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Morning Update: Transport Canada imposes rail traffic restrictions to reduce wildfire risk after Lytton destruction

Good morning,

Transport Canada has ordered new safety measures for rail operators countrywide aimed at reducing the risk of wildfires after speculation that a passing train sparked the blaze that destroyed the village of Lytton, B.C., and killed two people.

The order, which came into effect Sunday morning and will remain in place until Oct.

31, requires railway companies to limit the speed of trains in all areas of the country facing extreme fire risk. Railways will also have to implement a fire-risk mitigation plan within the next two weeks.

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Trains have been a source of fire ignitions in Canada since the railways were first constructed, said Lori Daniels, a professor in the department of forest and conservation sciences at the University of British Columbia. During hot, dry weather conditions, the friction caused by a train going over tracks and sometimes debris, as well as braking, can cause sparks to fly.

She said slowing down trains reduces the chance of the friction or sparks coming off the rails. “It becomes very important to know what is the vegetation immediately surrounding the train tracks,” added Prof.


: B.C. heat wave highlights growing power of science to discern human influence on extreme weather

B.C. urged to help rebuild Lytton to prevent great destruction from future wildfires

A rail bridge damaged by fire is seen in Lytton, B.C., on Friday, July 9, 2021, after a wildfire destroyed most of the village on June 30. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

DARRYL DYCK/The Canadian Press

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Haitian authorities arrest physician, to question businessmen and senators in the wake of President’s assassination

Haitian authorities have arrested Christian Emmanuel Sanon, a physician, in connection with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise, and summoned several top business magnates and opposition politicians for questioning as they seek the masterminds of last week’s attack.

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The Miami Herald, citing a source with knowledge of the investigation, reported that some of the mercenaries had told police during interrogations that the original plan for the attack was to capture Mr.

Moise and install Mr. Sanon as president.

Court documents, obtained by The Globe and Mail, summon businessmen Jean Marie Vorbe, Dimitri Vorbe and Reginald Boulos, and former senators Steven Benoit and Youri Latortue to provide evidence in the investigation.

The Vorbes own an electricity company named Sogener, whose contracts were cancelled and power plants nationalized by Mr. Moise’s administration.

Mr. Latortue is a former head of Haiti’s senate and political opponent of the late president. Mr.

Boulos’s business interests include grocery stores and car dealerships. He has hired three U.S. lobbyists over the past two years to rally American opposition to Mr. Moise, U.S. foreign-agent filings show.

There are mounting doubts in the country over the official narrative of events, which maintains that 28 mercenaries invaded Mr.

Moise’s home without any apparent resistance from his bodyguards. Police have said Mr. Moise was shot 12 times in his bedroom by a hit squad of 26 Colombians and two Haitian-Americans at 1 a.m. last Wednesday.

: Inside the Taiwanese embassy siege in Haiti: how a lone security guard helped wrangle 11 suspects

As Haiti descended into tragedy, the international community ignored its cries

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Virgin Galactic flight signals new era for space tourism

It was one short trip for a man – 68 minutes, to be precise, including just four minutes of weightlessness.

Sir Richard Branson returned to Earth on Sunday morning as part of the first group of passengers to fly aboard his company’s rocket-powered space plane.

He said the experience – which included seeing the sky turn from brilliant blue to inky black and then unbuckling from his seat and floating about the cabin while looking down on the Earth far below – “was just magical.”

Their voyage began at 8:40 a.m. local time, when the Unity22 spacecraft was taken to an altitude of about 14 kilometres by its carrier plane and released. Once clear of the carrier, the craft then rocketed up to 85 kilometres – a transition point in the atmosphere that is defined by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and NASA as the point where space begins.

It then plunged back to Earth, landing like a glider.

The flight allows Sir Richard to claim victory in a billionaire’s battle to be the first person to be flown into space by his own company – with the caveat that other organizations consider an altitude of 100 kilometres to be the correct boundary. Last week, Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon and CEO of the space company Blue Origin, announced he will attempt to reach that threshold with the first crewed flight of his company’s capsule set for July 20.

: Bigwigs! In!

Space! For Branson and Bezos, astro-tourism is an adventure and an obsession

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An Olympic canoeist and her parent head to Tokyo, breaking barriers: This month in Tokyo, Haley Daniels will be among the first wave of women competing in Olympic canoeing, an event that had previously had been open only to men. The 30-year-old from Calgary will compete in the adrenalin-pumping C1 slalom, paddling on an artificial white-water course in Japan. Daniels is also celebrating her father, who recently transitioned and now lives as a transgender woman named Kimberly Daniels. Kimberly, a long-time gate judge in canoe slalom who has officiated many international competitions, from world championships to the 2016 Rio Olympics, is believed to be one of the Games’ first transgender officials.

Forest fires forcing evacuation of two Ontario First Nations communities: Forest fires are forcing two remote First Nations in northwestern Ontario to evacuate as much of the northern region of the province is under extreme fire danger, as well as heat and air-quality warnings.

Chief Howard Comber of Poplar Hill First Nation said Sunday that an evacuation was under way and community members were being flown out of the remote community. Meanwhile, Deer Lake First Nation declared a state of emergency over the weekend as a forest fire burned about 30 kilometres away, growing to more than 26,000 hectares since the end of June.

Wildfires rage in several states as heat wave broils U.S. West: There are several large blazes burning across the Western United States amid another heat wave that shattered records.

Wildfires in Arizona, California and Oregon have caused a plane crash, power-grid crisis, and the temporary shut down of a major highway. Death Valley in southeastern California’s Mojave Desert reached 53C on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service’s reading at Furnace Creek. The National Weather Service warned that the dangerous conditions could cause heat-related illnesses.

Green Party’s potential crumbles in small-time bickering: Campbell Clark updates us on the squabbling occurring within the Green Party’s ranks. With climate change being seen more and more as the defining issue of our times, the Green Party’s reputation should be rising.

Instead, the Greens’ Federal Council has been throwing its weight around with its leader Annamie Paul, butting heads on salary, campaign funds and staff. Paul herself has mismanaged the internal politics of the party, failing to tend relationships with MPs and party officials, or in some cases to return calls or e-mails.

Businesses relieved as Ontario moves to Step 3 of reopening plan, but ‘still have a long road ahead’: The provincial government announced on Friday that as of July 16, essential and non-essential retail and personal-care services will be able to operate with no capacity restrictions as long as physical distancing is maintained, and indoor dining will be permitted for the first time in months. “This really is like oxygen for our retailers,” said Diane Brisebois, president and chief executive officer of industry group the Retail Council of Canada. “It was extremely important to get them to reopen as quickly as possible.”

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Variant worries cap gains: An upsurge in new infections caused by the Delta coronavirus variant capped global equity and commodity price gains on Monday. Just before 6 a.m.

ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 was down 0.59 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 slid 0.16 per cent and 0.46 per cent. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei finished up 2.25 per cent.

Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.62 per cent. Wall Street futures were mixed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 80.12 US cents.


Has Western Canada really been mistreated?

“It would appear the Conservatives are intent on clinging to the notion that Canada’s four Western provinces are in lockstep in their ire toward Ottawa.

This is likely to be a source of debate during any election campaign.

Mr. Trudeau certainly indicated that in an interview I did with him in Vancouver on Friday, saying that treating Western Canada as a “monolithic block” is absurd and doesn’t recognize the range of opinion that exists from Manitoba to B.C.” – Gary Mason

Residential-school deaths from tuberculosis weren’t unavoidable – they were caused by deliberate neglect

“We know, however, that Canada reported 1,796 cases of active TB in 2017, and a disproportionate burden of these continues to be borne by First Nations and Inuit communities. For example, the incidence of active TB was more than 400 times higher among Inuit in Canada than it was in non-Indigenous Canadians.

This staggering imbalance underlines the continuing consequences of colonial structural violence and a failure to address the social determinants of TB, such as equitable access to health care and adequate housing.” – Lena Faust and Courtney Heffernan

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China’s success in fighting poverty isn’t quite the victory Xi Jinping claims it is

“This means that in the first three decades of the People’s Republic, China not only missed the chance to catch up with the developed countries, but actually fell further behind the rest of the world. While countries around the world were growing their economies in the postwar decades, China was falling further behind.” – Frank Ching

What would a criminal-justice response to the grim residential-school discoveries look like?

“When gun violence spikes in Toronto, for instance, the mayor, the premier, and sometimes even the prime minister, often somberly gather to announce criminal-justice responses: millions of dollars for a task force, special prosecutors, and crack investigative units of police officers to work across jurisdictions. That model can be adapted and expanded for the present challenge.” – David Butt


David Parkins

David Parkins/The Globe and Mail


As we return to the gym, will ‘muscle memory’ kick in?

As workers at long-shuttered gyms dust the cobwebs off the barbells and polish up their spin bikes, we’re about to embark on a grand national experiment: how hard is it to regain lost fitness after a prolonged training interruption?

While there is still scientific debate on the issue, the one thing pretty much everyone agrees on is that muscle memory is real – which is good news if you’re heading back to the gym this summer after a long layoff. For those who were gym regulars before the pandemic, you won’t have to pick up where you left off. For those who never stepped foot in one before, this is the perfect time to start.


Food on wheels

TORONTO — People line up at food vendors selling hamburgers, hot dogs and other eats along Queen St.

West in front of Nathan Philip Square, May 17, 2010.

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

For more than 100 years, photographers and photo librarians have preserved an extraordinary collection of 20th-century news photography for The Globe and Mail. Every Monday, The Globe features one of these images. This month, we’re looking at eating and drinking outdoors.

It all started in the mid-1800s with a colourful Texan named Charles Goodnight who fed hungry cattlemen out of a chuck wagon – a covered wagon featuring a travelling kitchen.

Today’s food trucks evolved from these humble beginnings and have been rolling along since. In the early 1900s, the first sausage vendors appeared, followed by Oscar Mayer and his inimitable Wienermobile. By the 1950s, chip trucks and taco trucks sprouted up on high-traffic street corners across North America, offering instant gratification for those needing a quick, inexpensive meal.

Today’s menus are a far cry from those early offerings. Foodies now flock to the trucks, following them on smartphones to find such delicacies as lobster rolls, chickpea tikka masala burritos, or the Canadian classic, poutine. For those with more classic tastes, there will always be the venerable street dog – synonymous with summer, ball games and simple times. – Gayle MacDonald

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