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Morning Brief: Using Indigenous knowledge to mitigate disasters


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Good morning, and happy Friday.

Feds U-turn again on truckers: The federal government is now saying that all truckers who cross the U.S.-Canada border must be fully vaccinated as of Saturday. The “clarification” comes a day after a government spokesperson “mistakenly” said there would be an exemption. Transport Minister Omar Alghabra told CBC News that the government’s policy has not changed since November 19. Trade associations have been lobbying against the rule, saying it will additionally strain supply chains.

Ottawa overlooking Indigenous knowledge on climate disasters: A new report examining Canada’s ability to handle natural disasters has found that governments aren’t making good use of Indigenous knowledge and practices, which could help mitigate such events. What’s more, Indigenous communities in Canada are set to be disproportionately affected by increasingly more extreme and unpredictable weather. The report was written by the Council of Canadian Academies at the request of Public Safety Canada.

Ethics committee summons Tam, health minister: The House of Commons Ethics committee has summoned the health minister, Jean-Yves Duclos, and the Public Health Agency of Canada’s chief public health officer, Dr. Theresa Tam, to answer questions on PHAC’s collection of mobile phone data to understand travel patterns during the pandemic. The committee held an emergency meeting yesterday.

Canada joins Mexico in new-NAFTA complaint: Canada is joining Mexico’s official complaint under the Canada-U.S.-Mexico Agreement on trade (CUSMA, a.k.a. USMCA) regarding a key provision on auto parts. The two countries are requesting a dispute settlement panel to resolve a claim related to the interpretation of that provision. CBC News has more.

Team Canada athletes warned about Chinese spies: Sports Minister Pascale St-Onge said Ottawa is working with the Olympic and Paralympic committees to brief athletes about cyber surveillance threats during next month’s Beijing Olympics. She said cybersecurity is part of a broader security briefing athletes are receiving. The Canadian Press reports that the International Olympic Committee is providing phones and SIM cards to all athletes, including Canada’s, while they are in Beijing.

This week’s Rebel to Rabble Review begins with what some are calling the pandemic’s “silver lining.”

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AROUND THE WORLD

Ukraine government hit by massive cyber attack: More than a dozen Ukrainian government websites were affected by a cyber attack today. Embassies in the U.K., U.S., and Sweden were also hit. Among the government departments affected were the foreign and education ministries. Before the websites went down, a message reportedly appeared warning Ukrainians to “prepare for the worst“.

U.S. Supreme Court blocks vaccine mandate: The U.S. Supreme Court has blocked President Joe Biden’s workplace vaccine mandate, which required all staff at large companies to be fully vaccinated, or masked and tested weekly. The court said the rules exceeded the administration’s authority.

Prince Andrew stripped of titles: The Queen’s son, Prince Andrew, has lost his military titles and royal patronages, and will stop using the style His Royal Highness (HRH) in official capacities. The decision, which came with the Queen’s approval, was made after a U.S. judge ruled that a sexual assault civil case against the prince could proceed. He had tried to get the case thrown out.

The fact that Prince Andrew’s titles and royal roles will go to other members of the family means he will not get them back, regardless of the legal case’s outcome. In other words, according to BBC News’ royal correspondent, “the door is being closed on a return to public life.”

Prince Andrew’s longtime accuser, Virginia Giuffre, who is American, says she was forced to have sex with him in the U.K. and U.S. when she was 17. Giuffre has also alleged that Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell sexually abused her. The prince is selling his Swiss chalet to help pay for the lawsuit.

Australia cancels Djokovic’s visa again: Australia’s immigration minister used his personal veto power, afforded to him under Australia’s Migration Act, to revoke tennis player Novak Djokovic’s visa for a second time. He said he did so on “health and good order grounds” and because it was “in the public interest.” Djokovic can appeal the decision.

Havana Syndrome hits Geneva and Paris: The “mysterious neurological ailment” that first afflicted U.S. and Canadian diplomats in Havana, Cuba, has since affected as many as 200 American officials around the world. Most recently, diplomats in Geneva and Paris have been struck with the suspected “syndrome.”

Elsewhere: U.S. pressures Europe to sanction Russia. Poland warns Europe at greatest risk of war in 30 years. Hong Kong bans transit flights from over 150 countries. Oath Keepers leader charged with seditious conspiracy over the Jan. 6 capitol attack. Iran nuclear talks resumed in Vienna. Dutch King Willem-Alexander retires carriage amid debate over slavery links. Teachers strike in France over pandemic working conditions. MI5 warns of “Chinese agent” in U.K. Parliament. More Downing Street parties revealed (the night before Prince Philip’s funeral).

IN OTHER HEADLINES

WHAT WE’RE READING

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THE KICKER

Is gruyère still gruyère if it doesn’t come from Gruyères? Apparently yes — at least, that’s what a U.S. judge has ruled, to the chagrin of Swiss and French cheese producers.

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