Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife announced they were self-isolating Thursday as she undergoes tests for the new coronavirus after returning from a speaking engagement with “mild flu-like symptoms”
Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau’s symptoms have subsided since she got back from Britain on Wednesday, but as a precaution the prime minister “will spend the day in briefings, phone calls and virtual meetings from home,” according to a statement.
Trudeau also cancelled a meeting with Canada’s provincial and territorial leaders in Ottawa.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau signalled on Tuesday his government’s readiness to help Canadian businesses weather the novel coronavirus epidemic, if necessary.
No specific measures were announced, however, while his office told AFP the potential impact is still being assessed and a response drawn up.
“We recognize the very real economic impacts of the coronavirus globally,” Trudeau told a televised news conference in Halifax.
“We are coordinating globally to try and make sure that there is a lesser impact on the global economy,” he said.
“We also recognize that there will be impacts on Canadian businesses, on Canadian entrepreneurs, and we will always look for ways to minimize that impact and perhaps give help where help is needed.”
Trudeau’s comments followed a conference call in which Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau and his counterparts from G7 leading industrialized nations agreed to use “all appropriate policy tools” to keep the virus epidemic from throttling economic growth.
The disease that began in China has killed more than 3,100 people and infected more than 91,000.
Canada has reported only 29 cases as of Tuesday morning, in Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec provinces.
Trudeau said the risk of the virus spreading in Canada was relatively low.
“I think the numbers so far bear it out,” he said. “But we of course will continue to monitor (the situation) very, very closely.”
Earlier, the US Federal Reserve announced an emergency rate cut in response to the growing economic risk posed by the epidemic.
The Bank of Canada had been widely expected to maintain its key lending rate at 1.75 percent until at least April.
But after the US move, analysts said the Canadian central bank would likely follow suit at its next meeting on Wednesday, marking its first rate cut since July 2015.
Government data released last week showed the Canadian economy (GDP) slowed in 2019 to 1.6 percent, from 2.0 percent in 2018. The central bank has projected growth to remain at 1.6 percent this year.
Ottawa confirmed Saturday that a group of Canadians had been detained in Ethiopia after a humanitarian organization reported that 15 volunteers and workers, including 13 Canadian nationals, had been apprehended.
Global Affairs Canada, the foreign ministry, said it had “raised this case directly with the government of Ethiopia and officials are in contact with local authorities to gather further information.”
The charity, Canadian Humanitarian, said that the 15 detained individuals were medical professional volunteers, general volunteers, and staff members.
Mother of Toju Davies Daibo, the young man who was reported to have jumped into the Lagos Lagoon from the Third Mainland Bridge last Saturday, February 15, 2020, has asked the authorities to help bring back her son.
Mr Toju Davies Daibo, allegedly jumped into the lagoon from the bridge inward Adeniji Adele, after alighting from an Uber, complaining of stomach issues.
Mrs Daibo told Channels Television in an exclusive interview that it has been five days since the story broke and she is appealing to the government to help find her son.
According to her, Toju has no history of depression or drug use; he had just finished studying quantity survey from the University of Lagos and was looking forward to his NYSC and then his master’s degree studies in Canada.
She appealed to the government to find her son and provide answers as to what happened to him.
The Daibos also called for any information from security agencies so they can have some closure on the incident.
Coming to the end of a painful restructuring, Canada’s top manufacturer Bombardier, still heavily indebted, faces the prospect of selling off major divisions just to stay afloat.
For weeks, rumours have weighed on investors in the Montreal-based company that it was in talks to sell its rail division to France’s Alstom or another competitor, and its business jet line to American conglomerate Textron.
On January 16, Bombardier announced it was “actively pursuing alternatives that would allow us to accelerate our debt paydown,” while again revising downward its preliminary 2019 revenues.
The company also said it would reassess its joint venture with Airbus, after selling in 2018 a majority stake in its CSeries jetliner to the world’s largest airliner manufacturer (which renamed it A220).
The firm, controlled by heirs of the company’s founder and inventor of the snowmobile in the 1940s, owes more than US$9 billion to creditors.
More than 20 percent of the debt will come due next year, the rest in 2025. Mehran Ebrahimi, an aeronautics specialist at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM), told AFP the sale of a division was “inevitable.”
Bombardier’s “ambitions were greater than its means,” echoed Quebec Economy Minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, agreeing that a selloff was in the cards.
The Airbus Canada Limited Partnership (ACLP) requires additional cash investments to ramp up production, pushing out its “break-even timeline,” Bombardier said.
Quebec Premier Francois Legault has promised to “do everything” to safeguard 14,000 Bombardier jobs in the Canadian province but has ruled out another multibillion dollar investment in the A220.
It’s a difficult decision politically, since Bombardier supports a cluster of aeronautics suppliers that employ another 40,000 in Quebec.
The Quebec government owns 16.36 percent of ACLP and 30 percent of Bombardier Transportation (rail division).
Michel Nadeau, director of the Institute for Governance of Private and Public Organizations in Montreal, suggested that sales of Bombardier’s Global 7500 business jets “that cater to billionaires” are more cyclical than its trains, but also very lucrative.
Rather, he said, Bombardier Transportation — because it is based in Berlin and employs only 1,500 people in Quebec — would be an easier sell politically.
Trains, however, represent two-thirds of the company’s order book and are “strategically poised to grow,” according to Fitzgibbon.
Regulatory authorities might also reject an Alstom-Bombardier merger.
Head-to-head with giants
Over the past decade, Bombardier invested “colossal sums” to develop three new aircraft: the CSeries, and business jets Global 7500 and Learjet 85, noted Ebrahimi.
The CSeries was the first new design in the 100- to 150-seat category of single-aisle aircraft in more than 25 years, and was to go head-to-head against giants Airbus and Boeing.
It was to be an extension of Bombardier’s regional aircraft program that had been very profitable in the 1990s.
But after Boeing successfully petitioned President Donald Trump’s administration to impose financial penalties on Bombardier to keep it from selling its CSeries planes in the massive US market, the Canadian company turned to Airbus to make use of Airbus’s manufacturing heft and international reach for sales.
Its Learjet 85 program, meanwhile, was discontinued after losing US$2 billion.
Today, 90 percent of Bombardier’s debt can be traced back to those two aircraft programs, said Fitzgibbon.
A natural progression of its aircraft business at the time, the strategic decision to embark on the CSeries proved to be costly, said Nadeau.
“Bombardier never should have tried to compete with Boeing and Airbus,” he said.
“It was a very serious strategic error,” concurred Ebrahimi.
Chief executive Alain Bellemare has acknowledged that the company came close to bankruptcy in recent years, before he launched a major restructuring in 2015, slashing thousands of jobs yet barely touching its debt.
More recently, the company’s rail division has struggled to get new trains delivered on time in Canada and Europe.
Bombardier’s future will be revealed when it releases its annual financial results on Thursday.
But Nadeau lamented, “We’ve been promised a light at the end of the tunnel for five years, that the company would rebound. We were never told it would be sold off piecemeal.”
President Muhammadu Buhari On Sunday held a bilateral meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Addis Ababa, the Ethiopian Capital.
The meeting held on the sidelines of the 33rd African Union Summit.
According to a statement from Buhari’s spokesman, Garba Shehu, the President expressed his desire to strengthen bilateral ties with Canada.
In remarks before the press, President Buhari underscored the warm and friendly relations between Nigeria and Canada, noting commonwealth membership of both nations and the choice of Canada for higher education by Nigerian students.
‘‘We have a lot of students in Canada. We are aware of our vital roles to keep the country together. We are eager to expand trade because you are one of the ‘biggest customers’, of Nigeria’s crude oil.
‘‘But the most important and enduring relations with Canada is education,’’ President Buhari said.
In his remarks, the Canadian Prime Minister described President Buhari as ‘‘a leader in Africa’’, adding that it was a pleasure to engage on regional and international issues.
‘‘Your leadership and reflection on the current situation challenging Africa but also the potentials and opportunities are something that I am very much looking up to.
‘‘Canada and Nigeria have a long-standing and deep connection and friendship, and I very much look forward to hearing your perspectives on many big issues facing not just Africa but the world’’ Trudeau said.
A plane bringing home the first Canadians from Wuhan, epicenter of the coronavirus epidemic, landed Friday at a Canadian military base where they will be quarantined.
The government-chartered jetliner landed at Trenton air force base east of Toronto at around 6:30 am (11:30 am GMT), after a refuelling stopover in Vancouver. It carried 174 passengers, said Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne.
Another American plane with 39 Canadians on board also landed in Vancouver, he said. Those passengers were to take a connecting government flight to Trenton later in the day.
Several countries including the United States and France have already repatriated their citizens from Wuhan.
Canada’s airlift took longer to be approved by Chinese authorities.
The group of Canadians, permanent residents and a handful of Chinese nationals with visas who accompanied Canadian minors on the flight will remain at the Trenton base for 14 days, the incubation period for the illness.
None of the passengers showed signs of infection, Health Minister Patty Hajdu told public broadcaster CBC, but if they do they will be sent to a hospital for care.
She said the evacuees have been under a “tremendous amount of stress,” noting some were separated from their children or had to leave others behind.
“Although the passengers won’t be interacting with each other, there will be opportunities for them to leave their room” at the Canadian base, she said.
Passengers told local media that most slept through the long flight.
Champagne had said Thursday that two-thirds of the Canadians who sought assistance getting out of Wuhan were expected to return on the two flights.
At last count, 347 Canadians asked to be evacuated.
Another Canadian airlift has been scheduled to depart Wuhan on February 10 and arrive the following day.
Despite tense ties on other issues, Ottawa has commended China for its cooperation during the outbreak. Beijing also singled out Canada for praise for not closing its borders to travellers from China.
Sino-Canadian relations soured in December 2018 over Canada’s arrest on a US warrant of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou and Beijing’s detention on espionage suspicions of two Canadians — former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor — in apparent retaliation.
Canada’s ambassador to China Dominic Barton told a parliamentary committee on Wednesday that both sides were “very angry” over the tit-for-tat detentions.
“The first conversation I had there was probably one of the most unpleasant conversations I’ve ever had. I mean the shaking and anger,” he said.
The two nations’ foreign ministers also held their first conversation in more than a year recently, to coordinate the airlift, signalling hope of a thaw in relations.
Five cases of coronavirus have so far been confirmed in Canada, and two more suspected cases have been reported.
Prince Harry arrived in Canada to rejoin his wife Meghan and son Archie on Monday, British media reported, as the couple start a new life after their shock exit from the royal fold.
The Daily Mail newspaper said he landed at Vancouver International Airport on British Airways flight 85 from London’s Heathrow at about 7 pm local time.
It published a photo of him wearing a blue beanie and jeans with a backpack over his shoulders after slipping out a back staircase, escorted by security.
Sky News published footage of Harry descending the steps of an aircraft.
A waiting minivan on the tarmac took him to a connecting flight to Victoria, where he and his family spent the last two months.
The information could not be confirmed by AFP journalists who had staked out the Vancouver and Victoria airports. A videographer, however, saw two vehicles leaving the Victoria area mansion where the couple had been staying for the past two months.
The Duchess of Sussex was earlier spotted with Archie taking dogs for a walk in the neighbourhood.
She’d also made outings last week to Vancouver, visiting a women’s shelter and a charity that supports girls.
According to local reports, the couple is looking to buy a beachside house in Vancouver, or possibly in Toronto, where Meghan spent several years while acting in the television series “Suits.”
Earlier, Queen Elizabeth II’s grandson, who remains sixth in line to the throne, attended the UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, seems in good spirits as he met the presidents of Malawi and Mozambique and the Moroccan prime minister.
He also had an informal 20-minute private meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the event.
Harry skipped a summit dinner for visiting African leaders at Buckingham Palace in order not to overshadow his brother William’s hosting of the event, the Daily Mail reported.
He and Meghan are bowing out entirely from representing the British monarchy, in a crisis that has shaken the centuries-old institution.
He said on Sunday night they did not want to quit their royal duties but reluctantly accepted there was “no other option” if they wanted to cut loose from public funding and seek their own income in pursuit of more independent life.
Britain’s Prince Harry and his wife Meghan began a new life Sunday as — somewhat — ordinary people with financial worries and security concerns after being stripped of their royal titles and public funding by the Queen.
The settlement announced by Buckingham Palace on Saturday saw the 93-year-old monarch assume her painfully familiar role of managing a family crisis that threatened the very foundations of one of Britain’s oldest institutions.
The “Megxit” mess began when the young couple gave up their font-line family duties and announced plans to chart a “progressive new role” in North America on January 8.
They did so without winning Queen Elizabeth II’s permission or seemingly knowing how it was all going to work out.
A mad rush of royal family meetings and screaming headlines in the tabloid press culminated with a ruling Saturday that The Daily Telegraph called “the hardest Megxit possible”.
The couple lost their right to be called “his and her royal highness” (HRH) — much as Harry’s late mother Princess Diana did when she divorced Prince Charles in another family drama that upset the Queen in 1996.
They further agreed to repay £2.4 million ($3.1 million) of taxpayer’s money spent on renovating their Frogmore Cottage home near Windsor Castle.
“No royal has ever paid back the money,” former royal press secretary Dickie Arbiter wrote in The Sun on Sunday.
“It is absolutely unprecedented.”
Harry was also stripped of the military titles and patronages he was awarded after serving two tours in Afghanistan with the British Army and rising to the rank of captain.
But Arbiter said it was the loss of the HRH “royal highness” title that really made Palace history.
“Even when Edward VIII abdicated (in 1936) he dropped from being His Majesty The King to HRH the Duke of Windsor,” he said.
Arbiter noted that Princess Diana was not born a royal and had her HRH “obtained through marriage.”
‘The point of life’
Few know what Meghan — an American former TV actress with a huge social media following and A-list celebrity friends such as Oprah Winfrey and the Obamas — thinks of the British brouhaha about ancient acronyms.
The 38-year-old frankly admitted on UK television in October that she “really tried to adopt this British sensibility of a stiff upper lip. I tried, I really tried.”
But she admitted sadly: “That’s not the point of life. You’ve got to thrive.”
Harry has also been open about still being haunted by his mother’s death in a 1997 car crash involving a chasing pack of paparazzi.
He and Meghan filed a series of lawsuits against British media outlets in October — a step that predictably outraged the tabloids and renewed debates about the royals’ role in public life.
Harry is expected to join Meghan and their male child Archie on a resort island near the southwestern Canadian city of Vancouver this coming week.
Royal observers think they will spend little time in Britain once — in the restrained words of Buckingham Palace — “this new model” takes effect “in the spring of 2020”.
‘Stuck in public’s throats’
The immediate question facing Harry and Meghan is how they will make ends meet.
Sky News said Prince Charles will continue paying his son some money from his private income.
Harry has undisclosed millions of pounds in savings and Meghan has enjoyed a lucrative acting career. She is now thinking of starting her own line of health and “wellness” products.
The Sunday Times asked a royal aide if Harry and Meghan will be able to cash in on the “Sussex Royal” brand they trademarked in December.
“That is still one the areas being worked through,” the royal aide told the paper.
“That translates as: ‘The Queen isn’t at all sure’,” The Sunday Times wrote.
Arbiter observed that Diana’s “global appeal” was in no way affected by her losing the HRH tag.
Some deals are likely to involve Hollywood.
Video footage emerged of Harry highlighting Meghan’s interest in doing voiceover work to a Disney boss in December. There has also been some speculation about the couple teaming up with Netflix.
The Palace said the separate issue of who pays for their pricey security detail will have to be resolved by the UK government at a later date.
But royal biography Penny Junor said the idea of the couple in any way profiting from their royal titles really “stuck in the public’s throats”.
“Harry is who he is simply by accident of birth,” said Junor. “If he was able to make squillions of pounds from that it would be wrong.”
US President Donald Trump said Saturday the United States was monitoring Iranian demonstrations closely, warning against any new “massacre” as protests broke out after Tehran admitted to shooting down a passenger plane.
Iran said earlier it unintentionally downed a Ukrainian jetliner outside Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, in an abrupt about-turn after initially denying Western claims it was struck by a missile. The firing came shortly after Iran launched missiles at bases in Iraq housing American forces.
President Hassan Rouhani said a military probe into the tragedy had found “missiles fired due to human error” brought down the Boeing 737, calling it an “unforgivable mistake.”
At a student protest to pay tribute to the crash victims on Saturday, Iranian authorities briefly detained Britain’s ambassador, in what the British government called a violation of international law. He was later released.
Trump told Iranians — in tweets in both English and Farsi — that he stands by them and is monitoring the demonstrations.
“To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I’ve stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you,” he tweeted.
“There can not be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching,” he added, apparently referring to an Iranian crackdown on street protests that broke out in November.
“We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage,” he said.
The new demonstrations follow an Iranian crackdown on street protests that broke out in November. Amnesty International has said it left more than 300 people dead.
Internet access was reportedly cut off in multiple Iranian provinces ahead of memorials planned a month after the protests.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has demanded that Iran provide “full clarity” on the downing of the plane. Ottawa says the dead included 57 Canadians.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also offered his condolences and ordered the armed forces to address “shortcomings” so that such a disaster does not happen again.
Tehran’s acknowledgment came after officials in Iran denied for days Western claims that the Ukraine International Airlines plane had been struck by a missile in a catastrophic error.
The Kiev-bound jet slammed into a field shortly after taking off from Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport on Wednesday.
The crash came hours after Tehran launched missiles at bases hosting American forces in Iraq in response to the killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike.
Fears grew of an all-out war between Iran and its arch-enemy the United States, but those concerns have subsided after Trump said Tehran appeared to be standing down after targeting the US bases.
On Saturday evening, police dispersed students who had converged on Amir Kabir University in Tehran to pay tribute to the victims, after some among the hundreds gathered shouted “destructive” slogans, Fars news agency said.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said UK envoy Rob Macaire had been detained.
“The arrest of our ambassador in Tehran without grounds or explanation is a flagrant violation of international law,” Raab said in a statement. The US called on Iran to apologize.
Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, which is close to the country’s conservatives, said the envoy had been “provoking radical acts” among students. He was released a few hours later and would be summoned again by Iranian officials on Sunday, it said.
State television reported that students shouted “anti-regime” chants, while Fars reported that posters of Soleimani had been torn down.
The aerospace commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards accepted full responsibility for Wednesday’s accident.
But Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh said the missile operator acted independently, targeting the 737 after mistaking it for a “cruise missile”.
The operator failed to obtain approval from his superiors because of disruptions to a communications system, he said.
“He had 10 seconds to decide. He could have decided to strike or not to strike and under such circumstances, he took the wrong decision.”
Iran had been under mounting international pressure to allow a “credible” investigation after video emerged appearing to show the moment the airliner was hit.
In footage that the New York Times said it had verified, a fast-moving object is seen rising into the sky before a bright flash appears. Several seconds later, an explosion is heard.
Iran’s military said it had been at the highest level of alert after American “threats” and that the plane had turned and come close to a “sensitive” military site before it was targeted due to “human error.”
Rouhani said Iran had been on alert for possible US attacks after Soleimani’s “martyrdom.”
Rouhani added he had ordered “all relevant bodies to take all necessary actions (to ensure) compensation” to the families of those killed.
The majority of passengers on Flight PS752 were Iranians and Canadians, including dual nationals, while Ukrainians, Afghans, Britons, and Swedes were also aboard.
Rouhani told his Ukrainian counterpart Saturday that “all the persons involved in this air disaster will be brought to justice,” Ukraine’s presidency said.
This is Iran’s worst civil aviation disaster since 1988 when the US military said it shot down an Iran Airplane over the Gulf by mistake, killing all 290 people on board.