In The News for Dec. 19: Can the world save its own biodiversity?


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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 Monday, Dec. 19 ...

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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 Monday, Dec. 19 …

What we are watching in Canada …

Negotiators in Montreal have finalized an agreement to halt and reverse the destruction of nature by 2030, as the COP15 talks enter their final official day.

Delegates take souvenir photos during a snowfall outside the convention centre at the COP15 UN conference on biodiversity in Montreal, Friday, Dec. 16, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson

An announcement issued early Monday morning says the gathering nations at the biodiversity summit have agreed to four goals and 23 targets.

The goals include protecting 30 per cent of the world’s land, water and marine areas by 2030, as well as the mobilization, by 2030, of at least $200 billion per year in domestic and international biodiversity-related funding from all sources, both public and private.

There is also a pledge to reduce subsidies deemed harmful to nature by at least $500 Billion by 2030, while having developed countries commit to providing developing countries with at least US$20 billion per year by 2025, and $30 billion per year by 2030.

Also this …

Social agencies and advocates say rising interest rates and high inflation are pushing more Canadians into homelessness.

Calgary’s Chaz Smith, who was once homeless himself, said some of the clients of his BeTheChangeYYC street outreach group have been on waiting lists for affordable housing for more than five months.

He said with interest rates and inflation on the rise, it could make the rental market more difficult to enter.

Tim Richter, CEO of the Canadian Alliance to End Homelessness, said the homeless sector is in crisis and it’s only going to get worse.

“I think we’re facing a quadruple whammy that’s driving a wave of new homelessness and making homelessness much worse for the people who are already there,” Richter said.

He said there was already an affordable housing shortage, but there are also the lingering effects of the pandemic, the higher cost of living and the opioid crisis.

The latest Hunger Count report from October found Alberta has seen a 73 per cent increase in food bank usage since 2019, the highest across the country.

And this…

A lone gunman opened fire and killed five people at a Toronto-area condo building on Sunday evening before he himself was shot by police, the regional force’s chief said.

Jim MacSween, head of the York Regional Police Force, offered few details in the hours immediately following the shooting in Vaughan, Ont. But in a hastily called news conference outside the building, he said police immediately realized a complex situation was unfolding.

MacSween said officers were called to what he described as an active shooting at around 7:20 p.m. In a separate news release, York Police said early reports suggested a man had shot multiple people.

MacSween said officers eventually found the gunman and there was an engagement, after which the suspect was pronounced dead.

MacSween confirmed there were a total of five victims, but provided no details as to their identities or ages as family members were still being notified.

This too…

On a mountain high above the residents of Metro Vancouver, tucked inside a north-facing gully, the region’s last remaining glacier is vanishing fast.

The Coquitlam Glacier has survived 4,000 to 5,000 years thanks to its sheltered location on the east side of the Coquitlam watershed.

However, scientists say it’s among thousands across Canada that are shrinking more quickly than expected due to climate change, with consequences for everything from ecosystems and climate regulation to water supply and tourism.

Mark Ednie, a glaciologist with Natural Resources Canada based in Ottawa, says Western Canada’s glaciers are a key water source, feeding waterways like the Bow River and North Saskatchewan River. As glaciers melt, the water volume and quality will go down, with potentially big impacts for people living in those areas.

The Coquitlam Glacier is one of several in Western Canada under watch by experts as warming temperatures and soot from wildfires contribute to the melt.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

The House Jan. 6 committee is wrapping up its investigation of the violent 2021 U.S. Capitol insurrection, with lawmakers expected to cap one of the most exhaustive and aggressive congressional probes in memory with an extraordinary recommendation: The U.S. Justice Department should consider criminal charges against former U.S. President Donald Trump.

At a final meeting today, the panel’s seven Democrats and two Republicans are poised to recommend criminal charges against Trump and potentially against associates and staff who helped him launch a multifaceted pressure campaign to try to overturn the 2020 election.

While a criminal referral is mostly symbolic, with the Justice Department ultimately deciding whether to prosecute Trump or others, it is a decisive end to a probe that had an almost singular focus from the start.

The committee may also make ethics referrals for five House Republicans — including leader Kevin McCarthy — who ignored congressional subpoenas from the panel. Those referrals are unlikely to result in punishment since Republicans are set to take over the House majority in January.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

Authorities in Ukraine’s capital say it’s being targeted in a new attack and a critical infrastructure point has been hit.

The Monday morning statement came three days after what they described as one of Russia’s biggest attacks on Kyiv since the beginning of the war. The Kyiv city administration says more than 20 Iranian-made drones were detected over the capital’s air space and at least 15 were shot down.

It added that a critical infrastructure point was hit, without giving more details. There are no immediate reports of casualties.

Russia has been targeting energy infrastructure, including in Kyiv, as part of a strategy to try to freeze Ukrainians.

On this day in 1813 …

A British-Canadian force took Fort Niagara in the War of 1812. The British took 300 prisoners. The first fort was a log structure surrounded by a palisade, built in 1687, at the mouth of the Niagara River. It was captured by the British from the French in 1759 and had been turned over to the United States in 1796.

In Entertainment…

Cecily Strong says she feels lucky that so many of the best moments of her life were on “Saturday Night Live.”

Strong marked her last appearance as a cast member on Saturday’s episode. She had been with the show for 11 seasons.

She was perhaps best known for her impressions of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro and U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Green, as well as the character the “Girl You Wish You Hadn’t Started a Conversation With at a Party.”

Did you see this?

Severe turbulence rocked a flight from Phoenix to Honolulu Sunday, seriously injuring 11 people in what a Hawaiian Airlines official called an isolated and unusual event.

Jon Snook, the airline’s chief operating officer, said the airline hasn’t experienced “an incident of this nature in recent history.” The flight was full, carrying 278 passengers and 10 crew members, he said during an afternoon news conference.

Jim Ireland, director of Honolulu Emergency Medical Services, said 20 people were taken to hospitals, including 11 people deemed to be in serious condition.

At least one person was reported to have been rendered unconscious but all patients were awake and talking when they arrived at hospitals, he said.

Patients suffered cuts, including to the head, as well as bumps and bruises. Some people were nauseous and vomited as a result of extreme motion, he said. Altogether 36 people received treatment.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 19, 2022

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