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Wildfires: Fire ban maintained in Labrador, lifted for island of Newfoundland

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – A ban on the setting of fires has been lifted on the island of Newfoundland but remains in effect for Labrador, where the threat of wildfires continues.

The ban in Labrador prohibits anyone from starting a fire in the forest or within 300 metres of a forest.

The province says significant firefighting resources have been dedicated to suppressing the wildfire near the evacuated Labrador community of Churchill Falls and that the ban will help reduce the risk of further fires.

Fire officials said Thursday that rainy conditions and lower temperatures forecast for central Labrador had downgraded the wildfire, although they cautioned that there’s still work to do to keep the flames at bay.

In an update late Thursday, Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said it had started planning for residents to return to Churchill Falls.

The utility said a small team of personnel were being sent to the town to assess health and safety concerns.

It says the fire did not reach any homes, buildings or other infrastructure but continued to burn about four kilometres away from the community.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 28, 2024.

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S&P/TSX composite index moves lower Thursday morning, U.S. markets rise

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TORONTO – Losses in the mining sector led Canada’s main stock index lower in late-morning trading on Thursday, while U.S. stock markets rose.

The S&P/TSX composite index was down 35.90 points at 22,603.67.

In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average was up 327.97 points at 40,181.84. The S&P 500 index was up 35.41 points at 5,462.54, while the Nasdaq composite was up 88.02 points at 17,430.44.

The Canadian dollar traded for 72.37 cents US compared with 72.50 cents US on Wednesday.

The September crude oil contract was down four cents at US$77.55 per barrel and the September natural gas contract was down six cents at US$2.10 per mmBTU.

The August gold contract was down US$49.70 at US$2,366.00an ounce and the September copper contract was up three cents at US$4.14 a pound.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2024.

Companies in this story: (TSX:GSPTSE, TSX:CADUSD)

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Tornado touches down on Montreal’s South Shore, uproots trees, overturns semi-trailer

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MONTREAL – Environment Canada says a tornado touched down on Montreal’s South Shore on Wednesday night.

The weather agency says the tornado hit Brossard, Que., just before 8:15 p.m. and uprooted trees, overturned a semi-trailer truck and damaged other infrastructure.

Mélanie Mercille, spokesperson for Longueuil, Que., police, says the driver of the semi-trailer suffered minor injuries, adding that there were no other reports of injuries.

More than 3,500 households lost power on the South Shore late Wednesday, but electricity was almost fully restored by the following morning.

Environment Canada says thunderstorms uprooted trees and caused damage in Portneuf, Que., located outside Quebec City, and in the Laurentians region.

Heavy rain on Wednesday fell on other regions of Quebec, including Montreal, Lanaudière and Montérégie.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 25, 2024.

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Summer 2024: 16 Italian museums waiting to be explored!

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The appeal of Italian museums in the summer months

Summer 2023 turned out to be a highly successful season for Italian museums, with exponential growth in visitor numbers and record ticket sales, confirming Italy as one of the world’s most popular cultural destinations. According to data presented by the Digital Innovation Observatory for Culture of the Milan Polytechnic School of Management, the number of visitors to Italian museums, monuments and archaeological sites rose by 16% last year compared to 2019 and ticket sales were up 27% in the same period.

Record-breaking Italian museums
Among the world’s most popular museums, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence had more than 5 million visitors in 2023, an increase of 27.8% from the previous year. The Vatican Museums in Rome also continued to welcome huge numbers of tourists from around the world, and Turin recorded very positive figures too. The Turin Cinema Museum was seen by more than 800,000 people, attracted in part by the blockbuster exhibition on movie director Tim Burton, while the city’s Egyptian Museum saw an increase in ticket sales thanks to innovative exhibition projects and the newly re-opened Writing Gallery.

Museums and hidden treasures: a heritage just waiting to be discovered
Besides its most famous museums, Italy also boasts an extensive network of less well-known but equally fascinating cultural institutions. The increasing frequency and range of the services run by the FS Group’s Passenger Hub have had a decisive role in facilitating tourism even in the country’s smaller towns. Partly as a result of Trenitalia’s reduced rates and special offers, growing numbers of people have easily been able to reach museums and cultural events across the country. This is also an objective of True Italian Experience, a digital hub that offers sustainable and genuine travel experiences for visitors to savour the essence of Italy, and whose Main Partner is Trenitalia.

The range of Italian museums extends from large cities to lesser-known treasures scattered around the country. Starting in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, places like the Diocesan Museum in Vicenza have attracted attention with their unique collections of sacred art and ethnographic items reflecting the region’s rich culture. Not far away, in Desenzano del Garda, the Museum of the Battle of San Martino opens a window on Italy’s Risorgimento, with its collection of memorabilia and documents on the historic battles fought for the unification of Italy.
In Parma, the Magnani Rocca Foundation, also known as the “Villa of Masterpieces“, is another jewel in northern Italy. Its collection, with works by artists of the calibre of Goya, Monet and Titian, attracts art lovers from around the world keen to admire the paintings in a unique setting.

Moving into central Italy, the museum offer includes many other exceptional sites examining the historical and archaeological roots of the area. With its history-rich towns, Umbria provides fascinating underground experiences in Orvieto and Perugia. Here, visitors can journey through a maze of tunnels and caverns excavated over the centuries beneath the old cities, for a unique opportunity to see the life and construction techniques of the past. In Tuscany, between Grosseto and Orbetello, the Archaeology and Art Museum presents the history of this stretch of coastline through a vast collection of artefacts ranging from the Etruscans to the modern age.
In the Marche region, the Mole Vanvitelliana in Ancona is an example of an historic building that hosts cultural events and art exhibitions, but it is just one of many museums, like the Rossini Museum in Pesaro or the Augusto Capriotti Museum of the Sea in San Benedetto del Tronto, which houses one of the largest collections of Mediterranean fish.
Travelling south to Puglia, the Sant’Anna Synagogue Museum in Trani looks at the history of the local Jewish community, illustrating its heritage and traditions through collections of artefacts and historic documents. Close by in Polignano a Mare, the Pino Pascali Museum Foundation is dedicated to contemporary art, with works from some of the most innovative artists of the 20th century and temporary exhibitions that attract an international public.
In Naples, the National Railway Museum of Pietrarsa tells the history of the Italian railways with its extraordinary collection of locomotives and carriages illustrating the country’s technological and industrial evolution.
Finally, in Palermo in Sicily, the Palazzo dei Normanni and the GAM – Gallery of Modern Art are just two locations that not only hold artworks of inestimable value, but also host cultural events exploring contemporary artistic movements.
From North to South, Italy is a never-ending succession of art, culture and tradition that goes far beyond its best known and most popular destinations: with treasures of incalculable value, the country is a great museum waiting to be discovered step by step.

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