In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what’s on the radar of our editors for the morning of Feb. 9 …
What we are watching in Canada …
As the Trudeau government is forced to explain delays rolling out COVID-19 vaccines, some of the world’s economic and health leaders are warning of catastrophic financial consequences if poorer countries are shortchanged on vaccinations.
At a video meeting convened by the Paris-based Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on Monday, Secretary-General Angel Gurria predicted that rich countries would see their economies shrink by trillions of dollars if they don’t do more to help poor countries receive vaccines.
The leaders of the World Health Organization and others also bemoaned the long-term damage of continued “vaccine nationalism” if current trends continue — rich countries getting a pandemic cure at a much higher rate than poorer ones.
It was a message that could provide some political cover for the Liberals, who have been widely criticized for shortfalls in deliveries of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna while also facing international criticism for pre-buying enough doses of vaccines to cover Canada’s population several times over.
Some international anti-poverty groups have also criticized Canada for planning to take delivery of 1.9 million doses from the COVAX Facility, a new international vaccine-sharing program that is primarily designed to help poor countries afford unaffordable vaccines, but also allows rich donor countries — including Canada — to receive vaccines.
Trudeau and his cabinet ministers on the vaccine file have repeatedly said that the pandemic can’t be stamped out for good if it isn’t defeated everywhere.
Also this …
A parliamentary committee is expected to launch formal hearings today into allegations of inappropriate conduct by former defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance — and what the Liberal government knew about them.
The planned investigation by the House of Commons’ defence committee follows a Global News report last week that Vance allegedly had an ongoing relationship with a woman he significantly outranked.
The report also alleged the former chief of the defence staff made a sexual comment to a second, much younger soldier in 2012, before he was appointed commander of the Canadian Armed Forces.
Vance, who turned over command of the military last month after more than five years in the job, has not responded to requests for comment by The Canadian Press and the allegations against him have not been independently verified.
Global says Vance, whose tenure as defence chief included a substantial focus on eliminating sexual misconduct from the ranks, has acknowledged that he dated the first woman nearly 20 years ago, but said the relationship had evolved over the years and was not sexual.
Global also reported that Vance said he had no recollection of making a sexual comment to the other junior member, adding if he did make the comment it would have been intended as a joke and that he was prepared to apologize.
What we are watching in the U.S. …
When it comes to impeaching Donald Trump, a new poll suggests Americans are just as divided as the United States Senate.
The online Léger poll, conducted last month for the Association for Canadian Studies, found 49 per cent of U.S. respondents supported impeachment.
Forty per cent said they opposed it, while 11 per cent said they didn’t know.
A similar split exists in the Senate, where the former president will stand trial beginning today on a single count of inciting an insurrection.
The week-long trial isn’t currently expected to end in conviction, which requires two-thirds of the 100 senators to vote in favour.
Online polls cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
What we are watching in the rest of the world …
Rescuers in northern India worked Monday to rescue more than three dozen power plant workers trapped in a tunnel after part of a Himalayan glacier broke off and sent a wall of water and debris rushing down a mountain in a disaster that has left at least 26 people dead and 165 missing.
More than 2,000 members of the military, paramilitary groups and police have been taking part in search-and-rescue operations in the northern state of Uttarakhand after Sunday’s flood, which destroyed one dam, damaged another and washed homes downstream.
Officials said the focus was on saving 37 workers who are stuck inside a tunnel at one of the affected hydropower plants. Heavy equipment was brought in to help clear the way through a 2.5-kilometre (1.5-mile) -long tunnel and reach the workers, who have been out of contact since the flood.
“The tunnel is filled with debris, which has come from the river. We are using machines to clear the way,” said H. Gurung, a senior official of the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police.
Authorities fear many more people are dead and were searching for bodies downstream using boats. They also walked along river banks and used binoculars to scan for bodies that might have been washed downstream.
The flood was caused when a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier snapped off Sunday morning, releasing water trapped behind it. Experts said the disaster could be linked to global warming and a team of scientists was flown to the site Monday to investigate what happened.
On this day in 1970 …
The first traffic lights in the Northwest Territories were switched on in Yellowknife, replacing four-way stop signs at the city’s main intersection.
In sport …
When it comes to picking a new name for the Edmonton Football Team, Eric Upton simply isn’t a fan of some candidates.
The former Edmonton offensive lineman had a heavy heart as he looked through a shortlist of seven possibilities released by the team Monday. After playing 10 seasons and winning five Grey Cups with the CFL club in the 1970s and ’80s, he still doesn’t want to see the name Eskimos replaced.
“It’s very emotional for me. It’s very emotional to me to have the name changed,” Upton said. “I get it, but I don’t like it.”
The team dropped its name last year, opting to temporarily be known as the Edmonton Football Team or EE Football Team as it searched for a replacement. The team made the decision after consulting with the Inuit community.
The decision followed a similar move by the NFL’s Washington team as pressure mounts on teams to eliminate racist or stereotypical names.
Cleveland’s Major League Baseball team has since announced it also is changing its name.
The Edmonton Football Team revealed the seven candidates in an online survey Monday. They include Elk, Evergreens, Evergolds, Eclipse, Elkhounds, Eagles and Elements.
An unusual friendship between a Turkish man and a swan he rescued has endured for decades.
Retired postman Recep Mirzan found Garip, a female swan, 37 years ago in Turkey’s western Edirne province.
Mirzan and a group of friends were taking a shortcut in their car when they noticed the swan, with a broken wing, in an empty field. Mirzan immediately took the swan in to protect her from predators and kept her in the car until that afternoon, when he was able to take the swan to his home.
Since then, Garip has lived on the man’s farm in the Karaagac region, bordering Greece.
Garip follows Mirzan whenever she is out of her pen, accompanying him when he is doing his chores around the farm or for his evening walks.
“Since I love animals, I said to myself that I should take her home instead of leaving her as prey to foxes,” Mirzan told The Associated Press, recounting the day he took Garip in. “We got used to each other. We never separated.”
Mirzan named the swan “Garip,” which translates as “bizarre” but is also used to describe those who are down on their luck.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 9, 2021