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Open Skies Treaty: US to withdraw from arms control deal - BBC News
The major accord permits unarmed surveillance flights over dozens of participating countries.
Image copyrightAirTeamImages.comImage caption The treaty permits unarmed surveillance flights over 35 participating countries The US has announced it will withdraw from a major accord that permits unarmed aerial surveillance flights over dozens of participating countries. The Open Skies Treaty came into force in 2002 and is designed to boost confidence and assure against attacks. But senior US officials said the country was withdrawing due to repeated Russian violations of its terms. US President Donald Trump later said there was a "very good chance we'll reach a new agreement" with Russia. "I think we have a very good relationship with Russia, but Russia didn't adhere to the treaty," Mr Trump said on Thursday, adding: "Until they adhere we will pull out." The US will formally withdraw from the accord in six months, officials said. "During the course of this review it has become abundantly clear that it is no longer in America's interests to remain a party to the Open Skies Treaty," one official told Reuters news agency. Some 35 nations are party to the treaty, including Russia, Canada and the UK. How has Russia responded? Russia's Foreign Ministry insisted that it had not violated the treaty and that a US withdrawal would be "very regrettable", adding that the Trump administration was working to "derail all agreements on arms control". "We reject any attempts to justify a way out of this fundamental agreement," Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko told Russia's state-owned RIA Novosti news agency. "Nothing prevents continuing the discussions over the technical issues, which the US is misrepresenting as violations by Russia," he added. He said that any withdrawal would affect the interests of all of the treaty's participants, who are also members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato). A development to trouble US allies In abandoning the Open Skies Treaty, the Trump Administration is not just renouncing an arms control agreement that was seen as essential for transparency during the Cold War years, but he is also ditching an agreement that many experts believe still retains huge benefits for the US. The fact it comes at a time when the whole structure of arms control is collapsing and a new era of great power competition beckons is doubly troubling. The Open Skies Treaty came into force in January 2002 and some 34 countries have ratified the agreement. It allows for unarmed short-notice reconnaissance flights by specially equipped aircraft, over the entire territory of another country to collect data on troop deployments, military facilities and so on. There have been some problems in recent years and the US contends - with some justification - that Russia has been preventing access to certain areas. But critics of the Trump administration's antipathy towards arms control say this is a reason for fixing the treaty, not abandoning it. Mr Trump seems to be holding out at least a chance that the US could stick with Open Skies, but that is clearly going to depend upon talks with Moscow. The Russian Foreign ministry says that a US withdrawal will affect the interests of all the participants. While the US can clearly use satellites for its intelligence gathering on Russia, Mr Trump's decision will cause tensions with Washington's European allies, few of whom have such satellite access. Earlier this year, US Defence Secretary Mark Esper accused Russia of violating the treaty by banning flights over the city of Kaliningrad and other areas near Georgia. "I have a lot of concerns about the treaty as it stands now," he said at the time. "This is important to many of our Nato allies, that they have the means to conduct the overflights." It marks the latest effort by President Donald Trump's administration to withdraw the US from a major global treaty. Last year, it pulled out of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) with Russia. The INF was signed by the US and the USSR in 1987, and banned the vast majority of nuclear and non-nuclear missiles with short and medium ranges.
Teenage boy charged in Canada's first 'incel' terror case - BBC News
The 17-year-old boy is accused of fatally stabbing a woman at an erotic massage parlour this year.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption A van attack in Toronto allegedly inspired by the incel movement killed 10 A Toronto teenager has become the first Canadian ever charged with carrying out an "incel"-inspired terror attack. The 17-year-old boy is accused of fatally stabbing a woman in February. Incel is short for "involuntarily celibate" and describes males, mostly in online groups, who blame women for their sexual frustrations. A 2018 attack in Toronto that killed 10 was also allegedly inspired by the ideology, but the accused in that case was not charged with terrorism. On Tuesday, Toronto Police and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) issued a joint press conference announcing the terrorism charges. The suspect, who cannot be named because he is a minor, had already been charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder shortly after the incident, which took place at an erotic massage parlour. Police allege he fatally stabbed Ashley Noelle Arzaga, 24, who was discovered inside the building around 13:00 local time on 24 February. Two other people, a man and a woman, were found outside the premises with stab wounds. Ms Arzaga is remembered as a loving mother and a kind person, the Toronto Star reported. When Toronto police learned the crime may have been motivated by an extremist ideology, they contacted Canada's federal RCMP, which ultimately decided to press terrorism charges. "Terrorism comes in many forms and it's important to note that it is not restricted to any particular group, religion or ideology," said the RCMP. A first-degree murder conviction for an adult carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years-to-life, but as the suspect was 17 at the time of the crime, there is no mandatory minimum. He appeared by video before court on Tuesday morning to hear his new charges, and remains in police custody. "Incel" is short for "involuntarily celibate" and generally refers to online groups of men who feel they are unable to enter into sexual relationships. They blame women for their grievances, which they discuss in internet forums. The attitudes of men who visit the online message boards vary widely, but they frequently vent anger against sexually prolific men ("Chads") and women ("Stacys"). More generally, incel forums often include rants aimed at feminism and women. In 2018, Alek Minassian allegedly drove a van into a busy Toronto commercial street killing 10 people and wounding 16. He later told police the attack was retribution for years of rejection by women, and that he identified as a member of the incel movement. He was charged with 10 counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of attempted murder, but he was not charged with terrorism. His case is currently before the court. Minassian was allegedly inspired by Elliot Rodger, who killed six people in a stabbing and shooting spree in Isla Vista, California, in May 2014.
Trump says US topping world virus cases is 'badge of honour' - BBC News
Mr Trump argues the US having the most coronavirus cases in the world is actually "a good thing".
Media playback is unsupported on your device Media captionTrump says Covid cases are a 'badge of honour' US President Donald Trump has argued it is "a badge of honour" that the US has the world's highest number of confirmed Covid-19 infections. "I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better," he said at the White House. The US has 1.5 million coronavirus cases and nearly 92,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. In second place is Russia, with nearly 300,000 confirmed cases. What did Trump say? On Monday, Mr Trump was hosting his first cabinet meeting since the US outbreak began. "By the way, you know when you say that we lead in cases, that's because we have more testing than anybody else," he told reporters. "So when we have a lot of cases," he continued, "I don't look at that as a bad thing, I look at that as, in a certain respect, as being a good thing because it means our testing is much better." Media captionThe lost six weeks when the US failed to control the virus He added: "So I view it as a badge of honour. Really, it's a badge of honour. "It's a great tribute to the testing and all of the work that a lot of professionals have done." According to the Centers for Disease Control, a federal agency, the US had conducted 12.6m coronavirus tests by Tuesday. Is the president right? While the US has conducted more tests by volume than any other country, it is not first in the world on a per capita basis, according to Our World in Data, a scientific publication based at Oxford University. Its chart ranks the US as 16th globally in terms of tests per 1,000 people, ahead of South Korea, but less than the likes of Iceland, New Zealand, Russia and Canada. Over the past week, the US has been conducting between 300,000 and 400,000 tests daily, according to the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer-led effort. But the Harvard Global Health Institute argues the US needs to be conducting a minimum of half a million tests per day to reopen the economy and stay open. The US has also reported the most coronavirus deaths in the world, but on a per capita basis it ranks eighth behind the likes of Belgium, Canada and the United Kingdom, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Canada navy helicopter crash: Five presumed dead - BBC News
A Nato helicopter crashed off a Greek island, and the sixth crew member's body has been found.
Image copyrightCanadian Armed ForcesImage caption From left tot right: Abbigail Cowbrough, Matthew Pyke, Matthew Cousins, Maxime Miron-Morin, Kevin Hagen, Brenden Ian MacDonald Five missing crew members of a Canadian navy helicopter that crashed off a Greek island during a Nato exercise are presumed dead, Canada's military says. The body of a sixth crew member, Sub-Lt Abbigail Cowbrough, has been recovered. It is not yet clear why the Sikorsky CH-148 Cyclone crashed. It took off from a Canadian frigate in the Ionian Sea on Wednesday and came down off the island of Kefalonia. A search-and-rescue mission in the area is now officially a recovery effort. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said "I join all Canadians in mourning the loss of six Canadian Armed Forces members". "All of them are heroes. Each of them will leave a void that cannot be filled," he said. The body of Abbigail Cowbrough, a marine systems engineering officer originally from Toronto, Ontario, has been identified. "There are no words. You made me forever proud. I will love you always, and miss you in every moment. You are the bright light in my life taken far too soon," her father, Shane Cowbrough, wrote on Facebook. The CAF says five other people were on board:
- Capt Brenden Ian MacDonald, pilot, originally from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia
- Capt Kevin Hagen, pilot, originally from Nanaimo, British Columbia
- Capt Maxime Miron-Morin, air combat systems officer, originally from Trois-Rivières, Québec
- Sub-Lt Matthew Pyke, naval warfare officer, originally from Truro, Nova Scotia
- Master-Cpl Matthew Cousins, airborne electronic sensor operator, originally from Guelph, Ontario
Major film festivals to unite for YouTube event - BBC News
We Are One will feature offerings from Berlin, Cannes, Toronto, Venice and beyond.
Image copyrightPAImage caption Al Pacino, Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro at last year's BFI London Film Festival Major film festivals - including Berlin, Cannes, Toronto and Venice - are to join forces for an online event. We Are One: A Global Film Festival, will be hosted by YouTube from 29 May. It comes after coronavirus caused disruption to many international events, as the film industry ground to a halt. The 10-day digital alternative will help to raise funds for the World Health Organization (WHO)'s Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund and beyond. Twenty festivals from around the world are involved including BFI London Film Festival, Jerusalem Film Festival, Mumbai Film Festival and Marrakech International Film Festival, as well as Sundance Film Festival and Tribeca Film Festival. Tribeca, co-founded by Robert De Niro (pictured above) and Jane Rosenthal in New York, have joined forces with the streaming giants to put on the online event after having been forced to postpone this year's festival. They hope it "unites curators, artists and storytellers to entertain and provide relief to audiences worldwide". "We often talk about film's uniquely powerful role in inspiring and uniting people across borders and differences to help heal the world," said Rosenthal. "All of the world needs healing right now." The free event will include films, shorts, documentaries, music, comedy, and conversations and a full schedule will be available nearer to next month's event. According to Deadline, there aren't expected to be any films scheduled for upcoming 2020 festivals for financial and rights reasons. Last month, the Cannes Film Festival was also postponed due to lockdown concerns around the virus. Its president Pierre Lescure, and general delegate Thierry Frémaux, said they were "proud" to be involved in the online festival instead. "We are proud to join with our partner festivals to spotlight truly extraordinary films and talent, allowing audiences to experience both the nuances of storytelling from around the world and the artistic personalities of each festival." As it stands, potentially modified versions of the annual film festivals in Toronto, Venice and London are still due to go ahead in the autumn, while the Berlin event took place in late February. Follow us on Facebook or on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]
Nova Scotia shooting: 'They had no idea the hell they were going to face' - BBC News
Canada's deadliest shooting is pieced together by the people swept up in its path of terror.
Image copyrightFacebook / HandoutImage caption Victims of the Canada's largest mass shooting Over the span of 12 hours, a gunman posing as a police officer went on a rampage across the province of Nova Scotia that became the most deadly shooting in Canadian history. Here's what people swept up in the tragedy recall. Dan Jenkins had plans to see his daughter Alanna on Sunday, but a text from a friend asking him if he'd spoken to her that morning alarmed him. When she didn't pick up the phone, he decided to hop in his car and check on her, driving an hour to her place in Glenholme. But when he got to the town, he was turned back by an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) blockade. Meanwhile, his phone was being to be bombarded by text messages and calls from Alanna's neighbours. There were fires, and possibly what sounded like an explosion. He parked his car, and walked about a quarter-mile to some police vehicles, realising that something was very wrong. "I'm a dad. I've got to know where my little girl is," he told them. But it would be several days before he got confirmation that his daughter and her partner Sean McLeod had been killed by 51-year-old Gabriel Wortman, a denturist who had a clinic outside Halifax. Their bodies were found in their home, which was completely burned to the ground, and coroners had to identify their remains. Their two Labrador retrievers also died, Mr Jenkins says. Later, Mr Jenkins would learn they were two of 22 victims, the largest mass shooting in Canadian history. The victims included two frontline healthcare workers, an elementary school teacher and RCMP Constable Heidi Stevenson, a 23-year veteran of the RCMP and mother of two. All were adults, except for 17-year-old Emily Tuck, who was killed alongside her two parents. The killings spanned the 12 hours it took police to chase Wortman from Glenholme all the way to Enfield, where he was shot and killed by police. With 16 different possible crime scenes across at least seven different towns in the province, the investigation involved over 25 different units within the RCMP as well as support from the Canadian Armed Forces. The complexities of the case meant that it took several days to identify all the victims, and several more before the police could release a timeline, and there are still large gaps where Wortman's whereabouts are unknown. All the while, Mr Jenkins was desperate to know what had happened to his daughter, but also afraid of what he might learn. "There are things we want to find out and there are [other things] I don't know if I want to find out," Mr Jenkins told the BBC on Tuesday, before hearing the devastating news. The carnage began on Saturday evening, in the seaside community of Portapique, about 50 km south of Glenholme. From there, police believe Wortman went on a rampage across the province before dying in a shoot-out with police. Image copyrightReutersImage caption A photograph of Kristen Beaton at a memorial in Debert Located on the Bay of Fundy, Portapique has a year-round population of just about 100 people, no sidewalks, no street lights, and is a popular spot for summer homes and weekenders looking for some relaxation. Local politician Tom Taggart says Portapique is "just a typical rural community" where people know their neighbours. "These people woke up Saturday to sunshine, a spring day, in a beautiful, peaceful community," he told the BBC. "They had no idea the hell they were going to face the next morning." Around 10:30pm, police got a report of gunshots in the area. But when they arrived, several bodies were found strewn across the lawns and along the road, and multiple homes were on fire. They also encountered a man who said he had been shot at from a passing police cruiser by a man in an RCMP uniform. Early into the investigation, police honed in on Wortman as a suspect. They heard that he had three replica police cruisers, both in Portapique and at his other residence in Halifax. With Wortman's own home on fire, they thought he may have committed suicide. Believing it to be a limited crime scene, they cordoned off about a 2km-radius of Portapique, and told residents to stay indoors. Over the course of the night, they were able to locate all three vehicles, but were not able to find their suspect. What they didn't know is that there was a fourth vehicle - a detail that would haunt them in the days to come, as Wortman used the cover of the law to create confusion. Word of mouth travels fast in Nova Scotia, one of Canada's smallest provinces with a population under one million, and news of the mayhem quickly spread. Harry Sullivan, a reporter with the Saltwire Network based in Truro, wasn't supposed to work that day. But the veteran journalist got in his car and headed to Portapique on Sunday morning. As he passed through the town of Debert, about halfway between his home and Portapique, he saw a police car driving "at a very high rate of speed with its red and blues flashing" in the opposite direction. "I thought: Why are they going that way when the action is the other way?" he told the BBC. As a journalist for over 40 years, Mr Sullivan says he's "covered some pretty nasty stuff", including the 1998 Swissair Flight 111 crash that killed all 229 passengers and crew. "I've never encountered anything like this," he says. Police are still trying to determine a motive, but they believe Wortman's first victim was his girlfriend, who escaped after being assaulted by him sometime earlier on Saturday. Hiding in the woods overnight, she emerged around 6am Sunday morning after calling 911. She told police about the fourth car, and gave important details about what kinds of weapons Wortman may be carrying. Nancy Hudson, who lived near Wortman in Portapique, told the National Post that Wortman was "very jovial" but that "he had another side". "He had an obsession with his girlfriend. Just being jealous about things with her. I think that's where things got in the way," she said. "She was a beautiful girl." Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Police say they are searching the gunman's properties Wortman also appears to have had a longstanding interest in the RCMP, which is in charge of policing in the province. Several people have noted that Wortman told them that he liked to fix up decommissioned police vehicles, and a copy of his high school yearbook that has circulated on social media says "Gabe's future may include being an RCMP officer". Believing to have located all of Wortman's police replicas the night before, RCMP did not warn the public until 9:17 am Sunday that there was an active shooter impersonating a police officer. Shortly after, RCMP began receiving calls about a shooter over 50km north of Portapique, in Glenholme. That is where Wortman is suspected of killing Alanna Jenkins and her partner Sean McCleod, as well as their neighbour Tom Bagley. Ms Jenkins and Mr McCleod were both correctional officers, and police say he knew two of those three victims. Ms Jenkin's father believes Mr Bagley had come over to check on the couple. The suspect then went over to a friend's home, dressed as a police officer and carrying a long gun. He banged on the door, but his friends did not let him in, and called the police instead. David Matthews says he was out walking with his wife near the highway in Wentworth near Glenholme around 9am when he nearly encountered Wortman himself. "When we got halfway through the trail, I heard this pop. It was loud enough to be a shot. It wasn't real close but it wasn't real far," he said. That pop, he now believes, was his neighbour, Lillian Hyslop, being shot. She had moved to the area just a few years ago with her husband. They would often run into each other on walks, and Mr Matthews believes she was just getting her daily exercise. "She was out walking a day before," he said. "I said be safe you never think that that's the end." In the hours between his killing spree in Glenholme and his final confrontation with police, Wortman was able to use the cover of his "very convincing" replica RCMP cruiser and authentic police uniform to cause even more destruction. Image copyrightReutersImage caption Police tweeted that they believed a police car was being used by the gunman "I've been a police officer for more than 30 years now, and I can't imagine a more horrific set of circumstances than trying to search for someone who looks like you," says Superintendent Darren Campbell, who was tasked with updating the media on Friday. He says a witness saw someone who appeared to be an RCMP officer pull over a car in Debert, near Wentworth, and shoot the driver, before shooting another driver who passed by. These two victims were reportedly Heather O'Brien and Kristen Beaton, both frontline healthcare workers with the Victorian Order of Nurses who were out working with patients at the time of the attack. Mrs Beaton's husband told CTV News his wife was in the early stages of pregnancy, and they had watched reports of the shooting in Portapique on the news the night before. "We woke up (Sunday) morning and we just assumed it was over," Nick Beaton told CTV. Wortman's disguise would also lead to his tragic confrontation with Constable Heidi Stevenson and Constable Chad Morrison. As one of the many RCMP officers out on patrol that day, the two had agreed to meet up in Shubenacadie, about 50km south of Debert. Const Morrison arrived at the meetup first, and when he saw another RCMP cruiser heading towards him, he assumed it was Const Stevenson. Instead, it was Wortman, who began firing his weapon. Wounded, Const. Morrison was able to drive away and escape, while Wortman headed north on the highway. That's where he ran into Const Stevenson, who was driving south to meet Const Morrison. Police say he crashed into Const Stevenson head-on, before shooting her and setting both their cars ablaze. Const Morrison has recovered from his injuries and is out of hospital. When a bystander, reportedly Halifax resident Joey Webber, stopped to help, Wortman shot him too, and stole his silver SUV. About an hour after the showdown in Shubenacadie, and after killing one more victim, Wortman's reign of terror would come to an end in a police shootout at a petrol station in Enfield, about 100km south from Portapique, where the crimes began. The tragedy has hit the province hard at a time when people are already under strain from coronavirus. Restrictions on public gatherings mean that no mass vigil can be held, and funerals will be small. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Much of the mourning is being done virtually, but there are also memorials springing up Prime Minister Justin Trudeau attended a national online vigil on Friday evening, and locals are hoping to plan in-person memorials after the threat of the virus has passed. Mr Sullivan, the journalist who was called to the scene Sunday morning, says that since the shootings the entire community has rallied. On sign posts and house windows, people have hung messages for the victims' families reading "Nova Scotia strong" and "We will get over this". "While people are obviously hurting, we are also resilient and the overall mood that I am witnessing is one of pulling together to get through all this," he says. The support has not gone unnoticed by Mr Jenkins, whose daughter Alanna was killed. Seeing everybody's window with a candle in it "tells you that you have a community that cares," he says. But knowing that his daughter Alanna was just one of many victims, and that his suffering is felt by "probably hundreds" of others is hard to bear. "I wish it was just us grieving," he says.