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Good morning iPolitics readers,
— It’s Remembrance Day: The Royal Canadian Legion has discouraged Canadians from attending ceremonies in person this year because of the pandemic. But amateur historians are finding novel ways to honour the fallen, with the help of smart phone apps and virtual walls of remembrance. In official events that can be viewed online or on TV, there will be a special emphasis on the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War.
— Kady O’Malley looks ahead to the rest of the day with iPolitics AM: “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie, are set to make their traditional appearance at the Remembrance Day ceremonies in downtown Ottawa, where they will be among a maximum of 100 guests expected to take part in the yearly ritual.”
— Freeland adviser agrees to ethics screen: Leslie Church, the Finance minister’s policy advisor, has agreed to be screened over potential conflicts of interest involving her lobbyist husband. Sheamus Murphy regularly lobbies federal officials on behalf of corporate clients, including in the broadcasting, energy, and pharmaceutical sectors, the Globe reports.
— Purged WE documents: The public speaking agency representing members of the Trudeau family says documents requested by the Commons ethics committee no longer exist because they were deleted before the WE controversy arose. The agency said that hard copies of documents, some of which date back more than seven years, were deleted as part of the “normal course of business” but that digital copies of some records could be made available for the WE probe. It said no documents have been destroyed this year.
— CSIS warns China is targeting critics in Canada: The intelligence service has flagged China’s Operation Fox Hunt as an effort to silence critics within Canada’s Chinese community. CSIS says undercover security officials and proxies have illegally threatened Canadian residents’ families back in China, the Globe reports. The operation is officially an anti-corruption campaign to target wealthy Chinese people who fled the country with large amounts of money.
— In full feather: RCMP officers in Prince Edward Island can now swear oaths using eagle feathers, as part of a collaboration between the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I.’s Indigenous Justice Initiative and the police force. Feathers given to every detachment on the island have each undergone a smudging ceremony. P.E.I.’s RCMP Commanding Officer said that enhancing relationships with Indigenous communities was a priority for the force.
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AROUND THE WORLD
— Cracks deepen: The New York Times called election officials in every U.S. state and found no evidence of voter fraud. Trump’s own advisers have privately acknowledged that Biden’s win is looking inevitable, the Washington Post reports. The Post also reports that a postal worker in Pennsylvania “whose claims have been cited by top Republicans” as potential voter fraud evidence has admitted to making the whole thing up.
Meanwhile, it looks like the Supreme Court will uphold the Affordable Care Act despite the latest challenge from Republicans.
— Happy Singles Day: Today is “Singles Day” in China, an unofficial holiday to celebrate single people that has grown into a major shopping event. The e-commerce giant Alibaba has so far recorded a whopping $56 billion in sales. The Chinese company chartered more than 3,000 flights and long-haul cargo ships — and had three million logistical workers on deck for the event.
— A new refugee crisis: Ethiopians are fleeing to Sudan amid a government military offensive on a northern region. So far 6,000 refugees have crossed the border, but that could swell to more than 200,000, and aid agencies fear an eminent humanitarian disaster. Ethiopia is one of the world’s most ethnically and culturally diverse countries, as well as Africa’s second most populous country. The military launched airstrikes in the Tigray region after an attack on a government military base. Yesterday, Tigray’s leader alleged that neighbouring Eritrea had also waded into the internal conflict, but gave no proof.
Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, promised political reform in the historically authoritarian nation when he came to power in 2018. He won a Nobel Peace Prize after signing a peace deal with Eritrea. He also launched ambitious constitutional reforms to the country’s system of ethnic federalism, and pledged to open the economy up to foreign investment. Now, concerns are mounting about an outright civil war.
— ‘Think again,’ BoJo: U.K. PM Boris Johnson’s controversial Brexit legislation suffered a heavy defeat in the House of Lords. The upper house voted to remove sections of the bill that would override the previously-signed Withdrawal Agreement and effectively allow the government to break international law. One Peer urged the prime minister to “think again.”
— Liberté…? Amid an ongoing row over freedom of expression in France, police have questioned a journalist who criticized the Interior Ministry‘s anti-terror efforts. The Libération newspaper says the “inspection” was ordered by the (controversial) interior minister himself. The journalist in question tweeted that the purpose of the investigation was to identify his sources.
Last week, Politico and the Financial Times each deleted articles that were critical of the French administration, and President Macron wrote a scathing response to the FT piece, which the paper published. The president has defended the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo as it continues to print offensive caricatures. Meanwhile, French lawmakers are considering new restrictions on filming police, which rights groups say would threaten press freedom.
— Elsewhere: McDonalds will debut the McPlant meat alternative next year. A DNA match on a coffee cup led investigators to a suspect in a 50-year-old homicide case, but he died in an apparent suicide just hours before being convicted of murder. Four Hong Kong opposition members were thrown out of the Legislative Council under a new rule requiring all lawmakers to be “patriots.” A prominent female Libyan activist was shot dead in a busy Benghazi street. Ukraine’s president tested positive for COVID. Portugal announced a new curfew and Hungary is going back into lockdown. Also in Hungary today, the government proposed a constitutional change requiring children to be raised with a Christian interpretation of gender roles. And check out the Ocean Photography Awards nominees (we like the widowed penguins cuddling).
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