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23 Jul
2019

50th White Paper anniversary the backdrop for 40th First Nations meeting

CANADA (WNF) - The focus at the 40th Annual General Assembly of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) in Frederikton, New Brunswick, will be Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new legal framework for indigenous people. His father, Pierre Trudeau, created a stir around such a framework 50 years ago.
The 1969 document proposed abolishing the Indian Act, and all existing treaties within Canada and eliminating Indian Status, thus making indigenous people regular members of Canadian society. It was met with widespread criticism and its proposal was withdrawn in 1970. Some opponents see the present document, Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework, as White Paper 2.0, and regard it as a renewed domestication effort by the government.

The official position of the AFN, which represents 634 reserves across the country, is that the framework process has to be led by the country’s first nations, not the government. An AFN news release said the forum would be looking at ways to advance and deal with obstacles on the four key federal policies that require fundamental change: the Specific Claims policy, the Additions to Reserves policy, the Comprehensive Land Claims policy and the Inherent Right policy.

Perry Bellegarde, the president of the Assembly of First Nations, pointed out recently that the government is running out of time to implement its election promises – including two important new laws on indigenous languages and child welfare – before it closes for summer and heads into a re-election campaign.

The country’s upcoming election overshadows the assembly proceedings and adds time pressure for compromise. During his election campaign in 2015, Trudeau promised big changes, from improving infrastructure and education to fashioning a new nation-to-nation relationship with the indigenous groups in the country, which make up 4.9 per cent of Canada’s population. Should Trudeau be defeated in the election, his successor as prime minister might sideline indigenous affairs.

An official inquiry that deemed Canada complicit in a “race-based genocide” against indigenous women has rocked the Trudeau government. The report cited research finding indigenous women were 12 times more likely to be killed or to disappear than other women in Canada. The inquiry blamed the crisis on deep-rooted colonialism and state inaction. Trudeau has pledged to eradicate the causes of violence against indigenous women. #23131 Published: 06/07/2019

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24 Jul
2019

Tokyo begins countdown to XXXII Olympiad

JAPAN (WNF) - The 12-month countdown begins for Tokyo 2020, which runs from Jul 24 to Aug 9 in 2020. During the bid process Japan sold itself as a “safe pair of hands,” and it is reported to be living up to its boast after a rocky start.
Agence France-Presse reported in Apr 2018 that a budget crisis caused red faces and forced Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to tear up the blueprints for the original Olympic stadium. The Japanese organizers report that the new stadium and other facilities are on schedule and ready for test events in mid 2019.

These Games will mark the return of the Summer Olympics to Tokyo for the first time since 1964. They are the fourth Olympics overall to be held in Japan, following the 1972 Winter Olympics in Sapporo and the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano.

Karate, sport climbing, surfing and skateboarding make their Olympic debuts at this XXXII Olympiad, and baseball and softball, which were removed from the summer program after 2008, are back.

These Games will see the introduction of additional disciplines within several of the Summer Olympics sports, including 3x3 basketball, freestyle BMX and Madison cycling, as well as further mixed events. #22808 Published: 11/08/2018

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26 Jul
2019

India and Pakistan ended 60-day war 20 years ago and now seek peace?

INDIA PAKISTAN (WNF) - The date marks the 20th anniversary of the end of the 60-day war between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan in the Kargil district of India-administered Kashmir. Tensions remain high, yet the leaders of both countries might shun belligerence in their anniversary speeches: they are flirting with peaceful relations.
Kashmir has been at the centre of a territorial tug of war between India and Pakistan ever since the partition of India in 1947. The May-to-July outbreak of hostilities in Kargil scared the world because both countries had tested nuclear weapons.

It began when Pakistan-backed militias infiltrated Kashmir, and fighting built up to direct conflict between the two states. At the height of the war, thousands of shells were fired daily, and India launched hundreds of airstrikes. According to the BBC timeline of the conflict, it ended when then-Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, under pressure from the United States, called on the infiltrating forces to withdraw. Both sides claimed victory, and India marks the date as Kargil Victory Day.

According to NDTV, when Imran Khan was sworn-in as Pakistan’s 22nd prime minister in Aug 2018, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi phoned him and spoke about “peace and development” in the region. Just days earlier, according to the Indian broadcaster and several other sources, Khan had said in a televised speech that he wanted to fix ties between the two countries. “You take one step forward, we will take two,” he said. “Our core issue is Kashmir. We need to sit at a table and solve this problem.”

India’s Economic Times reports that the leaders of the two countries met face to face at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in June in Kyrgyzstan. They are reported to have exchanged pleasantries, with Khan congratulating Modi on his recent election victory. #22903 Published: 12/10/2018

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28 Jul
2019

Astronomical organization famous for demoting Pluto turns 100

FRANCE (WNF) - The International Astronomical Union (IAU), a society of astronomers famous for stripping Pluto of its planetary status in 2006, turns 100 on the July date. As part of the birthday celebrations that began in 2018, the body is giving every country on Earth the chance to name an exoplanet and its host star. The winning names will be announced in December.
The IAU, founded on Jul 28, 1919, at the Constitutive Assembly of the International Research Council (now International Council for Science) in Brussels, has the sole authority to name celestial objects.

Each participating country’s local IAU outreach office (or a volunteer committee in countries that don't have one) must launch a national campaign to solicit name ideas from the public.

A plethora of rules accompany the naming contest. The IAU stipulates that two names should be proposed – one for the exoplanet and one for the star it orbits. The proposed names “should be of things, people, or places of long-standing cultural, historical, or geographical significance, worthy of being assigned to a celestial object. Although not necessary, the names may be drawn from themes related to the sky and astronomy, or related in some way to the constellation or a cultural asterism in which the exoplanetary system lies.”

A similar IAU campaign in 2015 led to the naming of 14 stars and 31 exoplanets. #23135 Published: 06/10/2019

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