Nature deal reached at COP15 summit in Montreal : In The News for Dec. 20
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 Dec. 20 …
What we are watching in Canada …
Canada and nearly 200 other countries around the world now have eight years to set aside almost one-third of their land and marine territories for conservation under a landmark new biodiversity deal reached in Montreal on Monday.
Host nation China’s environment minister, Huang Runqiu, lowered the gavel and declared the deal to be done at around 3:30 a.m., prompting a standing ovation from participants at the COP15 summit.
“This is a historic moment,” Huang said through a translator in Montreal, where the nature talks were held due to challenges resulting from COVID-19 restrictions in China.
Canada’s environment minister, Steven Guilbeault, called it “a bold step forward to protect nature, to protect the air that we breathe, the water that we drink.”
“We work on these things for months and months and you really hope that you’ll be able to land it,” he said. “It’s complicated. The file is complex, the politics. There’s so many things that could have gone wrong and so many things that are challenging, and to be able to to land it … was a really amazing moment.”
The UN warned in 2019 that one million species are threatened with extinction this century and a majority of land and marine areas have been altered by human activity.
The result is a threat to human health and safety, including from pollution, dirty water, food insecurity and growing risk of the spread of animal-borne viruses. It is also exacerbating climate change, because fewer trees and wetlands are there to absorb carbon dioxide and fewer natural protections against extreme weather remain.
Also this …
A 73-year-old man suspected of gunning down five people at a condominium north of Toronto had a lengthy history of threatening members of the building’s board and believed they had a conspiracy to “systematically murder” him, court documents and online posts indicate.
York Regional Police said Francesco Villi killed three condo board members and two others at a Vaughan, Ont., highrise on Sunday night while a sixth shooting victim — the wife of a board member — remained in hospital with serious injuries.
Villi shot the victims in three different units in the building before an officer shot and killed him, police said.
Court documents involving a man with the same name, who lived at the building where the shooting took place, indicate a long dispute with the condo board.
Villi lived on the first floor of the building, in unit 104, court documents show.
He was set to return to court Monday as the board sought to have a judge find him in contempt for violating a previous order to not contact the board, to stop threatening its members and building staff and to cease posting about them on social media.
The condominium wanted Villi gone — it sought a penalty from court to force him to sell and vacate his unit within 90 days, a factum filed in court by the condominium corporation last month said.
Villi never made it to court.
What we are watching in the U.S. …
Suspense mounted at the U.S. border with Mexico on Tuesday about the future of restrictions on asylum seekers as the Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower-court order to stop turning back migrants based on rules set in place at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic.
Conservative-leaning states won a reprieve — though it could be brief — as they push to keep limits on asylum seekers, arguing that increased numbers would take a toll on public services such as law enforcement and health care, warning of an “unprecedented calamity” at the southern border in a last-ditch written appeal to the Supreme Court.
Chief Justice John Roberts granted a stay pending further order, asking the administration of President Joe Biden to respond by 5 p.m. Tuesday — just hours before restrictions are slated to expire on Wednesday.
The Department of Homeland Security, which is responsible for enforcing border security, acknowledged Roberts’ order — and also said the agency would continue “preparations to manage the border in a safe, orderly, and humane way when the Title 42 public health order lifts.”
Migrants have been denied rights to seek asylum under U.S. and international law 2.5 million times since March 2020 on grounds of preventing the spread of COVID-19 under a public-health rule called Title 42.
The decision on what comes next is going down to the wire, as pressure builds in communities along both sides of the southwestern U.S. border.
What we are watching in the rest of the world …
The United States flew nuclear-capable bombers and advanced stealth jets near the Korean Peninsula for joint drills with South Korean warplane on Tuesday, as the powerful sister of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un derided doubts about her country’s military and threatened a full-range intercontinental ballistic missile test.
The deployment of the U.S. B-52 bombers and the F-22 stealth fighter jets was part of an agreement to protect South Korea with all available means, including nuclear, South Korea’s Defense Ministry said.
The drills, which also included F-35 and F-15 fighter jets from South Korea, took place in the waters southwest of Jeju island, the ministry said. The U.S. F-22 jets were deployed in South Korea for the first time in four years and will stay throughout this week for training with South Korean forces, it said.
The drills were held after North Korea claimed to have launched rockets to test its first spy satellite under development, and tested a solid-fueled motor to be used on a more mobile intercontinental ballistic missile in the past several days.
North Korea already has performed a record number of missile tests as a warning over the previous U.S.-South Korea military drills that it views as an invasion rehearsal. There are concerns it may react to the latest aerial training by the allies with a new round of missile tests.
Earlier Tuesday, Kim’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, used a slew of derisive terms — such as “malicious disparaging,” “rubbish” and “dog barking” — when she dismissed the outside assessments that cast doubt on its developmental spy satellite and long-range missiles.
North Korea said its rocket launches Sunday were tests of its first military reconnaissance satellite and released two low-resolution photos of South Korean cities as viewed from space.
Some civilian experts in South Korea and elsewhere said the photos were too crude for a surveillance purpose and that the launches were likely a cover for North Korea’s missile technology. South Korea’s military maintained North Korea fired two medium-range ballistic missiles.
On this day in 1973 …
Ottawa announced plans to establish a Commission of Human Rights and Interests to protect people from discrimination. (It was established in 1977 with the creation of the Canadian Human Rights Act.)
In entertainment …
A respected Toronto recording studio linked with an array of prominent Canadian musicians was damaged in a fire over the weekend.
Firefighters were called to Number 9 Audio Group, located in a renovated Victorian home in downtown Toronto, on Saturday evening after reports of the blaze.
Owner George Rondina says the fire damaged much of the studio’s high-end vintage equipment, though it appears to have spared their nine-foot concert grand piano.
He says the cause of the fire is still unclear.
Rondina’s company has been in business for more than 40 years, moving to various locations around the city before settling into the home on Gerrard Street in 2004.
Over the years, the company’s recording spaces have welcomed Barenaked Ladies, who recorded part of their well-known 1991 independent release “The Yellow Tape” at the studio’s former Jarvis Street location.
Did you see this?
The federal government plans to target a Russian oligarch using a law to confiscate and divert assets held by people who have been sanctioned, said Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.
Canada will try to seize and forfeit US$26 million, or about C$36 million, from Granite Capital Holdings Ltd., a firm owned by Roman Abramovich, her office announced Monday.
Abramovich is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the former owner of Chelsea Football Club in England. He is the partial owner of Evraz, a multinational steel manufacturer with a large Regina plant and a facility in Calgary.
Joly’s office said she “will now consider making a court application” to seize these assets and divert them to the reconstruction of Ukraine — marking the first time the law has been used in this way. Parliament granted these powers in June.
Joly told reporters in Montreal that the RCMP is independently pursuing investigations into people Ottawa has sanctioned who hold assets in Canada.
She did not say when she would be filing a court application, but her office said they hope to do so this month. She said the idea is to pursue sanctioned people who have assets in Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 20, 2022.