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Turkey passed up Canada's offer of help with Khashoggi investigation, documents show – CBC.ca

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Canada offered to help Turkey investigate the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, but the Turks never took up the proposal. 

Documents from Global Affairs Canada obtained by CBC News under Access to Information law show that in October 2018, then-foreign affairs minister Chrystia Freeland told her Turkish counterpart Canada would be happy to send investigators to help probe the death of the prominent Saudi journalist and dissident.

Khashoggi, a U.S. resident and well-known critic of the government of Saudi Arabia, was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul early in October 2018 when he tried to pick up a marriage document for him and his Turkish fiancé.

Investigations have pinned responsibility for his death on Saudi Arabia. His dismembered remains have never been found.

A Global Affairs employee, who asked not to be identified, told CBC News that Turkish officials let the offer hang and never asked for Canada’s help — despite repeated calls from its president for broad international co-operation in the investigation of Khashoggi’s death.

“Turkey simply never asked us,” the Canadian official said.

The U.S. has featured more prominently in Turkey’s efforts; President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan personally urged the Americans to get more involved in the probe. Turkey also sent Washington and other national governments an audio recording of Khashoggi’s death.

Days later, Canadian Security Intelligence Service chief David Vigneault flew to Turkey to hear the same recording at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s request.

Contacted by CBC News, Turkish officials said that Canada has a “strong” record on human rights but didn’t say why Canada’s offer of help wasn’t accepted.

“Turkey’s only goal is to seek justice and accountability for this terrible crime. In this respect, we have demonstrated our readiness to co-operate with all responsible and interested actors and partners,” said a statement from the embassy sent to CBC News.

Self-exiled Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi said earlier this year that the Saudi government has been moving toward nationalist radicalism. 1:14

“We see that the international community is gradually losing its interest in this issue,” the statement continued. “It is important to reverse this trend and increase awareness. Canada is well placed to play a leading role.”

International community’s response was lacklustre: report

Agnes Callamard, the UN special rapporteur on executions, conducted her own investigation this summer, stating that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi’s “premeditated execution” and citing “credible evidence” implicating Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the killing. Turkey had started its own investigation before Callamard issued her report.

Callamard’s report also raked the international community over its ineffective response to Khashoggi’s murder.

“His killing was the result of elaborate planning involving extensive co-ordination and significant human and financial resources,” the report says. Callamard concluded that Khashoggi’s killing violated six international laws, including provisions on torture, misuse of consular offices and freedom of expression.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Oval Office of the White House on March 20, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images)

Saudi Arabia is currently a member of the UN Human Rights Council and is serving as host of the G20 summit this coming year.

Canada’s first concrete public step against Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi’s killing came six weeks after news of his death. The government introduced sanctions against 17 Saudi nationals — but the move was criticized as a half-measure.

“I don’t think it has much practical effect,” Canada’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dennis Horak told CBC’s Power & Politics at the time.

Canada weighing relationship with Saudi Arabia

The documents obtained by CBC News also show Canada was weighing the negative impact the Khashoggi case would have on its relationship with Saudi Arabia.

“The murder of Jamal Khashoggi, and involvement of the Saudi government, have complicated prospects for progress towards normalizing relations in the near-term,” says one document sent to Global Affairs staff. 

In August 2018, Saudi Arabia froze all new trade with Canada and ordered Saudi students studying at Canadian universities to relocate after Freeland tweeted her concerns about human rights activists imprisoned in the kingdom. The Saudi foreign ministry called Freeland’s statement “blatant interference” in their domestic affairs.

Canada also has been chastised by the international community for years for arranging a controversial multi-billion-dollar armoured vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia. Since Khashoggi’s death and the reports about the Saudi crown prince’s alleged involvement, those calls for Canada to pull back from the kingdom have only gotten louder.

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Baby Gourmet Foods recalls organic baby cereal over possible bacteria contamination

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CALGARY – A brand of baby cereal is being pulled from all in-store and online retailers in Canada due to possible Cronobacter contamination.

Calgary-based Baby Gourmet Foods has issued a product recall for its Banana Raisin Oatmeal Organic Whole Grain Cereal, which is sold in 227 g packages.

The bacteria can cause serious or fatal infections to the bloodstream, central nervous system and intestines.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says the recall was triggered by agency test results.

The company says no other Baby Gourmet or Little Gourmet products are affected by the recall and no incidents related to the product have been reported to date.

It says anyone who purchased the cereal should dispose of it immediately or return to the location where it was purchased.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Springer homers twice as Jays down Tigers 5-4 to avoid series sweep at Rogers Centre

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TORONTO – In what has been a down-in-the-dumps season for the Toronto Blue Jays, George Springer has lifted the spirits of his teammates and manager in the past month.

Springer played the hero role again on Sunday, going 3-for-4, slamming two homers and three RBI to push the Blue Jays (45-54) to a 5-4 win and avoid a sweep against the Detroit Tigers (49-51) before 38,766 at Rogers Centre.

“You want to watch when George is up because you never know what you’re going to see,” Toronto starter Kevin Gausman (8-8) said.

What Gausman and the Blue Jays saw in the series finale was a lead-off homer from Springer and a one-out, two-run blast from the right fielder in the third inning for his 23rd multiple long ball outing.

He also hustled to make a running catch in foul territory in the fifth inning and hurried to force the issue and gain a double in the fifth inning to set up Spencer Horwitz’s game-tying single to centre.

This was critical because rookie Justyn-Henry Malloy had put the Tigers in front with his first grand slam in the top half of the inning.

“He’s been an aircraft carrier-type where he’s saying, ‘get on, I’m going to lead the way,” Toronto manager John Schneider said.

The 34-year-old Springer struggled mightly out of the gate this season. But he worked on changing the path of his swing and began to see productive results in late June.

In his last 21 games, Springer has batted .377 (29 for 77) with six doubles, a triple, eight home runs and 25 RBI.

Schneider also reported that during the difficult times, Springer still helped out his younger teammates like Horwitz and Ernie Clement, who came through with the game-winning hit in the sixth inning, knocking in Justin Turner from second with a single to centre.

“I’ll be an open book (for teammates),” Springer said.

“It’s my job to help anybody I can to make a smoother transition in their career.”

Former teammates Dexter Fowler and Michael Brantley helped a young Springer in his early seasons with the Houston Astros. In fact, Brantley is still on speed dial and pitched in to support Springer through the challenging part of this season.

“I still annoy him every day,” Springer said. “He claims he’s retired, but he’s meant the world to me.”

Daulton Varsho also contributed in a big way to the Blue Jays’ cause on Sunday. He made a game-saving catch, leaping up against the left-field wall to snag Carson Kelly’s long fly ball with two on and one out in the eighth inning off reliever Chad Green, who also pitched the ninth for his seventh save.

Gausman didn’t help his cause with back-to-back walks to load the bases. Gausman went 6 2/3 innings, striking out five and yielding four runs on five hits and three walks.

Detroit rookie starter Keider Montero (1-3) was replaced by Will Vest with one out in the fifth when Clement came through with his significant single. But Montero was responsible for Turner and took the loss.

Montero gave up five runs on eight hits with three strikeouts.

Designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero Jr. had this three-game homer streak stopped, but he did check in with a two-out double to right field in the seventh inning.

SPRINGING AHEAD

Springer’s leadoff homer on Sunday was the 58th of his career. He only trails former Blue Jays outfielder Ricky Henderson (81) on the all-time MLB list.

ON DECK

The Blue Jays have a day off before their three-game set against the Tampa Bays Rays begins at Rogers Centre on Tuesday. Jose Berrios (8-7) will start for Toronto. The Rays will counter with righty Ryan Pepiot (6-5).

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2024.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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Canada downs Puerto Rico 103-93 in Olympic men’s basketball tune-up game

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ORLEANS, France – Canada’s national men’s basketball team wrapped up pre-Olympic play with a 103-93 exhibition win over Puerto Rico on Sunday.

Dillon Brooks paced the Canadian attack with 21 points, while Nickeil Alexander-Walker and Trey Lyles each chipped in with 15 off the bench.

Brooks, a defensive specialist for the Houston Rockers, had a very efficient offensive performance, shooting 8-of-12 from the field, including 3-of-4 from three-point range, in just over 22 minutes of play.

RJ Barrett added 14 points and seven rebounds, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 14 and added six assists.

Canada led 46-40 at halftime and built a comfortable 23-point lead in the third quarter only to watch Puerto Rico make things interesting in the final quarter by cutting the lead to five.

Jose Alvarado kept Puerto Rico competitive with 21 points, including 5-of-10 shooting from beyond the arc.

Canada finished its Olympic tune-up schedule with two wins and a loss. The seventh-ranked Canadians scored a convincing 85-72 victory over host France on Friday in Orleans, after dropping an 86-72 decision to the top-ranked United States on July 11 in Las Vegas.

Guard Jamal Murray, who didn’t play against France, played just under seven minutes on Sunday but didn’t figure in the scoring. Canada Basketball said Murray, a star guard with the Denver Nuggets, was pulled from Friday’s game as “a precaution.”

The Canadians open the Olympic basketball competition on Saturday against 14th-ranked Greece, led by two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, in Lille, France.

Canada’s men’s basketball team will be making its first Olympic appearance since finishing seventh at the 2000 Sydney Games.

Along with Greece, Canada is in Group A, the tournament’s so-called “Group of Death,” with No. 2 Spain and No. 5 Australia.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 21, 2023.

The Canadian Press. All rights reserved.



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