Vegas hosts Vancouver after overtime victory


Vancouver Canucks (16-13-4, fifth in the Pacific Division) vs. Vegas Golden Knights (17-13-5, fourth in the Pacific Division)

Paradise, Nevada; Sunday, 8 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: The Vancouver Canucks visit Vegas after the Golden Knights took down Dallas 3-2 in overtime.

The Golden Knights are 11-8-2 in Western Conference games. Vegas leads the NHL shooting 33.5 shots per game while averaging 2.9 goals.

The Canucks are 4-4-1 against opponents from the Pacific Division. Vancouver ranks sixth in the league averaging 5.6 assists per game, led by Quinn Hughes with 0.7.

The teams match up Sunday for the first time this season.



TOP PERFORMERS: Max Pacioretty leads the Golden Knights with 13 goals, adding 17 assists and totalling 30 points. Alex Tuch has recorded four goals and four assists over the last 10 games for Vegas.

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Elias Pettersson leads the Canucks with 34 points, scoring 13 goals and collecting 21 assists. Hughes has recorded eight assists over the last 10 games for Vancouver.

LAST 10 GAMES: Canucks: 5-5-0, averaging three goals, 5.4 assists, three penalties and six penalty minutes while giving up 2.7 goals per game with a .917 save percentage.

Golden Knights: 6-3-1, averaging 2.7 goals, 4.6 assists, three penalties and 6.5 penalty minutes while giving up 2.7 goals per game with a .912 save percentage.

INJURIES: Golden Knights: Cody Glass: day to day (upper body), Cody Eakin: out (upper body).

Canucks: None listed.

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.




© 2019 The Canadian Press







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Business experts advise a wait-and-see approach for new Canada-U.K. trade deal


TORONTO —
As the Conservatives swept to power in the U.K. with a pledge to “Get Brexit Done,” business leaders in Canada are watching with interest to see what a new free trade deal with Britain could look like.

Uncertainty hangs over the future of Britain’s trade relations with countries including Canada since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union in 2016. The ensuing uncertainty has damaged business confidence and curbed investment in the U.K.

Business experts who spoke to CTV News advocated a “wait-and-see” approach for the Canadian government, urging officials to see what kind of deal is struck between the U.K. and E.U. when the divorce deal goes through.

The U.K. is Canada’s fifth largest trading partner, a relationship worth around $25.5 billion in 2018. One report suggests that the two countries are linked by 94 treaties and international agreements.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised the U.K. will leave the E.U. by Jan. 31 2020.

“Once Brexit happens, Canada will have better access to the European Union than the United Kingdom will,” University of Toronto professor Mel Cappe told CTV News.

Canada has an existing trade agreement with the E.U. under CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.

“We’re in a very favoured position because we have access to 400 million people and we’ll have a question about how we have access to 60 million people. That’s easily managed,” Cappe said.

“The problem is for some manufacturers and some service companies, like financial institutions, the rules of trade between Canada and the United Kingdom will be up in the air. And we’d better figure out how that’s going to work, quickly.”

Cappe, a former High Commissioner for Canada to the U.K, said for the next 11 months, CETA rules will apply.

“Following Dec. 31, 2020 we need to figure out how Bombardier is going to import its fuselages, all of which are made in Belfast (Northern Ireland) into Canada to be assembled into airplanes,” he said.

“What we need to do is wait and see what kind of deal Britain negotiates with the European Union. We don’t want to be the first ones to have a deal that then the U.K. uses as a template with the European Union.

“We want to see what they do with the European Union and try to get a better deal for Canada.”

But don’t expect a quick turnaround, Cappe warned.

“It took us three years to negotiate a new NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) based on the NAFTA we already had,” he said.

“Do you think the United Kingdom’s going to get a deal in 11 months with the European Union starting from scratch? I don’t think so. We had better take our time and figure out what our interests are.

“It’s going to be much more challenging for Britain because their new deal, even when they negotiate it between Jan. 31 and Dec. 31 2020, will have to be ratified in 27 parliaments. That should be quite a challenge.

“We will have an arrangement with the U.K. through either Commonwealth preferences or the WTO (World Trade Organization) and the WTO rules will undoubtedly still apply so it won’t be chaos but it will be a change and we need to adapt to the change.”

Jason Langrish, executive director of the Canada Europe Roundtable for Business, added that concerns over the border between Ireland and the U.K. and Scottish independence create further uncertainty and that these are issues businesses have to look at in terms of their forward planning.

Adam Taylor, president of Canadian business consultancy Export Action Global, was an advisor to the Harper government that negotiated CETA. He told CTV News there were large pieces of CETA that could be “cut and pasted” into a new Canada-U.K. agreement.

“The question is, are there going to be new concessions that both sides have to potentially consider?” he said.

“The U.K. is our biggest trading partner in Europe and we absolutely need to preserve that type of trading relationship. I think we should actually be negotiating a comprehensive and ambitious deal.

“The good news about these types of trade negotiations if there’s political will on both sides creative solutions are available.”



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100 Jewish graves were desecrated in France. A search for the websites that fueled the hate led to the US


But in early December, that is exactly what happened in the small village of Westhoffen in the Bas-Rhin region of Alsace, in eastern France. No one knows exactly when swastikas and anti-Semitic graffiti were spray-painted onto 107 tombstones in the village’s ancient Jewish cemetery — the 42nd anti-Semitic attack in the region in just 18 months.

French authorities are taking the matter extremely seriously. France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner visited Westhoffen the day after the swastikas were discovered and French President Emmanuel Macron paid his respects at the cemetery of Quatzenheim after it was desecrated earlier this year. And yet, no one has been caught.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that locals are believed to be responsible for the recent spree and that they may have been incited by global websites. Extra police resources have been allocated to the search for the culprits and several officers are working on the cases full-time. Part of the difficulty is that the villages are remote and very quiet. And according to the man in charge of the investigation in the Bas-Rhin, the culprits are not your average criminals.

“Normally,” says Colonel Francois Despres, “it is about following the money, but this is another type of criminal and people who are used to adopting a low profile both in society and when they commit acts. So that’s why it’s a question of patience and we are patient and that patience will pay.”

For now, 42 attacks — on graveyards, town halls, schools and cultural centers — remain unpunished and the threat of more remains. While the hunt for the culprits continued on the ground, CNN began to investigate who might be influencing them from afar. What we found was a trail that led us from Alsace, through the Bahamas and Panama, and on to the United States.

People look at tombs at Westhoffen cemetery near Strasbourg after they were desecrated.

Searching the internet, CNN found two French-language websites posting celebratory articles and photographs about the attacks in Alsace. “White Europe” and “Participatory democracy,” are both domiciled outside of France — in the Bahamas and Panama — and therefore beyond the reach of France’s anti-hate speech laws. Both are openly anti-Semitic, with “White Europe” hailing the work of “the proud people of Alsace who are leading the way.”

In response to CNN’s questions, “White Europe” said that although they didn’t know who was responsible, they did support such actions. “Participative democracy” told us that whilst they did not condone the crimes, they believed that the attacks were staged as part of a Jewish conspiracy. Both sites promote the theories of the late American white supremacist David Lane, whose 14-word slogan — “We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children” — is a rallying cry for parts of the extreme right. A reference to it was made in the attack at Westhoffen: one of the tombs had been graffitied with the number 14.

Both sites use the American internet infrastructure company Cloudflare — which not only allows websites to get online but helps them stay there, by shielding them from cyberattacks. In the wake of the El Paso mass shooting this summer, Cloudflare discontinued its service to 8chan after a user believed to be the killer was found to have posted a rant on it. Cloudflare also said it stopped its service to the US neo-Nazi blog Daily Stormer in 2017. Not because any laws obliged it to but because it chose to following the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Cloudflare said it stopped its service to the US neo-Nazi blog Daily Stormer in 2017 after Charlottesville.

CNN asked the company why it was not doing the same against hate speech that happens to be in French, and much of which is illegal in France, but received no reply.

We also found that posts from the French sites stayed up for a while on Facebook before they were taken down, while Facebook says posts from Daily Stormer are blocked from being shared. After CNN reached out to ask about Facebook’s policy, the company began blocking the French sites too. Twitter, for its part, allows the sharing of posts from both the French sites and Daily Stormer. In response to CNN’s questions, the company said it will start blocking certain content in the future. Twitter also said that they take action on content that violates their policies, including hateful conduct.

The trouble is that for the time being, with hate speech on the internet so far beyond the reach of national laws, the only restrictions that apply to it are decided by private companies and on a case-by-case basis. Guillaume Debré says it is time that this global problem received a global solution. “Without it,” he says, “you’re going to have more Westhoffens, more Quatzenheims and others and not just in France but in New Zealand and in America.”

It is an issue on which France is seeking to lead the way in the wake of the Christchurch attack, live-streamed on the internet. Soon after, the French government announced a bill, now working its way through the parliament, that seeks to force social media platforms to be responsible for the content they distribute. Companies like Facebook would have 24 hours to take hate speech down after users flagged it or face a hefty fine.

In an exclusive interview with France’s Interior Minister, we asked whether the United States, where so many of the internet giants are based, was doing enough. “No. And my answer is clear,” said Castaner, “because there is a clear difference of culture.”

“It is not about opposing French or European culture to American culture, but clearly on these subjects there is a belief in the freedom to say anything and everything. I believe that there is no freedom when it is us and our fundamental values that are being attacked.”

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, center, visits the Jewish cemetery at Westhoffen after the attack this month.
In the meantime, the French government says it is doing what it can. After visiting Westhoffen, Castaner announced a national taskforce dedicated to investigating and fighting hate crimes. This in a country that has Europe’s largest Jewish population — 550,000 people — and where in 2018 the number of anti-Semitic attacks, which includes both threats and assaults, rose by about 75%, according to the latest interior ministry figures.

One question is why these attacks have happened in this particular area of France. Positioned on France’s border with Germany and Switzerland, Alsace has changed hands several times over the centuries. A history reflected in its local dialect — far closer to German than to French — and in its culture. It is also a region that has one of the oldest Jewish populations in Europe, first documented in the 12th century.

Long confined to the villages by edicts that banned them from the cities, the Jewish community was an important part of rural life in the Bas-Rhin region. Relations between the communities were not always calm — there were regular pogroms and sectarian tensions between local Protestants and Catholic populations — but for 1,000 years they lived side by side. By the 20th century though, local Jews were migrating to Strasbourg, a rural exodus hastened by World War II, and leaving behind only their cemeteries. In all, there are just 45 cemeteries of them in the Bas-Rhin.

Inside one of the largest — and heavily guarded — synagogues in Europe, the chief rabbi of Strasbourg, Harold Weill, told us that it was because Alsace had such a vibrant and well-integrated Jewish population that those on the extreme fringes chose to target it, warning that “hatred that begins with the Jews, never ends with the Jews.”

Yoav Rossano, is on the frontline of that hatred. In his role as the head of Jewish heritage in the Bas-Rhin he is often the first on the scene of attacks and the first to be confronted by the symbols of hate.

“It is awaking the history,” he says of the recent spate of attacks. “Part of the family line died in Auschwitz so to see here in my region, you feel a big responsibility.”

That responsibility both protects the history of the Jewish population here and ensures its future.

But it is a lonely and difficult battle with ancient regional tensions now being fed by an international white supremacy movement facilitated by technology.

Global hate is now fanning local flames and that may be harder for Rossano to stop.



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U.K. Government Plans Brexit Bill, Multi-Year NHS Funding


(Bloomberg) — Boris Johnson’s Conservative government will return the Withdrawal Agreement bill for debate in Parliament before Christmas, seeking to get it passed in time for the Jan. 31 deadline for Britain to leave the European Union.

After securing a hefty majority in Thursday’s general election, the prime minister is setting out on the first stage of his campaign promise to “get Brexit done.” He’s also vowed not to extend the transition period beyond 2020, leaving Britain and the EU just 11 months to hammer out an accord.

The Queen’s Speech, scheduled for Thursday, will lay out the government’s domestic agenda and much of it will be a reprise of what was outlined by Johnson’s minority administration in October. A key addition, according to a statement late Saturday from Downing Street, will be a plan to enact a “multi-year financial commitment” to the National Health Service.

“This election was as much about delivering on the people’s priorities as it was about getting Brexit done — and the Prime Minister understands that,” a No. 10 official said. “We will deliver on the promises we have made on helping with the cost of living, tackling crime and supporting our NHS.”

Regarding Northern Ireland, where the nationalist Sinn Fein made significant advances in the election at the expense of the Democratic Unionist Party, Johnson wants parties to resume talks before Christmas on governance in the province. Stormont, Northern Ireland’s power-sharing assembly, has been suspended following a bitter row between Sinn Fein and the DUP.

A strong U.K. is a “vital focus of this government,” according to the statement.

Johnson is also planning a major reshuffle in February, after Brexit, in an attempt to move on to the next part of his agenda, according to the Times of London. As many as one third of ministers in his cabinet could be fired from the top team in the prime minister’s bid to tackle issues facing working-class voters, the newspaper reported, citing a government source it didn’t identify.

(Updates with reported Cabinet plans in last paragraph)

–With assistance from Siraj Datoo.

To contact the reporter on this story: James Ludden in New York at [email protected]

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Matthew G. Miller at [email protected], Tony Czuczka

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Mexico holds assemblies to consider controversial Maya Train plan | Mexico News


Mexico City, Mexico – The future of Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s ambitious Mayan Train project hangs in the balance this weekend as the communities on the train’s proposed route express their thoughts about the plan.

The new 1,525-km train-route in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula is expected to connect nature reserves and archaeological zones in the impoverished southeastern states of Chiapas, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Campeche to the existing tourism hub of Cancun.

Mexico’s tourism board, the Fondo Nacional de Fomento al Turismo (FONATUR), has estimated the project will cost between $6-8bn. FONATUR expects the train to bring more than three million visitors a year to the region to see the area’s vast biodiversity, including the biospheres at Calakmul and Sian Ka’an.

But despite Lopez Obrador’s claim last year that that the project “won’t uproot a single tree”, environmentalists have expressed their concerns over the project, and indigenious groups also worry about whether the government will adequaretly listen to the local communities’ concerns.

More than a dozen assemblies will be held in areas along the train’s proposed route this weekend. The assemblies will allow residents tell the government about what they think of the route and overall project.

“It’s not about a ‘yes or no’ answer,” said Maritza Licona, a spokeswoman for the government’s Instituto Nacional de los Pueblos Indígenas (INPI), one of three state bodies overseeing the consultation. “If a community decides they don’t want the train on their land, we’ll change the route. If they want it stopped, we’ll stop.”

Maya train

A collection of houses can be seen on either side of an existing train track that currently only transports freight in Campeche, Mexico [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] 

Jose Martin Naal, an ejido (or community) leader from Xkakoch in Campeche who attended the Tenabo consultation on Saturday, said his ejido welcomes the potential to increase tourism and allow members of his community to commute to find work.  Other ejido leaders echoed Martin’s sentiments although several, including Pedro Raul Chi Canche from Calkini, expressed concerns about the amount and timing of any compensation that will be paid to those affected by the project.

The initial consultation phase saw conversations with 4,800 participants from 115 municipalities, Licona said, and took place over a four-week period beginning in November.

“We provided materials in Spanish and in four Indigenous languages,” she continued, “with broadcasts on 21 Indigenous radio stations.”  Many who participated in the initial consultation spoke about the need to improve local infrastructure or to clarify the property rights of those affected by the project.   

But the nature of the consultations has come under scrutiny.

‘We don’t have the power’

With photographs of apparent construction work on the site of the train circulating in local press earlier this week, questions have arisen about the consultation’s true function.

“The consultation is just about ‘listening to opinions’,” said a press release from El Consejo Civil Mexicano de Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS). “This violates the free will of the Maya people. We don’t have power to accept or reject anything.”

The CCMSS also says that the nature of the consultation breaches the International Labour Organization’s Convention 169, which protects Indigenous populations.

Maya train

Leaders of the affected communities (known as ejidos) use their official stamps to register their attendance at the consultation in Tenabo, Mexico [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] 

It is a flaw that the government acknowledges.

“We want a constitutional reform that respects Convenio 169,” INPI spokeswoman Licona told Al Jazeera. “Until then, we have to follow protocols to the best of our ability.”

An INPI spokesman at the Tenabo consultation in Campeche on Saturday, confirmed that the process will not end this weekend and the conversation will  be an “ongoing conversation”.

But according to Leo Agusto, a left-leaning columnist with El Grafico “these consultations aren’t about listening. They’re a bang on the table, reinforcing presidential will. Too few people take part for them to tell us much about an outlook on the projects.”

‘Grave danger of extinction’

Environmentalists also worry about whether the government has performed adequate impact studies on the effects of the train’s construction on the wildlife along its route.

“The south of Mexico needs this project,” said Diana Friedeberg, director of the Mexican office of Panthera, a charity dedicated to preserving 40 endangered big-cat species worldwide. “But the Tren Maya cuts through the habitats of a jaguar population in grave danger of extinction. We’re already seeing inbreeding and malnutrition. This new project could finish them off entirely.”

Although Rogelio Jimenez Pons, the director of FONATUR, has said that the Tren Maya will be less damaging than highways, Friedeberg says she has “never seen” an impact study to support this claim.

Proposals to mitigate the train’s impact – such as tunnels allowing animals to pass under the train-tracks – are also seen as inadequate.

“The idea is for a large thoroughfares through the forest for jaguars and their prey – deer, boar, and armadillos – but animals won’t travel five kilometres to do that,” Friedeberg said. “Smaller, more numerous tunnels might help. But the government hasn’t included us in planning discussions.”

The train’s 18 stops are likely to grow into mid-scale towns, bringing an estimated 20,000 jobs and $7m annually to some of the country’s most impoverished communities, according to FONATUR.

Maya train

Lake Bacalar is seen as sunrise in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The lagoon is currently relatively undeveloped with few tourists visiting the area [Lexie Harrison-Cripps/Al Jazeera] 

For Friedeberg, this could be a disaster for the area’s jaguar population.

“Planning has never been our forte in Mexico,” she said. “You only have to look at the sprawl around Cancun and Playa del Carmen. On top of the impact of construction, we’ll have to deal with poaching.”

But for Carlos Ortega, an architect with experience working on public projects, the Tren Maya could benefit locals.

“I would expect an average income of 15,000 pesos (USD$790) per month for the jobs created by this project,” he said. “These wages have the potential to lift people out of poverty.”

Ortega also considered the “preventive security benefit” of population centres growing up around infrastructure.

‘We’re unlikely to get ‘no-man’s-land’ zones where large cartel massacres often happen,: he said.

However, Ortega went on to stress that proper planning is “the only way” the project will help locals.

“Without community cooperation,” he said, “whatever altruism there is in the project is cosmetic.”

Mixed signals

This weekend’s assemblies follow a national vote on the Tren Maya project, held in November 2018, before Lopez Obrador took office.

Just over 1 percent of registered voters nationwide cast their ballots on the project, with the president’s press office reporting an approval rating of slightly under 90 percent for the train.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has sent mixed messages about the binding power of the consultation.

At a morning news conference in Mexico City last month, the president promised “to respect the will of the citizens”.

“If people say ‘Yes’, let’s go,” he said. “If people say ‘No’, that’s where it’ll stay, the people are in charge.”

Two months earlier, however, speaking in the town of Hecelchakan, Campeche – where 70 percent of the population lives in poverty – the president stated that “come rain, thunder, or lightning, the Tren Maya will be built – whether people want it or not.”

With addtional reporting by Lexie Harrison-Cripps in Campeche, Mexico.





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Facebook Will Label Al Jazeera, RT “State Controlled”


Government-funded news organizations worried they could be damaged by Facebook’s imminent plan to label content from state-controlled news organizations are furious at a process they say is opaque and irresponsible.

When Facebook announced plans to apply such labels in October, it provided no information about the criteria it would use to determine whether a media company was “state controlled.” Now, as the company prepares to begin using these labels, it has left news organizations in the dark, generating little confidence in its capacity to make decisions about which media outlets are wholly or partially under the editorial control of their governments .

“This is a dangerous step to delegitimize credible journalism,” Giles Trendle, managing director of Al Jazeera English, told BuzzFeed News. “We don’t know the criteria or the people [involved].”

Facebook and other social media platforms are responding to political pressure in the US and elsewhere to avoid a repeat of the 2016 election, during which they provided mass distribution to, in particular, the Russian government’s English language outlet RT, whose content closely echoes and amplifies the Russian foreign policy line. A Senate Intelligence Committee Report released last fall described RT as a tool in “the modern Russian disinformation playbook.” (In Google searches for the report, RT’s own dismissive coverage ranks high.)

But Al Jazeera’s case demonstrates how fraught Facebook’s decisions on whether companies are state controlled are on a broad and hazy spectrum that ranges from RT to the BBC, which has a long tradition of independence from British government policy. Al Jazeera is funded by the Qatari government, but insists it has complete editorial independence and is operated through a foundation in the Gulf state. The company fears it will be given the “state-controlled” label, something that, in a November letter to Facebook (first reported by CNN), it said “would cause irreparable harm to the network.”

Facebook declined to provide its criteria for evaluating which companies are state controlled to BuzzFeed News. It declined to share the list of publishers to which it plans to apply the label. The company also declined to specify what language will appear on the label. It will have an appeals process, however, and it is taking advice from outside organizations like Reporters Without Borders and UNESCO. Google has similar labels on YouTube, but they appear when a publication is government funded and not “controlled.” Twitter in August said it would block state-controlled media companies from advertising on its platform.

“Given state-controlled media uses the backing of a government to drive opinion, we committed to labeling these pages and will begin doing so soon,” a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News in an email. “The initial group is just the first step and we’ll continue to expand on a rolling basis and add more pages over time. We are continuing to work with publishers and third party experts on this issue to ensure that we get this right.”

For Al Jazeera’s executives, such vague explanations are ringing alarm bells. “What we’re asking for really is transparency,” Yaser Bishr, the executive director of digital at Al Jazeera Media Network, told BuzzFeed News. “You have to prove that we’re controlled.”

Al Jazeera executives worry that being labeled as state controlled media by Facebook could physically endanger its reporters. It might also be weaponized by competitors in the region who don’t like their coverage, part of a feared campaign of retribution against Qatar which is enduring a multi-state blockade.

The Al Jazeera executives said they believe they will get the label, in part, because of lobbying from the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the blockade — and home of Facebook’s regional office.

“Absolutely, it’s politically motivated,” Bishr said, adding that a recent story about Saudi spies at Twitter had also raised alarms: “We got very alarmed when we learned of Twitter penetration by the Saudis. We connect the dots,” he said.

Facebook’s refusal to provide its criteria for applying the state controlled media label, to disclose who it is considering applying it to, and how it will make such determinations, echoes the company’s long history of whipsawing publishers with changes to its News Feed which can have dramatic effects on readership and advertising revenue.

Voice Of America, a US government funded news source that broadcasts outside the country, suggested in a statement that it had more insight into the policies, stressing its legal distance from active government control, by way of an appointed board.

“We applaud efforts to safeguard the integrity of information online,” VOA Director Amanda Bennett said, “and we work closely with social and digital platforms to ensure they understand our public service mission in support of a free and open press and our legally protected independence from political institutions.”

Meanwhile, RT attacked the initiative to attach a warning label to its pages. “We expect Facebook’s efforts to label content to be about as apt as its blocking of RT’s pages containing Borscht recipes last month,” Anna Belkina, RT’s deputy editor in chief, told BuzzFeed News. “We will no doubt see the same labelling shenanigans as we did from Google, for whom some publicly funded outlets were more ‘state funded’ than others.”



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On Your Tables: Ginger Beef, Caesars and Butter Tarts


Readers of The Canada Letter were keen to highlight the contributions by their communities and provinces to Canadian cuisine after I presented my inadequate and incomplete list a couple of weeks ago.

“That got me into the bigger story and of the role of women in the 1950s, their lives in mill towns and the cuisine they created,” Professor Newman told me.

She defines Canadian cuisine in part by what it isn’t.

“We don’t have a lot of recipes, and that’s a function of the nature of our cuisine,” she said. “It doesn’t mean it’s less developed. There’s lots of cuisines around the world that aren’t recipes.

Instead, in Professor Newman’s view, Canadian cooking is “all about properties of seasonality, of incorporating wild foods, of multicultural incorporation and ingredients.”

Several of you, too many to name, noted the absence of butter tarts from my list. That was a result of doubt and cowardice on my part. I planned to include butter tarts as one of Ontario’s contributions until I came across other provinces making claims on them. Professor Newman, however, assured me that they are indeed from Ontario.



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Omar al-Bashir: Sudan ex-leader sentenced for corruption


Former president of Sudan Omar al-Bashir, sitting in a cage during his sentencingImage copyright
Reuters

Image caption

Omar al-Bashir sat in a cage as he was sentenced for corruption

Sudan’s ex-president Omar al-Bashir has been sentenced to two years in a social reform facility for corruption.

The judge told the court that, under Sudanese law, people over the age of 70 cannot serve jail terms. Bashir is 75.

Bashir also faces charges related to the 1989 coup that brought him to power, genocide, and the killing of protesters before his ousting in April.

During the sentencing, his supporters started chanting that the trial was “political” and were ordered to leave.

They continued their protest outside the court, chanting: “There is no god but God.”

Afterwards one of the ousted leader’s lawyers, Ahmed Ibrahim, said they would appeal against the verdict.

Mohamed al-Hassan, another lawyer for Bashir, previously said that the defence did not consider the trial a legal one but a “political” one.

It is unclear whether Bashir will be tried over widespread human rights abuses during his time in power, including allegations of war crimes in Darfur.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Supporters of Bashir chanted in protest outside the courtroom

The corruption case was linked to a $25 million (£19 million) cash payment he received from Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Bashir claimed the payments were made as part of Sudan’s strategic relationship with Saudi Arabia, and were “not used for private interests but as donations”.

None of the active cases against Bashir in Sudan are linked to the charges he faces at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, linked to the conflict in Darfur that broke out in 2003.

The UN says that around 300,000 people were killed and 2.5 million were displaced in the war.

After Bashir was ousted in April, ICC prosecutors in The Hague requested that he stand trial over the Darfur killings.

The Sudanese army generals who seized power immediately after his fall initially refused to comply, but Sudan’s umbrella protest movement – which now has significant representation in the country’s sovereign council – recently said it would not object to his extradition.

Prosecutors in Sudan have also charged him with the killing of protesters during the demonstrations that led to him being ousted.



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Out of the hat – VoxEurop (English)


Out of the hat – Muzaffar Yulchiboev

Following the 9 December summit in Paris with President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose countries have been at war since Moscow’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, have agreed to exchange all respective prisoners by the end of the year, to disengage their soldiers from three new points on the front line by the end of March 2020, and to open new crossing points in eastern Ukraine.

They also recommitted themselves to the implementation of the 2015 Minsk Agreements which have remained a dead letter to date.



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Anger erupts at U.N. climate summit as major economies resist bold action



Major economies resisted calls for bolder climate commitments as a U.N. summit in Madrid limped toward a delayed conclusion on Saturday, dimming hopes that nations will act in time to stop rising temperatures devastating people and the natural world, Trend reports citing Reuters.

With the two-week gathering spilling into the weekend, campaigners and many delegates slammed Chile, presiding over the talks, for drafting a summit text that they said risked throwing the 2015 Paris Agreement to tackle global warming into reverse.

“At a time when scientists are queuing up to warn about terrifying consequences if emissions keep rising, and school children are taking to the streets in their millions, what we have here in Madrid is a betrayal of people across the world,” said Mohamed Adow, director of Power Shift Africa, a climate and energy think-tank in Nairobi.

The annual climate marathon had been due to conclude on Friday, but dragged on with ministers mired in multiple disputes over implementing the Paris deal, which has so far failed to stem the upward march of global carbon emissions.

Long-time participants in the talks expressed outrage at the unwillingness of major polluters to show ambition commensurate with the gravity of the climate crisis, after a year of wildfires, cyclones, droughts and floods.

The European Union, small island states and many other nations had been calling for the Madrid decision to signal that the more than 190 countries participating in the Paris process will submit bolder pledges to cut emissions next year.

The agreement enters a crucial implementation phase in 2020, when countries are supposed to ratchet up their ambitions ahead of the next major round of talks in Glasgow.

If big economies such as China, India, Japan, Brazil, Australia and others fail to agree more meaningful climate action soon, then scientists say already slim hopes of averting catastrophic temperature rises will all but vanish.

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