The Canadian Press
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 Oct. 9 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
Statistics Canada will report this morning how well the country's job market fared in September.
After seeing a historic drop of some three million jobs over March and April at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has since recovered almost two-thirds of what was lost.
Expectations are for a gain in September, but at a slower pace than previous months.
Financial data firm Refinitiv says the average economist estimate is for a gain of 156,600 jobs in September and an unemployment rate of 9.7 per cent. There may also be a rebound in employment for working mothers as schools reopened, removing some of the child-care strain.
Canada's labour market gained 240,000 jobs in August, a slowing from the 418,500 jobs gained in July, and the unemployment rate dropped to 10.2 per cent as part of a continuing slide down from the record-high 13.7 per cent in May.
Economists have noted faster gains in part-time versus full-time work, and an increasing share of part-time workers who prefer full-time work compared a year ago.
Also this ...
A new poll suggests Canadians have a largely favourable view of police in their communities but Indigenous people, members of visible minority groups and younger Canadians are less impressed.
Seventy-seven per cent of Caucasian respondents to the Angus Reid Institute survey said they had a favourable or very favourable view of their local police.
But that dropped to 72 per cent for Indigenous respondents and 67 per cent for those who identified themselves as members of a visible minority.
The contrast among different age groups was even more stark, with just 51 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds expressing a favourable view — a percentage that rose through each successive age group to a high of 86 per cent among those 65 or older.
Younger Canadians were also far more likely than older Canadians to report having had at least one direct interaction with police over the past five years while, among those who did interact, Indigenous respondents were most likely to say their experiences were negative.
The online poll of 5,005 adult Canadians was conducted Aug. 26 to Sept. 1; it cannot be assigned a margin of error because internet-based polls are not considered random samples.
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
The campaign's final debates between President Donald Trump and Democrat Joe Biden were thrown into uncertainty Thursday as the rival camps offered dueling proposals for the remaining faceoffs that have been upended by the president’s coronavirus infection.
The chair of the nonpartisan Commission on Presidential Debates told The Associated Press that the final debate, scheduled for Oct. 22, was still slated to go on with both candidates present as planned. But next Thursday's debate seemed to be gone, after the Trump team objected to the commission's format change.
The whipsaw day began with an announcement from the commission that the town hall-style affair set for Oct. 15 in Miami would be held virtually. The commission cited health concerns following Trump’s infection as the reason for the change.
Trump, who is eager to return to the campaign trail despite uncertainty about his health, said he wouldn’t participate if the debate wasn’t in person. Biden's campaign then suggested the event be delayed a week until Oct. 22, which is when the third and final debate was already scheduled.
Next, Trump countered again, agreeing to a debate on Oct. 22 — but only if face to face — and asking that a third contest be added on Oct. 29, just before the election. But Biden's advisers rejected squaring off that late in the campaign.
After the release late Thursday of a letter from Trump doctor Navy Cmdr. Sean Conley that the president had “completed his course of therapy” and could resume campaigning this weekend, the Trump campaign called on the commission to hold next week's debate in person as originally scheduled.
What we are watching in the rest of the world ...
The U.S. military was blindsided Thursday by President Donald Trump's assertion that all U.S. troops will be out of Afghanistan by the end of the year, with U.S. officials saying they are not aware of such a plan and have gotten no actual order to accelerate the more gradual pullout they've been executing.
Trump's comments, laid out in a confusing progression of comments and a tweet, alarmed Pentagon and State officials who fear that putting a definitive date on troop withdrawal could undercut negotiations to finalize a peace deal between the Taliban and the Afghan government. They also fear a hasty withdrawal could force the U.S. to leave behind sensitive military equipment. And they continue to stress that the Taliban has still not met requirements to reduce violence against the Afghans, a key element of the U.S. withdrawal plan.
The Taliban welcomed Trump's announcements, which started with a tweet Wednesday saying “we should have the small remaining number of our BRAVE Men and Women serving in Afghanistan home by Christmas.” He reinforced early withdrawal plans Thursday morning, in a Fox Business Channel interview that understated the number of troops currently in Afghanistan.
“We’re down to 4,000 troops in Afghanistan. I’ll have them home by the end of the year. They’re coming home, you know, as we speak. Nineteen years is enough. They’re acting as policemen, OK? They’re not acting as troops," Trump said.
Multiple U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive troop details, said they know of no plan for either new deadline. Instead, they pointed to comments Wednesday by National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who told an audience in Las Vegas that “as of today, there are under 5,000 and that will go to 2,500 by early next year.”
U.S. officials said troop numbers have not yet been reduced to 4,500, but will hit that goal in November as planned. The military has also consistently said that counterterrorism troops would remain in Afghanistan for some time to deal with al-Qaida and Islamic State threats.
On this day in 2000 ...
Kenneth Dyer, a retired admiral who acted on his own and sent Canadian warships to sea to help the United States during the Cuban missile crisis, died. He was 85.
In sports ...
Curling Canada will likely have to follow the lead of hockey and basketball by using a fan-less hub city approach in order to salvage showcase events like the Scotties Tournament of Hearts and Tim Hortons Brier this season.
Original plans to hold the Scotties in Thunder Bay in February and the Brier in Kelowna in March have been all but officially dashed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Curling Canada high-performance director Gerry Peckham says the federation is "definitely getting into the deep end of the pool" regarding the possibility of a hub city concept.
There's no immediate word on potential hub city locations or timing. A Curling Canada spokesman says the federation is still working on a number of different options and hopes to announce something soon.
In entertainment ...
Netflix Canada is increasing some of its prices again.
The streaming giant says the basic plan for subscribers remains unchanged at $9.99 a month, but the standard monthly plan is going up by one dollar to $14.99, and the premium by two dollars to $18.99.
Netflix says it's implementing the price increase so it "can invest more in films and shows as well as the quality of members' product experience."
The company says new members who sign up will see the updated prices effective immediately.
The new charges will roll out to existing members according to their billing cycle over the coming weeks.
Existing members will be notified about the change via email and the Netflix app 30 days before the new prices are applied to them.
If you're young and hungry, the place to go is New York City — even if you weigh 25 tons and have a blowhole.
Whale watch captains and scientists around America's most populous city say recent years have seen a tremendous surge in the number of whales observed in the waters around the Big Apple. Many of the whales are juvenile humpbacks, and scientists say they're drawn to New York by an abundance of the small fish they love to eat.
There are numerous theories about why whales are suddenly flocking to the city, but one of the most widely held is that the menhaden population has grown around New York and New Jersey. Menhaden are small, schooling fish that humpbacks relish, and environmentalists believe cleaner waters and stricter conservation laws have increased their numbers near New York City.
Gotham Whale, a New York City-based whale research organization, made more than 300 observations of 500 total whales in 2019, said Paul Sieswerda, the non-profit's president. That's up from three sightings of five whales in 2011, after which a steady climb began, he said.
“Somehow or other more and more whales seem to be getting the message that New York is a good place to dine,” Sieswerda said. “That kind of magnitude of increase is just phenomenal.”
The resurgence of whales in the New York-New Jersey Bight, a triangle-shaped indentation in the Atlantic coast, has attracted tourists who want to see and photograph the giant marine mammals. But the concentration of whales near New York City also poses risks to the mammals, as they ply some of the most heavily traversed waters on the planet.
The whales are essentially “playing in traffic” by feeding so close to busy shipping lanes, Sieswerda said. And the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has already declared an “unusual mortality event” for humpback whales from Maine to Florida in recent years due to an elevated number of deaths.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 9, 2020
The Canadian Press