Canada is often seen by outsiders as a rather boring place, populated by polite people, where little ever happens -- much to the irritation of Canadians. \nAfter a year of headline-grabbing troubles, Canadians may be longing for those quiet times. \nThe country has been bruised by the multiple hit of SARS, a case of mad cow disease, massive forest fires and, most recently, a blackout that hit its industrial heartland. \n"It seems to be a litany of adversity," said Max Foran, a University of Calgary culture professor. "In terms of one single year where it's just been bang, bang, bang -- such a varied sequence of events -- I can't think of one [like it.]" \nThe SARS outbreak killed 44 people in the Toronto area, the only place outside Asia to report deaths from the virus. It prompted a rare travel warning from the World Health Organization and cost the local economy dearly. \nThen a single mad cow disease, detected in Alberta in May, sent shock waves through the food industry as many countries banned imports of Canadian beef and cattle. \nJust as the country overcame those setbacks, Ontario was hit by the massive power outage last week that hit large areas of eastern North America. About 10 million people in the province were left without power, hitting production in the country's economic engine. \n"It's like the fourth or the fifth plague now," said Benjamin Tal, senior economist at CIBC World Markets. "It's just bad luck." \nIn addition, British Columbia is suffering one of its worth forest fire seasons in decades with about 3,500 fire fighters, battling the more than 800 fires in the western province. \nMost of the large fires are believed to have been started by lightning, but a nearly 24,000-hectare blaze north of Kamloops that has been burning since late July was sparked by a discarded cigarette butt. \n"We've had a bit of a triple hit in Canada," Finance Minister John Manley told reporters. "The economy has proven to be quite resilient, given what happened to it. \n"If we'd faced SARS and a rapidly escalating exchange rate 10 years ago, we'd have been really sunk, whereas this time we're continuing to show reasonable strength," Manley said. \nThe troubles have taken an economic toll on a country that just last year handily led the Group of Seven rich-nations. \nCanada is still the only G7 country with a budget surplus, but its economy has slowed significantly this year -- also because of the global downturn, and from a strengthening currency that has made its exports more costly. \nMeanwhile the Bank of Canada, busy hiking interest rates for the better part of a year when other central banks were cutting them, fell in line with the global trend last month. It is widely seen lowering rates again next month. \n"The emphasis is on `was.' Canada was outperforming, not any more," Tal said. "We are not going to outperform, in fact we're going to underperform many economies in the G7."
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
‘SACRIFICED’: Hu Weifeng became the sixth doctor to die from COVID-19 at Wuhan Central Hospital, where calls to raise the alarm over the virus were suppressed The death of a Chinese doctor at Wuhan’s “whistle-blower hospital” has prompted a wave of anger at hospital authorities for not protecting front-line health workers in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak. Hu Weifeng (胡衛鋒), 42, a urologist at Wuhan Central Hospital where the whistle-blower ophthalmologist Li Wenliang (李文亮) worked, died of the virus on Tuesday after a four-month battle. Hu is the sixth doctor from his hospital killed by the virus. Another doctor who spoke out, Ai Fen (艾芬), said that authorities told hospital staff not to wear protective gear so as not to cause panic and reprimanded her for “harming
‘LEAST WE CAN DO’: The gesture was made famous by former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who was protesting police brutality that targeted minorities They are images that surprised and moved Americans: police officers taking a knee alongside protesters in the most widespread civil unrest to rock the US in decades — and in doing so embracing an anti-racism gesture denounced by US President Donald Trump. As Trump pushes for a crackdown on often-violent protests over the death of George Floyd, police officers from New York to Los Angeles to Houston, Texas, are making gestures of solidarity with demonstrators incensed at the latest case of an unarmed black man dying while in police custody. “I took off the helmet and laid the batons down. Where do
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about