April 13th, 2024

In the news today: Canada to send drones to Ukraine as part of military aid package

By The Canadian Press on February 20, 2024.

Bill Blair, Minister of National Defence, makes an announcement regarding additional SkyRanger R70 drone support to Ukraine in Toronto, Monday, Feb. 19, 2024. The Liberal government will dispatch more than 800 drones to Ukraine starting as early as this spring. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

Here is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to bring you up to speed on what you need to know today…

Canada sending 800 drones to Ukraine

The Liberal government will dispatch more than 800 drones to Ukraine starting as early as this spring.

Defence Minister Bill Blair said at a press conference in Toronto that Ukraine had made “extraordinary progress” in the use of drone technologies over the past two years.

The SkyRanger R70 multi-mission Unmanned Aerial Systems are manufactured by Teledyne in Waterloo, Ont.

The drones help operators to recognize heat sources, humans and vehicles from far away, even in the dark or in poor weather.

Mental health minister defends ‘safer supply’

Canada’s mental health and addictions minister says stigma and fear are behind most of the criticism of safer supply programs.

Ya’ara Saks is responding to concerns about federal funding for safer supply programs which prescribe pharmaceutical alternatives to drug users as a way to combat the opioid overdose crisis.

More than 40-thousand people have died from opioid-related overdoses since 2016.

Here’s what else we’re watching …

Trudeau in Vancouver for housing announcement

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is in Vancouver today, set to make a housing-related announcement alongside Premier David Eby and Mayor Ken Sim.

Trudeau’s public itinerary says he’ll make the announcement this morning, and then head to a local high school to meet with students before an event at a community centre with seniors in the afternoon.

Eby said last week at a housing-related news conference he recently spoke with Trudeau about B.C.’s housing initiatives and there appeared to be federal interest in what the province was planning.

StatCan to release January inflation report today

Statistics Canada is set to release its January consumer price index report this morning.

The report is expected to show inflation slowed last month after rising in December to 3.4 per cent.

The Bank of Canada will have a close eye on today’s report as it looks for more evidence that inflation is headed back to its two-per-cent target.

The central bank has held its key interest rate at five per cent since the summer, the highest level it’s been at since 2001.

Agencies fight evasion of sanctions against Russia

Canada’s financial intelligence agency and European allies are highlighting attempts to export sensitive technology to Russia in violation of sanctions imposed against Moscow.

The warning comes in a new joint advisory from the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, known as Fintrac, and its counterparts in the Netherlands and Germany.

The agencies say they received reports “from a variety of sources” about suspicions of such illicit activities after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

The agencies discovered that the individuals and organizations trying to evade sanctions and export control measures in their respective jurisdictions were using similar tactics.

Brain-controlled technology lets kids move, play

Eight-year-old Giselle Alnaser wants the Elmo stuffed toy sitting on a stool across the room, and she’s going to use her brain waves to get it.

As her mother encourages her with calls of, “Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!” Giselle concentrates as the platform beneath her wheelchair appears to roll by itself toward Elmo. She smiles when she reaches the stool and an occupational therapist hands her the toy.

Giselle was diagnosed with a CAMK2b gene mutation when she was a toddler. It affects her brain’s ability to communicate with her muscles – meaning she can’t walk or move her arms much – and she’s not able to speak.

The Brain Computer Interface program at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto develops technology that allows Giselle and dozens of other physically disabled children to use their minds to move and play.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 20, 2024.

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