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Zelensky, NATO stand firm in condemning a potential nuclear war from Russia

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Zelensky, NATO stand firm in condemning a potential nuclear war from Russia

Kiev, Ukraine- Ukrainian President, Vladimir Zelensky and Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary-general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are standing firm in condemning a potential nuclear war with Russia.

The sentiments from both leaders stem from a speech by Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, broadcasted on Wednesday morning where he accused the West of seeking to dismember Russia and said his country would use any means at its disposal to defend the country’s territorial integrity including its nuclear deterrent, in case of an attack with weapons of mass destruction and emphasized that he was not bluffing about this.

In response, Zelensky said he does not believe Russia could resort to a nuclear option citing that the world would not allow Russia to do this.

“I do not believe that he (Putin) will use these weapons. There are risks. We will act according to our plans step by step. I am sure we will liberate our territory,” said Zelensky, who was speaking to Germany’s Bild tabloid.

On the other hand, Stoltenberg said NATO has told Russia very clearly that it cannot win a nuclear war.

“This is dangerous and reckless nuclear rhetoric. He knows very well that nuclear war should never be fought and cannot be won and it will have unprecedented consequences for Russia. We are not a party to the conflict, but we support Ukraine,” said Stoltenberg.

In addition, Stoltenberg insisted that Putin had made a strategic mistake with Ukraine and that the conflict there is not going according to his plan. He also argued that Russian forces are ill-equipped and struggling with command, control and supplies, while Ukraine has the unified support of the collective West, which Russia totally underestimated.

Meanwhile, Rostech, the Russian State-owned defence industry giant has vowed to enhance its production capabilities to keep up with the growing demand for military hardware.

“Today, many Rostech enterprises have already introduced special operating conditions. The employees are working overtime and often on weekends as well. Its contribution to the common cause would help Russia prevail and come out as a victor,” said Rostech in a statement.

Rostech is responsible for 40 percent of all defence acquisition contracts. The defence industry giant produces warplanes, artillery systems, high-precision weapons, communication devices and radio-electronic warfare systems amongst others.

Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kyiv’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian State. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014.

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In Port aux Basques, N.L., residents reeling after Fiona destroys dozens of homes

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CHANNEL-PORT AUX BASQUES, N.L. — Jocelyn Gillam knows she’s lucky to be alive after coming face-to-face with the post-tropical storm that destroyed part of her southwestern Newfoundland town and nearly swept her away in a surge of rushing water.

Gillam was standing near her home in Port aux Basques on Saturday morning when a storm surge hit, sweeping her off her feet and dragging her underneath a Jeep as she clung to the undercarriage for dear life.

The 61-year-old said she’d been chatting with family and neighbours when she turned her head and “saw Fiona coming.”

“It was brown, it was white, it was angry,” she said in a phone interview. “You could see she was coming with a vengeance.”

Post-tropical storm Fiona carved a path of devastation across parts of Atlantic Canada, leaving behind smashed homes, roads strewn with debris and hundreds of thousands of people without power.

But few places have been hit as hard as the 4,000-person community of Port aux Basques, where dozens of homes were destroyed and a 73-year-old woman died after being swept out to sea when a storm surge flooded her home.

Gillam remembers feeling the water rising as she struggled to hold on to the Jeep and her brother-in-law fought against the current to reach her.

“He came up but he couldn’t find me because there was so much water,” she said. “I was down under the water so, so much.”

She said her brother-in-law called for help, and he and some neighbours were able to grab her when the water began to subside.

Gillam escaped with only a banged-up knee, and memories she says will live with her “forever and a day.”

“Last night I didn’t sleep a wink because every time I turn over, I could see the waves and then I could taste the water and I could smell it in my nose,” she said. However, she says she’s on the mend and feels lucky that her home wasn’t damaged.

Many in her town weren’t as lucky.

On Monday, residents escorted by provincial response crews sorted through piles of debris in the pouring rain to salvage what they could from what remained of their homes.

One house perched on the edge of the rocks was missing an entire wall, its kitchen table and cupboard fully exposed on the sagging wood floor. About 30 metres away, another house was almost flattened, its roof and side wall missing. Nearby, a stuffed animal and blanket with Pixar “Cars” characters lay under splintered wood.

Premier Andrew Furey visited Port aux Basques and nearby communities Monday and compared the devastation in southwest Newfoundland to disaster zones where he has worked as a medical doctor.

As of Monday afternoon, he said, at least 80 homes were destroyed or structurally damaged in Port aux Basques alone — but the number could rise as officials continue to take stock of the damage.

“For every roof that’s floating in the ocean, there’s a family, there are stories and there are memories attached to that piece of infrastructure, and that’s what’s heartbreaking,” he told reporters.

He said officials were still working with the federal government about where to deploy Armed Forces members and other federal aid that has been offered.

Andrew Parsons, the provincial legislature member for Burgeo-La Poile, told the briefing that the immediate focus of relief efforts is ensuring people have shelter, food and clothes. While an emergency shelter was made available, he said all those who have been displaced are staying in hotels or with family.

The longer rebuilding effort will take more time, and will involve co-ordination and aid from the federal government. “We don’t have all the answers right now, but we’ll get there, and we’ll have everybody’s back throughout this entire ordeal,” he said.

Furey said the government would be announcing a financial support package in the coming days that will help those whose insurance won’t cover the damage.

The full extent and cost of the damage was still being assessed on Monday, Furey added. He said the Canadian Armed Forces were also determining where help is most needed.

Warrant Officer Bradley McInnis was among the first to arrive in Port aux Basques from the 5th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group, based in Gander, N.L., to report back to the military about areas in greatest need.

He paused briefly in the pouring rain on a street lined with damaged houses and debris to discuss the early stages of the work. As families passed by carrying belongings, McInnis said the scale of the destruction was only just sinking in.

“Parts of the town, it’s just a wasteland,” he said. “It’s unimaginable to think about where you’re going to start.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

— With files from Morgan Lowrie in Montreal

 

Holly McKenzie-Sutter, The Canadian Press

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Canadian Food Inspection Agency raises alarm as spotted lanternfly pest nears border

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OTTAWA — The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is asking Canadians to keep an eye out for an invasive bug that could spell disaster for the country’s wineries and fruit growers.

The spotted lanternfly is a pest native to China that has been making inroads in the United States since 2014.

Thus far, the small grey-and-red insect with spotted wings has not been found alive in Canada.

But in early September, hundreds of adults were found in a residential area in Buffalo, N.Y., just 45 km away from the Canadian border.

The reports set off alarms at the CFIA, which in a tweet last week asked Canadians to report any sightings of the pest on this side of the border “immediately.”

The insect feeds on sap, mainly from fruit trees, and can cause serious harm to orchards and vineyards.

“We’re becoming more and more concerned about the proximity to Canada, and particularly our grape-growing industries, because this is a pest that has had significant impacts on the grape and fruit industry in the United States,” said Diana Mooij, a specialist in the invasive alien species program within the CFIA.

The first North American sighting of the pest was in Pennsylvania in 2014, and since then, a tracking program monitored by Cornell University has documented the pest in 14 U.S. states.

Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware have the most sightings, along with areas in and around New York City. It has been found as far east as Rhode Island, as far south as North Carolina and as far west as Indiana.

The Buffalo sightings were the first to occur near the Canadian border.

Mooij says dead adults have been found on trucks in Canada. She says females lay their eggs on almost anything that is stored outside.

“This is a pest that unfortunately can travel on all kinds of things,” she said. “It doesn’t just travel on plants, it can travel on shipping containers and trucks and cars and camping gear.

“We’re asking everybody to have some increased vigilance in looking for this pest, particularly if they’ve been to areas in the United States where the pest is found,” she said.

Mooij says the insect is very distinctive, with its spotted wings, a pinkish hue when the wings are closed and bright red colouring when the wings are open.

The insects need large amounts of sap to survive. Signs of their presence can include trees with large amounts of sap weeping out onto the bark.

The insects produce a sugary waste known as “honeydew” that attracts pollinators like bees and wasps and can cause fungi and mould to grow on trees, which can damage them.

Pennsylvania says an analysis in 2019 showed the insect could cause more than US$300 million damage to its economy annually.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press

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Young Indigenous leaders speak on National Day for Truth and Reconciliation at Senate

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OTTAWA — Dr. Meghan Beals says she wants Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation to resemble Remembrance Day.

The Prince Edward Island physician is one of five young Indigenous leaders who were in Ottawa Monday to speak to a Senate committee ahead of the federal statutory holiday this Friday.

Beals told senators that the day should include a moment of silence to remember the past and feature events in communities across the country to celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ contributions to Canada.

“That’s really how I would see Truth and Reconciliation Day, is having something that during that day, we have community events, ceremonial events,” she told senators.

She suggested that at 10 a.m., people could take a moment of silence “for the children who have been found, or for lost individuals.”

She said it would also be important for Indigenous communities to spend time on that day “celebrating our culture.”

After their testimony to the Senate’s Indigenous Peoples committee, the young leaders were expected to meet with senators who are examining the federal government’s responsibilities to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people.

Friday marks the anniversary of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, meant to honour victims and survivors of Canada’s residential schools system.

Federal public servants and people who work in federally regulated sectors will get the day off, but most provinces have not recognized the day as a statutory holiday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 26, 2022.

 

David Fraser, The Canadian Press

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