Lethbridge air show postponed until 2020

The Lethbridge International Air Show will be on hiatus for a second consecutive summer, with a return now planned for 2020, organizers said this week.

Since 2013, the event had been taking place every two years at the Lethbridge Airport. The last show occurred in July 2017.

In December, event officials notified both Lethbridge city and county councils about the postponement.

Organizers said there are several reasons for the change, including the recent passing of long-time air show volunteer and board member Brent Botfield.

The air show association’s director of communications, Stacy Green, said there have also been other leadership changes and they wanted some time to rebuild themselves as an organization.

There was also an appetite to shift the event to even-numbered years in an effort to acquire more support from Canadian and American military branches.

The show’s 2020 edition will move from July to the August long weekend.

“The time of year we’ve been having our show in July has been conflicted,” Green said.

“We think it’s important that we can move to a weekend that isn’t already saturated with events so that we can actually bring some better economic impact and tourism to the city as well.”

After the 2020 show, Green said the plan is to resume holding the event every second year.

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How New York City Ended Up With 2 Competing Women’s Marches

For weeks, bitter accusations have been flying on Facebook pages, in emails and on phone calls between two groups organizing women’s marches in New York City. They each say they are fighting for women’s rights, but they are also fighting each other.

At issue is the question of inclusivity, which has haunted the national movement since its inception.

The schism grew out of accusations of anti-Semitism against members of the national Women’s March leadership in Washington, prompting Jewish organizations, civil rights groups and other local Women’s March organizations to break from them.

Now the drama is playing Off Broadway, with two competing protests of the Trump administration in Manhattan happening on Saturday.

At least twice since October, the two groups discussed unifying. But both times, conversations broke down under feelings of hurt and distrust.

A very cold chasm remains between leaders — and a physical distance of some 50 blocks.

How did there end up being two ‘marches’ in New York?

In the beginning, the only march that existed in the city was organized by the Women’s March Alliance, a grass-roots organization separate from the Washington group. Katherine Siemionko, a former Goldman Sachs project manager with no prior community organizing experience, has been its director.

Then in 2018, the New York chapter of the national group, Women’s March, founded by Agunda Okeyo and other black activists, began organizing in support of various causes and then planning their own 2019 march.

Because the Alliance held the only parade permit that the police department would issue, one of the leaders of the National Women’s March group, Linda Sarsour, a Palestinian-American activist from Brooklyn, tried to join forces with the Alliance.

But on a call in early October, Ms. Siemionko said, Ms. Sarsour was “threatening” and tried to wrest control of the New York protest from her group.

But, Ms. Sarsour said Ms. Siemionko refused to cooperate with the Women’s March group and that they were only trying to make the Alliance more inclusive to the city’s immigrant and minority communities.

“It’s not representative of the larger city,” Ms. Sarsour said in an interview. She instead asked for help from the New York Immigration Coalition, which oversees more than 200 community immigrant groups and of which she is a former board member. The coalition provided the money, equipment and staff for the rally.

In January, the Immigration Coalition also urged the Alliance to merge marches. By then, Ms. Siemionko said, it was too late.

“Nobody who holds a counter women’s march supports women’s rights,” she said. “There’s no justification for that behavior. None.”

[Read more about the accusations that have roiled the national women’s march movement.]

How are New York City’s Jewish leaders responding?

New York’s Jewish leaders, in particular, are conflicted because of the Women’s March NYC’s connections to the organization’s leaders in Washington. Ms. Sarsour’s resolute position defending the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement in protest against Israel’s occupation of Palestine has proved problematic for some.

But her co-leader, Tamika Mallory, helped push the divide as a result of her public support of Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam, who has called Jews “termites.” Ms. Mallory has condemned bigotry and anti-Semitism but has not condemned Mr. Farrakhan personally.

“If you are sympathetic to those who are prejudiced against Jews, we cannot stand with you,” Rabbi Ammiel Hirsch said in a sermon on Friday at Stephen Wise Free Synagogue on the Upper West Side. The synagogue was disassociating from the Women’s March group and any events affiliated with it; on Thursday, it will hold a panel discussion sponsored by Zioness, a women’s organization.

Other groups denouncing the Women’s March include the Jewish Community Relations Council and the National Council of Jewish Women.

Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum, founder of New York’s most prominent LGBTQ congregation, Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, defended Ms. Sarsour, whom she has worked with on social justice issues, and Ms. Mallory: “They are not anti-Semitic.”

She was part of a group of nine rabbis who signed a letter supporting Women’s March NYC, saying Ms. Sarsour and Ms. Mallory “have taken meaningful steps” to be more welcoming and inclusive to Jewish women.

Rabbi Felicia Sol, of B’Nai Jeshurun synagogue on the Upper West Side, urged her congregants not to forget black Jewish women, who will be attending the Women’s March NYC rally.

“It’s upon us to recognize that, to own who we are, of all stripes and colors and ethnicities, we’re not choosing to exempt our white privilege at a time when so much is at stake,” Rabbi Sol said.

What do the march leaders say?

Ms. Sarsour admitted the group was slow to address concerns of anti-Semitism and has since revamped its Unity Principles to include Jewish women.

“Give us a chance,” she said.

Ms. Okeyo, the director of Women’s March NYC, said: “We’re certainly not anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic in any way.”

“There’s no hate there, at all,” she said, adding that she grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and embraced the community.

At a news conference last Friday, Ms. Siemionko appealed to the Jewish community of Manhattan: “We specifically hosted on the Upper West Side as a hats off to the Jewish community, saying, ‘you are welcome to come.’”

Pointing to the large Jewish population in that neighborhood, Ms. Siemionko added that they would not have to travel on the Sabbath. She did not mention Jews living elsewhere in the city.

But wait, there’s a third option

An informal gathering of people with disabilities and their supporters will start at 2 p.m. in the main hall of Grand Central Terminal, sponsored by the activist group, Rise and Resist.

Jennifer Bartlett, one of the leaders of an action billed as a “non-march,” said she felt frustrated by the leadership of the Women’s March Alliance. She said that for two years she had approached them to make their march more accessible and to put a disabled person on the board.

Ms. Siemionko forcefully denied allegations that she was not being inclusive, sensitive or legally compliant to people with disabilities; she sent a cease and desist letter to Ms. Bartlett, who has cerebral palsy, to stop her social media attacks on her.

Rise and Resist has endorsed the Women’s March NYC, and moved back the original timing of its rally so that people could attend both.

Is this a breaking point for the women’s march movement?

“Oh, no,” said Gloria Steinem, reflecting on her decades as a feminist leader, activist and writer. “It’s so not critical. This is why I keep saying older and younger folks need to be organizing together.”

She is supporting Women’s March NYC, having known Ms. Okeyo as a family friend for years. She said she respects the inclusive women’s rights platform that Women’s March NYC has produced, including legislative advocacy.

Ms. Steinem will be a featured speaker. Her advice to people who are confused?

“March with one of them. But march.”

Where and when will each action take place?

The Women’s March Alliance will start its march at 11:15 a.m. at 62nd Street and Central Park West, where there will be a small, 8-by-8-foot stage. Gates open at 10 a.m. at 72nd Street and Central Park West.

Unlike last year, when there were numerous lengthy speeches, only be 15 minutes of speakers will kick off the march, to be named later, and entertainment, including a Brazilian Women’s drum line and a Joan Rivers impersonator. The route will go across 59th Street to Sixth Avenue and finish at 44th Street at approximately 3 p.m.

The Women’s March NYC, which does not have a permit to march, will host a “Women’s Unity Rally” at 11 a.m. in Foley Square, between the courts and 26 Federal Plaza, which houses immigration agencies. The square, a city park, will open at 10 a.m. for rally goers and will finish at approximately 2 p.m.

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Halifax one step closer to plastic bag ban with draft bylaw on the way

The question of what to do with plastic bags has been discussed in Halifax and around Nova Scotia since China announced in 2017 it would not longer be accepting certain waste products, including film plastic, which is used to make the bags.

On Tuesday, regional council voted 13-4 to have staff draft a bylaw to eliminate the distribution of single-use plastic bags.

Each year, Nova Scotians use an estimated 300 to 500 million plastic bags. That means between 125 and 208 million bags are used in just Halifax, and many end up in the water.

“The bag itself has handles and loops that could easily cause entanglement in seals and mammals or birds,” said Tony Walker with Dalhousie University’s School for Resource and Environmental Studies.

“Then if it is in an area where there are lots of wave actions, such as rocky coastlines, it can break down into smaller fragments and the chances of retrieving that from the environment is negligible to nil.”

Walker says those smaller bits continue to pose a threat to wildlife as they can be easily swallowed and end up in the food chain.

According to the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup, plastic bags are among the 10 most common items found during cleanups.

“Nova Scotia is Canada’s ocean playground, so it’s paramount that we take action,” said Walker.

But there is some concern about how a ban might be rolled out. The Retail Council of Canada says the best approach would be to have a province-wide ban so there is consistency for businesses.

The council’s Atlantic director, Jim Cormier, says Montreal is noticing issues with their ban because surrounding communities did not follow suit.

“Some are banning the bags, some are not, some are doing it on thickness, different levels of thickness it’s just completely contrary to the concept of reducing administration red tape and allowing businesses to work with government,” he said.

But so far, the provincial government has no plans to consider a ban.

“If municipalities want to continue in this format, certainly, we would welcome that,” said Environment Minister Margaret Miller.

“We’re not ready to move into that realm yet.”

While Halifax is taking the lead, the municipality is working to collaborate with the 10 largest municipalities in the province so there is a harmonized approach as suggested by the retail council.

“The more municipalities that get on board with it, the better,” said Councillor Sam Austin.

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Netflix used Lac-Megantic disaster in film

Streaming service Netflix has confirmed it used footage of a real-life rail disaster in popular film Bird Box.

Netflix will not be removing the brief clip from Canada’s Lac-Megantic tragedy used early in the film to depict a fictional news story about an apocalyptic scenario.

Over 40 people were killed in 2013 when a train carrying crude oil derailed in the Quebec town of Lac-Megantic.

Dozens of homes and businesses were destroyed.

Bird Box is not the only Netflix production containing images of the deadly runaway train disaster.

Earlier this week, similar footage was found to have been used in the Canadian-American science-fiction drama Travelers.

In the show’s third season, images of Lac-Megantic’s blazing downtown core can be briefly seen illustrating fictional news coverage of a nuclear attack in London.

The production company behind the show, Peacock Alley Entertainment, said in a statement that it acquired footage from stock footage vendor Pond 5 “and weren’t aware of its specific source”.

It apologised, saying it did not mean to dishonour the tragic event in the town, and would be replacing the footage used in the show.

In a statement to BBC, Pond 5 said it deeply regretted the footage being “taken out of context and used in entertainment programming”.

The company apologised “to anyone who was offended, especially the victims and their families”.

Clips from the company’s collection of stock footage and other media are found in TV and documentary series produced by major news and entertainment companies including Disney, Netflix, the Discovery Channel and the BBC, according to its website.

The company said its library includes both fictional scenes as well as news and archival footage including “historical tragedies, military conflicts, weather events, and natural disasters that may depict sensitive events” and it is rare “that something like this occurs”.

It said it will contact customers who have purchased any related clips to make them aware “of the sensitive nature of this footage”.

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‘How Could We Not Know?’ Kidnapping Suspect Hid in Plain Sight

GORDON, Wis. — Neighbors watch one another’s homes in the winter around here. They notice when there are unfamiliar tire tracks in the snow. Most of the 34 graduates of Northwood High School’s Class of 2015 keep in touch through text message.

Gordon is a tiny place, with a single convenience store, and until last week, a single resident who appeared to elude public notice despite nearly a lifetime of living here.

Overnight, Jake T. Patterson has gone from local anonymity to national infamy, accused of kidnapping a 13-year-old girl about an hour’s drive south, killing her parents and then holding the teenager captive for nearly three months. The awful crime has shattered the town’s sense of safety and forced painful questions on the 645 residents.

“In a little town where everyone knows everyone’s business, how could we not know that’s who he was?” said Shawn Germann, a FedEx driver, during a stop at The Buckhorn Bar and Grill in Gordon. “You always see these other towns, and think, ‘Thank God I don’t live in a town like that.’ Now, evidently, I do.”

[Read: Jayme Closs, Kidnapped by a Stranger, Endured Horror, Police Say]

As chilling details about the abduction of the girl, Jayme Closs, continue to surface, and as cable television trucks cruise the pine-lined, snowy streets of Gordon, residents have wondered how Mr. Patterson, who had bounced between jobs in recent years, evaded notice.

Mr. Patterson, 21, hid in plain sight for 88 days as scores of detectives fanned out across northern Wisconsin and as Jayme’s photo circulated on missing person posters and Facebook pages. He was arrested last week after Jayme escaped from under a twin-size bed inside his home, and was charged with her kidnapping and the shooting deaths of her parents, James and Denise Closs.

On Thursday, former classmates said the accusations against Mr. Patterson — who was voted “most quiet” at Northwood High School and competed on the quiz team — felt like a punch to the gut.

“He was quiet, for sure, but not any out-of-the-ordinary quiet like something that would alarm somebody,” said one former classmate, who declined to be named out of fear of being ostracized in Gordon, where some residents believe speaking about Mr. Patterson is a betrayal of the town. In a photo given to The New York Times, Mr. Patterson sits in a corner, alone and behind his smiling, posing classmates, absorbed with his laptop.

One of his former teachers, in a text message to a handful of Mr. Patterson’s classmates, said the man accused of the kidnapping and killings was “not the quiet, smiley, bookish boy in the classroom” she knew. “As the days pass and more news trickles out, I’ll still hold the memory of that sweet boy in my heart. His future will look very different than yours.”

[Read more about how Jayme’s disappearance shook her hometown.]

Since graduation, Mr. Patterson had struggled to hold down a job.

He worked for one day at the Jennie-O Turkey Store in Barron, where Jayme’s parents also worked. He spent two days last fall at a cheese factory. A few years before, the United States Marine Corps sent him home after five weeks of boot camp.

“Patterson’s premature discharge is indicative of the fact that the character of his service was incongruent with Marine Corps’ expectations and standards,” said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for the Marines, in a statement.

Details of his most recent years were scarce.

Neighbors said Mr. Patterson spent much of his time alone in his home, particularly after his father moved out a few years ago. Efforts to reach his father and other relatives were not successful. In interviews with other news organizations, his mother was described as devastated and one of his grandfathers said the family was heartbroken.

In a 12-page criminal complaint filed Monday, prosecutors said Mr. Patterson laid out in gruesome detail how he stormed into the Closs home on Oct. 15, killed the parents and kidnapped Jayme. He has not yet entered a plea.

Mr. Patterson told investigators that he spotted Jayme boarding a school bus outside her home in Barron, about an hour’s drive south of Gordon, and started plotting the crime, purchasing a mask at Walmart and stealing a shotgun from his father. “The defendant stated he put quite a bit of thought into the details of how he was going to abduct” Jayme, prosecutors wrote.

Detectives said Mr. Patterson described modifying his beat-up car, swapping out the license plate so he could not be tracked and removing a device from the trunk so that it could not be opened from the inside. He shaved his head and face to avoid leaving any forensic evidence. And, they said, he described killing Mr. and Mrs. Closs with single blasts of the shotgun, lest any witnesses track him down, then binding Jayme with black tape and placing her in the trunk of his red Ford Taurus.

“The defendant stated he then got in his car, removed his mask and started to drive” with the shotgun on the front seat, prosecutors wrote. About 20 seconds later, he slowed down for three police cars racing toward the Closs home.

Ron Kofal, a lifelong Gordon resident who lives about a mile from the cabin where Jayme was held, said he met Mr. Patterson at the ICO gas station on Highway 53. He said Mr. Patterson, whom he described as “clean cut and shy,” sometimes performed odd jobs around town, like yard work and cabin maintenance, and had seemed pleasant in his interactions with him.

The town of Gordon is dotted with small cabins that sit at the end of wooded roads. All-terrain vehicles and snowmobile trails snake through the forest. Residents, especially the hearty few who stay through the harsh winters, take pride in being on a first-name basis with neighbors.

But in recent days, at snowmobile club meetings and at bars where prize bucks are mounted on the walls, residents have asked themselves uneasy questions: How did they fail to notice the horror in their small town? And how had Mr. Patterson, the tall young man with the receding brown hair, managed to live there so long without raising alarm?

“Everyone else is outside having a bonfire and splitting wood, and playing with their kids,” said Adam Wilson, a manager of a grocery store who lives near Mr. Patterson. “It’s disturbing; it shows you just never know what somebody’s up to.”

In the weeks that followed Jayme’s disappearance, as it vexed detectives and made national headlines, Mr. Patterson described how he used the seclusion of Gordon to his advantage, keeping Jayme out of sight at the cabin where he grew up, just off County Highway Y. When he ran errands, Jayme told detectives, he would force her to stay under the bed, boxing her in with totes secured with barbell weights. When he had houseguests, he would turn on music in the bedroom to muffle any noise she might make.

For a time, Mr. Patterson kept the shotgun at the ready in case the police showed up.

Eventually, he put it away. No one suspected him.

Sarah Maslin Nir covers breaking news for the Metro section. She was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her series “Unvarnished,” an investigation into New York City’s nail salon industry that documented the exploitative labor practices and health issues manicurists face. @SarahMaslinNir

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U.S. sailor witnesses fire on container ship Yantian Express off Halifax coast

Photographs taken by a sailor on a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic shows the extent of a fire onboard a container ship that has been burning off Canada’s East Coast since Jan. 3.

The Yantian Express, a 320-metre ship, caught fire about 1,900 kilometres southeast of Halifax.

American sailor Cameron Brunick witnessed the Yantian Express fire while aboard a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic.

American sailor Cameron Brunick witnessed the Yantian Express fire while aboard a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic.

American sailor Cameron Brunick witnessed the Yantian Express fire while aboard a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic.

American sailor Cameron Brunick witnessed the Yantian Express fire while aboard a merchant vessel in the North Atlantic.

The pictures were taken by midshipman Cameron Brunick, who is on the merchant vessel as part of his shipboard training at a U.S. merchant marine academy.

Brunick says his vessel was about three nautical miles away on Tuesday, and as they were going by, they “could smell the acrid whiff of the fires still burning onboard.”

He adds that the Yantian Express was barely moving.

“As we were approaching and after we passed her, we saw and continued to see the smoke rising from her bow,” Brunick wrote in an email.

The 22-member crew boarded a rescue tug and were taken to Halifax on Monday. The Embassy of the Philippines says 17 Filipino crew members were among those rescued. The seafarers were met by members of the local Filipino community and have since returned home.

Two tugs have been on the scene for days, and the German shipping company Hapag-Lloyd says the fire involving multiple containers is “widely contained and under control.”

— With a file from The Canadian Press 

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Pipeline support is strong in Canada, but provincial ‘divisions’ exist: poll

A majority of Canadians say the lack of a new pipeline is a “crisis” in the country, according to a new Angus Reid poll.

The construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline has been stalled for years over environmental concerns and issues regarding consultations with Indigenous Canadian people. In May 2018, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the government purchased the pipeline and vowed to get it built.

Late last year, Alberta cut the amount of oil the industry is allowed to produce, amid lower oil prices and a limited capacity to physically move the oil out of the province.

The poll found that while more Albertans called the pipeline issues a “crisis” (87 per cent of Albertan respondents), Quebecers were the least worried about it (40 per cent).

In B.C., the number of respondents was split almost evenly (51 per cent called it a crisis), while Atlantic Canada and Manitoba were more in line with the national average (58 per cent). Saskatchewan (74 per cent) was more closely aligned with Alberta.

“We see real divisions based on where people live in Canada,” Shachi Kurl, Angus Reid’s executive director, told Global News.

That’s going to play a major factor in the upcoming elections, she explained.

“It’s divided along regional lines so it becomes very difficult to have a unifying message or a unifying theme on this on this issue.

Canadians are also divided on other aspects of the pipeline issue; nationally, just under half of respondents (46 per cent) said the government needs to give more attention to the oil and gas industry, but in Alberta that jumps to 78 per cent, and in Quebec it drops to 25 per cent.

“It speaks to how fractured we are nationally,” Kurl said.

But Kurl said she thinks the numbers show that the needle is moving in favour of the pipelines.

She said in previous years Ontario and Atlantic Canada have been more ambivalent toward oil and gas issues, but in this poll, the majority of respondents in those areas appear pro-pipeline.

“The takeaway from the whole poll is that the majority of Canadians think it’s a crisis,” said Nelson Wiseman, a political science professor at the University of Toronto. 

That could be because there has been more media coverage of the issues over the past year, Wiseman explained.

“If you tune in to business news, it’s on every single day,” he said. “As we’ve gotten more and more material on this, (there’s) more analysis about how this is affecting not just the Alberta and Saskatchewan economies but the Canadian economy. And there’s anxiety about it, [people are] coming around.” 

Kurl said the influence of the Western provinces in Canada is another divisive issue across the country. While those in the West think their own provinces don’t have a loud enough voice in Ottawa, Eastern provinces say the opposite.

While these aren’t surprising results, they are telling, Kurl said, as demographics across the country are shifting.

“The West is actually — in terms of people power — is taking more precedence than places such as Atlantic Canada and even Quebec if you look at growth rates,” she said, referencing Statistics Canada data.

She said that the question of “What does it look like in terms of the power that the West holds over the next 20 years?” will be an important one going forward — especially concerning oil and gas issues. 

The Angus Reid Institute polled 4,024 Canadians between Dec. 21, 2018, to Jan. 3, 2019. The margin of error is +/- 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. 

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Indigenous women occupy Washington state capitol lawn

Group vows to stay until leaders recognise native treaty rights and take action on climate change.

    Sitting in a tarpee erected outside the Capitol Building in the US state of Washington, seven Indigenous women and their supporters have vowed to stay put.

    They will stay until they are either arrested or politicians take action on climate change and native treaty rights.

    “We will be here as long as they let us be here,” said Eva, a member of Santee Sioux Tribe.

    “Today, this is all we have left,” she told Al Jazeera by phone. “We’ve been taken from and taken from.”

    Eva, along with others from the indigenous community and their supporters, “occupied” the front lawn of the state capital in the city of Olympia on Monday, the first day of a new 60-day legislative session.

    “While they’re inside doing their talks for the next 60 days, [we hope] they come to understand that the native nations people are watching them,” Eva said.

    “We are outside and we are not leaving until you guys [politicians] understand that we don’t want fracked gas factories … [or] coal mining. We want them out.”

    The group is demanding that Washington Governor Jay Inslee take a stronger stance against the expansion of the Kinder Morgan Trans Mountain pipeline, which carries oil from the Alberta tar sands to terminals and refineries in British Columbia, on Canada’s west coast, and the northern part of Washington state.

    Indigenous and environmental rights groups say the pipeline threatens native sovereignty and puts wildlife, as well as the land and sea along the route, at risk.

    Inslee has expressed “serious concerns” about the pipeline project, but the group says it is not enough. 

    The women also called on the governor to respect native treaty rights and stop the use of fish farms.

    “It takes something like this for our voice to be heard,” said Janene Hampton, who was among the women in the tarpee – a type of teepee – on Monday night.

    Fran Tatu, protester and member of the Metis Nation

    According to Eva, police had initially demanded that they remove the four tarpees that had been erected earlier in the day.

    But after occupying the space, negotiating and presenting the text of the Medicine Creek treaty of 1854 – which guarantees hunting and fishing rights to nine nations in the northwestern part of the US – the seven women were eventually allowed to stay, Eva said. 

    “We’re here in our native structure facing a colonial structure behind us,” Fran Tatu, a member of the Metis Nation who is occupying the space, told Al Jazeera.

    “I find this [the occupation] to be beautifully symbolic of the indigenous matriarchy facing down the patriarchy,” Tatu said.

    Tara Lee, the governor’s deputy communications director, told Al Jazeera in an email on Tuesday that Inslee “greatly respects treaty rights and [his team believes] that the tribal governments in Washington and the governor have a productive government-to-government relationship”. 

    Lee added that the governor’s chief of staff met with the protesters, but no treaty was presented and the governor’s office “did not agree to let them stay”. 

    “The structure they have erected is not allowed and if it is not removed they will be arrested for trespassing,” Lee said. 

    Washington state police did not respond to Al Jazeera’s request for comment. 

    ‘Sixty days to act’

    As well as the tarpee sit-in, a simultaneous protest by climate activists was taking place inside the Capitol Building.

    “We’re in a climate crisis,” one side of activists chanted as they interrupted the opening ceremony for the legislature.

    “You need to act now,” the other side responded.

    The “Climate Countdown” campaign protesters were escorted outside, where they continued to rally with about 300 others.

    “You have 60 days to act like we’re in a climate emergency and pass legislation ending fossil fuel infrastructure and transitioning Washington state [to] 100 percent renewables,” 350 Seattle, one of the organising groups, told legislators on Facebook.

    Valerie Costa, an organiser with 350 Seattle, wants to stress the sense of “urgency” in addressing climate change.

    “Now is the time to take action,” Costa said. “We want to show them [politicians] that we will be holding them accountable.”

    Costa explained that in the face of setbacks by US President Donald Trump’s administration in addressing climate change, leaders in the West Coast state have taken a stand and expressed their commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

    After Trump announced he was withdrawing the US from landmark Paris Agreement last year, Washington’s Inslee and other governors formed the US Climate Alliance aimed at upholding the climate accord and “taking aggressive action on climate change”.

    But according to Costa, politicians must act by also passing legislation aimed at stopping fossil fuel projects and committing to reduce the state’s carbon footprint. 

    “Washington state is seen as a leader on climate policy,” Costa said. “The state needs to do more to earn that reputation.”

    Halting the construction of the Puget Sound Energy (PSE) liquified natural gas (LNG) facility in the city of Tacoma is a priority for climate activists and indigenous groups in the state.

    According to 350 Seattle and the Puyallup Tribe, whose reservation sits near the proposed facility’s site, the company has not obtained the necessary permits, and the facility puts the tribe’s water and fish at risk.

    “Every single fossil fuel project has needed grassroots resistance for them not to succeed,” Costa said. “[It’s] only happened with a tremendous amount of work.”

    Back in the tarpee, the group of indigenous women said they will continue their occupation.

    According to Eva, police said they would give the group an “ultimatum” on Tuesday, addressing if they can stay.

    “We are holding this space and the reason that us seven women this is a women-led indigenous movement,” Eva said. “It’s also a women’s movement.

    “This is about lives – not only our lives, but the future lives of our children and our grandchildren and when it comes down to that.”

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    Alleged mismanagement at EMSB to be investigated: Quebec education minister

    Quebec Education Minister Jean-Francois Roberge announced Wednesday that allegations of mismanagement at the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) are under investigation.

    The education minister has mandated the inquiry after years of allegations about wrongdoing, including contracts being handed out without the proper tendering process and serious ethical violations.

    Last December, EMSB Chair Angela Mancini was found guilty of four breaches of the board’s code of ethics.

    Related

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    “These allegations are troubling and serious,” said Roberge.

    “We must take action. In the best interest of the EMSB and, of course, its students, parents, staff and the community. It’s our duty to act quickly.”

    In 2016, the province’s anti-corruption squad, UPAC, began an investigation into the board’s finances and its international vocational school.

    Tensions ran high in November of that year when Mancini and then vice-chair Sylvia Lo Bianco, lobbied to have Lo Bianco’s brother-in-law named assistant director of school organization.

    “Some of the issues are very problematic and the previous Liberal government refused to address them,” Roberge said.

    “They needed to take action and they didn’t have the courage to do so.”

    The investigation comes as the provincial government is preparing to abolish school boards entirely.

    During Roberge’s press conference on Wednesday, the minister insisted the investigation has nothing to do with that plan.

    “Launching this inquiry and transforming school boards into service centres are two totally separate issues,” he said.

    “It’s not my concern that it’s an English school board or a French school board. It’s important for me to guarantee to all the citizens and people in Quebec that each dollar they give to the system is well administrated.”

    In a statement to Global News, QESBA President Dan Lamoureux said “the situation at the EMSB is of concern, therefore an examination by a qualified outside party will help all concerned to adopt any corrective measures if necessary.”

    “Governance and operational issues in public bodies at all levels of government, while regrettable and unacceptable, do occasionally arise and they must be dealt with appropriately,” he said.

    “The distinction, as made by the minister during his news conference, must be made between a situation at any given school board and the broader public policy issue of school governance reform.”

    The findings of the report are expected for Sept. 10.

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    Turkey warns citizens against US travel over security

    Foreign ministry says revise travel plans or act with caution because of risks of ‘terrorism’ and arbitrary detention.

      Turkey has warned its citizens to revise their travel plans to the United States or to exercise caution if they go ahead with a trip, according to the foreign ministry.

      A statement on Friday cited risks of “terrorist” attacks as well as arbitrary arrests in Turkey’s Western ally.

      “It has been observed that there is a recent increase in terrorist and violent attacks in the US,” the foreign ministry said, referring to several deadly incidents over the past few months.

      “Attacks by vehicles being driven on crowds, in addition to bomb and gun attacks, are likely to continue to target city centres, cultural events, subway stations, state buildings, places of worship and school campuses,” the statement continued, adding that there is also a risk of arbitrary arrest for Turkish citizens travelling to the US.

      The ministry mentioned recent incidents including attacks at Ohio University’s campus, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport, Dar Al-Farooq Mosque in Minnesota and a church in Texas. 

      It added that the New York City subway pipe bomb attack in December was “an example of far-right/racist incidents”.

      The ministry also warned of alleged “arbitrary arrests” of Turkish citizens, including public servants travelling to the US for official duty.

      The move came after the US announced a new travel advisory on Wednesday and named Turkey as a country with an “increased security risk” along with Sudan, Pakistan and Guatemala.

      Separately, Turkey summoned senior US diplomat Philip Kosnett to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara on Thursday over Washington’s support for Syrian Kurdish fighters.

      Tensions have been simmering between Washington and Ankara for some time. 

      In October, the two NATO allies were involved in a visa dispute, motivated both by Washington’s concern over Ankara’s Syria policy and by the arrest of a US embassy employee who allegedly had information on American involvement in the 2016 failed coup attempt.

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