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Canadians mourn the deaths of two Edmonton police officers : In The News for March 17

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 March 17 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Edmonton Police Const. Travis Jordan, left, and Const. Brett Ryan are seen in a composite image made from two undated handout photos. Jordan, 35, an 8 1/2-year veteran with the service, and Ryan, 30, who had been with the service for 5 1/2 years, were killed in Edmonton responding to a domestic violence call. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Edmonton Police Service, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

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 March 17 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

People in Edmonton and across Canada are paying tribute to two city police officers who were fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call.

Constables Brett Ryan and Travis Jordan were gunned down early Thursday morning after entering an apartment building. 

A police source says the shooter was a 16-year-old boy who also shot and wounded his own mother.

He was found dead from what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

On Thursday night, landmarks in Edmonton including the High Level Bridge, City Hall, Muttart Conservatory, Commonwealth Stadium and Walterdale Bridge were lit in blue to honour the two officers.

Flags at the Alberta legislature, government buildings and police detachments were lowered to half-mast.

Online fundraisers have started for the families of the officers by the Edmonton Police Association and the Alberta Paramedic Association. 


Also this ...

After policing the "Freedom Convoy," the RCMP came away with lessons learned, newly released documents show — including the need to better prepare for the potential targeting of emergency phone lines.

Briefing notes obtained by The Canadian Press under access-to-information laws also point to security pressures to protect leaders in Ottawa and detail the challenges that arose from the fact the protests had no clear leadership.

The force compiled the documents before six top RCMP officials, including Commissioner Brenda Lucki, were interviewed by lawyers with the Public Order Emergency Commission last September. 

In early 2022, Lucki was among the officials Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and members of his cabinet looked to as they grappled with how to respond to protests staged near Parliament Hill in Ottawa and at several U.S. border crossings.

To clear the protesters, who were demonstrating against Trudeau's government and COVID-19 public health measures, Ottawa ultimately invoked the federal Emergencies Act — a move that Justice Paul Rouleau ruled was justified in a final report released a month ago.

The hundreds of hours of testimony and thousands of pages of documents presented over six weeks of public hearings last fall culminated in 56 recommendations, 27 of which were directed at improving police operations. 


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

Doctors in California who mail abortion pills to people in other states would be protected from prosecution under a new bill to be unveiled Friday in the state Legislature.

The bill would not let California extradite doctors who are facing charges in another state for providing abortion medication.

It would also shield doctors from having to pay fines. And it would let California doctors sue anyone who tries to stop them from providing abortions.

The bill would only protect doctors who are in California. If a doctor left California to provide an abortion to someone in another state, that doctor would not be protected. It also would not protect patients in other states who receive the medication.

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, a Democrat from Berkeley and the author of the bill, said her intent is to make sure California residents who are traveling in other states or living there temporarily _ like college students _ can still have access to medication that's legal in their home state. But she acknowledged the bill would also apply to California doctors who treat patients who live in other states.

"This is essential health care," Skinner said. "Our health care practitioners should be protected for treating their patients regardless of where their patients are geographically."

Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, Maryland and Vermont have proposed or passed similar laws, according to Skinner's office.


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

China says President Xi Jinping will visit Russia from Monday to Wednesday in an apparent show of support for Vladimir Putin.

No other details were given, but China has declared a "no-limits" friendship with Russia and refused to condemn Moscow's invasion _ even while declaring that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries be respected.

The Kremlin on Friday also announced the visit, saying it will take place "at the invitation of Vladimir Putin."

Xi and Putin will discuss "issues of further development of comprehensive partnership and strategic interaction between Russia and China," as well as exchange views "in the context of deepening Russian-Chinese cooperation in the international arena," the Kremlin said in a statement.

The two leaders will also sign "important bilateral documents," the statement read.

Beijing has also condemned Western sanctions and accused NATO and the United States of provoking Russia.

Putin invited Xi to visit Russia during a video conference call the two held in late December. The visit, Putin said, could "demonstrate to the whole world the strength of the Russian-Chinese ties" and "become the main political event of the year in bilateral relations."


On this day in 1985 ...

U.S. President Ronald Reagan travelled to Quebec City for the "Shamrock Summit" -- a 24-hour meeting on acid rain with Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.


In entertainment ...

Famed session drummer Jim Gordon has died. Gordon backed Eric Clapton and The Beach Boys before being diagnosed with schizophrenia and going to prison for killing his mother. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation says Gordon died Monday at a medical facility in Vacaville. Gordon was credited with contributing the piano coda for the classic song, "Layla.'"But his former girlfriend, singer Rita Coolidge, asserted she and Gordon wrote it together. Gordon played on The Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" album. He worked with a who's who of musicians, including Jackson Browne and Barbra Streisand. Gordon was 77.


Did you see this?

A pigeon wearing a tiny empty backpack was captured inside a federal prison in British Columbia, in what a union official says was likely another plan by inmates to smuggle drugs.

The discovery at the Matsqui prison in the Fraser Valley comes just a few months after another pigeon was captured carrying a backpack full of crystal methamphetamine at the Pacific Institution right next door.

John Randle, the Pacific regional president at the Union of Canadian Correctional Officers, says the latest pigeon's pack was made of blue jeans and bedsheets, materials easily available to inmates.

He says the pigeon was found inside the prison on Feb. 27, while the first bird was caught on prison grounds.

Randle says there's an elementary school close by and pigeons smuggling drugs are a real concern, especially if one lands at the wrong place.

He says that after the backpack was removed in the latest incident, the bird was released "completely unharmed."


This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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