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Sudanese police fire tear gas to halt protest march | News

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Riot police in the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, have used live ammunition and tear gas in an attempt to disperse protesters marching towards the presidential palace.

Video clips posted online appeared to show large crowds of several hundred people heading to the palace, located on the bank of the river Blue Nile in the heart of Khartoum.

The demonstrators could be heard singing patriotic songs and chanting, “Peaceful, peaceful against the thieves” and “The people want to bring down the regime”.

Al Jazeera’s Hiba Morgan, reporting from Khartoum, said calls for the president to step down were growing louder with people turning up in significant numbers for the protest, which had been planned for a number of days.

“[Protesters] seemed to agree they want to see change and the police had to use tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the crowd,” Morgan said.

“Unfortunately, for the police that is, people continued [marching]. We’ve heard people say they want the ‘regime’ to go, they want to see a new ‘regime.'”

“Even with the tear gas being fired at them, some people have been using headscarves and went on to proceed against the riot police with their demands that the president must leave.”

Embattled president

Tuesday’s protest was organised by The Sudanese Professionals Association, an umbrella coalition for professional unions, and supported by the National Umma Party, one of the country’s top opposition parties.

They said they planned on marching to the palace and hand the presidency a memo calling for him to step down immediately.

In his first address to the nation since the anti-government protests began in Atbara city seven days ago, Sudan’s embattled President Omar al-Bashir on Monday vowed to introduce “real reforms” but warned the protesters to not respond to attempts “at sowing discord” in the country.

The demonstrations are the biggest in several years against Bashir’s 29-year rule, with protesters enraged over rising prices, shortage of basic goods and a cash crisis.

The official Sudan News Agency (SUNA) quoted Bashir as saying that the state was “continuing with economic reforms that provide citizens with a decent life”.

‘No specific plan’

Morgan said that Bashir did not specify his plan for economic reforms, which he said would provide citizens with a better life.

“The president said he is going to offer reforms, but he did not mention how and what kind of reforms is he planning,” the Al Jazeera correspondent said.

“Meanwhile, people are saying they don’t want any reforms since his government hasn’t done much in decades of rule.”

Government officials, however, blame the unrest on “infiltrators”. Officials have recorded at least 12 deaths, though Amnesty International on Monday said it has “credible reports” that police have killed at least 37 protesters in clashes during anti-government demonstrations.

Security forces in Sudan’s Sennar state arrested 25 people for “working to incite sabotage” and “planning to burn the Sennar municipal building and a number of governmental and private institutions”, SUNA reported on Monday.

Police reports were also filed against suspects for “crimes of sabotage” in Gadarif state, private TV channel Sudania 24 reported.

Authorities have shut schools and declared a state of emergency and curfews in several states.


SOURCE:
Al Jazeera and news agencies

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When Ontario declared a COVID-19 health emergency last spring, the first instinct of Ottawa entrepreneur Peter O’Blenis was to preserve cash.

“We basically stopped our discretionary spending,” said O’Blenis, the co-founder and CEO of Evidence Partners, which makes software for accelerating the review of scientific and medical literature, using artificial intelligence. “We cut investments in things meant to help us grow.”

It was a defensive posture born of experience. O’Blenis had 12 years earlier nearly been crushed by the global financial crisis. Another looked to be on the way.

In 2008, O’Blenis and his colleagues, Jonathan Barker and Ian Stefanison, hit a brick wall with their first venture, TrialStat, which helped hospitals manage patients’ electronic data. While TrialStat had secured $5.5 million in venture financing just a couple of years earlier, the founders had burned through most of it during a rapid expansion. When the financial world collapsed, so did their firm.

The trio played things far more conservatively with Evidence Partners, which has relied almost exclusively on customer revenues to finance expansion.

The caution proved unnecessary. Like so many other businesses, O’Blenis underestimated the government’s willingness to keep the economy afloat with easy money. Nor did he anticipate that COVID-19 would prove a significant catalyst for the firm’s revenues so soon.

Evidence Partners is hardly the only local firm with technology particularly suited for the war against COVID-19. Spartan Bioscience and DNA Genotek adapted existing products to create technology for identifying the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Ottawa-based units of Abbott Laboratories and Siemens Healthineers make portable blood analyzers that diagnose patients afflicted by the virus.

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Shepherds of Good Hope wants to expand ByWard Market operation with eight-storey housing complex

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The Shepherds of Good Hope plans to build an eight-storey building near its current shelter for the homeless in the ByWard Market that would include supportive housing for up to 48 people, a soup kitchen and a drop-in centre.

The organization says it wants to be part of the solution to the housing crisis that has fuelled a rise in homelessness in Ottawa.

People would be moved out of the emergency shelters and into their own tiny apartments in the complex, which would include a communal dining hall and staff available to help with mental health, addiction and medical problems, said Caroline Cox, senior manager of communications for the Shepherds.

Some residents in the neighbourhood are opposed, saying services for the homeless and vulnerable should not be concentrated in one area of the city.

“I was flabbergasted,” said homeowner Brian Nolan, who lives one block from the development proposed for 216 Murray St., where currently a one-story building houses offices for the Shepherds of Good Hope.

Nolan said that, in the 15 years he’s lived in the area, it has become increasingly unsafe, with home and car thefts, drug dealing, loitering, aggressive and erratic behaviour, urinating, defecating and vomiting on sidewalks and yards and sexual acts conducted in public on his dead-end street. Before he lets his son play basketball in the yard, he checks the ground for needles and his home security camera to see who is nearby.

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Carleton University Hosts the Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City

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evehe Carleton University Forum Lecture: Towards a Feminist Post-COVID City given by Leslie Kern launches Ottawa Architecture Week. Urban geographer, author and academic, Kern will discuss how the pandemic has highlighted long-standing inequalities in the design, use and inclusivity of urban spaces. The talk will share some of the core principles behind a feminist urban vision to inform a wider vision of justice, equity and sustainability.

When
: Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021 at 6:30 p.m.
Registration: https://alumni.carleton.ca/event-registration-architecture-forum-series-with-leslie-kern-2/.

About the Speaker

Kern holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from York University. She is currently an associate professor of Geography and Environment and director of Women’s and Gender Studies at Mount Allison University.

Kern is the author of two books on gender and cities, including Feminist City: Claiming Space in a Man-Made World (Verso). The book discusses how our cities have failed in terms of fear, motherhood, friendship, activism, the joy and perils of being alone, and also imagines what they could become.

Kern argues, “The pandemic has shown us that society can be radically reorganized if necessary. Let’s carry that lesson into creating the non-sexist city.”

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