Island Fête Brings a Taste of the Caribbean to Montreal’s West Island

The first edition of Island Fête brought the vibrant atmosphere of the Caribbean to Montreal’s West Island. The festival took place in the borough of Pierrefonds-Roxboro, known for its cultural diversity and perfect harmony among its residents. The event was a huge success, with attendees expressing their excitement and appreciation for the opportunity to experience Caribbean culture closer to home.

One of the main motivations behind organizing Island Fête was the cancellation of this year’s Carifiesta, which left many devastated. The festival aimed to provide the community with an outlet for celebration and joy. Akilah Newton, the festival’s founder and organizer, was determined to bring a form of celebration to Pierrefonds in response to the disappointment caused by the cancellation.

The idea for Island Fête came from the owners of Tasty Touch, a catering company specializing in Caribbean cuisine. They wondered why there were festivals dedicated to poutine, burgers, and ribs, but not one celebrating Caribbean culture on the West Island. Their question sparked a desire to create a Caribbean festival that would showcase the best of the region’s food and music.

Island Fête not only provided a platform for celebrating Caribbean culture but also raised funds for Overture with the Arts, a non-profit organization offering education in music, dance, drama, and vocal training. The festival was a charitable and fun endeavor, bringing together the community to support a worthy cause.

The event featured various vendors, including 11-year-old Adriana Jackson, an entrepreneur with Bajan roots. Jackson sold scrunchies, bows, bracelets, and other items while proudly celebrating her culture. For her, Island Fête offered a unique opportunity to showcase her heritage and share her passion with others.

Island Fête succeeded in bringing a taste of the Caribbean to Montreal’s West Island, delighting residents with reggae music, delicious food, and a vibrant atmosphere. It served as a reminder of the diversity and unity found within the community of Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy Travels to Washington to Seek American Aid

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is set to travel to Washington on Thursday to request American aid for his country’s ongoing fight against Russia. The visit comes as a new round of funding is uncertain due to a potential government shutdown.

During his visit, Zelenskyy plans to meet with lawmakers on Capitol Hill for bipartisan discussions and will also engage with U.S. military officials at the Pentagon. His itinerary includes a meeting with President Biden in the Oval Office, marking their sixth encounter.

The United States has been the largest contributor of funds to Ukraine since the Russian invasion in February 2022, with over $112 billion provided thus far. However, enthusiasm for providing additional aid has wavered among both congressional lawmakers and the public as the war enters its 20th month.

President Biden has requested $24 billion in new aid for Ukraine, but the funding faces obstacles in Congress, particularly as the end-of-the-month deadline to approve new spending approaches. House Republicans on the far-right have shown little interest in approving the bill, and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s leadership position could be at risk.

The passage of future aid packages for Ukraine may become increasingly challenging, as more Republicans voice their discontent with the length of the war and Ukraine’s prospects of victory. Some, like Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, oppose funding for foreign interventions altogether.

Public opinion in the United States is divided regarding additional aid for Ukraine. A recent CNN poll revealed that 71% of Republicans are against new funding, while 62% of Democrats support it.

Zelenskyy’s visit to Washington follows his address to the United Nations Security Council in New York, during which he called for Russia to be expelled as a permanent member. He expressed skepticism about the UN’s ability to protect the sovereign borders of nations.

Canadian Security Agencies Investigating Potential Link in Killing of Sikh-Canadian Activist

Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, has stated that Canadian security agencies are investigating credible allegations of a potential link between Indian government agents and the killing of a prominent Sikh-Canadian activist. Trudeau personally expressed his concerns to Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, at the Group of 20 summit in New Delhi. The activist, Hardeep Singh Nijjar, was fatally shot outside a Sikh temple in Surrey, British Columbia. Trudeau called any involvement of a foreign government in the killing of a Canadian citizen on Canadian soil an unacceptable violation of sovereignty, urging India to cooperate in the investigation.

Canadian Foreign Minister, Melanie Joly, announced that an Indian diplomat, the head of India’s external intelligence agency in Canada, had been expelled over the allegations. Joly did not provide additional details regarding the diplomat’s name or when the expulsion took place. Canadian national security authorities reportedly have credible intelligence that India was behind the killing, however, the sources did not disclose how they made that determination. While Canada has ruled out severing diplomatic relations with India, the government is considering measures to respond to what it perceives as a serious violation of Canadian sovereignty.

The accusations come at a time of already strained relations between Canada and India, with issues such as a stalled trade deal and Sikh activism causing tension. During the G20 summit, Modi expressed strong concerns about Sikh protests in Canada, accusing them of promoting secessionism and violence against Indian diplomats. Nijjar, who was allegedly designated as a “terrorist” by Indian authorities, was involved with a group called “Sikhs for Justice”, advocating for an independent Sikh state, a stance rejected by India.

Canadian lawmakers from various political parties have condemned India for their potential role in the activist’s killing. Canadian authorities are continuing to investigate the incident, with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police identifying a vehicle believed to have been involved and searching for three suspects. Canadian Sikh leader Jagmeet Singh emphasized the importance of using every available tool in the investigation and bringing anyone responsible to justice.

Rishi Sunak’s Visit to India Sparks Questions About a Potential Conflict of Interest

With a general election approaching and the economy still facing challenges, Rishi Sunak is seeking positive news as he prepares for the G20 summit in New Delhi next month. As the first Asian couple to occupy No 10, Sunak and his wife, Akshata Murthy, have deep connections to India. Murthy, a wealthy businesswoman, fashion designer, and venture capitalist, adds to the significance of the visit.

Kemi Badenoch, Sunak’s business and trade secretary, has spent the past few days in India laying the groundwork for potential announcements with her G20 counterparts. Many discussions among UK and Indian diplomatic, business, and trade circles have revolved around the possibility of a post-Brexit trade deal between the two countries. However, negotiations have been protracted, and Downing Street is cautious.

Although a trade deal between India and the UK would be significant for both economies, concerns arise regarding immigration and visa policies. India is already the top source country for foreign workers entering the UK, particularly in the healthcare sector. While Brexit supporters hope to demonstrate a “global Britain,” they may not welcome the idea of replacing EU workers with those from India as part of liberalized trading arrangements.

One of the key demands from India in exchange for reducing tariffs on UK exports involves granting more visas to skilled workers, especially IT professionals, from Indian technology companies that have invested in the UK. This could benefit companies like Infosys, co-founded by Akshata Murthy’s father, NR Narayana Murthy. Though Akshata owns less than 1% of Infosys, it represents a significant portion of the Sunak family’s wealth.

The potential conflict of interest raises concerns in No 10 and the Foreign Office. A UK-India trade deal, while advantageous for both countries, could financially benefit Infosys, in which Sunak’s wife holds a substantial financial interest. Questions about perception and conflicts of interest have already arisen within government circles.

As the visit approaches, the Sunaks may face scrutiny regarding their connections to Indian businesses and possible conflicts of interest. Government officials are conscious of the potential backlash and the need to address any perceived conflicts.

Man Arrested for Trespassing in Royal Mews Area near Buckingham Palace

A 25-year-old man has been arrested in the Royal Mews area near Buckingham Palace after being spotted climbing a wall into the premises. The man was detained outside the stables around 01:25 BST and was held under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act on suspicion of trespassing.

Fortunately, the intruder did not manage to enter the stables, which house the historic royal carriages. Scotland Yard confirmed that there was no breach into Buckingham Palace or the Palace Gardens. The man was subsequently taken to a London police station for further questioning.

It is important to note that the Royal Mews serves as the location for the stabling of the royal horses and the maintenance of the royal carriages and state vehicles. It is a significant area within the royal premises.

Further details about the incident have not been disclosed. However, Buckingham Palace is known for its high security measures to ensure the safety of the royal family and the palace grounds. Despite this incident, the security protocols seem to have effectively prevented any unauthorized entry into the main palace or its gardens.

This incident serves as a reminder of the ongoing need for robust security practices at high-profile establishments. The Royal Mews and Buckingham Palace continue to be protected environments, ensuring the uninterrupted functioning of official duties and safeguarding the welfare of the royal family.

The Importance of Internet Connectivity in Tuvalu

Tuvalu, a small island nation located in the Pacific Ocean, is taking a significant step towards digital progress through a partnership with Starlink. This collaboration aims to address the challenges faced by Tuvalu in terms of internet connectivity, which is crucial for the country’s development and growth.

Internet connectivity plays a vital role in today’s world, enabling access to information, communication, and various online services. However, for countries like Tuvalu, which are geographically isolated and have limited resources, establishing reliable internet connectivity has been a daunting task.

Tuvalu, with a population of around 11,000 people spread across nine low-lying islands, has been grappling with slow and unreliable internet connections. This has hindered the country’s ability to participate fully in the digital economy and has limited access to educational resources, healthcare services, and e-commerce opportunities.

Recognizing the importance of internet connectivity for its citizens, the government of Tuvalu has partnered with Starlink, a satellite internet constellation project developed by SpaceX. Starlink aims to provide high-speed, low-latency internet access to underserved areas around the world, including remote regions like Tuvalu.

Through this partnership, Tuvalu hopes to overcome the challenges posed by its geographical location and lack of infrastructure. Starlink’s satellite network will provide a reliable and fast internet connection to the islands, bridging the digital divide and opening up new opportunities for the people of Tuvalu.

The benefits of improved internet connectivity in Tuvalu are manifold. Access to educational resources will be enhanced, allowing students to access online learning platforms, research materials, and connect with educational institutions globally. This will contribute to the overall improvement of the education system in Tuvalu and empower its citizens with knowledge and skills necessary for the 21st century.

Furthermore, improved internet connectivity will facilitate telemedicine services, enabling remote consultations and medical support for the people of Tuvalu. This is particularly crucial for a country with limited healthcare infrastructure, as it will improve access to specialized medical care and reduce the need for costly medical evacuations.

E-commerce is another area that will greatly benefit from enhanced internet connectivity. With reliable internet access, Tuvaluans will be able to engage in online business activities, expand their market reach, and participate in the global economy. This will stimulate economic growth, create job opportunities, and reduce the country’s reliance on traditional industries such as fishing and agriculture.

The partnership between Tuvalu and Starlink represents a significant step towards digital progress for the island nation. It demonstrates the government’s commitment to improving the lives of its citizens by leveraging technology and innovation. By embracing satellite internet connectivity, Tuvalu is positioning itself as a forward-thinking nation that recognizes the transformative power of the digital age.

In conclusion, internet connectivity is of paramount importance for the development and growth of Tuvalu. The partnership between Tuvalu and Starlink will address the challenges faced by the country in terms of internet access, enabling its citizens to fully participate in the digital economy. Improved connectivity will enhance education, healthcare, and e-commerce opportunities, ultimately contributing to the overall progress and well-being of the people of Tuvalu.

Many Schools in Scotland to Close Due to Industrial Action by Essential Staff

Many schools across Scotland will be closed on Tuesday as a result of industrial action by essential staff who are members of the trade union Unison. Two other unions, Unite and GMB, have suspended their planned strikes while they consult with their members. However, Unison rejected a pay offer from the local government body, the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA).

The industrial action will be carried out by janitors, cleaners, and support workers, and will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Essential school staff are some of the lowest-paid local authority workers and have been involved in a pay dispute with COSLA over a pay increase.

Under a new offer, there will be a minimum wage increase of £2,006 for those on the Scottish Government’s living wage, and a minimum increase of £1,929 for workers earning above the living wage. The living wage itself will rise from £10.85 to £11.89, which is equivalent to a 9.6% increase. However, Unison argues that the revised pay offer still amounts to a “real-terms pay cut” and is “below the rate of inflation” during a cost of living crisis.

The strike action will affect 24 councils in Scotland, including Aberdeen City, City of Edinburgh, Glasgow City, and Highland. Unison does not have a mandate to strike in eight council areas, which means schools there will not be affected. These areas include Argyll and Bute, East Lothian, and West Lothian.

Different arrangements have been put in place in the affected council areas. Some councils, such as South Lanarkshire, Fife, Inverclyde, Orkney, and the Western Isles councils, have announced that their schools will be closed. However, Highland Council expects 27 of its schools to remain open, while Glasgow City Council has stated that high schools will only be open for S4-S6 pupils on Tuesday, with a reassessment planned for the following two days.

COSLA has described their offer as a “very strong offer” that amounts to a 10% or £2,006 increase for the lowest-paid workers, as per the request of the trade unions. They claim to have met every request made by their trade union colleagues throughout the negotiations.

Ohio State University Names New President

Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. has been announced as the next president of Ohio State University. Carter, who currently serves as the president of the University of Nebraska system, will take on his new role beginning January 1. He will be replacing Kristina M. Johnson, who stepped down in May.

Carter expressed his excitement about the opportunity to lead Ohio State, stating that the university has a unique chance to address the challenges faced by higher education. He believes that Ohio State has the potential to change the narrative surrounding higher education and contribute to solutions on a global scale.

Carter’s experience as president of the University of Nebraska system gives him a strong background in overseeing educational institutions. He has been responsible for four campuses and more than 70,000 students, faculty, and staff. During his tenure, Carter introduced the “Nebraska Promise,” a program that guarantees full tuition coverage for low-income and middle-income students. He also implemented a budget plan that included a two-year tuition freeze.

In addition to his role in academia, Carter has an impressive military background, having graduated from the United States Naval Academy and the Navy Fighter Weapons School (Top Gun). He has received numerous awards and recognitions for his service, including the U.S. Naval Academy Distinguished Graduate Award.

The selection process for Ohio State’s new president was extensive, with over 50 candidates identified by a search firm and an additional 100 nominations. The final decision was made by the board of trustees, who are excited to welcome Carter to Ohio State. The university had opted not to appoint an interim president after Johnson’s departure, instead having senior and executive vice presidents report directly to the trustees.

The appointment of Walter “Ted” Carter Jr. demonstrates Ohio State’s commitment to strong leadership and strategic vision. Carter’s diverse experience, both in academia and the military, positions him well to lead the university into the future.

BC RCMP Officer Acquitted of Assault and Obstruction of Justice After Lengthy Court Process

The trial of Constable Joshua Grafton, an RCMP officer from British Columbia, has concluded with his acquittal of assault and obstruction of justice charges. The case, which involved the arrest of two suspects in Prince George in 2016, took over seven and a half years to reach a verdict.

Grafton, who was the dog handler involved in the arrest, was found not guilty of assault and assault with a weapon. The charges against the other two officers involved in the incident were stayed earlier this year.

According to the ruling, Grafton used a police dog to apprehend one of the suspects and struck him multiple times during the arrest. The judge determined that Grafton’s use of force was proportionate and necessary given the high-risk nature of the situation.

The length of time it took for the case to conclude has drawn criticism from Grafton’s lawyer, Ravi Hira, who argues that the justice system should be held accountable for the delay. Hira claims that the case took two years to process through the Independent Investigations Office and an additional two years through the B.C. Prosecution Service’s office.

The prolonged investigation and court process have had a significant impact on Grafton’s career, preventing him from being relocated or promoted for over seven years. The National Police Federation, which represents non-commissioned RCMP officers, also criticized the delays, calling the outcome unacceptable.

The BC Prosecution Service stated that it strives to bring cases to trial as quickly as possible but cited unavoidable circumstances, such as the complex nature of the case and the COVID-19 pandemic, as contributing factors to the delay.

In conclusion, a B.C. RCMP officer has been acquitted after a lengthy court process that spanned over seven years. The delays in the case have raised concerns about the justice system’s ability to provide timely resolutions to legal matters.

Heat Wave Warning for Pacific Northwest and Northern Rocky Mountains

Numerous heat-related warnings and advisories are being issued for a dangerous heat wave affecting the Pacific Northwest and the northern Rocky Mountains this week. High and low temperatures are expected to tie or break records in several areas. The National Weather Service (NWS) is urging people in parts of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, and Northern California to prepare for dangerous triple-digit temperatures, with little relief until Thursday due to record-warm overnight temperatures.

The NWS short-range forecast states that these temperatures, combined with the duration of the heat wave, will pose a heightened health risk, especially for those without adequate air conditioning. Western Oregon’s interior valleys and lower elevations could experience “one of the hottest four-day stretches” on record. On Tuesday, Central California is forecasted to reach highs of 105, while Idaho, Oregon, and Washington are expected to see temperatures of 106, 107, and 108, respectively. These high temperatures will persist until Friday when they drop below triple digits.

Idaho has been issued a heat advisory for the next two days, with temperatures topping 100 degrees during the day and not falling below 75 degrees at night. The risk of wildfires also increases with the higher temperatures. Parts of Montana are anticipating triple-digit temperatures, high winds, and low humidity, prompting fire weather watch warnings from the NWS. These conditions create a prime environment for wildfires that may be difficult to contain.

Extreme heat was the leading weather-related cause of death in the United States last year, with 148 fatalities, including 33 children who died in hot cars. Heat-related incidents can occur suddenly and impact everyone. Young children, the elderly, and individuals with underlying medical conditions are particularly vulnerable and should take extra precautions during extreme heat events.

To stay safe, people are advised to limit or eliminate strenuous activities, wear lightweight clothing, and minimize sun exposure. It is important to consume easy-to-digest foods like fruit or salads and stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Whenever possible, use air conditioners or fans to expel hot air from homes. However, blowing a fan on individuals when the temperature inside is over 90 degrees can lead to dehydration, according to the NWS.

In addition, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that last month was Earth’s hottest July in 174 years, and the global sea surface hit a record high for the fourth consecutive month. It is “virtually certain” that 2023 will rank among the top five warmest years on record, with a 50% chance of being the warmest ever recorded, according to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information.