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 May 21 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
TORONTO — An Ontario court has ruled that the Iranian military's downing of a passenger jet early last year was an intentional act of terrorism, paving the way for relatives of those killed to seek compensation from the country.
In the decision, Ontario Superior Court Justice Edward Belobaba found on a balance of probabilities that the missiles that shot down Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 on Jan. 8, 2020, were fired deliberately at a time when there was no armed conflict in the area.
As a result, he found it constituted an act of terrorism that would invalidate Iran's immunity against civil litigation.
The ruling says that while the State Immunity Act protects foreign states from legal claims, the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act provides an exception in cases where the losses are caused by terrorist activity.
More than 100 of the 176 people killed in the plane crash had ties to Canada, including 55 Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents.
The lawsuit was filed last year by four people whose loved ones were killed in the attack.
Also this ...
OTTAWA — Transport Minister Omar Alghabra says he cannot yet commit to a date — or COVID-19 vaccination rate benchmarks — for when so-called vaccine passports will allow Canada to ease travel restrictions.
Alghabra says decisions around hotel quarantines for air passengers and the eventual reopening of the border will hinge on expert advice and unspecified criteria tied to the pandemic.
"These decisions will depend on public health, will depend on data and evidence. At this moment I can't give you a specific date," he told reporters yesterday.
Alghabra has stressed the need for a "common platform" to identify travellers' vaccination status, saying Thursday he is working with G7 countries and the European Union to integrate vaccine certification into international travel in the months ahead.
The EU agreed Wednesday to a plan that would allow fully vaccinated travellers to visit the 27-nation bloc, as well as relax restrictions for all travel from some other countries that are deemed COVID-19-safe. A date remains to be set, however.
The move prompted Canada's largest airlines to renew their call for a clear plan from Ottawa on resuming international travel.
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
WASHINGTON — The House on Thursday narrowly approved $1.9 billion to fortify the Capitol after the Jan. 6 insurrection, as Democrats pushed past Republican opposition to try to harden the complex with retractable fencing and a quick-response force following the most violent domestic attack on Congress in history.
The bill's 213-212 passage came a day after the House approved the formation of an independent commission to investigate the deadly mob siege by Donald Trump’s supporters, who battled police to storm the building in a failed attempt to overturn Democrat Joe Biden’s election.
The two measures now face an uncertain outcome in the evenly divided Senate as most Republicans have objected to both. Tensions are running high at the Capitol, with Democrats growing exasperated with Republicans who refuse to acknowledge the severity of the insurrection because of what appears to be their devotion to Trump — and fears of crossing him.
“We have a major political party in the country that’s ignoring it — we’re trying to solve a problem, they clearly don’t want to sit down and talk about it,” said Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, chairman of an appropriations subcommittee handling legislative branch security.
And this ...
WASHINGTON — U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday signed legislation to curtail a dramatic rise in hate crimes against Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and expressed pride that lawmakers who seem to agree on little else came together against hate and racism.
Biden lavished praise on Democrats and Republicans for approving the bill by lopsided margins and sending it to the White House for his signature. Several dozen lawmakers attended the bill signing ceremony, one of the largest groups to visit the Biden White House during the pandemic.
The House approved the bill 364-62 this week, following the Senate's 94-1 vote in April.
Biden, who stressed his wish to help unite the country as he campaigned for office, said during the East Room event that fighting hate and racism should bring people together.
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Palestinians have rallied by the thousands after a cease-fire took effect in the latest Gaza war.
The 11-day conflict left more than 200 dead — the vast majority Palestinians — and brought widespread devastation to the already impoverished Gaza Strip.
But the rocket barrages fired by Gaza's militant Hamas rulers that brought life to a standstill in much of Israel were seen by many Palestinians as a bold response to perceived Israeli abuses in Jerusalem.
The truce faces an early test on Friday, when tens of thousands of Palestinians attend weekly prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem, a flashpoint holy site revered by Jews and Muslims.
On this day in 1990 ...
Lucien Bouchard praised the cause of Quebec separation and quit the federal cabinet as environment minister and the Conservative caucus. He later formed the Bloc Quebecois, but left to lead the Parti Quebecois and serve as premier of Quebec from 1996-2001.
In entertainment ...
TORONTO — The "Schitt's Creek" saga came to a fittingly triumphant conclusion on home soil with the hit CBC sitcom's final season emerging as this year's top Canadian Screen Awards winner.
The riches-to-rags story nabbed a total of eight trophies during the week of virtual CSAs, the final major awards show for the series after a year filled with international accolades.
"Schitt's Creek" won best comedy series and a lead-actress honour for Catherine O'Hara on Thursday after getting six awards the previous night, including a writing nod for Toronto-raised co-creator and star Daniel Levy.
Its other CSAs wins included Emily Hampshire for best supporting actress and a directing trophy for Levy and Andrew Cividino.
The widely beloved Ontario-shot show, which aired on Pop TV in the United States and streamed on Netflix internationally, was the leading contender going into this year's CSAs with 21 nominations.
Indigenous zombie feature "Blood Quantum" was up for a leading 10 film awards going into the CSAs week and emerged the second-highest overall winner with seven trophies in total.
LONDON — Prince William and his brother Prince Harry on Thursday issued strongly worded statements criticizing the BBC and British media for unethical practices after an investigation concluded that one of the broadcaster's journalists used “deceitful behavior” to secure Princess Diana's most explosive TV interview in 1995.
The circumstances surrounding the interview from more than 20 years ago came under scrutiny after Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer, made renewed complaints that journalist Martin Bashir used false documents and other dishonest tactics to persuade Diana to agree to the interview.
The BBC appointed a retired senior judge in November to lead an investigation into the matter. On Thursday, a report from the inquiry said Bashir acted in a deceitful way and breached BBC rules by mocking up fake bank statements and showing them to Charles Spencer to gain access to the princess.
The report also criticized the BBC for covering up what it knew about Bashir’s actions, and said the corporation’s own probe into the matter fell short of its usual standards of integrity and transparency.
In his statement, William, 38, said the BBC's failures contributed to the deterioration of his parents' marriage and worsened Diana's feelings of paranoia.
Harry, meanwhile, said the issue was bigger than just the BBC - and that “the ripple effect of a culture of exploitation and unethical practices ultimately took her life.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 21, 2021.
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