Canadians unharmed in Iraq and out-of-this world cookies; In The News for Jan. 8 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Canadians unharmed in Iraq and out-of-this world cookies; In The News for Jan. 8

In this photo taken on Saturday, May 26, 2018, showing the actual Ukrainian Boeing 737-800 UR-PSR plane that crashed Wednesday Jan. 8, 2020, on the outskirts of Tehran, Iran, seen here as it waits to takeoff at Borispil international airport outside Kyiv, Ukraine. This Ukrainian airplane carrying 176 people crashed on Wednesday shortly after takeoff from Tehran's main airport, killing all onboard, Iranian state TV and officials in Ukraine said. (AP Photo/Oleg Belyakov)
Original Publication Date January 08, 2020 - 1:16 AM

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 Jan. 8:

What we are watching in Canada ...

SHAHEDSHAHR, Iran — Dozens of Canadians were among the 176 people killed in a plane crash just minutes after taking off from the Iranian capital's main airport, Ukraine's minister of foreign affairs said.

Vadym Prystaiko said 63 Canadians, 82 Iranians and 11 Ukrainians were on board— the Ukrainian nationals included two passengers and the nine crew. There were also 10 Swedish, four Afghan, three German and three British nationals.

The crash, which killed everyone on board, happened Wednesday morning hours after Iran launched a ballistic missile attack on two Iraqi bases housing U.S. soldiers, but both Ukrainian and Iranian officials say they suspected a mechanical issue brought down the Boeing 737-800 aircraft.

Global Affairs Canada did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Airline officials said most of the passengers were en route to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, transiting through there to other destinations.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskiy extended his condolences to the families of the victims. His office said he had cut his visit to Oman short and was returning to Kyiv because of the crash.


Also this ...

OTTAWA — No Canadian Armed Forces troops were injured by the barrage of Iranian missiles that hit targets in Iraq on Tuesday, Canada's chief of defence staff says.

"CAF families: I can assure you that all deployed CAF personnel are safe & accounted for following missile attacks in Iraq," Gen. Jonathan Vance said in a tweet late Tuesday. "We remain vigilant."

That message was echoed by Canadian Armed Forces Operations.

"Canadian Armed Forces personnel deployed in Iraq are confirmed safe after two military bases were targeted by missile attacks this evening."

U.S. authorities say about a dozen ballistic missiles targeted Al-Asad airbase near Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil, in the part of Iraq controlled by the country's Kurdish minority.

Canadians have long been in Irbil, working with Iraqi troops and maintaining a helicopter unit, and Canada has a diplomatic presence there as well.

Hours before the Iranian missiles hit, the Canadian Forces had started to move troops out of the country.

U.S. President Donald Trump also took to social media to comment on the attack after the U.S. Defense Department said there were few, if any, casualties among its forces.

"All is well! Missiles launched from Iran at two military bases located in Iraq. Assessment of casualties & damages taking place now," Trump said on Twitter.

"So far, so good! We have the most powerful and well equipped military anywhere in the world, by far! I will be making a statement tomorrow morning."


ICYMI (In case you missed it) ...

OTTAWA — The head of a union representing hospital workers in Ottawa says something must be done about overfilled morgues that have led to bodies being left in unusual places at health-care facilities.

Lou Burri, president of CUPE Local 4000, says his members have walked into conference rooms to find bodies left there until space opened.

He says it first happened last October but has become a growing problem as the hospital's infrastructure is stretched further beyond capacity.

"I've been talking to senior management at the Ottawa Hospital and they're not happy that this is going on. They don't have the money to do anything — it's all funding, everything's funding," Burri said.

Ottawa's hospitals conduct autopsies on many people who die in and around the region, and bodies can sit for weeks or longer before they are claimed, if they are claimed at all.

Ontario's chief coroner reported in June that there were 473 unclaimed bodies in 2018, an increase from the 401 in 2017 that the office attributed to better figures from a centralized tracking system. Figures for 2019 are not yet available.

The claiming process can be relatively fast for someone who dies in hospital — often through a funeral home — but can take longer if an autopsy is required or a body is brought in from the surrounding community.

The hospital has not yet responded to a request for comment.


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

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump once warned Barack Obama not to "play the Iran card" to boost his political prospects by starting a war.

Eight years later, Trump is showing no reluctance to capitalize politically on his order to kill a top Iranian general, drawing accusations that he is weaponizing foreign policy for his campaign's own gain.

Trump's campaign has used the killing of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard's elite Quds Force, as a cudgel against the president's Democratic political rivals and to divert attention from his impending impeachment trial in the Senate.

"Americans want to see their President acting decisively and defending the nation's interests and that's exactly what President Trump did," Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

"Republicans are good at killing terrorists and this is a reminder of that," added Michael Ahrens, communications director of the Republican National Committee.

The president was expected to amplify those messages on Thursday in Toledo, Ohio, during his first campaign rally since the drone strike last week. Trump's campaign purchased ads on Facebook highlighting the Soleimani killing.

The Pentagon said Soleimani "was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region." But the Trump administration has refused to provide any specific information about the nature or timing of the alleged plots, leaving Trump open to suspicions that the attack was driven, at least in part, by a belief that it might help him in the polls.


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

PERTH, Australia — Thunderstorms and showers brought some relief for firefighters battling deadly wildfires across Australia's drought-parched east coast on Wednesday, but also raised concerns that lightning will spark more fires before dangerous hot and windy conditions return.

Around 2,300 firefighters in New South Wales state were making the most of relatively benign conditions by frantically consolidating containment lines around more than 110 blazes and patrolling for lightning strikes, state Rural Fire Service Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons said.

"Unfortunately with lightning strikes, it's not always the next day they pop up," Fitzsimmons told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

"They can smoulder around in trees and in root systems for a couple of days and pop up under drier, hotter conditions, so we are very mindful of that as we head into Friday," he added.

The containment work comes as the death toll since the fires flared in September rose by one to 26.


Weird and wild ...

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — The first batch of space-baked cookies is back on Earth.

SpaceX provided the ride home Tuesday, a month after its Dragon capsule arrived at the International Space Station. The capsule parachuted into the Pacific, returning 3,800 pounds of gear.

Researchers want to inspect the handful of chocolate chip cookies baked by astronauts in a special Zero G oven just in time for Christmas. The oven launched to the space station in November, so astronauts could pop in pre-made cookie dough provided by DoubleTree. A spokesman for the hotel chain said five cookies were baked up there, one at a time. The company plans to share details of this first-of-its-kind experiment in the coming weeks.

"We made space cookies and milk for Santa this year," NASA astronaut Christina Koch tweeted late last month from the space station, posing with one of the individually wrapped cookies.

Scientists also are getting back 40 mice that flew up in early December, including eight genetically engineered to have twice the normal muscle mass.


Know your news ...

The sixth and final season of "Schitt's Creek" premiered Tuesday on CBC. The hit show stars Eugene Levy and Catherine O'Hara, both of SCTV fame. SCTV was filmed in Toronto and what other Canadian city?

(Keep scrolling for the answer)


On this day in 1908 ...

The first coin was struck at the new Royal Mint building in Ottawa, ending years of importing Canadian currency from England.


Entertainment news ...

TORONTO — The Strumbellas say they're postponing a 14-city Canadian tour after one of their members was hospitalized with an illness.

The Toronto-based act's keyboardist David Ritter posted on social media that one of his bandmates is "undergoing medical treatment."

He did not provide further details on the circumstances and a representative declined to comment.

The six-member band rose to mainstream popularity nearly four years ago when their pop-folk single "Spirits" became a radio hit across North America and in a number of European countries.

The Strumbellas were planning to promote their latest album "Rattlesnake" with a tour starting in Victoria on Jan. 9, with further stops in Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, and Saskatoon.

They were also set to play five Toronto shows in different venues around their hometown.


The games we play ...

CALGARY — The International Olympic Committee's loosening of iron-fisted rules around sponsorship gives Canada's Olympians more commercial wiggle room in Tokyo this summer.

Under pressure from athletes, the IOC now allows for a more liberal interpretation of rules that govern the way athletes engage with their personal sponsors during an Olympic Games.

Rule 40 of the IOC's Olympic charter ensures market exclusivity to companies who pony up hundreds of millions of dollars to have their brand in the Olympic Games.

Rule 40 previously stated "except as permitted by the IOC Executive Board, no competitor, coach, trainer or official who participates in the Olympic Games may allow his person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games."

Rule 40's wording is now "competitors, team officials and other team personnel who participate in the Olympic Games may allow their person, name, picture or sports performances to be used for advertising purposes during the Olympic Games in accordance with the principles determined by the IOC Executive Board."

Athletes will now be able to interact with personal sponsors on social media more than she could when she won gold in 2016, and appear in advertisements under certain conditions.

Restrictions remain on what athletes can post, say and wear during a "blackout period" from July 14 to Aug. 11.

Wording and images used by athletes and any of their non-Olympic sponsors in advertising and on social media can't contain any intellectual property deemed Olympic in nature.


Know your news answer ...

Edmonton. While SCTV was largely filmed in Toronto throughout its run in the late 1970s and early 1980s, it was produced for a time out of television studios in Alberta capitol.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 8, 2020.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2020
The Canadian Press

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