U.S. would intervene militarily if China invades Taiwan, Biden says

United States President Joe Biden has arrived in Asia for meetings with leaders in South Korea and Japan. National security interests highlight the president's trip but the economy will also be a major talking point as Biden looks to address the global inflation crisis while also shoring up support against Russia, China, and North Korea.

President Joe Biden said Monday that the U.S. would intervene militarily if China were to invade Taiwan, saying the burden to protect Taiwan is “even stronger” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

It marks one of the most forceful presidential statements in support of self-governing in decades.

Biden, at a news conference in Tokyo, said “yes” when asked if he was willing to get involved militarily to defend Taiwan if China invaded.

“That’s the commitment we made,” he added.

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The U.S. traditionally has avoided making such an explicit security guarantee to Taiwan, with which it no longer has a mutual defence treaty, instead maintaining a policy of “strategic ambiguity” about how far it would be willing to go if China invaded.

The 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, which has governed U.S. relations with the island, does not require the U.S. to step in militarily to defend Taiwan if China invades, but makes it American policy to ensure Taiwan has the resources to defend itself and to prevent any unilateral change of status in Taiwan by Beijing.

Biden’s comments drew a sharp response from the mainland, which has claimed Taiwan to be a rogue province.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin expressed “strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition” to Biden’s comments, sayin: “China has no room for compromise or concessions on issues involving China’s core interests such as sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

He added, “China will take firm action to safeguard its sovereignty and security interests, and we will do what we say.”

A White House official said Biden’s comments did not reflect a policy shift.

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China warns of ‘drastic measures’ if Taiwan moves towards independence

Speaking alongside Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, Biden said any effort by China to use force against Taiwan would “just not be appropriate,” adding that it “will dislocate the entire region and be another action similar to what happened in Ukraine.”

China has stepped up its military provocations against democratic Taiwan in recent years aimed at intimidating it into accepting Beijing’s demands to unify with the communist mainland.

“They’re already flirting with danger right now by flying so close and all the manoeuvres that are undertaken,” Biden said of China.

Under the “one China” policy, the U.S. recognizes Beijing as the government of China and doesn’t have diplomatic relations with Taiwan.

However, the U.S. maintains unofficial contacts including a de facto embassy in Taipei, the capital, and supplies military equipment for the island’s defence.

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China says military force an option to stop Taiwan’s fight for independence

Biden said it is his “expectation” that China would not try to seize Taiwan by force, but he said that assessment “depends upon just how strong the world makes clear that that kind of action is going to result in long-term disapprobation by the rest of the community.”

He added that deterring China from attacking Taiwan was one reason why it’s important that Russian President Vladimir Putin “pay a dear price for his barbarism in Ukraine,” lest China and other nations get the idea that such action is acceptable.

Fearing escalation with nuclear-armed Russia, Biden quickly ruled out putting U.S. forces into direct conflict with Russia, but he has shipped billions of dollars in U.S. military assistance that has helped Ukraine put up a stiffer-than-expected resistance to Russia’s onslaught.

Taipei cheered Biden’s remarks, with Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou expressing “sincere welcome and gratitude” for the comments.

“The challenge posed by China to the security of the Taiwan Strait has drawn great concern in the international community,” said Ou.

“Taiwan will continue to improve its self-defence capabilities, and deepen cooperation with the United States and Japan and other like-minded countries to jointly defend the security of the Taiwan Strait and the rules-based international order, while promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.”

It’s not the first time Biden has pledged to defend Taiwan against a Chinese attack, only for administration officials to later claim there had been no change to American policy.

In a CNN town hall in October, Biden was asked about using the U.S. military to defend Taiwan and replied, “Yes, we have a commitment to do that.”

Biden’s comments came just before he formally launched a long-anticipated Indo-Pacific trade pact that excludes Taiwan.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan confirmed Sunday that Taiwan isn’t among the governments signed up for the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, which is meant to allow the U.S. to work more closely with key Asian economies on issues like supply chains, digital trade, clean energy and anticorruption.

Inclusion of Taiwan would have irked China.

Sullivan said the U.S. wants to deepen its economic partnership with Taiwan on a one-to-one basis.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Motorcyclist dead after collision with sedan in Richmond Hill: police

A motorcyclist is dead after a collision with a sedan in Richmond Hill on Sunday, police say.

York Regional Police said emergency crews were called at 9:18 p.m. to Highway 7 and Silver Linden Drive, west of Bayview Avenue.

Police said a male motorcyclist in his late 20s was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

No other injuries were reported.

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Images from the scene show a damaged motorcycle on its side in the intersection with debris strewn in the roadway.

A white car with damage to its passenger side was seen stopped a short distance away.

There is no word on what may have led to the incident.

Roads were closed in the area but have since reopened.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at 9:18 p.m. Sunday.

Emergency crews were called to the scene at 9:18 p.m. Sunday.

Global News

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Honouring Le Estcwicwéy̓: B.C. First Nation marks 1 year since discovery of 215 unmarked graves

A year of reawakened trauma for survivors of residential schools in Canada will be acknowledged Monday, with a ceremony in Kamloops. It will mark the first anniversary of the discovery of presumed, unmarked graves at the former residential school there. Kamil Karamali reports live from Kamloops.

Warning: This story deals with disturbing subject matter that may upset and trigger some readers. Discretion is advised.

It’s been one year since members of Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc learned that 215 suspected unmarked graves had been detected in the apple orchard near the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

The red-bricked institution of assimilation is a haunting visual landmark. Its doors have been shuttered since 1978, but its darkened windows still overlook the South Thompson River in B.C.’s central Interior.

Many of its survivors had always known about Le Estcwicwéy̓ — the missing children — and the preliminary findings of ground-penetrating radar only confirmed their deepest fears.

Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc mourned for a traditional one-year period, and on Monday, welcomed visitors from across the country to join them in a memorial for the ones who never made it home.

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The 215 missing children ‘brought us together,’ says Kúkpi7 Casimir ahead of memorial

The anniversary began with a private sunrise ceremony at the community’s Powwow Arbour, a space of gathering and healing not far from where Le Estcwicwéy̓ are buried. Songs, drumming, dance, and a feast will follow.

The community will host Gov. Gen. Mary Simon and Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Marc Miller in the morning, in addition to several municipal and provincial politicians.

While Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc grieved privately for several days before revealing Le Estcwicwéy̓ to the rest of Canada, the missing children quickly catalyzed a national reckoning on reconciliation.

The gut-wrenching discovery of what lay beneath the old orchard forced many to confront the truth about residential schools. The state- and church-sponsored institutions were built to destroy Indigenous identities, and in the process, subjected children to cruel and sometimes fatal forms of abuse.

In a matter of days, flags were lowered to half-mast around the country. Little shoes, a symbol of those died in residential schools, were placed at the doorsteps of churches, schools and government buildings.

Some communities cancelled Canada Day celebrations to focus on healing and reconciliation, while the federal government declared its first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation would take place on Sept. 30, 2021 — answering a six-year-old call from the National Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

In the months that followed, thousands of suspected unmarked burial sites were detected at former school grounds in several provinces as First Nations undertook ground-penetrating radar searches.

Read more:

A year of trauma, catharsis for Kamloops Indian Residential School survivors

Earlier this month, Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc confirmed another round of radar searches will begin on its territory later this week. That work will take more than a month to complete.

In July, some survivors of Kamloops Indian Residential School are expected to travel to Edmonton to see Pope Francis on his reconciliation pilgrimage to Canada. He will also stop in Iqaluit and Quebec City.

Kúkpi7 Rosanne Casimir has previously expressed profound disappointment that the Holy Father will not stop in Kamloops, given the widespread national and international impact of Le Estcwicwéy̓. She had also hand-delivered an invitation to the pontiff during a historic delegation of Indigenous peoples to the Vatican.

That delegation wrapped up last month with Francis issuing an apology for the “deplorable conduct” of some clergy members in residential schools. The Canadian Council of Catholic Bishops has said it expects him to make similar public statements on Canadian soil.

The Indian Residential Schools Crisis Line (1-866-925-4419) is available 24 hours a day for anyone experiencing pain or distress as a result of their residential school experience.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

May 28 - Kozak Financial Group

Wade Kozak and his team of experts have been advising high net worth Canadians on their financial concerns for over 25 years. Their income-oriented approach to wealth and retirement planning provides a clear picture of the income stream you can draw in retirement, or the ongoing reinvestment opportunity available while you’re still working. For more information, visit their website. 

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

5 songs you must hear this week: 23 May 2022

There’s a very international flavour to this week’s list of suggestions. Canada, the US, Italy, and even Mongolia. Wait–what?

1. The Hu, This is Mongol
Single (Better Noise Entertainment)
Recommend If You Like: Mongolian Metal

Mongolia’s number one metal band (okay, the only band of any kind I can name from Mongolia) will soon return with a sophomore record that they’re showcasing on their current tour of America. (No Canadian dates. Why?) This first single again connects Mongolian culture with the wider world of metal. Damn, I can already hear the audience chanting this one. You don’t need to know the language to headbang.

2.Måneskin, Supermodel
Single (Sony)
RIYL: Eurovision success stories

Winning Eurovision doesn’t guarantee that you’re going to become worldwide stars—in fact, a Eurovision win can work against you—but that’s not the case with Italy’s Måneskin who just keep getting bigger and bigger. This new track, written in LA and produced by Max Martin, should help them maintain their upward trajectory. It sounds to me like Smells Like Teen Spirit if it had been written by the Chili Peppers’ John Frusciante. Their 2022 tour of North America is almost completely sold out, too.

3. Antonio Sanchez, I Think We’re Past That Now (feat. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)
Shift (Bad Hombre Vol. II) (Arts Music/WMG)
RIYL: Nine Inch Nails-adjacent music

Sanchez is a drummer who’s won four Grammy awards and loves to collaborate with as many people as possible (Dave Matthews, Pat Metheny, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Meshell Ndegeocello, Kimbra, and more). This track includes contributions from Trent Reznor and his songwriting partner Atticus Ross. The result is as cool as you hope it would be.

 

4. My Chemical Romance, The Fountains of Decay
Single (WMG)
RIYL: Early 00s emo, obviously

Break out the mascara and style your hair into a swoop because the emo revival is officially on now that MCR has released their first single since 2014’s Fake Your Death. A much-delayed tour (blame COVID) started up last week in the UK and will bring them to Scotiabank Arena in Toronto for two shows in September along with another gig at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

 

5. The Tragically Hip, She Didn’t Know (Live)
Live at the Roxy (Universal)
RIYL: Legal versions of bootlegs

Back on the Road Apples tour, The Tragically Hip rolled into The Roxy in Los Angeles on May 3, 1991. Producer Don Smith was outside in a mobile recording unit rolling tape for Westwood One. Forty minutes of this set were broadcast (and bootlegged) but never officially released as a standalone album. That will change on June 24 when the entire set will be released in a variety of forms. This should get your warmed up.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Driver dead after Toronto crash that led to gas leak

A 68-year-old man is dead after a single-vehicle crash in Toronto Sunday evening that led to a gas leak, police say.

Toronto police said emergency crews were called to the collision in the area of Queen Street East and Kingswood Road, west of Victoria Park Avenue, at 7:11 p.m.

Police said a 68-year-old man driving a Ford F150 pickup truck south on Kingswood Road lost control “for unknown reasons,” crossed the intersection of Kingswood and Queen, and then struck a garage on the south side of the intersection.

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The man died at the scene.

There were initial concerns about a gas leak caused as a result of the crash, but it was later capped.

Toronto police’s Traffic Services Unit continues to investigate.

Anyone with information or video footage of the incident is being asked to contact police at 416-808-1900 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 416-222-8477.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Toronto police investigating after violent night at Woodbine Beach Park

Toronto police are investigating after a violent night at Woodbine Beach Park.

Police said they first received a report of a shooting at 9:44 p.m. Sunday and located a man with a gunshot wound.

Toronto paramedics told Global News that he was taken to a trauma centre with life-threatening injuries.

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After 11 p.m., police tweeted that they received reports that someone had been stabbed at Woodbine Beach Park.

Officers located a man who was taken to hospital with minor injuries.

Then, Toronto police said after midnight that a man had walked into a hospital with a gunshot wound.

Police said the man had been shot earlier at Woodbine Beach Park.

Officers continue to investigate.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

Ukrainian refugees set to land in Canada on 1st of 3 chartered flights

WATCH: Preparing to welcome Ukrainian refugees

The first of three charter flights bringing Ukrainian refugees fleeing Russia’s invasion to Canada is to land in Manitoba Monday afternoon.

The flight is to touch down at around 2 p.m. at the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport.

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Immigration Minister Sean Fraser has said the three flights are to help bring approximately 90,000 Ukrainians approved for emergency travel into Canada.

The second one will leave for Montreal from Poland on May 29 and the third, bound for Halifax, will take off on June 2.

Canada’s government has already welcomed thousands of Ukrainians since Russian forces first attacked in late February.

Manitoba has said refugees will be taken to the province’s Ukrainian Refugee Reception Centre to receive help with settlement after they arrive.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Monkeypox likely spread through sex at 2 raves in Europe, expert suggests

WATCH LIVE: WHO to answer questions on monkeypox amid global spread

A leading adviser to the World Health Organization described the unprecedented outbreak of the rare disease monkeypox in developed countries as “a random event” that might be explained by risky sexual behavior at two recent mass events in Europe.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Dr. David Heymann, who formerly headed WHO’s emergencies department, said the leading theory to explain the spread of the disease was sexual transmission among gay and bisexual men at two raves held in Spain and Belgium.

Monkeypox has not previously triggered widespread outbreaks beyond Africa, where it is endemic in animals.

“We know monkeypox can spread when there is close contact with the lesions of someone who is infected, and it looks like sexual contact has now amplified that transmission,” said Heymann.

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That marks a significant departure from the disease’s typical pattern of spread in central and western Africa, where people are mainly infected by animals like wild rodents and primates and outbreaks have not spilled across borders.

To date, WHO has recorded more than 90 cases of monkeypox in a dozen countries including Britain, Spain, Israel, France, Switzerland, the U.S., Australia and Canada.

Madrid’s senior health official said on Monday that the Spanish capital has recorded 30 confirmed cases so far. Enrique Ruiz Escudero said authorities are investigating possible links between a recent Gay Pride event in the Canary Islands, which drew some 80,000 people, and cases at a Madrid sauna.

Heymann chaired an urgent meeting of WHO’s advisory group on infectious disease threats on Friday to assess the ongoing epidemic and said there was no evidence to suggest that monkeypox might have mutated into a more infectious form.

Monkeypox typically causes fever, chills, rash, and lesions on the face or genitals. It can be spread through close contact with an infected person or their clothing or bedsheets, but sexual transmission has not yet been documented.

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Most people recover from the disease within several weeks without requiring hospitalization. Vaccines against smallpox, a related disease, are also effective in preventing monkeypox and some antiviral drugs are being developed.

In recent years, the disease has been fatal in up to six per cent of infections, but no deaths have been reported among the current cases.

WHO said confirmed cases have so far been the less severe West African group of monkeypox viruses and appeared to be linked to a virus that was first detected in exported cases from Nigeria to Britain, Israel and Singapore in 2018-2019.

The UN agency said the outbreak is “a highly unusual event” and said the fact that cases are being seen in so many different countries suggests the disease may have been silently spreading for some time.

The agency’s Europe director warned that as summer begins across the continent, mass gatherings, festivals and parties could accelerate the spread of monkeypox.

Other scientists have pointed out that it will be difficult to disentangle whether it is sex itself or the close contact related to sex that has driven the recent spread of monkeypox across Europe.

“By nature, sexual activity involves intimate contact, which one would expect to increase the likelihood of transmission, whatever a person’s sexual orientation and irrespective of the mode of transmission,” said Mike Skinner, a virologist at Imperial College London.

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More cases of monkeypox expected to emerge around the world, WHO says

On Sunday, the chief medical adviser of Britain’s Health Security Agency, Dr. Susan Hopkins, said she expected more monkeypox cases to be identified in the country “on a daily basis.”

U.K. officials have said “a notable proportion” of the cases in Britain and Europe have been in young men with no history of travel to Africa and who are gay, bisexual or have sex with men.

Authorities in Portugal and Spain also said their cases were in men who mostly had sex with other men and whose infections were picked up when they sought help for lesions at sexual health clinics.

Heymann, who is also a professor of infectious diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, said the monkeypox outbreak was likely a random event that might be traceable to a single infection.

“It’s very possible there was somebody who got infected, developed lesions on the genitals, hands or somewhere else, and then spread it to others when there was sexual or close, physical contact,” Heymann hypothesized. “And then there were these international events that seeded the outbreak around the world, into the U.S. and other European countries.”

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Monkeypox: Here are the treatments and what to do when infected

He emphasized that the disease was unlikely to trigger widespread transmission.

“This is not COVID,” he said. “We need to slow it down, but it does not spread in the air and we have vaccines to protect against it.” Heymann said studies should be conducted rapidly to determine if monkeypox could be spread by people without symptoms and that populations at risk of the disease should take precautions to protect themselves.

© 2022 The Canadian Press

Russian solider sentenced to life in jail during Ukraine war crimes trial

A Ukrainian court sentenced a Russian soldier to life in prison on Monday for killing an unarmed civilian in the first war crimes trial arising from Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion.

Vadim Shishimarin, a 21-year-old tank commander, had pleaded guilty to killing 62-year-old Oleksandr Shelipov in the northeastern Ukrainian village of Chupakhivka on Feb. 28 after being ordered to shoot him.

Judge Serhiy Agafonov said Shishimarin, carrying out a “criminal order” by a soldier of higher rank, had fired several shots at the victim’s head from an automatic weapon.

“The court has decided: Shishimarin Vadim Evgenyevich … is found guilty … and sentenced him to life imprisonment,” he said.

“Given that the crime committed is a crime against peace, security, humanity and the international legal order … the court does not see the possibility of imposing a (shorter) sentence of imprisonment on Shishimarin for a certain period.”

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Shishimarin, wearing a blue and grey hooded sweatshirt, watched proceedings silently from a reinforced glass box in the courtroom and showed no emotion as the verdict was read out.

For much of the time, he stood with head bowed as he listened to a translator who stood with two guards outside the reinforced glass box.

The trial has huge symbolic significance for Ukraine, which has accused Russia of atrocities and brutality against civilians during the invasion and said it has identified more than 10,000 possible war crimes.

Russia has denied targeting civilians or involvement in war crimes.

The Kremlin did not immediately comment on the verdict. It has previously said that it has no information about the trial and that the absence of a diplomatic mission in Ukraine limits its ability to provide assistance.

Ukrainian state prosecutors said Shishimarin and four other Russian servicemen stole a privately owned car to escape after their column was targeted by Ukrainian forces. The soldiers then drove into the village of Chupakhivka where they saw Shelipov riding a bicycle and talking on his phone, they said.

The prosecutors said Shishimarin was ordered by another serviceman to kill the civilian to prevent him reporting on the Russians’ presence and he fired several shots through the open window of the car with an assault rifle at Shelipov’s head. Shelipov died on the spot.

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In court last week, Shishimarin acknowledged he was to blame and asked the victim’s widow, Kateryna Shelipova, to forgive him.

© 2022 Reuters

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