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Tehran rebuffs claims they shot down Ukrainian airliner that killed 176 people

Is anyone surprised. The Iranian government does not have a history of ever admitting to errors, of taking responsibility for their actions, or of apologizing.

BBC »

Iran has again rejected suggestions that one of its missiles brought down a Ukrainian passenger jet near the capital, Tehran, on Wednesday.

Its civil aviation chief said on Friday he was “certain” that the plane was not hit by a missile.

He was responding to claims by Western leaders that evidence suggested the plane had been hit by a surface-to-air missile, possibly in error.

New video appeared to show a plane being hit by a projectile over Tehran.

More » AFP

Ukraine International Airline jet crashes killing 176, including 82 Iranians and 63 Canadians

Another Boeing 737 jetliner crashes. This one only 3 years old.

Ukranian owned. American built. Departing from Tehran, Iran. Headed for Kyiv. No Russians or Americans on board.

BBC »

Ukraine International Airlines flight PS752 to Kyiv went down just minutes after taking off from Tehran’s airport at 06:12 local time (02:42 GMT).

The majority of passengers were from Iran and Canada.

Ukraine’s Tehran embassy initially blamed engine failure but later removed the statement.

It said any comment regarding the cause of Wednesday’s accident prior to a commission’s inquiry was not official.

[…]

Among the victims were 82 Iranians, 63 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians including all nine crew, 10 Swedes, four Afghans, three Britons and three Germans, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Vadym Prystaiko said. Fifteen of the dead were children.

In a press conference later in the day, Prime Minister Trudeau revealed that 138 passengers on Flight PS752 from Tehran to Kyiv were connecting to Canada.

More » CBCThe Guardian, ReutersAssociated Press

Air quality in Toronto’s subway is worst than outdoor air and contains high levels of metals

A study of the air quality of Toronto’s subway system, conduced by the Toronto Public Health, has found levels of air pollutants on the subway are higher than those in outdoor air and contain “high levels of some metals.”

CBC News »

“Air quality data collected in the Toronto subway system shows that, as is the case for other similar subway systems, levels of fine particulate matter air pollution (PM2.5) are elevated,” De Villa wrote.

PM2.5, or particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter, are associated with cardiovascular and respiratory health issues.

Canada is one of the world’s top 10 economies

Ryan Flanagan, CTVNews.ca »

The latest edition of the World Economic League Table places Canada as the world’s 10th-largest economy based on its GDP of US$1.731 trillion (CAD$2.251 trillion) in 2019.

[…]

The U.K.-based Centre for Economics and Business Research, which publishes the annual table, predicted years ago that Canada would drop out of the top 10, but did not foresee its return.

In fact, as of 2016, the centre was expecting Canada’s economy to continue to slip down the ranking. Its newest projection, released Dec. 26, paints a different picture, with Canada’s economy projected to rise to the ninth-largest in the world by 2024 and No. 8 by 2029.

The centre says population growth brought on by immigration has contributed to Canada’s economic strength.

Vancouver’s Harbour Air becomes first to commercially fly an electric airplane

Vancouver’s Harbour Air, and CEO Greg McDougall made aviation history earlier this month, on December 10, 2019.

Paul A. Eisenstei, The Detroit Bureau »

With McDougall in the pilot’s seat, the Vancouver-based airline became the first to commercially fly an electric-powered aircraft – in this case, a 63-year-old De Vavilland Beaver seaplane.

“I was an early adopter of the Tesla car and so impressed by their innovation,” McDougall said. “When I got the car five years ago, I wondered if we could transfer similar electric engine technology to our planes. Someone was going to do it someday, so it may as well be us.”

[…]

The initial flight of the Harbour Air electric plane drew crowds of onlookers lining the waterfront. For now, the aircraft is in certification stage, a process that will take between two to three years, according to the New York Times.

If and when regulators give it a go, the aircraft will be able to handle a 30-minute flight – with a requisite 30-minute reserve – while being able to recharge in about an hour.

More » CBC, CNBC, Engadget, TechSpot, The Verge, Vox

More Canadian firefighters are on their way to help out in Australia

More firefighters from across Canada are on their way to Australia to help battle the devastating wildfires that have already killed 10 people and destroyed 1,000 homes the past few months.

CBC News »

Firefighters from across Canada are on their way to Australia to join those already there, helping the country battle devastating wildfires.

Stephen Tulle, duty officer with the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre, said a group of 15 set out for Queensland Monday, while another 21 will fly out later in the week.

The contingent of Canadian wildfire specialists stationed in Queensland and New South Wales will reach 87 by Jan. 4, he said.

U.S. Customs are searching Canadian mail for Canadian legalized cannabis bound for Canadians

Greg Mercer, Globe and Mail »

The U.S. agency’s apparent concern over legalized cannabis has prompted an increased effort to search and seize mail bound for the New Brunswick island, and it’s got islanders saying it’s finally time they had a year-round transportation link to their own country.

[…]

For most of the year, there’s only one way on or off Campobello Island, and that’s across the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Bridge that connects to Maine. A private ferry through Canadian waters only runs in the summer months, which means domestic mail is driven about an hour through the United States by a bonded mail truck to reach the island with a population of fewer than 900.

69 ‘highly trained’ Canadians are helping fight record wildfires in Australia

Crews lending assistance are from Ontario, Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec, Yukon, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan.

The Canadian Press via CBC News »

The Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre says 21 highly trained staff from a variety of agencies left Canada on Dec. 3 for a 38-day deployment in New South Wales after the centre received an official request for assistance.

On Thursday, a second group of 30 Canadians was sent in for a 38-day deployment in the fire zone and 18 more are leaving on Dec. 30 for about a month.

Kim Connors, executive director of the Winnipeg-based CIFFC, says Canada has called on Australian firefighters four times since 2015, and the “agreements are reciprocal in nature, so it was the first time that Australia has needed help from Canada.”

Read the whole story at CBC News »

Related » No relief in sight from Australian bushfire crisis as toll from catastrophic blazes rises » The Guardian

Meanwhile, thousands of volunteers fighting the flames » BBC

Canada’s top 10 weather stories of 2019

  • Another record-setting Ottawa River flood
  • Active hurricane season as predicted
  • Snowy Prairie fall
  • A brutal February
  • Record heat continues in Arctic
  • On the Prairies…Too dry early, too wet later
  • Weather witch stole Halloween
  • Spring missing in the East
  • Saint John River floods again
  • Fewer fires, more burning

More from Environment Canada

Number of Canadians banned from entering USA has almost doubled

The number of Canadians who have been restricted from entering the U.S.A. has has almost doubled, according to new data.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection offered no explanation for the surge of 5-year bans and told CBC News there have been no recent policy changes.

Sophia Harris, writing for CBC News »

Between October 2018 and September 2019, U.S. border officers issued expedited removals — which “generally” result in a minimum five-year ban — to 616 travellers attempting to enter the U.S. by land from Canada. That’s an almost 100 per cent increase compared with 312 in the previous 12-month period. The statistics were provided by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The spike in expedited removals — which are issued without a hearing — comes as no surprise to some immigration lawyers, who say that in their experience, suspect cases that used to result in a simple denied entry can now lead to a five-year ban.

“If they just think you’re being sneaky, that’s all it takes,” said Vancouver-based immigration lawyer Andrew Hayes. “The benefit of the doubt is not being afforded to people.”

Read the whole article at CBC News »

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