Independent topical source of current affairs, opinion and issues, featuring stories making news in Canada from immigrants, newcomers, minorities & ethnic communities' point of view and interests.

spanish politics: Members of Sanchez's Cabinet had signalled that a defeat in the budget vote would lead to a fresh general election, according to Toronto Star. Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. The 191-158 vote, with one abstention, opened a new crisis in Spanish politics. Spain's minority socialist government could be forced to call an early general election if Catalan separatist parties carry out their threat to reject the 2019 national budget in a crucial parliamentary vote Wednesday. Spain's minority socialist government could be forced to call an early general election if Catalan separatist parties carry out their threat to reject the 2019 national budget in a crucial parliamentary vote Wednesday. Manu Fernandez / AP Photo Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez arrives at the Spanish parliament in Madrid, Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. ( As reported in the news.

campaign: But he's not waiting to declare victory, contending at the White House on Wednesday that a wall is being built as we speak, according to Vancouver Courier. Indeed, work on a first barrier extension 14 miles in Texas' Rio Grande Valley starts this month, approved by Congress about a year ago along with money to renovate and strengthen some existing fencing. Trump is expected to grudgingly accept the agreement, which would avert another government shutdown and give him what Republicans have been describing as a down payment on his signature campaign pledge.article continues below Trending Stories Thousands turn out for Downtown Eastside Women's Memorial March in Vancouver Canadians warned to avoid non-essential travel' to parts of Mexico Top 10 things to do with kids on Family Day in Vancouver Vancouver's last remaining porn theatre evolves He said Wednesday that he's still waiting on lawmakers to present him with final legislative language before making a decision. But that's a far cry from the vast wall he promised during his campaign would go up so fast your head will spin. Carried away by his own enthusiasm, perhaps, he added, You are going to have to be in extremely good shape to get over this one. Sounding like he was again in campaign mode, he told a law enforcement group on Wednesday, It's going to be a great, powerful wall. ... The wall is very, very on its way. ( As reported in the news.

government plan: Researchers at the protest handed a petition to academy president and renowned mathematician Laszlo Lovasz, asking him to support keeping their research institutes under the academy's management, according to CTV. The academy oversees some 5,000 researchers in a range of disciplines, from medicine and economics to computer science and astronomy. Several thousand people formed a human chain around the headquarters of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, urging the academy's leaders to fight the government plan and hold onto their independence. Populist Prime Minister Viktor Orban said the government's aim is to improve innovation in scientific research and to have publicly funded research projects create a direct economic profit. Our ability to enforce our interests in obtaining significant scientific and innovation funds could be stronger. International innovation rankings show that, unfortunately, Hungary's place is among the weaker performers, Orban said Tuesday in an open letter to researchers. ( As reported in the news.

palestinian embroidery: The robe, adorned with elaborate hand-stitched embroidery, requires months of grueling labour, according to CTV. Some thobes fetch thousands of dollars. Now it's gaining prominence as a softer expression of Palestinian nationalism, competing even with the classic keffiyeh -- the headscarf donned by young stone-throwing Palestinian men protesting Israel's occupation. The traditional textiles call to mind a bygone era of Palestinian peasant women sewing on a break from the fields. The historic thobe conjures an ideal of pure and untouched Palestine, before the occupation, said Rachel Dedman, curator of a recent exhibit at the Palestinian Museum focused on the evolution of Palestinian embroidery. Last month, Rashida Tlaib proudly wore her mother's thobe to her historic swearing-in as the first female Palestinian American member of Congress, inspiring masses of women around the world, especially in the Palestinian territories, to tweet photos of themselves in their ancestral robes. ( As reported in the news.

pmo probe: PMO probe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he welcomes the investigation into whether he or anyone in his office influenced former justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould in the SNC-Lavalin case. 2, according to CTV. Forced labour Provincial police have freed 43 people from a labour human trafficking operation in Barrie and Wasaga Beach, Ont., in what officials have compared to modern day slavery. 3. Here's what else you need to know to start your day. 1. Immigration fraud Three men from India say their Canadian dreams have been crushed after allegedly being scammed by an unlicensed immigration consultant. 4. Mars landing A space travel company that once advertised one-way trips to Mars filed for bankruptcy in Swiss court last month and has officially dissolved, according to court documents. U.S. shutdown Republican lawmakers have settled for less funding for new barriers along the U.S.-Mexico border, tentatively agreeing to a deal that would prevent another government shutdown. 5. ( As reported in the news.

guard troops: About 100 of the 360 troops will remain deployed under California's agreement with the federal government to focus specifically on combating transnational crime such as drug and gun smuggling, Newsom spokesman Nathan Click said, according to CTV. Specifically, they will be tasked with providing intelligence on transnational crime and assist with cargo dock operations and searches of commercial trucks for contraband. Gavin Newsom plans Monday to withdraw several hundred National Guard troops from the state's southern border with Mexico in defiance of the Trump administration's request for support from border states. Newsom's move comes on the heels of New Mexico Gov. The two state's former governors agreed to send troops to the border last April at the Trump administration's request along with Texas and Arizona. Michelle Lujan Grisham, also a Democrat, pulling back her state's troops from the U.S.-Mexico border. ( As reported in the news.

campaign event: Trudeau joined Lee at the Shadbolt Centre for the Arts, where dozens of supporters cheered as Trudeau said he expects Lee to be a strong voice in Parliament for residents of Burnaby, B.C. Lee is a former provincial legislator who replaced the Liberals' first candidate, Karen Wang, after she resigned following an online post mentioning the ethnicity of her opponent, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, according to CTV. Singh is seeking his first seat in Parliament in the byelection, scheduled for Feb. 25, and earlier today he attended the annual Chinese New Year parade in Vancouver. He made the remarks after a small group of anti-pipeline protesters began shouting at him at a campaign event to support Richard T. Lee, the Liberal candidate in the Burnaby South byelection. A small group of demonstrators clad in yellow vests also greeted Trudeau outside the Burnaby event to protest his government's policies on immigration. ( As reported in the news.

death: Clarke is known for negotiating plea deals that helped some of the nation's most infamous killers avoid death row, including Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Atlanta Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph and Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, who killed six people and injured 13 others, including U.S. Rep, according to CTV. Gabrielle Giffords. Robert Bowers, a truck driver who authorities say gunned down 11 people at Tree of Life Synagogue, appeared in federal court with attorney Judy Clarke, who expressed hope the case will be resolved without a trial. A jury sentenced marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whom Clarke represented, to death. Asked if the government would consider a plea deal that spares Bowers a potential death sentence, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady said in a statement Monday The defendant is charged with crimes that carry the maximum possible penalty of death. Prosecutors in Pittsburgh have yet to announce whether they will pursue the death penalty against Bowers. ( As reported in the news.

jennifer innis: Jennifer Innis, a Caledon regional councillor, says that under her leadership, the TRCA board will continue to advocate to protect and restore our watersheds, according to Toronto Star. Bryon Johnson / Metroland file photo The lobbying happened as the development industry told Premier Doug Ford's government that its coming housing supply action plan should end mandate creep overstepping authority and stifling homebuilding by TRCA and Ontario's 35 other conservation authorities. The agency, the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority TRCA helps protect the Green Belt, Oak Ridges Moraine and valleys of the Humber, Don and Rouge rivers from flooding, erosion, development that could harm water quality and flow toward Lake Ontario, and other threats. Ford was captured on tape during the 2018 election campaign promising developers he would open a big chunk of the Green Belt to development but later vowed to safeguard the protected land. After a backlash the Ford government promised to drop that section. More recently critics said part of Bill 66 introduced in December would allow municipalities to open the Green Belt. ( As reported in the news.

funding measure: They tentatively agreed Monday night to far less money for President Donald Trump's border wall than the White House's 5.7 billion wish list, settling for a figure of nearly 1.4 billion, according to congressional aides, according to CTV. The funding measure is through the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30. Republicans were desperate to avoid another bruising shutdown. The agreement means 55 miles of new fencing -- constructed through existing designs such as metal slats instead of a concrete wall -- but far less than the 215 miles the White House demanded in December. With the government being shut down, the spectre of another shutdown this close, what brought us back together I thought tonight was we didn't want that to happen again, said Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala. The fencing would be built in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. ( As reported in the news.

increase transparency: Montreal this week became the latest city in North America to decide against arming police with cameras, according to Toronto Star. Julio Cortez / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Montreal last week became the latest city in North America to decide against making the cameras standard police equipment. Alex Norris, chairman of Montreal's public security committee, says outfitting the city's 3,000 front line police officers with cameras is not worth the investment. What has been described as a tool to increase transparency in the police force and improve relations between officers and citizens is not ready for prime time Norris said. Officers didn't have the reflex to turn on the camera in an emergency situation or when they needed to use force, Norris said. Often, the cases when you would most want the video are the cases when you would be least likely to get it, he said in an interview, referring to the results of a 3.4 million pilot project that saw 78 officers wear cameras between May 2016 and April 2017. ( As reported in the news.

asia bibi: He said Bibi, who faces death threats by radical Islamists, is frustrated and frightened, uncertain of when she will be able to leave Pakistan, according to CTV. She has no indication of when she will leave ... they are not telling her why she cannot leave, said Ullah, who fled the country Friday after receiving threats from extremists angered by his assistance to Bibi, which began while she was on death row. Aman Ullah, who spoke to Asia Bibi by telephone Friday, said the 54-year-old Bibi is being held in a room in the southern port city. Ullah has been a liaison between Bibi and European diplomats, who have sought to assist her. Bibi's ordeal began in 2009 when two fellow farmworkers refused to drink from the same container as a Christian woman. The Associated Press spoke to Bibi by telephone with Ullah's assistance following her October acquittal, which was upheld last month. ( As reported in the news.

board works: The group has introduced skateboarding to some of Canada's Syrian refugees and has set up programs in some Indigenous communities, too, according to CTV. This was its first time working with students with visual impairments. The session was offered by the Academy Skateboard Collective, a non-profit that aims to connect marginalized communities through skateboarding. The students, who were outfitted with all of the necessary safety gear, learned how the board works and how to position themselves for proper balance. Leading the students in their lesson was Dan Mancina, a professional skateboarder who lost his own vision seven years ago. I actually think skateboarding lends itself so well because so much of it is about feel and the experience and the texture of the park, the curves, Everett Tetz, the founder of the Academy Skateboard Collective, told CTV Calgary. ( As reported in the news.

caucus state: Booker opened his first day of campaigning in the early voting presidential caucus state using the rhetoric reminiscent of the civil rights movement to distinguish himself early in the race, according to CTV. And although Iowa is a vastly white state, Booker's is a sentiment that echoes within the state's Democratic base. Cory Booker urged Democratic activists in small towns and black leaders on Friday to heed his call for social justice and apply it to the fight for universal health care coverage and a fair criminal justice system. In a crowded church basement in Mason City, Booker likened denying health care coverage to denying civil rights. That's not justice. You cannot have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness if you don't have health care, the Democratic senator told an overwhelmingly white audience of about 100 who turned out despite sub-zero temperatures. ( As reported in the news.

data point: The biggest boost came from the number of private-sector employee positions, which climbed by 111,500 in January for the category's biggest month-to-month increase since the agency started collecting the data point in 1976, according to CTV. The number of self-employed positions, which can include unpaid work, declined by 60,700. The agency's latest labour force survey said more people also searched for work last month, which pushed the unemployment rate to 5.8 per cent, up from its 43-year low 5.6 per cent in December. The services sector saw a gain of 99,200 positions, led by new work in wholesale and retail trade, while the goods-producing industries experienced a net loss of 32,300 jobs, the report said. And even going into some of the details there was an incredible show of strength, supposedly, from the private sector. Definitely the headline job gain was very impressive, said BMO chief economist Douglas Porter. ( As reported in the news.

evidence i: Although Mr, according to CTV. McArthur has taken responsibility by pleading guilty, there has been no evidence I can see of remorse, said Justice John McMahon. Scroll down or click here for a recap of live updates from court The ruling means McArthur will be 91 before he can apply for any form of release, which the judge said he was highly unlikely to receive. Mr. McArthur, a self-employed landscaper, pleaded guilty last week to eight counts of first-degree murder for men he killed between 2010 and 2017. McArthur would have no doubt continued to kill if he wasn't caught. ( As reported in the news.

fatima alsaleh: By any Canadian measure, the decor is spare, sparse even, according to Toronto Star. Alsaleh spends most of her time inside the two-bedroom townhouse, cooking meals in the dilapidated kitchen for her two boys and two girls, ages eight to 13. The wooden floors are bare but for a tan, brown and white geometric rug. Fatima Alsaleh spends most of her time at her home in Calgary, although she ventures out for English classes and shopping when the children are at school. Christina Ryan / Star Calgary When her phone buzzes, she plugs in her earbuds and wanders into the kitchen, where she is instantly connected to the familiar voices of the family she reluctantly left behind in a refugee camp in Lebanon. After three years in Canada, the single mother still yearns to go back to the refugee camp in Lebanon where the rest of her family lives. ( As reported in the news.

member delegation: In They Call Me George, sociology professor and novelist Independence Cecil Foster makes the case that the moment was exceptional, a consequential threshold-crossing episode, according to Toronto Star. The men, former and current porters popularly known as George's boys after American magnate George Pullman's famous train service franchise had journeyed to meet federal government representatives with a goal to transform the country. Inside one of its cars a 35-member delegation of the Negro Citizenship Association. In place of one dominant idea Canada as a white country created for the habitation and benefit of people of European ethnicities they offered another a new nation state created out of all peoples of the world, a country of equality, where specific ethnic groups would not have all the privileges and others none. Cole Burston / For Toronto Star For Foster, these unobtrusive men on the transcontinental railway are as much iconic representatives of Canada and Canadian experience as Mounties, moose, beavers, and iced-over hockey ponds. A plaque to honour the first Black porters in Toronto is passed to the speakers at the 5th annual Underground Freedom Train Ride to mark Emancipation Day, the end of slavery, in Toronto on July 31, 2017. ( As reported in the news.

reporters questions: One goal is to have immigrants settle in regions experiencing labour shortages, according to Toronto Star. Coalition Avenir Quebec MNA Simon Jolin-Barrette responds to reporters questions on Oct. 9, 2018 at the legislature in Quebec City. Quebec Immigration Minister Simon Jolin-Barrette tabled Bill 9 Thursday, which lays down a legal framework that would allow the province to be more selective with immigrants. The new Coalition Avenir Quebec government says it will cut immigration to the province by roughly 20 cent next year. Federal Intergovernmental Minister Dominic LeBlanc said Thursday in a statement that more analysis on Bill 9 is needed, however we do not support the reintroduction of conditional permanent residency. Jacques Boissinot / THE CANADIAN PRESS The federal government, however, has the jurisdiction to grant permanent resident status, and it would have to give Quebec more powers for the legislation to have effect. ( As reported in the news.

student travel: The Moody's warning comes several months after a dustup between Canada and Saudi Arabia resulted in the kingdom yanking the scholarships of Saudi students studying in Canada, according to National Observer. The impact of such a move by China would be far greater, Moody's warns in its report, because there are 15 times as many Chinese students in Canada. Tuition for international students is much higher than that charged to Canadians and has become a crucial source of income for schools, Moody's says. ; China has made no moves to cut off student travel to Canada but Moody's says there is a risk posed by the escalating diplomatic fight since Canada arrested a senior executive from Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei. Moody's notes Chinese students make up nearly two-thirds of the international student body at the University of Toronto, more than one-third at the University of British Columbia and almost one-fourth at McGill University. When Saudi Arabia cut scholarships the Council of Ontario Universities warned Ontario schools alone would lose tens of millions of dollars, without adding in the overall economic impact from the students in terms of housing and living costs. The intensification of political tensions between the Government of Canada and the Government of China poses credit risks for Canadian universities, the Moody's report warns. ( As reported in the news.

border security: After a private meeting with border officials Wednesday, Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike emerged with that faintest tinge of optimism that had all but evaporated from the Capitol last month during a 35-day shutdown, according to Rabble. Aides and members point to progress Democrats and Republicans are trading proposals back and forth, negotiating in good faith and trying to find a commonsense middle ground that includes a three-pronged approach to border security a mix of barriers, personnel and technology that both sides can agree on. The signs are promising that a 17-person conference committee is making progress. What we are hearing right now is that they are talking. Thom Tillis of North Carolina told CNN. I know that they are consulting with the White House but I don't know what level of depth they've gotten into. It's not like some of these negotiations where they all come together 24 hours before a deadline and say 'we've reached an impasse' when in fact they haven't even had any meaningful discussions, Republican Sen. ( As reported in the news.

kind word: The CBC president was musing, at an industry conference in Ottawa last week, about the heyday of the British and French Empires, when if you were the viceroy of India you would feel that you were doing only good for the people of India, according to CBC. Or, if you were in French Africa, you would think I'm educating them, I'm bringing their resources to the world, and I'm helping them.' The comments have since come back to bite her, not because many people have a kind word for imperialism these days but because she was comparing those colonial empires, which invaded and conquered territory by force of arms, to the new empire of Netflix. Patrick Semansky/AP Andrew Coyne February 6, 20199 59 PM ESTFiled under Full Share this story Andrew Coyne Cultural imperialism isn't threatening Canadian identity and cultural nationalism can't save it Tumblr Pinterest Google Linked In There was a time, Catherine Tait was saying, when cultural imperialism was absolutely accepted. As more than one commentator has objected, none of the six million Canadians who subscribe to Netflix was made to do so at the point of a gun. It was, in short, an altogether silly line of argument. Neither is it evident what comparable damage is done by a service that gives willing viewers in this country access to well-made television programs from around the world. ( As reported in the news.

documentary nominees: This year, TIFF has secured all five nominees in each of the three categories animation, live action and documentary, each screening in a separate program, according to NOW Magazine. There are some interesting trends, like the fact that three of the animated nominees are centred on Asian characters and two of those are set in an undisguised Toronto! or that two of the live-action nominees hail from Quebec, or that all five of the documentary nominees are rooted in the notion that we really need to be more understanding of one another. Rating NNNNIt's become a tradition that TIFF screens as many Oscar-nominated short subjects as possible in advance of the Academy Awards, to demonstrate the range of cinema being celebrated and, perhaps, so people can fill out their pool entries with as much information as possible. You might also notice that two of the live-action nominees are really quite bad. Take notes. Anyway, read on. ( As reported in the news.

elections canada: Stephane Perrault says if the fake information appears in an advertisement, there are some minimal rules that cover impersonation of parties, candidates or Elections Canada officials and some elements of disinformation, according to Vancouver Courier. Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS The Canadian Press Joan Bryden February 7, 20195 41 PM ESTFiled underPMN Share this story Not much Elections Canada can do about fake news spread about candidates Tumblr Pinterest Google Linked InOTTAWA Canada's chief electoral officer says there's not much his independent agency can do to counter fake news circulated about a candidate in the midst of an election. Canada's chief electoral watchdog says there's not much his independent agency can do to counter fake news circulated about a candidate in the midst of an election. Stephane Perrault told a House of Commons committee Thursday there are some minimal rules that cover impersonation of parties, candidates or Elections Canada officials and some limited forms of disinformation. In an appearance Thursday before a House of Commons committee, Perrault refused to comment specifically on an ad that falsely suggests NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who is in the midst of a byelection contest in British Columbia's Burnaby South, owns an opulent mansion. But lies spread through social media can't be regulated by Elections Canada. ( As reported in the news.

canadian stage: This sort of mythic play in our canon, according to Toronto Star. And that ability, race and gender were a huge part of that exploration. Jain explained to Ho that casting a male actor in this traditionally female role was part of his particular approach to Shakespeare's iconic play We talked about how it's an examination of who gets to tell the story, says Ho. Actor Jeff Ho will reprise his role as Ophelia in Why Not Theatre's Prince Hamlet. After great reviews and a sellout Jain's company Why Not Theatre has remounted Prince Hamlet for a nationwide tour that opens at Canadian Stage this week, after playing in Banff and Vancouver and en route to Ottawa . So it's true that his joining Prince Hamlet was to some extent, as Ho puts it, the greatest fluke ever. NICK KOZAK FOR THE TORONTO STAR Ho got on board, joining a cast that included a female Hamlet Christine Horne Black female actors playing Gertrude Karen Robinson and Laertes Khadijah Roberts-Abdullah and the deaf female actor Dawn Jani Birley playing Horatio. ( As reported in the news.

ed broadbent: So it was startling when Dewar revealed in June 2018 that, as he was recovering from brain surgery several months before, he saw news of the high school shooting in Parkland, Fla., that killed 17 people -- and that he abandoned any hope and was ready to give up, according to CTV. Except giving up was never really in Dewar's vocabulary. Despite struggling with dyslexia as a child, getting trounced by Ed Broadbent during his initial foray into politics, losing his seat in the House of Commons in the Liberal wave of 2015 and being diagnosed with a terminal illness, the 56-year-old was infused with a positive, hopeful attitude and belief that the world could be made a better place. Inspired as Parkland students channelled their loss and pain into a rallying cry against gun violence in the U.S., Dewar decided to launch a new initiative to try to empower a new generation of leaders who would work for the greater good. Hopefully, it will help unleash the power of the young people in our community to make a real difference. In a farewell message posted to Facebook after his death, Dewar wrote that true change can only come when power is transferred to young people unburdened by cynicism -- which is why he used what little energy he had left to create Youth Action Now. ( As reported in the news.