged 75 and up at least six months after receiving their second dose. First Nations, Inuit and Métis people aged 65 and up can also receive a third shot six months after their second dose. Immunocompromised individuals 12 years and older with specific conditions may be eligible for a third dose eight weeks after their second one. Residents of seniors’ supportive living facilities can get a third shot five months after their second one. Finally, travellers to places where the AstraZeneca vaccine or mixed doses aren’t recognized can get a third shot four weeks after their second dose.
Saskatchewan: Residents 80 years and older can receive an additional dose six months following their second dose. Certain immunocompromised and clinically extremely vulnerable individuals can receive a third dose 28 days after their second one. Long-term and personal care home residents are also eligible. Those who are eligible for medical reasons will receive a letter from the ministry of health or their physician. A third or even fourth dose is also available for those who may require it for international travel.
Manitoba: Additional mRNA vaccine doses are recommended for those who have only received a viral vector COVID-19 vaccine, as well as health-care workers who have direct contact with patients, personal care home residents or clients, six months after their previous dose. Third doses are also permitted for people who may be moderately to severely immunocompromised, as well as people who have received one or two doses of a vaccine not approved by Health Canada, at least four weeks after their last shot. Residents of personal care homes and residents and staff of First Nations personal care homes can also get a third shot six months after their previous one.
Ontario: A third dose is currently recommended for people who may be moderately to severely immunocompromised, eight weeks after their previous dose. Residents of long-term care homes, high-risk retirement homes, First Nations elder care lodges and elderly people living in other congregate settings may also be able to get an additional dose five months after their second one. In a similar category, individuals with proof of immunization who underwent a one- or two-dose course of a COVID-19 vaccine not approved by Health Canada may receive an additional mRNA vaccine dose at least 28 days after the preceding one.
Quebec: An additional mRNA vaccine dose is recommended for people on dialysis, certain individuals with weakened immune systems, residents of residential and long-term care centres and intermediate and family-type resources and people living in private senior residences. These doses can be administered four weeks after the second dose.
New Brunswick: Moderately to severely immunocompromised people may be eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose four weeks after their second dose.
Nova Scotia: Starting Oct. 19, moderately to severely immunocompromised people may be eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose at least 28 days after their initial vaccine course. People who require an extra dose in order to meet the vaccine requirements needed to travel for work can apply for approval of a third dose by email.
Prince Edward Island: Moderately to severely immunocompromised islanders may be able to receive a third dose 28 days after their second one.
Newfoundland and Labrador: Moderately to severely immunocompromised individuals may be eligible to receive an additional mRNA vaccine dose four weeks after the second one. Those who underwent a mixed vaccine course and need to travel for work or a medical procedure outside of Canada or attend school outside of the country are also eligible for a third dose.
Yukon: Third doses are only available to those who may be immunocompromised, 28 days after their second vaccine dose.
Northwest Territories: As of Oct. 15, residents in Yellowknife aged 60 and up have been able to receive a booster shot if their previous dose was administered at least six months prior. The following week, residents of N’Dilo, Dettah, Hay River, Inuvik and Fort Smith who are 60 and up will be able to get a booster shot, as well as residents of all other communities who are aged 50 and up, six months after their previous dose. People who are severely immunocompromised, as well as front-line health-care workers in Yellowknife and Behchoko, are eligible for an additional mRNA vaccine dose.
Nunavut: An additional mRNA vaccine dose may be given to immunocompromised individuals 12 years and over at least four weeks after their second dose.
With files from CTVNewsVancouver.ca reporter Alyse Kotyk
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