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Cuban legislators approve draft of new constitution | Cuba News

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Cuba’s National Assembly on Saturday approved an update of the country’s constitution, the final step before a national referendum expected to approve the new charter in February.

The draft new constitution, which has 229 articles and will replace a Cold War-era one, will maintain the Communist Party as the country’s guiding force and the state’s dominance of the economy, according to state-run media. A copy has yet to be distributed to the public.

The document, however, also legitimises private business – which has blossomed over the past decade –  acknowledges the importance of foreign investment and opens the door to gay marriage.

It imposes age and term limits on the presidency, after late revolutionary leader Fidel Castro and his younger brother Raul Castro ruled the country for nearly six decades, and introduces the role of a prime minister, as well as provincial governors.

The current draft incorporates into an original one published in July hundreds of mainly small changes proposed by citizens during a three-month public consultation at community meetings nationwide. It will go to a referendum on February 24.

“This process is a genuine and exceptional demonstration of the practice of power by the people and therefore of the markedly participative and democratic nature of our political system,” President Miguel Diaz-Canel told the national assembly in a speech closing its week-long, twice-yearly session.

The 58-year-old took office from his mentor Raul Castro in April although the latter remains head of the Communist Party until 2021.

Same-sex marriage clause dropped

One controversial revision is the elimination of an article that recognised matrimony as the union of two persons as opposed to the union between a man and a woman as in the 1976 constitution. 

That article was the one that sparked the most controversy in a society that has made great strides in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights in recent years but remains conservative on the topic.

The new draft removes the definition of marriage altogether, thus still opening the door to same-sex unions albeit not giving it the same symbolic level of backing.

The government has said instead it will update the family code and put it to a referendum in the next two years.

Speaking on the island’s economic challenges, which includes a weak 1.2 percent 2018 growth rate and similar growth expected next year, Diaz-Canel said Cuba needs to accept private business, joint public-private ventures and coops working together. He promised to fight the widespread public-sector embezzlement and corruption that makes it virtually impossible to get anything done in the country without a series of small bribes.

“We’ve called a battle, and we’ll wage it, an ethical battle against corruption, illegality … and social indiscipline,” he said.

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Driver in satisfactory condition following head-on Gatineau collision

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One person was in hospital in satisfactory condition following a head-on collision between two vehicles in Gatineau on Saturday.

According to Gatineau police, the crash occurred around 1:30 p.m. on Montée Paiement, between Saint-Thomas and Saint-Columban roads.

Each of the vehicles had only one occupant at the time of the incident.

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Ottawa military family alleges bad faith eviction by Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada

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An Ottawa military family alleges their former landlord — Saudi Arabia’s top diplomat in Canada — acted in bad faith when he gave them a notice of eviction, claiming he intended to move into their Vanier rental home with his own family.

The home is now listed for sale for $950,000, two months after Vivian and Tim Funk moved out with their two young children.

In documents filed with the Landlord and Tenant Board, the Funks detailed how their landlord, Sulaiman AlAqeel, acted to end their tenancy by allegedly pretending he was moving in himself. This was preceded by an attempt to market the house to new tenants for significantly more money when the Funks had not given notice indicating they would be leaving, the documents alleged. “The landlord’s representative,” according to the documents, allegedly told the Funks they needed to accept a $500 monthly rent increase and a new lease if they wanted to continue living in the rental property, which wouldn’t be legal under the Residential Tenancies Act.

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Ottawa COVID-19 hospitalization data showing half of cases coming from community, not just long-term care

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With local data showing 50 per cent of COVID-19 hospitalizations coming from the community, long-term care residents aren’t the only one vulnerable to severe illness from the virus, Ottawa’s Board of Health reports.

Despite the majority of deaths having happened in older adult age groups in long-term care homes, residents shouldn’t think institutions are the only settings that are vulnerable to outbreaks that lead to serious illness from the virus.

“[Ottawa Public Health] continues to expand our understanding of the types of settings and situations that have the most impact on COVID-19 transmission in our community and is seeking academic partners to better explore exposure risks as well as a broader assessment of the harms from different public health measures,” OPH outlined in its document, to be present at the Board of Health on Monday.

At the same time, however, OPH says it is working closely with partners on “processes to strengthen and streamline responses.” This includes weekly meetings across agencies to address issues and concerns to ensure a strong collaboration, ongoing communications with facilities, preventative visits and phone calls to review infection prevention and control.

In situations where OPH identified failings at an LTCH or concerns of compliance have been raised, OPH has been quick to issue letters of expectation that outline the deficiencies and timelines fo compliance.

It is unclear how many letters have been issued through both waves of the virus.

And while outbreaks in LTCH during wave two have recorded a higher number of LTCH outbreaks than in wave one, the overall morbidity and mortality has been lower. This means fewer cases, fewer deaths and a lower average duration of outbreaks.

OPH contributed this to building on lessons learned from early COVID-19 outbreaks in LTCH in Ottawa.

https://www.ottawamatters.com/local-news/ottawa-covid-19-hospitalization-data-of-severe-illness-shows-half-of-cases-coming-from-community-not-just-long-term-care-homes-3136152

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