Canada: In The News for Nov. 17: Calls to support countries close to Russia-Ukraine war

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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. 17 ...

  In The News for Nov. 17: Calls to support countries close to Russia-Ukraine war © Provided by The Canadian Press

What we are watching in Canada ...

Poland's ambassador to Canada is urging the international community to deepen its support for the countries closest to the Russia-Ukraine war. 

The country's proximity to war came into sharp relief on Tuesday when what is believed to be a Ukrainian defensive missile hit near the border and killed two Poles. 

The belief is that this was not intentional, said Ambassador Witold Dzielski, but he said it would never have happened if Russia hadn't invaded Ukraine in the first place.

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He said Poland has taken in some seven million refugees and spent the equivalent of 15-billion dollars on support for Ukraine and the country has lobbied from the start for other allies to provide Ukrainians what they can. 

But Dzielski said other countries in the region, such as Poland, were not prepared for the situation and are putting themselves at significant risk. 

He said though Canada's support for Ukraine is "very appreciated," additional support for its neighbours is also worth considering. 

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Also this ...

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has arrived in Thailand for meetings aimed at expanding Canada's trade with the Indo-Pacific region.

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum has world leaders meeting in Bangkok to discuss breaking down barriers to trade.

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On a two-day stop, Trudeau will likely meet with numerous government and business leaders.

The trip is part of a tour of Southeast Asia taking place as the Liberals design their Indo-Pacific strategy.

Experts say APEC has helped countries sort out red tape, but has not done much to articulate a strategy for the region.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the meeting, while Russia is expected to send its deputy prime minister, Andrey Belousov.

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And this too .. 

The future of natural gas is up for debate as the COP27 U.N. climate summit continues this week in Egypt. 

Natural gas has sometimes been called a "transition" fuel because it produces fewer carbon dioxide emissions than oil or coal when it's burned.

The natural gas industry says it can be part of the climate change solution by helping to displace coal-fired power generation around the globe.

But natural gas is increasingly under scrutiny because of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that escapes from leaky natural gas wells and pipelines.

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Environmentalists say Canadians need to be aware of the full emissions profile of natural gas.

They say any increase in natural gas production will make it harder for Canada to reach its methane emissions goals for the oil and gas sector.

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

WASHINGTON _ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to address her plans with colleagues on Thursday in the wake of Democrats narrowly losing control of the House to Republicans in the midterm elections.

Pelosi's decision to either seek another term as the Democratic leader or to step aside has been widely anticipated. It would come after the party was able to halt an expected Republican wave in the House and Senate but also in the aftermath of a brutal attack on her husband, Paul, late last month in their San Francisco home.

"The Speaker plans to address her future plans tomorrow to her colleagues. Stay tuned,'' Pelosi's spokesman Drew Hammill tweeted late Wednesday. He did not provide additional information about the time or location of the announcement.

The speaker "has been overwhelmed by calls from colleagues, friends and supporters,'' Hammill said, and noted that she had spent Wednesday evening monitoring election returns in the final states where ballots were still being counted.

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The California Democrat, who rose to become the nation's first woman to wield the speaker's gavel, is a pivotal figure in U.S. politics.

By announcing her decision, Pelosi could launch a domino effect in House Democratic leadership ahead of internal party elections next month as Democrats reorganize for their new role as the minority party in the new Congress.

Pelosi's leadership team, with Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Democratic Whip James Clyburn of South Carolina, has long moved as a triumvirate. Hoyer and Clyburn are also making decisions about their futures.

All now in their 80s, the three House Democratic leaders have faced restless colleagues eager for them to step aside and allow a new generation to take charge.

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

KYIV, Ukraine _ Russian strikes hit Ukraine's southern Odesa region and the city of Dnipro for the first time in weeks on Thursday morning, and air raid sirens sounded all across the country amid fears that Moscow unleashed another large-scale missile attack.

An infrastructure target was hit on the Odesa region, Gov. Maksym Marchenko said on Telegram, warning about the threat of a "massive missile barrage on the entire territory of Ukraine.''

Multiple explosions were also reported in Dnipro, where two infrastructure objects were damaged and at least one person was wounded, according to the deputy head of Ukraine's presidential office, Kyrylo Tymoshenko.

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Air defence systems were operating in the central Kyiv region, Gov. Oleksiy Kuleba said. Officials in the Poltava, Kharkiv, Khmelnytskyi and Rivne regions urged residents to stay in bomb shelters amid the persisting threat of missile strikes.

Thursday's blast follows the huge barrage of Russian strikes on Tuesday, the biggest attack to date on Ukraine's energy infrastructure that also resulted in a missile hitting Poland.

Russia has increasingly resorted to targeting Ukraine's power grid as winter approaches as its battlefield losses mount. The most recent barrage followed days of euphoria in Ukraine sparked by one of its biggest military successes _ the retaking last week of the southern city of Kherson.

The head of Ukraine's presidential office, Andriy Yermak, called the strikes on energy targets "a naive tactics of cowardly losers'' in a Telegram post on Thursday.

"Ukraine has already withstood extremely difficult strikes by the enemy, which did not lead to results the Russian cowards hoped for,'' Yermak wrote, urging Ukrainians not to ignore air raid sirens.

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On this day in 1993 ...

The U.S. House of Representatives ratified the North American Free Trade Agreement. Senate ratification came three days later and the Mexican government gave its blessing on Nov. 22. Canada had passed NAFTA legislation in May, but it was not proclaimed until after the Chretien Liberals won the 1993 federal election. The trade agreement took effect on Jan. 1, 1994.

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In entertainment ...

LOS ANGELES _ Jay Leno underwent surgery for serious burns suffered when flames erupted as he worked on a vintage car and remains hospitalized for further treatment, the physician overseeing his care said Wednesday.

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The former "Tonight Show'' host was in good condition and his wife, Mavis, is with him at the Grossman Burn Center north of Los Angeles, said Peter H. Grossman, medical director of the centre at West Hills Hospital.

"He is in good spirits today,'' Grossman told a televised news conference. Last weekend, Leno suffered burns to his face, hands and chest that the plastic surgeon categorized as second-degree or verging on more severe.

Some of the facial wounds "are a little bit deeper and a little more concerning'' because they're showing signs of progressing to third-degree, as can happen with burns, Grossman said.

Treatment intended to keep the burns from getting worse includes high-pressure oxygen therapy to stimulate healing, along with surgery in which the burn wounds are cleaned and shaved away, he said. A temporary "biological skin substitute'' is placed over the area, he said.

Leno came through one surgery well and a second is planned this week, Grossman said. The comedian is up and walking, telling jokes and is a hit with the staff, even giving out cookies to young patients, he said.

The fire occurred at the Burbank garage where Leno stores his famed collection of cars and other motor vehicles, the doctor said. In a statement earlier this week, Leno referred to the burns as "serious'' but said he would need only "a week or two to get back on my feet.''

Grossman said he appreciated Leno's eagerness but has cautioned him to be realistic.

"I had to tell him that he needs to step back a little bit and just realize that some of this takes time,'' he said. "He's very compliant, he understands that. I think he's realizing that he does need to perhaps take it a little slower than he initially anticipated.''

The doctor said he expects Leno to make a full recovery but that it was too early to know if there would be "remnants'' of the injury. He didn't elaborate.

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Did you see this?

From ice roads to airports, transportation networks in the North provide connections to the rest of Canada and access to vital resources.

But already limited northern infrastructure is facing increasing risks from climate change like permafrost thaw, wildfires, floods and landslides. 

A report published by the Canadian Climate Change Institute in June found more than half the winter roads in the North could become unstable in the next 30 years.

It says if adaptation measures aren't taken, road and runway damage from climate change could cost millions of dollars every year. 

Governments, researchers and residents are finding unique ways to adapt.

In several northern communities, Inuit are combining traditional knowledge with modern technology to monitor ice conditions.

Territorial and federal governments have set emission reduction targets and are investing in improvements to infrastructure. 

Researchers are also monitoring the permafrost near roads, and taking mitigation measures like using thermosiphons.

These are tubes filled with gas that allow heat to escape the ground to keep permafrost cold.

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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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