Emergency/ Crisis Management

French pension riots continue

Police fired tear gas at violent black-clad anarchists in Paris today as hundreds of thousands of otherwise mainly peaceful protesters marched across France against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the national pension age to 64 from 62 this year. In a ninth day of nationwide protests, train and air travel was disrupted while professionals walked off the job. [node:read-more:link]

Water: no cause for celebration

The UN marked World Water Day by warning that supplies are increasingly at risk around the world because of increased urban demand. On average, it said today, “10 per cent of the global population lives in countries with high or critical water stress” as the world is “blindly travelling a dangerous path” toward unsustainability. [node:read-more:link]

Canada empowering Ukraine

repair the country’s battered power grid which continues to be targetted by Russian forces. They are being delivered through a European Union response group that helps to coordinate disaster relief. [node:read-more:link]

Premier “astonished” by cocaine decision

Health Canada’s approval of a B.C. cannabis company to get into the cocaine market has “astonished” Premier David Eby. Adastra Labs says it received permission February 17 through an amendment to its controlled substance dealer’s licence but Eby said March 2 that “it is not part of our provincial plan” to tackle drug overdose deaths. [node:read-more:link]

“Freedom Convoy” solidarity crumbling

An accountant who set up a “Freedom Convoy” not-for-profit corporation to receive contributions, is suing two lawyers who represent other protest organizers, alleging negligence in not warning him of potential legal risks. It’s the latest in a series of disputes as organizers try to defend a potential class-action lawsuit on behalf of Ottawa residents and businesses affected by the blockade of the capital’s downtown core a year ago. [node:read-more:link]

Explosive device detonated in B.C.

An RCMP bomb disposal unit from Vancouver detonated an explosive device late February 27 about seven hours after it was found beside a highway in the south-central city of Kelowna. Investigators now are trying to determine who planted it and why. [node:read-more:link]

U.K. firm liable in Beirut blast

Two and a half years after a massive dockside explosion in Beirut killed more than 200 persons and injured more than 6,000 others, a British court has ruled that a London-based company which chartered the ship that delivered the ammonium nitrate in 2013 is liable. Court documents show that senior Lebanese political, judicial and security officials were aware of the risk but had not taken action. [node:read-more:link]

Getting ahead of climate change?

British Columbia ostensibly will be better prepared to deal with natural disasters related to climate change though a program announced by Premier David Eby. “The last few years have taught us a hard lesson,” he said, citing wildfires, floods, a lethal heat wave and infrastructure damage. Accordingly, his government is adding $180 million to its Community Emergency Preparedness Fund. [node:read-more:link]

Biden challenges Putin

In Poland today after a surprise visit to Kyiv, U.S. President Joe Biden said that after nearly a year of supporting Ukraine’s resistance to Russia’s invasion, NATO is “more united and more unified than ever before.” He also rebutted President Vladimir Putin’s claim earlier in the day that the West had instigated the conflict, saying that while the U.S. and Europe “do not seek to control or destroy Russia”, nor would their support for Ukraine waiver. [node:read-more:link]

New quake on Turkey-Syria border

Two weeks after earthquakes and aftershocks in Turkey resulted in the deaths of more than 45,000 people, the region was struck by another quake today. Initial details indicated relatively few fatalities but the latest one collapsed buildings damaged in the previous quakes. [node:read-more:link]

Emergency Act invocation warranted

The Public Order Emergency Commission has concluded that the government met a “very high” threshold with its unprecedented invocation of the 1988 Emergencies Act to end last year’s “Freedom Convoy” protests and border blockades. “Lawful protest descended into lawlessness, culminating in a national emergency,” Commissioner Paul Rouleau said today in his report to Parliament. Citing “a failure in policing and federalism,” the Ontario Court of Appeal judge acknowledged it was a “drastic move” but said it was “not a dictatorial one.” [node:read-more:link]

What to do about Haiti?

As Prime Minister Justin Trudeau discusses the crisis in Haiti with Caribbean leaders this week, he evidently remained resistant to suggestions, including from the U.S., about military intervention. During a multilateral meeting today, he told Haiti’s unelected leader, Ariel Henry, who has UN support for external security forces to combat endemic gang violence, only that Canada has “much to do” to offer support and stability. [node:read-more:link]

No trial change for convoy organizer

James Bauder of Calgary, one of the leaders of last winter’s disruptive convoy protest in Ottawa, has lost his bid to have his criminal trial moved out of the city. He argued unsuccessfully in Ontario Superior Court that he wouldn’t get a “fair trial in Ottawa because I participated in a very high-profile, highly politicized, lawful protest directed at the federal government in Ottawa.” [node:read-more:link]

Earthquake death toll mounting

More than 11,000 people in Turkey and Syria are now confirmed dead and thousands more remain missing today after a earthquakes and aftershocks in their border region February 6. International rescue teams are racing against time, their work hampered by winter weather, to find survivors in devastated communities but logistics and politics in war-torn Syria exacerbate the difficulties. [node:read-more:link]


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