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Case begins on N.S. shooter and farmers storm Indian capital: In The News for Jan. 27

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 Jan. 27 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
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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 Jan. 27 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

Three people who allegedly supplied ammunition to the gunman who murdered 22 people in the April 18-19 mass shooting in Nova Scotia are scheduled for court hearings today.

RCMP have charged Lisa Banfield, the 52-year-old spouse of the killer, with unlawfully transferring ammunition, specifically .223-calibre Remington cartridges and .40-calibre Smith and Wesson cartridges.

Police have laid the same charges against 52-year-old James Blair Banfield and 60-year-old Brian Brewster.

The offences are alleged to have occurred between March 17 and April 18 last year.

When the charges were announced on Dec. 4, police said the three "had no prior knowledge" of the actions of the gunman, who was killed by an RCMP officer on April 19.

A spokeswoman for the Crown says the arraignments are expected to occur via teleconference in Dartmouth provincial court.

The RCMP has said that on the night of April 18, Banfield was handcuffed by the gunman, Gabriel Wortman, but managed to escape into nearby woods in Portapique, N.S.

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Also this ...

Liberal Leader Andrew Furey is set to return to the campaign trail today after a man driving a truck loaded with knives was arrested in what police said was a mission to stop the provincial election.

Furey is on Newfoundland's Great Northern Peninsula today as his team recovers from an incident that a spokeswoman says targeted the incumbent premier.

Police say they arrested the man Tuesday after a high-speed chase that began with him saying he was going to Deer Lake to disrupt the Feb. 13 election.

He was arrested in a parking lot outside a candidate's office in Deer Lake, which is in the Humber-Gros Morne district where Furey is running.

Furey's campaign said they were advised the incident was likely targeted toward him.

In a tweet Tuesday night, NDP Leader Alison Coffin extended her best wishes to Furey and his team and said reports about the incident were troubling.

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What we are watching in the U.S. ...

President Joe Biden on Tuesday ordered the Department of Justice to end its reliance on private prisons and acknowledge the central role government has played in implementing discriminatory housing policies.

In remarks before signing the orders, Biden said the U.S. government needs to change “its whole approach” on the issue of racial equity. He added that the nation is less prosperous and secure because of the scourge of systemic racism.

“We must change now,” the president said. “I know it’s going to take time, but I know we can do it. And I firmly believe the nation is ready to change. But government has to change as well."

Biden rose to the presidency during a year of intense reckoning on institutional racism in the U.S. The moves announced Tuesday reflect his efforts to follow through with campaign pledges to combat racial injustice.

Beyond calling on the Justice Department to curb the use of private prisons and address housing discrimination, the new orders will recommit the federal government to respect tribal sovereignty and disavow discrimination against the Asian American and Pacific Islander community over the coronavirus pandemic.

Biden directed the Department of Housing and Urban Development in a memorandum to take steps to promote equitable housing policy. The memorandum calls for HUD to examine the effects of Trump regulatory actions that may have undermined fair housing policies and laws.

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What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

Tens of thousands of protesting farmers drove long lines of tractors into India's capital on Tuesday, breaking through police barricades, defying tear gas and storming the historic Red Fort as the nation celebrated Republic Day.

They waved farm union and religious flags from the ramparts of the fort, where prime ministers annually hoist the national flag to mark the country's independence.

Thousands more farmers marched on foot or rode on horseback while shouting slogans against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. At some places, they were showered with flower petals by residents who recorded the unprecedented rally on their phones.

Police said one protester died after his tractor overturned, but farmers said he was shot. Protesters laid his body on the road after draping it in an Indian flag and sat around it. Television channels showed several bloodied protesters.

Leaders of the farmers said more than 10,000 tractors joined the protest.

For nearly two months, farmers — many of them Sikhs from Punjab and Haryana states — have camped at the edge of the capital, blockading highways connecting it with the country’s north in a rebellion that has rattled the government. They are demanding the withdrawal of new laws which they say will commercialize agriculture and devastate farmers' earnings.

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On this day in 1965 ...

Queen Elizabeth signed a Royal Proclamation permitting Canada's new Maple Leaf flag to be flown. It was flown for the first time on Feb. 15.

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In entertainment ...

The Jasper Park Lodge has been booked out from the end of February until the end of April, but hotel management isn't disclosing who will be staying at the well-known Rocky Mountain retreat during the nine-week block. 

All 446 rooms at the sprawling Alberta hotel are unavailable to book online between Feb. 23 and April 29.

A hotel spokesperson says there is a private booking, but could not comment further for privacy reasons.

Guests who previously made bookings for that time have had their reservations cancelled, fuelling speculation online that the hotel could be soon be a filming site.

Steve Young, a spokesman for Jasper National Park, says officials have not received a request for a film permit. 

He says one would be required if any commercial filming was being done in the park.

Asked about the possibility of a film crew coming up to Alberta, Dr. Deena Hinshaw, the chief medical officer of health, said her team is working on a framework to decide whether to give such crews exemptions to COVID-19 restrictions.

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ICYMI ...

A survey the United Nations calls the largest ever taken on climate change shows Canadians are Angry Birds when it comes to the issue.

The mammoth U-N survey drew respondents by inviting them to take part as they played popular online games such as Angry Birds, Subway Surfers and Dragon City.

It ranks Canada seventh out of 50 countries in its perception of the importance of climate change.

Some 75 per cent of respondents called it an emergency compared with the global average of 64 per cent. 

Canadians were also near the top in their support for solutions involving conservation to fight climate change as well as in wanting polluters to pay.

Canada had the largest gap between men and women in their assessment of the importance of climate change. 

Canadian women and girls surveyed were 12 per cent more likely to rate it an emergency than men and boys. 

The poll drew more than one million respondents in 17 languages.

It is considered accurate to within two percentage points, 19 times of 20. 

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 27, 2021

The Canadian Press