Good evening, let’s start with today’s top stories:
What we know so far about those killed in Ukrainian airliner crash near Tehran
- All 176 people aboard the flight are dead, including at least 63 Canadians and a number of Iranian students destined for Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said a total of 138 passengers were connecting to Canada. These numbers are likely to change as more information becomes available. The airline released Flight 752’s passenger list, but has not identified the nationalities of those on board.
- The cause is unknown, but the plane appeared to catch fire shortly after takeoff. Iran is refusing to hand over the aircraft’s black box to Boeing or U.S. authorities. Ukraine and Iran have agreed to jointly investigate.
- The plane was a Boeing 737-800, which is from the same aircraft family as the 737-Max plane that has been grounded worldwide since March after two deadly crashes. Not since the Air India disaster of 1985 have so many Canadians lost their lives in an aviation disaster.
- Officials say the crash is unrelated to the overnight missile attacks Iran launched against U.S. military bases in Iraq.
Who was killed in the crash?
Academics returning from holidays, a bride and groom coming back from their wedding, and a one-year-old girl travelling with her parents were among the Canadian victims of the crash.
Many were believed to be Iranian-Canadian students returning to school after the winter break. The oldest Canadian was born in 1945, the youngest in 2018. The victims had roots across the country.
The Globe and Mail is working to learn more about the Flight 752 victims. Although 63 Canadians were reported to have been killed, details are still emerging about many more with a connection to Canada who might have been on board the plane.
- Read The Globe’s full list of what is known so far about the Canadian victims and international students attending Canadian schools.
Since the Canadian embassy in Tehran closed in 1980, the Embassy of Canada to Turkey in Ankara has consular responsibility for Iran.
This is making the situation more difficult. Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne said the number of Canadians killed in the crash could change as more information, including details about dual citizens, becomes available.
If you believe a friend or family member may have been on board, contact Global Affairs Canada at 613-996-8885 or 1-800-387-3124 for information, or e-mail email@example.com.
What have we heard from officials?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, have offered their condolences to victims’ families and said in a statement that the Foreign Affairs and Transport ministers are reaching out to their international counterparts.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also offered his condolences to families of the victims and said that he is sending a team of experts to Iran to investigate.
Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency reported that Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif had called Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Pristayko to express his condolences.
- Read The Globe’s full guide to what we know so far about the crash, victims and investigation.
What have we heard from Boeing?
Boeing called the Ukrainian International crash a “tragic event and our heartfelt thoughts are with the crew, passengers and their families.”
Iranian officials said they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the 3 1/2-year-old Boeing 737-800 aircraft. Ukrainian officials initially agreed, but later backed away and declined to offer a cause while the investigation is ongoing.
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After missile attack, Trump ‘continuing to evaluate’ action on Iran, vows more sanctions
President Donald Trump said Iran “appears to be standing down” and stopped short of announcing a military response, only 18 hours after Iran fired 22 missiles at two U.S. military bases in Iraq to avenge the President’s decision to kill a top Iranian general.
Trump said he would impose “additional punishing economic sanctions” on Iraq, called on NATO to become “much more involved in the Middle East” and warned that Iran’s “campaign of terror, murder, mayhem will not be tolerated any longer.”
Iran dubbed the bombing “Operation Martyr Soleimani,” in retaliation for the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was arguably Iran’s second-most-powerful person after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
There was no sign of an immediate U.S. military response to Iran’s missile attacks, or any indication of further fighting by Iran.
- To catch up on events between Iran and the U.S. since Qassem Soleimani’s death, read The Globe’s guide to the story.
ALSO ON OUR RADAR
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to ‘step back’ from Royal family: The couple announced their plans to change their roles within the Royal family and spend more time in North America, as well as work to become financially independent.
One dead, three seriously injured in shooting in downtown Ottawa: Police believe the attack was targeted and there was no “active shooter” in the city, contrary to an immediate warning from the Parliamentary Protective Service, which guards nearby Parliament Hill.
Canada will consider more aid for Australia as wildfires burn across the country: Most of the Canadians who are there are helping with aviation, logistics and prevention, while Australia relies heavily on local volunteer firefighters to battle the blazes.
Oil prices fell and the S&P 500 and Nasdaq stock indexes soared on Wednesday as tensions between Iran and the United States seemed to ease after an Iranian missile strike on U.S. military bases in Iraq. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 0.57 per cent to 28,745.47, the S&P 500 gained 0.49 per cent to 3,253.06 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.67 per cent to 9,129.24.Canada’s main stock index lost earlier gains on falling energy and materials stocks. The S&P/TSX composite index finished the session down closing at 17,167.82.
Air safety should never be politicized - but it is
Ashley Nunes: “The skill, expertise and professionalism of these organizations have undoubtedly made flying safer. Leaving them out of the investigation process not only defies comprehension but also threatens global air safety.” Nunes is a research fellow at Harvard Law School. His work focuses on transportation safety, regulatory policy and workforce productivity.
Iran’s strategy: Deter Trump by threatening regional war
Daniel Douek: “By killing Gen. Soleimani, the United States has attempted to show Iran that it will not be cowed in the Middle East, but the U.S. may be facing a more formidable foe than it realizes.” Douek teaches political science at Concordia University and McGill University in Montreal.
During this time of uncertainty on Iran, fear has replaced trust in the U.S. president
John Ibbitson: “The leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are calling for restraint and de-escalation because they have just as little trust in this administration as their citizens do.”