Trudeau says Canada to conduct airlifts out of Sudan, has two ships off its coast
A Canadian effort is underway to conduct airlifts out of Sudan and two military vessels have arrived off its coast, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Tuesday, as the government looked for a fragile ceasefire to help evacuation efforts in the embattled East African country.
Trudeau said the federal government is co-ordinating with its allies to get Canadian citizens out of Sudan, where fighting between the military and a rival paramilitary group erupted earlier this month, with hundreds killed and thousands more injured.
“It’s an extremely difficult situation,” Trudeau said. “There’s very limited places where those airlifts can happen from.”
One Canadian in Sudan, 29-year-old Waddaha Medani, said she made the trip to an airbase on the outskirts of the battle-torn capital of Khartoum Tuesday morning after she learned of an apparent evacuation flight.
She told The Canadian Press in messages exchanged Tuesday that she boarded a German plane set to depart for Jordan, where she was told she would then be able to get on a flight home to Ottawa.
Trudeau had said on Monday that 58 Canadians departed the country on a German flight and that a C-17 transport plane was in the region.
On Tuesday morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said that 100 Canadians had by then made it out of Sudan.
She thanked Germany, France, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia for “helping evacuate” the Canadians.
Joly said they were among 1,700 Canadians registered with the government and being contacted by federal authorities. Of that number, 550 people have asked for assistance, she said.
The federal government is also providing information to people who are attempting to leave the country on their own, Joly said, and safe passage for Canadians has already been negotiated with several other countries in the region, including Kenya, Ethiopia and Egypt.
While she said the situation was “still fragile,” Joly said a three-day ceasefire announced Monday night was helping evacuation efforts.
“We are working on making sure that we do our own civilian evacuation, but we’re not losing time. And we’re making sure that this is happening as we speak,” she said.
Minister of foreign affairs Melanie Joly on Sudan evacuation efforts. 1700 Canadians including dual nationals have registered with Global Affairs. Here’s what help is being provided #cdnpoli pic.twitter.com/Vf40DrUGjU
— Judy Trinh (@judyatrinh) April 25, 2023
But fighting continued, despite the generals heading the Sudanese military and the rival Rapid Support Forces pledging Tuesday to observe the truce.
Explosions, gunfire and the roar of warplanes were heard around the capital region on Tuesday.
Residents reported escalating clashes in West Darfur province, where the RSF has its roots, born from the Janjaweed militias accused of widespread atrocities in putting down a rebellion in the early 2000s.
A number of short ceasefires over the past week have failed or brought only small breaks in the battles raging since April 15 between rival forces led by the country’s two top generals.
While the lulls have led to evacuations of hundreds of foreigners, they have brought little relief to millions of Sudanese people who are struggling to find food, shelter and medical care in a country where a third of the population of 46 million already needed humanitarian aid.
Civilians are among the at least 459 people killed and 4,070 wounded since fighting began, the UN World Health Organization said, citing Sudan’s health ministry.
Trudeau said he spoke with the chairperson of the African Union to offer Canada’s support.
Defence Minister Anita Anand said Canada is trying to help anyone who is requesting assistance but called the situation “extremely volatile and extremely intense.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 25, 2023.
With files from The Associated Press.
Cigarettes in Canada will soon bear their own health warnings – CTV News
Canada will soon require health warnings to be printed directly on individual cigarettes, making it the first country to implement this kind of measure aimed at reducing tobacco usage.
Details of the new regulations were announced on Wednesday, which was World No Tobacco Day. The regulations take effect on Aug. 1 and will be implemented through a phased approach over the next year, the federal government said.
“The requirement for a health warning directly on every cigarette is a world precedent setting measure that will reach every person who smokes with every puff,” stated Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos in a news release.
“This innovative measure will be accompanied by enhanced warnings on the package exterior, and health messages on the package interior that are internationally unique. The new regulations deserve strong support.”
As part of the new regulations, the government said it will require labels on the tipping paper, which is the outermost paper of the filter section, of individual cigarettes, little cigars, tubes, along with other tobacco products. The labels will be written in English and French.
King size cigarettes are set to be the first to feature the warnings and will be sold by Canadian retailers by the end of July 2024, followed by regular size cigarettes and little cigars with tipping paper and tubes by the end of April 2025.
The government said the new regulations are part of its strategy to reach a target of less than five per cent tobacco use in the country by 2035.
Mental Health and Addictions Minister Carolyn Bennett said tobacco use continues to kill 48,000 Canadians each year, but the new measure will make health warnings “virtually unavoidable” and provide a “real and startling reminder” of the health consequences of smoking.
The labels include messaging like “Poison in every puff,” “Cigarettes cause cancer” and “Tobacco smoke harms children.”
The Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Lung Association and Heart & Stroke Foundation were among the organizations that welcomed the news. On Monday, the three national health organizations issued an open letter, calling on Canada’s premiers to push for initiatives to reduce smoking during settlement negotiations with major tobacco companies.
“It’s going to mean that there’s a warning with every cigarette, every puff, it’s going to be there during every smoke break,” Rob Cunningham, senior policy analyst with the Canadian Cancer Society, told CTV News Channel.
“It’s a very positive measure and I believe that many other countries are going to follow Canada’s example.”
Doug Roth, CEO of Heart & Stroke, echoed those remarks.
“Canada is now a global leader of the pack when it comes to health warning regimes for cigarettes,” Roth said in a news release.
“Tobacco remains the leading cause of preventable disease and death in Canada and these important new measures will protect youth and support current smokers in their efforts to quit.”
In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Imperial Tobacco Canada said governments should “take a step back and look at the science and benefits” of adopting a “tobacco harm reduction regulatory strategy,” such as promoting vaping as an alternative, similar to what the British government has done.
“A robust regulatory framework is required to govern the manufacture, marketing and sale of vapour products,” said Frank Silva, president and CEO of Imperial Tobacco Canada.
“Unfortunately, some governments are proposing extreme measures that will significantly stop vaping products from fully achieving their harm reduction potential, while doing nothing to address the issue of youth access.”
Other measures the government is taking include strengthening and updating health-related messages on tobacco product packages, extending the requirement for health-related messaging to all tobacco product packages, and implementing the periodic rotation of messages.
– With files from The Canadian Press
How did Canada’s economy perform in Q1? StatCan to update – Global News
The national economy continued to grow overall in the first quarter of 2023 as consumers spent more in the face of recession fears, according to Statistics Canada.
Canada’s economy grew at an annualized rate of 3.1 per cent in the first quarter, beating Statistics Canada’s early estimates of 2.5 per cent. The Bank of Canada’s latest forecasts had called for 2.3 per cent growth in Q1.
Household spending was up in the quarter following two periods of minimal growth, the agency said Wednesday, but housing investment slowed in the first quarter amid higher borrowing costs.
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StatCan said Canadians particularly spent more on new vehicles in Q1. In a note to clients Wednesday, CIBC senior economist Andrew Grantham ascribed that increase to relief in supply chain kinks meaning previous car orders could finally be delivered.
Canadians also returned to dining and vacations in the quarter, Statistics Canada said, with spending picking up for food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and travel expenditures.
StatCan had also expected the economy contracted by a modest 0.1 per cent in March, but Wednesday’s release shows economic growth was flat for the month.
Flash estimates for April show growth of 0.2 per cent. Grantham said that was a surprise as the public sector strike in that month was expected to be a drag on growth.
Weakness persisted in Canada’s housing market in the first quarter of the year. New construction was down in every province and territory except the Yukon, StatCan said, while renovations and figures tied to resale activity were also down nationally.
The first quarter GDP figures mark a rebound from what StatCan called essentially flat growth in the final quarter of 2022.
The GDP report comes ahead of the Bank of Canada’s next interest rate decision June 7.
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The central bank, which is focused on returning inflation to its two per cent target, paused its aggressive rate hiking cycle earlier this year.
However, governor Tiff Macklem has signalled that the Bank of Canada is still evaluating whether interest rates need to go higher to tame inflation which ticked higher in April.
Grantham said that while the stronger-than-expected GDP figures raise the odds of an interest rate hike next week, he expects the central bank will continue to wait for more data and revise its inflation and GDP forecasts in July before moving again.
— with files from the Canadian Press
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'Difficult day' expected as Halifax-area fire continues to burn out of control – CBC.ca
If the power or data on your device is low, get your wildfire updates on CBC Lite. It’s our low-bandwidth, text-only website.
Officials are expecting yet another challenging day, as crews from across Nova Scotia battle a wildfire burning out of control outside Halifax that has already damaged 200 homes and businesses.
David Steeves of the Nova Scotia Department of Natural Resources said the fire in the suburbs of Hammonds Plains, Upper Tantallon and Pockwock has grown by roughly 49 hectares to 837 hectares.
Steeves, a technician of forest resources, said the growth is not surprising given the dry and hot weather conditions on Tuesday.
He said Wednesday’s forecast is also not favourable, with dry southwesterly winds expected to gust up to 20 km/h.
The humidity is also expected to be low, at around 20 per cent. He explained that when the relative humidity levels get close to the forecasted temperature, it’s known as “crossover,” which is an indicator of “extreme fire behaviour.”
Steeves said that could create dangerous conditions for crews on the ground.
“Today could possibly be a very difficult day,” he said during a press conference at the incident command centre in Tantallon on Wednesday morning. “Our situational awareness is going to be extremely high.”
The evacuation zone remains the same, and there is no update on when residents may be able to return. Steeves emphasized that the order “is not what we want to do, it’s what we have to do.”
“This is to keep people alive,” said Steeves.
“This is a very dangerous situation. It’s changing every moment with wind, with fuels, with the lay of the land, how the sun is heating the fuels. Everything is constantly evolving, so we have to take the safest route for the citizens we are here to serve.”
Halifax Fire Deputy Chief David Meldrum said additional resources will be on the scene today, including crews from a number of other communities in the province and from Prince Edward Island.
Meldrum said there are eight fire engines, 14 tankers, two Defence Department trucks and about 100 firefighters working on hot spots and flare-ups.
Late Tuesday afternoon, a new fire was reported on Hammonds Plains Road near the Farmers Dairy building.
While it’s close to the perimeter of the original wildfire in the area, it’s considered a new fire.
The area around Hammonds Plains Road from Farmers Dairy Lane to Giles Drive was shut down and an evacuation order was issued, but it was later rescinded.
Meldrum said he patrolled the area Wednesday morning and it was looking “very good.”
The cause of that fire is not yet known.
Stay out of the woods
During a briefing with reporters on Tuesday afternoon, Premier Tim Houston said there is now a provincewide ban on all travel and activity within Nova Scotia’s forests, including hiking, fishing, camping and off-road vehicle use.
Natural Resources Minister Tory Rushton pleaded with Nova Scotians to abide by the order, noting there were seven reports of illegal burns on Tuesday after the burn ban was implemented.
“We don’t take this lightly … but we cannot afford to have any more fires,” Rushton told the CBC’s Information Morning.
Officials said on Tuesday that about 151 homes have been destroyed in the suburban communities about 25 kilometres from Halifax that are home to many who work in the city.
Terri and Lutz Kottwitz not only lost their home, but also their business.
The couple run ForestKids Early Learning in Yankeetown, which was decimated by the fast-moving fire that started Sunday afternoon in the Westwood Hills subdivision.
“That’s my life. They’re my family,” a tearful Terri Kottwitz said of the children and families that attended the daycare.
Lutz Kottwitz added: “It’s Terri’s purpose in life. It’s everything.”
Terri Kottwitz said they plan to rebuild.
Wooded areas of municipal parks will be closed as of 8 a.m. on Wednesday. Parks such as Shubie Park, Point Pleasant Park and Admiral Cove Park will be fully closed, as they are heavily wooded. Non-wooded areas of parks, like playgrounds and sport fields will remain open for use.
The restrictions are in place until June 25, “or until conditions allow them to be lifted.”
Mayor Mike Savage said officials are considering reducing the evacuation area boundary so some people who were forced to flee their homes because of the fire might be able to go back sooner.
Savage said a decision will be made Wednesday morning, but that everything hinges on the movement of the wildfire. He said no reductions in evacuated areas would be considered if the risk of fire spreading rises.
“This is dangerous, and it is unpredictable, and fire safety is the No. 1 concern we have,” Savage told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
Anyone who wants to help people displaced by the fire can donate to United Way Halifax, which has set up a wildfire recovery appeal, he said.
Information Morning – NS6:26Strategies to guard against smoke inhalation
Meldrum said Tuesday that most of the damaged or destroyed structures are single-family homes. He asked for patience from some 16,400 residents who are anxiously awaiting information about their properties.
- Have a question or something to say? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or join us live in the comments now.
Meldrum said Emergency Health Services has seen an increase in respiratory distress calls due to poor air quality, some as far away as Dunbrack Street in Halifax, about 20 kilometres from Upper Tantallon.
Nova Scotia is offering a one-time payment of $500 per eligible household for those affected by the evacuation order. Residents can apply for that payment through the Canadian Red Cross.
No injuries have been reported and no one has been reported missing.
Officials are investigating what started the initial fire in the Westwood Hills subdivision off Hammonds Plains Road, but officials with the Natural Resources department have said it was likely human activity.
Nova Scotia RCMP Cpl. Guillaume Tremblay said officers are patrolling the affected neighbours 24 hours a day to keep people who should not be there out.
Halifax Regional Police warned residents on Wednesday about a potential scam related to the evacuation orders. They said a member of the public received a call that stated the fire was in their area.
“It is unclear at this time what motivated the call. However, police are taking this very seriously given the timing of the call during a difficult crisis,” a news release said.
“We want the public to know that they will not receive individual calls from official sources asking them to evacuate their homes. Evacuation orders will come from emergency alerts through the proper government channels.”
The municipality said the evacuation zone could change, and if people need to leave, they should bring their pets, important documents and medication with them, as well as supplies for 72 hours.
People who live in the areas affected by the local state of emergency should have a bag packed and ready to go because they might need to leave on short notice.
Areas affected by evacuations so far include:
- Westwood Hills subdivision.
- White Hills subdivision.
- Highland Park subdivision.
- Haliburton Hills.
- Pockwock Road.
- Glen Arbour.
- Lucasville Road to Sackville Drive.
- Voyageur Way.
- St George Boulevard, including all side streets.
- McCabe Lake area.
- Indigo Shores.
The Halifax Regional Municipality said in a news release Monday afternoon that all residents who have been required to leave must register with 311 (toll-free at 1-800-835-6428, 1.866.236.0020 for hearing impaired only line teletypewriter users).
The following schools are closed Wednesday:
- Bay View High School.
- Tantallon Junior Elementary.
- Tantallon Senior Elementary.
- Five Bridges Junior High.
- St. Margaret’s Bay Elementary.
- Kingswood Elementary.
- Hammonds Plains Consolidated.
- Madeline Symonds Middle School.
- Charles P. Allen High School.
- Harry R. Hamilton Elementary.
- Millwood Elementary.
- Millwood High School.
- Sackville Heights Elementary.
- Sackville Heights Junior High.
- Basinview Drive Community School.
- Bedford South School.
Residents who fled Halifax-area wildfire describe roadsides in flames, homes burning
Shelburne County forest fire still out of control, local state of emergency declared
The Halifax Regional Municipality declared a local state of emergency Sunday night in order to access additional support.
Comfort centres have been opened at:
- Black Point and Area Community Centre, 8579 St Margarets Bay Rd., opens at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will remain open until further notice.
- Beaver Bank Kinsac Community Centre, 1583 Beaver Bank Rd., opens at 7 a.m. on Tuesday and will remain open until further notice.
- Canada Games Centre, 26 Thomas Raddall Dr., open 24 hours.
- John W. Lindsay YMCA, 5640 Sackville St., Monday to Friday 5:45 a.m. to 10 p.m, Saturday and Sunday 7:45 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Community YMCA, 2269 Gottingen St., Halifax, Monday to Friday 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
A mobile primary health clinic will be available at the Canada Games comfort centre on Wednesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The clinic will be able to provide care for non-urgent health issues, like prescription refills, minor respiratory symptoms, sore throat, headache, muscle pain and mental health and addiction support.
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