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Supply chains getting back on track as B.C. officials warn weather could derail flood recovery – CBC.ca

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B.C. government officials say goods and services are once again moving in the province after supply chains were severed due to extreme flooding, though there is potential that incoming bad weather could derail progress.

The updates were provided during a news conference Monday, one week after relentless rain caused rivers in the southern part of British Columbia to breach their banks, resulting in mudslides, washed out highways, and mass evacuations in the Fraser Valley, Merritt and Princeton.

In the wake of criticism that the province did not do enough to warn people about the extreme weather event, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the province will be working with partner agencies in the coming days to keep people informed. Heavy rain is in the forecast for the Fraser Valley Wednesday through Friday.

Canada Post announced Monday it will be offering free mail forwarding for up to a year for people in Merritt, where mail delivery has been entirely suspended since last week. Free forwarding is also being offered to people in parts of Abbotsford, Quilchena and the Yarrow area of Chilliwack.

According to CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe, the rain coming this week to the province’s southern coast will last longer than the rain event that caused chaos last week. The affected area could see up to 100 millimetres by the weekend.

Environment Canada also issued a snowfall alert for the Fraser Valley Monday and a series of warnings and special weather statements for the northern half of the province, primarily for dangerously strong winds and snowfall.

Sections of highway reopening

The alerts come the same day sections of Highway 1 opened in Abbotsford.

According to the Ministry of Transportation, the highway is now open between Highway 1 East to Cole Road to provide emergency access to agricultural operations in the area.

Getting corridors open to the Lower Mainland is a number one priority, said Transportation Minister Rob Fleming Monday morning, noting that progress has already been made with the opening of Highway 1 east of Chilliwack and Highway 99  north of Pemberton.

Debris and abandoned cars are pictured on Highway 1 after a major flood in Abbotsford, B.C., on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

“Essential goods and services are moving again,” said Fleming.

But the minister noted there is a lot of work ahead, with no timeline in sight for the permanent restoration of Highway 5 that Fleming says could take many months.

Canadian Pacific Railway announced it will be reopening its railway between Kamloops and Vancouver by midday Tuesday. A statement from CP said it needed “hundreds” of employees and contractors to fix damage to more than 30 of its sites after last week’s storm.

Province in state of emergency

The B.C. government declared a state of emergency on Nov. 17 after last week’s weather caused widespread damage in the southern part of the province. The Canadian Armed Forces have been sent in to assist with flood recovery.

Countless volunteers have also worked around the clock to rescue people, pets and livestock.

Farnworth announced Friday that members of the general public in affected areas will be limited to 30 litres of gas per visit until Dec. 1 to ensure essential vehicles have enough fuel for recovery work.

Federal Employment Minister Carla Qualtrough says residents displaced or left unemployed due to the flooding should apply for employment insurance immediately, even if they normally wouldn’t qualify.

On Monday, Farnworth said the province has asked the federal government to waive the one-week waiting period usually in place before people can apply for employment insurance benefits.

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U.S. to revoke terrorist designation for Colombia’s FARC, add breakaway groups

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The United States will revoke its designation of the Colombian group the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia as a foreign terrorist organization on Tuesday while designating two breakaway groups as such, a senior State Department official said on Friday.

A review of the terrorist listing – required every five years under U.S. law – found that the leftist organization known by the Spanish acronym FARC should no longer be listed, The official said.

But the two dissident groups that have formed out of FARC, La Segunda Marquetalia and FARC-EP, or People’s Army, would be designated as foreign terrorist organizations, the official said.

“It’s a realignment to address these current threats,” the official said. “The FARC that existed five years ago no longer exists.”

Founded in 1964, FARC was responsible for summary executions and kidnappings of thousands of people, including Americans.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that the United States was preparing to remove FARC from the list five years after the group signed a peace agreement with Bogota.

The State Department notified the U.S. Congress on Tuesday of its planned delisting of FARC. The Colombian government was formally notified on Wednesday.

The government of Colombia did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The decision will allow U.S. government agencies like the U.S. Agency for International Development to work on peace implementation in parts of Colombia where demobilized FARC soldiers are located, the official said.

“This is a priority for the Colombian government in the implementation of the peace agreement,” the official said.

 

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Simon Lewis in Washington; Additional reporting by Oliver Griffin in Bogota; Editing by Mark Porter and Leslie Adler)

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Tunisian police say they shot, wounded extremist trying to attack them

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Tunisian police on Friday shot and wounded an extremist who sought to attack them with a knife and cleaver in the capital, authorities said.

The 31-year-old man, whose identity was not disclosed, shouted, “God is great. You are infidels,” as he ran toward police officers near the interior ministry, the ministry said in a statement.

Witnesses and local media said police shot the man in the leg and arrested him. The man, who was previously labelled an extremist by the government, was taken to hospital and is being investigated by an anti-terrorism unit, officials said.

Tunisian security forces have thwarted most militant plots in recent years and they have become more efficient at responding to those attacks that do occur, Western diplomats say.

The last major attacks in Tunisia took place in 2015 when militants killed scores of people in two separate assaults at a museum in Tunis and a beach resort in Sousse.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky, Frances Kerry and Cynthia Osterman)

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At least 19 killed in bus crash in central Mexico

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At least 19 people were killed and 20 more injured on Friday when a passenger bus traveling on a highway in central Mexico crashed into a house, authorities said.

The brakes on the bus, which was heading to a local religious shrine in the state of Mexico, failed, according to local media reports. State authorities did not disclose the possible causes of the accident.

Assistant state interior secretary Ricardo de la Cruz Musalem said that the injured had been transferred to hospitals, including some by air.

The state Red Cross said 10 ambulances had rushed to the area.

 

(Reporting by Sharay Angulo; writing by Laura Gottesdiener)

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