News breakdown: Jan. 13 – 19

A Rohingya refugee boy who is among those being relocated from a camp near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border looks out from the window of a bus as it is brought to the Balukhali refugee camp, 50 kilometres from, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh/ (Courtesy Manish Swarup/AP)

A Rohingya refugee boy who is among those being relocated from a camp near the Bangladesh-Myanmar border looks out from the window of a bus as it is brought to the Balukhali refugee camp, 50 kilometres from, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh/ (Courtesy Manish Swarup/AP)

International

– Bangladesh and Myanmar have agreed on a repatriation agreement on the approximately 650,000 Rohingya refugees who fled state-sponsored violence in Myanmar. The agreement outlines the relocation of 300 Rohingya a day, but Rohingya spokespeople, the UN refugee agency and Amnesty International have spoken out against the agreement, calling it “alarmingly premature.”

– The U.S. federal government shut down at midnight on Jan. 19 when only 50 members of the Senate supported a budget bill that would extend government funding, which required 60 votes to pass. Republicans said they wouldn’t pass the spending bill unless it includes major southern border security funds, while Democrats said they wouldn’t pass the spending bill until it includes a comprehensive fix to the DACA program, a program which protects undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

– North Korea and South Korea, after high-level talks, have agreed to march under a unified flag at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. North Korea is going to send 22 of its own athletes to compete in three events, including a unified women’s hockey team.

– The Pope visited Chile but was overshadowed by the controversy around a reverend who was found guilty of abusing dozens of minors, and the resultant attacks on Chilean churches during the Pope’s visit, some with firebombs. The Pope then visited Peru where two died and 17 were seriously injured in a 7.1 earthquake that struck on Jan. 14.

– India successfully tested a long-range nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) called Agni-V which has the capability to hit all of China. India also announced its intention to spend US$553 million on 160,000 guns for border troops on its disputed, high-altitude borders, which primarily border Pakistan and China.

– Palestine voted to suspend its recognition of Israel until it recognizes Palestine as a state, and to cease security cooperation with Israeli security forces. In an unrelated move, the U.S. federal government is cutting US$65 million from the UNRWA, the UN’s refugee agency for Palestinians, however, Belgium has moved to fill approximately a third of the shortfall.

A lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada says solitary confinement violates the charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. (Courtesy D. Buckley/The Canadian Press)

A lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the John Howard Society of Canada says solitary confinement violates the charter right to life, liberty and security of the person. (Courtesy D. Buckley/The Canadian Press)

National

– The British Colombia Supreme Court has ruled the indefinite use of solitary confinement unconstitutional under Section 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms as it places them at risk of psychological harm and suicide. The ruling orders the federal government to rewrite the law surrounding solitary confinement and says that the current law discriminates against Indigenous peoples and those with mental difficulties.

– The federal government has filed requests for panel reviews of the U.S.’ decision to impose duties on airplanes and softwood lumber imports under Chapter 19 of NAFTA. This is essentially an appeal of the U.S.’ decision to slap 300 per cent tariffs on imports to a NAFTA dispute-resolution mechanism.

– Toronto police say widely publicized incident of a man cutting an 11-year old girl’s hijab with scissors “did not happen.” Before it was confirmed fake, Toronto’s mayor, Ontario’s premier and the Prime Minister all condemned the alleged crime. The family has apologized and asked for forgiveness.

– Vancouver police have assigned over 50 officers to investigate a crossfire which killed a 15-year-old as well as the 23-year-old target of the attack. The Vancouver chief of police said the shooting was related to gang violence and that a 30-year-old bystander was also injured.

– The federal government announced changes to funding for the Canada Summer Jobs program where funding for anti-abortion groups would be cut off. Conservative lawmakers and MPs hit out against the decision and the Toronto Right to Life Association is challenging the decision in federal court.

Abdoul Abdi is escorted from a courtroom at Halifax provincial court on Dec. 24, 2013. Abdi’s sister, Fatouma Alyaan, says the deportation of her brother is unfair. (Courtesy Ryan Taplin/The Canadian Press)

Abdoul Abdi is escorted from a courtroom at Halifax provincial court on Dec. 24, 2013. Abdi’s sister, Fatouma Alyaan, says the deportation of her brother is unfair. (Courtesy Ryan Taplin/The Canadian Press)

Local

– Former child refugee Abdoul Abdi has been released from custody as he fights his impending deportation to Somalia. Abdoul’s case has become a rallying point for activists who say that the province was wrong in failing to apply for citizenship on his behalf.

– The Council of Atlantic Ministers of Education and Training announced the development of a mental health framework to help students in all public schools and post-secondary schools. The framework around this plan will be completed by the fall and its separate provincial implementation will allow the provinces to learn from each other.

– Premier Stephen McNeil says that the family doctor shortages area is a result of the previous government’s inaction around the issue. Former NDP Minster of Health Maureen MacDonald refuted these claims citing a physician resource plan, working groups and funding models.

– Elections Nova Scotia has recommended 23 changes be made to the elections process and voting legislation. Prominent among them are a solution to the problem of candidate withdrawal, as last election three candidates withdrew with confusing and mixed fallout.

– Two Crown attorneys have been appointed to focus on Nova Scotia sexual assault persecutions and provide training to other Crown attorneys in the province. The attorneys will also work with legal, law enforcement and advocacy stakeholder groups.