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Vigil for London attack victims, Montreal Canadiens move on : In The News for June 8


In The News is a roundup of stories from The Canadian Press designed to kickstart your day. Here is what's on the radar of our editors for the morning of June 8 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

A vigil is scheduled for tonight at the local mosque of the family struck and killed by a driver in London, Ont. which police said was an intentional attack. 

The London Muslim Mosque said the city and the country are devastated in the aftermath of the Sunday attack that killed four people and sent a nine-year-old boy to hospital.

Police said the family were targeted because they are Muslim.

The vigil will be held at the mosque parking lot tonight at 7 p.m. 

Autopsies are scheduled for today for the four family members who died after the pickup truck driver mounted a curb, struck them and drove away.

Police have not released the names of the victims, but a statement released by the family late Monday identifies them as Salman Afzaal, 46, his 44-year-old wife Madiha Salman, their 15-year-old daughter Yumna Salman and Afzaal's 74-year-old mother.

The couple's nine-year-old son Fayez was seriously injured but is expected to survive.

Sana Yasir, a friend of the family who lived down the street, confirmed she had been in touch with Afzaal's brother and sister-in-law and released the statement on their behalf.

"We need to understand that the destruction of a family in the brutal and horrific manner like this is something we must all stand against," the statement reads. "We need to stand against hate and Islamophobia and raise awareness in our communities and throughout all political spectrum."

 Yasir said the family was well known within the local Pakistani-Muslim community.

"They were the most loving, caring and genuine family and would always greet you with a smile," she said.

Dozens came out to the scene of the attack on Monday night to pay tribute. 

People cried, hugged and placed flowers around a light pole and a nearby tree, a metre away from where the truck hopped the curb onto the sidewalk.

Rauf Ahmad and three of his friends watched the growing tribute on the corner. The group said they all had members who were killed in Pakistan over their Muslim faith. 

“I didn’t think there was racism in Canada and I felt very safe when I came here two years ago, but I do not feel safe now,” Ahmad said.

“Humanity is first, we should not care about whether someone is a Muslim, a Jew or a Christian.”

A 20-year-old London man has been arrested and charged in the attack. 


Also this ...

A new survey suggests two-thirds of Canadians believe the churches that ran residential schools should bear responsibility for the abuses against children, including deaths, that happened there.

The online survey by Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies was carried out about a week after Tk’emlups te Secwepec First Nation (KEM'-loops the sha-WHEP'-em) said ground-penetrating radar detected what are believed to be the remains of 215 children at a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C.

The survey also found that 80 per cent of respondents say what was found in Kamloops is only the tip of the iceberg and the same amount who said Canadians should feel ashamed residential schools, which were funded by the federal government, ever existed.

Seventy-seven of respondents say the government should order all the grounds surrounding former residential schools in Canada be systematically searched to find out if what happened in Kamloops also happened in other places.

Leger vice-president Andrew Enns says the fact that a majority of Canadians blame churches for the tragedies at residential schools is timely, given Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called on the Catholic Church, which ran the Kamloops residential school, to take responsibility.


And this ...

The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime on Monday to complete a surprising four-game sweep in their second-round playoff series.

Tyler Toffoli took a cross-crease pass from rookie Cole Caufield and buried his fourth of the post-season on Connor Hellebuyck with a one-timer for the winner.

Erik Gustafsson and Artturi Lehkonen had the goals in regulation for Montreal, which has won seven straight post-season games after coming back from a 3-1 deficit to stun the Toronto Maple Leafs in the opening round. Toffoli, who scored 28 times in the regular season, also had an assist.

Carey Price made 14 saves for the North Division's underdog No. 4 seed in front of another boisterous crowd of 2,500 fans at the Bell Centre.

The 16th and final team to qualify for the playoffs after winning just one of their final nine regular-season games in regulation, the Canadiens are the first club to make the semifinals of the Stanley Cup tournament in 2021.

Montreal now awaits the winner between the Colorado Avalanche and Vegas Golden Knights, who are tied 2-2 with Game 5 set for Tuesday in Denver.


What we are watching in the U.S. ...

WASHINGTON — Most of a multimillion-dollar ransom payment made to hackers after a cyberattack caused the operator of the largest fuel pipeline in the United States to halt its operations last month has been recovered by the Justice Department.

The operation to recover the cryptocurrency from the Russia-based hacker group is the first undertaken by a specialized ransomware task force created by the Biden administration, and reflects a rare victory as U.S. officials scramble to confront a rapidly accelerating ransomware threat that has targeted critical industries around the world.

“By going after the entire ecosystem that fuels ransomware and digital currency, we will continue to use all of our tools and all of our resources to increase the costs and the consequences of ransomware attacks and other cyber-enabled attacks,” Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco told a news conference Monday announcing the operation.

Georgia-based Colonial Pipeline, which supplies roughly half the fuel consumed on the East Coast, temporarily shut down its operations on May 7 after a gang of cybercriminals using the DarkSide ransomware variant broke into its computer system. The ransomware variant used by DarkSide, which has been the subject of an FBI investigation for the last year, is one of more than 100 that law enforcement officials have identified, said FBI Deputy Director Paul Abbate.

Colonial officials have said they took their pipeline system offline before the attack could spread to its operating systems, and decided soon after to pay ransom of 75 bitcoin — then valued at roughly $4.4 million — in hopes of bringing itself back online as soon as it could. The company's chief executive is set to testify before congressional panels this week.


What we are watching in the rest of the world ...

GENEVA — A top World Health Organization official estimates that COVID-19 vaccination coverage of over 80 per cent is needed to significantly lower the chance that an "imported" coronavirus case could spawn a cluster or a wider outbreak. 

Dr. Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, told a news conference Monday that "high levels of vaccination coverage are the way out of this pandemic.”  

Ryan acknowledged that data wasn’t fully clear about the what percentage of vaccination coverage was necessary to fully have an impact on transmission.

“But ... it’s certainly north of 80 per cent coverage to be in a position where you could be significantly affecting the risk of an imported case potentially generating secondary cases or causing a cluster or an outbreak,” he said.

“So it does require quite high levels of vaccination, particularly in the context of more transmissible variants, to be on the safe side."

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, meanwhile, called on leaders of the developed Group of Seven countries to help the UN-backed vaccination program against COVID-19 to boost access to doses in the developing world.

With G-7 leaders set to meet in England later this week, Tedros said they could help meet his target that at least 10 per cent of the populations in every country are vaccinated by the end of September — and 30 per cent by year-end.

“To reach these targets, we need an additional 250 million doses by September, and we need hundreds of million doses just in June and July,” he said.


On this day in 1866 ...

The first meeting of the Canadian Parliament was held in Ottawa. The meeting was held in the Parliament buildings, which were still unfinished. Construction on the complex had begun in 1857, when Queen Victoria chose Ottawa to be the national capital, and would not finish until 1877.


In entertainment ...

NEW YORK—  The Boss is returning to Broadway.

Bruce Springsteen is making his return this summer for a limited run of his one-man show "Springsteen on Broadway." Performances at the St. James Theatre begin June 26 with an end date set — at least for now — for Sept. 4.

"I loved doing 'Springsteen on Broadway' and I'm thrilled to have been asked to reprise the show as part of the reopening of Broadway," the rocker said in a statement.

"Springsteen on Broadway" debuted in 2017 and was extended three times, finally closing in late 2018. Columbia Records put out a two-disc soundtrack of "Springsteen on Broadway" and a filmed version of the show is on Netflix.

In the show, Springsteen performs 15 songs — including "My Hometown," "Thunder Road," and "Born in the USA" — and tells stories about growing up in New Jersey. Some of the stories will be familiar to readers of his autobiography, and he even reads from it. His wife, Patti Scialfa, accompanies him for "Brilliant Disguise."

Audience members will be required to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination in order to enter the theatre.



TORONTO — Barely two months before she'll step up to the start line at the Tokyo Olympics, 800-metre runner Melissa Bishop-Nriagu was confined to her home for a 14-day quarantine. 

The Olympian travelled to the U.S. in search of decent races and conditions to run the Olympic qualifying standard. After successfully accomplishing her mission it was back to Windsor, Ont., to her husband and young daughter, and the four walls of her home gym for two weeks. 

"It's not an ideal scenario. But it is the world we live in right now," she said before flying home from California.

It's a different story for NHL players.

The federal government announced Sunday it was issuing a travel exemption for the NHL playoffs, meaning the North Division winner, either Montreal or Winnipeg, and their U.S. opponent, can cross the border for the next round of the playoffs, without the 14-day quarantine faced by most Canadians.

The move was met with frustration from other sports organizations. 

"Thinking of athletes like Melissa Bishop, who's had to go to San Diego to make her Olympic standard, and comes back, has to quarantine, the impact on her training plan to be at a peak in Tokyo was massive," said Dominick Gauthier, co-founder of B2ten, a private Canadian group that assists elite athletes.

"And now they do this for the NHL player? It's infuriating."

NHL protocols include pre- and post-departure testing when crossing the border. Players are confined to their hotels and the arena. Canadian players can stay at their homes while here. 

Immigration Minister Marco Mendicino said the government "will take any other proposals from professional sports on a case-by-case basis." 


This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 8, 2021

The Canadian Press

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