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Quebec City in mourning and helping caribou herds: In The News for Nov 2, 2020

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 Nov. 2, 2020 …

What we are watching in Canada …

QUEBEC CITY — Extra mental health supports have been made available for those in Quebec’s capital after the city was shaken by a deadly sword attack on Halloween night.

The province’s public security minister, Genevieve Guilbault, says she has ensured that there are adequate services in place to help those who are grieving.

Two people were killed and five others wounded in the attack in Quebec City’s historic neighbourhood, allegedly carried out by a man wearing medieval garb who travelled there from Montreal’s north shore.

A 24-year-old suspect has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and five of attempted murder.

Quebec City Mayor Regis Labeaume says the incident is particularly difficult for the city, which has not yet healed from a mass shooting outside a mosque three years ago that left six men dead.

He urged residents to lean on one another for support in their grief.

Residents of Old Quebec have already begun the grieving process, gathering for impromptu vigils for the victims, 61-year-old Suzanne Clermont and 56-year-old Francois Duchesne.

Also this …

EDMONTON — Caribou herds in Canada’s Rocky Mountains are now so precarious that Parks Canada is preparing a plan to round up females from nearly vanished herds and pen them in a captive breeding program to replenish others.

The highly invasive move is hinted at in an email distributed last week.

“Parks Canada has been investigating the feasibility of developing a caribou conservation breeding program and is now at the point where a proposal will undergo a review by external experts,” the email said.

A draft of the plan dated 2017 is outlined in documents obtained by The Canadian Press.

It proposes taking females from herds in Jasper National Park that are too small to survive — fewer than 10 animals — and pen them in a facility near the town of Jasper.

Those animals would be augmented by caribou from other herds until there are about 40 females and five males in a highly managed and monitored area of about one square kilometre, surrounded by an electrified fence.

The proposal suggests those breeding females could produce up to 20 animals a year. At that rate, it would take at least a decade to bring Jasper’s herds back to self-sustaining levels.

The facility could also be used to restore herds in Banff National Park.

Dave Argument, Jasper’s conservation manager, said Parks Canada will seek Indigenous as well as expert comment.

ICYMI …

OTTAWA — Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland says her COVID-19 test has come back negative.

Freeland reported the result on Twitter Sunday, less than 24 hours after revealing that she had been tested and was self-isolating because she may have come in contact with someone infected with the illness.

Freeland, who regularly meets Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, says she was first alerted to the possibility by the federal government’s COVID-19 contact tracing app.

She urged Canadians to download the COVID Alert app to their phones.

The app involves users who test positive voluntarily saying so on their smartphones using a code from their health authorities, with other users being alerted if they come in close contact with that person.

The app has been integrated into the public-health systems of all provinces except Alberta and British Columbia and downloaded 4.9 million times since it was launched at the end of July.

Yet while more than 100,000 Canadians have tested positive since that time, Ottawa says only about 3,000 people have self-identified as doing so on the app.

What we are watching in the U.S. …

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. President Donald Trump is suggesting that he will fire Dr. Anthony Fauci after Tuesday’s election, as his rift with the nation’s top infectious disease expert widens while the nation sees its most alarming outbreak of the coronavirus since the spring.

Speaking at a campaign rally in Opa-locka, Florida, Trump expressed frustration that the surging cases of the virus that has killed more than 230,000 Americans so far this year remains prominent in the news, sparking chants of “Fire Fauci” from his supporters.

“Don’t tell anybody but let me wait until a little bit after the election,” Trump replied to thousands of supporters just after midnight Monday, adding he appreciated their “advice.”

Trump’s comments on Fauci less than 48 hours before polls close all but assure that his handling of the pandemic will remain front and centre heading into Election Day.

It’s the most direct Trump has been in suggesting he was serious about trying to remove Fauci from his position.

Fauci has grown outspoken that Trump has ignored his advice for containing the virus, saying he hasn’t spoken with Trump in more than a month. He has raised alarm that the nation was heading for a challenging winter if more isn’t done soon to slow the spread of the disease.

What we are watching in the rest of the world …

MEXICO CITY — Eta was upgraded to a hurricane early Monday, threatening to bring heavy rain, storm surge, landslides and more to parts of Central America and the Caribbean.

Eta had maximum sustained winds of120 kph and was located about 250 kilometres east of the Nicaragua-Honduras border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

It was moving west at 19 kph.

Forecasters said central and northern Nicaragua into much of Honduras could get 380 to 640 millimeters of rain, with 890 millimeters in isolated areas.

Heavy rains also were likely in eastern Guatemala, southern Belize and Jamaica.

Storm surge up to 4.5 metres above normal tides was possible for the coast of Nicaragua.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 2, 2020

The Canadian Press

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