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Just In: Canada legalises Marijuana

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Canada legalises marijuana for recreation. Above a marijuana or Ganja farm

Canada legalises marijuana for recreation. Above a marijuana or Ganja farm

Nearly a century of marijuana prohibition came to an end Wednesday as Canada became the first major Western nation to legalise and regulate its sale and recreational use.

The change was praised by pot enthusiasts and investors in a budding industry that has seen pot stocks soar on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges, but sharply questioned by some health professionals and opposition politicians.

“We’re not legalising cannabis because we think it’s good for our health. We’re doing it because we know it’s not good for our children,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on the eve of the reform.

“We know we need to do a better job to protect our children and to eliminate or massively reduce the profits that go to organised crime.”

The Cannabis Act, which fulfils a promise Trudeau made in the 2015 election campaign, makes Canada only the second nation after Uruguay to legalise the drug.

Its implementation will be scrutinised and dissected by Canadians ahead of the next election in 2019, as well as other nations that the prime minister has said may follow suit if the measure proves a success.

Trudeau himself admitted in 2013 to having smoked pot five or six times in his life, including at a dinner party with friends after being elected to parliament.

He has also said that his late brother Michel was facing marijuana possession charges for a “tiny amount” of pot before his death in an avalanche in 1998, and that this influenced his decision to propose legalising cannabis.

But Trudeau’s office told AFP he “does not plan on purchasing or consuming cannabis once it is legalised.”

In total, Statistics Canada says 5.4 million Canadians will buy cannabis from legal dispensaries in 2018 — about 15 percent of the population. Around 4.9 million already smoke.

Stores in St. John’s in the Atlantic island province of Newfoundland were due to open their doors to pot enthusiasts as of 12:01 am local time (0231 GMT) on Wednesday.

“I’m going to have a lot more variety than the black market dealers, so you have a lot more choice at our store. The prices are very comparable,” Thomas Clarke, owner of THC Distribution store, told public broadcaster CBC just prior to the big event.

Under the new regulations, Canadians at least 18 or 19 years old (soon to be 21 in Quebec) will be allowed to buy up to 30 grams of cannabis, and grow up to four plants at home.

A patchwork of private and public cannabis retail stores and online sales have been set up across the 13 provinces and territories, ramping up to 300 storefronts by year’s end, the government predicts.

To meet demand, hundreds of growers have been licensed, some taking over horticulture and floriculture greenhouses.

This new industry has attracted billions in funding, as well as interest from alcohol and soft drink makers such as Constellation Brands and Coca-Cola, respectively, which have expressed an interest in developing cannabis infused drinks.

Cannabis sales are forecast to boost economic growth by up to Can$1.1 billion and provide a Can$400 million tax revenue windfall for the government, according to Statistics Canada.

Public health officials contend that smoking cannabis is as harmful as tobacco, but welcome what they call the opportunity that legalisation affords for open dialogue.

Some doctors, however, remain wary. Diane Kelsall, editor in chief of the Canadian Medical Association Journal, called legalisation “a national, uncontrolled experiment in which the profits of cannabis producers and tax revenues are squarely pitched against the health of Canadians.”

Police, meanwhile, are scrambling to prepare for a predicted uptick in drug-impaired driving.

It’s unclear as yet if the new framework will succeed in undercutting the black market, as prices for illicit pot have plunged in the last year to an average of Can$6.79 per gram, and most sellers had planned to charge more.

Bill Blair, a former police chief in Toronto who is Trudeau’s pointman for pot legalisation, remains optimistic.

“For almost a century, criminal enterprises had complete control of this market, 100 percent of its production and distribution and they profited in the billions of dollars each year. I suspect they’re not going to go gently into the night,” he told AFP.

“But the fact that some individuals want to cling to a prohibition model that has led to the highest rates of cannabis use of any country in the world is a little shocking to me,” he said.

According to a recent Abacus Data poll published on Monday, 70 percent of Canadians accept or support legalisation.

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate change

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change

UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on international community to evolve measures to prepare the African continent for the ravages of climate change.

Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who made the call at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, said preparing Africa for the reality of climate change “cannot be an afterthought.”

Eziakonwa said: “Taking reactive approaches to food security and disaster recovery costs the people of Africa billions of dollars in lost GDP, and syphons off government resources that should be dedicated to education, social programmes, healthcare, business development and employment”.

According to a new report launched by the UNDP, Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains.

For two weeks, the COP24 has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective: adopting global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

At the Paris Agreement, countries committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.

Ahunna noted that in spite of major structural inequalities, nations across the continent have achieved “impressive economic, political and social growth in recent decades.”

She, however, argued that “climate change, droughts, floods, changing rainfall patterns and conflict have the potential to unravel efforts to reduce hunger and achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The UNDP study shows that, should the world fail to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade, families will find it hard to feed themselves, and the risk of famine and increased poverty will rise along with temperatures.

Higher levels of poverty would further limit the capacity of communities to manage climate-related risks, according to the report.

The report warned that failure to mitigate climate-related risks could translate into more risky migration patterns, serious epidemics such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak across West Africa, and greater political instability.

Drawing on years of data from projects geared to enabling communities to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience, the report shows that as emissions continue going up, support for climate adaptation initiatives must be increased urgently and accelerated across the continent, especially across the 34 African least developed countries.

However, measures to enable communities to adapt to the changing climate is a costly matter that would require creative financial mechanisms and substantial engagement with the private sector to meet.

It would also require developed nations to make good on their 2015 Paris Agreement commitments to dedicate $100 billion annually to supporting climate action in developing nations.

The report analyses a number of noteworthy successes in climate change adaptation in Africa over the past decade, including projects aimed at improving food security in Benin, Mali, Niger and Sudan.

It also analysed supporting governments in having improved climate information and early warning systems to save lives from fast-acting storms; and empowering women to be effective climate action champions.

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Ukraine demands release of seized ships, crew from Russia

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

The Ukrainian authority has protested Russian’s armed attack and capturing of its navy ships “Berdyansk” Nikopol and the tug boat `Yana Kapu’ as well as injuring of the crew members.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk who said this in a statement in Abuja said the country demanded for immediate release of the seized vessels and crew members.

Aleksandruk said Russian forces opened fire on a group of Ukraine ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula late on Nov. 25th.

The envoy said the country also protested striking of two warships and wounding of two crew members before seizing the vessels along with a Ukrainian Navy tugboat.

He said that the attack on Ukrainian ships was carried out during a sea crossing from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol.

“The attack, in accordance with the provisions of all effective multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigation rules, is nothing but another act of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine

“It is against Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 29/3314 of 14 December 1974 on the definition of aggression.

“Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea.

“Kremlin’s criminal regime has today once again demonstrated that it won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for any acts of aggression against the Ukrainian state,” he said.

According to him, Ukraine also requested for urgent medical assistance to the wounded and to ensure their immediate safe return home.

“Ukraine also demands to return the captured navy ships and to compensate for the damage caused.

“It is Kremlin’s regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

“Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions

“Ukraine also urges its allies to provide military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognised borders,” he said

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CNN sues White House for barring reporter

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CNN sued Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta’s rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

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