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The U.S. is conducting millions more rapid coronavirus tests, but are results reported? – National


After struggling to ramp up coronavirus testing, the U.S. can now screen several million people daily, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results.

All U.S. testing sites are legally required to report their results, positive and negative, to public health agencies. But state health officials say many rapid tests are going unreported, which means some new COVID-19 infections may not be counted.

And the situation could get worse, experts say. The federal government is shipping more than 100 million of the newest rapid tests to states for use in public schools, assisted living centres and other new testing sites.

Read more:
U.S. to ship millions of coronavirus tests in effort to reopen schools through 12th grade

“Schools certainly don’t have the capacity to report these tests,” said Dr. Jeffrey Engel of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists. “If it’s done at all it’s likely going to be paper-based, very slow and incomplete.”

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Early in the outbreak, nearly all U.S. testing relied on genetic tests that could only be developed at high-tech laboratories. Even under the best circumstances, people had to wait about two to three days to get results. Experts pushed for more “point-of-care” rapid testing that could be done in doctors offices, clinics and other sites to quickly find people who are infected, get them into quarantine and stop the spread.

Beginning in the summer, cheaper, 15-minute tests — which detect viral proteins called antigens on a nasal swab — became available. The first versions still needed to be processed using portable readers. The millions of new tests from Abbott Laboratories now going out to states are even easier to use: they’re about the size of a credit card and can be developed with a few drops of chemical solution.

Federal health officials say about half of the nation’s daily testing capacity now consists of rapid tests.


Click to play video 'Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?'



Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?


Is rapid testing the solution to Canada’s 2nd wave?

Large hospitals and laboratories electronically feed their results to state health departments, but there is no standardized way to report the rapid tests that are often done elsewhere. And state officials have often been unable to track where these tests are being shipped and whether results are being reported.

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In Minnesota, officials created a special team to try and get more testing data from nursing homes, schools and other newer testing sites, only to be deluged by faxes and paper files.

“It’s definitely a challenge because now we have to do many more things manually than we were with electronic reporting,” said Kristen Ehresmann, of the Minnesota Department of Health.

Even before Abbott’s newest rapid tests hit the market last month, undercounting was a concern.

Read more:
Health Canada approves rapid coronavirus test after feds put 7.9M on order

Competitors Quidel and Becton Dickinson have together shipped well over 35 million of their own quick tests since June. But that massive influx of tests hasn’t showed up in national testing numbers, which have mostly ranged between 750,000 and 950,000 daily tests for months.

Besides tallying new cases, COVID-19 testing numbers are used to calculate a key metric on the outbreak: percentage of tests positive for COVID-19. The World Health Organization recommends countries test enough people to drive their per cent of positives below 5 per cent. And the U.S. has mostly been hovering around or below that rate since mid-September, a point that President Donald Trump and his top aides have touted to argue that the nation has turned the corner on the outbreak. The figure is down from a peak of 22 per cent in April.

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But some disease-tracking specialists are skeptical. Engel said his group’s members think they aren’t getting all the results.

“So it may be a false conclusion,” he said.


Click to play video 'Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests'



Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests


Canada signs deal to buy 7.9 million rapid COVID-19 tests

One of the challenges to an accurate count: States have wildly different approaches. Some states lump all types of tests together in one report, some don’t tabulate the quick antigen tests at all and others don’t publicize their system. Because antigen tests are more prone to false negatives and sometimes require retesting, most health experts say they should be recorded and analyzed separately. Currently only 10 states do that and post the results online, according to the COVID Tracking Project.

The federal government is allocating the tests to states based on their population, rather than helping them develop a strategy based on the size and severity of their outbreaks.

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“That’s just lazy” said Dr. Michael Mina of Harvard University. “Most states won’t have the expertise to figure out how to use these most appropriately.”

Read more:
Millions of coronavirus rapid tests won’t arrive for months: Health Canada

Instead, Mina said the federal government should direct the limited supplies to key hot spots around the country, driving down infections in the hardest-hit communities. Keeping tighter control would also ensure test results are quickly reported.

Johns Hopkins University researcher Gigi Gronvall agrees health officials need to carefully consider where and when to deploy the tests. Eventually, methods for tracking the tests will catch up, she said.

“I think having the tools to determine if someone is infectious is a higher priority,” she said.

___

AP data journalist Nicky Forster contributed to this story




© 2020 The Canadian Press





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Greek police move thousands of asylum seekers displaced by fire to new camp – National


A Greek police operation is underway on the island of Lesbos to move thousands of migrants and refugees left homeless after a fire destroyed their overcrowded camp into a new facility on the island.

Police said Thursday morning’s operation included 70 female police officers who were approaching asylum-seekers with the aim of persuading them to move to the new camp in the island’s Kara Tepe area. No violence was reported as the operation began.

Read more:
Thousands of asylum seekers left homeless after fire at refugee camp in Greece

The notoriously squalid Moria camp burned down last week in fires that Greek authorities said were deliberately set by a small group of the camp’s inhabitants angered by lockdown restrictions imposed after a coronavirus outbreak.

The blazes have left more than 1,200 people in need of emergency shelter. The vast majority have been sleeping rough by the side of a road leading from Moria to the island capital of Mytilene, erecting makeshift shelters made of sheets, blankets, reeds and cardboard.

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Fire destroys Greece’s largest refugee camp


Fire destroys Greece’s largest refugee camp

The new camp consists of large family tents erected in a field by the sea. By Wednesday night, it had a capacity of around 8,000 people, according to the UN refugee agency, but only around 1,100 mostly vulnerable people had entered.

New arrivals are tested for the coronavirus, registered and assigned a tent.

“This is an operation for the protection of public health and with a clear humanitarian content,” the police said in a statement.

Read more:
Thousands flee fires at migrant camp in Greece amid coronavirus lockdown

Six Afghans, including two minors, were arrested on suspicion of causing last week’s fires at Moria. The blazes broke out after isolation orders were issued during a generalized camp lockdown, when 35 people tested positive for the coronavirus.

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Moria had a capacity of just over 2,700 people, but more than 12,500 people had been living in and around it when it burned down. The camp and its squalid conditions were held up by critics as a symbol of Europe’s failed migration policies.



© 2020 The Canadian Press





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‘Troll factory’: Facebook, Twitter suspend Russian network ahead of U.S. election – National


Facebook said Tuesday that it removed a small network of accounts and pages linked to Russia’s Internet Research Agency, the “troll factory” that has used social media accounts to sow political discord in the U.S. since the 2016 presidential election.

Twitter also suspended five related accounts. The company said the tweets from these Russia-linked accounts“were low quality and spammy” and that most received few, if any, likes or retweets.

The people behind the accounts recruited “unwitting” freelance journalists to post in English and Arabic, mainly targeting left-leaning audiences. Facebook said Tuesday the network’s activity focused on the U.S., U.K., Algeria and Egypt and other English-speaking countries and countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

Read more:
Facebook threatens to cut off news to Australia after years of spreading ‘misinformation’

The company said it started investigating the network based on information from the FBI about its off-Facebook activities. The network was in the early stages of development, Facebook added, and saw “nearly no engagement” on Facebook before it was removed. The network consisted of 13 Facebook accounts and two pages. About 14,000 accounts followed one or more of the pages, though the English-language page had a little over 200 followers, Facebook said.

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Still, its presence points to ongoing Russian efforts to disrupt the U.S. election and sow political discord in an already divided country. To evade detection, the people behind the network recruited Americans to do their bidding, likely unknowingly, both as journalists and as people authorized to purchase political advertisements in the U.S.

Facebook said the people behind the network posted about global events ranging from racial justice in the U.S. and the U.K., NATO, the QAnon conspiracy, President Donald Trump and Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. The network spent about $480 on advertising on Facebook, primarily in U.S. dollars. However, Facebook said less than $2 worth of those ads targeted the U.S.

The network’s posts directed people to a website called PeaceData, which claims to be a global news organization that, according to a report by research firm Graphika, “took a left-wing stance, opposing what it portrayed as Western imperialism and the excesses of capitalism.”






‘Anarchists, rioters’ on plane: Trump echoes months-old Facebook conspiracy theory


‘Anarchists, rioters’ on plane: Trump echoes months-old Facebook conspiracy theory

The FBI said in a statement Tuesday that it provided information to the platforms “to better protect against threats to the nation’s security and our democratic processes.”

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“While technology companies independently make decisions regarding the content of their platforms and the safety of their members, the FBI is actively engaged with our federal partners, election officials, and the private sector to mitigate foreign threats to our nation’s security and our elections,” the statement said.

Separately, Twitter said Tuesday it will start adding context to its trending section, which shows some of the most popular topics on the service at any given moment. Experts and even Twitter’s own employees have expressed concerns that the trending section can be gamed to spread misinformation and abuse.

Read more:
Facebook erred by failing to remove post calling for armed civilians: Zuckerberg

Twitter uses algorithms and human employees to determine what topics are trending _ it is not simply the most popular topics, but topics that are newly popular at any given time. But it’s not difficult to artificially elevate trends.

In the coming weeks, Twitter said, users in the U.S., U.K., Brazil, India and several other countries will see brief descriptions added to some trends to add context.

“To be clear, we know there is more work to do to improve trends and the context updates we’re announcing today are just a small step in the right direction,” said Liz Lee, a product trust partner and Frank Oppong, a product manager, in a blog post. “We need to make trends better and we will.”

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_

Associated Press Writer Eric Tucker contributed to this story from Washington, D.C.




© 2020 The Canadian Press





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Twitter hack alarms experts already concerned about platform’s security – National


The extraordinary hacking spree that hit Twitter on Wednesday, leading it to briefly muzzle some of its most widely followed accounts, is drawing questions about the platform’s security and resilience in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election.

Twitter said late Wednesday hackers obtained control of employee credentials to hijack accounts including those of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden, former president Barack Obama, reality television star Kim Kardashian, and tech billionaire and Tesla founder Elon Musk.

Read more:
Twitter says ‘coordinated social engineering attack’ targeted politicians, tech leaders

In a series of tweets, the company said: “We detected what we believe to be a coordinated social engineering attack by people who successfully targeted some of our employees with access to internal systems and tools.”

The hackers then “used this access to take control of many highly-visible (including verified) accounts and Tweet on their behalf.”

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The company statements confirmed the fears of security experts that the service itself — rather than users — had been compromised.

Twitter’s role as a critical communications platform for political candidates and public officials, including President Donald Trump, has led to fears that hackers could wreak havoc with the Nov. 3 U.S. presidential election or otherwise compromise national security.






Facebook and Google suspend China’s data requests, TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong


Facebook and Google suspend China’s data requests, TikTok to pull out of Hong Kong

Adam Conner, vice president for technology policy at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think-tank, said on Twitter: “This is bad on July 15 but would be infinitely worse on November 3rd.”

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Bitcoin bounty

Posing as celebrities and the wealthy, the hackers asked followers to send the digital currency bitcoin to a series of addresses. By evening, 400 bitcoin transfers were made worth a combined $120,000. Half of the victims had funds in U.S. bitcoin exchanges, a quarter in Europe and a quarter in Asia, according to forensics company Elliptic.

Those transfers left history that could help investigators identify the perpetrators of the hack. The financial damage may be limited because multiple exchanges blocked other payments after their own Twitter accounts were targeted.

Read more:
Twitter CEO’s hacked account sends racist tweets targeting black people and Jews

The damage to Twitter’s reputation may be more serious. Most troubling to some was how long the company took to stop the bad tweets.

“Twitter’s response to this hack was astonishing. It’s the middle of the day in San Francisco, and it takes them five hours to get a handle on the incident,” said Dan Guido, CEO of security company Trail of Bits.

An even worse scenario was that the bitcoin fraud was a distraction for more serious hacking, such as harvesting the direct messages of the account holders.






Donald Trump signs executive order on social media


Donald Trump signs executive order on social media

Twitter said it was not yet certain what the hackers may have done beyond sending the bitcoin messages.

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“We’re looking into what other malicious activity they may have conducted or information they may have accessed and will share more here as we have it,” the company said.

Mass compromises of Twitter accounts via theft of employee credentials or problems with third-party applications that many users employ have occured before.

Wednesday’s hack was the worst to date. Several users with two-factor authentication — a security procedure that helps prevent break-in attempts — said they were powerless to stop it.

Read more:
Twitter tests new feature prompting Android users to open articles before sharing

“If the hackers do have access to the backend of Twitter, or direct database access, there is nothing potentially stopping them from pilfering data in addition to using this tweet-scam as a distraction,” said Michael Borohovski, director of software engineering at security company Synopsys.

In 2010, Twitter reached a settlement with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission after it was found the company had lied about efforts to protect users’ information during an extended hack the year before.

Under the terms of the settlement, Twitter was barred for 20 years from misleading users about how it protects the security and confidentiality of private information.

U.S. Rep. Josh Hawley wrote to Twitter and its CEO Jack Dorsey during the hack calling for the company to work with the FBI and Department of Justice to secure its platform, and then answer questions publicly about the effects of the hack.

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One of his questions is how the hack may have affected the account of President Donald Trump.

(Reporting by Joseph Menn in San Francisco and Raphael Satter in Washington; Additional reporting by Anna Irrera in New York; Editing by Jonathan Weber and Lincoln Feast.)

With files from Global News’ Sean Boynton








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Brazil police finish investigation into National Museum fire


The police also said museum directors’ conduct did not constitute neglect, given efforts underway to bring the building up to fire code. It was more than two centuries old.

The National Museum housed furniture and art belonging to the royal family, recordings of Indigenous languages — some of which are no longer spoken — priceless specimens of everything from rare butterflies to coral and a collection of Egyptian mummies and artifacts considered the largest in Latin America.

Some artifacts have been recovered, notably most fragments of a skull belonging to a woman dubbed Luzia. It is one of the oldest human fossils ever found in the Americas, and was a top museum treasure. Recovery efforts have been suspended since March due to the ongoing pandemic.

The building was once a royal palace that served as the seat of the united Portuguese and Brazilian empire before the museum’s collection was transferred there in 1892. Today the colonial-era facade is a burned-out shell that is fenced off for reconstruction.

Following an inspection by Rio’s firefighting corps, the National Museum began negotiating a deal with the Rio-based development bank BNDES to renovate the building and upgrade its fire-prevention system. The loan agreement was signed in June 2018, but the funds hadn’t yet been disbursed when the fire occurred in September.

The fire represented a gut punch for many Brazilians, who felt the incident laid bare the decay of cultural institutions during years of corruption, economic collapse and poor governance. The education ministry and science and technology ministry have since directed millions to the museum for emergency and recovery works. Companies and individuals have also donated, along with the United Nations’ cultural agency UNESCO, Germany’s government and the British Council.

The museum has so far raised about half the $60 million required for reconstruction, and aims for partial reopening by 2022, the bicentenial of Brazil’s independence, its press office said in a statement.

Last month, part of the the Federal University of Minas Gerais’ Natural History Museum also burned down.

“We cannot — and should not — ignore another situation like this, especially taking into account the tragic fire of the National Museum,″ the latter institution’s director, Alexander Kellner, said in a statement posted to Facebook at the time.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.



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Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong quits pro-democracy group as China passes security law – National



Hong Kong activist Joshua Wong said on Tuesday he is stepping down as leader of his democracy group Demosisto, just hours after local media reported that Beijing had passed national security legislation for the Chinese-ruled city.

Read more:
Chinese lawmakers pass controversial security law for Hong Kong: reports

Wong has said he will be a “prime target” of Beijing’s national security law, which critics fear will crush freedoms in the former British colony.

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“If my voice will not be heard soon, I hope that the international community will continue to speak up for Hong Kong and step up concrete efforts to defend out last bit of freedom,” Wong wrote in a tweet.

-With a file from Global News








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OLAF finds MEPs broke EP rules by financing national party through their salaries



An OLAF investigation published on April 30 revealed that MEPs from two member-states breached the European Parliament’s rules by transferring part of their salaries to their national parties.

The investigation by Europe’s anti-fraud office also found that MEPs from one member state also increased the salaries of their assistants so that the latter could make additional contributions.

The first investigation that was launched in 2017 found that for the period between 2014 and 2019, MEPs and staff members of the parliament’s party delegation paid contributions of over €640,000 to the national headquarters. It was also found that the illegal move was not spontaneous, but part of an already agreed obligation, that was set out in a financial charter that the party had specifically approved for the delegation at the European Parliament. Such an arrangement is contrary to the EP rules.

OLAF concluded that sanctions should be put in place by the European Parliament for the illegal actions and for the recovery of due amounts established by the investigation.

The second investigation that was conducted a year later found that for the particular time period, the financial contributions made by MEPs exceeded €540,000, as each was requested to contribute €3,000-4,000 to the national delegation. OLAF’s investigative team also revealed that their assistants were classified as of higher grade and thus, with a higher salary, so that they are able to transfer part of their salary to the national party.

Although no evidence of MEPs coercing the assistants was found, the EP members knew this was happening and had arranged the assistants’ hierarchy upgrade.

OLAF issued recommendations to the European Parliament proposing disciplinary action to ensure that amounts transferred by the Parliamentary Assistants to the national party are recovered. The anti-fraud office also recommended that the assistants face disciplinary action for following the instructions of their party, even though these instructions put them in conflict with their statutory obligations to the European Parliament.

 

 



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National anthem, MVP and more


From the producer who brought you last year’s Super Bowl MVP long shot (Julian Edelman, 20/1) and the previous year’s first touchdown scorer (Alshon Jeffery, 12/1) — among many other winners — comes the next installment of the never dull, never-ending prop bets saga.

Somehow, we’ll survive without Tom Brady and Bill Belichick.

Here are some of the best — and most fun — picks to make for the Super Bowl:

National Anthem length

Under 1 minute, 59 seconds (+170): The over is a heavy favorite (-250), likely stemming from Demi Lovato’s 2:11 performance before the Floyd Mayweather-Conor McGregor fight in 2017. However, Lovato also has sung the anthem in three World Series games, all of which clocked in under 1:59.

Coin toss

Tails (-102): Tails rarely fails, claiming victory in five of the past six Super Bowls.

George Kittle receiving yards

Under 73½, -110: Playing at less than 100 percent may finally be catching up with the 49ers tight end. In the divisional round, he had 16 yards receiving. In the NFC Championship, Kittle caught one pass for 19 yards.

Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy Garoppolo
Patrick Mahomes and Jimmy GaroppoloGetty Image (2)

Total number of Chiefs to score

Over 3½, +100: Kicker Harrison Butker is a given. Patrick Mahomes shouldn’t have trouble finding three more. Maybe, he’ll join in again, too. The Chiefs have had at least four players score in four straight games, while hitting the mark 12 times this season.

Patrick Mahomes rushing yards

Over 30½, -110: Mahomes has rushed for more than 50 yards four times this season. Most importantly, it’s happened in each of the past two games. The playoffs have increased the urgency of last year’s MVP and reduced his need to play it safe. Against a strong 49ers pass rush, Mahomes will have plenty of opportunities to leave the pocket.

Jimmy Garoppolo pass attempts

Under 29½ pass attempts, -110: San Francisco’s quarterback hasn’t thrown 30 passes in 11 of 18 games this season, including the past four contests.

Robbie Gould points

Over 7½, +100: The 49ers kicker has at least eight points in six straight games and has made 15 straight field goals. The Chiefs sport the league’s eighth-best red-zone defense — allowing touchdowns 51.6 percent of the time — and could give Gould multiple easy opportunities.

Tyreek Hill rushing attempts

Over ½, +175: The speedy receiver has at least one carry in eight of his past 11 games, including the Chiefs’ two playoff games.

Team with longest kickoff return

Chiefs, -125: Mecole Hardman ranked fifth in the NFL with 26.1 yards per return, including a 104-yard touchdown.

Largest lead

Under 14½, +110: The game will be close. The game will stay close.

First touchdown

Kendrick Bourne (20/1): The undrafted receiver has the 49ers’ only touchdown reception in the playoffs and had a team-high five touchdown catches in the regular season despite his first score coming on Halloween.

Travis Kelce (9/1): Though Kelce had just three catches for 30 yards in the AFC Championship, he put up 10 catches, 134 yards and three touchdowns the week prior. Most appealing is Kelce’s 136 targets. Hill ranks second on the Chiefs, with 89.

Puppy Bowl winner

Team Ruff, +100: They came through for me last year, and I haven’t seen anything on tape that gives Team Fluff (-140) the edge.

Will Joe Buck or Troy Aikman say “Patriots?”

Yes, +200: It’s going to come up that this is the first Super Bowl in four years without New England.

Lakers stars vs. Deebo Samuel

LeBron James and Anthony Davis points vs. Kings Saturday (-1½) over Deebo Samuel receiving yards: The Lakers stars are a lock to combine for at least 50 points every game. The 49ers rookie receiver has surpassed 50 yards receiving only five times in 18 games this season, including once in his past five outings.

Super Bowl MVP

Tyreek Hill (25/1): Remember, three of the past six MVPs haven’t been quarterbacks. Hill is a big-play threat — his NFL-leading 17 touchdowns of 50 yards or more since 2016 is eight more than the league’s second-best — is due to bust loose and should benefit from Sammy Watkins’ strong postseason. Hill also has added value as a punt returner and has scored four such touchdowns in his career.

Raheem Mostert (8/1): Speaking of due, a running back hasn’t won the MVP since 1998 (Terrell Davis). Mostert has no chance to repeat his 220-year, four-touchdown domination of the NFC Championship, but he averaged 5.75 yards per carry with seven touchdowns in the previous seven games and will earn even more opportunity now. Jimmy Garoppolo (+375) is also a strong play, with great odds for a quarterback — the position has claimed the award 29 times — in a coin-flip game.

Whom the MVP mentions first after receiving the award

Winning city, 10/1: Here’s a way to find value on Mahomes winning the MVP. The Chiefs quarterback thanked the fans first after winning the AFC Championship, and the team’s 50-year championship drought presents a greater chance than usual that God, family, teammates and coaches will be recognized afterward. The 49ers haven’t won the title in a quarter-century, and offer the same opportunity.



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Recent UN vote not a shift in Canada’s ‘steadfast’ support for Israel: Trudeau – National


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says a recent vote to support a UN resolution endorsing Palestinian self-determination is not a shift in Canada’s policy against singling out Israel for criticism on the international stage.

Trudeau made the remarks Monday at a menorah lighting on Parliament Hill, where about 100 parliamentarians and members of the Jewish community gathered to mark the upcoming Jewish holiday of Hanukkah.


READ MORE:
Canada’s view on Israeli settlements in West Bank unchanged, despite U.S. policy shift

Trudeau says he met before the event with Jewish community leaders who expressed their concerns about the United Nations vote in late November.

He says he heard similar concerns from other parties and from members of his own caucus.

The resolution was part of a group of motions brought every year at the United Nations which critics say single out Israel for the ongoing conflict with Palestinians.

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Protest turns violent during pro-Israel event at York University


Protest turns violent during pro-Israel event at York University

For more than a decade, Canada has voted against the resolutions but Trudeau says Canada felt it had to change course on that one resolution, in order to emphasize its support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.



“I hear you,” Trudeau told those gathered around the menorah. “I understand that many of you were alarmed by this decision. The government felt that it was important to reiterate its commitment to a two-states-for-two-peoples solution at a time when its prospects appear increasingly under threat.


READ MORE:
U.S. reverses position on Israeli settlements, angering Palestinians

“But let me be very clear. Our enduring friendship with Israel remains. We will continue to stand strongly against the singling out of Israel at the UN. Canada remains a steadfast supporter of Israel and Canada will always defend Israel’s right to live in security. And we will always, always, speak up against anti-Semitism at home and abroad. You have my word.”

Canada was roundly criticized for the November vote by Israel, the United States and many within Canada, with several critics accusing Canada of voting with the majority in order to secure a UN Security Council seat next year.

Canada returned to its practice of voting against other resolutions critical of Israel in votes taken this month.






U.S. no longer considers Israel settlements illegal


U.S. no longer considers Israel settlements illegal

At the menorah lighting, Trudeau and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer both denounced recent incidents of anti-Semitism aimed at Jewish students at York University, the University of Toronto and McGill University.

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“They were made to feel uncomfortable because of their identity, because of their support of Israel,” Trudeau said.

“Calling into question Israel’s right to exist or the right of Jewish people to self-determination is promoting anti-Semitism and that’s unacceptable. We will never, ever be silent in the face of such acts. Hatred has no place in Canada and we will continue to condemn it.”




© 2019 The Canadian Press







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Vermont Air National Guard receives next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft – Defence Blog


The Vermont Air National Guard, the air force militia of the State of Vermont, has received the next three F-35 Lightning II aircraft, which landed at the Vermont Air National Guard just after 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec., 5, 2019.

These aircraft are part of the 20 total aircraft assigned to the Vermont Air National Guard, with the full complement arriving by summer 2020.

The aircraft departed Thursday morning from Fort Worth, Texas, and were flown by Vermont Air National Guard pilots assigned to the 134th Fighter Squadron.

“Today’s arrival is part of our scheduled plan to receive all the aircraft through 2020,” said Col. Adam Rice, vice commander, 158th Fighter Wing, Vermont Air National Guard. “I’m very proud that our team is ready and our pilots were able to fly these Vermont aircraft home.”

The Vermont Air National Guard is the first Air National Guard to receive the F-35 Lightning II.

The first F-35s assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing arrived at the Vermont Air National Guard Base on September 19th.

“Each aircraft arrival is another step towards finalizing the fielding process at the Vermont Air National Guard,” said Brig. Gen. Greg Knight, Vermont Adjutant General. “Our Airmen have performed remarkably to get to this point and I am, as always, impressed with their dedication towards their mission.”

On 19 October, the 158th Fighter Wing (158 FW), a unit of the Vermont Air National Guard, hosted a welcome ceremony to celebrate the arrival of the first F-35 Lightning II aircraft to the wing, South Burlington Air National Guard Base, Vt., Oct. 19, 2019.

As the first fighter wing to receive the F-35 Lighting II, Guard officials say Vermont is paving the way for stronger partnerships between the Air Force and the Air National Guard, ultimately better protecting the United States from adversaries.

* If you wish to report grammatical or factual errors within our news articles, you can let us know by using the online feedback form.





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