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World News Roundup: Trudeau Sentences 11-Year Chinese Court in Canada’s Espionage Case; Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister, more

Here is a summary of the news in the world.

Trudeau condemns Chinese court’s 11-year sentence in Canadian spy case

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Wednesday that a Chinese court’s sentencing of Canadian businessman Michael Spavor to 11 years in prison for espionage was “absolutely unacceptable” and called for his immediate release. The US Embassy in Beijing also condemned the conviction in a statement, saying the prosecution of Spavor and another Canadian accused of espionage was an attempt to “use human beings as a bargaining chip.”

Iranian Raisi appoints anti-Western hard line as new foreign minister

New President Ebrahim Raisi on Wednesday appointed an anti-Western diplomat as foreign minister as Iran and six world powers seek to restore their 2015 nuclear deal. Raisi, a hardline supporter under Western sanctions for allegations of human rights violations while a judge, was sworn in on August 5 with religious leaders in the Islamic Republic facing growing crises at home and abroad.

Taliban could take Afghan capital in 90 days – US intelligence

Taliban fighters could isolate the Afghan capital in 30 days and possibly take control of it in 90 days, a US defense official told Reuters on Wednesday citing US intelligence as militants took control of an eighth Afghan provincial capital. The Taliban now control 65% of Afghanistan and have captured or are threatening to take 11 provincial capitals, a senior EU official said on Tuesday.

Ramaphosa de S. Africa says he tried to resist corruption as deputy to ex-president Zuma

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, testifying in a corruption probe on Wednesday, said he chose to “stay but resist” rather than resign as vice president when allegations of widespread corruption surfaced. surfaced under his predecessor Jacob Zuma. Ramaphosa, Zuma’s number two from May 2014 to February 2018, made anti-corruption a mainstay of his presidency, although opposition parties criticized him for not doing enough to stop the rot during his tenure of deputy.

Germany arrests Briton suspected of spying for Russia

German police have arrested a Briton who worked at the British embassy in Berlin on suspicion of passing documents on to Russian intelligence services in exchange for cash, prosecutors said on Wednesday. German prosecutors said the apartment and workplace of the man, identified only as David S., had been searched and he would be brought before an investigating judge later on Wednesday.

North Korea warns of “security crisis” if US, South Korea escalate tensions

North Korea said on Wednesday that South Korea and the United States had missed an opportunity to improve relations and risked a “serious security crisis” by choosing to escalate tensions as they conduct joint military exercises . Kim Yong Chol, a general and politician who played a leading role in historic summits between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and former US President Donald Trump, criticized South Korea and the United States for responding to Pyongyang’s goodwill with “hostile acts”.

Belarus calls on US to cut embassy staff by September 1, RIA says

Belarus has called on the United States to cut staff at its embassy in Minsk and revoked its consent to the appointment of Julie Fisher as ambassador in response to the latest Washington sanctions, Russian news agency RIA reported on Wednesday. RIA quoted a spokesperson for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry as saying that Minsk wanted the embassy staff to be reduced to five by September 1.

At least 65 dead in forest fires in Algeria

Forest fires that ravaged forest areas in northern Algeria have left at least 65 dead, state television reported on Wednesday, as some of the most destructive fires in the country’s history continued to rage . The government has deployed the military to help fight the fires, which have ravaged the mountainous region of Kabylia the hardest, and 28 of the dead are soldiers, with 12 others seriously injured from burns.

Analysis-Brazil Bolsonaro deploys tanks to cover weak position

Clouds of black exhaust fumes spewing aging tanks and amphibious vehicles passing far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Tuesday were a bad smokescreen for a leader whose political support is crumbling and whose re-election is in trouble. Politicians and analysts said this week’s unusual military display outside the Presidential Palace https://www.reuters.com/world/americas/brazil-military-parade-presidential-palace-rattles-politicians-2021- 08-10 in Brasilia had not revealed the strength but rather the political weakness of a president on the ropes for not having taken Brazil out of the coronavirus pandemic and an economic crisis.

Greece says EU “is not ready for another migration crisis”

The European Union is unable to cope with another migration crisis like the one in 2015 and must act to try to prevent people from fleeing the growing conflict in Afghanistan, Greek Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Wednesday. . Mitararchi, who last week co-signed a letter with ministers from five other EU countries saying deportations of failed asylum seekers should continue despite the fighting, said ending such returns “would send a bad message ”and would encourage more Afghans to try to reach Europe.

(This story was not edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)


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Forest fires ravage Greece’s forests and cut the big island in two

GOUVES, Greece (AP) – Columns of smoke and ash blocked the sun over Greece’s second largest island and turned the skies orange as a days-old wildfire devoured pristine forests and triggered more evacuation alerts on Sunday, as residents called for additional firefighting. to help.

The fire in Evia, an island of mountains and forested canyons dotted with small coves of crystal clear water, began on August 3 and swept through the popular summer destination from coast to coast, burning uncontrollably for five days. Dozens of homes and businesses have been destroyed and thousands of residents and vacationers have been evacuated.

The fire is currently the most serious of dozens to erupt in Greece following the country’s most prolonged and intense heat wave in three decades, which has raised temperatures to 45 degrees Celsius (113 F) and created conditions of bone dryness.

The Greek Coast Guard said that three patrol boats, four navy ships, a ferry, two tourist boats and numerous fishing and private boats were ready to carry out further potential evacuations from the seaside village of Pefki, in the northern tip of Evia.

About 350 people have already boarded the ferry, the coast guard said, as towering flames cut many evacuation routes from the roads. Evacuation orders were issued for four villages, including Pefki, but some residents refused to leave, hoping to save their properties.

Planes and helicopters dropped water on the flames from above.

“It is already too late, the area has been destroyed,” lamented Giannis Kontzias, mayor of the municipality of Istiaia, north of Evia, on the Greek television channel Open TV. Residents of neighboring villages were urged to travel to Istiatia, a town of 7,000 in northern Evia that firefighters struggled to save overnight.

Villagers and residents of North Evia’s main port, Aidipsos, were urged to close windows, doors and fireplaces to prevent embers from entering homes.

Civil protection chief NIkos Hardalias said conditions in Evia were particularly difficult for planes and helicopters dropping water. Their pilots were facing “great danger” with limited visibility, air turbulence and wind currents from the fire, he said.

“We have a tougher afternoon ahead of us, a tougher night,” said Hardalias. “All the forces that have fought an uphill battle all these days will continue to operate with relentless intensity, with the same selflessness. “

Overnight, coast guards and ferries evacuated 83 people from the beaches of northern Evia. On Friday evening, ferries evacuated more than 1,000 people from beaches and a seaside village in doomsday scenes as flames raged on the hills behind them.

Local officials and residents of northern Evia called for television news broadcasts on Saturday, calling for more firefighters and planes to drop water.

Firefighters said 575 firefighters with 35 ground crews and 89 vehicles were battling the Evia blaze, including 112 Romanian firefighters and 100 Ukrainian firefighters sent to Greece as reinforcements. Four helicopters and three planes, including a huge Beriev-200 leased from Russia, provided air support.

Three other major fires also burned on Sunday in Greece’s southern Peloponnese region, while a massive blaze that ravaged forests, homes and businesses on the northern outskirts of the Greek capital appeared to be in decline. This fire traversed large swathes of a national park on Mount Parnitha, the largest remaining forested area near Athens which still bore deep scars from a fire in 2007.

The reactivation of the blaze north of Athens was a constant concern, Hardalias said, adding that firefighters and the military had patrolled through the night to deal with the situation. A firefighter was transferred to hospital on Sunday after losing consciousness while on patrol, Hardalias said. His condition was not life threatening.

A volunteer firefighter died on Friday from head injuries caused by a fall from a utility pole north of Athens, while at least 20 people were treated for fire-related injuries, including two firefighters who were hospitalized in intensive care.

The causes of the fires are under investigation. Three people were arrested on Friday _ in the greater Athens region, central and southern Greece _ on suspicion of starting fires, in two cases intentionally.

Another person, a 47-year-old Greek, was arrested on Saturday afternoon in the Athenian suburb of Petroupoli for lighting two fires in a grove and setting four dumpsters on fire, police said.

Ten countries have already sent firefighting personnel and equipment such as planes to Greece, while eight others are sending additional reinforcements.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited the firefighters’ headquarters in Athens on Saturday and expressed “deep sorrow” for the death of the volunteer firefighter. He then went to the airport from where the firefighting planes take off and thanked the pilots, Greek and French.

Ensuring aid to all those affected by the forest fires will be “my first political priority,” the prime minister said, promising that all burnt areas would be reforested.

“When this nightmarish summer is over, we will turn our full attention to repairing the damage as quickly as possible and restoring our natural environment,” Mitsotakis said.

Greek and European officials have blamed climate change for the large number of fires that have ravaged southern Europe in recent days, from Italy to the Balkans, Greece and Turkey.

Massive fires have also been burning in Siberia in northern Russia for weeks, forcing the evacuation of a dozen villages on Saturday. In total, forest fires have burned nearly 15 million acres this year in Russia.

In the United States, hot, dry and gusty weather also fueled devastating wildfires in California.

About the photo: People use a ferry to evacuate the village of Pefki on the island of Evia, about 189 kilometers (118 miles) north of Athens, Greece on Sunday, August 8, 2021. Columns smoke and ash block sun above Greece’s second-largest island as days-old wildfire is devouring pristine forests and triggering more evacuation alerts. (AP Photo / Petros Karadjias)

Copyright 2021 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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Dixie Fire explodes into the largest fire in California history; Forest fires continue to ravage Greece

In northern California, the Dixie Fire exploded over the weekend to become the largest blaze in California history – with half a million acres burned. California Governor Gavin Newsom visited Greenville, a gold rush-era town north of Sacramento, its downtown area almost completely destroyed by the Dixie fire on Saturday.

Governor Gavin Newsom: “Extreme weather conditions, extreme droughts lead to extreme conditions and forest fires like we have never seen in our history. And therefore, we have to recognize, right now, that these are climate-induced forest fires. “

There are currently 11 major wildfires raging in California and over 100 fires in 15 states – with over 2 million acres burned. Denver, Colo. Experienced the worst air quality of any major city in the world on Saturday as smoke from western fires filled the sky with a thick yellow-brown haze.

Meanwhile, fires continue to rage in southern Europe, which is experiencing a prolonged heat wave. In Greece, thousands of people fled their homes on the island of Evia, some of them escaping aboard coast guard ships, as a massive forest fire turned the night sky red .

Vasilikia: “I am very angry. Most of the people here are very angry. The catastrophe, you can see it, isn’t it? It’s huge. Our villages are destroyed. Nothing remains of our houses, our properties. Nothing. Nothing. “


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Afghanistan will sanction Pakistan? Vice-President Saleh reacts to ex-Canadian call for “invasion”

Responding to a tweet from former Canadian politician and diplomat Chris Alexander, Afghan Vice President Amrullah Saleh described the current period as a “period of shock” and has flooded confidence as he recovered. The Canadian diplomat spoke of the “Pakistan invasion of Afghanistan” and how it should be treated. With the hashtag “Sanction Pakistan”, the Canadian politician blasted Pakistan for its alleged involvement in the violence in Afghanistan.

“It’s on its way. The Afghan route,” the vice president wrote amid fierce fighting with Taliban forces.

Demonstration of the Afghan vice-president against Pakistan

As Afghanistan is in the throes of war, the country’s first vice president, Amrullah Saleh, joined a civil protest against the Taliban and Pakistan last week. As he marched through the streets of Kabul on August 3, the Afghan First Vice President was seen chanting Allah-o-Akbar and criticized Pakistan for supporting the Islamist movement Deobandi and the organization. military. The former director of the National Security Directorate, who has consistently spoken out against Pakistan’s support for the Taliban, took to the microblogging site and called the protest a “historic moment” against Tablian terrorists and their supporters.

25 Pakistani fighters killed by Afghan forces

According to reports, 25 Pakistani terrorists have been killed by Afghan forces so far in Nijrab, located 100 kilometers from Kabul. Among them, five are said to be Pakistani army commandos dressed as Taliban terrorists. The major revelation came as evidence regarding Afghanistan’s claims of Pakistani involvement on its soil. Reports further indicated that one of the commandos fighting alongside the Taliban had been ambushed by Afghan forces. After the assault, Afghan forces returned the bodies of Pakistani commandos through the Red Cross.

Imran Khan calls Taliban “normal civilians”

Anger against Pakistan escalated after a shocking statement was recently adopted by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan in which he described the Taliban as not in military dress, but “normal civilians”. In an interview, Khan asked how Pakistan was supposed to hunt down the Taliban as it hosts three million Afghan refugees, the majority of whom are Pashtuns, the same ethnic group as the Taliban fighters. Khan has also denied claims about the Taliban’s alleged safe havens on Pakistani soil and has repeatedly shifted his argument in favor of the three million refugees in the country.


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Even if live concerts return, stream here to stay in Michigan

Just days before the pandemic interrupted life in the Detroit metro area and around the world in March last year, Stephen Wogaman, president of the Chamber Music Society of Detroit, was talking on the phone with his brother, a consultant. in computer science.

His brother asked what Wogaman was planning to do about COVID-19.

“I said, ‘Well, I heard about it,'” Wogaman recalls. “He said, ‘You have to be careful.’

Soon he was. COVID completely turned the Chamber Music Society season upside down, as it did all over cultural institutions, forcing them to quickly turn to streaming and webcast performances, which they never had. done before.

But that change – which involved quickly figuring out what equipment was best for streaming, perfecting the audio, and figuring out how to create the best quality webcast – was a step forward for the Chamber Music Society.

Even as he prepares for his 2021-22 season, which begins in September, they aren’t straying from the webcasts they’ve perfected during COVID. They will offer live performances but will stream them at the same time for those who wish to watch from home or from a distance.

“As we come out of this time – with caution – we see it as a way to expand our audience, to facilitate connections from audience members who may not be entirely comfortable coming back,” Wogaman said.

Concerts and live performances may be making a comeback in venues across the region, but streaming is here to stay in some venues, especially when it comes to classical, chamber and folk music. Some say they can reach an even larger audience far beyond Michigan through streaming or those with accessibility issues.

“It’s an important tool and access point,” said Marianne James, executive director of The Ark, a well-known folk music venue in downtown Ann Arbor that aired its popular folk festival in January. . “It doesn’t replace live performances, but it’s something that can really go with that and give artists and performances more reach.”

But could streaming concerts deter people from buying tickets to see shows in person, as some worry? Time will tell us.

Dinner with the DSO

The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, a leader in webcast presentation, has offered digital concerts for years, but expanded its offering during COVID-19 to include its pop concerts. Anne Parsons, CEO of DSO, said several subscribers told her how much they enjoyed the concerts that were broadcast during the pandemic, sitting down to “dine with the DSO.”

“When we have these gigs, they’re one of a kind,” Parsons said, referring to the pop gigs. “They tend not to be captured and they should be – and shared with the world.”

For this year’s Concert of Colors, the Midwest’s largest free music festival that runs through Monday, the format was a mix of live, broadcast and broadcast performances. Last year’s Concert of Colors, which was fully streamed, recorded 162,000 plays and views.

“We don’t want to give this up entirely,” said Ismael Ahmed, longtime founder and director of Concert of Colors.

But like James at the Ark, Wogaman agrees that streaming is not an alternative to live music. He said there is “no doubt” that hearing music in person is the “superior” way to experience it, but the pandemic has caused bands like his to rethink their approach. in some ways.

“A webcast captures this incredible sense of collaboration,” especially when it comes to chamber music, Wogaman said. “And that brings you to the front row when you’re in your living room.”

Learning curve

Even before Wogaman got out of the car after that phone call with his brother – who works with Gartner, a well-known company that does IT consulting work – he was already thinking about the bedroom’s next steps. He called the manager of his next act in March and asked if they would rather broadcast their performance than perform live, offering to pay 40% of their fees.

“The following week, two days after the World Health Organization declared the pandemic, we had an audience of 3,000 people watching our first webcast,” said Wogaman, who noted that it was is five times the audience they would have had in person.

Three weeks later, they aired another show. In total, since COVID, the Chamber Music Society of Detroit has broadcast over 30 concerts to date with over 60 other music presenters across the country on its CameraMusic platform, reaching audiences of nearly 200,000 across six continents. .

The Ark also launched a series of live concerts during COVID called the Ark Family Room series. They broadcast over 100 live shows.

“People really appreciated having access to this,” James said. “It was a great way to keep performers and audience members together.”

But it has been a learning process for the sites. The Chamber Music Society of Detroit has invested more than $ 10,000 in streaming material – they now use a live video streaming platform called Resi – and Wogaman has even started broadcasting streaming services at his Episcopal Church in Birmingham to train more.

“Personally, I learned to do it all – all the technical webcast stuff,” Wogaman said. “It’s not that we hired someone. We bought the equipment, we learned how to use it, we bought the licenses for the streaming equipment.”

One thing they noticed with the Wogaman Church webcasts is that people who didn’t normally attend church, or who could be considered recluses, “were suddenly much more connected than they were. never have been. Because they were able to attend the service. “

This approach could also help aging clients who cannot attend live shows for all kinds of reasons.

“For me, the most exciting thing about this ability that we have spent hundreds of hours learning and tens of thousands of dollars obtaining is now that we are able to do things that we cannot do. ‘Never even imagined possible,’ Wogaman said. “We flipped a switch and there it is.”

Every program that the Chamber presents this year, they will also be broadcast. They will also sell digital subscriptions for concerts and something called Digital Plus which will allow customers to attend two concerts in person as well.

In fact, the Chamber Society of Detroit now has so much streaming equipment – which Wogaman has driven all over the Midwest and East to broadcast concerts – that they are creating a set that they plan to set aside for them. non-profit groups.

Blessing and curse

The DSO launched its on-demand digital archive of performances called DSO Replay in 2015, making it the first streaming archive of any American orchestra. The orchestra was already a leader in webcasting its performances.

But not all cultural institutions have turned to streaming.

Streaming performances are not yet something the Michigan Opera Theater has looked at, said Christine Goerke, MOT’s new associate artistic director, “but I think it’s here to stay on course.”

“There are things that were made especially for streaming. It’s a different animal,” Goerke said. “Creating a piece designed to be filmed as if you were watching a movie? There’s another art form. It’s different from what we do. Maybe we’re creating something brand new.”

The Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series shows its operas in more than 2,000 theaters across the country and in 70 countries around the world. But there is a downside to these HD shows, Goerke said.

“When these HD shows came on, it was a wonderful thing for people who lived far away, but it also reduced the number of subscribers,” she said. “They could just go to their movies instead of driving three hours to see a live show. It’s a blessing and a curse.”

James de l’Arche said the fear of deterring live audiences is something they also encounter with the artists they book. She said there was “general reluctance” on the part of some artists to stream their performances.

“Artists are really focused on wanting to be in a room with people” right now, she said.

Nevertheless, L’Arche is studying the performances it could still broadcast and the equipment it will need. He will likely begin with his free Artist Spotlight series when he returns this fall.

“We have learned so much and the public has come so far and accessed this technology,” said James. “A lot of people were reluctant like in ‘I won’t do this.’ Others have found that they really like this access. “

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Residents of the third quarter worry about gentrification, think it could lead to a loss of culture and history

THIRD ROOM – Residents who live in the historic Third Quarter said this is changing.

A quick drive around the neighborhood will reveal new developments in the form of luxury townhouses and vacant lots. According to Assata Richards, a third generation resident, this is the demolition of affordable housing for those who live in the neighborhood.

Richards said without affordable housing, longtime residents are displaced, which she says will result in the loss of the rich history and cultural heritage of predominantly African-American neighborhoods.

“My parents met in this block, in this street (rue des Emancipations). And when I see these institutions disappear, it breaks my heart, ”said Richards.

Richards said his family moved to the neighborhood in the 1950s and called him from home.

The changes in the neighborhood prompted her to become a founding member of the board of directors of the Economic Development Council of Emancipation.

A d

She said the organization is focused on combating gentrification and preventing it.

“Specifically, the displacement of African American residents and the history and culture of the neighborhood,” Richards said.

Dr. DZ Cofield, senior pastor of Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Third Ward, leads a congregation of over 2,500 people.

He tells KPRC that he has seen the effects of gentrification with his own eyes.

“Some of our older members chose to sell, and in some ways I understand. If you paid $ 100,000 for a house 50 years ago and someone offers you 900,000, and you’re already struggling with taxes or whatever, it’s like – I’m maybe be older but i’m not stupid. I will sell, ”said Dr Cofield.

One of the most notable aspects of gentrification, according to locals, is development.

For this reason, community organizations have formed the Emancipation Community Development or ECDP partnership to reduce displacement.

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A report from the ECDP Strategic Implementation Framework shows that investors owned 37% of the vacant land in the third quarter.

Bill Fulton, director of the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University, conducted a separate study identifying neighborhoods at risk of gentrification.

According to the study, gentrification often eliminates affordable housing options, deep-rooted social networks and long-standing conveniences.

Land prices will also increase, just as they are in Third Ward.

“So if you want to develop a new building in the third quarter, what happens is that it has to be basically high-end townhouses so that the developer can make their money. So what we see before actual gentrification is often land speculation and the price of land going up dramatically, ”Fulton said.

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Fulton said the development is raising property taxes and longtime homeowners are struggling to pay their bills or maintain their homes, but he believes there may be a solution.

“Create a property tax system where long-term owners in places like this pay less in taxes,” he said. “There are property tax exemptions and reductions for all kinds of things, right? There is certainly a way to do this for long-time residents of gentrifying neighborhoods. “

Affordable housing for tenants is also needed.

According to an ECDP report, 27% of households in Third Ward paid more than half of their income in rent in 2017, which is comparable to 25% for the city of Houston, but is likely due to the high percentage of housing. community. households benefiting from a 25% housing allowance.

The report also pointed out that the median household income in Third Ward was $ 23,325, less than half that of the city of Houston, which is $ 47,493.

A d

Libby Viera-Bland, neighborhood development project manager at Project Row Houses, said organizations that provide affordable housing or are essential in keeping residents in communities.

“We have built affordable housing over the past decade in half an hour,” said Viera-Bland.

She said that so far, the organization has built 80 affordable housing units and is building 12 more units this year.

Richards believes that providing affordable housing will help residents of the community stay in their beloved neighborhood, but also preserve the history of the neighborhood, which is why she said she continues to fight for Third Ward.

“This community enabled me to obtain a doctorate. as a single mother. It has enabled me to achieve all of my aspirations as a first generation student, so I know what this community is all about, ”said Richards.

Copyright 2021 by KPRC Click2Houston – All rights reserved.


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Military will likely need more help with natural disaster response, DND says

With wildfires and flooding raging across the country this summer, hundreds of members of the Canadian Armed Forces have been called in to help with provincial emergencies – but they will likely need help to keep it going. do, a spokesperson for the Department of National Defense told iPolitics this week..

“WWe expect requests for assistance to increase, depending on the availability of provincial emergency resources, ”the spokesperson said in an email response. “This is consistent with the increase in the frequency and severity of natural disasters, both at home and abroad.”

Provincial emergency management organizations are the first to respond, but they can call in the military if they are overwhelmed.

“WWe expect that the need for Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) support for missions (Operation Lentus) will continue to increase at a constant rate in the medium to long term, which will result in an increased need for resources, ”he said. declared the spokesperson.

Operation Lentus is the CAF’s mission to respond to natural disasters.

While the military expects more deployments to require more resources, it is difficult to know when and how.

As the nature of the missions (of Operation Lentus) is unpredictable, there is no way to say exactly how or when this might impact our resources, ”the spokesperson said. “CAF’s requests for assistance are not predictable and therefore no amount is planned or set aside in advance. “

The cost of disaster relief has fluctuated wildly since 2013, according to figures provided to iPolitics by the Department of National Defense (DND).

In fiscal year 2017-18, thousands of troops and hundreds of vehicles were sent across the country to help six provinces deal with ice storms, floods and wildfires, according to a ministry. breakdown. DND spent $ 14 million on incremental costs, which are costs attributable to a specific mission.

In fiscal year 2014-2015, however, natural disaster relief cost the ministry just under $ 150,000.

While DND cannot predict with certainty how much future deployments will cost, it anticipates “more cyclical events,” the spokesperson said. These include the seasons of fires and floods, said Jonathan Vance, former Chief of the Defense Staff, speaking to the House Defense Committee in 2018.

The CAF plans for cyclical events, such as floods and forest fires, including such things as forecasting critical areas and assessing capacity gaps, ”the spokesperson said.

This planning includes “the identification, preparation and pre-positioning of Forces, facilitators and reserves (who) would be required to respond to fire, flood, natural disaster and the routing of goods.” humanitarian aid ”, as well as“ computer simulations, planning conferences, teleconferences, tabletop exercises, field simulations, etc. “Said the spokesperson.

The use of the military for more and more natural disasters is a source of concern, said Lt. Gen. Wayne Eyre, acting chief of staff, talk to the canadian press Last year. If this continues to be commonplace, which the ministry said it expects, it could hamper the military’s combat readiness, Eyre said.

Despite the expected increase and four deployments to date in 2021, the CAF is still ready to fight, the spokesperson said..

Although the increase in natural disasters has had an impact on the number of missions (Operation Lentus) performed by the CAF, it has not yet affected our combat readiness, ”they said.

“Mincentives are always in place to ensure that CAF support on the international stage, both for combat and non-combat missions, never suffers, ”the spokesperson said.

“This includes relying more heavily on the Reserve Force for domestic operations, at times, or working with federal and provincial partners to ensure the most efficient use of CAF resources here at home. “

The more frequent use of reserves has not changed the structure of the reserve forces, “nor the way they train or are employed, but simply the frequency with which they are called,” said the spokesperson.

The military response to more natural disasters is also of concern to Adam MacDonald, member of the International Council of Canada, who wrote a test on the subject for the Institute of the Conference of Defense Associations.

There is a “growing trend for the military (increasingly responding to national and) localized environmental disasters, which are expected to increase, given climate change,” he told iPolitics.

MacDonald worries “that this is already built into what the military was going to do in the future, without really thinking politically about whether or not we want the military to do it,” he said. declared.

As climate change continues to cause large-scale natural disasters and the military expects the military to continue to assist, MacDonald has suggested two solutions, without explicitly arguing for either. ‘other.

The first is that army reserves play a more active role in emergency management.

“I don’t think it’s realistic for a number of reasons,” he said. “Number 1 is that the reserve is a force of volunteers,” and volunteers might not want to fight fires or other disasters.

The second is that reserves are trained to do the same job as regular forces, so playing a more active role in emergency management could take time compared to training to replace regular forces when deployed overseas. , did he declare.

The other option is to create a new department, similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the United States, which is explicitly responsible for responding to disasters.

“This is the question, ‘do we need to build capacity and expertise to (deal with) the increasing likelihood of natural disasters and other national problems? ”Said MacDonald.

“This is where the FEMA structure could work, but it could be a bit difficult, given that each province has their own emergency management organization, so there could be (battles) over who is in charge. enough to.”

Helping provinces deal with natural disasters is a core function of the CAF, as defined in the 2017 Defense Ministry report. policy document, “Strong, secure and committed”.

The use of CAF members to help provinces is increasingly common, says analysis by military experts Christian Leuprecht and Peter Kasurak for the Center for International Governance Innovation.

From 1996 to 2006, the CAF was deployed on 12 weather-related missions. Between 2007 and 2016, this number rose to 20.

From 2017 to 2019 alone, the CAF was mobilized for 15 missions.

In a mission last year dubbed Operation Laser, the CAF even helped long-term care homes in Quebec and Ontario that were overwhelmed by COVID. Other than this effort, the CAF has only been deployed to the provinces once: to help Newfoundland and Labrador weather a major snowstorm in January 2020.

In 2021, the army has so far been deployed in Manitoba, Ontario and British Columbia to fight forest fires, and in the Yukon to help protect against flooding.

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G7: Iran, behind the attack on an oil tanker, “threatens international peace” | Expedition News

Tehran denies being behind a drone attack on an oil tanker linked to Israel, but the G7 says “all available evidence clearly points to Iran.”

G7 foreign ministers said that “all available evidence clearly indicates that Iran” was behind a July 29 drone attack on an Israel-linked tanker that killed a former British soldier and a Romanian national.

“It was a deliberate and targeted attack, and a flagrant violation of international law … There is no justification for this attack,” ministers from the world’s seven most developed countries said in a statement on Friday.

The vessel was a Japanese oil tanker, flying the Liberian flag, operated by the Israeli company Zodiac Maritime.

Iran has firmly denied having any connection to the MV Mercer street attack, which came as tensions rise in the region and talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear program deal stalled .

But European countries and the United States renewed their accusations at a closed-door Security Council meeting at UN headquarters in New York on Friday.

“The UK knows Iran is responsible for this attack. We know it was deliberate and targeted, ”said British Ambassador to the UN Barbara Woodward, who added that the evidence was“ clear ”.

“The door to diplomacy and dialogue remains open. But if Iran chooses not to take this path, then we will seek to hold Iran to account and apply a cost to it, ”she told reporters.

The Security Council is due to discuss the incident further at a public meeting on maritime security on Monday.

G7 ministers declared that “ships must be allowed to navigate freely in accordance with international law” and pledged to “do everything possible to protect all navigation, on which the world economy depends”.

“Iran’s behavior, as well as its support for proxy forces and armed non-state actors, threatens international peace and security,” they said, calling on Tehran to end all activities inconsistent with Iranian resolutions. Security Council.

“Iran will not hesitate to defend itself”

The United States and Israel have singled out Iran for being behind the attack on the tanker, which is led by a prominent Israeli businessman in London.

Iran’s deputy ambassador to the UN, Zahra Ershadi, rejected accusations that Tehran was behind the attack and warned against retaliation: “Iran will not hesitate to stand by. defend and protect its national interests “.

In a separate statement, the US military said explosives experts from the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan – which deployed to aid Mercer Street – concluded the drone was produced in Iran.

He said explosives experts were able to recover several pieces of a drone, including part of the wing and internal components that he said were almost identical to previously collected samples from Iranian attack drones.

The US military also suggested the attack may have been launched from the Iranian coast, saying the distance to the scene of the attacks “was within range of documented one-way Iranian drones.”

“Some of the material was transferred to the headquarters of the US Fifth Fleet in Manama, Bahrain, and then to a US national laboratory for further testing and verification,” said Central Command, which oversees US forces in the area. region, in the press release.

Security analysts said the fatal attack raised the stakes in the “shadow war” against ships linked to Iran and Israel.

Iran was blamed again on Tuesday for the alleged hijacking of an asphalt and bitumen tanker in the Gulf of Oman, which prompted further denials from the Islamic Republic.

The tensions came as former head of the hard-line judiciary Ebrahim Raisi took over as Iranian presidency this week following his victory in the June election, replacing Hassan Rouhani who was seen as a more moderate figure.


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History organization

The continuation of Kurdish oppression in Turkey

EDMONDS, Washington – The Kurdish ethnic populations have resided in parts of Asia Minor and the Middle East for centuries. Various nations have forcibly drawn lines across their native territories over time. After World War I, the establishment of Turkish borders limited the possibility of a formal and cohesive Kurdish state. In modern times, there are around 30 million ethnic Kurds in the world. This makes the Kurdish people “one of the largest groups of people without […] a nation-state ”or a land of their own. Much of the total Kurdish population resides in Turkey, where Kurds face violence, discrimination and social ostracism.

Kurdish oppression in Turkey

Ethnic Kurds and ethnic Turks have had particularly strained relations in recent history. According to The Kurdish Project, a non-profit rights advocacy and education organization, Turkey’s modern borders run directly through Kurdistan. Kurdistan, a historically Kurdish region that is not a country, has territories in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

Since the founding of Turkey, Kurdish culture, language and expression of identity have come under fierce repression, with tensions having increased dramatically over the past 40 years. In an interview with The Borgen Project, retired US diplomat Fred Lundahl said: “What the Kurds had to face in order to do something, to gain a sense of respect, has always been difficult. Lundahl spent 30 years in embassies around the world for the State Department.

The Turkish government has a history of oppression against Kurdish culture, even suppressing the names Kurdish families give to their children. In 2003, the Turkish national authorities passed a reform law aimed at limiting names using the letters x, q, and w – letters traditionally found in Kurdish names. ” Because they are [Kurds] immediately noticed by their names […] they’ve been fundamentally oppressed all this time, ”Lundahl observed.

In a court case around the same time, authorities attempted to prosecute seven parents in the southern Turkish town of Diyarbakır for giving their children Kurdish names. The prosecution argued that the names were secret codes in a Kurdish terrorist ploy against the Turkish government. Although a judge ultimately dismissed the case, resistance to Kurdish expression continued.

Kurdish reprisals

Continued oppression and exclusion from Turkish political, cultural and social landscapes has resulted in the ostracization of the Kurds. According to Lundahl, “government after government has missed the boat in trying to calm that sentiment. This led to the tensions that still persist today.

The Kurdish oppression exercised by the Turkish government has directly and indirectly generated a committed nationalist movement. This manifestly manifested itself in the form of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in the 1970s. Until his capture in 1999, Abdullah Öcalan, a Kurdish Turk, led the PKK, which was widely referred to as an organization. terrorist. Before Öcalan’s capture, the actions of the PKK resulted in the deaths of around 30,000 people. The group initially worked with the goal of establishing a Kurdish region in southern Turkey, although this goal has changed over time.

In its early years, the PKK appealed to many Kurds of all stripes. In particular, he tried to attract Kurds from poor and disadvantaged areas. A major conflict between the PKK and the Turkish government in 1984 resulted in the government’s forced expulsion of around one million Kurds. Mass unrest and the destruction of Kurdish communities accompanied these expulsions. The Kurdish Project suggests that organizations like the PKK provide the Turkish government with the justification to oppress and terrorize everyday Kurds.

The politics of the Turkish majority and the Kurds

Over the past 20 years, the majority political party in Turkey has risen: the Justice and Development Party, or AKP. The AKP’s growing power has led to even fewer attempts at inclusion in Turkey, according to Lundahl. At the forefront of this struggle are the current Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, leader of the AKP, and the organization’s conservative values. “What [Erdoğan] in fact, it is to serve the Islamic people, more fundamentalist, in the small towns of central Turkey, it is its base. And this base feels threatened by the Kurds, ”Lundahl said.

Particular movement against the Kurds in Turkey, in addition to political persecution and imprisonment, has come in the form of Turkey’s hydroelectric efforts in the Kurdish regions of Turkey. Since the early 2000s, when the AKP came to power, the government has exercised significant control over a campaign of roadblocks in Turkey’s southeastern provinces. This has disproportionately affected Kurdish communities and infrastructure, as well as neighboring regions heavily dependent on controlled water supplies.

“There have also been major development projects in eastern Turkey that revolve around these dam systems […] for electricity and water for irrigation, ”Lundahl shared. “These projects were peddled because ‘it will bring economic development to the Kurdish regions of Turkey.’ In fact, the Kurds did not take advantage of it. The Kurds lost land, Turkish companies arrived with big agricultural companies. All of these things… are getting worse and worse.

The Kurdish role in the Syrian civil war

Other factors of Kurdish oppression are the war on terrorism and the involvement of the United States in the Kurdish regions of northern Syria. The main US allies in the fight against Islamic extremism, the Kurdish Protection Units, or YPG, have played a crucial role in helping US forces fight groups like ISIS.

Turkey, on the other hand, treats the YPG with significant hostility. When former President Donald Trump withdrew US forces from Syria, the YPG lost significant support and resources that the United States provided, paving the way for Turkish forces in the region to resume their efforts to counter them. Kurds and others in the area.

In Turkey, the conflict in Syria has also shaped the social landscape. According to Lundahl, “He [were]large number of Syrian refugees that the Turks had allowed in, and what was interesting about it was that this was allowed by the [Turkish] government, it was to keep them away from the war zones, which happened to be Kurdish zones.

Lundahl now owns Music for the Eyes, a boutique specializing in cultural objects in Langley, Washington. He recalled his last trip to Turkey to visit suppliers: “Many shops in downtown Istanbul were run by Syrians… so there was a whole other social problem that arose because they were taking the relay of the urban Turks. Lundahl further suggested that Kurdish businesses in Turkey had been affected by the Syrian refugee crisis. It also further ostracized the Kurds.

Outlook

Despite the Turkish government’s best efforts to subdue the Kurds, many still have hopes for cultural, social and political freedom. “We have been following for years the struggle of the Kurds to emerge from their second-class status [… as well as] the wonderful things the Kurds did in Iraq to get their own country, indeed, ”Lundahl said. Kurds in cities in southern Turkey revive the ancient oral practices of Dengbej, a musical storytelling tradition that dates back 5,000 years. His return represents the preservation of heritage in the face of oppression.

Although the situation carries a complex diplomatic weight and serious humanitarian concerns, it is not hopeless either. Organizations like The Kurdish Project strive to make Kurdish oppression, history and struggles known to everyday Kurds. Their work continues to advocate for the rights of Kurds in Turkey and beyond.

– Maddie Youngblood
Photo: Unsplash


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Canadian army

Mundell brings the history of vets to life in downtown Terre Haute

August 6 — Downtown Terre Haute hosts another mural, this one honoring deceased Vigo County veterans, as well as veterans from surrounding counties.

“The intention is to honor fallen soldiers,” said Brian Mundell, owner of the Terre Haute Veterans Memorial Museum, 1129 Wabash Ave.

“My goal is to have names there that have passed, not only from Vigo County, but also from surrounding counties. several different counties. Local artist Becky Hochhalter has started the piece and expects her part of the work to be finished early next week, depending on the weather. Then, once Mundell receives the signs with the names of the fallen soldiers, it will be complete.[memorialhonoringfallensoldiersfromseveraldifferentcountiesocalartistBeckyHochhalterhasstartedthepieceandexpectsherpartoftheworkwillbefinishedbyearlynextweekdependingontheweatherThenonceMundellreceivesthepanelswiththenamesoffallensoldiersitwillbecomplete[memorialhonoringfallensoldiersfromseveraldifferentcountiesocalartistBeckyHochhalterhasstartedthepieceandexpectsherpartoftheworkwillbefinishedbyearlynextweekdependingontheweatherThenonceMundellreceivesthepanelswiththenamesoffallensoldiersitwillbecomplete

Nine years ago, Mundell opened the museum to pursue his passion for military history and memorabilia.

He started collecting objects in 2004 after a trip to France, and his basement quickly began to overflow with history. So he decided to move his growing collection to a space that would honor local veterans.

“I have a lot of personal things like uniforms, photos, helmets and a lot of things that belonged to soldiers,” Mundell said. “I have German, Japanese and Vietnamese things. I try to identify everything with the veteran he belonged to. I also try to get a picture of the veteran, so that people passing by can put a face on that person. “

Mundell is always on the lookout for military memorabilia from the First World War to the present day.

“There are so many things in people’s closets, attics, basements and garages,” he said. “It’s amazing how many things came through the door that were donated by the people here.”

The museum is always looking for volunteers and is open every Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. or by appointment.

Visitors who wish to make an appointment can call 812-208-1396.


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