Derek Chauvin Convicted After 3-Week Trial

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After 10 hours of deliberation, a Minneapolis jury found former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter for his actions leading to the death of George Floyd in May of last year. A viral recording of Chauvin kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds led to some of the biggest civil protests in the United States and abroad. After the decision, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison declared that “I would not call today’s verdict justice, because justice implies true restoration. But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice.” 

[Atlantic] [By Kevin Wang] 

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Japan to Release 1 Million Tonnes of Fukushima Water into Ocean

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Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced plans April 13 to gradually release over 1.25 million tonnes of radiation-contaminated water from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear meltdown into the Pacific Ocean. The International Atomic Energy Agency-approved plan assures that most radioactive substances in the water had been reduced to safe levels, except for tritium, which cannot be removed. Fortunately, experts say that tritium poses no harm at the low doses present in the water. Various groups ranging from Greenpeace Japan to local fishermen have voiced their opposition to the proposal.

[Guardian] [By Kevin Wang] 

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2021 Federal Budget to bring some big changes

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Chrystia Freeland unveiled a 700+ page document outlining the federal budget plan for 2021. The budget will put money into pandemic recovery, the middle class, women, the environment, and many more sectors of public interest. This budget is projected to cause the federal deficit to exceed 350 billion in the 2020-21 fiscal year, and decline to 30 billion by 2025-26. 

Some key changes planned include:

  • An extension on CRB from 38 weeks to 50. CRB provides $900 every two weeks to Canadians who have seen decreased earnings during the pandemic
  • A 10% increase in Old Age Security
  • $8.75 billion of funding developing green technologies and more tax incentives for business and individuals to cut down on emissions
  • A $15 federal minimum wage on federally regulated industries. 
  • 10 billion in childcare subsidies to bring fees to a $10/day average
  • A luxury tax on new vehicles valued at more than 100,000
  • Funding for Life Sciences, venture capital, and innovation

[CTV,Globe and Mail] [By Miranda Zhao] 

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Canada’s new climate change target will exceed 40% cut in emissions

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According to information obtained by Radio-Canada, the new Canadian goal is to exceed a forty percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from 2005 emissions by 2030. A government source said that the Canadian government wants to show Canadians and the world that even an oil-producing country can have an ambitious, concrete climate plan. The information also stated that the American government made it clear that a target of less than 40 per cent would be frowned upon. Trudeau will be urging richer countries to give a helping hand to developing nations to help them meet their GHG reduction targets. [CBC News][By Emily Ma]

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Decades-long battle over 2 B.C. lakes shines light on public access to Crown lands

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A legal battle surrounding two lakes in British Columbia has exposed the gaps in provincial legislation when it comes to accessing public property, say legal experts. Minnie Lake and Stoney Lake are considered Crown assets but last month, BC’s Court of Appeal ruled that the general public can’t go there as the only way to do so would be by trespassing on private property belonging to the Douglas Lake Cattle Company. In fact, these lakes have been the topic of a decades-long fight waged by members of the Nicola Valley Fish and Game club, a small recreation club, who say that the large ranch operated by Douglas Lake Cattle Company (DLCC) is attempting to seal Minnie and Stoney off for their own benefit. However, Joe Gardner, vice-president of DLCC says that allowing everyone in would lead to property damage and that in the past, people have lit fires and harmed the grasslands. [CBC News][By Emily Ma]