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.

cold-open sketch: SNL managed to work jokes about events less than 24 hours old into the cold-open sketch about high-profile firings Anderson Cooper Alex Moffat asked Attorney General Jeff Sessions Kate McKinnon why he fired former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe late Friday night, and just before he was about to retire, according to Toronto Star. Hello! Look at me, I still got a job, McKinnon's wily Sessions said. And that was before the show turned its attention to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos and her botched 60 Minutes interview from last Sunday, in a pointed segment on Weekend Update. Mr. The fake Sessions added Look, I'm always down to clown, but this was sneaky, even for me! I'm just a simple man who wanted to make things bad for immigrants, and here I am taking away the pension of a Christian white. McCabe was in clear violation, because of his lack of candor I don't know, I can't even dance around Trump made me do it! McCabe, he saw too much. ( As reported in the news.

india burst: The issue of Khalistani separatism long since subdued by force in India burst back into mainstream Canadian consciousness after about three decades of existing in private conversations and in-group rallies, according to Toronto Star. It's easy to get lost in the weeds of the issue of a Sikh homeland. What a windfall for the Conservatives. Was it about independence or greater autonomy Was the preacher Jarnail Singh Bhindranwale, whose posters appear at rallies in Canada, a terrorist or a saint Should the mass murders of Sikhs following the murder of Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1984 be labelled genocide Is armed resistance/violence justifiable in the cause of self-determination For thousands of Canadians, these questions are not just academic, they are legally fraught and weighed by trauma for the families of innocents killed whether by Sikh separatists, or of Sikh separatists and others caught in the crossfire. He did not denounce Parmar directly, something he belatedly and only recently corrected with a statement. Article Continued Below In a CBC interview in October, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, who has publicly held positions on Sikh grievances against the Indian government, was asked for his views on Talwinder Singh Parmar, widely considered the mastermind behind the 1985 Air India bombing that killed 381 people. ( As reported in the news.

control room: Inside a high-tech control room that looks ripped from the pages of a spy thriller, specialists train their eyes on a wall of monitors, tracking one of the scarcest resources in the Middle Eastern nation of Jordan water, according to CBC. The Ministry of Water and Irrigation regularly flies drones to monitor pipelines. Read more stories in the series. The control centre staff are looking for signs of what has become a serious problem water theft. To prevent a water crisis, the kingdom is looking to move past decades of regional animosity as it works to provide water security to its 10 million residents. Jordan, one of the driest countries on the planet, sits in the middle of a region where rivers often run dry and water doesn't always flow when taps are opened. ( As reported in the news.

boy: The child has a high fever and he is very sick, according to CTV. She cannot take the child to the doctor. The family said time is running out to save their lives because the woman who is being called Amena' and her son are hiding in Kabul and the two-year-old boy isn't doing well. The mother herself, she is very ill. CTV News is protecting the family's identity. She is suffering from depression, said the boy's grandmother. ( As reported in the news.

downtown calgary: Recently, he entered an English-language classroom in his agency's building near downtown Calgary, just after a 28-year-old woman had finished describing the screams of a young girl being raped by a Daesh soldier, according to Toronto Star. Suddenly, the woman fell unconscious. Nothing prepared him for the Yazidis. Her eyes rolled into the back of their sockets, her back arched on the floor and she began to hyperventilate, her voice a rising octave until it emerged as a yelp. Don't let her bite herself, said Kheriya Khidir, an interpreter, settling down to hold one of the woman's arms and stroke her face lovingly. She grabbed fistfuls of her hair and snapped her teeth at her forearms. ( As reported in the news.

keith haring: Plenty of pedestrians were getting a look Saturday at the graffiti scrawled in red across the bottom half of his 70-foot-long mural, according to The Chronicle Herald. The mural bearing the slogan Free Zehra Dogan was recently installed on the Houston Bowery Wall, made famous by Keith Haring in the 1970s. It seems somebody added a signature tag to his artful protest of the imprisonment of a Turkish artist and journalist. The mural protests the jailing of Dogan, an ethnic Kurd, after she painted the Turkish flag flying over the rubble of a destroyed town. Banksy's mural shows her jailed behind a set of black tally marks representing her days in prison. Dogan was convicted last March. ( As reported in the news.

liberties groups: Canadians lose the right to vote after living abroad for more than five years under rules on the books since 1993, according to CTV. However, it was only under the former Conservative government of Stephen Harper that Elections Canada began enforcing the laws. Civil liberties groups, which argue current rules barring the expats from voting are unconstitutional, and Quebec, which supports the federal government's defence of the restrictions, are among interveners in the closely watched case the Supreme Court of Canada is scheduled to hear on Wednesday. Two Canadians living and working in the United States launched the case after being denied the right to vote in the 2011 election. One way or the other, this is going to get decided and either Canadians will be enfranchised or Canadians will be disenfranchised, Jamie Duong, one of the appellants, said from Ithaca, N.Y. Duong and Gill Frank, an academic in Princeton, N.J., initially won their case before Ontario Superior Court in 2014 but the government appealed. They argue that citizenship, not residency, is the key requisite for voting. ( As reported in the news.

people: I have lost everything because I no longer have my wife nor my children, he says, according to Metro News. I cannot eat nor sleep. The 71-year-old, who also lost all 40 of his cattle in the violence, was forced to flee on foot some 90 kilometres 56 miles to safety in the town of Bunia. I'm afraid that this fighting is as bad as the war in 1996-2002. Another 28,000 have also fled into Uganda, according to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Violence between Nzafi's Hema community and the Lendu ethnic group in Congo's northeast has now killed at least 150 people and has forced more than 32,000 people to flee to Bunia, where humanitarian assistance is strained and the suffering are eager for improved conditions. ( As reported in the news.

student: The former student leader, who became famous in the province during the 2012 Printemps Erable student strikes, won with 70 per cent of the vote, according to CTV. His QS co-spokesperson Manon Masse said she believes he has a good shot at re-election. Nadeau-Dubois, 27, will run in Gouin, the riding where he was first elected in a by-election two years ago. I'm pretty sure that he will win, because he still has the support of his community, she said. It's a prediction echoed by political analyst Phillippe Fournier. Remember, two years ago, he won by a very, very big gap. ( As reported in the news.

ticket counters: In their hands, they clutch a single suitcase, each filled with the only possessions they brought with them to their new country, according to CBC. What would they pack And what do those items say about them One battered suitcase took inspiration from the story of a Roma woman. Immigrants walk past worn wooden benches and ticket counters in the wood-frame building as they prepare for their new lives in Canada. Margaret Gallagher/CBC Those questions inspired a special art and social studies project from Grade 10 students at Burnaby North Secondary. Erbil, Seattle, Vancouver why one asylum seeker walked across the border into B.C. We wanted to pull immigrants and immigration out of a dark 'blob' of people you fear, that are unknown, said museum coordinator Markus Farher. Students thought about what they would bring if they could only pack one suitcase and those suitcases are now on display at the Port Moody Station Museum. ( As reported in the news.

ardi veliu: Each had paid from 9,750 to 30,000 for the forgeries, according to Metro News. In addition to those arrested, 12 people are still at large, including two Bulgarians. Police chief Ardi Veliu said Saturday that, after months of an international investigation, authorities have identified seven criminal structures in ten countries in Europe and overseas that helped Albanians emigrate illegally by falsifying travel and identity documents of European Union countries. Police have also confiscated computers, cellphones, vehicles, cash, different documents and weapons in the case. Fighting organized crime and illegal trafficking remain key challenges for Albania, a NATO member since 2009 which is hoping to launch EU membership negotiations this year. ( As reported in the news.

attendant problems: We see that Canada, in recent history, has admitted huge numbers of primarily non-Christian newcomers, many of whom are refugees with the attendant problems of disrupted lives and having had little or no access to education, according to Toronto Star. Their children have entered the public system, not the Catholic. We need only to look at our immigration stats for the answer. The refugee/immigration explanation also explains the EQAO data showing more special-needs students in the public system. If, as a result, these imbalances now exist between the two systems, it is hardly surprising. Countries in a state of political upheaval and/or war do not have their citizens' health and/or educational needs as a priority. ( As reported in the news.

business owner: But that's more true for Saskatoon's Gerard Burke than most, according to CBC. The business owner left the Celtic Tiger behind and came to Saskatchewan nearly a decade ago. Patrick's Day. It was a period of rapid economic growth in Ireland, spurred on by foreign investment. He came to Saskatchewan through the province's skilled workers program along with his wife, who grew up in Saskatoon, according to a profile of Burke on the Government of Saskatchewan's website. We were a little wary of having left that behind and moving to Saskatchewan, Burke said. ( As reported in the news.

chicago: The mother was released from detention earlier this month, according to Metro News. Lee Gelernt, deputy director of the ACLU Immigrants' Rights Project, said the woman was allowed to travel to Chicago from San Diego on Tuesday, after a DNA test requested by the government confirmed she was the girl's mother. The daughter had been placed in a Chicago facility while the mother was held in San Diego, about 2,000 miles 3,200 kilometres away, after they entered the U.S. in November and turned themselves in to U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents. He says the daughter was released late Friday and brought to a Chicago shelter where she and her mother will be staying. It was just incredibly emotional. They were hugging each other and sobbing, Gelernt said. ( As reported in the news.

climate: What we often neglect to consider is the impact that climate change is having on our planet and on the health of people today, according to The Chronicle Herald. For example, heat waves in Europe in 2003 caused at least 30,000 premature deaths. We think of the coming generations that will be affected, perhaps in apocalyptic ways. Severe droughts in South Asia, Australia and Africa have resulted in crop failures, infrastructure damage and consequential migration of climate refugees. Lyme disease is caused by bacteria that live in the gut of the deer tick. Of particular relevance to those of us living in Nova Scotia is the impact that climate change is having on Lyme disease. ( As reported in the news.

greek navy: Three people two women and one man managed to swim to the island and alert authorities, according to The Chronicle Herald. A massive search operation involving aircraft, the Greek navy and coast guard and a vessel from the European border agency Frontex was underway. The wooden boat was believed to have been carrying around 21 people when it sank for reasons that were not immediately clear off the coast of the eastern Aegean island of Agathonisi, the Greek coast guard said. A coast guard spokeswoman said the recovered bodies had not been identified yet and they included six children. Most cross in rickety inflatable boats or other unseaworthy vessels. Despite a two-year deal between the European Union and Turkey designed to stop migrants and refugees from pouring into Europe from the Turkish coast to nearby Greek islands, dozens and sometimes hundreds of people still make the journey each week. ( As reported in the news.

statement saturday: She's able to go about her life and recover from the abuses that she suffered in detention and before that, in El Salvador, Carson said, according to Metro News. The Mexican American Legal Defence and Educational Fund, which had sued on Monterrosa-Flores' behalf, said in a statement Saturday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security agreed to release her under deferred action, which provides individuals temporary relief from deportation. Laura Monterrosa-Flores was released late Friday from the T. Don Hutto Residential Center outside of Austin, where she had been held for months, Grassroots Leadership organizer Bethany Carson told The Associated Press on Saturday. Earlier this month, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within the department, agreed to allow Monterrosa-Flores to leave the facility on a weekly basis to receive treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. Carson said Monterrosa-Flores will receive counselling while waiting for her asylum case to proceed. Advocates said that she attempted suicide in January after being denied a request for mental health care. ( As reported in the news.

trudeau government: Trudeau government revoking citizenship at much higher rate than Conservatives The 37-year-old is now fighting to stay in Canada, because immigration officials determined she breached her work permit by engaging in the sex trade and wasn't actually living with the spouse who sponsored her, according to CBC. I ... find it to be unreasonable that during the months of the applicant's engagement of sex-trade-related activities, the sponsor did not know anything about it, especially considering if they were in a genuine relationship and cohabiting as they indicated, read a report written by an officer with Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada's inland processing unit. According to documents filed in federal court, Canada Border Services Agency agents confronted Chun Tao Zhang after allegedly arranging to meet her for sex through a Chinese-language messaging service. Despite the couple's explanations, I did not find the couple provided sufficient and satisfactory explanation to this. She claims her Charter rights were breached, because the interpreter she brought with her to meet with immigration officials was not certified. A contact named 'Koko' Zhang is asking for a judicial review of the decision to exclude her from Canada. ( As reported in the news.

bob rae: But there are fears the situation will worsen as the region's rainy season approaches, according to CTV. Of the up to 8.15 million in new aid money, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the United Nations and the World Food Program will each be given 1.5 million with the rest going mainly to other non-governmental organizations, the government says. International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says aid organizations are already overwhelmed by the massive influx of Muslim-minority refugees from neighbouring Myanmar. The funding comes in response to recommendations from Bob Rae, who was appointed by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau last October as Canada's special envoy to Myanmar. It is estimated that more than 671,000 Rohingya refugees -- mostly women and children -- have fled to Bangladesh since last August to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Prior to Friday's announcement, Canada had already committed more than 37.5 million in humanitarian assistance for the region. ( As reported in the news.

cooking class: But take a walk through the front doors, and you'll find a multicultural world with students from nearly every continent inside something a new cooking class at the school celebrates by bringing together students, and their parents, who come from across the globe, according to CBC. We have students from about 17 countries at the kindergarten to Grade 8 school, said principal Blaine Aston. There's a gym, a play structure, lots of classrooms. It's a great little community school. We're a mini United Nations' How newcomer students at this Winnipeg school are finding their voice Aside from students born and raised in Canada, Aston said some of the 315 students at the school in the southwestern Manitoba city come from countries like Colombia, Honduras, El Salvador, China, Ukraine, Syria, Sudan and Ethiopia, just to name a few. It's a really unique experience with having so many diverse cultures that are learning from each other. ( As reported in the news.

frances mcdormand: Fans of Tinseltown's latest overnight sensation, the inclusion rider, hope it can buck the trend and take a starring role in film and TV for years to come, according to Toronto Star. In early March, after winning an Academy Award for best actress, Frances McDormand stepped onstage at the Dolby Theatre and gave an unexpected shout-out to the inclusion rider, a relatively new contract clause whereby A-list actors can demand diversity benchmarks with the cast and crew. And then, just as rapidly, disappears back into obscurity. Stacy Smith, head of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, first came up with the idea in 2014, convinced that widespread adoption would dramatically increase the roles going to women, people of colour, the disabled and LGBTQ people. At the same time, those on the front line of Hollywood contract negotiations are questioning their viability. Read more What is an inclusion rider Frances McDormand spotlights equity clause at 2018 Oscars Article Continued Below Opinion Susan Delacourt Think of this as an inclusion rider' for speaker panels Opinion Jennifer Wells What Oscar-winner Frances McDormand can teach corporate Canada If the three top agencies did this, Hollywood would literally be changed in a very short time, Smith said in an interview. react-empty 144 Following McDormand's name-check in front of 26.5 million TV viewers, inclusion riders have been gaining vocal support from the acting community. ( As reported in the news.

irish: Trump appeared with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar as part of a day of joint events marking the holiday, including a one-on-one visit at the White House, according to The Chronicle Herald. Both leaders spoke at a luncheon at the U.S. Capitol with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan, an event that included Vice-President Mike Pence and several lawmakers of Irish descent. Patrick's Day, though he joked that the country was a tough one to compete with on taxes. After noting a number of famous Irish Americans, Trump said Whenever there's a problem, you call, we'll solve it. You're a tough one to compete with on the taxes. Amid laughter, he added Except for trade ... They've got those taxes so low. ( As reported in the news.

marian mekhael: We were waiting for this moment since five years ago now, said a beaming Marian Mekhael as she and daughters Miray, 6, and Demiana, 5, made their way, tiny Canadian flags in hand, to have photos taken with the dignitaries who hosted the ceremony, according to The Chronicle Herald. We are so happy to finally get it. That was the reaction Friday of most of the 47 fledgling Canadians who celebrated their new citizenship at the Canadian Museum of Immigration at Pier 21 in Halifax. We are very happy to be Canadian and very proud to be part of this country. The family from Cairo, Egypt, includes husband Basem, who is still waiting for the paperwork to be processed so that he, too, can gain Canadian citizenship. We love it so much. ( As reported in the news.

montreal gazette: We're going into an election campaign in Quebec and I'm hoping that identity politics is not going to rear its ugly head again, according to CTV. Charest's comments come as the Liberals continue to spar with the CAQ over a controversial accusation. Our society seems to be consumed by identity politics, Charest told CTV Montreal. In a recent interview with the West Island edition of the Montreal Gazette, Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said he believes the party is proposing an ethnic-based nationalism. On Wednesday, a visibly angry Francois Legault demanded an apology, telling reporters at the National Assembly Leitao's comments were unacceptable. They view the French majority as being under attack from all those foreigners out there, Leitao told the newspaper. ( As reported in the news.

removal operations: The San Diego operation targeted 533 people who have been convicted or charged with a crime, have a judge's order to leave the United States or are known to have re-entered the country illegally after having been previously deported, said Greg Archambeault, San Diego field office director for enforcement and removal operations, according to Metro News. The agency's typical capture rate is about 30 per cent in such operations, Archambeault said. It was U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's third California operation in barely a month, following one in the Los Angeles area that resulted in 212 arrests and one in Northern California that had 232 arrests. Authorities said rainy weather and a decision to shorten the operation by one day - Tuesday to Thursday - kept arrests lower than the previous two operations. Teams of six officers in San Diego were each required to identify 100 targets for the operation, with priority given to those with the most serious criminal and immigration histories. Identifying targets requires painstaking preparation that includes vetting public records and doing home surveillance. ( As reported in the news.

review: Allegations of discreditable conduct against two of the officers are also substantiated, according to the civilian watchdog's probe, according to CBC. Neglect of duty' found in review of Thunder Bay police investigation into death of Indigenous man Key witnesses in probe of Indigenous man's 2015 death not interviewed by police, fifth estate finds The officers can't be served with notices of hearing, however, because the police review director's investigation took more than six months to complete. An investigation by Ontario's Independent Police Review Director OIPRD into DeBungee's case found grounds for neglect of duty charges against three officers. Provincial regulations state that it's now up to the board to decide whether the delay was reasonable and whether hearings will be held. The police board is scheduled to meet April 6 in closed session to hear that application, according to secretary John Hannam. A spokesperson with the OIPRD confirmed the director's office has, through Police Chief J.P. Levesque, applied to the board to pursue disciplinary hearings. ( As reported in the news.