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Monthly Archives: June 2019

Canada isn’t perfect on human rights, either, Trudeau tells Chinese leaders

Written on June 24, 2019 at 10:27, by

HONG KONG – When Justin Trudeau raised concerns directly with China’s political elite about their human-rights record, he says he also acknowledged that Canada isn’t perfect.

The prime minister shared more details Tuesday about his high-level talks last week with Beijing, sessions that included face time with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.

Trudeau told a business luncheon in Hong Kong that he brought up his concerns in those meetings, ranging from consular cases, rule of law, governance and corruption.

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“(I) talked about the challenges, but also talked about the fact that Canada is not immune to criticisms on human rights, either,” he said during an on-stage interview during the event, hosted by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

READ MORE: Justin Trudeau honours fallen Canadian soldiers in Hong Kong

“The perspective that a lot of countries have is, ‘Well, you know, foreign countries or foreign observers shouldn’t be criticizing what are internal matters to us.”‘

He said he pointed out how a United Nations rapporteur put out a “scathing report” a few years ago on Canada’s treatment of Indigenous Peoples, of missing and murdered aboriginal women and girls and other challenges.

Trudeau’s Hong Kong event came on the last day of his eight-day official visit to China, a trip that also included stops in Beijiing, Shanghai and Hangzhou for the Group of 20 leaders’ summit.

His primary goal of the visit was to strengthen commercial ties with the Chinese regime. He repeated his argument Tuesday that Ottawa’s connection to China was “hot and cold” when the Conservatives were in power.

With Canada struggling through an extended period of weak growth, the government sees expanding the relationship with China – the world’s second-largest economy – as a key to helping the economy.

But getting tighter with China poses challenges at home. Trudeau has had to address widespread concerns about the Chinese regime’s handling of human rights.

On Tuesday, his interviewer asked him how he balances the two.

READ MORE: Will Trudeau open the door to Chinese foreign investment?

She noted, for example, that public opinion polls have suggested Canadians are cool to the idea of pursuing free trade with the Asian superpower.

“I don’t know if I like the word balance because balance does make it sound like you’re making a trade off,” Trudeau replied.

“I don’t think you have to choose, I think you have to be very up front and frank about doing that in a very thoughtful, respectful way, but in a constructive way.”

His appearance Tuesday in Hong Kong followed a landmark election result in the southern Chinese city over the weekend that saw a group of young pro-democracy activists win seats in the local legislature.

The activists, who helped lead huge pro-democracy street protests two years ago, intend to change the rules on how the city is governed by China’s leaders. It could set off a fresh showdown with Beijing.

Asked how Canada might engage with China on behalf of Hong Kong, Trudeau was cautious.

“I’m going to use a line that I’ve been able to use a few times regarding our neighbours to the south: Canada will work with whoever gets elected and forms government in foreign jurisdictions,” he said.

Andrew Work, editor-in-chief of Hong Kong’s Harbour Times, said it is “hugely important” that Trudeau was in the city shortly after the election to see its vibrant democracy first hand.

READ MORE: ‘Canada cares deeply about its citizens in difficulties abroad’: Trudeau on prisoners held overseas

“Canada is an influential nation with 300,000 Canadians living in Hong Kong,” said Work, a Canadian who has lived in the Chinese city for 20 years.

When it comes to working with China, this week Trudeau left the door open to allowing more investment from the country’s state-owned enterprises.

On Monday, he said he would listen if China raises its long-held concerns with him over Canada’s restrictions on investment by foreign, state-owned enterprises. He elaborated on the topic Tuesday.

“We need to draw in global investment as a way of being able to properly develop our resources in ways that are going to create a lot of jobs in Canada,” Trudeau said during the on-stage exchange with Bloomberg TV anchor Angie Lau.

“Yes, we have to think about it in terms of what are the benefits, what are the labour standards, what are the environmental impacts?. But I don’t think that anyone can imagine that we would do better by closing ourselves off from the world.”

Earlier Tuesday, Trudeau visited the mountainside Sai Wan War Cemetery to pay homage to Canadian soldiers who died after fighting to defend Hong Kong from a Japanese invasion during the Second World War.

There are 283 Canadians buried at the cemetery, 107 of whom were never identified.

Trudeau also met with billionaire businessman Li Ka-shing, chairman of CK Hutchison Holdings, to discuss investment opportunities at his cavernous office on the 70th floor of a Hong Kong tower.

The prime minister also held a meeting with Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong, at his residence.

British Airways apologizes after computer glitch causes global delays

Written on June 24, 2019 at 10:27, by

LONDON – British Airways travellers are suffering delays globally due to a computer glitch in the check-in systems, the latest in a string of technical failures to hit major international airlines.

Travellers took to social media to complain of long lines and the airline said “a number” of airports were affected.

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According to tracking service Flightaware, 157 BA flights were delayed, or 17 per cent of its total flights, and five were cancelled as of midday in London.

READ MORE: Delta cancels 400 flights as computer troubles continue; thousands stranded

“We’ve been in line for three hours,” Erik Blangsted, told KGO-TV as he waited for his flight at San Francisco International Airport. “We’ve talked to the people who’ve offered us some cold water and some chips – and sympathy.”

The airline apologized and said passengers are now being checked in at Heathrow and Gatwick Airports but that the process may be “a bit slower than usual.”

BA had to apologize already in July after computer glitches in check-in systems also delayed passengers. It began installing new systems last October and completed the rollout earlier this year.

The company, which is part of the International Consolidated Airlines Group SA, says it would “encourage customers to check in online before they reach the airport.”

READ MORE: Delta computer meltdown: This man spent nearly 20 hours at Japan’s Narita airport

The airline’s problems come barely a month after U.S. carrier Delta Air Lines Inc. suffered a global outage that caused it to cancel 2,300 flights, costing it $100 million in lost revenue.

A fire and failure of a piece of equipment at Delta’s Atlanta headquarters on Aug. 8 had caused a massive outage of the airline’s computer systems, leading to three days of heavy cancellations and delays.

Enbridge to buy Spectra Energy in $37B deal

Written on June 24, 2019 at 10:27, by

CALGARY – Enbridge is making a big bet on natural gas with the C$37-billion friendly takeover of Spectra Energy Corp., as it looks to grow while facing severe pushback on infrastructure projects.

The all-stock deal with Houston-based Spectra will create the largest energy infrastructure company in North America and one of the biggest energy companies of any kind globally, with a combined value of about $165 billion.

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The deal would give Calgary-based Enbridge (TSX:ENB) far more exposure to the natural gas side of the business and extend the company’s reach throughout the continent, Enbridge CEO Al Monaco said Tuesday on a conference call with analysts.

“This transaction is transformational for both companies, and results in unmatched scale, diversity and financial flexibility with multiple platforms for organic growth,” said Monaco, who will stay on as president and CEO of the larger company.

The deal brings much greater diversity to the companies, said AltaCorp Capital analyst Dirk Lever.

READ MORE: Enbridge to buy US$1.5B stake in Bakken pipeline system

“Enbridge before was very much more of an oily company and Spectra was a gassy company. Put them together and they’re balanced,” said Lever.

If the deal closes as expected early next year, Spectra will add 140,800 kilometres of gas pipelines to bring Enbridge’s total gas lines to 165,600 kilometres, while Spectra will add only 2,720 kilometres of liquids pipelines to Enbridge’s existing 27,600 kilometres.

Lever said the resistance companies across Canada and the U.S. have faced in building new resource projects like pipelines has forced companies to look to mergers and acquisitions for growth.

“There’s been huge pushback from vocal groups against pipelines,” he said, despite the importance of the infrastructure. “They don’t care, they just don’t want pipelines.”

Enbridge has faced stiff resistance for years on its proposed $7.9-billion Northern Gateway project, while large groups of protesters are currently trying to block construction on the Dakota Access pipeline project in the U.S. that it’s buying into.

READ MORE: Enbridge CEO emphasizes pipeline safety as federal decisions loom

TransCanada Corp. – which faced significant opposition to its Keystone XL pipeline project before the U.S. government rejected it, and continuing opposition to its Energy East pipeline – opted to make a US$13-billion acquisition of Columbia Pipeline Group earlier this year to expand its network.

Lever said that given the cost and timelines on these major infrastructure projects, companies are looking for scale to spread the risk and increase strategic opportunities.

“Companies are finding that there’s more strategies if they band together, and there’s more strategic opportunities by doing that rather than build new pipelines that just can’t seem to get off the ground,” he said.

“Infrastructure for energy is so critically important and the size of the problems to be solved are so large, that you’re more likely to see mergers going forward,” Lever said.

Monaco said the companies will need to see what divestitures may be required by competition authorities, but he doesn’t see much overlap between Spectra Energy’s natural gas infrastructure business and Enbridge’s oil and liquids operations.

READ MORE: Enbridge profit down 47%; company cites Fort McMurray wildfires

Enbridge would take on about $22 billion in Spectra debt, while Monaco said the company plans to sell about $2 billion of non-core assets over the next year.

Under terms of the deal, Spectra Energy shareholders would receive 0.984 shares of the combined company for each share of Spectra Energy common stock they own. Based on the closing price of Enbridge common shares on Friday, that translates to US$40.33 per Spectra Energy share, representing about a 11.5-per-cent premium to Spectra Energy’s closing stock price Friday.

Emirates flight tried to take off after brief touch down when it crash landed: report

Written on June 24, 2019 at 10:27, by

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – A preliminary report released Tuesday into last month’s Emirates airliner crash landing in Dubai found that the pilot attempted to take off again after briefly touching down, and that the plane ultimately hit the runway as it tried to climb with its landing gear retracting.

One firefighter was killed responding to the accident, which destroyed the Boeing 777-300, but all 300 people onboard Flight EK521 managed to escape.

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The accident was the most serious in Emirates’ more than three decades of operations, and was the second major air disaster for a Dubai government-backed airline in less than five months.

The findings released Tuesday in a 28-page report by the United Arab Emirates’ General Civil Aviation Authority were broadly in line with an Associated Press analysis a day after the crash that was based on flight data, air traffic control communications and interviews with aviation experts.

READ MORE: WATCH: Video from on board Emirates crash landing captures panic

Investigators found that the crew received a warning indicating wind shear – a sudden change in wind speed or direction – as the plane approached Dubai on its return from Thiruvananthapuram, India. As it neared the ground, a headwind started to shift to a tailwind and then back again.

The right landing gear hit the ground first, with the left following only three seconds later, according to the report. The nose gear stayed in the air.

Video captures confusion, panic as Emirates passengers told to ‘leave bags behind’


Video captures confusion, panic as Emirates passengers told to ‘leave bags behind’


Emirates airliner with 300 on board crash lands in Dubai


Emirates plane catches fire after crash landing at Dubai airport

A warning system alerted the crew of a “long landing,” indicating that the plane had not touched down where it was supposed to, and the plane took to the air again as the crew tried to make a second landing attempt.

Six seconds into the air, the crew began to retract the landing gear.

READ MORE: Firefighter killed after Emirates plane crash-lands at Dubai airport

After making it only about 85 feet off the ground, the twin-engine plane began to lose altitude. Three seconds before impact, the crew tried to push the jet engines all the way from an idle to full power.

Cockpit warnings blared “Don’t sink, don’t sink!” as the engines began to throttle up.

It was too late.

With the landing gear still retracting, the back of the plane and then the engines hit the runway at 125 knots (144 mile per hour).

A fuel-fed fire broke out as the right engine was ripped off and the plane skidded on its belly before coming to a rest.

Hermine weakens but could still impact eastern seaboard

Written on June 24, 2019 at 10:27, by

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Hermine is expected to begin weakening as it churns hundreds of miles offshore in the Atlantic Ocean, but forecasters warn it could continue to impact areas from New York to southern New England with pounding waves, coastal flooding and beach erosion before it moves out to sea.

A tropical storm warning remained in effect Tuesday morning from New York’s Long Island to Massachusetts.

New York officials extended beach closures beyond Labor Day because of continued deadly rip currents, but some ignored the warnings.

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The New York Post said police issued $80 tickets to at least four surfers at Rockaway Beach. An emergency worker who dived into the Atlantic Ocean at Coney Island to save a swimmer who violated the ban told the Post that the current felt like a “300-pound guy pulling me back out to sea.”

READ MORE: Hermine lingers off shore continuing its unsafe storm surges

In New Jersey, big waves and churning surf up to the base of dunes were reported in some areas of the state hit hard by Superstorm Sandy in October 2012, including the Ocean County communities of Point Pleasant Beach, Bay Head, Mantoloking and Brick. But no flooding or other damage was reported.

The National Hurricane Center said Hermine was expected to become nearly stationary by Tuesday night before turning toward the northeast Wednesday.

As of 2 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Hermine’s top sustained winds were steady at 65 mph (104 kph) as it moved west-northwest at 9 mph (14 kph). The storm was centred about 110 miles (177 kilometres) south-southeast of the eastern tip of Long Island.

While many communities felt like they dodged a bullet, the threat of Hermine caused many vacationers to cancel their holiday plans.

READ MORE: Hermine spins away from US East Coast, regains strength

MD Mahabub Khan has worked as a taxi cart pusher at the shore for 27 years and said he still attracted some business over the weekend, but the smaller crowds were noticeable.

“People from New York and New Jersey are kind of stuck here (during bad weather), so they can still come,” if forecasts don’t play out as predicted, Khan said.

Hermine rose over the Gulf of Mexico and hit Florida on Friday as a Category 1 hurricane before weakening to a tropical storm across Georgia. It has caused at least three deaths, inflicted widespread property damage and knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of people from Florida to Virginia.


Associated Press writers Megan Trimble and Wayne Parry in Atlantic City, New Jersey, contributed to this report.