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Nuclear plant attack and Canada's plastic waste exports: In The News for Mar. 4

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 Mar. 4 ... What we are watching in Canada ...

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 Mar. 4 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is condemning attacks on a major nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Trudeau said late Thursday that he had spoken with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about "the horrific attacks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant."

"These unacceptable attacks by Russia must cease immediately," Trudeau said on Twitter.

U.S. President Joe Biden also spoke with Zelenskyy late Thursday about the shelling of the plant in the eastern Ukraine city of Enerhodar.

The assault sparked a fire and raised fears that radiation could leak from the damaged power station.

The White House said Biden joined Zelenskyy in urging Russia to “cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site.”

Ukrainian authorities later reported the fire had been extinguished, and Ukraine's nuclear regulator said there had been no change in radiation levels. 

The International Atomic Energy Agency also said the fire had not affected essential equipment at the facility.

Earlier Thursday, a self-described Ukrainian information warrior sent her thanks to Canada from Kyiv after it tightened its economic chokehold on Russian oligarchs and opened its arms to Ukrainians fleeing the war.

The government announced Ukrainians can find a safe haven in Canada using expedited temporary visas for emergency travel, while it ratcheted up economic pressure on Russia by booting it and its ally, Belarus, off its most favoured nation list of trade partners. That now subjects their exports to 35 per cent tariffs, said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland.


Also this ...

OTTAWA — In the year since new rules to slow global exports of plastic waste took effect, Canada's shipments rose by more than 13 per cent, and most of it is going to the United States with no knowledge of where it ultimately ends up.

Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault said that kind of lackadaisical approach to exporting plastic waste has to stop.

"I'm very worried about that and I think we clearly have to do better," Guilbeault said in an interview.

"If we're shipping plastics that are aimed at recycling, we better make sure that that's what happens. And frankly, right now, it's not clear to me that is always the case and in fact there's been a number of instances where it's not."

Guilbeault said he is talking to his officials about what can be done to fix the problem "because right now we're not doing a very good job."

Canada's shaky history on plastic waste exports got international attention in 2019, when shipments of garbage falsely labelled as plastics for recycling led to a diplomatic standoff with the Philippines.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — The House panel investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol has previewed some of its findings in a federal court filing, and investigators for the first time said they have enough evidence to suggest then-President Donald Trump committed crimes.

That doesn't necessarily mean that Trump will be charged, or even that the Justice Department will investigate. But the legal document offers an early look at some of the panel’s likely conclusions, which are expected to be submitted in coming months. 

The committee has interviewed more than 650 witnessesas it investigates the violent siege by Trump supporters, the worst attack on the Capitol in more than two centuries.

In the 221-page filing, the panel said it has evidence that the defeated Republican president and his associates engaged in a “criminal conspiracy” to prevent Congress from certifying Democrat Joe Biden’s election victory.

Hundreds of Trump’s supporters violently bashed their way past police that day and sent lawmakers into hiding, interrupting but not stopping the certification.

The filing came in response to a lawsuit from John Eastman, a lawyer and law professor who was consulting with Trump while attempting to overturn the election and who is trying to withhold documents from the committee.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

KYIV, Ukraine — Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces have brought their superior firepower to bear over the past few days, launching hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on cities and other sites around Ukraine and making significant gains in the south.

The Russians announced the capture of the southern city of Kherson, a vital Black Sea port of 280,000, and local Ukrainian officials confirmed the takeover of the government headquarters there, making it the first major city to fall since the invasion began a week ago.

A Russian airstrike on Thursday destroyed the power plant in Okhtyrka, leaving the city without heat or electricity, the head of the region said on Telegram. In the first days of the war, Russian troops attacked a military base in the city, located between Kharkiv and Kyiv, and officials said more than 70 Ukrainian soldiers were killed.

“We are trying to figure out how to get people out of the city urgently because in a day the apartment buildings will turn into a cold stone trap without water, light or electricity,” Dmytro Zhyvytskyy said.

Heavy fighting continued on the outskirts of another strategic port, Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. The battles have knocked out the city’s electricity, heat and water systems, as well as most phone service, officials said. Food deliveries to the city were also cut.

Associated Press video from the port city showed the assault lighting up the darkening sky above deserted streets and medical teams treating civilians, including a 16-year-old boy inside a clinic who could not be saved. The child was playing soccer when he was wounded in the shelling, according to his father, who cradled the boy’s head on the gurney and cried.

Severing Ukraine’s access to the Black and Azov seas would deal a crippling blow to its economy and allow Russia to build a land corridor to Crimea, seized by Moscow in 2014.

Overall, the outnumbered, outgunned Ukrainians have put up stiff resistance, staving off the swift victory that Russia appeared to have expected. But a senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia’s seizure of Crimea gave it a logistical advantage in that part of the country, with shorter supply lines that smoothed the offensive there.

Ukrainian leaders called on the people to defend their homeland by cutting down trees, erecting barricades in the cities and attacking enemy columns from the rear. In recent days, authorities have issued weapons to civilians and taught them how to make Molotov cocktails.

The second round of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations was held in neighboring Belarus. But the two sides appeared far apart going into the meeting, and Putin warned Ukraine that it must quickly accept the Kremlin’s demand for its “demilitarization” and declare itself neutral, renouncing its bid to join NATO.

Putin told French President Emmanuel Macron he was determined to press on with his attack “until the end,” according to Macron’s office.

The two sides said that they tentatively agreed to allow cease-fires in areas designated safe corridors, and that they would seek to work out the necessary details quickly. A Zelenskyy adviser also said a third round of talks will be held early next week.


On this day in 1971 ...

Pierre Elliott Trudeau married Margaret Sinclair in Vancouver, becoming the first prime minister to marry while in office. They had three children — all boys — before separating in 1977 and divorcing in 1984.


In entertainment ...

LOS ANGELES — Lady Gaga might have missed out on an Oscar nomination for her turn in “House of Gucci,” but she’ll still be gracing the stage at the Dolby Theatre on March 27th.

Gaga will be one of the presenters at the 94th Oscars.

Show producers Will Packer and Shayla Cowan say others set to present awards include Kevin Costner, Chris Rock, Zoë Kravitz, Rosie Perez and Youn Yuh-jung, who won the supporting actress award last year for "Minari."

More will be announced in the coming weeks.

Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes are hosting the show, which organizers have promised will stick to three hours.

The 94th Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on Sunday, March 27th at 8 p.m. Eastern.


Also this ... 

NEW ORLEANS — Janet Jackson, Kevin Hart and Nicki Minaj are among the headliners announced for this summer’s Essence Festival of Culture. 

The festival is returning to New Orleans after a two-year hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Others tapped to entertain June 30 through July 3 include New Edition, The Isley Brothers, Jazmine Sullivan, Summer Walker, The Roots & Friends and D-Nice & Friends. 

Essence Communications Inc. said that in addition to the nightly concerts inside the Superdome, the festival will include programming on networking, finance, career, wellness, fashion, beauty and more at a conventioin center and other entertainment in venues citywide.


Did you see this?

BEIJING — The 2022 Winter Paralympics are set to open in Beijing, with the Russian athletes sent home and the Ukrainian team escaping a war zone to get here. 

The head of the Ukrainian delegation says “it's a miracle that we have made it to the Paralympics.” 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, shortly after the Winter Olympics wrapped up in Beijing, is roiling the world. 

And the world of sports is no exception. Paralympics organizers initially announced that Russians and Belarusians would be allowed to compete in Beijing. 

But they reversed course one day before the opening and expelled athletes from both countries. 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Mar. 4, 2022

The Canadian Press