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Two years after Ottawa passed a law promising to end solitary confinement, prison watchdogs and human-rights advocates says that the federal government, along with the Ontario government, have not fulfilled its own legally binding commitments.

In a court document filed yesterday, the Ontario Human Rights Commission accuses the province of not following through on its promise to make solitary confinement a measure of last resort for inmates with mental-health disabilities, and enforce a 15-day limit for everyone else. These commitments by the province were first made in 2013 and restated in 2018.

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At the federal level, the chair of a government panel monitoring the ending of solitary confinement in federal prisons says the panel members’ terms are ending and they still have not received information on whether the practice is still in widespread use.

In separate legal challenges last year, the courts of appeal in British Columbia and Ontario ruled that aspects of solitary confinement were cruel and unusual punishment, prohibited by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The Mission Correctional Institution in Mission, B.C. is pictured Tuesday, April 14, 2020. Federal prison chaplains say the spiritual needs of inmates have become an unnecessary casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when offenders are feeling particularly vulnerable and alone.


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CanSino blames Chinese officials for abandonment of joint vaccine program with Canada

Bureaucratic indecision in China is being blamed for delays in a joint vaccine testing program between China and Canada that has since been abandoned.

In May, CanSino Biologics agreed to bring its Ad5-nCoV vaccine candidate to Canada for testing through a partnership with the National Research Council. However, CanSino chairman and CEO Dr. Xuefeng Yu says that some divisions of the Chinese government were unclear about whether the vaccine should “go to global trials or how to handle it.”

Before its cancellation, the program was a rare sign of co-operation between the two countries in the midst of legal and diplomatic frictions. Ottawa says it is focusing on working with other partners to develop a vaccine.

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Five deaths a day in B.C. from opioid overdoses; rate eclipses COVID-19

B.C. has reported yet another grim month of overdose deaths as the province struggles to contain this public-health crisis. For the third month in a row, almost as many people died from overdosing on an illicit drug as all those who have died during the entire COVID-19 pandemic in the province. In July, 175 people died from illicit drug overdoses.

B.C.‘s top health officials agreed that shame and stigma associated with substance use is leaving people with no options other than the risky act of consuming street drugs alone. The province says it is working as fast as it can on a solution, including replacing the supply of toxic substances with safe, regulated alternatives.

Since the start of the pandemic, 203 people have died from COVID-19 in B.C., while nearly 6,000 people have died of illicit drug overdoses in the province since 2016. This makes illicit drugs the biggest killer in B.C. next to other illnesses.

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Foreign Minister optimistic consular services for Kovrig and Spavor can be restored: After a lengthy and unexpected meeting with his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi on Tuesday night, Francois-Philippe Champagne said there was some progress on the consular services front. He also asked for clemency for the three Canadian nationals sentenced to death in China on drug-related charges.

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Africa free of wild poliovirus, but polio threat remains: Health authorities have declared the wild poliovirus eradicated in Africa, though cases of vaccine-derived polio are still sparking outbreaks of the paralyzing disease in more than a dozen countries. The achievement comes after decades of effort in fighting the disease that paralyzed about 75,000 children a year across the continent.

At least 17 dead, dozens wounded in multiple attacks across Afghanistan: In advance of negotiations between the Afghan government and insurgents, violence has been rising across Afghanistan with a recent wave of attacks killing at least 17 people and leaving dozens wounded. The attacks have included a Taliban truck bombing in the north that targeted a commando base for Afghan forces.

Read more on the Middle East:

People wade through a flooded road after heavy rainfalls in Hyderabad, Pakistan, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020. Three days of monsoon rains have caused the deaths of dozens people and damaged hundreds homes across Pakistan, the country's national disaster management agency said Tuesday.

The Associated Press

Three days of monsoon rains kill at least 90 people in Pakistan: Heavy rain and flooding has brought devastation across Pakistan, as at least a thousand homes have been damaged across the country. Authorities have reported at least 90 deaths across a number of provinces, including Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Baluchistan and Punjab.

Jacob Blake not likely to walk again after police shooting, lawyer says: Blake, a Black man who was shot multiple times by police in Wisconsin, is paralyzed and unlikely to walk again, said his family attorney yesterday. The police shooting has sparked protests in the state calling for the officer who opened fire to be arrested and others to lose their jobs.

Defying precedent and possibly law, Pompeo dives into presidential race: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke precedent and drew criticisms of hypocrisy with his speech supporting President Donald Trump during last night’s Republican National Convention. Democrats and others said the speech was an inappropriate breach diplomatic precedent and a possible violation of federal law prohibiting executive branch employees from overt political activism while on duty, something Pompeo had criticized others for before.

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Class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of passengers in fatal Jasper bus rollover: Passengers are seeking accountability in the fatal Alberta bus rollover last month in which three people were killed and 14 others suffered life-threatening injuries. Ten of the 27 passengers are signed onto the lawsuit, which has yet to be approved by a judge. Named in the statement of claim are Brewster Travel Canada Inc., Viad Corp, Glacier Park Inc., Brewster Inc., Brewster Tours, Banff-Jasper Collection Holding Corp. and the unidentified driver of the coach.


Bonds sold, stocks bought as investors await Fed symposium: Traders sold government bonds and bought stocks on Wednesday, placing riskier bets on optimism about U.S.-China trade and expectations of ample central bank stimulus before a key speech by the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman at Jackson Hole later in the week. Just before 6 a.m. ET, Britain’s FTSE 100 edged up 0.03 per cent. Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 rained 0.72 per cent and 0.02 per cent, respectively. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei ended down 0.03 per cent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.02 per cent. New York futures were mixed. The Canadian dollar was trading at 75.88 US cents.


Erin O’Toole may have what it takes to defeat Trudeau

Gary Mason: “Once Canadians get to know Mr. O’Toole and get a better sense of his personality, there will be far more people at least curious about what he’s selling. The MP from Ontario’s Durham region may never win a charisma contest with Mr. Trudeau, but he doesn’t have to. His appeal is a direct, pragmatic approach to tough issues, one rooted in substance over style.”

Navalny’s poisoning points to a new desperation in Putin’s world

Doug Saunders: “In short, Vladimir Putin appears desperate. If he did indeed order the poisoning of Mr. Navalny, then the timing suggests he has fully abandoned the appearance of democracy and is lashing out in a panicked power grab. If he didn’t, then it suggests the Russian President’s iron-fisted control over his country’s forces is fraying, along with so much in Russia today. Either way, Mr. Navalny’s collapse suggests something is very wrong in Mr. Putin’s world.”

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A fatal military helicopter crash was tragic – and the stark reality of unnormalized risk

Ken Hansen: “The critical lesson for military observers is that being the first to use new technology always comes with risks, regardless of the initial reviews. The euphoria over a new level of performance and professional credibility must be tempered with the kind of caution that can only come from long experience and careful appreciation of the past.”

Quebec’s COVID-19 death toll is Canada’s highest, and one of the worst in the world. No, that’s not fake news

The Editorial Board: “Mr. Legault is not the only premier facing tough questions about their handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. But he’s the only one trying to make a farce of this tragedy, by blaming a reporter for reporting the news.”



Brian Gable/The Globe and Mail


Contestants of Canada’s Drag Race, streaming service Crave speak out against cyberbullying

Canadian streaming service Crave and contestants of Canada’s Drag Race are speaking out against hateful messages some of the show’s queens and judges have received from viewers on social media.

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Vancouver-based drag artist and contestant Ilona Verley tweeted this week that she “ended up in the hospital with a suicide attempt” from all the hate she was getting after a recent episode aired.

She said she’s sick of letting people get away with bullying and vowed to defend fellow queen and contestant Rita Baga against the vitriol she’s also getting online.

MOMENT IN TIME: August 26, 1959

Alec Issigonis (1906-1988), the designer of the Morris Mini-Minor with one of the cars at the Fighting Vehicles Research and Development Establishment, Chertsey, Surrey, August 26, 1959.

Derek Berwin/Hulton Archive / Getty Images

British Motor Company launches the Mini

When fuel prices spiked after the Suez Crisis in 1956, the head of the British Motor Company (BMC) assigned his top engineer to develop a fuel-efficient car. Using a transverse engine, front-wheel drive and smaller, pushed-out wheels, the Mini would save on gas by trimming back on space, weight and costs. A radio, window rollers and seat belts were omitted, though it did include an ashtray. The project was kept secret for 2½ years, after which it was approved for production. The first models rolled off the assembly line in early 1959, and the Mark I Mini was unveiled to the press in August. In its first year, the Mini overtook the Morris Minor as BMC’s best-selling car. The Beatles, Mick Jagger, Steve McQueen and Prince Charles all drove the popular model. John Cooper, race-car designer and owner of the Cooper Car Company, then collaborated with Mini engineer Alec Issigonis in 1961 to develop a sports model – the Mini Cooper. BMC’s Mini production ended in 2000, but under BMW ownership in 2002, the Mini Cooper was updated and reintroduced in the U.S. – Vanessa Quon

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