One-way border reopening and the passing of a political titan: In The News for Aug. 9 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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One-way border reopening and the passing of a political titan: In The News for Aug. 9

August 09, 2021 - 1:30 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 Aug. 9 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

UNDATED — Canada is once again allowing U.S. citizens and permanent residents back into the country, provided they've been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

After 17 long months, a ban on non-essential travel across the Canada-U.S. border was finally eased at midnight, although the Americans have yet to lift their own limits on Canadian travellers.

Eligible visitors must live in the U.S. and have allowed 14 days to pass since receiving a full course of a Health Canada-approved vaccine.

They are also required to show proof of a negative molecular test for COVID-19 that's no more than 72 hours old and to use the ArriveCAN app or online web portal to upload their vaccination details.

Fully vaccinated travellers who have recovered from the disease and are otherwise eligible to enter Canada can show proof of a positive molecular test taken between 14 and 90 days prior to crossing the border.

Denis Vinette, vice-president of the travellers branch of the Canada Border Services Agency, says the agency learned a lot when fully vaccinated Canadian citizens were allowed to return under similar conditions last month.

Vinette says about half had to be turned away during the first week because they hadn't received one of the four vaccines approved by Health Canada, or had not waited the full 14 days after their last shot.

Canada has approved four vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, the Oxford-AstraZeneca shot, also known as Covishield, and the single-dose Johnson & Johnson option. All except AstraZeneca have been approved and widely deployed in the U.S.

The U.S., for its part, has been mum on when it might begin to ease its own restrictions on non-essential Canadian travellers at land crossings. Air, sea and rail travellers are exempt.

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Also this ...

VERNON, B.C. — Showers brought some relief and stalled significant growth this weekend at a wildfire that's forced thousands from their homes in British Columbia's southern Interior, though hot and dry conditions are expected to return starting today.

Forrest Tower, fire information officer with the BC Wildfire Service, said the weather has given crews a window of opportunity to attack and build guards around parts of the White Rock Lake fire burning between Kamloops and Okanagan Lake.

Up to 2.5 millimetres of rain were enough to quell the fire's growth for a few days, he said, but hot weather is likely to create conditions for aggressive fire behaviour later this week. Environment Canada is calling for daytime highs of 35 Celsius or higher in Kamloops starting Thursday, with no precipitation in the seven-day forecast.

The eastern flank of the fire that's measured at 557 square kilometres is highly visible to surrounding communities, the wildfire service says, and in some areas it's burning just 100 to 250 metres from the western banks of Okanagan Lake.

The City of Vernon rescinded an evacuation alert for most of its roughly 45,000 residents on Saturday, saying the probability of ember debris causing spot fires was reduced, but "the region remains at high risk" and the situation could change rapidly.

An evacuation alert is still in place for about 700 residents of more than 500 properties in neighbourhoods closer to the eastern banks of Okanagan Lake.

Kamloops has rescinded an evacuation alert for several neighbourhoods on the city's outskirts, saying the fire no longer poses an imminent risk to residents' safety.

About 280 wildfires are currently burning across B.C. out of a total 1,432 fires sparked since April 1, scorching close to 6,400 square kilometres. Thirty-one active blazes are considered either highly visible or pose a potential threat to public safety.

Seventy-one evacuation orders in response to wildfires covered more than 6,900 properties across B.C. as of the province's last update, while residents of 35,700 properties must be ready to leave on short notice.

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And this ...

BRAMPTON, Ont. —Bill Davis, the 18th premier of Ontario and one of the country's longest-serving premiers, has died at 92.

A statement from his family says Davis was surrounded by his relatives when he died Sunday morning of natural causes in Brampton, Ont.

The pipe-chomping Tory titan, often called Ontario's "education premier," held the position from 1971 until 1985 when he stepped down at the height of his popularity, effectively ending his party's unprecedented, 42-year rule of the province.

Davis won four elections, though his influence extended far beyond Ontario's borders.

He was a key player in Pierre Trudeau's crusade to patriate the Constitution, which later came back to haunt Davis when he was touted to lead the federal Conservatives.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Davis's death.

"He was a skilled statesman who set aside partisanship and worked with my father, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, to bring forward concrete change and uphold our shared values, like diversity and human rights, through the creation of the Charter," Trudeau said in a statement.

Premier Doug Ford said Davis served Ontario "with honour and distinction" and flags across the province will lowered to half-mast in his honour.

Former Liberal prime minister Jean Chretien said Davis was "one of the best politicians, political personalities I've met in my life," while former Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney described Davis as one of Canada's greatest premiers.

Davis's family said a private funeral will be planned, followed by a public celebration to be announced at a later date.

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

Thick smoke that held down winds and temperatures began to clear Sunday from the scenic forestlands of northern California as firefighters battling the largest single wildfire in state history braced for a return of fire-friendly weather.

The winds weren’t expected to reach the ferocious speeds that helped the Dixie Fire explode in size last week.

But they were nonetheless concerning for firefighters working in unprecedented conditions to protect thousands of threatened homes and buildings.

The Dixie Fire grew to an area of 1,980 square kilometres by Sunday evening and was just 21per cent contained.

It has scorched an area more than twice the size of New York City.

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Also this ...

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s top aide has resigned amid a furor over sexual harassment allegations against the Democrat.

Melissa DeRosa sent a statement to news organizations Sunday night announcing her resignation, about a week after a state attorney general report found the governor had sexually harassed 11 women.

DeRosa joined Cuomo’s administration in 2013, eventually becoming one of the governor’s most trusted confidantes. She became his top aide in 2017.

DeRosa said in her statement “the past two years have been emotionally and mentally trying.”

Cuomo has denied that he ever touched anyone inappropriately, but he acknowledged hugging and kissing aides and other individuals.

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

KABUL — The Taliban have taken another provincial capital in Afghanistan, pressing on with their relentless offensive as American and NATO forces finalize their pullout from the war-torn country.

The council chief of northern Sar-e Pul province said today that the Taliban overran the provincial capital, the city of Sar-e Pul, meeting little resistance in their last few days of their advance.

The government forces have now completely withdrawn from the province.

The militants have ramped up their push across much of Afghanistan in recent weeks, turning their guns on provincial capitals after taking district after district and large swaths of land in the mostly rural countryside.

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Also this ...

PEFKI, Greece — Pillars of billowing smoke and ash are blocking out the sun above Greece’s second-largest island as a days-old wildfire devours more pristine forests and triggers more evacuation alerts.

The fire on the island of Evia began Aug. 3 and has cut across the popular summer destination from coast to coast as it burned out of control.

The Greek coast guard said a host of boats were on standby Sunday to evacuate people from a seaside village on Evia’s northern tip.

The coast guard says around 350 people have already boarded the ferry, but some residents who hoped to save their properties refused to leave.

One official says the heavy smoke is making operations extremely dangerous for the aerial firefighting planes and helicopters.

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ICYMI ...

TOKYO — The Olympic torch has been extinguished in Tokyo. Sunday's closing ceremonies brought an end to a Games that was troubled by COVID-19 issues and severe heat and humidity, but still managed to produce some amazing moments of athleticism.

One of the highlights was host country Japan’s best-ever haul of 58 medals.

Canadian athletes overcame the obstacles at the Tokyo Olympics to bring in the country's highest medal count at a non-boycotted Games. Track cyclist Kelsey Mitchell's gold medal on the final day of competition gave Canada 24 overall, including seven gold.

Canada placed and impressive 11th in both the official standings and the total medal tally, while the United States ended up as the big winner in the medal standings. The U-S led all nations with 39 gold, one more than China.

The Canadian Olympic Committee says that no one in its delegation of 840 athletes and staff contracted COVID-19 during the Olympics. The C-O-C is calling it a triumph of the protocols in place for the Games, as well as the extra safety measures taken by the Canadian contingent.

Although the embers of the flame have barely died in Tokyo, the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are fast upon us. Those Games are set to open in less than six months on February 4th. The rare short turnaround is due to the Tokyo Olympics being postponed for a year due to COVID-19.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 9, 2021

News from © The Canadian Press, 2021
The Canadian Press

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