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In The News for June 1 : Canada to observe a National Day Against Gun Violence

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 June 1 ... What we are watching in Canada ...
Seized firearms are displayed during an RCMP and Crime Stoppers news conference at RCMP headquarters in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. The federal government is proclaiming a National Day Against Gun Violence, to be held annually on the first Friday of June. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

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 June 1 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

The federal government is proclaiming a National Day Against Gun Violence, to be held annually on the first Friday of June.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Public Safety Minister Marco Mendicino and representatives of the Toronto Raptors basketball team are set to discuss the plans today at an event in Toronto.

The government says the goal of the national day is to raise awareness and foster a national discussion about the causes and effects of gun violence.

It comes as the Senate reviews a government bill that would cement restrictions on handguns, increase penalties for firearm trafficking, try to curb homemade ghost guns and ban assault-style firearms.

The Conservatives opposed the bill in the House of Commons, saying it penalizes law-abiding firearm owners instead of tackling gun crime.

The government has also earmarked hundreds of millions of dollars for community programming aimed at reducing gun and gang violence, and deterring youth from taking up a life of crime.


Also this ...

As Canada crafts its response to the crisis in Sudan, a doctor trying to co-ordinate basic medical services after the country's rapid descent into chaos says bandits and bureaucracy are hampering life-saving aid and leaving children to die.

"The people of Sudan are not getting as much care as they could, because our warehouses are being looted and we don't have safe access to them," said Javid Abdelmoneim, a Doctors Without Borders emergency-room physician.

In a recent call from Sudan's Gedaref state, near the border with Ethiopia, Abdelmoneim said the crisis is unlike ones he's seen in Syria, Ukraine or Ethiopia, not just because of random violence, but also because of bureaucratic hurdles.

In mid-April, a long-standing feud between the country's military and its paramilitary force broke out into a turf war in the capital of Khartoum and led to violence across the country of 46 million people.

That caused Canada and other western countries to evacuate their citizens, who Foreign Affairs Minister Mélanie Joly said last month "went through hell."

The conflict has also sparked fears of a massive refugee crisis, with the United Nations migration agency saying last week that 1.3 million people had been displaced.

In Khartoum, a handful of hospitals are running with a skeleton crew of volunteers and staff who put themselves in the line of danger, with sporadic access to fuel, electricity, clean water and basic medical supplies.

It's even worse outside the capital. At the Gedaref Teaching Hospital, "a number of children died for want of blood in the last week, because blood bags are not available," Abdelmoneim said.

Across the country, cell service is frequently interrupted as armed groups disable telecommunication networks. An interview with Abdelmoneim was abruptly cut off when he lost internet connectivity for five hours.

"There's trauma from increased lawlessness and looting. So, you have injured civilians presenting to hospitals late, because they can't get there if it's unsafe to move across the city."


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

LIBERTY, Mo. _ A Kansas City man accused of shooting a Black teenager who mistakenly came to his door last month is scheduled to be back in court Thursday, days after a judge ruled that court documents in the case will be sealed and kept from the public.

The hearing for 84-year-old Andrew Lester is to set new dates for future hearings in the case and is expected to be brief.

Lester has pleaded not guilty to first-degree assault and armed criminal action in the shooting of Ralph Yarl, who knocked on Lester's door on April 13 while trying to pick up his young brothers, who were at a home a block away.

Yarl, who has celebrated his 17th birthday since the shooting, suffered gunshot wounds to his head and wrist and continues to recover at home.

Lester remains free after posting $20,000 _ 10 per cent of his $200,000 bond.

The shooting drew international attention amid claims that Lester, who is white, received preferential treatment from investigators in the hours after he shot Yarl. U.S. President Joe Biden and several celebrities issued statements calling for justice for Yarl.

Lester admitted that he shot Yarl through the door without warning because he was "scared to death'' he was about to be robbed by the Black person standing at his door.

On Tuesday, Clay County Judge Louis Angles granted a request from Lester's attorney to seal the court documents, saying the publicity led to threats against Lester, who his attorney says has been forced to move three times. He also said the publicity has made it more difficult for the case to be heard before a fair and impartial jury.

Yarl made his first public appearance since the shooting on Memorial Day, when he walked in a brain injury awareness event at a Kansas City park. He did not speak to the media, but his aunt, Faith Spoonmore, said he has intense headaches and balance issues. She said he is also struggling with his emotions and the trauma of the shooting.


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

KYIV, Ukraine _ Russian forces began June with a fresh aerial bombardment of Kyiv on Thursday, killing at least three people and wounding others, authorities said.

Following a reported 17 drone and missile attacks on the Ukrainian capital in May, Russian forces hit the capital in the early morning with ground-launched missiles.

The Kyiv City Administration reported one child was among the dead, and 10 people were wounded. The casualty toll was the most from one attack on Kyiv in the past month. The attack also damaged apartment buildings, a medical clinic, a water pipeline and cars. Earlier, the city government had said that two children were killed before revising the number to one.

Ukraine's General Staff reported that the Air Forces intercepted all 10 missiles, which it identified as short-range ballistic Iskander missiles.

Russia has repeatedly targeted Kyiv with waves of drone and missile attacks since the start of the invasion, but attacks against the capital have significantly intensified over the past month as Ukraine prepares for a counteroffensive. While most incoming weapons are shot down, many Kyiv residents are anxious and tired after weeks of sleepless nights listening to the sound of explosions.

Ukraine's air defence has become increasingly effective at intercepting Russian drones and missiles, but the resulting debris can cause fires and injure people below.

On Wednesday, Russian forces carried out three aerial attacks over the south of Kherson region, along with missile and heavy artillery strikes on other parts of the region.


On this day in 1860 ...

The first post office in Canada was established in what is now Thunder Bay, Ont.


In entertainment ...

ROME _ Italy on Wednesday displayed hundreds of antiquities that had been looted from Italian territory and were recovered from a London antiquities dealer.

The 750 objects, which date from the 8th century B.C. and the medieval period, include an Etruscan three-legged bronze table, marble busts of men from the imperial age, and wall paintings that are believed to be from the area of Mount Vesuvius.

The Culture Ministry valued the items at 12 million euro, according to a statement.

They were in the possession of a London company in liquidation, Symes Ltd, owned by dealer Robin Symes.

"The most complex moment was when the liquidators showed their availability (to return the objects), which was a willingness that implied a demonstration of illegality,'' said Carabinieri Cmdr. Vincenzo Molinese, who is in charge of the carabinieri unit protecting cultural heritage.

He said Symes didn't provide documentation for the artifacts, but research showed the items had been illegally excavated from Italy and then exported and sold around the world.

Culture Minister Gennaro Sangiuliano, who was on hand for the display of the objects at Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo, said the returned loot hammered home the need to promote legal circulation of antiquities through loans and museum exhibitions.

"We must stop international illegality in the trafficking of works of art. Illegality must not be allowed and no margin must be given,'' he said.

The items were returned to Italy on the same day an agreement was signed between Symes and Greece to return other looted items, the carabinieri said in a statement.


Did you see this?

TORONTO _ The shortage of pediatric medication in Canada last year led to a spike of dosing errors in children in Ontario, new research shows.

The study, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, examined the effect of the shortage of children's ibuprofen and acetaminophen, which forced parents to crush up pills of the drugs intended for adults in order to treat their children.

Researchers found a twofold increase in calls to the Ontario Poison Centre for unintentional dosing errors of the medications for patients 18 years old or younger last fall, particularly in November 2022, compared to the four years prior.

"What our research does is shine some light on the issue of drug shortages and the potential consequences associated with them,'' said Dr. Jonathan Zipursky, the lead author of the study and a clinical pharmacologist and toxicologist at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto.

"Fortunately, our findings didn't show that there was excess harm to children.''

The team also used modelling techniques to project the expected number of calls while accounting for temporal trends and a surge in respiratory illnesses in children.

Last fall, hospitals across the country were overwhelmed with really sick children as a particularly virulent strain of influenza circulated alongside respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV. COVID-19 further complicated matters for children.

The surge forced children's hospitals in Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton and London, Ont., to cancel surgeries in order to free up staff and beds to deal with the problem.

Hospital officials said the lack of children's medication had a profound effect on its emergency departments. Doctors said they would often show parents how to cut up pills meant for adults.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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