WJLA: 2018 starts with record cold from South Texas to Canada, Montana to Maine. Bone-chilling cold gripped much of the middle of the U.S. as 2018 began Monday, breaking low temperature records, icing some New Year’s celebrations and leading to at least two deaths attributed to exposure to the elements. The National Weather Service issued wind chill advisories covering a vast area from South Texas to Canada and from Montana and Wyoming through New England to the northern tip of Maine.
Russia Today: US, Canadian weapons sent to Ukraine may end up in Middle East terrorists’ hands – Moscow. American and Canadian lethal weapons intended for Ukraine may end up in the wrong hands because of a high level of corruption in the country, a senior Russian diplomat has said. First Canada and then the US announced that they had decided to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, purportedly for self-defense. But these countries should consider the risks associated with transferring advanced weapons to a country infamous for its high level of corruption, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin told RIA Novosti. The US and Canada earlier authorized deliveries of lethal weapons to Ukraine to boost its defensive capabilities.
Deutsche Welle: Canada expels Venezuelan ambassador in tit-for-tat move. Canada’s foreign minister has ordered Venezuela’s ambassador and charge d’affaires to leave the country. The move comes in retaliation to Caracas’ decision to expel Canada’s top diplomat. The diplomatic row between Canada and Venezuela intensified on Monday after Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland announced that Venezuela’s ambassador in Ottawa had been barred from returning to the country. Freeland’s announcement came two days after the Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro expelled Canada’s envoy for criticizing his regime’s human right record.
Bloomberg: Taxes could help Canada keep its legal marijuana prices in check. Justin Trudeau’s marijuana czar is warning that policy makers may need to adjust taxes to prevent prices from falling too low after legalization. Canadian marijuana companies — which have surged in value — will achieve economies of scale that will help drive down production cost, according to Bill Blair, the lawmaker and former Toronto police chief leading the legalization effort. Prices and taxation levels will then need to be monitored to keep them competitive enough to achieve the government’s goal of starving out the illegal market, without pricing things too low and encouraging excess use, Blair said in an interview last month.
Al Jazeera.com: Iran hits back at Canada criticism over protests. A spokesperson for Iran’s foreign ministry has condemned Canada’s “interventionist” response to widespread demonstrations taking place in the country, the latest critique lobbed by Tehran against countries that have shown support for the protesters. Canada’s “interventionist position” violates its international commitments and is “devoid of any legal justifications”, Bahram Qasemi said, according to Iran’s official state news agency, IRNA. Widespread anti-government protests, the biggest show of dissent in Iran since 2009, broke out in several Iranian cities earlier this week.
Reuters Zawya – United Arab Emirates: Canada approves import of Egypt’s grapes. Minister of Trade and Industry, Tarek Kabil, announced that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has granted its approval for the import of fresh Egyptian grapes in accordance with agreed upon standards and conditions with the Egyptian central agency for plant quarantine and the Agriculture Export Council. The Agency approved the quality control standards for production and packaging put by the Egyptian side. Canada is one of the world’s largest markets for fresh grapes imports, at $430 million in 2016, ranking 7th globally. The Minister pointed to current arrangements for a visit by the largest Egyptian exporters of grapes to Canada to sit with Canadian retailers in February 2018.
Alanba – Kuwait: Minister of Defense seeks to strengthen bilateral relations with his Canadian counterpart. First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah, received in his office at the National Assembly the Canadian Minister of National Defense, Harjit Sajjan, and discussed current affairs of mutual interest. The meeting was attended by the Chief of the General Staff of the Kuwaiti Military Forces and his Deputy, as well as other high-ranking military officers. Sajjan was received earlier at the Kuwait International Airport by the Chief of the General Staff, Commander of the Air Force, Director of Morale Affairs and Public Relations, and Col. Andrew Jayne, Commander of Canadian Armed Forces members deployed at the Ali Al Salem Air Base, as well as a number of staff members of the Canadian embassy in Kuwait.
Babnet Tunisie: Minister of Social Affairs and Canada’s Ambassador review bilateral draft agreement. Tunisian Minister of Social Affairs, Mohamed Trabelsi, and the Canadian Ambassador to Tunisia, Carol McQueen, reviewed a bilateral draft agreement on social security, to be signed at a later date. The two discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation on social affairs portfolios, including vulnerable groups and people with disabilities. The Minister stressed the importance of bringing the agreement into effect as soon as possible, which should protect the rights of Tunisian expatriates and facilitate their integration in host countries. About 27,500 Tunisian immigrants currently reside in Canada, mostly skilled labor.
Al Bayan – United Arab Emirates: UAE donates to autism charity in Canada. Chargé d’affaires for the UAE embassy in Ottawa, Hamad Al Awadi, donated an amount of $20,000 US ($26,000 Cdn) to a foundation that supports people with autism in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The donation ceremony was hosted by the foundation in cooperation with the UAE embassy in Canada, and was attended by Senator Percy Downe, Chair of the Parliamentary Canada-United Arab Emirates Friendship Group, and James Aylward, Leader of P.E.I.’s Progressive Conservative party.
Asharq Al-Awsat – United Kingdom: Canada to face climate challenge while leading the G7. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, promised a “progressive program” for the G7 as Canada leads the group beginning of 2018, but uncertainties remain present with respect to negotiations on climate change. Other topics on Canada’s agenda include gender equality and economic growth. Canada’s leadership of the group comes amid tough NAFTA negotiations that are hindered by Trump’s protectionism, which John Kirton, Director of the G7 Research Group at the University of Toronto, expects to remain an obstacle to reaching an agreement on climate change in June. Trump has previously withdrew from G7 consensus on climate change during the Taormina summit in Italy, after which the US announced its withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. Yet, Kirton thinks that the US stance is not settled yet, specially at the State level, as more major US cities are threatened by rising sea levels.