News Breakdown: Jan.20-26

International News

Thousands of people protest against president Nicolás Maduro as Juan Guaidó, the president of the Venezuelan parliament, announces that he has assumed executive powers, in Caracas, Venezuela. (Courtesy Miguel Gutierrez/EPA)

Thousands of people protest against president Nicolás Maduro as Juan Guaidó, the president of the Venezuelan parliament, announces that he has assumed executive powers, in Caracas, Venezuela. (Courtesy Miguel Gutierrez/EPA)

 

At least 20 people have been killed in Venezuela and tens more have been injured in protests for and against the government. At the largest of the anti-government protests on Wednesday, opposition leader Juan Guiado declared himself president, following the inauguration of President Maduro and an election Guiado says was rigged.

 

Guiado reached out to the armed forces and all Venezuelans, saying that amnesty will be given to those who support him and that he is not looking to commit a coup. He said that the opposition’s goal is new, free and fair elections. The next day the head of the armed forces appeared on television, where he pledged the military’s support to Maduro, despite recent rebellious activity within the Venezuelan military.

 

The Lima Group, a group of countries near Venezuela that includes the U.S. and Canada, support President Guiado, while European leaders are calling on sitting President Maduro to hold free and fair elections. Otherwise, they plan to throw their support behind Guiado in eight days. Russia, China, Turkey, Cuba and Bolivia are supporting sitting President Maduro, and Russia has sent private security forces it used in Syria and the Ukraine to support President Maduro’s government.

 

The 35-day U.S. government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history, ended late Friday after President Trump signed a bill reopening the government for three weeks while negotiations continue on a final budget. Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer has suggested that the President’s capitulation validates the Democrats’ position and polling suggests that he is correct. President Trump’s approval rating has fallen eight per cent, while the Democrats have risen five per cent. Polls by ABC News and the Washington Post found that Republicans received 53 per cent of the blame for the shutdown from the public, with Democrats at 34 per cent.

 

Last Monday, a Taliban suicide bomber, along with several gunmen, attacked a provincial training compound used by the Afghan intelligence service, with 36 people killed. Estimates of casualties were as high as 126. Experts have said that this attack was to ensure the Taliban’s leverage in peace talks and to keep morale high. Peace talks ended late this week with a draft agreement, stating that within 18 months all foreign troops will leave Afghanistan, that Afghanistan will harbour no al-Qaeda or ISIS militants, and other specifics concerning interim governance, travel bans and prisoner exchange.
Zimbabwean authorities have killed at least eight people, injured scores of others, detained hundreds of protesters and activists and shut down the internet following protests against massive fuel price raises. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, new president Felix Tshisekedi was sworn in after President Kabila was forced to step down. However, there are concerns of a backroom deal where Tshisekedi may have agreed to share power with Kabila in return for Kabila’s rigging the election in Tshisekedi’s favour.

 

National News

Police officers carry bagged evidence out of a house in Kingston that had been raided on Thursday evening. (Courtesy Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

Police officers carry bagged evidence out of a house in Kingston that had been raided on Thursday evening. (Courtesy Lars Hagberg/Canadian Press)

 

Counterterrorism detectives arrested a teenager in Kingston and charged him with facilitating a terrorist activity, specifically bomb-making. A court-ordered publication ban has come into effect. However, the police have revealed that this plot was foiled due to a tip by their U.S. counterparts and the work of hundreds of agents across the country.

Canada has backed Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as president over the sitting president Nicolás Maduro  after a disputed election and Canada’s sanctions on Venezuela s earlier this month. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh has called on the government to not blindly follow U.S. foreign policy due to the U.S.’s blatant self-interest in regional foreign policy, and says that he is against foreign interventionism. The party also criticized President Maduro’s actions.

 

Ontario Premier Doug Ford has made sweeping changes to post-secondary education, ordering fees for domestic students down by 10 per cent (to be paid for by universities and colleges), reforming Ontario’s Student Assistance Program (OSAP) by eliminating free tuition for poor students, focusing OSAP funds and grants on low-income applicants and making the paying of most student union fees voluntary.

 

Canadian ambassador to China John McCallum has apologized for comments on Meng Wanzhou’s arrest and possible extradition. The U.S. has confirmed that it will seek Wanzhou’s extradition before her release deadline, while China continues to take a hard line in support of Wanzhou and against Canada.

 

The World Refugee Council, a Canadian-led organization, has published a report calling for a major overhaul of the international refugee system, saying that the current piecemeal system is lacking and that refugees are falling through the cracks.

 

Prime Minister Trudeau is warning voters to be wary of fear-mongering around immigration during the federal election later this year.
Local News

Health Minister Randy Delorey said the comparison to conditions in the developing world has the "unfortunate consequence" of instilling fear. (Courtesy Craig Paisley/CBC)

Health Minister Randy Delorey said the comparison to conditions in the developing world has the “unfortunate consequence” of instilling fear. (Courtesy Craig Paisley/CBC)

 

Health Minister Randy Delorey made comments comparing the quality of health care in Cape Breton to that of the third world. He said that the Liberal government is aiming to restructure the system to provide modern coverage in the next few years. The NDP held a press conference in Sydney to address the healthcare situation on the island. At this conference,  local doctor Jeanne Ferguson told reporters that people are dying due to a lack of resources.

 

The storm that swept Nova Scotia on Thursday night exceeded wind speeds of 80km/h. Power was knocked out for more than 12,000 people. Nova Scotia Power worked overnight and into the next morning to restore the outages, with the vast majority of power restored by the next afternoon.

 

Nova Scotia Justice Minister Mark Furey has joined in on the criticism of the Parole Board of Canada’s decision to release convicted killer William Shrubsall to the United States. Furey highlighted that Shrubsall is a dangerous offender.

 

In response to a federal government tax change wherein local elected officials are no longer allowed a tax break on their salaries, 26 municipalities have given themselves a raise. 11 municipalities have decided against raises, with 12 municipalities undecided. These raises effectively keep the elected officials’ salaries the same, since the raises that have gone though are equal to the altered amount of tax.

 

Jamie Simpson, a former Dalhousie environmental law professor, has sued the government over its failure to protect species at risk under the Nova Scotia Endangered Species Act. Simpson said that he couldn’t wait for another one of his students to ask him why the government’s failure has not been challenged in court, and brought the idea of a suit to local environmental groups he now represents.