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Iran withdraws from nuclear arms agreement

Early Sunday morning, the United States announced it was suspending most operations against ISIS (Daesh).

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Events continue to unfold in the Middle East after the United States’ air strikes in Iraq that killed Iranian general and accused terrorist organizer Qassem Soleimani and alleged Iranian-sponsored “powerful” militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Sunday morning, Iran announced they would rescind their commitment to the “Nuclear Deal”, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, adopted October 15, 2015. This follows the United States’ withdrawal in 2018.

The deal, which was an agreement between Iran and permanent members of the U.N. Security Council (plus Germany), included requiring Iran to give up 97 per cent of its enriched uranium stockpile, reducing the amount on hand from 10,000 kg to 300 kg, and to restrict enrichment (grade) to 3.67 per cent. Weapons-grade enrichment is high, around 90 per cent.

Iran also agreed to give up three quarters of its centrifuges (machines that are used in the uranium enrichment process), bringing its total from 20,000 down to 5,000. Iran also agreed to inspections and monitoring by the United States to ensure compliance.

In return, Iran received relief from economic sanctions, effective January 16, 2016.

The United States withdrew from the deal in May of 2018 and imposed further economic sanctions on Iran in November.

Ali Arouzi, NBC News Tehran bureau chief and correspondent wrote on Twitter Saturday that it was “very unusual to see a red flag flying over (the) holy mosque of Jamkaran in Qom, Iran’s holiest city. (It is) almost always blue. The red flag symbolizes revenge” (main photo).

Early Sunday morning, the United States announced it was suspending most operations against ISIS (Daesh) and that it would instead focus on protecting Iraqi bases from attack by Iran and its allied militias.

Iraqi parliament, however, passed a resolution Sunday calling for the expulsion of U.S. troops from Iraq, effectively cancelling the request for assistance against ISIS from the coalition, led by the United States.

“The government commits to revoke its request for assistance from the international coalition fighting Islamic State due to the end of military operations in Iraq and the achievement of victory,” read the resolution.

“The Iraqi government must work to end the presence of any foreign troops on Iraqi soil and prohibit them from using is land, airspace or water for any reason.”

The resolution is not binding on the government of Iraq but Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi had, according to sources, encouraged parliament to pass measures that would end foreign military presence in the country.

“We’re confident the Iraqi people want the United States to continue to be there,” Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said cryptically.

“The prime minister is… under enormous threats from the very Iranian leadership that we are pushing back against.”

Both the United States and Canada issued warnings over the weekend for American and Canadian citizens in Iran and Iraq to leave the region as soon as possible due to the potential for escalating violence in the area “without warning”. The United States has deployed more troops to the region as of Sunday morning.

News

Leaders thank businesses and Canadians

Five more residents die at Calgary seniors home.

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Businesses, non-profits and individuals have been stepping up all over the country to offer products and services that have been identified as necessary. 

ATCO has offered trailers with a potential for remote testing, distilleries began making hand sanitizer, Suncor has donated masks, Shell has donated isopropyl, a major ingredient in producing hand sanitizer, and McDonald’s and Tim Hortons have ensured truck drivers can order food for pick-up. 

“I’m deeply touched by the outpouring of support we’re seeing from private and non-profit organizations, both foreign and domestic. When times are tough, Alberta’s spirit of ingenuity and generosity always answers the call,” Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said Friday.

In Ontario, the government has put out a call for “viable, innovative proposals that can quickly provide critical goods and services and the greatest benefit to the people of Ontario,” a government release said.

“Ontario has an army of innovators, entrepreneurs, and the hardest-working people in the world ready to roll up their sleeves, support our frontline healthcare workers, and beat this virus,” said Premier Ford.

“This mass mobilization of government, business, communities and private citizens to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep people safe and healthy represents one of the largest and most ambitious efforts undertaken by Ontario in generations.”

The Prime Minister announced Tuesday that almost 3,000 Canadian companies have been able to add production to meet critical supply needs of medical and personal protection equipment, as well as test kits, and other companies have donated personal protection equipment they had in supply. 

“Canadian companies are answering the call to provide critical support to our health care workers, who are on the front lines of our country’s fight against COVID-19. As the situation continues to evolve, the Government of Canada will be there to work with Canadian industry to find solutions that will support our medical professionals and protect the health and safety of all Canadians,” the Prime Minister said.

Alberta 

The province reported an additional 107 cases bringing the total to 1,075. The province also announced five more COVID-related deaths in Alberta bringing the total to 18.

Four of the deaths were from the Mckenzie Towne Continuing Care Centre in Calgary, bringing the total to eight from the single senior’s residence.

108 cases may be community transmission meaning they cannot be traced to international travel or known cases. 

174 people have recovered.

British Columbia

The province reported 53 new cases bringing its total to 1,174. Four additional COVID-related deaths were also reported bringing the province’s total to 35.

641 people have recovered.

Manitoba

The province has identified 15 additional probable cases bringing its total to 182. Manitoba also announced its second COVID-related death.

11 people have recovered.

Saskatchewan

The province reported 14 new cases Thursday bringing its total to 220. 

48 people have recovered.

Provincial cases:

·        Quebec: 6,101 confirmed cases, including 1 recovered and 61 deaths

·        Ontario: 3,675 cases including 501 recovered and 105 deaths

·        British Columbia: 1,131 confirmed cases including 641 recovered and 31 deaths

·        Alberta: 1,075 confirmed cases including 172 recovered and 14 deaths

·        Saskatchewan: 220 confirmed cases including 48 recovered and 3 deaths

·        Nova Scotia: 207 confirmed and presumptive cases

·        Newfoundland and Labrador: 195 confirmed cases and 1 death

·        Manitoba: 182 confirmed cases including 11 recovered and 2 deaths

·        New Brunswick: 95 confirmed and presumptive cases

·        Prince Edward Island: 22 confirmed cases, and 3 recovered

·        Yukon: 5 confirmed cases

·        Northwest Territories: 1 confirmed case

·        Nunavut: 0 cases

There are currently 12,909 cases across Canada with 2,608 from B.C. to Manitoba.

Deirdre Mitchell-MacLean is a Senior Reporter with Western Standard
dmaclean@westernstandardonline.com 
Twitter @Mitchell_AB

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Calgary Fire Dept. saves the day for locked down birthday parties

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Planning a depressing lockdown birthday party for a young ‘un?

 

It’s the Calgary Fire Department to the rescue!

 

Fire Chief Steve Dongworth announced a plans on Friday to have a fire truck show up at the homes where people are self-isolating inside while they celebrate a birthday.

 

Dongworth said the fire truck would blast their sirens and the firefighters inside may get on the loudspeaker for a predictable awful version of “Happy Birthday!”

 

The program is open for any Calgary children between the ages of four to twelve, and anyone over 75.

 

He said the fire truck would hopefully get to the birthday party about 2 p.m.

 

Dongworth said some firefighters had already started doing this on their own volition before the department made it a city-wide program.

 

“Those families have been fairly overwhelmed (when the fire trucks showed up), said Dongworth.

 

The chief said the “Drive-by Birthday” program will last until the end of May but could be expanded.

 

Dongworth said the surprise for the younger children should be kept a secret in case the local fire truck gets called away for an emergency but that “we will get to you eventually.”

 

To book a fire truck for your party go here.

 

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard

 

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

 

Twitter: @Nobby7694

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Calgary on lockdown til end of June; Stampede’s fate still uncertain

That puts the pressure on the Calgary Stampede to announce whether or not it plans to continue with year’s show which starts July 3.

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The City of Calgary has cancelled all events through til the end of June.

That puts the pressure on the Calgary Stampede to announce whether or not it plans to continue with year’s show which starts July 3.

“All I can tell you is the (Stampede board) is taking this extraordinarly seriously,” Mayor Naheed Nenshi said at a Friday press conference.

“At this moment there is no news. But they will make the right decision for the community,” said Nenshi, adding it was possible the city’s order could be pushed into June.

Last week, before the city’s latest order came down, Stampede CEO Warren Connell said all aspects were being studied. 

“We’re assessing what could be possible or not possible with respect to all of our programming in the coming months, given that the full impact of COVID-19 on the community remains uncertain,” Warren Connell, the CEO of the Calgary Stampede, said in an interview with the Globe and Mail.

“With any social-distancing requirements, it just really wouldn’t be responsible or possible for us to host a Stampede.”

The city ban on gatherings means a total of 79 events have been cancelled in June, including many charity walks and runs.

Also cancelled was Nenshi’s beloved Neighbour Day, the third Saturday in June, in honour of the city’s resilience to the 2013 flooding.

Also shut down by order are all the Plus 15s in the city which Calgary Emergency Management Agency Chief Tom Sampson said were being used by people to “mill around.”

And Sampson said the order would mean no games and the Saddledome or McMahon Stadium should NHL and CFL season’s astonishingly resume.

Sampson again urged people not to gather in places like parks. He said if people get too close in parks to “just turn away.

Dave Naylor is the News editor of the Western Standard

dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

Twitter: twitter/Nobby7694

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