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 Aug. 20 ...
What we are watching in Canada ...
A third wildfire near a village at the southern end of Columbia Lake in British Columbia has been added to a list of wildfires of note and prompted an evacuation order on Wednesday.
The BC Wildfire Service says the Doctor Creek fire about 25 kilometres southwest of Canal Flats was estimated to be four square kilometres in size and was expected to grow.
The Regional District of East Kootenay issued an evacuation order for 10 properties in the Findlay Creek area affected by the fire.
The service says the fire was caused by lightning with 20 firefighters and a 20-person crew on the ground responding to it, adding that heavy equipment was en route.
The Christie Mountain fire near Penticton prompted the evacuation of 319 properties on Tuesday.
The blaze remained at 14 square kilometres after it was spotted a day earlier burning above Skaha Lake, not far from the city's boundary.
Karla Kozakevich, chairwoman of the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen, said one home had burned in the wildfire.
Also this ...
Federal prosecutors are being instructed to criminally prosecute only the most serious drug possession offences and to find alternatives outside the criminal justice system for the rest.
The directive is contained in a new guideline issued by the director of public prosecutions, Kathleen Roussel.
"The approach set out in this guideline directs prosecutors to focus upon the most serious cases raising public safety concerns for prosecution and to otherwise pursue suitable alternative measures and diversion from the criminal justice system for simple possession cases," it states.
In all instances, the guideline says alternatives to prosecution should be considered if the possession offence involves a person enrolled in a drug treatment court program or an addiction treatment program supervised by a health professional.
The same applies in cases that involve a violation of bail conditions and can be addressed adequately by a judicial referral hearing, as well as cases where the offender's conduct can be dealt with by an approved alternative measure, including Indigenous and non-Indigenous "restorative justice" responses.
The guideline says criminal prosecution for possession of a controlled substance "should generally be reserved for the most serious manifestations of the offence." It says cases would be considered serious if a person caught in possession of an illegal drug was engaged in conduct that could endanger the health or safety of others.
What we are watching in the U.S. ...
Former President Barack Obama warned that American democracy could falter if President Donald Trump is reelected, a stunning rebuke of his successor that was echoed by Kamala Harris at the Democratic Convention Wednesday night as she embraced her historic role as the first Black woman on a national political ticket.
Obama, himself a barrier breaker as the nation's first Black president, pleaded with voters to "embrace your own responsibility as citizens – to make sure that the basic tenets of our democracy endure. Because that's what is at stake right now. Our democracy."
Throughout their convention, the Democrats have summoned a collective urgency about the dangers of Trump as president. In 2016, they dismissed and sometimes trivialized him. Now they are casting him as an existential threat to the country. The tone signals anew that the fall campaign between Trump and Joe Biden, already expected to be among the most negative of the past half century, will be filled with rancour and recrimination.
Yet on the third night of the Democrats' four-day convention, party leaders also sought to put forward a cohesive vision of their values and policy priorities, highlighting efforts to combat climate change and tighten gun laws. They drew a sharp contrast with Trump, portraying him as cruel in his treatment of immigrants, disinterested in the nation's climate crisis and over his head on virtually all of the nation's most pressing challenges.
Democrats also demonstrated a hope that Biden, a 77-year-old white man, can revive the coalition that helped put Obama into office, with minorities, younger voters and college-educated women blunting Trump's lock on many white and rural voters.
The evening marked a celebration of the party's leading women, including remarks from Hillary Clinton, the first woman to become a major ticket presidential nominee; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who challenged Biden during the primary and is now supporting his campaign.
Harris, a 55-year-old California senator and the daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants, addressed race and equality in a personal way Biden cannot when he formally accepts his party's presidential nomination on Thursday.
What we are watching in the world ...
Hundreds of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip on Wednesday rallied against the U.S.-brokered deal to normalize ties between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Protesters burned Israeli and American flags, trampled on posters of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Donald Trump, and chanted "normalization is betrayal to Jerusalem and Palestine."
Unlike Palestinian protesters last Friday near the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City who also burned posters of the Emirati crown prince, the Gaza demonstrators stopped short of burning symbols of the UAE — apparently not to antagonize the Gulf Arab country, where tens of thousands of Palestinians work and live.
The demonstrators in Gaza City also voiced support for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for his rejection of President Donald Trump's Mideast plan, which the Palestinians say unfairly favours Israel.
The protest was organized by the militant Hamas group, which rules the Gaza Strip, and other factions.
Khalil al-Hayya, a senior Hamas official, denounced the Israeli-Emirati deal.
On this day in 2016 ...
Iconic Canadian rockers The Tragically Hip played their final show to a sold-out crowd at the K-Rock Centre in the band's hometown of Kingston, Ont. It was broadcast live by the CBC and more than 400 public screenings were held across the country. In late 2015, frontman Gord Downie was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and died Oct. 17, 2017.
In entertainment news ...
"Schitt's Creek" star and co-creator Daniel Levy is taking a free University of Alberta course called Indigenous Canada — and he wants others to join him.
The Toronto-raised actor, writer and showrunner promoted the online course in a video on his social media.
Levy says he recently signed up for the course, which has 12 lessons that explore Indigenous histories and contemporary issues in Canada.
The university's website says the course is told from an Indigenous perspective and highlights national and local Indigenous-settler relations.
Levy said he plans to host weekly discussions with the course professors, starting this Sunday afternoon.
"I thought if I am going to sign up and learn, maybe some other people would want to join me and we could do this as a group," Levy says in his social media video.
Weird and wild ...
A mysterious beverage advertised in a newspaper from the 1800's is available for sipping once again.
Paul Fairie, a community health research at the University of Calgary, regularly peruses old digitized newspapers and posts on Twitter the oddities he comes across.
In June, he found an 1883 edition of the Calgary Herald with the phrases "buy Cronk," "Cronk is the drink" and — simply — "Cronk" interspersed between news articles.
Social media users began posting photos of antique Cronk bottles and someone unearthed a recipe for Dr. Cronk's Sarsaparilla Beer.
Cold Garden Beverage Company decided to try brewing the drink, and 1,800, 375-millilitre bottles went on sale Wednesday.
There was a lineup soon after the brewery opened.
Brewer Trevor Cox says it took two tries to get the taste right, because the wrong kind of molasses was used the first time.
Cox says Cronk tastes like an herbal liqueur that's diluted and fizzy.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 20, 2020
The Canadian Press