NBA protest, Quebec schools return and Hurricane Laura: In The News for Aug. 27

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. 27 ...

What we are watching in Canada ...

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A decision on the status of the Toronto Raptors' playoff game Thursday has not been made following the NBA's postponement of three games Wednesday in the wake of a weekend police shooting in Wisconsin.

Raptors and Boston Celtics players said they were considering boycotting the series opener hours before the Milwaukee Bucks took that action Wednesday prior to their contest against the Orlando Magic. The NBA eventually postponed all three games Wednesday at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.

A person with knowledge of the situation says the NBA's board of governors have called a meeting Thursday to discuss the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the meeting plan was not revealed publicly.

The moves comes after the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, about 65 kilometres miles south of Milwaukee.

Meanwhile, Toronto Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo says there will be discussions about whether to play Thursday's game against the Boston Red Sox in Buffalo, N.Y.

The NHL went ahead with three playoff games in Toronto and Edmonton on Wednesday. Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer and the WNBA all postponed some or all games Wednesday and the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in New York says it will not hold play on Thursday.


Also this ...

Thousands of Quebec schoolchildren are heading back to class today, putting the provincial government's controversial back-to-school plan to the test.

As Montreal's French-language schools open their doors, kids can expect fewer hugs but lots of hand-washing, some mask-wearing and schoolyards sectioned off with tape to prevent extra mingling.

Each roomful of kids will be kept in a separate bubble and masks will be required in hallways and in common areas for children in Grade 5 and up.

The government has faced criticism from groups who say the plan doesn't go far enough and doesn't include a distance-learning option for parents who prefer to keep their children home.

More than 150 doctors and scientists also published an open letter this week urging Francois Legault's government to require social distancing within classrooms, mask-wearing for all students, and to oblige schools to screen children for symptoms of COVID-19.

Legault's government has said the plan was developed with health and education experts, who agree that attending school is the best thing for children's well-being.


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

Republicans, led by Vice-President Mike Pence, delivered a triumphal paean to American heroes Wednesday on Day 3 of their national convention, paying tribute to embattled law enforcement officers even as protesters raged once more over the seemingly unprovoked police shooting of another unarmed Black man.

The evening's proceedings, the week's penultimate night of presidential cheerleading, ended with a flourish as Donald Trump himself joined Pence on stage at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Md., after the vice-president delivered the week's most emphatic argument for four more years of Republican rule.

But the closest he or anyone else came to mentioning Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old father of three who was shot in the back seven times Sunday by a Wisconsin police officer, was to mention Kenosha, the city where the shooting took place — a city now roiled by nightly protests that turned deadly Tuesday when an armed 17-year-old opened fire on protesters.

"President Trump and I will always support the right of Americans to peaceful protest, but rioting and looting is not peaceful protest — tearing down statues is not free speech and those who do so will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law," Pence said.

"The violence must stop, whether in Minneapolis, Portland or Kenosha. Too many heroes have died defending our freedom to see Americans strike each other down. We will have law and order on the streets of this country for every American, of every race and creed and colour."

The palpable anger over systemic racism and police violence, which tipped into three months of sustained turmoil with the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, was clearly the intended backdrop when Tennessee Sen. Marsha Blackburn strode to the podium to sing the praises of police officers and soldiers.


And ...

Hurricane Laura made landfall in southwestern Louisiana as a ferocious Category 4 monster with 240 km/h winds early Thursday, swamping a low-lying coast with ocean water that forecasters said could be six metres deep and unsurvivable.

The National Hurricane Center said the storm, which intensified rapidly Wednesday before plowing into land, came ashore at 1 a.m. CDT near Cameron, a small community about 48 kilometres east of the Texas border,

"Potentially catastrophic impacts will continue," forecasters said.

Winds gusted above hurricane force to 204 km/h while Laura's northern eyewall moved onshore over Cameron Parish, the National Hurricane Center, and forecasters said even stronger winds were possible that could rip apart buildings, level trees and toss vehicles like toys.

Authorities had implored coastal residents of Texas and Louisiana to evacuate, but not everyone did before howling winds began buffeting trees back and forth in an area that was devastated by Rita in 2005.

Video and photos on social media showed torrents of rain flying sideways past street lights in Lake Charles, and streets covered with water closer to the coast. A sudden storm surge knocked over cameras meant to capture the hurricane’s effects.


On this day in 1992 ...

The Supreme Court of Canada quashed Ernst Zundel's conviction for spreading false news about the deaths of six million Jews in the Holocaust. In a 4-3 decision, the court declared the law unconstitutional because it violated the guarantee of freedom of expression contained in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.


In entertainment news ...

Telefilm Canada is committing $100,000 a year towards the creation of a Black Screen Office.

Telefilm announced the pledge after meeting earlier in the week with filmmakers who have called for the formation of a institution dedicated to expanding the reach of Black stories onscreen.

Telefilm executive director Christa Dickenson says the move marks a "concrete step" towards addressing systemic racism in Canada's film industry.

The Crown corporation is bolstering its diversity initiatives after facing criticism last month from filmmakers who said it could do more to support marginalized creators.

Members of the Black Screen Office Ad Hoc Group, which includes producers Jennifer Holness, Damon D'Oliveira and Joan Jenkinson, applauded Telefilm for being the first Canadian agency to contribute to the initiative.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 27, 2020

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